Pinkie’s Fantastic Five: Video Game Writers

Hello Little Lights, and Periwinkle in particular, today I got tagged in a top five by my pool guy. In Mallow spirit he tagged me in a regular post that isn’t really meant to be a blog tag I think?! But I am not sure.. so at least from me , I won’t be tagging people but I will encourage people to take on this challenge themselves. You see this is an interesting topic for me. Video Game Writers.. neither in anime or video games or even movies for that matter I worry too much about the back office.. I enjoy the bigger product.. as an experience of everyone…in most cases. But who are responsible for some of my favourite works? Today we find out!

<Disclaimer>
This post is not an official top 5,  there is no ranking nor do I claim that these five are my absolute favourites. I do not like ranking people and telling one is better than the other, so these can be put in any order and in no way are meant to invalidate YOUR favourite writers!
<End of Disclaimer>

Jonas Kaerlev

So immediately I started with someone who was the subject of some online scrutiny.  However, whether those accusations are true or not does not reflect on his work. They say our guy Jonas stole the work of an artist and when they struck back he tried to defame them or something.  For some this may be a reason not to buy a game but for me this is something that happens anywhere in the world. It’s up to the people involved to resolve this. So him being a potential meanie-bo-beanie to his staff, doesn’t affect his skill. I would not be able to buy a lot of food if I had to boycott every dickish boss.  So.. by now you may wonder, who the heck is this Jonas Kaerlev person?! See I got you interested in him at least?! … Well he is the writer of A Hat in Time and Ceo of Gears for Breakfast.  As a lot of you may know:   I LOVE A HAT IN TIME SOOOOO MUCH!!!!  The writing is ON point.

Lil old Jonas , is a gamer and he has a love for cute cynismsn and that just oozes out of this game. Which gives it such a personality!  It is cute as buttons, but it has so much sas. Much like Kazooie from Banjo., but in Kaerlev’s work it feels much more genuine. It fits these characters so much and there is a crude irony that some of these characters discover about themselves near the finale or during the game that makes these things so incredibly fun. A Hat in Time’s characters feel so unique and vibrant and the mission structure tells a story while also keeping this video game whimsy about it.  The story is largely irrelevant yet you really get to know these characters and you know what is happening still, feeling both retro and modern and for this writing I adore it.

Yuji Horii

I could have easily fitted this list with just J-RPG writers, but that felt a bit cheap.  However mister Horii can not be omitted from this list. He started out as a journalist for something called “magazines” which are like very old fashioned blogs… but offline?! Weird huh!  (Yes I am writing this so people in the future may enjoy it as well).  A random contest issued by Enix led the man to develop the concept for a game called Love Match Tennis. He won the contest.. among others and this inspired him to start making video games.  His game Portopia Serial Murder Case is one of the games that is creditted by Hideo Kojima as the thigns that got HIM into making video games…. see now my post and Perwinkle’s are linked! Sugoi Sugoi!  Yuji Horii would then move on to be one of the creative aspirations behind a little franchise called. Dragon Quest…or Dragon Warrior if you are an old school American! 
WhileI absolutely adore Dragon Quest, especially part VIII ,  that is not the reason he is on this list. No Horii is on my list because he is the writer of Chrono Trigger.

When I did the powerful female tag, I put Celes Chere as a woman who has been trough a lot , mentioning she might be one of my favourite JRPG characters of all time.Yet there is one character that comes to mind even stronger and that is Frog from Chrono Trigger. And no his real name is not Frog and he is not just a frog.. there is a huge backstory to that featuring a powerful sword and evil mage and time travel, yet that is not even the main plot of the game, it’s a “side-story” integrated in the bigger picture. Chrono Trigger has so much story it is insane and it is perfectly interwoven into each other, the very monstrous Lavos as a villain is quite different from what we normally see. JRPG villains tend to be , what I like to call “Frieza Variations”. I know he wasn’t the first.. but he is well know. A charismatic ruler, of immense power that will transform a few times as you fight him. Usually very cold hearted and a megalomaniac.  Chrono Trigger went a very different route, and our journey was different from what we are used too! And while Horii was not solely responsible.. he started it all!

Tim Schafer

While making this list I wanted to make sure to include people throughout genres and throughout the world, so I was brainstorming on genres in which I really enjoy the story.  The idea of horror came up.. but I realised that was not completely true.  I wanna be scared. I’ll leave the Deus Ex writer for Indigo if he decides to do this tag so shooters were out and western RPGs are oftenly really generically written. Then it came to me.  Old school Point and Click adventures. I often care more about their funny stories than about the puzzles all that much. I love the genre and I love the characters. Yet which game should I pick.. my three favourite point and Click adventure stories are: Day of the Tentacle, the original Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. So now.. I have to decide which one to pick.. oh nevermind they are all written by the same guy, Tim Schafer. 

I do want to Schafer a slap though for the HORRIBLE ending of Monkey Island 2…. seriously, that is one HORRIBLE video game ending, but his sense of humor is sensible in all of his games. Comedy is hard to put into a video game, it rarely worked in anything other than Point and Click adventures but Tim Schafer to me is the king of video game humor. He proved that it can be done outside of the point and click genre with Brütal Legends and Psychonauts (he also wrote the sequel)  but to me his greatest achievement will be Grim Fandango. The Film Noir and day of the dead inspired the world is so amazing. The adventures of Manny are beautiful.. and the threat of being killed by a flower never felt more real!  It has the perfect balance of comedy, suspense and puzzles that are challenging but feel logical to that world.  Also Tim probably imagined most of the concept for Guybrush freaking Threepwood. Praise Tim!

Hironobu Sakaguchi & Yoshinori  Kitase

Hironobu Sakaguchi

The penultimate slot of this list goes to two people.. and as you may expect by their names, yes they are responsible for a JRPG choice on this list.  So why do I chose two people?! Well because they are co-listed as writers of a few video game gems. Such as Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII and of course my all time favourite JRPG, Final Fantasy (ambiguous) VI. I can’t really choose between Sakaguchi and Kitase, because while stories of Final Fantasy games only began to get very good when Kitase showed up (I don’t really care for the story of I through IV) Sakaguchi was the scenario writer for Final Fantasy IX, which might be my second favourite Final Fantasy. So they both made this list. Regardless of what is your favourite Final Fantasy, these two have something to do with it.  Kitase himself says he loves VII the most and his favourite character is Cloud Strife. Now imagine how cool it is to say in their context. HIS favourite character is Cloud Strife. These are THEIR characters. Cloud Strife.. one of THE most Iconic video game characters of all time. It becomes even more epic if you think that unlike Mario, Sonic and even Solid Snake’s design.. who originally just ripped off Kyle Reese from Terminator,  his origins do not stem from just a cool design.. he was probably written first and designed after. Almost none of the other icons will have that feature.

Yoshinori Kitase

So  that already is a testament of their amazing writing prowess, but to me it is still best embodied in Final Fantasy VI. A SteamPunk game that again breaks with a lot of the video game storytelling traditions?!  It created an incredibly complex world with characters that would exist in a world, even if there was no story line. Cecil is an okay character..but without the game there is little to him. The first three games you literally play blank paper sheets or at least their abilities can be traded in. Terra.. without the crown incident would still be interesting, given her heritage. Celes would still feel conflicted about her job without the events  that really drive this game. Edgar would still have his conflict with Sabin. Final Fantasy VI is a great example on how to create a world for me.. the way characters get lost in the woods, do something stupid and end up in more trouble then they bargained for.. it was not just a story that was being told it had it’s characters interact with it. It felt dynamic and is to this day one of my favourite video game stories, and most likely it will be until the day I’d need a Phoenix Down!

Suda51

I know I don’t do rankings, but Suda51 is a top candidate for the number 1 spot on this list.. which is also why I made him my final entry. It is no secret that I like weirdness and randomness and Suda51 is the master of weird. So much so that it can feel convoluted at times, maybe weird for weirds sake. However you just need to see two minutes of a Suda51 game and you will know it is a Suda51 game. His style is on everything.  This can be said for his colleague David Cage, who was on Periwinkle’s list but I do not like David Cage games, they tend to feel a bit preachy at times, there is a heavy bias to certain plot-threads or ways things unfold. Suda51 doesn’t have that for me. Say a David Cage script gets mixed up with these semi-super drama’s like Izombie or the 100, I am not sure I would be able to pick it out of the pile as his work. If I throw Suda51’s writing into a pile of oddball scripts I would still be able to pick out Suda51.. I’d need to throw it into a creative writing course at an Asylum, not to notice it is him.. and even then.. I’d imagine I’d still be able to do it.

