Games

Pondering RogueliKes, RogueliTes, and Procedural Death Labyrinths

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It’s been forever and a day since I posted anything here. Fall is busy in general for me as a JET ALT who is very involved with her schools. I was also working on and releasing my first finished video game, Ultra Hat Dimension. It was a great, if stressful experience. Check the game out and look for a postmortem in the near future.

Now that’s finished, I’ve begun making videos besides my critical/reminiscent long-form FFX let’s play. My first one is about the terms “roguelike”, “roguelite”, and “procedural death labyrinths” — both how the terms came about and how I use them. It’s a lead in to a series of one-offs about games I’ll be doing. The video script is below the embed.

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Cartoons

Tangled, Part 1

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I didn’t get around to watching Disney’s Tangled until a few days ago. Though I missed it in theaters, it came up in a Facebook discussion about Pixar’s upcoming Brave. Reminded of it, I got my hands on it and watched it.

Watching the movie, I found myself conflicted. The parts I liked I really liked. The parts I didn’t like, I really didn’t like. There was very little in between. At the end of the movie I simply felt disappointed. So much was done well, but the parts that were done poorly left me with no desire to watch the movie again. Frustration prompted me to write a long consideration of its pros and cons. So long, in fact, that I’m breaking it up into multiple posts. (Hopefully the others will be shorter than this one.)

That said, I would like to point out up front that I do think the movie is worth watching.

The Tale

Traditionally

Traditionally, the story of Rapunzel starts with a pregnant, common-born woman having cravings for her neighbor’s vegetables. When the neighbor catches her husband sneaking into her garden to steal some for a third time, the neighbor demands the unborn child as payment. Since this neighbor is supposedly a witch, the couple complies out of fear.

The girl grows up to be beautiful and eventually the witch locks her in a tower. There she stays until a prince hears her singing and starts to court her when the witch isn’t around. When the witch finds out, she cuts off Rapunzel’s long hair, which is the only way into the tower, and casts her out. When next the prince comes by, the witch blinds him. Though there are several variations on the ending, typically Rapunzel and the prince eventually get lucky and find each other again.

Tangled sets itself up with a modified origin story, adding a magic element to Rapunzel herself and setting up for a very different tale. I won’t summarize the whole movie (though there are spoilers ahead). However, I do need to tell you about the five-minute back story with which the movie begins.

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Japan

The Molted Cicada

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This was written for one of my classes this semester. The class is titled Women’s Voices in Japanese Literature. The assignment was to compare/contrast two poems from The Tale of Genji, one of the staples of classic Japanese literature.

There are many tanka poems in The Tale of Genji. These short poems, each consisting of a total of thirty-one syllables in five lines, form the most important conversations in the story. They are used in place of dialogue when the characters’ emotions are strongest; each poem bursts forth from the character, expressing his or her situation or emphasizing a point the way songs do in a good musical. These poems help shape the story for the reader, regardless of whether it is being read in English or Japanese. Since the poems represent dialogue, they often have more impact when all the poems in a dialogue are considered together.

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