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Strip 67


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< Piro >

"wait... please"

Tuesday - January 16, 2001

[Piro] - 08:10:00 - [link here]

I really need to start getting to bed earlier. I have been up until 2:00 am every night for the past week, and on Saturday night seraphim and I went to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - the 12:45 showing over at Showcase Cinemas, to be exact. Ugh. Didn't go to bed till 4:00 am that night. Damn fine movie. If you haven't seen it, do it. Michele Yeoh and Zhang Zi Yi were awesome, not to mention the irrepressible Chow Yun Fat. ^_^

'Multiple save points' are kind of the modern incarnation of the 'rewind/erase' button so many of us needed when we were kids (and so classically referred to in that infamous Calvin and Hobbs Strip ^^;;). The ability to go back and start over from a 'safe haven' in a game was not always possible. Remember when you couldn't save your place in a game? Every time i fuqqored up in Sonic the Hedgehog (yes, the original one. I still have that beat up old Sega Genesis somewhere around here) I had to start from the very beginning (i was too stupid to learn about the existence of secret codes until i had beat the game). My, how times change. For instance, I notice that 'Sense Off', the game i talked about in my last rant, must have at least 25 savepoints. That's a lot of room to mess up and still save your sorry ass. ^_^

The media loves to rail on the fact that video games are bad and evil because you can shoot people and get shot without actually killing anyone or dying yourself. There's nothing new about violence in young people's lives. The same people who rail against violent games no doubt played world war II in their backyards or something similar when they were kids. As far as I am concerned, the violent content is a lesser evil. The REAL portent of the ruin of western civilization is far more subtle, far more insidious. It is one thing that no generation before ours has EVER had access too before...

The ability to save their games at almost any point during gameplay.

Why is the ability to save your game so evil? I think it is because it allows you to approach things with far less commitment. Decisions can be made with the knowledge that you can always go back to a previous save and start over, or that you will simply respawn somewhere else in the same map, just short a few weapons. Imagine how hard it would have been to finish Quake if every time you died, you had to start over at the beginning of the first level? (yes, i know some people can do it, but I'm talking about most people here ^_^). Heck, if games were like real life, imagine:

... you open the wrapper on your brand new game 'Kill or be Killed' and proceed to install it. You finally get everything installed and tweaked, you read the manual from cover to cover, practice your moves in the practice area. The game then asks you, "are you ready?" - you respond yes, and away you go. 25 seconds into the game a stray rocket comes out of nowhere and aerosols the lower half of your body. You see the words "Game Over" appear on the screen. The game exits, and promptly erases itself. A small electrical pulse is sent to the CDRom that is still sitting in your drive which insights a little charge in the disk which snaps the CDrom into a half dozen shards. Game Over. It even goes to the trouble to bury enough crap in the registry to prevent you from ever playing the game again unless you totally rebuild your system (which is a kind of reincarnation anyways)...

The point is, if you couldn't go back and start over, you wouldn't last 5 minutes in most games. You NEED to be able to do this just to learn the skillz needed to succeed in a game. Game's aren't really all that analogous to life in that respect. Sure, in real life you can go out and shoot and kill people just like in the games, if that's your thing, but no one can go back and 'undo' something they did, or go back and 'try it again' till they get it right. The real thing gamers crave is the ability to go in and become experts in something - mainly because it lets them do it over and over again till they get it right.

And if anyone needed a rewind/erase button in his life, or the ability to go back to a previous save, it's me. ^_^ Ohhhh boy. I could be the poster child for the need of this ability in life. When I think about it, there are probably a lot of things i would have missed if I were able to do that. Who says that you can really ever make the right choices anyways? If Piro could really go back and change some of what he did (heck, most of what he did) would he really end up winning the game? Makes you wonder.

[mental note - drink less coffee. Much less.]

I'm very happy with this week's new sketch. Like it says in the notes, i can't really say much about her without giving things away. You could almost consider this yet another 'Development Sketch'. I know, I know, yet ANOTHER character? (chuckle) you'll see...

