AI: Somnium Files Review

I enjoyed AI: Somnium Files developed and published by Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd. It’s a visual novel with a strong detective murder mystery with some science fiction elements. Yes, like any typical game, there is a lot of saving to do because young girls do need help even when they are bratty and acting all tough! After all, being killed by a sadistic rapist is the worst nightmare that can happen to any girl! You can’t expect a psychopath to have empathy? Do you?

Misuki praying
Poor Mizuki who is only 12, tried so hard to be strong when she is actually mourning for the loss of her mother.

Story

First off, I want to warn readers that I don’t recommend this game to those who don’t have a healthy sense of humor and who are quick to slap anything that has to do with sexuality as misogyny. Quite the contrary, the game is not even misogynistic. The sexual jokes are mild compared to what I see on Twitter and from the former U.S. president. Despite my defense for this game, it doesn’t mean I accept locker room talk. But the jokes are there to poke fun at the protagonist’s singleness. After all, you are playing as the nice, perverted guy who is possibly bi-sexual.

Date looks like a girl
C’mon, look at Date’s face (the protagonist). He can pass off as a pretty woman.

I think that is why I could laugh at the part where Date hit on the 36-year-old receptionist who looks like an idol but is too old to be one. I say as long you can afford anti-aging creams and live comfortably then you are set for life. The average women care more about their appearance and health than they actually would admit as the motivating factor to why they work on top of the fact no one wants to end up homeless. But of course, there are exceptions. So more power to the receptionist for learning how to enjoy life in the moment (as long as you live responsibly that is). It takes a lot of soul searching to find contentment.

I used to work with an older woman who said if she had big boobs she’d flaunt it off. Not to attract men, but for her own liveliness. She was drunk when she said it though.

But I do see how someone would call this game misogynist. I suppose when you analyze a piece of creative work, you got to learn how to put things into context. So don’t dismiss this game because of its humor. On a serious note, there are a lot of heavy subjects around the concept of dream, reality, and AIs and whole bunch other stuff. And what I noticed is that there is a sense of optimistic, progressive thinking about the future of society, or a sense of acceptance on the writer’s part. It’s not just the topic of AIs I am talking about, but also the LGBT community in general.This game is a product of its time.

Aiba looking content
Aiba, the AI who is Date’s detective partner, agrees that human intuition is good from time to time, which is something rational, logical AIs lack.
Mizuki at Marble Bar
Mizuki is accepting of the LGBT community but still shows a sign of uncomfortableness.

I think the balance between seriousness and humor in the game is well done, and that is what I look for when I rate a good game. Even when I completed the game (there are multiple endings) there are still many mysteries to solve and once you solve the remaining mysteries of the story, everything just blows up in your face like fireworks. Overall, the pacing of the story is nice just as much as the colorful cast. Great game for mystery fans.

Gameplay

I played the demo on PS4 so I knew what to expect when I bought the game for PC. There are some differences in terms of user experience obviously. I played with mouse and keyboard but you can also play with a controller. I just stick with mouse and keyboard. I also noticed the game on the PC tends to glitch out occasionally, but it doesn’t happen frequently when I changed the graphic setting. I don’t know what it’s like for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

While solving a case…this happened. It’s kind of artistic!

Gameplay wise, it did great at creating urgency but can get annoying because it does not reward you based on your skills to solve a case in 6 minutes. It did however, reward you on basic arithmetic skills! You have to select Timie to save seconds from being used on the top left side of the screen. Failure to select Timie correctly and the correct choices will penalize you for using seconds in real time and some of them take big chunks!

I had crossed eyes or something when I was playing the game because I mistook TIMIE for TIME. For awhile I kept proceeding without selecting the TIMIE on top center of the screen.

I found myself several times retrying and restarting the case due to running out of time. Some cases can get pretty tough especially if you are trying to solve it within 1 second remaining to obtain one of the trophies. If that sounds complicated. Do not fret. It will take trials and errors to get it right. Getting all the trophies was worth it.

I pride myself on my determination. I did it!

