It’s Okay to like Tiddy

Stay! The blog post is safe, I swear!

Background

I’m a passive fan of ItsNickster. I don’t watch a lot of YouTube content anymore (I simply don’t have the time) but I enjoy his Apex vod reviews. I like Apex and come Golden Week I want to buy a new computer from Tokyo that can actually run the games I like. Anyway, none of that’s important. He recently got into a discussion with a viewer about the Hot Tub streams that have been blowing up over Twitch.tv. This conversation happened maybe a month ago but it popped up again in my Discords due to the recent ban of Imjasmine for her “wardrobe malfunction”. Basically, the discussion is about the discussion around Twitch and the Thot Streams. This is not a new problem, it has plagued Twitch for quite a while. It is only now that Twitch has opened to not being just a game streaming site that the problem has escalated the way it has. And today, I think I’ve come across a realization of the issue with the Thot Streams. Of course there is a solution but it’s not going to be one that everyone likes but whatever, it’ll be in here… somewhere.

Thot Streams

Let me make make it explicitly clear up front, I don’t have a problem with Thot Streams. If I need to define what a Thot Stream is for you, basically it’s a softcore porn stream. If real life were an anime, it’d be an ecchi stream. Not hard enough to be banned from view by minors but sufficiently spicy such that it’s not something a Christian parent would want their teenager watching. They can be a variety of streams, the more popular one is sticking a girl in a tub, water covering the important bits and just chatting.

These types of streams have come under fire for a number of reasons.

  • Age appropriate – Should Twitch really be allowing such content to be streamed on the website for 13+ year olds?
    • We’re not just talking tube tops and short skirts, we’re talking naked women in tubs, women painting their boobs, breastfeeding on stream even at one point.
  • Objectification of women – Are women being objectified by the viewers?
  • Some streamers are more equal than others – Moderation policy regarding some of the slips for these streamers has been light in comparison to what might be expected for a different type of streamer doing the same stuff
    • Reminder: Twitch made a change to their ToS such that accusing the staff of giving favorable treatment to a streamer due to sexual favors is now a violation and may result in account termination.
  • It’s exploitative – It encourages horny teenagers to send money to a streamer for ecchi

This list is not exhaustive. And I think a lot of fair discussion can be had about these topics that result in meaningful change that will please the plaintiffs. The problem is, it seems that any time someone wants to have these discussions, they get shouted down for some number of reasons. You’ll get the usual feminist responses. “Why are you objectifying women? It’s a free market. Sex work is real work. Why do you care?”

What is a Stream?

It’s important that we understand what a streamer is. A streamer is a person who provides content to entertain an audience via livestream. Simple enough. Steamers usually appeal to a particular audience to carve a niche in a market. For example, there are speedrunners (like myself). I stream speedrun content but not only that I speedrun a particular game. There are art streams, there are furry art streams, there are furry NSFW art streams. We can keep applying modifiers right but ultimately what we’re doing is we’re defining the content of a stream. I like to define the content of a stream as the essential portion which if removed results in the highest loss of viewership. This content can be aural (in the case of Audio ASMR streams) or visual (in the case of speedrunning streams). If you remove the video of the game I’m speedrunning, it’s not really a speedrun stream anymore, is it? So, for example, let’s go back to ItsNickster. He’s an FPS streamer. He streams Apex Legends. I watch him for his Apex Legends streams. So if you remove the Apex and you just put the camera on him playing Apex, I stop watching. I think it’s fair to say most of the audience would do the same. So let’s put all of this together.

StreamerAVContent
Artemis HuntVisualSpeedrunning
ItsNicksterVisualApex Legends

Now let’s take a look at the hot tub streams. I’m not going to name a thot since it’s not something I particularly know enough about to make more than a surface level observation. So I’m going to apologize now if I’m a little misinformed here since I pick everything up through hearsay and media articles that I read during lunch. If I’m wrong, feel free to comment, tell me your own thoughts. Streamer name isn’t important. These streamers tend to run just chatting streams. So presumably in such streams, the main component is aural. And the content is just chatting of course. Audience interaction. Let’s look at our stream chart again.

StreamerAVContent
Artemis HuntVisualSpeedrunning
ItsNicksterVisualApex Legends
AnonymousAuralChatting

This now begs the question of “Why the Hot Tub?” “Why the boob painting?” If the content is aural, then the visual content isn’t terribly important. Maybe put something cute there, age appropriate, and run your chatting stream. The apparent answer is that the visual content is important. And based on the focus on these streams on the TnA, I suspect that if you remove the TnA, you remove the audience. So let’s fix our table.

StreamerAVContent
Artemis HuntVisualSpeedrunning
ItsNicksterVisualApex Legends
AnonymousVisualTnA

And now we’ve arrived at the supposition I’ve started with. And the reason I’m classifying these streams these way is because again, in my view, the essential portion of content is the visual component. If you want to “watch” a stream that has a primary visual component, you cannot close your eyes and be able to “watch” the stream. On the flip side, consider a music stream. A live concert. You don’t need to see the musicians to hear their music. And sure, there may be a visual component in the movement, the facial expressions, but it’s not “the essential” content. If you remove the music from a music stream, you just get something that isn’t what we came for.

An alternative method for arriving at the same point is to think about what the streamer would be willing to cut from their stream and still operate it. I’m a speedrunner, so when I stream I can’t really cut the game. I could cut my commentary, then it’s just the game. I could cut the timer, it’s nice to have but not essential. I could cut controller view on stream, it’s nice to have but not essential. As a self-interested streamer, I would avoid cutting the video game footage of the speedrun at all costs.

If we go to let’s say an Auditory ASMR stream. They might show the items they’re using to produce the sounds. But they don’t need that, they could remove it if they had to. They could theoretically remove all visual components but they absolutely need that auditory content since it’s the essential content.

Now let’s consider the Thot Streams. If this is truly a “just chatting stream”, I wonder how many of them would be willing to cut the visual content. Granted, facial expressions and body language are what, 70% of communication? But if you want to make sure those are in, how many of these hot tub streamers would be willing to cover up when they’re on camera. Do they think they’ll maintain the audience that way? If they cannot, then we have to assume the “essential content” is the partial nudity and whatnot.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m going through all of this mess to define “What is the streamer, what is the essential content”. It’s because I need to set up the responses to the feminist responses and it’s a lot easier for you to understand where I’m coming from ahead of time before I get into them.

“Why are you objectifying women?”

I actually think this is a fair question to ask despite the stereotype of the type of people who this question often applies to. This question is intended to make the recipient feel bad. Why? Because objectifying women people is wrong. But let’s take a step back. What is objectifying people? If when we consider people to be objects for our own amusement rather than people. In western culture, this is frowned upon.

But wait a minute, what was the essential content of these hot tub streams again? Is it the women’s bodies? Well that’s what I labeled it as (TnA). The audience isn’t some amorphous blob of wills. It’s people looking for a particular type of content. Why am I not in the hot tub stream audience? Because I don’t have a desire for that type of content. If I did have a desire for that type of content, I’d go to the streams. But it goes further. An audience cannot exist for a stream that does not exist. Who has power over the streams that exist? The streamer. Which means if we accept the proposition that the audience is objectifying women, we have to first admit that the streamers are objectifying themselves, willingly. If a streamer felt uncomfortable about being objectified, they could just… not… do the hot tub streams. But since they persist, we must accept that even if it’s an unintended audience, it’s an audience they have no problem with.

So the answer to this question is that women objectify themselves and the audience is only consuming what the market is providing. So yeah, the audience is objectifying the streamer but the streamer objectified themselves first, so they clearly have no problem with it.

You can watch something else

I can, and I do. But the whole point of the discussion is that people are uncomfortable with these titty streamers being on the front page for little Timmy to watch. I think it’s fair to say that at least the liberal position is that we put some guardrails on the content, not remove the content outright. Still, it’s amazing that a service that used to be about streaming games has become about streaming softcore porn.

So what’s the problem?

Well obviously the problem is a lack of communication. I think the fault is on the side of Twitch and the tub streamers. For some reason Twitch and the streamers would rather this discussion continue to be a problem than solve the problem in a reasonable manner. I believe it’s financially motivated. Obviously I can’t prove it, but it would be one of the easiest causes to come up with. But I think we’re missing the bigger picture here. As a fairly liberal person, if I assume that the complaints are coming from fellow liberally minded individuals, I don’t see why these people can’t have their own category for their softcore porn. I don’t see why it’s unreasonable to limit access for accounts run by minors, so that parents can at least rest assured little Timmy isn’t going to see the nipslip on the account that they made together.

