Rundown (7/03-7/09) I Think Nigma Box Might Be a Slur

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Wherein I discuss an cursed discovery, the juicy delights of Anime Expo, a red flag remake, a Black Flag successor a decade in the making, polical assassinations, and… ice cream, for some bloody reason.

Something that I realized earlier this year is that the name “Nigma Box” has some… unfortunate connotations to its name. Back in 2012, I named this site Nigma Box because I was using the alias Electric Nigma at the time, and I viewed this website as ‘a place where I could put my written content.’ And when asked ‘what is a place where people put things’ my mind immediately went to a box. 

You see, I had a LOT of boxes and containers back then. Toys, video games, magazines, lots of stuff that I arranged to make my 99 sq foot room look like a little man-child cave. And I sadly don’t have any good pictures from back then, before bedbugs destroyed my furniture and inspired me to give away most of my toys to some black kid.

Anyway, tangent aside, I had innocent intentions with the name. But it is now apparent to me that Nigma Box can be read as code for ‘a black mother’s vagina.’ The pseudo-word Nigma can be broken down into the syllables ‘nig’ and ‘ma.’ ‘Nig’ can be read as shorthand for the N-word (which I refuse to use in any context). Ma is another term for mother. While the word ‘box’ can be read as slang for vagina.

Needless to say, this was completely unintentional and, due to how many people are familiar with the name Nigma Box at this point, I have no intention of changing it. I just wanted to bring this up to any readers, because I have been carrying this cursed knowledge for months now, and I want to share this curse with you all!

…Should I use this as an opportunity to talk about how racism is bad? Or, an opportunity to belittle myself for being a member of a devil race, born from 1,400 years of crossbreeding. Whose ancestors spread lies and deception among the real humans in order to “[turn] what had been a peaceful heaven on earth into a hell torn by quarreling and fighting?” (Haley 180)Nah!

…I love the fact that I wrote this bit while flipping through an copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, reading Kawari Kawatte by Tirotata (a gold-star skinsuit revenge hentai), and listening to the LP of Devastation (white nerdcore shit, that I love, from 2010). I swear, none of this weirdness is intentional. It’s all natural, bay-bee!

No acquisition news this week so… moving on!

Kicking in the jams, let’s go over some news from Anime Expo! Having just finished playing and reviewing AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative, I currently am reminded of just how much I adore the subgenre of ‘death and friendship’ visual novel adventure games. I have an insurmountable backlog of games like that to get to, but I guess I have one more to add to the table, in the form of Inescapable. A “social thriller” where 11 people are left on a tropical island where they must partake in a “twisted reality TV show” in order to walk away with a large sum of money.

It is a fairly standard concept, but what struck me was just how… overt this game’s influences are. Based only on the vibes I’m getting from the debut trailer, this game is probably being headed by people who played the Danganronpa and Zero Escape games when they first debuted, and talked about them a bunch on Tumblr. That was a good 10 to 6 years ago and now, apparently, these people are old and experienced enough to make a retail game inspired by these now classic visual novels.

I specified Tumblr in that vague description, because Inescapable has this palpable westerner stank to it. The character designs, the naming conventions, the archetypes they use, the always uppercase font, the decision to represent the game world as a sort of board game— everything screams western about this! And I don’t even know why, but I am absolutely down with that! Inescapable is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and PC in 2023. Here’s hoping I remember it exists, or else I will just never get around to it. Like Root Double, or Head AS Code, or Your Turn To Die.

Ah crud, there’s also the Science Adventure series that I really ought to get back into, and the pile just keeps on growing! But the good news is that I can finally get over my chronologic hangups and get started with the first game in the series. Yes, after being previously announced for Switch as part of a two-pack back in March, Spike Chunsoft declared that Chaos;Head Noah is also coming to PC on October 7th of this year! Meaning that, after over a decade, the first game in this loosely connected series will finally be available to non-fan-tran-reading English-talkers!

Now, I went over this before, but the anime adaptation of Chaos;Head was a pretty big inspiration for me back when I watched it in 2013. The conspiracy and intricacies of its storyline, the terminology, a lot of the specific imagery of the series, and the general NEET urban hero concept that I was introduced to through this show. However, the anime series was also really bad, so I am more than a little interested in seeing what the ‘real deal’ is like. Yes, I could have done that years ago with a fan translation, but I will pretty much always prefer an official release. Besides, reviewing a fan translated game is almost as sketchy a concept to me as not reviewing a game after playing it.

However, that was not the only Science Adventure game localization announced. You see, after being announced back in 2015, the next game in the series, Anonymous;Code, is finally coming out in Japan on July 28, 2022. And during their Anime Expo event, Spike Chunsoft announced that English users will not need to wait too long to get their grubby primate-like paws on the game. Because Anonymous;Code will release in western markets, for PS4, Switch, and PC, sometime in 2023.

