19 March 2010 @ 12:25 am
Admit it, Kenken, you're cute.  
Well. Looks like this thing has been sitting on my desktop waiting for me to post it for quite a while now. It's probably about time I did something with it, so I could at least delete the file I saved it in.

This would be an icon meme. Specifically, it's a Livejournal roleplayer's icon meme, and it seems to me it's as good a way as any to show off my flashy roleplay icon set. Yes, I made special icons just to roleplay Ken with, none of the other ones would do because I needed textless expressive images. DON'T JUDGE ME. Anyway, I honestly can't remember whose journal I saw this on. I seem to recall that I got it from Grell-mun's character journal, but I'm not totally sure any more. It really has been a while, after all.

I was going to post the completed meme to my character journal, because it's really a character-journal kind of meme. But then I thought, no. It'd just get in the way there - [ profile] somarium isn't one of those games where character journals are just useful so that you have something to post to the community from; you actually need to use the things over there - and it'd make a lot more sense to post over at my personal journal instead. So here I am, here it is, and here are my purpose-built roleplay icons. Oh what fun.

The Character Expression Meme

Character: Ken Hidaka
Journal: [ profile] 1thingincommon
RPG: [ profile] somarium

.hurt..guilty..bored..laughing. love.

Snag yourself the coding here.

Some of these were quite hard being as Kapitel-era Ken just plain isn't very good at looking like that in the first place. I don't for example have a specifically flirty icon because Ken looks intentionally flirtatious so damn rarely that it's just not an issue my icon set usually has to deal with. Far more important to have yet another variation on the theme of 'irritable', I get far more use out of those ones than I ever would out of an icon I made specifically for occasions when Ken's hitting on people, which he never does anyway - or not enough, anyway, that I can justify using one of thirty-five icon solots on it. Now maybe if I had a few more spaces free...

Yeah, so part of me wants to buy Ken extra icon slots, because I know I'd use them, too. On the other hand, committing myself to making yet more of these damn things because now I've started making him an actual set, I'd want to carry on that way? Maybe not.

Current Mood: ken is pretty
Current Music: oasis - gackt
05 January 2010 @ 03:14 am
Actually, I don't have anything better to do.  
One of the most noticeable things about Barton Town RPs - and yes, I am ranting about Gaia again but it's my journal and I'll TL;DR about stupid teen sites if I want to - is how very, very samey they are. There's this high school for the flangily gifted, that generic fantasyland straight out of a D&D sourcebook, the other slave shop full of angst-ridden vampires. Can't get into DeVayne School for Otherwordly Creatures (now open)? No problem, Hidden High. A Place For The Unwanted. (O///A) is right there.

One of these games is very much like another - the only real difference is in the literacy level and whether the plot is hilariously stupid or (at least where it struggles free from the needlessly over-decorative post layouts) laughably pretentious.

It's not just the premises and plots that are familiar to the point of tedium either: the OC 'cast' of these games are often quite painfully samey too.

By that, of course, I don't just mean that they casts of these games are all tiresomely flange-powered and angst-ridden Sues laden down with enough special powers and significant Sue bling that one of them could keep an entire fantasy universe could going for a year, though that is sadly true of most of them. I mean that at least half the time they're using the exact same generically 'sexy' anime characters to represent said tiresome flange-Sues. The same characters show up as 'OCs' time and time again - and not only do the same characters keep showing up, the same images of the same characters do. There's an entire intertubes out there, and yet there they are: the same old faces, showing up time and time again.

I've come up with a virtual rogues' gallery of the most common 'OC' images as chosen by Gaia RPers. There are quite a lot of them. Chances are if you visit the profile thread for a Barton Town RP, you'll find at least one of these characters, or horrifically unnatural and badly-photoshopped palette-swapped version of of the same, staring back at you. In a lot of cases these badly-edited palette-swaps are perhaps even more commonly seen in RP profile threads than the original images; as far as possible, though, I've gone with the original version of the image simply because nine times out of ten the photoshopping is really that obnoxiously bad. Don't thank me, thank TinEye Reverse Image Search!

Proof if it were needed that counter-culture is the new mainstream? Check out how many 'goth', 'punk' and 'emo' characters made the cut...

You didn't really think that was the end of it, did you? )

The end result is that sometimes one can browse an RP's profile thread and come across no more than two or three players who've actually gone out of their way to choose a character image that doesn't shown up on several other 'OCs' in several other completely different threads, played by several other completely different users. I don't doubt that some of these pictures are kind of pretty, but why the Hell should they be showing up so damn often when surely the sheer amount of anime images available online should go some way to mixing things up a little?

The reason for this constant repetition of content is very, very simple: Photobucket.

Try image-searching like a fourteen year old girl for a minute. Open the Photobucket front page and type in 'hot anime boy' and see how many of the images on the first few pages look kind of familiar. Now clear the search box, and enter 'anime goth'. Again, there should be a good number of familiar faces there. Trying search strings like 'anime goth', 'purple haired anime girl', 'cute anime guy' and 'gaia rpc' have exactly the same results - including, on page three of the 'gaia rpc' search, a picture of one Aya Fujimiya labeled, of all things, Horace. To my eyes this makes it painfully obvious what must be happening. These RPers, all or most of them, are finding their character images - which, in many games, are obligatory for a profile to be accepted - using Photobucket image searches and, because the same few character images show up in the first few pages, are constantly choosing the same images for character after character, game after game.

So why not just describe the characters? Isn't that the point of writing? Aren't you more likely to get a character who's genuinely interesting - and genuinely your own - that way?

Honestly, I don't think that's occurred to a lot of the RPers on Gaia, or elsewhere for that matter. It's a cycle - new RPers are told when they join their first games that they need a character image for their OCs as a precondition of joining, and so diligently go and hunt one down because they don't want to make a mistake and that's what they've been told they have to do. And these same new RPers get more confident, eventually maybe starting games of their own - and they tell prospective players that character images are mandatory to get a profile accepted. Nobody really sits down and wonders, is all this really necessary? Everyone else thinks it is, so it must be, right?

Of course, it's not necessary. It's no more necessary to good roleplaying than fancy post styles and copy/pasted song lyrics are. It's just a convention, and like most conventions it's passed unquestioned for so long it's sometimes hard to remember there is another way to do things. You don't have to comb Photobucket for a generic anime character to represent your OC any more than you have to write all their dialog in teal blue. If you want to, that's fine, but you shouldn't get so carried away with finding the perfect anime picture to represent your neat new character you forget to give them a personality.

Oh, and don't forget that picture is of a pre-existing character, and if someone knows that character, they might find it rather harder to believe in your OC when they know damn well he was Ken Hidaka first.
Current Mood: indifferent
Current Music: signal to noise - peter gabriel
03 January 2010 @ 09:48 pm
Have we not met before, monsieur?  
I suppose actually being able to get into my own house is as good a way to start the new year as any, so perhaps it's fitting that after all that I did manage to make it back home on the first. I've spent the last couple of days mostly relaxing, poking the Internet and hanging around with [ profile] rokesmith, mainly to prove that I can now. Oh, and there's been some pretty hardcore sleeping at strange hours because nobody can tell me not to do that, either. Free! Free!

... okay, sorry about that. But it's just so nice not to be living out a suitcase again. I know that two weeks, or just under, isn't that long to do that, but it's a bit of a pain when you were only banking on being away for one and had packed accordingly.

Anyway. One of the things a return to casual internet means is a return to Gaia. It's a bit difficult to poke around on a website aimed at fourteen year old girls when you're twenty-seven and staying with your parents, so I've had to keep the amount of time I waste on that massive boredom-sink to a minimum over the past couple weeks. Yesterday and today, though, I took the opportunity to head on back. After fiddling with my avatar for a bit (it's the only reason I really use Gaia, after all - to play Pretty Princess Dress-Me-Up with pixels) I took the opportunity to go and poke some of the forums to see how they reacted. Because I have other things I'd like to do this evening, I steered well clear of... well,pretty much the entire site for the (relatively to the rest of the site, at least) safe haven of the Bug Reports and Technical Support forum.