I think it is both Cage’s and Suda51’s strength that among games, you can recognise their work for miles. To each goes their own very specific audience and Suda51’s audience is me!  Killer7, Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer is Dead, these all just ooze with flavour and I adore these games. However they do not have Travis Touchdown. No More Heroes is such a unique and strange franchise that really feels like the artists creation. I do not like to do this whole back office thing and look at writers.. but with No More Heroes or Suda51 games, I do not have too.  I know. With all due respect to my four other entries you could tell me another name made them and I would believe it… I can not play No More Heroes and deny Gochi Suda had something to do with it. The way a girl commits suicide by biting down on a grenade.. for losing to Travis, the extremely over the top story that gives room for the strange visuals, the overly cool protagonist that still has to do menial jobs, there is a consistent inconsistency in these games. A way these characters talk to each other that feels larger than life. Larger than normal video games, it’s predictably unpredictable. It is goosebumps and a squee-sounds of joy all over. It’s Suda51!

Like I said I will not be tagging people but I do encourage people in the gaming blogosphere to pick this up and try it themselves.  I don’t think it’s an official tag post and more of a challenge… so I will keep it at that. Challenge yourself to find five other names that are important to you and let’s talk some more video games! Until then, Shine on Little Lights! Oyasumi!

Art by LiciaLurie

Periwinkle’s Five Favorite Video Game Writers

Occasionally on my days off from scrubbing the pool floor, changing filters, getting Chlorine in my eyes and falling off ladders trying to replace the festive holiday lights permanently fixed to the tiki bar I get a chance to spend some time on things I actually love.

And I’m not talking about spending hours alone weeping and pulling my hair out questioning poor level design, awful difficulty curves and gigantic plot holes as I play my monthly bad video games that the manager ruthlessly opens the door and tosses at me in my hut.

I’m talking about laying on the beach like an even more drunk TJ Miller sharing raw fish with my best buddy, Cookie and reading back issues of EGM. Reminiscing about Periwinkle in his naive youth. Thumbing through every single page of any gaming magazine I could afford while working minimum wage at a grocery store. Using dial up internet to keep up with his favorite writers in the gaming world. Knowing someday he too would be beloved in Japan and by a small but growing contingent in North America as a masterful script writer for an incredible Action Adventure series.

As you now know – obviously that all happened and now I’m just your typical billionaire that spends his free time in between riding in my personal jet made of platinum and naming Elon Musk’s children after cyborg angels writing for the blog because why not? I just love games.

So I guess I decided to create my own little list. I am going to briefly write about my own top five favorite video game writers. And I’m going to ask my co-conspirators on the site and YOU! (yes, you don’t be shy) to follow suit!

Also I don’t want to hear any belly aching about how, “March isn’t Video Game Writer Month” and “You can only write about your favorite writers in August!!” or any other made up blog rules because I don’t give a shit.

BUT – I do want to hear from you and your favorites! Be it video game writers, anime or book authors. Could be anyone – who cares – let’s rejoice in the people that make us happy. Alright let’s start:

These are in no particular order and this list is obviously not a proclamation of who is “the best” or any of that. Just my personal favorites.

DAN HOUSER

Known for: Grand Theft Auto Series, Red Dead Redemption series, Smuggler’s Run, Max Payne 3, Midnight Club, Bully

My Pick: GTA IV

Despite being one of the most commercially successful writers on this list, Dan Houser has always shied away from the celebrity some of his counterparts bask in. Growing up in England with brother Sam – the Housers ultimately ended up in New York creating the upstart Rockstar Games.

While not being created by the Housers they took over chief writing of the Grand Theft Auto series early on and by the third installation single handily revolutionized open world gameplay. The series has since went on to become one of the most popular video game series of all time (selling over 320 million copies). Grand Theft Auto has always been known for its dark humor, satire of American culture and homage to crime movies but with GTA IV the writing truly evolved into epic storytelling. Matching the updated and realistic graphics the gritty story followed anti-hero, Niko Bellic as an off-the-boat immigrant from the Baltics trying to start a new life in America – only to be forced into the same criminal lifestyle he led back home. It’s a mature and dark take on the American Dream and subsequently became an instant classic.

JOHN GONZALEZ

Known for: Horizon Zero Dawn, Fallout: New Vegas, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Horizon, Dungeon Siege: 3

My Pick: Fallout: New Vegas

Most die hard Fallout fans despite what system they swear allegiance to would tell you that they were giddy after Microsoft acquired Bethesda in September of 2020 because of one thing: Bethesda now being reunited with Obsidian Entertainment.

The last game the two companies worked on together was the near perfect, post apocalyptic masterpiece, Fallout: New Vegas.

The high water mark that some Fallout fans fear will never again be reached. Fallout 4 was good but it wasn’t New Vegas and Fallout 76 is unfortunately a stupid bastard child hated by all. But maybe all fans don’t know that in addition to Obsidian and Bethesda kissing and making up they will also need the help of John Gonzalez, the lead writer of New Vegas. The darkest entry in the violent series, perfectly paced and packed with exciting and interesting dialogue trees and characters, Gonzalez deserves a contract worth all the Nuka-Cola caps in the world to lead the writing team for Fallout 5.

SAM LAKE

Known For: Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Alan Wake, Quantum Break, Control

My Pick: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Max Payne was an absolute game changer for me. Revenge. One of the oldest tales ever told reinvented with style, bravado and a smoky verbosity that my friends and I still joke about to this day. The original Max Payne was about guns and Matrix-esque action sequences. In fact, they were on such a tight budget at Remedy that Sam Lake modeled for Max Payne himself, with other programmers lending their likeness for henchman and baddies throughout the game. They even used Sam’s own mom as the main antagonist, Nicole Horne.

But after Max Payne crushed it as a critical and commercial darling – the budget inflated and Lake hung up his modeling cap and turned the storytelling up to 11. The Fall of Max Payne is a masterpiece on several levels, between its submersible baddie dialogue to its expertly crafted Shakespearean-star-crossed-lovers story arc the Fall is not only a PlayStation 2 masterpiece but an achievement in story telling from an underrated modern day master.

DAVID CAGE

Known For: The Nomad Soul, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human

My Pick: Beyond: Two Souls

David Cage is a polarizing figure. I will acknowledge that. But thats it. I am only here to discuss writing prowess and even to that end his company, Quantic Dream also draws hard lines in the sand with gamers. You either really love Quantic Dream games or you don’t. There truly doesn’t seem like very much middle ground.

My personal pick probably seems confounding. Beyond: Two Souls was by far Quantic Dream’s least successful release. It was skewered by critics and gamers alike for bad controls. But it was easy to work through these issues with Cage’s script being read by Elliot Page and Willem Dafoe. If this game doesn’t give you the feels than I can’t help you. The acting is elite and Cage’s script keeps up with his talent.

HIDEO KOJIMA

Known for: The Metal Gear Solid Series, Policenauts, Zone of the Enders, Snatcher, Death Stranding

My Pick: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The master. In the opinion of many (including my own) one of the greatest writers of all time. No one has quite mashed pop culture, action adventure cinema and overall gun powdered existentialism quite as smoothly than Mr. Kojima.

Throughout Kojima’s career one could argue no one has ever imposed a more convincing anti-war argument to teens through visual media. He may have created one of the most badass soldiers of all time but like all man made weapons of destruction he runs the film past the script end. Never afraid to challenge his own genre and medium no writer has ever been as bold as Kojima when it comes to challenging his players to look at the world around them and demand, “Why?”

ADULT SWIM HOURS

My two best friends that I constantly harass when writing any of my articles had some writers to add of their own they were mad I omitted. They know my guys. They know what games I love. But they needed the world to know:

Shigeru Miyamoto is number one. You don’t just write Mario/Zelda/Donkey Kong/F-Zero/Pikmin/Star Fox and get ignored on some idiot’s blog about great video game writers. It just can’t happen.

While that is true. A few faithful readers will remember that I’ve already been thrashed by a Twitter badass for my lack of absolute devotion to everything Nintendo as is. So I might as well continue this disturbing and challenging trend.

