Site-Wide Activity

  • So, ran a bundle to fundraise for Black Lives Matter, offering over a thousand games for only $5. As a fundraiser, I found the ethos… questionable (“Give us money so we can do actual activism while you […]

    • Act replied 4 weeks ago

      As a fundraiser, I found the ethos… questionable (“Give us money so we can do actual activism while you stay at home”)

      Not everyone can be the person on the street, and especially right now I’m incredibly uncomfortable with judging people for that.

      Nonprofits need money and if your circumstances make active participation impossible donating is a useful and helpful way to assist causes.

      • It’s more that the focus on something as frivolous as video games. This isn’t something that’s going to keep people engaged with the issues after they donate.

    • The way you’re required to juggle so many resources, particularly the approval of a diverse constituency, was really engaging and forced me to make some tough decisions.

      Flashbacks to getting assassinated by the Greens because you supported gun rights in Democracy 3.

      • It’s actually surprisingly hard to get assassinated in DemSocSim. I never had it happen once despite wrecking the economy bad enough to get coup’d several times.

  • A revenge review from someone I reviewed 4 years ago for some reason, and one extremely chill response.

    A response to your review at
    The Doctor’s Charlene

    I […]

  • A mixed bag today.

    By the way, The Zoroark Games have concluded! I did not participate, but Farla did, and there are many other good stories there too.

    Anime: 3

    I don’t watch the anime, so I’m not goi […]

    •  Rather than techniques to be used in a fight, the moves flowed together in a way more akin to a dance.

      Rhythm and timing, and kinetic linking and kinesiology, are actually incredibly important to combat sports.

      This is an excellent description for a pokemon modeled after a sports player. It makes perfect sense that they’d emphasize style and performance.

      … Oddly enough, despite (or perhaps because) of that, some of the most flamboyant and stylistically distinct fighters have incredibly odd and decidedly ungraceful ways of moving, specifically to upset their opponent’s sense of timing and rhythm. Michael Page has perhaps the single most style and performance emphasized style of fighting, and even despite the dance moves he sometimes does to taunt his opponents, it’s one of the weirdest and least graceful looking styles in combat sports.

  • (Disclaimer: As of this writing, I have only seen up through season 2, and the show is still ongoing.)

    This is Extruded Cartoon Product. Its blurb sounds like a blender of modern cartoon cliches: […]

    • wow that is some truly hideous cheap animation

      The amount of shows just blatantly copying SU and AT’s art style is super obnoxious and boring but at least when they do that they get a functioning aesthetic, this is like how I would draw Avatar fanart at age 12.

      • Really? I actually thought the art was one of the better aspects.

      • All I’ve seen of this show is from a google image search, and even that was a lot of looking at that artstyle for my taste. I can’t imagine watching a whole episode of it moving.

    • From my limited look into the Kipo fandom I understand that there’s some discomfort with Wolf/Kipo because Wolf’s a bit younger

      That’s their concern? Kipo is thirteen. Also, good grief, how young is Wolf, then? Her being 12 or whatever would explain some of her stupider decisions, but I still find that hard to swallow.

      This is entirely because Kipo is tall and Wolf is short, isn’t it. It’s Lapidot all over again.

      I actually don’t mind Dave that much. He’s a bit weird, but weird is the name of the game here, and I actually think that aesthetic of an immortal bug cycling through growth stages is pretty cool. He’s good support and he doesn’t get in the way of the other characters too much.

      Now, Benson, I do not understand why he exists. He contributes literally nothing to the plot that couldn’t be handled by Wolf or Dave, and feels like a third wheel in every scene.

    • Apparently she’s 10

      Nope. Nope. Nope. I refuse to accept this. 10-year-olds do not act that way.

      I feel Dave does provide a useful role as a friendly mute, which is important if the theme is supposed to be that mutes and humans should get along. He also says at one point he’s as old as the apocalypse, which implies he could give exposition if they ever care enough to ask him. I think he could work if you folded Benson’s character into his — give him the nice Benson moments like taking Kipo to the park, etc.

