Every day, I sit on the same train to work, I always find myself staring at the same old scenery, trees zipping by in a familiar blur and with each passing station; the world loses its color. Perhaps it is the loss of my childlike innocence or is it just my naivety crumbling away with each revelation. Growing up was never meant to be so bleak, when did I become so jaded? So cynical? Why has the world lost its color?
In a world so bleak, there is only one place I can escape to, the one place where the world still shines like a newly minted coin and everything just seems so much simpler. My mind.
Of course, to say that my mind is simple is far from the truth, if Christopher Nolan ever got to check out my brain, it would make Inception look like a sock puppet theater compared to what goes on inside.
So close your eyes and relax, let the veil of reality lift from your eyes and step through the mist into a world beyond.
Those were my first thoughts.
Half-formed trees swayed on its own accord, buildings sprung up across the landscape as quickly as they were consumed by nature, destruction and creation, Ourburos, the serpent eating its tail.
Verdant pastures stretch out into infinity while the tingle of grass against the sole of my feet brought a smile to my lips. I tossed myself into the soft embrace of this emerald dream and laid there staring at the cotton candy sky.
Reaching out, I grabbed a plume of cloud and shaped it into a rose, with a yank, I brought it down from the heavens and I planted it next to me.
It was then that I noticed this curious little hole, it laid merely a few paces away from where I forcibly planted a white fluffy doppelganger of a rose.
Peering into the hole, I tried to discern its contents, the next thing I knew, I was on my butt nursing a bump on my head. A brown furry little freight train had decided to pop out of the hole at the very same instance I decided to put my head near it.
With a hand still on my head, I glared at the rabbit, who too was nursing its little head, except it wasn’t really a rabbit. It looked more like someone had decided to dress my dog up in a bunny suit and most disastrously believed it could pass off as a real rabbit.
A distant crack brought my attention to the distant horizon, the sky has darkened visibly and lightning snaked through the darkness like coruscating worms.
“That is where dark thoughts lie”
I turned and stared at the dog/rabbit.
“You can talk?”
“Were you honestly expecting anything less in a world where you can pluck a cloud out of the sky?”
“You better get going. They are coming” Inclining its head to the north, the dog/rabbit thing gestured me to head towards that direction.
A minute I was in a wide open pasture, the next I was standing before a forest clearing with a small pond in the middle. The specular reflection of the moon cast a ghostly light on the withered trees; it did little to sooth my unease. As I drew closer, I noticed a lady sitting by the pond, and she turned to me and beckoned.
She was breathtaking, piercing emerald eyes that could stop a man dead and locks of raven black hair spilling over her shoulder like a waterfall in midnight black. That was all I know, that was all I could remember, her face was a haze, a fleeting image, like a half-remembered dream. You could almost make out her features but you never could. All I knew were those pretty eyes.
“Tell them of what you saw here…” She whispered into my soul. “Never forget…”
Looking into the distance, she whispered one final time “They are here…”
“SLEEPING ON THE JOB AGAIN!?”
I sat back up in a start. I glanced around, enclosed within a 3x3m plastic divider, there I was, another cell in another monolithic corporate beast.
I looked down at my desk, a pool had formed where I had fallen asleep and a specular reflection of the moon stared back at me.
With a twist of my hip, I spun my chair around and greeted my slave driver with a cheery voice “Au Contraire! I’ve got a world to bring into reality!”
Actual quote from Iron Mans 2. More Iron-Y Man goodness next week!
There comes a time when you know that your life can be so much more, so much better and so much more meaningful. But often, people let this feeling pass them by and do nothing to grasp this ethereal promise of something greater. But I am not just anybody and today shall mark the day of change.
Some new concepts to be posted on this blog.
1) Artist of the Week – A weekly look at artists I personally think deserve wider recognition.
2) Iron-Y Man – A weekly photoshop Image of Iron-Y Man and an ironic quote.
3) The Vault – A picture compilation. Neatly sorted and categorized… relatively
4) Portfolio – Self explanatory
5) WTF?: What the FRAPS? – Still Pending, the file size is a problem.
Today I want to talk about games literature, especially the difference between Japanese and American storytelling methods. This greatly affects the games each respective culture is likely to favor.