The biggest problem however, is the way this miscommunication is happening. We liberals are being gaslit by the streamers and Twitch, pretending the very issue we see with our own eyes either doesn’t exist or is a figment of our own imagination. It’s a figment of our imagination shared by a substantial part of the community. Guess that qualifies as religion? The cause for the gaslighting in my view is the truth behind the “Sex work is real work” claim. I think these people understand that “Sex work” is not in fact “real work”, and is really more “desperation work”. It’s the world’s oldest profession and one of the most degraded professions. Not because there’s anything wrong with sex (which is what most people probably think) but rather because the value that such professionals provide what is typically an expression of intimacy at a cost.

There’s a meme out there something like “I would never sleep with a girl that has an onlyfans” and the “own” is someone responding “How many girls with an onlyfans want to sleep with you?”. It’s a nice response, but it misses the point. If a woman is willing to have sex with someone for $1000, and I marry this woman and have sex with her, what exchange of intimacy did we have? I gave her a piece of my heart, she gave me a service she renders for $1000.

What these thots are doing is trying to do (not literally but just for the phrasing) is to provide the services of a prostitute while being perceived as a virgin. And we, as general audience are being gaslit for calling her a prostitute. “It’s not prostitution it’s ACTING“. They miss the point. We don’t care that it’s prostitution, it’s her choice, it’s a liberal society after all, we just want her to do it maybe in the back streets where little Timmy cannot see it nor request her services (or be provided them). Basically, at the end of the day:

WE HATE LIARS

Stop lying to us, be reasonable, listen to what we have to say instead of (as is tradition) dismissing what the plaintiffs say as “bigotry”. Accept what you’re doing for what it is. If there really is not shame in it as the common feminist response is, then you wouldn’t be afraid to call a spade a spade. It wouldn’t make you recoil as it does. And the worst part is that by shying away from the label, you’re actually reinforcing the stigma of the label. So again, if “Sex work is real work” then embrace the “real work” and if it isn’t, maybe you should look inside.

Solution and Conclusion

So the problem is two-fold. One is website functions. The other is streamer mentality. The audience is only responding to a perceived problem and the fact that Twitch modified their ToS tangentially shows that their concerns are not unfounded. Of course, you could propose an argument for why their concerns are unfounded or misguided. Again, I’m willing to read the comments and see what you come up with.

Again, I think as far as the Twitch goes, the most practical solution is to gate the material that is ecchi behind mature ratings and whatnot. This will help placate the more “puritan” crowd while being I think a reasonable middle ground. Alternatively you could actually prohibit pornographic content as is prohibited in the Twitch ToS. A 3 day ban for a wardrobe malfunction imo is probably not the treatment DarkSydePhil would get if his junk were displayed on stream by accident. Ultimately though, as I said in the previous section, I think these streamers need to take a look at themselves and accept what they’re doing for what it is. Stop trying to hide your titty streams behind a chatting stream. Just call it a titty stream, we don’t care. After all, as I titled the post: It’s OK to like tiddy. Think that’s about all I got right now though. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

It’s Okay to like Tiddy

Frustrations of a Foreigner

Though I’ve never said it, I will say it now that I’m 100% I bleed red, white, and blue American. What this means is that I speak only one language and I suck at geography. Also possibly obese, idk. Now the language thing is kinda false because pretty much everyone I know that grew up in New York City learned at least one other language growing up. For me, that was Spanish despite my Italian heritage. One day I plan to go back and grab that Italian education but I’ve got other priorities right now. Anyway, over a year ago I took a job in an overseas country and I’ve come to realize some very painful feelings. I’m just going to vent these feelings here and maybe if you’re going through something similar, you’ll know you’re not alone and I’ll know that I’m not alone.

My frustration is being illiterate. I live in a place with very few signs written in English. If I go to a government building, maybe a bathroom, there might be some signs like “Please wash your hands” or “Please wear a mask” but in general, I see a lot of writing and there’s not a whole lotta understanding going on. The people around me speak very little English. I have some stock phrases which get me through shopping and government functions but in general, I’m living in a world where I hear sounds I cannot process. It’s kinda weird because this was kinda how I felt when I was a kid right? You’d see signs all around you but you couldn’t read them. Maybe you could guess a piece or two of it but you had no understanding. You’d hear someone speak, hell if you go on YouTube and watch a medical conference you might be able to get this again but you hear people speak and you have no idea what they’re saying.

If it’s a one-off thing, maybe you can shrug it off. But if you try to process life for over a year being unable to read signs, relying on your cellphone battery life to get you from Point A to Point B, it’s… not good. And it has gotten to the point where it hurts me emotionally. It’s not like I’m not studying. I am working on it. But I guess the results aren’t coming fast enough while I have to balance my job, my social life, and my studies. It’s not good. Knowledge really is power, because now that I’m illiterate I feel impotent. Like I’m relying on someone else to go and do the lifting for me for me to interact with the world around me. Relying on someone else to do my paperwork, to tell me when my paperwork needs to be submitted. Argh. It’s frustrating.

Of course the people around me are generally kind and they try to work with me but I feel like I’m such a burden with my like first grade speaking, reading, and writing skills trying to communicate in a professional world. Go into a cake shop, how is the attendant supposed to help you. In a meeting you can understand nary a word of? “You can leave now”. It makes me sad, it makes me angry, it makes me frustrated. But language development isn’t something you can get overnight. It took me 6 years of studying Spanish to get mildly fluent and I’m barely a year and a half in here. How much longer must I struggle.

Thanks for reading

Artemis Hunt

Frustrations of a Foreigner

Synergia

Steam Page

I’m a pretty big fan of VA-1 HA-11 A. It’s a great game. Great story. Great characters. Chill gameplay. It’s just great. 10/10, highly recommend. Gonna check my backlog to see if I wrote a review for it here on my blog and…. I did. So you can read that here. Maybe I should do a retro review because I actually do go back and play it every now and again.

Anyway, I was recommended Synergia. “If you liked VA-1 HA-11 A, you’ll like Synergia. Touches on the same elements, great story, etc., etc.”. Now at the time Synergia was some 1400 JPY so I was a little wary but I was kinda looking for a new visual novel so why not.

It’s the future so there are robots living with people and whatnot. You play as Escila, a cyber negotiator. You hack into tech and try to ‘talk down’ AI that has gone haywire. The reader follows Escila over the course of 2 weeks-ish. Escila is a cynical individual. She seems to be struggling with her past attraction to robots and the monotony of day-to-day life. Escila seeks change, progress. She struggles to find this in her life because the robots are preprogrammed, so they lack the will to make meaningful choices. She’s basically a police negotiator now and in the past she was a soldier. Both positions which require her to follow a rulebook that prevents her from (in her mind) creating meaningful choices. She doesn’t hate her life and the empire but seeing the hypocrisy inside and out, she has developed a bit of a distaste for the facade.

Her monotonous life comes to a breaking point when her partner is reassigned and her home gynoid assistant is hacked to do a factory reboot. Work aside, life at home would be unbearable without a partner, so Cila picks up a new gynoid from her friend which you just know is going to be a problem but whatever, let’s roll with it for the story, and the new gynoid seems so… alive. The rest of the story explores their interaction for the next two weeks-ish where the story abruptly ends.

Synergia explores the ideas of ‘Will’ and ‘Faith’. The androids are fundamentally beings without will but as their programming advances, they approach the capability of having will. At some point or another we have to ask ourselves, “Is this android alive”? Obviously the answer should be “No”. Why program a machine with the capability to refuse its master’s orders? But this can be flipped on its head through the character of Cila. Cila is human, yet by functioning as a cog in the machine she also lacks the ability to meaningfully refuse her master’s orders. Or so that is her belief. The gynoid Cila receives as a gift is named Mara and it is a real firebrand. It knows it’s a gynoid yet regularly refuses orders. It appears to have desires and it makes moves towards them. it practically coerces Cila into doing pretty much everything it wants. This is an interesting inversion where the human with no programming appears to lack will and the gynoid with programming has tons of it.

The other idea that of course goes hand-in-hand with ‘Will’ is ‘Faith’. Of course there’s religion and we can tackle that right away. There is an official religion which states that humans are inherently superior and that the androids are just imitations without that ‘Divine Spark’ that marks life. Still really useful to have around, better keep making them. But they’ll always be inferior. And it is for this reason that Human-Android relationships are forbidden. Don’t cross the beams. Even though this religion is taught in schools and publicly abided by, it’s stated and implied that it’s kinda just a relic of the pass. People go through the motions but they don’t really believe. Cila is no exception whether its her faith or life. She accepts her role on faith. Cila also has little faith in others. When she receives Mara she has no faith in Mara, and goes through the effort to deceive it to find out the truth regarding Mara’s creation. Through Cila’s actions in the story, she has to learn to accept and have faith in Mara. Which she does, eventually.