    • This is Extruded Cartoon Product. The whole thing has a very design-by-committee feel to it — it’s just woke enough to make the Tumblr crowd spread it like wildfire, without being truly transgressive or subversive.

      Considering I’ve never heard of this show until right now, I googled it just for a look at the art style and stuff. It’s apparently based on a 2015 webcomic by the creator, and half the images returned by a google image search are from articles about how groundbreaking the coming out moment are from places like Polygon.

      These super-animals are called “mutes” for some reason I still do not understand, because they can talk and therefore seem like they should be the opposite of mute.

      … They’re not called “wonderbeasts”? Even though it’s in the title?

      The moment that really broke me is when, during a very cliche romantic sequence, the girl protagonist (who is from the underground cities) confesses love to the supporting boy character (who is a surfacer), only for him to tell her he’s gay, in those exact words.

      Coming from someone who is largely outside this specific subculture looking in, this is probably the single most telling thing in this entire review, and perhaps the most scathing criticism in it. I can recognize queerbaiting, and understand the criticism against it (though this definitely doesn’t seem to be that), but when the way legitimate and positive (if minor) representation was done was the final straw for you? That’s… not something I ever expected to see.

      I can understand not celebrating it like those Polygon articles did, if it was pretty much “sidekick had a throwaway romance subplot with a rando who clearly exists to be the Gay Love Interest”, but to say it “broke you”? Damn. Just how the hell did they mess up that bad?

      Yes, being able to actually say the word in children’s programming is a pretty big deal, I’ll acknowledge…

      Is it, though? Is this show really children’s programming? Everything about it looks like it was made for adults who are really into children’s programming. And it’s on Netflix, which is a bit more mercenary in its acceptance, and produced by Dreamworks Animation Television, which also did Voltron: Legendary Defender (which got most of its popularity from gay shippers) and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (and who seemingly selected its head writer based on how queer the themes of her previous work s were, to the point where I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a quote from her outright using the phrase “the gay agenda” to describe her writing on She-Ra). She-Ra wrapped up last May. I wouldn’t be surprised if some executive at Dreamworks said “we need another gay show for twenty-somethings to throw on Netflix”.

      Can we set the bar higher, please?

      Speaking of which, Disney recently explicitly announced its first bisexual lead character in an animated television show, and she’s pretty well written.

      (The girl who has a crush on her… was, until she got a crush on her, unfortunately.)

      • I can understand not celebrating it like those Polygon articles did, if it was pretty much “sidekick had a throwaway romance subplot with a rando who clearly exists to be the Gay Love Interest”, but to say it “broke you”? Damn. Just how the hell did they mess up that bad?

        It broke me in the worldbuilding sense, because as I said it’s nonsensical for him to phrase it in those terms.

        The show is rated Y7 and the plot is, as I’ve said, very childish, so yes, it’s for kids.

        Speaking of which, Disney recently explicitly announced its first bisexual lead character in an animated television show, and she’s pretty well written.

        Which show?

        • The show is rated Y7 and the plot is, as I’ve said, very childish, so yes, it’s for kids.

          The rating just means it’s appropriate for kids. The plot of a show aimed at adults obsessed with kid’s shows would still probably tend to be quite childish.

          Which show?

          The Owl House.

        • There’s something to be said for using language your actual viewers will understand, though, particularly if representation is at least a part of the goal.

          • Then they either shouldn’t have used a post-apocalyptic setting, or they shouldn’t have made the gay character a dude with no human contact.

            • That seems unnecessarily restrictive.

              By the way, it seems I can’t post a reply using my account, only as a guest?

              • I disagree. Form follows function. If you have a core idea you don’t want to compromise, you need to make the rest of the story support that. (Also, again, this could be solved by making Kipo the gay character, if they weren’t such cowards.)

                Comments are glitchy sometimes. Try contacting Act.

              • “Form follows function” is a good principle for architecture, not necessarily for Literature or Dramaturgy. Do we need the Star Wars movies to be entirely spoken in some made-up language, too?

                I reiterate: if the point of the scene is to show a character saying “Sorry, I don’t want to date you, I’m gay”, him saying “Sorry, I don’t want to klaatu-barada-nikto you, I’m klatchian” instead would have just been a terrible decision.

