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Many folk like to know beforehand what is to be set on the table; but those who have laboured to prepare the feast like to keep their secret; for wonder makes the words of praise louder.

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SoulMaster71's News

Posted by SoulMaster71 - May 10th, 2014


The Game Overthinker thread over on the BBS has been dead for nearly a year and a half now, but I just feel like I need to say something about this one, especially since my last news post was over a year before the last post in the Overthinker thread.  Now, I read Moviebob's Twitter on a semi-regular basis ( http://twitter.com/the_moviebob ), so I do get a few of his thoughts for the Game Overthinker ahead of time, same with Escape to the Movies, same with The Big Picture, but I don't necessarily know if a given tweet is going on any show at all.  So I'd seen how he'd reacted to news contained in this episode ahead of time.  Also, since I read his feed, I also had a general idea how he'd respond to the topic at hand even without specific references.

This episode was hosted by Police Commissioner John Buonifacio, nicknamed "Bunnyface".  Having the show hosted by an adorable rabbit is a rather fun thing, though as is common the non-villainous supporting characters, he, too, is largely a mouthpiece for Moviebob's opinions, with occasional jokes related to the character.  In this case, the voice is gruffer, befitting a stereotypical police chief, and the jokes relate to the fact that the guest host is, well, an adorable little bunny.  The characters being mouthpieces for the creator's opinion in this case isn't a problem for me, since the show began as, or if we're counting the retool and channel hops as different series it at least continues from, an entirely opinion-based "rant show" of sorts with no ongoing storyline.  I gotta say, part of me really wanted to pet the bunny throughout much of the episode.  It helps that my brother had a pet rabbit for a few years when I was in high school, and I really did like to pet Peekaboo.  Not as much as I liked the dog Riley that my family had when my age was in the single-digits, but still.  I know that the Commissioner is supposed to be a serious police chief, but come on, that's the joke: cute little bunny is a battle-hardened police officer.

As for why Commissioner Buonifacio is hosting the show this time?  Because on April 6 of AD 2014, a rather shocking moment happened at Wrestlemania XXX.  The Undertaker, whose Wrestlemania record had previously been 21 wins and 0 losses, lost his match to Brock Lesnar.  I mean, we've all heard about it by this point, but it had the Game Overthinker character (as well as the Retrothinker) in a shocked state for a month.  See, this is what I wanted to comment on first, the moment I knew that I couldn't go without getting these thoughts out.  It had to end eventually, Undertaker was getting up there in age, and I haven't watched that much wrestling in years...  But back when I watched Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown every single week, 2005, 2006, into 2007, the Undertaker was my all-time favorite wrestler.  Even my Newgrounds account name shows a hint of that influence on me: Soulmaster was originally a character that I made up, so named because I just thought Undertaker and his kayfabe "half-brother" Kane were the awesomest things ever, and their gimmicks were about death and demons and zombies and Hell and stuff so that was totally awesome to me.  What's more, my introduction to the wonders of World Wrestling Entertainment came in a magazine that my uncle, may he rest in peace, dropped on my lap while parts of the extended family were on vacation together.  A magazine detailing Wrestlemania XX, the Wrestlemania where Undertaker came back from an absence of some kind (and brought back the supernaturally-influenced "Deadman" version of his character to replace the more realistic biker gimmick he'd used for a time before that) to defeat Kane, and where Brock Lesnar battled Goldberg in both of their final match with the company at the time, a match that's been described as less Lesnar vs. Goldberg and more like Lesnar and Golberg vs. special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin and the fans.  To me, that's my vision of Lesnar: a legitimate athletic talent who cared less about WWE and more about trying to get into the NFL.  I understand that he's a legit athletic talent, NCAA champion, UFC champion, and that Undertaker could have chosen his own path from there (to lose to anyone else, to win and wait another year and put his aging body on the line again, or to just go out on top and always have the fans begging him for one more match) and he chose to give Lesnar the ultimate push, but it still came as a shock to me when I heard about it from my brother who has WWE Network on his laptop.  Again, I haven't watched wrestling anything near regularly in years.  I looked back in October 2013 to find that TV-PG had eliminated the vast majority of the stuff I liked (granted, I was having some psychological troubles at the time), I think I've looked back a few times before then and always drifted away, but I'll always have the fond memories of the Undertaker poster that I had on my bedroom wall for about half of high school, and of tuning in every Monday and every Friday to watch men in tights groping one another and somehow still having straight male fans.  If it had happened at the time, if someone I neither knew nor really cared about as a performer had pinned Undertaker clean at Wrestlemania, I'll be honest, I might very well have cried.  I might have gone to my room crying, or if I heard about it at school I might have ran crying to the men's room and locked myself in a stall, and I might not have come out for a long, long while.  And it would be even worse for people a decade or so older than me.  Moviebob, the Game Overthinker, wrote on his Twitter that he was in a bar when it happened and grown men around him were putting tears in their beers.  The name was censored to avoid spoiling the event, but it was obvious he was talking about Undertaker.  Because he was in elementary school when Undertaker started, and he'd been watching then.  For me, I'd never been conscious in a world where Undertaker wasn't in the WWE (or WWF, once upon a time before animal rights activists fucked it over and it had to get the F out), and I only started watching wrestling at the ass end of middle school.  Anyway, it's an understandable reason for a character to be upset, especially in a show like the Adventures of the Game Overthinker where the storyline bits are largely comedic.

