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.

Parsee Mizuhashi: A Tragedy of a Lonely Heart

About a year or two ago I really go into Touhou. I think it started when I was speedrunning a game called Touhou Luna Nights. It’s a fun game, a fangame, and it’s a “search action game”. I like it, you should buy it, maybe speedrun it with the rest of us. We were in AGDQ 2020. None of that’s really important for the topic for today, just my musings on where it all began for me. Anyway, I dug into Touhou a bit. The music’s really bangin and I was already aware of a few tunes, even if I didn’t know that they were Touhou. One example is Phantom Ensemble.

Many of the characters are quirky and fun so everyone has to have at least one 2hu waifu. Mine is Parsee Mizuhashi (and yes we’re gonna use ZUN art)

Parsee Mizuhashi is a hashihime, a bridge guardian. Ain’t she the cutest thing? She guards the bridge between the surface and the underworld. Simple enough. Without going too deeply into lore, 2hus have some kind of magic power. Let’s see if you can guess what Parsee’s power is by seeing the names of some of her spellcards.

  1. Green-Eyed Monster
  2. Grandpa Hanasaka
  3. Tongue-Cut Sparrow

So, if you’re not familiar with Japanese fairy tales you probably won’t get it from either of the last two. Basically, these spellcards’s names reference jealousy. Grandpa Hanasaka is about a guy who kills his neighbor’s dog for jealousy, Tongue-Cut Sparrow is about a sparrow whose tongue is cut by a man’s wife because she felt that her husband was spending too much time with the sparrow. Presumably, you know that the color of envy is green so in English we say that you have “Green eyes” if you’re jealous of something or someone. Her power is to control the jealousy in others.

How did we get here though? Well, she guards the bridge. Her job is to remain stationary while she watches others pass through. This is a pretty understandable feeling for anyone whose seen their friend succeed while you feel like you’re not progressing at all. Over time these feelings turned to resentment.

Her stage music is called ‘The Bridge People No Longer Cross‘. Why they no longer cross it I do not know and I didn’t find anything in the Touhou wiki telling me why so I choose to believe she may not being the best job (or an exceptionally good job) in guarding the bridge. But the only thing we need here is that she’s guarding a bridge that no one crosses. In short, she’s lonely.

The pieces are now coming together, now we need to get to what I feel from her boss music. This boss music is crucial. It tells the story of her descent into madness. Now the music is designed to sorta loop so we’ll have to take this on a piece-by-piece basis.

The first bit is until the drums really come in (not what I think are snares that are consistently playing, the bigger ones that play on off beats). Basically, the melodic introduction. It sounds sad to me. It’s utilizing alberti bass (utilizing six 8th notes) to complement the piece, which is why I choose to interpret this as 3/4 since I feel like if it were in 6/8 it’d try to emphasize the 4th beat more. I also feel it as a one-two-three a lot harder through the half-quarter and quarter-quarter-quarter patterns that are prevalent.

Once the drums come in, it’s weird. I don’t think the drums are playing in the same rhythm structure as the melody. The drums are playing on the off beats AND they’re playing in 2 rather than three. In music, this is called polyrhythm. Through some kind of melodic magic ZUN gets all of this to come together in the bridge (heh). I interpret this as an attempt to connect to others. I play by the beat of my own drum and you yours, but we still manage to connect on one level or another, ya know? But it can be difficult at times, which brings us to the part that comes right after the bridge (heh).

So the melody repeats, faster this time. And now there’s a frantic undercurrent of sixteenth notes. Rather than moving onto a second section or “B” section, we return to the A section. The sixteenth notes rise and fall very rapidly. I feel a series of highs and lows but we’re still holding onto the main melody. This is what I consider the descent into madness.

Then we’re back to the beginning because 2hu boss fights are usually pretty short so ZUN probably didn’t compose too much.

So what I get is someone who is sad, tries to fit in with others for a brief moment, but then through a series of high and low energy moments being fill with hate or sadness becomes what they are today.

Now all of this is beautifully put to video in Neteminity Theatre 666. In their case they use ‘The Bridge People No Longer Cross’ but they capture the feelings in a similar way. But they manage to go a little bit further in their video. In the video Parsee Mizuhashi is performing on a stage. She performs her curse killing those around her, including the audience. While she seems to be cheerful as she performs the curse, at the end she cries realizing what she’s done.

If you read the YouTube comments it’s pretty clear people can appreciate the sadness of her story (they also seem to appreciate her tongue-click which is like swearing under your breath in Japan). But let’s explain what’s going on here.

The lyrics are actually quite clever (at least if the translation is to be trusted). Parsee tries to fit in with others but can’t quite get it right. She’s awkward. She says, “The withered flower falls” as she stands in the shade. Parsee is the flower. Why is she withered? No real friends, no attention, no love. Her heart is the thing that’s falling. Her heart is being corrupted. The tempo speeds up and honestly this is my favorite part. Now she is actively rejecting others. When given advice, she outright rejects it because she feels like she has to actively change herself or try to communicate with others while other people have this sorta ‘built-in’.

Now we hit the climax. Instead of trying something else or finding something or someone else she accepts her feelings of jealousy and resentment. Rather than fight it as she may have in the first act, she ‘bathes her heart in it’. She then performs the curse and wipes everyone out. But let’s take a moment to talk about the curse.