So let’s get this show on the road by looking into Japanese Games literatur. I’m going to quote from classics like Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy X. I believe this topic also applies with one of the most prevalent form of media that has taken the globe by storm. Manga. Alright so let’s get this started. Taking Final Fantasy VII as a basis, we realize that Japanese games have a tendency to be more character centric as compared to American games. When I say this I do not mean that American games lacks character but rather the focus of Japanese game itself is solely on the characters.
Cloud, a mercenary and a ‘rejected’ SOLDIER, starts out fighting for Barret and Tifa , he battles his former employers but that is pretty much all you learn about Cloud at the start. Then things start getting out of hand. Soon Cloud realizes his memories and dreams are not really his own, but that of his savior and friend Zack. As things progress, you are constantly chasing Sephiroth, the only true link to Cloud‘s past. They chase Sephiroth throughout the world before they realize that Sephiroth intends to end the world with a giant meteor. The thing is Cloud is so intricately tied to Sephiroth that you kinda feel that defeating Sephiroth is to find out the truth and saving the world is just a by-product.
That is the essence of Japanese storytelling. The Protagonist is pitted against the world but the world is in general a nice place. There will always be an omnipresent threat but it is never visible till later in the story, said omnipresent evil/threat is always somehow tied to the Protagonist and the final battle is as climatic as it is emotional. Take Final Fantasy X for example. *SPOILER ALERT* the father of Tidus is deeply involved in the final boss, Sin to say the least.
This pattern can also be seen in many mangas. To summarize, Japanese storytelling are heavily character based. The story follows the protagonist as he/she grow. The real threat would always be omnipresent but never visible till the end. When the real threat is revealed, it is always of significance to the protagonist. (Search for father, becomes stronger, evil appears, evil was father, defeat father after moral dilemma)
For American games however, it is the opposite that is true. The thing about American games is that they tend to more objective base then they are in their Japanese counterparts. By objective I mean the threat to the world is clearly portrayed as an overwhelming evil force. Take Lord of the Rings for example,Sauron is shown early and the whole premise is defeating him by tossing his One Ring into the heart of Mount Doom, another example, one of the latest games, Dragon Age. The Blight is coming! It is always about the Blight.
That is not to say the characters in American literature lacks personality or character for lack of a better word. Characters like Alistair and Leliana are extremely endearing, depending on which way you swing. I personally like them both. That is the key difference in the way the two cultures tell their stories, American culture has a tendency to wrap the world in an almost oppressive sense of the evil that is to come. That of course does not stop character development, but rather give it a more dynamic feel to it. How a character reacts and talks in such an atmosphere really allows their personalities to shine through. Of course as they journey, the characters will no doubt learn more about themselves and grow as a fictional persona.
Of course, this is just a general sensing of how these two different cultures produce powerful narratives. This does not mean there are no exceptions to the rule, there are always exceptions to the rule. Take Mass Effect 1 for example, you Commander Shepard was just minding your own business when blam! Saren screws you over. You find out later it was all a puppet act by The Reapers but hey you honestly had no idea. Of course you do mention The Reapers from your visions but Saren was really more of your target then The Reapers. Honestly.
In summary American storytelling is usually objective based. (Protagonist is entrusted with a mission to save the world) The threat is clearly stated and the story revolves around the trial and tribulation of the protagonist.
I’m a fan of both storytelling methods as well as the culture that inhabits them. Hope you enjoyed this read.
