Monday, September 18, 2017

Monument Valley 2 Game Review

Monument Valley 2
(9/17/2017) --- I love Monument Valley, first part and second part. The game is not only visually astounding, the puzzles are fun, the art is amazing much as it incorporates tessalations and hyperbolic geometry; also there are metaphisical elements such as the idea of life and death and mother - daughter bond about growing up and finding your own path.

The second part continues with the formula as the first game, it follows a new character named Ro and her daughter in which they come in terms that different generations can't work without each other but also we grow as our parents start to get older.

There is a beautiful symbolism towards the game, a beautiful story that is told without words, as well the perception into reaching the sacred geometry (1) as a form of spiritual growth.

As the first game there aren't many inferences of dialogue that can be a concrete point on the story; much of the story is just left to the player's imagination and how they interpret the symbolism within each puzzle and each scenario.

Sailing away
Within the interpretation of the story, there is a point in which I saw the game could be taken as from the narrative of Ro's daugther when she embarked into her journey of development through the different mazes that compose the sacred geometry.

One aspect of the game that it takes the charm is that is too short; it can be completed within a couple of hours and there is not enough difficulty that can challenge the player; but the difficulty is the least, the part that makes the game less enjoyable is the length. I wish if there is a third part, it could take more time to defeat, more time to enjoy and more time to appreciate the beautiful M.C. Escher inspire scenarios.

The tessellations (3) that are a core element of the games give  a very unique distinct future on the aesthetics, the minimalism that is inspired from the Japanese art are the elements of the gameplay that set from other games in the market. It is quite easy to spot the art of any of the two games.

The forced perspective and every aspect that seems to defy the Newtonian Laws of Physic, can make a player imagination spark towards the adventure, albeit the narrative in which the timelines collide is what gives the game a new meaning on to tell a story with little or no words.

What would you do with time? If you can manipulate it and be able to revive the days you lived long ago?  Would you go and think about your mistakes, the old friendships that you had, what would you do? To fix it the mistakes or to go and continue with your life, even if time is fixed and even if you could revive those moments, those moments are just mere memories.



Monday, September 11, 2017

Little Witch Academia Feminism Influences

Little Witch 
(9/10/2017) --- This is such a cute animation movie as well a television show (1), I was hesitant at first as I feel it could be just a rip-off of almost any other magical girl show or Harry Potter; but the show is so charming and cute, even the movies are quite adorable.

To give a small synopsis, the show is about the misadventures of a first generation witch named Atsuko "Akko" Kagari as she enrolls in the school of Nova Luna Academy (2) to fulfill her dream of meeting her idol Shiny Chariot and to be in the campus that she also studied; but, Shiny Chariot is nowhere to be found.

There are some elements that the show reminds me of Harry Potter; albeit, it's his own version of a magic school which it wasn't introduce in Harry Potter but just turned the genre more mainstream. I personally would love to see a second series as well a third series, as the characters are adorable and relatable to the audience and the story doesn't get stall at a certain point, it just takes the right pace to conclude the first series on a proper way.

There still material to continue the show at least for a second series, maybe even up to a fifth, to give a proper conclusion to the show as if the students graduated to work on the school or took their own path. I totally recommend this small guilty pleasure to anyone, albeit there is one aspect and that the show got my attention and is the focus on human relations but also of what is to be an independent women in a world that is hostile.

The protagonist Atsuko Kagari or Akko (3) is probably the best example, as she lives on her own rules and tries to be her own person, beyond her admiration of the witch named Shiny Chariot (4) who inspired her to become a witch because of a show that Akko saw when she was younger; but, her actions go that she wants to inspire and make other people happy with her goal of being taken seriously as a witch but as a young woman, who is quite talented and powerful.

Not only the strong character comes from Akko, but from her friend and nemesis such as Lotte (5), Sucy (6) and Diana (7) in which each one of them offers a different perspective towards the inner turmoils of growing up and developing your own persona in a world that can be hostile towards you.

Diana could be the most interesting character from the show, as she seems to be independent and talented but is bounded to the family history, a history in which she feels as enslaved and couldn't even think of happiness. There is a juxtaposition of Diana's character as someone who tries to find happiness but is tied to family traditions, which is a cultural element that can enslave women across the world such as arranged marriage (8)

The fact that on episode tenth (9) Bee Commotion, with the introduction of Andrew Hanbridge (10) as a possible suitor, that he wasn't an influence towards the series but rather much of an ally, instead of a savior or potential romance showed that human relationships within the show were more important than to fall into classical anime cliches such as romance and being a helpless damsel in distress but rather a young person who is growing up, even with the insecurities that almost everyone has to live with.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Confessions of a Retail Clerk Working in a Hurricane Surge

Empty water shelve
(9/9/2017) --- I am writing this before any power failures. The last seven days had been insane, I can't imagine for health care practicioners, EMT's, firemen and police officers have to deal with the aftermath or what they have to deal during the panic attacks that people have during hurricanes and other weather phenomena.

