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Showing posts from 2020

Giving My Two Cents: A Metal Compendium

Hi, I'm the "two cents" guy. I listen to metal songs on YouTube, though mainly remasters/remixes. This is a compilation—of interviews I've given with Bryce Barilla, State of Mercury and Ahdy Khairat, but also videos of theirs on YouTube that I've commented on in the past, and other music reviews/write-ups I've done.  Interviews My interviews focus on the history of these musicians, and the approach to making their content. Bryce Barilla: Bryce's initial approach was more conservative. He remixed and re-recorded old Metallica songs, but didn't mess quite as much with the song structures themselves. Over time, though, his approach to the format has become increasingly experimental, rewriting the songs, but also—re: with his latest material—improving on the audio production by leaps and bounds. Read my interview with Bryce, here. State of Mercury: Out of the three, Mercury's approach has been the most ambitious, songwriting-wise. His top-notch playi

Borrowed Robes: The Role of "Chosen" Clothing — Part 1: Female Videogame Characters

This two-part series examines the historical lack of choice regarding character appearance in videogames—namely clothes. Part one examines these issues as they pertain to women; part two, for queer people.  Note: When I write "clothes," I mean in the literal sense, but also the character's total onscreen appearance—their physique, dialogue, move set, etc. For women, such personas seldom represent actual female desires—either of the character, or any women who controls her. Instead, they represent how women are controlled by their male peers through the forced assignment of clothes that sexualize women in unfavorable ways.  When it comes to wearing clothes in videogames, women cannot consent. Consent requires choice, and female depiction in videogames historically demonstrates a lack of choice regarding character clothing. For women, clothing doesn't represent actual female players and their wants; it represents desires prescribed to them by men. These serve as a form

Army of Darkness: Valorizing the Idiot Hero

Sitting down to watch Army of Darkness  (1992) for the umpteenth time, I found myself somewhat perplexed: On one hand, this was a family favorite; I'd grown up with this movie. Watching it this time, I found myself unable to enjoy it in quite the same way. It's certainly quotable—even funny in spots, if only for the visual gags. But the idiocy of the hero, Ash, was impossible to ignore, and not always for the better. He lampoons the heroic tale, but does nothing to abate its sexist blueprint. The first Evil Dead (1982) is a Gothic classic; its effects are crude but effective, and its hero actually suffers. The second movie is largely tongue-in-cheek, slapstick. Army of Darkness  is Raimi at his most Romantic, and sexist; he hurls Ash back into the past, where his wildest, manliest dreams come true. A tale of reaffirmed hubris, its dreamlike material sends our hero into an increasingly delusional state.  Byronic antiheros like Don Juan were intentionally excessive. A parody of p

Gothic themes in The Vanishing / Spoorloos (1988)

The Vanishing  / Spoorloos  (1988) has a cheerful appearance, but a dark feel. A chilling tale of tragic love, it concludes in the most horrifying of ways. And, like many Gothic tales, a strange element of fun lingers amid the hellish torment. It has all the ingredients of mystery and revenge: a boyfriend and his lover, wronged by a perfidious killer. But it lacks the mediaeval imagery and immediate fanfare of American outings ( Seven , Silence of the Lambs , etc). Instead, it's more laid back—a vacation gone awry.  A Dutch couple, Saskia and Rex, are traveling in France. While on the road, Saskia tells Rex of a dream—her, trapped inside a golden egg surrounded by darkness. Her egg must touch another egg for the darkness to end. Then, the two eggs can meld, sharing oblivion forever. The Vanishing is based off a novel called  The Golden Egg  (1984; written by Tim Krabbé, also The Vanishing 's screenwriter).  If Saskia's dream is hard to picture, the next scene illustrates it

Hell-blazers: Update 2, "The Speedrun Killer" — FrostyXen

I'm Nicholas van der Waard, host of "Hell-blazers." What follows is a second interview with FrostyXen , a past WR-holder for the game on Speedrun.com ( click here for his latest run , which has since been beaten by speedrunner Xiae's own run ). This interview covers the game’s patches, their effect on its ability to be speedrun, and the game's professional scene. "Hell-blazers" interviews Twitch streamers, speedrunners and Doom fans about Doom Eternal (2020); it asks them, based on their own experiences, to compare the game to the rest of the franchise, and what effect it will have on speedrunning and gaming at large. General information about "Hell-blazers" can be found, here ; a compendium of the interviews as they are published can be found here (which also includes interesting videos, break-downs and other articles). Instability Nick: Since Patch 2 of Doom Eternal, I’ve seen considerably less speedrunners playing Doom Eternal on Twitch. S

Hell-blazers: Update 2, "The Speedrun Killer" — Your Mate Devo

I'm Nicholas van der Waard, host of "Hell-blazers." What follows is another interview with  Your Mate Devo , an Aussie speedrunner and software engineer. We cover the game’s Update 2 patch, and its effect on the game's ability to be speedrun "Hell-blazers" interviews Twitch streamers, speedrunners and Doom fans about Doom Eternal (2020); it asks them, based on their own experiences, to compare the game to the rest of the franchise, and what effect it will have on speedrunning and gaming at large. General information about "Hell-blazers" can be found, here ; a compendium of the interviews as they are published can be found here (which also includes interesting videos, break-downs and other articles). Instability Nick: Since Patch 2 of Doom Eternal, I’ve seen considerably less speedrunners playing Doom Eternal on Twitch. Speedrunners comment on frequent run-ending crashes introduced by Patch 2. Does a crash-to-desktop basically equal a dead run for