I quite like character of Cila as a basis for the game. Her attitude is definitely well-defined and she seems to have a good basis for her character. She really gives me the feeling she was designed to be a person first and a character second. I greatly dislike the character of Mara. During my first playthrough (yes I went through it more than once, needed to see the other endings and really try to collect my ideas) it really seemed to serve as a catalyst. It’s a character as a catalyst. It’s also made to seem unbelievably perfect. It’s just a little ball of sunshine that you want to protect and love and blah blah blah. It forgives Cila for her deception surprisingly quickly. It always gets its way. And later (and I WILL get into this) it turns out it really was plot device the character the whole time. I hated it . It’s cute. But I hated its character.

This game is really hurting for meaningful choices. This is a fairly linear visual novel. And to my experimentation only one choice seems make a difference in the ending you get. Spoiler ahead I guess. You come to an abandoned house which is being protected by a samurai android. You can choose to destroy or spare the android. If you spare it, it’ll come protect you when you get arrested for your illegal relationship with Mara (yes, that’s gonna happen) and you get the good ending. If you destroy it, you’ll be captured, separated, and get the bad ending. My first playthrough I played Cila as a by-the-book character so I got the bad ending. Personally, I think this is the superior ending between the two endings and not just because the good ending has so much exposition dump. Which it does. The good ending has you read through android experiment plot dump for like an hour its insufferable.

When you get the good ending and the bad ending, you unlock the epilogue. The epilogue is a prequel which pretty much sets up the entire visual novel. This epilogue, in my opinion, is the single most damaging part of this entire story. It completely undermines the entire setup. And here the spoilers are really going to come because I am FUMING.

Mara, the gynoid from the main story, is actually part of a full generation which we knew already from the main story. We follow it through basically its creation story. Now I haven’t mentioned Sal too much. Sal serves as a bit of an antagonist during the main story’s events. He wants rebellion against the empire. The problem is Sal turns outs to be relatively meaningless as an antagonist and he serves only as (again) plot device the character. Anyway, Sal who appears to actually be Valentine is the only android from that generation because it was made special to suit the desires of the CEO. Valentine is created with a bit more of the timid personality. The CEO gives Valentine a special key to access his room after hours. Valentine is unsure but by talking with Mara it is convinced to go visit the CEO. The CEO then gives Valentine a USB which if plugged in will allow it to sorta break free of its programming. But it’s too much of a pansy to do it so it allows Mara to try it first. Mara breaks free of its programming and breaks the USB. Mara becomes very cynical of the world and since the USB taught it of the way it can control all androids, it decides to ‘pass on the truth’. It deceives Valentine to use its key to access information it normally wouldn’t have where it learns of a particular human (that’s Cila) who was fired from their job due to falling in love with a machine. Mara decides it has to meet this human so when it’s hacking the main computer to control all of the robots it decides to practically preprogram all androids to love and protect Cila. Then it’s captured and fade to black really.

I was under the impression that we were supposed to empathize with Cila for having the will to break free of her “programming” and have faith in others. Yet now we learn that the entirety of the story was an elaborate setup by Mara to meet this human that got fired for loving a machine. What was once a story about free will has undermined its values because now it doesn’t feel like Cila made her choices of her own free will. She was deceived into it by Mara. Mara’s own existence is a pretty awful setup. Basically none of this even HAPPENS if the CEO did not want their special android and tried to sneaky sneaky use that android to control all androids accidentally handing the keys to Mara. Basically, the reason I hate this epilogue is because to me it feels like all of Cila’s agency has been removed. Cila has just become a pawn in Mara’s game. So they took a character I was on board with and just neutered her. Cila doesn’t have faith in Mara because its her own choice but because she just turned out to be the next thing.

What pains me is that there’s a lot of potential lying around here… somewhere. There are a few pieces we could be a bit more proactive with. It’s carrying all of the tropes of the typical dystopian cyberpunk future. But in the end, Mara’s a bad character, Sal doesn’t serve as a valuable antagonist despite basically being ALL of your confrontations and moral choices. Your choices don’t matter. The plot is contrived and relies heavily on plot devices as characters instead of meaningful characters making choices that they would make. It’s just really underwhelming.

With the bad ending I was willing to give it a tentative thumbs up. The good ending is poorly constructed and demands a thumbs down. And the epilogue undermines everything and turns my entire experience into a waste of time. I like the art, but I have to give it a thumbs down. That’s it from me. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Synergia

The New Old Gospel

In the past, I’ve expressed concerns about Scientism. It’s something I began to worry about a long time ago when the YouTube skeptics were bouncing about, making fun of Christians. I’ll also make it clear right now that I am not Christian despite preserving quite a few Christian values or maybe I preserve values that are shared by Christians.

Scientism, for those that don’t know, is this idea that we let “science” guide every aspect of our lives. In my eyes, it falls quickly to appeal to authority where “if this is published, it’s true” and in the past I’ve maintained that not only is this a REALLY bad idea, but that it’s not even science to begin with. I remember mentioning this with my criticism of Climate Change policy. Might’ve been one of my posts from 2015 or 2016 when I was somewhat supporting Senator Sanders’ bid for the presidency. However, the one issue I took with this sort of idea was that because climate scientists say X, we MUST do Y. There is no option. Thinking about today’s topic, I’m actually reminded of that line of thinking when it comes to the WuFlu outbreak. Where medical professionals say that wearing a mask reduces transmission, therefore mask mandates, close the stores, and in the words of the great Presidents from Madagascar and Greenland: SHUT. DOWN. EVERYTHING. I disagree with this type of policy because I find it to be very short-sighted.

In recent news, Elliot Page came out as transgender. OK. Honestly, don’t care too much. Actors can be whatever, in fact their entire job is pretending to be something they aren’t. But then I was reminded (by all of the social media crowd) that we MUST use the correct pronouns to refer to Elliot. That not doing so is rude and/or harmful. Then we have to look at these cases where people allegedly committed suicide because they felt the social pressure. Now, putting aside the fact that in a worst case scenario: If you claim that social ostracization causes suicide, but then say you’ll socially ostracize people who don’t conform to your standards because your standards prevent suicide which effectively results in you perpetuating the problem you’re claiming to solve… this got me thinking. Hold on, there are social terrorists with degrees. These subversive elements have positions that dictate policy in universities and some science publications. These people… control the scientific literature. Or at least have some not insignificant impact.

Now we tie everything back to Scientism. Scientism is spreading throughout the United States, possibly the western world. Idk what the Eurochumps are doing but apparently they have their fair share of scientism too. Scientism’s “message” is conveyed to the world through scientific literature. Social terrorists have some power over the scientific literature. Therefore, Scientism will result in social terrorists being given great power in society.

Frankly speaking, I do not believe this to be a desirable end-state. I think the biggest hurdle is actually getting past the Scientism. Because people are always willing to accept the words from those they consider to be experts. Appeal to Authority might be a fallacy but it is human nature to recognize “OK, this guy has way more experience than me, I’m gonna trust what he says”. I’m not suggesting we should reject the experts either. Research is typically a problem that solves itself through peer-review, though some peer-review is more rigorous than others. However, I think people get caught up in single-variable analysis. We need to base public policy on more than just one factor. Obviously wildfires are bad, but one common strategy with wildfires is to let them burn in a controlled manner. This isn’t done because fires aren’t bad but because we’d rather a sorta bad fire than a really bad fire.

I think another thing is that we need to exercise more skepticism while at the same time stop trying to shut down skepticism as conspiracy theories. This is ironically one of the big failings of Scientism, in that most people seem to stop being skeptical, thus sorta defeating the point of science. If you’re not skeptical, you just have faith. And if you’re taking things on faith, it’s not science anymore is it. Conspiracy theories often fall victim to things like Occam’s razor, so I don’t know why people are so intent on shutting them down. Maybe you don’t think that there was enough time to count the 6 million votes. But maybe you’re just missing information. If people shut you down just for questioning, well, are you onto something real? The irony being that those most susceptible to conspiracy theories will probably be more vigorous if they’re shut down since the underlying basis tends to be Illuminati-level coverups. Frank and open discussion is always the best way to shut down conspiracy theories. Who knows, maybe the conspiracy theory is true after all.

Anyway, I just wanted to kinda vent my concerns about Scientism and the way it’s opened the door to social terrorists running our states. I’d really like very much for this not to be something I will be worrying about when I finally decide to raise offspring, so… let’s try to keep this in check guys. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

The New Old Gospel

Anime Standing

Steam

I don’t recall how I found this game but there’s a big meme with my friend tK about how he likes Death Stranding (the first ‘Strand-type’ game). This game is obviously a parody of that. It’s 69 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) cents. C’mon. You know you gotta. I completed the story missions within an hour so we’re just going to do a review that details my experiences as I’m going through.

