Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Is the Mushroom Kingdom a Tax Heaven?

Lately I been thinking on the economical values as well socio-political settings on the Mushroom Kingdom and the world is located is a mere dystopian nightmare that is controlled by a bunch of corporations and there is no competitive impulse in the market, we can even think there is an oligarchic system implemented as it seems the world is controlled by the same families despite the different ages.

This is just a mere crazy theory, as there aren't really a set of cannon towards the games but rather there is a consistency to make the characters seem that they own brands around the different regions and what assets families control.

One clear example about a monopoly in the game is how much the Kong Family influenced the commercial development of the Metro Kingdom, it seems not only from the name the inhabitants have which is New Donkers but also from business that have their names such as Diddy's Mart or Dixie Street, there is no real way that the Kong Family wouldn't execute the influence if they didn't control their assets and avoid paying taxes by claiming their taxes and send them off-shore.

That is where the Mushroom Kingdom comes in, through the different incarnations starting from Mario RPG to Super Mario Galaxy seems to be the point where the money from all around the globe tends to go, because it does seem to thrive from a powerful economy in which taxes doesn't seem to be an issue as there are luxuries almost everywhere, such as racing fields as they are seen in the Mario Kart series and the hospitality industry that shelters golf courses is booming.

The political structure of the Mushroom Kingdom is based on a centralized monarchy, which leaves all the powers related to Peach and giving her almost an absolute rule on what decisions to take towards the growth of her Kingdom, which she could simply ignore any foreign pressure to reveal the source of income from any foreign investors as if she has any involvement in the business of any of the other kingdoms around the globe.

Peach as a ruler and as an investor she would benefit a lot from the income that her Kingdom receives, because that tax revenue that could be collected by the other Kingdoms but that their corporations tend to do business outside means that Peach would be receiving the revenue that could be used to improve infrastructure of other Kingdoms.

The infrastructure of the different incarnations of the Kingdom is quite concise with the representation and it gives an idea that much of the problematic with international relations is involved towards politics and economical affairs, if we diverge on what we had seen on the games we can maybe infer that Bowser's several attacks on Mushroom Kingdom hasn't been motivated by financial reasons rather than being in love with the princess, because a coup on the monarchy means that he could gain assets towards what Peach has. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

LGBTQA+ Importance and Visibility in Steven Universe

Ruby and Sapphire Cosplayers @Metrocon 
I been thinking for over a month what approach I can take writing this entry, and today I found the inspiration at Metro Con Tampa, which is an anime and video game convention but it also bring some really good cosplayers to town, as well fans of the seminal show of Rebecca Sugar "Steven Universe"

Today I finally saw with more clear eyes after last weekend at Metro Con in Tampa, Florida; the fans (at least the segment who aren't toxic) found a way to express themselves not only through what happens on the cartoon but socially.

The convention was the first place I could finally see it on my many LGBTQA+ enjoyed the show so much (including myself) and the importance of the themes it offer. Let's start that the show itself is set on a fantastical enviroment with aliens but also it follows topics as acceptance, happiness and finding your true authentic self.

The show itself can be compared to the pop culture status that Avatar: The Last Air Bender had 18 years ago, it's one of those rare shows that can reach to people easy because of the message it offers but also that it aims to the community which most of the time is ignored in the prime time television. At the convention I realized how critical how Rebecca's creation has been, especially in the last two years were the most vulnerable point of the LGBT being the Transgender, gender non conform, non binary parts of the community have their rights attacked over and over, and having a show that is inclusive gives a voice of reaffirmation to their identities but also having a space of self-expression without fear.

If we analyze the characters, much of the main characters that are the gems have no gender as their bodies are just a mere construction of light, like hard-holograms, they can modify their own bodies but they always go by their personal pronouns which are always she and live in a matriarch oriented society; each gem also have a peculiar ability to fuse and create a new form of life while the new form of life can act independent, the gems that compose the new creation need to be under constant harmony to keep the new one stable.

Gems such as Garnet (and by default Ruby and Sapphire) act on the spectrum that an emotional stable partnership can originate wonderful results into tow individuals, but also it shows that gender itself can be fluid, that we aren't bounded to our own preset notions about who we are an individuals.

