You Wouldn’t Go To An End Game Raid without Being Geared. So, Why Would You Wander Around Without Your Mask? – A Rant

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Hey guys, it’s Kernook here. It’s time we have a little chat. My mother had a stroke back in November. This weekend she had to go in for three blood transfusions because her platelets are super low. Where I live, hospitals have been restricted to one visitor due to the Covid-19 protocols. She doesn’t have Covid-19, but this effects us, because today they tightened the restrictions, and no visitors are allowed inside.

I can’t even see my own mother. So those of us not even battling Covid-19 directly are being impacted by the idiots choosing not to be careful, and to me this is just not acceptable. That it needs to get to this point this late in the game is just absurd.

Blog posts may be late for a while, because frankly I’ve got bigger fish to fry. Same with YouTube, don’t expect archived videos for a while. I have bigger shit to tackle. However, this is one post that needs to be made, and it needs to be made today!

Perhaps this is just my logic as a gamer, but that’s just not how you play a game, and it’s not how you live life.

You don’t fight a big boss without drinking your potions and elixirs, buffing your raid, eating the right foods and being ready to face down that new boss that you’re about to fight.

This is what we MMORPG gamers do. We do it every raid night. We have no issue doing it every day, because to be a gamer you want to be at your best. You want to be an asset to your team.

If a raid was dying to a boss while being ill-prepared for over a year, that raid would have some serious breakdowns in communication and stability as a team. Some bosses are called “guild killers” for a reason.

Well, Covid-19 is our real world guild killer. It’s breaking down communication, it’s messing with our economy, and it’s dividing people. It is doing everything an end game boss in an MMORPG is capable of doing, and it’s doing it to the fullest.

When bosses drop what we call “AOE’s” or “Area of Effects” on the ground, we don’t stand in it for a reason. We don’t just go in unprepared. Our healers provide support, and we do our best to mitigate the damage. As many raiders say…

Don’t stand in stupid!

Come on raiders, we know the drill here. No, really, we do.

Covid-19 is one big ass “AoE” that has shit on the entire world, and it’s hurting people. Instead of collectively mitigating the damage as any good raid might, many are choosing to stand directly in the middle of it without that mitigation.

We have some people choosing to believe this isn’t real. That it is still, a year later, not a big deal. As though it’s a video game, or a figment of our imaginations. As if it’s not something to take seriously.

They don’t think we need masks, and don’t believe Covid-19 is still a pervading threat. These are the same sort of people that raiders would call scrubs in gaming. They’d be put on blacklists and kicked from raid groups for not being prepared.

Why? Because they are choosing to wipe the raid. They are choosing to hold ALL of us back from downing the boss.

You don’t get to play in the big leagues if you don’t pull your head out of your butt, listen to your raid leader and work as a team.

In Rift, back in the day when you had to fight the Matriarch of Pestilence that boss would put an “AoE” onto a player. That player had to run out of the group, or risk dropping that “AoE” down on the entire raid. It would kill a raid. So, what did we do? When didn’t spread the “AoE” we kept it away from the raid.

If you’re a raider, you’ve likely faced a boss like this. If you’re a gamer at all, you’ve likely taken down a boss that does something at least kind of similar.

Know what we should be keeping away from each other? Covid-19. The same rules apply. If you have the AoE, don’t spread it. If you know the boss does something that’ll impact the raid, you drink the right mitigation potions. You wear the right gear.

If most gamers can figure that crap out in a simulated environment, people working and living in the “real world” should have no issue grasping this concept. It’s not difficult, it’s not complicated.

Our front line workers are our paladins, clerics, mages and bards. They are both our tanks, and our healers. They are our raid leaders for our communities. We need to heed their calls.

When they said put on your mask, they’re saying that because they can’t just magically cast a little bubble to protect you. Real life is not a game, and choosing to defy these raid leaders now is putting everyone at risk. Not all guilds have good raid leaders, and not every doctor on the planet is giving the best advice.

When we lose people in real life, we can’t just cast a “raise” or a “revive” them. They’re gone, and they’re gone for good. It’s actual permadeath.

So, stop being selfish. Think of your community as your raid, and Covid-19 as the boss we have to down. I realize this is going to go over a non-gamer’s head. That most people won’t care about this and I may just be shouting into the void. You know what, I’m fine with that.

At least if I shout loud enough, maybe someone will hear. If just one person reads this and chooses to put their mask on the next time they go out, or think a little more carefully before hosing that next big party, then that’s a success.

That’s a mini-boss I’ve taken down, and as a gamer I’d take pride in that.

If you want the achievement of downing Covid-19, we need to raid together. This is not a boss you can beat alone. You don’t go into a new 10 man raid with three people and expect to win. You don’t go into a new raid without having the right mitigation and equipment.

So next time you leave your house, wear a mask. Get good gamers, and lead the charge, because society has their thumbs up tier asses on this one. It’s been a year, the boss is still active. We’re out of mana and our abilities are on cooldown. If we don’t want that enrage timer going off, we really need to down this boss, and down it now.

I have long concluded that it’s up to us to lead by example. To show the rest of the world that we know how to deal with this, and do it better than them. In a world where gamers are often treated like total crap by the mass media, this is a fight we know how to face down.

This is a fight we know how to mitigate.

We know to listen to our raid leaders. We know you need to have the right gear score. We know that we can’t just drop boss “AoE” and debuffs wherever we please. We know that you have to let the tanks be the tank, and the healers do the healing.

We know this isn’t a fight we can win unless those in the top tier guilds lead by example, so the scrubs can figure it out too. With the vaccines out, we’ve got the DPS to take down this boss. With our masks and social distancing, we’ve got the mitigation to tank this thing until then…

There’s no excuse anymore. We have to take this boss down, or progression ends here. Think about that.

Ever since the days of EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI (and FFXIV), WoW and Rift, we’ve been trained to handle these concepts on their most basic levels. So let’s get good and lead the scrubs. Let’s take down this boss and get back to normal.

Lead by example, gamers! Get geared, get good, and let’s do what we need to do.

This is a fight we know how to win. Stop faffing around and let’s just beat this thing already…

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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Kresh Plays: Crash 4

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, coming to you with another “Kresh Plays” post. Over on the live stream channel, Kresh recently finished playing through Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. So, I am posting the links to the YouTube archive here. The videos are the complete streams, deaths included. Plenty of havoc ensues, since Kresh tends to get a bit salty with platformers. Hopefully you enjoy the videos, and have a good laugh.

As always a description of the game and a few points of note are included below the videos.

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Kresh Plays: Crash 4

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time released in 2020. The game follows our our titular character Crash on his adventure. Havoc ensues, and our hero needs to deal with it. If you’ve played the other games, you know what you’re in for. Platforming hell…

Crash, through no real fault of his own, must now fix a hole that’s been ripped in the space-time continuum. To do this he needs to collect masks, and keep the evil doctor Neo Cortex from making a mess of things.

You get to play a variety of characters. Crash and Coco make their usual appearance, but that’s not all.

Now you get to play as a previous villain of the series Dingodile. He’s turned over a new leaf and even opened up a nice little eatery in the swamp.

His plot lines aren’t a huge part of the game, but it is a fun little addition. He brings a lot of comic relief from his goofy humor. Just like all of the side characters, playing his stages show you events you wouldn’t have an explanation for otherwise.

All of the side cast are tied together nicely through the events of the game. There are some really nice plot twists to be found in the meat of the narrative, and that’s always a huge bonus.

That being said, the game has a few downsides.

The game is a platformer, of course. So you can expect some unnecessarily difficult areas.

Kresh encounters these more than once. Certainly characters are a bit clunky to play as, such as Neo Cortex and Dingodile. both of these characters have wonky jumps, and Kresh often commented that Neo Cortex was just not fun to play as a character.

It looked visually annoying to be honest, particularly Neo Cortex who has a stupid feet wiggle thing he does before he lands a jump. This also inhibits the timing of the jumps themselves. These are pervasive complains for their respected sections, but to be honest those sections don’t come up too often.

In any case, it is a solid platformer and a reasonable entry to the series. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better addition to the original trilogy. The stoy is kind of cute, and very funny at points, keeping with the humor you’d expect from this series.

Final Verdict: give it a play if you haven’t, or at least watch someone else play it.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
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A Glimpse Of Anime HISTORY: Vampire Hunter D

It’s long been said that the 80’s were the golden age of anime. With rose tinted glasses, and fond memories of simpler days, many anime fans were introduced to the medium thanks to the masterpieces of this decade. Every now and then, we should take a step back in time to appreciate these gems.

Vampire Hunter D, is one of these long buried diamonds. This is not a review of the movie that came out in 1985, this is just a glimpse and a few thoughts about it.

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This movie deserves to be mentioned because in this day and age, older anime falls off the radar. It can be easy to forget about them. Vampire Hunter D was considered a fairly huge success upon release. It mixed the finer arts of sci-fi and high fantasy in an easily digestible way.

The 1985 film carries a narrative that you can easily enjoy, without requiring knowledge of the series. The movie will explain things as it goes along.

