This Week’s Topics:
- A Pokémon TF comic that’s WAY better than it should be
- Pouring gasoline on the corpse of a dead storefront
- Natalie’s latest data hoarding hyperfixation
- The final knife up E3’s tuchus
- Another Cygames Gacha DIES
Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Darcy’s Super Ultra Eclipse Nuzlocke
Jamsnjellies is a TF artist who I have been following for nearly a decade, and one who always stuck out in my mind for how… interesting their development as an artist was. Early on, they were a fairly typical TG artist, mostly focusing on MtF sequences and keeping things pretty ‘standard’ beyond their distinct art style. …I would link to some of these examples, but their earlier work has been deleted from DeviantArt, and I’m not one to dig up corpses.
As the years went on, their style shifted, and their subject matter started branching out. Their original characters became more complex and detailed. Sequences went from TG to straight up TF, with a lot of them just being humanoid to animal TFs. And their art style continued to develop into something more distinct and, overall, better. But then things went from sorta weird to really weird. Like… whatever the hell this is supposed to be.
However, of all their works, the one that always stuck out to me as being this beautiful catalyst of their skills was their long-running comic Darcy’s Breeder’s Guide to Alola Nuzlocke. A comic that was loosely based around a Pokémon Ultra Moon nuzlocke, before becoming an erotic epic that… I honestly struggle to consider fan fiction because of how insane it is. Seriously, this was one of the first things that I read with the coveted e-hentai content warning and it deserved it.
The story follows the titular Darcy, a Pokémon Breeder new to the Alola region who participates in the Island Challenge to learn more about Pokémon. With the twist being that Darcy transforms into Pokémon as she is exposed to their DNA. Whether that be through attacks, food, or… sexual fluids.
For the first stretch of the comic, this mostly manifests in Darcy getting trapped as Pokémon, where she is thrown into some variety of erotic nightmare. Her sense of self is routinely threatened as she adopts the mindset of a fucking machine, before her menagerie of friends save her and help her regain her human form. As her powers become known however, people classify her as an interspecies abomination that has no place in this world of humans and Pokémon. They try to kill her, but this only inspires to become the monster they tell her to be, as her primal side is awakened and her forgotten past is revealed to her.
Following an utterly buck wild encounter with the leader of the first island in Alola, Darcy is branded a fugitive and begins traveling across the Alola region. There, she continues her path of self-discovery, gets sold into indentured servitude as a ‘rental girl,’ and is subjected to a time skip that… honestly raises more questions than it probably should.
That is the short version anyway, and what I find so compelling about this comic is the fact that it is utterly insane, yet completely dedicated to being what it is. The creator knows they are making a gross fetish comic, but they want to make it the best gross fetish comic, and go needlessly hard.
The world of Pokémon is re-contextualized as one full of danger, death, and fragility. Pokémon are referred to as monsters, legendaries are gods, and technologies like Pokéballs are presented as weapons as much as tools. The culture of Alola is presented as something more rooted in traditions and hierarchies, with humans as masters and Pokémon as tools that can only be wielded by a worthy trainer. There are naturally more ‘mature’ elements, like booze and human trafficking. Also, every Pokémon has a dick or a pussy! Even the fish!
Darcy is a tragic figure haunted by the ghost of her former identity, trying to determine who she is in a hostile world that hates her. She has deep emotional baggage, constantly has her very identity and humanity questioned, and has every reason to present herself as a victim of immense trauma and suffering. …But she is also an adorable goofball whose constant optimism and good nature make her an absolute treat to watch. She can’t read, she is a slave to her pheromones, and is constantly being fucked against her will, but I still rooted for her every step of the way, hoping that she would finally get the freedom she deserved.
Then there’s the artwork, which consistently amazed me with its level of expressiveness. Characters may as well be made of slime with how much their bodies shift, stretch, and morph into something only vaguely humanoid. Established designs, for both humans and Pokémon alike, are radically changed into something only loosely recognizable. And the artwork teeters a delicate line between absolutely adorable and utterly disgusting that I don’t think I have the vernacular to properly articulate.
