Beat 25: Aw, How Cute…Too Bad There’s Still a Fire
“All right. Fun time is over. Thinking time is now,” said JP, straining to
keep up his stoic gaze. “I would prefer
for the janitor’s closet to NOT be my grave, so if you have any ideas, I’m all
“Yeah, I got one.” Without another word, Trixie turned toward
the door and started tackling it.
“Stupid damn door. Yer goin’
down!” She slammed a shoulder into it
with a blow that would make Emmitt Smith proud…unfortunately, the door held its
position. “I ain’t done yet! Gonna plow right through ya!”
JP threw his hands in
the air. “Well, I guess I had a nice
enough life. Little short for my tastes,
but at least I’ll never have to worry about having a midlife crisis.” He pressed a palm against his forehead. “Or those awkward teenage years, for that matter.”
Okay, except that one
-- but the point still stands. It’s been
about a week since I saw The Dark Knight
Rises, and I think the passion has died down a bit. Enough people have seen it to discuss things,
and I hope enough time has passed to have said discussions in a rational,
non-flaming manner. There’s nothing
wrong with having an opinion, blasphemous as it may be; however, if you’re
trying to make your opinion out to be the only one that’s acceptable wile
stamping on the opinions of others (and others in their own right), then you’ve got a problem.
So in case it bears
repeating -- it shouldn’t, but just in case -- I’m not out to tell anyone
they’re wrong for liking The Dark Knight
Rises, or for thinking it’s a good movie.
Even with my complaints and nitpicks, I still recognize that it’s a good
movie. Undeniably so, especially since
I’ve had some time to think about it and collect my thoughts. If you liked it, great. You have plenty of reasons to like it (most
of them likely related to Commissioner Gordon).
I’m just trying to provide my rationale.
That’s all. If your opinion
starts to change because of what I said, then that’s just the way it goes. So let’s keep this post, and this blog, a
no-bad-feelings zone, okay?
Good. Now, it’s time for me to do what I do best:
JP just kept shaking
his head over and over, and slapping himself in the forehead. “So this is how it ends, huh?” he asked
himself. “Somebody tries to shoot me,
and the most they can come up with is some BS coincidence? Jeez, a baboon could outthink these guys!”
Trixie patted JP on the
shoulder. “Look on the bright side --
least yer still alive. And besides, the
cops ain’t done lookin’ around just yet.
Give ‘em some time, and I bet they’ll find somethin’ good.”
Trixie sat beside JP,
looking as if she could either start screaming like a banshee or bawling like a
baby. Naturally, the fact that she’d
become the lynchpin for his extortion plot left her in a sour mood -- but being
in a classroom with children a decade younger, staring and whispering and
gaping and questioning, made her regret waking up that morning. Or that month, more appropriately.
She didn’t even get a
desk of her own -- just a loose chair (a wobbly-legged one with gum stuck on
it, for that matter) pulled next to JP’s.
But with the exception of the young Hoigleheimer -- scribbling in a
notebook, even though class hadn’t started yet -- she had more than enough
personal space. The other children had
backed off, occupying the desks at the room’s fringes. In their eyes, she was practically
radioactive…and certainly not in the good, superhero-creating way.
Before I begin, I want to take some time out to offer my condolences to the people of Aurora, Colorado. Even if you never meet me, hear me, or see me, know that my thoughts are with you, and I pray for brighter days to return to your community soon enough. What happened there was a tragedy, and even though all I can offer are my words and my feelings, I hope they're enough to help you move past this.
If you're reading this -- whether you're a part of that community or not -- I hope you'll take time out to have a moment of silence.
And now, let's move on to a different subject. Click the jump for my typical irreverence.
It’s 12:14 A.M. on July
20, 2012.About twenty minutes ago, I
was playing Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
with my brother (for a night-devouring three
hours straight).But with that done,
I can focus on more important matters.See, by this time twenty-four hours from now, I’ll have seen The Dark Knight Rises -- in IMAX, of
course -- and laid this black-clad beast to rest.
It’s the biggest movie
of the year…well, one of the biggest, considering The Avengers. It’s a movie
that’s been anticipated by countless comic fans, film fans, and generally
anyone who just likes living. It’s set
to vaporize box office records and cast them into the wind. The time is ripe for Christopher Nolan,
Batman, and everyone involved with this trilogy to step onto the stage -- the
final proving ground -- and lay waste to all our hopes and dreams, and substitute
them with dreams of the cowl-shrouded crimefighter.
And I for one am
glad. Because now -- or eventually, at
least -- we can all shut the hell up
JP furrowed his brow
and groaned. “What the hell…?”
“So you believe me?”
He rubbed his head,
digging his fingers into his scalp. “So
this guy. You’re sure about this? The flying, and the knife through his chest?”
“Kinda hard to forget
somethin’ like that, pal,” said Trixie.
“Was there anything
else about him that seemed off?”