              • Yes, exactly. So change the context instead of the character. Give him a backstory that doesn’t make us question how he knows vocabulary understandable to us.

                There’s lots of forms you can tweak to fit your function.

              • Yes, it’s part of a larger plot hole.

                Like I said, I’m willing to suspend disbelief that they share language, but the idea that Benson would even understand the concept, let alone that it applies to him, just makes no sense.

              • Hold on, now, it almost seems like you are arguing queerness is a modern phenomenon.

              • No, I’m arguing it makes no sense for someone who has never met another human in his life to understand what sexual orientation is.

              • My point is, how would Benson know he’s exclusively attracted to male humans if he’s never met a male human? Even if he figured some things out by observation and scraps of remnants from human civilization, he’d be coming at it from such a different and more fragmented perspective than Kipo. It’s baffling that two people of such radically different backgrounds can immediately understand what the other is communicating.

    • Do we actually know he had no human contact?

      No, and I figure he must have, but we haven’t seen his origin in two seasons. The distinction between burrowers and surfacers and the general death world nature of the surface implies very strongly that there are no permanent human settlements on the surface, which again raises the question of where he comes from and how he learned… well, anything, really. Possibly he’s the survivor of a destroyed burrow? But he seems weirdly chipper for such a tragic backstory.

      In episode one I thought she was pale lavender because she lived in an underground burrow and it was something clever, but no, it’s just that no one questioned a purple girl running around.

      UGH YES. They even had someone examine her and take note that her skin marked her as a burrower! And then nope burrowers look completely normal. WHY ARE YOU SO SURPRISED YOU’RE A MUTANT, KIPO.

      (It’s also pretty sketchy that they chose to give a mixed-race kid such a light and alien skintone.)

  • KB became a registered member 1 month, 3 weeks ago

  • Two games I picked up in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, remakes of two RPG Maker games I played years ago.

    They were not very good.

    Soma Spirits: Rebalance

    A remake of Soma Spirits […]

    • There is also the fact that your mind is not the entire world, holy crap check your ego.

      Excuse you. I’ll let you know that the world ends with me, actually.

    • Also, I see you too did battle with my old nemesis, METAFICTION.

      This shit is so, so easy to fuck up. I admit to having a rather disproportional reaction to bad metafiction, but just so many stories playing around with the concept just go “do you knoooow you’re reading a stoooory? Do you know stories have struuuuucture? Wouldn’t it be totally weeeeird if characters in stories knew they were fiiiiictional?” And it’s, like, OK, but what’s your point?

      Too many stories just don’t take the concept far enough or don’t know what to do with it to begin with, so it’s just kinda hanging there, breaking immersion without contributing anything to the themes or, often, even mattering at all.

      I feel it’s a consequence of amateur writers discovering this cool hip literary technique but not actually having much to say about stories, which would justify its use.

  • A revenge review appears! People otherwise remain civil.

    re: Your review to Heartstrings
    A response to your review at

    Hello, I received a review […]

  • Pokegirls, anti-Plasma propaganda, and a whole lot of meh.

    Anime: 5

    Hi! I’m doing a round of reviews around the site, hoping to help give people constructive criticism instead of just vague appreciation or f […]

    • Uh, Swirlix? Impidimp? Fairy-types are not actually very sweet. They take inspiration from old-school faeries, who are cruel just as often as they are kind.

      Ironically, mawhile is based on the futakuchi-onna, who is usually portrayed as quite a decidedly malevolent creature.

       Lincoln, however, saw through their bullshit.

      At least this much is accurate to the established worldbuilding. Unova welcomes all different kinds of opinions, unless they’re ones they disagree with.

  • People continue to be very calm and reasonable.

    re: Your review to Grayscale
    A response to your review at

    Hey there!

    Thanks for the detailed review. […]

  • Some actually decent stuff today, including a story with some nice Johto character study and worldbuilding.

