The MAP community is poised to win, and YouTube seems to be enabling them.

YouTube has changed. And not for the better. At one point, their slogan was “Broadcast Yourself”. It came with the suggestion that YouTube was a platform where you could find rising talent among ordinary people, and find user-contributed entertainment outside of established traditional media.

Of course, even at that time, you’d have a difficult time finding anyone new, as YouTube promoted their “partners” to the detriment of up-and-comers who deserved our attention.

But even before that, I remember sometimes having friends over, and we’d share the stuff we found. Like people who got frustrated at old video games because of how hard they were. Or marshmallow Peeps being microwaved to watch them expand. Or redneck science experiments like what happens when you drop Mentos into Diet Coke (tried it, you’d want to be outside for that one).

But now, your curated recommendations would likely consist of those who really didn’t need attention, and YouTube is propping up traditional media outlets whose videos get ratioed and flamed in the comments, provided comments are not shut off.

So, how come I’m waxing nostalgic? This was largely triggered by an upload by MamaMax (Warning: the YouTuber does nothing to avoid being disturbing):

What it basically comes down to is that the uploader was upset that a previous video, which exposed a child predator, was flagged by YouTube’s automated moderation. The same automated moderation that unfairly dishes out strikes because it sucks at detecting sarcasm and context.

When content creators attempt to contest these strikes, they have to fight to appeal to an actual human being, and oftentimes, their complaints are responded to by automated form letters. And, what’s frustrating beyond reason, at no point is the content creator informed what their infraction was, an apparent move on YouTube’s part to absolve them of any pressure to enforce their own community guidelines with any amount of consistency.

While calling upon your audience to become your own personal army is a very Twitter thing to do, where MamaMax went beyond is that he called upon numerous content creators to join him in speaking up, resulting in the video above. Which certainly goes to show just how frustrating YouTube has been to work with.

But there’s another concern that’s been brought up that I think should get some attention.

Right now, it seems like it’s a little too easy for creeps to meet up with and groom children online. This seems particularly suspicious when you consider that it’s the people exposing them that risk getting strikes on YouTube via their automated system. This is in pretty bad light considering that pedophiles have recently attempted to rebrand themselves as “Minor Attracted Persons” (MAPs, for short), and have been making moves to attempt to have themselves represented as part of the alphabet soup movement (LGBTQ+etc).

My concern is that they might actually succeed. And it might not even take that long. This is because, as many people as there are who don’t like pedophiles, most people don’t seem to be mentally prepared for some of the arguments that they might try, and on top of that, the people in establishment control don’t seem very concerned.

As I see it, if a person sexually abuses a child, throw the book at them. More than that, push the bookcase on them. I’ve known people who were sexually abused as kids, and I think people underestimate just how badly that it can mess them up, possibly for life. In many cases, it hampers the child’s ability to trust authority, or impair their emotional capacity for a healthy relationship.

Yet, from what I’ve seen, the system sucks ass when it comes to going after the people who actually commit these crimes, but for some reason, it’s great at going after people who are innocent. But we can get into some uncomfortable detail about that some other time.

As they are, the MAP community is poised to win. They have been waiting for an opportunity like the one they have for a long time, with a great deal of patience. Whether they intended to or not, the alphabet soup movement cultivated the environment necessary for them to succeed.

If the rest of us are going to be able to defeat them, we’re going to have to be ready to battle them on an intellectual level. You probably don’t want to confront them intellectually, you’d probably rather feed them to a wood chipper. But they know how to take that anger towards them, and turn it to their advantage, making you seem like the unreasonable one. So, don’t fall into that trap.

And don’t assume that, just because what a person is expressing is obviously wrong, that defeating their arguments is going to be an easy-bucket slam-dunk victory. In many cases, flat-earthers win debates simply because the other side wasn’t ready for the arguments that they present. It actually does happen that smart people take on flat-earthers and lose, because the person who is plainly wrong is really great at being wrong.

While it’s true that people have freedom of speech, that doesn’t mean that they have freedom from consequence. If someone expresses a desire to harm me or anyone I know, my inclination would be to keep a distance from them. And if anyone expresses a desire to harm my family, whether near or far, present or hypothetical, my inclination would be to air his ass out. So, when a person of the age of majority expresses a desire to have sexual relations with a minor, the inclination of people around them would be to treat the person as a pariah, and keep their children a safe distance from them. This being the case, to what end would a person express a desire to commit what is obviously a crime?

