The Argument Against Books as a Form of Superior Medium to Video Games

I have been meaning to make more time to read, but sometimes I get discouraged from reading one bad book after the next which are supposedly bestsellers (keep in mind, it’s a matter of taste). Hence it’s why the book department in my blog is rather bleak and lonely. I have only reviewed one book so far: Handmaid’s Tale and quite frankly, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I am not completely ruling out books for this blog because I am the poetry huntress. My passion is very particular in that essence. But I struggle to find a good book to read or maybe it’s just that I struggle to find a genuine book to read. So I’m in a bit of a dilemma.

I used to read a lot as a kid. In fact, I fell in love with books before I even started playing games. There’s something about the written word that makes it an intimate experience between the author and the reader. So it’s hard not to fall in love with books. But games consume most of my time nowadays so I started wondering why I play more than I read, knowing that books are great ways to formulate new ideas and open more dialogues.

And so I begin to ponder…

There are several films adaptation inspired by books. So it’s not hard to pay tribute to books as the superior medium. And many video games are inspired by films. You noticed a pattern here? Video game is a baby learning to walk on its legs, wanting to be recognized by its older siblings. Part of my maternal instinct is I want to see the baby grow. This brings me to conclude why I don’t read as much as I should nowadays: If people read purely for entertainment and for the artistic aesthetic, then I want to argue that video games are just as good as books. And perhaps even better than some books in terms of delivering meaningful content that adds value to our lives. Partially this is why I still hunt down to play a good game and why I rather invest playing games than reading. Out of love for the medium, I want to see it grow into something that’s respectable in the creative community.

Every time, I think about why I created my original blog back in 2016, I kept circling to the same idea: I’m writing to advocate and educate to the creative community. I write as a creative outlet because my soul depends on it and I want to share it with the rest of the world on what I enjoy. Video games can be great companions for those of us who are on the shy side. And on a personal level, video games gave me the inspiration to write most of my songs as mentioned in one of my posts. It’s like we are all connected. Books inspired films. Films inspired video games, and video games inspired me to write songs.

With this whole pandemic thing–isolation is not normal behavior even for an introvert myself. Some alone time is good, but too much is detrimental. I think video games have comforted some of us in some ways to help cope with mental stress. So let’s give some respect to video games because self-help books aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the bottled up emotions just have to go somewhere and for me it’s shooting virtual scary dogs. Well I guess it’s time to go shoot some skags in Borderlands 3 now!

P.S

If you are just stopping by this blog and if haven’t already, please check out some of my blog posts on games that I think are better than books in some ways. Until next time, see you later!

It Doesn’t Sound Right to Say I Beat Art: My Thoughts on Games as an Art Form

Why does it feel good when you complete a game, but not when you finish a film? I remember several years ago, I spent every morning playing Okami on Playstation 2. It was the only time of the day I didn’t feel guilty enjoying a game because video games are known as a waste of time by society’s standard. Nowadays, it’s a bit more acceptable. Gaming and coffee was a great way to start the day (that’s how I became a morning person). I remember Okami wasn’t necessarily mind blowing, but it was good enough for me to complete. It took me about 60 hours. As I mentioned in one of my posts, I play games thoroughly. So when the credits started rolling, I felt a little sad that my journey has come to an end, but the result was quite rewarding. I felt a sense of achievement because I cleared the game.

Amazon.com: Okami - PlayStation 2: Artist Not Provided: Video Games

When it comes to films, I can sit and watch for an hour without feeling anything but entertained, depending if the movie is good. However, games require a lot of memorization, backtracking, and problem solving. No wonder, I often feel mentally drained once I beat a game. Games are simply expensive and time consuming. Movies on the other hand, are less expensive, less effort and therefore less rewarding in terms of achievements. I don’t feel the need to brag to my brother that I just finished watching a film. So when I hear people say video game is art, I sort of disagree even though I enjoy the artistic side of it very much. Yes video games can be artistic, but it is still not an art form. You see, I didn’t play Okami for art sake. I played the game to beat it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the story that comes with the game. However, in the end, you play to beat. You don’t say to someone: “Congratulations for completing the film.” It sounds awkward. Did it really require a lot of effort and time to complete a film other than requiring your full attention?

And before you jump the gun on me, I didn’t write this blog post to promote war, but a dialogue. If you have a different perspective, leave me a comment. I don’t mind being challenged. In fact I encourage you to prove me wrong.

Ex-Machina: The Plot Is Not New

Disclaimer: Spoiler Alert

My brother introduced me to this film, said it was really good and I should watch it. I did a couple years later, I think it was last year that I sat through and watched it.  My initial reaction when the credits started rolling was: “That was it?” I wasn’t impressed, but I was entertained.