Also, this guy:

Neil Druckmann

This curly haired fellow? Neil Druckmann? He is solely responsible for one of my closest friends denouncing Xbox and buying a PlayStation 3. After watching a half an hour or so of Uncharted. I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement.

Alright so… now it’s your turn.

@pinkiemon

@metalw0rker001

@foovay

@kurohanastudios666

And in addition to all of my favorite writing partners on the site I have a couple specific bloggers I follow as well. Obviously don’t feel obligated to but I’d be interested to read your favorites:

The Gamer With Glasses

Shoot The Rookie

Geeking-By

So there you have it. Who inspires you? Who are your favorites? Join the conversation in the comments below or let me know via social media at: Buffalo Retro

Periwinkle’s Art of War: That Time Ghost Recon Accurately Predicted War

Years before I became resident pool skimmer at Paradise I considered myself a bit of an amateur, “fictional war correspondent”. Examining warfare video games retrospectively, weighing the odds of probability for fictional conflicts or double checking historical “accuracies” in games about real war long past. Or sometimes just noticing coincidences or conflicts accurately predicted like today’s entry. For those of you that could give a shit about history, don’t worry – this is a new and sporadic type series and will be few and far between (mainly because it requires one iota of research and I am just heartbreakingly lazy).

I will be back suffering, playing horrible games for your reading pleasure soon enough. But for now, since your here, join me while we briefly discuss the time Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon accurately predicted war.

So today we will cover the very first Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon game and how it predicted (down to the year) the Russo-Georgian War. But first a quick overview for those unfamiliar with the game series and writer, Tom Clancy.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon was released in 2001 for PC and ported to consoles in 2002. While the game series is one of the only games under the Tom Clancy brand umbrella not based on an actual Tom Clancy novel it still does a fairly decent job guessing a geo-political crisis in the near future.

Tom Clancy was a best selling author who more than likely has written something you’ve either read, watched or played. The Hunt For Red October was his first novel. Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger and The Sum Of All Fears all became commercially successful films based on his novels as well.

Somehow Tom Clancy looked exactly like I imagined he would.

The Ghost Recon video game series began development in the late 90’s into the early 2000’s and unlike Rainbow Six is not based on a specific story by Clancy but just his tactical/military based body of work.

From Wikipedia:

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is a tactical shootervideo game developed by Red Storm Entertainment and published by Ubi Soft in 2001 for Microsoft Windows. It was ported to Mac OSPlayStation 2and Xbox in 2002 and to the GameCube in 2003. Ports for N-Gage and Game Boy Advance were planned, but later canceled.[6]Unlike Clancy’s other tactical shooter series, Rainbow SixGhost Recon is not based on any of his books.

Red Storm is an American video game developer founded by Tom Clancy and his manager, Doug Littlejohns (which is one of the most ridiculous last names I’ve ever heard). 

Anyways they debuted with, “Tom Clancy’s Politika” and really broke ground in 1999 with, “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” series.

It was also published by juggernauts, Ubisoft. The Montreal based company that has also published all other Tom Clancy titles, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Rayman, Prince of Persia, Watch Dogs and many other titles.

Ghost Recon takes place in the near future (at the time) 2008. An ultra nationalist groups seizes control of Russia displacing its current democratic leaders and begins taking back land and countries lost during the soviet collapse. Russia quickly seizes Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan and declares itself the RDU (Russian Democratic Union) and sets aim on its neighboring Georgia.

“The Ghosts” are a fictional ultra elite United States military squad first called in to stop Russian backed rebels in Georgia. The rebels are South Ossetia separatists but what makes this case and game particularly interesting is the coincidence of time between the game itself and the Russo-Georgian War. 

But to understand the significance of the coincidence we first have to look into the history of some of the parties involved and what better way to start than examining the modern day history of the gorgeous country of Georgia. 

Georgian flag

Just south of Russia, Georgia was under Soviet control until it regained independence in 1991. Following the regained independence however a long period of political strife, bloody coup and a civil war erupted.

Noteworthy Georgians include: Joseph Stalin and the best looking chess master on Earth Sopiko Guramishvili.

Definitely NOT the best looking chess master on Earth
Guramishvili
Oh and fictional mega babe, Xenia Onatopp. Best Bond villain ever.

Considered a frozen conflict zone (Disputed conflicts and territories left over from the Cold War) Georgia has had two internationally recognized territorial disputes. One with Abkhazia and another in The northern part of the country with South Ossetia separatists. Were going to focus on South Ossetia.

In short, South Ossetians helped overtake the Democratic Republic of Georgia and in April 1922 were rewarded their own separate autonomous administration called the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. Leading up the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgian nationalism was at an all time high during the push for independence from the USSR. Tensions flared between the sides – with Russian backed South Ossetia and Tbilisi at odds. 

All a powder keg which would eventually explode in 2008 during the Russo-Georgian War. The war lasted only twelve days and is notable that it is considered the first war in Europe during the 21st century. It was also the first war to feature cyber warfare as well as traditional military means. 

After almost two weeks the French negotiated a cease fire between the two sides successfully but not unlike Crimea in 2014 Russia has occupied the territory since 2008 breaking the rules set in place for the existing cease fire.

What’s the largest coincidence?

That both the conflict in the game (between Russian backed Ossetian separatists and NATO backed Georgian military) and the real Russo-Georgian war both break out in the year 2008. The game effectively predicting the conflict seven years in advance.

The one thing the game did get wrong?

That it would take a fringe ultra-nationalist political party to oust the Russian administration of 2005. The truth being – there was already a fringe ultra nationalist in office by 2005.


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Is Pinkie a Powerful Female? Does she know any? The Powerful Female Tag

I shoot laser beams from my Antenna, I am immortal and I can flip cars with a single flap of my wings. Yet I also can not, this is only my V-persona! It’s still pretty neat in V-Reality though!  However does this make me a powerful woman?! I don’t think so.. yet Annie from Evening Tea Musing’s saw something in me that made her feel like I was a powerful woman! She nominated me for this tag and I am super grateful! Because I am a game blogger, in an anime world I decided to answer all her prompts with both a video game character as well as an anime character. Just because I Like to complicate things

Rules

  • Choose a female (real or fictional) for every prompt.
  • Tag at least one female blogger.
  • Pingback to Annie’s Powerful females’ tag.
  • Enjoy~

Name a Female Known for her Intelligence

Anime: Dragon Ball (and onwards) – Bulma 

No I shall not be calling her Bulma Briefs, because that is a dubismn, her real last name is pretty much unknown. The way her father is referred to as Dr Briefs in Japanese doesn’t mean it is his last name, in fact it seems to be quite the opposite. See.. I bet some of you did not know that!  Regardless, Bulma is a very well known character in the anime world and she is  smart as heck. She can copy technology just by glancing at it and in fact improve it.  From Saiyan space pods with artificial gravity chambers to building time machines, Bulma has the technical prowess that goes way beyond her years. Besides that Bulma is also very much in touch with her femininity and  she is clever in keeping her looks as well.  She abuses the dragonballs, using the radar she invented. However to keep her good looks, Dragon Ball Super Broly showed us that Bulma has been secretly wishing for youth as well.  To escape repercussions she has been wishing for alittle bit each time so her friends do not notice. This shows not only does she have a high IQ , her EQ and wits are up there as well.

Games: Breath of the Wild – Zelda

I do not like Breath of the Wild all the much. I think it should have been Breath of the Wild, a Hylian adventure..focussing on a new hero stuck in between times that Link is reincarnating and such…this adventure did not feel like a Legend of Zelda game to me and I did not care much for the gameplay. However this game easily has my favourite incarnation of Zelda of all times.. even though I think she should have been just a scholar with just enough of Zelda’s lineage in her blood to awaken her powers. That doesn’t change though that this character is an incredible scholar. Long before Zelda becomes useful as a Triforce user, her scholar skills help her modify and utilize the divine beasts. She is great at technology, but also botany and she also is a capable biologist. Even as a kid she was extremely gifted in polliticology , knowing exactly how and when to act like a princess. Her social skils and empathy could use some work though.. that’s not how you ask someone to eat a frog princess.