Sometimes, MAPs make the case that being against relationships with minors is ageist. As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s a position that many of them have. They might even make statutory rape laws appear arbitrary, and it’ll work, if you’re unprepared for the case they’re ready to make against the greater community. The fact is, just because a person is physically capable of doing something doesn’t mean that they’ve reached the age where they’re presumably fully-understanding of the consequences of their decision. Statutory rape laws exist to protect those people from those who are old enough to know better, but just don’t care. It’s based on similar reasoning that a person isn’t allowed to enter into a contract until they’ve reached the age of majority, which prevents many minors from starting bank accounts unless a parent or guardian is with them.

That’s just an example of the kind of knowledge that one needs to have to take these creeps on. Again, it’s important not to assume that just because someone is plainly wrong that intellectually overcoming them would be an easy victory. The reason why biological men are currently destroying biological women at their own sports after claiming to be “trans” is because most people who would have plainly seen what was wrong considered it too ridiculous to happen, and didn’t participate in the discussion by reason of the fact that they trusted too much in the better judgement of everyone else.

But this isn’t intended as a black-pill moment. There’s reason to hope. Recently, parents have expressed anger at discovering what’s been going on at public schools, which goes to show that where their children are involved, people actually do give a care.

That relates to another way that you can make a difference: participate in local politics. Find out who your local elected officials are, particularly as relates to education. Find out when your local elections are, and be sure you’re picking candidates that reflect your values. After all, these are the people who can make your life a living hell. Participate in primaries, and be sure to pick the candidate that best represents your ideals. This goes for whether you’re a registered Democrat or Republican. Get the rotten establishment out and replace them with populists on both sides.

And while you’re at it, participate in the culture war. Social media sites like YouTube are in the shape that they’re in because the corporate interests have way too much say. If you don’t even participate, then there’s not much expectation that we’ll win. From what I’ve seen, classical liberals would be much more powerful if more of them didn’t just sit back and let someone else do the fighting.

And while you’re at it, you can go beyond self-censoring on Twitter and find your fellow patriots on alternative social media. For example, Minds.com. The more people join and participate in alternative social media, the more powerful it becomes.

If we’re going to see social media change for the better, we need to be a voice that establishment outlets like YouTube know that they can’t afford to ignore.

Japan’s Vaccine Statement is Trending, Because It’s Actually Sane

Fighting off contagious disease is a game of strategy. While the United States and Europe are playing checkers, Japan is playing chess.

I know that there are a ton of nerds out there that think that everything about Japan is awesome, and seek to emulate them in every single way. In light of this, I present the following, and let the otaku nerds know that the ball is in their court:

SANITY!!!

Actual, honest, richly-needed SANITY!

While it’s all sound, I’d like to zero in on this part:

“Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided. Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases, and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent. Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those around you to be vaccinated, and do not discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated.”

Put another way, “Please don’t be like those Americans or Europeans, who have collectively lost their minds.” This seems to have been written with a certain awareness of what’s going on around the world, particularly in places like Australia where the way the coronavirus has been handled has been distinctly authoritarian. Chillingly, vaccine authoritarianism seems to be on the rise in Germany.

I get the idea that there may be a spike in demand for plane tickets to Japan, particularly for one-way trips.

How about it, anime nerds? Is Japan based, or what?

Fentanyl Death Explosion

As bombastic as that title may sound, it’s not an exaggeration. According to watchgroup Families Against Fentanyl, fentanyl has become the number one killer of Americans aged 18-45.

The synthetic opioid has killed over 64,000 Americans this year alone, surpassing suicide, Covid, and car accidents. As the group also points out, the fatality rate has doubled over the course of the last couple years.

Considering that the lion’s share of fentanyl is produced in China, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s introduction into the U.S. was a deliberate move to further aggravate a country destabilized by Covid lockdowns. And considering that it comes into the U.S. through the Mexican border, it would seem as though it’s presence is a direct result of Democrat’s opposition to placing a wall along that border.

As FAF’s factsheet on fentanyl fatalities illustrates, fentanyl deaths for Americans age 18 to 45 overtakes Covid deaths, eclipsing them over 3.5 times:

Can we expect leadership from Democrats during this hard time? No, but we can expect them to push a fourth booster in a year for a vaccine that doesn’t seem to slow down the very virus it was intended to stop, while lining the pockets of their corporate interests with billions of dollars.