The anime movie swiftly became known as a cult classic following its release, and that’s one of the many reasons it remains beloved to this day. In spite of it’s age, the anime holds up very well, all things considered. As one of the anime films to hit the United States in the ’90s, american fans were given a world that was little dark, and somewhat gritty.

All of this was wrapped in stunning visuals that only occasionally dropped in quality. It was the era of hand drawn, so occasional dips were to be expected. These visuals coupled with musical genius, making for an atmosphere that still echoes into fandom to this day.

It stands along the giants of its time, Generally speaking, the movie was more or less a a direct adaptation of the first Vampire Hunter D novel, which had been written two years prior. 

In this series, the vampire hunter is hired by a blonde-haired, blue-eyed farm girl named Doris Lang who wants to kill the vampire that attacked and bit her. The hunter in question is the child of a vampire and a human. This means he has extraordinary vampire powers but his human blood protects him from having many of the usual weaknesses you might .

It’s a simple premise but the story is compelling, and for many viewers it was our first real taste of body horror in anime, not counting shows with even more of it, like Akira that came out a little later.

Yes, that is a hand with a face in it. This is what I mean by body horror. There are other good examples throughout the entire series too. It’s enough to be unsettling, without being too awful.

The blend of many horror tropes is both amusing and freighting depending on what scares you. It could be both hilariously delightful, or well and truly haunting. It simply depends on what horror manages to scare you and what horror doesn’t.

All of this said, the movie, and later iterations of the series do a good job at keeping spirits held high. It’s not all doom and gloom despite the setting. From nearly steampunk robotic horses and Gothic architecture, the series carries diverse themes, though none feel out of place. Tacked onto this are the psychic abilities found in the in the universe, which is also a wonderfully addition.

On the topic of the horse for a moment, this is what I mean by it doesn’t feel out of place….

It very much could have felt that way. Many of the core themes, ideas and setting could have been campy, or clunk. They don’t feel that way, and is worth mentioning that directly. If these little things would have been poorly handled at all, the movie we would have ended up being total crap.

This was an animated film unlike any other for it’s time. It had the luxury of not having too many predecessors in its themes or ideas. At least, not in the animated format of a movie. This gave it an edge. Nowadays, it stands tall as a piece of anime history, and it’s worth the watch if you haven’t seen it already.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeStream archive. Occasional Anime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

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The Second Brick – Thoughts On ACCESSIBLE Gaming

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. In case you don’t know, I’m not just a blogger. I’m also streamer on Twitch along with my good friend Kresh. Together, we’re known as “The Demented Ferrets” and we play games several times a week.

Today I want to talk about something that hits very close to home for me; accessibility as it applies to gaming. This is why I thought it prudent to do another “brick post” today.

This time I’m going to give a bit of background on Dyspraxia, what it is, and how it can get in the way at the worst absolute times. Gaming is certainly one of them, hence the post.

Gamers tend to talk about new improvements while disregarding the old, but both have a place. The important little matter of nuance that has been lost in the greater discussion. This is a complicated topic when it comes to gaming, so please bear with me.

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First though, a brief primer on the subject. Dyspraxia is a form of developmental coordination disorder, also known as a “DCD“. I was born with it. It’s fairly common as I understand it. Although, I don’t have any personal friends who have it. That being said, there are plenty of famous people who do speak about it openly.

Daniel Radcliffe is a noteworthy actor that has spoken publicly about the disorder. He is someone I believe most people will have at least some familiarity with, given his role in the Harry Potter series. That’s why I use him as the example, but there are many more.

Now, before I continue, you need to understand that Dyspraxia has a very wide spectrum. Some people with the disorder are very low functioning. For others it would be very hard to tell they have it at all.

The disorder hinders motor skill coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech. It is a lifelong condition, there are no cures. Dyspraxia is a fairly distinct disorder and it can affect a person in many ways.

Why does this matter? Well, I have Dyspraxia and I’m a gamer. You kind of need to have good motor skills to play a game. It’s how you handle the controller, so it matters to talk about this kind of thing in the gaming community.

Accessibility is a word thrown around a lot in the gaming sphere, and often times with negative connotations involved with it. You can put your knee-jerking to the side though. I’m not here to bash developers. I’m hear to talk about my love of gaming when in relation to the disorder itself.

Accessibility is not the same as making a game easier, or in any way “watered down”. No, that’s just flat out idiocy. What makes a game accessible is merely just a wider range of options presented to the player. Therefore, when I am speaking of accessibility here, I am speaking from my personal lens.

My lens will not be your lens, even if you have Dyspraxia. Our level of severity regarding certain symptoms may be vastly different. The one thing I want to make clear here, is that gaming is not inherently inaccessible, and we need to think of accessibility in gaming differently.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The fact that gamers sometimes assume something needs to be added to a game merely to make it accessible at all… well frankly, that just shits all over the discussion in the first place.

It needs to stop, and we need to widen our perspective. Accessibility shouldn’t be a list of “must haves” or “bells and whistles” tacked onto a game as an afterthought. That is not accessibility, that’s being an asshole.

Rather, when we discuss accessibility, we should discuss it’s confines and trappings. Accessibility is always a two way street. Balancing careful planning with a mindfulness to your core player base is the key to success.

An afterthought for the sake of brownie points is never the goal. It should never be the goal. Do not tack on stupid things, just because people scream that they want it. Instead, carefully consider just who your game is made for, first and foremost. Then, after you have that clear idea in mind, think about how you might be able to include others based on that.

Accessibility does not include superglue and a prayer. They should not feel like options slapped onto a game like some sort of deranged clown car. They shouldn’t feel as if they’re bursting out sideways and cockeyed.

For example, when it comes to Dark Souls, I’d say that when it comes to pure gameplay, it is very accessible despite the difficulty. From a point of motor control, I’d say it holds up well. Yes, it’s a hard game. It’s supposed to be.

Just because it’s hard, that doesn’t make it inaccessible inherently in that very specific instance. When you discuss how accessible and game is, it’s all comes down to specific instances.

The game is difficult, but also carefully crafted. You can do battle at a distance, you can plan your attacks. With the multitude of ways that a player can broach fights, I would not say that the gameplay itself is at all “inaccessible” based on motor function. Merely that the game can have a large barrier to entry in other ways.

Under this one lens, it is therefore accessible. However, that is just one lens, and someone may in fact disagree.

Dyspraxia can hinder a person’s ability to participate and function in everyday life. Education, work and gainful employment isn’t always easy for people who have it. A large amount of the time you end up with Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia on top of it. However, that’s an entirely different set of issues, and I won’t be covering those.

What I will say is this. It is imperative that a gamer considers the games they play, and understand the confines of those games. What an accessible MMORPG to me, for example may be different than what you consider to be so.

Final Fantasy XI is a great example of an accessible MMORPG for me. Yes it’s old, and yes it feels a bit dated. That being said, skill in this game relies entirely on knowing what you’re doing. It isn’t exactly a “motor skill” heavy game.

Knowing what the enemies do and how to counteract them is half the battle. There are no quick time events, and there is no jump button. You have no need to handle blinding floor spit aoe’s that you might find in games like WoW, or FFXIV which are also MMORPG’s.

When I thinking of end game raiding, I think of all the mechanics that just turn out to be a pain in the ass. That being said, I call what would be vanilla Rift the pinnacle of end game raiding. The best, and most fun raiding I’ve ever had in a game, for me personally.

This is merely because even if a fight was difficult and AoE’s were tossed all over, I was never just flat out blinded by a boss I was fighting.

For me, the worst offender in this regard is FFXIV. To me, though I do like it, it is very inaccessible as a game in many ways. For me boss battles in FFXIV are not a matter of simply getting good. Sometimes they are a matter of stupidity. Occasionally, I just can’t see what the hell is happening. There is literally too much crap everywhere.

I have golf balls for eyes sometimes, hence the spelling errors that occasionally slip into blog posts. This is also why I tend to use a medium font, and not the “default” that is included in the editing tool.

When I think of a game that isn’t accessible, I think of a game that is stupidly difficult for the sake of it. Or a game that might have had a very small team, and therefore couldn’t hope to factor in gamers such as myself in the first place.

Sometimes artistic choices are enough to make a game somewhat impossible for me to play. Those games have a fan base, and those games don’t include me. This also includes games like Undertale which is primarily black and white, and terrible for me personally.

It took me a year to play and beat the game. This is not to say it isn’t a good game. It is to say the game is not accessible to me as a player. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It just hurts my eyes, and the way you play the game doesn’t help.

However it was such a massive hit that I played it merely to have a perspective upon it myself. That it isn’t a good one personally, doesn’t detract from it objectively. That’s a key distinction to make here.

All in all, people with Dyspraxia are not a monolith. There are a huge list of symptoms, and if you care to look at them, do so understanding that is a very fluid disorder. No one will ever have “all” the qualifiers, because the list is just too large.

So, why does this matter? Well, to me gaming matters. Therefore, my heart can only go out to others with motor skill impairments that inhibit them from fully enjoying a gaming experience the way they might like.

When we play games we see “game over” screens more times than an average player. Sometimes, these are just for dumb reasons. Perhaps a boss doesn’t choreograph what it’s doing very well. Perhaps in games that don’t allow you to turn off quick time events, you kiss your butt goodbye on those several times over.