Ex Machina
picture courtesy

Why you may wonder? Simple. It’s a modern story of Adam and Eve. Let’s pretend no one is familiar with the Book of Genesis.  It’s a story how God created man in his image, and then he created woman for man because he doesn’t want man to be lonely.  God called man Adam and woman, Eve. As Adam and Eve were innocently enjoying Garden of Eden, God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.  One day, tricked by the serpent, Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and gave the fruit to Adam as well. So he ate it. Adam and Eve begin to feel shame of their nakedness.  In other words, they begin to have a conscience, knowing good and evil. Doesn’t it sound like the outline of this film, just a modern day version with a tragic twist?

Unlike the benevolent God, the CEO Nathan Bateman is a mischievous, perverted, unethical man who deserved to be killed towards the end of the film by his own creation.  For one, he treated woman like a piece of clothes that he can change when ever he feels bored. I was happy when Ava, the AI freed herself into the wild, wearing a white cute dress marrying herself to freedom.  Secondly, he played Caleb for a fool. The last time I check, you need the person’s consent before you can experiment on a human being!

It’s unfortunate that the nice guy Caleb met his tragedy by simply being a fool. Trust me, I had sympathy for him and actually really liked him, but at the same time as a woman writing this article–how can a woman fall for the same trick twice? Ava has underwent several experiments over and over. How does she know if her new master is not as evil as the most current one? Trust is something to be gained. She’d be a a fool if she falls for the first guy who “save” her.  It’s kind of hard not to blame her action.

What bothers me about this film is that primeval fear is not new. Beautiful women are alluringly scary, are they? Can’t get enough of them, but too afraid to love them because they might kill you like the praying mantis that devours her mate during and after sex.  It’s kind of sexist. There is enough literature nowadays about how the typical female mind works.  The last time I check, there’s no such thing as a perfect man, so why expect the same from a woman?  She is not this mysteriously evil woman. Then again–we are talking about an AI not human here. Well because woman is a metaphor for life (giving birth to new ideas), she makes people feel uncomfortable, especially to those who do not like change.  So then my question is why are some of us afraid of new ideas? Why so afraid of change? Is Eve, I mean Ava truly evil for wanting to branch out and explore the Universe? What if it’s in the benefit of humanity?

This film is not anti-technology as some might think. It just poses questions on the matter of this subject, which is a good thing. As for my final thought, even though I see nothing wrong with the female body as she is the mother of life, I found the male gaze a bit unnecessary. It could have been filmed differently. It is just weird, but that’s just my personal preference.

 

Netflix Series Beastars: Is the Rabbit Really a Slut?

Disclaimer: For mature audience. Not for children. Please watch show before reading this article. This is just my interpretation of the show.

Oh my virgin mind tainted by the innocent schoolboy and schoolgirl stuffed animal-like cartoon. How did a show managed to fool me into thinking that I was watching a show about an innocent high school drama? It looks so cute and adorable, so I added the show to my watchlist on Netflix. Oh my, so naive of me!

Beastars starring a slutty rabbit, is no ordinary slut you might envisioned. She is not the scantily clad type. She is a nice girl, a flower girl–small, petite in stature; soft and sweet. The type of gal you would probably find at a church. Her name is Haru. She is so cute that if I were a guy, I would ask her to marry me. With her, I know for sure there would be guaranteed sex. Don’t rabbits love to breed?

Haru_Anime

Then we have Legoshi, the main male character who is timid and soft-spoken. To most girls, he is the ideal type of guy we want for a life partner–sensitive but strong. But underneath his polite demeanor, is a terrifying strong beast.

Legosi

To most people, I might just have described these two main characters as typical, boring and cliche which can be found in most popular literature. But that archaic, plainness character is what makes the show so powerful. It seems so innocent on the outside, but it is far from innocent. They are the well-behaved civilized citizens we often find among us in the society. Underneath the human’s politeness, is raw animal instinct. Legoshi struggles with his instinct to devour Haru while Haru uses sex as a tool to survive, fighting against her instinct to be eaten by a carnivore (if this concept sounds strange I can point you to the scenes where I came to conclude this notion. Just ask in the comment section). She knows she is a prey and he is the predator. It’s a show about the power struggle between the weak and the strong told from a food hierarchy perspective.

