Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

October 31, 2012

Spirit Showdown -- Round 1 Recap

How’s it going, everyone?  Hope you’re all having a merry Halloween -- perhaps you’ve got your routes for the night all planned out to optimize both your candy runs and late-night shenanigans…?  And I’m willing to bet that a few of you out there has a costume so elaborate Lady Gaga would look like a gruel-munching pauper.

In any case, I thought I’d take a week to do something a little different with the much-adored(?) Spirit Showdown here on Cross-Up.  I remember a certain someone suggesting that each post in the series would likely only be about two thousand words.  Imagine my surprise, then, when one of the posts reaches the seven thousand mark.  Even for me, that’s a little excessive, especially considering that this is arguably a vanity project -- a chance to go “Look at me, I’m GIFTED!” and try to argue towards that point.  It’s something that I want to do, because I feel as if I can offer something meaningful in spite of the project’s nature.   But on the other hand, it’s something that I don’t want to do, because it IS ultimately just a bit of grandstanding.

That said, I’m leaning more toward the “want to do it” camp, because…well, I think it’s fun, and I hope that through my little profiles and explanations, I’m offering something that’s fun for you readers, as well as something educational, and most of all inspiring.  I strive to get others to take action, or at the very least think about things they wouldn’t have before, or perhaps in a new light.  If the Spirit Showdown can do that, then I’ll keep it going.

That said, I want to try to make this a bit more reader-friendly -- something that’ll benefit both parties with greater ease.  The other three posts are going to stay there (and the basic format will continue as-is), but right now I’m going to make it so that you don’t have to commit an entire afternoon to read what I have so far…unless you want to.  That’s cool.

So here’s a quick recap -- a five-minute abridged version of everything so far...with a song!

And of course, you can check out each character’s page in-depth here, here, and here.  Swordsmen, she-beasts, and superheroes, oh my!

It’s also worth noting that in terms of popularity, currently Ursa has a slight edge over the competition, with Ocelot V in second place and Deias in third.  Surprising results, in my eyes…though maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, given that one of those characters has some extra equipment to give her some extra leverage.  I never would have guessed that people would respond so positively to women with horns.

In any case, I figure I might as well reiterate the rules of the Showdown.  Remember, the idea here isn’t just to show off; it’s to promote discussion and reactions.  Comments are not only welcome, but encouraged -- because the person who comments the most smartly and aggressively will be the one to earn special bonuses, courtesy of Cross-Up.  And even with that tantalizing(?) bonus aside, this is a great chance for you to cast your vote, and take your favorite hero one step closer to becoming the “Hero of Heroes.” 

And speaking of heroes, here comes another one now.  How fast!

All right then.  I’m about ready to bail out of here for now -- but before I do, I’ll start a preliminary vote.  Cast your hat into the ring, and vote for your favorite thus far.  One press of a button is all it takes to decide where your loyalties lie -- so if ever you felt undying love and affection for a handful of concepts given (digital) form, this is it.

That’ll do it for now.  See you guys around -- and make sure you get lots of Pixie Sticks in your goodies bags. 

Next: Gotta go fast.

All right, the Spirit Showdown's been around for a few weeks. Who's your favorite hero so far?

October 30, 2012

Let’s discuss video games…while I wear a silly hat.

Endearing, isn’t it?

Well, whatever.  It’s that time of year again -- Halloween’s just about in full swing, and even though I don’t have a costume, I’ve still got a lot on my mind and a lot of games I want to talk about.  Good games, in fact.  Very good games.  That said, I think there’s another trend to this little quartet, just like there was last time.  If the last “Let’s Discuss” post was mostly about “hate”, then this one is more about “pressure”.  What sort of pressure, you ask?  Well, you’ll just have to read on and find out, won’t you?

I’ve got my sleeves all rolled up and ready to write -- and you know what?  I’m in high spirits.  It feels like we’re going to make some seriously good progre-

What the heck?  What was --?

Huh.  That’s odd.  Wonder if it’s a problem with Blogger’s --

That can't be good...