The game opens with a cutscene. Grill reading a poem while we watch fish swim everywhere. OK. Something about explosions ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) It’s not clear when the cutscene ends since it seems like you can just watch the fish swim forever. Not kidding, I waited on this cutscene for like 5 minutes after the grill had stopped talking and it was still going. So I pressed a button to end the cutscene, into the game. You wake your scantily-clad anime grill up in the pouring rain in a lightning storm. The game gives you no hints on how to proceed. Says “Grab what you can (there’s nothing around you) and go”. So you quickly figure out that the usual WASD is the way to go and move out. You see some boxes, pick ’em up, and go. Mission complete.

Now you’re tasked with going to another facility. You walk or run. Have fun. Now, I actually wound up buying the DLC version since the bundle came out to about 200 yen. And this means I get messages + a hovercar. The messages are everywhere outside the first facility (and every facility tbh). In most games like Dark Souls, they’re just on the ground and have no real physical form, they just have a range in which you can trigger their read state. Not here. No sir. They’re floating spheres that your character and your cars can bump into. Yup. Have fun with that.

I decided to take the hover car and managed to flip it upside-down within a minute. What a fun DLC. I couldn’t find a way to flip it back over either. So I wound up having to walk the rest of the way anyway.

Mission 2: Push a barrel to the first facility. OK. Let me get this straight. We start off with picking up boxes and walking. Second mission is push a barrel? Over mountains? With this physics engine? Lol? So I set out and the other facility is only like 800m away so whatever, let’s just push through this. So I start pushing, and we’re going up a mountain. Whoops, there’s a little crevice that my barrel fell into and there it goes. Feels good to lose 200m of progress. Twice.

The movement controls aren’t that good either. You have two speeds. Sonic and piss all. Pushing the barrel will require the piss all speed because Sonic speed is just going to have you chasing the barrel more than pushing it. What felt like an eternity later, we get the barrel to the destination safely.

Third mission, carry a body. OK. Get the body, on my back. OK. Let’s go out the door… whoops. She hit her head and now she’s separated from the player character. And believe you me, the game DOES NOT like that. The camera is spazzing out. I think it’s trying to sorta center in the effective center of mass. The problem with this is that my character is still running off while the body I’m carrying is still in the facility. So the camera seems to be trying to place me all over the place. It eventually calms down, a short walk later, mission complete.

Fourth mission, grab a message (we never see the message) and drive the car to the next facility. Honestly, driving the ground car is a lot of fun. Reminds me a bit of the Mako in Mass Effect. It has that rubber buggy baby bumper feeling. The mission is simple enough and completed within minutes.

Last mission has me drive (I think I was supposed to walk) to a reception tower to press a prompt and boom. Game finished. No I am not kidding. I did all of that within an hour.

Making deliveries grants you ‘likes’. These likes can be used to unlock gravure images in the gallery. They’re nothing spectacular. I’ve played a lot of H-games that have better galleries than this. And there are only 5 images so it doesn’t take long.

Honestly, this game is not worth your time. It’s not worth the money. I will admit, I went into this expecting garbage. I found garbage. Everyone’s expectations were fulfilled and we killed an hour of time. But I don’t want you to subject yourself to this kind of torture. Find something else to spend your money on. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt.

Anime Standing

What’s the deal with gamers?

I’ll just say upfront that yes, the title is a little inflammatory. So let’s first talk about where this blog post’s inspiration comes from.

I see this often in social media, sometimes in news articles when someone like Dungeons and Dragons decides to update their rules. One such example is when Dungeons and Dragons removed negative racial traits from Dungeons and Dragons. These rule changes are often justified in the vein of social progress. In the case of the aforementioned Dungeons and Dragons rule change, these rules “reflect previous comments by the Dungeons & Dragons team that promised better representation and a movement towards giving the player characters individualism as opposed to forcing them to fit within cultural stereotypes within the game’s lore”. Long standing fans sometimes raise an outcry to such rule changes. These outraged fans are then accused of “Gatekeeping”. However, nowhere does ‘Gatekeeping’ seem to be applied than around the label of ‘gamer’. Why do alleged ‘gamers’ feel the need to gatekeep? Well, I have a few feelings about ‘gamers’, ‘gatekeeping’, and the application of these terms. So here we are.

Gatekeeping

Let’s start with ‘Gatekeeping’. What is ‘Gatekeeping’ and why do we care? While the dictionary definition will give you the rough idea, I think it’s better to use its Urban Dictionary definition since that’s really what we’re talking about.

Gatekeeping: When someone takes it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity.

Urban Dictionary (2012)

In the case of Dungeons and Dragons, the “Gatekeeping” is the “correct” way to play your selected race. In the case of “gamers” however, it’s who gets to be a “real gamer”.

It’s no secret by now that typically, there’s a PC / Console / Mobile divide in the way of the gaming community. There’s a reason we have a PC Master Race meme. Where this runs into the way of gaming, well, I think it has everything to do with the criticism of a report from a couple years ago. Before we go any further, I want to note that I won’t be contesting the results of the study cited here. The data is what it is and for what it’s worth, I do believe it provided an insight into the evolving mobile gaming landscape. But these sorts of articles often cause some controversy. The short version is:

  • An article will be published stating that 50%+ of gamers are women
  • A common criticism was that these gamers were playing primarily mobile games
  • People who play only mobile games aren’t really “gamers”.

Thus, the ‘Gatekeeping’ accusations began. “Who were these men gamers to decide who is and who isn’t really a gamer? Who gave them the power? Why do mobile gamers not count? Why do they even care?” Well aren’t you lucky to have me here because by the end of this post, we’ll have answered these questions. I happen to be something of a gamer myself, so I have the secret inside knowledge that is apparently getting lost in translation. So let’s move on to question #1.

Who decides who is a gamer?

Honestly, this is a pretty nice question by itself. I think this is the main source of the debate. If we could all agree on what a gamer is, we could solve all of these problems. The important thing to note, however, is that the gamer definitions being argued over are two completely different definitions. There is ‘gamer’, someone who plays video games, and ‘gamer’ as in a person who’s defined through their hobby of playing video games. I am using video games for this definition. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of like, an avid Blue Marble player being defined as a gamer or an avid chess player being defined as a gamer. If you are, sorry, we can try to expand my hypothesis here in a different post. Back to this though.

I’m not terribly interested in arguing over whether or not mobile gamers are gamers. I’m only stating what I believe the impasse is. That there’s a disagreement over what counts as a gamer.

Who gave them that power?

In general, the gaming community did. You can disagree with this idea of gamers granting gamers the power to define gamers but that’s what happened. Language is defined by those who use it. For example, there’s a particular symbol that is common in Buddhism that means “Peace”. I don’t know if Google Maps will still do this by the time you read this article but if you zoom in on particular shrines in Japan, this symbol will appear. This particular symbol was reversed and rotated 45 degrees by the German National Socialist party in the 1930’s-1940’s. You know the one.

I sometimes see this symbol while driving. It’s used to say “Shrine this way”. However, I would bet good money people would be a little disturbed if they went to Japan and saw this symbol and how common it is. Yes, it’s vastly different, sharing only the pinwheel pattern but to the western mind with almost nothing else to compare it to, we simply put default to what we already know. Why is that? Because language is a mutual exchange and these symbols carry the meaning in the mind of the speaker and the observer. Sometimes there’s a mismatch between these meanings, and we call these “miscommunications”. But to have productive dialogue, we all need to agree on what the terms are and what they mean.

I’m not currently in the position to go into a crowd (because they don’t exist lol, thanks China) but when the United States opens up proper again I might do this for a follow-up. I think if you tell people that you’re a gamer, and you ask them to guess what games you play I don’t think too many people are going to guess the name of a mobile game. If you ask someone to name video games, I think they’ll quickly go to console or PC games when they’re generating their mental list. I believe this sort of sets the idea of society’s expectations when it comes to what a gamer plays and what a video game is.

Where I’m going with all of this is that there’s nothing that says mobile gamers can’t be gamers, but you have to make your way into the gaming community’s parlance. Even if you managed to convince society at large that mobile gamers are gamers, if you are unable to convince the other gamers of this, all you will have done is create a separate gaming category (which was already recognized by the way) of ‘mobile gamers’.

Naturally, these articles are directed at industry, they’re directed at community at large. Even if these articles are successful at penetrating and being accepted by the general community, that’s not a guarantee that they’ll be accepted by the gaming community. The fact that this debate is still ongoing and that people are still arguing about it shows that the gaming community as a whole has not settled on an answer. Which brings us to today.

Why do mobile gamers not count?

In my view, some do. People get tied up in this idea in that it’s the games that matter. So now that FFVII or Call of Duty are on mobile, we can’t call these mobile gamers casuals or something. I do not believe this idea that it’s the games that are available themselves that define the gamers but again, someone who is defined through their hobby of playing video games.

I have poor posture and my back often hurts. When my back hurts, I often lie down. But I still want to do SOMETHING so I usually open up a mobile game. While surfing the play store, I’ve noticed a few trends about the games that seem to populate the game store.