Overall, I thought the mix of shooting, investigating and solving puzzles were interesting. Not one moment was I bored. The concept of pyscning into someone’s dream to uncover hidden clues seems pretty high tech and futuristic. Is it ethical? Not really! I already feel invaded by tech companies collecting my data. It’s like exposing your underwear for strangers to see. Ugh…

mercenaries hovering over to look at bra

Sound

I realized I don’t write much about sound production and voice acting. But they do make a difference in the quality of any video game. At the beginning of the game, I kept switching from English to Japanese language to see which voice cast I prefer to listen to. Eventually I stick with the Japanese voice cast because I prefer Aiba’s Japanese voice over the English voice because ironically she sounds more natural. Believe it or not Aiba is an evolved AI who has a personality of her own and who has the free agency to think for herself. It makes sense to personify her a bit even though she lives inside the protoganist’s eye and she is just an AI. She is also Date’s alter ego. But I won’t go into detail behind my reasoning. That will be another post for a different time if I decide to write about the eye metaphor.

Lastly, the soundtrack composed by Keisuke Ito is decent and the sound effects are seamless enough that I don’t even recognized the music sometimes. It’s great because I felt immersed in the game, but I can’t say I am all that into idol pop culture music though. So the soundtrack didn’t stood out to me as much as other quality story-driven games. However, I do enjoy the Ikume Shrine theme because I just like all things zen.

Conclusion

This game is far from boring and simplistic. It has good soundtrack, good story, fun gameplay and good humor. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing? It’s a great way to release stress. Time is well spent when you are doing something you enjoy especially if it is also thought-provoking.

P.S.

I was having a hard time writing a review for this game and learned that I can use some sort of structure to make my writing process easier. I don’t know if I will stick to this format though, but I did enjoy putting it together.

Halsdoll’s News

If you are accessing this blog post on WP Reader, the featured image is a character from AI: The Somnium Files, the game I’m currently playing. The character Mama works at the bar and is used to listening to people divulging their thoughts publicly. I confess when I’m a bit down, I do reach for the booze because I know Mama will listen because she knows everything.

Happy New Year, not really. I am not going to bet that 2023 will get better. I can’t change events that are out of my control, but I can control my personal space a bit. I have disconnected myself from Twitter, meaning I don’t log onto it anymore. Not like I was all that active to begin with. It’s a very toxic place where most people have chronic road rage and strong political opinions, including the CEO. On top of my New Year’s woe, it looks like my email has found itself in the Dark Web. I don’t speak German and have never been to Germany. Why am I receiving a registration confirmation email from Zinser Card? I don’t even go out enough to shop to impress. And why am I being addressed as Herr Droll ( Mr. Droll?). It looks like Mr. Droll lives in a decent neighborhood based on the address found in the registration confirmation email.

Why does he need to steal people’s email address and act all shady? Then I wonder if Mr. Droll is a victim just as much as I am, or if Mr. Droll is even a real person at all. I have been hacked once. It did put a dent in my trust with people online or in general. But don’t worry, I haven’t lost my faith in humanity. The greatest thing I learned from that awful experience is to trust my instinct because going against it came with a heavy price. If karma is real, I hope that hacker gets what he/she deserves. I hope he/she gets it real bad.

lyon
Lyon from Suikoden V

On the bright side, I completed Eiyuden Rising and 100 percent it! It was addictive and fun. Short and sweet. Now, I’m looking forward to Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes. I also enjoyed watching Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium Actress during the holiday. And recently, I watched M3gan at the theater and plan to watch Everything, Everywhere All At Once. Yet I’m still debating whether I want to do a proper review for anything I have consumed.

dancing in sandbox game
C’mon dance. Dancing helps fight the blues! (Image from From the AI Somnium Files)

I’ll keep this blogging going, but I can’t promise I’ll be here next year. Until next time have a wonderful day.

P.S.

I quit sharing my blog posts on social media entirely. I figure if someone is genuinely interested in my content they will find me via Search Engine.