Now that I'm done reminiscing about my WWE fanboy days before I discovered Newgrounds, let's talk about the actual meat of this episode!  This episode is about the recent news that women comprise roughly half of all gamers.  See, this is the other reason I wanted to cover this episode specifically and not any others.  See, I know I've been an asshole about the idea that a "female creature" (to copy a phrase from a short film from the early 1990s, the title of which I'm not allowed to say, but which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ncwCETyQlk ) could ever play anything like what I view as a proper video game.  Even now, as I sort of get back into video games again, I highly doubt that what I consider normal women, or even normal people in general, could ever find themselves as absorbed in the sorts of games I enjoy as I do.  Yes, falling out of love with gaming for some reason and then returning when that reason is solved IS the story of my life.  Anyway, I've been an ass about women, about the types of games that women stereotypically enjoy (which I will still say are NOT the kinds of games I like), about the sorts of devices that women stereotypically play them on, and just about anyone that's not an adolescent-minded heterosexual cisgender male being considered a "gamer" in the sense that I consider myself a gamer.  But, well, Moviebob's work is a major influence on my own cultural outlook and has been since roughly 2009, whether or not I personally agree with everything he may say (and if you examined his Twitter, his small handful of American Bob political videos, and other things he's written and said, you'd find a number of things I disagree with), and over time he's convinced me of a number of things.  Including things like LGBT rights and feminism, but especially the need for us to diversify in gaming.  Consoles aren't dead or obsolete yet, but they're certainly aging, and like Undertaker they'll eventually need to take a dive and let someone else steal the show.  If the existing "hardcore" community, the ones that I'd have called "gamers" back in 2009 and 2010, moves to smartphones or tablets or whatever, the games we like will survive in some form, though they may be a little different than we know them.  If we don't move forward, our games and our genres and our playstyles will no longer be profitable.  But to move forward to a new experience, we have to move forward socially: yelling homophobic slurs, racism, and sexual threats from your mancave is bad, and it's not punished so it can persist, but try doing that during a game if you're playing on an iPad at a restaurant and the waiter will spit in your food and you deserve it.  Extra Credits did an episode once about the need to accept smartphone and tablet gaming, and everyone who talks about game culture, including Moviebob, has mentioned the need to get away from the misbehavior that allows so much of the popular culture to dismiss us all as that asshole yelling gay slurs.  I've seen the light, and I feel it's time for me to apologize for being a douchebag about diversity of all sorts.  I still don't like social games, because I'm not a very social person and I hate my real identity enough that I'd rather be SoulMaster71, the idiot who crusaded against spammers on Newgrounds back when there were still spammers on Newgrounds and now regrets it, or LordPentium, the weirdo who does loli tentacle hentai in a roleplay on IRC somewhere, than the despicable creature that I am in the material world which the Facebook-connected world of social games would force me to be even in the activity I use to escape that utterly abhorrent individual.  I still prefer a long RPG that I can get lost in for the next 100 hours to the kinds of games generally played on cell phones, but that's a matter of personal preferences and distase, not about sexism anymore.  I'm not sure if the move forward will be better for me as a heterosexual cisgender white male with no obvious physical disabilities, but it'll be better or me as a gamer, and maybe that's the better of the two: the community I chose to be part of, instead of just what I was born as.  Maybe not the more important identity in a material sense, but in a better world it would be.  In a better world it WILL be.  Everyone just needs to fight against our worst impulses, born to our more primitive ancestors when child mortality imposed much stricter limits on population and so every fertile female of childbearing age was needed at their most reproductive just to break even and every man was needed to hunt for animals, and when the racial "other" was truly more likely to be an enemy to be feared than just another person walking the streets.

I know this sounds like hypocritical horseshit coming from someone who used to be racist, sexist, heterosexist, cissexist, and all the other little -ists of bigotry, and who by some definitions of those terms still has those impulses.  Maybe it is.  I've always been a bit of an asshole, I'll admit.  But what kind of asshole has changed over time.  Asking me not to be an asshole is unlikely, I am only human after all and every human has "asshole" in the back of our mind because that was necessary to survive and reproduce under premodern conditions, but at least I can attempt to minimize total asshole-ness and spread my behavior as a jerk around evenly.  The great thing about being human is that, unlike a cat or a bear or a snake, I can at least have a potential chance for a rational override for my worst instincts.  And perhaps the infamous misogynistic segments of gamer culture need to do just that, because we're overrun now, and survival requires us to adapt culturally, in a rational, open-minded way, to the new circumstance.  It ain't gonna be long before women are getting big-budget games of some kind too, and we need to have changed by then.

Also, my sincerest condolences to Commissioner Buonifacio for his discovery of the Hell that is 4chan.  It really says something about the Commissioner that the Streak breaking could keep Overthinker and Retrothinker in a trance for a month but the Commissioner was able to come back into work after looking at the cesspit.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - December 4th, 2011

Ever since I've come into the world, I've been horrible at making friends, but very, very good at making enemies. Every time I enter a new community or social 'scene', especially online, I end up meeting someone who doesn't like me and whom I don't like. At least at first: I'd be lying if I didn't say that I eventually became somewhat friendlier with some of them, to the point that especially here on Newgrounds, the people I once considered my worst enemies proved to eventually be closer to me than a lot of my original friends. But before I could put the period of mutual distaste behind me, I had to step up.

Enemies, by their very nature, demand much more out of you than friends. Friends just ask that you're not too much of a dick to them, or that you have some interests in common with them, or mutual support and assistance depending on the situation. But enemies keep you on your toes. Enemies never let you let your guard down, lest they completely crush you. You must always be alert, and at the top of your game, if you hope to defeat a dangerous enemy. And as you keep striving your best against them, your best just gets better. As does theirs if they're taking it seriously, of course, but that just means you'll get even better. Case in point, my long-forgotten disagreements in my early Newgrounds days with the Kitty Krew and spammers in general, as represented against me mainly by LordZeebmork. I said and did things in November and December 2007 that, by February and March 2008, I'd progressed well away from being dumb enough to do, all because when I'd said and done those things before, such as comparing Internet trolls to Nazis, those on the other side made a point of revealing to me exactly how far out of proportion I was taking things. I like to think I ended up smarter about things than I went in... But if I did, it wasn't because of my friends.