Let’s go, Brandon.

An Image to Describe 2021

Each year, this blog posts a picture which, in the eyes of myself, describes the year accurately, sometimes edited, and sometimes not. However sardonic it may be, I think we can all appreciate that humanity has made it as far as we have without reducing ourselves to irradiated primal components over things like economic strategy.

I think we all know that QAnon Shaman is going to take the honor this year. But before we get to that, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how zany this year has been. After all, this year wasn’t just crazy in a way like standing at a safe distance and laughing at the insane thing that some celebrity as done. This year’s craziness affected every single one of us in one way or another.

As we recap, know that I’m not even going to bother listing everything crazy about this year, as writing up such a list would take at least another year.

  • Thousands of protestors flooded the U.S. Capitol building, resulting in the people being represented therein for the first time in over a century.
  • After a nearly-two-decade military campaign, President Biden surrendered Afghanistan back to a bunch of hairy men who believe that pedophilia is normal, abandoning both equipment and American people in the process.
  • In the highly-publicized Rittenhouse trial, a jury helped millions of morons to come to the conclusion that if someone with an assault rifle is running from you, chasing him and attacking him is a bad idea.
  • Twitter banned a standing President of the United States from their platform, even though he didn’t do a damn thing wrong.
  • After months on end of the uniparty calling the lab-leak hypothesis a “conspiracy theory”, U.S. intelligence released a 2-page declassified report calling “laboratory-associated incident” a plausible source of Covid-19.
  • A huge container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal, disrupting trading for much of the world.
  • Anthony Fauci gives hope to the least of us as he demonstrates that a slow-witted, narcissistic ass-wipe can hold the highest-paid government office.
  • NASA launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test to determine whether we are currently capable of protecting earth from an asteroid collision, showing that science can be used for something other than marketing useless garbage to gullible cretins.
  • The ultra-left are so obsessed with getting you vaccinated, that they threatened your job over it. Because nothing says that they want to protect you quite like threatening to turn you into a homeless drifter that eats garbage out of the gutters. Thankfully, the courts are succeeding so far in blocking that bullshit.

With all that said, here is the image that describes 2021, depicting the most honest man to stand at the house podium:

I don’t know about you, but I miss the days when conspiracy theorists were wrong about stuff, and mainly just went on about a flat earth and space aliens. But now that the left is so insistent that the idea that there are reptilians in government is a harmful and dangerous conspiracy theory, that gets me to thinking. Streisand Effect, and such.

Nostradamus was still a hack.

The U.N. is Actually Displaying a Statue That Resembles One of the Beasts of Revelation Outside Their Headquarters

When I first heard about this, I had my doubts. After all, it sounds too crazy to be true. But as it turns out, the United Nations is now displaying a statue that fits the description of the beasts described in both Daniel and Revelation, right outside their headquarters in New York City.

As in, the adversarial figure mentioned in Bible prophecy as being a ruling power that’s the enemy of the saints.

Pictured above is the statue named, “The Guardian of International Peace and Security”. It’s said to be a mixture between a jaguar and an eagle, but it looks like an artistic representation of the beast described by the Biblical prophet Daniel, and again in the book of Revelation.

Here is Revelation 13:2:

“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

Revelation 13:2

According to the above verse, the beast is supposed to be like a leopard. Here is a picture of a leopard:

And here’s a Jaguar:

There are many similarities, as they are both large orange cats with black spots.

Here’s what a bear paw looks like:

There’s one more claw than the statue, but notice how the claws are exposed, as they are on the statue? Seems like the statue’s paws seem more like a bear than a cat. A cat’s claws are retractable, but they have to spread their claws to expose them.

And here is a lion with it’s mouth open.

A lion’s mouth is similar to that of a jaguar, but is conspicuously wider, which can also be said about the statue.

Finally, the verse says that the beast got it’s authority from the dragon. As it so happens, the statue looks dragon-like, with wings and spiky ridges starting from the top of its head, and going down along it’s back to the tip of its tail.

Considering how well this fits the Biblical description of the first beast of Revelation 13, some might wonder whether it’s a fulfillment of that prophecy. Personally, I suspect that it isn’t, considering that it’s apparent that the descriptions of the beasts in Bible prophecy were intended to be allegories for the attributes of ruling powers.