However, if you don’t have some sort of motor impairment you might think we’re just bad gamers, or that we’re just flat out stupid. It’s not that, not really. It’s just that how we experience the game can and will be different from yours, and our ability to play the game reflects that.

This is why I actually love the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series of games. Particularly the ones with tank controls. In my latest review of Resident Evil 2 from 1998, I brought the matter up directly by saying this:

If you think tank controls absolutely suck, you’re in for a bit of bad news. They’re just as clunky as you recall them to be. Now, I’ve never had an issue with tank controls myself. For my personal situation, tank controls actually make the games easier to play, not harder.

There is a very direct reason for that. Given my Dyspraxia, which is a motor skill disorder, having limited movement allowed me to have better control over the character. I didn’t need to be careful of subtle movement, because the characters only move in very particular ways. When it comes to my thumb being clumsy, the game just didn’t pick that up. This meant I could pay closer attention to my environment, and not what my hands did of their own accord without my noticing. While I love tank controls, I do understand that most people hate them.

For me personally, it’s not a downside. Objectively speaking though, it very well could be. I won’t overlook that just because of my nostalgia or personal situation. “

If you want to read a few of my reviews for the resident evil franchise, you can do so here:

See, this is what I mean by we need to broaden our idea of what accessibility really means. Tank controls actually help me. I’d love if more games have them, and that’s why I love a lot of retro titles. Do I expect them? Absolutely not, but I would very much like to have them.

To me, they would be an accessibility that would improve gameplay.

The point I am trying to make is that this whole accessibility discussion has vastly jumped the shark in many ways. It is true that not all games will be accessible to all people, and it will be impossible to attempt to make it that way.

However, it is also true that using that as a blind excuse is just pure laziness. Nuance matters, and we’re starting to lose that.

Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing trouble as a gamer, I have just one bit of advice. Before you start pounding on the gong of accessibility, take a breath and look at all that gaming has to offer. There will be a game or two that will suit you. There will be a genre that allows you to love gaming.

Once you find those games, you can open your eyes to the other games like it, and the much deeper world that gaming has to offer. Instead of just focusing on the usual complaints, we need to think out of the box. It’s better for everyone, and that’s the whole point of accessibly in the first place. To reach as many people inclusively as possible.

It isn’t just about controller layouts and game overlays. It’s not just about including new add-ons, fonts, colors, keybinds, or multi-lingual subtitles. It’s about the larger scope of the experience we have as gamers.

Sometimes it’s about playing the inaccessible games to understand what needs to change, instead of what we simply want changed.

We need to be discussing ports and revivals of older titles. We need to consider that there are already a wealth of games suited for us that might need to be brought back onto current software. Perhaps some of these titles need to be brought back to life or brought over to other platforms.

Perhaps a gamer can’t play a Mario or Zelda title on a Nintendo Switch, but could play that very same title with a different sort of controller found only on PC, or by a third party company. We need to be discussing this too, and look at all of our options.

We need for developers to be our partners, not our enemies. We need fellow gamers to hear us out before biting our heads off.

These are the sorts of discussions we need to be having. These are the ones that should pervade the larger narrative. When we think of accessibility, need to consider tank controls and other methods of control in general too.

Hopefully you love gaming as much as I do. Hopefully I’ve given you something to chew on. Perhaps the next time the word accessibility comes up in context with gaming, you’ll look out of the box too.

If you’re an aspiring developer, or one from a huge studio, reach out to gamers. Sometimes that alone is enough. Nine times out of ten, we’re okay that a game doesn’t have something, if there’s a good reason not to include it. Knowing why a feature isn’t in a game is sometimes enough for us.

Sometimes just being talked to, so we’re included, is all that we need. Sometimes all we want is to be heard. We don’t want to feel useless, or that we’re just shouting into the void.

Communication is the first step, and it’s one that needs to continue being made, so yeah… do that developers, really. That first step will be an answer to a great many problems. After that, creativity is your foremost tool. Use it, and empower all of us.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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A moment to Remember – Yaphet Kotto

If you’re here, you’ve probably heard that Yaphet Kotto passed away. I don’t want to talk about his passing, but rather I want to talk about his legacy. What he left behind. This isn’t a usual blog post, and unlike my other blog posts, I won’t be leaving the typical links. Also, this isn’t carefully edited or mindfully crafted. It’s just me, writing what I think and feel.

I want this post to be a reflection of my own recollections of him through the eyes of a fan. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, but he was intrinsic to my youth, and that’s what I want to recall fondly.

Memories of happier, simpler days when he lit up our television screen in the mundane afternoons. My family gathered around our television set, while I was too young to think of it as anything other than normalcy.

If you were a fan of bond films, or such classics as Alien, you probably saw Yaphet Frederick Kotto on screen plenty of times over the years. Even if you don’t know who he was, you probably knew of his work in the film and television industry. You knew his face, if not his name.

For me growing up, that’s what it was like. So, I wanted to take a moment to recall his career, and my earliest recollections as a fan. My parents are older, so I grew up with shows from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Old re-runs of shows like Gun Smoke, Hawaii Five-O  and Murder, She Wrote were series that were fairly common in my household growing up.

Yaphet Kotto made an appearance on all of these shows, and my earliest memories weren’t as a fan of him, but as a child playing in front of the television set. If you were also a 90’s kid with older parents like myself, you probably also grew up around his works, rather than with his works.

Still it was that experience in my early childhood that made him a household name for me. It wasn’t his larger roles, it was his smaller ones. That’s what made me want to watch things like Alien as an adult, and play video games like Alien: Isolation. It’s what made me look deeper into his entire filmography.

Knowing of him, made me want to see more about him and the roles he played. That alone, made me become a fan.

This man represents a time in my life when I was just a kid. When his works were too mature for a young child like myself to fully understand. His voice wafting across the screen during lazy summertime naps, and while rolling dice for board games that we’d play to whittle the hours away.

Yaphet Kotto is just one of many actors like this for me. A face, a name and a voice, that occasionally warmed my home thanks to his glow on the television. Seeing that he passed away, and everyone sharing their fond memories over twitter on his memory page made me want to do the same, but I just can’t partake.

I wish I could say I was a huge fan of his works, but for me that’s not why this hits so hard. For me, it’s another loss of my youth. A reminder that times are swiftly changing. My younger cousins will never get to have the upbringing that I did. The days of dial-up internet meant that I wasn’t on there all the time. The television was the central location in our home. Yaphet Kotto and his many roles became part of that, and for me, that is what I will always remember.

I offer my sincerest condolences to his family and friends. To his likely sprawling fan base, my you forever love his works and ambitions. He has left these behind as a gift for us. So may we enjoy them to the fullest. Finally, I wish him a peaceful rest wherever his soul may travel…

Monster – You Have To Watch This Thing

There are times as an anime fan when I want a series to watch that’s off the beaten path. Something that may be considered a little too dry or complex. These sorts of anime fall out of fandom discussions quickly, eventually slipping into obscurity.

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster fits all of this criteria, as the series isn’t exactly what I would call a “pop-corn” anime. It’s probably far from it, because even when it came out in 2004, I can’t think of many people who found themselves talking about the series. My friends certainly didn’t, and neither did I.

I tried to watch the series when it came out, but in 2004 I was still in high school. I had other interests, and what might be thought of as “high-brow” anime wasn’t among them. It wasn’t until I was a handful of years older and gave it try a the second time that I really came to enjoy this gem of a series.

So, today I do want to talk about this anime, and all that it has to offer. I don’t know many people personally that actually enjoy it, which I think is a shame. First though, time for obligatory self-promotion…

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Anyway, let’s continue with the rest of the content. So, Monster is a weird series in fandom. Funnily enough, this series is ranked fairly highly on “My Anime List”. This is a little odd, I have to say. I rarely hear anyone talk about this show at all, but it does seem to be fairly popular in the grand scheme.

Think I’m joking? Take a look at this screenshot. That was taken just as I was writing this post.

Though, I do wonder how many people added it merely by its reputation. It is known for being an intelligent anime. The series tells a very perceptive and complicated story, so it isn’t something easily bandied about.

Outside of anime reviewers or very small corners of the internet, it just isn’t discussed despite the fairly high ratings. Therefore I can only conclude one of two things.

Firstly, that it is a show a lot of people enjoy, but simply don’t discuss at length due to its nature. Secondly, is that Monster has fallen into that realm of obscurity that I mentioned before. Either way, this is a series worth talking about.

It isn’t a typical anime in many ways. It doesn’t follow the standard formula, nor does it pretend to try. In the near endless flood of anime of today, you’ll still be hard pressed to find shows quite like this one.

I like anime that push the limits of the medium. Fantasy and magic found within anime is almost akin to the platformers, role-playing games, and shooters of the gaming world. Even anime aimed at older viewers seem to have some sort of super natural quality to them, and a vast majority are a dime a dozen.

Finding something that manages to break the confines of gaming as we understand it can be a bit difficult. The same is true for anime.

Monster certainly accomplishes that goal, and without too much fantastical idiocy to go along with it. This isn’t a series filled with magic, but I promise you that it has plenty of mystery. If you haven’t watched Monster, Today I’m going to explain why you should.

