WHO THE HELL IS THIS GUY!? I like tacos. I also like video games, but I like tacos more. If that's a problem for you then you can GTFO.
I'm a roasted turkey sandwich currently living in the Bay Area, California. I make art [and sometimes music], sometimes having to do with video games and sometimes not. I've been gaming since I was around 3, so it's safe to say if I don't play video games I might spontaneously combust like some unholy abomination. Which is what I am.
WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS GUY OWN!? Xbox
Nintendo Entertainment System
It's Friday, and I punched twelve old ladies today. Right in the face place. I did this video four times in all. The first three takes either crapped out before I could save them, were too long/large to edit, and/or the sound fucked up. So I figured I'd just do a shortvlog today. One filled with rage-faec and rape-faec. Definitely not the bright and laid-back feeling of the other installments, but hey...what can you do. I need to figure out an easier way to do these things. My computer seriously hates Fridays, it seems. It must work for Activision or something. Dick.
Anyway, what are you guys doing this weekend? It's Friday.
It's Friday, and that is not a video. Just in case you were wondering. I solved the sound problem, but it was only until after I finished recording this morning that I realized my mic was muted. The second take was shitty. And, due to technical difficulties with the new recording programme I've been using, the file ended up being somewhere around 9 GB. This made it literally impossible to edit. What's a guy to do? Record for a third time, which would end up being shittier than the second time?
So, "Fuck it", I said. No video this week. But no, you haven't gotten off that easy. Here's what I've been doing this week:
Chakan: the Forever Man: I used to play this game a lot when I was younger, on the Sega Genesis. You play Chakan, a warrior cursed to walk the planet forever after defeating Death himself. In order to break this curse, you're forced to destroy daemons. It's only until all of the daemons are slayed that you can rest in peace.
It's a beautiful game, in that the scenery is very dark and gloomy. It reminds me of the Legacy of Kain games. In fact, a sequel was being developed for the Sega Dreamcast, but the work they put into that was instead transferred to Blood Omen 2. I would love to see a modern-day adaptation of Chakan, however. It's a great game, and Chakan himself is one badass motherfucker.
Depict1: I'm sure a lot of you have played this already. You're some guy (or girl) going about levels. You learn what to do via this disembodied voice. However, you soon discover that everything this voice says is complete balls and you instead go about things your own way. I won't give away much, but I really love the way they twisted the idea of a "trustworthy in-game voice" into something resembling Portal's "GLaDOS". Also, the sprites and environments are beautiful.
Fathom: Ever wonder where the music used to advertise Once Upon a Pixel at the end of some of the HAWP episodes came from? Well, this. Fathom is a game about robots. And dying. And fish. I don't think I was playing it correctly, but hopefully you will. It reminds me a lot of the Sacred Grounds level of Cave Story because of the general fast-paced gameplay and style of sprites.
Catherine: This is an action-adventure horror game coming from Atlus, the makers of the Persona games. This hasn't come out yet, but I am immensely stoked. You play Vincent, a salaryman (binkan, binkan~) who meets a 22 year old hot chick. She's young, vibrant, and sexy, while Vincent is in his 30s and in that awkward age where you know the young and vibrant days of your life are completely over.
He starts having disturbing nightmares where he is forced to climb staircases and run from monsters and such. This is where the action of the gameplay comes in, while the adventure comes during the real-world gameplay where you go about the city. Apparently there are connections between the real world and the dream world, because at some point they say something about "When you have a dream that you're falling, you wake up dead". Which could be supernatural or not.
There's also a heavy sexual undertone to the game, stemming from Catherine's overactive sexuality to Vincent's complete sexual deprivation. I really hope that we get to see this manifested in Vincent's dreams in the form of disturbing visuals and such, like they did in Silent Hill 2.
I'm unsure when this will be released elsewhere, but it will be in Japan sometime late this year.
