Monday, March 9, 2015

Mushishi Episode 14: Blood is Thicker Than Bamboo Water

     I'm rewatching Mushishi on DVD and blogging it. Previous post here. First post here. You can watch this episode and the rest of the series legally (and free) on Youtube. For those in need of a refresher, there's a list of brief episode descriptions here.

     A lot of people see family as something to be endured. They're restrictive. They don't understand. They disagree on crucial aspects of society, culture, and life in general. Family is more hard than anything else. And that's. . .fair. I personally have kept on pretty good terms with my family and have the great fortune of them being, in my eyes, largely intelligent, compassionate human beings. And you know what? They still get on my nerves. I've never been so full of rage or frustration or sadness at anyone the way I have been at family members. I can't imagine what it's like when you have blood relatives as vile as some of the ones I've heard of from other people.

     That said, I've also never loved anyone so completely as my family. They are so, so precious to me, in a way I can't fully describe. You know how people bond over hardship? I guess it's kind of like that, only. . .more. Family doesn't have to be anything special, and for a lot of people it isn't. But it can be something amazing, something important, something precious. They're can be a lifeline, a safety net. They're like a big warm blanket that might also happen to be incredibly itchy and uncomfortable; you can despise it and adore it all at once, but however you feel about it, it might be the only thing keeping you from dying of exposure.

     That's what this episode is about; families, the things they take from you, and the things they give you.

Well, families and my favorite thing about Mushishi: bamboo!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dark Souls and Faceless Heroism

     Dark Souls is a game about heroes. Well. . .not heroes so much as heroism. It's a game about facing seemingly insurmountable odds - not even winning or losing to them, just facing them. It's a game about death. It's beautiful, tragic, triumphant, and sorrowful all at once.

     But most important of all, it's a game where I can make my character look like a Nazgul, and oddly enough that encapsulates the above better than anything else I could say. Let me explain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mushishi Episode 13: A Night (Bridge) to Remember

     I'm rewatching Mushishi on DVD and blogging it. Previous post here. First post here. You can watch this episode and the rest of the series legally (and free) on Youtube. For those in need of a refresher, there's a list of brief episode descriptions here.

     All I remembered was the bridge.

     I've been looking forward to this episode a lot, because it was almost a complete mystery to me. I'd forgotten everything about the characters, everything about the plot, everything about the mushi involved. Everything except the bridge.

     That god-forsaken bridge.

It takes a few different forms.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fail States and Teleglitch

"Sometimes, after you've tried really hard and failed, you feel like giving up. The cool thing about life is that it's okay to give up. It is totally okay. But it's also totally okay to keep trying even harder. The really hard thing about life is making a choice between these two." 
-- Teleglitch death screen

     Death is a. . .peculiar thing in video games. At times it is the most compelling piece of gravitas the medium can bring to bear: a permanent, destructive operation in an interactive environment. At others, it's the least consequential thing you could imagine: a minor setback, discarded from the world's memory when you're forced to reload and try again. A fail state, as they're often referred to.

     Games - in the traditional sense, at least - are kind of about their challenges, which in turn makes failure a sort of glitch in the system. Protagonist's aren't supposed to fail. The hero is triumphant and the villain defeated with their plans sundered; that's how it's supposed to go. Imagine for a moment if Luke never learned how to use the Force, or if Tony Stark died of his heart condition before he made the Iron Man suit. It'd be weird, right? The question isn't whether or not the main character will overcome their struggles, it's how they'll do it. It's the same with games. Despite being about their challenges, games are meant to be beaten; it's a paradox where obstacles are designed to stop you but simultaneously are meant to be torn down.