The taste of hot metal was all I think about… I sputtered something but I choked…
The smell of ash and… something burning? Smells like meat… Charred meat…. Oh god… no…
The darkness was suffocating, I tried to move my arm but it hurts so much… It is like the world was pressing on me…
The sound of crunching rocks? I hear heavy footsteps and garbled voices…
Oh god oh god oh god… I can hear roar of large-bore weapons and the clink of expanded shells contacting the rock… They are so close… so close…
I cannot forget the sounds. The sounds of flesh popping with a muted explosion… The sickly wet explosion… What terrifies me most was my rampant imagination… My friends are dying over and over again in hails of explosive bullets. Their bodies torn asunder by mass reactive shells as it penetrates their skin and explodes inside…
Oh god please save me…
The sound of digging roused me from my torpor… I’m too weak to even cry for help… How long has it been? Days? Weeks? I don’t know anything anymore…
They found me! My friends! I did not know them but they were friends… They wore the same uniform… bore the same scars… They were my friends…
Two days since I was dug out of the collapsed bunker. They fed and clothed me, I was pushed once more into active service… I had a chance to look at my home… what was my home… Ashes, everything was ash… tangled metal jutted out from the ground. The only reminder that there was once a home there, once a life. The ground was craters and glass… ash and ruin… That is all there is left ash and ruin…
Forth day since my rescue, we were dug in and ready for a fight… and then they were there… terrible monsters they were… taller than a man and as large as two men side to side… Their midnight black armor glittered with gore… Their terrible pair of emerald eyes see everything. Scanning for perceived threats…
From their grilled mouth orders were given, their guns were raised… Some held macabre instruments of death… Swords made of whirling teeth… they were as loud as they were brutal. Cutting through flesh and bone as rows upon rows of razors eat into you… Others had fist the size of heads and it was wreathed in lightning… what manner of demons are they to command such powers…
They advanced, and we respond… we fired out weapons… out slugs bounced off their skin of metal as they advanced… they were relentless… they are unstoppable… we are doomed… our world is doomed…
They are upon us… I’m hid amongst the bodies of my comrades… I don’t want to die… Oh god please I don’t want to die…
I can hear their whirling blades of teeth and muted explosions… I dared open my eyes and the horror I saw… Man died in the scores as this… this ornate monster descended from the sky… A golden eagle emblazoned upon its chest and it wore the mask of death itself, it wore the skull of man…
There was another… he wielded a blade that cackled with lightning and with each swing, limbs and weapons flew. The flesh was butter and his blade a heated knife…
Over sized fists blew holes through man while flame throwers scorched the earth of survivors… i don’t want to drive…
“Sergent! We have a survivor“
A gauntleted fist grabbed me by my arm and wrenched me from the bodies.
“Hiding with the bodies, it disgust me.“
“Stay your hand Battle Brother, I shall inspect this one myself“
“Do you understand me, nativee?”
Yes… Who are you? What are you?
“I am the Emperor’s angels of death and I am here to meet out his judgment“
Why! Who is this emperor? Why? WHY? We have done nothing! NOTHING!
“Your lords have rejected the light of the Emperor, you are collateral, I am sorry“
You are monsters! Clad in your ebony skin your wage war upon a world who wish nothing of you but to be left alone!
“Monster? Perhaps we are… But we are all that stands between the darkness that would consume humanity and if humanity cannot stand united under the Emperor’s guidance then we are destined for extinction“
We are already dead! Look around you! My world is gone, we are already extinct…
Moisture streaked down my cheeks as it sunk in, my people, my family, my sons… They were no more. And in the Angle of Death’s emerald eyes I saw myself. Two streaks of skin, exposed by my tears against dried blood and soot… My face was a mask of serenity, never had I seen such dignity and poise. And it was then I understood…
I shame myself by hiding. But I’ll hide no more! You come to our world and burn it but know this! We will not be so easily quashed our spirits are eternal! You may smash our monuments and grind our bones but we will forever defy you! We are humanity! Proud and free of oppressors!! We will not bow down to anyone!
“I am… Surprised… Such fire… Such spirit… Such naivety. If only your world would have complied, we could make a battle brother out of you. But alas, to leave your world unchecked is to leave the door to corruption wide open“
Before I am tossed into the pyre what are you really?
“I am a Space Marine, human. Farewell, may the Emperor guard your soul“
Pain lanced through my chest as I convulsed in pain. My senses dimmed and my strength left me… The cackling of energy was all that is left as war wages on.
There is only war. And war, war never changes… But the spirit endures…
The spirit endures…
July 27th. Mark it well, for it is the day terror shall once more grip your mortal soul. Starcraft 2, it comes for you. But I am annoyed at Blizzard. Why you ask? Well you see, I’m a collector.
And there are only 500 sets of Starcraft 2 collector’s edition in Asia, and we all know where the bulk of it is going. To the zergs… I mean koreans… Damn zergs. Like I said I am a collector and I love random useless game related baubles. But despite this, being the little bitch to games I am. I will still be getting Starcraft 2. Grudgingly.
I really cant be fucked over the multi-player, what I am looking forward to is the single player and also their world editor. This will be a chance for me to do some mods and increase my portfolio. Of course, this leads me to my second greviance. You see, BattleNet is now on monthly subscription instead of it being free no LAN as well if I’m not wrong. Do you see my predicament. To get my mods to the public requires BattleNet, unless I get Starcraft 2 Unlimited edition which signs me up for BattleNet for life. It is all fine and good but I rather get the Collector’s edition if I have to pay extra just to get Unlimited BattleNet….