October 29, 2012

I Hraet You (50)

Beat 50: Slobberknocker of the Soul

Mrs. Overdose sighed heavily.  “Well, isn’t this just great?”  While she massaged a temple with her palm, she cast an eye down to the ground floor -- to the desk where Lloyd had collapsed, and had completely stopped moving.  “Damn kid couldn’t even answer a few questions.  I knew this was a waste of time…but I had to go and be nice.  Last time I’m ever doin’ that, that’s for sure.”

She leaned forward, ignorant of the golden stars spinning around her, or the mole-faced mask hovering before her chest.  “Hey.  If you’re not dead down there, I wouldn’t mind you tryin’ to prove that this wasn’t a crappy way to spend an afternoon.  You have any idea how many of my stories I’ve missed because of you?  Not to mention my court shows…damn, I hope I caught ‘em all on my DVR.”  She turned aside, teeth grinding and hands clenching.  “And if I missed Family Feud, someone’s gonna die tonight.”

No answer from Lloyd, of course.  He just laid there, one arm stretching across the table while the other remained clamped against his chest.

“Huh.  Well, somebody’ll come pick you up eventually.  See you around, kid.  Hope you get a nice funeral.”  And with that, she spun on her heel and started on her way.

“…Since when were you under the impression that we were done here, Mrs. Overdose?”

October 27, 2012

Let’s discuss Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.

Me, discussing a TV show?  It’s more likely than you think.

I want to start off by saying this: I am black.  I’ve made many allusions to my on-again, off-again afro here and elsewhere, and a few jokes about how I’ve willingly eaten fried chicken (and enjoyed it).  Even though I could potentially pass as a really-tanned white guy, I’d say I’m in a good place with my race.  I certainly have no problems making jokes about it, as you may be well aware.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my family always thought otherwise, though.  I remember how my mom would line the family bookshelves with books about black culture, and stock the bathrooms with magazines solely targeting African-Americans of varying status and concerns with beauty tips.  I remember how my mom would always tell me that “I need to learn more about my people”, and how I would silently wonder if she actually hated all races except our own.  I know it’s important to consider the difficulties, characteristics, and triumphs of one’s culture, but I’ve always taken a laissez-faire (read: lazy) approach to it.  I’m black, yeah, but more importantly I’m a human being.  THAT’S the race I belong to, and I don’t want to form any sort of divide between myself and others, well-meaning and subtle as that divide may be.

It'd help if I was more than a collection of pixels, but one thing at a time.

But with that in mind, I feel like there are certain…pressures.  Like there are certain things that African-Americans are expected to like and do.  I’d argue that things are starting to get a bit better thanks to media portrayals (barring examples like Grover from the abhorrent Percy Jackson movie), and I know for a fact that just as there’s truth to some stereotypes, there are more than enough examples that split off from them.  I’m an example of dissent if there ever was one, and I’ve known and met plenty more who could say the same.  We’re all human beings with different characteristics -- some similar, some unique.  Some expected, some unexpected.  That’s all.

Why do I bring all this up, you ask?  Because I want to offer a framework.  I want people to understand where I’m coming from beforehand.  Because I’m about to discuss a certain show, and the bile might really start to spew. 

But it won’t spew because of anything related to race.  It’ll spew because the show seriously pisses me off.

October 25, 2012

I Hraet You (49)

Beat 49: The Lowest of the Low Blows

Everything proceeded as Lloyd expected.  Stars appeared and began to orbit Mrs. Overdose’s body, moving in silent order as a mask started to take form.  So far, everything is as it was with Miss Walters, Lloyd thought as he leaned forward.  Certainly a far cry from the incident with Miss O’ Leary.  But I wonder what sort of shape her mask will take?

He didn’t have to wait long for an answer.  It appeared outside a wisp of gray gas, and bordered by rigid chains: a mole.  Or some kind of rodent, at least; Lloyd only vaguely knew the hairy face and long nose, but could make a good guess based on the hidden -- if not absent -- eyes.  Not the most expected of animals for a woman such as this, but who am I to judge?  He stroked his chin.  Doubtless I would have something along the lines of a wiry peacock. 

October 24, 2012

Spirit Showdown #3: The Vigilante

I don’t know if I’ve made it clear yet, but I have a thing for heroes.