What I know about technical troubleshooting you could write on the back of a postcard, but I like the Bug Reports forum, it's like a slightly less rabid Q&A. Sure, people can be plenty stupid in there, just like everywhere else, but it's not normally the kind of stupid I feel the need to rant about. The problem is the risk of discovering something only tangentially related to site bugs I will feel the need to rant about, and... yeah, that's why I'm here.

Specifically, I found this thread, and once again it was Rabbit Hole of Stupid time.

The issue? A user known as GummyBearSlayer's signature link. Specifically, this would be a signature link that led to yet another bad RP, and... well, I'll come to that. About the only real difference was that it was an RP guild - the Gaia Online term for a user-run subforum - and not a forum thread in Barton Town. Guilds are where the real hardcore, long-term Gaian RPers tend to prefer to do their business. Threads are easily lost and often don't take off. A big, long-term game is often far happier in its own subforum. Of course, though, all this means is the game is big - not necessarily that it's actually any good.

This game, for all its impressive organization, turned out to be rather not so good.

The game in question - which is entitled Camp Half-Blood- A New Adventure seems to be based on a series of teen novels about a guy called Percy Jackson. I've barely even heard of these and what I do know doesn't interest me, which along with my ignorance of The X-Factor probably means I'm officially Past It and need to apply for my tartan blanket and moccasins. Kids these days rowr bazz fazz get off my lawn.

Anyway, from what I know about this series, either the novels massively mangle Greek myths and legends or their fans do, because I haven't seen this much mythology FAIL since that fic where Ken Hidaka found a Dante Watch. I can't exactly blame the fans for going with the flow if it turns out the book is being quite this casual with the mythology as well, but either way it's pretty damn painful to read. The game - and maybe not just that, but I'll give the Percy Jackson series the benefit of the doubt - gives itself the tagline 'paradises are usually places where you get killed', which simply doesn't make much sense to me because if you're constantly fearing for your life then by definition you're not in paradise. Possibly they were trying to say that Paradise is a place you can normally only get to after you die, but if that was the aim the tagline missed it by a mile. Like so many other aspects of Gaia RPs, it only sounds cool until you actually start to think about it, at which point the 'wait - what?' response kicks in.

Of course, being me, I immediately gravitated toward the Character Profile thread, which for my money provides the quickest and easiest way to get laughs out of a Gaia RP without actually having to read it. Surprise! They're using the same character images as every other Gaia RP, some of which turn out to be very familiar indeed. How familiar? Well, even ignoring the fact the same dozen or so character images are being endlessly recycled here as well, I'd like to introduce Drake Bone, Syen James Corvinace, Hikari, Syrene Seymour and Ryan Keith - more commonly known as Squall Leonhart, Mello, Hotaru Tomoe, Kotonoha Katsura and L.

Funny though it was to see Mello the mafia don running round claiming to be the dark and edgy Syen James Corvinace, he was not the guy I was looking for. I was looking for the character who was mentioned in GummyBearSlayer's signature and, on page 23 of the profile thread, I found him.

Name: James Smith
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Race: Human
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Deep, stormy grey.
Other: Born military strategist, loves to learn, and is incredibly smart.
Mortal Parent F/M: Male
Weapon(s): Small knife, mind, and bow, which he uses if he has to, but prefers his knife

I knew this was the guy, GummyBearSlayer's ridiculous screenname and painfully generic blonde avatar thing aside. See, beneath this rather non-indicative character profile - to quote something I once read on the subject of character creation, even a good flat character should require at least a sentence to sum up, and a sentence with sub-clauses at that - which despite offering less information on who this guy thought he was than his personals ad would have done was nonetheless apparently quite comprehensive enough for the luminaries over at Camp Half-Blood to work out which Greek God had apparently helped spawn him, there was the same color-swapped artbook picture he had in his signature, saved under the filename 'boy44.jpg'.

You see, it turns out that 'boy 44' would be this guy (if not this particular image of him):

Only it was far, far worse than that. The applicant had color-swapped the original image - badly, though all that was required was a simple HSL adjustment which uses one paint tool and takes about 20 seconds - and then, as if he feared that we'd have totally forgotten who his 'OC' was in the few seconds it took to read through his profile, had written 'James Smith' on it using a truly horrible 'decorative' font much beloved by the Blingee crowd. You know, just in case you thought it was a picture of someone else like, I don't know, KEN HIDAKA maybe.

I like to think it's pretty obvious why this guy's signature caught my eye now - there was a picture of 'James Smith' in it, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out that this randomly-appearing image of Ken Hidaka had nothing to do with my fangirl but was, in fact, supposed to be someone's 'OC'.

The sad thing is that Kenken here's actually getting off pretty lightly. Yes, he's supposed to be some kind of super-smart mercenary warrior thing, but at least he's actually a human rather than a nymph or a demi-God or a 'demi human', whatever the fuck that means. At least he's actually using sensible real-world weapons rather than dual-wielding scythes and katanas that have been dipped in the river Styx, or a giant bronze hammer that shrinks to the size of a keychain, or a ring that can summon a panther, or a bow that shoots moonbeams, or some kind of mystical flange-object charm bracelet that allows him to summon any weapon ever made. At least he sounds like a relatively normal guy rather than the usual ridiculously Dark! And! Edgy! cliche who thinks that having a bad attitude is a substitute for an actual personality. At least his player isn't making desperate attempts to make him sound alluring to kindergoths by claiming he likes playing Tag in graveyards and crying in the rain.

Finally, there's the matter of his assumed name. Ken is going by the name James Smith, which is a pretty good English interpretation of 'Ken Hidaka' in terms of ordinariness. Given that he's sharing an RP with characters called Temperance Rose and Terra Star and Allete Crescent and Rex Maximillian Degenor and Pine Cone and Quanjanym Whiteberry and Siren Phoenix and Delphine Windsnap and Adonia Clearwater and Dexav Exodus, this is rather refreshing.

Still, I'm shocked. Ken, as the Token Normal Guy of the series, was about the only Weiss Kreuz character I thought I'd never see as an 'OC' in a Gaia RP. How, out of all the short, dark anime boys out there, did this guy hit on Ken? It is a mystery.
Current Music: computer love - kraftwerk
Current Mood: what the hell?
06 August 2009 @ 06:14 am
Decorative Flourishes.  
Would you believe I'm actually making progress? I'm not quite as far in as I'd have liked to be - something I am choosing to blame on exhaustion - but I've written a good few thousand words and the first chapter is actually looking pretty good. The next order of duty is the introduction of this particular story's Walking McGuffin, after which things should get rather less gutty. I'm looking forward to it.

On the other hand, I'm doubting I'll get anywhere with it tonight. I got very little sleep yesterday and even an afternoon nap hasn't helped much. I just don't feel that good and don't think writing's gonna happen. Oh well.

So, to that end, I'm going to rant instead. Tonight's post is a ridiculously well-embroidered version of an archived Gaia post about my favorite guilty pleasure - though, being as I am a dork, it's actually a combination of three different posts I made in two separate threads. I blame Gaia for this, as if you say more than a few hundred words at a time the average user's eyes cross and their head explodes or something. The second one has the best explanation, though, so that gets the obligatory blockquote.

Guilty pleasures on Gaia. Everyone has one, from taking money out of your quest funds to buy that new RIG item, taking long walks in Gaia Towns and laughing at all the crazy shit noobs try to pull or, dare I say it, cybering.

What's yours?

And of course it's Barton Town Roleplays. Because... well, because they're Barton Town Roleplays.

I am, as everyone who reads this journal will well know, a long-time roleplayer. Though I didn't start out in Barton Town the drama-filled, Mary Sue packed games I got started in were pretty much interchangeable from the stuff that gets posted there on a regular basis right down to the poor choices of 'anime pictures' and tediously! Overdramatic! Pasts!, except with far fewer vampires. Visiting that forum just reminds me how far I've come as a writer and as someone who's at least vaguely decent to roleplay with. No matter how terrible some of the things I write may get - and believe me when one of your games is called 'Guilty Pleasures' you're well aware you ain't exactly writing Shakespeare a lot of the time - at least I'm not posting in games like this:

And finally there's the game that wins the Springtime for Hitler award for sheer in-your-face tastelessness:

Yup. That's a fucking Concentration Camp Roleplay.... and, to nobody's surprise, it was started by an Axis Powers Hetalia fanbeing. My jaw just about hit the fucking floor when I discovered this. There is so much that is wrong with this that I don't even know where to begin. Yes, why don't you take one of the most disgusting war crimes the world has ever seen and turn it into an excuse for cheap wangst? Way to stay classy, guys!

