All posts by chindividual

Three things that really scare me

A post about scary things on Halloween? Oh my, I must be some creative prodigy!

Anyway, it’s the season to be scared, and what better way to celebrate this holiday (which is not really celebrated over here in Europe, though it has its origin here. Go figure) than by telling you what scares the ever-living crap out of me. This way, you know how to create the perfect device to give me a heart attack. Ready for that shopping list? Here it comes!

Number 3: that eerie sound from The Grudge
I have to be honest here: I didn’t find both the English and the Japanese version of The Grudge that scary. Granted, they both gave me goosebumps and caused some sleepless nights, but they weren’t that great. So what was it then that caused me to wake up in the middle of the night, with a feeling somebody was watching me? That freaky, freaky sound from the movie. Seriously, something about that cracking sound just freaks me out. Trust me, simply looking up the YouTube video containing this fear-invoking tone had me almost crying.

Number 2: Sadako/Samara from The Ring
Yes, I am fascinated by the Japanese horror movie genre. After seeing the American version first and being scared by Samara, I thought that the Japanese version couldn’t be that much more scarring. Well, was I wrong! Though some scenes are just weird, the Japanese version feels much more intimidating and creepy than its Western remake. What did it for me was Sadako, who is just superior to her American counterpart. Her appearances are more sudden, her longer hair somewhat more disturbing and her Asian eyes would certainly turn me into a corpse.

Number 1: Silence
You know what’s the number one thing I love about Japanese horror? The silence. Well, I love it for the creepiness it generates. You see, Western horror movies actually tell you when to raise your hands and hide underneath your blanket: the music gets creepy, slowly preparing you for the imminent scare. Japanese horror movies don’t do that. They don’t give you a single clue. They are just like: “Oh look, it’s a normal day in a normal Tokyo suburb and you are jusHOLYCRAPALOTWHATTHEHELLISTHATCORPSEDOINGINFRONTOFMYWINDOW?!” Especially when you’re used to our Western ways, this approach will get you every time. This is why the number one thing that scares me is silence: you just don’t know what will happen. It also explains why I start talking nonsense when I’m nervous, filling the oppressive silence with gibberish. A sound is always better than no sound, especially when you know some videotape ghost is out to get you in less than a week.

Advertisements

The hype that fueled your anger

“Don’t Believe The Hype” by linehan42

Pokémon Pokémon Pokémon! Pokémon? Poképoképokémon! Pokémon Pokémon Pokémon!

If your feeds looked something like this the past few days, I apologize for participating in the hype around the launch of this new game about our favorite Japanese monsters (sorry Godzilla). Once the hype train gets rolling, there’s hardly anything able to stop it. If you’re not on the train, you just hope it will zoom by or crash and burn, allowing you to witness weeping fanboys. It’s the little things in life.

Sometimes, you’re not just not on the hype train. The entire craze about something just gets you so annoyed that you start hating the topic without really knowing why. It’s not that you dislike GTA V, but the way everyone treats it like a game coded by the Messiah himself just makes you wish it was never released. It’s the most primitive, honest form of hatred, fueled by the fiery passion of others.

For example, die-hard Tolkien movie fangirls just rub me the wrong way. When the latest The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug trailer was released, my feed echoed with the sound of exploding ovaries and frame-by-frame analyses of every Lee Pace-filled second in the trailer. Really, I’m looking forward to the movie, but I wouldn’t mind if those fangirls would make an unexpected journey to Mordor so I can enjoy the flick without their drooling.

So, has there ever been a hype that just got you mad? A craze that still fills you with anger? Use the comments as your chance to vent it all, and share your traumatic experiences with the skillfull psychologists of GFN!

The ugliest Pokémon of X and Y

pokemon x y starters

Awww yes, it’s almost here! Just somewhat more than a week, and we’ll be able to rub our sweaty bodies against another delicious fruit of Japanese labor! That’s right, Pokemon X and Y are almost upon us, and with these smexy looking games come a whole truckload of new Pokémon! Yeah, I’m hyped to catch me some new servants, train them until their bones break and pit them in deadly battles against their own kind! For starters, look at the new starters (I’ll see myself out): there’s a freaking fox (Vulpix, eat your heart out), a smug-looking frog, and representing my favorite type of Pokémon is…what the hell?