Everything is also rendered in a ‘Halloween themed’ color palette that only adds to the artwork’s rich personality. There’s enough color here for the characters and world to stand out and be immediately recognizable, no matter how squishy their form is. Harsh reds, soft pinks, and pure yellows, while part of this palette, are used sparklingly enough that their inclusion is eye-catching. And there is something fitting about this island adventure being rendered in the colors of a perpetual afternoon sun. It is an excellent showcase of how a limited color scheme can enhance a work, and it is so effective that… the idea of a full-color version of this comic just sounds ugly to me.
I deeply admire Jamsnjellies for everything they are trying to do here, as there are few people on this Earth with the skill and passion to bring a project like this to life. …That being said, this is one of the most creatively overambitious comics I have ever seen, and I don’t think it is actually completable. Not because of any lack of faith in the artist, but Darcy’s Breeder’s Guide is aspiring to be a bunch of things.
It wants to be a reconstruction of ideas and concepts seen throughout the Pokémon series, rendered in a different and darker light. It wants to be a semi-biographical adaptation of a nuzlocke run, with some key events and characters determined by RNG. It wants to be the story of someone who was denied the right to humanity, emotions, and identity due to the circumstances of their birth. It wants to be an art experiment that re-contextualized Pokémon as animals and makes them fuck in weird ways. Even weirder than real animals, and those fuckers… fuck like animals! It wants to be an epic story with a massive cast divided into opposing factions (yet frequently forgets about characters for upwards of 20 chapters/parts). It wants to be a lot of things, it has also been going on for nearly five years, on and off, but is only maybe a fourth done with its total story.
However, I have been forced to appreciate works like this for what they currently provide, and in its current form, Darcy is an utterly wild ride that I would recommend to anybody half as woefully desensitized as me. You don’t need to be literally shaking your fist into the air at the sight of cock vore, but you need to be willing to look at it.
Darcy’s Breeder’s Guide to Alola Nuzlocke is currently only hosted on FurAffinity, where you need to create an account in order to read it in full.
Stores Die, Offline Games Don’t
(Natalie Rambles About The 3DS and Wii U eShop For the Nth Time)
Something that frustrated me this past week was seeing people’s reactions to the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops. How they were rushing to make last-minute purchases before the games were ‘gone.’ Because… the games are not gone. They are no longer ‘legally’ available to purchase… but you can easily download an emulator, find ISO files for every offline game released on the systems, and install homebrew software.
Doing these all these things is easy, and now that there is no alternative way to buy these titles, I consider this an absolutely victimless action. But so many people are committed to doing things the legal way that they just don’t think or want to acknowledge this option. Nintendorks want to stay on Nintendo’s good side and not openly advocate people to ‘pirate’ their games. Professionals have connections to maintain and must adhere to legal systems, especially if they want to be involved in legal preservation efforts.
I know there is a reason people were not viewing this as a celebration, as a liberation event where all these games entered a ‘non-legal’ public domain (whatever that means). But it still frustrates me when this is presented as something bad and sorrowful. Rather than an inevitability and a reason to NEVER trust corporations to preserve or respect the art that people produced under their command. The eShop games are not dead, they are not gone, they are still there, kept alive by people who respect Nintendo’s legacy and artistic contributions more than Nintendo itself.
Reject the official release. Praise be to the cool outrageous lovers of uniquely raw styles who preserve things on their own dime. Glory to those who run places like Nyaa. A cruel and unusual punishment to the publisher executives who are trying to kill the Internet Archive. And when Nintendo releases their next system… remember this. …Remember this and don’t give them money. Buy a NAS instead, fill it with Switch 2 ISOs, and torrent that shit.
All I Want Is 1280×1280 Images of Every Pokémon
(Natalie Spent Too Much Time Searching For High Resolution Pokémon Art)
My latest hyperfixation centered on what I think is a pretty reasonable request. An archive of all official ‘Sugimori-style’ artwork of all 1015 Pokémon, including all alternate forms. This seems like something that one could easily get by scraping through Bulbapedia or fan-run archives, but… NOPE!
