Warning: The following contains sexist, racist and homophobic language. Not in a sexist, racist or homophobic content, but they’re there. This is a post about foul words. They will be used. A lot.
Now with all topics like this, let me state that I am white, straight, male and middle class. The worst treatment I got was for being a Special Education student from 1st grade until I graduated high school. While I am no stranger to being taunted and teased, my situation is far, far better than a lot of peoples’. I can’t act like it doesn’t affect my opinion (for better or for worse), but either way I just want you to all know where I’m coming from.
A super word is a word with extreme offensive power. It is a word that can offend people easily, even when used in a comical or friendly setting. In the US there are about two, Nigger and Cunt with Twat being a distant 3rd in my experience. These words are so offensive that most people prefer to use the “N-Word” “C-Word” and occasionally, “T-Word” to refer to them. These words, with little effort, can ruin entire days for people in ways just calling them a “Motherfucker” can’t. They’re super words, often locked away in the deepest missile silos of our vocabulary.
… So… what is a word?
Words are a pointer for ideas. From point to ideas of a physical object like a “Mattress” to somethign complex and vague like ‘love’ and ‘morality’. Words can point to different (but usually similar) places for different people. The idea of “death” means two very different things to a Christian and an Atheist. Context also changes where words point and a word in two different, yet similar sentences can invoke two very different ideas. Language is a very fluid thing. Not only are the rules and exact definitions loose, new rules and words are made up all the time. “Stupider” for a time might not have been a real word, but it certainly points where it’s supposed to. The other day my sister used the word “Deoffensify”. It’s not a real word, but that didn’t make it any less effective. Communication doesn’t care about the “realness” of language, nor does it often care about the exact dictionary definitions. Words change through every possible variable, even time. One of the great challenges of communication has always been making sure words mean the same thing to you and your audience.
That whole paragraph in fact is just me trying to make sure anyone reading this knows how I’m using the “word” so we can all be on the same page.
Also as a note… Personally I am not using “the (Fill in Blank)-Word” here because I think it’s disingenuous. I’m putting an offensive idea into your mind while feigning innocence by not actually “saying it”. Also by saying something like “The N-Word”, I am ascribing the power to the sound of Nigger, as opposed to the ideas it represents. The problem of racism is one of ideas, not mouth noises.
The Creation of new Super Words
A lot of activist groups have been trying to elicit change by affecting language. LGBT communities have tried to eliminate the casual use of words like ‘faggot’. Women’s rights groups have tried tone down the use of gendered insults and special education support groups have tried to stop the use of the word “Retard”, sometimes even referring to it as “The R-Word”.
On the surface I think this reaction seems reasonable. These words hurt people. If we want to stop hurting people, we should stop using these words, right? Personally I’m a fan of various flavors of vulgarity, but that’s not an excuse to ignore the pleas of these people… Question is, what do they think will happen?
Let’s use Faggot as an example. Faggot was a word with history before being a homosexual pejorative and is mostly returning to that again. Most people use the word generally and casually as a generic insult. It’s still used as a way to terrorize and offend gay men though and the pain those men feel is no less real because some of us use the word in a relatively friendly way. But what would happen if the word was left to be, compared to if it was attempted to be expunged from our vocabularies? I don’t know the answer, obviously, but this is my guess.
So let us assume Faggot has become a taboo. Does the word get more or less usage? By nature of being a taboo, less. Does the word, now a forbidden, arcane power word, have more or less power? Clearly more. Now it is undeniably a powerful anti-gay insult. Now, does the word get used more or less by the gay hating crowd? More, clearly. There will also always be new derogatory words made to replace any ones that have fell out of favor.
By vilifying the word, it has been given greater power. You have made a greater weapon for your enemies, while protecting your self from incidental usage. You create a tool for oppression.
Conversely, left to it’s own devices, the word will probably become more and more general. Homosexual men would still suffer, but you can’t stop that by changing language. It is the IDEA of anti-homosexuality which ultimately leads to their pain. No matter what, you need to fight ideas. It’s harder to hurt someone without a magic word though. You have to communicate your disgust and disdain. You have to work for it. A super word can still be destructive, even when said flippantly.
