Ah, the sunset of another Console Generation. Is there anything more beautiful? As the last rays of the Xbox 360 dye the sky a translucent shade of Microsoft Green, the prices of old games shrink, like delicate flowers closing up against the coming night. It’s an eerie yet moving twilight, at once sad and precious: a reminder of the natural cycle and strange permanence of this complex and fragile ecosystem.
On the one hand, it’s a turbulent time: as one generation sets, so another rises, bringing with it concerns over DRM and continued homogenization. On the other hand, there is a tingle of optimism in the air, as the bright colours of Sunset Overdrive ant its ilkhint at a brighter, less grimly austere future for the industry. And I just got Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3 for £10 together! And at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important thing? Yes, yes it is.
This blog would be longer, but I just got Assassin’s Creeds 2 and 3 for £10 and I don’t have time to type this AND play those until my eyeballs start bleeding. It’s one or the other Tumblr, and in my twin love affairs with gaming and minimal internet fame, this ‘being on the web’ malarkey is definitely ‘the other woman’. Goodnight.
Hey, friends! Guess what I can’t be today! If you said “arsed”, then congratulations- you are clearly some kind of clairvoyant wunderkind who should be feared and respected in equal measure. If you said anything else you, sir or madam, are a ding-dong.
Because, you see, I really can’t be arsed today. It’s the heat. I like how bright the world gets in Summer- syrupy golden quality of the light… but I am not a fan of the temperature that comes with it. If things get too hot, I find myself shambling around in a barely-functional haze, unable to perform even the simplest tasks, such as remembering to collect bus tickets, buy bread or take over the world. If it wasn’t for summertime, I’d be a Galactic Overlord by now.
I suspect a large part of it’s my metabolism. My biorhythmic software runs at a process-speed boost of something like twice 1.5X that of a normal human being (conversely, I also appear to age slower, just to rub it in for the rest of you). Normally, this is a good thing: I can eat what I like without having to buy all my waistcoats again in the next size up (I love fat, but for reasons of personal convenience, I prefer to appreciate it on other people. Preferably naked ladies). Plus, my immune system seems to get a massive boost from the additional energy expenditure: it’s like a shield of fucking steel. But when it comes to weather… it’s a pain. Burning energy faster also means my body generates more heat and dispenses with it less efficiently. So the sun fucks me up something awful. Yet another thing I have in common with Superman regular villain Bizzaro… the other things we have in common are a desire to “help” the world by punching its inhabitants in the face and the fact that we are both, in a sense, the victims of Lex Luthor. Whereas Bizzaro is a tragic clone created by the monstrous genius to destroy his arch nemesis, I have been cruelly used by his swarthy, heartbreaking ways.
Bollocks. Now I’m sad. Goodnight.
TRIGGER WARNING: Well fuck- where do I even start. War? Human trafficking? David Dimblebee? Look- if its disturbing, it’s in here. Just a heads up.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Porn Industry is quite harmful. However, I’ve also come to the conclusion that the problem isn’t the ‘porn’ it’s the ‘industry’. Let me explain my thinking- and bear with me ‘cause this gets convoluted real fast.
Like all heterosexual men, I enjoy watching sexy people- primarily women, but also Michael Rosenbaum- strip off and do erotic things in front of a camera. Well, I say “all heterosexual men”. David Dimblebee probably doesn’t- he can probably only jack off to grizzly photographs of real-life torture. He looks like the type. Brr. But I digress.
To return to something resembling a point, I’ve never wholly bought the argument that porn is intrinsically, generically harmful in and of itself. Obviously, its grossly unrealistic to the point of absurdism, but any idiot with half a brain in their head knows its a work of fiction. Fantasy titillates our desire for wonder and magic in the world, horror titillates our adrenaline-junky addiction to fear and porn titillates our love of boobs and dicks and vaginas and delicious combinations thereof. Provided the viewer has had sex at some point in real life and understands that what they’re watching is a fantasy, there’s no reason pornography should fuck them up any more than, say, the Saw films.
