Reddit vs Wall Street

An exciting development has been taking place in the field of sticking it to the man. Last week, a subreddit called r/WallStreetBets began short squeezing shares from the company GameStop, which was seeing hard times due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and competition from online distrubtors. Seeing GameStop’s terrible condition, some hedge funds placed short bets on the company failing, intending to make a fortune off the company eventually folding. But r/WallStreetBets had other ideas. Seeing so many investors bet on GameStop’s price going down, and going from the word of Citron Research who said that the value of GameStop’s stock would decrease, the subreddit began buying GameStop’s stock en masse in order to drive up the price. The idea seems to have been to make it so that the rich short sellers would have to pay more money for the stocks they bet on. As you probably already have some idea about, it seems to be working.

In the space of a week, GameStop’s share price has skyrocketed by about 700%. The hedge funds bet that GameStop’s stocks would plummet, and now that they’re actually rising they risk losing a lot of money. The stocks have risen so quickly that trading has halted at some points. Naturally, this has sent the financial establishment into panic mode. They’re now doing everything they can to try and lower the price of the stock so that they can still make a profit off of those shares, while Reddit is holding out and refusing to sell for the moment because then the stock prices will plummet and the hedge funds win. In the meantime, the same people who for years have been playing the stock market like a casino are now calling on the government to stop people from doing the same thing they did.

However, it looks like all the hype might not be to last. As of today, the stock price for GameStop has indeed plumetted after the trading app Robinhood imposed a ban on its users investing in GameStop. The bourgeoisie, having sense that the stock market was rapidly being turned against them by ordinary people, and have now opted to use their power to rig the outcome in their favour so that they can still make a profit. Thus it seems as though WallStreetBets might well lose the war. And yet, despite this, there may yet be wide-ranging political rammifications. Both progressives and conservatives appear to be united in calling for investigations into the stock market, and the Senates plans to have a hearing on the state of the stock market. Time will tell what will come of all this, but no matter what happens hedge funds are in for a grilling and the future of stockbroking may change irreversibly.

All told, I think this was nothing less than a heroic story of ordinary people on the internet who, with nothing but their own know-how, got together and seized the opportunity to take on the American financial elite by playing the stock market game. And although I can’t say with much confidence that they’ve won, for now at least, but no matter what the outcome their struggle is showing people what happens when ordinary people try to take on the system, and, most importantly, that is possible for anyone to subvert the system if they have the knowledge to do so. I think this the main lesson for anyone seeking to oppose capitalism to draw from all of this. Old forms of revolution in light of modern material conditions is the talk of the 20th century, but subversion is, and always has been, a living force of radical change, and opens the way forward for the anti-capitalism of the 21st century.

The other lesson, of course, concerns so-called “hate speech”. Not long after the stock market spiralled out of control, the Discord server for r/WallStreetBets was shut down supposedly on the grounds of “hate speech” violations. This, you should remember, is not long after they successfully short squeezed GameStop’s stocks. The lesson from this is that “hate speech” laws were never, ever, about protecting the marginalized, or upholding freedom of speech as some would insist in a brazenly Orwellian fashion, but instead they were always there just to shore up the authority of the ruling class. Those who look at this and still for that hackneyed line will show themselves to be goons forever.

Fan art of r/WallStreetBets

The Gamer Girl game

You know what I love? I’ve been struggling to find work in the game industry in Wales ever since I graduated, and now I find that a Welsh game developer finds itself thrust in the spotlight. And why? Because they’re trying to bury an embarrassing failure of a game project before it even gets released. I am speaking, of course, about a new game they announced this week that they called Gamer Girl. Wales Interactive released a trailer for Gamer Girl on July 16th, and then promptly deleted it from their media accounts and website following a tidal wave of negative reactions. But despite their best efforts, the trailer still exists, and I will post a video of it below for you to look at – and, by god, it is an abominable game trailer.

Just judging from the horrible presentation aesthetic, the cheap-ass user interface, and the very obvious attempt to pander not only to modern socially conscious liberalism but also the more pervasive neo-1980s nostalgia culture on the internet, I can only imagine that my old game design lecturers are watching this trailer and laughing about it amongst themselves, and they’d have every right to. I mean I’m not sure how to do justice to what I’m seeing. The basic premise of this game, if it can even be called a video game let’s be honest, is that you play as someone who moderates the comments section of a Twitch streamer in order to filter out trolls and some such, as well as just generally make choices for said streamer outside the chat. That’s it. You babysit a grown woman who makes a living off of letting people watch her play video games in a mildly suggestive manner. And in terms of gameplay it seems to play out as though you’re sitting through a series of full motion video scenes peppered with occaisional interactive choice, not unlike games like Night Trap, or perhaps more aptly games like Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. In fact, I’d say this is the Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties of our generation. It’s so bad an idea that everyone, literally everyone observing this is ripping in to the game. Every gamer, “simp”, “thot”, “troll”, everyone you can name is just ripping into how much ass this game sucks.

It’s so bad that not only did Wales Interactive try to get rid of the trailer, but it seems there’s a whole page of Wales Interactive’s website devoted to the game that seems to have vanished (you get a 404 message if you try to click it). In addition, the game was also promoted by Sony Entertainment on their Playstation social media accounts, and just like Wales Interactive they too quickly removed all references to the game and all promotional posts for it, most likely because of how widely panned it came to be as soon as it was publicized. Just think about how embarrassing that is. This is a major game publisher and console manufacturer, forced to pull promotional material for a game. What’s funny is that at the end of the trailer you see that the game was intended to be released on just about every major platform – Steam, the Playstation 4, the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch were all slated to have this ass bomb of a game on their platforms in a few months time. I have to imagine plans are gonna change following this level of terrible publicity.

The worst part? There’s a hamfisted pet cause behind it. According to Wales Interactive, the game was all about raising awareness about the damage that certain online comments can have on the mental health of young women, or rather specifically streamers, that is people who broadcast themselves on live video streams on the internet, typically with a focus on content relating to video games (usually people playing video games). The following is a thread posted by Wales Interactive on their Twitter:

Gamer Girl is about the impact user comments and actions have on a streamer’s mental health and wellbeing. The reason why FMV Future created the game was to raise the issue of the toxic environment which can often appear online behind the anonymity of a username…
Without giving away too much, Gamer Girl is an empowering story of a female streamer who, with the help of her moderator friend, battles the trolls and — overcomes— the toxic characters in her stream…
Gamer Girl was co-written by Alexandra Burton, the lead actress who improvised the entire script. The research into the streaming content of Gamer Girl took 4 years and the dev team at FMV Future interviewed dozens of female streamers…
most of whom have experienced abuse of various kinds online — some have even shared their experiences during interviews within the game…
Players start the game as one of Abi’s friends whom she trusts, and it is their job to make the channel a success but also to guide the stream to keep Abi in a positive frame of mind….
Online abuse is real and is still happening every day — Gamer Girl seeks to raise awareness of this issue.