Maybe that’s why I have so many issues with gritty stories.  If you’ll let me make a blanket statement or two, they’re largely about terrible people in terrible situations and terrible places doing terrible things.  Why not give me amazing people in a terrible world?  Or amazing situations and terrible things?  Or terrible situations with people doing amazing things?  And why not have the entire story (bar a few dark moments) be geared towards a happy ending, rather than a gritty story that heaps on the doom and gloom only to go “hey, maybe things won’t be so bad after all!” at the very end?  I know there are exceptions (Looper, The Dark Knight, and…well, arguably True Grit), but I’m pretty friggin’ sure there are a lot of gritty missteps.  O hai Gears of War 3, Max Payne 3, and Resident Evil 6.

I don’t mean to harp on gritty stuff all the time -- sometimes, but not all the time -- but I just want to make it clear where I stand.  Ideas and themes can be explored in any way, not just through certain aesthetics and conventions.  The moment you start to limit yourself is the moment you start to fail -- as a writer, as a creator, or just as a human being.  A show that’s (ostensibly) for children can be as deep and subtle as any other story out there if it wants to be; all it takes is a little ingenuity, some effort, and of course a strong spirit.  And in my opinion, a surefire, almost-universal way to appeal to everyone’s sensibilities -- young or old, naïve or jaded, silly or sophisticated -- is through the lens of a hero.  They inspire.  They excite.  They struggle, yet succeed anyway.  They move toward a conclusion by their own power.  A hero done right can be a tour de force; they have the power to make any story more amazing, more special, more meaningful, and of course more memorable.

In a sense, a good hero IS the story itself.  And I intend to prove that -- with this series, and ESPECIALLY with this post.

October 23, 2012

Manly Songs: Highway to Hell

Wow.  Been a while since I’ve done one of these.

In my defense, I have a good reason why.  I’m coming up on the final chapters of the current I Hraet You story arc and while I’m glad to have made the progress that I have (in the sense that I’m starting to feel like this is a project with some real potential), I know it’s about time to put it up on the shelf and work on something else for a little while.  So I’m motoring towards the arc’s climax, and between that and other themed posts -- the Looper post, the Tales of the Abyss posts, and the Spirit Showdown posts, all of which are a bare minimum of four thousand words -- I’m firing on all the cylinders I can.  You would think that I’d rather work on shorter posts and save the longer stuff for later, but…well, I can’t say I’m always the most logical person.

But enough chatter about internal affairs.  You’re here to listen to some manly songs, and use the lyrics to drone out the incessant rabble of a thousand-word post trying to rationalize it and subsequently take out all the magical elements.  Or if you’re from Bizarro World, you’re here to studiously imbibe every word I offer in my analysis and digest it, in the hopes that you’ll be able to offer your own thoughts and deductions, and hope that the stream of words flowing from your brain is enough to blanket the harsh sounds of soul-enflaming music and reality itself.  But then again, if you’re from Bizarro World, I wonder if you can even read in the first place.

So with all that said, let’s talk about a little-known, under-appreciated Australian band that has long since faded into obscurity and will never ever be referenced again after this post.

October 22, 2012

I Hraet You (48)

Beat 48: Showdown Time!  Don’t Hurt Yourself, Now!

Ha ha!  Success!  At last, I have returned -- and it only took thirty chapters!

Lloyd couldn’t help but feel a swell of joy at the sight of the audition room, appearing before him in all its colorless, outlined glory.  The curtains, the stage, the wires, the lights, all of it eased his mind…but only for a moment.  Almost immediately, he jerked in his the director’s chair and stared at his lap -- nothing there but some well-tended pants.

Fortune smiles upon me, he thought with a quick swipe at his brow.  Not only have I returned, but I’ve done so without an assault on my senses, as was the case with Miss O’ Leary.  He jerked his head to the side.  I really need to look into that -- but for the moment, I should just be happy that I’m not in the midst of guarding my loins from a potential grandmother.