“I think yer a little
too relaxed about this whole knife through the chest thing.” Trixie folded her arms, and tapped a foot
against the sidewalk. “I guess if it
bothers ya that much, he WAS wearin’ a top hat.
And a cape, too. Looked like
somethin’ straight outta Broadway. Or…I
dunno, some kinda musical.” She moved
her hands through the air. “Oh yeah --
and I checked all around my place after he left. So unless he packed up his bag o’ tricks
right after, I’m guessin’ he didn’t hafta use any cranes or strings or nothin’
like that. He was just…I dunno, some
kinda ghost dandy.”
Apparently, somebody on Siliconera read a comment of mine and decided to put a voice to it.
Hmmm...Fry, you wanna take this one?
Well, I'm going to lean towards the latter. It's just so rare that anyone tries to weaponize my hype, so as a favor to this guy/lady I'll be sure to remember it -- almost spitefully so.
But really, can you blame me for being a little excited? (Actually you can, but...by the roots of the world tree, Atlus and ArcSys are teaming up to make a fighting game based on Persona! Supermassive success!)
By the way, I've decided on Naoto. Never bring a sword to a gun fight.
Sometimes it’s hard
being a man.Not because you’re the one
people count on to kill spiders, or dislodge a basketball when it gets stuck
between the hoop and the backboard (a shockingly frequent event, apparently), or
because you’re supposed to be strong enough to open the pickle jar.
"It's tough to be a maaaaaaaaan...I want to cryyyyyyyyy..."
No, it’s hard being a man because you’re more accountable for your words and actions than anyone else.
Okay, maybe that’s a
bit of a sweeping generalization, but I think there’s more than a kernel of
truth -- including and especially when those words and actions relate to talk
about women. Fortunately, if you’ve any
more foresight than I do, you won’t make a faux pas while in the presence of a class that is 95% female.
Trixie followed JP
along the sidewalk as Sondheim Middle School came into view. Maybe it was just that she hadn’t been to a
middle school since her own tween years, or maybe the sounds of laughing kids
coming to greeter, but something about the building just felt small and
quaint. The main building stretched from
one end of the block to another, like a massive hot dog made out of brown
bricks, and sprinkled with polished windows.
As the pair trotted near the chain-link fence, she spotted the usual
niceties -- the asphalt track, the grassy field, and no shortage of portables
in the distance. Even though they
approached from the building’s backside, the flagpole at the front of the
school stood high enough to peek past the roof -- and with it, the American and
school flags flapping in tandem.
“So we’re clear on your
schedule, then?” JP asked, hands in his pockets as he strode in the lead. “Just follow my lead for the first bit. Then when I give you the signal, you head
back to my house and help my dad with his work.
Once lunchtime rolls around, you head back here; I’ll be waiting
at…” He pointed behind one of the
portables, the one closest to the parking lot.
“That spot. Meet me back there, and play along with me. Got all that, Tex?” He cocked his head back at her, refusing to
give her the blessing of his full attention.
“Or do you need me to write it
This is probably going
to be the most asinine thing I’ve ever written (with the emphasis on ass), but
bear with me here. What I do, I do for
the sake of…well, not science, but just to gauge the opinions of fellow gamers. Or writers.
Or kung-fu cassowary slayers. I
know you’re a niche audience, but you guys need some love too.
Anyway. A while back, the snafu with Jessica Nigri and Lollipop Chainsaw got me thinking. The game’s lead heroine, I’d wager, was
designed with a specific goal in mind to convey a specific feel for the
game. Say what you will about how many
zombie games there are (too many, in my opinion) but there’s a contrast that I
like in seeing rotting, moaning hordes of the undead going up against a cute,
bubbly cheerleader. As if to hammer that
point home, this same character attacks with a roaring chainsaw, yet fires off
rainbows and hearts just as quickly as she does zombie blood.
Juliet fulfills certain
requirements that need to be checked off -- and at a base level, she does so
with her looks. She’s lithe and leggy,
befitting her cheerleader status; in fact, some art I’ve seen depicts her as
being roughly eight heads tall compared to the usual five or six. (It’s a design decision that evokes thephilosophy of the much-discussed Bayonetta.)
In addition, being a blonde comes with all its own tropes -- doubly so
thanks to the twin pigtails. She was
designed to be identifiable and quantifiable ten seconds after first meeting
her, as she would if you were in high school and you cane face-to-face with a cheerleader. In the case of “judging a book by its cover”
Juliet makes an unabashed statement.
JP waved a hand through
the air as he continued his business, sitting pretzel-style on the laundry room
floor. “Don’t stand over me when I’m
working. It’s irritating.”
Trixie backed up a few
steps, though it didn’t help very much; she’d seen cardboard boxes with more
breathing room. She pressed her back
into a hanging calendar, arms folded and finger tapping against her elbow to
the beat of the bumping dryer. “Ya said
ya had somethin’ planned for me, so --”
“And I do,” said JP,
the snipping of his task just barely audible over the nearby machines. “So be a good little girl and be quiet for a
while. Think you can manage that, Tex?”
