do you ever hear the intro theme to a video game and you get really emotional and your heart feels really weak like it’s coming back home and it’s basically like that whole world you love so much summed up into one epic song and you just want to fucking cry a lot because this is the video game for you and nothing else ever can even compare to the feeling you get when you hear that one fucking bit of music
sam i fucking swear to god
In 2012 Kanye West introduced most of the world to Chief Keef, via the G.O.O.D. Music remix of Keef’s local hit “I Don’t Like.” (I know, I know, you knew about Keef before Kanye, but most of America can’t touch your impeccable blog game.) This was something of a confusing move at the time, at least for me; the remix wasn’t an improvement by any means, and it had been a while since Kanye had shown significant interest in preserving his Chicago affiliations, but there he was, shouting out all the local rappers, putting on a 17-year-old kid from one of the most fucked up neighborhoods in the country. But I know why Kanye did the remix now (and I think he knows he didn’t improve upon the original either). He needed to confront white America with what they presumed at the time was their worst nightmare: a young black male who grew up in hell and no longer gave a single fuck, who used unfamiliar words and rapped about guns and money and drugs. You know, rapper stuff. (NOTE: When I say “white America” please know I am not being all-inclusive. Like, fuck, I’m white, I get that there are many white people who fully support and understand the racial and socio-political issues at hand here, and that I am being reductive by dichotomizing it into simply “black” vs “white” to begin with. Consider it shorthand for the type of non-black American unconcerned by or complicit in the perpetuation of these issues.)In reality though, Chief Keef isn’t white America’s worst nightmare. Because while he scares the living shit out of them in person, he fits neatly into the trope that many racist white Americans need young black men to fit into: violent, uneducated, aimless. They expect this kind of character, and in turn know how to strip him of his humanity, dismiss him, and avoid him. Kanye West is white America’s worst nightmare. Because as much as one may attempt to dismiss him—by calling him an asshole or classless or deranged or various other adjectives that fill the comment sections of literally every article about him—you still have to turn on your regularly scheduled late night comedy program and stare him in the face. You can’t avoid Kanye. He’s made very sure of that.
This is excellent, read it in full. On the Kardashian bit in particular:
- Every era, for centuries, has had its few celebrities or cultural products whose name people who are neither as enlightened nor as funny as they think invoke as, with implied caps, THE DOWFALL OF SOCIETY. Who they end up being depends on a lot of factors: winner-takes-all name recognition by tabloid-cover or headline-feed or ad-placement osmosis (which is why Miley Cyrus is an example and Demi Lovato is not); their appeal to 13-year-old girls (which is why boy bands are reviled en masse and by name and, I dunno, Myspace emo is not); their appeal to 40-year-old women in Middle America (which is why Fifty Shades of Grey is an example and James Patterson* is not); and then race, implied class and/or new money, weight, etc., meaning a large portion of the backlash here comes from people using “Kardashian” as a synecdoche for “THE DOWNFALL OF AMERICAN CULTURE, AS EMBODIED BY NON-WASPY, NON-TINY, DOWNMARKET-CODING WOMEN.”**
- Go a step farther and you find the people who criticize Kanye West dating a celebrity to juice his own celebrity, in the music and out. It seems like a fairer, more thought-out point until you notice everyone they are or were silent about, namely every celebrity couple, because this is how celebrity couples work by industry default. (And have since forever. Read history, of any era; if you want convenience and relative recency, read Anne Helen Petersen’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood series. Nothing is new.) Since it’s Kanye we’re talking about, here’s a good example: Taylor Swift, who dropped Red while she dated a Kennedy and the most saleable One Direction member, and worked both of these into her music. Somehow none of the Kanye pundits brought the hand-waving freakoutery.***
* Yes, I know Patterson has institutional immunity, and that women also read him. I know because patterson, Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell make up about 60% of my mother’s reading habits, to the point where it’s a family joke that she won’t buy a book if there’s no murder in the title. This may explain a lot about me and my family.
** Kim codes white in relation to Kanye, but it’s kind of like how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is either called white or not depending on who wants to make which point.
*** There was HWFO, but butthurt Louis Tomlinson stans are different than yuppies tsk-tsking about Kanye’s artistry being tainted.
Original piece and commentary both well worth reading.
Just heard on Channel 4 News that:
1) Tumblr allows its users to upload amateur pornography
2) Users have come up with a plan to flood the site with porn in a last minute attempt to scare off Yahoo
Did I miss a memo? I don’t want to be the only one doing this
Something that the interview I just reblogged on Japanese vs Western video game design didn’t address is that Western and American are not interchangeable, and localising like they are causes its own issues. The rest of the world, or even just the English-speaking bits of it, is a pretty big audience!
One of the more immersion-shattering localisation things I have come across in a Japanese game was in Ace Attorney, a series that generally gets praised for a good localisation that finds alternatives for a lot of Japanese cultural references and humour that wouldn’t have been widely understood.
Problem is, the games carefully never actually state where they are meant to be set, and still have plenty in them which gives away their Japanese origin. At one point in one of the games there is a puzzle based around a car, and in the version I played you find that that car was imported from the UK. The point is meant to be that the car has the driver sitting on the opposite side to other cars.
Up to that point, I’d been playing with a fuzzy but unquestioned assumption that the game was still meant to be set in Japan; in Japan, cars are driven on the left, the same as the UK. To solve the puzzle, I had to work through a thought process that while I was playing a British version of a clearly Japanese game, it was nonetheless intended that I should assume, unprompted, that the game was set in the US. It made my head hurt a bit.
East vs. West: An Interview with Keiji Inafune & Hiroyuki Kobayashi
I was going to talk a bit about an interview I had found about 3 years ago, with Keiji Inafune (illustrator/co-designer of the Mega Man series) and Hiroyuki Kobayashi (producer of the Resident Evil series), regarding the culture-clash in game design between American and Japanese gamers. The interview went over how, as a result of the contrast in cultures and history, western gamers prefer a different style of gameplay, a different art style or colour pallet, a different learning curve, and even different savegame and death elements than eastern gamers.
This contrast obviously becomes a critical consideration when marketing and designing a successful game, not only because a well-received game by American players may be received very poorly among Japanese gamers (and vice versa), but also that America-intended games are often designed by Japanese production companies, and their own cultural bias must be overcome when designing games that need to appeal to an international market.
Buuut I did a little digging to see if I could find a transcript of the interview, just to make sure I wasn’t getting any of the quotes wrong, and I found it. So instead of any personal analysis (which is clearly bias, as I’m already using western gamers as the pivot point in all my examples), I’m just going to clean it up a bit and paste it here for you to read. […]
This interview has some ridiculous evo-psych stuff that’s hopefully completely tongue in cheek (“For instance, as a hunting and trapping society, an American may go deer hunting and encounter a bear. Japanese would be scared by this encounter, whereas the American will probably shoot the bear and go back excited that he got a bear instead of a deer”!) but also some very interesting thoughts about the differences between Japanese and Western game design. In particular the broad question of how much the player’s experience is controlled by the developers and the different ways in which that manifests, and the idea that higher difficulty might be a method to try to discourage rentals.
to all you americans out there
this is eurovision
This almost made me emotional with the sheer beauty of it- it was like Freddie Mercury had lived to make an EDM album, I am literally buying it right now.