October 19, 2012

Tales of the Abyss: The Rundown (Part 3)

Whew.  It sure has been a while, hasn’t it?  I hope I remember enough from the game to even start talking about it; I like it, but I really don’t want to do another playthrough just to review.

--Poor communication starts wars and nearly dooms the planet!

--Nobody can shut up about fonons and junk I could care less about!

--This is one of the only times when I care about politics!

--A sensible, well-organized religion?  Not in THIS JRPG!

All right.  Let’s give this thing another go.

(Spoiler alert involving several important details about the story -- which, as you know, is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside-down and I’d like to take a minute just sit right there I’ll tell you how I became a prince of a town called Bel-Air.

Anyone know where I can get one of those spinning throne things?  I could stand to spruce up my room.)

October 18, 2012

I Hraet You (47)

Beat 47: The Best Laid Plans (Kind of Suck)

Lloyd ran his eyes up and down Mrs. Overdose’s body.  Normally he would have taken an extra half-second to appreciate the female form, but he suspected it would have to wait.  He just folded his arms and covered his mouth, nodding and humming to himself as he kept his eyes locked on the gunwoman.

“You know, now would be a good time to actually help me,” JP grumbled as he squirmed across the stage.  “Just grab me and bail.  Grandma over there is just after the money -- I say let her have it, and we fall back to fight another day.  Sounds like a plan, right?”

Lloyd didn’t answer.  He just kept staring and nodding.

“Oh, right.  I forgot you’re allergic to logic.”  In spite of the ropes binding him, JP rolled a bit to face Mrs. Overdose.  “Hey, Grandma.  You’ve got your money, and your boss has got his entertainment by now, right?  You’d gladly let us go, wouldn’t you?  As long as we don’t interfere with your transaction, you’ve got no beef with us.”

October 17, 2012

Spirit Showdown #2: The Monster

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but I used to think that I was some pretty hot stuff back in the day.  I was young (well, younger), I was excited, and I figured as long as I had a few meager ideas and some fighting spirit, I could become the greatest writer the world had ever seen.  It certainly helped that I actually started writing proto-versions of my stories -- stories that I’ve long since buried somewhere in the annals of my room and hope to never read again.  I know where they are, but I won’t say where -- you never know who’s reading your stuff online and might decide to storm your house for the sole purpose of exposing your embarrassing neophyte-bred material for all the world to see in an earnest effort to defame you before you can begin your long-imagined journey into the heroic pantheon of ages.  Or, you know, just laugh at you.

Anyway, I remember a time when I was at a friend’s birthday party, and I was talking with his sister -- a girl my age, and another close friend.  By then, I’d come up with five potential stories (proto-proto-versions, so you just KNOW they were high-quality), and saw fit to brag about them a bit.  But of course, I wasn’t quite satisfied.  I’d been dreaming up a sixth one, based on a certain inequality I’d perceived.  All of the leading heroes were male.  So I boasted that I had aims to make a sixth story starring a cool heroine, in spite of having little more to say than that…or that I was formulating the heroine’s design based on Soulcalibur II’s version of Sophitia.  It’ll be easy, I told myself in the midst of my grandstanding.  I’m smart enough -- writing a strong female character will be as easy as [insert whatever activity was common/popular at the time here]!

I mention this because in the near-decade since that party, no other character has changed as much as this next one.  And it’s extremely likely that she’ll change again before I even type her first words.  But for now, I’m in a good (or good enough) place with her. 

There’s just one tiny problem.  She’s a bit…extreme.

October 15, 2012

I Hraet You (46)

Beat 46: Something About a Gap...

“Lloyd, you must be out of your damn mind!” JP yelled, squirming in his ropes (and to his horror, bumping his head against the shotgun barrel).  “Does this look like someone you want hanging around you?”

Lloyd nodded, and held out a hand to Mrs. Overdose.  “She is a woman, after all.  And surely my sacred hall of love is more than enough of a reason to --”

Mrs. Overdose shoved JP aside and aimed her gun at Lloyd’s face.  “I don’t suppose I get paid extra for turning this guy’s head into tomato soup, huh?”