This is not a review, this is purely a suggestion.

The Narrative

Word of warning: This series can be incredibly offensive to anyone with a firm faith in religion to the point they follow it blindly and refuse to study it. If your faith in Christianity is so strong that you cannot even question the bible even slightly, keep away from this thing. It’s not for you, and it isn’t intended to be.

More on that later, when I discuss the intellectual ethos of the series.

Summary without spoilers: The series takes place in the 80’s. We follow the story of a Japanese man by the name of Kenzo Tenma. He is a young doctor based out of Germany. As a skilled neurosurgeon, he’s earned the attention and praise of people in high places. Due to his high standing he is placed in a rather precarious position, forced to make a choice that he really doesn’t want to make.

Two people need complicated life saving operations. One person in need is a political figurehead, the other person in need is a child.

Tenma is the best of the best. There is no one his equal in terms of skill. Due to how well respected he is, Tenma is expected to bow down to the political bias of the hospital. They want him to operate on the figurehead, thus dooming the child to die.

He has been at the mercy of these kinds of decisions before, doing as he was told with a respect to authority. However to doom a child this way is a decision he refuses to make, and goes to save the child’s life instead.

Ultimately this decision will come back to haunt him. Beyond this, I dare to step into massive spoiler territory. Instead of talking about that, I’m going to cover a few other details. I really want you to watch this series if you haven’t, and I refuse to be the one to spoil it for you.

Instead I will say this:

The story is as much a mystery as it is thriller. It’s slow paced, but it is by no means a slog to sit through. If you take it slow and don’t try to binge watch it, you’re in for a real treat.

Everything in this anime toes an emotionally grey line. You cannot expect complete altruism either, neither from our protagonists or the side cast. Even the best characters have a dark side, and sometimes that side is vastly unsettling.

You cannot expect firm answers or conclusions to every tiny detail in the show. This series isn’t going to hold your hand. It wants you to come up with your own conclusions based on what you see.

What you can expect is a story that is very well written, with characters that are as multidimensional as any anime could ever offer. What you’ll find here is a truly mature anime. It is one that is certainly worth your time to give it a try.

I don’t know if you will “like it” per say. However, I can say that Monster is an experience in and of itself, and that alone is reason to watch it.

The Intellectual Ethos

If you don’t want complicated yip-yap bypass this section. Actually, maybe just bypass the anime at that point. It is a very complicated series, and as I fan I have to accept that.

Don’t believe me? Strap in, we’re diving deep on this one.

This series begins with a biblical quote, and right out of the gate Monster refuses to be simple. This quote is from the book of Revelations, the final one in the new testament. The quote looks like this:

Now, it’s very important to note that interpreters of Revelations typically have four key ways to view this section of the bible. Now, I’m not hugely religious, but I’ll highlight the main four in very simple terms.

  1. Some believe that most of the events in Revelations have already taken place.
  2. Meanwhile, others take it as describing the long chain of events that may take place, or is in the process of taking place.
  3. The third group are those that find this book to be of the future, and place the book primarily in the end of times (which has not happened yet).
  4. The final group view it as symbolic pictures of what they call “timeless truths”, applying the book as the standard victory of good over evil.

Fortunately, the message of Revelation does not depend on adopting a particular point of view. Any of those main four will do. So, why in the hell am I bringing this up then?

Well because it ties into the series. The quote wouldn’t be there mindlessly. I would argue this series touches upon all four views depending on what character you happen to following in regards to the series. The ideological undertones will conflict and contrast in many ways. They are not always blatantly obvious, but they could be somewhat offensive based on your own religious beliefs this particular section of the bible.

But that isn’t all, either…

Buried deep into this anime there are two core ideologies at play. Both of them are on display for the main character, Tenma, at almost all times.

One ideology is complex and morally grey area. The other is an emotionally driven conclusion based on the facts that the main protagonist will never have an answer for.

The first ideology is in regards to personal agency and the value of ethical intervention. What would you do when placed between two horrible outcomes? Would you act, or merely just stand still? Something bad will happen either way, so what option will you choose? Is there truly a “least bad” option?

As a doctor, Tenma made a choice, and he makes choices every day. He often reflects on those choices. Sometimes choosing to save one life results in the death of another. The grieving woman in the image above is someone that Tenma has to face in the first episode. This is a flashback scene. He can only watch as she morns the death of her husband, a man that needed his help.

A man that he chose to deny because of the orders passed down to him by the hospital. A man he could have saved…

This loss of life was not needed, and it weighs on Tenma. This event will influence his decision between the young boy and the political figurehead in the series, and every event thereafter.

This is in essence what is commonly known as the “The Trolley Problem”, as coined by English philosopher Philippa Ruth Foot back in the mid 1970’s.

The simple version of this ethical problem is known as “Bystander at the Switch“. It goes a little something like this:

There is trolley that’s out of control. It is speeding along railway, and it cannot be stopped. Up ahead, there are five people on the track, unable to move. If the trolley hits them, they will die. Now, there is where you enter into the picture. You are able to pull lever nearby. However, if you pull this lever, the trolley will switch tracks. Sadly, there is one person on that other track. If you pull the lever, that person will die instead.

Thus, you have two options. The first is to do nothing, effectively allowing the trolley to kill the five people on the main track. The second option is to pull the lever. You’ll save the lives of five people, but by your direct involvement with the lever, the trolley will still kill one person.

So, what choice do you decide to make?

This is the first question the series asks, and answers through Tenma. The start of the series begins with this same sort of ethical problem. The choice he makes will carry through the entire series. His decision lingers with him in the aftermath.

The second ideology is less complicated, but no less deep. It is the ideology of perseverance in the face of dire straits and negative outcomes. How do you cope with your choices after you’ve made them? How do you live with yourself, when the choice you make is the wrong one?

Tenma’s choice is one that impacts his life, and the lives of the other people around him. He thought he was doing a good deed, but that deed is no more than a devil’s deal.

This is the crux of the series. It is what ultimately drives the entire narrative I mentioned above.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I doubt most will. Ultimately, what makes this show so well written is the minutia of little details. It comes down to the subject of interpretation. These are the same things that I feel hold this series back from being discussed at length.

Let’s be honest, trying to discuss Monster honestly has a lot of ideological landmines. I barely scratched the surface when it comes to the way the series presents its ideas, thoughts and themes.

That being said, the series is also a rabbit hole, there is such a thing as diving too deep. Let’s also be honest about that too. It’s easy to dive too deep on this one, and that can make it hard to relate to.

Some fans may end up seeing something that isn’t really there to find at all. Still the mere idea that you’re able to do that, is itself a nod to the main theme of Monster and the story it tells.

I can’t honestly review this thing because even trying to do that negates the reason why so many of us love this show in the first place.

I can’t just say “It’s awesome, go watch it!” nor can I say “The inevitable flaws are still worth your time…” because that alone isn’t enough to enjoy this sort of show. Saying “because you might like it” is a direct slap in the face for everything this show tries to do.

I doubt you’ll enjoy everything the series gives you. If you’re like me, there will be times that you will be flat out disgusted by certain characters and their world view. There are times you will not agree the subject matter, ethos, and ideology. However, you must expect it. That is the point of the title, after all.

These aren’t the monsters under the bed. These are the monsters of humanity. Everyone in the show could, at least in part, be classified as such. Just as in reality, we all have our vices and our failings.

We are all able to be monsters under the right conditions and circumstances. In the series, the characters argue that conditions and circumstances often do justify their actions, grotesque or not.

Monstrous, or not…

This isn’t an anime that I would merely pluck from my shelf and cram into the hands of my best buddies, because as I said, they wouldn’t like it anyway.

However, I’m going to be a pretentious twat for a second. Yes, I’m going to be “that asshole“. If you consider yourself a true fan of the anime medium in its entirety, or you consider yourself an anime expert even slightly, you have to watch this show.

There are no “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s” about it. If you are a person that is a collector of the medium, or consider yourself an authority of the medium in any possible way, shape or form, do your due diligence! Plant your ass in a chair and sit through it.

Sit through ALL of it, and then discuss it. This is a series worth talking about. It should not be left to rot in the recess of fandom, alone and forgotten.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

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Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

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Claire Redfield – A Remake Letdown

Since I just recently reviewed Resident Evil 2, a title that was released (1998) I thought it was prudent To discuss a character from that game and the personal impact that Clair Redfield had on me as a fan.

The reason I wanted to write this was because I grew up with this character, and now a younger cousin of mine is as well. I feel the need to reflect on this, because thanks to the remake a character I once really liked in this fandom has been tarnished significantly. These are the reasons why.

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As I said in my review of the retro title, Resident Evil 2 improved on the standard formula of the first game, but it didn’t forget what made it so well loved in the first place. It changed nothing that would hinder the experience, only enhance it. You can read the full review here.

Claire Redfield originally made her first appearance in the game. She’s come to the city looking for her older brother. By the time she gets there, he’s already gone to a safer location.

The city is infested with zombies, it isn’t safe. By the time she discovers that her brother isn’t in the city anymore, all hell has broken loose. She needs to leave too, and working together with Leon seems to be the safest bet. They agree to try and help a few survivors if they find any during their escape.

