Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Gentleman's Challenge

I have recently been issued a challenge. The challenger in question is the same person who requested the last article. Apparently she's now in charge of deciding what I do and don't write about. Yeah, I'm just as shocked as you are. Also, she's given me permission to use gender specific pronouns when referring to her, so it's totally on her if internet hooligans reverse engineer this data to kidnap her.
I lack a very particular set of skills

The challenge is to use seven specific words, all in one post. Now, I could easily just make a post that consists solely of those chosen words, but that wouldn't be very sporting, now would it? And if there's one thing I'm always doing, it's sporting, because no one here has more gentlepoints than me. So I am making a game out of this. I will use all seven words in this dubious post, but it is up to you, the reader, to try to guess which words were assigned. Now, you can rationally expect that the chosen words will be awkwardly shoe-horned in, so I will be awkwardly shoe-horning as many words as I can into this post, in an attempt to obfuscate the identity of the chosen words. Because I can't sport all the time.

Now, you may be wondering what it is that I'll actually write about. And the answer is that I have no idea. The purpose of this challenge was to be an enticing offer of a topic, but it's failing pretty badly at that. I mean, I guess that it inspired me to write this, but I'm not terribly happy about it. Hell, I've written two paragraphs so far, and the closest I came to a joke was maybe-threatening to kidnap my friend. So, as with all of my previous posts, if you fail to find this amusing, I implore you to blame someone other than me. I would consider that swell.

So, I'm sure you came here for a very specific reason. You told your computer to navigate to this particular locus of the internet so that it could tell your monitor to emit photons in a pattern that will react with the chemicals in your eyes in such a way that they sends signals that your brain processes as words, which your brain will react to with amusement, leading to the release of some kind of pleasure chemical. Probably dopamine, because that's what we always hold responsible for our pleasure. Now, as you read that monumentally lengthy linguistic construct, you probably noticed that those were all things that were indeed happening. Up until you read about pleasure chemicals. As you may notice, the pleasure centers of your brain are dryer than the 1920's, a joke that would actually make sense if it weren't for speakeasies. They are more parched than a thirsty barber. And for this dreadful lack of amusement, I apologize. On the behalf of my friend. Because it is totally and absolutely her fault.

Well, I can only deprecate myself for so long before it starts to get legitimately sad, so I'll see if I can find something else to talk about. Hmmmm... well, it's said that you should write what you know. And you know what it is that I know? Math. So I will now talk about math. I had hoped that it would never come to this, but my hands are tied. The Godzilla threshold is crossed. Calculus, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, abstract, applied, mathology... I'll talk about all of it. And there's nothing you can do about it. Well, I guess you could just go to one of the innumerable sites on the internet that's more interesting than watching me struggle in imaginary-time (It's the opposite of real-time, you see). So I guess I'll start with mathology, since that's something you've probably never heard of. This is because I made it up, completely independent of the mathology that Stephen Colbert apparently made up. You see, mathology is like mathematics, except it is a science, which means that it involves observation and experimentation. If you think that's stupid, that is because you are smart and right. Mathology is more or less math without all that pesky rigor or practical applications  The first rule of Mathology says that if a formula or equation works for at least 3 cases, then it probably works for all cases. Because all numbers are basically the same, right? Now that I've explained mathology to the best of my ability, I'll try to talk about something else. Any discussion of calculus would probably quickly devolve into me bitching about integration by trig substitution, which I am gruelingly relearning as of this writing. So... um... geometry? I think I found a general case formula that will allow you to quickly calculate the area of any regular polynomial of n sides, with each side having a length of s. The formula is as follows:
Note the use of degrees, rather than radians, indicating that I am no true mathematician.

Ironically, this formula has not been tested by Mathological principles. But if you feel qualified, I'd appreciate it if you could check my work. Furthermore, I've also derived formulas for... wait a second. I've already used the word that I was planning on using, so I can just abandon this train of thought. 

So, now that I can feel my will to write trickling away like an ebbing Tide, (Arm and Hammer is more prone to flowing.) guess I'll... do something? I guess I could explain the joke that I just made, because it's a well known fact that the most valuable jokes are the ones that necessitate explanation. You see, the tide is something that ebbs, but tide can also refer to Tide, which the internet assures me is a laundry detergent. Arm and Hammer is another laundry detergent, and it flows, which is the opposite of ebbing. This is because of comedy. Because this is basically just stream of consciousness now, here's a fun fact: some guy named "Armand Hammer" was apparently a major shareholder in "Arm and Hammer". It's not like he founded the company, so it wasn't named after him. On the other hand, I can find no mention of this on his Wikipedia page, so I am faced with the inconceivable possibility that lied to me. On yet another hand, for some reason, the real Armand Hammer sold alcohol during The Prohibition through some kind of legal loophole. While I would love to end this post with the arrival of that full circle, I still have at least one more word to write, and as the esteemed Hershel Layton always says, "A true gentleman may find himself faced with 99 problems, but he always ensures that a bitch is not among them."
OG: Original Gentleman

Whelp, it looks like I'm going to have to go to my fall-back topic. It seems that I have no other hoptions. That's right kids, it's time to talk about about Zero Escape again, because continually discussing a game whose greatness is mostly derived from shocking twists is a Grade-A idea. In case this is the first post you've read on this blog, I beg you to go back and read something different. I promise, most of my other posts are at least a standard deviation above this one when it comes to the facilitation of chuckles. But also, I'll explain the Zero Escape series. You see, in both games, you're kidnapped by a person in a gas mask who calls himself Zero, and then you have to Escape from wherever it is that he's locked you up. Both games have you playing a Nonary game, which has nine participants. The only way to Escape is to win the game. The two Nonary games have different rules, which I won't talk about because of spoilers I guess? The first game in the series is called Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and if that isn't the right order for those three things, then I really couldn't care less. Just type "999" into Google. Tell'em Havoc sent you. He'll know what you're talkin' about. It is for the Nintendo DS. The second game is called Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, and is for the 3DS. Or the PSP Vita, if you're a chump, but I have faith in my audience to not be chumps. Since there's nothing I can really say about it that wasn't said in previous posts without giving away too many details, this section amounted to little more than egregious name dropping. Neat.

Now that my fall-back topic is expended, I guess I'll have to fall even further back to... Katawa Shoujo? Haha nope. Not gonna happen. I'd rather that worm come in here and eat you all alive. It would take a miracle more miraculous than a magnet made of rainbows  that looked like its father for me to talk about that again.
What's that bandage doing on that heart? I certainly don't know.

Have I mentioned how much I love the word "conflagration"? It's really one of my favorite words. It basically means "fire", but it sounds radder, badder, and nastier. A "fire" is something that you use to solemnly light a funeral pyre. A "conflagration" is something that use to drunkenly set your ex's house ablaze, then direct towards the constabulary when they start being a bunch of buzzkills. I just thought that it would be a good idea to surreptitiously introduce the word "conflagration" into this post, apropos of nothing.

