Rundown (8/13/2023) Enrolled Agent of Chaos

  • Post category:Rundowns
  • Reading time:47 mins read
  • Post comments:2 Comments

This Week’s Topics:

  • Natalie’s professional achievements
  • A TSF comic featuring one impossible girl
  • A tangent about girls with penises
  • Emulation and collection woes
  • Further proof that Verde’s Doohickey is an Act Of Plagiarism
  • A Rockstar takeover
  • The Red Dead let down
  • A plethora of Pokémon presents

Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Enrolled Agent of Chaos

Welp, after working at it for three damn months and over 120 hours, I finally finished the final part of the Enrolled Agent exam, filled out the paperwork, and had my employer pay the $140 fee. Meaning that once the IRS processes my paperwork— in about 60 days because the US government is a sham— I’m gonna be an Enrolled Agent!

Now, what does that mean? Well, I can represent people before the IRS for tax related matters, obtain power of attorney, and electronically file returns for other people. The downside is that I need to apply for renewal every three years and dedicate (roughly) 24 hours a year for continuing education (video lectures). But the upside is that I am now a more valuable employee, and can basically do everything a CPA does with regards to tax returns. Meaning that if my boss dies, I could continue running the practice on my own… Not that I want to, as I am not a business girl. I’m an office lady who works from home.

One might think that becoming a CPA is next for me, but… I dislike the cramming for a test, and as I just said, there is little a CPA can do that I cannot do. That all might seem like a waste, as I bought a study package to become a CPA back in 2019, spent a month studying before the pandemic got going, and have been planning on becoming a CPA since 2016. However… I really don’t care. I just wanted that because I thought I needed it to do my job, but I really don’t. Sure, I might be able to make more money as a CPA, but then I would have to do more work, specifically work that I don’t like doing. Such as responding to the IRS, doing tax research, and other things that aren’t derived from math.

I’m a simple lady who likes things that are based on creative writing using my own characters, maths, video games, TSF, and… miscellaneous bitching.

TSF Showcase #2023-20
Muri na Kanojo | Impossible Girlfriend by Ura61318

I’m still figuring out what exactly I want to do with this TSF Showcase segment, but I think it is going to be more of a general place for me to discuss TSF works. Things I think are good, things that get me thinking about certain common elements of TSF, and things produced by some of my favorite TSF creators. And this next example is firmly in the middle camp, as it is the first work from a new skinsuit/bodysuit artist by the name of Ura. Or rather Ura61318, because all the simple usernames have been taken.

The premise is pretty simple. Ken is a young man, has a mysterious girlfriend named Rei, and after Ken makes a passing comment, Rei reveals that she is a… Hold on, is there a proper name for people who can be worn as skinsuits, but are also capable of living on their own, without someone inside them? Because that seems a bit too niche to warrant a recognizable term. Anyway, she’s one of those, lets Ken into her body, guiding him via a disembodied voice, and leads him to have sex with her friend who’s also a sex worker. After a return to normal and a teaser for the next part, the comic ends after 20 pages.

Overall, nothing too remarkable, but for an artist’s debut work, it’s more than solid. Everything’s well composed and has a nice visual flow, proportions pass my ‘smell test’ even when skinsuits are involved, and the characters are both cute and expressive enough to be appealing. Admittedly, it does look a bit sketch-like in some spots, you can tell Ura is a self-taught artist who learned from trying to imitate manga/anime, and backgrounds are kept simple. But, you can literally see them improve as you read this comic, with the last two pages looking considerably better than the first two.

However, I am highlighting it up here because it did three things that struck me as unique.

One, it is another example of the ‘transforming girlfriend who can help the self-insertable protagonist fulfill his sexual fantasy’ genre. A genre that does not seem to be the most compatible with TSF, which is often either a power fantasy given to the protagonist, or something that is forced upon the protagonist. Here, the protagonist transforms, but only through the girlfriend’s own transformation into a skinsuit, which lays the groundwork for a power dynamic that I find to be… unique. It is one where one party has the power to be controlled, and clearly gets off on it.

Two, the bodysuit/skinsuit genre is largely populated by stories with a darker tone and connotations. They often involve robbing people of their humanity, turning them into objects, and using their identities as masks before discarding them or casting them back to normal. Impossible Girlfriend is in many ways the opposite from that. Both Ken and Rei want to do this, and enjoy the experience of being a singular person. Neither’s consciousness fades away. And the only iffy thing about it is not telling a sex worker friend about this impossible feat.