I'll give you another example, this one not about me personally but about a Pokémon roleplaying chat in which I spend a lot of my time and from which come most of my excuses about not being on Newgrounds much anymore. My character at the time was Mewtwo. You know, clone of Mew, blew up the scientists who created him, was duped by Giovanni, blew up Giovanni's headquarters, planned to destroy the world but later turned into a good guy. There's some other stuff tacked on for the chat involving Mewtwo helping to protect the multiverse from evil, but that's largely superfluous for these purposes. The point is, my Mewtwo is a good guy despite minor anger management problems. His attempts to break the level of monotony that had settled into his life eventually led him to a subdimension centered around a fetish club, where he met the club founder and subdimensional founder, whom we'll call MA. Now, MA had a surprisingly familiar backstory: a genetically enhanced clone who killed his creators, joined Team Rocket, and later betrayed the Rockets. So you'd think he and Mewtwo would get along, right? Not so much. For you see, MA was evil. Not just 'general douchebag' evil, not 'conquer the multiverse' evil, MA was a flat-out Complete Monster if the multiverse had ever known one, if a bit on the Faux Affably Evil side. You wanna know how bad MA was? The story had a Vocaloid-related side-plot based around the Vocaloids being artificial humans marketed as domestic assistants and such. A generally decent, law-abiding man had two Vocaloid assistants: one Len Kagamine unit, and one Kaito unit. Then MA came along. He killed the man, turned the man's mansion into the fetish club subdimension, and began to physically and sexually assault the Vocaloids, ultimately resulting in both units ceasing to function... Only AFTER the Kaito unit had lost both arms. But MA's cruelty didn't end there. He ordered his then-mad scientist to repair, reactivate, and reprogram the Len unit as a rapebot. Consider it like this: being stuck inside your own mind, forced to watch your body do horrible things to people but unable to stop yourself or voice any protest. Luckily the Len unit got out to our hero Mewtwo, holding the deactivated and dismembered Kaito unit, and was rescued. Of course, Mewtwo isn't going to take this lightly, especially not after the Nimbasa Incident (go ahead sucker, ask me what that is) so he and MA became bitter enemies. Then something wonderful happened: the already nigh-godlike Mewtwo became even greater than he was, and set his life back on the proper track, and even eventually met the (humanoid, but let's not judge here) woman that he wanted to marry, all because he rose to fight MA.

More recently in the RP chat, I've developed a sort of OOC archnemesis... An individual who is intent on being everything I'm not, and using his status as such to constantly ruin my nights in the chatroom, prevent plot resolution, and get away with it. Make no mistake, I do not get along with this person. But the funny thing about that is, he's the only one who can make me write a wall of text. Some people are dedicated enough to write such long, detailed descriptions about their characters' actions or appearances, but I can only ever seem to muster that kind of emotion when pointing out how a certain individual bothers me. Perhaps I'm just more cut out to fanboy bitching and following complex, convoluted chains of continuity than to the roleplaying aspect of the chat... Or perhaps my current foe is simply pushing me upwards to greater levels of dedication and ability.

Many people focus on the importance of making friends, and believe me, I'd rather like some more of those. And don't mistake me for a hatemonger, since a lot of this applies as much to friendlier rivalries as to more bitter situations of dislike and opposition. But as with everything else, there's a balance, and fuck it I haven't done a news post in over a year so y'all got this.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - August 30th, 2010

We've all been there. Browsing our local GameStop or the video game aisle at a more generalized store, and we've seen them. Casual games. The Wii and the DS? Full of them, and the secret to the systems' success. Microsoft and Sony are moving in on that market, though the chances of their success in that area this generation are generally considered pretty low. We've long since seen or heard of Kinect and Move being revealed at E3, and we all at least understand that this is basic economics in action: there's a demand for certain products in long-ignored segments of the consumer base, and whoever satisfies that demand is going to make money. That being said, we also understand that this will eventually mean less space on the GameStop shelves for our games. But what we don't understand, fellow gamers, is that the major market differences between hardcore and casual gamers is largely our fault.

First, before we get any further, we gotta set definitions straight. A "gamer", for the purposes of this rant, won't be my usual definition of the term, which would be a member of the subculture centered around the video game hobby. That would be "hardcore gamer". "Casual gamer" would be someone who may own a Wii or DS, but doesn't focus on gaming even as a hobby. I'd usually lump them in with "non-gamer", people who don't play games at all or who only play on bad Flash game sites (uh, this one doesn't count since it's not completely awful), but the distinction needs to be made here. Hardcore gamers are by definition more dedicated than casual gamers. Usually, hardcore gamers are more likely to play longer, more deeply involving games, or else they play a lot of shorter, faster games while implementing strategies for victory. Casuals, for the most part, don't get so involved, don't know or use strategies, and generally don't pay much attention to games. The fundamental difference in attitudes on the hobby is the cause of much dissension among hardcore gamers, who are divided between those who are OK with the casuals and those who understandably feel like their own world, filled with their people, is being ripped out from under them.

Bit of a history lesson here, or another annoying nostalgia rant by some nobody with a Newgrounds account if you like that description better. Long ago, in glorious eras called the 80s and 90s, there were these wonderful places where anyone could game, hardcore and casual alike, each in their own ways. These amazing places were called "arcades", and for a long time, things were good. Granted their influence began to weaken after the NES and later the Genesis and SNES provided longer, more varied home experiences, but arcades continued to go strong until the late 90s. When I was a kid, arcades and arcade machines were nearly everywhere; I've visited four malls in my life, and three had full-fledged arcades, with the one that didn't having restaurants near the entrance that had arcade machines. Even if gamers weren't going to be in the same building as an arcade that day, the home systems provided games that could similarly be enjoyed in short bursts or in marathon sessions alike. Something like Super Mario Bros.? You don't need much time to go through a few levels there. Same with most of the games in the old days, aside from a few relative epics like The Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy. Sure, even the shorter titles got difficult quick if they didn't start out that way, but the casuals played as far as they needed to, and the games were often the same as ours.