But what I really brought you here to talk about is Pokemon. Competitive Pokemon battling, to be specific.  If you're wondering how competitive Pokemon battling differs from regular Pokemon, the adjective "competitive" indicates a battle between two human opponents who have their shit together. Level 100 Pokemon, optimized natures and EVs, and teams with coherent purpose are all hallmarks that set a competitive battler apart. Also, switching. To use a football analogy, keeping a Pokemon in when you have a disadvantage is analogous to receiving the ball, then somersaulting across the field saying "Sonic's the name, Speed's my game!". Actually, that analogy works pretty well for any sport. And if you know anything about competitive Pokemon battling, you know Smogon Universitythe authority in competitive Pokemon Battling. They rule the Pokemon battling metagame the way that Oprah ruled basically everything: They have no official power, but everyone just listens to what they say anyway. They have more street cred than a hippopotamus. Get it? Because they're hip. Anyway, despite the frequency with which I talk about how competitive battling ruined my ability to enjoy Pokemon, it's actually a blast, if you can get the hang of it. If nothing else, I probably have more fun reading about various Pokemon than I do actually battling, because that just results in tears. If somehow even less else, a team of EV trained top-tier Pokemon will surely be more than a match for your unenlightened friends, even if it would get you laughed off of Shoddy Battle. And, in the end, isn't life all about proving yourself better than your peers? I certainly think so. So if you're bored, and thinking of picking up a new skill, why not give Competitive Pokemon Battling a try? It'll probably help you understand what I'm talking about down the road when I inevitably start bitching about some Pokemon or another on this blog.
There are going to be so many new base stats to memorize! I'm so excited, you guys!

And with that, it seems that we're in the home stretch. All words have either been used, or can feasibly be fit into this concluding paragraph. While I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, I feel like I should for legal reasons: Do not try to guess the 7 words. That is stupid, this is stupid, and it's all stupid. But you're not stupid. I don't mean to insult your intelligence, but there's really no way guess which of the 1000+ words here I was assigned. It's like trying to define a triangle when you only have an angle and a side. So just bubble in "D. Not enough information given" with your number 2 pencil, and go to the next question. It's not too late to do something great with your life. Learn a language. Take up an instrument. Learn a computer language. Fall in love. Buy a stamp. Commit arson. Really, just about anything you could do would be a better use of your time. And with that, my dear readers, all the words have been used. The gauntlet was thrown down, so I picked it right back up, and used it to punch some words into submission, Brockway style (This reference assumes that you are intimately familiar with the Cracked Columnists). But I don't want this to be a precedent. I don't want people thinking that they can just challenge me to write with whatever conditions they choose, and I'll happily oblige. They say that artists produce their best work when working under constraints, but this place isn't about good work. It's about practice. We ain't talking about the game. We talkin' 'bout practice, man. We talkin' 'bout practice. You've been a lovely audience. Thank you, goodnight. 

Also, if you read this far hoping to learn about the musical TV special against the Doctor's orders that was promised by the label, then I regret to inform that you've been deceived. I just thought it was funny when Ryan North did it, so it would probably be funny when I did it, right?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gaelic? More like Gay-lick, amirite?

Sorry about that, guys. I literally could not resist. My body was taken captive by ancient and primal spirits of crude humor, and I was forced to watch in horror as my very own fingers wrought this disrespectful pun. It absolutely has nothing to do with the fact that I am basically a 5 year old.

Anyway, at the request of one of my friends, I am going to talk about Irish and Gaelic Mythology. This was likely something that s/he (gender obscured for anonymity’s sake, even though the idea of me talking to a girl is laughable at best.) suggested jokingly, but it would seem that s/he underestimated just how desperate I am to write about absolutely anything, and how averse I am to coming up with my own ideas. So to him/her, I ask this: Is this the victory you imagined? Are you satisfied with what you've created? Because, if you are, then perhaps it is only because you have not read on.

So. Irish and Gaelic mythology? Well, honestly, I don't know a damned thing about either one. I couldn't even point to Ireland or Gaeland on a map. Holy crap! You know what literally just occurred to me? (As I am writing this, not as you are reading it) “Ire” comes from the latin root “ira”, which means anger or rage. Someone tell the stereotype committee! Their groundbreaking work in portraying the Irish as angry drunks was right all along! The Romans said so. Now might be as good a time as any to mention that I don't know the difference between “Irish” and “Scottish”. Now, I could say it's because I believe in the greater whole of humanity, and I dislike giving people labels, but in reality, I just don't give one thin shit about who you are or where you came from. Unless you came from the moon or something. Then I'll have my people call your people. Fun thought experiment: If a joke falls flat on a blog that no one reads, does the writer still make a sound when he cries himself to sleep at night? 

Now, the first thing that comes to everyone's mind when they think of “Irish and Gaelic mythology” is the Loch Ness Monster. Now, I'm actually fairly sure that Loch Ness is in Scotland, but as I've previously discussed, I don't care, and I refuse to look it up, or I'll run out of my already sparse repertoire of things to talk about. As we all know, Nessie is a creature that unequivocally does not exist. If you believe that s/he (Is Nessie the friend that prompted this post? Perhaps) does exist, please stop. Your field of “cryptozoology” is the worst thing to happen to the suffix “-ology” since astrology. Or maybe Scientology? On second thought, that joke was in poor taste. Scientology is definitely a legitimate religion, with which I have no qualms. This is an official statement that is in no way being made out of fear of legal prosecution.

Man, I really need to learn to stop trailing off my paragraphs into overly long jokes. But I digress. Like the vast majority of myths, Nessie is indeed mythological. It is a fantasy creature that could never exist, like a sane blogger. As you may know, the Loch Ness Monster is purported to live in Loch Ness, or “Lake Ness”, if you don't have a speech impediment. Stop laughing. Speech impediments are a serious problem, just like the racism necessary to assert that an entire country is incapable of pronouncing a word correctly. According to world-renowned monster expert, J.K. Rowling, The Loch Ness Monster is actually a kelpie. A kelpie, according to her, is a shapeshifting beast that spends most of its time as a horse. But in the water, for some reason. This is because a kelpie is a monster from Irish(?) mythology that looks like a horse, but sometimes turns into a beautiful woman to lure sailors (notoriously gullible when it comes to beautiful women in suspicious places) so they could kill them. The fact that Wikipedia describes the Kelpie, a figure from Irish Mythology, as looking like a horse, then shows a painting of a naked woman, is proof that Wikipedia has a sense of humor. It's the stealthiest bestiality joke ever made. Or was it the Scottish that were notorious for such affairs?

