Saturday, January 31, 2015

is it dark already? how light is a light?

Konapun, a Japanese toy company, apparently marketed a fully functional tiny kitchen playset at one point during their reign (between 2007 and 2009, mainly). Unsure how to use it? Watch AAAJoken cook egg and sausage breakfast, or Miniature Space do a pretty passable, if miniscule, chicken curry using the set (or, at least part of the set).

The weird thing is that apparently everyone thought that this more 'American' style cookset was just another toy, until some intrepid souls on YouTube actually cooked edible food on the darned things. No idea where you'd get one now, if you wanted one; I suppose you could check the Konapun collectors' page on eBay, and see if one turns up.

In the meantime, there's been some controversy over one of the YouTube broadcasters I follow. His name's Cryaotic, and, like many YouTube gamers, he plays various games--some that he chooses, some that his fans request--interspersed with question/answer videos and announcements of live streams. In this sense, he's similar to everyone else, only with far less screaming (like some of his contemporaries). Also, he possesses two other things I tend to like: a calm, soothing voice, and a general outlook on the world that is against racism, misogyny and bigotry. This is not to say that he's completely free of any of these traits: he's a white male living in the US, and as a culture, Americans are rather steeped in all three. But he does pretty well.

He also plays horror games...and that's where the controversy comes in.

I can't find the original comment, it was deleted--either by Cry (which is his right as the channel's owner) or by YouTube itself (because on occasion, they step in and do that). But I was able to track down Mm. Tanaka's reaction:

What they're responding to--I want to say "she", but as I don't know for sure, I'm edging towards caution--is a scene in Silent Hill 2, between Pyramid Head and two of the Mannequins. There's a lot of fan theories about this particular scene, and it can be seen to have potential sexual elements, but overall, I think what Pyramid Head is trying to do to the Mannequins involves more outright murder, over rape. Granted, it's highly suggestive, and if you don't know going in that he's trying to force one of the Mannequin's limbs into the garbage disposal (for...reasons unknown), then it's easily misinterpreted.

This is (part of) the scene in question:

I'm not going to show moving footage--you can search YouTube for that, it's a fan favorite scene for many, and in fact, it did inspire the Pyramid Head "Rape Time" meme among (mostly male) fans who failed to understand the context--but I don't feel as if I'm encouraging a 'trigger warning' need on this post, either. At any rate, from that comment, whatever it was, drama spawned, in SPADES.

From Yaranaika in response:
To be perfectly honest "trigger warnings" are absolutely stupid things that should stay in tumblr and never come out.
It's embarrassing seeing someone use that term.
I don't entirely agree, but to be fair, the use of trigger warnings is rife on Tumblr, with many people demanding them for the most innocuous-sounding things.

From Larissa A to Yaranaika:
Or maybe you're just blatant ignorant and insensitive.
That's on the harsh side, but it's the mildest of the responses in kind, so I'm choosing that.

From Inoella:
The ABUSE of trigger warnings is what is embarrassing and stupid. Many people claim to need them just for the attention, however that doesn't mean that some people actually do need them. Where is your compassion? Is it so hard to sympathize with people who have had traumatic experiences and don't want to relive that? Personally I have never need a warning, and regarding the scene in this episode that so many people are talking about, I believe it's purely up to interpretation.
I'd agree. And part of what causes the horror in the Silent Hill franchise--or, at least, the first three games, if not the others--is that sense of not fully understanding what's going on. We see it; we know we see it; but we're not always sure what it is that we're seeing.

From Vladimir Bodrovski:
+Inoella I agree a hundred percent with this. Trigger warning is kind of meant for people who will ABSOLUTELY DIE from a panic attack cus of a scene. (I personally think the most important warning for watching a video is flashing lights in case of seizures) but it seems people now abuse tw for things that make them a tad uncomfortable. SO ABUSED, to the point, that it ironically is slightly oppressive.
Which may be why Cry's fans seized on this, in good and bad ways--the fact that merely requesting a trigger warning is not what happens (especially on Tumblr). Usually, it's used as a counterattack--"You've TRIGGERED me and now I'm having ABUSE FLASHBACKS and you're EVIL and you should DIE!" kinds of comments.

