Wherein I discuss: Some deep Natalie lore. Some pretty boring acquisition stuff. And modern Americana politics.
Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Natalie Talks About Family Compo… and Other Unrelated Crap
What was I doing this past week that got me on this tangent? …Right. While rewatching some video essays by leftist trans women, I happened to ask myself “when was I first introduced to the idea of trans people?” Well, that is something that I cannot recall with 100% certainty, as a lot of my childhood is a blurry miasma, but I don’t particularly remember any negative exposures to the idea of trans people. Which is pretty surprising considering the era I grew up in (Late 90s and early 2000s).
Instead, I think my first exposure to the idea of trans people was something far more mundane. Like the Wikipedia page for ‘transgender’ circa 2008. Before then, I had preconceived notions of crossdressing— meaning I dressed up in my sister’s clothing a few times— but I considered ‘changing genders’ to be a fantastical concept. Something only possible in cartoons. Like that episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Operation: F.U.T.U.R.E. Which depicted a world where a lone wolf with a ‘feminization ray’ was able to rid males and masculinity from most of the world and usher in a gender dystopia.
Also, that episode featured a boarding school where ornery boys were turned into girls by the truckload. A super genius girl who contacted her future self, somehow, and developed a robot chicken walker exoskeleton she used to help pose as the principal of this school. Holograms that shoot lasers that summon child soldiers from the future. A giant quadrupedal castle that chases the episode’s protagonist. A 75 year time skip. An underground dystopian base. A battle where children get identity murked. Giant robot bunnies who destroy castle bases. And other shit I probably missed while skimming through the episode.
Actually, going through this episode made me realize just how much I internalized the language, structure, and creativity of cartoons, without really trying to. Shows like this taught me I can just do whatever I want and make it work as a functional story if I think about it hard enough. Hell, that’s the ethos that led me to create stuff like TSF Series #006-3: OPPAI 3 – Let’s Go To Hell. A 28,000 word novella that is, basically, an X-rated cartoon.
…What was I talking about again? Right, my first exposure to trans characters. Looking back on it and glimpsing things from my imperfect memory, I believe my first exposure to trans characters in media was a manga by the name of F. Compo… Or Family Compo If you prefer.
The comic centered around a young man who recently moved in with his estranged relatives. A trans man, a trans woman, and their child of an unspecified sex who switches gender every couple years. That sounds progressive, but it is important to remember that this is a creation from the 1990s and hailing from Japan.
The language and terminology, assuming the fan translation groups operated in good faith, is incredibly dated, and the comic is a bit too inclined to highlight how ‘queer people are weird’ for quick laughs. But once you get rid of the dated crap, it becomes easy to recognize a genuine attempt to present people of different walks of life and promote their lifestyles as being… normal.
An entire chunk of the cast present as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth, and they’re depicted as good people trying to lead honest lives. Or at least that’s what I gathered by skimming through the first few chapters. It can be a bit harsh at times and ‘yikes’ when removed from its original context, but it is hard for me to read this comic as being malicious.
…Okay, but why/how did I find out about F. Compo? Well, I remember it being brought up in an old Channel Awesome video by Benzaie, named Top 5 Manga you should read. Which some lovely individual uploaded to Archive.org. The premise of the concept sounded ‘TG enough’ to my ‘TG-enthusiast’ 15-year-old mind for me to probably like it and, from what I remember, I did.
Also, since I will probably never talk about Benzaie ever again, I want to clarify that I only sometimes watched his stuff. I watched him so seldomly that one of the few things I really remember about him are… when he was being super homophobic. This gay song has been lingering in my brain for a good 12 years. And that YMCA bit from the end of Spoony’s Phantasmagoria 2 Let’s Play (starts at 56:39 in this video) is part of the permanent file of my ‘underwear’ directory. ‘Cos that boy’s dick looked real scrumptious in them briefs.
Come to think of it, Benzaie was also the person who introduced me to X-Change via his GameFap series. …For the record, I have zero intention of ever covering the X-Change hexology. I did a crappy review of X-Change Alternative back in 2014, and played through a bit of 3, but my impressions on the series were pretty negative. Because while the series had the potential to be something special, it highly disappointed me with its lack of character depth and fixation on sex.
…However, I would play X-Change Alternative 2 if it ever got a fan translation (which it won’t). Why? Because that game is a multi-character body swap story, and the CGs are utterly wild!
Even if XCA2 is just a sandbox bucket full of shit and cum and eggs, it would be a bucket worth sticking your dick into and churning until you make omelet batter. Just like hentai pedophile Ash Ketchum would’ve done.
…I have officially become a parody of myself, and it feels GRRREAT!
Kraft Onto Giants
(Krafton Acquires Neon Giant)
Kicking off the usual section, this week saw publisher Krafton acquire small-time developer Neon Giant. Two names I did not recognize, so let’s do a bit of a semi-formal summary.
Krafton is a name I probably should be familiar with, as they are one of the biggest Korean gaming publishers around. They are the parent company for PUBG Studios (PUBG: Battlegrounds) and Bluehole Studios (TERA Online). The publisher for the upcoming Dead-Space-like The Calisto Protocol. Though, weirdly enough, I think their biggest title is probably the internally developed and über popular Battlegrounds Mobile India. What can I say? India loves PUBG!
While Neon Giant is a young and tiny Swedish developer behind 2021’s The Ascent. An isometric twin-stick shooter with a cyberpunk aesthetic that was published by the small-time British publisher Curve Games.
So, why did Krafton want Neon Giant to join their library of studios? I can’t rightfully say. It might have something to do with the next game by the studio, an open-world first-person-shooter, but there was no announcement post or press-release, just a financial report that showed Neon Giant as a subsidiary.