Another figure I vaguely remember from Irish Mythology is Finn McCool, who... killed people, or something? I remember hearing about him from the website "Badass of the Week" , which is about exactly what it says on the tin. Before you click that link, know that the author describes is as containing "an unnecessarily copious amount of profanity". So don't say I didn't warn you. From what I can tell, Finn was more or less like an Irish Kratos, at least as far as defeating the local pantheon's God of War goes. One of my friends describes his story rather admirably here, in a video that he honest-to-God turned in to an English teacher. He fails to mention how the salmon that Finn burns his hand on was a salmon of wisdom or something, which is the science responsible for his smart-knowing. Finn also apparently really hated cartographers, judging by all the geography he caused. He is said to have created the Giant's Causeway and the Isle of Man, making him roughly as strong as a tectonic plate. Also, “McCool” is a pretty cool last name. Like anything else that's Irish, it can be spelled in at least a baker's dozen different ways, but “McCool” is easily the best.

And now, at the suggestion of the same friend I mentioned at the beginning, (The one who takes full responsibility for any complaints you have about this post) I'm going to talk about something called a “bean sidhes”. Despite sounding like a painfully inauthentic new menu item from Taco Bell, this is apparently... a banshee. This is what I'm talking about, Scottland. No one will take you seriously if you keep intentionally spelling things with the intent to obfuscate what it is that you're talking about. Now, as you all know, a Banshee is a Covenant light aircraft that features two rapid-fire plasma cannons as its primary weapon. Its purple paint job and unusual cockpit clearly designate it as an alien aircraft, because humans would never design a vehicle so ridiculous for the purpose of warfare.
Clearly a work of advanced alien technology
I suppose it also bears mentioning that “Banshee” is also the name of a kind of ghost that screams a lot or something. Apparently they shriek when someone is about to die, kind of like how you see a doppelgänger when you're about to die. In fact, I think the concept of doppelgängers might also be Irish/Scottish/Gaelic/Celtic. A quick Google search... denies. Looking back, the umlaut probably should have tipped me off that they were German. This is a great disappointment to me, as I was all ready to link to an article about Doppelgangers. The more I can link to other people's work, the less I have to do myself, which is always the primary goal to which I strive. Anyway, Banshees scream when someone is about to die. But send not to know for whom the banshee keens, it keens for thee.

And, for the big finale, I'm going to talk about Cat Sith. Because the Irish are downright masters of deception, it pains me to report that these are not feline masters of the Dark Side of The Force. They are basically a race of fairy people, but they are also cats. Like all fairies, they are humanoids with wings, and they can do magical things, like cast spells and fly. What differentiates them from other fairies is their cat ears, which are totally kawaii. Some myths purport them to have a verbal tic that causes them to sporadically insert “nya” into their conversation, as well as refer to themselves as “neko”. And, because this section is purposely engineered to make my friend regret suggesting this to me, I'll say this: some rumors suggest that Cat Sith play a role in the plot of Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. I cannot say what they do, nor can I respond to any accusations that this is obviously just a joke. Or is it?!

A wistful guess of what could have been

So, to the reader that provoked this desecration of a once-proud heritage, I ask once again: Was it worth it? Do you now regret what you have inflicted on this world? Let me know in the comments! You know who you are.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dawn of a New Era

And I'm back! From here on out, any new posts will be written specifically for blogspot. I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention that I have no idea whether or not "blogspot" is accepted vernacular; in fact I strongly suspect that it is not. However, this will only cause me to redouble my efforts to use it as egregiously as possible, because sounding like an idiot is how I became an internet champion, and it's how I intend to hold on to my throne.

I may keep updating my tumblr, (if they can't be buggered to capitalize their own companies name, then I sure as hell can't be) but I'd really prefer if you stayed here. We have captions. You like captions? They're neat. I managed to keep my 20 post promise, even if it did require writing an entire post that I wasn't planning on doing. Because a gentleman always keeps his promises. You're welcome.

Well, it's getting late over here in the Mantisphere, so I should probably sign off soon. I hope you all appreciate the irony of the fact that I switched to this medium because it's more tailored to longer posts, yet my first two posts on it are quite short.

The End of an Old Era

I’m sorry tumblr. It’s not you, it’s me. Specifically, it’s my desire to be able to post pictures, video, and text all in the same post, with captions and stuff. It is also the fact that I would like to be able to see how many views my posts get, so that I might know how truly alone I am. On top of that, there’s also the thing about how no one likes you, and my friends will stop being my friends if I keep hanging out with you. What I am trying to humorously imply, tumblr, is that it is, in fact, you. I hate you so much that I wish you were a real person so that you could understand my scorn. In fact, unlike most things that I hate, I hate you only mostly because the internet tells me to, rather than entirely because the internet tells me to. It’s cool that you can queue up posts to be automatically be posted regularly, but when the lowest frequency you can set it to is “once per day”, then there is a serious disconnect between what I am trying to use you for, and what you are useful for. I guess what I’m trying to say, tumblr, is that I do not think you man enough to handle all the words I employ when I get down to business.
And before you ask… yes. There is someone else. I’ve had eyes on Blogspot ever since I saw her hanging out with one of my internet buddies. Or is it “Blogger”? I don’t really know her name. And another thing: In this metaphor are the blogging sites guys, or girls? Because I’m a heterosexual male, and I’m using feminine pronouns, but earlier I said “man enough”. Maybe I’m just kinky like that? I think this is one of those times where I really hope my parents don't read this. Anyway, the details of the metaphor are unimportant. I’m breaking up with you, and you’re picking apart my methods of trying to break it to you gently? How dare you?! Did what we had even mean anything? The nerve! Get out! I don’t ever want to see you again!

What’s that? Oh, yes, I suppose this is your domain. I mean, you’re basically the location itself, that I’m arguing in, so it’s not like you can leave. I’ll be on my way shortly, if you could please wait just a few seconds.

Hey there, readers. Sorry you had to see that. No, don’t worry, it’s not your fault we’re fighting. We both still love you, we just love you… discretely. But I have a new blogging website now, over at blogspot, and I would appreciate it if you abandoned tumblr and went there from now on whenever you want to check out the Havoc Mantis Blog. I am switching because it has more formatting options, it is more organized, and associating with it won’t cause people to baselessly judge me as “human trash”. I very much prefer that people’s judgements of me as “human trash” be as baseful as possible.
So, from now on, go there whenever you’re suffering a particularly nasty bout of nonsense withdrawal.