Three, this comic made me realize that a lot of skinsuit TSF manga are really into the idea of a male character wearing a female body… but not using their vagina. They go to the trouble of transforming into a woman, only to then reach into their vagina and pull out their penis, turning them into a girl with a dick. This is something that Ken almost immediately does with Rei, and… strikes me as just a weird decision in what is extensively a TSF story.

To me, the gold star, nearly indisputable, signifier of a TSF work is the transformation of the genitals— the outie becoming an innie. But what we have here is… pretty much a denial of that, with Ken literally using his penis despite being someone else. Why exactly is that the case? The simple answer is that… girls with penises are a very common fetish, and the creator wanted to cater to it. But why is it a common fetish?

…I’ll answer that in the next segment, because this became a gosh darn tangent!

Note: Natalie views fetishes and sexuality as being deeply interwoven concepts, and sometimes uses them interchangeably as such. She’s being pretty casual with her language here.

Natalie Got Sidetracked and Started Talking Girls with Penises
(Natalie Rambles About Why Girl Dick Be Cool)

This technically isn’t a realistic depiction of nudity or female nipples, but this is fine!

So, why do I keep seeing girls with penises when scrounging for TSF comics every week? It’s a complex matter and this is my own theorizing— because how would I research stuff like this? But after spending an hour thinking about this, I came up with three factors. Factors that I think explain why some nebulously sized group of people are enthralled by girls with penises

Factor one, vaginas are not an appealing body part from a visual/aesthetic perspective. If you actually look inside one… it’s just a fleshy hole. It’s red, looks like the inside of someone’s mouth or guts, and It’s somehow less visually enticing than a butthole, because at least that is mostly covered by skin, and closes itself. You hear about straight cis dudes people who love boobs, butts, hips, certain faces, certain hairdos. But when they talk about vaginas, what do they value? Dampness, tightness, and depth. Things that… you might be able to tell visually, but the value in these things come from what you feel, it comes from the sensation!

Or, to really just hammer this home, anybody who can use a pen can draw a crude approximation of a penis, and the results will be pretty uniform. But if you ask them to draw a vagina, you will get a lot more results, and very few of them would be immediately recognizable as a vagina. Vaginas are something meant to be felt and touched, but not seen, because they don’t look very good. And when they are depicted visually, it’s only when they are about to be penetrated, stimulated, or to show off the labia majora, because it is the only part covered by skin!

Factor two, dicks look cool, do cool stuff, and are really simple. Their form factor is simple, immediately recognizable, and there’s a reason why more people know the word phallic than… What even is the vagina-based equivalent of that? Yonic? Nobody’s going to use the word ‘yonic’ for anything. Penises don’t get wet or drip, they shoot and spray in a powerful stream. And if you play around with it, you don’t get an IUD or yeast infection, you knock shit over and find secret hiding spots for it. Sure, you can masturbate using a desk with a vagina, but you can fuck a couch with a dick! Also penises have two modes. Flaccid, and erect. You don’t need to worry about blood coming out of them, they don’t get goopy after a long hot day, and the weirdest thing about a penis is when it’s uncircumcised.

Factor three, girls with penises are a concept that is so basic and simple that people have been thinking about it for literally thousands of years. And not just because trans people and intersex people have always been a thing. Because if you look at your binary-ass idea of a man and a woman, it’s easy to come up with the idea of switching the genitals around. People think about it, and from there, they can make their own interpretations. They look into what a penis is and what it represents, and what a woman is and represents. If they attribute power to those who possess a penis, and beauty to the female form, then you have someone with both beauty and power.

However, unlike a lot of fetishes… girls with penises are not only real, but are becoming more common as more people transition and more people identify as trans femme. This both significantly increases the population of girls with penises, and goes hand in hand with a decline in the idea that you need to pursue genital surgery to be trans. When, you don’t. I mean, I did, but my gender shit comes from a desire to not be seen as male, and I viewed my penis as a male thing, so I got bottom surgery and got rid of it.

Now, you might be asking why, if girls with penises are so fetishized, why is there such a stigma against trans people, more specifically trans women, being pushed by unscrupulous right-wing radicals? Well… It’s honestly a cliche at this point that bigots who hate people also LOVE watching them in their porn. If you ever see one of those porn search term summaries, you will often see people in southern states— the most openly racist part of America— looking for terms like ‘ebony’ above all others. Hell, it’s a cliche at this point that bigoted White dudes love getting dominated by big dark-skinned Black women. It’s been a thing since at least the 1930s (if Malcolm X is to be believed, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t be), so of course it’s still a thing now.

