As much as I want to play Mystic Messenger’s newest route, the better part of my mind is annoyingly making a pretty convincing argument for not completely trashing my sleep schedule for the time being. So, I’m left getting my visual novel fix from other sources. Luckily, I stumbled upon one before the urge became unbearable.
Despite sounding like something I would name a fake game as a joke, Team Salvato’s Doki Doki Literature Club takes the typical slice of life school romance plots and uses its medium to make something truly memorable. While every dating sim and visual novel can be interpreted as a small, in-depth exploration of human (or human-like) nature, Doki Doki Literature Club uses its story to explore the extents of kindness and humanity, and if it can or should cross the boundaries of the narrative fourth wall, leaving players evaluating and re-evaluating their first impressions of the main characters. Before you continue on, reader, I highly suggest you experience everything DDLC has to offer before I spoil it for you. Team Salvato is offering the game for a “name your price” cost on the game’s itch.io page, as well as for free download from Steam. The first run will more than likely take around four hours to complete, but in my opinion it’s entirely worth it. One more thing: please, please heed the content warnings on the game’s page—they aren’t fucking around.
Screenshot taken by me
Massive spoilers below! Trigger warning for depression and self-harm.
Happy Friday the 13th, all! I hope everyone is avoiding bad luck so far today. If you have, you’re luckier than me, because the most unfortunate thing happened when I sat down to read the graphic novel trilogy The Good Neighbors: I discovered a Holly Black series that I simply did not like.
I may not like horror for its gore and jump scares, but I do like it for its willingness to delve into dark plotlines and creative worldbuilding. Unfortunately for me, most horror stories are too scary for my taste, and as it’s the month of Halloween, I was lamenting that I wouldn’t find a creepy story that could fulfill my needs without giving me nightmares. Last week, though, I finally decided to suck it up and watch the first season of American Horror Story, entitled Murder House. All ready for the trauma I was about to subject myself to, I started off the first episode with my finger hovering over the mute button on my controller, my feet conveniently propped up in front of my face to block the screen from view should I need it, and my sister-in-law on the phone to talk me through the worst of it.
My preparations were for naught, however, as I found out, much to my own delight, that while American Horror Story is dark and creepy, it is not scary. Murder House left me with some mixed feelings—the story often falls victim to convoluted storytelling, sexist and ableist tropes, and a camera that jumps from scene to scene with very few transition shots. Nevertheless, I found the story enjoyable enough to blow through it in no time, but the more I thought about it, the less happy I was with the overall experience. Murder House suffered from some really bad storytelling decisions—it tries to talk about complex and serious issues, but fails to adequately explore those issues with the care they deserve. Murder House captivated me for the story it wanted to be, but the story that it actually is is a lot less compelling.
Trigger warning for sexual assault and ableism below.
Yes, readers, this is what I have been reduced to. September will soon become October, and it’s still hot as balls outside. I am unwilling to give up on the idea of the possibility of a more temperate autumn, though! So this week I went all the way–from cute magical anime to B-grade horror flicks.
After watching the 2014 Ouija movie, I basically lost all hope of there being a good horror movie concerning Ouija boards ever. (Not that I was expecting that movie to be great, it was just so, so much worse than I could have ever anticipated.) And on starting the 2013 indie film The Ouija Experiment, I didn’t expect anything amazing either. In fact, I almost didn’t watch it until I realized that, shockingly, most of the main cast wasn’t white. While the diversity was enough to initially draw me in, and the movie’s determination to not immediately fall into the typical tropes of Ouija bullshit kept pulling me along, in the end The Ouija Experiment’s casting did very little to save it. In fact, the diverse casting seemed to only exist so the writer, Tony Snearly, had an excuse to whip out a bunch of racist jokes.
If there was one show I had been looking forward to this year, it was Star Trek: Discovery. Sadly, I won’t be able to watch the rest of the season until it makes its way to Netflix or DVD, but I did catch the pilot, and I was extremely happy with what I saw. The Star Trek television shows have in the past proven themselves to be more than capable of giving us a diverse cast with thoughtful character development. As a new first for this universe, we’ve got a woman of color as a lead in our new series, and she’s kicking ass.
After reading comics for well on five years now, there are certain creators whose work I’ve come to trust implicitly. Whether or not the basic pitch feels like something I’d be into, I’m willing to give it a try on principle.
Gail Simone is one of those writers, so when I heard she’d be writing a new high-stakes thriller series about an assassin and a housewife who get body-switched, I knew I was going to buy the first issue no matter what. But now that I’m halfway into the series, I’m finding myself wondering how she is going to wrap it up in a satisfying way.
When I reviewed Dreadnought earlier last week, I wasn’t aware that it had a sequel — the book came out early this year, and sequels usually take a least a year to put together. But against all odds, Dreadnought‘s sequel Sovereign was published a mere six months after Dreadnought, and so I went on down to the library to pick it up. What I found was that while Dreadnought had a fairly clear-cut narrative as a coming-of-age story for its trans protagonist, Sovereign tried to tackle many different issues at once and had the very typical sequel problem of not getting deep enough into any of them. Still, amongst the issues with gender, race, the media, a TERF villain, and a quickly developing romantic relationship, Sovereign did succeed in raising some thought-provoking questions about superheroism as meritocracy.