A Few of my Favorite Things: Music

Note: This is the longest entry of the “Favorite Things” lists, or indeed, any of my posts. It clocks in at a daunting 2603 words. If you have difficulty comprehending how many words that is, try reading the word “flatulence”. Then, read that word 2602 more times. You now have a good idea of what it’s like to read this post. I’m probably not doing myself any favors by discouraging readers from reading further, but I feel like this is the gentlemanly thing to do.
Music is a funny thing. Like the Spotify ads say, most people like to share their taste in music. Perhaps more than any other medium of entertainment, people seem almost compelled to share songs and artists they like with their friends. There’s a problem with this, however: no one cares. If you’ve ever recommended music to someone, then there’s a very good chance that, unless they requested it from you in the first place, they couldn’t be buggered. I’ve seen many songs in my Facebook news feed, and I’ve listened to almost none of them. I’ve posted a few myself, and know with some certainty that almost no one listened to them. In this way, music is kind of like wedgies: Everyone wants to give them, but no one particularly cares to get them (With a few special exceptions).
With that in mind, I’ll be starting this list, safe in the knowledge that no one will bother to listen. Which is something of a shame, because, unlike most of the things I’ve written lists about so far, music is something that is fairly important to me. Despite this, I can’t seem to be buggered to ever find music to listen to, so I just listen to the music that I hear when I’m doing other things I enjoy. That’s right: about 90% of my music collection comes from soundtracks, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I am basically a hipster. Sorry for not telling you sooner.
Because music is such a tricky, ephemeral thing, I will be making no attempt to put this list in any kind of order. Trying to rank music is like trying to play Mario Party without getting angry: Basically impossible. In a similar vein, this list will be wholly inconsistent. As you may have noticed, the name of this list is “Music”, rather than “Songs”, or “Artists”, or “Soundtracks”. That is because it will probably include all of those things, which is just another reason that I will be making no attempt to list them in ascending or descending order. In addition, despite the fact that this whole list thing is supposed to be about the best stuff of 2012, I will am barely even attempting to include music that’s actually from 2012, because I don’t know much that is. This will be more of my personal list of music that I discovered in 2012, because the world exists only in my mind, and you cannot prove otherwise. And because 2012 was the year I became a weeaboo, I suggest you buckle up, buttercup, because there’s a good chance this will devolve into me talking about anime.
Song: Kyoumu Densen (Another opening theme)
Well, that didn’t take long. I figured that I would list this song first, as it holds a special place in my heart as the opening the first anime I watched, “Another”. Because this list is meant to be about music, and not the various ways in which I was affected by scenes of gruesome death, that’s all I’ll say about the anime.
“Kyoumu Densen” translates to “Nightmare Contagion”, which means that I think we’re off to a pretty good start. It takes some doing to get a song title that sounds more ominous than that. In addition, Wikipedia lists the genre of “ALI PROJECT”, the band(?) that composed the song, as “Neoclassical Darkwave”. Despite having only heard three or so songs under this category, I maintain that it is my very favorite musical genre, just because of how ridiculous the name is.
Well, it just wouldn’t be a real Havoc Mantis post if I didn’t find some way to shoehorn in the “Zero Escape” series. “Virtue’s Last Reward” had a pretty decent soundtrack, but it was mostly good at setting the scene, rather than being the kind of music you listen to in your off-time. The main theme, aptly named “Virtue’s Last Reward” is not like that. Like most great themes, the contents of the song accurately reflect the contents of the source material. For example, both the song and the game are super good. I hope you get used to me describing songs as “super good”, because when it comes to music I like, I usually don’t really have much else to say.
Song: Ave Maria
Most of the songs here, while not being from 2012, are at least pretty recent. Within the past couple of years, at least. Well, that is not the case of Ave Maria. You see, the song was first transcribed in the year 1853, making it even older than your mom. (Way to keep it hip with the kids, Havoc) It was actually played earlier than that. And to make it even more impressively old, it was actually built on top of a song that Bach (His friends called him “JS”) published in 1722 by the catchy name “Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846”, like a clichéhorror movie on top of an ancient Indian burial ground. 
So, why am I including such an old song, if this list is supposed to be about 2012? Well, if you accidentally clicked the link at the beginning of this entry, then you already know the answer. It was in an anime soundtrack, obviously. When my Music Theory teacher played the Bach Prelude as an example of chords or whatever in class, and asked if anyone recognized it, it took all of my awkwardness to prevent me from saying that I recognized it from a cartoon about magical girls. 
Artist: Caravan Palace
And this is where I get to the hard part. Because Caravan Palace is not a soundtrack, I am forced to actually talk about the music, and talking about music is not something that I am qualified to do. So this entry will probably contain copious amounts of beating, and most of it will occur around the bush. 
Caravan Palace is an “Electro-Swing” band from France, because while I may occasionally listen to non-soundtrack music, it absolutely cannot be from America, because that would be letting The Man win. If I had to describe “Electro-Swing”, I’d say it’s kind of like a cross between jazz and dubstep, except I’m not entirely sure what either of those things are, so your mileage may vary. Of all their songs, “Brotherswing” is probably my favorite, which is why I linked it. Caravan Palace was recommended to me by a friend, and it remains one of the only examples of successful music sharing that I have ever observed. They are one of the few entries on this list with English lyrics, though only occasionally does that happen. They seem to be studied disciples of the “Random Word” school of band naming.
And now, I’ll discuss what is likely the only song on this list that you recognize. Because you do recognize it. There’s no reason to lie. Everyone knows this song. There are more people who know this song than there are who know Jon Lajoie, and he is very super famous. More people know this song than there are who know how to eat. Its music video was the first, and so far only, video to hit one billion views on the Youtube. That’s 10^9. That’s more than one view for every 8 people on Earth, and it doesn’t include all the times it’s been viewed on places other than Youtube. Gangnam style was, without a doubt, the most popular song of 2012, and probably one of the most famous songs of all time.
So, why was it so popular? Well, there’s the fact that it was a pretty great song, but quality often has little to do with a song’s popularity, so that alone isn’t enough. Most scholars on the subject agree that the song was propelled to fame by the music video. Specifically, how ridiculous it was

