Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About sorakasumi

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    Thumb Tourist
  1. Mysteriousness The whole 'just say your story' idea does seem a counter-intuitive thing to level at media that is or evokes mystery. Monument Valley could of been just a puzzle game about Esheresc geometry but instead it adds a glaze of the unknown, a dash of world-building. I don't think the game would have been 'better' if it had simply explained the premise. Through the use of mystery and vagaries games in this category tug at my guts, evoking a unique concoction of emotion. Kentucky Route 0, Monument Valley et al produce a powerful longing to know more, tempered sadly with the knowledge that real answers rarely live up to the power of the mystery. I can completely understand if someone doesn't like this style of storytelling, just like anything people will have opinions. But calling it 'lazy' implies the authors have chosen this method simply for its lessened word-count rather than the feelings it can conjure. The realities and limitations of indie game development are sure to have a hand in this choice, but in a similar vein I would not call Gone Home 'lazy' for not having character animation. An example to the contrary would be Dust: An Elysian Tale, which I thought had far too much explanation despite being from a one man studio. I was (perhaps mistakenly) under the impression that Firewatch was to be a mystery of a similar breed, but after this episode, I am less hopeful. On Retconnery I really enjoyed Burial At Sea and found the stealth added a interesting twist to the world. The fact that Elizabeth can use the same weapons as Booker but is just less proficient was cleverly used.The guns becomes much less powerful when she has to manually pull back the hammer before each revolver shot or is slower at loading each cartridge into the shotgun. This method of power variation is much more pleasing and narratively consistent that say, if her bullets just did less damage. Many people are quick to dismiss the 'retcon' as terrible but I think like all things it is down to execution. On the whole I found the narrative bug-fixing and world entanglement in BI:BAS-E2 to be well done. I was especially surprised / impressed that they tried to address some of the more "social justice"(†) complaints about the narrative. Retcons can be dicey when they change narratives for the worse, e.g. the moral of The Force in Star Wars seemed to go from 'work hard to succeed' to 'be born chosen' over the subsequent revisions. The changes in Bioshock, while far reaching don't truly change anything about the original story other than certain new people helping the events along. This makes absorbing them into your head-cannon optional and at worst irrelevant to the enjoyment of the original game. † I don't like using this phrase but am doing so in an attempt to avoid spoilers. p.s. dagger On a side note did anyone notice the 'sick burn' that none of the Bioshock 2 locations were found on the map of Rapture? I did however notice a radio advert that mentions Dionysus Park but seems to erroneously indicate that the Farmers Market was to be found there. Retcon and Thumbs To say something on topic but largely ridiculous, part of the reason I enjoy Thumbs so much is their 'Lore'. The Thumbs metaverse is constructed of intertwined and deep reaching in-jokes, back-stories and references. Tales of the Cabal and the precognition of robot dominion are weaved live to tape each week. Sly Jeff Goldblum vocalisations hint at legends long told. Narrative threads dangle like Samuel L Jacksons arm, awaiting retconned connections, improvised simultaneously reaching between the latest news and near forgotten legend. All the while under the painterly gaze of cool uncle and rich uncle.
  2. I've been thinking about this part a lot, 'what exactly is the Nazi aesthetic?' What about then contemporary German styles that the Nazi's chose to use and appropriate, should they be burned to the roots? Each component seen in Luftrausers (skulls, banners, airships, peaked caps, blond hair, a red colour scheme etc) on its own is harmless, but at some point it clearly tips the scale towards Nazi. It would be ridiculous to deny artists the use of these individual components, but how many of them is too many? Is the absence of any explicitly defined Nazi symbology not enough? Is it really just a case of "I know it when I see it"? I didn't articulate it very well in my original post, but this is definitely how I feel. To me it seems that purely demonising the Nazis ignores the fact that they were just humans. If the mission is to stop this kind of thing reoccurring it is imperative to acknowledge reality. A collection of very clever people used patriotism, indoctrination and peer pressure to (justifiably, they believed) coerce the people of multiple nations to unspeakably terrible acts. Calling Hitler a genius is sure to summon the wrath of the internet, but I believe to do otherwise is dishonest and offensive to the millions of victims. Attempts to neuter the humanity from the Germans and their allies serves to belittle the true horror of events that occurred, on both sides of the war.
  3. Personally I dislike the wholesale tarring of anything vaguely German as "Nazi". The National Socialist German Workers' Party was, as the name indicates, a political party. Just like having a republican president wouldn't instantly make every citizen a republican, not everything German was Nazi. Its easy to demonise the 'bad guys' but Germany is a country of millions of people. The GI's in media yelling about killing Nazi's are often wrong and are more likely fighting conscripted Germans. At the time Germany was consistently producing incredible engineering work. Their weapons, equipment and vehicles were often steps ahead of anyone else. Even down to the smallest details like the jerrycan which were regularly stolen and used by the British troops. If we rejected every technological advance simply because it was created in the same country as Hitler we would be loosing an incredible amount. The Volkswagen Beetle was specifically designed in collaboration with Hitler but is clearly not associated with anti-semitism. Obviously I am in no way discounting or disavowing the infinitely terrible things done under the banner of Nazi rule, I just wonder about where the line should be. Can we not appreciate the contributions to technology, culture or even aesthetics made by the Germans without slipping into glorifying the Nazis and their ideals? Surely the lesson should be that many good people can be made to do bad things through 'evil' leadership and not that an entire country became evil overnight. While Luftrausers is clearly a pastiche of that period and aesthetic, it doesn't glorify anything about the Nazi's that made them uniquely terrible. As is mentioned in the episode, if the art style was more American nothing would have been said. Should a different cap badge, hair colour or font choice really change the entire moral core of a piece? Personally I find Killzone's Hellgast to be a much stronger use of Nazi allusion and wonder what is different about Luftrausers that seemed to create this spark.