nenena: (Soul Eater - Blair kitty)
Some of these links are old, some of them are new. I hope that all of them are interesting for you.

Uktena is a historically accurate (well, with the addition of a few supernatural elements) free PC roleplaying game created by Toye Heape and based on native cultures that lived in Tennessee about six hundred years ago. It needs some funding help to get off the ground. As to why this game is awesome and important, here's what Heape has to say:

When the game is finished I want to make it available as a free digital download. I have plans for future games that I'd like to create and possibly sell, but it's important to me that as many people as possible have access to Uktena. Here's why: When many people hear the words Native American they think of teepees, war bonnets, and other icons associated with the great horse riding, buffalo hunting cultures of the American plains, but you won't be seeing those things in this game. Uktena is about a different Native culture and a different period in American history, neither of which is very well known to most people. I believe Uktena has the potential to help change that by immersing players in that prehistoric world and letting them participate in that civilization while having a fun gaming experience.

[...]In recent years road projects, housing developments, shopping centers, and even libraries and museums, along with illegal looting, have impacted or destroyed major Native American archaeological sites in the Nashville area. It may seem inconceivable that America's heritage could be wiped out like this, but I believe a major reason is because most people aren't aware of it. This was one of my main motivations for creating Uktena. I think a video game can have a powerful impact on the imagination in a way that other media can't, and once the player has "experienced" the history he or she will be more likely to object to what little is left of it being crushed under the treads of a bulldozer. [...] At the same time I want you to know that, like most people, my main objective when playing a game is to have fun, and I'll do my best, with your invaluable assistance, to make Uktena a fun and exciting game.


Recently there's been a lot of discussion on Tumblr and Dreamwidth about fan-funded indie games that are intended to be inclusive of people and cultures not normally represented in your typical mainstream RPGs. Unfortunately a lot of that discussion is fueled by a Certain Project doing nearly everything wrong. Well, here's an example of a game that is really, truly doing it right. And even though the Kickstarter deadline for this project has passed, there are still ways that you might be able to help it get the funding that it needs.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the internet! A whole lot of dimwitted male movie critics have been trying to gain Feminism Points by critiquing how Black Widow is portrayed in The Avengers. The overwhelming problem with most of these reviews, however, is not that there isn't anything bad to be said about Black Widow's portrayal or Joss Whedon's often strangely limited flavor of feminism - because there most certainly IS an awful lot worthy of critique there - but that movie critics are, for some inexplicable reason, complaining about Black Widow being useless in the film. Uh, what? Fortunately, Ian Grey has an excellent takedown of that argument. Bonus points for actually calling out the offending movie critics by name.

Speaking of Doing It Right: Dan Norton is the amazing character designer for the new Thundercats series and he's posting all of his character and mech design work on Deviantart. Well worth a gander even if you're not into Thundercats. Also, some time ago Norton's gallery hosted a hilarious flamewar during which Norton beautifully smacked down a sexist fanboy who showed up to complain about Pumyra's new design being "too manly" and not having big enough breasts. Sadly, however, those comments seem to have been deleted now.

More potpourri links:

Paul Tobin hilariously describes stupid depictions of gender in fiction.

Swan Tower writes about writing fight scenes.

How to Illustrate Weelchairs. Also useful information for anybody who wants to write about or film characters who use wheelchairs.

Push Girls is a show that documents the lives of four women who use wheelchairs.

This is the best Avengers/Disney mashup. The BEST.
nenena: (Tink - Cheers!)
I just wrote 1200 words on why the new Thundercats reboot is 32 flavors of amazing and I regret nothing.

Getting the Big Reasons out of the way first: Gorgeous artwork, awesome characters, an epic ongoing story, and just the right blend of humor and drama. )

It has a lot of cool, complex worldbuilding based on a few really interesting premises. )

The show is exceptionally good at showing, not telling. )

It has a lot of grimdark story elements that are presented in a surprisingly kid-friendly manner, but without actually dumbing any of the content down. )

It handles the complicated intersection of racism and classism in a more sophisticated manner than most Media For Grown-Ups manages to do. )

It's gayer than a treeful of monkies on nitrous oxide. )

The writers understand exactly who their audience for this show is. )


So, in less words: If you like really great epic fantasy animated series (hello Avatar fans reading this!) or are a sucker for fantasy worlds based on so-stupid-that-it's-awesome premises mixed with creative, surreal background and character designs (hello Soul Eater fans reading this!) or just really appreciate shows that are thoughtfully crafted to appeal to both children and an adult audience at the same time (hello My Little Pony reboot fans!), then you will probably enjoy watching the new Thundercats series.

And y'all should totally check it out so that I have more people to squee about this series with.

That is all.

ETA: Just to make my journey to the dark side complete: I now have an Thundercats-themed Tumblr. Moreso as a way for me to index my favorite bits of the Thundercats fandom than anything else. But please hop on over and give it a look if you like awesome fanworks (and I am admittedly very picky about what I post/re-blog) about alien cat-people.

So yeah, I have a Tumblr now. A Tumblr devoted entirely to a furry cartoon series. DIGNTIY, HOW DOES IT WORK. Not that I even care anymore.
nenena: (Devi - Isana)
So I realized that I've had this narrative kink for a while, but only just recently did I figure out how to articulate it. (Thank you, Thundercats reboot!)

I have this inexplicable love for stories in which the heroes find themselves possibly doomed to re-enact the tragic lives of their ancestors and/or past reincarnations, but then find some way at the last minute to reverse that fate.

I remember that Sailor Moon hit this kink in a big way when I was a teenager. Come to think of it, this trope shows up a LOT in other shoujo manga as well. Homestuck sets up the trope in the most literal way possible by having the trolls grow up in a culture where they're encouraged to follow the same life paths as their ancestors. There was even a thread of this in Avatar with the Roku/Sozin and Zuko/Aang parallels.

The 2011 Thundercats reboot is clearly moving in this direction as well. And yes, this post title is a direct reference to the way that Tygra's character arc is being set up to parallel both Tygus in the distant past (who is the only other tiger in the series so far) and Grune in the immediate past (who is a saber-toothed tiger, a fact that admittedly it took me a while to pick up on - and it's not like the writers were even being subtle about it, either!).

When I think about this trope, though, I can't help but notice that all of my favorite examples of it come from decidedly kid-oriented media. In fact, I'm having a really hard time coming up with any examples of it in sci-fi or fantasy stories geared toward an adult audience. Homestuck may be a possible exception, as it doesn't seem to be deliberately aimed at any age group in particular and has attracted a mixed teen and adult audience, but at the end of the day I still think it's a deliciously juvenile story that revels in its own immaturity, and it's definitely not "more or less for grown-ups" the same way that, say, something like Star Trek or a George R.R. Martin novel would be.

So... why is that, exactly? I dunno. Maybe it's inherently a juvenile trope?

Can anybody else think of any examples from not-so-kiddie-oriented media? The best that I've been able to come up with is possibly the original Star Wars trilogy, but it doesn't quite fit the bill because a) Luke struggling to not repeat his father's destiny is not the same as struggling to not repeat his distant ancestor and/or past reincarnation's destiny, and b) Star Wars was intended to appeal to both a kiddie and an adult audience at the same time, so it's not quite as "adult-oriented" as I'm looking for.