Full Course: Lisa

Content Warning: This article will be discussing suicide, depression, child abuse, sexual assault, drug use, and a great deal more. Reader discretion is advised.

Back when I wrote on Alan Wake, I brought up the philosophical idea of determinism, the idea that people act based on what has been done to them. I originally wasn’t expecting to return to that idea so soon (as the original plan was to revisit the crude comedy point and click, Randal’s Monday), but I had to rush through a game series for an assignment and found determinism rearing its head yet again, though with less meta-textual and a more realistic framing. This is made odder because the theme came up in the game series Lisa, which induces gaming personality Jim Sterling as a hidden boss who asks you to jump off a cliff, wear a dress, and take hallucinatory drugs made partly from garbage.

So yeah.

Full Course Lisa

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Tropes Vs Community

A common occurrence I see in the most popular American sitcoms is a strong, obvious emotional core, or a thematic tapping of nostalgia or political and real life insecurities. There’s usually something about these shows that endears them to their audience, capturing a friendlier version of their views or how they interpret the world. But the near adult youth of 2009 were in a strange spot. Things were bad, but mainly in aftermath, and most of them lacked a context for it. If they did understand the mortgage bubble and the USA’s normalization of constant war, they were just now going to college and didn’t really know how to deal with it. So what sort of TV would they watch? The answer ended up being shows that engaged with meta humor, like The Office toying with story telling techniques, or the absurdist segways of 30 Rock.

There was a detached, uncaring quality to these shows, existing in their own little world, but capturing something real to the audience. They reflected not insecurity, but the almost comical ridiculous status of things by refusing to meaningfully engage and instead poke holes in. The king of those shows ended up becoming Dan Harmon’s Community, and today, I’d like to point out what it’s true core strength was. Community is remembered for its meta nature, but it’s real power was absolutely refusing to make its characters actual people. Community is a show powered by tropes and conventions. It’s time to examine why.

tropes vs community

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Full Course: Shadowrun Returns Trilogy

Better cyberpunk than The Last Night.

Full Course Shadowrun

How did I not know about Shadowrun before now? If I had to guess, the title probably threw me off. “Shadowrun.” That’s the type of generic, lifeless name you’d expect to see on the newest financial bomb FPS from Activision or EA. That is not a name that inspires confidence or interest …these days. Back in the table top scene of 1989, Shadowrun was something fresh and new. It was a bizarre combination of cyberpunk and fantasy, and those two very different flavors somehow fit together better than peanut butter and chocolate.

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Rick and Morty and the Dramaty Called Knowing

Content Warning: Discussion of sexual assault and attempted suicide

Rick and Mory article piece

You’d be hard pressed to find a comedy as dividing as Rick and Morty. It’s one of Adult Swim’s biggest hits, a show both adored and also found disgusting or simply far too morally repugnant, and both reactions are perfectly acceptable. While Community’s Dan Harmon is a major player, Rick and Morty is mostly the creative vision of one Justin Roiland, going so far as to voice both title characters. For all intents and purposes, Rick and Morty is Roiland’s portrayal of “truth.” It is how he sees the world and himself, and it is both hilarious and soul crushing at the same time. It’s the most nihilist work I have ever seen, a work filled so much with the creator’s ego and id that your enjoyment of it depends entirely on how much of the man behind it you can take. But that’s the key to Rick and Morty’s success. To put it simply, Rick and Morty is an absurd work that uses ridiculous elements to speak surprisingly true words.

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The Humor of Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam Gaiden and JRPG Structure

Today’s article was commissioned by a regular reader. If you’d like to have me write about something of your choosing, consider commissioning me! Details here, willing to discuss subjects not covered on that page. Use the e-mail listed there.

Warning: The article you are about to read is canon.


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The Kitsch of Samurai Jack

Genndy Tartakovsky is a treasure to the world of animation. The Russian born kid turned giant American nerd and animation legend in the making has been involved in some of Cartoon Network’s greatest shows, and gave Adam Sandler good movies to be in, which has become a bizarre, alien concept these days. While Dexter’s Lab was his big hit, it was Samurai Jack that stands out as his masterwork. It’s a truly strange series that combines all sorts of kitsch elements together into a surprisingly mature framework that allowed for tons of experimentation in narrative and tone, using an episodic format to build up to all sorts of wild endings with constantly shifting genres and premises. With the series Adult Swim season finished, I felt it was a good time to take a look back and examine what makes the series stand out so much. Ultimately, it comes back to that use of kitsch I mentioned, in how the show defines itself by making it impossible to actually define it in any concrete way.


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Steven Universe and Emotional Logic Storytelling

Since I had so much fun talking you all about the eldrich comedy that is Gumball, I decided going over a few other CN shows would be worth a go. I put a vote up on a few ideas I had, and Clarance ended up losing to Steven Universe, which I really should have seen coming the moment I made that poll. Steven Universe is one of the most popular shows Cartoon Network has, and it’s SUUUUUUUUPER GAY. Like, a yuri magazine in the middle of a trans pride parade on Halloween gay (lets be real, Halloween is the gayest of all the major holidays). But that’s not what I wanted to talk about, because that horse is deader than a meme sniffed out by Comedy Central marketing firms. Instead, I want to talk about the biggest key to the show’s success, the focus on emotional logic.


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Steam Sifter: Hell Girls

As they say, Hell is repetition.

Steam Sifter Hell Girls

Steam Sifter is back, and it’s undergoing some significant changes. See, while I was gone, I realized that the Steam community is actually worse than my thought, and with a mixture of Steam’s idiotic practices on how to treat reviews and the general nature of the average gamer, I found that stuff that should have never gotten a strong positive feedback were getting just that for bizarre reasons (like the presence of anime titty). So, I decided to toss out the rating requirement and just look at strange budget stuff, alongside poorly rated games.

I’m going to go a bit easy on today’s game because the developers, SakuraGame, appear to be Chinese and still cutting their teeth, and because their next game, Dragon Knight, actually looks promising for a budget effort. But it’s also hard to ignore when a bad game is a bad game, and this is definitely a bad game. This is Hell Girls, and its a new type of bad I haven’t covered here yet – bare bones bad.

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Full Course: Dragon Age: Origins

Okay, before I get heavy into this, let me address the elephant in the room.


How the fuck is Morrigan straight?

No really, how? She’s a swamp witch who dresses like a goth, practices forbidden magic, and constantly makes snarky, emasculating comments. She couldn’t be coded more queer unless you had her express an interest in Sailor Moon. Now I will give Bioware points for giving her a femdom fetish and giving an ending where she fucks your boyfriend to save your life, but come on. You have two bi characters in the cast! Why can’t I have my girl kiss the Satanist goth girl!?

This article took 130 hours of play to prepare for. I am taking this one indulgence.



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