Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dota2: Launching Dad's Army

Morning internet! It may come as a surprise to none of you that I have always had a keen interest in competitive online gaming, particularly the Warcraft 3 Mod come international gaming sensation Defence of the Ancients (DotA). DotA is a cross between a strategy game and an action RPG; a so called multi-player online battle arena or MOBA because nerds love acronyms almost as much as we hate sunlight. Recently the modders who made the original DotA were taken on by Valve to make a stand alone version of the game running in it's own engine. It is fast becoming a global e-sports phenomenon with huge cash prizes and people playing all around the world to be the very best like no one was before. Also it's crazy anarchic fun:
Below all this crazy team fighting and shouting of commentators there is actually a deep strategic game with almost 100 heroes you can play as, each with their own specific skill sets, strengths and weaknesses. I'm not going to lie to you, the learning curve is so steep it's almost a vertical wall and it can be hard to know where to start but that's where I come in. I've been playing DotA and Dota2 for over 3 years - I'm no expert but I have a vague idea what I'm doing and I have 4 free passes for the Dota2 beta. A full team includes 5 people. I have therefore decided to share this amazing game with you. I am building a Dota2 team made from people who have never played Dota2 before. I call it Dad's Army
A great British tradition
If you want in here are the rules of entry:

  1. You must have never played Dota before. Other MOBAs are fine but the less experienced the better.
  2. You must have a computer that can run Dota2 at better than minimum settings and a decent latency internet connection.
  3. You must speak English at a competent level.
  4. You need to be available at around 8PM GMT every other Monday for team practice and general LULZ.
  5. You must not think the internet is SRS BZNS.
Now you're probably thinking "why would I want to waste my time playing games with you Simon? You're kind of an ass hole" well I have a good answer for this. Late next year Dad's Army will be entering some kind of competitive Dota2 competition and we are going to win. I want to see if in just one year a group of people who don't know each other can become a competitive e-sports team. Are you up to the challenge? Are you up for a laugh? I only have 4 places available so let me know either via Facebook or in the comments if you want in.

Stay Crunchy Internet

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Bronies: an Internet Intervention

At the beginning of this year a friend of mine wished me a happy 'Winter Wrap Up' just as the weather was getting warmer and fresh leaves were starting to show on the trees. Confused by her phrasing I asked her what she meant and she linked me to this:
Towards the end of 2010 Power Puff Girls creator Lauren Faust had re-imagined My Little Pony for a modern audience; and it turned out that the result was a charming and well written show for young girls that taught the values of getting along with people who are different to you and the power of friendship through troubled times. Having long been a fan of PPG I decided to check it out and have since watched a couple of episodes (about 10). The new art style and snappy dialogue make it hard to dislike (even if it is for kids) and at times genuinely laugh out loud funny. I was also surprised to find out that a few of my friends were also watching the show and had been for some time (I was quite late to this particular party) and I discovered that in a few short months it had achieved a sizable cult following. Did I mention that said cult following is weird as shit? Unsettlingly strange? Lovecraftian in its oddness? No? Well let's begin with some images to illustrate my point:

Wait is that a picture of a cartoon pony with a Frank Herbert quote next to it? It totally is! NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. I know that this week's post may cause me to step on some toes (particularly those of some people I know) and I apologise if I cause offence but seriously people, can we stop taking cartoon ponies so seriously? It's getting stupid. A few months ago a tiny gangster kid threatened to stab me because I laughed at his pony stickers at a yugioh tournament. Let's all chill the fuck out. Also stop invading my anime conventions, you're creeping me out (which is tough to do in such a crazy environment)
Hahahaha what? There is nothing sexy about MLP. I checked with the Furries and everything.
Speaking of anime conventions I think I've noticed a trend in the popularity of MLP. Lauren Faust created a show that features 6 cartoonish representations of feminine characters having fun together to promote friendship between cliques of young girls (I assume). But there is another cartoon based medium that uses this tactic to appeal to sweaty awkward young men. I am talking of course about Moe Anime.
So Kawai
Moe is a pretty complex concept but in this context essentially means creating female characters in anime who make male viewers want to protect them and enjoy their cuteness as opposed to flat out want to fuck them. Once you've been exposed to a character you enjoy in that way enough however you start to develop deep love like feelings for them (and you also may want to have weird sex with them). I've seen it happen. But don't just take my word for it, here's some clips from the show pictured above (K-ON)
and here is one of the top rated comments:

It would appear that the archetypal social identities of the Mane 6 (the fashionable one, the sporty punky one, the shy kind one etc. etc.) have attracted the freaky Moe crowds who have been programmed by years of anime abuse to respond to this kind of thing. Now however they have all these feelings that aren't even attached to fictional people and it confuses them. Young men are falling in love with ponies and they are very defensive about it. So if this describes you or you are currently composing a death threat or other angry correspondence to me it's time to take a deep breath sit back and say this to yourself aloud: "They're just cartoon ponies. I may have a problem." A few years ago I had a similar word with myself concerning anime girls and it worked wonders for me.

Stay Crunchy Internet