That’s the problem with Nigger now. Trying to remove the word has only made it extra powerful. We’ll never be rid of it at this point. Maybe in a hundred years it will become laughably ignorant to use, but until then, it stands a weapon that bigots can use to oppress the black community. What could have been done with the word? I have no idea. It, unlike a number of other words, never had the potential to become a general use pejorative. At best, it might have been able to become some dorky old-timer slang that’d be eventually forgotten. Either way, it seems too late now. The community even tried to “Take it back”, but that didn’t work. Regardless, it shows the pain that can be created just by having a Super Word for a group of people.
As far as I can tell, such attempts to control language have only ended poorly. Super words are bad. We at least want people to have to work hard to deeply offend someone.
You need to fight ideas. One of the best thing about all the writing on this subject is that it’s still building awareness. Even if the proposed goals of shunning a word are dangerous, hearing about the suffering of another human being makes their problems legitimate and real to us. We should at least be questioning why we use such words and what they mean to us and who we use them around. I’m not even sure if this language theory of mine is correct, but I at least want people to think about it, as the repercussions might not benefit anyone.
Featuring: Kayin, April, Patito, Eric, Ben and Flick
Too Much Talking #34 “Tapeworm” 10/25/11
So guys, lemme be honest.
I staple tape worms on my penis So the flesh worm will drink brainjuice from your fetus. Or something
Anyways lotta topics on this extra long episode. We go an hour forty and only with a handful of topics, partially thanks to the small, but dedicated live crowd. More Demon’s Souls talk, an analysis of the DS leveling and upgrade system, Difficulty vs bullshit, favorite levels, IGF and the IGF Pirate Kart, Occupy Wallstreet and a bunch of other stuff.
While not recorded, we hung around with the people in chat before and after the show, so if you wanna talk with us, check my twitter every other Monday for details. We usually cast at 10:30pm EST and are live and talking to folk as early as 10. Also if you want to tweet questions, use the #TMTQuestions hashtag! Posting comments is still a great way to ask questions though!
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As time goes on I feel like less and less of an “Indie” developer, at least on a community level. My work certainly fits into that niche, but the ‘Indie Community’ seems like an alien entity and the two of us don’t seem to share the same values. This is where the IGF Pirate Kart comes in.
Now I might have a lot of this wrong, but lemme do my best to explain the situation as I’ve come to understand it. So the Independent Gaming Festival” added a 95 dollar submission fee for entrees that many people felt was exclusionary and generally a waste unless you were some ‘known’ person. Now I could never care less about IGF (contests and awards and events just have never been my thing), but this seemed like a legit complaint coming from a lot of people who are generally struggling to do what they love. So the folks over at Glorious Trainwrecks(I think) had the idea to make a big game compilation to send as a single entry to the IGF. The Glorious Trainwrecks community has done these pirate karts for some time just for fun and this seemed as good a time as any. So they gave 2 days to submit games. To quote the website…
A Pirate Kart is a very very inclusive game compilation made in a hurry. Jeremy Penner came up with the idea for the first Pirate Kart as a way for the Glorious Trainwrecks community to collaborate on something for TIGSource’s “B-Game” competition. To galvanize the community, he set an absurd goal: make 100 games in 48 hours and package them as a single entry in the competition.
The IGF Pirate Kart continues the spirit of the Pirate Kart but with a new twist: instead of making brand new games for it, mostly people are entering the games that they are proud of, but not “big” or “polished” or “real” enough to be worth the entry fee.
Conceptually I don’t mind this. There are a lot of reasons to make games and there is no law saying you need to spend a million years polishing something to release it. Sometimes it’s good to just let loose and do whatever the heck you feel like. There is no reason for game making to be exclusionary. Also no reason for me to have to play it, but Twitter lit up with talk about how important and awesome the pirate kart is. I had to take a look.