Then something changed. Sometime in the 90s we all got obsessive about image. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the industry began pandering entirely to our tastes, leaving the casuals out in the cold. Children, women, whatever, if you weren't a male, ages 18 to 35, you were out. Some wiggle room if you were male, 12 to 17, and your parents didn't care about ratings. Sony's at least partially to blame, their marketing making gamers out of less-nerdy males in that age range when guys were previously expected to not play games openly lest they risk being considered dorks or fags and shoved in lockers. Gaming was previously "for kids", now it was more "grownup", and these more "grownup" gamers (whose tastes bear a surprising similarity to what I assume Beavis and Butthead's would be) demanded more "grownup" games that started getting real dark, not exactly a stylistic or setting decision that appeals to kids or women. But the trend of hardcore image trumping all else first showed up much earlier, when Nintendo's kind-friendly console monopoly was only starting to crack. Let's face it, people: Mortal Kombat wasn't really that good a game. The controls were moderately clunky, balance was nonexistent, and it was essentially a button masher. The only reason it succeeded was because we all wanted to look super hardcore awesome by playing the big violent game and ripping someone's spine out. That didn't shut out casuals by being too complicated. It left them hanging because it was all about violence and gore, and they wanted something that wasn't selling entirely on "edgy" image. And it only got worse from there, as grimdark settled into more and more games.

Meanwhile, games also started to demand more time from gamers. Again this was due to demand: hardcore gamers wanted more cinematic games, games that had more in the way of plot than just a paragraph or two in the manual and a single-screen ending. But the longer and more plot-heavy these games got, the more they could no longer cater to casual interests. Go, dust off that old N64, put in Ocarina of Time and start a new save. Tell me how long it takes even just to get out to Hyrule Field. Guys, this is the game generally considered the all-time greatest. Final Fantasy VII supposedly sold the Playstation, but how long did it take to get out of Midgar, much less to the end of Disc One? Like casuals can stick with a game for that long, they weren't even that dedicated when it was Mario! And this was the generation's dominant direction. Casual gamers were driven out of console gaming and into the handheld market, or worse, out of gaming entirely and onto bad Flash sites. And us? We didn't notice. We had our epics, and later our sandbox games. And we were generally content, not noticing that an entire market segment had basically been disappearing and stagnating since 1995.

Someone noticed. Nintendo noticed that game companies' pandering to the base, combined with the base's own ever-increasing demands, was raising costs and reducing the potential base to the point where it would no longer be viable. The actual base in Japan, apparently, was already shrinking. Nintendo themselves decided to make a console to bring back the base, and to keep expanding and capitalizing on the still-larger handheld demographic. You know the results of that, if you've been paying attention at any point in the last three years or so: the Wii outsells the other two consoles, the DS outsells everything. Which leads me to my point: we're the reason they have to specifically make consoles for the other 2/3 of the population, and why that stands out so much. Who demanded darker, edgier, eventually gorier games? Us, all the way back to the day we put our quarters in the Mortal Kombat machine. Who said games' lengths should be in the double digits in hours, that they should contain so much? We did, and a shorter game that casuals could enjoy got a bad reaction unless it fit certain genre and gameplay criteria. The casuals left, and while our gaming tastes changed theirs didn't. A wedge was driven between hardcore and casual gamers.

And it's not like I have a solution either. I'm just one guy, at a computer, nothing that can do anything but type up a half-assed rant about how we're now feeling the pain of our screw-ups. I still like my games long, hard, and heavy on the plot. While I have little patience for excessive gray-brown "real" in games, give me pretty instead of gritty and I fangasm all over every screenshot. Not that pretty and dark are necessarily incompatible: see The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Of course, the graphical obsession probably turns off casuals too, since, let me be one to say it, they couldn't really tell between a PS2 and PS3 game. Or between the Xbox and the Xbox 360. More graphics = more development costs, meaning players have to pay more (which turns off casuals because they don't have enough interest to put a shitload of money into gaming).

Hey, maybe that's a start to bridging the gap. Games are real expensive other than budget titles on the Wii, DS, possibly PSP, right? Well, the graphics sure aren't completely integral to console or especially handheld games. And while I feel some games need and deserve a lot of plot, for some other kinds of games excessive plot or even too many collectible items is just padding to casual players. I still love a longer game, but some people just don't have the time for it. Reduce length of mainstream games, cut back graphics, make the subject matter more kid-friendly, we might stand a chance of not seeing our hobby-subculture annihilated by the hobby's mass expansion and resultant changes.

Someday I hope to see gaming be like film: something for everyone, and few or none questioning the medium's artistic potential. The hardcore gamer would be like the film buff, with the casual as the average moviegoer, and works made to cater to both, or to each individually.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - April 19th, 2010

In the beginning, there was the Void, filled only by Chaos, inhabited only by disembodied Wills. Without time, space, matter, or perception, the wills floated through the Void without meaning or purpose. But one will, who called itself Arceus, desired to create something orderly from the Chaos.

Arceus called all the others to itself, saying "In this Void we have floated aimlessly, with only ourselves among the Chaos. But I have dreamed of more. And with the consent of you, my fellow wanderers, I will create more, and give it to you." And the other Wills took counsel with themselves and each decided whether to join Arceus or to remain in the Void. Few Wills would not consent to join Arceus: of those who refused were those who loved the Chaos, and those who would not be bound by the rules of another, and those few who feared or hated Arceus for interrupting their aimless wandering.

When the consenting Wills gathered to Arceus, the Creation began. The first things made were the means of Creation: objects in twenty-eight shapes, in numbers uncounted, united in one mind to each other and to Arceus. "These," said Arceus, "Are the Unown, which create all things according to my plan, and which will watch for me and serve me when all has been created." The Unown set immediately to work, clearing the Chaos from a space within the boundless Void and building a great Pillar to give structure to reality.

There were six Wills among the assembly which were closest to Arceus, and it knew them to be the most capable of all. Three Wills, which Arceus had brought into the Void from its own thought, had not even gone off to consider whether or not to enter, knowing that they wanted to be with their parent through it all. These three were Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, and though they were still as children to the other Wills, they were still greater than all the refusing Wills combined. These three were the first to enter reality, while only the Spear Pillar had taken shape, and were the first Pokémon given shape, and began their work of stabilizing the Unown's creation. The other three were sibling Wills to Arceus, even greater than the first three but weaker than great Arceus. Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina each entered the world on their own, their entry path guarded by the first trio so that the still-fragile universe would survive the entry of such powerful beings. When given forms designed by Arceus, Palkia set in motion the expansion of space and Dialga began the long and steady progression of Time. Giratina, the third sibling of Arceus, still loved the Chaos, so it was sealed by Arceus within the Distortion World for the protection of the universe, to eventually be the prison-warden to those refusing Wills whom all knew would try to disrupt creation's order. Then Arceus itself entered, to observe and design its creation more closely.