I Quit Trying to Reduce My Gaming Backlog

You know it does kind of suck being born around Christmas, especially if you are a kid. My birthday gift was often lumped with Christmas presents. In my household, every Christmas, everyone got a barbie doll, including my brothers. Talk about gender equality! Let’s just say… my mom was practical and quite fair. One time, we got a PlayStation instead of barbies so everyone just play games on PlayStation and that is how I became a “gamer”. No it happened before that. Actually, I fell in love with a dolphin simulator game I played at the elementary school’s library. But looking back, I have always enjoyed spending hours solving puzzles or playing computer games and that habit has not died. Now, as a childless full-grown adult (and yes I emphasize childless to explain why I have so much free time for gaming), it doesn’t bother me that my birthday is close to Christmas because there’s nothing I really want. The perfect birthday is peace and quiet and a good game. In fact, I already have a decent amount of games to go through!

So what is my New Year Resolution for a happier and better me? Stop stressing about trying to reduce my gaming backlog. Play what I can without turning it into a chore. So here is my list on top of my head:

  • Eyuiden Rising (PC)
  • Hollow Knight (PS4)
  • Tales of Vesperia (PS4)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ps4)
  • AI: Sominum Files (PC)
  • Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)
  • Whisper of Machines (PC)
  • Silver Case (PC)
  • Silver Case II (PS4)
  • Soma (PC)
  • Elden Ring (Ps5)
  • Resident Evil 7 (Ps4)
  • Ace Attorney (Ps4)
  • Sakura Wars (Ps4)
  • Dragon Age Origins (Ps3)
  • Mass Effects (ps3)
  • Peace Walker (ps3)

I rarely make a list of games I want to complete for the year. Who am I to kid? I never stick to a schedule, but I am trying. Games in bold are games that I am currently playing. Games I crossed out means I have a hard time getting into. Maybe I will play it when I am in the right mood. It did take me about seven years to finally play Tales of Xillia. I remember there were several occasions I tried to play. If you force yourself to play games it will become work and that is one big reason why I do not stream. Plus, I find that writing my thoughts out is more meditative. In the end, I like to talk about the games and not much about me. I think readers who have been following me know by now why I stick to blogging. But if you are new to my blog, you can check out my reasons here.

There are a ton of other games I want to add to my list. Some new and some old. Yep, it seems like my backlog is not going anywhere and I gave up on trying to reduce it.

No Excuse, but It Was Hard to Get Out of the ‘Beast’s Den’

I have been charmed by Hollow Knight. This game is brutally charming (no pun intended). There are charms to be collected throughout the game to help ease the player’s experience and exploration. For someone like me who thrives on challenges and exploration, I instantly got addicted to the game fast. The stage designs are well designed and sometimes a bit too rough. If you don’t have a lot of patience, you might end up breaking the screen. As for me, I am just quite persistent when there is a challenge because it feels soooooo good when you overcome it! The game has awaken my enthusiasm for games. I ended up adding a bunch of games to WishList on Steam, thinking the next game I am going to play will be just as good. One in particular I am anticipating to play is Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. The other games I wanted to purchase were Strange Horticulture and Remothered: Broken Porcelain. But I decided to hold off. I want to enjoy games without feeling pressured to beat it and move on to the next. I promise myself once I beat a game, then I can buy another game. On top of Hollow Knight, I am finally getting around to Tales of Vesperia. I got my gaming plans all sorted out, haha.

So yeah, Hollow Knight is going to take me awhile, but I probably won’t do a review for it. Way back then, when the game was released, there were already enough positive reviews written by passionate gamers. It’s that fun. As you can see in the boss fight below (the 2nd part of the boss fight), I didn’t think I was going to beat it, but the more I play, the better I get. I feel quite satisfied with my progress so far.

Barely did it, but oh boy it felt good defeating it!

On top of the boss fight, I just love exploring the areas. I have more areas to uncover, more abilities to unlock. Overall, more charms to collect. How can something be so charming but be so brutal??? I lost count how many times I died trying to get to hard to reach items. The game sure keeps my my distracted from going crazy. I suppose that is a good thing. Anyway, I hope my readers have a nice holiday with a lot of Christmas cheers.

