Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Doom Eternal (2020) Review

This review is strictly about Doom Eternal's (2020) single-player campaign. I don't delve into the game's lore, or examine its multi-player.

I'll start with the most important question, first: "Is it Gothic?"

Well, sort of.

In Britain, the Neo-Gothic movement initially focused on the return—of a Romanticized past, imprinted on the Catholic faith as demonized during the Reformation. By visiting Hell on Earth, Doom Eternal returns an "older," devilish religion to the mortal plane: the Hell priests. These robed outsiders announce themselves with gaudy icons, skulls and yawning spires; the Slayer, a sword-wielding hulk, belongs to an order of medieval knights called the Sentinels. It's all highly Romantic from a visual standpoint; deliberately antiquated.



Doom Eternal ignores many of the other ways a Gothic space can function. Its levels aren't mazes to lose yourself in; they're scenic, and have only one direction by which to move: forwards.…

Doom Eternal: Made for Speed... but Speedrunning?

To a certain extent, Doom (1993) has always been about speed. And Quake(1996). Players are timed and scored on how fast they can go. Now the technology and demand for a game that fits the practice has finally come about in the "widely marketable" Doom Eternal (2020). Videogames have never been developed for a larger speedrunning audience; Doom Eternal was made for Twitch, and for speed, but was it made for speedrunning?

Doom Eternal isn't bleak, but bright and colorful (akin to Diablo 3 infamously "having color"). Its metal-loving pastiche riffs off early '90s Doom and Quake II(1998), but also muscle-bound fantasy heroes like He-man and Conan the Barbarian. Personally I prefer the darker, spookier PSOne port (1995), but I'm in the minority—an active minority given that Doom 64 (1996) comes with purchasing Doom Eternal



Regarding demons and heavy metal, the "correct" way to present them has always been in flux. This includes artistic presentati…

Castlevania, season 3 review

Part one in a future series, this post reviews Castlevania season three (2020) in its entirety. Spoilers!

Castlevania's third season is so refreshingly competent that I hesitate to say anything bad about it. To be sure, I could complain. However, the overall experience is rock-solid—darkly funny, clever and brutal. There's even a healthy dose of sex, despite my earlier fears. The wide cast features vampires, hunters, Judges, magicians, and craftsman. Bound up inside a larger conflict, the simple notion of good-versus-evil is abandoned for a more complex take.


This drama is the heart of the show, its ace-in-the-hole. This isn't to say its other areas—the actors, action and artistry—don't merit tremendous praise. They do. However, it's how these interact that makes Castlevania so rare: It's not a good videogame adaptation; it's an amazing videogame adaptation, something of a holy grail for me. It would have been easy for the writers to fall back onto the franc…

Sex in Castlevania, season 3 (2020)

Simply put, Castlevania season 3 (2020) is shaping up to be the best AAA videogame adaptation since sliced bread; or, as Trevor puts it, "better than sex." This second part may or may not be true, but it's an amazing show for a whole bevy of reasons. I'll why that is in a future review. For now I wanted to briefly mention and discuss Trevor and Sypha's long-awaited sex scene.

Note: I'm still in the middle of watching the show. There could be more sex to come, or none at all. For now, I'm discussing this one moment and one moment only.



For a show that seemed allergic to sex in seasons one and two, it feels refreshing to see Trevor and Sypha getting it on. Episode one implies it; episode two confirms it. They lie in bed, the sheets thrown over their bodies. There's even a bit of slapstick thrown in, and cutesy dialogue between them. It seems fairly tame until you consider how little sex this show had, up to this point.

In other words, nothing so pornogra…

My Art Website Is Live!

I've spent the past several weeks preparing to launch my own art portfolio website, vanderwaardart.com. This website is now live. For this post, I wanted to explain my website—why I decided to get one, what's on it, and the style of my artwork featured there.


Why

The purpose of the website is autonomy—to grant me total control over my own content. I'm an erotic artist, which means my work is controlled. This regulation generally comes from others, and varies per site; each platform comes with its own restrictions and limitations, which can be incredibly frustrating to work under. Deviant Art limits traffic for "mature content," allowing nudity but having a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual acts. Apart from its own submission rules, Hentai Foundry encourages sexual acts, but has less of a demand for "safer" artwork. Twitter is much more content-tolerant, but lacks an ability to organize posted material; it also features its own mystifying policies, e…

Visual Clutter in Brutal Doom/Project Brutality

With Doom Eternal's (2020) release so close, I wanted to write about Doom in general. This piece critiques a two famous "mods" in the Doom community: Brutal Doom, and Project Brutality (B&B). At times I wish they had vastly different titles to help distinguish them. As to the exact differences between them, I'll let someone else explain.

What matters, here, is their general purpose: to "improve" the classic experience by making the Doom games harder, faster, and... prettier—a worthy goal, but also where my complaints mostly lie. Having tried Project Brutality back in 2017 I remember enjoying it, largely because the build I was using—whether through its own status of incompletion or my inability to install the more dubious aspects—was generally in the graphical style of the original Doom engine. This means pixels; so no particle effects, transparency or motion blur, etc.


One problem I have with with B&B is their current treatment of projectiles, gore…

The Gothic in Metroid's Aesthetic, and a Super Metroid Remake?

I'd heard recently that a Super Metroid remake is in the works. I wanted to write about that, here, but also give my thoughts on remakes, and the idea as it pertains to the Gothic in videogames—specifically Metroid as a Gothic franchise.

Note: Written while listening to "Alien: Isolation ASMR."



Remakes are a curious business; they generally involve a great deal of reinvention, but try to preserve something in the bargain. For the Gothic, the thing being preserved is generally the "past." This falls in line with Metroid(1986-present). This sci-horror franchise might seem concerned with the so-called future. But it's also Gothic, fixated on the reimagined past.

This object can vary a lot, and has historically. For Walpole and the Neo-Gothic writers, the Gothic's sense of dislocated pastness came about through a cultivated aesthetic—of the medieval period distanced from actual history as it was understood in the 1700s; it took the form of castles, filled wi…