Many years in the reckoning of Dialga passed without incident, and the Wills began to adorn the designs of Arceus and the works of the Unown with embellishments of their own imagining. But of all Pokémon that were ever to exist, only Arceus, its kindred, and its servant race the Unown had yet been seen in reality. The lack of new lives and thoughts troubled Arceus, and it waited until all labors had ceased before calling all the Wills together at the Spear Pillar which was first created, and all came, even Giratina from the Distortion World where Chaos could still be found. "Fellow Wills of the Outer Void," said Arceus to the assembly, "You and I have long labored together in creating this universe. It is time that new creatures may be brought into this new reality, to enjoy and appreciate its beauty." And from himself and the other existing Pokémon, Arceus created what the Wills perceived as a new being, in form closest to Uxie and Mesprit and Azelf but different yet, like themselves in sentience but wholly unlike them in nature. Arceus named this new creature Mew, and left it in a fertile place with the instructions: "Go forth, be fruitful and multiply." And the existing Pokémon protected it, with Giratina in particular swearing vengeance on any who would do harm to Mew or to any being with a share of its life. A single Will tried to test Giratina's vow, withholding rain from Mew's fruitful garden and causing pains of hunger in the new child of creation. The violating Will was sealed in the Distortion World, forever to be tormented by Giratina with no release. Thus the Distortion World became a place of punishment for those who would violate the laws of Creation, and Chaos was made to serve Order.

Over the long uncounted aeons that followed, the children of Mew spread across the universe and developed into strange and wondrous forms. No Will in Creation dared harm them, for love of their beauty among the nobler Wills, and for fear of Giratina's wrath among the less admirable ones. But in truth Giratina was hardly watching, and Palkia and Dialga busy with the upkeep of their respective domains, when the Wills who had refused Arceus attacked at last. In many forms and ways the evil Wills attacked, with their only goal the destruction of all reality. Some used the Chaos as material for their bodies, and devoured planets; others used the basic elements of fire and earth, and tore ordered ecosystems into chaos; and still others, most horribly of all, took the bodies of deceased children of Mew and in those shapes devastated the kindred of their fallen hosts. The orderly Wills were all summoned by Arceus to the Spear Pillar, and there began a battle that covered the worlds in storm. That some of creation would survive, the lawful Wills allowed much to be destroyed, and in the end were successful in saving what could be saved, though many children of Mew were drowned in the process or slain by the evil Wills. Arceus gathered the now-powerless Wills of the Void in the Hall of Origin, where its Judgment banished them forever to the Distortion World, where their pain would only increase as the Universe was rebuilt. But it is said that even Arceus did not know where to begin the rebuilding, until it looked to the worlds and saw all the living Pokémon crying. Amazingly, the tears of the Pokémon began to revive the dead! At that moment Arceus knew that the universe had taken on its own life, and could function even without interference. Thus Arceus went to rest, leaving care of all reality to Palkia and Dialga, punishment of the wicked to dangerous Giratina, and oversight of those three to the children Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf.

Uncounted aeons passed again, and Pokémon had multiplied over the rebuilt universe once more, before Arceus woke to the screams of creation. The world had become cruel while its creator slumbered, and many of the newest heirs to Mew no longer had any will to call their own, as the savage competition of life had taken their sentience in exchange for survival, leaving them in forms that made them savage and unintelligent. "It seems," though Arceus the Creator, "That I did not communicate to my siblings and children what form these beings were to take. Another race must come into being: a race that will live beside the Pokémon, that will take care of them, work beside them, and end the savagery of nature, that all the purpose of life may be fulfilled in time. But what shall be their form and their nature?" Arceus knew that, since the change of form was the bringer of destruction among Pokémon, the new creatures would have to be born in one form and remain in much the same form throughout their lives. It looked into the world, and it saw what forms the still-sentient Pokémon took. Those Pokémon which remained intelligent and self-aware had certain physical and mental traits, which facilitated continued existence as a sentient being with a will of its own in a world of savage beasts living on instinct: four limbs, two of which were used for propulsion and two of which were devoted to item manipulation; generally upright posture; eyes that face forward and not to the sides... So Arceus united the Unown around him at the Spear Pillar one last time, and created a new race of beings, as different from Wills and Pokémon as they were from each other. The new race was given the same instructions as Mew: "Go forth, be fruitful and multiply." And so the new "human" race spread, bringing order and allowing even bestial Pokémon to regain sentience.

Over time, the humans became curious about their companions, and science began to probe the mysteries of reality. Humans developed ways to capture and train Pokémon, and Pokémon in turn began to fight for fun and harmless competition rather than for survival. The world of humans and Pokémon began to improve and become more orderly, except for a few criminal elements who were punished, in all but the most extreme cases after their death, by Giratina.

This crappy Pokémon creation fanfic brought to you by Lord Pentium and the Order of the Westrider.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - November 5th, 2009

It has now been over two years since I came to Newgrounds, and if I thought less than a month was a big change, I should have waited until the two-year mark! And as in those days, my biggest recent change seems to be a return, at last, to video games. In 2007 it was simply playing Zelda again after two and a half years or so of mental, spiritual, and political decline, blamed on WWE fandom but possibly more rightfully attributed to the malady of the teenager: sure, I blamed McMahon for my ruin at the time, but as I rebuilt my life I realized that teenage rebellion, not professional wrestling, was my downfall. Now, with my personal world being once more set right, I return to the old games not crawling on hands and knees but triumphantly, not as a beggar pleading for a return to his old life but as a man asking simply for his old recreation. Almost everything is back as it should be.