That’s the theory, anyway. In practice… by fucking crikey but the porn industry has gone wrong. Like, really, grotesquely wrong. To the extent that I can’t let it pass without comment. The other day, I read about this new thing some porn sites are doing called “cherry-budding” (or something like that), which involves having anal sex with a woman until she prolapses. I’m fairly open-minded, but all I could think when I heard this was “some poor fucking porn actress has to have that happen to her for that to end up on film.” I also thought “who the fuck is the target audience for this?” I’m pretty sure the answer is ‘no-one’. The idea isn’t to satisfy a demand that actually exists amongst vast swathes of the smut-viewing public: it’s to create a unique draw in a market so saturated that the only way to lay claim to any audience at all is to do go to ever more extreme practices- no matter how dangerous and unsafe for the actors and actresses involved- and rely on a combination of novelty and shock value. Far be it from me to judge what people get up to in the privacy of their own homes, but this isn’t in the privacy of anyone’s home: it’s on the Internet drawing crowds of people who this otherwise wouldn’t have occurred to. Showing people something that they’re not into doesn’t seem like it could do much social harm, of course… except that, increasingly, porn is accessed by people who aren’t sexually experienced or mature enough to realise that this isn’t what real-world sex is like. And that shit can fuck up your expectations of what you’re supposed to do and what you’re supposed to enjoy something proper. You can’t legislate for an idiot (at least not until the state passes my proposed bill allowing me to neuter them with pliers ay my discretion), so this may seem like an unfair criticism. And it would be, if this was an isolated thing that was only going to affect a few viewers. But it’s not. I just gave it as an example of the trend in the porn industry as a whole. No individual piece of extreme sexual content is going to do much damage to the world’s collective perception of fucking, but an entire media output geared towards ever more extreme forms in general, on the other hand, might. Because the human brain takes its social queues through repetition, and that includes the repetition of patterns of extremity. I’m all for sexual liberation; for people being able to view, partake of and engage in whatever sexual practices they like. But I believe that this has to be driven by people. At the moment: these trends aren’t emerging because they’re what sexually mature adults actually want- they’re emerging because a swarm of sleazy fucks decided it was profitable, and the fuck with what actual human beings might really want.
That being said, that’s not really my main concern. My main concern is the issue of porn star’s workers rights. Having heard about “cherry-budding”, another few minutes mining my source revealed that porn actors and actresses are routinely mistreated. Many of them wound up in the industry through lack of other options (often because they are desperate migrant labour who came to the country illegally- though justifiably- hoping to find something better than the abject poverty back home) and are open to exploitation. Some of them have even been trafficked. They are made to film for eight hours or more at a stretch (think how exhausting sex is when you enjoy it: now imagine that all the pleasure’s been sucked out of it and it’s your day job. Except it’s not like a day job, because you can’t quit, you have no worker’s rights and your open to any form of depraved exploitation your boss deems fit to dump on you). As a proponent of Worker’s Rights, all this pisses me off something terrible. However, it also pisses me off as a proponent of Consumer Rights. See, I don’t watch the type of porn where this happens- the stuff I would usually get off to is basically just naked fat chicks eating cake, and the naked fat chicks in question usually got into the industry entirely voluntarily and maintain an online presence promoting themselves and talking about who they are to the degree that it’s possible to be confident that these are people in charge of their own destiny and not being exploited. But it annoys me to think that, as a consumer, if I wanted to get on board with this- at all- I couldn’t guarantee that the product was ethical. I get pissed off in the same way when I buy new tech and can’t be 100% sure it doesn’t have Conflict Minerals in it. It fucks me right off that I (‘I’ in this case meaning not just ‘me’ but ‘us- the consuming public’) am getting stuck with a wopping great parcel of Schrodinger’s Guilt because a bunch of conniving, amoral profiteers somewhere up the chain can’t reliably maintain ethical business practices. Personally, I think that we- the public- whether we watch porn or not, deserve to be treated with more dignity than that by the twats we have to buy things off.