Gaston chuckled and clapped, and crossed his legs.  “Ah, always quick on the uptake, Mrs. Overdose.  Always ready to fire the first shot…it’s such a delightful trait, madam.  But, stay your hand -- I’m not quite ready for our dear jester to bow out.  Not yet, at least.”  He rested his chin atop one hand, and leaned forward; the holes in his mask nearly filled the air with smothering glee.  “I want to see it with my own eyes.  I want to see our dear monsieur struggle futilely, right up to the final curtain.”

“You haven’t bested me yet, Gaston!” Lloyd shouted.  “So long as I have time, I can keep fighting!”

October 13, 2012

Looper: I See What You Did There

I like to think of myself as abnormal.  There is a lot -- a whole friggin’ lot -- of evidence to suggest that I’m not exactly an average Joe.  But for the moment, I’d like to zero in on one piece of evidence in particular: I don’t watch a lot of movies.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before (if not on this blog, then elsewhere), but there was a huge chunk of my childhood -- entire years -- where I didn’t see a single movie in theaters.  And to compound the problem, there are a LOT of classic movies I haven’t seen.  I haven’t seen any of the original three Indiana Jones movies.  I haven’t seen Apocalypse Now.  I haven’t seen (all of) Pulp Fiction.  I’m pretty sure there was a girl ready to give me a DDT because I told her I’ve never seen Titanic.  I’ve gotten a little better about seeing movies recently -- I DID watch all three Back to the Future movies a year or so ago, and I DO have all three Godfather movies on DVD -- but…well, I’m more likely to play and buy a new game than a movie.

That all said, I like good things.  If there’s a good story to be had, I’ll try and experience it -- because that’s what a good story lets you do, regardless of medium.  It lets you experience it. 

Which brings me to Looper.  And…really, do I have to say anything?  You should know instinctively that this is an awesome movie, because it’s starring Tommy Solomon and Bruno the Kid.

…I made that joke on Facebook, too, and I’ll be damned if I let it go without SOMEBODY laughing at it.

(Spoilers to fo…you know, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s been in a lot of movies lately.  He’s been a cop, a cyclist, and now he’s a hitman.  I think it’s only a matter of time before he goes all Eddie Murphy on us and plays all the roles in a movie.  I wonder if he can pull off a fat suit.)

October 12, 2012

Why Anime is Amazing: Because Luffy

It’s been a while since I talked about anime on this blog, so I figured I’d throw a quick post out there.  The impetus?  Well, I tried out One Piece: Pirate Warriors on the PS3 (available now from the PlayStation Network!).  Now let me be frank: I was more than a little worried about the game because it’s tied to Koei and is, essentially, a Dynasty Warriors game -- a franchise that I’ve long since sworn off thanks to several iterations of bland, unrewarding button-mashing from one edge of China to the other.  On the other hand, I was willing to give the game a shot if only because of my greatest regret: that I didn’t get into One Piece, which is apparently THE story to follow over in Japan (and rightfully so, based on what I’ve gleaned).  So after seeing a few videos and realizing how this was a decisive chance to immerse myself in the mythos, I took the plunge.  I decided to balance out my love of good things with my hatred of terrible things.

And how is it?  Well…it’s good.  Not amazingly, perfectly good, but still really good.  I’ll talk a bit more about it the next time I discuss a bunch of video games (Katawa Shoujo is on deck for discussion as well), but as it stands I’m happy to have it.  But let’s set that aside for now and talk about one reason why I think One Piece is as adored as it is -- and why anime in general can be pretty great.

Luffy (that’s Monkey D!) is the lynchpin of One Piece -- the method in which the story puts its best foot forward in terms of its ideas.  In a sprawling world full of mysteries, great wonders, fantastic creatures, varied inhabitants, and general insanity, it takes a character that’s willing to interact with said world to get the most mileage out of it.  Moreover, it takes a character that holds some of those qualities -- one that reflects and occasionally clashes against the world -- to gain even more mileage.  Long story short: if you take time to build a fantastic world, you’d better not fill it with characters that are too surly to enjoy it, or else readers/viewers won’t enjoy it.

