Ep. 206 - Bmups, with Christine Love

@“sabertoothalex”#p46106 I thought Hashino had a lesser level of involvement in the first two Persona_s? Like as a co-writer or designer or something. (Update: Oops, guess I got those confused with If…_)

@"exodus"#p46108 I guess that makes sense. Although, from what little I know about the isolated Hidden Christian cults, a lot of them developed belief systems that are totally alien to mainstream Western Christianity, right? I get the sense that _Devilman_ helped introduce a particular motif of Aleister Crowley-like occult iconography and apocalyptic mysticism, borrowing from Gnosticism and Kabbalah, into the mainstream pop culture gene pool, and its popularity influenced a whole generation of nerdy creatives who came of age during the 70s in particular. I guess the JJCAT, which gained popular traction during the 80s and 90s alongside a surge in [antisemitic conspiracy theories](https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-06-23-me-7040-story.html?_amp=true), was also situated in the legacy of the Hidden Christians though. idk, it’s an interesting topic to me.

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@“esper”#p45850 How has video game art and design been impacted by Christian iconography?

I don't have a cogent or coherent theory on this, but, without having listened to even the full response on the show, there are definitely some substantial Christian music influences on game music. My largely uninformed assumption about this may be based entirely on the similarities I perceive between the sound of organs and the sound of unprocessed analog synthesis.

Granted, a large majority of basic music theory is based in modes of both scales _and_ counterpoint. Early medieval music is almost entirely modal in its composition, and the majority of what people think of as being Gregorian Chant, named for Pope Gregory I, evokes modal scales (think the church-y music in some parts of the Death Note anime).

Modal counterpoint, on the other hand, has the distinct factor of using only two voices (I can't remember if there are any exceptions, it's been like 9 years since I took the theory class that covered this), similarly to the limited sounds of early game consoles. So, I posit that contrapuntal music and early console music has plenty of overlap both by coincidence and by design.

@“dylanfills”#p46128 ok sorry I'll put my Western-centric music education back in the box now

@“2501”#p46127 I should ask some older game devs where they first saw it, you could be on to something!

@“2501”#p46079 yknow I‘m sure I had this info rattling around in my head somewhere but my brain defaulted to the sillier option and I don’t know that I'm equipped to accept otherwise

I've typed and rewritten several responses to the “should you make your game free” question. I keep typing and rewriting things because it basically encompasses everything wrong with making and selling an indie game in 2021.

I settled on freeware for my indie game project, mainly because I kept seeing highly successful developers of games I love all go "we sold less than like 1000 copies" over and over again. It seemed to simplify doing any kind of marketing, adding more and more features to the game, adding excessive levels of polish, and then having robust and long post-release support and updates. I looked into things like marketing and pitching to publishers, and it seemed like loads more work than I was really capable of. I can't hope to game an endless series of algorithms just so potential customers might see it. I read one twitter thread months ago claming that, in order to really promote a title, one has to spend about 6 months just getting enough daily wishlists to become visible on steam.

And yeah this feels wrong somehow, how does one charge for stuff they made when there's a glut of stuff out there, platforms and publishers are largely indifferent, and the effort to make stuff is incredibly intense and long? I don't know.

@“dylanfills”#p46128 I was definitely thinking when I first read the question, “How do you isolate ‘Christian iconography’ from the entire history of Western art?” Christian iconography, philosophy and aesthetics are so deeply seeded into Western culture that those of living in it mostly perceive them as background noise; yet if you trace various culturally prevalent ideas in the West any farther back than at most a century or two, virtually everything comes into contact with Christianity sooner or later. Even with the onset of secularism the last 2-3 centuries, you still have tons of ideas and aesthetics that mimic or reference Christian ones. So you could probably argue for virtually any kind of clearly Western influence in popular culture tying back to Christianity in some abstract way - some more obvious than others, e.g. European medievalism which I’m told is a somewhat popular aesthetic touchstone for video games the world over. What you’re describing with music theory is a great example of that, and I’m sure the same principles could be extended to architecture, literature, philosophy, painting, etc. etc. which are all present in the globally exported cultural gene pool.

@"gsk"#p46136 Y’know, I’d be really curious to know about games with explicitly Jewish iconography! I can think of _SMT_ (whose use of Jewish iconography, as outlined in the article I linked above, is… kinda borderline-antisemitic, in a weirdly obscure and Japanese way), the _Xeno_ series (whose Gnostic mythologies also kind of align with very arcane forms of religious antisemitism, but in a way similar to _Evangelion_ that much less suggests consistent or conscious intent by the devs), a couple games that throw out random Kabbalic references as window dressing (_FF7_, _Metal Gear Acid 2_), and… idk, the _South Park_ games? Seriously, that’s all I got off the top of my head. I can’t even think of any explicitly Jewish video game characters outside of licensed games, _The Last of Us 2_, a couple WWII shooters with the obligatory _Saving Private Ryan_ Jewish squadmate, background characters in some Rockstar titles, and, uh, the _Wolfenstein_ reboot series where the Super-Nazis have apparently succeeded in Holocausting all but two Jews from planet Earth? lol.

@“2501”#p46148 https://store.steampowered.com/app/252370/The_Shivah/

good little game!

@“Ankh-ef-en-yeso”#p46150 Is this like a Diner Dash clone where you deliver dishes of coldcuts to the mourners’ homes?

@“2501”#p46152 I played it way back in it‘s original less good graphics version so can’t remember an actual Shivah scene, however it is an atmospheric and thoughtful point and click adventure and well worth 5 bucks imo

Like 10% of at least some of the Castlevania soundtracks is just the first fugue subject in Bach‘s Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, which, isn’t explicitly sacred music I guess but would have been primarily used as such. Which was a good choice 'cause that shit rips

I like “metroivania.” My brain gets it within milliseconds. Please give my withering old brain a little break won't you?

@“KennyL”#p46256 Metroid-like is less syllables!!

@“NoJoTo”#p45932 That's a good one!

If we had to pick something else, I've always felt we should just go with the other term oft associated with the genera (sequence breaking) and call them Sequential Platform/Exploration Games? I guess that also hits Brandon's 90's put-three-descriptors-together criteria as well? I guess I'm a child of the times.

@“Gaagaagiins”#p46257 Ok I‘d take Fancy-Mappy if I must. That’s as far as I can go sorry…

as far as sapir-whorf game genre names go, I'd bet money that “souls-like” is going to become the next “metroidvania”

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@“Ankh-ef-en-yeso”#p46298 sapir-whorf

Any post that mentions Sapir-Whorf is an instant like from me.

This was a weird episode for me as a _Metroid_ fan and a _Castlevania_ fan. I know the indie space is rife with the genre but I guess I don’t gravitate toward them. I did play _Axiom Verge [1]_ and ended up wishing it was actually a Metroid game? Also, the hand-held Igavanias are the ones that had a ton of grinding in them and I ironically missed them not really having the need or the preference for a hand-held system. So that discussion was also seeming to be away from what I enjoy and away from what I would personally define as part of the genre.

BMUPS though is a great term, and I am gonna make a BMUP thread.

And as always, your guests are killin’ it. Hope to have Christine back again.

rename “metroidvania” challenge:

  • - exploration platformer
  • - lock and keys side scroller
  • - backtracker
  • {“sticky”:false}