This is the curse. Basically, you dress up in white and wear an iron ring on your head with three lit candles and head to your favorite sacred tree. Then you hammer nails through a straw effigy representing your target. Do this for seven days and your target will be cursed. Here’s the most interesting part. If you are spotted at any point performing the curse, it won’t work. What an interesting condition. If someone sees you performing the curse, it doesn’t work. How does this conditional play in to Parsee? Well, remember she’s a withered flower. There’s no one to notice her, no one who would notice her. I feel like if someone did, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

She feels great during the curse but afterwards she feels great regret. I think in the end, Parsee actually wanted to like the other people and be liked by them in turn. This feeling wasn’t strong enough to prevent her from performing the curse and by the end she wishes she hadn’t done it. Because while before she maybe was just unsuccessful in making friends, she always had a chance to do it the next time if she were so inclined. But now? That’s gone. Now she can’t make those friends. In time she will likely convince herself that she was right and go through this loop again and again with others that she meets.

Honestly the video is just so perfect and really encapsulates what I think Parsee is.

Remember that Parsee’s power is to control jealousy. Let’s take a moment to look at the seven deadly sins which we can all remember because we’ve all seen Fullmetal Alchemist

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

I tend to think of these sins like this:

Internally motivatedExternally motivated
Internal effectPride, SlothEnvy
External effectGreed, GluttonyLust, Wrath

Basically, I think of the sins in terms of what motivates what I think are actions representing the sins and what they impact. To briefly explain my thoughts on all but Envy:

Pride is internally motivated. You don’t become excessively proud because of someone else, but you also don’t actively “inflict” your pride on someone else either so it has an internal effect.

Sloth is also internally motivated. Sloth I think of as apathy, and I don’t think something causes you to become apathetic. Basically the task to undo sloth is to find an external motivation to move forward. The sin of sloth at worst will probably just create work for others but the intent isn’t to “inflict” sloth on someone.

Greed and Gluttony are basically the same sin with Gluttony having an extra step of consumption to it. They revolve around this idea of hoarding (and then consuming) objects. I interpret these as having internal motivators because in my mind they originate from desiring something normal like food or money and then taking it to excess. They have an external effect because they manifest and impact the world around you. Greed results in hoarding or preventing people from having something they may need (like food in a famine).

Lust and wrath are typically considered sins of passion and basically they’re responses to external stimuli and the sins could result in property destruction or rape (also external).

Envy is the odd one out because it’s in a box all alone. Envy isn’t just a desire for something else (which would put it closer to greed or gluttony) but a desire for something else… that someone else has. The motivation is explicitly external. The sin of envy is held in one’s heart though.

I don’t know where I was going with that, maybe a reader can help me figure it out in a comment. Bringing us back to topic though:

I think the reason I appreciate Parsee so much is I see Parsee as what I could’ve been had I gone down the other path. When I was young I was bullied mercilessly. Why? Because I was a nerd. I liked Pokemon, I liked video games, and I was very smart. I was a bit of a teacher’s pet. I’ve come around to accepting bullying as a natural part of human nature, as a tool to create conformity. But I was also very proud, so I would not conform. This continued all the way throughout high school. I’ve never felt like I fit in. When I see Parsee’s story, I wonder how much would I curse the world had I been alone even to this day. I feel a genuine connection to Parsee and her feelings because I think I’ve tasted her feelings. And because I think I know what she feels because I’ve felt it, I also think I know what she needs, because I know what I need. Affection, appreciation, love. So I guess in a way, I can love Parsee because I am trying to love myself. That wasn’t meant to sound egotistical but I think it does.

I guess in a roundabout way I made this blogpost about me instead of Parsee. That’s not my intent but I guess Parsee is an example of the core idea that I’m trying to convey.

Anyway, I’m done rambling. Glad I got that off my chest. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Parsee Mizuhashi: A Tragedy of a Lonely Heart

Punch Club

Steam Page

header1

Punch Club is a time-management Boxing Simulator. It’s ridiculous, it’s funny, it and I guess that’s going to set the tone for this review.

You are Hero (that’s the default name anyway). One night, your father gets killed by a man in black with a red eye. You decide to get swole and take revenge. As you do this, you find yourself in a fighting tournament or two that seem to style themselves as “Boxing” but permit kicks, so maybe it’s muay thai. I dunno. I’m a robot that lives in a server room playing video games. Along the way, you become Batman with allusions to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (title image) and Silent Hill (I won’t spoil this one but it’s really dumb and I love it). You find love, you beat up a Russian. You get to participate in mecha fights! (Mecha fights make everything better… ) This game just has so many little jokes and references. It’s amusing.

The game has stylized aesthetics and the music is this Eye of the Tiger remix that is actually pretty good. I made a boxing character because I totally read too much Hajime no Ippo. The game is sufficiently challenging. It took me over 300 (in-game) days to finish the game but I did waste a bunch of days on stuff that I’ll mention later. The fights can get pretty tense as you sit there hoping RNGsus is in your favour but then complain when you repeatedly get knocked out because you have negative stamina. And then you win the fight anyway because your boxing character can do combos that deal over a third the opponent’s health when they actually hit.

The storytelling is… sub-par. It’s not anything to write home about. There’s a main story and a series of substories. These substories do not seem to have much in the way of time limits. I locked myself out a substory by becoming a professional boxer fighter so maybe I should’ve completed it but it’s too late now. The main story has all of the usual tropes that you probably expect in a fighting game. And it has a very poorly written ending. It also kind of fades to black at an improper time.

Unfortunately the game does not seem to be balanced around being an all-around good fighter but rather by specializing in one stat. It tells you so much very early in the game. I would’ve liked for it to reward well-rounded players a little more. I did a hybrid of Power and Stamina, leaving out Agility. Agility determines how accurately you hit. So I have a heavy hitter than always misses. And even with my stamina training, I still found myself running out of stamina all the time. But maybe I’m just bad. Towards the end, the game becomes a bit of a grind and the pacing slows down drastically. Which leads up to the aforementioned poorly timed ending.