Regardless, I am still not a fan of massive companies making international purchases like this in order to broaden their library of studios. The industry needs more studios like Neon Giant, plucky studios filled with incredibly skilled and capable people, and it always upsets me when one of them is gobbled up by a massive corporation. Especially someone like Krafton, who strikes me as a company exclusively interested in the games industry because it makes a lot of money.
System Account DeNA
(Nintendo Established Joint Venture With DeNA)
Nintendo and DeNA have been partners ever since 2015, when Nintendo bought 15% of the company, formed a capital alliance, and had DeNA work on their unified account system. Because Nintendo did not have a unified account system until 2016. About a decade after PlayStation and Xbox. Since then, DeNA has handled account integration on mobile titles, service infrastructure, and things that Nintendo probably should have an internal department for, but simply doesn’t. Or rather, didn’t.
In April 2023, Nintendo will launch a new joint venture with DeNA, dubbed Nintendo Systems Co., Ltd. This is to be a new home for the Nintendo Account team, streamlined and formalized as its own company, thus giving the team the infrastructure needed to grow and expand along with Nintendo’s services. Or at least I think that’s what Nintendo means by “strengthen the digitalization of Nintendo’s business, in addition to the creation of value-added services.”
What does this mean for Nintendo fans? Probably nothing, honestly. This could mean Nintendo plans on going deeper into online services, or it could just be a routine restructuring. However, I don’t think this is related to the mobile games Nintendo collaborates on with DeNA. Such as Mario Kart Tour and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. …Actually, it’s not clear to me how much, if any, elements of the user-level experience they develop.
The mobile market is weird like that, as it is difficult to find information on who does what for games like this, as full credits are rarely provided in-game. Artists are credited as art teams. Directors, composers, and maybe writers are name dropped, but little else. And it is hard to determine which company does what unless it is mentioned in an interview.
Which, for the record, is terrible for preserving the medium’s history… but the games industry only cares about its history if it can profit off of it.
(Natalie Complains About Elections – 2022 Edition)
Something that has been clawing away at my mind this past week has been the midterm elections in the United States. As of writing this, ballots are still being counted. Georgia’s Senate is going to have a second election, like they did in 2020, and I just hope history repeats itself. It is looking like the Republicans are going to take the House, which everybody said would happen, speaking so passionately about this prediction that it sounded like they were willing to bet their life on it happening.
Despite being a big old left-o, seeing the way American elections, or just elections in general, play out has made me increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the very idea of democracy. The idea that a system can actually represent the will of the people, and have that be a good thing. People are fickle, easy to manipulate, and those with the most wealth can shape people’s opinions into whatever they desire.
Any system where votes are counted by region, rather than general population, runs into the problem where political minorities simply are not represented in voting blocks. In a district and state that votes 60% for Republicans, any vote for the Democrats is truly meaningless, as only the majority counts.
And in a system with a limited number of parties, it is easy for all options to be… deeply unattractive. I get routinely tired of the neoliberal and ineffectual flim-flam of the democratic party, as they are so worried about alienating centrists that they will do little to nothing when people’s rights are on the line. And the Republicans are so extreme that they would not be seen as a valuable option in any other system, as their platform has become increasingly radical over the past decade, and they have made their true intentions clear.
They want to maintain a hierarchy where White males maintain the most power, while women, P.O.C., and queer folks all languish at the bottom, in their ‘rightful’ place. A frightening number of people believe this fully, but not enough to make up a majority in most places. Instead, the bulk of the Republican party supporters tend to be people from families who believe that it is wrong to not vote for Republicans, even if their actual values do not align.
Ugh… The history of American politics is a long, complex, and farcical one that truly makes me angrier and angrier the more I learn about it, and the most bitter pill to swallow is that it has pretty much always been shit. Systematic oppression, the open promotion of genocide for the sake of progress, the elimination of rights for the sake of maintaining ‘morality,’ constant vilification of the other, and so on.
Whenever I like to think that America is getting better, election season reminds me that this country is a mess and, in all defeatist likelihood, will remain a mess. Because it has always been this way, and the powers that be only wish to change society if it helps them amass more power. It all makes me pine for a revolution where a mighty leader takes control of the capitol, does away with the old power, and implements new systems. Systems that distribute money and resources to those that need them, eliminate poverty, protect the rights of all citizens— all that pinko shit.
But I’ll save that erotic fantasy for Psycho Shatter 1988: APOLITICALGENOCIDE, coming November 2024.
Ends and Updates:
Dragalia Lost Archive is 99% Complete
I am pleased to announce that I am virtually done with my Dragalia Lost archive project. I only need to archive the two events that will be running before EOS, and one defensive event that I am putting off, as I lack either story-relevant unit for Shadow of the Mukuroshu. But after I complete my final summoning session, I will record Shadow of the Mukuroshu using the most relevant units I have.
The next step is verifying that I have all of the necessary files, organizing them, and then begin uploading them to Archive.org. I began this process with a test upload for the first chapter of the campaign of Dragalia Lost, so now I just need to do it for over 3,000 more videos. Yeah, I’m not going to give a due date for that, just know that I will finish it, eventually.
As of this post’s publication, I have finished TSF Series #015: JK no Sarariman – A Turnabout of Despair!, which wound up being a 12,000 word multi-ending story, because I got incredibly distracted while writing it. It will go live on November 18th.
I have created a preliminary Student Transfer Version 7 flowchart, with larger nodes, larger fonts, and new content based on the unfinished files viewable on the publicly accessible Git page.. As mentioned previously, Student Transfer Version 7 could be released any day now, with the ‘release deadline’ being November 23rd.
Prior to the release of Student Transfer Version 7, I will be working on Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost – THE FINAL, which will release on November 30th.
So until next time, seeya!