We can see main characters are gender fluid, not only the main Gems but Steven himself, as he doesn't comfort with his boy attires but on ocassions he dress with women clothes (sure it can serve for comedic purposes depending on the view) but also when he and Connie fuse they become a different persona, a persona that is not referred by male or female pronouns but rather by neutral such as they or them, which I can't think of a television show on mainstream and less in a children's show.

Not only the show focus on the dynamics of who we are, but with who we relate to and who we love. Maybe the best example is with Pearl and Pink Diamond, is an unrequited love in which also mixes the different social status people have depending on where they were born and money. Pearl fall in love with Pink but Pink never reciprocate it, even if they were close enough to do a fusion, Rose never loved a potential partner but rather as a close friend.

The structure of the episodes is quite simple that a child can understand that the gems are complex beings, that use female pronouns but are agender, they can be aromantic or even express feelings; and the same episode structure can be enjoyed by adults because they are seeing the drama and epic elements that maybe a child can dismiss, albeit to a generation of children that are more vocal and there are parents who can be supportive of identity expression and sexuality, Steven Universe offers what other shows don't which is the ability to connect with their audience on a one on one and give them ideas on how to express their creativity in public spaces but in private, but overall the show gives a message of unity that we as a community we need.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Thimbleweed Park and Twink Peaks Similarities

Is been a few months since I played Thimbleweed Park and the more I think about this game, the more I believe the game could be an extension of Twin Peaks, and maybe Thimbleweed Park could catch an audience if is placed as as a mini series.

The idea of the game turned into an audiovisual format is not that strange as it can offer some really solid arcs that can developed into a bizarre world similar as the ones created by David Lynch with his magnum-opus.

The more I played the game, the more I realized that the inspirations of Thimbleweed Park and Twink Peaks are almost on a parallel level, i.e. both are settled on locations that seem common, such as Twin Peaks that is situated in Washington, Thimbleweed Park seems to be located somewhere in Oregon but honestly the ultimate end of the location is far surreal than anything else.

The two audiovisual products contain supernatural elements, narratives that let the players and viewers to explore different time frames but also on how the two start with a murder, Laura Palmer on Twink Peaks and some random Russian guy on Thimbleweed that honestly speaking has nothing to do with the development of the storyline but serves as an excuse to bring two of the five protagonists to Thimbleweed Park.

Much as Twin Peaks, TP has different perspectives that offer several angles about the story line; in theory the story can sound complex on the first run of the game, as it offers different pieces of information mixed with some red-herrings that make everything almost difficult to place in order; same with Twin Peaks, watching the show once is not going to be enough to process everything as several stories interlock with each other.

The two agents mimic the behavior of Agent Dale Cooper, as they embark into a surrealist trip that takes them to a world that doesn't seem to be, a world where everyone has fled the town the leave and there is not many people behind who live there; there is an air of mystery in which everything seems to be surreal; opposite to Agent Cooper, Agent Ray and Reyes play the classical good cop and bad cop in a dynamic that try to uncover the mysteries of the town by their own.

Albeit the divergence point of the characters development is that a lot of their motifs are left unexplained such as who really they are, and what they expect to find in Thimbleweed. A problem with the game lays on the narrative, it's extremely vague and can turn anticlimactic in certain moments, where the ending comes and how the characters develop.

Other similarities is that the game takes places on the 80's mimicking the era where Twin Peaks take place. The 80's seem to generate an influence on how the game developed, such as references to Amiga computers, hexadecimal codes, pay telephones, meta references about the graphic adventures but also on how the clothing influenced the characters and music. Both products in certain way showcase the era they are settled.

Talking about the era, even on both products technology influenced how it was shown, the 80's was a moment in time where technology developed and personal communications took place and revolutionaized the way we see the world; cellphones could be the key before anything else, and in Twin Peaks as well Thimbleweed cellphones play a role towards into finding a solution to the mysteries but on how the characters interacted with each other until the end.

This list will be expanded later...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Zelda and Elder Scrolls

With the announcement of the Elder's Scrolls six and the release of Breath of the Wild last year, and the release of Elder's Scrolls Skyrim almost a decade ago, we are on one of those times where two influential franchises will have games in the market. The questions are do Bethesda and Nintendo would be able to create different products that would shape the trend in gaming? and Bethesda would be able to create a new Elder Scrolls that is going to influence future Nintendo products such as it was the case of Breath of the Wild.