The game also does not explain some of the character interaction mechanics so I wound up wasting what must’ve been like 3 weeks trying to fix my friend’s engine so he’d train with me. I actually had to look up what the deal was and apparently the engine never gets fixed, but that the lines that my friend says indicate whether or not I’ve ‘chilled’ with him long enough to get him to train with me. Also, let’s be real here. I was the only one fixing his engine. The lazy SOB never got off the chair.

I do like the game, but I’m sitting on the fence with this one. I give it a pass because I found it amusing, but take this positive review with the grains of salt. It’s probably a toss-up whether or not you find it to be a fun game. Let’s not forget that the most important part of a game is whether or not it’s fun. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Punch Club

Today’s Studies

As you might have remembered, I’ve been studying Japanese for about a month now. I thought that I had grammar down pat, so I went on to studying kanji through writing essays. I then signed up on Lang-8 and soon discovered that I do not have grammar down pat. So I’ve decided to change my strategy and try reading Japanese newspapers. My goal was to eventually be able to read Japanese (maybe speak it) so this seems like an okay strategy in moving towards that goal. I have so many issues with grammatical particles that I probably don’t even understand how very little I know. Also the kanji thing is too much hassle to keep track of, so fuhgeddaboutit.

Anyway, the website I use to get Japanese newspaper articles is NHK Easy Japanese. The NHK is the actual newspaper but the ‘easy Japanese’ means that furigana will be above all difficult kanji and it has a ‘New Vocabulary’ section at the bottom which would be helpful for me if I knew how to read Japanese. Still good practice I guess?

Today I went to the library and read through three articles and I plan to read a few more later tonight. I’m going to be taking my translations and comparing them against translations that I will find on the ‘NHK Easy Japanese Subreddit‘ which is hopefully a good starting place for figuring out how wrong I am.

Each section of this post will have the Japanese version, my translation, and an ‘accepted translation’. Anything I put in (parentheses) is a note that I’ve left for myself. Anything I put in [brackets] is likely me correcting the grammar of the other translation.


Article

韓国で10日、パク・クネ大統領をやめさせるかどうか決める裁判がありました。その結果、やめさせることが決まって、パク大統領は大統領ではなくなりました。韓国で大統領をやめさせたのは初めてです。パク大統領の友達の女は、大統領の近くにいることを利用して悪いことをしていた疑いがあります。裁判をした憲法裁判所は「大統領はこの女がお金をもうけることに協力した」と言いました。そして「パク大統領は、この女が政治に関係していたことを検察庁などに言わなかった。パク大統領は憲法を守ろうとしなかった」などと言いました。8人の裁判官がみんな大統領をやめさせることに賛成しました。韓国では、60日以内に新しい大統領を選ぶ選挙を行うことになりました。

My Translation

10 days ago, there was a hearing about whether or not the South Korean President Park would have to step down. The result, President park is to leave office. She is the first South Korean President to be impeached. There was no doubt that President Park abused her power for her friend. At the hearing, the Constitutional court said, “For money, President Park conspired with this woman (the friend?). However, they also said, “We do not say that President Park’s administration was involved with the Public Prosecutor’s office. President Park did not protect the Constitution”. All eight justices approved of the President’s resignation. Within 60 days, South Korea will have an election to decide the next president.

Reddit Translation:

In South Korea on the 10th, there was a trial to decide whether or not President Park Geun-hye would be discharged. As a result, a discharge was decided and President Park is no longer president. It is the first time a President has been fired in South Korea. President Park’s female friend, is suspected to have done bad things by utilizing her closeness to the President. The Constitutional Court that trialed [heard] the case said “The President helped this woman make money”. They then said “President Park did not tell the Public Prosecutor’s Office that this woman was involved in politics. President Park did not try to defend the constitution”. 8 of the Judges agreed to have the President resign. In South Korea, within 60 days an election will be carried out to choose a new President.

Conclusion: C

So it looks like we got the gist of it. We mixed up whether the sentences were about Park or her friend. I took liberty with ‘Impeached’ over ‘fired’ because I work with Koreans regularly and figured that this was a better interpretation of the sentence. Overall, I only misinterpreted the parts regarding the Constitutional Court’s words. I’d rate this a C.


Article

2011年3月11日の東日本大震災から6年になります。バイオリンを作る仕事をしている中澤宗幸さんは、津波で流された木で「TSUNAMIバイオリン」を作りました。中澤さんは、このバイオリンを1000人の音楽家に弾いてほしいと考えています。岩手県陸前高田市には、津波が来たとき、流されないで1本だけ残った「奇跡の一本松」という木があります。9日、「奇跡の一本松」の前で、コンサートがありました。盛岡市の工藤崇さんが、バッハの「無伴奏バイオリンのためのソナタ第一番」という曲を弾きました。工藤さんは「TSUNAMIバイオリン」を弾く500人目の音楽家です。コンサートに来た69歳の女性は「とても美しい音で、東日本大震災で亡くなった人たちにも聞こえていると思います」と話していました。

My Translation:

6 years ago, on March 11th, 2011, an earthquake struck Eastern Japan. To create jobs for violinists, Mr. Muneyuki Nakazawa founded “TSUNAMI Violin”. Mr. Nakazawa wants 1000 musicians to play. In Rikuzentakata City, Iwata Prefecture, after the tsunami receded, only one book remained, titled “A Miracle of Miracles”. On March 9th, the “Miracle of Miracles” concert was performed. Mr. Morioka Kudeutakashi played a piece by Bach called “Unaccompanied Sonata for Violin No. 1”. Mr. Kudeu is 1 of 500 musicians in “TSUNAMI Violin”. A 69 year old woman that attended the concert said, “It was very beautiful for the people that passed away in the earthquake”.