The “horse-dance” also played a large part in Gangnam Style’s meteoric rise to fame, because it’s as easy to do as it is nonsensical. Some K-pop fans claim that this song really brought their genre to the mainstream, but I’m sorry to report that it didn’t. The vast majority of people who saw it considered it a one-off thing, and never investigated any further. I mention this because I enjoy crushing the dreams of K-pop fans, if only because they are a sub-set of the human population.
NOTE: The song that I linked to is not the original Gangnam style. But I’m sure that you didn’t need me to tell you that.
Song: Lilium
Now, it’s time to get back into the swing of things with more soundtrack music. If, for whatever reason, you decide to not follow my link, but Google this song up for yourself, be warned: This is the opening theme for an anime, and that opening has naked female bodies in it.
Is this song great because it has Latin in it, or is Latin in it because it is great? I couldn’t tell you, but I can say with great certainty that Latin vocals are positively correlated with song quality. For another example of this property in effect, listen to the Super Smash Brothers Brawl Main Theme. As we all know, two data points are more than enough to constitute a trend.
Soundtrack: Cowboy Bebop
If you know anything about anime, then you probably know something about Cowboy Bebop. And if you know anything about Cowboy Bebop, you probably know that its soundtrack is masterclass. It might be my favorite soundtrack of all time, its throne contested only by Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and a mystery challenger that you’ll learn about soon. I’m getting pretty tired of writing this post, so I’ll just say “It’s super good”, and leave it at that.
Song: Parity Jam
“Parity Jam” is a mash-up of the Space Jam song (you know the one) and “Parity”, a song from Katawa Shoujo, a “game” that I will likely vehemently deny having ever played if you bring it up to me in real life. In mathematics, “parity” refers to whether a number is even or odd. So the parity of the number “9” is odd. This mathematical definition is relevant to the song for reasons that don’t exist. Now, I could have chosen the original “Parity” for this song, or even just talked about the soundtrack, because it was pretty outstanding. But I didn’t, because this song is an exemplary specimen of mashing up. There’s another mashup of a different KS song that’s pretty good, but I’d prefer not to post it, in honor of MLK day. It’s called “Daylight Like it’s Hot”, if you’re interested.
(Just in case my MLK joke was too subtle, the song contains words that some would find offensive. Words that begin with an N. N-words, if you will. But you didn’t hear it from me.)
Soundtrack: Nichijou
There is no reason for me to include this on the list. This soundtrack is not from 2012; the anime premiered in 2011. I didn’t even first hear it in 2012. I only watched a few episodes before this year. So why am I including it? Because I think I might be in love with this soundtrack, which is more than I can say of any person I’ve ever met. Particularly with the opening theme, the song I linked to. I want to shout the greatness of this soundtrack from the rooftops, but the jury has ruled that I keep it on this blog, instead. The craziest part is that half of what I’m calling the soundtrack never even appears in the show. (I’m assuming. I, um, haven’t actually finished it yet) The totally-reputable source from which I downloaded it included a bunch of “character songs” which, as far as I can tell, are songs sung by characters. And they’re stupid-fantastic. The fact that this song has only about 20,000 views, while many songs that don’t even align with my musical tastes have far more, is a grievous transgression against my soul.
Hyadain, if you’re out there reading this, contact me, and I will find some way to pay you for this. Shut up and take my money. I’m being so sincere right now.
Artist: Kirby Krackle
WARNING: The name “Kirby Krackle” is NOT a reference to Nintendo’s more-hardcore-in-America video game character. It is a reference to Jack Kirby, a comic-book illustrator who was good at drawing dots. Like, good enough at drawing dots to have a technique named after him. So I guess he was as good at drawing dots as Bigby was at having hands.
Unfortunately, I did not have the above warning when I first found Kirby Krackle. You see, I was once the kind of person who had hopes. And one of those hopes was that I could find video game music on Spotify. Now you understand why I am no longer the kind of person who has hopes. Anyway, I typed “Kirby” into the search bar, and found “Kirby Krackle”. One song in particular, “Up, Up, Down, Down”, caught my eye with its video game referencing. I loved video games, and I loved referencing, so I decided to check it out. I was kind of curious as to why more of their songs were about comics than video games, but by the time I learned the awful truth, I liked their songs enough that it didn’t really matter. So remember kids: even if your relationship is predicated on lies, it can survive if you’re good enough at singing. Metaphors are easy.
As you can see, I am the kind of person that likes music, but only if I can use it to feel superior to other people. I could probably go on and on about the opening to every anime I’ve ever watched, but this post has already gotten far too long, even by my terrible standards, so I’ll have to play myself offstage pretty soon. However, before that happens, I’d just like to point out that I thought Gun’s and Roses was a good enough song that I forgave their egregious apostrophe error. If you know me, you know that that’s a big deal.
I’ve burnt up all my memories of 2012 for my lists so far, so it’s likely that this will be the last “Favorite Things” list. However, there’s always the possibility that I’ll find a few spare memories under the couch cushions, so another entry is not entirely out of the question.

Also, if you click all the links, and listen to all the songs, you’re eligible to receive a special prize! To claim your gift, just edit every Wikipedia page to say “Two milkmen go comedy”. Once every page has been vandalized modified, you’ll find your major award in the mail within 3-14 business days.