This attempt at social commentary tried to make it seem like there was some greater feminist cause that wasn’t just obvious pandering to the current zeitgeist, but it’s clear that even feminists aren’t falling for this one, as some have pointed out that the game potentially just fetishizes the idea of having control over a woman’s life and decisions, a message that I think the developers never intended to convey but that we can all agree at least in theory is not in the spirit of feminism. Others have taken to calling it a “simp simulator”, most likely in reference to the idea that you play as a guy whose sole job is to protect women from mean things being said about them online. Others think of it as an “incel simulator” or even a “sexual predator simulator”, perhaps connecting the dots in relation to just how creepy this game feels in relation to the underlying premise.

Now, I don’t think there’s a whole lot to say about the game overall that I didn’t cover already, partly because the game isn’t out yet and partly because the trailer speaks for itself on this, but here’s my main thought. For starters, why did anyone think that being a Twitch stream moderator would make for an engaging gameplay element? From the standpoint of elementary game design it sounds like one of the most unentertaining and unengaging modes of gameplay conceivable, not least based on just the kind of drudgery that entails actually being a moderator of such streams. Second, who thought that Twitch streamers needing protection from trolls needed to be a video game? If you really wanted this so bad, why not just post on Twitter or do a PSA in a separate medium? Third, and most crucially, what if the real problem in society is that we now have a culture, in both gaming and society beyond that, where social capital (and in some cases actual capital, which often leads to the normalization of monstrous greed) can be accumulated through banal livestreams and, conversely, where people can relate to video games and gaming culture through the passive consumption of these streams, and occaisionally use some of these streamers as an outlet for their own sexual desires (case in point a man who tried to sue Twitch because he got addicted to masturbating to female Twitch streamers), sometimes even as a substitute for regular pornography, let alone real female companionship? That, I think, is the most salient commentary we can have on this. Why do we have the kind of culture where this is even an item of consideration?

What is my destiny in life?

I’d like to be frank about something in life that has been bothering me for a while. There are times in life where I don’t quite know where I’m going or what I’m supposed to with myself, and it bugs the hell out of me at times especially with the knowledge that I’m going to be 25 a few weeks.

For months I have been trying to find ways of getting the ball rolling for my planned project as concerns the video game industry, I was slated to attend a meeting with the career’s adviser at what was my university a while after I graduated for a program that would, in theory, help me set up the path to forming the enterprise by directing me to potential resources, strategies and collaborators. But by now it’s been about five months since I was originally supposed to meet and I still have no confirmation of anything. Meanwhile, I met a guy in town who might be one of the only people who actually has broadly similar if not the same interests as me. After we met a few times, I got to thinking about re-invigorating the interest in trying to make music. And let me tell you, recent developments are making that urge sort of come to the fore as of late.

At some point this year I ended up getting transferred to a Universal Credit program, which took over from whatever benefits I was getting on before in the process of finding long-term work. I was told that, in order to have some sort of support net while I try to build an income and a life, I would have to try and get the ball rolling. But the more I hear about Universal Credit, the more I feel like I’m walking into a trap that I can’t walk out of. I’ve heard of people get their benefits sanctioned for entirely stupid reasons, which is so bad that it forces people to live on ready meals for a £1. Thank gods I still live at home for now so I’m not subject to the worst of it, but it’s still pretty bad, but I don’t have much choice in the matter regardless. But in order to get an income, I have to push on while being told that I’m supposed to cut my hair one day just to look more “professional”.

As such, getting into music sounds like something that would probably free me from such burdens, at least in theory. However, I am also burdened with the question of whether or not I really want to give up the game industry, because I don’t feel like I should give up the prospect of creative writing. There are still long-held ambitions in my mind about stories I would like to write, ambitions that are mostly impeded by murky financial realities.

I’m in a place where I don’t really know what to do at this point in time, and I’m not immediately sure of how to dislodge this inertia.

Without an inner voice

Something came to my attention within the last few weeks with regards to a new meme that showed up on the Internet. They call it the “NPC” meme. It’s a variation of the Wojack meme, which you may have seen in conjunction with the Pepe the Frog meme (with Pepe being the perpetual antagonist of Wojack). In fact, the NPC is pretty much just a gray Wojack but with a different, expressionless face. The name NPC comes from the world of video games, where it literally means Non-Player Character, characters with no player operating them or can’t be operated by the player within the game. In video games, this is the term used for characters that exist in the background, who neither the hero nor the villain, nor anyone else important, who you encounter at some point the game. This is typically relevant in adventure games, like The Legend of Zelda series, or role-playing games, like Final Fantasy, where you have minor characters who appear within the game world, typically in towns and cities, who don’t affect the course of the game’s story or the world around them and exist mostly to just give you some background information about the place you’ve visited, or just tell you weird inconsequential things.

And then there’s Error

The modern NPC meme has its origins in a 2016 4chan thread within the /v/ (as in video games, for people who’ve never encountered 4chan) board concerning the existence of “NPCs”. The anon’s theory goes that there are a finite number of souls in this world, which recycle continuously through reincarnation, and because the human population has rapidly expanded in size in the modern age, there’s not enough souls for them, so what you get is a contingent of soulless masses of people, incapable of independent thought and following social trends in order to convince their fellow man of their humanity. The irony of such a sentiment being expressed on such a brainless den of groupthink as 4chan is not lost on me. This month, several 4chan users began talking about the concept of people who “lacked an inner voice”, and from there the meme quickly spread on Twitter.

Its usage seems to be an echo of the use of the term “normie”, in reference to people who blindly obey pre-approved patterns of thought in conformity to society. However, it’s easy for this sort of thing to become dehumanizing when you remember that the whole point of the meme is that they don’t have an inner voice, an inner monologue, a “soul” or the ability to affect anything. That’s why it’s quite disheartening to see some people consolidate part of their worldview around this premise, especially if you’re one of those guys who thinks that the majority of the population are just NPCs. Think about it: that is casting the majority of your fellow man, the majority of the world, as soulless husks, incapable of thought and imagination, all while basking in the rays of your own ego. It’s such a parasitic form of elitism that pollutes the mind and the soul, one that I think finds breeding in modern online culture.

The funny thing is, the idea of a person without an “inner voice” is not exactly new to 4chan. In fact there was a thread on the r/self sub-Reddit written two years ago by someone who claims to have experienced precisely this. To quote thegoldengiraffe, the author of the thread:

I think I’m very different from most people because of one main thing. I never thought with language. Ever. I moved to Canada when I was 2 from Asia, and have been basically been around English speakers my whole life. I’m in my twenties now and I can speak it relatively well, and can understand every single word. However, growing up, I never ever thought with language. Not once did I ever think something in my mind with words like “What are my friends doing right now?” to planning things like “I’m going to do my homework right after watching this show.” I went through elementary school like this, I went through Highschool like this, I went through University like this…and I couldnt help but feel something was off about me that I couldnt put my hand on. Just last year, I had a straight up revalation, ephiphany….and this is hard to explain…but the best way that I can put it is that…I figured out that I SHOULD be thinking in language. So all of a sudden, I made a conscious effort to think things through with language. I spent a years time refining this new “skill” and it has COMPLETELY, and utterly changed my perception, my mental capabilities, and to be frank, my life. I can suddenly describe my emotions which was so insanely confusing to me before. I understand the concept that my friends are still “existing” even if they’re not in site by thinking about their names. I now suddenly have opinions and feelings about things that I never had before. What the heck happened to me? I started thinking in language after not doing so my whole life. It’s weird because I can now look back at my life before and see just how weird it was. Since I now have this new “skill” I can only describe my past life as ….”Mindless”…”empty”…..”soul-less”…. As weird as this sounds, I’m not even sure what I was, If i was even human, because I was barely even conscious. I felt like I was just reacting to the immediate environment and wasn’t able to think anything outside of it. It’s such a strange time in my life. It feels like I just found out the ultimate secret or something. …..Can anyone relate, or understand what Im saying? Can anyone explain what is happening to me? I have no idea where to even post this but this has been on my mind ever since I’ve been able to think about it.

