Author Archives: Act

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

You know those made-for-TV movies MST3k and Rifftrax do sometimes, where it obvious it was two episodes of a show that were smooshed together into a ‘movie’ because halfway through the plot resolves and the entire second half is an unrelated plot with completely different characters? That’s this game, except that the first plot was actually very good and I liked it and then 30 hours in the game ended, brought in a new cast, switched genres, and started up a completely different, worse plot, and somehow continued for another 15 hours. The whole thing was so weird, and it was so jarring and the new plot/characters so shitty I just couldn’t finish it. I ended up watching the True End on Youtube to see how the loose ends of the first plot tied up and felt totally satisfied and like I had no more questions, which goes to show how out-of-nowhere the second plot was. The game is largely worth playing through Chapter 10 (I think? It may have been 9). But there’s really no reason to finish it.

I’m publishing this concurrently with the Phantom Brave review because Phantom Brave does all the things Disgaea does well even better, has a coherent plot, and is without all the shitty sexualization, so it’s worth looking at them together, but I had too much to say about each individually for a single dual post to make sense.


Phantom Brave

Phantom Brave is a very good, surprisingly heartfelt tRPG with some wonderful messages about female friendship, disability, environmentalism, and prejudice. It also has a really unique item system that had a moderate learning curve but was lots of fun once I got the hang of it.

I’m publishing this concurrently with the Disgaea review because Phantom Brave does all the things Disgaea does well even better, has a coherent plot, and is without all the shitty sexualization, so it’s worth looking at them together, but I had too much to say about each individually for a single dual post to make sense.


this was a wild ride

I’m dying and unable to function, but you can enjoy this bizarre exchange in which my personal brand of media criticism smashes headlong into whatever the fuck tumblr considers media criticism. I’m still not entirely sure what happened; maybe I’ve lost the ability to use words. Also my comment was absolutely flagged on purpose, which I know because disqus told me, the ol’ devil.

Anyway my point is that was a fucking great post on Saber and I want y’all to appreciate the one time in 10 years I’ve posted more than ‘fukkin takeuchi’ about her design.

Trusting you not to comment there; I will ban you from here if you do.

Kelly Barnhill


We whine a lot about the vapidity of YA here, and at the same time I think we’ve also tended to overlook Children’s. There’s a lot of amazing stuff going on in kid lit right now. I’ve found children’s novels to be rich, complex, and challenging works with deep social themes and creative storytelling. It’s certainly far more interesting than YA. The cynical part of me wonders if this is because it’s aimed at boys as well as girls. More seriously though, I suspect this is at least in part because people who write YA do it either largely at a publisher’s behest, either dumbing down their already-successful adult work or making adjustments to a manuscript because publishers see YA as a cash cow right now and want much more (I’d guess there’s a lot of letters going out that say, “Well, we don’t see this as an adult novel, but we’ve spoken to Janet in YA who’d be willing to pick it up if you could make it work for that demo…”). On the flip side, people tend to write for children because they want to, and when you start out a project and end with the same goals, you get a better product.

Whatever the reasons, if you’re looking for deep works for young readers, Children’s is where to go right now, and Kelly Barnhill’s novels are a perfect encapsulation of the amazing stuff going on in the genre. I’m not through her whole catalogue yet, but am working toward it.

Tangentially, she’s also written an adult short story collection that I found phenomenally disappointing. She just doesn’t seem to be a great short piece writer, which is weird since the afterword said she preferred shortform. Hopefully she sticks to novels in the future.


are y’all really making me do this

I’ve found myself typing this on three separate occasions over the past 48 hours, so I want to make a post to prevent myself from having to do it again:

It is not okay to counter-harass Blaze and her friends. This is an official admonition to leave them alone. If they come here or to Farla’s forum that’s them interacting with us, and you can respond until you get sick of it, but do not go seek them out. Do not go demand explanations, or justifications, or anything. Do not counter-post when they’re talking to unrelated people. Do not put them in a position of having to engage with you.

It does not become okay to engage someone with the express purpose of upsetting them just because they were shitty people first. It also makes it really hard for us to explain we’ve done nothing to them if someone has actually gone and started to bother them. If nothing else, remember that when you do this you’re just making things harder and longer (lol) for me, Farla, and Elmo.

If you’re new here, please review the commenting guidelines before posting here, and engage with our community in good faith. If an alt (or anyone else, really) says something upsetting to you, you can use the report feature or email me directly at [email protected] Do not interact with them unless you can remain patient and polite. The instant you start yelling back, you will end up in trouble as well.

I know things are super weird right now because of all this, a big <3333 to everyone who hasn’t yet run for the hills.

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