Really, Gamefreak? Really? The Grass-type starter is a stupid-grinning green chipmunk? Are you aware of which gracious Pokémon came before to take up the ancient task of making the Grass-type starter the most magnificent Pokémon? Do you feel great spitting on Bulbasaur’s heritage and smearing mud upon Chikorita’s cute face? Who let you pass the auditions with that silly face of yours? Get out of my sight and make place for a real Pokémon, damnit.

I’m sorry, I’ve let my emotions get the better of me in that previous paragraph. It’s just that I’m really critical when it comes to new Pokémon, and I know that our readers are as well. So, if you had the chance to draft one of the new Pokémon out of the game, which one would you pick though? If you’d pick Chespin, I will fully support your endeavor with all my heart. If it’s another Pokémon…I’ll just let it slide this time.

Choose wisely.

Why I love bitchy Korra

korra

For those of you who haven’t seen the first episodes of the new of season of Legend of Korra: stop reading right now. I’ll be hitting you with spoilers left and right, and you will hate me even more than I hate Bolin. Trust me, I hate him.

With that being said, let’s talk about Korra. Not about the show, but about the character. Did you nothing something about her in the new episodes? No, you didn’t miss her new hairdo or new outfit. I’m talking about Korra’s snappy, arrogant attitude. Really, Korra has been a (excuse my language here) dick since the first scene of the new season. In order to win in an air scooter race against Tenzin’s kids, she enters the Avatar state for that extra bit of speed. Yes, the first thing we see of the great Avatar in this season is using her super powers to cheat against children.

Really, Korra, really?

Oh, her arrogant behavior doesn’t stop there. In the more than forty minutes of the first two episodes, she lashes out against everyone who tries to support her. Tenzin trying to tell her she needs to get her priorities straight? To Korra, he’s just an old air bender who doesn’t understand her needs. Mako doing his best to be the supportive boyfriend? Well, Korra feels like he is an indecisive no-good who can only think of cheesy one-liners to throw at Triad members (his one-liners are really cheesy). Yeah, Korra makes it clear that she finds no use for these good-hearted people, raising her pretty little nose to follow some spirit-soothing guy who surely will not be the bad guy. Korra knows what’s best. She’s the Avatar, right? The Avatar knows what needs to be done. I mean, it’s not like she’s just a teenager who might need some counseling. Nope, Korra knows it all.

All of this shows why I love Korra so much. Yes, she’s arrogant, hot-headed and not easy to please, and it’s a real douche move to use the Avatar mode to beat kids at a game, but you know what? It suits her. You should not forget that Korra still is a teenage girl. I don’t know if you have been around teenage females lately, but even without them being the reincarnation of a semi-divine being, they can be pretty cocky and self-centered. When you add the burden of being the “one to safeguard balance” to the already explosive emotional baggage of a girl trying to find her place in the world, it’s no surprise that you’ll have to deal with a snappy remark there and some idiotic behavior there. Korra’s just a teenage girl trying to figure out this Avatar thing, and I love her for that.

Seeing how some of the characters in this show have no personality to speak of (did someone say Bolin?), it’s good to see that Korra’s character is present and noticeable. Plus, it shows how different the incarnations of the Avatar can be. Where Aang knew the worth of meditation and peace, Korra likes to roll into the situation, bending blazing, ready to kick some butt. While Aang struggled with mastering the four elements, Korra finds it hard to truly grasp the spiritual side of bending. What unites the two protagonists is their heritage, but the way they approach it is so different.

Korra, you’re a bitch, but I love you anyway. Keep on bending, beautiful, hot-headed girl.

It’s morphin’ time: a need for change in the franchise?

mmpr blue ranger
Female Blue Ranger? Preposterous!