As before, I say almost because no perfection exists on Earth. Something is not as it should be, and that something is once again the Flash Portal. Since the decline of spam which began just before my arrival, a decline which I foolishly cheered on, the Flash Portal has declined immeasurably in some intangible way. There's far fewer submissions than I remember, a smaller percentage of them are from recognizable artists, and the quality of all of them? Down the drain. Maybe the spammers, by going against the expectations of 12-year-old boys who desire DBZ ripoffs in the form of Mario/Sonic crossovers and Family Guy set to video game characters (the second of which, at least, is a complete bastardization of the games and makes me wish Egoraptor would lose his drawing hand in an accident involving gay bondage), actually formed a vital part of Newgrounds: the controversy the caused somehow kept this site "going", and without the controversy it "stopped". Or more likely their disappearance was just a sign of NG's decline and not a cause. Either way, something is missing here, and there's some connection between the lost activity and the loss of well-done, infuriating spam. And by "well-done", I mean it stays in the Portal for more than five minutes because the author doesn't turn around and fileswap with hardcore gay porn, and then gets a 10-page minimum total of posts on the BBS complaining about it that doesn't get deleted.

Of course, the admins' handling of the issue didn't help this state of affairs (the inactive Portal, mind you, not the lack of spam). I'm not going to focus on the featured game of the week taking up that all-too-prominent spot on the front page, practically guaranteeing whoever sucked Tom's dick the hardest Weekly 1st and even a period as All-Time #1. I'm not going to place too much attention on the side banner ads on the front page either, because I can actually see a reason for them, even if it sucks to have them when there's supposed to be side parts to a theme there (Tom could have at least waited until now, after he took down the Halloween decorations). No, this too relates to spam, and I mean the manner Wade dealt with it. He must have thought that by quietly deleting it he'd make the rule-breaking that all to often comes with the spam go away without damaging the overall Portal activity, but no. The one time I can remember where NG had a chance to slow down the spam on its own, the one time Wade actually showed a sign of doing what was probably the best idea for tackling spammers (as later shown) was right here, on the BBS. If you don't understand what I mean, I'll spell it out for you: "quietly deleting" the spammers makes it safe to savewhore. If I were Wade, I'd have made the community do its own cleanup, focusing on the actual rulebreaking and occasionally making a thread in General showing movies that, by all counts, should never have passed, mostly made up of movies that managed to pass Judgment but dipped below a certain score threshold, most likely 1.00.

The way Wade handled it made it safe to savewhore but unsafe to spam, meaning spammers, instead of figuring out ways to make their spam interesting (it's sad that I have to go back to the 2008 re-release of a 2007 Kberkag movie to find funny spam), had nothing left to lose and could be as chaotic as they wanted. The good spammers mostly got tired (though if he didn't fileswap so much, one more recent spammer would impress me greatly, he has a pretty good sense of humor for a spammer when he's not phishing Kirby fans), the bad ones, especially one in particular, were the only ones left, and the Portal descended to its current state. That's just the way things are.

But that's not the way they have to be.

As bad as things look at any point, something god may make it through the night. The sun can rise again. The sun will rise again. My anti-spam position was misguided, to say the least, and the Petition, if you can call it that, became a subject of jokes (including one I'd like to see re-released this Christmas in its own two-year anniversary, if you're listening, KB), but it's time I make things right, or about as right as they can be. This is my dedication: to end the night, to help NG grow as a website and a community in any way I can. I will not leave again until I see the rising sun!

Oh, and there's at least one spammer(/ex-spammer?) out there who was around back when I was anti-spam instead of simply pro-Newgrounds. If he, or maybe it's "they", remember me from those days: no, this is NOT the Surrender of SoulMaster71. "Right" usually means fair voting, so if your movies suck, I still support giving them zeroes. The particular spammer I have in mind is far from "sucking", in fact he's amazing, but this is just giving him a heads-up. Also, this may mean I'm going to start making Flash. How does a Flash remake of ET for the Atari 2600 sound?

Well, that's it. May rule-breaking Flashes ever be flagged by your Whistle, may those accounts used to harass you forever end up deleted or locked, and may the users of the Portal smile forever on your legitimate Flash submissions. Until next time...
SoulMaster out!

Posted by SoulMaster71 - October 12th, 2009

As a child, I would go to bed at night and dream of one thing: video games. From at least 1994 my mind revolved around them, whether the arcade hits of the day (early Tekken, some relative of Soul Caliber, and most of all Mortal Kombat were mainstays of my arcade life by 1997) or the games on my cousin's Sega Genesis (mostly Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and, again, Mortal Kombat). In later years, once I felt the decline of games as I knew them, the thought came to me to own the classics of my youth, and of the days before I began playing. But though I scoured yard sales and the local auction for used systems, the games and systems I sought proved too elusive without the Internet, and by the summer of 2005 professional wrestling had displaced gaming for what seemed forever.

But reality is not always what seems real at the time, and eventually through the very gaming that seemed displaced (and through Newgrounds) my obsession with pro wrestling ended. Though my former thoughts remained dormant until my circumstances could support some of them, eventually that support became a possibility, and all it took to set them back in the track of my mind was one glimpse, one seed from which the tree of my thought could grow.

Then I saw the Angry Video Game Nerd. The room in which Mr. Rolfe films his AVGN videos was and is a prototype of my vision, filled with classic consoles and old games. But my vision is greater, filled with more consoles and more games than the Nerd will ever review, and perhaps with old arcade machines as well. Still, the systems and games on his set were enough to re-awaken my dreams of owning all, of building a great shrine to video gaming as it once was, as it should still be.

Consider this first a notice of intent: I intend to buy as many classic game systems, and as many games for those systems, as I can afford. As time passes and as I obtain greater and greater amounts of money, I will use more and more of it to buy video games. Anyone who knows how I become when focused on the game will understand how serious I am about this plan.

Second, I will provide here the most basic outline of my idea as it stands now, a system of organization that recognizes "good" games from "bad" ones.