A Few of my Favorite Things: Movies

I’ll be straight with you: I don’t care about movies. I am just not the kind of person who has opinions on them. If you’re lucky, this will keep this list delightfully brief. Then again, judging by my last post, I seem to have quite a knack for talking at length about nothing, so it might not be wise to read this if you have somewhere to be in a hurry. (The great thing about this statement is that no matter when I get around to finishing this draft, there’s a good chance that my last post had me talking at length about nothing.)
As you surely know, a movie is an objectively silly word that means “motion picture”, a phrase which is also rather silly. If you think about it, a motion picture sounds like how you would describe a film to a 3 year old. It’s a picture that moves. And calling them “movies” is every bit as silly as calling movies with sound “talkies”, which I think we can all agree is about as silly as the idea that there is some kind of empirical metric for silliness. Etymology aside, I should probably talk about the movies.
5. Breaking Dawn: Part 2
I already plumbed the depths of human disgust in my last list, so why am I doing it again? Well, fear not dear readers, for a reasonable explanation is at hand. You see, like any red-blooded citizen of the internet, I hate the twilight saga (their capitalization, not mine) with about as much of a burning passion as I can muster. I am proud to say that I have never watched this movie, and I do not intend to do so. I am including this film because its release means that Twilight is over. We staked it through the heart, decapitated it, burned its corpse, and found unsavory uses for the ashes. We are free from the shadowy pall that it draped over the public consciousness. We may once again feel safe in our knowledge that vampires are badass, blood-sucking creatures of the night, rather than golden-eyed, red-lipped morphs crafted from the quintessense of quivering schoolgirls by Stephanie Meyer, their blasphemous mistress. While it is true that her fell work has given a huge boost to the “Monster-love” genre, as long as we ignore it like the Star Wars expanded universe, we should be fine.
4. James Bond Skyfall
While it is technically true that I watched Skyfall, in that I paid to occupy a seat in a theater in which it was played, and remained relatively motionless (with respect to the screen) for the duration of it, I hardly remember it. I was supremely tired at the time, to the point where my most vivid memory of the experience was when my brother ate his ticket stub. On purpose. It dealt a death-blow to the theory that “James Bond” is merely a codename, and each new actor is actually a different agent (The movie, not my brother eating the ticket stub). This means that the “James Bond is a Time Lord” theory is once again the best explanation for the mire that is James Bond continuity. 
There was a gay villain, discussion of the effects of the internet and technology on the spy biz, and an explosion so huge that I suspect it must have been fueled by annihilation. I don’t recall the sky actually falling, but I do remember my friend saying “Skyfall!” rather loudly while Bond fell off of a bridge or something. It was definitely a “you had to be there” moment, but I thought it was so funny that I’d bring it up anyway. The next closest thing to the sky actually falling was the theme song by Adele, which everyone else liked, so I guess I might as well like. Despite this, I suspect that Chicken Little would be rather disappointed in this film, overall.
3. The Avengers
I may not be a comic geek, but I’m still a geek. And that was quite enough for me to enjoy The Avengers. It had just about everything a movie needs to be great, short of Oscar-baiting angst. And a clearly defined conflict, I suppose. The point is that The Avengers beautifully tied together the franchises that constituted it, with no one character hogging all the screen-time, and each character’s previous movies being acknowledged. (Did I mention how much I eat that shit up? Okay, that’s the last time I do that. I promise.) And while this happened, superheroes were beating the super out of each other, and then did the same to some aliens (maybe?). It was also perfectly witty, as we’ve come to expect from Joss Whedon, God-king of the internet. Praise him.
The Avengers is also surprisingly deep, discussing the nature of man, and his quest for power over other men, in a way that I found similar to George Orwell’s 1984. Then again, I also compared “Highschool of the Dead”, an anime with a character unironically nicknamed “Dr. Boobs”, to 1984, so perhaps I am to blame for that. As a completely unrelated note, I’m still angry that, despite the name, almost none of Highschool of the Dead took place in, or even around, a high school.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises claims the honor of being the only movie in 2012 that I saw in theaters twice. In fact, I think it may be the only movie I’ve ever watched twice in theaters, as of the writing of this list. So, why is it number 2 on the list, despite being the only one to receive such a lofty benchmark of quality? Well, it may be because I watched it again that it doesn’t take the top spot. It is a well-documented fact that this movie didn’t make much sense upon closer inspection. And, thanks to the second viewing, I made with the closer inspection. But I won’t talk about that. All the little flaws and plot holes of this movie are as chatted-about on the internet as they are forgotten by me, so I’ll focus on the good things. But before I do that, I should say that my primary complaint is that, for a Batman film, there wasn’t enough Batmanning. I realize that this was meant to be a Serious Film, discussing Serious Topics in ways that are Serious Business. But I paid to see a man dressed like a bat punch things, and it was disappointingly sparse in that respect.
So, now to focus on the good things… They were present? This movie had a story, and it was good. I enjoyed it. It also had plenty of quotable lines, which are things I treasure. Now, whenever I say, “Speak of the Devil, and He shall appear”, I do it with my hands in my collar, and my best Bane impression in my cords. Speaking of Bane, his voice was fun to listen to, like Morgan Freeman or Stephen Fry. Someone should make a GPS voice based on it. The movie also seemed to have a pretty good soundtrack, despite the fact that it seemed to be the same song playing in the background for three hours.
1. Wreck-it Ralph
As someone who cares far more about games than movies, it should come as little surprise that my favorite movie is one that is about games. As I’m sure you know, movies based on video games have a track record for being prodigiously terrible. I wish I could give an example, but I can’t think of one that isn’t terrible enough to be considered unmentionable. But Pixar avoided this curse by making up their own characters, and relegating recognizable stars to cameo roles.  When I went into the theatre, (spelled that way just to show spell-check that it’s not the boss of me) I kind of expected Wreck-it Ralph to just be a bunch of dumb video game references. In retrospect, this was tremendously stupid of me, as it’s made by Pixar, and Pixar makes some really great movies. This movie has the holy Triforce of things that appeal to me in movies: feels, references, and puns. It had deep characters, a great sense of humor, an interesting story, and an important moral (probably?). This movie had a minor character, who was a donut, named “Duncan”. If you are the intended audience of this blog, then that alone should be enough to convince you to see this movie, by hook or by crook.
Honestly, I would probably pay the price of admission just to watch 2 hours of the Nicelanders dancing. Any attempt by me to describe the way they move would be a terrible disservice. Their movement is a true masterwork of the art of animation, the way Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is to the medium of painting, or this blog is to the discipline of incomprehensibility.
There isn’t really much to conclude. I’ve watched a lot more movies in the last year than I did in years past, but I still haven’t really gotten used to forming opinions on them. 

Special Blogspot Notice: This time I might actually fix the picture problem, since the thrill of saying "hell" outside of church only lasts so long. But that's not a promise, that's a threat.

Actually, now that I've gone through the trouble to make these exuses, it's seeming likely that I'll never fix it. I hope you enjoy the tumblr loading animation.

A Few of my Favorite Things: Collections of Short Stories

This is a stupid category. There, I said it. A “Collection of Short Stories” isn’t a real thing, any more than a treehouse is a real thing (Go ahead. Provide me with photographic evidence of a genuine house in someone’s tree. You can’t). However, it is the best way I could think of to describe “Machine of Death” without using words like “anthology”, and MENSA suspects me of breaking into their fancy-word vault enough as it is. For the sake of brevity, I will from now on be referring to “Machine of Death” as a book, because it is indeed possible to purchase it in that medium. For those of you who have forgotten what a book is, or are too young to remember the days of yore, it’s kind of like a sandwich with words. So this will be less of a “list”, and more of an unpaid advertisement for “Machine of Death”, because this blog is nothing if not a billboard for the things that I like.
1. Machine of Death