There's always some form of synergy between the different companies; Breath of the Wild being the first game of Zelda that was open to exploration but the second to be non-linear, only surpassed by A Link Between Worlds. Elder Scrolls for decades main characteristics have been related that is settled in a fantasy world named Tamriel, there is a chosen protagonist that can be costumed setup, opposite to Zelda in which Link already has a preset image as he is the mascot of the game.

I am quite excited for Elder's Scrolls 6 up to the point that I been playing Oblivion and Morrowind, just to recoup the idea of what is to be back on Tamriel. I played for a while the online version but it wasn't the same, it simply lack of the magic, it was mostly as if the player was obligated to do the missions so he can advance, instead of letting the player venture at their own risk of finding an area with an upper level than his.

The games in terms of story development can be restricting as you are subjected to be bounded in areas, even if you can go an venture and the games level to your level there are still enemies who can bound you to one location until you level up; but, the breakthrough on the development comes that the story is not set to go to one temple or the other, that you can breath freely and go as far your abilities let you or if you are like me your stealth level.

Exploring the scenarios and town is amazing on any of the franchise, exploring the post apocalyptic Hyrule it was a dream come true, albeit it would be fun to explore Hyrule much as we could explore Tamriel, to see the different towns, speak with people and learn about the different lore and what interpretations are towards Hylia just as an example.

I am curious for the next installment of the Elder's Scroll s, but there isn't enough information, for the look on the screenshots I can assume it could be located on the Aldemeri Empire just by the geography surroundings or it could be on High Rock, is difficult to pin point but we can notice that is not in the inner parts of the land but yet, is not about the location but what the game will give to the players that the others hasn't, it's going to be back to Arena? Is difficult to know, but it has to depart from the same formula, it has to learn from Breath of the Wild and not to be surrounded in the comfort that brings money because it's trendy and people generate false expectations.

Replay value I hope that is highly considered, after Skyrim and spending around 390 hours on my PS3, Elder's Scrolls 6 has to be perfect in every way, it has to offer something spectacular; it doesn't really need to offer anything new, but it has to impress with the storytelling, to find a voice that can tell an epic.

Maybe I can dream a little bit, either way I can't wait to play the new ES game.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An Analysis to Undertale

I regret that I didn't played Undertale when it was released on Steam on 2015, I guess depression really hit me hard for a long time and it took me a long time to enjoy gaming again, as I used before. At this moment I had played all the three routes towards the game, and I find it fascinating how the different approaches are taken towards the routes the gamer can take, but also on how the script of the game is truly wonderful.

In the years that I had covered video games analysis on different websites that are defunct on their vast majority, minus one which is Adventure Classic Gaming that is still active and it was the first one I ever wrote for. I have to say, I never saw something as Undertale, the game is just retro and perfect; it offers a unique experience that is rarely replicated "a great story, a gameplay that is easy to understand but also it offers a cool soundtrack" I purchase it the game as I mentioned, when it was launched to the public, but it took me almost 3 years to finally playing it; not because of any external factors but I didn't had the same enthusiasm to play anything for almost 7 years.

I do have to mention, I never checked on spoilers and much of my friends never played it either, so I was spoiler free until I started to look the different paths, as I got disappointed with the neutral route ending, I wanted to see how the pacifist ending was and why everyone seemed to love it and it was quite majestic, there was some sadness also, as if the protagonist reached some form of nirvana that at the end is not mean to be as the end, but just another point before the resetting of the timeline.

There are some metaphysical concepts, mostly related to Buddhism in which there is a reincarnation path, but also there are more complex cosmological precepts such as that multiple realities can co-exist within the multiverse, making each reset of the game just another version of an infinite numbers of scenarios in the multiverse in which only a few characters are aware of the experiences they are going through, such as Sans or Flowey, and even Frisk as they can recall how many times they had been killed.

The fight Frisk has with Asgore, they can recall how many times Asgore has killed them, on my neutral route Asgore killed me twice, and Frisk mentioned it; but not only Frisk can recall the times they had died, Sans keeps track albeit he can't recall the full extent of everything but what decisions the player took to kill or spare the monsters

What it got my attention, is also how much you as the player can do to alter the fabrics of existence, but also how much it follows you to the different realities; imagine how fantastic would be just to jump from one level of existence to another, in which you as a person are just going to experience variations of your personal history but not as harsh or drastic, you can essentially re-live your life or take the place of your other self and live his existence.

