So we ended up getting there at an alright time. Luckily, there wasn’t even a line-up at the pre-reg when we got there. In the line to get the dealers room I was behind a lovely Jack Sparrow cosplayers (who spoke in his accent) and behind me were newcomers who were amazed at the amount of Homestucks there.
I remembered why I fucking hate Nominoichi because of how crowded it gets and - to be fair, I only buy prints and maybe pluish toys at conventions. I saw one Astral in the line but unfortunately it moved before I asked to take her photo. A lot of Zacharies - I was there were more Batter cosplayers. Still no 5D’s cosplayers and I bet I’ll see more GX people tomorrow.
Heading off to AN~
i would but sadly i am thousands of miles away
it’s okay ;;; at least AN2013 starts at 6PM tomorrow. I guess I have some time left on Friday to find the camera. Uggghhh I really want to find that camera though since I love taking photos of cosplayers.
Who here wants to help me find my camera for Anime North tomorrow?
today I got my haircut and eyebrows trimmed!!
Some thoughts on leitmotif in OFF [spoilers]
I completed OFF last week. If you haven’t played it, forgive me this blog entry.
In OFF, there are several recurring motifs.
- Turning switches to the OFF position (“the switch is now on OFF”). Very deliberate (you flick a switch to stop deactivating a rollercoaster) and given an especial weight as the last action of the official ending.
- Calendar pages. You need to study three of these to solve a puzzle, and find a page for Dedan in the sketch-world of the Room. Perhaps related, dates (e.g. Thursday) are acquired as powerful equipment.
- Technical diagrams. Used to introduce each of the elements, and present in a book of orchids found in the Library / given to Japhet.
- Locks. The bulk of the puzzles in OFF require you to input numbers, either directly or via an array of floating blocks. Both of these methods are similar mechanically to solving combination locks, or push-button door locks.
- Playing cards. Playing cards form the pages of four vandalized library books; spade designs decorate the back wall of each zone’s treasure cache; Jokers revive the dead in combat; studying the back of a playing card is necessary to solve a tricky puzzle.
I enjoyed how these solidified a sense of unreality that gripped me on my journey through the game. They remind me of the symbols I remember from my dreams: seemingly recurring without reason, but suggestive of an esoteric meaning by virtue of their heavy repetition.
My favourite motif is the switch. A switch is one of those quintessential vidcon artefacts, like skeletons and keys and magic doors, and feels like one of many elements in OFF (Zachary, Boxxer, the controller puzzle) designed to hammer home that this is all a game. These meta-mementos are actually pretty sinister, given how each of them invites us to kill the emotional connections we’ve made to the characters of OFF (lines of code! Not people!) The switch is the King Rat of meta-mementoes, though, not only foreshadowing the ending of the game on one level (i.e. the final action of the game) but hinting at the reason for why OFF ends, officially, as it does: the Batter’s (and the Player’s) worldview is one of terrifying abstractions, where visceral horror is glossed over, and the priorities of the game world (defeat the enemy to progress) come directly into conflict with the morality of the Player (the enemy is a defenceless child). Why should we care if the switch destroys the world? It’s only a game, and the game ends anyway after we’ve finished playing.
(An aside: the switch, combined with the Batter’s method of “purifying” the zones, taps into a tension I have when playing certain games: this idea that there’s a living world behind the screen, and that by playing the game I’m hastening on the destruction of that world. Little King’s Story looked like it was going for this in a big way, but ultimately the ending left me cold. OFF is the first game I’ve felt that did this sort of thing successfully).
Tl;dr I love the fucking switch.
[image of the Batter standing in front of a block. He says “this block prevents entry”, and thinks: “pfff”. By Mortis Ghost.]
A couple of people asked me if I had Intelligent Thoughts on OFF, which I’ve just realised leads very nicely into a joke about how my Intelligent Thoughts are currently on OFF, but the point is, I didn’t. Prunescholar did, though!
This whole post is great, and also captures exactly the problem I had with theorising about OFF: the game’s weird elusiveness which seems actively to deny attempts at interpretation. Literary semiotics often distinguishes between ‘closed texts’, which try and lead the audience to a particular way of understanding them - the puzzle-solving principle, if you like - and ‘open texts’, which try and multiply possible interpretative strategies at the expense of any one ‘answer’. OFF strikes me as wide open. It doesn’t feel like a game that’s planting clues in the hope that a smart and attentive player will be able to figure out the true meaning; it feels like a game that’s aiming for a general atmosphere of symbolism and deeper significance, but doesn’t particularly care how you interpret that symbolism. As such, it didn’t leave me with any urgent need to solve it. YMMV, but either way this post is seriously worth reading.
An old friend just came back and now we’re talking to him on skype holy shit this is awesome