And that’s where Luffy comes in.  At a glance he’s your typical “shonen hero”, but turned up several dozen notches.  Generally speaking, it’s impossible for me to think of One Piece without thinking of Luffy’s massive smile.  The same goes for his boisterous claims of becoming the pirate king, or his cheery idealism, or his general idiocy, and the typical “I’ll protect my friends, no matter what!” mantra.  He’s your typical good guy -- not exactly something in short supply, but not exactly a bad thing.  On the other hand, Luffy’s got more than a little depth to him.  He does some silly things sometimes, but there is some logic to his actions.  Rather than relying on absurd power-ups and training arcs to rise to WTF-levels of godhood, he’s adapting and applying his basic tool set -- stretching powers -- to suit his needs.  He’s not only able to figure out how to solve problems, but proves himself capable of a wide array of emotions and ideas.  And of course, he knows when to get serious.

I haven’t seen enough of One Piece to be certain, but I can make an educated guess: whenever Luffy makes that face, it’s time for you to pack up and run.  And by run I mean leave the planet.

 But what I think makes Luffy incredibly interesting is that he is, in his own right, an idea.  We think of pirates as scurvy sea dogs -- crusty, bearded swashbucklers out for treasure and booty.  The One Piece universe often plays them the same way -- as reprehensible outlaws that’ll stomp over anything or anyone (even their own comrades) to get what they want in their quest for glory and power.  Luffy offers a brighter alternative; he’ll win new crew members and comrades not through force and constriction, but by way of his ideas.  He has a clear vision of what a pirate can (and should) be, and acts on it.  Camaraderie.  Trust.  Mutual gain.  Dreams.  Perseverance.  Courage.  Justice.  Adventurous spirit.  And above all else, getting out into the world and having some fun.  It’s a very shonen-esque mindset that, again, isn’t new to fiction…but damn is it effective, especially when done by Luffy.  To paraphrase D-Mob from Def Jam: Fight for New York, it’s not always about gaining power through fear.  Even a beaten dog can still bite back; earn the respect of the people, and you’ll be stronger than anyone who ever decides to rule through fear.  It’s that overwhelming charisma that, based on my few observations, makes Luffy, One Piece, and a well-done anime so dear to a fan’s heart…which makes it all the more affecting when one experiences both a character’s triumphs and heartbreak, even if you don’t fully know the story’s context.

Raw power, raw emotion, raw adventure, raw fun…that’s about all I can say about One Piece.  Okay, there is ONE more thing I can say: it’s a shame that 4Kids’ “creative liberties” ensured that the series never got a proper foothold in the states.

Hrk…just thinking about it makes me want to throw up...

October 11, 2012

I Hraet You (45)

Beat 45: Okay, NOW the Clima-Wait, What?

It didn’t take long for Lloyd to reach his destination.  The doors of the auditorium stood before him -- normally, they would have beckoned droves of students within its walls for a scream-heavy pep rally, or the best performance the band (bless their hearts) could muster.  But now?  Lloyd could only wonder what horrors hid inside.

If I’m right, Gaston has the power to create illusions -- albeit in an enclosed space, he thought, covering his mouth.  Which means that the moment I step inside, I could fall prey to some heinous hallucination.  But as long as I keep my wits about me -- as long as I remind myself that it’s an illusion, and nothing more -- I may be able to disrupt his hold on me.  And the sooner I do, the better a chance I’ll have at saving JP.

He pushed the key into the slot, and jiggled it about until the door gave a loud click.  “Seems as if it worked,” he said with a quick nod.  “At long last…it’s finally time to bring this struggle to an end.”  He glanced aside and giggled to himself.  “Heeheehee, I feel like such an important person all of a sudden!  My heart is all a-flutter!  Is this how it feels to be an action hero?  Ah, to think I could be a part of such a pantheon without gaining a hundred pounds of muscle!”

Lloyd raised his eyebrows.  “Who am I talking to?  Gracious, it’s hard to be endearingly haphazard when there’s no one around to listen.”  And with that, he opened the auditorium doors and stepped inside.

October 10, 2012

Spirit Showdown #1: The Driver

How many times have I used the phrase “I fancy myself a writer” in the past?  Let’s see…I think it’s coming up on…just about…ah, yes, fifteen thousand times.  And by fifteen thousand I mean eight.  And by eight I mean probably eight.

