Abnormal Mapping 48: Trauma Babies

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Just another day in a podcast without end…

At last, the time has come. Just under a year ago, I started playing the Metal Gear games, and now, 42 articles and 5 podcasts later, the journey is complete. I hope you have enjoyed the ride, and if you’re new, then feel free to come along on this quest anytime. For this final episode, we’re discussing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the honest-swear-to-god-for-real final game in the Metal Gear Solid Trilogy. Come on in for a chat on trauma and colonialism, exploitation and capitalism, and most importatly, The Life and Times of Punished “Venom” Snake.

I am joined in this final episode by @woundww, a friend and writer for the Arcade Review –currently on Kickstarter! – many thanks to them for smart insights throughout.

Fair Warning: There are a couple audio issues in the podcast! Nothing too bad; a little echo, some birds in the background, but I thought I’d give a heads up nonetheless! Enjoy!

Things Discussed

Metals Gear 1 – V

Music This Episode
Heres To You by Joan Baez
Quiet’s Theme by Akihiro Honda, Ludvig Forrsell, and Stefanie Joosten
Nuclear by Mike Oldfield

Morning Mega Man: Mega Man 1

A plumber retires to his brotherly abode and the sun sets on the land. All is well, all is at peace. Until…

A boy of blue, a man of rock, emerges into a wasteland. It is years later, this boy knows not of the plumber and his deeds, buried as is his kingdom under Wily’s metal and machines. And so, he will fight, each and every morning, until the land is free once more.

Welcome back, everybody, to Morning Mega Man!

Abnormal Mapping 47: The Advent Children of Thor 2

To listen to the episode, click here. To subscribe, click here to find the site feed on iTunes, or search "head falls off" into any good podcast directory.

The Mappers take a turn away from video games this spring to talk about M’s experiences watching bad super-hero movies and how many of the wrong things they have learned from video games. With Marvel’s Civil War nearly upon us, the question becomes: how much premium currency do I have to spend to unlock single-mecha-glove Tony Stark in Marvel Heroes/Future Fight/Conquest of Champions/Disney Infinity 3.0? We then talk about how weird and hard it is to write kids entertainment, which I guess could be about Civil War but definitely isn’t because they don’t really make those movies for kids.

They make them for Loot Crate subscribers.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Things Discussed: Majora’s Mask 3DS, Miitomo, Stardew Valley, Trackmania Turbo, Chris Kanyon (RIP), Behind the Sausage returns, Thor 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Halo and N7 armor design, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the Jackie Chan movie of video games, Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, Lili: Child of Geos, Rebel FM

This Month’s Game Club: Lili: Child of Geos

Next Month’s Game Club: Hitman: Blood Money

Music This Episode
Blown Away by Kevin MacLeod
My Enemy by Hans Zimmer, The Magnificent Six, Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr
Mill Hill theme by Unknown
The Wind Can be Still by ConcernedApe
Sandstorm by Darude

Trashpect Ratio 21: Gone Girl

To listen to the episode, click here. To subscribe, click here to find the site feed on iTunes, or search "head falls off" into any good podcast directory.

In this month’s Trashpect Ratio we are joined by a very special guest,Shannon Strucci, to talk about Gone Girl! It’s a chat that’s been a long time coming, and it’s well worth the wait, some give us a download and take a listen to the podcast! It’s good!

Big thanks to Shannon for showing up on our lil show, she’s a certified Cool Person that you should follow, and can be found on twitter, tumblr and youtube!

Movies Discussed

World of Tomorrow
Rugrats in Paris
Batman v Superman
Gone Girl
Y Tu Mama Tambien
The Lobster

This Month’s Movie

Gone Girl

Next Month’s Movie


Abnormal Mapping 46: The Perfect John Cena Anime

To listen to the episode, click here. To subscribe, click here to find the site feed on iTunes, or search "head falls off" into any good podcast directory.

War has changed. In the penultimate podcast, Jackson reaches the ultimate, final ending of the Metal Gear franchise, just over half-way through the number of Metal Gear games. Don’t worry if you don’t understand, we’re here to guide you through on this Nanomachine Odyssey!

