Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Life In Fandom: From the Gundam 40 Livestream

Bandai livestreamed their 40th Anniversary presentation for the Gundam franchise tonight. It just ended a few minutes ago. This is what got announced (h/t to @TomAznable at Twitter):

  • "UC NexT 100" Project will continue with a three-part feature film adaptation of Hathaway's Flash.
  • Gundam: The Origin gets a TV edit and will begin airing on NHK in April. Watch for follow-up announcements on English sub and dub releases.
  • There will be another Build series.
  • There will be another SD series.
  • The live-action film adaptation has begun production.
  • Reconguista in G gets a movie version.
  • Gundam Global Challenge: Gundam Factory opening in Yokohama in 2020 (updates given)

It's going to be a good time for Gundam fans for the big anniversary year and going into 2020's Olympiad. If more comes out, don't be surprised.

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Super Robot Wars T Announced

I hauled my ass out of bed at 6am to catch a corporate announcement livestream in Japanese. The announcement was for the next Super Robot Wars title, and I didn't get one announcement. I got two. One of them is a mobile game (Super Robot Wars DD), which makes the mobile gaming set happy, and the other is a joint PS4/Switch release: Super Robot Wars T. "T" stands for "Terra", and it's got not only a lot of returning series, but several debuts.

One of them is Cowboy Bebop, the other is mother-fucking Captain Harlock! (SSX version, specifically) so another thing got memed into reality. Keep at the LoGH-in-SRW memes, folks; we'll get Mein Kaiser and The Magician into the series yet. There's more, but I'm waiting for the trailer to be translated into English and released. When that happens, I'll post a follow-up featuring it.

Series Featured:

The English subtitled trailer is here.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sentai Filmworks Still Has LOGH Boxed Sets For Sale

Apparently Sentai Filmworks still has some for sale.

If you're loaded, and you want to get me a Christmas gift guaranteed to make me weep, this is a good decision to make.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Rediscovering The Classics: Arion (1986)

Thanks to a Twitter thread today, I found out about this '80s anime film.

The Infogalactic entry summarizes it so:

The story follows Arion, a young man kidnapped by Hades as a child and raised to believe that his mother was blinded by Zeus and that killing the ruler of Mount Olympus will cure her.

And it's immediately going on the To Watch list.

One of my regulars on Twitter mentioned that it seems to have a Leigh Brackett vibe, so we'll see when I get around to watching it. I'll eschew the YouTube uploads due to the mangling those accounts did to dodge the algorithm in favor of one of my usual gray sites, as the English-subtitled film is out there; finding the manga it stems from is another matter.

I am not surprised that this slipped past my radar. No one I knew back in the day was into this sort of thing; we wanted our giant robots. I wasn't deep into the tape-trading networks, so I wouldn't have seen it that way. I never noticed this title in any of the catalogs of the emerging legit outlets, or on the shelves at the places where you could get legit anime, so that's why I hadn't heard of this film until now; you can't notice what you're not aware of, after all.

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: SJW Stupidity In Tabletop Continues

In the last day, two tales of SJW bullshit in tabletop RPGs have come up. Brian Niemeier covers the White Wolf story at Kairos. The RPG Pundit's going to talk live about the attempt to gatekeep the OSR via bogus logo concern trolling.

In both cases, we're talking about advanced SJW convergence. For the former, it's the cult expelling those that slipped up and violated the Narrative by failing to keep up with the rabbit warren's plot twists and thus didn't get the memo on This Week In WrongThink. For the latter, its a cultist who got activated and now is attempted a Quixotic crusade to gatekeep the Old School Renaissance, a task slightly less futile than Sisyphus rolling that boulder uphill.

The former is resolved: Paradox Interactive dissolved and absorbed White Wolf. The latter will resolve itself; lots of posturing, but no substance to be had, means that nothing will happen other than the outing of more Fake Gamers from the scene where they never belonged anyway. Nothing of value was lost with the end of the White Wolf stupidity, and nothing will be lost when the SJW fucksticks in the OSR get their peaceful sunsets.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Sony Goes Full Retard

Sony Computer Entertainment decided to go Full Retard recently. There's a Twitter thread about it. Here's a summary:

Sony reorganized operations recently, basing out of California. All devs must now work with Sony in English, including the Japanese mainstays that build Sony up to this point, even if the games are published in another language (such as Japanese). Visual Novels and other games with adult content are being censored when allowed at all, compared to uncensored PC versions, all for Muh PR. Meanwhile, the devs--all but a few Japanese--who kept Sony in the game through the PS3 days (and keep the Vita alive now), which includes corporate powerhouses like Bandai, are being thrown under the bus in favor of a "new global standard" policy. One that SJWs on the Left Coast will be certain to use to converge the company, damage gaming further, and fuck over Japan good and hard.