As for why I think there is an uptick in them, a lot of that also has to do with a general uptick in trans girls in porn and doing sex work. This makes videos depicting them more prevalent on porn sites, makes the girls with penises ‘fetish’ more common, and filters out into the world of illustrated porn that I regularly look to for narrative depth and coolness.

So… I guess that’s some of the reasons why there are so many girls with penises in TSF comics I’ve been finding as of late. Because there is a demand for… a Funky Cold Medina with an Oscar Meyer weiner. A pretty young thang who pulls a fast one on ya wit a li’l John Doe. And bitches with an Armour Hotdog! Fat bitches, skinny bitches, bitches who fuck rocks. Tough bitches, sissy bitches, all dem bitches got cocks! And all dem brothaz love they’s schlongs! ‘Cos pussies lowkey be gross, yo. Like, shove some rubber cement all up in that grill and go suckin’ on some Feminine Kielbasa!

…And this is why my shit can’t be taken seriously. Because I went on a page-long tangent about how cool dicks are, got bored, and instead of trying to make a pungent point, I just started thinking about bullshit. Specifically a transphobic R&B track from that guy who voiced that sexy lizard in Ferngully, the first true track from my favorite rap album, and a commercial I saw in US History class 11.5 years ago.

Natalie’s Continued Adventures in Emulation Hell
(Emulating Games is Cool… When Things Work)

And this is before adding my Steam library, Switch games, N64 games, etc…

So, this past week I have steadily been chipping away at my game collection assembly project. After hoarding the majority of ROMs I want, I decided to look into an interface to give this collection some visual appeal. I quickly decided to use Playnite, as right out of the box, it is a clean visually engaging piece of software. It has a few quirks, but it’s fully functional and pleasant to look at. It automatically downloads relevant data for games, typically finds quality cover art. Has a lot of features. And when you add emulated games, they launch directly within the specified emulator, according to customizable launch settings (mostly stuff like full screen). It’s freaking DOPE!

However, in order to add emulated games, you need to add an emulator, and if you want to add an emulator, you want to add the right one. The world of emulators has quite a bit of variety, especially if you look back to decades past. But there is typically one widely regarded best emulator per system. …Except for NES and SNES, because those systems are so well understood at this point that anything works at this point.

As such, finding the best emulator and figuring out the best settings should be easy, right? Well, for many systems, it was. For others, it wasn’t. DuckStation, commonly considered the best PS1 emulator, really doesn’t like my computer. But by using a legacy old GUI build from 2022, I was able to get games looking freaking sick. And while PCSX2 made me realize why PS2 emulation really hasn’t hit it off, it still runs PS2 games in HD with unfiltered textures, which is all I really want.

I should look into seeing if I can correct the draw distance…

…But then we get to the PITA emulators that I ran into. The Nintendo 64 and The PC Engine CD.

With the Nintendo 64, there are plenty of ways to play the games on PC or other systems… but I think they look like ass. To me, primitive or early 3D games look best when presented in a very specific way. Rendered at a high internal resolution with oodles of anti-aliasing to make the models look sharp. And with all forms of texture filtering disabled, making every surface look like it is made of pixel art, because it was!

Now, I can do the former pretty well, as you can make the models nice and crisp with Project64 right out of the ZIP. But when it comes to unfiltering the textures, you’re kind of screwed. You see, the N64 had some built-in texture filtering and upscaling technology, which might sound nice, but this is 1996 tech, so it meant using three-point filtering on all textures. Which refers to textures applied to 3D models, and not all 2D elements. So the HUD might look like pixel art, but the environments look murky and dirty because of how stretched the textures are.

Now, some might say that ‘you don’t want games with big blocky textures,’ but… that is a matter of preference. Some might like blurry textures, but I don’t, and I would hope that a major emulator, with over a decade of development, would be able to get around this limitation. But after spending about 8 hours searching for a solution over the past two weeks… I don’t think there is one.

The only proof of concept that I found came from one guy on Reddit, patron saint that they are, who saved an older version of GlideN64.dll that has features that were cut from later versions! I tried it out with Super Mario 64 and… it worked as intended, and looked great! It was exactly what I wanted Nintendo 64 games to look like.