…I had never actually seen a proper screenshot of the game up until now, and only had the key art to go by, so, as one could imagine, I was floored when I saw the game in motion. It is lousy with colors, crafting a bright and cheery sci-fi world. Features fluidly animated sprites that look to be using the modern generation of Live2D technology. And has a slick as heck UI! Four, its main tagline is “Hack Into God.” Everything about it seems like it will fit my well-established personal niche, but I feel I should not check it out until I get caught up with the series. And knowing me, that’s gonna be more than a few years.

As for non-video-game Anime Expo announcements, a not-so-secret factoid about me is that I tend to gush about all things anime… except for the actual shows. I love hearing people talk about the medium, giving factoids about its history, and adore everything about the aesthetics. But after I tried to be a ‘real’ anime fan from 2012 to 2014, I gradually realized that I don’t especially enjoy watching anime, and for various reasons I’ve discussed in the past. However, I still have a soft spot for a select few series, and one of them is Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. A 2010 action comedy series that was infamous for its crass humor, high energy, iconic art style, and most infamously, its cliffhanger ending that, thinking back, was probably meant to be a joke in and of itself.

Well, now that P&S is old enough to be nostalgic (I operate under a ten-year rule), Studio Trigger and Gainax have announced that a new Panty & Stocking project is in production, which many have interpreted as a second season. That would most likely excite me, but I would most likely not pay too much mind to the anime itself and instead check out the soundtrack, assuming they bring TeddyLoid and friends back. No joke, I still bust out the OST every few months or so, because it is a great collection of electronic music, and something that I can write to if I am in the mood. Hell, I gave it another listen to while writing TSF Series #014 this past week. Which, as you’ll find out on July 13th, was actually quite appropriate.

A few weeks ago, I commented on how a Lollipop Chainsaw re-whatever was being handled by the newly formed Dragami Games. In my ethereal avarice, I assumed that this would be a straightforward remaster of the 2012 original title— barring some changes to its licensed soundtrack. But then Dragami Games president and Lollipop Chainsaw producer Yoshimi Yasuda issued a detailed statement on the project. He began by recollecting working on the game as a producer, lamented that it was unavailable on current systems, and announced that this new Lollipop Chainsaw project would be a “remake” due out sometime in 2023. 

This comment made me iffy about what exactly this project is going to be, as even a note-for-note remake typically takes at least two years of development, and I assume that development just started. …But then I re-read the statement and noticed other oddities. How Yasuda comments that this project is being made by “the original development staff on Lollipop Chainsaw” despite the fact that the original staff has long-since disbanded. 

He mentions how “aside from a few licensed tracks, the soundtrack will consist of new music” which makes no sense, when there were over 40 tracks composed specifically for the 2012 original. And despite the original having a more comic book inspired look, Yasuda claimed “we will be taking a more realistic approach to the graphics this time,” which is a strange direction to take with a remake. And also, neither the co-director Suda51 or co-writer, James Gunn, are involved in this project.

This is all a very… odd way to announce a remake like this, and the more I think about it, the more I think that a remake might be a mistake over a remaster. 

Sidebar, but do games still license music for a set number of years? Because that has been a bad policy for as long as digital distribution has been a thing. Lollipop Chainsaw should have gotten a soundtrack deal similar to what films get, instead of whatever they thought would ensure the game some short-form success. When you license things, always go with the approach that nets you the most freedom. Because music licensing is a pita, and you only want to do it once.

Speaking of decade-old revivals, Skull & Bones is a Ubisoft project that has been in development for basically a decade. Kotaku did a great write-up about the troubled development of this title, but I’ll just go over the highlights. Production began around the tail-end of development on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013), where it was originally meant to be a quickly made expansion using assets and tech from that game. However, the scale increased over time and the game has been subject to all sorts of developmental woes. I could re-read the article, but I’m just going to copy/paste what I wrote a year ago.

“Between the Singapore staff, Ubisoft corporate, and project managers sent to Singapore, nobody could really settle on what this new game would be. How its world would work, if it would only be naval combat, what its focus would be, what the gameplay loop would be, and so forth. All of these issues were compounded by a high number of turnover, as managers shifted throughout the project and many senior staff jumped ship (pun intended) to other companies that paid better and actually knew what they were doing.”

“Between the Singapore staff, Ubisoft corporate, and project managers sent to Singapore, nobody could really settle on what this new game would be. How its world would work, if it would only be naval combat, what its focus would be, what the gameplay loop would be, and so forth. All of these issues were compounded by a high number of turnover, as managers shifted throughout the project and many senior staff jumped ship (pun intended) to other companies that paid better and actually knew what they were doing.”

After having been announced at E3 2017 and last seen during E3 2018, Ubisoft re-announced Skull & Bones— renamed to the ampersand-less Skull and Bones— which will release for PS5, Xbox Series, PC, Stadia, and Luna on November 8th. How does it look? Well, it still gives me big Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013) vibes. The general design of the world, the camera during combat and sea traversal, and even certain UI elements, like health bars. Hell, I would argue that it looks more like AC4 than it did back in 2018!