This pattern of companies going Full Retard in abandoning their core customers for a mythical wider audience, one that doesn't exist, and in searching for it go for microtransaction-laden shitpiles passing themselves off as full and proper games. Those fake games, and they are fake games, are aimed at children with parents that don't pay attention until the bill comes due and deliberately foster gambling addiction via Skinner Box psychology to amp up the dopamine hits in users to the extreme.

And with the the search for audiences that don't exist comes the betrayal of the audiences that got you where you are. That's what Sony's done here: stabbed their loyalists in the back and turned their coat against them. Making this more inexplicable is that Sony is still regarded as a Japanese corporation, including all of its subsets (which SCE is), so relocating SCE out of Japan and then making Japanese devs work in English is odd beyond words.

Allow me to quote one of my favorite virtual idols on this:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Life As A Historian: The Legend of America's Founding (As Japan Thought It Was)

Japan's fascination with the US goes back a long ways. Click through and read this Twitter thread, featuring comic (and comical) images of Japan on the US from the late 19th century.

You want more? Go here. Can we crowdfund an anime adaptation? This would be awesome (and hilarious) to see on TV.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: An Open Letter To Palladium Books

Dear Palladium Books,

Recently you lost the license to Robotech. That's a shame, because the "Shadow Chronicles" edition was a far superior revision to the original line that you published beginning in the late 1980s. However, it also grants you an opportunity for a new product line; you've proven that you can make a tabletop RPG product line focused around action, romance, and giant robot combat. You did it with the first edition, repeated it with Rifts, and did it again (Macross II) and again (aforementioned second edition).

You do not need to seek another anime property to license. You can, and you should, publish an original property to fill the void that Robotech leaves in your catalog. However, to be successful with such a product line you have to comprehend what the target audience wants out of such a game and then to deliver only those things required to meet that demand. In short, it requires a degree of competency and focus that heretofore you've been lacking.

The reason is that what works for successful tabletop RPG publishing is not what works in other media, even closely-related media.

Palladium's games, without trying, have been good on the question of liminality since the beginning. This is key to a successful tabletop RPG, but to succeed at being a successful mecha game you need more than that. You need a crystal-clear reason to do anything but blow shit up in mechs; failing to answer that question is why BattleTech remains the tabletop mecha property, with Mekton, Heavy Gear, and Robotech being perennial also-rans. The corollary to this issue is the recognition that mecha fans who want mecha RPGs aren't the cohort into the relationship porn; they're in it for the mechajock fantasy, with anything else being a sideline.

Note that BattleTech is a wargame, with its TRPG being a sideline to its primary product line. Note that Mekton is not considered a complete product without the full construction system. Note that Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles are treated also as wargames first, with TRPG stuff as a sideline good for forum bullshit. In short, you're going to have to change your thinking about how to do this if you want to succeed, especially since you're competing with videogames and they do all-action all-the-time better than ANY tabletop alternative.

(Aside: This question is settled now, conclusively. You need a product that appeals to the only cohort that would care--wannabee pilots--and then give them a reason to get out of the cockpit. Yes, the only cohort; shippers write fanfic or watch/read the material and have no interest in a TRPG, something you should have figured out 30 years on from the original publication of Robotech as a RPG.)

Your game is going to be a wargame at its core. Your difficulty is devising reliable and repeatable reasons to get out of the cockpit. You can't rely on Muh Feels because the core audience couldn't care less about that. That means you have to give them operational reasons to get out, and that means completing a mission will require doing that. It's either that, or you embrace Troupe-style play and let the same players play both pilots and non-mecha operatives in a system of play that switches between the two.