Name a Female known for her great Physical Strength

Anime: Flip Flappers- Papika

Originally my vote would have gone from Koto to Kyousougiga.. but the fact that I would need an entire paragraph just to explain who Koto is.. and which Koto I mean.. made me choose Papika instead. In many ways she is a better pick anyway! Not only is she strong as an ox, she fulfills many typically male tasks throughout Flip Flappers, while keeping her femininity still. And when I say.. Male tasks  I mean stuff like hunting, surfing, saving the damsel in distress. It is also implied that she is into characters of her own gender romantically.  Yet Papika never really falls into the tomboy trope. She still loves lots of plushies and bubbly stuff, despite having so much of the classic melee hero quirks, she veers from feeling like the classic archtype and that is why she is the one I respect the most. She does some respectable things, in her own unique way and I adore her for it. 

Games: The Witcher 3 – Ciri

Of course Ciri is more than just a woman of great physical strength, she posses ample abilities to exist alongside that, such as her abilities to travel to the world of Cyberpunk 2077 and not noticing the glitches!  Yet Ciri is above all an extremely capable warrior of great strength to me!  She can survive and adapt in any world and wield a multitude of weapons. Lifting an actual sword is heavy as heck, yet she swings it around like it is nothing.  Ciri’s physique also extends to amazing reflexes and she is rather durable as well showing once more she is super strong. Having access to royal blood gave Ciri a relatively easy way out.. but it is a path she never chose. She did things the hard way.  She honed her strength and depending on how you played through the game made some hard sacrifices as well.  Always enduring! She is a powerful woman for sure!

Name a Female who Powered through Difficult times

Anime: Sailor Moon – Usagi Tsukino

So.. this might be an odd choice! We all know Usagi is known for crying a lot and being comically frail at times. Yet I think I would like to mention her as a Powerful woman. Difficult times are often described with immense hardships, losing a relative, breaking up, losing your job. While Usagi also suffers through these, our beloved little crybaby also shows how difficult it can be at times just to power through a normal day. She demonstrates how painful it can be to fight with your friends, even if you know things will turn out alright again. She deals with a whole lot including small stuff! That is something I will always respect more than just someone being able to cope with one major thing. Usagi may be frail but she shows it that at times it is okay to cry!  It is okay to be upset at the tiny things! We don’t have to wear a mask.. if we stay trough to ourselves we can power through that way as well. That is why Usagi would be my pick!… Plus if we look at the major things happening to her… she earns it several times over anyway!

Games: Final Fantasy VI- Celes Chere

Not the only Final Fantasy Character on this list… and to be fair, I could have easily filled this post with just Final Fantasy characters.  I will stick to just two though! Celes Chere is a character that is unlocked around the ending of the first major story arc in Final Fantasy VI and probably my favourite Final Fantasy character ever.  She finds out that her loyalties have been in the wrong place, she has to deal with the terrible things she has done in the past and come to terms with her terrible history.  She could turn her conscious off for so long but now it is back.. we see Celes cope with a depression, a death wish even, thinking she is not deserving of positive things…. yet there is also a blossoming relationship in her life, which seems like a great thing.. but when you are in the place Celes is, getting affection can make you sink deeper. I have been there, where you feel so unworthy that all love feels like people are wasting time on you and you feel terrible for being in their live, for stealing their time.  Celes sees hope returning to her live.. just to see that very new world she had fought for be destroyed… literally! Then she has to fight to start over again. When you first meet Celes in the game.. she has no own theme yet.. unlike other characters.. she finds it along the way.. she is like a phoenix that rises from the ashes… and she does it twice in one game!

Name a Female you want to be Roommates/Friends with

Anime: Re:Zero – Rem

Irina had the right idea when she picked Tohru… who would have been my number one pick as well.. but Senpai beat me to this post so I had to adapt.  A maid of great physical strength and love… luckily I had two other options fairly easily available to me. Rem and Ram. Since I am the pink one , I would  really prefer Rem! The likeliness of me starting a romance from friendship is a bit smaller, but Irina told me not to give up hope and since she is a powerful female herself, I chose to believe her. Who knows!  Rem seems like a great friend, that needs to be won over first.. but then would die for her friends. She sacrifice herself in many ways… so I hope that this also applies to the moment the dishes need to be done!  I doubt Rem is as good of a maid as Tohru is, she is away from her duties a lot after all,   but she is still a great pick!  I would love to see her open up a bit more and she has some fragile traits which really draws me into characters.  I may not be able to be a hard worker but I can be a great listener and I can give good advice.. I think Rem and me could have a healthy friendship…as long as all the stuff wanting her dead doesn’t visit as well.

Games: Final Fantasy VII (Remake) – Aerith

I would love to have more plants in my house, but I am not very good at taking care of my plants.  Even if I love them they grow too fast  and die because they become too thin.. or I forget which plant is fake and which one is real and  scatterbrain that I am. I keep on watering a fake plant until the one dies. I need a flower girl in my life.  Aerith also can make you smile when the sky is grey and not the faintest bit of sunshine is to be seen.  She is positivity reincarnated… and in the Final Fantasy remake she is just adorably quirky as well!  Her swearing subtle when she almost falls from some slum rooftops.. her mimicking the horse like a laugh or a crime lord.  Even when she doesn’t intend to.. Aerith will turn your frown upside down. Now that the timeline can go anywhere.. there is even hope our friendship can last forever.  It is rare to encounter such a positive soul as Aerith so I think she would make a great roommate.. I can do the cooking, Rem can do the cleaning and Aerith can do the decorating! Our home will be awesome!

Name a Female who you think is a good Role Model

Anime: Märchen Mädchen – Hazuki Kagimura

I bet non of you expected this one to be on my list, did you know?!  This anime is very under-rated  in my opinion mostly due to production delays.. but if you watch it now it is a perfectly enjoyable anime.  It’s no masterpiece.. but not everything needs to be.. if you fill in the blanks yourself and try to see the positives it actually IS a very good show!   Hazuki on first glance doesn’t seem to be a great role model,  her power is kinda weird and she is your standard klutzy magical girl protagonist. I do not like the idea of Role Models all that much, it’s a slippery slope,  many people emulate role models and it causes this behavioural bias..at least towards the more common role models.  Hazuki however is all about the idea that you should not let others determine your life. Not destiny nor the will of others. You should write your own story and if you do not like where your own story is going , you should rewrite it.. even if people think it is a classic. Hazuki is a magical girl that draws her magical powers from the Fairy Tale Cinderella.. but to accept this power she must find her prince and go to the ball… she doesn’t want that.. she doesn’t want a prince!   So she rewrites her story.
So she can be the person she wants to be.. now that to me is a great role model! 

Games: Divinity Original Sin 2 – Lohse 

If you haven’t read what I said about the anime character, let me say again, that to me a role model isn’t someone to emulate.. a Role Model is someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself. Irina is a Role Model because I like her style.. and I want to develop my own style just as much as she did hers, I do not want to BE Irina.  Nor be more similar to her.. I just feel inspired by what she does.  Lohse is a very similar tale.  She is possessed by a demon who is trying to make her into something she is not and her entire story is about overcoming that fight! How she can escape from her destiny and walk to the sound of her own ..lute. Lohse wants to sing and perform and through the magic of video games she can fight for that in any way she wants. She can be a warrior, she can be a caster, she can be a healer…. her journey is to become herself.. and herself alone.. but along the journey you as the player can determine who that is. She by far.. and I mean by FAAAAAR is the best character in divinity and I had a little crush on her as I played trough the game. I want to be like her.. not in the behavioral sense.. but our ideals line up nicely so she inspires me!

Name a female who deserves a spotlight

You!

I can easily name some Niche female characters that deserve more attention.. but  just in being here as a female you deserve a spotlight!  You matter to me… the males do to of course.. but for this tag the females matter just a little bit more!  Whether it is because you came up with this tag, joined the tag or are curious about the tag,  you deserve just as much attention and love as the women I just shouted out.  By being here.. you  are a minecraft block in my house! If you think a single block isn’t all that important in the big picture.. build a pretty house in Minecraft.. then take out a random block and shove dirt in there!  Things do not feel right after that, and that’s why that block.. and you deserve a spotlight.  While we may only influence each other on a very small scale.. or while you may not feel you are relevant at whatever place you hold in this world… you matter!  You being there and being you matters.. in all your womanhood!   

