Friday, June 3, 2016

Ep. 23: The Best Magic

Josh and Emily officially commit themselves to weekly travels through the overworld, and all this walking is exhausting! Maybe that's why they take such a long break in the field and talk for a full hour and a half. What do they spend all that time discussing? Gender roles, babies, Power Rangers, Tyris Flare, the Ninja Turtles (again), the mysterious nature of the haunted jukebox... basically this conversation goes all over the place. But it's also wrought with opinions and hypotheses, so please, we encourage all you patrons to weigh in with your OWN thoughts and experiences below.

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This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Double Dragon Neon Title Kazunaka Yamane, Jake Kaufman (arr.)
Socket (Time Dominator) Olein Cavern Fumito Tamayama, Yoko Suzuki,
Shigenori Masuko
Runbow Mamma Loves Runbow Dan Rodrigues, Dave Proctor
The Neverhood Klayman Shuffle Terry Scott Taylor
Titan Warriors (unreleased) Ending Credits Harumi Fujita (Mrs. Tarumi)
Super Mario Land 2:
6 Golden Coins
Star Maze Kazumi Totaka
Battle Golfer Yui Rest in Peace Naka-chan 3-sai, Kenta-kun. Yada!, Maru-chan wa omotta, Kyoporiran
My Hero (Seishun Scandal) Battle with Mohikan Unknown

...and listeners like YOU.


  1. That Runbow was so fun! As soon as it started, I was like, "F yeah," and turned it up.

    Super Mario Land 2 is my favorite Game Boy game. Probably the first game I became obsessed with beating, which started my life long pursuit of completing every Mario platformer 100%.

    And anything from Battle Golfer Yui...such a good soundtrack. "Introduction/Deep Over" are my favorites, despite being so short. There's real vibe there.

  2. WOW WOW! I HAVE TO SAY WHAT A SHOW! First off, the music selection IS OFF THE HOOK AMAZING! I am a giant Neverhood fanatic so I can very much appreciate the Klayman Shuffle a thousand times over. That game was introduced to me by a very old friend of mine. As kids, video games were what bound a small group of kids in a very remote country area. My brothers were so much older than I and would introduce all of the exciting new stuff to me and I would pass that on to my friends, being a trendsetter in our area. Games like Diablo, Goldeneye and the entire Sega Saturn collection created such an insane environment of awesome for my friends and I. The Neverhood though, came from my friend who wanted to share that with me and it definitely left an impact. The art and claymation style is unique, the humor is funny and physical and the music is pure unadulterated joy! It is experimental and full of life and you can't help but smile. It truly is something amazing.

    Runbow had me moving uncontrollably, WHAT A SONG!!! This just gives me the feeling of Samba De Amigo and the joy it spreads through music and color! I was sweeping the floor when I heard it and I had to dance with the broom as my partner! I owned it when the wife walked in and saw me haha!

    Let's get series for a second. Nature Vs. Nurture. I am a strong believer in nurture more than anything. Being a parent and watching my daughter grow has really given me the belief that our actions with her and our behavior is learned by her observation. It is a strange thing to witness and I spend so much time watching her, being a stay at home parent. Here is thing, people inadvertently affect children in every way with their actions. In the end, though a child is going to make a decision or choice on whether those actions are acceptable and how you behave or not. It boils down to, "We like to label things." The nature vs. nurture argument is so dismissive of the complexity of the human mind. Two people can be subjected to the same thing and emerge differently and it isn't a chemical reason or an outside influence. It is because that person interpreted the experiences differently than the other and it is something that we just can not grasp.

    @Key never feel bad about the way you behaved as a kid and how you viewed women. When we are kids, we always want to seem special and different and when you are intelligent, introspective and observational, you use very creative, but very wrong assessments of the world around you. When I was a kid, I used reasoning to diminish my peers and raise myself up, because I was different socially, but tried to make myself be intellectually superior. It was horrible and wrong of me as a person and I hate that it happened, but it led to me to be a better person in the end by understanding that later in life. Women are written poorly in almost every show, mostly because the people writing them are men.

    When we talk about women written poorly, we will talk about the new Ghostbusters. I feel like a lot of people are so vehemently against the film for the right reasons, but can't express it properly. It isn't because it is an all female cast, but because those characters seem to be written poorly as seen in the trailer. Jokes are dull, one-liners like, "That's gonna leave a mark," that are an over used trope when a fat person gets hurt. Look at all the chris Farley and Kevin James films for reference there. I think a lot of people wanted Ghostbusters to come back and wanted it like the original and an all female cast is too different. There, I don't agree with them. It can be written well, but what I saw from the trailer, it is going to lean more towards a modern Adam Sandler film with lazy writing and tropes. The original Ghostbusters was intelligently written, with great setups and payoffs comedically, which is lacking in a lot of modern comedies.