P.S.

I am not quite sure where this blog is heading in the future. My life has always been a transit, moving from places to places. Maybe one day I can finally find a place I can call home. For now, I will just enjoy the adventure.

hollow knight character sitting in tram

My Incoherent Review of Lady Snowblood

My apologies to my readers for missing a post last week. Online has become so loud and toxic that I noticed some of that negativity is showing up in the blogosphere. So, I took a short break from reading blogs and blogging to play Hollow Knight for my mental health’s sake. I was meaning to publish this review last Sunday but I had a hard time editing and polishing it up. Hopefully, my thoughts of the film make sense. Still feel that it’s not refined enough and I could elaborate more but then it will never be published!!! So here it goes…

Imagine a droplet of blood dripping one by one onto the clean white snow. Tell me what do you see? Do you see a Japanese flag? I want to say Lady Snowblood is a revenge story filled with death and bloody scenes. It is, but it’s more than that. Dig a little bit deeper, you’d find a nationalistic film that opposes western thoughts on greed and expansion. Wait…no I am simplifying it–it’s not a nationalist film, but more about corruption from outside influences. You can draw xenophobia from this film. However, I think most people would agree that corrupted officials can make a country bleed when money is involved. I wonder though… is money the root of all evil? Money is only as evil as the person who wields the weapon. That’s just my two cents as an outsider. Despite my opinion, I enjoyed the film for its artistic and poetic aspects. I like the color choices. You see the color red and white throughout the film which are used to enhance the revenge plot. If you are not familiar with the plot, it’s about a young lady who was born to avenge the death of her mother’s husband and her half-brother (Wikipedia summarized the plot incorrectly).

In the opening of the film, we see snow falling outside the window’s cell while female prisoners dressed in red, huddling together around a woman who has just given birth to a baby girl named Yuki, starring Meiko Kaji, the female protagonist. Instantly, I feel the coldness of the plot aligning with Yuki’s character. Another scene where the color red and white are used is when her mother’s husband gets stabbed in broad daylight for wearing a white suit. According to the pheasants, people in white suits are pawns of the government. The scene is so dramatic that it left an impression on me. Blood starts squirting and spilling onto the husband’s perfectly white suit in a flash. Moments ago, I saw a happy family taking a lovely walk in the woods. It’s a powerful scene along with the raging waves of the blue ocean. Like the flick of the Katana, everything is so sharp and happens quickly. Each scene and shot fall into perfect sync. I also like how Yuki drifts like a snowflake in the cold winter’s air, slaughtering the bad guys in the name of justice. More than anything, I empathize with the strong female lead taking justice into her hands with a blade! Karma can define one’s destiny. In Yuki’s case, she was born for revenge. She was born to avenge for the powerless people who are made to suffer under the hands of greedy officials. Overall, it’s a nice revenge film with a subtle hint of political criticism.

P.S.

I couldn’t find a decent trailer for this film, but it’s worth getting the Criterion Collection. It’s one of those films you’d want to watch over and over because it’s just that pretty.

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

I appreciate flowers. I appreciate flowery words used to make Nature beautiful and comforting–that includes the marsh. This book reminds me of a fairy tale more than a story based on true life events because it’s all dreamily poetic. So, if you are looking for a story that will make you feel good and you want to be in tune with nature—this is the book. It’s all powerfully feminine just like Nature. Sometimes that’s all you need. Let her embrace you with her wild beauty. She will heal your ailing mind.

In this book, we follow the story of a girl named Kya, the protagonist, who grew up in the marsh. First, her mother left. Then one by one, her siblings left her too. Eventually, her abusive father left her as well. By age 10, the girl is left to survive on her own in the marsh, digging and selling mussels. Kya reminded me of a southern-style version of Lara Croft (a video game character). Instead of raiding tombs, Kya studies the marsh with sensitivity, embracing all the life it has to offer. She is a naturalist, an artist, a poet, and a scientist without proper schooling. Because of her mysterious ways, she is known as the Marsh Girl and is shunned by the locals. And yet, her wildness and beauty got her involved with two men from the local town called Barkley Cove, a made-up belief place by the coast of North Carolina. It’s a romance, murder mystery story with a flare of drama mixed with science. I think it’s a great mix of genres and a refreshing one.