It’d be easier to call myself a writer if I had any credibility (i.e. a legion of devoted fans who await my fictitious gospel and launch assaults with a wave of my hand), but for what it’s worth, just being able to talk about stories, and analyze stories, and come up with stories has to count for something.  I’m not an authority, but I think at the very least I have the potential to be.  I mean, I’ve put more than a little thought into my stories.  One day when I was eleven I started daydreaming, and then I never stopped daydreaming.  That’d probably explain why I’m not an architect.

And what was I daydreaming about?  Well…

October 8, 2012

I Hraet You (44)

Beat 44: Now, the Climax -- Oh Wait, Deductions First

“Lloyd, what the hell?!” Trixie yelled, teeth clenched and legs flailing as she tried to break out of Patton’s grip.  “Are ya outta yer mind?  What’s this all about?”

Lloyd stood his ground and pushed his glasses up his nose, and gave his father an approving nod.  “Be sure to hold her in place.  We can’t have her moving around too freely -- but be sure not to hurt her.  If there’s one person that I would have you be gentle with, it would be our house guest.”

“I’d have an easier time being gentle if she’d stop moving around,” Patton grumbled.  But nonetheless, he kept her steady, and his face remained unchanged in spite of Trixie’s struggling.

“It seems as if everything is going to plan -- as we discussed.”  Lloyd covered his mouth and glanced aside.  “Granted this is a countermeasure based on conjecture, but at this point, I’d rather not add any unnecessary risks.”

“Hey!  HEY!  Don’t leave me outta the conversation, pal!” Trixie yelled; if she had her feet on the ground, she would have stamped a foot against it.  “Just what is goin’ on?  And what’re ya goin’ on about?”

“Eh?  Why, building suspense, obviously.”

“I MEAN THE OTHER PART!  Why am I gettin’ manhandled here?”

“Oh, that.  You should have said so sooner, Miss Walters.”

If Trixie had control of her body, she would have banged her head against a wall.

October 5, 2012

How to Make a Good Dead or Alive Movie

I find it rather interesting that my post How to Make a Good Street Fighter Movie has consistently been the most popular post on this blog for months now.  Kind of odd, considering that (I assume) only two people read it when I first posted it on Destructoid.  I’m guessing that has to do with everything I touch turning into a novella, which is admittedly a problem I need to address sooner rather than later.

In spite of that, I’m going to do the exact opposite right now.  Let’s see if lightning can strike twice, and I can propose a satisfying -- if hypothetical -- Dead or Alive movie.

Fair warning, though: there’ll probably be improbably buxom women in this post.  I know how much of a deal-breaker that is, so I thought I’d be responsible and tell you early.

October 4, 2012

I Hraet You (43)

Beat 43: Onward to the Climax!  Well, Maybe

“Lloyd, did I ever tell you the story about how I met your mother?”

Lloyd nodded.  “Several times, actually.  Quite a tale, that.”

Patton nodded in kind, and resumed his silent driving of the armored truck.  “Okay, how about the time when I got banned from England?”

“You were banned from an entire country?  Is that even possible?!” Lloyd asked , his eyes wide.

“Well, not officially.  But I kind of made a mess over there, and we all just decided it would be much better off for everyone if I never went back.”  He tapped his hands against the wheel a few times, and sniffed a bit.  “Whole lot of swans died.  But they had it coming.  The long and short of it is, when somebody offers you a tour of the museum, DON’T split off from the group.  You’re gonna miss out on a lot of good info.”

“Sage advice as always,” said Lloyd, hands clasped like a sweet schoolgirl.  “Can you tell me more?  Your misadventures are always a treat.”

“Maybe as a bedtime story, son -- AFTER you do your homework.”

“I was expelled today.”

“Oh.  Well in that case, I’ll just have to have a talk with your principal.”  The wheel stated to bend between his fingers.  “Yeah.  A nice, peaceful, bone-breaking talk.”

October 3, 2012

Let's discuss even more video games.