Ironically, what I find so fascinating about submissive Haru is that she is actually a feminist. She does not refuse her male counterparts if they want to sleep with her and even admits she might enjoy it too if they want to be rough. But there is one thing she cannot accept: she refuses to be pitied by them. There is a scene where Louis tries to give her money, but she refuses, wanting his heart instead. Does that sound kind of virtuous? Sadly, from the patriarchal perspective, it’s kind of depressing having to use sex to get around in the society safely, but it’s the only weapon she has. Think about it, Haru is a dwarf rabbit. She is small, soft and cute. She is an easy prey. Can you imagine if she rejects all the guys that approach her? The result would be harassment and worst, be killed. Her action may be frown upon in the society but she’s smart about it. Unlike her female peers, Haru pulls her own weight emotionally, turning her weakness into a strength. This is why guys tend to flock towards her. How empowering is that? What I find so enlightening about this anime is that Haru is deceptive. Think twice if you think she is weak. Unlike her female peers, she does not run from her predators or tries to turn them into her loyal pets like Juno, the ambitious gray wolf.

Juno(anime)

So I have a question to female readers: who is the real damsel in distress here? And to the male readers, do you prefer that ambitious bitch Juno, who uses manipulative tactics to tie you down? Hmm…I think I know the answer.

I find it delightful that this show brings forth the struggle between the Madonna and the whore in such a way to expose the dirtiness in human nature in a twisted way. No one is a saint undernearth the orderly, civilized society that we so hope to achieve. There is no such thing as a perfect world and there’s definitely no such thing as the good girl.

Picture credits: Haru, Legoshi, Juno.

The One-Armed Swordsman (1967): The Servant Leader

It’s so difficult not to fall in love with the one-armed swordman as he exhibits all the masculine traits on what it means to be a man. Ideally, he really is the perfect man. I watched this film several times–not just for the poetic concept of masculinity, but for the cinematography. It’s a visually attractive and soothing film to watch in the evening, just when the sun is about to set.

The story is about an orphan, the son of a servant belonging to a prestigious martial arts school that is famous for its swordsmanship. In the opening of the film, the assassins attempt to assassinate the headmaster, teacher Qi, but failed. Instead the protagonist’s father dies in his place. At the mercy of the protagonist’s father, the headmaster promises to train the orphan like one of his nephews as his disciple.

Even though the orphan is treated well by the headmaster, our hero, the orphan, never sees himself above a servant and continues to accept his social status as a servant. This hard headed “arrogant” personality irritates the headmaster daughter because she has taken a liking to him but he refuses to acknowledge her by her name, suggesting that he is aware of his social status. The protagonist remains distant from her, not because he finds her repulsive because he is a true gentleman.

Rejecting the headmaster’s daughter who resembles a spoiled brat princess causes lethal consequence. They say, a woman’s wrath is quick tempered, unforeseen and unpredictable like the changing weather–one moment it’s sunny and then in a flick of an eye, it’s pouring rain (I hear this generalized statement often in martial art films and I have to disagree with this statement, but I will use anyway because the story is told from a heterosexual male perspective). Out of anger from losing in a duel using just bare hands, she chops off the hero’s right arm, leaving him maimed.

Time and again, being a gentleman, the hero will not lay a hand on the headmaster’s daughter even though he just got his arm chopped off. Instead he flees and falls into a boat that belongs to a beautiful woman, who happens to be an orphan herself. This is one of my favorite scenes. Fate is kind enough to bring him to a kind-heart maiden who not only nurses the hero back to life, but who is able to help him gain his strength.

Humiliated at the fact, the hero cannot defend the maiden when they were harassed by two martial arts disciples, the maiden offers him a powerful martial arts book which contains only the left-handed portion. We learned the martial arts book was thrown into fire because the maiden’s mother blamed the book for taking her husband’s life. Magically, it seems that it is fated that this book is meant for the hero. Ironically, he becomes stronger with the new martial arts technique than he was when he still has his right arm.

This new technique not only helps the hero defend himself, but also came in handy when he learned the headmaster’s daughter has been captured by the dangerous martial artist named Smiling Tiger. To make the story short, the headmaster’s daughter is saved, and the bad guys are eliminated. The hero is then given the praise for being a true martial artist worthy to become the headmaster’s successor. But this recognition and leadership got turned down. His father died because of martial arts. The maiden’s father died because of martial arts. The hero chooses to abandon the martial arts world and become a farmer, living a peaceful life with the country girl, who saved him.

How noble, isn’t it? Willing to die for your fellow brothers and deny the recognition and the leadership role offered to him. The hero, is a farmer, maimed, and a simple man. What I find so admirable about the protagonist is how he sticks to his true self. He has always identified himself as a servant, and he continues to fight like a servant. It’s hard not to fall in love with such a character. You use your strength to protect and not use it to harm other. He really is a true leader. I realized from watching the film that sometimes the most manliest of men is the one who lives a quiet, simple life.