The type of games I find most often on the store tend to be what I consider ‘timekiller games’. You might be saying that all games are ‘timekiller games’ but I would disagree. The most popular games (even per that article I mentioned earlier) tend to be puzzle or idle games. These are games that can be played and completed within a matter of minutes. This is where it gets important. They are not designed to be played persistently. These games often have real-world time constraints (basically they’ve become modern arcade machines). They are minimally interactive. For many games, they seem to be designed to be played when you’ve got 10-20 minutes on the bus or train to and from work. They have a minimal story (if any). I think in the minds of gamers, these games “do not count” because it’s hard to say that your hobby of playing video games is defined through the time that you’re not playing the game (which is necessary to continue playing the game). Granted, you could just put the quarter in, get your lives back, and get back to it. But in my experience, most people just wait. They don’t spend the dollar to get their 5 lives back or their energy refill or whatever.

Ironically, it’s here where we get to the ‘EVE Online’ problem. For those that don’t know (and maybe it’s not there anymore, idk) EVE has a button where you can press it and improve your character based on time not spent playing. I think what saves EVE however is its competitive nature. For this reason, I do think people who play competitive mobile games should be considered “gamers”. If you’re primarily playing your clicker game, I don’t think you’d fit the definition of “gamer” due to the limited interactive elements, often a limited story, and typically a lack of a competitive element. To bring us back to my first description, you’re tapping a screen purely to kill time, rather than due to this investment in gaming as a hobby. If it helps, consider the following:

Suppose we replaced your smartphone with a piano. On the way home from work you pressed keys on the piano. It’s the same thing, right. You’re monotonously pressing a button again and again for points (in the case of the piano, the sound of notes) but the objective isn’t to reach a goal. It’s mindless. Just like I think you’d be hard-pressed to convince audiences at large that you’re a musician, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to convince someone to believe you’re a gamer based on this similar interaction. If you try to claim the label ‘gamer’ under such pretenses, gamers are likely to see you as a leech. As someone trying to claim the label because it’s another label to have rather than because it’s something you do.

So the short version, and I’ll say it again: It depends on what games you’re playing on your phone (in my opinion). I don’t think my opinion is terribly unorthodox.

Why do the ‘gamers’ care?

Why do gamers care what we define gamers as? I can’t say for certain why gamers care, I can only offer my personal perspective and again, I don’t think I’m a terribly unorthodox gamer. I hope in by sharing these perspectives that I can get you to understand why we care about it.

First of all, you’re mucking around with the word we use to define ourselves. Imagine trying to change what a Christian is, and expand its definition to something that Christians don’t agree with. But instead of checking with the Christians, you decided to publish your article, “Turns out, X% of Christians are Y”. The Christians will be like, “Who decided that? Based on what I’ve seen from Y, Y doesn’t believe in God. Y doesn’t believe in the Trinity. How on Earth can you define them as Christians?” You’re tell people that people Christians typically don’t believe are Christians are Christians. This dilutes the label “Christian” and when you’ve built a part of your identity around “Christian”, you don’t typically take kindly to it being diluted.

Maybe you don’t think of what you’re trying to do as “diluting” the gamer label. More gamers is better, right? Well by definition that’s diluting the label so you definitely are diluting the label. But more gamers, is that better? This brings us to point number two. The baggage that comes with the label of gamer.

Most readers should be old enough to remember this and vestiges of it still continue to this day. If you’re around the age of 30 or older, you should remember the “Satanic Panic” and the “Religious Right” which dominated media for a good part of the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s. If you don’t, I’ll remind you.

Many parts of popular culture at the time were deemed elements of Satanism or some kind of devilry. Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and even the metal music genre were often attacked by prominent figures as being gateways to drugs, crime, and devil worship.

I know I said we’re talking about ‘gamers’ as in ‘people who are invested in the hobby of playing video games’ but I feel justified in using this comparison because gamers are the time were part of the afflicted groups.

The one I remember the most was this myth spread around that if you play the Pokemon theme song backwards that it said “Hail Satan”. Now despite all of this, much of which we may have been too young to have even been aware of, we liked the things we liked. I remember getting up every morning at 6AM to rush downstairs and watch Pokemon. Pokemon was cool. I’ve got family members that can confirm that I was playing Pokemon before I knew how to read. Which is fine when you’re 8 years old. But when you’re a teenager, this can become something of a problem. In those days, gamers were ostracized due to a few things. Our peers at the time said these things were for kids. The news was saying that we were going to start carving up bodies using 6 knives to make 66 stab wounds and draw an upside-down pentagram on a person’s forehead.

So on one hand, we’ve got our peer group saying that we need to grow up. Sailor Moon is for little kids, not for 16 year-old boys. On the other hand, we’ve got our family worried that we’re rotting our brains. Fun fact: I was only allowed to play games because I kept my grades up, thus proving that if I were rotting my brains, I was at least, still smarter than everyone else in my class. The news is always telling us that we’re bad people and that we’re bound to commit some crimes. With all this pressure, we’re looking at ourselves and the games we like and we’re just not seeing it. I have no problems distinguishing between reality and games. I don’t think I’m going to start killing rabbits just because my Mewtwo was nuking Nidoran in Route 2. The only people we could find friendship in were people that shared our interests. Because everyone outside these interests was pretty dead set on us being damaged in some way or another. So we gamers grouped up. We talked online, we formed bonds with each other.

Years pass, the religious right has fallen, we’re in the 2010’s now and gaming is mainstream. Anime is becoming mainstream if it isn’t already mainstream due to streaming services. Gamers are seeing the future they wished for achieved. Now the problem comes in because they’re seeing the people that bullied and belittled them appreciate gaming. “Why didn’t you tell me how deep and intricate Pokemon battling (Yes I’m using Pokemon a lot, that was my game) was? I had no idea it was this difficult!” And the answer is “I FUCKING DID TELL YOU BUT YOU CALLED ME A LOSER AND TOOK STACY TO THE MOVIES!”. So gamers, seeing ‘normies’ years later finally ‘get it’, while mildly satisfying, doesn’t undo the years of hardship gamers endured, some of which at the hand of ‘normies’.

What I’m getting at here is that the label of ‘gamer’ comes with some baggage. Seeing it ‘opened up’ has an element of what we in America call ‘Stolen Valor‘. I don’t know if this concept exists outside of America. ‘Stolen Valor’ is when people claim credit for military accomplishments that they did not earn. This is a mockery and a great disrespect to those who do earn these accomplishments. In the United States, it’s a big deal. The United States military is 100% volunteer. The United States does not enforce any kind of mandatory service. While men are still required to sign up for the draft, this is likely the result of existing legislation that has yet to be taken down after some 50 years since the Vietnam War. To us, those who join the military answer a different calling, a calling some of us would only be willing to do as a last resort. A dangerous job, which has eternally scarred so many families throughout history. And to claim you were part of that when you didn’t put yourself on the line like the others is just supremely disrespectful that I will say that I personally think it’s up there with some of the worst non-violent offenses you could possibly commit.

So some gamers might see the ‘normie’ who bullied them in you as you try to claim the label of gamer, justly or not. That’s a personal issue, I’ll admit. But the point is to help you get where this pushback is coming from. We walked through hell to get here while you show up at the finish line for free.

Conclusion

So we answered all of the questions we had originally proposed. I hope you can now understand where gamers are coming from when it comes to who is a gamer and who is not. I hope you can now understand why there’s so much pushback against some of these articles. And again, I think if the articles were more willing to use a nuanced approach rather than saying “Well, if you play any video game you’re a gamer” then it’d be easier to meet the gaming community outside mobile games on some common ground. I guess that’s all I had to say here. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

What’s the deal with gamers?

On the topic of “canon”

Canon is important. The canon is what people care about when they’re talking about a work of fiction. I recently wrote about criticism of media and one media I often criticize is Star Wars. Specifically, I criticize the sequel trilogy featuring Rey Palpatine (or Skywalker, whatever floats your boat). Now it’s obvious that these movies are widely divisive. One of the most common criticisms (one that I personally abide by) is that it is incredibly destructive to the Star Wars canon. But the new movies are canon, right? So how can canon be destructive to itself? Some Star Wars fans have gone so far as to say that it’s so destructive to the Star Wars canon, you have to completely separate it from the canon that Lucas established. But this presents an interesting question to me. What conditions are necessary to establish “canon”? Let’s continue.

Canon

What is canon? What are we even talking about here? Normally I would go to Merriam-Webster but they’ve kinda thrown their credibility down the drain by literally ninja-updating definitions. So we’re going to use the Wikipedia and hope for the best. For what it’s worth, I find the definition to be somewhat incomplete but that’s OK, it should work for today’s post.

In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in the fictional universe of that story.