You know how I mentioned buying tech as a comparison. Well, that was oddly apt, since the progress of the porn industry from ‘sexy fun’ to ‘terrifying, exploitative corporate juggernaut’ puts me in mind of nothing so much as the evolution of the Games Industry. No, really. There was a time, back in the day, when instead of intense marketing strategies designed to service the most pre-designed tupperware niches imaginable, the games industry just made games for people who liked games, and they were colourful and could be made to professional standards by people dicking about on their back-bedroom computer. Similarly, their was a time when porn was just made by people who liked sex for people who liked sex, and it too was quirky and fun and usually (though not always) harmless. I mean, for fuck sake- by today’s standards Deep Throat was positively bloody whimsical. There was an entire British porn industry built up around the notion of a housewives in sexy negliges having it off with the milkman for no reason whatsoever, and in retrospect it all seems less dirt and a bit charming and off-kilter and silly.
And then, in both cases, the budgets got bigger; the developers less auteur. Swaggering knob-head tycoons got involved. Fastforward, and the product being put out is unrecognizable: there are still gems amongst all the swill, but the bulk of it doesn’t cater to sane people any more. Videogames suddenly have an unhealthy fascination with killing people just because a shouty bastard on the soundtrack points them out and yells “them’s terrorists!” (because appealing to right-wing masturbatory gunwankers equals profit, apparently) and porn is dementedly extreme just because its shouting above all the other porn to be heard. Suddenly, you can’t tell if you PS4 contains minerals that were mined in a war-torn country with the funds going to a cackling warlord and you can’t download a bit of playful bedtime visual smut without worrying that the people in it were trafficked and are being held made to cavort for the viewers pleasure against their will.
Here ends the tortured comparison.
And they tell me this is progress.
It must be awful being rich. Now there’s a sentence you don’t usually here- especially on a blog run by a vehement anti-capitalist. But bear with me. Don’t mistake my observation for pity: it isn’t. To get rich- properly, obscenely rich- in our society, you either have to be legally corrupt or do something that actively promotes the death of the planet. So fuck ‘em: they’re not getting a single molecule of pity out of yours truly.
But the observation remains: it must be awful being rich. Why? Because the rich can’t enjoy anything.
A little while ago, I heard about a bar in London, frequented by pointlessly wealthy oligarchs where you can buy bottles of wine for the price of a house. Seriously, there was alcohol in there costing upwards of £100000. That’s just ridiculous.
A couple of days after I heard about this place, I passed a Krispy Kreme Donut place and bought a couple of their donuts and a cup of tea for a bit less than £5. And those were fucking good donuts. I can’t think of any way you could improve on them. Eating those fuckers gave me a great deal of pleasure.
Meanwhile, there are Oligarchs who are convinced that they can’t get a decent glass of wine for less than the price of a replacement kidney.
Obviously, this is insanity. Any idiot can do the maths: you only have so many tastebuds and they can only be titillated in so many ways. If you can get the best possible donut for five quid, then how much do you think the best possible glass of wine should cost? Those bottles in the London Bar couldn’t have been able to do anything for a man’s tastebuds that a (still obscenenly pricey, but markedly less so) £100 bottle from a reputable seller couldn’t have done. Anybody with a brain in their head can tell you that, above a certain price, you’re clearly not paying for extra quality because there’s only so good a thing can be before you hit maximum awesomeness.
But the rich still queue up to buy versions of products anyone could get for a sane price with the only functional difference being that their versions cost in excess of a hundred thousand pounds sterling. Why would anyone be that stupid? Then it struck me: these people can’t enjoy anything. The mindset of excessive wealth is the mindset of competition- they can’t enjoy something on its own terms: they have to try to secure something that’s better than what everyone else has got. It’s also the mindset of “get what you pay for”- i.e. a belief that every pleasure in life can be bought and purchased. The belief that all they have to do is wave a platinum credit card around and their every desire will be fulfilled. This mindset leaves them unable to actually appreciate anything. To enjoy something- anything- you have to make a conscious effort to engage with it. Anything from a glass of wine to a budget horror film: if you don’t commit to getting into it, nothing happens. Without your engagement, it’s just sensory input, devoid of emotional context. You can’t just throw money around and then expect entertainment or fulfillment to just happen to you. You can’t secure something and expect it to be meaningful to you just because the price tag says its “better” than what somebody else has got.
But the rich- being, by and large, a collection of sniveling amoral worms- don’t understand this. So they buy speedboats and endless rows of sports cars and access to exclusive clubs and they pay hundreds of thousands just to get pissed and they never actually really enjoy any of it. So the next time, they spend more money and hope that this time the product will be “better” and that’ll fix that emptiness they feel inside- when the real problem is that they can’t engage.