You are a powerful woman as well, even if you don’t know it yet… well at least if you identify as a woman. Whatever the reason is I am not sure, it can be that you are a champion for following my blog for so long. Giving me a virtual hug on twitter, or inspiring me. It could also be your writing that gives hopes to others! We are never weaker than we imagine we are always more powerful!  It isn’t always easy.. and  it isn’t always fun.. but you matter girl!
Here is your spotlight!

Tags

So this one is optional of course do not feel obligated to do this.. but these are five absolutely powerful female bloggers that I think deserve this tag more than a few times over
if you aren’t there.. That doesn’t mean I think you are not worthy! I am just trying to keep the tag alive by actually name dropping a few!   If you want to partake.. read the last paragraph and know you are worthy too!

Heather
 
To me you are one of the biggest inspirations and maybe the epitome of powerful women bloggers! You deal with so much yet are always there for a kind word and your amazing blog.

Naja

If you read my post you know that walking to the beat of my own drum is very important to me and you are a credit to that cause as well. Blogging about what you love despite the gaming gate-keepers and the obstacles in your way! I respect you so much and I hope you have been tagged already.. but if not you deserve it 10x over.

Mari

I might be kind of making a mistake her, because Mari is non binary, but my brain can’t stop telling me that they should be tagged as well.. Of course if they aren’t comfortable being counted as a Powerful Female I have all the respect in the world for that but I still think they have plenty to add to this subject!  I am sorry if I made you uncomfy.. but you are very powerful to me!

Summer

Of course my blogging bestie would be on this list as well!  She is powerful, free spirited and physically strong herself.. as well as quite intelligent.. I could put her on every prompt and not be lying so that is saying something already on how much she is deserving of this tag.  I am also really interested in her answers to this so could be neat from that angle as well. She also supported my Patreon so by default she gets tagged for all these posts so there is that as well. Plenty of reasons to tag her!

Celestial Sparkles

I haven’t been visiting blogs recently much due to health crippling me, I just lack the bonus time to read around and do what I want to produce myself, but Celestial Sparkles is an amazing blogger that I feel pretty connected with, yet she is much more an anime blogger than I am and she is into a lot of different things.. but she is my Pink buddy! Gotta look out after that as well! I do think she is powerful! She struggled a lot and keeps coming back! That is power as well!

That is this post done! Stay strong women.. and men, you are pretty great yourself…sometimes! Shine on my little lights! Oyasumi!

sleeping my melody | My melody, Melody, Sanrio

Fugitive Hunter – A Game About Terrorists..Made By Terrorists.

When I’m not cleaning out pool filters or checking the water’s PH levels I can often be found organizing my bad games alphabetically. Fugitive Hunter can be found under the letter, F, not for its name but because it’s Fucking dumb.

For nearly two days I had absolutely no notes on this game except that is was mind numbingly stupid.

I even considered just publishing that.

But that would be letting it off too easy.

Developed by Black Ops Entertainment – a gaming studio developed by four dudes that somehow graduated MIT. The game was published in 2003 by Encore Software – which looking them up – really doesn’t seem to deal with publishing games very often. As they shouldn’t.

The shear amount of ways to attack this game are almost overwhelming. It’d be impossible to cover everything that is wrong with it, to be honest. So I’ll just start at the macro level.

There are different types of terrorism. You have Narco-Terrorists (Cartels, traffickers, drug kingpins etc). There are politically motivated terrorists.. like the IRA. Then your garden variety (choose your religion) extremists and lastly there is a much less violent form of terrorism. A slow, bloodless coup of sorts. A war waged on the mind. Intellectual terrorists like the idiot, Bhad Bhabie or the Kardashians. Stupidity and pointlessness of such a dangerous scale that on a long enough timeline begins to indoctrinate an unsuspecting mind. Thats the territory the minds behind Fugitive Hunter belong to. Intellectual terrorism.

Definitely failed the Jack Bauer Quiz

Now that might seem a bit harsh but it’s how I feel.

Post 9/11 America was a weird place. Nationalism was at an all time high and I fucking hate nationalism. Every day in high school for lunch you could find yourself cornered by a recruiter for the Marines or Army. The more punk or alternative you looked the harder you were pressed. You couldn’t drive to the store without hearing a country song about kicking, “Usama-Obama-Ali-Muhammad’s ass” and every fucking Football game would have Jets fly over it. Because that’s what America does. We pay for Jet Fuel to fly over football stadiums instead of housing for the homeless people freezing to death outside of them.

So… I hated the ultra patriot bullshit back then as it is and Fugitive Hunter is the perfect reminder as to why. Macho-bro-American-flag-waving-bullshit. It *just* falls short of satire. If only the writers were just a bit smarter. Or didn’t actually believe the shit they were spewing.

Thats to not say it doesn’t have it’s funny moments. Objectively – fist fighting Osama Bin Laden in an arcade type fight is ridiculous enough to make anyone laugh.

Outside of that however the game just tries too damn hard. It just wants to be cool so bad. It’s really kind of sad to watch. Fortunately, it even seems like the developers realized about halfway through the game what sort of monster they have created and wrap it up abruptly. You can basically beat the final four or five levels within an hour and a half. It’s almost as if one of them woke up and really re-examined their lives.

As far as actual gameplay is concerned it is a First Person Shooter without an aim button. So that should sum up the mechanics of the game for you pretty well. The enemies respawn at a maddening rate – usually directly behind you. All great fun.

The dialogue is basically non existent and when it is there you wish it wasn’t. You can’t make it through a level without the main character tauntingly saying, “Yo Mama” to an enemy he has gunned down at least 15-20 times. The sound is awful. The music is shit. I’m pretty sure Dr. Dre and Eminem could sue them for ripping off the main chords/music to, “Kill You” off the Marshall Mathers LP.

The graphics are awful especially for the time it was released. It’s almost as if this game was created to be bad.

And then it struck me. Like a bolt of lightning – electricity traveling through the universe landing in my head and shooting out my fingertips. This game WAS created to be bad on purpose. This game is a weapon of mass disfunction.

Get this: Did you know Osama Bin Laden was not only big into pop culture but also anime and gaming? When the CIA released more than 417,000 files from the Bin Laden raid he had massive collections of anime, emulators and games. Even popular first person shooters like Counter Strike and Half Life.

So maybe… just maybe … back in 2003 when the government (that can see through buildings from outer space but inexplicably couldn’t find number one most wanted man worldwide, Osama Bin Laden) had to unleash the ultimate weapon. They would feature him in one of the worst video games ever. That would surely flush him out. Right? At the very least bring him to the brink of suicide. A fate deserving of such an evil man. – Periwinkle

(Definitely DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL

Just your typical chat between writers
And this poor soul who also has been victimized

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

7.) The tooth of a terrorist (Fugitive Hunter)

Follow me on social media if thats your thing: https://linktr.ee/DarkCorners

Definitely not the reason I do this BUT if anything I write brings you joy and you felt like buying me a cup of coffee I would wholeheartedly appreciate it. https://ko-fi.com/colinsik

CSI: Paradise

Before I spent my days skimming pools on an exotic island resort dodging endangered baby Chinese Alligators that Sunny keeps putting in the pool I was a crime scene investigator. A blind, dumb and slow crime scene investigator that despite all physical and mental odds against me still managed to solve five mysteries.

I’m alone, belly up to the bar at Pinkie’s Tavern. A low lit place with smooth jazz and smoother drinks. I look at myself in the warm reflection of the glass behind the bar and then back down at my stiff drink. The singer – some dame with moth wings – purrs in the corner. Nick the bartender comes up quiet but stern.

“Listen, pal. I don’t know what kinda night you’ve had and I don’t wanna know. But I do know that it’s last call and I don’t want to but if I have to just know I‘ll haul ya outta here myself.”

After nights like these it’s hard to just go home. After seeing what I’ve seen for so many years I thought I had become immune to the horrors of crime. Only to be proven wrong yet again – and on this lovely island resort of all places. I will surely take the aftermath images of the Flaming S’mores Killer with me to the grave.

I pay my tab and slowly turn from the bar, adjusting my hat. I turn to look at the singer once more and notice the stage has turned into a load screen. Odd.

I go to step out the door and get hung up on a bar stool. Damn not again.

I’m guessing the bartender is now ordering me out by his body language but I can’t tell because all dialogue has muted itself.