Reddit Translation:

It has been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Violin maker Makiyuki Nakazawa has created a [TSUNAMI Violin] from trees washed away in the tsunami. Nakazawa-san wants 1000 musicians to play this violin. In Rizukentataka, Iwate Prefecture, only a single tree was not washed away when the tsunami hit. The tree is known as the [Miraculous Solitary Pine Tree]. On the 9th, in front of this tree, a concert was held. Morioka’s Takashi Kudo played Bach’s [Sonata No. 1 for Solo Violin]. Kudo-san is the 500th musician to play the TSUNAMI Violin. A 69 year-old women who attended the concert said [It was a very beautiful sound, I feel the people who died in the Great East Japanese Earthquake could hear it as well.]

Conclusion: F

As we can see, I clearly dropped the ball here. I may have misread 木 as 本. I could’ve sworn that it was 本. Ah well.But I completely misread everything regarding the musicians and the violin. I’m going to give myself an F for this one. Where did I go wrong? In the first sentence, there are two verbs side by side. I’m not quite sure how to interpret these situations. I knew that Mr. Nakazawa wanted 1000 musicians to play… but couldn’t connect it to the violin. Especially after I crafted this ‘TSUNAMI Violin’ orchestra. I began piecing things to what I already believed. I then misread ‘tree’ as ‘book’. The rest is okay though (so, 2 lines?).


Article

チアダンスは、スポーツの試合を応援する女性たちが踊るダンスです。福井県の福井商業高校のチアダンスのチーム「JETS」は、3日からアメリカのチアダンスの大会に出ました。この大会は世界で有名な大会で、JETSは5年続けて「インターナショナル・チームパフォーマンス」という競技で優勝しました。9日、福井商業高校に生徒や先生が集まって、アメリカから帰ってきたJETSの28人を拍手をして迎えました。JETSの水越麻実さんは「今年も優勝したいと強く思っていました。たくさんの人に応援してもらって感謝しています」と言いました。ダンスを教えた五十嵐裕子先生は「生徒たちはみんな頑張りました。来年も優勝します」と話していました。JETSが初めて優勝したときの話は映画になって、映画館で見ることができます。

My Translation:

The Che Dance is a sport to help women dance. Fukui Prefecture’s Commercial High School dance team “JETS” went to the American Che Dance convention. The JETS have been performing at this international, world-famous competition for 5 years, and now they’ve finally won. The JETS’s Miss Asami Mizukoshi said, “I think we had a strong victory. (Miss?) Tako (a coach?) helped us and we thank her”. This dance teacher to 50 talented students said, “All of my students try their best. We will also win next year”. The story of the JETS’s first victory has become a movie, you can see it in theatres.

Reddit Translation:

Cheerleading is when women dance to cheer on a sports match. Fukui Commercial High School’s Cheerleading Team, the Jets, have been attending an American Cheerleading Tournament since the 3rd. At this world famous tournament, the Jets claimed first place in the [International Team Performance] for the fifth year running. On the 9th, the staff and students of Fukui Commerical [Commercial] High School gathered to greet and congratulate the 28 Jets players returning from America. Mayu Mizukoshi-san of the Jets said [I strongly felt that I wanted to win again this year. I’m grateful to all the people who supported me.] Cheerleading coach Yuko Igarashi-san said [Every student gave it their all. We’ll win again next year.] The story of the Jets first victory has been made into a movie, and can be seen in theatres.

Conclusion: D

Wow, Che Dance is ‘Cheerleading’? Seriously? Whatever, that’s not too bad. It looks like I skipped a line (whoops) and I didn’t realize that they’ve been winning consistently. I didn’t see 28 anywhere so not sure where that came from, misread the teacher’s name as Taku instead of Yuko (but I did correctly guess that she was the coach). Then I got the rest of the translation correct. I’m going to go with D on this one. I only seriously mistranslated two sentences in the middle, I left one sentence out, and completely misinterpreted ‘Che Dance’ (seriously, that’s cheerleading?).


That’ll be it for this post. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Today’s Studies

My Review Process

If you’ve been following this blog for a few months, you’ll no doubt realize that while I tend to write about whatever I want to write about, I generally write reviews of… stuff. Usually games and I’d like to expand it to movies but I’m not really sure I know how to evaluate a medium that I spend so little time in. I spend my life absorbed in manga, anime, and video games, so I know those quite well. If I did eventually start reviewing movies, I would probably review them like I do anime, but that’s a topic for another day. Today I wanted to talk about my review process – particularly for games.

So what is it that makes a game good? Simple – is it fun? That’s probably it. Time to go home folks!

Nah, there’s more. So I look for a myriad of things in games. The first thing I look for (other than whether or not it’s fun) usually depends on the game and what it’s marketed as. See, it’d be unfair for me to evaluate a roguelike as an RPG because they’re two totally different types of games. In a roguelike, the gameplay is usually designed to be endlessly playable, and it’s almost arcade-like in ‘How far can I go’ in nature. While an RPG is designed as a wish fulfillment game, in which you either choose or are given a ROLE to PLAY in this GAME. Since you’re filling a role, there’s usually a role to fill, which means a criticism I often offer in RPGs such as character consistency/motivation is valid there. It would be silly and (as I said earlier) unfair to use such a method of evaluation on a roguelike because that’s not the point of a roguelike. Now this is not to say that RPGs cannot offer roguelike elements and indeed many no doubt do. Long story short – I have different criterion for different types of games.

Actually I don’t want to assign any more numbers because it’s not like I’m going through the game checking off a list. I’m just experiencing the game and these are the things I notice. So no more numbers, just observations.

