Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games and its sequels are brilliant novels, that were tamed and defanged film adaptations. The Capitol was a truly threatening entity, dulled in order to attain a PG-13 Rating. This isn’t about the muted physical violence, either. It’s because the films do not understand what the Capitol is, what made it such a threat, and why made the novels matter.
On July 8th, 2014, Brazil lost by six points to Germany in a World Cup semi-final. At the same time, The International (a prestigious DOTA 2 tournament) began. One day prior, I read a very interesting article (that I will discuss later) and the day after, I read another one (ditto) which covered another aspect of competition. The GER v BRA game was the catalyst for this article, because it made me realize what the World Cup (and indeed all sports) really are: improvised drama. They’re TV dramas, they’re stage plays, and the difference between sport, e-sport, serial drama, even film and suddenly seemed non-existent. The World Cup is the Breaking Bad or Mad Men of sport. It is the top-tier entertainment that, if you’re not watching it, you at least know a dozen people who are.
While I ponder what I want to wax poetically on and analyze next, Campster’s ‘Errant Signal’ series on YouTube put up a video on Saints Row IV and ‘kitsch’. Specifically exploring how the game looks back on populist, mass produced media and explores what about them people love and why. It’s a good natured discussion on a good natured game, and a reminder of why I wanted to make a website like this in the first place. So much so that I wanted to link it here. If you want to support Errant Signal, here’s its Patreon link. I’ve been following the series for some time now and there’s some great stuff there. I particularly like his videos on Politics in Games, and Doom.
Welcome to Resonant Discussion, where I discuss an idea I have in the interest of contributing to and/ or sparking dialogue about it. In this article I’ll be discussing the ‘Ensemble’ trope in media, where different characters have to unite due to external circumstances/ threats. Usually five to eight of them, who bring internal and interpersonal conflicts which drives the storyline. Why is this trope so common, and what makes it so effective? Who does it resonate with? Will the author have another existential crisis? We’re about to find out!
I’ve wanted to find a more formal name for a lot of the articles I write. These are the articles where I have a topic that I really want to discuss, and start a discussion on. The ones where I have no illusions that my thoughts/ opinions are the right ones, or that there even is a right one. Instead where I have something I feel is interesting to say on both current topics, as well as observations I’ve made. These are often topics where I’m curious what other people have to say as well, and which benefit from a lot of viewpoints. Although for the moment it’s just my view, but said with an open-mind and in a positive light.
Consider this a sequel to the article I wrote on how there’s no way Fang and Vanille are straight, and then speculated on Lightning’s sexuality. Now that Lightning Returns is out, it’s worth revisitng those as we have the whole picture. Then I’ll touch briefly on Fang/ Lightning. The rest of the article is dedicated to the things I wanted to write, but that didn’t fit into the first two parts. This is the last article I’ll be doing on the XIII… For at least a month. It was never my intent for this project to look like a fansite for XIII, the timings just worked out that way.
I never expected to use this as a personal blog, but I wanted to share a bit on why I write what I do. As well as express how angry I am, despite trying to make this a place of positivity. Included below are personal discussions of bipolar disorder, identity politics, sex, relationships, and how I’m managing to navigate it all.
Lightning Returns is a brilliant story, often told poorly. In fact, that’s the XIII trilogy in a nutshell. The story has a core that is rock solid, but more layers than it should. XIII* is a love it/ hate it affair. Combine this with the poor direction of a pivotal cutscene, and you have a story which can be really obtuse. If the story speaks to you, and you’re willing to sift through a lot of unnecessary and/or strange concepts and ideas (much like you do reading this blog), then you’re going to have a great time (much like you do reading this blog… right?). If you just aren’t into it, then the layers are just going to obfuscate things further, and I totally understand if you leave the series frustrated.
It’s been almost a month since Lightning Returns was released and I’ve had time to process it. It should be obvious to anyone who reads this site, or knows me at all, that Final Fantasy XIII is my favourite game of all time. The trilogy is something I hold very close to my heart. It all wrapped up with Lightning Returns, and here’s my take on it.