I know damn well that I shouldn't really laugh at this stuff. (Well, I didn't laugh at the Auschwitz roleplay because seriously WHAT THE SHIT. I'd say more but that would involve reading it and the idea that some idiot is running an Auschwitz roleplay in the first place is enough to have me reaching for the horf bag.) I wouldn't have liked it if any of my - admittedly eminently mockworthy - first RPs had gotten no response from a reader but well-earned derision. I know that a lot of time and creative energy has gone into starting those games and keeping them running. I just can't help it!

Let's take the 'lunatic asylum' roleplay (here exemplified by We're The 'Problem' Children?Your The Ones With Problems!o/a because I can't be bothered to hunt any further) as a case in point - and yes, I use the phrase 'lunatic asylum' rather than 'psychiatric hospital' totally deliberately, as a lot of these games think innovations in psychiatric practice stopped at One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and that psychiatric hospital design was perfected in about 1885. Ordinarily the patients (when they're not just there for being speshully speshul, of course) are a mixed bag of naive young innocents aboard who clearly have nothing wrong with them save wangst and theoretically 'edgy' serial-killing maniacs with angst pasts of angst whose creators think that it's perfectly acceptable for their Sues to brutally murder people for looking at them funny and yet still be considered sympathetic characters. The staff, needless to say, are of course all evil sadists.

The ins and outs of asylum RPs and why, precisely, they always suck so bad is a matter for another day, but even without going into detail I like to believe it's painfully obvious why these games are so ridiculous.

It's gotten long again, so bear with it... )

The end result, at least for me, is simple: these people awaken my inner troll.

I didn't even know I had an inner troll before I discovered Barton Town, but I sometimes daydream about applying to the standard roleplays with an old-school Dark Elf character I dreamed up one evening in reaction to all these whiny flangesues. She's quite supremely self-centred, doesn't give a shit about anything except keeping herself amused, has all the morality of the average pampered housecat, thinks she's amazing so has no internal angst whatsoever and no time for people who do sit around whining, and has the attention span of, to borrow a phrase, an onion bhaji. She's no real use to me, I don't write fantasy, but I like her. I sometimes dream about detonating her in the middle of one of these roleplays who take the whole 'supernatural creatures are so persecuted and misunderstood, wah!' idea as their starting premise, and seeing how many people I could piss off without actually breaking game rules just by being supremely indifferent to their Sues' angst pasts and deep emotional trauma.

The other thing I sometimes think of doing - again, I haven't actually done this; I just think it would be fun - is starting a game and again seeing how many people I could piss off by actually having standards for applications. I'd refuse, for example, to let anyone play a flange-powered vampire no matter how much they whined that it was unfair. I'd turn down applications for being painfully culturally or chronologically confused - for example, because the game was set in 19th-century France so no your character can't be called Nekoharu Mitsuhayabashi and have found her family sat dead around the TV. I wouldn't let anyone join a 'school for mythical flangebeasts' RP if they were hundreds of years old and stupendously powerful - what, after all, do they think they have to learn?

But most of all the thing I'd really like to do is start one of those epic-quest survival-horror games, but add a rule that I could declare characters dead if I thought they'd done something that should have killed them. And then I would actually enforce it.
Current Music: tatta hitotsu no omoi - kokia
Current Mood: plotting.
06 April 2009 @ 09:14 pm
This Looks Shopped.  
You want yet more proof that Barton Town RPers, as a group, couldn't find their ass with both hands and a map (unless, of course, someone had cunningly replaced the phrase 'ass location' with 'here be kawaii bishie vampire boiz')?

Well, it's s pretty obvious in the way they create OCs. When Barton Town roleplayers talk about character creation, what they usually mean is that they've found a picture of an anime character - usually this is either Lelouch from Code Geass or some hentai game character they found by typing 'cute anime girl' into the Photobucket search engine - and have come up with a cookie-cutter personality to paste on top that is either a fanon-flavored take on Lelouch, or which fits with their look.

How do I know this? Well, I used to be this stupid and this is how I used to create 'OCs' to roleplay with when I first started RPing. I took a picture of Youji and worked from there, and then repeated the process with Ken Hidaka, Rociel, Alexiel, Honoka Sawatari, Squall Leonheart, Maron Kusakabe und so weiter. Yeah, I was a silly little fangirl who should just have shut up and watched Weiss Kreuz and written Youji/Ken slash fiction, because that was clearly what I wanted to do. In my defense, though, I started to create lame-ass 'OCs' in this way because that was what all the more experienced RPers I'd started to play with told me to do. Need an OC to roleplay with and all the ones you've created up till now are full of Mary Sue suck and fail? No problem, laila-in-embryo: just go to Mediaminer and find a picture of someone you like the look of!

Unfortunately, sometimes I would find a character I liked the look of in all but one tiny regard. Their hair was the wrong shade, for example, or I didn't like their eye color. Well, that was easy enough solved. I had a copy of Paint Shop Pro, didn't I?

So this, according to a distressingly large proportion of Internet RPers, is how you create an OC:

Step 1: Find image of Ritsuka from Loveless on Photobucket and save it to your hard drive.
Step 2: Open the nearest paint program and color his hair in pink.
Step 3: Write 'Kari' on the bottom of the picture so everyone knows he's your OC, not Ritsuka with pink hair.

Changing the image's filename to your OC's name or something generic like 'animecutie34.jpg' is strictly optional, though it is, I might add, advised if you don't want to give anyone who comes across 'Kari' a really, really easy way to confirm that your OC really is Ritsuka from Loveless with pink hair and the word 'Kari' nonsensically floating a few inches in front of him.

I suppose everyone has to start somewhere, but starting here? To be totally honest with myself, I was rather better at character creation before I started regularly roleplaying. Taking the easy 'find a pre-existing character, Photoshop away anything that doesn't quite fit and work from there' way out to create a harem of terrible cookie-cutter roleplay 'OCs' left me trying to write with a bunch of characters who, frankly, were deeply derivative and ultimately totally sucked. It wasn't until I weaned myself off doing this by totally ignoring almost every single 'OC' I ever created in this manner, and going back to the handful of characters I had created as a teenager who weren't totally horrific and building on them, that I actually started coming up with half-decent characters of my own.

Still, at least I could actually successfully shop an anime character. I wouldn't care to count the number of Barton Town RPers who can't even manage that much correctly...
At least, for example, I had the sense to realize that coloring all over a character's hair using the paintbrush without so much as trying to add any kind of shading - or, better yet, doing the whole damn thing as a transparent layer so the actual strands and shading of the character's hair could show through my paintbox daubings - wasn't going to leave me with a character who looked even vaguely human. Because human beings have hair, not extruded plastic all over their heads.

At least I never sat down and drew cat ears on anime characters who always got by perfectly fine without them because my Neat New Character just had to be a 'Neko'. Even if I had, I certainly wouldn't have decided that, once again, just scribbling all over the image with the 'paintbrush' tool and adding a wobbly freehand line for the tail, without making the slightest concession to trying to stop them looking utterly look pastede on yey, was a job well done and then slapped it up on the Internet so everyone could marvel over my stunning ability to turn decent artbook images into hideous crapped-on rubbish.

At least I never took a screenshot from the anime du jour and drew all over one of the regulars in a desperate attempt to pretend that my Neat New Character was actually in the series as opposed to All In My Head.

And at least I had the sense to realize that if a character was very pretty but wasn't really wearing enough for my liking, the solution was not 'inexpertly draw more clothes on her to spare my maidenly blushes' but 'find another picture of a girl who's wearing more'. It's really not going to be that hard to find a picture of an almost identical generic blonde anime girl who isn't just wandering around in a shirt, after all.
Current Music: kimi ga ita monogatari - see-saw
Current Mood: blank
08 November 2008 @ 11:54 pm
laila: reading crap roleplay so you don't have to since 2008!  
You may have become aware that I think Gaia Online's Barton Town roleplay forums are made of suck and phail.