Anime: I've been on a Satoshi Kon binge lately. It all started with his death. It hit me really hard, since the mere thought of his death seemed impossible. There are people in this world that seem too epic and indestructible to pass away, you know? Satoshi Kon and Hayao Miyazaki have been two of my artistic idols, so having one die has left a void. So, when I was finished punching babies after hearing about Kon's passing, I pulled out the kleenex, cranked up the Susumu Hirasawa (He did a lot of music for Satoshi Kon) and began watching all of the Kon movies I haven't seen yet.
I watched three of his movies this week: Paprika, Perfect Blue, and Millennium Actress. Those are in order of preference. I love all three of them, but I preferred Paprika overall because it was beautiful, creepy, and a complete mind-fuck. Perfect Blue came in second because, while it was creepy and a complete mind-fuck, it was lacking the overwhelming beauty of Paprika. Millennium Actress was amazing as well. It was beautiful and I loved the movie-in-movie-in-movie style. But I need my creepy horror fix, so I put the other two before it.
I watched these on Anime-Movie-Site, which is probably the most original name for a website ever. It is a great site though, because it's filled with every anime movie...ever. It's like entering a room filled with pretty ladies covered in bacon. Heaven. I'm all caught up with K-ON!!, so once I finish my Satoshi Kon binge, I'll probably start watching a bunch of other movies I haven't seen yet. That should be fun.
Septembeard: Today I am clean-shaven. On my face, I mean. Septembeard (like Novembeard) is when you go an entire month without shaving and then compare your epic Beard Progress with others who did the same thing. I doubt my beard will compare, however, because it tends to grow back in quickly but takes a while to get any longer. It'll be fun, though, and I get to look like a bum.
Today, like last Friday, I am tired as hell. And quite grumpy due to this video messing up. I really hope you guys don't mind reading a wall of text--Oh, what am I saying? You guys read walls of text on a daily basis.
I think I'll take a nice, long nap today. Then I'll wake up, work on an entry for the Summer Arcade Contest, and then start up some anime movies. If anyone has any recommendations, especially something in the realm of creepy, disturbing, horror (that isn't Kara no Kyoukai because I've been watching that on-and-off already), I will give you sex. Lots and lots of sex.
That's it for this week. Hopefully next week's post will be a lot less bumpy and grumpy. Let me know what you're doing this weekend. It's Friday.
This is a story of heartache and betrayal. Of sadness and torment. The strange and obscure tale begins with a strange and obscure letter from All of Microsoft:
Dear valued customer,
All of Microsoft is very proud of our loyal community. You have stuck with us for years, never swaying in your love for our products. We felt that in order to show our appreciation for your continued use of our products, we must spew our hot, anal excrement all over your pillow and/or bed. Doing so will ensure that we can be with you both during your time on Live as well as when you sleep.
We will keep you warm during the night. You will smell our wet, steaming appreciation each and every time you lay your head on your pillow and snuggle in close. But you must make sure to keep your room humid or our gift will grow stale and harden. If that does happen, have no worries. By that time it will have absorbed into your blanket, so the hardening would merely make the blanket more comfortable to sleep in. We thought this through.
A representative from Microsoft will be by shortly to deliver your present.
Regards, All of Microsoft
At first I didn't know how to take this. A present? Anal excrement? They had to be joking. Why would All of Microsoft send me a letter telling me that they were going to poop in my bed? Was it some kind of viral marketing campaign? Or was it someone pretending to be All of Microsoft? I was so puzzled that I left it alone.
A week or so after I received the letter, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see an obese man in a thong. He held up a badge which read “All of Microsoft Representative”.
“Hi, I'm All of Microsoft. I'm here to deliver your present.” The man said, cheeks flapping as he talked. Both sets of them.
“But...I don't under—“ I began, but the man pushed past me.
“No time to lose.” The man said, scratching his bare chest. “Bedroom's this way, then? Alright, I'll make this quick.”
I stood there, bewildered. Then I realized what was happening and snapped out of it. The next 10 minutes went by in a flash. I rushed into my room and stood there, watching the large, hairy man squatting over my bed.
“Have a seat!” The man waved in the direction of the chair in front of my desk as if I had walked into his own room.