    There is so much I want to talk about, but I am going to leave it at that and talk more later.

    1. Wow Bogus, what a wonderful comment! I don't even know what to say about it, except that I'm grateful for your compassion and sad for what you went through as a kid. These journeys we go on, huh?

  3. Hey guys! Great episode, as per usual. So many things to talk about, and since the new episode is already out, I’ll have to shotgun my scattershot thoughts. Sorry about that!

    I've never had problems playing as a female character. Most games (both old and new) contain main characters that have very few non-visual characteristics that would define them as male or female, so characters' identities have always been easy enough to assume, regardless of the gender. One of my favorite games of all time is Phantasy Star, which has a female lead (not to mention an androgynous Esper Wizard, although he was given the male name Noah in the US version to make it less confusing to kids here).

    Interestingly, I'm finally getting around to playing Phantasy Star IV, and I find that although the main character is a female and the co-star is a male, I identify more with the secondary character. But it's not because of gender: Alys is a very blunt, type-A personality, and I find Chaz's deference and inexperience more relatable.

    Emily, If you like to point out that there are exceptions, then you have to admit that they are exceptions! You are an exceptional woman and Josh is an exceptional man. We're hitting on a larger pattern here, which is the tendency of some people to advocate for exceptions to the norm while at the same time resisting the fact that the exceptions aren't the rule. Personally, I’ve never fit in to what is considered normal, and I think that’s one of the best things about me. Heck, if there wasn’t a thing called “normal”, then there wouldn’t a benchmark against which one could delineate my awesomeness. 

    Josh, in regards to your statement that corporations are not forcing these artificial gender roles on people, I agree with you… But it's not an issue of premeditated insidiousness. It is just the culture as a whole, as a living organism, happens to produce these stereotypes of gender that it holds, and corporations capitalize on them.

    Also, I do not think that there is Jungian/Freudian correlation between the metaphor of a boy's penis and his desire to shoot. I think it's a more basic correlation between testosterone and aggression. These visual metaphors may work on a literary level, but I personally think they break down when applying them to everyday reality.

    As far as the debate of nature versus nurture, I think it's been popular for a long while, As Josh insinuated, for some folks to make statements decrying any gender traits as being artificial. But I don't think enough work has been done to separate those gender traits which are clearly stereotypes from those gender traits which are borne out of one's sex. To be sure, there are things like the color pink and blue which are cultural and not particularly related to sex (Josh, if pink is considered a girl’s color worldwide, I’d be happy to be proved wrong!). However, there are gender traits which are borne out of biological differences and a given culture's understanding of that. There needs to be more work on identifying the underlying causes for these traits.
    (pt. 2 below)

    1. Nathan,
      In response to your question about whether or not pink is considered a girl's color worldwide, basically my answer is KINDA, but it is unknown why. It could just be that the U.S. becoming a mega-outlet for media (in color) at a time when pink was arbitrarily considered a girls color by the U.S. has made it so that the phenomenon is more global than it would otherwise be. Some evidence might suggest that once a culture "genderizes" pink, it sticks longer and more tenaciously than when other colors get associated with either gender. There is some anecdotal evidence for why this might be, but nothing definitive.

    2. Thanks for sharing all these thoughts, Naka!

      My suspicion is that if exceptions to the general pattern were more visible, then maybe we'd wind up realizing that they aren't so exceptional after all. There's no way to know, of course, but that's why I always think there's value in giving a little figurative "I'm here!" handwave when you don't fit the standard image for your group. Sounds like you have experiences doing this very thing!

      All we can hope is that eventually, in the big-picture sense and little-picture sense, people will eventually feel completely comfortable being themselves, regardless of what that may mean.

      And thanks for supporting my rabbit trails in your other comment! When you're knee-deep in a weird story, sometimes you suddenly stop and wonder how you got there, and if anyone is still with you. Haha!