It seems that the author, for some time, lacked the ability to think in language, and did not possess an internal monologue. If the first few sentences and some of the comments are anything to go by, it’s possible that such a disability may have developed from moving to Canada to Asia at such a young age. He went through much of his life not having the ability to communicate in language, not realizing that something was wrong until finally he figured it out, and then spent a year developing the ability to think in language. But once he did, it transformed his understanding of himself, his skills, and the way he understood the world. It must have felt not so much as though he had attained enlightenment, so much as though he had become ensouled.

One commenter was keen to point out that the OP may have been suffering from a mysterious medical condition known as aphantasia, a disability wherein afflicted individuals are unable to produce mental images (except, apparently, during dreams). This condition is often referred to as being “blind in the mind”, and this is in reference to the fact that, for aphantasics (sufferers of aphantasia), the brain is not able to produce mental images, and so the “mind’s eye” doesn’t function properly, if it functions at all. Neurologists estimate that roughly 2% of the world’s population are affected by this condition. This might seem insignificant at first, but then you remember that 2% of the world’s population amounts to about 150 million, which is still a huge number of people by itself. That means millions of people who suffer from an impaired mind’s eye and are thus unable to think in language or produce mental images.

Now why is aphantasia related to this? Well it’s very simple. If you can’t think in language, and you don’t have an internal monologue, in a sense it’s as though you don’t have an inner voice, and that’s the whole point of the NPC meme. What’s more, the man who discussed his experience of life without the ability to think in language described his state of being prior to having unlocked that ability, after the fact of having done so, as a state of mindlessness, soullessness, or emptiness of being. The way some people use the NPC meme, it gives this sense of an attitude where most people in their lives are just soulless husks because they don’t agree with them. No wonder some people have come out and described the meme as fascistic in nature.

More than that, there is the fact that our Reddit friend tells us that he not only suffered from his lack of ability to think in language, but somehow he managed to change this and attain the ability to think in language. This to me is a profound source of hope in many ways because it shows me the possibility of the activity of overcoming taking place within in an individual, the act of self-cultivation taking place, and in a way genuine transformation has taken place. The NPC meme, seen through this lens, is pretty much an exercise in signalling the worldview that it is better to just cast people aside rather than exert compassion and help people develop their full potential simply because they’re inferior beings (inferior, mind you, in the view of people who would be laughed at by any serious intellectual on this planet).

Reflections on my graduation from university

I plan to do plenty of writing concerning the false dichotomies that so permeate our understanding of the world, of the various forms of the Lucifer or morning star archetype throughout the world that I had not yet thought about, and some Mythological Spotlights in the future, among various other topics. But first, as something of a break from the content desert on this web blog, I have decided to a little write-up over the fact of my graduation from university.

As of yesterday I have finished four years of studying game design as a Masters graduate, and have thus earned a degree. Naturally I’m pretty happy with this. In addition to this, I’ve been getting confirmation of my marks back before graduation and I’ve earned First class marks for my final module. I’ve often given myself a hard time over the work that I do in university, frankly I still think a lot of the practical work that I’ve done isn’t as good as some of the other students, but to have worked my way up to graduating with a first class grade shows me that I have very little reason to be down about my academic achievement. I mean, sure, a lot of the reason I got the high marks was my written work more than my practical work – in fact, it’s my written reports associated with the modules that ensure a reasonably high overall average with my marks a lot of the time – but hey, a great result’s a great result. And, I think it seems to be evidence enough that the path of diligence and dedication to academic study has paid off.

So at this point you might be wondering by now what I’m going to be doing now that I’ve graduated. Well, obviously I hope to move out of my home town in the not too distant future, but that’s going to require me to get a reliably steady source of living income going my way. But I am ambitious at this point in time, and I’ve got pretty big plans for what I want to do with myself. During my final academic year I arrived upon the idea of setting up an enterprise of some kind that would focus on narrative writing for the video game industry. In terms of the specifics, this means setting up a company to handle story-writing for small game developers, as well as numerous other services involving my writing. This service centers around writing specific documents that record every detail of a given game’s universe as applicable to story and world information. This was going to be a simple limited company at first, but as 2018 began to roll in, and my worldview began to change with it, I decided I want to do something even more unique and challenging: take that enterprise and organize it as an author’s cooperative. This basically means that we’d be running as a company competing in the market, but instead of just having it be me calling all of the shots, I work as part of a jointly-organized enterprise as a part of a collective of people with similar talent and interest, with each participant getting some say in how we organize.

You might think this is a strange road to go down, but for me it’s arguably a logical extensive of game design as an inherently collaborative principle. I mean, let me put it like this: a single game project is not just the product of one man or woman, and the course of a game project is not simply the result of the will of one particular designer. Each project is a product of a conglomeration of designers and artists pooling their skills together , and in the industry itself you also find the finished product is also effected by producers and market forces. I learned this very early on when studying game design, when I learned of how game designers aren’t the kind of purely artistic bohemians licensed to venture into the realm of individual imagination and individual production alone, and for about a month this revelation almost drove me to transfer to an illustration course because I thought it wasn’t what I wanted. Thank gods for the program director setting me straight at the time. Who knows what might have happened otherwise. But anyways, it makes sense to me that game design should be seen as a collaborative effort, which means that working as part of a team, or a collective, is not a taboo or a source of oppression.

However, I do feel that the current model within the games industry still ultimately disempowers the true creatives – that is, the people who lay at the heart of the design process in every project, the designers – as in the current industrial environment you the biggest and most successful game projects are shaped so much by market pressures. And not just them either. I have seen the Shin Megami Tensei game franchise that I love become debased within the last three years or so by blatant attempts to chase the kind of shonen anime tropes that are all too easy to sell in the Japanese market, and I think a lot of it is down to the higher ups over at SEGA (who now own Atlus, the company that develops and publishes those games). With the model I aim for at least, I aim to bring more power to the designer, or rather the designing team, to do more than just go with the flow of the market. Of course, we could say something about the limits of what we can do within the current system, and what to do about that, but I think we can skip that for now.