Some might argue that I’m just bitching cause I can’t get the collector’s ed and they are proabley right. But hey, I need an outlet so don’t judge me. Don’t you dare… Releasing Control of this form…
The cold air blew through my open window while the pale specular reflection of the moon shimmered.
I awoke with a start, sweating. My shirt was soaked while perspiration trickle down my face.
“…were found Dead”
I was bathed in cold shifting light as the tele near my bed flickered with static .
“Suicide rates have continued to increase despite efforts….”
Shifting images of people shuffling to work tore through my retinas and into my brain.
“Get off the road you damn Nutter!” A baleful horn and an angry fist.
I lifted my leaden feet and lurched towards the station. Everyone goes to the station sometimes… Everyone….
Pain wrecked my body as the world rolled over me.
Smashed against the bottom of the steps I picked myself up and nursed my injured arm.
“Watch it asshole! You are in the way!”
Nobody cares. The world cares not for those it leaves behind.
For the world turns with every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every year.
It turns away, never to look back.
Shuffling forms filled the train. Body heaped upon bodies.
The smell of decay flows down from the top and into the station.
I stand amidst the bodies innumerable. Vacant seats and vacant minds.
Rundown and barely serviced. My apartment, my home.
“…there has been a drastic rise in the number of people claiming that ‘the end is nigh’. Authorities are clamping down… “
I look at the mirror but a stranger looks back.
There is sadness in your eyes I told the stranger
My vision blurred and it was moist
Dead… but still alive…
Out the window they were walking
Always walking, walking, walking
The wind blowing through my hair as I run laughing through the streets.
People stop and stare and I laugh at their bewildered gaze
Let them trudge on in the thick mud of drudgery
Let them walk the path they walk forevermore
I dance with the walking dead as they shuffle through their life
In my breast beats a cold furnace and I’m more alive than ever
But I am dead inside… My heart a frozen mass…
I am the living and the dead… for I am an ode to the living dead.
There was once a boy, who lived a life like any. He was blessed with a cheery disposition, he was outgoing and oh so talkative. One would imagine that this boy would have many friends and have much fun together with his merry little bunch. But that was not so.
The boy knew a great deal of people but few he would even remotely consider a friend, let alone a good friend. There were people who he tagged along more often then not but that was about it. What a strange little fellow you might say and you are probably right.
You see, this boy, he is the same as any other person on the outside. But on the inside, there was a darkness. There was a terrible darkness that laid in his breast waiting for the moment it could burst out and consume everything.
As our boy grew older, he saw the world in a different light. He saw the decadence that is us, he saw for the first time, the horrors of being human. ‘I must enlighten them’ The little boy swore, and vowed to change the world. But as the world always does, it rolls over us. The boy could do little as humanity sunk deeper into its own waste and the madness of society continued to spiral downwards.
Despair. Despair in the face of overwhelming madness. That was all the boy could do. Gripped by melancholia, the boy sought solace in solitude. He maintained a pleasant mask for the world, but inside he was dying. All the despair and helplessness fed the darkness within the boy and from this, a darker emotion was born. Hatred.
The boy’s hatred grew with each passing day. ‘What pathetic creatures we are. Consumed in our vapid lives of decadence’ He whispered to the world. As his hatred grew, so too did his anger. Like a blazing ball of fire, the boy’s anger could be barely contained. It took all the boy’s restraint to keep himself away from the promise of violence. But the chains are wearing thin.
It came as little surprise when the boy finally snapped. Ablaze with righteous fury born of hatred, everywhere he went was touched by the kiss of destruction. This unbridled display of wanton destruction filled the boy with great joy, but every fire must eventually burn out.
Flee.The boy fled to the only place he knew, his home. But what greeted him as he opened at the door? The tear streaked face of his beloved sister. “Mom and Dad are dead!!” And beyond the boy’s sister was the TV showing off the destruction in all its glory.
Flee. The boy fled into his room and slammed it shut. Falling to his knees he smashed his fist against the tiled floor in terrible revelation. Tears fell from the boy’s eyes and onto the floor. He stared incredulous at the puddle that was slowly forming. The boy had forgotten how to cry in his vehemence of his hatred. But now like a broken tap, salty droplets streamed down his face.
It was then that the boy saw the darkness that laid within his soul. In his hatred he had become what he hated so much. He became human…