Back when I was a little Chin, there was one TV show that ruled them all: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Damn, did I love that show back then. Over here in Europe, it used to air every Saturday morning, and you could bet your action figure collection I would sit in front of the telly then and witness the epic fight between good and evil. Everything about Power Rangers just spoke to me: the over-the-top fight scenes, the gigantic robots and monsters and the inspiring teamwork of the Rangers. Back then, I didn’t want to be a firefighter or astronaut; I wanted to be a Power Ranger.

Eventually, I grew up though and discovered how cheesy and corny most of the show was. The acting was just bland (even for a kid’s show), the plots overused and the effects were…disappointing. However, no matter my age, something still fascinates me about this recycling of Japanese stock footage. When I subscribed to Netflix yesterday (yes, we finally have that in these parts of the Old World), I discovered that service offers the entire show. Not just the original seasons, but everything up to Samurai. Am I tempted to marathon those? Well, does the Red Ranger like to shout “It’s morphin’ time“?

Anyway, it’s hard to pinpoint what it actually is that still intrigues me. There’s something underneath those layers of cheesiness and bad acting that gives the show its appeal. What if someone was to cut away those cheap elements, and actually invest into creating a new, yet true-to-the-original show? What if someone took some time to write some decent characters and plot, giving the show some depth while keeping it accessible for children?

Shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender proof that it is possible to create children entertainment that takes its viewers seriously, while also being intriguing enough to attract an older audience. Even before that, the comic industry has evolved from its cheesy beginnings to some really deep and challenging graphic novels. Where’s that evolution in the Power Rangers franchise? Is it because the producers want to play it safe, or am I truly the only one who would like some more depth with his Zord fights?

Fortunately, I’m not. The fan production MMPR is on its way, which will provide a darker re-interpretation of what it means to be a Power Ranger. Though I think that it will visually stray too far from the original, it seems to give some more depth to the universe. And hell, I’m always game when it comes to a return of Lord Zed!

So, fellow Rangers out there, what do you think? Would the world be ready for a more challenging, dramatic Power Rangers story, or should the Rangers stick to their screaming, arms-waving combat scenes? Shout out in the comments!

Science says: granny, go play video games!

featured elder

A group of researchers from the University of California decided it was time to see which hidden benefits can be found in video games, and so they took their funds and best developers to create NeuroRacer. Simple in its presentation, yet powerful in its purpose: NeuroRacer had the elderly gamers follow a winding road, while they had to look out for road signs. Once they spotted one, they had to push a button as quick as possible, while steering the car safely along the road.

The researchers discovered that after six months of regular gaming, the test group was just as good at NeuroRacer than young gamers. Research also shows that the gaming activity stimulates multiple regions of the brain and improves the ability to multitask. This shows how “plastic the older brain is”, says associate professor Adam Gazzalay. Indeed, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Of course, this research alone does not proof that gaming is beneficial for the elderly brain. What it does proof is that it does not harm your granny to pick up your DS and play some Animal Crossing. This brings me to this week’s question: do your parents or even grandparents play video games? Did you try introducing them to one of your favorite games? Tell us your stories of gaming grandpa’s in the comments below!

The Chindividual asks: why?

My excuses for this cryptic title, but I want to dedicate this week’s post to a quintessential question about our hobbies:

Why?

Okay, I think I have to be somewhat more exact: why do you do what you do? Why are you the geek you are, and why do you keep being the geek you are? Am I the only one who asks himself such existential questions? 

You see, I believe that many of us are destined to be geeky. No matter if it’s our genetics, our environment or a mix of both: in any social group, there will always be deviants. It’s like nature has given some of us this built-in mechanism, which forces us to perceive situations from another perspective. However, in order to see things differently, we have to immerse ourselves into different things than other members of our society. According to this theory, all geeks are actually a safety mechanism for society, reminding the herd of different approaches to old or new problems. We’re like the black sheep, just with a love for videogames and cosplay. 

There’s probably as many reasons for being nerdy and/or geeky as there are people in our wide and interesting subculture, but I’m curious to hear your reasons. What keeps you coming back to those special hobbies of yours?