Today's strip is a bit of a tribute to the online comic that really inspired me to do Megatokyo. "Minase ke no shoku taku" (The dining table of the Minase's) by Iceshop Hos-Rim is a japanese comic that pretty much pokes fun at the Keysoft games (Kannon, One, Air) and has made me chuckle for over a year. He usually updates one or twice a week. The strip that really inspired me (in fact, the one that prompted me to take on the nick 'Piro') is this one. The title 'Hana yori dango' translates to 'I'll take the actual profit than a mere beauty' according to Tsubasa-san (and no, it's NOT "boys before flowers" like the anime - Iceshop is playing with words ^_^). Great strip. It showed me that you can have cute adorable girls in a strip in this format - tho MT isn't drawn anywhere near as well. Oh, The girl with the Taiyaki (a fish-shaped sweet pastry) is Ayu-chan - a character from the game Kanon. The girl holding the cat is Makoto. And you can guess at the cat's name. ^_^

As a public service, tsubasa did translate the strip that is currently up on the site:

#106 The pyramid at the middle of summer.

< Largo >

you're already here.


Tuesday - January 16, 2001

[Largo] - 07:20:00 - [link here]

I feel sorry for celebrities, don't you?

The whole celebrity concept is a weird one for me to grasp. The more I think about celebrities and their problems, the more I wonder if we should admire them, or pity them. The moment a person attains any level of celebrity, they are drawn into a relationship with their fans, whether they want it, or not.

When you can't even carry on a conversation with someone because the other individual doesn't see you as just another guy, but rather some great subjective 'thing' - you really can't do much but nod, and hope they go away. It's no wonder so many celebrities can't relate to their fans and end up only being able to socialize, date, and marry within their own circles. Some people think it is because of elitism on their part, but I would offer that it is because of a lack of options.

This relationship has its good sides, and its bad. It's all a matter of scale really, the bigger the celebrity, the more fans they have, the more good fans, the more bad fans. So it reasons that the larger a celebrity is, the more stark raving mad fans there are that go around causing trouble.

Why bring up such an obvious observation? ... Glad you asked.

Recently I began to apply his odd bit of logic to everything else, besides the obvious actor/fan model. Take politics for example, on each side you have people supporting their celebrity, their politician. Yet, on each side you have a good number of these bad fans as well. Since millions of people get involved in politics each year, it reasons that if you look hard enough at the political fans, you'll find a plethora of fruit cakes who ought to be living in a padded room with no doors rather then spending time in a voting booth.

I've always admired the work of Tatsuya Ishida of the infamous Sinfest. His strips can be so straight forward and honest that it sometimes reminds me of days long ago, when Bill Watterson still inked his magic for us.

Well, the days of Watterson may be gone, but not forgotten. I think Sinfest captures some of the light that Watterson tried to shine on us. One of Ishida's characters that I always love to see is named Seymour. See, Seymour's deal is he is a fan, a fan of god. Perhaps 'fanboy' would be the better term for him, a character so rap'd up in his zealot idealogy that he lacks even a sense of humor about it.

I think it's safe to suggest that there is no greater a celebrity then god, so I'm pretty sure he has the most fans. If you look at it this way, we ought to pity god, because he has to deal with more lunatic fanboys then anyone else in the known universe.

It's no wonder he stopped answering his mail and just flooded the place.

Speaking of email...

I been getting mail being forwarded back and forth from myself and other website owners regarding the problems surrounding a certain adbanner provider, and the entire web adbanner network fall out of the last year.

I think Lowtax of somethingawful said it best in a article he wrote found here. The entire system seems to be falling apart when there is no reason for it to be dying. The model is sound, advertising works, it works for radio, for television, and for the internet. So where is the problem? Who is to blame?

As an American, I'm always looking for someone to blame for my problems, It's just part of culture of passing the buck. So in this instance, I blame the adbanner networks for not accurately figuring out who a website's audience really is via demographics. It doesn't do the advertisee' much good if their product, lets say for example's sake; adult toys and sexual aid devices, are advertised on a religious website. Unless that website's religion involves some pretty kinky stuff...

I also blame the advertisee's for placing blind faith in adbanner networks to properly help market their product and for not checking into where they are being advertised.

I think the model of making money on the net is sound, but right now there are too many crooks and frauds who have been milking the system and bamboozling their clients that a panic has errupted which is hurting even legitamate adbanner networks.

Eventually the snake oil salesmen will find a new marketplace to push their poisons, and then the advertisors will return, and this time maybe they will be a little wiser.


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