Imagine, if you will, that you lived in a world wherein a spectacular machine existed. A machine so spectacular, that one might even call it a Machine of Death. This wondrous machine, upon taking a blood sample from any human being, will spit out a small card with a single word or short phrase that tells the user how he or she will die. Much like bizzaro Sylvia Brown, the machine’s predictions are infallible: you WILL die in the way it says. It will not tell you when you will die, and the cause given can range from as vague as “cessation of heart” to as specific as “Choking on the $50 wedding ring that your cheap-ass almost-fiance put in your milkshake as a ‘creative’ way to propose (inspired by a true story)”. With these rules established, I ask you this: Would you take the test? Would you live in fear, or would you be emboldened by the knowledge that anything other than your CoD (Cause of Death, for those who refuse to admit to having ever watched a forensics show) will always fail to kill you? This was an interesting enough thought experiment to Ryan North, webcartoonist and internet pal, that he accepted a bunch of short stories from a bunch of internet writers, including several other webcomic writers. Then he and David Malki! (Another webcartoonist. The factorial is part of his name) curated the submissions into Machine of Death. It’s easy to think that after the first few stories, MoD would get old. After all, all of the stories follow the same format. Some person has a cause of death, so he lives in fear of that thing. Then, through a crazy loophole of wordplay, they’re killed by something completely different from what they’re expecting! For example, some guy has “Drowning” on his card, so he stays away from all water, and thinks he’s safe. But then he gets pneumonia, and drowns from the fluids in his lungs. Hilarious! With all the stories using the same premise, it’s hard to imagine each one coming up with a novel take on the subject.
If you found the above statement true, then you better exercise your imagination, because that’s totally what happens. I’d rather not spoil how any of the stories end, but few, if any, rely on the “It actually meant this the whole time!” plot twist. The stories were short and surprising in a way that I could probably compare to “The Twilight Zone”, if I had ever watched “The Twilight Zone”. Each story has society reacting to the machine in a different way. Some fear the machine, claiming that it ruins the mystery of life. Some celebrate the machine, reveling in the sense of destiny that it gives them. Some devolve into endless, painstakingly described sex parties. At least, they will if one of my submissions gets picked for the next book. Yes, that’s right: Machine of Death was so successful that they decided to make a follow-up. In fact the submissions have already been selected, so you’ll probably have to wait for MoD III to enjoy the publication of my author-insert fic (in more ways than one, if you know what I mean).
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “My money is far too valuable to be thrown away on some delusional blogger’s suggestion.” Did I mention that it’s available as an e-book, or even a PDF, for completely free? And you don’t even have to buy it from The Pirate Bay!* The creators are offering it for download on their site, and it’s completely legal, if that’s the kind of thing you care about. Honestly, I wouldn’t hold it against you if you downloaded it right now, and never even finished this post. I mean, why read my ramblings when you could be classing it up with real, professional literature, written by the kinds of people who churn out real, professional literature? You literally have nothing to lose. In economics, they say that every decision has a cost, but that’s not true for reading this book. Now, you might claim that, by reading MoD, you’re incurring an opportunity cost, in the form of the wasted time that you could be spending doing something else. I counter that if you are reading this blog, your time is of infinitesimal value, and is therefore negligible. Checkmate, readers.
But you’re a rational person, surely. It isn’t enough to not have a reason to not read MoD. The burden of proof is on me to give a good reason for you to do that. Well, what if I told you that this book made Glen Beck, a man that, statistically speaking, you dislike, angry? (Meta-appositives: For when regular ones just won’t confuse enough people.) That’s right! Through a bit of underhanded trickery in the form of requesting that their fans not pre-order the book, and purchase it on the day it was released, Ryan North and David Malki! managed to kick Glenn’s book off the bestsellers list. If there is a better reason to read something, I don’t know what it is.
*This euphemism is credited to Jontron, the game not-so-grump. Plagiarism is something I could get expelled for, so I reckoned I’d credit him for it. I won’t give Gaston credit for the “Sandwich with words” joke, however. He’s an asshole.

Brace Yourselves: Winter is Ending

When I’m wandering through the bustling thoroughfares of the internet, people often approach me and ask “What’s your secret?”, to which I often respond “What are you talking about? I’m clean, man! She was like that when I found her!”. Then, much to my relief, they usually clarify that they are talking about the secret to my blog. “How can you write so much so quickly?”, they ask, desperately hoping to one day be as great as me. Though I know they are doomed to fail, it still warms my heart. “Standards of quality”, I always tell them, “You shouldn’t have them. They will prevent you from blogging successfully the way that artistic talent will prevent you from becoming a successful musician.” Of course, since these are the kind of people that constitute the broth that is the great stew of the Internet, they were not the type to be inhibited by standards of any kind. So they ask for more advice. So I tell them “Even the lowest standards in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t have any time to write. I’m a layabout, so I never have to worry about responsibility getting in the way. I suggest you drop out of school or quit work, so you can do the same.” Again, I overestimated my audience. The common folk of the internet are largely unburdened with such responsibilities. These were my two secret weapons, but for some people it still wasn’t enough. I never want to let down my fans, though, so I tell them this: “Just pretend. If you can deceive everyone, even yourself, into thinking you have a successful blog, than who’s to say you don’t? There’s no such thing as external reality: everything is as we believe it to be.” At this point, they are usually so thankful that they give me $100 and an offer for a casual encounter (I always decline).
I had a point to this post, before I got carried away with self-deprecating jokes, and it was this: I no longer have time to write. Tomorrow marks the end of Winter Break for me, so I’ll be going back to school, and this will drastically cut short the time I have available to do… whatever this is. Now, there’s no need to worry. This absolutely does not mean that I will cease to be a layabout. But it likely will mean that my production rate will slow considerably, if not grind to a halt. Now, before you cry into your pillow, and jump to Livejournal to write some totally soulful poetry about how the world is out to get you, and your parents just don’t understand, please do this one thing for me: Don’t do that. It’ll be fine. You see, this is no ordinary blog; this blog can only be seen by the strong of heart and spirit. If you read these words, that means that you have been judged, and you have been found worthy. So save those tears for something more worthy: lost loves, broken promises, spilled milk… anything, really. It’s not that big of a deal.
I can’t really predict how much of an effect college will have on my productivity. Like I said, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll just up and quit, deciding that my precious free time is better spent rolling around in the internet like a dog in poop, which I find to be a much better metaphor than “surfing the ‘net”. On the other side of the coin, I may actually post more regularly, as my long commute affords me plenty of time to write. This time would obviously be better spent on homework, but I’m not the kind of person to abstain from doing something just because it’s not the best thing I could be doing. For example, I’m writing this, even though I could be doing… just about anything else, really. Trying to get a good night’s sleep comes to mind.
I’ll try to get back to my “Favorite Things” lists, but I realized a bit too late how they were a bad idea, on account of the fact that I don’t like things. I’ll probably crack out a few more, but who’s to say how things will go? Maybe I’ll develop amnesia before I can finish, and forget about everything I like. More likely, I’ll just decide to post a link to Jon Lajoie’s “F**k Everything” to express the fact that I really just don’t care.
Regardless of what happens, I’m sure we can weather this storm. Together. *Passionate embrace*

A Few of my Favorite Things: Video Games

Like a great poet once said, a blog truly is the window to a person’s soul. Read someone’s blog, and you can know the inner workings of their mind even more familiarly than the most intimate lover. And since I lack any of those, you have even less competition!
Since my blog is more or less an unrestricted periscope into my personality, it’s likely that I come across as quite a gamer. I spend unhealthy amounts of time on the internet, fancy myself smarter than I am, and have the audacity to think that people actually care about my opinion. These are all qualities common to both bloggers and gamers, so it only makes sense that I might spend large amounts of my time gaming. And during for the beautiful days of my life, I did. But then college happened, and I find myself with only just enough time to piss away on the internet. I’ve managed to play a few games in the past year, but more than half of the games bought last year were Christmas presents for other people. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I genuinely do not know. Anyway, since this is a list, I guess I should get to listin’:
5. Pokemon Conquest