Well, they are. And, as a Public Service announcement, I bring you this handy guide for how to spot a really bad Gaia RP by its title alone, thus sparing anybody who may happen to wind up on the Barton Town RP forums from the worst of the stupidity that lurks therein (all of it). If you follow this guide's advice, you'll be left with about one thread on the whole page that could possibly be considered 'not too bad, maybe, if you don't think about it too hard', and then you'll realize that the whole forum is a waste of time and go off to do something more productive.

Either that or you, like I, will be tempted onward and will discover the delights of trainwreck syndrome as it relates to online roleplay. I'm really only in it for the hilariously bad character biographies and the ripped-off pictures of anime characters pastede clumsily onto people's horrible Mary Sues - I've already seen Youji used for a random sex slave, Aya as a guy called Julian and Light Yagami, complete with Death Note, again as some random form of slave. Besides, it's always fun to see how many times the same four or five characters show up, or play Spot the Hentai Game CG. Generally speaking, it's really easy to tell the porn images once you know what kind of things you're looking for even when the characters are fully dressed, to the extent one wonders why the RPers who chose them couldn't do likewise...

There are a lot of RPers out there unwittingly using images of characters from hentai games to represent their Sues and Stus, including Akira from the yaoi game Togainu no Chi, a character who looks pretty badass but gives it up - consensually or otherwise - to just about every other male character in the damn game, to the extent I have come to refer to him as the You're Gonna Get Raped Guy.

If you're a sporker in need of a laugh, these are the thread titles to watch out for. If you're anyone else - steer clear!

The thread creator lists needed players or player characters by gender:

This may just be my experiences with the Highly Esteemed Youji-Mun speaking, but it seems to me that if a game creator wants to control a story to the extent that he or she knows exactly how many characters it needs and of what gender they all should be, and they just can't settle for anything else - perhaps because anything else would mean that all the characters wouldn't be able to be happily and heterosexually paired up - then they should probably just sit down and write the damn story themselves instead of trying to force several other people to do most of the work for them. This doesn't exactly suggest that the thread creator is looking for 'roleplay' to me; it suggests that what he or she really means is 'I've had this really neat idea but I can't be bothered to come up with any other characters aside from my speshully speshul Sue or do any of that hard stuff like come up with an actual plot, so help me write my story please'.

It just gets a little iffier in the games where the RP creator literally means 'one male and one female player' - as if he or (more usually) she couldn't imagine female authors playing male characters or vice versa. These, very usually, turn out to be romance RPs, leading me to wonder if the game creator actually wants to roleplay a scenario or is looking for a virtual boyfriend using her Sue as proxy. Why else would she specify a male player rather than a male character? It's roleplay, not a singles' bar, even if half these games do degenerate into absurd hook-up-fests....

The thread title makes ░▒▓ ɠŗåŧųïʈөȗƨ ūşɛ ϕᶂ ƒøяəĩġŋ & ƥђȱҋęƗîɔ ϧɕɾįρț ▓▒░ in a desperate attempt to ►►ʂʇǻɳđ ѻʋţ◄◄:

Okay, I will admit this works. It does make the titles stand out on a forum page. That, however, doesn't stop it being stupid.

See, foreign and phonetic characters, while they may look like standard alphanumerics, are not. They're very often pronounced differently and don't always stand for the letters they may, to the English-trained eye, appear to. Take the infamous esset. The esset - ß - just looks like a rather ambitious, florid capital B with ideas above its station, but it's actually used in German to denote a double S. Take this letter - Ü - and its umlaut. The umlaut, in German, indicates that the pronunciation will differ from a standard U. Take this Ō. In romanized Japanese, the line above the letter indicates a long vowel sound, and is often alternatively romanized as 'OH' or 'OU' (the double 'O', while technically correct, often cause English-speakers to mispronounce the long vowel like the double 'O' in 'Hoover'). This character - ɛ - is phonetic, used to indicate a particular way to pronounce the letter 'E' - it's the 'E' sound as in the word 'met'. It's not necessarily the right one to use.

I know, this is nitpicky. But if you know this stuff, even a little bit of this stuff, attempting to make a thread title stand out in this way - by using accented letters, phonetic script, and foreign letters as decoration - looks not only pretentious but ignorant. Finally, if a fancily-written generic title is really the only way a thread creator can think of to catch the attention, how likely is it that they have anything interesting to say beneath it?

The game is called something like 'Yaoi Boarding School', or could easily be retitled that:

Now, I like slash as much as the next fangirl (and maybe rather more, depending on who I'm standing next to) but... well, put it this way, even I would be hard pushed to have fun with a lot of the 'yaoi' RPs on Gaia. They're maddeningly generic, populated almost entirely by cliches and even for a slash fan like me, who has no real problem with the whole seme/uke dynamic as long as it makes sense given the personalities of the characters involved, the insistence on the characters taking set sexual roles gets deeply tedious. It gets all the more so when all the ukes are wide-eyed, cutely effeminate little innocents who act like the worst kind of female cliche. Now, this may just be because my Ken obsession has well and truly turned me off waiflike, effeminate ukes and I now like them pushy and boyish, but if I wanted strong alpha males wooing wibbly female stereotypes I'd read het - and shitty het at that.

There's an awful lot of this 'Yaoi Boarding School' stuff about, and it's almost all this madly generic and tedious, not to mention packed to the brim with tedious, generic Stus. One of these games is much like all the others.

In more general terms, though, the concept of the Yaoi Boarding School is a ridiculously common and equally tedious one, regardless of whether or not there's yaoi in it. The premise of a lot of Gaia RPs involves a group of random teenage Sues pitching up at some isolated live-in institution - often this is a school, but I've seen the same thing happen at orphanages, asylums, laboratories and juvenile detention centers, most of which are exactly like schools but with more angst - and proceeding to hook up with one another, whine a lot and do precisely no work. These games consist of a bunch of co-dependent Sues getting it on while they wait for an actual plot to arrive, and how interesting, in the long term, is that?

The game's name is cut-my-wrists-and-black-my-eyes Emo with a capital EMO:

This largely speaks for itself. Games like this aren't so much roleplays in the conventional sense as they are constant pity parties, in which a handful of whiny emo Sues mope about the place looking beautifully tragic in the hope that some other player's character will show up, sweep them off their feet, and heal their wounds with love. Sadly, most of the other player characters are far too busy moaning and wangsting themselves to do anything of the sort. Either that or it's yet another game about how Vampires are Awesomecakes.

Usually, these games are full of characters who are self-pitying and self-regarding even for Mary Sues. This also usually means there will be vampire characters and demon characters and lycan characters coming out the walls, to the extent that the two human characters actually look remarkable and interesting. It also usually involves an overwrought 'back story', which is far more concerned with being flawlessly angsty and rambling on about vampires or broken hearts than it is with simple human logic - one game, for instance, involved a group of girls, all of whom had been ditched by their boyfriends for no good reason, emoing about it to such an extent that their families were prepared to totally uproot themselves and move to a brand new town because they feared that otherwise their daughters would never get over their Beautiful Teenage Heartbreak. And then the boys who ditched them all upped sticks to chase after them. It makes no sense, but it's angsty!

The thread title mentions 'Nekos' anywhere:

One wonders if anybody has told the good folk on the Gaia RP boards that Neko is not the name of a fantasy race, it is just the Japanese word for Cat. Not catgirl, not animal person, it just means cat. The word they're looking for to describe a human with kitty ears and a tail is nekomimi - literally 'cat ears' - not neko. RPers who create characters who are 'fox nekos' or 'tiger nekos' are claiming their character is a fox-cat or a tiger-cat, not a fox-boy or a tiger-girl. The word they want for a human with the characteristics of any other animal is kemonomimi (animal ears). It took me ten seconds to find this stuff out and I'm not even creating a catgirl character.