Because the descriptions of the beasts are among the better-known Bible symbols, I suspect that the design of the statue was a deliberate move, and was intended to communicate that the U.N. is well aware of their adversarial relationship with Christianity, and is yet another method to communicate to the Christian world that they do not have their values.

Considering what else Revelation 13 has to say about the first beast it describes, it’s interesting that the U.N. would decide to display such an adversarial figure:

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Revelation 13:3-8

Considering that it says, “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them:”, the statue might be the U.N.’s way of saying that they don’t want to be friends with Christians. What’s more, Revelation continues, “and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”, the statue may be the U.N.’s way of saying that they aspire to achieve total domination over global affairs. Which wouldn’t be terribly surprising, considering their behavior as of late.

Interestingly, Revelation 13 mentions a second beast, and here is a link to the chapter so you can read it. Interestingly, the chapter culminates in a warning for us about a system of identification for all people, down to the individual level, without which a person would not be permitted to participate in commercial activities (verses 16-18).

As much as I could speculate that the artists Jacobo and Maria Angeles were trolling the U.N. to have the statue displayed completely unaware of the symbolism involved, even a person who never bothered to read a word of the Scriptures with any intention other than to smugly criticize them should be familiar with the symbolism, as it is one of the most recognizable symbols in the cultural frame of reference of many (perhaps most) U.N. officials. That’s why I suspect that its prominent display outside the United Nations building in New York City was in deliberate consideration of the symbolism.

The officials who understand the symbolism may actually find the display of the statue funny, but I suspect that many people of Christian background, such as myself, do not. But if their choice to display the statue wasn’t for humor, that might indicate some different problems.

The global leadership that’s in power today does not have the same values as the people that they govern, and we didn’t need some statue to tell us that.

We’d all have a better shot at peace and security if the United Nations would collectively shut their mouths and leave the rest of us be.

As It Turns Out, Staging a Hate Crime Against Yourself is a Bad Idea.

Jussie Smollett’s acting career wasn’t that great to begin with, so it’s not too surprising that his trial performance didn’t go over that well.

Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett has just been found guilty on 5 out of 6 counts related to his attempt to stage a hate crime against himself for publicity. This is the latest development in a saga in American politics wherein Americans pay close attention to the legal aftermath of a couple years of lockdowns and violent leftist protests, and the aftermath of it all.

During the trial, the evidence against Smollett just kept piling up, and Smollett kept adding extraneous details to his defense, such as that he was engaged in adult activities with his own attackers. Which doesn’t lend much credence to the idea of a hate crime. But if that’s how it went down, it would suggest that his role in Empire wasn’t his only performance that disappointed.

The verdict was a welcome change of pace after years of MeToo accusations, some of which were baseless, and goes to show that a false accusation won’t always prosper.

Right now, if there’s anyone who should be looking on with concern, it would be Alec Baldwin, as the outcome of the Smollett trial illustrates that a person’s fame doesn’t guarantee that they get off scot-free, and he should take particular interest in Smollett’s upcoming sentencing. If Smollett gets the maximum sentence for his own crime, that might not bode well for Baldwin.

Considering that Jussie had staged a hate crime against himself for his own benefit, the outcome is something to consider. Because he’s now a convicted felon, he could potentially lose years of his own freedom, he is no longer allowed to vote, may no longer legally own a gun, and he’ll have a difficult time travelling internationally. He didn’t gain very much at all.

Though that might stand to change if one of the left’s more prominent figures grants him opportunities by reason of his symbolic status. If that would be the case, it would be their business. But putting aside how appropriate it would be for one liar to join forces with another, the prominent leftists would do well to watch their backs, considering Smollett’s track record of throwing his partners under the bus when plans fall apart.

Hopefully, this outcome will serve as a deterrent to anyone considering replicating Jussie’s crime. The U.S. has enough problems as it is, we don’t need anyone creating any fake problems that make matters worse, just for one man’s selfish benefit.

Now that that chapter of the saga is over, it might not be a bad idea to turn scrutiny to Don Lemon, who provided information to Smollett himself regarding a police investigation, which is a clear conflict of interest considering that Don Lemon himself was covering the Smollett trial. Don Lemon’s integrity is definitely on trial, as a journalist cannot be counted on for impartiality when the journalist has involvement in the story, or stake in the outcome, for that matter.