Anyways, this is going to take a lot of groundwork: I need to lay out the overall foundation of the enterprise and I’ll need to find people who might work with me in forming it. Not to mention, getting funding for such a project. However, there’s a positive twist to that. Even though I’ve already graduated, I can still visit my careers advisor who can potentially link me up with a pool of talent from my university in my corner of the world, but I have until September to make the most of this opportunity.

Going forward, this all means I’m going to be focusing on my material standing at least for the time being, to form a creative enterprise and make a life for myself. I will try to write some articles for this blog in the coming months, but let’s be real it’ll probably be in a kind of an as and when sort of thing – if I get up to writing and releasing posts here, I will, but if not, I won’t – and this will likely be influenced by me trying to, as I just said, make a life for myself.

For now though, I think I’m going to have a fairly easy week and weekend, just to chill out from graduation. I already had some fun last night with some ciders in celebration, but there’s room for a few more drinks, and play some games as I do (hey, what’s a game designer if he can’t play games?).

An interesting exercise for the holidays

With my winter holidays less than a week away, I’d like to talk about an exercise that one of the lecturers suggested for us in university that could be done over the holidays. This exercise centers around a question that all good game designers are meant to answer: what does the player do? The question itself is not necessarily about what the main character does in the context of a story, but chiefly concerning player actions within a game, what the player is able to do within the game world.

This exercise consists of the following steps:

  1. Take a game idea you have and the main protagonist, and write down some answers to the general question.
  2. Look at the challenges you want to design for primary gameplay, beginning with basic, low-level challenges that tend to be encountered by the player on a regular basis (like defeating enemies for instance).
  3. Consider the intermediate and then higher-level challenges in gameplay, and whether or not they can be met by previously defined player actions or whether or not they require additional actions for the player.
  4. Consider options unrelated to gameplay that you may want to make available to the player.
  5. When a comprehensive list of actions has been created for the primary gameplay mode, repeat for all other gameplay modes.
  6. When a comprehensive list of actions has been created for all modes of gameplay, you can user interfaces for each mode.

My plan is to do this for a few game ideas that I have, including the subject of a game design document to be made next semester (providing all goes well after my assessments at the end of this semester), as well as do this for my alter ego character and his universe. May or may not post the results of the alter ego character going through this process. I think it might be interesting to go through this exercise and see how my understanding of constructing game ideas develops, and how it could potentially affect their future development, or how it generally affects my understanding of imagining characters.

Luciferianism, game design, and the reasons we play video games

This is a post I have been wanting to write while I was still completing my first year of university. I know this must seem like a strange pattern of subjects to write about, but as a games design student, I attended lectures on game design and the history of video games and can expect to attend more in the next two years, and I felt a strange insight about video games from these lectures in relation to human nature, Luciferianism, and my own desires and beliefs.

To get started on this post, let me tell you about some important reasons why people play video games. Here are the reasons as I have learned:

  • The desire for challenge: A common motivation for playing single-player games, but is not limited to solitary gameplay. Video games have a way of forcing players to think actively and try a number of solutions in order to overcome problems and beat the game. Players can also go through learning experiences and benefit from them, even if only within the context of a game. People enjoy the learning process in games so long as it’s fun and helps them attain some kind of mastery. Often times, people define themselves by the challenges they face and overcome, and in a way video games fulfill the desire of humans to test themselves, face adversity, emerge as victors, and attain mastery.
  • The social experience: This is especially true with the rise of both casual gaming and online play, but even back in the days when playing video games wasn’t usually considered a valid social activity, people could still come and visit friends to play video games with each other, often in competition with each other. Multiplayer gaming has always been endearing ever since its early days, and the chief reason is the opportunity to interact with and compete with other people. It’s important to remember that human players are less predictable than artificial intelligence, so human players provide a different kind of challenge than playing against the game alone.
  • The solitary experience: While some players like the experience of playing video games with other people, other people prefer to play by themselves. They may be seeking a dynamic experience that they can engage, and in this regard video games are unique in the ability to provide a form of interaction with the medium itself that simply can’t be obtained from reading books or watching movies.
  • The emotional experience: This is something that people who play video games sometimes want out of games for the same reasons as the solitary experience, and something that video games have become much more capable of in different ways, and the emotions evoked from playing video games can be just as strong as from other media, if not more so. This is because video games are simply more immersive and more personally involving than other media. Unlike other forms of artistic media, you as the player are centrally involved in the experience that you have chosen to invest in.
  • The desire for bragging rights: Competition is an important part of why we play games, and not just video games either. The desire to win respect or brag about your achievements is also a part of playing video games, just as it is with sports. In the days of arcade gaming, kids could work towards getting the highest score possible to show to others and earn respect and the right to brag about it, and when fighting games got into the arcades, kids would learn to execute special moves within the games that required the input of complex sequences of button commands, and when they learned to do so they could show it off to their peers. Showing off has always been a part of playing video games with other people. It provides a sense of accomplishment and pride, which also induces a significant sense of self. Hell, where would hardcore gaming be today without it? In online and mobile gaming, that’s the reason leaderboards exist. In the seventh generation of console gaming, the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Steam let you earn achievements (termed trophies in Sony’s consoles) on your account for completing certain objectives or challenges, and these also serve as a form of bragging or showing off to others. It’s not just about getting certain achievements, but also about how many achievements you get.
  • The desire to explore: Exploring new spaces is a key reason for playing video games, particularly single-player games, and is the most important element of adventure games and role-playing games. This gets taken to a whole other level in games like Minecraft, which let you create a world of your own within the game and explore it. However not all games let you explore fantastical settings or simulations of other parts of the world. In general, games as a medium can let you explore any environment that would usually be inaccessible to you, even in a familiar setting, and it’s that desire, to see what the unknown might be like, that games also thrive on.
  • The desire to fantasize: Video games offer a form of escapism for most people from the world in which we live, and because they can be more immersive than movies and books and allow the player to get involved in the world they present, they have the power to really bring the player into a fictional world and allow them to fulfill fantasies within that world that they might not be able to in real life. Games allow people to engage in various forms of activity that the bounds of their social environment would normally never allow within a safe environment and without any negative consequences for the player. Some games put the player in a historical setting (or at least loosely historical) and allow the player to make choices that differ from the actual historical sequence of events, which would also alter our reality if they actually occurred, and in general allow the player to see history from a more fantastical viewpoint or potentially through their own eyes. Not all fantasy fulfillment involves violence or exotic settings: in a basic sense it means letting you do things you normally wouldn’t or can’t do even in familiar or real-world settings (like with skateboarding games for example; I guarantee you they can let you do things that no skateboarder can ever do in real life). Another aspect of fantasy fulfillment is content creation, particularly character creation. Games that let you create a character of your own let you truly extend yourself into the game and view the game world from your own eyes.

Good, properly designed video games grant the player the sensations of enjoyment, pleasure, involvement, wonder, challenge, accomplishment, mastery, and victory. From a Luciferian standpoint, these are all not only valid sensations, but they are all cherished, just as much as they might be in Satanism, or for that matter any truly life-affirming philosophy. I feel Luciferianism particularly prizes individual mastery for the self, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with video games inspired mastery in the individual.