That’s why I can enjoy a deeply fulfilling experience eating a donut and drinking tea out of a disposable cardboard cup, but the super-rich can’t find even a smidgen of happiness in the glitziest places on Earth.
If they wanted, one of those Oligarchs I mentioned could buy a small island, populate it exclusively with pretty nymphomaniacs and have a giant chocolate fountain fashioned in the shape of their wang for the middle of it (total cost: £3 billion). But at the end of the day, I can drop by CEX, buy a copy of The Core (possibly the dumbest piece of cinema ever committed to Celluloid) for 50 pence, grab a bottle of cheap Amaretto and challenge myself to try and jack off to the former while swigging the latter out of a mug with Batman’s face on it (total cost: £5.50.). And who do you think would have the better evening? Not them, that’s for bloody sure.
But like I said, don’t pity the rich. They’re sociopaths, as a rule. Hollow-hearted, conflict-mineral-profiteering, slave-wage-paying, planet-stripping myopic bell-ends. Just take comfort in the fact that happiness itself is an entirely alien concept to them, and laugh.
So, games that you download from the Internet can’t really be said to have ‘Box Art’, but I’d like to provide a near equivalent for my upcoming game, Victor Victorious. With that in mind, regular readers and prospective players, he’s some box-art style Promotional Art for the game:
But what does this image actually show? Let’s take a look at Victor himself, first. Eagle-eyed viewers should be able to make out glowing blue veins along one arm and glowing purple veins along the other… as well as a blue light emerging from Vic’s upturned palm.
These light effects hint at Victor’s powers. Our hero has the ability to open minds to the wonders of the multiverse… or its horrors. He can leave his foes slack-jawed, awe-struck wrecks trying to comprehend the split-second of the majesty of infinity that he just showed them. Or he can leave them weeping, terrified husks who have been afforded a glimpse of the darkest corners of reality. It’s the players choice… provided they can live with the consequences.
Speaking of Victor Victorious’ enemies, the lower part of the image is awash with them. These red-armoured monsters are the Puppetmen, called so because they have no will of their own: they are the mindless vassals of a greater, more horrifying force (not pictured here) called only “Ventriloquist”. It came from beyond the Multiverse itself and starts abducting the populations of whole universes, its motives and power unknown.
But why is it Victor’s responsibility to fight this monstrosity? Clearly, he is no mere man. Victor was born to protect the structure of reality. In his veins flows the Blood of Infinity: the liquid energy of the Multiverse itself. For as long as there have been threats existence, there have been those born with this Blood in their veins, created by the Multiverse as a body creates white blood cells to defend itself. No wonder he looks so confident: this is what Victor exists to do.
But back to the promo art. Aside from the Puppetmen, we can also see a couple of small-but-lethal looking spheres shooting powerful rays at our hero. These make their debut appearance at the thematic half-way point of the game and serve to keep on ramping up the difficulty a little as the game progresses. Obviously, Ventriloquist doesn’t think his army of remorseless unthinking psychopaths is enough to stop the guy who rocked up to the end of the world in bright purple trousers and the haircut of a 1970s rock band.
Next: the background. Here we can see a tiny glimpse of the infinitely varied cosmos Victor inhabits, in the form of a planet floating against a garishly-coloured swirling vortex in reality. Incredibly, this isn’t even remotely as weird as some of the screens you’ll see in-game.
But what’s our hero standing on here? Answer: that mufti-coloured stonework is naturally occurring and belongs to the planet Old World- the first world of the game. The world’s of Victor Victorious are pretty vivid places… just don’t think all of them will be wholesome and friendly because of it.
That’s all for today’s deconstruction, though, folks, There’s plenty of more info about the game coming up before release day, and soon there might even be more screenshots to put up. In the meantime, don’t touch that dial.
BORING LEGAL STUFF:
Victor Victorious and all associated intellectual assets, including but not limited to characters, fictional places, key concepts and plot elements, are the intellectual property of the the individual identified on this website as Secret-Diary-of-an-FA and are protected under international copyright and intellectual property law. Infringement of copyright laws in regards to Victor Victorious or associated intellectual assets may be prosecuted.