The times I played Undertale, that question popped in my head, what if my actual life is just one of the many I had lived because through will power I just woke up in a point in history before my impeding doom? You could essentially be able to re-do your mistakes but also you would be trapped in an infinite loop, where happiness doesn't exist and you are at the mercy of the cosmos, the mercy of a higher deity that makes you travel in an endless cycle of misery.

The game ending can be extremely bittersweet, because it doesn't matter if you save or kill everyone; nobody can't save you and the only individual that shares the same destiny with you is a homicidal plant, that was given life thanks to the essence of a child that was murder. The more I think about the ultimate fate of the characters, it makes me sad, it brings me desolation to my heart that there is no happy ending, just despair.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Great Diamond Authority: There were more Diamonds in the Past

The more I read about Steven Universe, my fascination gets sparked to limits that I never had before towards a television show (maybe with the Simpsons until season 12) as there hasn't been another television show in quite a while that presents a rich vibrant city, complex characters but also that the mythos around the show takes several layers and probably won't be ever explained; this lead me to think after watching the episode A Single Pale Rose that on a certain point, eons before the actual timeline there were more diamonds.

Why I do believe there were more diamonds? Because of the revelation in the Moon Base, where it was mentioned that at the moment of the construction 43 planetary bodies and two star systems where colonized; probably after 10,000 years the number duplicated but it's difficult to confirm as no further episodes has showed any probability after Pink's Rebellion the gems continued to expand their empire, albeit it has been mentioning around the series that Homeworld is lacking of resource leading me to believe that after a certain X event before the timeline, the first incarnation of the Diamond Authority got decimated and White Diamond became the last one.

The X event I am assuming could be related to the resource on the planetary system that Homeworld is located became devastated by a natural phenomenon that essentially decimated the gem population and the first incarnation of the Authority; why I am saying this? Because the designs and sizes of Yellow and Blue versus White, are extremely different, a previous generation of Diamonds that had more power than the one Yellow and Blue had, which I am even thinking that there were other Yellow's and Blue's at a certain point, which can be seen on how the thrones vary versus their sizes.

We can also think, depending on the cut of the gem, size can be altered but also by production, newer generations lack of the skills such as metamorphosis that previous ones had but also size tends to be altered; albeit, let's not go far away, why do I mention that the Great Diamond Authority had more members in the past? Because it's difficult for a race that are essentially parasites and feed on resources of star systems to only be managed by one leader; then it made me wonder who created the Diamonds? But who created White Diamond?

There has to be a race that managed to create the gems as a labor force, as White Diamond couldn't had created herself due the reason there is a technological process to bring new gems to life in facilities called Kindergarten, so who created the Homeworld? Did it created itself out of chaos or there was another power that be, that influenced on the shape of the Gem society.

It's difficult to see the Diamonds as mere Goddesses, omnipotent beings with such much power but yet they are like any other gems. So in theory Eons ago, the first generation of gems had a different set of diamonds besides White, it wouldn't be strange because the color of different gems could be associated with their respective diamond, as Yellow's Pearl for example; in another case we have Emerald whose green color could indicate she could had served another Diamond that long ago was shattered and subsequently she was inherit by Yellow and Blue.

Pink Diamond being the newest suggest that a) Diamonds take a lot of resource and B) Being herself also a fancy color diamond just like White could be that they are rare and more powerful than Yellow and Blue; but as Pink was referred as the newest  that gives the interpretation at a certain point the Great Diamond had more members, but after Pink's deflection to stay on her colony no more diamonds where created, which it means that Authority has control towards the means of production and destroy any possible replacement so they won't have to experience sorrow or anger again.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Branden and James, Despacito Cover

I always enjoy checking different covers but as well artists that I never seen; the only exception of my statement is that I followed Branden and James (Mostly Branden James) since 2013 on Twitter since he appeared on the eighth season of America's Got Talent. About two days ago, he and his partner James Clark posted on their Youtbe channel a cover of Despacito within their signature style of cello on crossover opera.

I have to confess, I believe the song is quite fun and interesting, it does gives a different approach to the reggaeton song; it's just sexy with the minimal approach as well the couples interaction on camera.