Now, I only played about 20-40 out of the roughly 300 games. At best that’s 13% of the game. But I felt like I played enough. I felt extremely disappointed. I felt like I was, for the most part, playing Action 52. The good ideas I saw were nothing but good ideas — unpolished, raw ideas that were mostly too crude to properly enjoy for me. Sometimes they were just a single clever gag, or other times something utterly unplayable. Now, I have no beef with these games being bad exactly. They are what they are. They were made under extreme conditions for a particular purpose. The thing that gets me is the reaction. Before I say anything else, let me just say I don’t feel ‘right’ about anything I’m going to say. It is my own frustration and confusion that’s coming out here. I don’t want to rain on any parades. I don’t want to force people to see my opinions. I kept off the IGFPirateKart hashtag. But if anyone is checking my blog or twitter, they obviously want to know how I feel, and this is how I feel.
I feel like the indie community lauds mediocrity. I think they overvalue concept and undervalue execution. As I’ve always felt, ideas are cheap. Everyone has a million ideas and it’s nice that people can get them out… But it’s when a person takes an idea and polishes the heck out of it and makes something beautiful — that’s what gets my attention. I feel like an illustrator among abstract artists. While I concern my self with form and carefully constructed lines, the majority of the community is just having a stream of conciousness. They are embracing their flaws. Are they wrong? I can’t say that. Flaws add character. Even on those who aim to polish their work, everything comes out with flaws and those flaws are part of what defines a game. They just take it to a far greater degree than I can stomach. It’s not wrong, but to me it is alien. In a way it seems even more different than just being ‘more extreme’. It feels like something else and I can’t bring my self to enjoy any of it.
I released a very flawed and very buggy game. Sometime in the next year I will release another game. It will probably be less flawed and less buggy, but it will be far from perfect. But I try and will continue to try. I’m sure some of the people who contributed from the pirate kart will try too. We’re all people who love good games (though our definitions will differ). But it seems to me like less people will strive toward the unattainable when people heap endless praise on a day’s work. People spent less time on their game than I’ve spent -planning- in game menus! Now, that’s not wrong, but the response I would want to hear is “This is a great concept. Now take it and make it shine”. Some surely will do just that, but that doesn’t seem like the prevailing atittude. I don’t want to just see someone’s brain droppings, I want to see their best effort.
This is where I am left feeling like an old man. Now I know many of the more ‘artful’ indie folk and I can appreciate their opinions. Heck, my bro Zara, who’s rather mechanically minded is into this whole indie kart thing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see peoples wacky ideas. That said, it’s lonely over here. Where everyone is thinking about art and expression, my mind is in mechanic, loving the dirty and the nitty-gritty of game design. During all these IGF related talks about wanting the community to be inclusionary and “represent everyone”, I feel my self more and more distanced from the whole thing… and I wish them the best. I don’t even necessarily want to be part of the community. I’m a pretty introverted guy. It just feels weird to technically be ‘a part’ of something that is so alien to me.
Oh well, this won’t stop me from doing anything, it just feels weird and I had to get all this out.
Obviously already posted in the blog post under this, which has all the appropriate information. Still, sorta need this for organizational purposes. If you want the details on this picture, read the appropriate blog post over here.
Name: Naomi Isabella Victoria vos Cruz
Race/Nationality: Aistorian Human
Occupation: Paladin of the Holy Order of Saint Alistair
Naomi vos Cruz is a young Aistorian noble-lady and Paladin. While she is generally a friendly, kind and out-outgoing woman, she possesses a fiery, competitive and stubborn side. Her personality and lineage soon brought her to Sacred Order of Saint Alistair. While formerly a militaristic Order, noted for it’s gifted female fighters, the modern role of these Paladins were that of honor guards. Determined to fight, Naomi trained in secret with her older brother and notable Hunter* for the Church, Trevor vos Cruz. Due to both her obvious skill and political pressure from the Cruz family, the Order eventually allowed Naomi to assume combat duties. Brave Earth Prologue chronicles her first experience out in the field.
*”Hunter” refer to anyone specialized in fighting large monsters, demons or various undead creatures.
