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Random Thoughts

Subverting Expectations (Persona 5)

Before I talk about the subject of this post, a spoiler warning: I’ll be talking about the big twist in Persona 5. If you’ve played it, you already know what I mean. If you’ve not, stop reading now unless you don’t care. And if you don’t care, why are you reading this? Now, onto the subject.

There are twists that come completely out of nowhere and are so utterly nonsensical and poorly set up that it’s hard to believe a real person actually wrote them. You know the sort of thing; your Star Ocean 3s, your Mass Effect 3s, your God of War 3s (… there seems to be something about the number 3…).

And then there are twists that are so good in so many ways that I still can’t believe a real person actually wrote them, just for wholly different reasons. Twists are pretty hard to pull off well, and it’s often a case that they’ll present themselves to a writer mid-way through drafting, or at the end, or while editing and polishing, necessitating entire rewrites to incorporate the new ideas.

At the other end of the spectrum you get stories where it’s abundantly clear that the writer had the idea for a twist first, then wrote the narrative around it. For a good (bad?) example of this type, go play Fallout 4. It’s a terrible twist basically everyone saw coming months before release, and is so ineptly handled that I’m not sure how Emil Pagliarulo can even show his face in public after coming up with it.

Anyway, I just wanted to talk a bit about Persona 5’s big twist towards the end of the game, and how it actually managed to take me completely by surprise. The reason for this is both because I wasn’t expecting it (insert Star Wars joke about subverting expectations here), but also because Atlus played with my expectations of Igor himself. Allow me to explain. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Revelation Isn’t Always Desirable

Revelation Isn't Always Desirable

Revealing the mysteries of the universe.

Mysteries can be tricksy things to handle. Reveal too much and you’ll leave nothing for later. Reveal too little and you could frustrate your audience. Similarly, some mysteries work better when left mysterious, because speculation and hype are great marketing tools. So let’s chat briefly about why revelation isn’t always desirable.

I’ll be talking about Prometheus here, in relation to the Alien franchise. First, a disclaimer: I’ve not seen Prometheus, nor am I likely to. I’m the type of person who loves lore, who enjoys reading all the history and back story and world building behind any franchise I like. Babylon 5, Stargate, Fallout (excluding Bethesda’s), Lord of the Rings, and so on. Anything like this that has a wealth of background to be immersed in beyond the immediate story is my jam.

Why am I bringing this up? Because Alien and its associated spin-off material is exactly the sort of franchise that tends to have this sort of lore. Yet in reality… it kind of doesn’t. Not canonically, at least until fairly recently thanks to Prometheus. The Alien creature is scary for a variety of reasons, but the sheer unknown is, for me, one of the major draws.

It’s a terrifying, implacable, relentless killing machine. It can’t be talked to or reasoned with. It has no remorse, will never, ever show mercy, and is damn near indestructible. Unless you happen to have some serious ordnance on your person, anyway. And even then, these things are so emotionally and physically overpowering that they reduce goddamn space marines to gibbering wrecks. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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The Horrors of Marketing

 

The Horrors of Marketing

Patreon is an excellent service that lets creators earn from their work, and—with any luck—I hope to one day be earning a living from it, alongside other income streams (because having only one is never a good plan).

Still, while Patreon is indeed excellent… boy oh boy is it also hard to figure out good marketing strategies. I’ve been there a while and, admittedly, I’ve not done a brilliant job so far. I hate marketing. Hell, I think most creatives hate it, it’s a hard thing to figure out and it takes time from doing what we actually love; creating.

There’s a reason the likes of Hollywood spend millions of dollars on marketing, because they know it’s key to getting butts in seats at the cinemas. But small-time creators like me don’t have the luxury of massive budgets for marketing our works.

But market we must, if we want to get anyone to read our books, listen to our music, or play our games, so that’s why I’m writing this brief post. To talk a bit about this most vexatious of topics, to try and give you some idea of the horrors creatives go through attempting to figure this stuff out. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Youthful Problems

Youthful Problems

Have you ever played Rise of the Tomb Raider? If not, no worries, there are plenty of examples of what I’m about to talk about in other media. Anyway, in this specific game the main character of Lara Croft talks about a MacGuffin that can unlock the secrets of immortality for humankind, talking about how it would change everything, stop sickness and disease, and all the usual nonsense people think up in these situations.

So let’s think for a moment about why this line of thinking is naïve and catastrophically flawed. First, yes, the basic premise Lara is discussing here is correct; a fountain of youth or other immortality device would have the potential to change the world and, more appropriately, humankind. But for the better?

Hardly. It’s true that a variety of human maladies could feasibly be either eradicated or heavily improved by something like this, but given humanity’s bloody and unpleasant history, do you honestly believe this is the outcome we could expect?

The very second people got wind of a panacea of this nature, there’d be instant riots and civil unrest as people claw and beat and kill their way to the top of the pile, hoping to be the one to capitalise on such a wonder treatment for the human condition. Those with power would suppress those without, and they’d fight anyone else with power in order to fully restrict who had access to this miracle medicine (i.e. no one but them).

But let’s say for sake of argument that the governments of the world came together in a spirit of cooperation and refined a new drug to grant immortality and immunity to all disease. How would that go? (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Goodbye, Skype, You Won’t Be Missed

Not long ago, Microsoft finally discontinued Skype 6.21 and other earlier versions. I’ve been using this for the last year or two because the kiddie version of the UI they introduced in version 7 onwards disgusts me on a whole bunch of levels. So Microsoft have, once again, lost customers because of their own pig-headed idiocy in not listening to the thousands of complaints about the awful new UI they introduced.

Not only is the new UI horrible on the eyes, it wastes space like nothing else (a big issue if you’re trying to have any sort of serious text conversation), and most importantly is incredibly hard for people with colour blindness to use. Even dumbass corporations normally make concessions for people who have disabilities of one form or another, but Microsoft have made it abundantly clear that they do not care if you’re colour blind. Nice, huh?

Here’s a little tip, Microsoft: if people aren’t willing to update to your new version and you have to force them to, maybe you’re doing something wrong. Instead of forcing the issue and making it so people have to update to your bug-ridden, awful UI, bloated mess of a new release, you could always try, I don’t know… not making shit software?

They can’t seem to wrap their collective heads around this really quite simple concept. Like that whole Games for Windows Live thing. Example, Fallout 3: GFWL caused all manner of problems with that game and it took someone actually making a mod to disable GFWL to get the damn game to run properly.

And you know what? Upon disabling it, I—and many others—clawed back 10-15FPS as a result of that bloated junk no longer running. And in a first-person shooter back in 2008, that’s a HUGE deal when framerates were often hovering around the 20-30 mark under normal circumstances. Losing 10-15 from that hurts bad. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

Support me on Patreon.
Donate to my Ko-fi.
Follow me on Minds.com.
Please share! Every retweet, like, or remind helps loads, thanks!