Any RP which mentions that scientists have discovered 'Nekos' or that 'Nekos' are living among us - well, of course they are and the scientists didn't need to look very hard. This isn't a mythic race of half-humans with kitty ears, it's just felis silvestris catus. If I said that a mystical race of cat people were known as the Gatos, every Spanish-speaker in the world would laugh at me. It sounds no less stupid with 'Neko', trust me - and trust me, it looks really stupid to lump 'Nekos' in with Lycans and Vampires and Elves and Demons. There is no such fantasy race, just anime art. I don't care how cute the anime art is, that still doesn't make nekomimi a fantasy race rather than a convention in anime art or, sometimes, a kink. Aren't there enough flangey semi-fantasy races to be going along with without inventing a new, stupid one?

The title suggests a 'good versus evil' plotline - and the creator cannot find people to play the bad guys:

I used the phrase 'bad guys' rather than 'antagonists' deliberately here. Most of these roleplays aren't really what you'd call subtle, and leave players with the possibility of taking a character who's either treated as wholly good and remains that way regardless of what they may have done or go on to do later, or is utterly, unrepentantly evil (either because they just want to be evil for no reason at all, or because they had a Traumatic Past). They don't have protagonists and antagonists, they have goodies and baddies. Christ. Weiss Kreuz is more subtle than this.

Needless to say, these games often have problems finding people to play the villains - but that's because while it's fun to play an antagonist, and antagonists are often interesting characters, it is very very boring to play a baddy, because the average 'baddy' is very flat and tedious indeed. They're just evil because they are; the closest they come to having reasons for their actions is 'oh, but she had a traumatic past'. That's not a motivation, it's an excuse. People don't want to play these characters because it's fucking boring, and all the more so when they can't actually do anything to any of the goodies without the consent of the person playing said goody. They, needless to say, are very unlikely to agree to anything that might actually cause lasting damage to their precious Sue, who can't even have scars unless they're in non-beauty-marring places.

Playing a bad guy in one of these RPs is a surefire route to extreme boredom, which is why people don't want to do it, and why the game creators can't find enough people who are prepared to take them.

The game's creator forces players or player characters into set roles depending on their gender:

This one just saddens me. I just don't understand how it's the game creator's decision what gender player characters should be or what kind of role they take. Rigidly defined gender roles - which usually involve one gender (most often the males) taking the predefined role of predators while the other (usually the females) are their prey - don't exactly allow players to create interesting characters, or make for particularly interesting RPing. It's heteronormative to a fault and often exceedingly tedious. If someone wanted to play a female vampire in this setting, why the Hell shouldn't they? If they wanted to play a male who went after, say, a missing sister, why shouldn't they be allowed to do that, too? Hell, if they wanted to why couldn't they play a girl who, when trapped in the damn 'vampire male mansion', just broke a window and left like a normal human being? Or would that get in the way of the wish-fulfilment? There's not a lot of potential in plots this restrictive - and which often require the characters to act like complete dumbasses, too. Why can't the girls just leave? Why do the guys even care?

Once again, though, at heart this doesn't seem so much like an attempt to roleplay a scenario as it does to virtually hook up with someone using an annoying Mary Sue as an author proxy. There may be less demand for the person on the other end of the line to be a member of the opposite gender, but it's still absurdly gendered and extremely restrictive.

The RP describes itself as 'Semi-Literate':

I'm going to ask one question as regards this one: how can you be 'semi-literate'? If you are literate, Gaia roleplayers, it means that you are able to read and write. An illiterate cannot. That's it. It's kind of an either-or thing. So, if the players in some silly rolepay are only semi-literate, does that mean that they can write their own posts, but they can't actually read what anyone else has written? That they can read and write, but only some of the time? Or is it simply a lame excuse for their writing being only semi-coherent?

There is no such thing as semi-literate roleplay. What there is, however - and it's sad to say this, but going by the way they choose to present themselves in a largely text-based medium such as the Internet, where like it or not people will judge you on your ability to write, a distressing number of Gaia users fall into this category - is roleplay for the functionally illiterate. I won't bother going into the definitions of functional illiteracy when the wiki is right here, but suffice to say when a Gaia RP advertises itself as 'semi-literate', it usually means it's being run by a functional illiterate for other functional illiterates. Why people who clearly had no interest whatsoever in learning to write correctly now want to do it as a hobby is beyond me, but there you have it. You can call me a horrible old snob if you like, but I genuinely do not understand why anybody would want to read anything written by somebody who slept through their English classes. Or, for that matter, who spent them writing Suefic instead of learning how to string a coherent sentence together.

The game's creator couldn't even spell their thread's title correctly:

How good can any roleplay be if the creator can't even be bothered to check if they've spelled the game's name correctly? This just looks sloppy and half-assed, and it's better than evens that the actual RP is going to be every bit as sloppy and half-assed as that would suggest. There's really no point in looking any further than that unless you either really like the idea of being in a sloppy, half-assed roleplay that will probably fizzle in a fortnight, or find sloppy, half-assed roleplay unaccountably amusing. Either way misspellings in the thread title pretty much guarantee that nobody who can actually write is going to want to have anything to do with the resulting game, and you the mythical forum-browser can quite happily live without ever trying to read the thread.
Current Music: freeze my love - glay
Current Mood: is it can be bed teims nao?
18 October 2008 @ 07:05 am
Dumbest. Petition. Ever.  
... honestly, and I thought Gaia Online was a ridiculous enough site already.

So. We've had dumbass general forum posts, eyebleeding avatars, the worst roleplays in the world, ever - more on these anon - stupid people doing stupid things then, instead of trying to actually work out how to make things better, Confessing All to a group of equally stupid people on an anime forum site and getting stupid 'solutions' that, nine times out of ten, will just make matters worse. (Honestly, if you had a Life Issue, would you trust someone on Gaia Online to tell you how to solve it?). Now we have people starting petitions for the worst site features ever!

Yeah. I just discovered the Site Petitions subforum. It, like everything else on Gaia, is a half-decent site feature which has been turned pretty comprehensively into a complete joke by a number of dumbass users. The problem with democracy is that everyone gets a vote...

The thing about Gaia, as a site, is that there's actually a surprising amount of interaction between the staff and the users. Sensible user petitions that ask for something that can be reasonably and safely implemented and gather enough support actually have a decent chance of ending up as a site feature or as an equippable item. Which is great, and actually pretty laudable. There are any number of petitions out there for things that could be really useful additions to the site, or really cool to have. Equally though, a far larger number of the petitions in that forum ask for things that are either unworkable - usually this involves people demanding Gaia to stop charging money for premium items, never mind that they need money to run - or just plain stupid. Like the whole thing with wanting a pregnant avatar, never mind that it'd require Gaia to repixel every single item of clothing on the site to accommodate the new base. Not going to happen, for obvious reasons...

Unworkable petitions are usually unfunny with it, but the stupid ones - well, that's another matter entirely. Here's a quick sample of some of the user petitions I found there today. These are all real petitions for real things that Gaia users have decided, in their infinte wisdom, that the site really needs. Thread titles have been preserved precisely as written, grammar errors and all, for posterity.

... Jesus Fuck, just what is this obsession some girls seem to have with wanting a pregnant Gaia avatar? Not to mention the desperate attempt to get 'Twilight stuff' or make Gaia 'more Gothic', as if the place wasn't swimming in teenage goths and their oh-so-black-and-reddish avatars anyway, and is if there weren't a metric fuckton of 'Gothic' items already. Besides, what is a Twilight item, anyway? I get the feeling half the people who ask for this just want a virtual sparkly Edward Cullen to stand by their avatar.

As far as creating a petition goes, I think a useful rule of thumb would be this: would my idea, if implemented, require Gaia's artists to redraw every single piece of clothing that equipped to an avatar's torso and waist? If it would, you're shit outta luck.

Anyway. The particular petition I'm complaining about tonight (and you knew one was coming after all that buildup about the general stupidity of some Gaia petitions, right?) revels in the clunky title Vampires Items; Vampires in Gaia. Already nothing good can come of this.

Anyone who ventures further will notice a couple of things. Firstly, the petitioner in question, despite petitioning for cooler items for vampires, isn't even using the vampire skin. The second thing is her opening post. More savvy petitioners are aware of the need to 'sell' their proposition and make it look as cool and inviting as possible without utterly losing ther audience, and so try and keep their first posts as snappy and interesting as possible. Often they'll have interesting graphics or headers, or mockups of the things they're proposing Gaia make. This opening post, however, is a masterpiece of rambling TL;DR that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere or even have any greater point aside from 'vampires are awesome so they deserve cool stuff!'.