You have already published a scenario that allows for this: the Invid occupation of Earth. There are other existing anime with a similar playable premise, such as Fang of the Sun Dougram, because "Partisans vs. Occupiers" is a TRPG-friendly scenario that makes best use of the liminality of the TRPG medium while retaining the tight focus on external action that wargaming does. Review those titles, collect what is common between them, remove any reliance on relationship porn and build your game around that.

Good luck. You're going to need it.


Bradford C. Walker

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stan The Man Is Gone

Marvel co-creator and die-hard icon Stan Lee has died at the age of 95. The Onion broke character to report his passing.

Thanks for everything, Stan. You'll be missed.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The World Class Bullshitters' Veteran's Day Special

The World Class Bullshitters had a Veteran's Day Special the other night, featuring independent author Yakov Merkin among the current and former military men as guests of the show. Lots of wide-ranging conversations to be had here, and well worth the four hours spent. You know you're going to run into some downtime today, so queue this one up and give it a go.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Vox Day Explains How Men Work

The Supreme Dark Lord finally puts out the straight dope on men in a plain-spoken video.

Like r/K Theory, this is a framework that validates itself by observation; it is valid across all time, and it is valid across all space. It holds explanatory power that you can use for practical, day-to-day ends; Vox Day shows this himself by explaining things in everyday terms, some of them from his own experience.

And once you do see it, you never unsee it, much like once you have hypergamy explained to you in plain language with examples. Profit from this wisdom or be destroyed by those that do.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: The Macross Franchise

Any Space Opera taking queues from Japan will not fail to acknowledge the Macross franchise. Starting in 1982 with Super Dimension Fortress Macross (which many of you known as the most popular part of Robotech), this is the #2 Real Robot franchise in Japan and has been since its debut (following the king that is Gundam). The consistent presence music as a power unto itself, the love triangles that drive the relationships, and their combination in the form of music that has now had inter-generational influence in anison and J-pop (and brought about the rise of Living Goddess Yoko Kanno).

It's also the franchise that brought us proper transformables as Real Robots, something Gundam wouldn't do for three years (Zeta Gundam), and brought us the GERWALK name and mecha design concept. It would also meld the Hero Ship vs. Evil Fleet of Yamato with Gundam's use of mecha to represent the strike craft's emergence in WW2 as a deciding force in combat; later entries would build upon this idea, as seen in Macross 7, Macross Frontier, and Macross Delta. If Gundam had a reputation of being grimdark and nihilistic, Macross would go the other way (despite some horrific events of its own), and that contributed to its enduring popularity.

It isn't purely pulp, but you can see the DNA in its episodes, especially in what tropes it uses and how; Macross is one of the current homes of the Flying Ace hero trope, and it shows when a Macross show gets into a Super Robot Wars game. While you won't see the most obvious elements in Reavers, you will see one right away and it's going to be a consistent presence; you don't name a major character "Gabriela Robin" and not do that. More obvious Macross influences come down the road.

And now, some Macross viewing for your pleasure:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

My Life In Fandom: The Most Earnest Cover Ever

Enough with the blood and thunder. Here's the most earnest cover of "Country Roads" you're ever going to see.

Time to return the favor with more full English adaptations of anison. John Young can't have all the fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Escalation Has Begun

What did I tell you? The escalation begins. Next time? They burn Tucker out. In short, this-

-becomes this:

Once the full weight of yesterday's election because clear to the Left, this is going to happen where the Left has local domination. (They'll try it where you can shoot attackers dead once, see that they can't punish defenders with lawfare, and stop doing it.) Antifa got its orders; soon they'll be killing their targets openly.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Watch A Shift Happen In Real Time

Forget the MSM wankers. If you want to watch the US midterm results come in, do it with some fun folks such as the Killstream crew.

If you prefer something calmer and more analytical, the Supreme Dark Lord is your man.

The Blue Wave won't. That much is certain. It's a question of how much the Dems fail by, rather than if they do or not, with the corollary being how much illegal scheming they resort to in order to make anything go their way. SO the fun thing will be to see how the professional liars that is the MSM try to spin their failure, and the shitshow that ensues from this desperate flailing about.