A while back, I was
having a conversation with my dentist about what I was going to do that
summer. “Do some writing” was the
obvious choice, but with no small number of tools hovering around my mouth I
wasn’t in much of a mood for conversation about the particulars. So I just said “play some video games.”
“Oh? Do you have Wii Sports?” he asked with a smile.
“My kids love that -- all that boxing and stuff.” I told him that I did (though I’d loaned it
out to a friend). “What kind of games do
“Fighting games,” I
answered -- though with his assistant currently shoving metal into my mouth, it
sounded more like “Haahigg gaaaaze.” I
managed to raise my fists to illustrate.
It was a weird moment
in more ways than one. See, I like to
think of myself as an intellectual gamer -- one that preferred titles
emphasizing the mind and strategy instead of rote button-hammering and
battering enemies with bullets and nail bats.
So I’ve collected my fair share of RPGs and strategy games -- a couple
of Advance Wars, a couple of Disgaeas, a heaping helping of Shin Megami Tensei games…I even spent
the better part of six months pining for Valkyria
Chronicles. I hold games that give
you time to stop and think in high esteem...and the less said about my love of Phoenix Wright and 999, the better.
Given that, you’d think
that I’d hate fighting games. And to
some extent, you’d be right.
The principal’s office. Lloyd had been to it a few times in the past;
he was there when the drama club tried (and failed) to garner some more
funds. Not to mention requesting a slot
for the club’s bake sale. And the less
said about his regular visits on matters of sexual harassment, the better.
He sat as tranquilly as
he could in the chair, staring at the cluttered desk before him. Towers of ruffled paper and enough pens to
lend to the entire student body lay atop it; behind it, an oversized,
upholstered office chair that would suit a king. A slew of cabinets dotted the room, framing
short-yet-stuffed bookcases. Ritzy
plaques and forms decorated the walls, though Lloyd noticed that since last
spring a few more fishing-themed pictures had gone up. The room might have looked a bit stuffy --
and smelled like dried-out fish -- but to some extent, Lloyd couldn’t help but
As anyone who's seen me online knows (especially given the name of the blog), I have a deep appreciation and respect for fighting games. Am I good at them? Not really, no. I've got slow reflexes, and I can't do much outside of a very limited number of combos. Even so, I like the ideas behind them -- the strategy, the systems, the characters, and the over-the-top style prominent in virtually every game...well, except Mortal Kombat. Don't care for that one.
I’m a little wary about
watching Birth by Sleep to its
It’s on my to-do list,
but it just feels like BBS is sliding
farther and farther down that list. I
started watching Aqua’s story a while back, but I haven’t found the drive to
see it through to the end (and of course, the same applies for the final
story/ending). Really, what do I have to
look forward to? Aqua faffing about in
Disney dimensions for eighty percent of her story, only to have about ten
percent of it actually matter? And for
what? A final showdown featuring more
cryptic, sequel-begging dialogue? More
abuse of The Big Four Words of the series (light, darkness, hearts,
friends)? Setup for the rest of the
franchise that’s ultimately inconsequential?
I view BBS as a story that, at the end of the
day, didn’t need to be told. It’s like
if someone wrote a book about the origin of the guy who made Abraham Lincoln’s
hat -- sure, it’s interesting, but does it really change anything? Hell no.
I’d rather read a book about Abraham Lincoln, because he’s the one doing
all the legwork as one of the presidents (figuratively speaking, of
course). I don’t want to read about the
emotional turmoil of a hat-maker -- doubly so if said turmoil comes from one
character that’s nigh-inconsequential, and another character that doesn’t know
his foot from a bottle of sarsaparilla.
But I’ve been thinking
about the game for a while. I’ve been thinking
about why the game intrigued me in the first place. I can tell you right now it wasn’t Ven, and certainly not Terra; I placed a fair portion of my hope in Aqua, as per my gut
instincts. But there was another
character that caught my eye, and even got me to like him by virtue of his
And it’s at this point
I have to wonder: why wasn’t this game about Master Eraqus?
Four fireworks shops, a tank, an artillery cannon, horse poop in the middle of the road, a WWII special on The History Channel, sweet and sour sauce, a sack full of pee, Bingo pens, a keyboard, eighty percent of my shaved-off hair, a crapton of wasps, and a town called Cut n' Shoot.
...Things I Saw At, Near, or On The Way to My Grandma's House.
Yeah, I'm back from my little trip. And I got a haircut. You know what that means; Cross-Up is back online, with all the posts you could ever hope (?) for. And on that note, a quick announcement: updates on I Hraet You will resume this Sunday. I want to keep up the two-chapter-a-week routine, plus I want to build a nice, healthy buffer...to say nothing of me working on some other projects. Maybe you'll see them on the blog soon enough.
Or maybe I'll just stare at them until I wither and die. I haven't decided yet. Until then, enjoy this eerily appropriate song (based on its title mostly).