I awake in a cold sweat. Relieved to know I am not some tortured detective in some B Noir Film but saddened that I, again, woke up on the same planet as the game developers that made CSI: Three Dimensions of Murder.

Shut up, you. Wrong CSI

CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder is based off the hugely successful original CSI television program that ran a jaw-dropping 15 years (2000-2015). Ted Danson was even in it at one point? And Elisabeth Shue?? AND Laurence Fishburne!? Where was I for all of this?

Heyyooo forget 911. Somebody call the fire department

So anyways – Ted Danson, Elisabeth Shue and Lawrence Fishburne weren’t around to save CSI: 3 Dimensions Of Murder. Not that it was the casts fault. The voice acting for its time is pretty good. I mean compared to a lot of shit I’ve played it holds up. But the game is just so damn buggy.

Developed by American developer, Telltale Incorporated (known for their licensed game efforts, The Walking Dead arguably being their most notable) and published by Ubisoft it was released for Windows in 2006. Later ported to PS2 on September 25th 2007. Which is probably why the game is so close to being good and falls short.

Telltale surprisingly went defunct in 2018
Chances are if you’ve never heard of Ubisoft you could give a shit about this article in the first place

The writing is good. It has five cases (which seems a bit small but they are pretty dense stories packed with twists like your typical CSI show). The voice acting is solid. Some of the shit the suspects say is hilarious and boss like this prime example of fed-up-with-the-world-biatch:

Grrrrrrrrl power

What’s frustrating about the game is that the only reason is it takes long is the constant load screens. Even for its era – even if it was early PS2 era it would have too much load time. Let alone 2007. The “playable” crime scene areas are super small – and will have a ton of evidence all basically in one place. Which is fine. Being an older gamer I still love point and click exploration.

BUT what sucks you out of the game is that once you collect the evidence you immediately have to go to the lab to analyze your evidence. *Load Screen*. Analyze your evidence. Now you need to question your suspect again. *Load Screen*. Ask one question. Get another piece of evidence. Return to lab. *Load Screen.* Analyze Evidence. Suspicion arises. Need to question suspect more. *Load Screen.* Question suspect. They tell ya to piss off. Now you need a warrant. *Load Screen* interrogating is granted. *Load screen*

I think you get the point. For every hour I play I might actually get about 35 minutes of gameplay in. That’s like fucking college loan interest rate ratio shit. It’s a six hour campaign but with load times you’re looking at sixteen.

So… aside from that… the controls are horrible. You can see a splatter of blood but ya just can’t… nope… little to the left… shit…to the right…fuck… back to the left. Got it. Sure is hard handling a Q-TIP out in the field.

After all of that – if you can get past it – and that’s a legitimate IF – it’s still pretty fun. Just don’t expect to solve any cases in a hurry. – Periwinkle

(DEFINITELY DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL

*Crickets*

Absolutely nothing. Either:

A.) People don’t give a shit about this post (Likely)

B.) Nobody ever played this game (Less likely but still up there)

C.) Both (Most likely)

*Womp – Womp*

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

Follow me on social media if thats your thing: https://linktr.ee/DarkCorners

Definitely not the reason I do this BUT if anything I write brings you joy and you felt like buying me a cup of coffee in return I would appreciate it wholeheartedly. https://ko-fi.com/colinsik

Thank you to The Dame With The Moth Wings for letting me pollute her space and tell Sunny that I already taught one of his precious Chinese crocodiles to play the harmonica.

American Idol: Songs of Sorrow

Being the newest staff member I may have not properly introduced myself or my history to long time readers. There are several unofficial accounts about how and why I ended up on Paradise and this is one of those stories. The following is all true and not based in fantasy or fiction at all.

“You are total rubbish. You’ve made a mockery of the human voice with your tone deaf crooning. Now bugger off.” Almost as soon as I had arrived to perform I was being whisked away by producers and security guards. A woman with a headset and a clipboard had her other hand on my back guiding me through the winding labyrinth of Fox Television studios. Disembodied hands handed me an American Idol water bottle and T-Shirt as they steered me towards a long hallway with a door to the outside already propped open. They said something about me owning none of the intellectual property or my own likeness on the show, pushing me through the fire escape door and closing it behind me. I looked around the back parking lot I was ushered out to with no fanfare. From the front of the building I could still hear tweens screaming for Ryan Seacrest even though he’s like 60 years old now. I could feel the rumble of the bass from inside the building. I looked straight ahead over a chain link fence and saw a Taco Bell. I needed comfort food with no delay. Little did I know that in less than a year I would be in Paradise. At the very least they wouldn’t ask me to sing.

I had tried out for American Idol and became a laughing stock. I had only did it to try to meet Gwen Stefani and realized last second that she is actually on that other singing show. I was destroyed by the judges. My audition video went viral. People threw snowballs and big gulps at me in the streets. Women would point and laugh as I walked past. I had destroyed my own life and it seemed that redemption was an impossible task. So I boarded a raft and set sail to Paradise Island. Where other than the suspicious looks I get from Foovay I am basically left to my own devices.

But one night as I was brewing up another batch of moonshine I like to make with the day’s unused chlorine reserves I heard a knock at the door. Nervous I was caught siphoning chemicals from the resort I peaked out the window slowly… but no one was there. My pet seal (and only friend) Cookie – barked apprehensively. I opened the door looking out into the bush, seemingly set ablaze by the setting sun’s crimson glow.

The porch empty, the twilight quiet with only the hushed sound of waves crashing on the beach. But at my feet lay a sapphire case. With three faces I knew all too well gracing the cover smiling smugly. Paula, Simon and Randy. I may have been done with American Idol but American Idol wasn’t done with me.

American Idol was developed by the now defunct Hot House Creations. Based out of the United Kingdom they were best known for developing the game, Gangsters: Organized Crime.

It was published by Codemasters – who is one of Britain’s oldest video game publishing companies. Mostly known for its racing titles.

The game isn’t really that bad. It’s your typical rhythm and timing game. Press X, O, [] or ^ when it reaches the middle of the screen. Time it to the music and you’ll do fine- press it too early and it’ll sound like Alvin & The Chimpmunks singing.

It’s full of songs that were monster hits back in the early 2000’s. Your typical 90’s boy bands, Britney, Christina. I stuck closer to adult alternative with Sixpence None The Richer and Al Green songs but as I advanced through the rounds it began to feel pretty weightless. The game doesn’t convey the feeling of urgency to perform well or the intoxication of competition. It just sort of feels like you’re pressing buttons listening to a song. Which is exactly what you’re doing, ofcourse. But the game does a poor job at distracting you from that reality.

As I played the game, blasting through each round (it only takes about a half an hour to complete the “career”) I began to sweat a bit. I was playing the game fine, Cookie barking applause after every perfect play through but it’s almost as if I could feel a current pulsing through me. Soon it became too much – it was like a bolt of lightning from the top of my head.

And then all went dark.

“Lord Winkle? Are you quite alright, Lord Winkle?” I opened my eyes and momentarily slunk back into the chair. “It’s me, Lord. You gave me quite a scare. It seems your Family Man Chair gave you a bit of a shock again!” The man dressed as a butler was fanning himself looking deeply relieved.

“My…Family Man Chair…?” I meeked out.

“Yes. The special chair you had NASA construct you to see what your life would have been had you not won American Idol and become the most powerful man on Earth. I believe you named it after the popular Nicolas Cage film, The Family Man.” The butler seemed to sigh and continue on, “Although I don’t know why you must tamper with such things. You do know the next time you use the Family Man Chair it will be the last. You will have to stay there forever and give up all of this” he says with a shrug and a wave around the small room.

“What’s ‘all this’?” I ask gesturing towards the small shed I was in. The butler laughs, “Your memory must be hazy from the chair.” As he opens the door of the shed to reveal a palace made of pure gold. With lush trees and flying limousines hovering over a traditional drive way. The lush green even more eye popping in contrast to the black sky and the Earth as a backdrop.”

“It’s the moon, sir. They built a glass dome around it and gave it to you. Surely you remember. Right after you liberated the North Korean people and secured world peace with your beautiful rendition of, “Love Fool” by The Cardigans?”

Dumbstruck, I find it impossible to answer as I remove the chair helmet and stagger towards the doorway gaping at the Earth in awe. “…The…Moon..?”

“The Moon, Sir. Ever since you performed, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” that fateful September night. You’ve accomplished everything you ever wanted to but unfortunately, I fear, at a great cost.”

