This Week’s Topics:
- Dragalia Lost’s reverse engineered private server is live!
- Wizard game discourse
- More discussions regarding media that sexualizes children
- The depowering and replacement of an abuser
- Proletariat’s CEO forcing workers to cancel unionization plans
- A game Natalie wants to love… but can’t!
Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Dragalia Lost Private Server is LIVE!
When writing Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost: THE FINAL last year, I was aware of a reverse engineering project going on in the community. I knew there was a chance that people could develop a private server and revive Dragalia Lost, but I chose to not put any faith into this project. Not because I doubted them, as the Dragalia community is home to many passionate, skilled, and dedicated people. But because I did not want to be disappointed. Because I did not want to have my hopes and dreams crushed again.
However, less than two months after EOS, the reverse engineering team has revealed the Orchis server to the Dragalia Lost community. Now, it is far from ‘feature complete,’ and there are a lot of things that simply do not work in its current form. But it is now possible to access most quests, some events, the entire campaign, and previously unlocked story content, in addition to being able to summon every single (non-welfare) unit in the game.
This is… utterly incredible. I genuinely thought that no one would ever have the opportunity to play Dragalia Lost ever again. But the community has pulled through, revived the game, and it is now possible for the game to live on… forever!
I wish that I could offer more details on what this private server is like, and what it looks like. Unfortunately, I personally cannot access the private server. I do not own an Android device capable of running Dragalia Lost, and because of how it is an essential tool for my job, I cannot jailbreak my iPhone XS to play on a private server.
If I wanted to play on the private server, I would need to buy a device just to play Dragalia. But due to the current state of the global economy, and my own medical bills from my surgery last month, I am not willing to make a commitment like that. Besides, after having played over 3,000 hours of Dragalia Lost, I personally am okay with not playing it for a long while. I just want the game to be available for other people to play… And now it is! Hooray~!
…Actually, in editing this post for release, I realized that I could run the game in an Android emulator if I was so inclined. …However, I do not want to play Dragalia Lost with my mouse, that just sounds like a bad time. When I go back to the game, I would rather wait until the tools are finalized and the private server is working smoothly. Not when it is in a ‘pre-alpha’ state like it is now.
Natalie FINALLY Partakes in The Wizard Game Discourse
(The Futility of Fighting The Powerful With Consumer Action)
Over the past few months, there has been this exhausting discourse over an upcoming wizard game based on an IP owned by a billionaire author. An author who is notorious for her doubling-down on her anti-transgender viewpoints, despite literally thousands of people begging her to educate herself. This raised the question of whether it is morally right to support any work that uses her IP. Personally, I would encourage people to no longer engage in the IP. …But I am also of the opinion that it doesn’t really matter if people engage in her IP or not.
Once someone becomes a billionaire, they have achieved an extreme level of power and influence over the world that realistically cannot ever go away. Any money she obtains at this point does little more than prop up the value of her estate. Her brand is so popular and is so important to Warner Discovery that it is doubtful that it will ever go away and falter in popularity. And she will remain a figure for generations, with her hatred of trans people becoming a 21st century version of many renowned 19th and 20th century authors’ disdain for Jews or Blacks.
This is why I have not really cared all too much about the boycott discussions related to the upcoming AAA wizard game. Because in my mind, it really doesn’t matter, as the billionaire author will continue her crusade, even if she didn’t get a penny from this title.
If one does not want to give her a penny, but wants to play through the game, then the solution also isn’t to just outright buy the game. If you are a console player, you could buy a used copy a few days or weeks after launch and avoid directly supporting the IP owner. If you are a PC player, you could just pirate the game and enjoy the game without supporting anyone.
Mind you, a better approach would be to do something that actually helps, rather than engage in a creation derivative of a bigot. Volunteer work, participating in protests, donating to pro-trans charities, or personal education. …However, in watching this discourse play out, I could not help but remember that tirade I went on in Natalie Rambles About 2022.
The more I learn about history and the interplay between the systems of society, the more I go back to how the simplest way to solve a problem is… to kill the problem.
Say what one will about the litany of White terrorists who have been cropping up throughout America over the past decades, but they got shit done. If you kill your political enemies, you rob them of power. And if someone really wanted to de-power the billionaire author, the best approach would be to write a bogus manifesto where you claim to be a member of one’s political enemies, and kill her. Bonus points if you blow up her castle too, which would significantly decrease the value of her estate via property damages.
Of course, this is not considered a ‘valid’ alternative, and for two reasons. One, most platforms have rules against inciting violence against individuals (which are most often exercised when the violence is directed at those with power). And two, the broadly defined left generally does not want to propose violent solutions, as it would just contaminate the right-dominated political discourse. I mean, right-wing media already positioned anti-fascism as a form of terrorism in the eyes of millions, so if they saw an actual act of terrorism from their political enemies, their knickers would be über dank & extra moist! …With both the genital discharge and the erotic poops!
In conclusion, boycotts don’t work as well as you might think they do. But terrorism? Terrorism works. Always has, always will.
The Call to Ban Pedo Comics!