© 2014 (real name of Copyright Holder withheld here for identity protection reasons, but can be found in the official design document for the game).
Asked by Anonymous
Yes. Or rather “I think so”, since I haven’t formally asked and she may think of this thing we have in other terms. But yeah: basically.
And thanks- I try my best!
You’ve waited for months. You’ve tapped your feet and glanced at your watch. Some of you have actually salivated, wondering what kind of videogame I could be working on that I had to keep so tightly under wraps. Well, at last you can find out the real name of Project Double V. In the form of an image, no less:
That’s right- Victor Victorious. The preposterous- yet strangely evocative- moniker of our hero and the name of the game. Sometime in the next few weeks to two months, it will be appearing free to play on the Internet (I’ll give you the links to where you can find it as soon as they’re available.
But who and what is Victor Victorious? Well, now that all the copyright documents have gone through, I can tell you.
Victor Victorious is a wry, even sardonic everyman. Who just happens to have been born for the sole purpose of saving the entire Multiverse from the clutches of demented forces that invade from outside reality itself. In his veins flows The Blood of Infinity- the substance of raw power the cosmos invests those destined to defend it with. It gives him the power to open his enemies’ minds to the wonders of the universe, uploading entire explosive understandings of galaxies and cosmoses into their heads to leave them gibbering- but happy- wrecks… or show them the true horrors of existence that lurk just beneath the thin veneer of reality, snapping their mind like a twig.
More on all of which tomorrow. For now- that name is Victor Victorious. At last, we can stop all calling it Project Double-V, which is a relief because that sounds more like a bra size than a game.
If the multiverse theory is true, then there’s a universe where it isn’t.
Multiverse theory doesn’t cover paradoxical situations
Except in the universe where it does
i’m having an aneurysm
To clarify: Multiverse theory- also known as M-Theory and sometime Membrane Theory- posits that reality is structured in something called “The Bulk”, which refers to a potentially infinite sum of universes, each existing on a sort-of cosmic membrane (if it helps, picture slices of bread. Only instead of bread, each slice is a universe. And instead of being two-dimensional, each membrane exists with dimensions that bear no similarity to our physical experience of the universe. In fact, forget I said bread).
Anyway, the point is that while there may be an infinite number of universes, this does not intrinsically mean that they have to cover paradoxical possibilities. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that it would. There are an infinite number of possible realities that don’t break higher-dimensional physical laws, for one thing. For another, the ‘Bulk’ probably doesn’t have independent consciousness. When we think “infinite universes” we think “a scope of reality that must cover all possible versions of all possible worlds”. The cosmos, however, doesn’t “design” universes- it just has universes. The infinite number of possibilities played out may be entirely different to the other infinity of possibilities we humans imagine when we try to picture a multiversal reality. That’s the thing about infinities- they’re infinite: so huge that you can’t necessarily always fit one infinite within another. What I’m saying is that for every possibility played out in the multiverse- even if it is infinite- there may also be an infinite number of possibilities that aren’t played out even in that limitless vastness. You may, for example, be able to spend eternity going from one universe to another, and never encounter a single one in which Pot Noodle is a bearable culinary experience, simply because its not one the cosmos happens to play host to.
So no, there probably isn’t a universe where, once you’re inside, the multiverse doesn’t exist. It’s just barely within the bounds of possibilities, but not likely.
By the way, Tumblr, I do remember that I was supposed to finish sorting out legal documents so I could reveal the real name of the game I’ve been developing these past months tonight. But I’ve been busy. Getting a job is a job in itself and it kind of took up my day, both in terms of the time involved and the psychological impact it had.
My point is, don’t worry: the promised update is coming soon. Either later tonight or tomorrow. And the name reveal, when it happens, should come with some awesome game-art and details on the lead character and plot.
So brace yourselves- it is incoming sometime soon.
Asked by Anonymous
I don’t know who Ferris Bueller is, but I have definitely done that. Which was unfortunate for everyone within earshot, because I can’t sing. All that happens when I try to twang my vocal chords into tune is noise. And calling it “noise” is generous- its so bad its been known to disorient birds flying overhead to the point where they crash into houses Dark Skies stylee.