I. Region of the Greats
1. Hall of Heaven: Where good games go when they die. On an upper floor, this room contains the good games of the past that just didn't make it to beatification. Think Zelda II for the NES, or the American Super Mario Bros. 2 (Doki Doki Panic if you live in Japan).
2. Palace of the Beatified: The greatest games of yesteryear. Games have to live up to the Two Tests before entry, the Test of Great Fun and the Test of Great Influence.
3. Canonized Saints of Gaming: The first recognizable games of the great series. If half or more of the series is in the Palace of the Beatified, the first game is probably in here.

II. Region of the Average
1. Hall of Purgatory: These games were, meh, OK in their time, and they haven't aged well at all. Probably the largest hall in the Shrine, filled with mostly-forgotten games as well as a few knockoffs and spinoffs like Ms. Pac Man.
2. Hall of Limbo: These systems just didn't get enough support or attention for the games to thrive. Under the forever-watchful statue of Duke Nukem, here as well lie the names of games from popular series that just never made it to the gamers, whether they were mere rumors or announced-and-canceled games.
3. Adam and Eve of Games: All men spring from the First Couple, and so all games spring from a single game and a screen somewhere in the early 1970s. One game, the first to garner mass popularity among the people in their own homes. One screen, the partner of the game. In this room waits Pong for the end of its descendants' story.

III. Region of the Terrible
1. Hall of Hell: Shitty games and consoles galore. Anyone can enter, but who the fuck would? These games are an example of what not to do when licensing, developing, publishing, or marketing.
2. Eternal Prison of Worst Offenders: These games are well-known, even legendary, for sucking. Never, it is to be hoped, shall the people of Earth ever again have to suffer from their like.
3. Mouth of Satan: One system, a Colecovision with Atari 2600 emulation attachment. Two games, both Atari 2600 games of 1982 make, who together nearly destroyed an industry on the American continent and most of whose kind are said to have been buried in New Mexico. You and I both know which games these are.

Fellow users are welcome and requested to suggest changes to the system, or to voice their opinions on what constitutes a "classic" console or game.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - October 9th, 2009

As you can see from my sign-up date, today, October 9 2009, is my two-year anniversary on Newgrounds. Ah, and what an eventful two years it has been!

When I came, I liked watching Mario and Zelda parodies. Let's just say things changed, and I ended up bored with them.

When I came, I was a WWE addict. Immediately I was freed from addiction, and today is also the two-year anniversary of my cure.

When I came, I was at the depth of a crisis of faith. It took a bit longer to escape, in fact it was my one-year anniversary before I was completely back to my pre-crisis level of faith in God and society, but it happened.

Soon after I came, the moral order of Newgrounds looked simple: spam seemed bad, and anyone opposing it was good. Thanks to a particular now-inactive "spammer" of the time (and a number of his friends), I can see the gray and grey of the situation, and it looks now like the best way is to find the correct balance. It can't all be as clear-cut as Lord of the Rings or The Legend of Zelda, I guess.

Thanks mainly to Newgrounds (and a couple of experiences that can only be attributed to the supernatural), I am back to my old thought patterns that brought me success in the past, and the faith that I had before my wannabe rebellion years started in 2005.

But where do I go from now? Only time will tell. A history is never written down before it happens; neither can I say now what I will become tomorrow. But another two-year anniversary comes in less than a month, and maybe then you will know more of my plans. So until next time...
SoulMaster out!

Posted by SoulMaster71 - August 19th, 2009

If you're getting your news from the same sources as I get mine, you probably know that nowadays a lot of people don't have time to cook a meal, or even to sit down and eat one. The world is scarfing down over-processed fries, Coca-Cola, and substandard burgers with processed "cheese" (not really cheese, more like chemicals diluting what used to be cheese), and quite frankly, I think that's not only a tragedy of culture, but a slap in the face to our ancestors, to our culture, to our nation, and to our capabilities as humans.

See, food and cooking are on the boundary of art and science. In the preparation of a delicious dish, scientific concepts such as chemical changes and mixtures are combined with more artistic elements of flavors and textures and scents to please the subjective senses of the audience. All of this is wrapped up in the cultural heritage and the experiences of the cook and the diners, another element more closely related to art than to science. In that way, a good meal goes right to the heart of the one eating it.

For me, food is even more. Most people out there, especially on a largely atheist website like Newgrounds, won't agree with me on this part, but to me at least, cooking and eating is almost a religious experience. When I am cooking, I am taking the ingredients given to the world by God's grace, the meat and the dairy products and the vegetables and the spices and the starches, and I make them into something else entirely, imitating God's work of creation, but in God's honor and not in mocking. Cooking and eating a delicious meal is a way to experience God for me. In that way, a shared meal is akin to a church service, and a chef is almost like a priest.

The fast food industry, then, is taking the art and the faith out of food. Certainly the science remains, and is in some ways enhanced by the formulaic and repetitive way in which the burgers and such are made, but art is not repetitive, and faith is individual. That individuality, that variation, is missing from fast food: every burger patty is the same, the fries are identical in all but size, the buns are strictly controlled to be alike, every Big Mac has the same formula of "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, 'cheese', pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun". There is no "art" in the food preparation practiced in fast food restaurants: it's the same everywhere, produced for quantity and not quality. It's like when AfroUnderscoreStud did those Adolf Hitler:CAI493+D movies back in 2007 and 2008, only on a much larger scale, and dangerous to the culture instead of just annoying.

But the fast food industry isn't the only problem here. No, even in our own kitchens, the loss of our culture surrounds us. Hamburger Helper? Kraft Mac & Cheese? Take a good look in your cupboard, and see how many mixes are there that are meant to emulate actual dishes. Not much variation between them, huh? One Hamburger Helper tastes exactly like another of the same flavor, unless the cook decides to deviate from the recipe (which is rare, though I do it whenever I make Hamburger Helper, also rare). I like to refer to this when I talk about food and culture: Mr. Phillips' perspective on the issue of food as a part of culture pretty much mirrors my own. In that, he talks about the cultural significance in one community (the black community) of one specific food (macaroni and cheese). Extend that across hundreds of dishes, in hundreds of cultures and geographic locations, and you have a true culinary map of the United States of America. Make it thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dishes and families and locations and cultures, and you have the entire world. And many of the developed parts of that world are in danger of losing that local, regional, national culinary culture as easy access, mass-production, and homogenization overwhelm identity, effort, and the beauty and satisfaction of creation.