During Claire’s scenarios the player will be tasked with helping a little girl named Sherry Birkin. This is a somewhat key focal point for Claire’s main story. After culling the zombie horde and traversing a police station, sewers, and even an underground lab, eventually you escape the city with the Leon and Sherry.

If you’ve done everything right, you get a happy little ending that fades into the sunset. They’re you’re given a grade and score encouraging you to play again and get a better rank next time.

Claire promises to find her brother before the credits roll. Her story isn’t finished, and you’ll see her in later games.

The Resident Evil franchise has a knack for writing strong female protagonists, and there are no shortage of reasons why these characters are beloved by the fans of the games. That being said, Claire Redfield is probably one of my favorite characters in the entire series, at least as far as the retro titles are concerned.

In the early games, Claire is a little sassy, but all around sweet and sentimental. She’s got a kind heart, and a level headed optimism that plays a great counterpoint to Leon’s nearly blind obsession with doing the right thing.

While Leon almost fancies himself a hero in a police uniform, Claire is more down to earth about her ambitions and what she can be capable of. There’s a real soft side to her character that ultimately allows her to befriend Sherry Birkin. Through the events of the series, Claire sets herself on a path to help heal the wrongdoings and nightmares that plague the world.

I wish I could say I that liked the remake version of Claire Redfield just as much as her retro counterpart, but sadly this just isn’t the case. She’s a different character fundamentally and there are a few reasons why.

Claire Redfield is a far cry from her retro counterpart in the way she acts in the remake. Her personality and disposition are gritter, just like everything else. This version of her has a propensity to curse up a storm. She’s far more sassy and quick to fire off at the mouth, and there are times she’s flat out rude.

I don’t find these traits to be likable in the way she portrays them, and this isn’t to say she isn’t written well. She is very well conceptualized for this darker and gritter version of the game, but it’s hard for me to like her.

In fact, I hate this version of her character. Claire grows into having a certain amount of cynicism as time goes on in the franchise. After the series lore and the things she’s seen, that’s completely logical and understandable. Yet, this is tempered by the fact that she’s down to earth enough to recognize what she’s doing.

Now when I play Resident Evil games, I look for the charm and whit of the series. That was what the series taught me to do in my youth, and characters like Jill, Claire, and later in the GameCube era Rebecca were the ones that I heavily attached to. These women have diverse and complex personalities, which makes them incredibly easy to idolize. Young gamers need those idols. They’re no different than superheros in that way.

All of these characters become more cynical as time marches forward. However, to revamp Claire into this type of person from the start for the remake, is something that makes me not want to play the game at all.

I like the remake, but I’ve played it through about four times, and I’ve already gotten sick of it. Meanwhile, when I play the retro classic, I’m never sick of it. The reason for this is that Claire and Leon play off each other so well in the original version that I’m reminded of the journey these characters go on. As a gamer, I want to follow that journey.

Playing the retro games make me want to relive other great stories too, such as the ones in Code Veronica and Resident Evil 4.

There’s a real earnest side to Claire that gets buried under the grit and grime of the remake. She’s always been a tough person with a thick skin and the mindset to get things done.

She’s a real icon to younger gamers everywhere, and I’m offended that the remake just didn’t do their due diligence to keep what made her so awesome as a character in tact.

Although, that’s a more personal gripe than just being salty over a difference in characterization. Like I said, she is still very well written, but she isn’t exactly someone kids can look up to anymore, and that’s sad.

The thing is, I saw this first hand. So, maybe that soured my experience with the game a bit. For me, it’s the heart of the matter, though. It’s that I saw a true fan of this cool character become disheartened in a way I never expected.

You see, I have a few female cousins that are now just nearly teenagers. One of them loves the retro Resident Evil 2. She is enamored with Claire, just like I was as a kid. She even has a poster of the character on her wall. Actually, it’s my old one from a gaming magazine that I’d bought as a child.

She was so excited to play the new game, and I even let her come over and spend the night so that she could play it with me the night it released. So, there we were, a bag of Little Cesar’s crazy bread and a two liter bottle of soda in hand. The download completed, and of course we start up the game and play as Claire first.

We beat that play-through about fifteen hours later, after much death and plenty of slogging through every area of maps to the point of flat out stupidly at times. She really liked looking at all the little things they added, and when she had the controller she may have gotten a little too brave with kiting the zombies…

Yes, like I said, many game over screens occurred between the both of us. However, even though she kind of liked the game, she didn’t like Claire at all. When I asked about it, the response I got was confused and sad.

My cousin literally just… for a lack of a better term crinkled her nose and said “That’s not Claire. I don’t like her, she’s not very nice.”

Now I attribute that statement to the fact that the original game just doesn’t have talking when it isn’t in a cut-scene. The remake does. As you’re fighting monsters and exploring around, sometimes you hear a lot of not-so-nice things come flying out of Claire’s mouth. Her reactions to things are certainly realistic, but they do diminish those good attributes I spoke of above.

In the remake, she’s a lot less a hero in a biker suit. At least insofar as a young girl would be able to be inspired by. I realize my cousin she wasn’t the core age demographic for the game, but that has never once mattered when it came to the series before.

Recently, I discovered that it certainly didn’t matter as far as the remake for Resident Evil 3 was concerned either. She loved that one too, even when I absolutely didn’t.

The only game she hasn’t played in the franchise is Resident Evil 7. I think she’s just a little too young for that one. There are a few things in that game she just isn’t ready for. In my opinion, it’s a little too dark, and a little too edgy for her just yet. Every now and then, she still asks if she’s old enough to play it.

That’s the kind of fan I’m talking about here. It’s hard for her to dislike a Resident Evil game at all. She hasn’t asked to play the remake of Resident Evil 2 ever since the night of release. She doesn’t even want to play Leon’s side of it. She just doesn’t care.

That really put Claire as a character into perspective for me.

To say that my cousin was disappointed in Claire is a huge understatement. This is now thirteen year old girl is no Resident Evil slouch, either. Her first game was Resident Evil 1 for the PlayStation, full of campy dialogue and content that really can’t be called scary to a modern gamer. When she beat that, she wanted to play the remake for the GameCube.

I was a skeptic about that for sure. Back then, she was only eight years old at the time, and those monsters looked way more realistic. I didn’t think she would even get passed the first zombie encounter, to be honest. Still, I let her play it with me at her side. She proved me wrong.

This kid spent well over a month during the summer as an eight year old playing through the GameCube version of Resident Evil 1 top to bottom. That’s when I knew I had a real fan on my hands, so I unearthed everything I had from the series.

She survived through Resident Evil 2 for the PlayStation and liked it so much, I gave her my Nintendo 64 copy of the game. That way, she could have some version to play whenever she wanted. This is a girl that absolutely annihilated Resident Evil 3 for the PlayStation, and muddled through Code Veronica on my Dreamcast in a single winter break when we were up at a cabin a few years back.

When every little kid on the planet seemed to be Five Nights at Freddy’s, crazy that little girl was a zombie fan to the extreme. If I had a Resident Evil game in my collection, she was going to drive me absolutely crazy until I let her play it.

So with all of this being said, for me the night we played the remake of Resident Evil 2 I really wanted my cousin to like that game. For me, that would have been by far the best gaming experience I could ever have.

I wanted her to enjoy it just as much as all the others. When Resident Evil 6 could at the very least accomplish that much, I was pretty sure that the bar wasn’t all that high to reach.

Man, was I wrong.

All I wanted, was to to see the magic that a game could bring to a young die-hard fan. In a way, I guess you could say I wanted to re-live my own youth a little bit as well.

Every gamer eventually finds a title in a franchise that rips away the magic. A game that lets them down. For my cousin, that game was the remake of Resident Evil 2.

It’s a good game, it really is. Sadly though, it just can live up to the heart of the matter.

Game Review: Resident Evil 2 (1998)

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Hey guys, it’s Kernook here, back with another review for one of my favorite franchises. As I said in my Resident Evil 1.5 review, the series had a rocky footing when it came to making the squeal for the smash hit that the first Resident Evil became.

After only a month of the first game’s release they knew they’d need to make another. Production began, but the prototype was scrapped, and this failed prototype is known by fans as Resident Evil 1.5 You can read my review of that prototype here…

In spite of the failure, the staff working on the team picked up the pieces and set to work again. This time, they ended up creating a game that they knew fans would absolutely love. So much attention to detail was poured into every aspect of this game, and Resident Evil 2 stands as a fan favorite for several very good reasons.

It was everything we could have asked for in a sequel to the franchise. Literally, it was by far everything we loved cranked up and polished to the max. It deified logic now that I think about it. This game was full to bursting with great content, almost like a gift to the fans. A labor of love that without a doubt many people recall fondly.

There were more weapons, new characters with compelling narratives, better graphics and core improvements to game design. Ultimately this made Resident Evil 2 a much beefier gameplay experience than its predecessor, and it blew fans right out of the water.

So, lets dive into this game and take a look. There is a lot to unpack here, and I really want to do this masterful game justice. First, we should begin with a bit of history…

Topping Charts

It might not look like much by today’s standard, but don’t let that fool you. It was truly a landmark title for it’s time. Making it’s way to the PlayStation here in america in 1998, later it hit the Nintendo 64. Over time, several other ports followed. A lot of people were able to get their hands on it, and this likely had a lot to do with its popularity.\.