We're going to see the limits of what Narrative Warfare can do tonight. Just as there is only so much economic manipulation can do, there is only so much that narrative warfare can do. As the two are used by the same party for the same purpose, the escalation step will be identical: call out the Jackals. The violence will escalate after tonight, both in frequency and in effectiveness, as the shitlibs and their masters decide the usual tactics don't work so they need to fall back and break out heavier firepower.

What does this mean?

SJWs Always Double-Down.

The lying will escalate, as will the deplatforming and tortious interference in the actions of their enemies. Their banking assets will get woke and start cutting off far more people from existing services, and when alternative payment processors (currently the high ground) finally get going the international banks themselves will start showing their convergence by cutting off processors the SJWs do not control. State power will become necessary to put these usurpations down, forcing more of the Right into seeking and seizing State power at all levels.

The violence will escalate. Antifa will morph into a true terror org, rioting less in the streets and burning targets out of their homes (and into their lethal reach) more. Right-aligned businesses with physical plants will be torched. SJW assets in the insurance corporations will go out of their way to deny claims to the designated victims. The hope is by cutting the Right out of the economy they can bring the Right to heel, and if they have to kill some to do so then they will and give no fucks about it.

And that will have predictable, and tragic, consequences.

The media will shift the narrative, starting tonight, to justify ALL of this. Count on it.

Monday, November 5, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The Diablo Immortal Fallout Continues

Someone got the memo, and to no one's surprise it's a Games Workshop licensee.

Sure, opportunistic PR and marketing at a competitor's expense, I get that.

But there is no debating that this was a good move to make at this moment because that competitor made such a fundamental error. This is basic levels of business savvy that we're talking about here: Know Your Audience. They have expectations. Meet them and thrive. Fail and fuck off. This is such a fundamental thing that even people totally absent from business concerns can comprehend it.

And that's not the only hot take. The usual shit game media responses are out, saying the usual shit stories, and this includes people like Derek Smart (who really ought to know better than to side against the gamers, given his anti-Star Citizen crusade). The fact remains that Blizzard pulled a bait-and-switch on the core Diablo customer base, and then shamed them for not going along with it; this is incompetence and it should be severely punished because it doesn't get discouraged otherwise.

You satisfy your core audience first and foremost. Nothing else matters. Turn your coat against them at your peril.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Why Diablo Immortal Is A Bad Sign

This thread came over my Twitter feed late last night while I listened to the Killstream.

That Tweet is the start of the thread. The authoress uses her experience working in mobile "gaming" to illustrate the threat: mobile gaming uses casino-style exploitation of psychology to mindfuck players into blowing their fortunes on the game, all the while delivering a shit-tier gameplay experience done on the cheap.

The company Blizzard outsourced to, Netease, is notorious in China among the Chinese gaming network for shoving out these digital whaling ships masquerading as videogames and it is known that Immortal is nothing more than a sanctioned reskin of an existing title. It is likely meant for the Chinese market, as others have said, but for some reason the Diablo team thought that the core audience would accept this as valid and were honestly taken aback when paying attendees booed them and asked if this was a joke.

Then the PR spin doctors got to work, and this happened.

This news made it to Reddit shortly after it began happening. It's one thing to be tone-deaf to your core customers. It's another to bald-faced lie to them and double-down by covering up the negative reception via manipulations like this and then using the Q&A panel time to bullshit until the very end so they could stack the question queue with shills and cucks. We've noticed, Blizzard. You only made your own mess worse with this misbehavior.

This needs to be hammered, good and hard, and not just because mobile games are trash; they are predatory, exploitative quasi-scams akin to lootboxes and need to be taken as gambling as much as lootboxes are (because, in this case, they are deliberately modeled on casino games). You may scoff, until someone you know (and rely upon) gets sucked into such a thing and the same pitfalls that befall gambling addicts afflict them and fuck you over in turn. Time to take out the trash.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: BlizzCon 2018 WrapUp

It's still a two-day convention, with all of the important stuff said on Friday, so today's post is a roundup of what Blizzard and friends announced.