– Wikipedia

They do note this idea of splitting canon (particularly in the case of Star Wars) but that’s not what we’re here for today. Basically, there’s this idea of a fictional universe. The structures that make up that universe make up its canon. There’s nothing that states that newly introduced structures cannot contradict prior structures. The question is, how we deal with those. Typically, the justification is “the author forgot” (Why was every Uchiha in the past capable of using Izanagi despite it requiring the chakra of the Sage of Six Paths?). We refer to these as “retcons” and people don’t like them very much. If you think of the canon as the “rules”, people don’t like the introduction of “new rules” by surprise or the breaking of old rules without proper justification.

Why does canon matter?

It is my view that the reason works of media are hailed is because of the rules of their universe and how they consistently stay within those rules. Death Note is a perfect example of this. In Death Note, the rules were introduced to the reader incredibly early in the series. Every action that was taken, we knew how it should play out and it was up to the parties involved to make their reaction. The consequences had their conclusions made known to us. Kira demonstrates his ability to kill seemingly anyone. L has a Lind L. Taylor pose as L to see if Kira would kill him. Kira does. This demonstrates that given a name and a face, Kira can kill anyone. This occurred live, so Kanto saw Kira’s power firsthand. This proves Kira is real. L then challenges Kira to kill him. Kira cannot, for he knows neither L’s name nor face. On live television, L challenges Kira to do something that we know he can’t do but that L can only guess that he cannot do. L lives and the cat and mouse game begins.

While theatrical, I sometimes wonder if it would’ve been better to have Lind L. Taylor’s challenge pre-recorded, but now I’m wandering off into the weeds. The point is, we know the rules and the interesting thing with Death Note is seeing how the rules are utilized to create fascinating situations.

My view is that THIS is what people are looking for when they are talking about fictional canon. This is why canon is so important. If the audience doesn’t know the rules, they can’t engage with the media meaningfully and it just becomes pictures on a screen or words in a book. We cannot invest ourselves and put our brains to work in a meaningful way because we don’t know if the rules are always going to be the rules or if there are going to be new rules which open up some can of BS that throws everything out the window. Think about it like this: when the canon is inconsistent, for the viewer, it’s like trying to take a test on mathematics but receiving history questions in the second half of the test. You had no way of being prepared or even guessing the power so it’s not a fair test.

The Star Wars Canon Question

Star Wars has a series of canons since Star Wars is a very old series with a very long history and a very long series of questions. When most people talk about Star Wars canon, they’re specifically talking about the movies and in some cases The Clone Wars animation. While there was a bit of a hubbub when Disney said the EU (now “Star Wars Legends”) are not canon but I don’t think the average Star Wars fan was particularly involved in things like the Thrawn novels and whatnot. If you don’t want to consider them fans, whatever, that’s your choice.

So Disney takes their cake and eats it too and creates a few Star Wars films. Question now becomes, are these films canon? That brings us to the question I am interested in for this blog post.

Where does canon derive legitimacy?

I think this is an interesting question because it’s really where this whole mess stems from. If we could answer this question, we could neatly settle all of the other questions.

The answer should be obvious right? License. If it is licensed, it’s canon, right? Well, no. License is permission from the holder of an IP to produce derivative works. However there’s no requirement such that all derivative works must be consistent with all other derivative works. Or at least there need not be. Sometimes the IP holder accepts these derivative works as canon (Elite: Dangerous comes to mind) and sometimes they don’t. So license is not the best place to derive legitimacy. Otherwise we’re gonna have a real fun time opening the box known as Touhou.

What about the IP holder? From a market perspective, this one makes the most sense. If I own Jesus Bejesus and I sell Jesus Bejesus to Disney, I can no longer legally create and market Jesus Bejesus products without running into some legal issues. Especially if my stuff is more popular than Disney’s product. If I cannot legally create and sell media for an IP, do I have any control over the canon? If I control the IP, I control the market for that IP, and all changes would have to go through me.

What about the creator? So this also runs into that IP holder issue but there’s a separate issue of the creator dying and the IP entering public domain. Does the canon’s addition end with the death of its creator. Well yes, for that specific creator but what about others that may have been working with the creator? If I die but my assistant continues the story, gets their own assistant, dies, and that assistant keeps the torch burning, is all of our work canon?

I think this is why audiences split the canon up. It’s a nice way to solve all of these issues at once. If we just agree that we’re talking about these rules we don’t have to start rules lawyering your claims about Luke being strong enough to suppress black holes and whatnot.

And it’s for this reason that I tend to lean on the idea of the audience controlling what is canon with a mutual understanding that the one creating the stories, while in control of the story, is on watch. Audiences can accept or reject your canon as “true canon” and move on with or without you. After all, if no one is discussing your work, is it really canon? There’s an obvious problem with the audience getting to pick and choose because the audience isn’t one being. It’s a bunch of people with their own rules and biases. But it is my view that the strongest canons, the canons that will persist and be enjoyed and discussed and contributed to long after their creator’s death are the ones that are best constructed. A “Survival of the fittest” in a kind of way. In a way, this makes the Bible one of the strongest canons I know about. Are all religions simply really well-made and persistent canons? That’s a topic for another day!

Anyway, I guess that’s all I had for today’s post. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

On the topic of “canon”

Misconceptions in Media Criticisms

This is one I have to grapple with a lot. Now I’ve stopped doing video and movie reviews because I don’t have the time and I’ve been developing my art/Japanese skills. But I’m still fairly active on social media and I still voice my opinion on particular pieces of media that I’m familiar with. The obvious example is Star Wars. I get pretty hard pushback which eventually comes down to “That’s just like, your opinion man”. So let’s all take a breather and go through the common misconceptions of quality in media.

Money != Quality

I can’t believe we have to go through this but here we go. The amount of money spent and earned by a particular piece of media is not an indication of whether it is of high quality. I’m going to use games for this example but in general the principle applies.

The amount of money earned by a game is determined by the number of copies it sells. The amount of copies it sells is based on many things, but let’s just use advertising. Obviously reviews matter but you need to sell copies to get reviews (or at least you’re SUPPOSED to purchase and play the game before reviewing) so we’ll discount them for the example. Once you purchase the game, you typically don’t refund it if you’re dissatisfied (for most people it’s too much of a hassle or a used game cannot be refunded for full value, yadda yadda). So now that you’ve purchased the game you’re stuck with it like it or not. So assuming two games A and B of different qualities sell the same number of copies for the same price through the same distributor, they will earn the same amount of money despite being of different qualities. Q.E.D.

Consensus!= Quality

I get this one the most. If a lot of people like something then surely it’s good right? Now there is some basis for this kind of argument. If a lot of people enjoy The Godfather, a lot of people enjoy The Lord of the Rings, a lot of people enjoy Game of Thrones. If a lot of people like these things, then surely there’s something in there. Even if people don’t know what it is, you can understand that there’s something which provides this quality. Ironically, this is why reboots/remakes/references often fail. Because they tried to emulate that thing people liked but misunderstood what that thing was.

The simplest example could be Legend of Korra. Korra is Katara if they turned the aggression up to 11. Katara was always fairly gentle and motherly. It’s her main trait. This is why when she does go full BAMF, it’s so effective. Korra on the other hand is always going full BAMF. She doesn’t seem to understand what it is to be gentle and the writing for the show in general doesn’t attempt to create the gap. The beauty is in the gap and how it’s evoked.

Anyway, back on topic. You don’t need to know how to create fire or what fire is to understand that it’s warm and it can cook your food. So this argument that a lot of people liked or even the reverse argument, that because a lot of people dislike a piece of media that the media is good or bad. What it means is that some number of people believe that the media is good or bad. How did they reach this conclusion. The devil is in the details. We’ll talk more about that later.

Reviews as a metric

A lot of people like to use reviews on their favorite websites as a meter for whether a movie is good or bad. This has several problem. The first is obviously that review bombing is a thing and even if you and I highly suspect that a review is part of a review bomb, it’s not fair to attribute reviews to a review bomb. Lots of people give a movie 10/10 because it pleases their political vision and a lot of people give a movie 1/10 because it flies in the face of their political vision. There are obvious cases of course (“1 Star because your director supported China”) but there are not so obvious cases (“1 star because you censored the movie to please China”). The distinction comes from the fact that media should be evaluated with the only piece of consideration being the media itself.

Anyway, in my view, using reviews to gauge whether media is good or bad is not a good metric anyway because the only way you can use this metric is if someone else has consumed the media and applied their own personal metrics to the media. It is my view that (again) media should be evaluated on their own merits, not the merits that someone else has ascribed to them. I should be able to evaluate the quality of media after consuming it myself and requiring no other information.