“At what cost, do you mean?” I asked bewildered.

The butler frowned and seemed to contemplate his reply.

“ A terminal loneliness, my lord. You’re emotionally damaged. Although you’re physically fulfilled – men and women from both Earth and Mars have been eager to court you – it seems as though you have made a trade off. Despite all of your personal and professional accomplishments a paranoid insecurity has sunk in. You have convinced yourself that you are unloveable and your past experiences have only justified that self prejudice.”

“What do you mean?” Confused and overwhelmed I pleaded. My stomach turning at the stress.

“The last woman you fell for asked you to sing the Batman Forever soundtrack eight times in a row! The one before that? ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’ twelve times. I mean, people love your voice. Not you.”

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo” I scream as I struggle to strap back into the Family Man Chair. “I must go back!”

“Sir, No!” The butler screams trying to unwrangle me from the chair. “You have eliminated world hunger!”

“I don’t care!” I yell flailing, hitting him in the back as he tries to lift me up.

“Lord Winkle. You mustn’t do this! There is world peace now! If you leave all of this will vanish”

“I don’t care! Leave me alone!”

“But they made your rendition of, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ America’s new national anthem!”

“Enough! I’m going back!”

The butler resigns winded. “Fine. If you must go I won’t stop you but I ask one favor of you. Just one.”

As I strap the chairs helmet to my head I give in. “What is it?”

“Before you leave… can you please sing that one Eagle-Eye Cherry song? Please, Lord Winkle. For me.”

I agree to.

“You are total rubbish. You’ve made a mockery of the human voice with your tone deaf crooning. Now bugger off.” As soon as I had arrived to perform I was being whisked away by producers and security guards. A woman with a headset and a clipboard had her other hand on my back guiding me through the winding labyrinth of Fox Television studios. Disembodied hands handed me an American Idol water bottle and T-Shirt as they steered me towards a long hallway with a door to the outside already propped open. They said something about me owning none of the intellectual property or my own likeness on the show, pushing me through the fire escape door and closing it behind me. I looked around the back parking lot I was ushered out to with no fanfare. From the front of the building I could still hear tweens screaming for Ryan Seacrest even though he’s like 60 years old now. I could feel the rumble of the bass from inside the building. I looked straight ahead over a chain link fence and saw a Taco Bell. I needed comfort food with no delay. Little did I know that in less than a year I would be in Paradise. At the very least they wouldn’t ask me to sing.

(DEFINITELY DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL*

The usual culprits had something to say about the game via Twitter

* I was served a seize and desist order for encouraging others to “pee in the pool”.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

All Vroom And No Boom Makes Periwinkle A Dull Boy.

The pool remains unskimmed. Banana leafs float around aimlessly in the usually meticulous reserve. The brush and lawn overgrown. Visitors have even reported a man late at night somewhere on the edges of the island, arms outstretched in front of him, knees bent as if he were sitting on a bike making guttural puttering noises, only interrupted when he begins bending his right wrists and wailing, “VROOM VROOM” at onlookers while slowly plodding along knees bent and arms still out.

SUNDAY

It all began weeks ago when doing my usual rounds on the beach. A walk on a warm, windy night when suddenly my eyes were averted towards the dark shore amid a thunderous boom. A storm rolling in off the coast I mused, as the wind swept through my hair, nearly blinding me with loose sand. I held my arm over my eyes trying to get a better glimpse at the orbs of light racing towards me from the shore. This was no ship. It was moving too fast. It was too loud. I looked to my left and then to my right to see if anyone else was around to witness this vulgar display of force. But I realized I was alone. But I wouldn’t be for long.

As the lights and roaring thunder neared I realized it was no storm. No angry maiden of the high seas, no sea monster nor ghost ship. It was a motorcycle. An American Chopper. Treading on the surface of the ocean like Jesus on steel wheels.

Upon my horrific realization I spun around and began running back towards the resort but the Chopper ran ashore too fast, leaving pure glass tire trails on the beach sand in its wake. Knowing it was no use I turned around to confront my faceless enemy as the phantom cycle drove right through me and disappeared. Leaving only a copy of American Chopper still warm in my hands. Singed on the edges. Both Paul Teutal and his son Paulie’s faces beckoning me to begin my career as a motorcycle designer.

For the first time in my life I hadn’t chose a game.

It chose me.

MONDAY

American Chopper for the PlayStation 2 was released on June 15th 2006. Developed by Creat Studios based out of St. Petersburg and Published by Activision.

The game itself is based on the popular reality tv series, American Chopper created by The Discovery Channel. American Chopper followed a custom motor cycle shop that was run by a father-son team (Paul and Paul Jr. Teutul) in the early 2000’s. They had gained national recognition for their skillfully crafted custom motorcycles and were also reality tv darlings for their constant father/son power struggles and explosive arguments over creative direction.

While the show was a critical and commercial success for a majority of its television run little can be said about the brands misadventures in the video game industry.

American Chopper is the bastard child of some board room hack that honestly should be put in prison.

The games plot begins with you being the new hire at OCC. Being low man on the totem pole you are required to do everything both Paulie and his father ask of you. The voice acting even though done by the real Teutals is painfully sad to hear. I have never heard more unenthused men play themselves in a video game. It’s almost as if they had played the game before they did the voice acting for it and were ashamed to be associated with this crime against humanity.

As the plot moves forward you go from mundane tasks like picking up spare parts for their bikes to basically motorcycle warfare with rival biker gangs. Even after all of this – pushing and kicking other bikers head on into the paths of Semi Trucks and murdering everything in your site upon completion of the mission you are generally only greeted by a small cut scene of Paul Sr still being disappointed with you.

I could be facing back to back life sentences for the things you people have ordered me to do. The least you could do is be nice to me.

Yup. That bad.

More frustrating than the lack of recognition or approval from your employers is the general control scheme as a whole. I have never rode a chopper. Or any large motorcycle for that matter. But I can safely assume that the turn radius of any sort of motorcycle is better than say I don’t know THE TITANIC? The bike handling is so ridiculous that it feels as if you’re trying to navigate a freighter through narrow city streets at stupid speeds. Almost every mission is timed and the learning curve is brutal.

One mission is particularly devastating as it requires near perfection at high speeds for a really long stretch of time. Slipping and sliding in between traffic, hard curves, and friendly bikers that constantly crash into you (which is held against you) – the mission itself has you white knuckling your controller for nearly 15 minutes straight. And it was then, friends that your boy, Periwinkle had reached a revelation.

TUESDAY

All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy.

WEDNESDAY

Has it been days? Weeks? A feverish trance. At some point while playing the unbelievably redundant game it hit me. The pattern. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do. Do it. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do and do it again. Over and over. I began looking up to the Tuetals. Was I a Tuetal? Is Paul Sr. My dad? Handlebar mustaches are pretty cool.

THURSDAY

I am not a Tuetal. I am something more. I am a motorcycle.

FRIDAY

Like a dream upon wakening. Before I open my eyes I lay silently with my eyes closed. I can sense someone around me watching. I hear the waves crashing on the shore. I feel the warm sun beating on me and someone ask aloud, “Is he going to be okay?”

I open my eyes. Resort visitors surround me looking stunned and relieved. A doctor is kneeling next to me his back turned rummaging through his physician bag. I ask him weakly what happened to me? He turns to face me. It’s a motor cycle in a doctors coat.

SATURDAY

I watch the screen as the credits roll and enjoy the only good part of the game. A Thornley song. (Shoooout ouuut to the Canadian readers. Big Wreck fan for life). I haven’t showered or ate in a week. I’ve lost weight. A weak five o’ clock shadow barely and the smell of piss. I must have soiled myself. I eject the disc and shut the PlayStation off. It is a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon on Paradise. The monster slayed – the hex broken- the trance lifted. I place the cursed disc back in its case (still hot to the touch) and I make my way back to the beach where it all began.

I stand at the edge of the water looking into a seemingly endless blue. I toss the case back into the ocean as the water sizzles. A strong gust of air blows off the ocean through my hair. I smile. – Periwinkle

PEE IN THE POOL

It was hard to find anyone that had actually *Played* the game itself but it almost universally was assumed it was terrible. Here are some interactions from my boy, Kyle, Pinkie trying to defend the motorcycle game genre, and me trying to save Heather’s fiancé from a similar fate that found me.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients (In order of how enjoyable.)