You know me.  I love video games.  I love the potential they hold.  I love their ability to transport me to new worlds, and play as new characters.  I love how much impact and gratification they can give me.  It’s a medium that I think deserves a lot of respect.

That said, sometimes -- and more frequently, as of late -- I hate video games.  I have a number of reasons, and it’s because of those reasons that I’d rather be a writer (a book writer, not a game writer -- although I wouldn’t mind a bit of overlap every now and then).  As much potential as games have, there are just things that can be better done with a book than a game, because by design there should be a focus on gameplay -- on player-game interaction.  A fair trade-off, assuming the game is a competent one…but there are other issues.  An abject refusal to satisfy on even an elementary level of thought.  The industry at the mercy of creativity-stifling trends and absurd budgets.  And of course, the homogenization of titles into cinematic dudebro brown and gray shooter-action-parkour-stabbing sandbox entertainment.  I know that both books and games have their own separate issues, but I’d rather deal with the former’s problems than the latter.

Why do I bring this up?  Why do I have a creepy picture of Commander Shepard?  Why do I insert third funny thing here?  Because the theme of this discussion is “hating on video games.”  Because you can’t know true love until you know true hate.

Hit the jump to see three games that make me feel the hate…and one that makes me feel unrelenting love.

October 2, 2012

I Hraet You, Facebook Fan Pages

Well, I suppose as the (so-called) webmaster, I should probably make a formal announcement of sorts here on the blog.  I’ve made a fan page on Facebook -- see the icon on the right for a link (or just click here) -- as an alternative place for my virtual space to begin its corruption of the internet.

Admittedly, there’s still a LOT of work that needs to be done, but it’ll get there.  But I suppose the biggest task ahead of me is getting people to actually go there; the idea is to create a community of sorts, and even if it takes a while, I want to emphasize that I’m doing what I can to please any readers that come here.  I mean, I can remember the days -- or months, actually -- when I’d log in to Blogger and stare at the dashboard, hoping that someday I’d end up seeing my first comment.  Things have certainly gotten better since then, but I want to do more -- for me, and for everyone involved.

So yeah, I’ll be keeping at it -- maybe I’ll throw in some extra incentives.  Original content or something.  Whatever it entails, it’ll likely have something to do with I Hraet You.

And on that note, I think I’ll use this space to make an announcement: once this arc is complete, I Hraet You is going to go on hiatus.  The arc’s end is coming up pretty soon (less than ten chapters, if I had to guess), and I figure that it’s about time for me to start working on some other stuff -- stuff that I’ve wanted to write for a long time now.  Don’t worry, Lloyd’s misadventures aren’t going to end anytime soon -- I still have to get to that wrestling scene -- but it IS about time to take a break.  How long will it be?  I don’t know.  It depends on how far I get on that other stuff, so I won’t say anything like “I Hraet You will return this Christmas!”

But at the very least, there’s a pretty big backlog of chapters.  If you’re starved for content, maybe you should give the earlier chapters a read.  I did some (pretty obtuse) foreshadowing of future events, so maybe you should take a look.

Well, that’ll do for now.  This is your friendly afro-haired webmaster, signing off.

October 1, 2012

I Hraet You (42)

Beat 42: You Can Probably Guess Who’s Bad Cop

Lloyd kept his arms folded behind his back, and stared absentmindedly at a drifting cloud.  “So, Miss Walters, are you feeling better yet?” he asked.

The sound of gagging and puking gave a quick answer.

“W-well then, take your time.  That was quite the experience.”  He couldn’t help but grin.  “Did you see it?  Did you see it when I stopped the truck?  Well, granted it wasn’t so much as ‘stopped’ as it was ‘let the surrounding trees serve as a speed dampener until our inertia faltered’, but still, we managed to come to a halt!  Eventually!  And that’s certainly a victory in itself!”

Trixie started to wheeze, and then made another meat-speckled splatter across the road.

Lloyd stroked his chin and raised an eyebrow.  “By chance, is excessive vomiting a means of celebration in the south?  It doesn’t seem like a very pleasant tradition.”

Somehow, Trixie managed to make her next wave of puke sound like the word “idiot”.