…Then I tried it on a few other games, and it didn’t freaking work on any of them!

Now I’m at the point where I think this system is just cursed. Nobody who knows how to fix this issue views it as an issue, and people are content enough with the way things are that they don’t care! Yes, HD textures are an option, but do I seriously trust the type of people who make HD textures to know what looks good? NOPE! They all got lizard eyes or something.

Objective two was looking for a good PC Engine emulator, as the PC Engine is legitimately one of the most fascinating consoles to me. It was basically a Famicom crossed with a PC-98, had a library chock full of anime style games and scrolling shooters, and is a treasure trove of untranslated oddities. It is a cool system that often is forgotten by the biased western retro game scene, a group who have a nasty, likely unconscious, habit of rewriting and simplifying history. That’s what happens when you have stories told by people who were children at the time, rely heavily on themselves as a primary source, and are currently settling into middle age. I mean, every one of these people mention the Game Gear, Lynx, and Nomad when talking about retro handhelds, but I have never heard any of them so much as say the word “TurboExpress.”

However, the PC Engine is also basically three systems. You have the PC Engine, aka Turbografx 16. The first (major?) 16-bit system that actually outsold the Mega Drive in Japan, and garnered a downright massive library for a system that only sold 6.59 million units. The PC Engine CD-ROM², aka the TurboGrafx-CD expansion. The first CD-based games system, well before the Sega CD add-on for the Genesis, which allowed game developers to make 16-bit titles with voice acting, anime-style cutscenes, and some absolutely bangin’ music. Like, damn! I should listen to this stuff while writing…

However, something I did not know about until I started falling down this rabbit hole was the Super CD-ROM². An upgraded version of the PC Engine CD-ROM² that had its own library of games. Hell, it had even more games than the original model. Never before have I heard of a game system that had an upgraded version of an add-on like this, let alone one that had even MORE games than the original model. But NEC was just built differently, I guess.

Emulating PC Engine games is pretty easy. It’s fairly simple old tech at this point, and a lot of modern NES emulators even double as PC Engine emulators. But when you get into the realm of the CD-ROM², that gets tricky.

Mednafen is seen as the best PC Engine emulator, but it does not have any GUI interface, and I simply do not want to fuss around with an emulator that relies on a command line interface. I could get some GUI options if I used RetroArch. But RetroArch has some of the worst UI I’ve ever used, and I work with tax software that looks like it came straight outta the Windows 98 era.

Ares seemed like a good choice, being known for ‘accuracy’ and having a good enough UI. But it crashed after playing 10 minutes of Valis II, a regular CD-ROM title, and crashed less than a minute into Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes, a Super CD-ROM title. So, that’s out.

I briefly checked out Ootake, but the UI was so clunky I did not even bother after two minutes. Turbo Engine seemed promising, but it is so old you cannot natively increase the window size beyond 3x, which is basically 720p.

Then I finally checked out BizHawk, which… worked? I was just double checking things while writing this, but… IT FREAKING WORKED? …However, it only works when feeding it the .bin/.cue files. Not the .chd files that I had converted the games to. …But of course!

It even did the CRT flicker and everything! I love technology… when it works!

What about N64 games? Will this be the miracle emulator that—

Okay, no, that is the other end of the spectrum, where it just takes the original image, and makes all the pixels bigger. Nearest neighbor on an image that was already filtered. It should look pretty good with the, what, twelve 2D games on the system, like Yoshi’s Story and Mischief Makers. But for 3D games? It looks like BUTT!

…In doing all of this, I still have not downloaded a Switch or Dreamcast emulator

I Accidentally Plagiarized an Ecchi Anime By Stealing An Alias!
(Anita Neukar is Basically Chacha Akaza from Maken-ki!)

I have a habit of interjecting a lot of minor and slight references in my work. I have gone in great detail into describing some of them via my retrospective rambles on my first five novels, and during the afterword sections on TSF Series. However… sometimes I just make references unintentionally, and this past week, I discovered a reference I unintentionally made… back in 2015 with my first novel, Verde’s Doohickey.

One of the many underutilized minor characters in Verde’s Doohickey is Anita Neukar. A sporty, kind, and socialite high school student who only really exists for a single scene, and also appeared in the subsequent novels The Malice of Abigale Quinlan and The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan.