So when you're tempted to pick up a burger at Burger King, remember how much better food you can prepare at home with just a little time and effort. And when you're looking in your cupboard for food and see the "artificial orange lab experiment", as Mr. Phillips called it, look up a recipe for macaroni and cheese and cook it yourself. You'll be glad you did, and if enough people do it, we'll be on the road to cultural recovery. Until next time...
SoulMaster out!

Posted by SoulMaster71 - August 10th, 2009

(The content of this news post does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Team Westrider, its employees, or anyone involved with its leadership. Emperor Kénuros wrote this whole damn thing and is making me promote it, I swear.)

Vanessa Hudgens is planning to turn everyone gay! She's working for Hindol, I just know it. Come on, exposing children to so gay an "art form" as musical theatre while they are still impressionable and weak-minded? Then going and doing the same thing even without the High School Musical franchise behind her, with this "Bandslam" thing? All a plot to gather souls for the Dark Lord, to turn a larger and larger segment of the population into evil queers.

Then there's the nudes. Ever notice how they were released at exactly the times when they would get her the most attention*? Just after the release of HSM2, and around the time of Bandslam? Funnel in a few with nudes to inflate the box office sales, then more kids will want to see it in an attempt to be like everyone else. She expresses embarrassment and remorse, so parents will think "it was just a bad decision" and not refrain from taking kids to see the movies.

Oh, and when you thought it could get no worse, it does. See, Hindol has this theory that if he destroys the white race, with its relative tolerance of individualism, he could easily control the other, more tribal races of the world (stupid, I know, but that's his idea). Whatever he can't do with sexual deviance, he does with cultural and moral decay and with promotion of race-mixing. And who better to promote those effects than a half-white, half-Filipina girl who poses nude for camera phones and leaks them online, and whose acting career is based on mass-produced music**? Her very existence is a sign of whitey's decline.

(Back to me, the Emperor's gone back to monitoring the world for his enemies or something)

Anyway, I was considering redesigning my page. You have any idea how long it's been since I actually played Zelda? I'm a different man now than I was when I joined, but my profile image and user icon haven't changed since February 12, 2008. Redesigning my page would allow me to better reflect myself. On the other hand, on the rare occasion that people (from Kitty Krew members to EGB people to random users off the BBS and beyond) look at my page, it's almost like they expect to see Fierce Deity Link looking back at them. It is, you might say, iconic. It's what I use on other forums too, including the EGB forum. What does everyone think of this?

Oh, and a few notes to what the Emperor wrote/had me write for him:
*I'm pretty sure YOU did that, Emperor.
**This requires some explanation. The disagreements between Hindol and myself (the Emperor sides with me in the conflict) stem mainly from where we believe the culture should be centered. Hindol believes in a mass-produced, top-down culture, made by a few elites (preferably with himself at the top) who control everything and pushed down onto the people. Mass-produced, homogenized foods such as processed "cheese", formulaic pop music, unoriginal sitcoms, vastly overrated parodies of commercially developed video games on a Flash website, these make up the culture of his dreams. I believe it should go the other way: the culture comes from the collective soul of the people, not from centralized authority, and grows from there. When you cook your own meal from your own recipe and ingredients, when you have choices in genres of music and art and television and many people can contribute to those, when the Flash website features artists of all persuasions and lets a balanced userbase decide what gets promoted and what gets forgotten or even deleted, that is what I view as proper. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but it can be said that I respect the free market, while Hindol desires Communism.

Posted by SoulMaster71 - July 21st, 2009

As you all know, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) doesn't much like KFC. They also, as is well known, oppose McDonald's. For years, it was thought by those sympathetic to their goals that this was all based in their desire to help animals, and by the opposition it was hypothesized to be connected to their zoophilia. But across the interdimensional border, a report was just released by the Kanatória Intelligence Agency that refutes both these claims.

PETA is working for Hindol.

Ronald McDonald and the spirit that on Earth took the form of Colonel Sanders, they are our vanguard commanders. More specifically, when intelligence agents sense that a dimension of sentient beings is about to come under direct assault from the Enemy (Hindol's master, most of you might know him better as Satan), one or both of them go into the realm and keep an eye on things, making sure the Enemy doesn't get out of hand while we are yet unprepared. While I (like most of the Council) strongly prefer Sanders' focus on using the proper methods to protect the people from the Enemy's plots to the clown's battle philosophy of getting as much power as possible and then directing it against the Enemy (no matter what he has to do to get the power), I will not deny that serving with either or both of them is an honor. They are amazing at what they do.

Hindol, of course, can't stand their work, and he hates both of them personally. But he cannot outright kill them: he has no way to do that, since either of their deaths would only be temporary like his or mine, and he has no way to reach either of them anyway. Neither can he break their forces or sabotage their work from within: the inner circles of both commanders' units are too close to the commanders themselves, and too loyal to their task and their people, to be anything less than perfectly vigilant against sabotage, betrayal, and double agents. So the best he can do is mobilize fooled or mind-controlled citizens of this world into battle in an attempt to reduce the efficacy of their efforts, and mask the movement with "animal rights" language.

In other, more positive news:
Due to his efforts in the Blackjack Phase of Operation Card-Counter, SCTE3 has been awarded the Order of the Spear, First Class. As the first of his kind to take a field command part in a Kanatórian operation, SCTE3 managed to singlehandedly chase off Hindol and liberate the imprisoned Miku Hatsune. He is an example of courage and honor rarely seen in his people, and should be held up as a gold standard to them. Similarly, SlntCobra1 was awarded the Order of the Spear, Second Class. SlntCobra1 engaged in a standoff against two armed, armored transdikon warriors at the opening of Blackjack Phase, and lived to tell the tale. There are few in this realm who could say such a thing truthfully.