    Anime: 1

    Hi! I’m doing a round of reviews around the site, hoping to help give people constructive c […]

    • I don’t understand why Pokemon fandom does this. Please use the characters’ names like every other fandom. Please let the madness end. ;_;

      At least they’re not puns based on portmanteaus like some fandoms…

      Color names aren’t actually unheard of, especially globally.

      Maybe in other languages, but in English, I’ve only ever heard of Red being a nickname.

      Something seems to have gone wrong here.

      The first thing that entered my mind was “People and Daphne live together in peace and harmony wait no fuck lemme try that again”.

      This is a really cute inversion of the typical “My parents won’t let me go training because it’s too dangerous” narrative, and makes a lot more sense with what we see of the world in canon.

      Where’s my “my parents kicked me out of the house because I’m FOURTEEN and STILL haven’t wandered around a forest fighting animals, even though I just want to be a carpenter” fic?

      That’s a pretty huge time jump, to the point that their society should look pretty different.

      Pokemon World society is already pretty different and high tech compared to our own. There’d have to be a pretty big revolution to drastically alter the society of people who have access to infinite energy generation and mass to energy conversion on top of psychics and shamans.

  • People continue to be very, very chill. Pyle is back, which might be filtering out the more volatile elements.

    re: Your review to Competitive Repercussion
    A response to your review at […]

  • A story about how paraplegics can’t be trainers or, apparently, doctors, and a story by a gun fetishist.

    Anime: 4

    Hi! I’m doing a round of reviews around the site, hoping to help give people constructive cri […]

    • [A boy saw a Glaceon perform at a Contest one day and asked his parents if he could be a pokémon when he grew up, they said yes.]

      … You mean a contestant, right? Surely, you do?

      Appreciated, but if you’re giving a warning for that, you should probably give a warning for the much more explicit blood and injury content.

      Also, you should probably give it before it actually appears? Isn’t that typically how those work?

      [A boy, shaken up from tragedy, grows up to be a member of an elite strike team. However, while he’s tough on the outside, is he tough enough on the inside?]

      There’s a reason why a huge part of special forces training is to test someone’s mental fortitude and willpower. If he’s managed to become a member of a special forces team, the answer is almost certainly “yes”.

      I still don’t know what’s important about a 17s model

      I’m going to guess that he meant “several people rushed for their Glock 17 handguns”. It’s plural, not a model. Same as “M1911s”.

      I find it hard to believe the premise of mimikyu being unpopular when all of fandom unanimously fell in love with it at first sight.

      Mimikyu is supposed to be pretty creepy in-universe. The fandom likes it because it’s an unliked underdog. The anime occasionally goes full jHorror with Jessie’s mimikyu.

      • Also, you should probably give it before it actually appears?

        They did, I just didn’t comment on it until the end since I didn’t know how accurate the trigger warning was until then.

        Mimikyu is supposed to be pretty creepy in-universe.

        Well, yes, just like many animals are only liked by niche enthusiasts, but it’s a little surreal to read so many stories about “Everyone hates me, who could love such a beast, wow my trainer is totally one-of-a-kind” when fandom proves there is a significant population of fans for whom none of that is a deterrent. You can even have mimikyu enthusiasts be perceived as weird in-universe, but “Absolutely no one ever adopts mimikyu except for my special perfect OC” is just too extreme for me.

        • They did, I just didn’t comment on it until the end since I didn’t know how accurate the trigger warning was until then.

          Oh, gotcha. Fair enough, then.

          it’s a little surreal to read so many stories about “Everyone hates me, who could love such a beast, wow my trainer is totally one-of-a-kind”

          Nintendo themselves even made a song from the perspective of mimikyu about this, remember? It was absolutely adorable.

          You can even have mimikyu enthusiasts be perceived as weird in-universe

          This is totes the right way to go about it. I did planning for a story that never materialized where someone (who most people thought was kind of spooky in their own right) in the Johto Region had a mimikyu they caught while on vacation, and pretty much every local thought it was the creepiest thing ever. The mimikyu would do little to change their opinions on that subject.

