monsterboy: (priss - chase the dream)
Meat Jacket (Twenty First Century Fandom Remix) (43619 words) by Ayulsa
Chapters: 17/17
Fandom: Bubblegum Crisis
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Priss Asagiri/Sylia Stingray
Characters: Priss Asagiri, Sylia Stingray
Additional Tags: Drug Use, Psychological Horror, Cybernetics, Priss Swears A Lot, Dysfunctional Relationships, Bikeshipping, Dubious Consent, Dubious Morality, Dubious Science, really the entire thing is dubious
Summary: Priss is taking the slow road to hell, and Sylia's riding shotgun., wow. Two years and one long hiatus later, and here it is… 40,000 words of hallucinatory, mind-meldy, body-horror madness, with occasional funky typography. And lesbians! Badass 80s lesbians.

I don’t know what to say… it’s been a ride. Still not quite ready for this to be over. But there’s so much possibility in where this leaves off that you can bet I’ll be writing more in this version of the universe.

(If the Explicit tag bothers you, it’s only applicable for one chapter. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the smut… it’s in chapter 15. It’s not as big of a deal as all that, though. There’ll probably be longer smut for this scenario later. :P)

Oh, and if you come across any HTML glitches, typos or obvious fails, let me know?
monsterboy: Yuna from FFX staring into a rainbow sky, with the text "a child-like wonder". (childlike wonder)
The debate ever rages on over whether videogames are art, and, I imagine, will rage on until the medium is sufficiently old that it automatically becomes venerable. I don't intend to retread that argument here; I just wanted to point out an aspect of it that I've rarely seen discussed in terms of this debate-- the artistry of videogame music.

When we argue whether "games" are "art", we tend to treat the "game" as a whole product. We ask, is a work which involves a combination of music, graphics, interactive elements, and (optionally) storyline capable of being "art"-- but never counter the "is it art" question from the perspective of whether the individual components are art. Certainly it seems well recognised now that videogame music is art: think of all the concerts devoted to it in recent years, the internationally-renowned orchestras who've performed it. But people rarely bring that into the equation when we're discussing whether games themselves are art.

And I think that's a shame, because not only is game music art, it's a unique art form, and I think people fail to realise just how different it is from other types of music. At least for anything written before the CD era, the list of restrictions placed on game music composers looks like one of those self-imposed minimalist challenges that tend to run in art house circles. A piece of pre-CD game music must:

  • be composed using a limited palette of sounds (with older consoles, possibly just a single beep or a few basic sounds at varying pitches!)
  • include no vocals (at best, only vague, synthesised standins for them)
  • be short, to avoid taking up memory (more on this later)
  • loop seamlessly
  • not annoy the player even after hours of repetition

Any one of these is a high bar to reach: combining all five, particularly the unholy trifecta of "non-annoying", "created using a primitive, consumer-grade synthesiser", and "short", seems nothing short of a Herculean task. Yet game composers manage it, over and over again, to the point where almost any gamer, when asked for their most beloved melodies, will feature some videogame songs on the list.

And let's come back to that "short". This is imprecise, being that most early videogame tracks only ever appear on soundtracks in versions that are looped at least twice, precisely because they are so short. But I pulled up a few of the most famous early videogame melodies on YouTube, and paused the video where I heard the melody repeat for the first time. From this admittedly amateurish sampling, I determined that:

  • The original Super Mario Bros. "Ground Theme" is 40 seconds long
  • Tetris' A-Type theme is 38 seconds long
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's "Green Hill Zone" is 53 seconds long (last generation of consoles before the CD, even!)
  • The original Zelda overworld theme is 38 seconds long.

Contrasted with a typical piece of classical music, which has on average between 10 and 20 minutes to make its thematic point, and a typical pop song, which has three to five, a typical early piece of videogame music has under a minute, and doesn't have the advantage of lyrics.

While it's possible to argue that many songs, certainly many pop songs, make their thematic point in under a minute, videogame music doesn't stop there. It also has to make that minute something you can listen to for hours without being bored or finding the music outright grating. You'd expect that most gamers would come away from their favourite games feeling frustrated by the music, or that a typical gamer would even turn it off.

And yet quite the opposite occurs: we love these songs. We remember them, we remix them, we go to concerts to seem them performed live. Let's make this real: we go to concerts to listen to orchestrally-performed versions of what was originally a 40-second loop of a four-channel synthesiser (technically five, the fifth being the sample channel, but it wasn't used in many games), consisting of two square waves, one triangle wave, and white noise. You can look at it visualised here if you want to see exactly what's going on (warning: flashy visuals). That's impressive.