The first thing that leapt out at me about this petition was this deeply naive comment: 'Usually boy vampires have girl minions, and girls have boys'. Well, wow. I never knew that vampires, who have been used as symbols of transgressive sexuality at least as far back as Bram Stoker's Dracula, were so deeply fond of the heteronormative this side of - well, this side of fuckin' Twilight, which is where most of these girls are getting their notions of vampires from. Probably shouldn't surprise me she's castrating all the creepy from them, really.

God, this got long... )

As for the vampires, what are the rules for them? The minions have almost a dozen, all of which make being a minion pretty restrictive and shitty and appealing to practically nobody. What about the vampires? Surely they've got to have some restrictions just to balance things out. Can they not post between sunrise and sunset or something? Can they be virtually staked?

Well, no, as it turns out. What they can do is 'stand round and be adulated for their awesome', of course!

Back to Masters part of this form.....
Of course, vampires can be poor or rich..
Most Vampire Masters come from a rich vampire family.
Masters, just to let you know, some Minions LIKE to be bitten... some don't. So they might fight back, but just say -if you like my rules for minions- "I need to, or you'll get sick!"
See? Rules come in handy. xd

Okay, Masters should get LOTS of respect. Masters out there, you can just pick some human off the street to be your minion, and all, but there's always one person out there, for you masters, who have better blood taste. If you want to have fun, pretend to be kind, then trick them into a dark place, and then do whatever from there.
Minions should always repsect Masters. Always. Masters can decide what the minions do. Masters always have total control. Masters also can be sneaky ninja and know what Minions are up to, no matter what.

Okay, WHAT. No, she clearly didn't think this through at all, she just read Twilight once too often (that'd be 'once', then) going by that whole thing about the vampires having random soulmates whose blood is magically most nommy for them JUST LIKE EDWARD AND BELLA OMG SEW ROMANTICK, and then logged onto Gaia and thought it'd make a really great site feature. So, the minions have to log on every day and hope like fuck their master is around and can stop them suffering pixel-death, and have to do what they say, and have to put up with anything their master says while the vampires just 'have' to be respected and wealthy and noble and controlling?

Firstly, what the Hell is in this for the users stuck playing Minions?

Secondly, wouldn't 'well I'm a vampire and so you should respect my opinion above anyone else's, so I win and you can STFU' be the kiss of death for a forum site?

From what I can gather, the minions don't even get to choose whether or not they want to be minions - they can just be forced to become one because HAY I B8 U NAO. Look, weirdo Twilight fangirl, I don't want to be a pixel vampire, nor am I particularly keen on being ordered around by someone playing a pixel vampire lest my own avatar get virtually sick and, either way, there's enough 'specialer than you' elitism on Gaia around event skins as it is without the site throwing in a two-tier system of Awesome with Vampires being the most awesome of the awesome and everyone else having to put up and shut up, which would mean deliberately setting out to make even more.
Current Music: on top - the killers
Current Mood: can i go to bed yet?
13 September 2008 @ 11:49 pm
The Amazing Technicolor Dream... um, Slave Collar.  
So, there's this fic I want to write, but for some reason I feel really uncertain about it - perhaps because a large part of it involves Ken being stuck underground in a small box, a premise I desperately want to write and yet feel bad for wanting to write at the same time to the extent that I'm sitting here staring at a blank Word document thinking 'damn, I'm a bitch'. Which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to my trying to start one of my multiple Fics 'o Ken Torment.

So guess what? I'm procrastinating on the angst and pain and mind-fucking horror by ranting about Gaia RPs again! It may be totally unproductive, but at least it doesn't involve burying Ken alive.

Right then. Slave RPs. You may remember me ranting about this before, but I excuse myself by saying that first time round I was bitching about self-styled 'advanced literates' who were anything but. This time I specifically want to complain about the multiplicity of Master/Slave RPs that exist on Gaia - seriously, go to the Barton Town roleplay forums and there'll be at least one of these threads on what looks like every single page - and how very, very stupid most of them are. I am leading up to something here, I swear... but I feel that before I can do that entry, I need to explain what it is that's got me so annoyed in the first place. So...

Today's smorgasbord of stupid is brought to you by the letters D and S.

That would be ~Forever Chained.~ A M/S Rp Open and Accepting. This is not the slave RP I first found which caused me to WTF like a mad thing over the sheer stupidity of most slave RPs. It is, however, so like damn near every other master/slave RP I have ever seen on Gaia that it doesn't really make a lot of difference if this is the original or not.

It took me a while to find this RP, I admit. Not because it's at all difficult to find a master/slave RP (it isn't) but because I wanted to find one that contained all the classic elements that make most of these things so damn bad. As to what those elements are... well, rest assured ~Forever Chained.~ A M/S Rp Open and Accepting contains pretty much all of them, starting with the random special characters thrown into the thread title in a desperate attempt to make it stand out - and random squiggle thingies at the beginning and end of a massively generic title aren't even the half of it some of the time: '»☼»Chinoame Gengetsu«☼« {[>Private!<]}', anyone? And, if that's not bad enough as a thread title, what about 'Ɯɧɛɼɛ ƴơǔ ɓɛɭơɳɡ NEEDS SOME SEXY GUYS ;]'?

None of that exactly makes me jump up and down with delight and want to join the RP.

From there, there's nowhere to go but the thread itself, where any unwary Gaia user who may choose to try their luck with yet another Master/Slave RP is greeted by the obligatory Ridiculously Flimsy Premise in which we discover that Slavery Has Been Legalized due to a Cunning Plot Contrivance, oh, and There Are, Like, Vampires and 'Nekos' because This Is Gaia and Nobody Wants To Play A Boring Human.

... yes, it's all very generic and boring and poorly thought out. This isn't so much a plot as it is a premise and it's not so much a premise as it is a thinly-veiled lame excuse for fantasy wish-fulfillment. They're pretty much all like this. Slavery is legal for some lame reason and the action starts at some slave shop, usually with some Sue or Stu sitting in their 'cage' screaming to be let out or wangsting about how horrible everyone is to them and how tragically tragic their life of slavery is. Or both.

~Forever Chained.~ A M/S Rp Open and Accepting is no exception. The first few posts consist of various slaves sitting round in their cages whining about how awful everything is but they're NOT BROKEN, DAMMIT, for the usual no reason other than They're Just Not because they're Too Awesome and Special to actually adapt - which, to an unbiased observer, makes them look not fiery and rebellious and interesting but too stupid to know a bad situation when they see one, too arrogant to admit they're bringing their problems on themselves, and too determined to wallow self-indulgently in their own victimhood to admit that it's well within their power to stop said bad situation from getting worse.

But that would be Earth Logic. )

The 'masters' in this game are the usual deeply generic bunch of stunningly rich and beautiful immortal superbeings with tragic pasts, not much to write home about there. (Yes, two of them are goddamn vampires for the usual no reason at all. There's always someone who insists on playing a goddamn vampire no matter what the roleplay setting's doing, often more than one.) There's usually an angry violent one, a sweet humanitarian (usually a girl) who doesn't seem to be so much looking for a slave as trying to buy a new best friend, and a lonely rich boy whose authoritarian parents died and left him the lot, who secretly just wants someone to love. Still, they're masters. Flange comes with the territory.

The slaves, however? Well, there it gets a little more problematic.

Okay, why oh why does this pro forma have the slaves listing their sexual preference? As I'm sure I've mentioned before, it doesn't matter what they might happen to find sexually arousing. These people are being sold into slavery. This is a slave market, not some kinky fetish bar where one partner is chained up in a cage waiting for another person to come along and give them the eye and it's all perfectly fun and harmless and consensual. It's slavery. If a straight girl is bought by a predatory woman who's after a sex slave, that's just the slave's tough luck. She's a slave and her mistress wants to fuck her, and what her mistress wants is all that matters. A gay man bought by the same woman for the same reason is equally out of luck. The slave's sexual preferences count for absolutely nothing.