Now, I’m not going to settle simply on why people play video games. I’ll tell you what I know about game design itself. Game design itself isn’t for the faint-hearted and the path of game design will challenge the commitment and intellect of potential designers. Making a good game, let alone a great game, means you have to understand why people play video games, why you play video games, and what players expect when they’re playing games, and how to design a functional, structured, and consistent game world, and you’ll also need to learn things outside of video games as well for the sake of design. You also need to overcome adversity not just in the actual workload, but in dealing with other people. For me, group work can be a horrible thing to deal with in game design. In fact, a lot of times I feel it could one day turn into a death sentence for my ambitions in that line of work. But I feel that there’s a balance to be cultivated: you have to realize that one person can’t design a great game alone (at least a game that’s going to sold anyway) and that you will have to work with others in order, and since you’re working with others then you’re working on a project that everyone has to be interested in, but you can’t give in to pure group mentality all the same. I feel a skill worth cultivating might be the ability to work with other people and communicate with them while still not being weighed down by the when others lack the effort and instead focusing on your skills, your talent, and what you feel you can do within the group to make something great. Understand that you have a role in designing the game, and it is your talents that contribute to the whole, without feeling sublimated by the group. I suggest trying to think of it as though you are a member of a band: in a band, you’re in a group of people who have to work together in order to make music, but your talents are important to the band all the same and you’ll be recognized for your talents, and if you were any good then it’d be you those talents people seeking to do your thing will have to learn from. It’s a balance that I guarantee most people might not see themselves achieving, especially if their among the people who just plain hate dealing with people, and I don’t even know if I will prove to be good enough to cultivate that, but if you want to be a game designer you have to learn this. If you’re a Luciferian, then take this as a form mastery, and embrace the glory that comes with that success. I feel a Luciferian can also greatly appreciate the learning process, the balance the individual has to achieve between remaining an individual and dealing with the group (and the challenge of keeping that balance), and the thought that they are creating something that stokes the desires of the individual and inspires their imaginations. Even if not everyone who plays games will think deeply about the motives that drive them to play games in the first place, we may inspire others to become game designers and lead them to discover this themselves, or better yet we may teach them ourselves.

I’d also like to go an record stating that the true talent of game designers is exercising the powers of order and intellect to create a structural game world governed by rules of play and bringing that world to life with the chaos of creativity and imagination. It should be obvious what we try to bring together by doing so, and I feel that in Luciferianism we strive to do the same thing. And in our future careers, we will enter into a world that reflects the natural world: a world ruled by competition and ambition, where designers must try and come out on get their work seen, bought, and played in order to succeed and make a living. I think survival in that world takes knowledge, talent, creativity, and the same burning desire that motivated the history of the industry as a whole: ambition. Throughout the history of video games, companies have started out with the goal of making money by creating video games, and they have survived by trying to do something of their own, something unique, something different from what everyone else was doing, because they really wanted to make video games and because they knew that doing something different meant potentially gaining a competitive edge over every over company.

The history of video games also has a few lessons to teach in general outside design: it enticed me early in my course because it showed me the exciting power of competition that fueled video games as a medium, with different companies each rising to become a dominant force. It almost felt like reading about historical warfare. But the early days of video games were also full of lawsuits, with different companies suing the other companies in for various reasons (often over copyright infringement, and other because some companies feeling the other companies were unfairly cutting into each others’ profits). I devoted a whole report to the subject of the legal battles that frequently happened between video game companies from the 1970’s right up to the early 1990’s, simply because I was enticed by the themes of competition and conflict that such legal battling between early video game companies represented to me. It’s important to remember, however, that these were tumultuous times for the games industry. Companies we know today, such as Nintendo, Sega, and Activision, were butting heads at each to come out on top and suing each other sometimes for petty reasons, costing all these companies a lot of profit in the process and generally creating a hectic climate for the industry. In fact, all the heated legal rivalry that happened in the early 1980’s was one the important factors that eventually led to the notorious video games crash of 1983 that almost destroyed the young video game market. Thinking back, the moral of that state of affairs is one I’m quite familiar with: that competition is a force that drives us all forward, but if it’s uncontrolled then it can go haywire and lead to disorder and turmoil. In Luciferianism, we see greed, pride, lust, indeed all the natural drives that are feared as sinful as natural motivators of the individual, but we also know that we cannot let them become unbalanced and destructive so we embrace the power of order, reason, and honor within ourselves reign in and bring balance.

I don’t know if I’ll still end up on the path of game design in the future even after having written all this: it is a hard road ahead and I have a whole 3-year course to survive before I can feel I’m good enough. But I do feel like this understanding may turn out to be an excellent solution to the challenge of coping with the course as it gets harder to deal with and complete.

The rich symbolism of my alter ego

Over a month ago I have been writing about my alter ego character in a notebook. Apparently I’ve given him a lot of rich symbolism pertaining to his character and his purpose in the world he is a part of. I write about my character on this blog for the pleasure of it, and because I feel the stuff I have written has been insightful enough that it merits mention. I have been working on this character for a long time, and through this time I have also found things about myself and my beliefs, so this character is very important to me. And I apologize in advance if it’s too long for you to read.

First, some background: He is a warrior, adventurer, treasure hunter, and protector of the world he lives in from the  has the power of fire; both the fire that brings light and the fire of demons. He also has the ability to stay underwater as long as he wants so that he can swim like a free spirit beneath the waters, can eat a lot without getting fat, he has red eyes glowing in the dark, can open up a third eye for discovering hidden presences and pathways, and is abundant in spiritual energy. He can also access a kind of demonic super form. His birthmark is the Aum symbol written as a Siddham letter. He uses the powers associated with Satan and Chaos for the sake of righteous and heroic cause, and he always tries to do what’s right but also what he pleases. He’s a passionate, confident, and energetic young man who manages to never lose his youth, but he has a soft side if brought out by the right people, and lives in both indulgence and honor. Although he is also an intense and emotional character, he never seems to brood. He fights not out of any sense of duty or obedience, but out of his own instincts and because he wants to do it and believes in his actions. He’s basically a lot like me, or the kind of life I want to live. He’s one with that force of passion and chaos, and the primal fires, and he lives as a warrior with heat and light in his heart and the fabric of his being. He also shares my own ideas and beliefs, naturally, and looks like me except his look is perfectly executed. Aside from fighting and adventuring, he likes to eat, swim, love, treasure hunt, and rock, and he seems to get along well with wild animals.

Now that that’s over with, the symbolism and meaning that has become attached to the character.

Exhibit 1 – The birthmark

As I just mentioned, his birthmark is the Aum written in Siddham script. According to Hindu belief, the Aum represents infinite energy, God, and the divine. It also representsthe cycle of  life, death, and rebirth from Hindu belief, as representing by each phoneme A, U, and M respectively, though there is also A for life and Um (or Un) for death. The latter is represented by two varieties of Japanese temple guardians: the komainu (lion-dogs), and the Kongorikishi (wrath-filled muscular guardians of the Buddha). In both cases, one has its mouth open and the other has its mouth closed. The open mouth is A, and the closed mouth is Un or Um, which together mean life and death.