For younger fans of the series who may not recall those days, you need to remember that survival horror was a fairly new genre to console gamers. Resident Evil had given us fans this rare taste of what a horror game could be, and it had become nearly iconic among us as a result.

So, when Resident Evil 2 entered the scene, we gobbled up copies like a zombie horde after fresh meat. We were clamoring for more, and it delivered in spades. It’s no surprise that the game topped the charts when it came to sales, because it was fresh, and new. There was so little competition when it came to strong horror titles, this gave the game a distinct edge in the market.

The game beat out Super Mario 64, and Final Fantasy 7 when it came to gross profit margins and sales. That’s how popular this game was. Then again, survival horror was a scarce thing. There were platformers and role-playing games aplenty.

At the time, there weren’t many games like the Resident Evil franchise. I attribute these sales to that fact alone. The fact that Resident Evil 2 was just a good game comes secondarily in my personal opinion. It’s certainly a key factor, but let’s face it. That wasn’t the only thing going for it.

It’s easy to beat out other games if you can do the following:

  • Have one good game in the franchise that’s well known already.
  • Appeal to a mass and under served audience.
  • Have absolutely little in the way of solid competition for the genre of game you’re selling.

Resident Evil 2 had all of these factors at play, and that can’t be overlooked. On to of that, the game just looked awesome, and for graphic fanatics you really couldn’t do better than this in the horror genre at the time.

This is a zombie from the opening scene is a great example. It freaked me out for sure.

When fan saw this thing come shuffling out of an alleyway, it was amazing. The upgrades to the zombies and new additional enemies proved to make the hype for the series reach a new all-time high.

To make a very bold statement, Resident Evil 2 was a nearly perfect game, and a therefore a solid addition to the franchise.

Nearly Perfect, Really? Yeah… It Really Was…

Resident Evil 2 improved on the standard formula of the first game, but it didn’t forget what made it so well loved in the first place. It changed nothing that would hinder the experience, only enhance it.

Director Hideki Kamiya and producer Shinji Mikami, hadn’t been able to see eye-to-eye on the original prototype, and this lead to a falling out of sorts. Hideki Kamiya took full creative control of the game after that, and this was ultimately the right choice if the popularity and sales are any metric to go by.

Plus, when it comes to Shinji Mikami, the man has interesting visions and all around bad execution when it comes to the Resident Evil series sometimes. It just isn’t his forte, but that’s a side rant. I’ll get to in other games, when that actually matters.

Anyway, with Hideki Kamiya at the helm the team got focused and things got done. A masterful story was crafted, and the world of Resident Evil stepped outside of the confines of a mansion, and out into the city.

The Plot Thickens. Coagulated Blood, Anyone?

Resident Evil 2 takes place about two months after the events at the mansion. The surviving S.T.A.R.S. members have done all they can, but the city can’t be saved. It’s come down with a bit of an infestation, and these buggers mean business. No exterminators are going to get rid of this viral mess.

Zombies have overtaken the city. Most of the residents are doomed to die in this hell, but if you’re lucky you’ll survive. You get to play as one of two characters.

The first is Leon Kennedy, a rookie police officer suffering his first day on the job. Today is just not a good day for him at all. The Second is Claire Redfield, a young woman in search of her older brother, Chris Redfield of the first game. To see the full game, you’ll have to play both of them.

These two characters have just arrived in the city, only to be greeted by carnage and zombie hordes. They meet entirely by chance, but they’re both happy to see a friendly face that isn’t trying to eat them. Choosing to stay together, they plan to head to the police station.

Leon gives Claire a gun to protect herself and things are going good. Well, everything except for the zombie in the back seat of a car, and a bitten truck driver losing control of his vehicle. This, of course, ends in the typical explosion you’d expect.

They still make it to the station, though how you get there depends on the character your playing. Once meting up again, they decide it’s best to just leave the city. Chris isn’t there anyway, and by the looks of it the little matter of the zombie horde isn’t going away any time soon.

The story is simple, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. The concept of escaping the city is enough on its own.

We’ve seen it in horror films time and time again, but getting to play through that concept in a game was an exciting addition to the format. It fits all of the typical troupes we’ve come to love.

Added to this are the characters themselves. Again, most of them have simple stories, nothing too complicated. The survivors are few and far between. Some are terrified, others are deranged, and a few have plans that go beyond the narrative scope of the game itself. Obviously, this leaves more questions than answers. However, a good horror title isn’t going to coddle you.

Resident Evil 2 certainly doesn’t hold your hand when it comes to these characters or their personal stories. There are some things you’ll just have to figure out on your own. Occasionally you will have control of two of the side characters, but those moments are carefully planned out.

Sherry Birkin and Ada Wong are wonderful additions to the game. They never seemed out of place, and their inclusions help to enrich the greater Resident Evil universe. Now, a nice thing about Ada Wong is that there are files in the first game to compliment her entry here.

It’s nice to have characters that are establish in the narrative, and Ada fills this role wonderfully.

Furthermore, the characters are edged up a notch by their voice actors. The acting is the game can still be hokey at times, but it’s a leap above what it used to be. It never takes itself too seriously, but it no longer feels like a campy horror movie made with bad actors and comedy that feels like it was written by a five year old.

Instead, this game finds levity in hopeful optimism, well placed snarky comments, and the occasional bad joke to lighten the mood.

When I think of great story telling and narrative clarity, I look no further than Resident Evil 2 as the benchmark for this series. It’s by far one of the best in this regard, it certainly feels satisfying even if it doesn’t entirely flesh out every conclusion, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

I never felt cheated out of an ending, or key character moments. I never felt as though the game refused to give me something meaningful just due to pure laziness. Every unanswered question felt like the correct choice. Either because we didn’t need to have it, or because the answer wouldn’t have been fulfilling anyway.

Some things are just better left unsaid. The game understood where the line was, never crossing it.

One last thing I want to mention, Leon and Clare have two scenarios each, and they take place basically right on top of each other.

Gameplay: A Mixed Bag

A great story isn’t the only thing that matters in a game. It needs to have good mechanics to back it up. There is a reason I say the game was almost perfect, or nearly perfect. Perfection is an impossible standard, and this game did have a few flaws.

Disregarding this would just be idiocy. The game is wonderful, and I’m a huge fan. However, setting down the fan goggles is absolutely required for a proper review. So, I’m about to do that. Don’t chase me with your pitchforks. I love the game too, but there are a few situational problems. No matter how slight they may be, it’s worth talking about them.

One of my small complaints is the lack of differences between the two main characters. They may have entirely different stories, but they feel the same to play. In the first game there were differences in gameplay based on Jill’s ability to pick locks, and Chris’s ability to carry a lighter and take more hits from enemies.

I feel none of that between Leon and Claire. The character specific weapons are nice, but this aspect is shallow when compared to it’s predecessor. It’s the story that makes up for this lack of gameplay.

While we’re still on the topic of characters, let’s discuss a new addition to the game.

Referencing back to the back to the scenarios I mentioned above, if you pick up certain items on an “A” scenario, you may not be able to get that item on a play through of the opposite character’s “B” scenario. You need to play both to get the real ending.

Depending on what scenario you play, and in what order, your starting location changes. Key items will be switched around. Enemy placement will dramatically be altered. There will be unique cut scenes to watch, and a new enemy to face. This adds replay value and a bit of added strategy.

Sadly, it’s not as much as you might think…

Fans praise this aspect of the game. I do as well, but I think we often over hype it. At the time it was genuinely a great addition, and a lot of fun. Still though, I think we place this aspect on a pustule far too often. It was good, but the popularity of this addition is almost legendary. That’s almost a bridge too far.

The new enemy added is okay, but he’s stupidly easy to outsmart. He’s all brawn, no brains. Intimidating when he first comes on screen, and then flat out annoying after you have an idea of how he works. He’s also the base idea for another enemy that shows up in the next Resident Evil title, and in my opinion the concept was done way better in that one. However, I’ll speak about that when I get to it.

All in all, the changes are solid here. They’re good choices, and you can tell they were made with care. They don’t hinder the standard Resident Evil format we all came to love from the first game. This was a boon for us. We could dive right into the game without any issue whatsoever.

All of the old mechanics we’ve come to know make a complete return. This includes fixed camera angles, tank controls, puzzle solving, exploration, healing and item management. This is the mixed bag part…

If you think tank controls absolutely suck, you’re in for a bit of bad news. They’re just as clunky as you recall them to be. Now, I’ve never had an issue with tank controls myself. For my personal situation, tank controls actually make the games easier to play, not harder.

There is a very direct reason for that. Given my Dyspraxia, which is a motor skill disorder, having limited movement allowed me to have better control over the character. I didn’t need to be careful of subtle movement, because the characters only move in very particular ways. When it comes to my thumb being clumsy, the game just didn’t pick that up. This meant I could pay closer attention to my environment, and not what my hands did of their own accord without my noticing. While I love tank controls, I do understand that most people hate them.

For me personally, it’s not a downside. Objectively speaking though, it very well could be. I won’t overlook that just because of my nostalgia or personal situation.