Misinformation Expert Develops Conspiracy Tier Chart to Help the Normies

As we all know, the left doesn’t trust us to think for ourselves, which is why we see so many self-appointed misinformation experts helping the political establishment to assist us on the way to their conclusions.

To this end, misinformation expert Abbie Richards has decided to make a conspiracy theory tier list, just like all those cool YouTubers who tier things like animals for viability:

Yes, I linked to the tweet that time. If you’re wondering why I sometimes post a screengrab instead, it’s on the chance that these kinds of posters develop a flash of self-awareness needed to comprehend this type of content as the cringe that it is, and they attempt to memory-hole it, in the hopes that the internet would ever forget.

For your benefit, here’s the full chart:

Part of what makes artistic expressions such as the above as fascinating as they are is because they reveal more about the artist than anybody else. It doesn’t take long browsing the chart to see where Abbie Richards stands in regards to various issues.

What’s fascinating is what she considers to be dangerous. While some of the above can be classified as harmful misinformation, nearly all of it, including the upper tiers, is mainly just the stuff of old men yelling at clouds, and disheveled men meandering about at parks and rambling semi-coherently because they forgot to take their meds.

But what’s especially deafening about the above chart is the conspiracy theories that the chart omits, such as the idea that Trump colluded with Russians to win the 2016 Presidential election, or that the January 6th Capitol protest was an organized attempt at an insurrection. What makes those conspiracy theories actually dangerous is that they are believed by legacy media pundits, political elites, and their corporate interests who peddle these same conspiracy theories as facts, in spite of the same being defeated by both thorough investigation and basic observation.

Also interesting is the use of the phrase “Antisemitic Point of No Return”, which implies that each of the conspiracy theories above it were intrinsically anti-Semitic, and that the chart maker is so vindictive that if you’ve considered any of them, then as far as she’s concerned you cannot be reconciled back to reality.

As you probably already know, the inventers of conspiracy theories usually ram-rod anti-Semitism into them because it’s practically a meme at this point. Any conspiracy theory can be made anti-Semitic with an arbitrary implication that Jews were somehow involved, which is often what happens with them. Considering how clever conspiracy theorists present Jews to be, it’s interesting that there aren’t more Synagogues around. One would think that with all that they supposedly have their hands in, Jews would have a greater ideological stranglehold on the world.

Okay, closing paragraph. On this blog, I make fun of the stupid things that people do. As you can imagine, the work of finding new material is not hard. So, thanks, Abbie Richards, for providing the low-hanging fruit.

Review: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Developer: ILCA
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Rating: Everyone
Platform:
 Nintendo Switch

“Old fans would not want us to mess with their good memories… but there is no point in just redoing the same thing, right?”

GameFreak President, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

It’s plain to see what approach was taken this time around. Because as it is, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (hereafter BDSP) may be the most predictable game I’ve ever played. At this point, the Pokémon franchise has pretty much cornered the market on those who like their games completely non-surprising.

Let’s go, Brandon!

This review almost saddens me to write, because I had some fond memories of the original Diamond and Pearl. It seems I’m far from the only one, as gamers have been calling for Sinnoh remakes since the well-received Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. While nostalgia is a selling point for Pokémon remakes, the previous remakes cultivated an expectation of an upgraded experience, not simply a retread. Up until the Let’s Go games, the remakes were usually done in a style similar to the most recent core Pokémon games at that point, and they usually included tweaks to the gameplay, and elements that weren’t in the originals. Considering this, it should be understandable that the Sinnoh remakes would have the same approach. But it wasn’t the case for BDSP.

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were really early to the whole smart watch dealie.

I often start reviews with a brief, non-spoilery synopsis of the game’s plot, but in this case, it’s easy enough to guess the story direction for BDSP. A trainer starts out in a small town, and after picking from among three starter pokémon, the trainer embarks on a quest to obtain 8 gym badges, with intermittent interruptions from a team of bad guys, culminating in a showdown with the Elite Four, then the Champion. The story is the same as it was for the originals, so if you’ve played Diamond or Pearl before, then BDSP will have pretty much no surprises for you.

When it comes down to it, BDSP are almost straight ports of Diamond and Pearl, with some elements from Pokémon Platinum, but some upgrades to the production values.

But not by much.

For some reason, ILCA decided to go with a chibi graphical style for the overworld models that are reminiscent of Nendoroids.