I blinked and looked at the chair, then back at the man. Then I looked at the bed. There were large, brown burritos already littered about the place. They contrasted the pale white of my blanket and wall. And then the scent...
Everything went black.
When I awoke, I found myself sprawled on the floor in the middle of my doorway. I must have fainted. I stood up woozily, covering my nose to get away from the horrendous smell of fecal matter. I had apparently been out for hours, because flies had began to show themselves and feast upon the chaos that had covered my bed.
Still unsure of what was happening, I sat down in front of my desk, staring at the bed. I grabbed my cellphone and called All of Microsoft support.
“Um...Hi...So, there seems to be a....a little problem.” I had to get up and leave the room, because the idea of opening my mouth amongst the mess seemed impossible. I sat down on the couch in my living room.
“I'm All of Microsoft. State your problem, sir.” The woman on the phone said.
“Well, a representative from you guys came to my house and he pooped all over my bed,” I said. “There's shit everywhere. Like...it's really uncomfortable.”
“I'm All of Microsoft.” She said.
“Y-yes...Yes, I know you are. Is there anything you can do about this problem?” I said, already becoming annoyed at the woman. Was she even taking this seriously?
“Well, if you have a problem with your subscription we can send another All of Microsoft Representative to remove your present,” The woman said. “I'm All of Microsoft.”
“Yes! That would be perfect! Please do that, thank you!”
The next week was torture. I closed off the room from the rest of the house in order to escape the stench, but the door seemed to hold nothing back. The fumes were almost visible as they flowed through the crack under the door. I could barely sleep each night as I slept on the couch. I would fall asleep and then suddenly shoot awake as I inhaled deeply, the scent stinging my nostrils like vinegar. I would swat at flies every five minutes, which soon became a natural twitch that still plagues me to this day. After a week I had become a mumbling, shaky mess. I was a shell. I couldn't bare the thought of going outside, for I knew I smelt of the travesty that had befallen my house.
Finally the day came when there was another knock at the door. I went to the door, tripping over myself as I did so, and opened it. It was the same man from before.
“Hi, I'm All of Microsoft. I'm here to cut your subscription to our newest product.” He pushed past me again and disappeared into my room. “I'll be only a minute.”
I didn't have the nerve to follow him, so I sat down on my couch and stared blankly at a wall. I tried not to pay attention to the odd noises. After five minutes the man exited my room.
“All done!” He said.
“Uh...You've got something...right there.” I said, pointing at his lip.
“Oh, hahah. Silly me.” He licked the brown smudge off of his lip and his eyes rolled upwards in ecstasy. “That taste never gets old. Alright, so we're gonna have to charge you a clean-up fee.”
“Clean-up fee? Why the fuck would you charge me for something you did?” I screeched, nearly losing it. This was preposterous! After all this time they were still trying to get away with murder.
“Whoa, no need to freak out, sir. I'm All o—“
“All of Microsoft. Yeah, I know.” I nearly spat. “How much am I paying you?”
“You'll be getting a letter in the mail soon with the amount.” He hurried out the door before I could make any more angry faces.
That night I slept in my own bed. Finally, it was over. I could get back to my normal life and play video games again. No more swatting at flies, no more hours spent bent over a toilet. There was only that small problem of a fee. But it couldn't be that bad. For once, I was finally sane. I was free.
Then...a second letter came into the mail:
Dear valued customer,
All of Microsoft thanks you for your time spent with our product. We are disappointed that you did not find it helpful in your daily activities. Maybe one day in the future you will change your mind. For now, as payment for the clean-up, we have decided to increase the amount you pay for Xbox Live Gold.
Thank you for your loyalty.
Regards, All of Microsoft
My world shattered.
I found out after this incident that I wasn't the only one who went through this ordeal. There were gamers all across the world who fell into this trap. All of Microsoft got away with their villainous scheme and the world was reduced to ruin. Those who hadn't invested much money into Xbox Live had an easy time coping because they either cut off Live altogether or moved to an entirely new game system, just before the doors closed on them forever. They were free and their world was bright and peaceful.