Anita Neukar’s name is a roundabout reference to the protagonist of the worst anime I have ever seen, Master of Martial Hearts. I did a review of it back in 2018, as a Christmas special, and to mark the sixth anniversary of my original 2012 review, but that’s besides the point. In doing research about the show, I looked up the dub cast, saw that the protagonist, Aya Iseshima, was voiced by a woman named Anita Neukar. I looked her up, found out that name is merely an alias for prolific anime dub voice actress Trina Nishimura. Seeing as how she did not own the name Anita Neukar, I added it to my list of potential characters. Yeah, back then I considered pseudonyms to be public domain. Hence why I named a titular character Vincent Dawn, a pseudonym of famed Italian filmmaker Bruno Mattei.

Come 2015, when preparing characters for Verde’s Doohickey, I decided to repurpose the name for a minor character. …But this past week, while writing Verde’s Doohickey 2.0, Anita brought up how she never googled herself and, obsessive writer that I am, I did just that. I googled the name, checked the images, and saw something… concerning.

No, not the fact that one of my headers showed up. That means Google is still recognizing Natalie.TF exists . In the lower right hand corner, I saw an anime character who looked a LOT like Anita Neukar from Verde’s Doohickey. Same complexion, same hair color, similar hair style, and also a high schooler.

This character is Chacha Akaza from the successful (presumably ecchi) harem anime series Maken-ki!, and after checking out her fan wiki page, the similarities ran even deeper…

The fan wiki says that: “Chacha is well known for her enthusiasm and carefree personality. She is almost always seen smiling and is generally very laid back.” While I describe Anita’s personality in the unreleased World Information as: “Anita is a friendly and bright young woman who has no qualms starting up a conversation with everyone, and has a habit of putting a smile on other people’s faces.”

In regards to appearance, “Chacha is a light-brown skinned girl with gray hair that is put into a side ponytail and green eyes, however her most notable feature is her massive breasts.” While Anita is a light skinned Black girl with gray hair that is put into a high ponytail and gray eyes, however her most notable feature is her massive height and athletic build.

Shit, they both even have a purple hair thingie!

Also, this means that I accidentally plagiarized a character from a harem anime. …But no, this iceberg of ‘Natalie being dumb’ goes deeper. I also decided that Anita’s girlfriends with my reclaimed version of GamerGate mascot, Vivian James. Which is extra funny, because GamerGate was partially a hate campaign against a woman named Anita Sarkeesian. I, somehow, did not connect the dots here back in 2015, and this was all just a happy accident. Hell, I didn’t even plan on making them girlfriends at first, but after writing two lines of dialogue between them in Dominance, their relationship simply wouldn’t make sense unless they weren’t lesbian besties!

But you know what the best, most hilarious, part of this is? The stuff I have planned for these two in Verde’s Doohickey 2.0. Stuff I outlined FIVE MONTHS AGO. I won’t say what I have planned, but I will say that… their hairstyles from The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan were foreshadowing! …Also, their second sex scene together is gonna be full of dicks!

Real Rockstars Own Their Community!
(Rockstar Games Acquires Roleplaying Community

Wow, we’re starting the game news extra late this week. I guess you could say I had to rearrange things to clump together all the pee-pee talk. Anyway, we have another acquisition story… and one very unusual. is a group that creates dedicated server software for Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, known as FiveM and RedM respectively. Now, I don’t pay too much mind to Rockstar’s titles, so I didn’t even know there were dedicated servers for these games.

But they are apparently quite popular, with FiveM boasting 187,400 current players when I checked on Friday afternoon. This initially struck me as surprising, but then I did some more digging and found out that these servers are mostly used for roleplayers and streamers. People who love these games, but want to use them as templates to make their own unique experiences. …And Rockstar bought the developer of these tools this past week.

Now, when I heard this news, I read it as being a bad thing. The idea of a billion dollar company ‘acquiring’ the developer of a communal tool sounds like a great way to shut them down legally and completely. But, that does not appear to be the case. Rockstar says in their community update that they want to support the community they fostered. If anything, this sounds like Rockstar is bringing in these mod developers to help implement features into the core of their upcoming title. Meaning that Grand Theft Auto 6 might have dedicated servers and roleplaying features built into the game itself. That would make these features far more accessible, especially if they are made available on consoles.