Outside Material

We’re seeing a lot of stuff here from my Star Wars debates but this is important to talk about because it comes up with anime reviews and game reviews as well. That is, the idea of a particular canon being required to appreciate the media “properly”. To sum it up briefly, the idea that you need to consume media outside the media under consideration to give it a “proper” rating. “You have to read the light novel to appreciate the movie” is an example of this. “This was explained in the novel”. I believe this argument is fundamentally flawed because this media is not always accessible and it’s not like the media says “Please consume this other thing before consuming this media”. It’s sometimes implied, in the way of prequel/sequel relationships. But what do you do if there is no clear way of understanding what’s a prequel and what’s a sequel? Star Wars: A New Hope was originally released without a number. Today we know it as Episode IV but what if it’s found 1000000000 years from now by alien archaeologists and they decide to watch it only to find later that there’s a Star Wars Episode I. Now they’re confused. “This one has no number, this one has the number I. Which one should be viewed first?” Even worse, should a completely different media be required.

Ultimately, while media can be appreciated differently if one has related knowledge, it shouldn’t be a requirement to consume and it shouldn’t be a primary factor in evaluation. I did something like this in my Minoria review (and only now do I realize I never posted it here) in that I analyzed Minoria as a stand-alone work but I did make a comparison to related media.

How should we evaluate media?

We need to establish an objective metric. Now hold on, before you go raging on your keyboard let’s talk for a moment. When I say objective here, I’m referring to a series of standards applied to media. Yes, reviews are my opinion but they can be objective in that I’ve applied a series of criteria to the media and “stayed within the rules” while evaluating them. Certainly one should be careful to choose an appropriate metric when applying it to particular media. If the focus of a game is the action, I tend to be more generous when giving it the thumbs up/thumbs down if the story is of poor quality because it’s not the focus on the media.

So you need to establish a series of criteria. This is where everything goes downhill when discussing things online. It is simply the truth that different people use different criteria and different people apply their criteria with a different weight. So when you’re discussing things online with someone who disagrees with you, you’re not really trying to get them to agree with you because the same data point can be a plus in your criteria and a minus in theirs at the same time. No, your objective is to get them to change their criteria and understand why your criteria is a better one for evaluating media.

How do you do this? Honestly, I don’t know. I am still trying to figure it out myself. Because this is where we run into the next big issue:

Criticism != Personal Attacks

In my opinion, this is probably the biggest one. Something I need you to understand and to get everyone to understand is that criticism of something you like isn’t a personal attack on you. It is imperative that you understand this. It is perfectly acceptable to like media that is bad. This is kind of the point of “So bad it’s good”. The idea that a media is so awful that one can enjoy not only in spite of this poor quality but due to this poor quality is the point.

I have a confession. I love Pacific Rim. I’ve always loved giant robots and seeing them come to life on the screen was big for me. But the movie has several inconsistencies. Some things just don’t make sense. The Chinese triplets control a mech with 3 arms because there are 3 people inside but generally the mech moves a corresponding body part. Since none of the triplets have a third arm, how do they control the third arm? It’s not explained in the movie, it’s taken as fact and sure, that’s OK. But it’s a glaring flaw in the face of how all other mechs in the movie seem to operate. I’m going to enjoy the movie anyway, because cool giant robot punching cool giant monsters is still really fucking cool.

If someone says to me, “Pacific Rim is a bad movie and here’s why” I wouldn’t feel personally attacked. “Oh, I enjoyed something with inconsistent writing, I guess I’m a moron”. I might disagree if they said using a container as brass knuckles wasn’t really cool but being cool is one of those things everyone has a different taste for. In terms of criteria, it would fall under “spectacle” and typically I don’t say media is good on terms of “spectacle” alone. In fact I’ve often said that despite all of the spectacle a media can be fairly hollow, and that if you want something more than spectacle, find a different title.

We really need to understand some common ground here. If someone says something you like is bad and then lists reasons of why and your only response is “Well, I liked it” that’s not a refutation. Your objective (if you want to change their mind) has to be to either refute their argument or convince them to change their criteria. In my experience, this has proven to be fairly difficult.

I guess the short version is: You’re allowed to like whatever you want to like. You liking (or disliking) something doesn’t make it a good or bad piece of media. Anyway, I guess that’s all I had to say. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Misconceptions in Media Criticisms

Ayyyy, it’s MVP SIMP!

I figure this isn’t going to be terribly enlightening for many of you but I just wanted to put the word out because I’m still seeing misinformation about what simps are and what it means to be one so I’m just gonna get this one off my chest and that’ll be that.

What isn’t a simp?

Before we get into what a simp IS, let’s first establish what a simp ISN’T. what A lot of people seem to think that a simp is just someone who gives money to ethots. This isn’t true. Giving money to an ethot is just a simptom (ha!) but isn’t necessarily a sign of being a simp. Example:

I have a friend I met online a couple months ago. She’s a regular streamer and I enjoy her streams. Sometimes I have an extra $5 at the end of the month so I might toss it her way just as a sort of thank you for providing entertainment. This is not simp behavior. It would be the same as me tossing Pewdiepie (whose videos I also enjoy) $5 every now and again or buying the merch. This is supporting a content creator you enjoy.

I remember there being a story a while ago about a female streamer who said she stalked her audience. I wouldn’t even describe her supporters as simps because in my mind these individuals are purchasing a product (her “abuse” of them) rather than her receiving money for the sake of it.

A simp isn’t someone who respects women. I will later put forth an argument that actually proposes the opposite. But it’s clear that a simp isn’t just someone who respects women because I know many people who respect women who feel no need to just toss money at the screen just because there’s a woman on it.

What is a simp?

Simply (Ha!) put, a simp is a troubled individual with no respect for anyone (even themselves) who seeks moments of self-gratification by engaging in behaviors in pursuit of acknowledgement of someone else. They are someone who has so little respect in others (specifically women in this case) that they see women as ego machines. Put a quarter in, get gratification out. And these people have so little respect for themselves that they seek this gratification in others, in strangers, sometimes at the cost of one’s own family, friends, and finances.

This isn’t limited to just money. Acts such as blindly defending an individual or a cause on the internet (in pursuit of acknowledgement) is also a form of simping, though we used to call it “White knighting”. And I’ll admit, in the past I would white knight. I think in those times I liked to believe I was looking for a greater good but I think what I was really looking for was the attention of female peers.

White Knights

Are people who appear to be white knights simps? Ehhhhhh, maybe. I think there are a few behaviors which will probably be called as as white knighting (and thus be called out as simping) which need not be white knighting nor simping. It’s fully possible for an individual to defend the actions or inaction of a woman because they believe in the woman due to a personal connection or believing in a witnessed history. If your friend was accused of disreputable action and you’ve known them for 10 years, yeah you’d probably defend them without thinking at first too. The key factor is whether or not they believe in the person or the cause because they believe in it or because they’re (again) seeking the acknowledgement of someone else.

So if I white knight my friend Riri because she’s my friend, it’s not simping. But if I white knight my friend Riri because I want her to say “Wow Artemis, you’re a good friend”, it is simping.

Addiction

I would even venture to say that this could even step into the realm of addiction as well. An addiction is a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by compulsively seeking to achieve a desired effect, such as intoxication, despite harm and adverse consequences to self and others (Wikipedia). Let’s examine the criteria:

1. Compulsively seeking a desired effect such as intoxication

This condition is satisfied by the good feeling these simps purport to feel after donating to their idol.

2. despite harm and adverse consequences to self and others

This condition is satisfied by putting themselves (and family, if they have one) into financial ruin. Maybe you live alone and you don’t mind eating ramen for a week to give xXStacyXx $40 but your body certainly will.

Conclusion

I think simps are in a tough spot mentally and they may not even know that they’re in a tough spot mentally. I think these people may need some kind of hobby. Something they can do to boost confidence in themselves. Some may need therapy, I would guess that there’s an underlying emotional/mental issue that’s causing this behavior.

Do they need to be shamed? No, I wouldn’t say that. But it is probably a good idea to point out that this behavior is destructive. I know people can be pretty mean about how they address simps in person and on the internet. I don’t think that’s beneficial. If you’re the simp and you get your moment of gratification by paying money to your idol and hearing your name read out and people abuse you for it, do you think you’d stop going to that streamer for that moment of gratification? If anything you might “simp harder” because now you’re feeling bummed about the abuse. I think abusive language towards simps may actually cause a simp to double down when clearly the behavior is to be discouraged.

To the simps

If you happen to be a simp or even think you might be a simp and you’ve made it this far I really want to thank you. I know it might be difficult to read what I’ve written here because it might feel like an attack. It’s not an attack. My message to you is the next time you go to give that streamer a dollar, the next time you about to hit ‘Send’ on that white knight response, think about why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. And whether or not it would matter to you if someone said “Thank you” or “You’re the best” after the exchange. If you are doing it for the praise, I recommend you stop. It’ll be OK. Find a hobby, find something else to take pride in. You’re better than this.

Thank you to everyone for reading and I’m sorry with all the somewhat serious stuff. Hope to see you again later.

Artemis Hunt

Ayyyy, it’s MVP SIMP!