The other question I constantly find myself asking where it comes to Gaia RPs is this: if this person is a vampire, or a shapeshifter, or a demon, or a lycan, or a tiger warrior woman, or a magician or a sorceress or other powerful magic user, or an elf princess, or some generically mysterious and no doubt overpowered genetic experiment, or whatever other ridiculous fantasy creature their mun thought was speshully speshul and Mary-Sue-tastically shiny enough for their tastes - and yes, I have seen all these flangebeasts on the wrong end of a leash before now - then why in the holy motherfuck are they a goddamn SLAVE?

Think about it. If the slave is this special and awesome, how did he or she get taken into slavery and kept that way in the first place?

None of this makes any sense.
Current Music: black coffee - all saints
Current Mood: i ate too much!
05 September 2008 @ 11:28 pm
Thirty-Eight Incarnations of Pain.  
Ever felt the burning desire to roleplay in a fictional universe that made absolutely no sense whatsoever?

You should join The Thirtyeight Planets! A universe which appears to have been created by a fourteen year old ADHD patient who'd been brought up on Star Wars and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and thought, during one too many boring pre-cal classes, 'hey, I could do that!', ignoring the fact that George Lucas can world-build and Douglas Adams was genuinely funny rather than painfully silly, and both possess some kind of grasp of how this whole 'space' thing, you know, actually works. For example, they're aware of how orbital systems work and that planets need suns.

... honestly, this is perhaps the most ridiculous Gaia roleplay I have ever seen, and about its only redeeming feature is that it at least appears to sporadically realize how very ridiculous it is. Most of the people who are in it seem to be doing it for fun, which is I guess something. The worst thing is that means The Thirtyeight Planets could very well be unseated from its throne of epic stupid by another even stupider story whose creator wants us to take it, and the characters therein, completely seriously. Terrifying, really.

I could try and summarize why it was I found this RP so ridiculous, but... well, the only way to understand this is to experience it. Please bear in mind that everything in the block quote is entirely as it was on Gaia. I have changed nothing, not even the misspellings, and my own snark is entirely outside that big ol' pink grey box there.

In the center of the universe, many planets collided at once and formed a ring around a planet that 10 red giants could fit inside.

Okay, I know we've only just gotten started, but I feel the need to point two small things out.

Firstly, any successful star system needs an actual star. If these thirtyeight so-called planets are orbiting another planet, not a star, then they are what are commonly referred to as 'moons' and are probably incapable of sustaining life for the fairly simple reason that there is no sun to stop their surfaces from becoming frozen, icy wastelands.

Secondly, I may suck at physics, but even I know that you can't have more than one planet in the same orbit before Bad Shit starts to happen.

But that isn't all there is to it, some of the planets are starting to break out in war, which isn't really that much of a problem, but if the war spreads too much, the planets could become unstable and the whole ring of planets could collapse and crash into Muff planet,

Now, I have no idea what this guy thinks a 'muff' is, but... well, okay, maybe this is just British slang but when I saw the word 'Muff Planet' I immediately burst out laughing and spent the next five minutes giggling like a schoolgirl. Why? Well, Urban Dictonary explains it in loving detail, but to put it simply and plainly, the word 'muff' - which I'm almost convinced the creator of this insane RP thinks he made up - is a fairly inoffensive slang word for 'vagina'. 'Muff planet', to me, doesn't so much make me think Mythical Planet of Epic Flange: to me it conjures up images of a planet full of charming young ladies getting their Sapphic groove on...

which would probably cause some weird explosion/implosion and destroy the universe or something, but that's unlikely since allot of the planets are actually peaceful. So far there are only random outbreaks of fighting, on Nolighklor, Dirigibala, Airaria, Plastic planet, Forteax, Painxon, Sarblat, Planet Zenbu, and Planet planet. It isn't just senseless fighting, though, the whole reason of the war is for the control of the pure muffs,

Inner Twelve-Year-Old: *sniggers*

which, are a myth to some, but others have found proof they exist,

Because they own a mythical and arcane book of scripture known as AN ANATOMY TEXT.

and so the battle is for not just the muffs, but for knowledge of their locations.

Obvious joke is obvious. I could say something here, but IT'S TOO DAMN EASY.

The list of planets
All of the planets are in order, the ones with numbers that is. And only planets with descriptions can be explored. The rest can only be referred to.

Muff planet
The largest planet in the universe with intense gravity and powerful creatures known as "Muffs". They are any creature with dragon wings, a dragon tail with fire at the end, razor-sharp claws and razor-sharp teeth. The planet is basically like Earth, but without all of the buildings. There are Pure Muffs,

... which, by the sounds of it, are most likely a bunch of blatant Charizard ripoffs. Geez, and I thought vagina dentata was nightmare fuel And why the Hell does having sharp teeth, dragon wings, and a dragon tail with fire at the end make these creatures so powerful? Wouldn't they be in danger of setting fire to everything around them and, in the cases of, say, a sheep or a Pomeranian 'muff', to themselves as well? Or is this like, special fire that only burns things some of the time? And wouldn't a sheep or a Pomeranian look utterly ridiculous wandering about the place with dragon wings and a flaming tail? Never mind a vagina, there's a passion-killer if ever I saw one okay I'm sorry I'm stopping now.

but only one person has ever seen one and lived, there are actually less than 10 currently, but a Pure Muff is practically a god.

1. Zicum
The planet is composed mostly of water, although there are some islands on it, which prevent it from being smashed by the gravity of the ring. The inhabitants are mermaid like creatures that live in borrows deep under the sea. They wouldn't need to live there, but there are giant shark-creatures (named Sharkos)

Wow, what a very imaginative name. A giant shark-like creature known as a Sharko? Geez. Whoever came up with that name had all the talent for nomenclature of Leonard Da Quirm. Shark With 50% Extra Free sounds better than Sharko, largely because 'Sharkos' sounds like breakfast cereal a brand of breakfast cereal. New Shark-Os! The snappy way to start your day! Now with marshmallow sharks!

that are extremely violent, and they are not reasonable beings.

2. Crytalston
The planet constantly is growing, although it isn't by much, the crystals cover the entire fact, the planet is a single crystal. Nothing can really inhabit it, since the whole planet has no water or food, although there is one...well, giant raccoon that owns the whole planet, his name is Bandito, and he is one of the richest beings in the universe.

I'm at a loss for words about this one. It's weird. I feel like there's something I should be saying here, some kind of really awesome joke I'm overlooking - honestly, a fantastically wealthy giant raccoon known as Bandito (who we must presume ate a lottery ticket or something: how the Hell does a giant raccoon amass fabulous wealth?) owns a planet made entirely of crystal, and somehow presumably manages to live there despite there being no food and no water?

Maybe all I can do is let the sheer absurdity of this speak for itself.

3. Flamzat
Flamzat is covered in volcanoes that are constantly erupting, which does make the planet hollow and every so often it collapses, which does shake most of the surrounding planets, but it also restarts the cycle of eruptions.

4. Rizz Roo planet
Rizz Roo planet is actually in close resemblance to Earth Millions of years ago, although it is still much more different.

So it's almost identical to prehistoric Earth, but also totally different at the same time? Well, that clears that up!

It's air is quite humid and the average temperature year round is 80 degrees F, but there are still oceans and around Flamzat there are lakes of lava, but what the planet is really famous for is are the quite intelligent life forms called Roizls. Roizls are raptor-like creatures wit zig-zag patterns all over their bodies. Roizls, despite how they might seem to someone from Earth, are actually very rational, but of course, they can be annoyed, which isn't really a good idea, because if someone were to harm one roizl, then all of the roizls in the area would go after whoever inflicted harm on the single roizl and make sure that whoever it was either lives their worst nightmare, which they can do with this strange venom they have, or they will break every bone in the being's body. The female roizls are much nicer than the males, also they are furry, and the males are covered in scales that are a bit tougher to break than steel, no one knows why the different genders are different like that, but no one really cares.

Clearly, this starless star system contains absolutely no life forms of a scientific bent. Scientists live to find things like this out - well, they do this side of lame-ass Gaia RPs where all they care about is being generic Evil Bastards who conduct unethical and probably totally unscientific, control-group-free 'experiments' on captive Mary Sues to make them Speshully Speshul, anyway.