There are few things that will kill my interest faster than playability. A game needs to be easy to pick up and play or I’ll just leave. I often bring this issue up when it comes to games with difficult to use controls. I shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in Euclidean Geometry to use the ‘Jump’ button. While some developers seem to think that complexity makes a combat system better, I’m going to have to rain on that parade and inform you that it doesn’t. If your game’s controls are so difficult that you need to spend a good 30 minutes to an hour inside a tutorial room, maybe think about your controls again.

The complexity of a gameplay should serve the player in allowing multiple styles of play. This is also a double-edged sword because players are lazy bastards. And what the developers might have intended as giving you options might turn into an effort in futility because the players will always find the easiest way to do a job. So in my mind, a well-done gameplay system will permit many styles of play, but again – we need to keep the type of game in mind. A game like Dark Souls permits the use of many weapon styles and doesn’t have ‘one’ way to complete the game which opens up the game to many different styles of play (though good luck doing the catacombs first). Meanwhile, (and I’m gonna step on a few toes here) a game like Pokemon Red doesn’t really permit too much in the way of variability. You’re all but trapped into using whatever the enemy is weak against or being overleveled compared to the enemy. The later games fix this by adding natures/abilities/move variability. (Though dragon types were super meta for waaaaaay too long)

Part of all games is the atmosphere and one thing that can really make or break an atmosphere is music. Music allows the developer to manipulate the player into feeling a certain way. I’ve recently watched Wolf Children (several times) and I love the movie. Some scenes are great by themselves, such as the snow scene where Hana, Ame, and Yuki are playing. Beautiful. Try watching it without music and then try watching it with music. What you should find is that the music just adds this sheer euphoric delight and turns what would be a great scene into a phenomenal scene. I have no doubt that you could also play with the lighting and music to turn that joyous scene into the prelude of something terrible. Managing the audio in your game to enhance the atmosphere and experience is pretty important to crafting a good game, and is something that I think can ‘rescue’ poor games.

I like to rag on this when it comes to games (especially RPG Maker games because they’re the worst offenders that I see) but the art style has to be CONSISTENT. Art that looks out of place is very jarring to the gaze and I’m going to be spending quite a few hours in this world that you’ve crafted. If I have an eyesore in my line of sight for most of that time I’m going to be saying “Great, I have to go through this town AGAIN” quite a few times, which may make me quit the game.

So I don’t generally don’t review games until I’ve finished them. I’ll make exceptions (game is too long, game is shit, game does not appear to have an ending) but I usually want to play to the credits. This can often be ‘inconvenient’ to a review release schedule but it does give me one additional tool: my feelings. If at any point I find myself saying “Christ, is this game almost over” it signals to me that I’m not enjoying this game. And remember – first and foremost a game should be fun. That’s not to say that bad games can’t be fun, they certainly can and I think that’s where we run into the playerbase creating their fun within the game. There’s nothing wrong with this, though it may make it more difficult for me to rate a game positively.

I do add caveats in my reviews, recognizing that not all games are for everyone. Now if you remember I wrote a post a while ago on how people review things (1-10) incorrectly. Well, I don’t use 1-10 incorrectly. So my bar for reviewing a game as positive is average or better. I know, it means that I will say you should buy most games, but that’s why you should take the rest of the review in context to see if that’s something you actually want to spend money on. Think of my reviews as a brief insight into the game that you can consider before buying them, rather than as a ‘Yes = buy, No = don’t buy’.

Anyway, that’ll be it from me for now. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

My Review Process

Renai Boukun

I was skimming through the upcoming anime season, looking for anime of interest that I was never going to watch. I mean, I read Danmachi back in November of 2015? 2016? And it apparently turned into an anime without me knowing. Suddenly all of my friends are talking about Breastia Hestia and I’m just sitting there like “I read it before y’all even knew about it. Goddamn newfags”.

Anyway, so I came across Renai Boukun’s image. (I do this on MyAnimeList btw)

83243

Cute girl, check. You have my attention. Then I start reading the synopsis.

A Kiss Note is a powerful notebook that makes anyone who has their name written together will instantly fall in love if they kiss each other regardless of any circumstances…

Wait, what’s that? A Kiss Note is a powerful notebook… A KISS NOTE? SOLD I AM FUCKING SOLD. You see, terminology like that indicates that this will probably be some trashy manga with references to other anime and manga that I enjoy. So I decided that I had to read it.

And I read it. All of it. In two days. It’s beautiful. I like to imagine that I am some sorta monocle wearing, mustachioed critic of high society. But I love my trashy romance novels just like anyone else. The synopsis really sells the series short. Here’s your spoiler warning.

spoiler-warning

The manga focuses on the life of Seiji Aino (English). He’s just minding his own business one day when Guri crashes into his life and says he needs to kiss someone or he’ll die. Guri is a cute cupid, a cutepid if you will, that acts as a catalyst for the story (as noted literally last sentence). Guri is actually lying, and she is the one who will ‘die’ if Seiji doesn’t kiss someone, but Seiji would be cursed with being a virgin forever. Not exactly desirable so he kisses Guri. Whoops, Guri forgot to mention that she just wanted him to give her the name of someone so she could complete the couple pairing in her… sigh… Kiss Note. So he still has to kiss someone anyway. He points out the super attractive girl with giant tits (of course) and she turns out to be TOTALLY FUCKING CRAZY.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t enjoy a nice girl with giant tits, but I kinda knew she’d have giant tits because of the harem anime formula. There’s always a girl with giant tits. And if has to be one of the first girls. And Guri looks pretty petite, so it had to be one of the next two girls.