I always took advantage and bought my supplies before the storm season arrived, at this moment I am missing a good flash light but any lights and batteries have been out of stock everywhere for a week now. What it gets my attention is the behavior of some people who go into a rage frenzy, a panic and ultimately an understanding of their own mortality without even thinking about the consequences of their actions towards themselves and others.

It is madness to work in between a category five hurricane, people just fight and attack the clerks for almost anything; I shouldn't complain too much, because after a trip to the gas station I saw how badly the clerks on those establishment can be treated by people who are rushing into a panic mode. I went to the gas station, I am not going to mention which location but it was a WaWa, after picking up sand bags with a dear friend of mine, people were trying to skip the line and put gas as soon as possible.

On a certain moment, two individuals started to fight, they mentioned racial epithets to each other but their fight suddenly stopped, when one of them pulled a gun on the other, and the one who started with the racial slurs just went back to his car. The attendants who were directing the traffic were alarmed, they started to scream "that someone should call the cops" but the honest truth, there was a cop sitting behind them and didn't do anything.

A long line for water
Going back to the store setting; almost every store that I worked with, they contain one of two water filling stations. On the one that I am right now, we have one on the exit, next to it there are some other coolers with drinks and vending machines; but, the main treasure, the golden objective was to go to the water station, to fill up the gallons.

Lines were insane, just for water, to refill water. They were more people on the other side of the door, almost 30 something people in line, waiting to refill the water, going slowly as possible, blocking the entrance and exist as well the cart receiving station.

It is understandable, water becomes the main resource for survival, mostly when there can be a failure on the sewers due the rise on the water; but, whenever customers start acting aggressive and threat the employees, which they have been working hard to assist the customers, then the experience of working in a tense enviroment turns into a nightmare.

8:15 AM 09/09/17
The last day before any major evacuation and before the store closed earlier; it fell as it was rush hour, but it was 8:00AM, just one hour after we open. The photo on the left, I took it exactly 15 minutes after I arrived, and the store was full. Right now, I am just waiting for the power to fail, anyone who is in Florida, please be safe, be safe.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mafalda Short Essay

10 Years with Mafalda
(8/31/2017) --- It's been ten years since I had the chance to put my hands in a Mafalda (1) book, better say to see it in person.  To give a brief idea of who is Mafalda and what is her universe? It's the comic strip of an Argentinian girl who was created by Quino (2) in 1964. We need to understand that Mafalda started as an advertisement oriented cartoon and it evolved to be a product of is time.

Beyond the socio-political setting of the 1960's in which each character represents different ideological aspects of the Argentinian culture, the setting can be still applied in the contemporary of today's social panorama in which the rise of populist and neo-nazi parties are creating an urgency in which a new voice such as Quino and thus Mafalda need to be hear. 

Of course we have Doonesbury (3) but over the years Gary Trudeau (4) has lowered the pace of the strip because of age and other commitments, leaving an opening for young cartoonists who have this disposition of media beyond any printed means to reach their desired targeted audience.

What I found interesting, is that Mafalda never struck openly in the United States; it could be due sociological differences; humor disparity or the way the people see society's evolution and how international and regional relations evolve on a daily basis. It is important to have some form of political humor and critique that can reach to the people of every country and make them think about how to change and impact their communities.

On the United States a cartoon as Mafalda is just scarce, there aren't many on mainstream media besides Doonesbury and is actually quite sad, because there aren't any new voices that can impact the readers; I guess, there is always online media and hosting, albeit is difficult to reach an audience without the proper funds.

I haven't found any official translations about Mafalda at least in Tampa, I know online there are some unofficial's, but nothing in particular. Why we need a character as Mafalda? Or at least to read it beyond the language and cultural barriers, because it expose a strong female character who is non-conformist with the rules of the society that she is growing up.

We as readers, we need to understand that the comics expose a great deal of feminist and existentialist tones that transcend the bounds of 1960's in Argentina; it sets a series of examples that we can be whatever who we want to be and hesitate and question our surroundings. It gives an amazing introduction to younger readers about what is to be a female and to try to expose your ideas as openly as possible; knowing that within gender bias there would be a difficulty to expose your ideas.

On an existentialist level, Mafalda is just a prime example towards how the following a retrospective and exo analyses could lead to see solutions on a problematic social enviroment, but also to understand the part of yourself that makes it your own persona; the idea of an existential doubt shouldn't be seen as a bad "thing" as is part of a composed ego and well structured critical thinking.