It’s meant to connect to the characters abundant personal energy, a trait which was also inspired by Ichigo Kurosaki from the anime Bleach. May also represent a connect with timeless energy and force. It’s also meant to denote my alter ego’s role as the protector of his own world. Take from that what you will…

Exhibit 2 – The colors red and black

Alex’s two colors are red and black, which naturally are also my favorite colors. To many, they mean either evil or anarchism, but those connotations are not present here. It started with Shin Megami Tensei, where they were the colors of the Chaos faction, which I aligned with, and they were also colors of another favorite video game character, Shadow the Hedgehog (who I freely confess made machine guns look cool). But since then more symbolism got attached to it.

In Balinese folklore, red, black, and white are the colors associated with a powerful witch demon Rangda, who was believed to be the queen of demons. Rangda’s colors are also attached to Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, change, destruction, and power, and Rangda is also believed to have been linked with Kali and Durga, the latter of which was the warrior mother goddess of victory over evil. Funny enough, while Rangda is seen in Balinese folklore as an evil demon, she was also seen as a protector in some parts of Bali, similar to Kali’s occasional representation as a protective goddess.

The demon queen Rangda

Speaking of demons, in Buddhist lore, the asuras (borrowed from Hindu lore) are depicted as red-skinned and the rakshasas (also Hindu in origin) are depicted with black skin, and both are vicious demons who, in Japan, were also tasked with protecting the Buddhist law. In Christian-influenced Western belief, Satan and his demons are commonly represented by the colors red and black, presumably because of their connection with sin, evil, lust, aggression, mystery, and darkness. It’s probably because of this that red and black have become so attached with Satanism (after all, it wouldn’t be Satanism without any conception of Satan now would it?). But there is still so much more to red and black here than just demons and Satan. In fact, the chief symbolism here is actually from Taoism.

In Taoism, there are the two natural principles of yin and yang, yin being the dark, passive, and mysterious principle, and yang being the bright, assertive, and magnetic principle. Yin is black and yang is white, but yang has also been represented as red, presumably because red represents qualities attached to the yang principle. Anyways, for Taoist belief, yin and yang must exist in harmony and as complimentary forces and do not exist as opposites that must triumph over each other. With that in mind, the key meaning is formed. Red means heat, force, and dynamism, while black means mystery, darkness, and space. Together, they actually represent energy in its most primordial form, and in the twin forces of heat and darkness. It could also represent light and darkness in union too, since fire brings light as well as heat.

Yin and yang

Black is generally associated with the occult, demons, the left hand, disaster, mystery, death, and chaos, but in some cultures it represents life. In Japan black means life, while white actually means death. In China, black is the color that represents the element of water for some reason. Black also points to Kali and the Buddhist Mahakala, who was a Buddhist incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva.  Red means heat, fire, vitality, passion, but in Japan it is also the traditional color of the hero and the color for expelling demons and illness (a bit ironic considering all this talk of demons from before), as well as the sun and summer. For my alter ego, red and black are the simplest symbols of his dual affinity for the bright power of fire and the dark power of the demons, for righteousness and vice, for the union of moral integrity and animal instinct, and for the directing of dark power and heat towards the pursuit of a just cause.

The theory of his color scheme is also evocative of Baphomet, not to be confused with Satan (though Satan does have influence here). Baphomet is a symbol of the union of or harmony between forces that are either opposite or mutually distinct. Thus Baphomet brings together the forces that I have mentioned throughout this section.

Exhibit 3 – The power of demons and chaos as a sword of righteousness

While the idea may have started with playing video games like Devil May Cry and Shin Megami Tensei, there are actually links to mythology and religious belief.

In Egypt, there is the god Set, who was the god of the desert and storms, and later evil and chaos. Even before the people of Egypt turned Set into a god of evil, he was seen as a wild, tumultuous, and sometimes hostile deity, but it is Set who protects the sun god Ra in the daily battle against Apep, the serpent of entropy and annihilation. Funny enough he was also seen as the lord of the red sands and Horus was the lord of the black soil. Set was also linked with the Semitic god Baal (or Hadad). In fact, there was a time when people from Western Asia, referred to as the Hyksos, ruled Egypt. They worshiped the storm god Baal, who became linked with the Egyptian storm god Seth, and they were both worshipped as Seth-Baal, sometimes in an almost monotheistic fashion, until the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. Also, a friend and personal spiritual teacher of mine (who I remember as The Desolate One) told me a theory that when Set defeated Apep, he took on the power once linked with Apep, and that this is how he become the god of darkness, reviled as the god of evil. I think we both followed with the idea that Baal did the same after defeating Yam.

Set and Apep by badgersoph on Deviantart

As usual though, much of my inspiration comes from Asia, and there’s a lot of symbolism to be found in Buddhist lore. In Tibet, there are deities who seem vicious and demonic, to the point that those who first look upon them unaware of their role in the Buddhist faith would construe them as no different to demons. But in truth, they represent the violent reality of both the cosmos and the human mind, and they serve the purpose of protecting the Buddhist faith and practitioners, and  helping the practitioner attain enlightenment by clearing away the obstacles to enlightenment (at least from the Buddhist point of view). These beings are referred to as wrathful deities. They are based on violence and power, they have a violent nature and a demonic appearance, but they are not necessarily evil at all. In fact, they also symbolize the tremendous amount of effort and force needed to vanquish evil. In Japan, a similar term is Kishin, which means “fierce god” or “demon god”, and they are guardian gods.

Vajrapani, an example of one of the wrathful deities

They are actually supposed to be benevolent, but their appearance is meant to instill terror into the forces of evil and drive them back, much like the appearance of gorgon heads on Greek temples or gargoyles on medieval Christian churches. It’s also interesting to note that some of these deities, according to tradition, were once the native gods or demons of the land prior to being defeated in magical combat with the guru Padmasambhava and converting to Buddhism. The only problem is this does mean these beings serve the Buddhist faith as a result of being defeated and subjugated by someone else, rather than by being convinced that it aligns with their own convictions.

The concept of demonic beings enlisted to protect the Buddhist faith is further expressed in Japanese Buddhism, though often it is after the demons are defeated or captured (such as with Fujin and Raijin). But that is not always the case. There is a story of a goddess named Hariti, who used to be a yaksha demon from Pakistan who killed human children in order to feed her hundreds of children. Siddhartha Gautama wanted to stop this so he hid one of her sons under a bowl, then he told Hariti that her suffering from losing one of her children cannot be compared to the suffering of all the mothers whose few children became her victims. Realizing the depth of her actions and feeling remorse for them, she converted to Buddhism and pledged to be the protector of children and childbirth, and promised to eat pomegranates instead of human children. Another story is the story of Atavaka, or Daigensui Myo-O as he is known in Japan. Similar to Hariti, Atavaka was once a child-eating yaksha demon, but after encountering Siddartha Gautama, he converted to Buddhism and become a yaksha king, protector of the southwest direction, and a vassal to the warrior deity Bishamonten. Atavaka was also considered the chief of all the spirits and demons protecting the land.