Upon discovering Seiji kissed the Guri the Cutepid. So she tries to kill him but Guri has paired Seiji with Tits and with Guri herself so they’re share fates. Guri is immortal so they’re all immortal (but Seiji can still feel pain). Guri is your stereotypical yaoi-loving fangirl so she spends all of her time making boys fall in love. She thinks it’s fun, it’s a game, so she looks for more (male) members to add to the Seiji Harem. The rest of the manga are the hilarious hijinks that result from mixing yandere bait with looking for more harem partners.

The manga has a lot of references and with its fourth wall breaking moments and delightful atmosphere, it reminds me of that Cthulhu girl anime I watched a couple of years ago. (Google search) Apparently it’s called Nyaruko: Crawling with Love. I’m legitimately surprised by how little fanservice the manga has.

My personal opinion, the manga is pure pleasure… for someone like me that likes these trashy pandering manga. It’s a harem manga for people that are culturally invested in manga overall, rather than the harem itself. Contrasting this with a harem giant like To Love-Ru. To Love-Ru is about the harem .This manga is probably more accurately described as being about the industry. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I can readily recommend it to other people. I think it’s a very niche manga, but if you think your interests are similar to mine, give it a whirl. That’ll be it from me though, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Renai Boukun

Disgraced

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Steam Page

This game is total garbage.

Oops, did I spoil the review a little early? Should I have put in all of the negative points first? Well, probably, but people on the internet have short attention spans for long review posts. They probably only look for the yea/nay and call it a day. Anyway, Disgraced is a total disgrace (see what I did there?). Let me explain.

Disgraced is an RPG Maker game, and RPG Maker games are already a plague on the Earth because of their terrible graphics and awful copy/pasta scripts but this game goes way beyond that. First, let’s talk about the introduction. To introduce you to the game, Disgraced copies George Lucas. That is, they do the text scroll thing like in Star Wars. Which by itself… can be excused… maybe. Put some ambient music behind it, have scenes playing in the background, sure. I could live with that. I wouldn’t like it, I think it’s lazy, but I could live with it. This game just runs text up a black screen with way too much blank space between lines. You ever program? Imagine like 40 newlines between every line of code. Obnoxious and terrible execution.

The plot of the game is that you are a deserter that gets conned into leading a rebellion. Your qualification for this seems to be – you are a deserter. You didn’t kill the guy you were working for. You ran like a little girl. Your task is to ‘liberate’ (hostile takeover) three cities and gather enough support to take on Kyoto. You do this by walking all across Japan and going to every town. You need to gather the support of villages (usually via bribery) because you’re not allowed to attack the cities unless you have enough support.

Get enough support, fight samurai death squads, and beat the Shogun. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it’s not. The combat in this game has to some of the most poorly balanced combat I’ve ever seen. You will miss almost every single attack. You have two (2!) health bars to manage Vitality and Morale. If you run out of Vitality you die and if you run out of Morale you desert. Shit, it’s the same damn thing for the purpose of combat. May as well dump all your points in Vitality because my Morale never dropped below two-thirds.

And you best make all of the offerings to RNGsus because if you take a single crit you may as well reload your save because that person is likely dead. Like, dead dead. No revivals. Normally this wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. After all, Fire Emblem does it too. But Fire Emblem’s RNG isn’t terrible. But combine that with the fact that your party does NOT level together, losing your level 7 dude with only level 1 goons to replace him means grinding or (in my case) reloading your save. And it wouldn’t be so bad but every attack (barring one skill, I think) is single-target. You have 3 people, they will almost always have 5. Which means you get 3 attacks a turn and they get 5. Combine that with the terrible RNG and you get a game in which combat is cancer. The SFX are too loud and the BGM is non-existent. Well, it’s there but even at max volume you can hardly hear it. Isn’t really any good either.

In fact, if I had to pick two words to describe this game, they would be ‘Needlessly Complicated’. There are so many skills (which again, many are functionally useless because who needs morale?) that leveling up certain skills makes you wonder where the newb traps are. The stats you level up (probably) don’t matter. I only ever leveled up ‘Might’ and I swept the game just fine. The resource management is also needlessly complicated, and serves only as means to bribe the villages to assist in your cause. This support manifests itself only by resources you supposedly collect once a day but I’m not sure that collection ever happened. You can collect a ton of allied units but because of the problem I mentioned above, there’s no reason to. Just use your first three goons to sweep the game (that’s what I did anyway).

The choices you make have zero impact on the game. I could’ve sworn I saw ‘Choices matter’ somewhere associated with this game. They don’t. Don’t waste your time. Press space through every dialogue, there’s nothing of value there. One you get some money rolling and can afford decent equipment (highest damage/accuracy) you can win any battle by killing enemies in one or two hits. This drastically improves your 3v5 situation to 3v3 or 3v2.

Let’s take a quick look at the map design. The game uses stock sprites from RPG Maker (exclusively, I think). And you can really tell because the wolf sprite doesn’t have the same style as some of the box sprites (among other things). And while this is terrible by itself, it becomes much, much worse when you don’t make it clear what you can walk through and what you cannot. Combine this with narrow passages and an NPC that stands LITERALLY IN YOUR WAY then navigating towns becomes insufferable.

This game is not worth $10; this game is not worth $1. It’s a short game (takes, maybe 4 hours to clear?) and you will not enjoy it. I guarantee it. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Disgraced

The Electoral College and Popular Vote

EDIT: Whoops. Forgot to proofread my work and left in the notes to myself to add the links to support my words.

rxl2yIt seems like the proctologist business is booming because there seems to be a lot of butts that are hurt over the recent United States 2016 Presidential Election. Namely, over its results. The God-Emperor Donald J. Trump, the madman himself, has won the presidential election. That’s right, despite almost every news station, newspaper, news website, celebrities, hell, despite what several popular YouTubers said about Trump being ‘deplorable’, he won. I guess it just goes to show that attempting to no-platform ideas you disagree with doesn’t work forever.