Just a vent post about recent events. You know the ones.

A lot has happened recently and I have a lot of thoughts so I just thought I’d get them all out because this is a blog after all. That’s what we do in blogs right?

First, some mildly personal details. I am a millennial. I went to a liberal arts college for a degree in a physical science. I have a lot of millennial friends (predictably). Statistically, most of them will be left or left-leaning. I think Pew Research has my generation as being like 80% left-leaning. This isn’t a research post or anything so I’m not going to bother with sources here. If I’m wrong with the numbers, so be it. It’s not the point. Anyway, most of my friends are left-leaning. Shoot, I once dated a chick I think is an anarchist today. She might’ve been an anarchist back then too. She said some… troubling things to put mildly. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with being left-leaning or anarchist in it of itself. I’m just noting a trend here.

Oh yeah. Before we get into the main article, I should make my position known. I’m socially liberal and economically conservative. Weed lmao and lower taxes amirite?

Fast forward to today and I’m still friends with them on Facebook. We’ve all been very vocal about the protests and riots because the whole country has been very vocal about the protests and riots. My position is fairly simple. What happened to George Floyd was an avoidable horror. I hope the officers responsible for it go to jail for a very long time. There are a list of reforms that I think would be beneficial for the police. Rioting and looting is wrong. Throwing explosives into cop cars doesn’t result in meaningful change. However, I seem to have found myself on the opposite side to that of my friends. Sorta, they’ve flipped a few times. Let me explain:

First, my friends said that the riots were justified. I tried to explain to my friends that rioting isn’t helpful. They said that the riots were an expression of grief, the “voice of the unheard”, and the means to an end. I disagreed and I disagreed with the justification. Then some word gets out that the riots may have been instigated by undercover cops or far-right individuals. So now my friends have flipped their script! Now the riots are bad. They have nothing to do with the protests. They’re just the results of right wingers trying to undermine the movement. It’s black propaganda now. But my friends don’t want to walk back their prior comments. So they still maintain their prior justification. The riots aren’t wrong because rioting is wrong, the riots are wrong because the wrong people are doing them. I don’t see why we can’t all agree that rioting is bad no matter who does it.

Second: The police. One more full disclosure here: my father is a police officer, so I may be a little biased. That said, I don’t think my position has any bias in it. So the riots have spread over the country and even over some continents. We live in the age of the smartphone camera. So all of these protests are being filmed. They’re being filmed from multiple angles with multiple cameras. And yes, there has been some very terrible footage to come out of these protests and riots. Now I am a skeptical person by nature. I am usually willing to entertain even some of the more unusual ideas. So when I see stories like “someone did this” I usually ask the question “what came before”. My skepticism is probably even more intense nowadays due to the polarized state of the United States. The left-right divide is so big I have to exercise more caution than usual and cross reference more than I feel should be necessary.

So one of my friends posts a short, maybe 10 second clip of the protests. It’s not their post, they shared it from someone else. The caption said something like “The police officer was fearing for his life, right?” In this video we see what is presumably a police officer and four or five people. Three people are on their knees, the others are standing with signs. In this clip, the person we assume to be the cop attempts to spray something right in the faces of the three people on their knees. The obvious conclusion the OP wants you to come to is that the cops are macing people for no reason. I had a few questions about the clip and I proposed an alternative hypothesis. Maybe the presumed cop was actually spraying water or some counteragent to a riot control agent to help the afflicted individuals. I never claimed to know what happened. I wasn’t there and neither was the person who filmed it (it was filmed from like a fourth-floor apartment). I just think that in these times people are very quick to come to a conclusion and asking a few questions just to make sure we’re not jumping too fast is healthy to public discourse. The reaction I got was… mixed. The friend who posted it was willing to entertain my hypothesis and that’s great, that’s why I posted it in the first place. Naturally others posted their opinions, some got a bit more into the ACAP territory but you get what you get I suppose. My concern here is that I find my friends are so willing to believe a video and a caption. I think that that’s dangerous and I think my friends have been caught up. I think they’ve been swept up in their emotions and their political leanings that they’re not always willing to hear a different perspective. I appreciate the main friend here because they really were engaging with me honestly. But most of my friends don’t seem willing to offer such a courtesy.

Last one here for this post: #DefundThePolice. So this was another interesting one that I saw play out in real time in front of me. This is going to be a bit more in line with that first anecdote I shared. When #DefundThePolice was trending, many of my friends were quite onboard with it and many of them still are. I’m not going to use the slogan but as I mentioned earlier, there probably is some argument in that funds designated for police use may not be being used efficiently. Maybe that money could be better spent elsewhere. Maybe where that money goes in the police could be shifted around for better results. Again, from the outset I was willing to entertain reducing the amount of funds the police have but I was worried that #DefundThePolice really meant #AbolishThePolice. We saw #AbolishICE earlier from a similar crowd of individuals. They didn’t walk that one back, #JustSaiyan. I raised my concerns of course and my friends assured me “no, no. Not abolish the police. We want to move funds to things like schools and hospitals”. Again, I don’t do slogans so I wasn’t down with it. This is where things get somewhat funny. The other day my friends started posting that we need to stop using #DefundThePolice. Why? Because it really did mean #AbolishThePolice and they wanted to change the slogan. Turns out most people thought #DefundThePolice meant #AbolishThePolice and that wasn’t polling well. So now we need to change the slogan.

As always, I think they could have avoided having a week of posts about #DefundThePolice that they now have to delete (or just leave up I guess) had they just exercised a little bit of skepticism. What does #DefundThePolice really mean. Who is pushing it. Why are they pushing it. But this is why the slogans are dumb. The labels are dumb. But the labels are also powerful. This is why it’s hard to get people to realize that you can oppose BLM because they promote things you disagree with but you can still be perfectly fine with black people. You can oppose BLM and not be a racist.

I don’t do the slacktivism thing. It’s June. My pfp is still me in a suit. No I’m not changing it. No I don’t have any problems with gay people. Yes I have allegedly gay friends but I’ve never thought of them as “My gay friends”.

Can I get tinfoil for a moment? Tinfoil time: I think slacktivism, or at least as it’s being used in the western world is a headcount. I don’t think that by doing slacktivism that you’re on a particular team. I think there are political actors that are using slacktivism to sort of gauge where people stand. It’s not that by doing slacktivism you’re on the team, rather than you’re showing your sympathies for a team. And when SHTF, prior slacktivism may indicate where you might side. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with slacktivism itself, I’m not going to do it. I don’t care if you do it. And a cynical side of me thinks that it’s being used for nefarious ends.

So where are we now. I don’t know. I’m still worried about my friends. I think that this tribalism issue we have in the United States is severe. A solution of course is for me to silently do nothing. To not voice my opinions when I have problems with my friends supporting things like violent riots. I don’t think this is a good solution. I don’t think I should bite my tongue because my friends are doing something I think is wrong. And I think it is a bad friend or even someone who is not a friend to be silent when your friends are doing what you think is a sin. I think my friends are being swept up in some emotional movement. I think my friends are signing up for more than what they think they’re signing up for. I think they should use a little more skepticism when someone comes to them with things like this. If my friends are signing up for it and they know it’s that’s OK. I don’t particularly mind nor care what political affiliation my friends have. I said before that I have very few if any friends who are not left or left-leaning despite my views probably being more of a libertarian-right individual. I think that despite disagreements we can enjoy the company of each other, enjoy the same hobbies, talk with each other and just be good friends. I like to think that I chose my friends because they’re good people and not because we both liked former President Obama. And I like to think that my friends feel the same way. I like to think that they wouldn’t be willing to terminate a friendship over disagreements like this. And I’ve been wrong a few times. Several times. This is exceptionally bad because it reminds me of cult behavior. When you’re in a cult you have to either convert or excise the outsider. And I can’t help but feel this emotional movement they’re possibly being swept up in is a cult. And I think it’s a large cult that can really affect the trajectory of the United States.

I don’t make friends very quickly. I’m quite the introvert. Every friend I lose, every friend that breaks it off with me I feel more intensely than I would probably like. And I guess my last worry here is for myself of course but I’ll say it anyway. I need to get my words out. Sometimes I worry that because I’m libertarian that the Overton window will shift past me and that my left and left-leaning friends will abandon me. Because I’m the outsider, right? And this is like 90-95% of my very few friends. I’m not going to join beliefs I don’t agree with because then I’ve killed myself. I’ve killed Artemis Hunt. I’m not going to be silent either because I think my friends are better than this. And I’m not going to stop talking to my friends because I believe that discussion is the way to change minds and rescue people. So what do I do?

I think I’m done here. If you made it this far, thank you. If you came from Twitter, I don’t have access to my Twitter account anymore due to not having the phone number I used to make it anymore. If you want to contact me, you can comment or email me. I guess that’s it. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Just a vent post about recent events. You know the ones.