(Natalie Rambles About the Sexualization of Minors – Extension 2023-01)
One of the fallouts I saw following the release of Fire Emblem Engage was a lot of people who were disappointed in the characters and overall writing of the game. This is largely because their only exposure to the series were Three Houses and maybe Three Hopes… which were written by Koei Tecmo staff.
In fact, Koei Tecmo had such an influence on that game and did so much work that I would say they were the main developers, while Intelligent Systems merely oversaw the project. And despite what initial reports said, Engage was developed wholly by the folks at Intelligent Systems, which is why it feels so different and so much more ‘anime.’ Because it is a return to form for Fire Emblem… in addition to being a ’30th anniversary title’ that got pushed back to make room for Three Hopes.
…Wait, that is not what I wanted to follow up on from last week. I wanted to follow up on the whole romancing children bit. In short, when I said that the game had romantic conversations involving 16/17-year-olds and adult characters, I was not 100% correct. Because there is an 11-year-old party member, a rendition of recurring series staple Anna, and the Japanese script for one of her support conversations sees her profess her love for the player character. …Also, players can strip Anna down to her underwear in the game, which is definitely not creepy at all. …No, I’m not going to link that!
In following this story, I stumbled across semi-familiar arguments that generally boiled down to ‘things like this should not be created, as this encourages/endorses child rape.’ Which is something I see crop up from largely progressive types, whenever the subject of ‘Japanese media that sexualizes a child’ comes up.
While I naturally agree with the ultimate goal of efforts like this, to lessen the amount of abuse and trauma that children are exposed to, I have to ask why should this be banned? With live action child pornography, the reason it should be banned is simple. Because it cannot be created without harming a child, whether it be by manipulating them, invading their privacy, or assaulting them. But when you are working with drawings, 3D models, and more, there is no victim.
There is an argument that this work creates victims by depicting these things and triggering the imaginations of perverted freaks who abuse children for their own pleasure. However, that is a causal argument, and one with… no hard evidence. While it is easy to find a correlation between media that sexualizes children and child rapists, I don’t know how you can show it transforms people into child rapists. To me, this is just a repackaging of the argument that ‘violent video games are turning kids into murderers.’ Which has been so thoroughly debunked I cannot even bother to entertain it as an idea.
Then there is a ‘moral’ argument to be made about protecting children. But if you want media to adhere to a moral code— which worked out so well in the mid-20th century, you run into a lot of slippery slope arguments.
If any creative work depicting sexualized children is banned, then what about other ‘morally objectionable’ content? Physical non-sexual violence against children is likely more common, and can be just as damaging, so should that also be banned? Hell, why even limit this only to children? Should works that depict adults being abducted and committed to sexual slavery be banned? Should works that depict adults being raped be banned? Should works that feature children being tortured to death be banned? Should works that feature adults being tortured to death be banned?
To me, the only thing that is worth banning is something that exists to spread hatred. Something that exists to vilify a group or individual. Beyond that, I think everything should be fair game, no matter how objectionable.
…Now, I just went through these arguments, but I have to ask why they exist. Well, two reasons. One, people want to project that they are on a moral high ground, and saying that something morally objectionable should be banned is a pretty good way to do that. Two, we’re ultimately talking about porn here, and a lot of people, even the progressive sort, tend to view pornography as something separate from art. They view it as something bad, shameful, and turns people into sexual beings. That’s not to say that they don’t engage in the use of porn as a masturbatory aid, or discourage it from being used. They just tend to put little value in it.
Which… fair enough. Most manga, anime, and games that rely on the sexualization of children are crap. And if you just hear about what happens in a work like this, and judge it based on the morality of its plot, it is going to sound awful. …Just like most works wherein people suffer and/or die.
Anyway, the point I’m stumbling my way into is that there are pieces of Japanese media that feature children engaging in sexual activities that have artistic merit. I could dig through my ‘JAIL TIME’ folder for examples, but I think the best example that I could give is ShindoL’s Metamorphosis.
A beautiful yet disgusting comic that stars a 15-year-old girl, and would absolutely fall under any laws that prohibit the production of works that feature minors being engaged in sexual activities. I could go in great detail about the story, but I already wrote a 16,000 word essay on it, and why it is a brilliant and artistically valuable work. …And you don’t need to read the original work to understand this essay. I walk through every scene of the story and explain what it is doing, how it succeeds, and I provide screenshots from the source material without any of those yucky nudey bits.
…Besides, even if you were to ban this stuff, people would still engage with it and spread it. There is this belief that if something is outright banned, it will just go away, but if something is small and easy to transport, it will continue to be distributed. Anybody with a cursory glance of 20th century American history should be able to tell you that much. And nowadays, with the internet, there’s no real way to ban anything beyond banning it from a platform.
Roiland Schmoiland, Who Needs ‘Em?
(Justin Roiland Is Being Removed From Various Projects)
…Speaking of sexualizing children! …That is not a good segue, but it’s the one I’m going with! Two weeks ago, I talked about how Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, was in deep trouble after a domestic abuse charge was filed against him. This news inspired many people who had less… pleasant interactions with Roiland to speak up. This included a sexual harassment charge from 2018, and several women who used this opportunity to share stories of how they were groomed by Roiland on social media back when they were minors.