Like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon before it, Pokemon Conquest was a Pokemon crossover with a Japanese-exclusive series that promised actual Pokemon combat. Also like PMD, it disappointed me in its dissimilarity to Fire Emblem. While it was a Turn-based Strategy, unlike PMD, (I don’t really know how I’d classify PMD, other than “shameful”) it was more similar to the Final Fantasy Tactics series. But I love the Final Fantasy Tactics series, almost as much as I love Fire Emblem, so what was the problem? Well, Whenever I have a mental debate over whether I like Fire Emblem or Tactics more* (This is a shockingly common occurrence  and my number one cause of [insert joke during proofreading]). What I decided is that, of my two favorite TBS RPGs, I prefer Fire Emblem’s tactical gameplay, but FFT has superior role-playing mechanics . This is hardly the place to talk about this at length, but Pokemon Conquest sorely lacks the level of customization provided by FFT, as well as the tactical challenge of Fire Emblem. This leaves one great, unanswered question: “Why the hell did I put this on a list of my favorite games, if it was such a disappointment?” I guess I could go the route of Time Magazine, and say that this is a list of games of great significance, rather than ones that are actually good. But it says “My Favorite Things”, so that’s obviously a handwave. I guess I’ll just say that the fact that I had to pad this list with a game I didn’t really like is indicative of how few games I played this year.
4. Assassin’s Creed 3
Special Blogspot Note: Pictures of Assassin's Creed 3 can go straight to hell. For some reason, this is the second picture in a row that won't properly load. I doubt I will fix this any time soon, because I think it's funny that I just told pictures to go straight to hell.

Speaking of games that were obviously added to pad the list: I haven’t actually played this game. You see, I was pretty into the Assassin’s Creed series at first, but when they couldn’t be bothered to put numbers in the titles, I couldn’t be bothered to follow along. And now I’m afraid to jump back in without catching up, and I’m not sure I have the time to do that. Because I haven’t played it, I really don’t have much to say. The first two Assassin’s Creeds were super fun, (The moment I realized that you could kill someone by throwing them into a scaffolding remains one of the top moments of my life. It was also pretty fun in the game.) and people are saying good things about the fifth, so I bet Assassin’s Creed III would be right up my alley. So if you find yourself with a hot copy of this game, and you don’t know someone who can keep a secret, you could always pitch it to me.
3. Pokemon White 2 (And also Black 2, I guess)

For the second time on this list, I have a Pokemon game, and this time, it’s one I actually liked! Well, it was OK, anyway. After the near death experience of buying Pokemon White 2, (I almost bought Pokemon Black 2. The cashier had it all ringed up, and I freaked out as I realized my mistake at the last minute.) I didn’t care to finish this sentence. My feelings on the fact that they opted to make Black and White 2, rather than a singular “Grey”, were conflicted. On one hand, it was an obvious cash-grab, and that’s not something I like. But on the other side of the coin, the fact that it was a true sequel, taking place 2 years later, meant that they could have a completely new story, and the story was one of my favorite parts of the original Black and White. Pokemon games usually aren’t known for their story, (You want to be the very best, like no one ever was. Ect.) but Black and White brought up the complicated moral implications that Pokemon had always skirted around. When the names were announced, many of the more unsavory internet folk replied with “Blakc? Wihte? Dat’s racist! lolololol”. I never would have guessed how close they were to making sense, as the story of Team Plasma’s attempted Pokemon revolution mirrors our own civil rights movement, with the Player Character and the mysterious villain N acting as analogues for Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X, respectively. While I am somewhat serious about  the previous comparison, It’d probably be better for my policy of political neutrality if you just assumed that it was a meaningless joke.
But this post isn’t about the original Black and White. It’s about 2. And the problem is that the story, the one thing I looked forward to most, just wasn’t as good. While it was satisfying to see how the region had changed in the two years between games, with all the little shout-outs to continuity, (I eat that shit up) the lack of a morally ambiguous villain made it bland. The best bad guys are often the ones that you’re almost kind of rooting for, and that absolutely did not happen here. But, despite all that, it was still a Pokemon game, so I had to buy it, I had to play it, and I had to enjoy it. And I did. Also, it had a bunch of different versions of the amazing “Team Plasma Battle” song, so that was neat.
2. Katawa Shoujo

Oh boy. Here we go. Well, since my number 1 video game is basically a visual novel, there’s precedent. And that means that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t include this. If 4leaf studios could have only rushed this out 5 days earlier, I would have been spared this humiliation…
Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel made by weeaboos on 4chan. The title translates into English as “Cripple Girls”, more or less. As much I’d like to leave it at that, I feel like I should explain myself. Katawa Shoujo is a piece of interactive fiction in which you take control of Hisao, a teenager with a major heart defect, as he has sex with 5 different girls, each crippled by a distinct disability. And now that I’ve got this fat check from the “Research on the absolute minimum amount of respect one human can have for another Institute”, let’s see if I can salvage some of my dignity. Despite having a premise exactly like the kind you’d expect from a place like 4chan, it’s a very touching story about LOVE and COMPANIONSHIP. The fact that there are naked bodies, (which one can choose to censor out, I feel compelled to add) is secondary. Or even tertiary, if you listen to the great soundtrack. If you’re the kind of person that didn’t have to Google what a “visual novel” is, then I guess I’d recommend it to you. Bring some tissues. What you do with them is entirely up to you. 
1. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering the post I made fawning over the first game in the series, which ended with the statement that this game is better in most ways. I spilled a lot of electrons on the subject there, so there’s not much else to say, since the two games share a lot of the same strengths. I guess I’ll parrot what GameInformer said of it, and say that VLR makes you feel like you’re interacting with actual people, in a way that few games manage. Much of the game revolves around the “Ambidex Game”, a game in which players must choose to ally or betray in order to get enough points to escape. The game is based off the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and carries all the moral and ethical ramification’s entailed. It also has some of the best voice acting I’ve ever heard from a video game, with Zero III doing a particularly great job.
As much as I recommend this game, however, I STRONGLY advise against playing it before you’ve played Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It spoils much of 999, and some of the big moments lose their edge if you don’t have the context of the first game (I continue to eat that shit up). And if you needed a more heartfelt endorsement  look no further: I love this game so much that my avatar, my very ambassador to the internet, the land I love so much, is a character from this game. Assuming, that is, that it’s still a surprised looking robot man at the time you’re reading this.
And there you have it! I’ve somehow managed to spin a dry year of gaming into one of my famous Havoc Mantis walls of text. I guess that procrastinating job applications gets the creative juices flowing in a way few other things can. I can only pray that if my mother ever does read this, it’s far enough into the future that she doesn’t care.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The whole thing about “Insert a joke while proofreading” was left there on purpose. It was a joke, and not at all indicative of me not proofreading my posts, because proofreading is totally a thing that I do.
*I realize that I totally left that sentence hanging, but I’m not really sure how to fix it, so I’m just going to take the easy way out and lampshade it.