So being the tolerant leftists that they are they stood down and accepted… oh wait. They didn’t. Which is fairly odd because Clinton herself said that Trump was undermining democracy by saying he wouldn’t accept the outcome if he lost. She said this on national television during the third (and I believe the second) presidential debate. Now those of you that watch the full clip will know that Clinton called Trump out on it because he’s a Presidential candidate, but if we are to believe the idea of citizen representatives we have to extend it to all citizens of the United States. So these (presumably) Clinton supporters (or at least a large chunk of them are) are protesting, undermining democracy in the same way their candidate said that which they hate was undermining democracy! Irony and hypocrisy make such a delicious combo. So now they’re protesting, blocking streets, beating up 74-year old men, and damaging property. Now the point of this post isn’t to point out the hypocrisy in people or even the left, I’d be here all day. However, I believe there is something of value to come out of these… protests.

There’s a kink in this victory, the Honorable President-Elect Donald J. Trump may have won the electoral college votes (barring any shenanigans in December), but he LOST the popular vote by about half a million votes (illegal immigrant vote came out this time). So now we run into the fifth case of the person that won the popular vote losing the electoral college vote (again, assuming no elector shenanigans). We’ve had this happen five times in the history of our United States. George Washington was our first president in 1789 and Donald Trump will be our president in 2017. 2017-1789 = 228. But we only have an election every 4 years, so 228/4 = 57. So we’ve had 5 out of 57 elections or 8.7% of elections in which the president did not become the president with the popular vote.

So where are we at today? Well, those same leftists I mentioned earlier are proposing that Clinton should be the president despite losing the Electoral College system vote because she won the popular vote. I cannot agree to this and I’ll tell you why. It’s a simple matter of cities holding the most power.

First, CGP Grey (fantastic YouTuber, highly recommend just watching a playlist of his content) argues against the Electoral College because of a mathematical quirk. In this, he counters the ‘Presidential candidates will only visit densely populated states in a popular vote system’ argument with the swing state condition that we’re in right now. I don’t like his argument here. Right now and for the past several elections, candidates have focused on the swing states. While true, the argue is entirely based on the situation now. That situation can change, and his argument only holds while those swing states remain those swing states. Theoretically any state can become a swing state and I would not be surprised if with some population distribution we could make ALL of them swing states. So I don’t like the ‘swing states exist and presidents ignore all other states’ argument.

Second, CGP Grey (same video above) lists the more pressing problem with Electoral College in that 75% of the country can vote against a candidate and that candidate can still win. This would be a problem if we Americans lived in a true democracy, but we don’t. I think the question here is whether or not we want to accept such a possibility if it were to occur. Is it really fair that 25% of people in the country can decide who leads our nation for the next four years?

Third, CGP Grey has made (another?) follow-up video in which he addresses the concerns that I might have with the Electoral College – trust. Do we really trust the electors to vote as the states requested? It’s illegal in some states to not do so, but are the consequences of not doing so steep enough? The answers to these questions are up to you but I do believe they’re worth talking about.

Now onto my contribution. The reason I brought this up is because all of a sudden people care whether or not the United States President is selected democratically by popular vote or continues to be selected by the Electoral College. More specifically, I wanted to take a look at this:

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So this is a list of the most highly populated areas in the United States. The implication being that such a small area of the United States would have great power over the United States. Should the president be elected solely by people that live in what looks like an impossibly tiny faction of the United States? I disagreed, but I wanted to see how far this rabbit hole goes so I went digging.

First, I found the average number of electoral votes per state. We have 538 electoral votes, 50 states and 1 Washington D.C. That’s an average of over 10 electoral votes per state. A state cannot have a fraction of a vote, so let’s round down to 10 electoral votes per person. If you look at every state worth 10 or more electoral votes, it looks like this:

rxl2y

(Don’t focus too much on them being marked for Trump, it’s for visualization purposes only)

10 is the average number of electoral votes, therefore there should be about 25 states here, right? Half of the states should be above the average, half of the states should be below it. There are 21 states here. That’s not too far off, but it’s still only 80% the number of states that it should be. What’s the problem? As you can see, 42% of states control 70% of the electoral college votes. Is this fair? It might be. Let’s look at this list of cities with the most population in the United States.

Of the 50 cities, only 4 are not listed within the states I’ve marked red on the map above. Which means if, assuming you win the most populous cities in the United States under a popular vote system, you control the presidency. But I wonder, how many cities do you need to control to control the presidency? For the 2016 election, there were 146,311,000 registered voters. You only need 50% + 1 vote to win, so you need 73,155,501 votes to win. So how do the cities stack up? Well, if every person in every one of those 50 cities voted for you, you’d have 50,102,395 votes. You wouldn’t have the presidency outright, but you’d be 67% of the way there. The odds of this happening are probably negligible but visiting these areas can still give you impact on surrounding cities, so hopefully that balances things out. Assuming you won every state that had one of these major cities in them, you’d have an electoral map that looked like this:

zkmdk

So this is better in that it includes more of the country, but it’s still 29 states (well, 28 states and D.C.). Most of those states would probably be ignored because they had little to no population. I suspect the midwest as a group would probably be mostly ignored under a popular vote system. So there’s no reason for someone in the Dakotas to bother getting excited about any president because they can disregard the Dakotas completely.