But others who had spent a lot of time and money on Xbox Live had no choice but to succumb. We were All of Microsoft's eternal slaves and there was nothing we could do about it. There were statues made in their honour and put up on every street corner. Passing one without praying to it was a blasphemy that would have you thrown in jail or silenced forever.
I type this out in a dark, musty room. I am alone here, amongst a plethora of Xbox 360 games that I can't help but buy more of. I can't remember the last time I saw the sunlight. Maybe the sun just doesn't shine anymore on this part of the world. The week spent amongst the scent of feces seems like forever ago and something trivial in comparison to this torture. I know there is a beautiful world somewhere outside of this limbo. But I don't know if I will ever find it. This could have all been avoided if we'd realized All of Microsoft's motive from the beginning. If we had only seen how false that gleam in their eye truly was, we could be dancing happily with Nintendo and Sony under a beautiful, blue sky. If only Sega hadn't stopped producing systems...
But there is no use for "if only". For I have no money, and I must scream.
I have played many game genres in my time. Many settings, many storylines. My interests range from retro platformers to fast-paced FPSs to JRPGs to so much more. I could give you a list of many of my favourite games, but at the end of the day I know I will eventually grow tired of them. They will have become stale, broken shells of their former existence. And they would either collect dust in my closet or end up in the hands of some merchant. I've grown to live with the fact that many of the favourite games that I cherish and hold dear now I will eventually forget about in the long-run.
And yet I know one thing will remain. After all of the broken pieces of past favourites have been swept into the sewers, when I've grown old, grey, and senile, I will still have one last thing to keep me entertained. Out of everything I have played and will ever play, the one thing I know I will never grow tired of is being afraid.
The horror genre stands upon a pedestal for me. It has always been my preference, even when I was a tiny little bastard creeping about the house terrifying my family. Vampires, ghosts, zombies, mutant freaks, lab failures, serial killers, murderous teddy bears, eldritch monstrosities, ancient death gods, creatures we could barely wrap our minds around lest we implode. All of these things and more have been a part of me for as long as I can remember.
There are several reasons why I love horror, but the main thing that draws me into the macabre and terrifying is the struggle of the human mind. Horror plants itself into the ground before our feet and challenges us. It teases us, saying “I dare you to lock eyes with me, for I am everything you dread and wish never existed”. At first we fail. We cringe and draw ourselves away from this wretched thing, hoping it will fade away into oblivion and dust. But, the longer we close our eyes, the longer the darkness stays latched onto us. Our only choice when presented with fear beyond our darkest nightmares is to stand up and face it.
Horror is about moving forward. Removing the shrunken heads and banshees, we can compare it to everyday life. Fear of meeting new people, fear of traveling beyond your front lawn, fear of riding in a plane, fear of large crowds. It all balls down to fear of the unknown and the incomprehensible. “What is that?” You would rather not find out. “What would happen if I did this?” You would rather not find out. “Are they friend or foe?” You would rather not find out. Humans usually refuse to put themselves into unknown situations because something might go wrong. It's a common survival instinct to be wary of new and unusual things. However, just because it's common doesn't mean it's a good thing. You will suffocate if you hold your breath for too long. There comes a time when you need to rise up and stare into the abyssal unknown. When you see people jump straight into new situations with no second-thought, it means they have found that strength that allows them to stare the unknown in the face. And the unknown has a lot more to offer than the known.
This transcendence from weak and frail to strong and aware is why I prefer horror video games above all else. I get to experience the feeling of moving past my fears. I love being afraid in games because I get to say “I surpassed my darkest nightmare.” There are thousands of games that make you feel challenged, but nothing digs deep into your core like horror does. When I finish a game where I had to brave the dark corridors of the unknown, I feel more accomplished than with any other game I've set my hands on.