          Hm… maybe I could actually get a story out of it if I just focused on that aspect…

  • Talarc changed their profile picture 2 months, 1 week ago

  • Appreciative responses today.

    re: Your review to Transferred to Poketon High
    A response to your review at

    Thank you for the review, I appreciate […]

    •  On the topic of pokemon name capitalization’s, while I write mostly with their names lower cased, this story was a commission and the person who ordered it wanted the names capitalized.

      I think this takes the cake for “most bizarre reason anyone has ever capitalized the names of pokemon”.

      For the part about breasts this was asked of by the commissioner so it probably is fetish related.

      Gotta respect the hustle, I guess? Hope he got at least got a decent pay to write about pokemon tits…

  • I’m back! Nothing interesting so far, unfortunately.

    Anime: 10

    Hi! I’m doing a round of reviews around the site, hoping to help give people constructive criticism instead of just vague appreciation or f […]

    • …That’s her first reaction? Really? Not the body horror or the worry she might be permanently stuck like this?

      New Jerseyians, am I right, fellas?

  • In 1999, Bandai broke Digimon into the mainstream with the release of its first video game title: Digimon World for the PlayStation. Digimon World was, by any objective measure, a terrible game. The mechanics were […]

    • I recently played Digimon World: Next Order, which is another, perhaps more appropriate, spiritual sequel to the original World (the PC from World is an NPC, and the plot is a continuation of the first), and I really enjoyed it. I thought it really captured the feel of exploration the first one had, and I thought the environments were very creative. I liked that it kept the grindiness of the original while also telling you what you were grinding for and why.

      I didn’t know there was an intermediate game between the original and Next Order. That’s kind of weird. I wonder if this one was poorly received in Japan as well, because Next Order pretends this didn’t exist.

      Next Order isn’t an excellent game, and by like, objective standards it’s full of problems, but it felt really satisfying to me as an adult who poured hours upon hours into the original. I thought it did the first game justice. It put it to rest, in a way.

      • Apparently Famitsu gave it a moderate 31/40. The people responsible for the translation insist that the remake, Decoded, is way better and fixes all the problems with the original, but it sounds like it did so by adding more plot about the human characters, so… I’ll have to see.

        Good to know about Next Order, but I don’t see myself affording a PS4 anytime soon, so I’ll have to wait on that.

        Personally though I wouldn’t want to put the first game to rest; I’d really like to see this become a genre of its own, just with like, less grindy and terrible gameplay mechanics. Maybe cut out the tamer entirely and let you play as the digimon so that battles aren’t so annoying.

        I just really loved that… almost Metroidvania feel of starting with nothing and slowly expanding what’s available to you. The scramble to unlock the item shop in the first game was real. Here the basic shop is unlocked from the beginning, which is just like, what’s even the point?

        (Now that I am a game designer, I’m actually interested in the idea of making my own Digimon World clone — but that would be a big undertaking, and would require an artist to come up with the ‘mons and everything. I might be able to hack something together with Pokemon Essentials, though.)

  • Last time, Kyrie’s backstory and three more deaths.

    Back in the guest house, it’s become obvious that something has gone wrong. Krauss and Natsuhi are trying to keep their compure when Eva bursts out of her […]

    • It’s interesting. Eva is very obviously the culprit of the nonmagic killings this time, with EVA as a metaphor for the part of herself that could do such a thing. Given that, though: was Eva also responsible in the other routes? And who will be responsible going forward? Will EVA be the new villain, with Eva the culprit on every route? Or will things continue to juggle around?

      Well, the question in this context is, who’s Beatrice? Is she a metaphor for a culprit unknown? Or for a specific person? Could Eva had been the culprit without EVA being around or not?

      The gameboard and the metaworld are intertwined, but not necessarily in obvious ways.

    • This really reminded me of how the nonmagic version of this one is absolute bonkers bananas

  • The Talos Principle is a first-person puzzler. You play as a robot who awakens to the voice of someone claiming to be your creator, who tasks you with completing puzzles. He promises you eternal life for your […]

  • Last time, a break between Battler, Bea, and the audience.

    Ron steps forward. It’s time to start the game again.

    Bat takes a deep breath and says, okay, maybe Rosa and Maria’s deaths were […]

    • LOL, WTF

      Never thought I’d miss the Stakes’ designs.