My guest for this episode is Austin Howe, Freelancer around the internet and found often on Critical Switch. They’re also on twitter!

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Things Discussed: Metals Gear 1-4, Peace Walker, Rising, John Cena’s Favourite Anime, Final Fantasy VIII

Music This Episode
Love Theme by Nobuko Toda & Jackie Presti
Father and Son by Harry Gregson-Williams
Metal Gear Saga by Harry Gregson-Williams

I Hate Sword Art Online

For reasons unknown to science, I watched all fifty episodes of Sword Art Online. The show had been sold to me as, among other things, “The Smartest Anime I’ve Seen In Years,” and “not entirely a waste of time, I guess.”

It is, instead, the worst thing I’ve seen with my eyes.

Allow me, for a few hundred words, to get Mad Online about why.

This is Kirito. He likes video games, and is a bit of a loner, on account of being just too good for everyone else. He is the worst parts of every bad shonen protagonist combined, with not a shred of personality to compensate. When he is on screen, he destroys every possible ember of dramatic tension and renders the entire premise inert, which is a problem seeing as he is the main character.

What is that premise? Well, it’s nothing original, there’s at least two other shows with pretty much the same one: you die in the game, you die for real. Sword Art Online is the story of the titular MMO, which a bunch of players log into and discover that their souls are now trapped inside the virtual world until the dungeon is cleared! Dun dun dun!!!

It’s fine. There’s even a little bit of propulsion and tension after the first episode when Kirito runs off to begin his quest, a tiny glimmer of hope that this just might be something worth watching. Immediately, everything falls apart.

The first season functions as a series of vignettes, twelve episodes taking us on a two-year journey of the life of the players inside SAO. It’s a strange approach, in that any momentum built up in a single episode dissipates on contact with air, but not inherently flawed. The idea of compressing time in order to show the evolution of a society is not one without merit, what is without merit is what they do with that.

Sword Art Online may have some ideas about virtual experiences as legitimate expressions of self, but all fall by the wayside of the show’s only true goal: making you think that Kirito is the best. human. ever.

This scenario happens at least four times:

  1. Kirito enters a new town.
  2. Kirito saves a woman from another man with nefarious aims
  3. Said woman falls in love with Kirito
  4. Kirito leaves and breaks their heart

Four times!

Leaving beside the show’s gender politics for a second (oh, we’ll get to them, believe me), it’s just tragically bad writing. There’s no attempt to invest in Kirito as a character, because he achieves everything immediately, everybody loves him the second they meet him, and he will overcome every obstacle through simply being the best. It’s more sad than it is frustrating, because the show is so concerned with selling its power fantasy that it fails to connect emotionally on any level.

Storytelling is an intimate act, we fall in love with stories, we laugh and cry and form bonds with people who never existed. And intimacy requires vulnerability. Sword Art Online is the tragedy of masculinity writ large, so terrified of ever appearing weak that it prevents anyone from ever forming a true connection.

But the show’s terror runs so deep that you cannot even feel sorry for it, as that terror expresses itself hatefully towards everyone who isn’t Kirito. Every other woman is instantly in love with Kirito, due to his skill and strength, and every other man is a vulgar sexual harasser. The worldview is made clear, to Sword Art Online you are either prize or his competition, and the distinction is drawn across gendered lines.

Sword Art Online is nothing unique, merely another in a long line of fantasies, serving up a worldview that is as toxic as it is boring. Not to say there is nothing worthwhile here, one arc telling the story of Asuna and Yuuki is touching and kind, because without the need for its hero to appear strong, the show doesn’t need to be afraid anymore.

Those moments of potential only serve to highlight the failures surrounding them. As with many stories of this type, it isn’t like they’re incapable of caring, it’s merely that they don’t want to.

Abnormal Mapping 45: Octogenarian Lunarian

To listen to the episode, click hereTo subscribe, click here to find the site feed on iTunes, or search "head falls off" into any good podcast directory.