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

Dear Periwinkle! The manager would like to remind you to please not encourage guests to play in the pool? Perhaps create a Hot-Takes-Tub instead?! Sunny will be asked to clean the mess while you recover from the Vroooms! Much love from Manager San!

I didn’t create the Reservoir Dogs game, I’m just dealin’ with it!

Most days on Paradise are quiet. Still relatively new to the island I try to stay out of the coconut’s and other staffers way just diligently cleaning out the pool, occasionally chasing Pinkie away from the staff laundry I just folded and barbecuing behind the small maintenance shed I call home. During the lull of the winter months, I’ve noticed the tourist traffic slow and with the extra time I like to spend quiet nights watching whatever DVDs wash ashore.

The other morning as I was walking about the beach planning my nightly maintenance routine I saw a familiar and beloved DVD case laying in the sand. I rushed over to it, gleefully. Filled with warmth and joy at the sight of one of my favorite movies. I began to clear the sand off the cover and realized it wasn’t what I thought it was.

It was Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic, Reservoir Dogs. For the PlayStation 2.

Developed by Volatile Games, a division of now defunct British developer Blitz Games Studio Limited – most known for their work on other licensed titles like: The Fairly Oddparents, Bratz and Spongebob and other sacks of shit that I’m sure will make its way into my crosshairs at some point.

Published by the quality publisher Eidos Interactive (who have since been taken over by Square Enix) The publisher is well known for their Tomb Raider series.

First things fuckin’ last.

The obvious cash grab doesn’t piss me off much – that is the nature of the beast. It’s not unlike Hollywood these days remaking classic films that never needed a remake in the first place. Rereleasing a movie with a new cast instead of ever actually giving fresh, younger writers a chance to show the world their stories. Hollywood feels that the world doesn’t need a new Charlie Kaufman. It needs a remake of Pride And Prejudice starring The Rock or something.

The abhorrent targeting system doesn’t bother me much considering I’ve lived on PS2 planet for quite awhile now and have fully disconnected from the much smoother controls of more modern consoles and games. So I can handle bad third person shooter targeting systems. I grew up with them. They practically raised me. It’s like that meme about some shithead witch telling a lion about magic and then the old magic lion saying something about he was there when it was written. Was that a Narnia meme? I thought I had it around here, somewhere. Anyways, thats like my usual work day – working with a bunch of strapping young lads and ladies fresh out of high school with their whole lives ahead of them and then theres me … an old, miserable magic lion…alas… where was I?

Ah there it is.

It only pisses me off a little that if you happened to never see the movie before playing the game you’d have no fucking idea what’s going on. Considering it offers little to no backstory and just assumes that everyone in the world has already seen the movie. Even as you play through the movie plot the unbelievably bad voice re-enacting iconic scenes is even more distracting than the poorly drawn characters that look nothing like the regular actors.

Generally the story consists of a 44 second clip of a massive plot point that isn’t elaborated on at all – using the incredibly small story window between playable chapters to only mimic legendary scenes from the film. On top of all of this Mr. White’s character is voice acted by that dude that played the fire chief in the Denis Leary show, “Rescue Me”. And once I placed it I just couldn’t not hear it.

This guy.

Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy? Or are you gonna bite?

So alright, I’ll cut to the chase. The thing that pissed me off most about this game? The story can be completed in about three hours. That drives me bananas. Imagine it’s 2006 and you just paid $55 for this game brand new and finished it within three or fours? I hate that shit.

Rule number one about making a video game based on a movie. Make it at least two hours longer than the movie itself you, morons.

Alright so with that off my chest the good part about this game? Is the Tarantino soundtrack. Some classic gems per usual. One I will showcase a little bit later on. The game has a really simple play style meter – between professional and psychopath. The more violent you are the more psychotic your rating and that can alter the ending a bit.

Ultimately the game destroys all of the glorious subtleties of the film and just turns it into a run and gun blood bath that is short, repetitive and exploitive.

Pee In The Pool

So of course – begging the outside world for attention and interaction has essentially failed yet again (even though I stubbornly refuse to give up) I did receive a little feed back on a poll I asked the harsh, cruelly tight lipped internet.

While I also got sympathy love from Kuro and Pinkie as per usual. 😂

All in all the worst game I have played for the blog so far, a game that lacks any sort of charm, thoughtfulness or respect for its original creator and rabid fan base. – Periwinkle.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients (In order of how enjoyable.)

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

Introducing Periwinkle the Poolboy: Cold Winter

Hello guys I am Periwinkle! A new STAFF Member! I am the Poolboy on Paradise Island! I was really eager to get started. So instead of letting the manager introduce me I will introduce myself. Occasionally when I’m not busy skimming the pool, watching from afar as everyone else has fun and socializes at the tiki bar I go off into my little shed and play twenty year old video games. On some special nights when all the chlorine has been dutifully poured and the pool filters hum majestically free of any rogue speedo bottoms I will write about the games I play and what secret wisdom they hold. 

In this post we cover the 2005 first person shooter and delve into spy stereotypes. 

Cold Winter is a 2005 first person shooter developed by Swordfish Studios and published by Vivendi Universal Games for the PlayStation 2.

Swordfish Studios was a British based video game developer best known for the game, World Championship Rugby. They would later be acquired by Vivendi Universal Games (who also published Cold Winter)

Vivendi was the publisher of the legendary, Half Life 2 and later merged with Activision creating the well known publisher, Activision Blizzard. 

Cold Winter despite its unbelievably lame name is a delight. The best James Bond game that James Bond isn’t in on the PlayStation 2. Your main character is disavowed MI6 spy, Andrew Sterling. You are being held prisoner in a Chinese prison when you are saved by another agent for another spy syndicate that (OFCOURSE 🙄) needs your services. 

My biggest gripe with this game is not its ten-years-too-late-brit-rave-scene soundtrack. It’s not it’s R3 to zoom controls (which is a minor pain in the ass) or it’s over-the-top limb and decapitation physics that are so ridiculous you have to laugh. 

The largest problem I have with the game is it’s over used “Spy gets disavowed/goes rogue” trope. Used over and over again in nearly every major spy movie I’ve ever seen. Being born in the west during the Cold War, I have watched a fuck ton of James Bond and other spy films. All of them feature the rogue agent plot. ALL.OF.THEM. They also all feature the more fun typical espionage cliches and stereotypes engrained in me so deeply now I will never be able to unlearn them. 

Like for example: Every western spy is a perfect shot, wears a tuxedo, USES HIS REAL NAME, **probably** has a drinking problem (??) and can and will seduce everyone in the room. 

On the flip side of the coin every stereotype for counter intelligence is generally: unbelievably stunning Soviet femme fatale that is just as dangerous as she is sultry OR scarred up giant guy henchmen protecting Elon Musk style weirdos. 

As far as stereotypes are concerned these are all pretty good. But are they true? I have no idea. I don’t know any spies and if I did they would be horrible at their jobs…because…well, they’re spies. 

So… luckily for us, dear reader, there is a wealth of education and wisdom at our fingertips. Historians that have dedicated their entire lives to document every move of shadowy figures throughout history all to be used in a blog post about the 2005 video game, Cold Winter. It’s all come down to this, folks. 

Here are some famous spies from Historylists.org

Sidney Reilley

Sidney Reilley or the, “Gentleman Spy” was said to inspire Ian Fleming for his character, James Bond. Known to live an extravagant lifestyle he was eventually caught by the Soviet regime and executed. Sounds like this guy invented the spy stereotype.

Mata Hari

A Dutch exotic dancer and suspected German spy during World War 1. She was ultimately exposed by the French and executed by firing squad in Paris. Later on evidence would suggest that Mata Hari was actually more of a double agent playing both sides. She was 41. Beautiful, dangerous, exotic. Boom. Spy stereotype confirmed. 

Now I could see you start to say, “Well, Periwinkle… That was only two spies from one website. You are horrible at research and you have wasted everyones time.” And yeah – I’d have to agree with you. I’m not a good researcher and chances are this article did waste your time. BUT have we not learned something today?

1.) Don’t be a spy – you’ll probably die. 

Go dust off your ps2 and pick up Cold Winter. It’s a fun, well crafted game. Above average for sure. Unlike my writing. – Periwinkle