As well, there's the style of music to take into account. A lot of the most beloved videogame songs, particularly from RPGs, take on some aspects of classical music, in part because it fits the setting but also in part because, without vocals, you have to rely on the instrumentation to convey meaning. Yet with all of that having to be packed into a one- or two-minute loop, you get many of the characteristics of a pop song coming into the equation, too. Videogame songs have catchy hooks, melodies that can be repetitive while still being enjoyable (because they have to be), and they have to deliver it all quickly.

So what you've got is a kind of "pop classical", in many ways, a while before the Mediaeval Baebes thought of doing it (as much as they're awesome). And again, that's something that I don't think gets recognised enough: videogame music doesn't just crib from existing genres, it, by necessity, invents genres of its own. (And let's not even get started on the chiptune genre, which is basically an exploration of the specific style(s) of videogame music that doesn't involve having a videogame around it.)

So yeah. Videogame music: it's made of awesome, much like almond milk. Do you guys have any particular favourites you want to share?
monsterboy: The face of a stylised plush blue dragon, with white horns and eyes. (Default)
Still working on this, but the first draft is up! It's an Armitage III fansite where I'm attempting to a) gather together everything of interest about the series that's ever been put online, and a few things that haven't; and b) write, and host, interesting meta.

I've got two meta pieces up already: A Feminist Reading of Armitage III and Under the Skin: Deconstructing Sensuality and Sexuality in Armitage III. I'm particularly proud of the first one, in terms of how it dissects both the failure of Armitage III's "feminist" government and how many this-world activist movements continue to perpetrate oppression and abuse.
monsterboy: The face of a stylised plush blue dragon, with white horns and eyes. (Default)

(Sorry, I might be a little excited that I finally got this out the door.)

How She Has Burned is finished! 13,000 words all in. Lots of robotfeels dissection, questionable morality, and all that good stuff.

I'm also working on the immediate sequel (as in, the two can be read back-to-back with no gap at all), workingly titled Is God A Machine? Workingly, because long plotty stories always meander wildly for me and never end up going in the direction I planned, so I'm not even sure if the title will be relevant by the end. 4,300 words down so far.

I'm pretty happy with these fics at the moment: I'm enjoying taking a lot of the questions that got superficially asked in the series (and get superficially asked in cyberpunk in general), and delving into their consequences more thoroughly.

Oh, and point of interest: writing this series is making me extremely happy that I watched the dub so often as a teen. There's a lot I dislike about dubs, sure, but one of the advantages-- for me anyway-- to having them is that I get the characters' speech patterns down in my head a lot more easily. As a result, I feel this is one of my few fics where I succeeded in making everyone speak like themselves. I don't think I'd be as good at keeping minor characters like Randolph consistent if I didn't have such a strong mental image (mental sound? mental .wav file?) of how he talks.
monsterboy: A Final Fantasy Behemoth, looking nervous and puppy-like. (behemoth - nervous)
Okay, so I guess I've got enough of this down now to release it into the wild. I don't really like advertising unfinished fics in case performance anxiety makes me stall, but at the same time this is long, and provoking a lot of Intense Writer Feels in the process, and basically I'd like people to know what I'm working on.

So here you go, if you're curious: How She Has Burned, my Armitage III fic in progress. (You can also find the rest of my fics, or at least a subset, at [ profile] execharmonious, FTR.)

10203 words so far, lots of machine empathy, species issues, religious and moral dithering, and generally the things that characterise my work. Oh, but since it's Armitage, also lots of bloodshed, swearing, death, and dancing on the brink of the Moral Event Horizon in little tap shoes, if those things bother you.

I'm not sure how well it stands alone, independent of the show: a lot of references and people are taken for granted. If you're planning to watch the series, you might want to do that first.
monsterboy: The face of a stylised plush blue dragon, with white horns and eyes. (Default)

Just a little fanmix I put together for the (recently-wrapped-up) main scenario of the Espera RP-- aka "the War of the Magi-era FFVI prequel game", if you weren't aware of it.

Mostly putting this here so I can link to it on Tumblr, but feel free to have at it if the relationship between summoners and summons is something that interests you, since that's mostly what it's about.

Download at Mediafire

Lyrics/details )
monsterboy: Yuna from FFX staring into a rainbow sky, with the text "a child-like wonder". (childlike wonder)
So apparently, [personal profile] coffeevore was supposed to compile a list of her own favourites for [personal profile] niya, and while I'm not sure what originally spurred this, I figured... hey, what the heck, this makes a good meme!

So here, in no particular order, are my top 10-- or at least, a top 10 at this particular moment; I doubt I could pick a true all-time 10, but this is a pretty close approximation. I've limited it to one track per game, because otherwise this list would just be completely filled by one or two games; you can pretty much assume that, for everything listed here, I'm a big fan of the rest of the soundtrack as well.

10! )


monsterboy: The face of a stylised plush blue dragon, with white horns and eyes. (Default)
monsters are small lives too

April 2016

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