I admit, I am also a fan of the bizarre and abnormal. This plays a large role in my preferences, drawing me to horror like a fly to a corpse. You won't find me far away from games like Silent Hill or films like Uzumaki. This obsession with the strange and odd probably stems from my initial obsession with the macabre, but it also stems from growing up cynical and wary of “normal” things. I don't want to experience what I can experience on a daily basis outside of video games. This is why I dislike sports games and have a hard time getting into some rhythm games. But that is merely the tip of the pen. Games display plenty of odd and quirky things. Who goes around eating pellets while being chased by ghosts? Not me, at least. So when I see something that goes even beyond the usual bizarreness in games I am immediately enthralled. I fell in love with Soul Reaver not just because it was about vampires and dead things, but because it gave off this powerful, dark, and creative atmosphere that you rarely find in vampire stories, especially as of late. I fell in love with The Secret World not just because it involves ancient evils rising up from the netherworld, but because it puts us in a very familiar setting that is suddenly filled with the world's darkest, innermost fears.
You cannot put a number on how many times I have awoke in a cold sweat, overflowing with ideas and inspiration. I go to sleep at night hoping that I will have a heart-pounding nightmare, something that will make me sit up in bed clutching the sheets. When I awake with my heart pounding in my ears at 3am I know I've accomplished something. While I love lucid nightmares—I can morph the world into an even more ghastly place, create new monstrosities, make fear into clay—I am even more inspired when I have no control. I like being tossed around by my innermost fears. The more I am tossed around, the more I struggle to regain my composure. The more I struggle to regain my composure, the stronger I become. Then I am able to defeat the evils plaguing my subconscious. However, I have not once had a dream where I destroyed the antagonist. I always wake up just before I do, or just before being killed myself. Maybe I don't want to destroy the antagonist. Maybe I'm having too much fun.
But I always ask myself: Is this odd fascination with blood-curdling screams and dim-lit corridors shared throughout the gaming world, or am I amongst only a few who hold the genre so ridiculously close to the heart? As I mentioned, I grew up obsessed with horror. It is, almost literally, a part of me. Has my becoming intertwined with the genre given me rose-coloured glasses? Surely horror can't be the only genre that tests your inner strength and will to push forward. And yet, despite how much I search, I still come back with horror set upon a pedestal. A giant, bloody pedestal covered in bodies.
Take indie games, for example. A lot of people enjoy them because—get ready for my usual analogy—they're like that hamburger you get from the local mom-and-pop restaurant. Instead of the burger being tossed together almost robotically by big-name organizations, the burger is prepared lovingly and from the heart. That is one side of the story. Something a lot of indie gamers don't admit to much is that half of the reason they play indie games is because they're broke and can barely afford anything else. Maybe they grew to love indie games over time, but the majority of them originally started because they wanted a game they didn't have to pay much (or any) money for.
Can this be applied to why my heart flutters when seeing a zombie's eye open before it chomps down upon a surprised victim's windpipe? Is there some drab, underlying reason for this obsession, or is horror truly what I make it out to be?
Maybe I've gone mad. Maybe these thoughts and preferences come from the mind of a possible mental patient. Maybe I am actually in a padded cell, dreaming of disembodied heads and onryo ghosts and gaming news sites. Or, what if the true horror of it all is that what I see in my dreams, those horrific images of death and decay, are what the world truly is?
Don't be silly.
Touching back on solid ground, I will never know if I am truly biased or if my views are shared throughout the gaming universe. But it doesn't matter. I am the Horror Enthusiast and will be nothing else for as long as I live. All I can do is smile and frolic about in graveyards and morgues, happily daydream of cities teeming with the undead, search libraries for ancient books written by mad Arabs, wondering if my sanity snapped at birth. If it did snap at birth, then oh well. I'm having a good time.
It's Friday, and today I figured you wouldn't mind staring at my pale-as-hell face for a little while. I loved the idea of Topher's READY TO FRIDAY posts because Friday, but those left with him. So I figured I'd do something similar, even if no one watches them. These, however, will be me babbling on about random shit that usually includes video games but doesn't always include video games. I was gonna call this READY TO FRIDAY originally, but that would probably be ripping off Topher. Though let me know if you'd rather I called it that. Or you could just let me know if this is shitty and you never want to see my crappy-webcam'd face again. I could understand your logic.
Tell me what you're doing today/this weekend in the comments! It's Friday.