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.
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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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Ladykiller and the Politics of BDSM

I’ve been waiting for Ladykiller in a Bind for a long time now, nearly half a decade. Christine Love’s style has almost always been based around exploring how technology has impacted how we communicate with each other, including building relationships, but Ladykiller removes that aspect and explores relationships and communications from a more overtly sexual lens. Calling it a “sex game” or something of the like isn’t inaccurate, but I don’t think it’s a proper way to describe what the game really is. Ladykiller does something really unexpected and refreshing in how it chooses to engage with sexuality, and that’s using choice mechanics to demonstrate to the player how BDSM relationships work. The game lets you play both dominate and submissive roles with multiple characters, and how you play the game significantly changes based on this.

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Messy Queerness in Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme

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.
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Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is an absolutely baffling project made by amateur developers and artists that started to grow more into their chosen fields as development continued on, and thanks to the episodic release schedule, we can actually see how things went from horrifying to somewhat competent very clearly. But we also see a game that …okay, I don’t want to say it shouldn’t exist, but I can say that it’s surprising to see it exist at this large a scale. This thing can easily suck up thirty hours if you play every episode, and I played through every single episode. This article took some time to get to.

But instead of ragging on the clearly visible problems that plague the title or give a regular review, I decided to go in a more interesting direction. See, no matter how ridiculous this game is, it does eventually try to tackle some heavy subject matter that comes from its fetish laden set-up, and the strange part is that it doesn’t absolutely fail at it.

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Sometimes, mind you.

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DOOM 3’s House of Jump Scares

Happy Halloween, everyone! If you were expecting spooky articles on Infinite Rainy Day, real life sadly got in the way for pretty much everyone. However, I didn’t want to leave the holiday empty handed, so I decided to try looking at a horror game. But I wasn’t in the mood for survival horror or super tense games, and I didn’t want to go over super popular titles either. I also had trouble finding a good obscure horror game, since so many out these days are obnoxious and derivative.

But then I noticed that Steam was having a sale on a mixed entry in a classic series, so I figured this would be as good as a time as any to finally talk about the incredibly confused DOOM 3. But since I could only get three hours in with my hectic (heh) schedule, I’ll only be focusing on how the game handles its horror elements. Like the rest of the game, it’s handled with great care and an absent mind.

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Nostalgia of Backstreets of the Mind

Atmosphere can mean a lot, I find. The mood a game makes can raise it beyond its shortcomings, you need only look at the world of visual and sound novels to see this in action. They use word choice and visuals to create a mood that sucks you in and engages, despite a lack of mechanical play. These games choose to take advantage of a certain set of techniques to create works you can lose yourself in, while others use it as a flourish or major addition to enhance the experience. Survival Horror games love using atmosphere in one way or another, especially Silent Hill, Siren, and the Nanashi no Game series (look it up). But atmosphere is more than strange or dark. It can be whimsical or childish, like Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Yoshi’s Island, or maybe wacky and erratic, a tone you commonly find in old point and clicks. One I rarely see explored, though, is nostalgia.

Enter Backstreets of the Mind.

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Luck of the Game Dev (Tycoon)

Hey, do you want to know what my most played game on Steam is?

Well, it’s not a favorite game, I can tell you that much. In fact, I wish I never bought it. BUT HERE I AM, OVER 100 HOURS LATER

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Game Dev Tycoon is going to be a game I play until the end of time, I’m sure. I just keep replaying it over and over, and if I don’t write about it again, I can’t justify this ridiculous attachment to it. So, today’s piece is going to be about how Game Dev Tycoon uses the most simple mechanics imaginable to take your free time behind the shed and put it out of its misery.

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Fate in Masochisia

TW: Child abuse, domestic abuse

Masochisia is easily one of the most disturbing games I have ever played, and it’s not just for the grim subject matter but how it explores its central themes of fate and morality. It uses metafiction (where characters in a story have awareness that they are in a story, or the work itself plays with the very structure of its given medium for one purpose or another) in a very clever way, occasionally having characters not just direct what they say to the character you control, but you yourself. It also conditions you to do rather horrific things.

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