Japanese esoteric Buddhism also has a deity named Rastetsuten, who is considered one of the twelve devas who protect the four directions, the four semi-directions, the sun, the moon, up, and down. Rasetsuten protected the southwest direction of the heavens and was master of the rakshasa demons. In Hindu lore rakshasas were cannibalistic demons who practiced black magic, desecrated gravesites, disrupted sacrifices, and had venomous fingernails, but in Mahayana Buddhist texts they converted to Buddhism and served to protect the dharma. Another Hindu demon who takes on a protective role in Japanese Buddhism is the asura, who in Hinduism were previously considered demonic spirits who fought against the gods. In Buddhist lore they are merely semi-divine beings addicted to various passions, but most especially strife and conflict, though they are also capable of being virtuous and pious. In Vedic lore, the term asura was an epithet meaning “mighty” and referred to power and strength, and was attributed to various Vedic gods.

A rakshasa

Come to think of it, it seems demons have been a force of protection from evil and fighting evil, as well as promoting evil, destruction, and chaos, for a long time in many beliefs outside of Christianity, general Western culture, and Islam.

In some cultures, while snakes were associated with healing, wisdom, and fertility, even before Christianity they were also associated with danger and darker and more chthonic forces. This was the case in ancient Greece, where serpents are most classically associated with the chthonic monster known as the gorgon (among whom was the famous Medusa). But in Greece, the oldest oracles were said to be protected by serpents (including the monster Python who guarded the oracle at Delphi), and the heads of gorgons appeared on temples to protect against malign forces. Gorgon masks were also carved to protect from the evil eye. Medusa herself appears in a temple to Artemis in Corfu, where she is a guardian of the temple. In Babylon and Assyria, there is the demon Pazuzu (who some may recognize as the spirit that possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist). He was an evil spirit of wind who brought plague, disease, famine, and locusts, but he was also invoked to protect humans from plague, disease, and misfortune, particularly the kind brought by a demonic goddess named Lamashtu. Mesopotamian folklore also describes storm demons known as Ugallu, who were also considered beneficial protective demons and were depicted and invoked in charms. In India, the yakshas are sometimes treated as demons, but they are also seen as benign earthly protector spirits. Demons and ghouls are also found as the hosts of the Hindu god Shiva, and those hosts are said to frighten even the gods Brahma and Vishnu. Even today there are believers in the paranormal and the occult who consider demons to be guardian spirits in the same sense that angels are, only that demons come from the darker side of the spirit world.

There is inspiration that follows a similar principle: Tantra. In Tantric Hindusim, things that are considered dark, taboo, even unspiritual can be considered sacred and/or valid pathways to the divine. Most recognized among their belief is the belief that material pleasures can be dedicated to God and that seemingly negative forces can be transformed into positive forces and religious bliss.

Outside mythology, the spirit of the righteous application of demonic power lives on in modern culture. In Japanese video games and anime, demons aren’t always a strictly negative force. And sometimes, in those settings, individuals associated with demons fight demons and protect the world and humans from evil with the help of their power. The anime Blue Exorcist is about a young man named Rin Okumura who is the son of Satan, but he fights demons and wants to defeat Satan (the Christian Satan). In the anime YuYu Hakusho, the main character Yusuku Urameshi is the main protagonist who protects the human world from various supernatural threats and he apparently has demon blood. In fact, he can access a demon form with some wicked long hair! In video games, Shin Megami Tensei lets you use demons and their power to potentially do good depending on your point of view. Demons are categorized by alignments based on the two axes of Light-Neutral-Dark and Light-Neutral-Chaos. For example, Kishin refers to warrior deities, and they are attached Light-Chaos, my personal favorite alignment for demons. Perhaps Light-Chaos can refer to the righteous manifestation of the power of the demons. And who could forget the Devil May Cry games, which feature humans with demonic blood who fight demons with the help of the power of demons. Most famous among  them of course is Dante, who has become a true hack and slash icon and a personal inspiration for me and my alter ego.

Dante, son of Sparda

Exhibit 4 – Heavy metal culture

Probably because of my own interest in heavy metal music, the character I talk about here inherits influence from heavy metal music in his design and background. He has long hair that’s basically a mixture of Nikki Sixx’s hair from Motley Crue and a Japanese hairstyle I found one time.

I often draw him making the sign of the horns with his hands. It’s a sign that was officially introduced to heavy metal by Ronnie James Dio, after he joined Black Sabbath. He claimed he based it on the sign that his grandmother made with his hands: the malocchio. It was apparently used to ward off curses such as the evil eye. Since Dio, the sign of the horns has become a universal element of heavy metal culture, despite musicians of other genre and cultures copying it randomly.

My alter ego has by and large copied my fashion sense, which has absorbed other insignias of heavy metal culture. Among them, the sleeveless denim jacket and the bullet belt, both of them associated with traditional heavy metal, thrash metal, and speed metal, though the bullet belt can be found worn be fans of more extreme metal sub-genres, such as black metal and death metal, and members of such bands. Both fashion items were chosen as nods to heavy metal subculture.

A thrash metal fan wearing a bullet belt and a denim jacket with patches of various metal bands.

My character’s black jacket was initially based on a black long-sleeved jacket I usually wore, which I believe was made of cotton. But this jacket has become replaced by a black jacket made of leather, which is pretty much based on the denim and leather done by many old school heavy metal bands (except that I prefer black denim to blue denim). Denim and leather back then was such a recognized element of heavy metal fashion that it was the title of an album by one such band: Saxon.

But it’s not just the fashion of heavy metal that’s important. In fact, it only makes sense that my character, and I myself for that matter, would associate with heavy metal music. Heavy metal is the only music that represents what I feel I come from. Metal was the music of power and aggression, it’s the only music that has a lot of the kind of lyrical subject matter I like (demons, war, myth, lust, and warriors, among other lyrics) and to such an awesome sound, and it has a subculture that embraces what are in my mind the values of the warrior, the rebel, and the devil. It is aggressive music, raw energy, and the instrumentation channels said aggression to create a sublime sound, and many of my favorite metal bands channel aggressive music to make what is ultimately a positive sound. And the energy and passion I feel from the music is certainly a positive influence. So however you stretch it, metal deserves the influence it has. Because of the tendency of heavy metal to feature lyrics about demons, Satan, and the occult, it can be a good example of channeling inspiration from darkness to create something righteous, strong, and true.

Exhibit 5 – The action hero

The action genre is very influential not just from anime and video games, but of course action films. Early on I and one of my art teachers likened my alter ego to characters such as Dirty Harry, who upheld the law and busted criminals by flunking regulations and breaking the rules, thus exemplifying a classic example of the trope of the renegade cop, better known as the cowboy cop. Other well-known examples of the trope include Die Hard, Cobra, Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Last Action Hero, and Demolition Man.

Cobra. It speaks for itself.