Believe it or not, this was already a thing.

I was initially skeptical but open-minded about this, but in execution, these chibi Nendoroid models leave much to be desired, especially when the games do a dramatic zoom-in, which happens often.

Watch out, here comes Team Galactic to teach you some respect!

When these extreme close-ups happen, the jaggies and aliasing on these character models becomes really apparent, and the result is so cringy that I’ve found myself wishing that ILCA didn’t bother with them.

Interestingly, ILCA is short for ”I Love Computer Art”.

She’s not the only one.

The music tracks are on point, and while that’s normally a great thing, that brings up the question of why two different aspects of production so starkly differ in quality. This dissonance becomes more apparent when you see that the in-battle scenes look current-gen, complete with proportionate anime-style character models. Why couldn’t they have done the whole game with these models?

This is not Sword or Shield.

I’m going to come right out and say it: BDSP seem incomplete. To the point that I actually closed the game to check to see that I was playing with the day one update, which I was (1.1.1). It’s hard to believe that this was a full-price professional product, let alone the latest core installment to the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time.

Smol Gyarados.

Yes, that following Gyarados is undersize, and that seems intentional. But for some reason, it spawned on that thin log. Who else is looking forward to what the glitch hunters are going to find?

As far as gameplay goes, BDSP is pretty much a classic-style turn-based RPG. There was less call for that to be messed with than anything else, so maybe it’s not bad that ILCA didn’t do much to tamper with it. Each turn, attacks are selected, then the pokémon take turns executing their attacks, with the ones with higher speed getting priority. There are many complex gameplay elements that can alter the flow of battle, and many players formulate their strategies based on these. Usually, a player that can exploit an opponents type weaknesses will have a significant advantage, but different offensive and defensive stats introduce an element of complexity that sometimes makes the best play unclear. As is the case in most installments in this series, the flow of battle can change drastically due to a variety of buffs and debuffs.

But hey, you may have already known how to play Pokémon already, especially if you’re in this game’s target audience. Even if you don’t, getting though most of the game will be pretty simple, especially now that the EXP system rewards all pokémon in the party, not just the one that did the battling. Yes, like just about any other RPG.

If you’re great at competitive Pokemon, college may not present you with much of a challenge.

I know that I’m not being greedy when I say that I wish that ILCA did more to mess with the experience that I remember. The Hoenn remakes did include soaring, which wasn’t in the original, and the Let’s Go games had mega evolution. Would the addition of a similar mechanic to a Sinnoh remake have been too much to ask?

I enjoyed the Sinnoh Underground in the originals, and I’m happy with the experience this time around. I’m okay with how relatively little they’ve messed with the experience of digging up treasures. What’s more, there are mini-biomes in the underground which, upon their discovery, increases the variety of pokémon available to the player. If players find, catch, and use pokémon that weren’t part of the typical walkthrough of the originals, that counts as a somewhat changed experience, right?

I suspect that the nurse was the one that polished the floor.

It’s really hard to imagine who I’d recommend this game to. If someone is already a Pokémon fan, then they’ll likely have already played Diamond, Pearl, or their original remake, Platinum. If someone is one of the people left who haven’t, BDSP isn’t likely to impress them. If someone is such a Pokémon fanatic that they’re determined to buy them anyway, they’re not likely to change their minds based on anyone’s recommendations.

So, who is this game for? It’s really hard to say, which factors well into Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s score of 6 out of 10.

Remastered music, updated graphics, and some gimmicks that don’t do much to the core experience. There’s your TL;DR.

Pokémon is Not As Childish As It Looks

The idea that Pokémon is a childish game has been around for quite some time. It’s a superficial observation, which does hold up to an extent. But some of the themes of the Pokémon games are quite a bit darker than they get credit for.

Let’s examine some of the themes of each generation of games, one at a time.

Generation One (Kanto)
Shows how casino gambling can be used to fund genetic engineering experiments which culminate in a psychotic, telekinetic battling machine.

While Team Rocket were certainly the bad guys in raiding the corporate offices of Silph Co., let’s not forget that Silph was developing a proprietary PokeBall that bypasses the will of a Pokémon and guarantees its capture.

Generation Two (Johto)
Team Rocket cut off the tails of Slowpoke to sell for profit.

