Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A one, two, three, and a go!

at 8:02 PM
Raw sex appeal.

Most undeserving of his superlative, which is most anonymous-est: Luigi

I traveled across the pond, if you will, to Ecuador this past summer.  I was there teaching the indigenous peoples about the benefits of American capitalism, but even I was surprised by some instances of culture dispersion.  One of the items I brought back stateside was a hand-made, alpaca fur Luigi hat.  Its presence in a place like Ecuador speaks to an inherent misunderstanding of what relatively wealthy white tourists want out of foreign marketplace, which is shit they can bring back and tell people is "authentic."  I just doubt somehow that their target audience was travelling nerds who needed to buy gifts for their nerd brothers, and who think it's hilarious that some old Ecuadorian woman was knitting together a Japanese created, Italian character who she almost definitely is not familiar with, from a media format that she has almost definitely never experienced.

Luigi usually gets the rap for being the less famous, less attractive, and more likely to skip class to smoke 'shrooms, but let me be the first, at least, to say it: there was only a Luigi hat at that Ecuadorian market, no weird Mario-head-hat to be seen.  And it is only pretty likely that it was because someone had already bought the Mario one.  I think part of his charm is his habit of playing hard-to-get: it's become ubiquitous at this point for him to be unlockable after beating the game with Mario.  And sure, in games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 beating all the worlds is a feat akin in difficulty to say, reading the first Harry Potter novel, but Luigi knows that the key to popularity is to not seem to eager about anything.

Most obvious and annoying love story-participant: Cloud

I am finally getting around to playing Final Fantasy VII, and man is this whole Cloud/Aeris romantic buildup is beyond obvious.  Cute-but-not-sexy, fun-loving but not totally innocent girl meets loner dude with a shady past.  Hell, there's even a Shakespearean cross-dressing scene, and a "date" sequence.  I get it, not every love story can be as original as the truly inspired Final Fantasy X:
OK you caught me, I was looking for an excuse to post that video.  Still worth it.

It's just that I know where the Cloud/Aeris thing is heading, because it's such a cliche.  At some point towards the end, Aeris will disappear and Cloud will have to save her from presumably this Sephiroth character everyone is so concerned about.  Showdown occurs; boy saves girl in a familiar display of hetero-normative masculinity despite the androgyny of both the hero and the villain.  They live happily ever after.
Sexual tension.
And let's be real, not for a single second did I fall for the half-hearted attempt at a love triangle.  Tifa is never going to have a chance because of the dramatic need for a happy ending.  

Most industrious: Kate Walker

Syberia is a 2002 adventure game starring erstwhile American lawyer Kate Walker, following her on her trek from rural France across the Eurasian continent.  Her original task is to get a woman's signature for the acquisition of a toy factory; but that bitch is dead and so she embarks on a mission to get the insane older brother's signature, using the train he made his sister build for him.  Needless to say, Kate cannot get paid enough for this shit.
I guess it's the nature of adventure/puzzle games to throw roadblocks at the player character non-stop, but man, Kate does not have it easy out there in what President Clinton once called the "hairy butt-hole of the world."  Despite her natural disinclination towards all things mechanical (she's a woman), she manages to fix a clockwork train, an automaton bandstand, and an airship.  All of this is happening, recall, while her city-slicker boyfriend is calling her about his unfaithfulness  every two seconds.  Kate truly stands as a shining example of modern womanhood.  Or something.


  1. The knight (Cloud) saving the princess (Aeris) trope would be cliche, except y'know he does not save her. She notably dies at the hands of the big bad villain, because symbolically she is too pure and good to survive in this world. Aeris is an angelic or even Christ-like figure who HAS to die to save everyone else and the world. A Knight's courtly love, after all, was typically not consummated or even reciprocated--Aeris was never obtainable, she is only something to be chased after.

    It is after her death that the true love story occurs. Cloud and Tifa's relationship follows another cliche romance, the girl next door narrative. Between Aeris' death and a identity crisis, Cloud becomes broken, and his childhood friend is there to help him recover. She has always supported him and at the end of the game Cloud realizes it and bangs her on a continent shaped like a chocobo. Just like Peter Parker and Mary-Jane did before them. As Cloud becomes more human and less mysterious loner, he becomes closer to the down-to-earth girl, and moves on from the hyperlunary (in the Ptolemaic sense) girl.

    Maybe its because I knew Aeris' death was coming that I never saw Aeris as Cloud's real romantic interest. It was more of a "I had to tell you this love story to tell you the next one" for me.

    Also, the game does not mandate you go on the date with Aeris. I went with Tifa and I know that you can go with Barrett if you piss off both girls enough.

    1. I can't tell if that was all an elaborate troll or if you seriously didn't know Aeris dies. That's possibly the most well-known plot twist of gaming; it's our "Luke, I am your father".

      Also Jesus Ezio maybe you two (you and FFVII) should get a room.

    2. Mary Jane was a supermodel who went on a blind date with Peter Parker one time and then waited around until his other girlfriend died....there really wasn't any kind of similar narrative there.