See, while it is easy to find the official artwork of every Pokémon, it is less easy to find it at a full or consistent resolution. The max resolution is about 1280 by 1280, which is more than good enough for character artwork like this. But if you look at any archive, whether it be made by a single fan, an obscure fan site, or a massive community driven wiki, you’ll find only about HALF of all artwork is in this resolution. With the rest ranging from something slightly smaller to something less than 500 by 500.
Now, I don’t blame the archives for this, as they can only use what The Pokémon Company provides them for promotional purposes. There is no way to datamine the artwork from the games themselves— because the art isn’t in the games. And often, this artwork is only ever released via an online Pokédex with a maximum image resolution of maybe 600 by 600.
While you can pretty easily upscale this artwork using Waifu2x (or whatever fly ish them next gen-ners be rockin’), that is a really crummy workaround for something that should be a non-issue. I honestly do not know how this happens. How one of the biggest intellectual properties in the world can get away with pushing out such low resolution assets. They know how these art assets are used and circulated, but… I guess they just don’t care.
…Actually, it’s The Pokémon Company, so this should not surprise me, at all.
E3 Is DEAD — NOW AND FOREVER!!!
(After Everybody Bailed, the ESA Canceled E3 2023)
Something that I have gone back and forward here over the past few years is how E3 really is no longer necessary for the consumer-level games enthusiast. While E3 is a great place for professionals to connect and network in back rooms the previews, reveals, and general hype surrounding the event has largely been replaced by digital events. Which are easier to produce, cheaper, and better for press and enthusiasts.
As such, I actually thought that E3 2023 becoming a more ‘PAX and GDC’ style event was for the best. But that announcement was back in September 2022, and since then… the event had been collapsing.. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all bailed on E3 back in February. Ubisoft, Sega, and Tencent all said they were skipping out on the event. And there was buzz about the event being canceled until, on March 30th— right before the April Fools deadline— E3 2023 was canceled.
With this latest development… I think it is safe to say that E3 is just straight up done. Big publishers clearly no longer want to deal with the ESA. After the big leak in 2019, I’d imagine some members of the press are still pissed at them. And while this sucks for in-person networking… I think something like a ‘summer GDC’ would be better for that anyway.
I have said good-bye to E3 several times over the past few years, so I won’t say good-bye yet again. Instead, I shall say hello and welcome to the Segmented Summer Showcases! …Yes, I am still trying to strong-arm that term into popular use, even if it is only popular to me.
Princess Disconnect!: Re:Die
(Princess Connect! Re:Dive’s English Version Ending Service on April 30th)
To end this off, let’s talk about a mobile game delisting! Back in January 2021, I decided to spend a few days playing Princess Connect! Re:Dive. A cute auto-battling RPG that I liked fine enough, but not enough to take on as a second daily gacha title. I mostly did this because of the Dragalia Lost collab that happened a few months prior, and with Dragalia Lost dead, I viewed this as one of the few games that carried its ‘spirit.’ Also, it contained Pipple as a piece of furniture.
However, 2.25 years after running the game in English speaking markets, Crunchyroll has decided to end service on the title. The Japanese version will still see new content going forward, but everyone who played the English version won’t be able to play the game anymore. The final content update will be on April 17th, with the addition of two new characters, but the servers will shut down April 30th.
As someone still recovering from the loss of Dragalia— someone who has spent 8 hours this past week working on a rebalanced design document— this burns. I now have an intimate understanding of the pain that comes with a game ending service like this, and I hate the fact that this is modern gaming.
I detest the unforgivable destruction of projects that took cumulative lifetimes of labor, time, and creativity. I loathe the fact that so much history has already been lost. And I despise the corporations who enable this practice— who keep sending art down a conveyor belt into the furnace— and make people think this is in any way acceptable.
No idea what I’ll do for next week, but it’ll probably mark an end to the current season of TSF focused preambles.