I think a slightly fairer thing to say here would be 'I know it makes no sense for the two genders of this species I created to look and behave as if they belonged to totally different genuses, but I'm a Really Lazy Author and I can't be bothered to explain why this might be, so let's move on.'

... and there are thirty-four more of these to go. That's right, you shake. )

... well, at least one good thing came out of all this random stupidity. I found those Youtube videos of Sonic the Hedgehog Music, which I would never have found otherwise and would wholeheartedly recommend to any child of the nineties who ever owned a Genesis, and I am now going to listen to all of them over and over and over until my ears ache and my brain is begging for hard rock. Which, given that I own the Final Fantasy OSTs and think Tomokazu Seki is fantastic, will probably be 'never'.
Current Music: ice cap zone (act 1) - sonic the hedgehog 3 bgm
Current Mood: ... wut?
09 August 2008 @ 08:43 pm
As Chosen By Idiots  
This is why I should ignore Gaia Online's 'Top-Rated Forum Topics'.

I keep forgetting Gaia has RP boards. I don't see the point of forum RP, but even if I did there'd be a very good reason why an RP junkie like myself runs screaming from (or, more accurately, totally ignores) the Barton Town RP forums: the RPs there are made of suck and fail. I love roleplay, but I've had my fill of RPs full of clichéd angstwhore Mary Sues and their clichéd angstwhore tragic pasts, random vampires, boarding schools, and emo teenagers moping about in Gothic asylums.

Many of the RPs on Gaia consist of little more than a premise and a handful of speshul Sues. Often, they follow the Aggressors and Victims pattern and have real trouble recruiting enough Aggressors. An asylum set in a mental hospital with evil doctors usually can't get enough people willing to play evil doctors to make the game worthwhile; master/slave RPs tend to have difficulty finding masters. It's really hard for these games to find someone who wants to play a villain character who won't bog him or her down with enough wangst and inner woe and pathetic emo 'justifications' to sink the Titanic. Yes, she's an evil, sadistic bitch, but mommy never hugged her. Aww.

I stumbled on an 'Asylum' RP in the top-rated topics a while back. Needless to say the asylum appeared to cater exclusively to whiny Emo Sues, the play sucked, and both I and my depression were both rather offended by the way mental illness was portrayed. Finally, and perhaps most depressingly, there appeared to be absolutely no plot. Why would anyone want to join a game with no discernable plotline? It baffles me.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon Chained for Life, which describes itself as a 'Literate[+] Slave Rp', in the same way - and it's rubbish as well.

My curiosity about the game was whetted only by the fact it was described as 'literate'. The premise - and I say this as a connoisseur of Slave!Fic (and doesn't Ken Hidaka just know it?) - sounded like purest suck, but I was still curious to see what this 'literate[+]' RP looked like. So, somewhat against my better judgment, I clicked on the thread... and was greeted by a poll that asked me if I was 'a advanced literate' or not.

Oh. Oh, dear. That would be 'an advanced literate', guys - you use 'a' in front of words that begin with consonants, but it's 'an' for words that begin with a vowel: I am a writer, I am an author - and that phrase lacks a noun. 'An advanced literate roleplayer'. Or, more grammatically still, 'I am an advanced literate roleplayer'. Sadly, there was no poll option for 'I am a far better writer than you so pull your cranium out of your anus, you arrogant fanbrat', so I named myself 'a advanced literate' and moved on to the opening post, which was... well, see for yourself.

This is 'advanced literate' RP? Newsflash, honeychile: block paragraphs, Big Words and ranting on and on (and on and on and on) redundantly do not mean you, I or anyone else qualifies for the descriptor 'advanced literate'.

One of the very first things I noticed about the RP owner - or God, as she later goes on to style herself - and her amazingly high standards of advanced literacy was this phrase: It just depends on what your willing to pay. I have helpfully bolded the part of that sentence that made me wince. If you the thread creator are mixing up your and you're - well, I'm sorry, honey, but you are not writing at an advanced standard. Confusing your and you're makes a genuinely 'advanced literate' reader wince. If you're not wincing, you're not 'a advanced literate'. Oh, and a costumer? According to, that's 'a person who makes, sells, or rents costumes, as for theatrical productions' or just perhaps 'a clothes tree'.

I tried comprehensively red-penning this... thing but gave up in despair after about ten minutes, realizing that it was simply unsalvageable. I'd end up covering the text in corrections and the end result still wouldn't be more than semi-literate, still less like decent formal English. Consequently I've settled for highlighting the most egregious slips - as you can probably tell from the animated .gif up there, there are still a hell of a lot of them - then rewriting the (tedious, cliché-ridden and stupid) opening spiel myself. Forewarned is forearmed, though - though I did my very best to try and make that text block comprehensible, it's still made of suck and phail.

GOD. That took forever and I had to leave out some of it because it made so little sense that I had no idea what the author thought she was trying to say, and I'm still not happy with it. Still, all I'm doing is editing it into literacy - I can't really be blamed for the way the original jumps from topic to topic like a bunny on E, randomly changing gears in the middle of a sentence.

Unfortunately, there is more. )

If you're wondering what kind of an RPer this kind of game attracts, well, wonder no more. Needless to say the entire cast, both masters and slaves, are a bunch of speshul, wangsty Sues.

I won't go into detail about the Sues. Suffice to say that I could, but I'm not going to because I'm getting stupidly hungry and ideally I'd like to finish this rant sometime before the Last Trump. It's already taken about three times longer than I assumed it would, so it's about time I practiced a little self-restraint. Still, in the interests of completion, here's a few small facts about the oh-so-Sueish 'cast' of this 'advanced literate' RP, which may go some way to explaining why they made me *facepalm* so bad.

  • The masters have names like Elissiana Melodic, Eoin Valentine, Damien Raoul Veltario and Shinku Rin Yamagutski.
  • The slaves have names like Antionette Marie DeSchway, Ornlu, Emmilea Ray Kenneth, Kimena Stronghart, Miku and Velkan Kiomlikoi.
  • The 'cast' have profile pictures - well, their authors all chose images of random anime characters to represent their Sues.
  • One of the slaves is a centaur. WTF? How does that even work?
  • Another one is a shapeshifter who turns into a furry. No word on how that works, either.
  • There's an immortal Dominatrix Bitch who hates humans for killing 'her kind' and is only a hateful sadist because she's 'SAD iNSiDE'.
  • There's a misogynistic gay werewolf who was sold by his parents because he was a DIFFERENTLY DIFFERENT iconoclast.
  • Every single one of the characters has a tragic past of tragedy, often involving dead, abusive or absent parents.
  • Five of the slaves were runaways or lived on the streets, because homelessness makes teenage Sues look tragically cool.
  • There's a 'Royal Elf' slave who has the obligatory 'entrancing' singing voice.
  • The slaves list their sexuality, as if what melts their ice cream actually matters. They're SLAVES, for God's sake!
  • I counted sixteen characters. Only two of them are wholly human... and actually become the most remarkable for it.
Needless to say, I cannot work out for the life of me why half these 'slaves' are even in slavery in the first place. Werewolves and half-demons and vampires are far too powerful and far too special. Um, guys? Making the slaves so utterly awesome misses the point (and raises the question of why the Hell they don't just overpower their all too human keepers and escape). There's no real sense of an imbalance of power here, which is what would make the RP vaguely interesting in the first place. If there's no clear imbalance of power in favor of the masters, there's no point trying to write a 'master/slave' dynamic.

Then again, there doesn't seem to be a lot of point to any of this. It's just yet another case of a premise that could be fascinating if one right, sacrificed on the altar of Sues and pointless wish-fulfillment and romantic wangstsap and yet more Sues... and, last but by no means least, the fact that a PG-13 forum on an avatar site really isn't the place to write dark RPs in the first place.

What's the point in a master/slave RP which can’t even be decently dark, manipulative and downright mean without risking being deleted for a TOS breach? Remind me again why anyone would want to RP on Gaia Online?

... and, oh look, the RP's been open a day and it's already overloaded with helpless victim Sues, leaving the game creator desperately trying to find more people who are prepared to take the initiative. Now why am I not surprised?

Oh yeah, that's right. Because it's Gaia.
Current Mood: ahahahahahahahaha--no.
Current Music: bunny doll - manamu enuba