Welcome to another fantastic edition in the internet’s favourite Tella fan club podcast. This month, we’re counting down our top ten Tella moments, and we’re asking our audience the million dollar question: what would you do… with that much MP? Tella all your friends, and rate comment and subscribe!

EDITORS NOTE: we are not fans of Tella or his Moon Dwelling Counterpart and never shall be. The host responsible for implying such a thing has been reprimanded appropriately and regrets their words and deeds. Please enjoy this Tella-free discussion of Final Fantasy IV. Thank you.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Things Discussed: Ben Kuchera’s boob controllerbooby Vita ad, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Jackson’s thoughts on Season 2 of The Walking Dead, 10000000, Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX,David Letterman Miku, Wossy, Final Fantasy IV, Legends of Localization breakdown of FF4 script differences, Final Fantasy IV’s two different logosM’s Final Fantasy XIII breakdown via LP

This Month’s Game Club: Final Fantasy IV

Next Month’s Game Club: Lili: Child of Geos

Music This Episode
Blown Away by Kevin McLeod
Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV by Nobuo Uematsu
Theme of Love by Nobuo Uematsu
Battle with the Four Fiends by Nobuo Uematsu

Trashpect Ratio 20: Ghost in the Shell

To listen to the episode, click hereTo subscribe, click here to find the site feed on iTunes, or search "head falls off" into any good podcast directory.

This is the twentieth month of Trashpect Ratio! Hooray! And, as always, we bring another episode of great movie discussion. We talk through the identity of the Mission Impossible series, the nuances of Zootopia and our movie club is the seminal 1995  cyberpunk anime, Ghost In The Shell.

Movies Discussed

Missions Impossible 1-5
The Witch
Ghost In The Shell

This Month’s Movie

Ghost in the Shell

Next Month’s Movie

Gone Girl

A Requiem For Margo Dunne

There are approximately three great movies within Gone Girl.

1. The story of Amy Elliott, an exploitation hero who decides that the only response to bearing the weight of silent, systemic patriarchal violence is to become the imaginary villain that women are so often painted as. She invents domestic violence, makes false rape accusations, and convinces the world her husband is an abusive murderer. And we would cheer her on, as these men who think themselves innocent receive punishment for their complicity in horrors so vast and pervasive that they could never understand. 

2. The Story of Tanner Bolt, who is Tyler Perry starring in Scandal but without any moral centre. When he's onscreen, the film suddenly becomes aware that it is inherently ridiculous, and is able to derive a perverse sense of pleasure as it finally accepts all behaviour as performance and readies itself for some sort of Liar's War. 

3. The story of Margo Dunne.

Instead, Gone Girl is the story of Nick Dunne. He is our only point of view character, with the dual protagonist conceit being given up with the very first shot, with Amy centre frame as Nick monologues: "what's going on inside your head?" Nick is a character, and Amy is a mystery. Bitches, right? How do they work.

The movie builds for two and a half hours towards its central revelation: that marriage can be a breeding ground for resentment and pain. It treats this labored point with profundity, as if this bombshell isn't present in every single Mountain Goats song already.

Which is a shame, because if it wasn't so focused on subverting the perfect marriage (which seemed like hell from the start, is that the kind of marriage straight people idealise?) it would have realised that Margo Dunne's storyline contained all the themes it wanted to explore with so much more pathos and empathy.

She's just a lonely woman whose mother dies and whose idiot brother gets embroiled in a national fucking media phenomenon, a brother she has to stand by while he fucks his student in her own home while those very cameras wait outside. But despite her disgust, she stands by him, for what else can she do: he's the only family that she has.

Margo Dunne is the tragic straightman in this whole affair, trapped in between her cartoonishly boring brother and his cartoonishly 'crazy' wife, forced to watch as her world falls apart and her brother walks away from her and back into the arms of his murderwife. While Gone Girl may not work as a metaphor for marriage, it sure works for a metaphor of watching someone close to you suffer through a bad one.

So godspeed to Margo Dunne, may she one day be free of her Brother's bullshit, may she one day find a better movie in which to have her story told.