There is a ton of backtracking as well. If you hate that sorry, you’re stuck with it. Thankfully the game got really creative with backdrops and surprise zombies, so it’s not nearly as mindless as it was in the first game.

Puzzles are incredibly elaborate and diverse. Some are super easy, like this one. You just push statues. It’s almost a no brainier. Not all of them are this easy though.

In some places they’re insanely hard, and this is one of my favorite things. That said, they can be even more unforgiving than in the first game. I know many people who complained about some of the puzzles being too obtuse, and I can understand why some people would think that.

Although I loved the puzzles, some of them felt very out of place then, and still do to this day. That detail took me out of the atmosphere more than once, and ripped me out of horror I was trying to experience.

Item management is just as much a pain in the neck as always. This is to ramp up tension of course, and to make you think strategically. This was one of my greatest downfalls in the first game, and it was my downfall in this game too. As a new player deaths were attributed to my lack of item management in key places. Nowadays, I have it down to a science.

All-in-all, the gameplay was everything we needed it to be. It didn’t add an insane amount of new things, and that’s fine. Too much would have taken away from the simplicity of just enjoying a zombie title. Since there wasn’t a huge learning curve, we could enjoy the story which was spectacular.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics were a step above it’s predecessor, which is why it was impressive to look at for its time. The rendered backdrops were more detailed, even once compressed onto a disk. While the Nintendo 64 port couldn’t live up to its PlayStation counterpart in terms of visual aesthetic the pure novelty of playing the game on the system alone was enough to be noteworthy.

Nowadays unless you like retro graphics, it will likely look like crap. The only thing to do is blame the flow of time and pure advancement.

I’ve said this many times, but the sound design on any retro Resident Evil game is paramount to gameplay in a very important way that other games don’t suffer from. Due to the fixed camera angles and zombies loitering around just off screen, it is absolutely paramount that monsters give sound cues.

They enemies need to highlight where they might be. If you can’t see them, you’re as good as dead. This is the key to that new enemy I mentioned above, and this aspect is even more important for him.

He will chase you through certain places. Knowing where he is, and what he’s doing is fundamental. It’s going to be the difference between life and death during hard mode on your first play through. Even if you’ve played the remake, don’t underestimate him. With ammo conservation still playing a heavy role, new players are better left to just leave this thing alone.

Thankfully the sound engineers working on the game understood this, and the sound quality is top notch.

The Nintendo 64 port actually had a better sound quality, which is an odd little quirk. It’s a neat little claim to fame, though. At least that made up for the lacking visuals of the system’s hardware and the need for even more compression than was on the disk.

Final Thoughts

Resident Evil 2 is a very solid entry to the series, and arguably the best of the first three named titles out there. Now, as I mentioned in passing in recent years we received a remake of the game, complete with high definition graphics, great atmosphere, and all the gore you could hope for in a zombie game.

That being said, fans shouldn’t abandon the retro version of the title. The remake is wonderful, and it will receive its own review. However, it lacks one thing that I find fundamental to the franchise.

Charm… Yeah, you read that correctly. It lacks charm. All of the older games, and the remake of the first game all have something charming about them. There are these the little moments that make you smile, even if it’s for stupid reasons.

As games become more realistic we gain a lot in the horror factor, but we lose a bit of that charming, and sometimes silly, poetic atmosphere. That’s the trade off for horror of the current era, and it is to be expected.

The Resident Evil 2 remake is more gritty, not just in the realistic look of the zombies, but in every single way. That’s amazing if you just want horror, but if you want the far more optimistic story telling found in the retro titles you won’t find it in the remake. Instead, you’re going to get a lot of cursing, and darker dialogue.

To me, this is why the remake cannot fundamentally be held on the same sort of stage that it’s retro equivalent stands upon. They’re very different experiences, and they have to be treated that way.

I love the original Resident Evil 2 because of the characters, they have such optimism. With an almost foolish desire to save people and a near gentleness especially when it comes to Claire. To me, that’s what makes this game so beloved in the first place.

It’s not just the horror, it’s the heart. To me that defining factor makes this version of the game the definitive Resident Evil 2 experience.

If you call yourself a fan of this series at all, you should play this version at least once…

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

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I prefer to Read Fan Fiction instead of Best Selling Books – Here’s Why.

Fan fiction can be hit and miss. It is both a messy media and a crap shoot. Some fan fiction writers have the chops to strike out on their own and write a unique best selling work of their own creation.

Other fan fiction writers could never hope to attain that same quality at their current skill level. Even so, I’d rather read fan fiction over most best selling novels out there.

For all the snappy dialogue and punchy editing, most best selling books have me losing interest as soon as I turn the first few pages. It always seems so pristine to me, in a way that’s just outright off-putting.

Recently I realized why.

It is the editing process that ruins most books for me. It’s the reek of mass media posturing and the inevitable stifling of creative energy. This ultimately destroys the vast majority of written media for me. Most books are about sixty thousands words. A great many fan fictions average about one-hundred thousand words per story, and that’s not including sequels.

Yes, that means they can be clunky to read, but you can also be sure that the fan writing it put exactly what they wanted into it.

That isn’t to say that books can’t be longer too. However, it is to say that they are usually streamlined in a way that feels watered down and washed out to me.

At its core, the only difference between a piece of media for sale and a piece of media given freely, is the expected return on investment.

For fan fiction that investment is generally only emotional. It’s payment for the soul, you could say. People are either using fan fiction to hone their skills, or to become part of a greater community. It’s a selfish thing by it’s nature, because fandom is selfish in general. Fans can be rabid and territorial about the things they like, because it means something to them.

We like what we like, after all. Thus, we hate what we hate, as well.

When you read a fan fiction you enjoy and then post a review, you’re feeding that creative energy. You’re harboring that love that can only be given from one fan to another while bonding over a shared piece of media.

For written media being sold, this is not the case. There’s a monetary incentive that fan fiction just doesn’t have tied to it. With that incentive in mind, the devil is in the details.

I often have to wonder how much content get’s cut, because making a book isn’t exactly cheap. You’re limited by what the mass public will accept and at the mercy of publishing houses unless you strike out on your own.

I don’t want to read that kind of crap. I don’t want to think about what may have been yanked out, simply because an editor demanded it.

I read fan fiction because I love the flawed media. You can really see a writer’s ambition in works that don’t have an editor to scrutinize every little thing. There is no streamlined process for fan fiction, no hoops to jump through, no particular standard of quality that must be met by publishing overlords.

Does that mean that some fan fiction is absolute crap? Well, yeah! Sure, there’s some really bad fan fiction out there. However, there are also published books out there that are just as full of crap, and lacked due diligence as well…

Worst of all, you likely paid for that garbage with hard earned money in order to read it. Think about that. How many books did you buy and regret? For me, that number is well over twenty. No, I’m not kidding.

This is why I really do hate what many people hold aloft “best sellers” as though they’re God’s gift to the world. Now, in light of fairness, I don’t hate all best selling books. I keep several on my shelf. For example, Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life.

I have owned three copies of that book in my lifetime. I have read it so many times I broke the first one’s spine as in the ninth grade. The second one died a horrible doom in my early twenties thanks to a small child running around with a black sharpie in hand. A sad lesson was learned that day amidst all the scribbles.

Never leave beloved books on coffee tables…

Anyway, you see my point. There are books I do adore, however they are very few and far between. Fan fiction is the majority of my reading, and I usually blast through through several hundred-thousand words in a single sitting. When I sit down to read, I do so to eagerly.

For a fan, being a best seller doesn’t matter. You’re not selling the story. You’re sharing it wholeheartedly with other fans. All that matters is the writer takes a chance and puts their efforts into a creation that means something special to them.

Fan fiction are stories written by fandom, and that is ultimately what I like so much about it. It acts like a touch stone in a very particular way, unifying people with very little barrier to entry.

You can’t say the same about other types of written media, and best sellers least of all. That fact that it’s a best seller in the first place ,is the absolute complete antithesis of what a fan fiction should be.

The ethos behind writing them are fundamentally different beasts by nature.

Now, this is of course a symbiotic relationship. You need to be a fan of something to write fan fiction. That is the definition of what fan fiction is. It would be stupid to claim otherwise.

That being said, there are times that the fan fictions out there are far and away better than the original work they came from. This is simply because a fan of the series is the one writing it to begin with. Either subverting expectation, or diving deeper into the over-all narrative in a way the original creator couldn’t do, or simply chose not to do.

I hate the concept of best selling books, but I love fan fiction that gets created because of media that fans nurture and continue to hold in high regard.

Fan fiction is usually far from perfect. It cannot be perfect due to what it is, but that’s why I love it so much. That alone is the simple reason why.

Anime- Top 5 Ways to Build Your Watch-list Every Season.

If you’re an anime fan, you probably have a list of the seasonal line-ups that you know you’re just going to have to watch. These are obvious to you, and you know you’ve got to catch that anime every week in a timely manner.

Well, what about anime that aren’t on your watch list? How do you choose more anime? There are so many out there, the season floods make it difficult to decide what to watch next. I’ve got a way to build my watch-list and I’m going to share that with you today.