  4. (pt. 2)
    Emily, first, I think it is very endearing when you stop yourself midsentence and say something like, "not important". But don't sell yourself short, I think the things you're saying are very interesting and I don't mind the rabbit trails. Also, I am totally with you on Zelda. I commented a few times on Retronauts recently about how I hated Zelda when I came out, because its open–endedness scared the heck out of me. However, I did play Golvellius and loved it. Somehow, I think the fact that I never saw any nonplayer characters in Zelda, made me feel like the game was nihilistic and without order. Golvellius, on the other hand, starts you out with conversation with an old lady. Somehow, it makes all the difference. As to making maps, I never made maps in games, and because I had a Master System instead of a NES, I didn't have the experience of trading tips on the schoolyard.

    But I DID have Sega's 1-800-USA-SEGA tipline. Back before the Genesis became big, one could call Sega toll-free and get those hints. They'd also mail hint printouts, which included any easter eggs known in the game.

    I think that Haju-kun is not a person. But in keeping with Josh's somewhat Shintoist sensibilities, Haju is the combined spiritual energies of forgotten and reposed jukeboxes around the world.

    Josh, regarding your comment about transgendered folks innately identifying as something which is essentially a cultural construct, I've often wondered about that as well. It makes me less inclined to tolerance of transgenderism as a concept, but as you can tell I'm speaking from a place of near total ignorance, so I also welcome correction here.

    One element obfuscating the conversation of nature versus nurture that tends not to be thought about directly is the fact that humans are the only species capable of changing their environment to suit them. Our ability to form our environment to our desires has made us the only animal who is able to on a large scale be cut off from our instinctive patterns.

    I don't think Tetris is feminine, but it is a game that doesn't play to gender stereotypes(it doesn't involve violence and it isn't a Barbie game).

  5. After talking a lot about my Zelda/Golvellius experiences lately, I did a comparison of the games through YouTube clips. My two takeaways are that 1) Golvellius really is a Zelda rip-off, albeit with an interestingly different take on the dungeons, and 2) the graphics in Golvellius are waay better than Zelda. Granted, Zelda was one of the earliest Famicom games, the NES had a more limited color palette, and there were a few years in development between the two games. But I was still surprised to see how much difference there was between them.

  6. Thanks for the shout-out on my SSB4 montages. It brightened my day to know someone enjoyed them.

    1. You pull off some sick moves in those, dude!

  7. Hey Josh and Emily- you might not feel like going back to this subject, and I know this was brought up a while back now, but I thought it'd be interesting to share my perspective since I am trans (I'm an existing patron but I'll keep my identity anonymous for now)
    I'm definitely somewhere on the trans spectrum, and I'm assigned male at birth but feel more of an affinity with a female identity- but it's tricky for me, since, like you explained- I strongly feel that most gender attributes and characteristics are socialised, so it's tough to explain to people that you feel more female when you still mostly act "male" (exactly like Emily described herself as feeling not a 'girly girl' growing up- I ABSOLUTELY empathise with that but also agree that neither is 'better' than the other- it's also important to note that there's no one "right" way of being trans too, since we all have different experiences and we're different people)

    I'm still working on fully accepting myself- I do accept myself intellectually, but I'm sort of waiting for the rest of me to catch up to feeling fully ok with myself. I'm not out about it to everyone yet, and while I feel more of an affinity to the female side, I don't feel 100% either way, even if I'm enough on the female side for that to be what I feel best as. So it is really helpful to hear from non-trans women who are not traditionally 'girly' (in the stereotypical way) like Emily. People like you help make me feel a lot more validated with my feeling (more) female but not 'girly'. Thanks! :)

    Personally, I don't feel that people are innate to gender, but rather gender is innate to the person- but whatever the reason, people are just built differently, and that's a good thing. It's not *necessarily* from a biological reason, though there is arguable evidence to back that up, but even so I feel like that's still pretty minor, and more just a 'starting point' for a person- perhaps the source of what makes them aware of their trans-ness, but not what decides their interests and who they are as a person.

    Anyway, long post! Just thought I'd chime in since you were interested in hearing from a trans perspective!

    (Also as an aside I totally agree with Bogus Meat Factory's comment above on Ghostbusters 2016- to be sure a lot of genuine misogyists joined in on the hate, and that sucks butt, but mine and many others' issues with it is the lazy writing and the making the cast women as a marketing ploy instead of actually writing said female characters well as characters in their own right- but hey! I have nothing against them being women, or the actors themselves- it's the lack of respect in the writing as well as throwing a complete curveball on a long-beloved series for what feels like a lazy cash-grab. But if you enjoy the movie, that's cool! We all should respect people's enjoyment of things!)