It sounds like it could be a wonderful improvement, and something of a killer feature for Grand Theft Auto 6, but I also have to wonder if this will also be a new avenue for additional monetization. GTA V has sold 185 million, makes oodles of money via microtransactions, and I know that Take Two will insist that certain features be monetized, because they will want to replicate this success. Even though… GTA V is not a replicable success. It came out at the end of one console generation, re-released on another with no backwards compatibility, then came out on PC, then got a next gen upgrade.

Tangent aside, I hope this works out for the community of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, that and their tools have fostered. I hyperbolize and theorize worst case scenarios a lot, but I truly do want the best outcome to happen for just about everyone. I get worried when control is consolidated like this, and worry about what callous executives might mandate upon the best-intentioned workers behind projects like this.

Red Dead Redemption is… NOT Being Remastered! (Red Dead Redemption is Coming to PS4 and Switch)

Oh snap, a double Rockstar dose? That’s rare…

Back in July, I covered a probable remaster of 2010’s Red Dead Redemption. A project leaked via a Korean ratings board and one that I summarized my initial thoughts on with the following statement:

As such… I am expecting this to be a real project, but I am also expecting it to be either a bloody disaster or the most barebones basic port of the GOTY edition of the game. And I think everybody would be happy with the latter.

Natalie Neumann, Rundown (7/02/2023) Thanks Cap, You Made Me Write a Novel of Lore!

Well, Rockstar decided to announce it at 9 AM this past Monday… as a $50 port only coming to PS4 and Switch. No remastered anything, just the game running on more readily available systems as part of a package that seems so plain that I wonder why this wasn’t released five bloody years ago. No Xbox version, because the game is already playable via Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, and runs in 4K. No PC version, because that would be far, far too much work. And a $50 launch price, because Rockstar is currently still selling the complete version of RDR for $40. Also, it runs in 30 frames per second and lacks the online multiplayer mode of the original. Because it would take too much work to up the frame rate.

Now, if this was what it should be— A basic $30 repackaging with a slightly more expensive physical edition with a bonus map and crap with a PC port, then I would be happy about this news. But despite going in with heavily tempered expectations, I still wound up being disappointed.

I would blame Rockstar for this, but they’re just the developer here, and this decision was ultimately greenlit by Take Two, whose budgeting decisions will forever baffle me. They refuse to put time and resources into bringing back highly important and influential titles like this. But they are also (allegedly) funneling $2 billion into Grand Theft Auto 6, making it the most expensive piece of entertainment of all time.

Red Dead Redemption will include the Undead Nightmare campaign and be released for PS4 and Switch on August 17 digitally, with a physical edition due out October 13th.

Pokémon Presents 2023-08-08 – The Rundown!
(Natalie Bemoans the State of Pokémon Games Yet Again…)

Welp, it’s that time again for another Pokémon Presents. A showcase that I often trick myself into thinking will be akin to a Nintendo Direct, when any meaningful reveals are offset by fluff announcements surrounding myriad other ventures. Pokémon Masters EX, Pokémon Café Remix, Tencent’s Pokémon Unite, Pokémon Sleep, a trailer for Pokémon Horizons, and another two short web series. Also, Detective Pikachu Returns was shown off again, and still looks like a 3DS game running in HD, maybe even worse due to how flat the lighting is. But the big news centered around the upcoming DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Scarred and Violated.

The base game was such a letdown for me that I’m still baffled by people who cite it as one of their favorite Pokémon games of all time. Especially when they cite precisely zero reasons to justify their claims… I’ve already decided not to get the DLC, and… these trailers really did not show off much worthwhile.

The first DLC, The Teal Mask, is set in a new region that part of me thinks is just southern Kalos, and its Japanese festival gimmick is one that I don’t think has the strongest of allures. Partially due to how flat and plain the world is, and how this really does just look like another part of Paldea, but with a few extra stalls thrown in. The new special Pokémon for this DLC don’t look the most enticing to me. And rather than working on refining the overall experience, the game is committed to adding more stuff.

More characters, more mini-games, more ways to manipulate EVs even though you can just buy bottle caps for cheap, and a poor person’s Pokémon Snap mode. Actually, no, this is more the Breath of the Wild photo snapping side activity. Like the first SWSH DLC before it, I have a feeling it will be more of an underwhelming addition with maybe a few neat features, but overall just feel like a stub of an add-on. Is my gut right? We’ll just have to wait and see once The Teal Mask comes out on September 13th.