With this pile of evidence of Roiland being a bad person growing larger, people began asking if Roiland would actually face consequences for his past actions and… he did.
Adult Swim announced that they are no longer associating with Roiland and his characters will be recast in the seventh season of Rick and Morty.
Hulu made a similar announcement, stating that Roiland will no longer be involved in Solar Opposites and Koala Man. Two other shows that Roiland co-created.
And, most surprisingly, the games studio Roiland co-founded, Squanch Games, announced that Roiland resigned from his position.
Overall… this is the best outcome for a situation like this. Roiland was involved in so many projects that it would have been a shame if they were to be canceled, and all projects he was involved in would carry a stink of controversy if he remained involved in them.
At this point, the best move for Roiland would probably be to lay low, not say anything, and remain in obscurity. Any apology at this point would just be more kindling for the fire, and the more honorable move is just to take the L and ride out into the sunset, with his considerable wealth. He had his chance to be a decent person and lead a long creative legacy, but he misused his power, hurt people, and now… I just hope he doesn’t hurt anyone else.
Proletariat CEO Felt BETRAYED When Workers Tried Unionizing
(Proletariat Unionization Has Been Withdrawn)
Last month, Activision Blizzard subsidiary Proletariat announced their plans to unionize as a studio. In my coverage of this story, I said that this would mark the first major game studio to fully unionize, and presented it as good news not only for the employees at Proletariat, but the industry at large. Because in an industry as rife with abuse as gaming, unionization is a necessity!
However, this was just an announcement of plans to unionize and Proletariat’s workers have withdrawn these plans. Why did they do this? Well, the reason is pretty simple. The CEO and founder of Proletariat, Seth Sivak— who personally named it Proletariat after a Marxist term for the working class— saw it as a “personal attack” when the workers tried to unionize. …If you tried to write something like this, people would say that it was too on the nose, and would never happen in reality… But apparently there are some people who are just that stupid.
I could gawk at how illiterate Sivak is being here, but that’s not the takeaway here. The actual takeaway is that Proletariat will not be paving the way for unionization across the North American games industry, which was almost too good of a story. And that things are clearly not going well at Proletariat. Any CEO who reacts to unionization with such negativity that it leaves employees “demoralized and disempowered” is not someone who actually cares about their workers.
One Look Rush; Two Word Crush
(Tango Gameworks Announces and Releases Hi-Fi Rush)
This past week, Microsoft had their own little showcase for upcoming titles. I did not realize it was happening until it was already over, because I was busy with work, but one announcement caught my eye in how… unconventional it was. During the stream, Tango Gameworks (developers of The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo) announced and released Hi-Fi RUSH. A rhythm action game with a cel-shaded aesthetic and a creative ‘fight the power’ energy that is rare to see from outside of an independent studio.
Visually, I immediately wanted to be interested in this game… but there is a reason why I tend to shy away from ‘rhythm’ and ‘action’ games. Hi-Fi RUSH is a game built around making inputs in time with the beat of the soundtrack, with the game giving the player positive feedback whenever they successfully make commands within a narrow window. In addition, the game’s numerous combat sections feature a ranking system, where moveset variety, efficiency, and overall style result in them receiving higher letter grades from each section.
To me, these two mechanics transform the game from something about having fun and doing things at one’s own pace, to a game about player performance, where the most important thing is the results. A game about doing things over and over again until the player meets the qualifications for a ‘satisfactory’ S-rank.
I simply cannot enjoy games of either of these genres. I do not have the reflexes and mental wiring necessary to play them optimally, and if I were to try to play them suboptimally, I would just wind up making myself upset.
This mental hang up has prevented me from being able to tolerate, let alone enjoy, plenty of games over the years, and Hi-Fi RUSH is the latest example. Except it stings extra hard, as this is precisely the type of game that I wish more AAA studios had the luxury of making. A 10-hour-long $30 single player game that clearly did not need or have a AAA budget. I should be championing it as a triumph… but I know this game would just make me want to hurt myself.
…For context, I have punched myself in the head and bashed my head against the wall playing character action games and rhythm games in the past. They truly inspire me to adopt my worst behaviors, and that is why I get so upset whenever I see a promising-looking game base itself in one of these two genres. Because even if I refrain from actually hurting myself, any game that makes me want to hurt myself is a genuine hazard to my health.
Header images come from the Dragalia Lost reverse engineering discord, which I just poked around enough to grab some screenshots.
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I have to admit, for a brief and confusing moment I thought you were talking about a different “wizard game”, given the recent controversy with Wizards of the Coast. One where consumer action seems to have actually had at least some results.
Right, I never did talk about the D&D controversy regarding their open license. By the time I actually heard about the news, Wizards of the Coast was already working on an updated license, and since I’m not into D&D, some of the details were beyond me. Consumer action had some results there, but consumer action has had zero results with billionaire author’s transphobia.