That alone speaks volumes about this game’s messy history, that it looks more derivative as it got later into development. But I think my biggest impression is that the game looks way, way worse than it did before. In real life, when you are out at sea, the sun is usually high overhead, evenly bathing everything in a consistent, clear light. But in Skull and Bones’ world, the sun apparently spends most of its time around the horizon, because not only are things constantly coated in evening or morning lighting, but they give off these deep black shadows. It does not look like reality, and it goes so far in one direction that it forgets the fundamental rules of color theory. 

Next up… should I even talk about how Shinzo Abe, former Japanese prime minister, was assassinated this past week? Because despite being a Japan-loving-dork, I know precious little about the country’s political climate. However, based on what I have gradually seen on my usual feeds, it sounds like he was a pretty bad person. Denying war crimes, supporting US imperialist policies, promoting Chinese and Korean racism, and being a large proponent of Japan’s right wing.

This might make his death seem like a good thing, but Japan is hosting an election… today, and the sudden death of such a prominent political figure could have long-term consequences on the political climate of the nation. Meaning that the right-wing officials could seize further control and lead campaigns that continue to harm minority groups, promote ‘traditional’ values, and restrict the type of media that Japanese creators are able to create. Either through explicit censorship laws or through influencing cultural attitudes and changing the realm of acceptable thought. Which is bad for fans of Japanese media, as it is bad for Japanese society as a whole.

It sucks… but I also feel like this is a matter where there is nothing I could do. In the land of milk and self-hate (the United States of America), I do my part and vote in every election. Hell, my family members copy my completed ballot, so you could say that I vote 6 times every election. But this is a different country, and I do not have much of a platform, so… I cannot do much more than point at something like this and say, ‘golly gee, that sure sucks, mate.’

That’s all for this week, but before I end things for this week, here’s something I wrote at 2:30 AM after going on a 5,500-word writing bender for TSF Series #014 this past week:

re:Dreamer is the French Vanilla ice cream you get from the ‘Whites Only’ ice cream shop where the ice cream costs twice as much as it did at the place you went to as a kid. But you still go back there a few times every summer because it’s a nice treat.

Student Transfer is that chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream you get at Jewel. It’s kinda basic, but it’s darn good, and you’re being pretentious when you scoff at it. The scenarios are a mixture of ‘similar’ flavors, including mint chocolate chip, and anything with chocolate chips inside it.

Press-Switch is homemade Strawberry ice cream that your Filipino neighbor shared with you. There’s not a lot of it, you only have it on occasion. But it’s full of love and berries. And berries are the best ice cream if you are an adult. 

Palladium is imported French chocolate ice cream. Not fancy ice cream, just the standard B minus ice cream you can get from any store over there. But to an American palate, which is the only one that actually matters, it is exotic. Also, there are freezer-killed bees in it for some reason, and little bits of honey. It gives the ice cream an extra crunch, but you should leave it out in a bowl for like 3 minutes before you try eating any of it.

Mice Tea is not ice cream. It is a warm oatmeal raisin cookie by your female relative who is technically your aunt, but your parents insist she’s your cousin. Either way, she really enjoys baking, and makes bakery quality cookies. Or maybe not. I only played it for three hours so far.

What is my shit? My shit is not even ice cream. My shit is a frozen Berry Juicy Juice popsicle, with a bootleg Maurice Lenell pinwheel cookie in it. It might sound good, but when you eat it, you just wind up asking why anybody would do something so obscenely wack. This is also the only kind that I can still eat, because ice cream hurts my teeth.

…If this is where my brain goes when I’m just tired, I would be terrified by what it would produce if I were to get kinda high or kinda drunk. …Bad Jacob Meatloaf

…Yes, I know it is “beer drinkin eight ball,” but it does not sound like that, and I’ve listened to that album at least a dozen times.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. qwerty

    Stretch if you ask me, regarding the name. I know I wouldn’t take anyone accusing the name “Nigma Box” as being a racist mom joke/insult or whatever very seriously unless they have some evidence that the one deciding upon the name did so to intentionally stir shit.

    That being said, my opinion is worth a grain of salt as I’m not in lockstep with mainstream society regarding the use of certain words; I believe they only have as much power as an individual gives it for one and that context and intent behind the use of a given word (slur or otherwise) is paramount when judging their use. Not to say I go around yelling slurs at everyone or anything, know thy audience and common decency and all that, just that I don’t necessarily subscribe to certain notions about who gets to say what and where the line is crossed between someone’s (likely very temporary) emotional well-being and when someone ought to get over themselves.

    1. Natalie Neumann

      The power of words, their intended usage, and them having different meanings to different people, is a murky and complex subject. And while, as a writer, I believe in the artistry of using words well and that they should be used with both care and consideration, I also believe that the intention and context is very important.

      By the way, I know that, most likely, nobody would think to read “Nigma Box” as a slur. I was being mostly joking around with the preamble for this week. :P

      Still, this was a very real observation I had a few months ago. Why did I think about it? I forget, but it was probably while I was listening to 90’s hip hop or something (big surprise, considering I made a freaking Coolio reference here). And as I soaked up the vernacular, my mind wandered and recontextualized how my website’s name could be read depending on the context. However, there exists few, if any, contexts where Nigma Box would be introduced in a manner where people would think that it was a joke/insult.