Speaking of Demolition Man, the main character John Spartan and not to mention the film itself have both been very inspirational. Before being cryogenically frozen, Spartan was the baddest cowboy cop in Los Angeles, busting exceptionally bad criminals without regard for proper protocol or concern for collateral damage. After being frozen, he wakes up to find that LA has become San Angeles, a crapsaccharine state without passion and no freedom to do anything other than following the plans Dr. Raymond Cocteau has for your life, and eventually Simon Fenix, the worst criminal Spartan has ever faced, also arrives after being cryogenically frozen. He eventually defeats and kills Fenix, but also challenges and topples the pristine order of San Angeles through the destruction of the cryo prison (though Fenix kills Cocteau before all this happens). Spartan then challenges the people of San Angeles to try and live in a world of both order and wild freedom, thus echoing the idea of a character who fights for freedom and to preserve justice.

My favorite anime characters are pretty much always action character with weapons (albeit swords instead of guns), such as Ichigo from Bleach. Of all of them, Ichigo always had a lot of appeal. He was hot-headed, and hot-bleaded, but he never gave up, never backed down, and always tried to fight for what he thought was right because he wanted to.

Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach

Exhibit 6 – The demonic super form

The alter ego’s demonic super form is ostensibly a combination of Super Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, which itself was based on the Super Saiyan state from Dragon Ball, and Dante’s Devil Trigger state from the Devil May Cry games. Similar tropes also appear in various other video games, as well as anime. My character’s particular super form also derives from not just Satan with his horns, but also the flaming aura that surrounds the Buddhist wrathful deities of Tibet and Japan.

Fudo Myo-O

The super form also has a third eye, which is ostensibly derived from Shiva. In fact, the flaming aura itself is also a manifestation of the flaming aura of both Shiva and the goddess Kali

Exhibit 7 – Other mythological/religious elements

My character frequently uses weapons that have some link to Asian religious themes, often as bonus weapons, including the vajra and the trishula, which are attached many Buddhist deities, along with the Hindu gods Indra and Shiva respectively.

My alter ego’s jacket is set to have a flaming ram’s head on the back of it, which is an allusion to the Hindu god Agni, the zodiac sign Aries, and the Egyptian symbolism of the ram as the soul of the sun god. In this light, the ram is a symbol of the spirit of the sun, fire, heat, light, energy, and enthusiasm.

Like myself, my alter ego wears a Satanic pentagram, which represents not just Satanism, but the powers of darkness and demons, and in this case the principle of using the powers of darkness to pursue a just cause and righteous ideals.

When my alter ego belt buckle is a monstrous demon head, based on the Kirtimukha and Rahu. Kirtimukha is a demon-like image that sometimes adorns temples to Shiva and halos that surround the Shiva and his family. It represents the hunger that pervades the universe and drives all life as attested to in Hindu belief and mythology. Rahu was a demon in Hindu myth who tried to devour the sun. There is also Tao Tie, a fiend from Chinese mythology who represents hunger. I have also considered using a lion’s head for his belt buckler (possibly with a demonic twist). It was inspired by Isamu Nitta’s belt buckle from Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne (which is based on Azazel from Soul Hackers), but it can also be a nod to the lion as a symbol of the Zoroastiran spirit of destruction, Ahriman, based on the Mithraic depiction of Ahriman or Arimanius.


Other things

I must also mention the fan-made Grey Jedi Code associated with Star Wars, which I have already described in full here.

As I mentioned before, my alter ego’s abilities are often based on my own traits. Such as his ability to swim being based on my like of water and personal desire to swim more, and the food thing being related to liking to eat like an animal, and eating a lot without getting fat as a kid. And the animals thing is not just related to Shiva or the Horned One, but the fact that I like to talk about animals as a kid.

In general, his preference of weapons (katanas and machine guns) is inspired by video games, particularly Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy, and Shadow the Hedgehog, as well as my interest in Japanese martial arts and American action films.

And that’s pretty much it. I took way too damn long writing this because I needed to get everything down that needed to be gotten down. Either way I hope this long post can be appreciated as an assessment of my own alter ego and the ideas that shape it, and thus the ideas that actually have shaped me as a person and relate to me as a person to the core of my self.

Let violent video games be violent

Just today I was at my regular lecture about games design and history, it was about what players want out of video games when they play them, and among the reasons we talked about was that people want to fantasize. They are also attracted to some kind of escapism, to do things they will most likely not get to do in real life and all free of negative repercussions, and this includes behavior that would normally be unacceptable. And then I thought about violence.

Video games that allow for violent actions within the game allow people to indulge in fantasies of violent activity, and not always violent activity that can theoretically be justified if it happened for real, without repercussions towards the player and without actually killing anyone in real life. There is a violent part of our nature, as there has always been, and modern video games make it easier for us to keep actual violence in check because they allow us to indulge some of our more violent and aggressive tendencies without actually harming anyone. It’s the same for any games that, while not having gore, do let you use weapons.

The guardians of false morality do not realize what curtailing the violence of video games would do to us as human beings. Without any enemies to fight, all we have is our own kind to be violent towards, and unless people have a way of indulging violent fantasies within the realm of fantasy, humans will get violent in the real world and it would be terrible for all concerned (except perhaps the guardians of false morality, who would exploit like the opportunistic bastards they are). So let violent video games be violent, for the sake of the people who like to play them as a means of venting their aggressive side, lest they start channeling their violence into full blown immoral or unlawful conduct.

Are video games art?

Less than a month ago, a video game called Hatred was announced by a development company called Destructive Creations, and it became controversial due to the fact that it’s a game where you play as a psychopathic mass killer who hates humanity and kill as many people as you can. The developers describe the game as a reaction to perceived political correctness in video games and the idea of games as art. That last part has been a debate for a long time, and people still argue over whether video games can be called art.

Some people say that video games are an art-form in and of themselves. But this is very untrue. Some people also say that video games are incapable of being an art-form, or anything more than mere entertainment. This also very untrue. And there are those who say that video games exist only as a commercial enterprise, a business. That’s only half-right.

As I see it, video games are principally a kind of software that presents an interactive world for people to play in, usually with rules influencing how you can play. That is the basic premise of a video game. Everything else, such as graphics, story, environment, and all the details of a game are basically layers of that software world.  Now this basic nature can have its artistic and creative merit, and if you think that alone is artistic in its own right, then that’s fine but you’re also kind of missing the point. Video games CAN be artistic, but that doesn’t mean they are works of art in they’re own right. In fact, most video games aren’t artistic in they’re own right, and I’m not just talking about all the popular games that people play today. Today, video games are primarily a commercial enterprise, and it’s been that way since the 1970s, but at the same time video games were never incapable of creative merit, it’s just that art and creative media were not the point and they still aren’t. Video games can be artistic in the sense that they are capable of telling a story, conveying ideas, and presenting an aesthetic world, but the simple truth is that this is not the first thing that enters into their design, nor is it the fundamental purpose of creating a game.

So my opinion on the matter of “are games art?” is no with a but: they aren’t artistic on their own, but they can have artistic merit potentially in terms of what they do aesthetically and in terms of story, or just in the eye of the beholder.