Naomi’s weapons of choice is her mother’s bastard sword and a large heater shield. Due to her armor, she is rather durable, but is a bit lacking in mobility. Naomi moves at a steady, patient pace and has no directional control when in the air. She must move and attack cautiously.
Fortunately she has rather strong offensive abilities. Her basic attack is a relatively far reach slash that strikes out a distance in front of her. The attack does good damage and has good reach for it’s speed, but lacks any vertical coverage. While she can dish out high damage against a stationary foe, her basic attack leaves a lot to be desired. To compensate, Naomi has a special attack button which can be used to access 4 different attacks. The button it’s self is modeled after Super Smash Brothers. By pressing the (C) button and a direction (Up, down, Left/Right or no direction). Naomi can unleash a variety of special attacks, assuming she has enough energy.
Naomi can have a maximum of 20 units of energy, which she can gain by either killing enemies, or picking up energy gems. She may also find “Ex Orbs”. These orbs, which Naomi may only carry one of at a time, will power up one of her special moves, giving it new properties and allowing her to perform a special air attack. The nature of the orb can be determined by treating the individual symbol as an arrow (figure to the right), making sure you know which move is powered up.
Her attacks, in detail, can be found below.
Forward + (C)
Naomi’s Forward+C attack is a low powered, long range projectile While it does half the damage of her normal attack, it is relatively cheap and has a lot of range.
With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s projectiles get cheaper, can be shot faster and can be charged up for large damage. She also possesses an air fireball that goes down at roughly a 45 degree angle. The attack’s recoil can be used to get Naomi to higher ledges.
Down + (C)
Naomi’s Down+C attack is a ground slide that travels roughly 4 tiles. It is relatively slow, but has a large hitbox that stays out for the entire duration of the move, making it easy to time attacks with. It can also be used to slide under small gaps
With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s Slide goes much farther, much faster and much lower. Her hittable area is greatly reduced and she can slide under many enemy attacks and through multiple enemies at once. Her air attack is a dive kick that does as much damage as her basic attack. When she hits an enemy, depending on the direction held she can either jump off her enemy to the left, right or straight up. If she dives low to the ground, her dive kick becomes a slide without costing additional energy.
Up + (C)
Naomi’s Down+C Is an ‘uppercut’ style attack that hits a huge area above her. It’s slightly slow to come out, but hits an area that she could not normally attack otherwise.
With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s Uppercut comes out near instantly. It also throws out a spinning projectile that flies in a parabolic arc as a secondary effect of the attack. In the air, Naomi somersaults rapidly with her sword out, dealing damage to anything that comes close to her. While an incredible attack, it takes a lot of energy and dampens her forward momentum. Using it during a tight jump could be fatal!
Neutral + (C)
If Naomi presses the C button and no direction, she puts her shield up. While the shield is up, her energy drains rapidly but any hit will put her in a temporarily invulnerable state, protecting her from damage.
With the appropriate Ex Orb, Naomi’s parry mechanically changes, functioning more like a parry. Instead of being able to hold her shield up until her energy runs out, Naomi must specifically time her parry (which activates much quicker, luckily). An unsuccessful parry will have her slowly recover (risking a hit), but a successful parry will not only put her in an invulnerable state, but it lasts longer and her recovery animation is canceled. She also recoups energy, making successful parries extremely cheap! In fact, in some situations Naomi can actually experience a net gain in energy! She can also parry in the air!
The Ex Parry is difficult to use, but should be extremely powerful in the hands of an experienced player.
Naomi is Brave Earth: Prologue’s most balanced character. While she lacks the extreme strength the two other main characters have, she also lacks their extreme weakness and a very robust and flexible movelist.
Featuring: Kayin, April, Patito, Eric, Ben and Flick
Too Much Talking #33 “Midget Pornstar” 10/10/11
Trynant sent me Demon’s Souls and Darksouls! Also this weeks episode was streamed live! It should also be streamed live every week in the future. Check my twitter (@kayinnasaki) for cast times, though they’ll always be Mondays and after 10.
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