While The Indigo Disc honestly just seems like more of the same. The setting is pretty novel, taking place in a submerged environment with four distinct biomes, but in practice, they are the most boring biomes that could be chosen. I actually would be fine with a world design approach like this over the sprawling empty world of Paldea, as this looks like a world you can more easily trek through in an hour or two. …But they deliberately chose to make it look like four pizza slices of environments meshed together. It makes me think back to social studies workbooks I had as a kid, and how they managed to make a more realistic looking world while featuring every major geographical formation.

THIS is what peak world design looks like!

It’s not a world as much as it is a bunch of assets, and comparing this to the Crown Tundra just makes this look uninspired. …And Speaking of the second SWSH expansion, one of the biggest strengths of that was its story. A story that, due to its focus and the involvement of three central characters, made for one of the better stories in a mainline Pokémon game. And here… The Indigo Disc is just throwing a bunch of new characters at the player, and also telling them to call in, meet up, and re-battle other characters. I get why Pokémon games introduce so many characters, because they help promote the games, draw people in, and can be repurposed in other pieces of media. But going through the game, to borrow a phrase, every character in Pokémon feels like the most boring character in Pokémon.

Honestly, the most interesting part of this announcement for me was seeing the new Pokemon. Including Giraffe Raikou, the Duraladon evolution, and the Applin evolution that is just a candied apple. I love the fact that they are adding cross-generation evolutions again, as part of me just finds that to be more immediately engaging than a new thing entirely. It’s the difference of something being familiar but new, versus something just being new. It takes more time to warm up to it.

The most promising element of this affair is the fact that this DLC will conclude with an adventure back to Area Zero, which I found to be the best environment in the game, because it was an RPG-ass dungeon. RPG dungeons got such a bad rap for so many years, but there was never anything wrong with their design. When given just a bit of visual flair, I find them to be far easier to love than an open world. …But part of me thinks this is just going to be another version of Dynamax Adventures, which was admittedly a pretty cool feature from SWSH.

So, yes, Natalie continues to be frustrated with the state of mainline Pokémon games, and will celebrate this DLC’s release by… not buying or playing it.

Progress Report 2023-08-13


I’m currently dealing with a major IRS audit at work, so my schedule has been in flux as of late. Aside from what I’ll describe as my ‘video game organizational stimming’ with the ROM collection, I have been focusing on Verde’s Doohickey 2.0: Sensational Summer Romp. In fact, how about I go ahead and make a more standardized digestible format, listing my progress and things I still need to do!

Verde’s Doohickey 2.0: Sensational Summer Romp Progress Report:
Current Word Count: ~100,000
Estimated Word Count: ~500,000
Total Chapters: 75
Chapters Outlined: 40
Chapters Drafted: 13
Chapters Edited: 0
Header Images Made: 0
Days Until Deadline: 290

Shit. I gotta get back on the outlining train. I got burnt out in March, wanted to do some work with the characters before coming up with a premise, but now that I’m almost done with act 1 of 5, I gotta put the creative cap back on…

Eman Looc’s Possession Scroll Review Progress Report:
Yeah, I haven’t touched the game this past week. I’ll try to binge through it next week. Do I want to? No. But I said I would, so…

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  1. qwerty

    Speaking for myself as a straight dude, disagree on the visual appeal of vaginas. And the coolness of dicks.
    What I do agree on is the backlash against the fetish for girls with dicks coming primarily out of people who are insecure, to put it generously. It’s always those people who seek those corners of the internet out to yell, it’s never the people who say “I’m not into it myself, but you do you” and go about their way.

    It reminds me of a religious dude I know who often acts like acknowledging his (“)sins(“) absolves him of them and gives him the right to talk down to others engaging in behavior he’s into. Issues I suspect he wouldn’t have if he didn’t think he and others like him are being/will be judged for being who they are.

    1. Natalie Neumann

      Yeah, I had a feeling that people would not see eye-to-eye with me and my views of penises and vaginas. I’m trans femme, got bottom surgery 8 months ago, but my sexuality is… asexual, but really honking weird at the same time. I’m a person who saw all matter of deranged fetish art by age 14, but also didn’t know what a clitoris was until age 23.
      People like to say that the vocal minority is a problem with the internet, but it has always been a problem with people in general. Most people are fine not saying anything, going about their day, and letting other people do whatever if it doesn’t bother them. It’s been that way forever pretty much.

      In general, people just judge others too damn much. If you’re gonna judge someone, judge those in power. :P