From Flynn Pierce:
+Larissa A The problem with trigger warnings is that anything can be a trigger. A depiction of rape can be a trigger to a rape victim. A gun firing can be a trigger to a veteran suffering from PTSD. Hitting a vaguely humanoid enemy with a lump of wood can be a trigger to someone who was physically abused as a child. Drug abuse can be a trigger to someone recovering from an addiction. The list goes on.

When you go into a horror game you can generally expect a large portion of the list of triggers are going to be fulfilled in some way or another, especially a game as horrific as Silent Hill 2 that covers so many topics. It's just something that comes with the genre.

Now, if the game was a non-horror point and click or platformer that happened to reference a particular trigger? Then I could maybe see a good reason to put a warning in if the scene was particularly graphic, because it's so unexpected.
I agree, and--going back to Tumblr--I get why they're both used and abused alike. Because Tumblr is excessively visual--while in general most people choose what's on their feed, in terms of bloggers, they have no choice on what those bloggers put on their feeds. I follow general (albeit personal) guidelines whenever I post things likely to trigger those extraordinarily depressed, or those rape/abuse victims who may be following my feed. But those warnings are in the tags, not stamped across the images--one must already be employing a program like Tumblr Savior that specifically blocks words you don't want to see. (I actually use that program, only for mine, the two words are "sponsored" or "advertising".)

From PK Boal:
Right, let's just stop warning rape victims of rape scenes. Should be hilarious to watch them have panic attacks and flashbacks, right? I agree with Cry, it's a little redundant to put a trigger warning on a Silent Hill game, but they have a place and a definite purpose.

Trigger warnings are overused on Tumblr, but content warnings are everywhere- those "parental advisory" stamps on music and ratings on TV shows and movies are the first ones that come to mind.

Honestly, a warning for people who need it takes at most a couple of minutes. Speaking from experience, coming out of a panic attack takes nearly an hour of nausea, lightheadedness, and feeling like you're about to die. If you can't spare two minutes to slap a warning on something like an out-of-the-blue rape scene, you shouldn't be putting out content.
While I think PK's correct in the main, I don't agree with the specific 'everyone should do this' conclusion, and the below comment is exactly why.

From FastFlyerJr:
You make a good point but it's still unknown, even today, if it was rape.
As I said earlier, this is true. Do understand, Japan does not function on the same set of sexual "ethics"--if America's both insane draw towards sex, and aversion towards sex, can be so named--that the US does. There are numerous games that exist for the specific purpose of getting some nubile young thing's clothes off, and having sex with her. (There's at least one game that exists solely to wipe the sweat off a naked male post-shower, so it's not solely centered on male urges, either.) In fact, there's a rather infamous game called RapeLay, released in 2006, whose storyline was so offensive that it was subsequently banned from being sold in several countries.

Which brings us to the whole game rating thing. Silent Hill 2--in fact, ALL Silent Hill games, as far as I'm aware--are released with an "M" content stamp. Officially, this is what that rating equates to:

So, in Silent Hill 2: Intense violence, check. Blood and gore, check. Nudity, in a couple places, check. Mature humor: not a lot, but some. Strong language? Check. Strong sexual content: check. Use of drugs and alcohol: not so much.

But your core guidelines are there: strong sexual content. Violence. Blood, gore, nudity. What person needing to be protected from these things would see these guidelines and decide "Sure, let's boot this up!"?

From Dewaiz:
I have never seen a comment chain this unpleasant on a video of Cry. Please understand that some people have traumatic experiences which makes trigger warnings useful to them (panic attacks are not very nice, I assure you). But I also agree that you probably shouldn't be watching horror games if you need trigger warnings for this kind of stuff.
Which references my point above. It's called Silent Hill, and there have been several games, two movies, and a lot of internet commentary (including literally hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube videos) related to it. It's a horror game, and not an obscure one. So why the controversy?

(To be continued in part two, of two.)

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