I’m just going to dive into it, there’s no sense in beating around the bush. Before that, let’s cover the obvious ones that need no explanation. They are as follows:

  • Follow the trends.
  • Choose anime from productions houses and creators that you already enjoy.
  • Word of mouth.
  • Squeal fodder.

Okay, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s begin.

#1) Challenge Your Conceptions

Every season that my watch-list isn’t bursting at the seams, I choose an anime I know I’ll probably hate just to give it a try. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past by this method. On occasion I do get hooked into a series and find that I truly enjoy it.

This was the case with Beastars in spades and to a lesser degree Made in Abyss. These sorts of anime don’t fall into my typical watch-list. Both of them have content that I generally find to be unpalatable. That being said, I have come to love these anime despite that.

Although they’re not always easy to suggest to others, they’re anime that really resound with me. When it comes to Beastars, the social commentary on society at large is well thought out. It doesn’t fit the typical mold for many reasons and it me it is a series right up there with Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass for compelling stories regarding the human condition.

Another anime that strikes true to this rule is RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne. This anime not only has unpalatable content, some of it is very sexually explicit in its nature. Usually I don’t watch anime with gratuitous sexual content, certainly not anime with this level of depravity. This is a very dark and gritty series, but it is also intellectual in a way few can really match.

That being said, I’m glad I did sit through it, because everything has a point . Mind you, it’s not always a point I agree with. Often times I don’t. However, I don’t think that my disagreement with the content lessens the experience I had watching this show.

I find myself to be a better anime fan because I’ve truly stepped outside of my comfort zone. That I continue to make a habit of doing so only broadens my horizons. I can appreciate the narrative of certain series because I force myself to try and look beyond my own preconceived notions.

Does this method work all the time? No, I’ve dropped a lot of series I knew I probably wouldn’t like simply because of that. I didn’t like them, and the chance I gave them wasn’t enough for me to like them.

So, if you’re having issues building a solid watch-list, find an anime you typically wouldn’t like and give it a watch. This is also a logical option when building watch-lists, but I often feel it isn’t brought up enough. As fans, we typically find an echo chamber and stick to it.

Moving out of your usual anime viewing will lessen the echo chamber and teach you about yourself. You’ll also be able to have a window into the wider community of anime fans out there.

#2) Find A Quirk

A lot of anime out there has a gimmick to put itself above the onslaught of other shows. Find a quirk you like about your favorite series, and choose an anime based on that. It can be as superficial or as deep as you’d like it to be.

Do you like anime that feature a particular type of protagonist? Choose an anime only based on that. Would you rather see the world at large, choose based on that alone.

Don’t worry about the other qualifiers such as genre or tropes common in the medium. Just focus your search on one thing and give it a try. This is how I came to enjoy Vinland Saga.

Vinland Saga is by far one of the best anime I nearly bypassed because I didn’t care for the manga. I absolutely hate a lot of the characters, but I do like the history and lore of Vikings. This was enough for me to pick it up and stay with it. Even after the narrative took a sharp turn outside of the things I hoped the series would be, the one thing I cared about was enough for me to want to stick with it.

Ultimately why I came to love the anime so much is because it does what the written media couldn’t do by its nature. It gave me beautiful animation, a powerful soundtrack, and a voice cast that make these characters easier deal with… the main protagonist is way easier for me to deal with in the anime because he’s so wonderfully conceptualized and brought to life by his actor. This applies to both sub and dub versions. I’ve seen both, I prose both.

I get to love everything about the story, and the world, My one joy for this series was magnified beyond any level that I thought it could be, all because I chose to side with my love of vikings, and not my hatred of the manga.

This is why it can be a good idea to focus on a topic, rather than the series itself.

#3) Pick the Worst of the Worst

Every season there is one anime that is absolute crap. There is no saving an anime like this, there is no redeeming how awful it is. You know it’s garbage from day one, you’re sure it will continue being garbage by the end. If you’re really unlucky then that dumpster will catch fire ingloriously and you’ll be left with an even worse pile of crap than when you started.

So, why do this then? Honestly, sometimes it can be fun. Others, it can be educational.

If you watch truly bad anime, then least then you have a metric for what a really bad anime even is. Anime reviewers, this goes triple for us! We have to watch this kind of crap, because we need the insight between mediocrity and a true actual trash heap.

There are some truly terrible anime out there, and I’m not talking about the content. I mean it’s just all around bad. The acting, the animation, and everything in between is all just terrible.

Why torture yourself this way if you’re not an anime reviewer? Well, bad anime can be fun. Sitting together with group of friends as you suffer a terrible anime together can be just as fun as watching an awesome anime together. With streaming services aplenty and VOIP being a thing, there’s no reason not to sit together and watch something that you all know you’re going to hate.

The inside jokes and idiocy that can result might give you years of fond memories. For me, Green Green is the series that gave me this insight. It’s been well over a decade, and we still make jokes about it.

Years ago, a friend of mine (a self proclaimed asshole) decided one day to buy this pure unfiltered unfiltered garbage. He did this purely to enjoy our suffering on the next group anime night. The night comes, and there’s a group of us eating pizza out of a box and watching this absolute abomination of a series.

Green Green is all around bad in so many ways that it won’t ever hit bar of mediocrity. Too many things are just below average in presentation that even for its time, it wasn’t even decent back then. Funny thing is, it’s not even once of those “so bad it’s good” series either. The pure enjoyment of this anime comes strictly from fond memories that were induced by complete idiocy.

It’s worth it to make memories like that, and to cherish them fondly. Obviously if you do this, Just don’t take anything too seriously. In fact, this suggestion is the antithesis of seriousness, because you know you’re going to make fun of it.

#4) Random Roll

Too many good shows and not enough time? I feel that, and it sucks. So, how do you choose when a seasonal line-up is a smash hit and you know you’ve got too many anime to pick from?

Get a few dice, plunk in the series names, and let fate decide. I’ve had to do this many times. The year 2018 comes to mind. I was busy that year, and it was one of the best years for anime in a very long time. Every season in that year easily had ten or more anime that I wanted to watch. It was a flat out crazy year.

I picked five that I knew I couldn’t let slip by, but the rest I rolled on randomly just to see what I’d end up picking if the dice were to decide. That’s what got me by that year, and I still had anime to go back and watch or finish in 2019.

Without rolling on it randomly, I would have been in a very sad situation. There were just too many good shows, and I had to axe a few somehow.

#5) The Sleeper Anime

I don’t have a good example for this one. However, this is a rule I cling to, because one day I just might.

Every year there’s at least one or two anime in a season that falls off radar fairly early on in the line-up. They may not be popular from the start, or they may be overshadowed by the mega hits and squeal fodder that keeps anime alive and well.

You can’t always rely on anime reviewers to see every single anime out there. Frankly there is just too many to keep up with. If a reviewer attempts to watch every singe one, they’re very likely to burn themselves out. Even if they do watch every single one, they may not bring up the anime at all.

If you notice an anime that isn’t being talked about on a seasonal line-up, pick it up. See for yourself just how good it is. If it isn’t circulating around in discussion the reason is simply that it’s not worth the discourse in the first place. it’s either not annoying enough to piss off the anime community, or it was never made to be a mega hit. Very likely, and very commonly, it probably wasn’t widely advertised in the first place.

The thing is these shows will be average to most viewers. They won’t be amazing, and the reason they were dropped is because they may be unremarkable or easily forgettable. That’s what is most likely to happen, but there’s a chance you’ll find it to be amazing.

That’s a chance worth taking. For you, that seemingly unremarkable anime might be a diamond in the rough. It would be unfortunate if you didn’t hear of an anime that could become your absolute favorite for one reason or another.

Picking up the anime that get buried prevents you from missing out on a real gem. Yes, it make take a bit of digging and research, but you may find that to be well worth it in the end.

Final Thoughts

Anime is and will always be a very subjective medium. There are thousands of hours of content worth your time, and every season brings more of it. What used to be traditional classics are now buried under a sea of new content every single year.

When I was young, watch-lists were simple and easy to come by. Anime wasn’t incredibly abundant. When it came to sub-genres there were lists that everyone followed like gospel, because we had little else. Fandom followed a certain flow, you might say.

There were probably only six or so squeals even worth talking about every year, and the Shonen trinity (One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball)  was pretty much expected viewing. Since they were all on television and easy to access, everyone knew of them.

Other shows made it onto Adult Swim or early Saturday morning line-ups, and those shows also padded out the majority of anime related discussions. Anime movies were rarely discussed, and often times were off the beaten path.

Anime films were hard to come by back in those days. They weren’t widely talked about or discussed unless they were off shoots of major anime programming. Naruto and Inuyasha movies had the benefit of originating from known anime on television, so those movies were widely talked about. Meanwhile other masterworks slipped into obscurity.

Perfect Blue is a perfect example of a film that wasn’t family friendly and hard to find in theaters. It wasn’t on the radar here in in america, and therefore only very strong anime inclined viewers even knew of it back when it released.

Nowadays, none of that holds true. The anime medium is too large and vast to see everything. Sometimes you just have to pick and choose. That’s why I made this list of suggestions. Hopefully, it will make your watch-list choices just a little bit easier for you.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

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