Digital Landfill

Can I make an appeal to the video game industry? Can we cool it with the technological determinism shit already, please?
 
Just...stop it.
 
I want to apologise in advance if this turns into more of an angry, ranty polemic than what I'm comfortable presenting these days, but I'm deeply upset this week. I've always been exasperated and annoyed with the line of thinking in games criticism that graphics tech is the most important thing in the industry and needs to be privileged above all else, but at this point I've officially had it. The state of the current industry is so out of control I don't really even have words to express how stunned and aghast I am by the aggressive, mindless technofetishistic lust that seems to be driving almost everyone on both sides of the Pacific right now. The most blatantly obvious example is the grotesque display that is the current console market: We're supposed to have hardware cycles of 5 years or so between revisions and new machines, but then somebody told Microsoft and Sony about Apple's business model with smartphones and suddenly we're in an era ...

The Proverbs of Hell 17/39: Takiawase

\TAKIAWASE: A mixture of vegetables and a protein in which the ingredients are cooked separately; on the whole a fair description of an episode in which the characters are unusually segregated.

WILL GRAHAM: Your father taught you how to hunt. I'm going to teach you how to fish.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: Same thing, isn't it? One you lure, the other you stalk?
WILL GRAHAM: One you catch, the other you shoot.

Will makes a second attempt at the hunting/fishing conversation that went so unsatisfyingly in “Relevés.” This time, instead of becoming obsessed with accusing Abigail, he comes up with a suitably witty retort to her comparison. Although the difference between catching and shooting is likely academic to the fish.

WILL GRAHAM: Last thing before casting a line: name the bait on your hook after somebody you cherished.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: So you can say good-bye?
WILL GRAHAM: If the person you name it after cherished you, as the superstition goes, you'll catch the fish.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: What did you name it?
WILL GRAHAM: Abigail.

It’s an interesting and quietly revealing character beat that Will stakes his successful catching of Hannibal on the question of whether Abigail cherished ...

Ikigami: Reflections on Shin Gojira in 2017

This past week I treated myself to two recent Blu-ray releases that oddly seem to compliment one another: The brand new Collector's Edition release of Species from Scream Factory (which gives the film a proper HD transfer for the first time and features a whole slew of interviews, making-of featurettes and commentary tracks), and Funimation's Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release of their localization of Shin Gojira, known as Shin Godzilla in the US.
 
I currently don't have access to an HD TV so I can't actually watch most of the material here yet...I haven't even touched Species, which is killing me because this set looks really interesting: Just the prospect of getting people like Natasha Henstridge and Michael Madsen to talk candidly about their experiences with that curio is tempting enough, but add to that the fact there's an alternate ending included and I truly cannot wait to be able to put this set through its paces. Whenever I get the chance I'll be sure to give this release a proper analysis and any re-evaluations I come to will definitely influence the revised version of the Species essay that will go ...

The Proverbs of Hell 16/39: Hassun

HASSUN: A sushi course with small side dishes that sets a seasonal theme. Janice Poon discusses it in terms of balancing opposites, which could be made related to the weighing of guilt and innocence involved in a trial with relatively little critical legerdemain. 

A bewildering and suggestive opening image as Will is shown imagining his own execution from the perspective of the executioner. This is an entirely plausible thing for Will to do - indeed the idea that Will would actively try to empathize with his potential executioner is really interesting. But its substance is in practice merely “unsettling cold open,” the impact of the image left entirely for the viewer instead of the narrative. In one sense this is emblematic of the episode, which is very much the season’s “Œuf.” It’s actively identified by Fuller as the weak link, and sees the show attempting its spin on courtroom drama instead of police procedural, only to find that the move to the second half of Law and Order is a step further than the forced perspective brilliance of its iconography can sustain.

This smirk off the line where the prosecutor asserts that Will is the smartest person in ...

The One Thing I Can't Seem to Shut Up About: A Commentary on Sol

I cannot possibly review Seeming’s new album Sol. It’s fucking amazing. It’s astonishing to me that Madness and Extinction is an album it’s possible to double down on and outdo. But Alex did it, with a second album that’s frightening, ambitious, and unlike anything else that’s been done, ever, by anyone. I care about it like I care about Kill the Moon and Promethea. Go buy it. Honestly, buy it, listen to it a few times. You can stream and buy it here. All Bandcamp’s profits today are going to the Transgender Law Center, so it’s a great day to splash out some cash for it. Then come back here.

I’m one of the people Alex regularly sends demos to, and so Sol has been the single biggest soundtrack of my last three years. Alex is one of my closest friends, but I’m also an unabashed and unreserved fan of his stuff, and I tended to play each new demo to death and beyond before just as eagerly devouring the next, listening in rapt wonder as song after song mutated from idea (sometimes even an obviously good one) through to demos that sketched its potential and finally to finished mixes ...

Bloodmoon Episode 1: BloodRayne Part 1

Today's video over at my channel is the first in a new series featuring full playthroughs of a number of different video games, all centred around the same set of themes and motifs. These will probably be split up into 15-30 minute episodes of pure gameplay footage. First up, the original BloodRayne from 2002, which was available on the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, XBOX and PC. I'm playing the PC version, modded for controller support and widescreen HD resolutions. Now I know this perhaps doesn't seem like the kind of game I typically like to talk about and some of you might have questions about that, but all I can say right now is to please trust me-I'm going somewhere with this :-)

Edited text from the video description:

Bloodmoon is a series that looks at the evolution and apotheosis of specific themes and archetypes throughout various video games via the medium of full playthroughs with open discussion prompts.
 
Questions and observations:
 
Why does the intro cinematic seem to be, at first, trying to mislead us into thinking Rayne is a villainous monster when it would have been immediately obvious to anyone buying this game ...

Eruditorum Presscast: Alex Reed (Sol Interview)

The new Seeming album, Sol, is out Friday. So I sat down with Alex Reed to talk about it and play clips from a bunch of songs, including three that are getting their world premieres. It's a fantastic conversation in proper Eruditorum Press fashion, which is to say that it jumps freely from the Situationists to the X-Files in order to talk about things with no obvious relationship to either one of those. We also talk about important things like "what is a self-banishment ritual" and "so Alex, you recorded a gothic funk album, tell me about that." Seriously, this is a great conversation. You can listen to it here.

Sol, meanwhile, is out on Friday and available for pre-order here. I'll be back on Friday (where I'll be replacing Jack this week) for more talk about it. It's amazing - literally every song on it is brilliant. I cannot wait for you all to be able to hear it and to finally talk about the ways it's been influencing me for three years now. 

The Proverbs of Hell 15/39: Sakizuke

SAKIZUKE: Variantly spelled “sakizuki” and “saki-zuke,” the latter on Janice Poon’s blog, where she describes it as “a sampling of small appetizers whose ingredients, garnishes, and dishware sets the tone for the season and invites the gods to partake of the meal.” Wikipedia, meanwhile, directly compares it to an amuse-bouche, I.e. the second episode of the first season.

The killer-of-the-two-weeks here is given an unusual sort of focus. On the one hand he’s the least sketched out killer the show has ever done - he’s literally only in the script as “Muralist,” and essentially everything we learn about him is projected onto him by other characters. On the other, Roland Umber’s awakening inside the mural is used as the cliffhanger, and the second episode luxuriates in this cold open, giving the sheer and visceral horror of the mural room to breathe. Fuller has said that his inspiration for this killer was equal parts Busby Berkeley and the film Jeepers Creepers, which is a pair of inspirations that boil down to “this is why you are the perfect showrunner for Hannibal.”

The wide shot of Roland, already making a probably fatal leap into the water, being dashed ...

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