I read some negative reviews on Goodreads, arguing that the protagonist is unrealistic and there are some inaccurate presentations of North Carolina’s dialects. I wouldn’t know since I am not from the region. However, it didn’t bother me because I understood what the author, Delia Owen was trying illustrate with her characters and the story the entire time: As the author stated, Kya is in all of us and one in a million (p.438, mass ed.). The author used science to explain the plot and the reasoning behind her characters’ motivations such as mating, social acceptance, loneliness, and isolation. For instance, if you have never lived alone for years and did not communicate with anyone daily (texting doesn’t count), the world can feel lonesome. When you have that much alone time, you start to ease the loneliness through your surroundings by acknowledging the liveliness of Nature. That’s how Kya survived all those years by herself. The marsh became her mother:

“Sometimes she heard night sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land that caught her.”

-Page 40, Where the Crawdads Sing

As a character, Kya is innocently pure like Nature. I love how the author used her character to link with the civilized world. As a reader, I see it through the interaction between the locals and kya. From the outsider’s perspective, she is nothing more than bare-footed swamp trash. She couldn’t even read until the age of 14 or 15. And yet, the author paints her in the most beautiful light by mixing poetry into the story to evoke longing and empathic feelings. In this book, the marsh is beautiful and pure unlike the socially constructed society.  Religion, culture, customs, and social economics can make a society appears more barbaric than the marsh. Unlike humans, Nature is not prejudiced. She doesn’t ostracize people based on class, intelligence, genetics, etc. Instead, she provides shelter and abundance. All you ever need is within grasp, and the best part is that she gives it freely without expecting anything in return except for your embrace just like a good mother.

I enjoyed the book and its imagery of the marsh, but didn’t care much about the romance part. It was however, suspenseful enough to keep me turning the pages. There were a few parts that made me laugh hard.  I highly doubt I would watch the film. There’s something about written words that often get lost when it’s turned into a motion picture.

Why Is White Knight Chronicles Not as Popular as Demon’s Souls?

These past few days, I am finishing up WKC II (White Knight Chronicles II) for the second time. I have been enjoying the game a lot. According to Wiki, the first installment was released in 2008, and the second one in 2011 for North America. White Knight Chronicles II has two games in one, and I remember spending less time on it than the first installment. The online part of the game was highly addictive–rare drops and grinding for ranks pushed some gamers to the limits. Around the same time, Demon’s Souls, released in 2009, was also another interesting online game for the Playstation3. It received more praise than White Knight Chronicles by word of mouth. I wonder why? Who the heck wants to play as the pious guy? In the entertainment world, being edgy and flawed is more appealing than being a goody-two-shoes. So I rarely hear anyone boast about White Knight Chronicles platinum for obvious reasons. Honestly, I am prouder of the platinum for White Knight Chronicles than Demon’s Souls because it took a lot of determination and patience. The game can become repetitive and unrewarding unlike Demon’s Souls where players get more gratification out of beating bosses. It’s a different type of determination. Expect to grind for several hours until you receive a rare item drop. When you do receive the drop, you get these incredible feelings as if you just hit the jackpot. I suppose with WKC, it can feel like you are gambling. However, the only thing you are losing is time. It can’t possibly be that bad if you are enjoying it?

stats from PSN profile

If you think about it. Only 1.6 percent out of 81,592 players got a platinum achievement whereas Demon’s Souls has 10.13% out of 209,499 players. If I can recall both of these games are Playstation3 exclusive. Both have high learning curves. I remember I felt overwhelmed with the tutorial and the different classes, but once you master the game, you just learn to appreciate it more. From a broad perspective, I wonder were they trying to turn casual console gamers into PC gamers? These two games sort of feel like miniature multiplayer games (I will do a proper game analysis of Demon’s Souls at a later time).

