Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fate/ Stay Night - Heaven's Feel - February 11

Happy MURICA Day everyone! Eat potato salad and blow some shit up. It's what George Washington would have wanted. That and the abolition of the two-party system.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Masquerade, Chapters 10-11

The chapter begins by informing us that the wild vampires were destroyed, and hunters, after a few more less successful raids, ceased activity. Because conflicts shouldn't get in the way of the main characters.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Story of Seasons

This was the best entry into the Harvest Moon franchise in a long time. To recap, it's not called Harvest Moon because essentially Natsume wrestled the Western rights to that name from the Harvest Moon dev team, so they had to release the next installment under a new name in English.

The Masquerade, Chapters 8-9

With this chapter, we are halfway through the book. The plot is just now starting to appear.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Masquerade, Chapter 7

This chapter is suddenly huge compared to the previous ones. It is not to say there is more content, just more pointless details.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Madness of Angels, by Kate Griffin

I need a break from the Masquerade, especially since the next chapter is suddenly huge, so let's talk about something flawed but good.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

This was a very well-meaning game that should have been a documentary or a kid's show or something, because it was a terrible platformer with possibly the worst control layout I've ever experienced. Road to hell is paved, etc etc.

The Masquerade, Chapters 5-6

The chapter opens with the former apprentices gathering to get their new health bar tattoos made. Ira arrives late, knocking Pavel on the floor. They talk, and she implies they had sex the previous night. Pavel doesn't remember.

Their master (whose name is Maharnen, by the way. Another Internet alias, naturally) arrives and informs them about the death of the drunken vampire from yesterday.

The author attempts to create a heavy emotional moment, with vampires grieving over their fallen comrade and contemplating their own mortality, but again, forty people each, not counting other kills. It's not working.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Masquerade, Chapters 3-4

The chapter opens with Pavel telling us that college exams are soon, and right after them would be exams into Malkavian clan. As you may guess, no relation to VtM lore here. In VtM, if you are a vampire, that means your sire consider you deserving that fate, no additional tests are needed. Certainly not formal ones.

Pavel says he isn't worried about college exams. He knows a technique allowing him to remember everything in a book with just one read. The memory would fade quickly, but his master tells Pavel not to worry about it, he should focus on vampire stuff only.

I sense author's wish-fulfillment fantasy here because it doesn't make much sense. A lot of vampires pretend to be humans, which requires mundane skills to hold a job. Sure, there are vampires working exclusively for Camarilla, but Camarilla is still an organization. It needs bureaucrats, it needs accountants, it needs diplomats, etc.

But, of course, it's not surprising the author focused on cool stuff above all else.

Oh, and in preparation for Malkavian exams Pavel drinks much more blood than usual. That causes his vampire traits to go haywire, which is the opposite of how it normally works and makes little sense. Vampire who drinks a lot is calm and collected. Hunger is what causes the beast inside vampires to take hold on them.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Masquerade, Chapter 2

The chapter opens with exposition from that vampire history book mentioned in the previous one. It starts with a rather baffling passage about how vampires united into clans to survive against hunters. And, no, it's not how it happened in VtM. Clans trace their origin to the thirteen ancient vampires. As long as you are connected to one of them by the chain of sires and aware about it, you are a part of a clan.

That, however, is a minor nitpick compared to what comes next.

Fate/ Stay Night - Heaven's Feel - February 10

I am like, weirdly ahead of my posting schedule, so have this early because ilu.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Masquerade, by Vasili Rijikov. Prologue-Chapter 1

A story about vampires called The Masquerade? Sounds familiar.

So, yeah, it's plagiarism. And by "plagiarism" I don't mean that the author copied some aspects of VtM, like clan structure or its themes or what have you. I mean he writes about Camarilla, Sabbath, Malkavians and other very recognizable names, managing to butcher everything interesting and original about the game in the process. It's an AU fanfic that was published because Mother Russia scoffs at your puny copyright laws.

How is that possible? Well, long story short, international copyright law is a legal nightmare when it comes to dealing with Russia, so most authors don't bother as long as the plagiarists don't try to publish in the West. We have Harry Potter knock-off, more openly so than usual, I mean, there are at least two other instances of plagiarizing VtM in different ways, there is a novelization of Zelda written by an eight year old girl (it was back when Eragon was talked about)... So, if you have any fanfics you really want to publish, you know now where to go.

In author's defense, he didn't know he was plagiarizing someone's work. He certainly had no intention of doing anything wrong. You see, he'd found a VtM translation on the Internet and thought that everything published on the Internet is free for everyone to use.

No, seriously, that's his excuse.

So, as you can guess, the author has a rather unique perspective of life. Let's see what kind of story it will produce.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana

I found this game after my last Rune Factory experience came to a close and I was looking for something with a similar crafting element. This game does, indeed, have a great crafting system. It has little else, either in terms of character or story, but oh God that crafting system. I don't think I'd actually recommend this game, but I do intend to continue the series, because if they ever get the story/character thing figured out, something magical will happen.

Incidentally, it's pronounced "a-tell-yay." French word for an apprentice's workshop.

Between Streets with Secret Names

Urban fantasy is built on the concept of magic existing in modern world, hidden from the eyes of most people. It's a great concept which leads to a lot of cool imagery and scenarios, but, well, it's not really believable when you consider how our history would be different with magic around.

Magic in many settings is capable of feats impossible even with modern science, and in many settings it was just as powerful (if not more powerful) in the past than it's today, so it would stand to reason that mages would become our divine overlords back when the ruling class was just forming and cling to power ever since. Real priests, after all, typically had quite a lot of power in ancient societies, and they merely claimed they could bring forth miracles.

That's just one example, but I hope it demonstrates the problem urban fantasy faces: how to keep our world mostly the way we know it, but with magic hidden in shadows?

I love urban fantasy genre, so I typically let it slide when a satisfactory answer isn't provided, but still, it grates a bit every now and then.

So now I am composing a list of works that do provide good explanations for the secrecy of magic, or at least have interesting ideas on that front. The list is far from complete, of course, and you are welcome to provide your own examples, as well as examples of works that botch the justification for secrecy in a remarkable way.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fate/ Stay Night - Heaven's Feel - February 9

Surprising no one, I liked this day a lot.

Also, can we talk about how they mistranslated "Drown in your ideals and die" in the anime, because come on, subbers, what even are you doing.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

For my second post as a full member of this blog I wanted to talk about A Penny for My Thoughts, another game of Evil Hat Productions which pushes the boundaries of the genre and is more like an exercise in creative writing than a traditional RPG.

But I am sick now and have a violent cough, which means I can't smoke, which, in turn, irritates me to no end. So let's instead talk about something I hate, since negative emotions are the best cure to any illness known to me.

Let's talk about Harry Potter Without Voldemort, or How I Learned That You Can't Punch Ennui in the Face.