Hatoful Boyfriend Writes its Own Fanfiction

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After finally knuckling down to get a Steam account in order to start at least trying to catch up on my lengthy to-play list, I wound up crying more tears than my previous years of gaming combined. The first offender was The Walking Dead Season 1, aka “Ugly Cry Generator 2k12;” the other was Hatoful Boyfriend. You know, the pigeon dating sim?

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Merry Christmas or happiest Friday, readers! Yes, there IS a post coming this weekend….buuuuuuut with all the travel and kerfuffle and bodies coming and going, it’s not happening today. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, I promise I’ll owe you one.

Be well, all of you.

Why JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Succeeds Where His Star Trek Failed

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[NOTE: I have tried to keep this discussion as broad strokes and spoiler free as possible, though if you’re trying to go in without knowing even the most basic conceptual details you might wish to tread carefully]

JJ Abrams has now been responsible for new installments in America’s two biggest juggernauts of space-themed popular culture: one outing magnificent, the other an unmitigated disaster. Abrams’ claim that he watched not a bit of the original Star Trek series or films before taking the helm of the reboot is a matter of rather infamous public record, his adoring fandom for the Star Wars franchise equally well known. And while we can, and will, get into the various aspects contributing to that gap of successful adaptation, I can also go ahead and sum it up for you in a quick sentence. It is amazing what happens when you give a damn about your subject matter.

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The Value of OFF after Undertale

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It can be difficult to recommend OFF in a post-Undertale world. After all, it would seem that everything Mortis Ghost’s 2008 indie darling had to offer was revisited and built upon by Toby Fox’s recent masterpiece. OFF, in broad strokes, is basically equivalent to being locked into a Genocide Run; only without the other, redemptive half of the story on offer. This isn’t to say that OFF is somehow to blame for this: the seven year gap between the two games spans the death throes of the PS2, the entire 360/PS3 generation and the beginning of current-gen and nascent VR; it’s to be expected that there would be leaps and bounds in what could potentially be programmed even before taking in Toby’s experience as a modder versus what was, by all appearances, the first time effort of an amateur developer. I come not to dismiss OFF nor to bury Undertale, but to ask: what does a landmark work have to offer when future generations build on its best ideas?

As you might suppose, extensive spoilers for two excellent games will follow hereafter.

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The Maxx: 90s Feminism Time Capsule

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This essay was commissioned by Wendy Cannan. You can find out more about commissions here.

The joke goes that MTV once played music videos, but for my money their more interesting achievement was the two decades long attempt to carve out a niche in American animation that would target an older audience. The two big success stories of this venture are Beavis and Butthead and its far superior spinoff Daria, along with cult darlings Aeon Flux and Clone High. And then there’s The Maxx, a series of 13 ten minute episodes quite fittingly aired during a programming block called “Oddities.” For it is a strange little show, a mixed media conglomeration of early CGI, traditional animation, and direct translation of comic panels akin to the modern motion comic. It’s also a dense time capsule of 90s psychology and feminism, always intriguing even when it bites off more than it can chew.

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