Demon's Souls stats from PSN Profile

I also want to make a point that both games have a knight in front of their cover. If you dig deeper into the White Knight Chronicles story, it’s the same concept as Demon’s Souls. A broken knight, an evil knight is a dangerous knight. Blah Blah Blah about complex human nature. It’s how the story is executed which distinguishes it. If you want to appeal to the mass, you got to find a way to tell a good story. Playing a corruptible person is more relatable than playing a saint saving a princess. Also, I want to stress that what these two games have in common is the level of details in the game design. They are both highly addictive and fun.  It still blows my mind for someone as thorough as me who originally played for story. So yes, story is as important as gameplay if you want to grab a wider audience, or else you would only be pleasing an exclusive group of people. Of course, I am stating the obvious. If money wasn’t the lord of this earthly realm, it might not be such a bad idea to cater toward a smaller group of appreciative gamers. I can only imagine how tiresome it can get creating the same content over and over simply because there’s a market for it. Anyway, I can explain in further detail why these games are similar but excellent in their way. For now I concluded that Demons’ Souls is more popular than WKC because gamers are more responsive to games with darker than lighter themes.

Note: I pulled the stats from psnprofile.com.

Halsdoll’s Halloween Party

I wish I had something exciting for Halloween, but I don’t. I am an introvert. I have always stayed away from big crowds and declined parties invitation that involved heavy drinking and staying up all night. I have no shame in saying it though. Being true to myself is more important than being cool in front of someone’s eyes. Talking about coolness level, I highly doubt anyone noticed, but I missed a post yesterday! No worries. This blog hasn’t turned into cobwebs yet. I reserved my weekly post for this special Halloween Day!

Halloween Vampire Beanie Baby-Bearla
No I don’t feel guilty being a couch potato today…

I decided to go through my old stuff and dig some horror-related content that might be of interest to survival horror fans. For Halloween, I will be staying in door just relaxing. Maybe watch the Blair Witch Project remake with my fiancé or get a copy of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water and Songs of Horror. Playing horror games with a group of friends or siblings is a lot of fun. I used to play a lot of them with my brother.

So if you are new to my blog, welcome! I dug these posts from the grave! Hopefully you found something worth reading:

  1. Reflecting on Resident Evil Franchise as a Survival Horror Game–Since I wrote this article, I have not touched Re7:Biohazard even though I have a digital copy. The first person view is not my thing.
  2. Kuon— This is a classic Fromsoftware horror game. If you are the type who likes subtle horror story, and quiet atmosphere, then this is the game for you.
  3. Reminiscing Friday the 13th (1989) –This article takes a look at my first entry to horror games. It’s not all scary, but at the same time it is for a kid. The creative concept for it is great, however, as a whole, this game is a flop.

Back then I was more inclined to write about survival horror games I’ve played, but these past few years my interest in horror content has died down a bit. In fact, when I watched the trailers to the new Silent Hill games, I was happy, but not overly excited. Like previous Halloween, I find myself gravitating toward bright-colored games. I just like switching from genre from time to time. Too much of a good thing can’t be a healthy thing. At least that is what I tell myself when it comes to consuming horror content.

Well, happy Halloween to those who celebrate it. You are never too old to celebrate Halloween and play games and eat a lot of candy, haha.

Avatar pose in Dark Souls II
I don’t typically dress up for Halloween, but I do like to doll up in games.