Later, in what can be called a TI’s paranoid delusion having come to fruition, electromagnetic waves were employed that literally drove certain creatures within its area of effect berserk. If all you know about Team Rocket is the buffoonery of Jessie, James and Meowth, you’re not getting the whole story.

Generation Three (Hoenn)
We get to see both sides of the climate change extremes.

With the Hoenn remakes (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) came a postgame episode that showed all of Hoenn being threatened by an impending meteor impact. The Devon corporation proposed teleporting the meteor to an alternate dimension, where it would strike a different Hoenn region in a different timeline, instead. Yeah, for an alternate Hoenn region, it could have been death from above, with no warning and no way to respond.

Generation Four (Sinnoh)
Hoo, boy. This one is a whopper. Where to begin?

The bad guys resemble a sci-fi cult. Like many cults, the group exists for the aspirations of its leader. Cyrus doesn’t share his true motives with the rest of Team Galactic, which involves wiping out the entire universe then replacing it with an emotionless universe governed by Cyrus. Grandiose, much?

In the anime, Cyrus meets his end when he’s killed by Giratina. If you don’t know what a Giratina is, it’s a Lovecraftian monstrosity that was banished to a different dimension for it’s violence. Considering what animals in this world do just to stay alive, to be so violent to end up banished to another dimension for it is quite a feat. And judging from the condition of the Distortion World, Giratina might not have learned its lesson.

Generation Five (Unova)
The theme of this one is philosophical, but goes to show that the popularity of an idea can cause people to give up something that’s clearly to their benefit to keep. Behind it all is a cultist who stands to benefit from everyone else giving up their Pokémon, and he actually came up with a plan to change society, first through persuasion, then through peer pressure. When his plan fell apart, he pretty much went insane, even as far as railing against his adopted son, and not accepting that he lost.

In the sequel game of gen 5, the bad guy attempts to murder the main character.

Generation Six (Kalos)
Are you sitting down? You might want to. The bad guy wanted to wipe out all humanity, except for whoever happened to be in his little team, with the Malthusian reasoning that there wasn’t enough resources to go around. Like many who think like that, he’s as enthusiastic as he was because he fantasized about being the one to manage all the world’s resources.

In the anime, Lysandre became one of the few humans to have been killed by a Pokémon, when he was killed by Zygarde (Bonnie’s friend Squishy shared in the guilt). It’s hard to imagine anyone shed a tear for him, but Malva might have. She was Lysandre’s girlfriend, and a TV anchor. So yeah, in Kalos, a Malthusian infiltrated the tech industry and the mainstream information media. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Generation Seven (Alola)
As much as I’d like to say that things cooled down since gen 6, gen 7 depicts a monolithic corporation endangering two universes for selfish reasons. Then there’s all that Lillie had to go through. That poor girl watched in slow motion as her family was torn apart, first when her father disappeared, then when her mother went insane looking for the ultra beasts, then when her brother ran away from home. In the original Sun/Moon, Lusamine ended up in an intermittent coma due to the cells of Nihilego remaining in her brain, and Lillie went to Kanto to search for a cure. If Lillie grows up to be normal it’s going to be against some pretty steep odds.

The Ultra variants of Sun and Moon have a postgame story where Giovanni enlists the bad guys from different regions, from different grimdark timelines where those bad guys succeeded in their plans. Considering how screwed up some of their plans were (see above), that’s a lot to contemplate.

Generation Eight (Galar)
The bad guy imprisoned a cosmic dragon, and slowly tore it apart, one fragment at a time, to continually extract energy from it. By the time the player encountered the thing, it was nearly a skeleton of its former self. What’s more, the bad guy was willing to risk a catastrophe for the entire Galar region, just to solve an energy crisis that would have been centuries away from being significant.

Is this to say that Pokémon is mainly about its dark elements? Not really. If anything, Pokémon is about the connections that one can form as they meet people who share their interests. But to dismiss Pokémon as being merely childish is to demonstrate how easy it is to hide an edge behind a disarming exterior.

Review: Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers

Developer: Twilight Frontier
Publisher: Phoenix
Genre: Fighting
Rating: Teen
Platform:
 PC, Steam, Sony PS4, Nintendo Switch

The characters in Touhou are just about everywhere nowadays, to the point that it’s getting to be impossible to escape from them. Now, an official installment of the Touhou franchise has come to Nintendo Switch, this one in particular from among the fighting games in the series.

Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers follows the adventures of Reimu Hakurei and a handful from among her many, many acquaintances as they investigate a strange phenomenon known as “perfect possession”, which allows a pair to swap places with each other at will, even in the middle of a fight. It’s basically an in-universe explanation for the tag battle mechanic. It can be really hard to be the fourth wall in Touhou, sometimes.

As you might imagine, some more ambitious characters are using perfect possession to gain more power, using it to their advantage in matches. But the story mainly revolves around a pair of tricksters who have found a way to misuse perfect possession as a way to amass wealth for themselves, and effectively become an unbeatable tag match. Complicating matters is that the very use of perfect possession has unintended consequences for a parallel universe known as the “Dream World”.

Sorry, I didn’t find Cirno in this one.

The story mode has you selecting a duo and following their quest over the course of a few relatively-simple battles (difficulty may be adjusted, depending on whether you’re a super-soldier or drunk). At first, there is only one story, but as the story progresses, more stories become available, perhaps even a few at a time. The game calls its overarching story “bittersweet”, which is fitting, as even completing a duo’s story segment may result in setbacks that are a part of the narrative.

If you’re not already familiar with Touhou, you may be taken aback by the sheer amount of lore surrounding each of the characters. It’s not necessary to know what motivates the game’s handful of characters, as you can just half-pay-attention to the story and focus on winning matches. However, some in-game bios would have been nice to provide some background on these characters, which may have helped to better appreciate the story. An example in which this might have helped involved a cameo of Kaguya. If the player knew that Reisen was Kaguya’s pet rabbit, that may have helped the player to better understand the interaction between the two.

What are you looking at?

But it’s the gameplay mechanics that make it a game, and for AoCF, they mostly hold up.

In concept, I think the idea of anime waifus throwing bright, colorful attacks at each other sounds brutally awesome. In execution, however, most in-game matches come down to finding out how to cheese the opponent to take their health bar down, at which point they’ll move on to the next phase, which usually takes a different strategy to defeat. While that may make matches against story opponents highly predictable, it seems as though the game intends for players to find the right cheese strat for each phase, and the match usually ends before the process gets too old. Which is clever, in an odd sense.

While this is a tag team game, I found myself going through most battles with just the Master of the pair, just fine. One in-game opponent switches things up by using a special bullet that doesn’t affect the Slave of the combo, which is one way the game encourages the use of the perfect possession mechanic.

Jyoon and Shion may be the bad guys, but they are enviably cunning.

The characters in Touhou fly. What this means in this game is that the battles don’t take place on the ground, but in the air. Instead of jumping, when the player presses up, the character floats up, but then returns to the same horizontal point she originated from. Pressing down works in the same general principle, but with a downward movement, instead. Avoiding projectiles in this manner can be tricky, though a mid-air hang can be achieved through the use of certain attacks. In many cases, it’s better to use a barrier to block attacks.

The controls are pretty simple, with a basic principle that carries over for each character. There’s a button for basic attacks, which can be expressed differently based on the direction held. The same goes for a special attack button, but characters also have super-strong attacks which are usually pretty broken, but is limited in use depending on whether a meter has filled to a certain point. There is also a defensive shield, which may be the best choice against attacks that seem nearly impossible to avoid.

In non-story matches, players are free to choose their own combination of characters, rather than what the story calls for. It’s probably best to pick the character duo that would most effectively complement each other’s abilities, but I can imagine that many players would just pick their favorite characters and team them up, regardless of how well they’d perform. Which is something I could identify with.

It’s quite a shame that the fighting mechanics weren’t polished to a higher degree, because this game is great in just about all other areas. For one thing, the sprite art and portraits are crisp and clean anime-style art, and as far as that goes, it’s just right. The music is… well, it’s Touhou music. Of course the music is great. I’ve had at least a couple of these songs on YouTube playlists before even playing this game, they’re that charming.

Yukari just found a place to crash.

One potential gripe is that the English translations have numerous errors. But hey, if you like campy anime-style games, you were forgiving of that kind of thing to begin with.

Did I feel like I got my money’s worth with Antinomy of Common Flowers? In a word, yes. The game is flawed in ways that I’m aware of, but it’s still a satisfying game to play which, for many players, may be welcome as a guilty pleasure. Or, more than that, something to bust out at parties which might amuse the guests.

Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers gets a score of 6.5 out of 10.

Don’t worry about it if you still don’t know what the name means.