      Don’t know what you mean. Fetish bunny girls assassins with a pseudo-military theme are a perfectly reasonable addition to the cast.

      BTW, do they get their character profile now or later? There is some interesting stuff in there if you click through them all.

      Very curious to know what the Cyrillic says.

      It’s not Cyrillic. Looks Greek to me.

      • It’s clearly Greek and I’m an idiot.

        • TBF, anime sorta has a weird fascination with Russian (not as prevalent as using random English words, but I do encounter it here and there occasionally, even in anime where you wouldn’t expect it), so it’s not an unreasonable conclusion to make when faced with an unfamiliar alphabet.

      • Fetish bunny girls assassins with a pseudo-military theme are a perfectly reasonable addition to the cast.

        You joke, but actually think the absurdity of that combination is part of the point. They aren’t suppose to feel “reasonable”. The nonsense of military bunny girl assassins serves to highlight even more the wedge between the mundane and the magical. The “fetish” part is probably too much.

        • I mean, I’ve read Umineko in full back in the day, I know what’s up with the design (though it kinda makes the fetish-y elements stand out even more). They’re ridiculous, but in a way appropriate for the story.

          Part of it is that, yeah, magic doesn’t need to be constrained by reason and logic and, in fact, can be said to stand in defiance to them, rejecting mundane problems and mundane solutions in favor of, well, a fantasy.

          Another part would be spoilers.

          They’re still pure WTF when you encounter them for the first time, though.

    • Never thought I’d miss the Stakes’ designs.

      Heh, I sorta prefer the Chiester sister design more, actually. Not by much, though.

      These designs are such a shame, really. I truly love Umineko and wish recommend to everyone. But stuff like this make it really hard to. The worst thing is that I don’t think their design is pure shameless pandering with no thought to it. I think there is a point to some of the choices made that serve to enhance the story. But they probably could have worked something out that didn’t include leotards…

      • For some reason, it looks like more of a hodgepodge than the Stakes to me.

        • I find them somewhat more coherent in their motif, at least. Like, they are military bunnygirls. So they wear playboy bunny outfit with a military outfit over it. Like, it is a weird arbitrary combination but I can see the themes at least. With the Stakes I don’t even know what they are supposed to be dressed as. What are they supposed to look like?

          Take the leotard, for example. Like, it is “fanservice”, obvious, but the concept of “playboy bunnies” is so integrated it is not that weird that you would put a bunny girl in a leotard. With the Stakes it just feels random.

          Like, neither outfit is “good”. I just appreciate the Chiesters more for theme consistency, I guess.

          • I’m still peeved that Umineko didn’t use actual Ars Goetia demon designs. Like, it has an owl on very long legs. How the fuck do you learn about this and not use it in your game?

            • Case in point:

              Everyone who doesn’t depict their demons like that is a COWARD.

    • “If anything, you’re witch of the kitchen!” Oof what a way to prove her point

  • Like many websites and blogs, we will participating in the blackout. This is not a time to say nothing, but instead to put aside things that can wait and focus energy on helping those in need. To that end, I have […]

    • A crosspost from my FB page:

      Since a lot of people are looking for resources right now, I thought I’d do something I don’t normally do and share some recs, in this case for books by and about black women. There’s no hierarchy here; they’re just among what I’ve happened to have read in the past six months or so. Feel free to share or add one.


      Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris
      Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror by Kinitra D. Brooks
      Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks
      Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction’s Newest New-Wave Trajectory ed. Marleen Barr
      “Introduction” to Othello, Arden Third Edition, by Ayanna Thompson


      You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
      Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae


      Everfair by Nisi Shawl
      Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
      There Is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset
      The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord


      How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
      What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

      • Fiction – Novels

        The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin. It’s been rec’d here before and must be rec’d again.

      • Just to reinforce Act’s rec: the Arden Shakespeare series is excellent, and Dr. Thompson’s introduction to its revised edition of Othello is particularly good.

    • ActBlue has put together a page for those looking to donate to some of the major funds:

    • A countrywide list of bail funds

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