I think the main reason people are opposed to the electoral college is because of the influence a republican vote has in California. Why bother voting republican if you’re in California? It’s loaded with democrats and there’s no way you can topple that might. Because you vote for the votes of your state, you may as well not bother getting out of bed that day. But if you’re in a popular vote system, aha! Now your vote matters even if you’re a republican in California. I don’t like this line of logic. Surely if the republicans made themselves distinguishable in California, they might attract more campaign time for those sweet 55 electoral votes. Maybe after a few cycles of this, republicans can make a swing state of California. But you’ll never be heard if you do not vote.

I think the main press for popular vote by the left is because of their base demographic. Democrats are known for their love of social programs. Where are the people that are on these social programs? They’re in the cities! So the left is confident that in a popular vote system that they’ll have more power. Of those 50 cities, how many were in California? 8. There were 8 cities that account for 9,066,724 votes. These 8 cities in California account for over 10% of the votes needed to win the presidency. And they’re all in one small area. The electoral college allows the states with fewer people to be competitive with the larger states… in theory (swing states are still a thing whether we like it or not).

To be clear, I’m not saying that the current system is perfect, but I do believe that it is better than one based on pure popular vote. I’m not suggesting any alternative method. I’m just asking you to reconsider your outrage when it comes to popular vote and the electoral college. That’ll be it from me, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

The Electoral College and Popular Vote

Mirror’s Edge

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Steam Page

Hay Caramba. This game. Look, there are several cardinal sins in gaming. Two of the bigger ones are quick time events (or QTEs) and first-person platforming. Mirror’s Edge has both of these so there goes my ability to give it a fair review.

Mirror’s Edge is about a woman named Faith who works for a secret underground organization carrying packages whose entire training program is on rooftops. Irony ever present. Your group seems to have some beef with the government though I don’t think that’s ever explained. It’s never really explained who you work for either; or what you’re delivering and I don’t think we ever delivered a single package. So I’m not sure we’re in the right organization. Maybe we just have to take it on Faith that we’re doing our job (Har har, name jokes). In fact, I don’t see much point in the underground organization thing, Faith spends the entire game trying to get her sister off for a crime her sister didn’t commit. Seems like just about any occupation would do because it’s irrelevant.

The story is downright terrible. Maybe it’s because the game is so short and wasn’t meant to have a story. But they still managed to Jackknife  (oops I did it again!) so many little pieces together. Maybe it’s just because I’m me, but I don’t understand why people with guns insist on putting guns right up against the person they’re about to shoot. Seriously, are you the type of person that plays archer class and stands right next to the enemy you’re trying to kill? You have a RANGED WEAPON. Why are you using it in melee range? Why so close to people you absolutely KNOW have hand-to-hand training! I guess you know you have that same training, but do you really need to take that chance? Just sit back 100 meters and shoot the guy. Hell, 10 meters will do. Ugh. Betrayals happen for little to no reason, or at least no adequately explained reason. Maybe there will be a sequel that handles all of that. After all, the game was rather short. I just feel like you could’ve focused on one story rather than trying to loop together some two and a half stories.

Let’s talk mechanics. You know, I absolutely hate quick time events, but Mirror’s Edge executes them in an adequate way. Quick time events are horrible when there’s no way to know that they’re coming. It’s annoying to fail a quick time event and get sent back to base when you had no means of knowing that it was coming. But in Mirror’s Edge, the entire game is pretty much built on quick time events so it’s not as bad. It’s a parkour game. You run, you jump, you balance, it’s all fun. When things can be jumped on or something they colorize from white to red, making it easy to identify where you could go if you were so inclined. Only not all red things should be acted upon. So it’s eh.

The combat is really $#@!ing retarded. You can take two hits from any police dude. Two. They also have guns. You know what you have? Tattoos and a bad haircut. So if two hits seems unfair to you, you’re going to have a bad time. You can steal guns from cops but to do so requires running at the cop (who, unlike the baddies mentioned before are actually smart enough to use their guns from range) and then wait for them to attack you. As they attack you, you can do your counter attack which insta-KOs and steals their gun. Which, if you’re going to play this game would be a very important skill to learn because if you hope to win sometime today you’ll be using it a lot. And this is where the game went from quicky parkour to pain in the behind.

See, whatever you’re doing has to be extremely illegal because the cops in the city have nothing better to do than send whole squads of cops your way with helicopter support. HELICOPTER SUPPORT. And remember, you’re not even delivering anything! It’s insane the amount of public resources that get spent on you. Anyway, the game sends full squads of cops your way. Now normally, you’d think “Okay, parkour game. We’ll just parkour around them or through them or something”. Absolutely incorrect. The game spawns cops in such a way that it’s very difficult to do so. My first attempts were usually to try and skirt the cops. But eventually I found it easier to run at the cops, do the QTE, and use their gun to take out the other cops. And this is where Mirror’s Edge fails. It’s just not fun to have to parkour to a cop, pass a QTE, and then turn the game into a first-person shooter for a few just to pass the levels. It breaks the pacing and it involves a lot of restarts should you fail that QTE.

Also, who was in charge of skybox? Is there enough bloom in the game? I guess it might be to help emphasize the red on white thing, but seriously. Put down the lights.

You know what the worst part is? I could see this game working. If you remove the combat and focus on the parkour, I think it could be excellent. I feel like to do that would require sandbox gameplay though. Also, can we deliver packages for once? I mean, that’s kinda what I wanted to do. I imagined myself free-running away and around the cops delivering packages. Instead I had to fight the cops to take their package and then kill the other cops with it. What a shame.

In summary, good idea, poor execution. I have a feeling the story was put on the backburner and that’s fine, but trying to shovel in a second story of betrayal without fleshing out the first story means bad design. Too. Many. Guns. Guns kill the fun parkour style of the game. At the time of writing, the game is $20 on Steam. I would not buy it for this price. Wait for it to go on super sale for like $5.

Artemis Hunt

Mirror’s Edge