  • Before the show started, Bungie made Destiny 2 on PC free for all Bnet users to keep until the 18th.
  • They're doubling-down on the esports for as many of their properties as they can pull off.
  • Starcraft 2: Zeratul as Co-Op Commander; Google Deep Mind crew is back to show off their AI work.
  • Heroes of the Storm: New Heroine, Original Character, Orphea. The game now has enough stand-alone lore to generate original characters. Free to attendees and VT holders.
  • World of Warcraft: New boss, John Haidt. BFA updates. Classic Demo live through the 8th. Patch 8.1 info includes Battle of Dazar'alor (raid Zandalari capital), Darkshore Warfront, War Assaults (Legion invasions redux), Classic goes live Summer 2019 and is a client option in your Live sub fee, baby pet charity object for coreorg is SJW bullshit, cinematic to set up Saurfang's resistance to Sylvanus.
  • Hearthstone: Audio failure. Come back later.
  • Overwatch: New hero, Ashe.
  • Classic Games: Warcraft 3 Remastered.
  • Hearthstone: Mic fixed. Rastakhan's Rumble, set in Gurabashi Arena in STV. Trolls aplenty.
  • Diablo: Immortal, original mobile game. Set after D2. Cross-platform. May God have mercy on their souls.
  • WOW: Zandalari Trolls can be Paladins. (Lore change.) Kul Tirans can't be Mages, but can be Shaman. (Ditto.) WOD Timewalking. Nazjatar and Mechagon in 8.2, with likely next set of Allied Races to come with those zones/dungeons. Azshara plot comes in earnest after second raid tier. More Heritage Armor for Classic races. The "fix the expac in X.1+" trend continues.

I'm happy about Classic, and I appreciate getting a $60 game for free, but otherwise I'm hearing "We have nothing going on and don't know what the fuck to do." out of Blizzard with this year's announcements. SC2 is all but dead, Hearthstone is a gimmick-fest, Heroes and Overwatch are not the top-tier games in their genres despite Blizzard tryharding for years on end, and they just gave up on Diablo. The new mobile game is reskin of an existing Chinese game; that's how cynical and lazy this is.

We need something new, something the Blizzard that Mike was there to found would have done, and until that Blizzard comes back from the dead and kills the thing wearing it like a skinsuit this is what we can expect out of the company. I am not impressed, Blizzard, and once you get some serious competition I will see if you once more revitalize back to what you were. As it is, all this retreading is really seeking for the spark you lost.

Git Gud, Blizzard, or GTFO. Stop phoning it in, and stop shitting on the Diablo players in particular. Now for video backup.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Massive space fleets, larger-than-life characters, manly men (even the boys) and womanly women (even the tomboys), and intrigues in every network of power as well as across those nodes of power. That's Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and it's a big influence on #StarKnight. If there's one self-contained part that I can use as an example, it's the remake of the first two OVA episodes into a stand-alone film leading into the OVA series: Overture To A New War.

Just add mecha, lightsabers, and a real Church and you have a good mockup of #StarKnight. You're missing quite a bit, but this is enough to get your imagination going.

(Side Note: BlizzCon 2018 begins today, so tomorrow's post will be the roundup of relevant release information from that convention.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Most People Won't Work For Entertainment (Still)

The Mythic Plus scene in World of Warcraft continues to prove what I've said for year: the common man will not work for his entertainment.

This is not the first time that Preach has made a video about how the playerbase in the game refuses to Git Gud and earn their way to the top rewards in the game. He's been doing this for years, and his criticisms each time have been both accurate and precise. This video is no different; the changes to how Mythic Plus works has demoralized players wanting to give this mode a go, especially compared to the piss-easy alternatives showering players with free loot that isn't terrible.

The issue is simple: People Don't Work For Entertainment.

World of Warcraft is a game. Dungeons & Dragons is a game. Games are entertainment, and entertainment is not taken to require effort akin to work to enjoy, and "enjoy" means "succeed". That's what professional athletes do, and pros get paid to do it.

There's a threshold of effort past which most people turn off and do something else, and with games that line is "Does it feel like work?" Most people expect a game to be something they can do cold (no preparation) and stupid (no prior/outside knowledge), have a good chance at winning, and have no ongoing commitment. They expect that because the very games that endure generation on generation are exactly that, a fact summarized with "Easy To Learn; A Lifetime To Master".

I'll get more specific about this in later posts on this topic, but for now consider Preach's commentary in this light; World of Warcraft has a serious problem because what it requires to justify itself financially cannot be had unless the game is too easy for the core audience to stomach for long. All of the game's problems stem from this conflict.