Tidying Up and Sweeping My Thoughts

I am guilty of taking the easy route by not coming up with something fresh like I normally do for my weekly post. Normally, I think about what I want to write but not this time. I’m allowing my mind to roam despite my best effort to attempt decorating my blog with Halloween topics. I found myself uninspired and motivated to write about witches, wolves, demons, clowns, etc. However, around this time of season, I did enjoy free candy and horror shows as a kid, but I was never the type who go out of my way to dress up for the occasion. I remember I went trick or treating in my normal clothes with my friend from school in my neighborhood when I was about 12 years old. One of the neighbors was shocked and asked us why we didn’t dress up. I believe I said I’m dressing up as myself. That’s scary enough. He looked disappointed but gave us candy anyway. Ever since I quit celebrating the holiday until a couple of years ago when I learned from my old workplace that dressing up in Halloween costumes can be fun. People from the West Coast are more relaxed and in tune with their inner child than people from the Mid West who seem more fixated on punctuality and clean desks, or maybe I am generalizing. I highly doubt I could find another workplace that has a relaxed culture that resemble a dysfunctional family like the family from the film Little Miss Sunshine or Twin Peaks, although there was no death involved in the workplace. Everyone was on the quirky side and that made me feel at home. I enjoyed my co-workers who brought me a lot of laughter and made me feel warm and fuzzy.

The stuffed animals I accumulated from my co-workers. They just sit on my desk cheering me on. The funny part is I am not really into stuffed animals.

Recently, I had a job interview for a position where I am more than qualified. I knew the interviewer asked me if there were anything else not showing up on my resume. In my head, I thought of my blog. Then she asked me how organized am I on a scale from 1 to 10. That question stumped me because asking a creative person to be organized is the equivalent of asking her to die. Instantly, I knew I don’t belong in that environment. It’s a place full of first time moms who are particular with punctuality and routine. Well, I do understand why. After all, they are dealing with clients’ financial assets so everything has to be organized and structured. I could pretend to be all put together, but I am not all that traditional despite my reserved personality. When I told them I was looking for work-life balance, I wasn’t thinking of starting a family and becoming a mom, I was thinking of having more time for my creative pursuits. I knew on the spot I wasn’t a great fit. It seems that the girls treat each other like family and support life outside of work, but it’s a different type of lifestyle that I had in mind. I could only imagine how stuck I’d feel in an environment where motherhood is everything. I don’t know if I will ever be one. Either way, I’m content just focusing on my creative projects whether it’s gathering my mom’s recipes and turning it into a cookbook, crafting a poem, going for a long walk, writing a short story or finding the perfect wardrobe. Those simple things make me happy.

I could publish more frequently if I talk what’s from the heart because it feels effortless. It’s healthy to do some house cleaning because it’s the reflection of the mind. Then I can go back to enjoying my hobbies and enjoying life. But more importantly, sleep better, which is something I have been struggling for years.

Well that is it for today. Thanks for reading Halsdoll’s Time, where news is often irrelevant, but I hope you can find some sunshine in your life. I shall leave you with this excellent music soundtrack from Little Miss Sunshine.

What Do Damsel in Distress and Bad Boy Tropes Have in Common?

Glad the title caught your attention. If you want a quick answer, they are both annoying. I’m kidding. Please continue reading. It took me a great amount of time to reflect on this subject. Hopefully, you will learn something because I did.

I don’t hate the damsel in distress. I think some of them are quite intelligent and resourceful like Elena from Pandora Tower (Nintendo Wii).  What she lacks in physical strength she makes it up with brains. She balances out the protagonist pretty well. Contrary to what most people think of the damsel of distress, it’s not her timid personality or lack of backbone that bothers me, although that can be equally as annoying when she expects everyone to rescue her. However, it’s her unwillingness to help herself sort out her emotions is what I don’t like. My definition of the damsel in distress might look very much like the character, Juno, from the anime Beastars who barks and demands things to go her way. Why does she need to prove herself to society? She is already on top of the food chain. She is strong. So why does she need a man to protect her unless she doesn’t feel that she is enough? Another example is Aelinore, the queen from Dragon Dogma (PS3). I remember one quest called the Duchess in Distress, I had to carry her because she doesn’t want to get her feet wet! It’s so off-putting, and it must be a joke to the ambitious men who will do anything to climb the hierarchy class. I get the humor. I remember I laughed. However, as a woman, assisting Aelinore was twice the work, twice the burden. No reward other than me being closer to a dead weight myself.

Surprisingly, the same thing can be said about male characters, the bad boy type. The guy needs a woman to help him navigate through the world because he can’t rationalize and reason with himself to see the world in a better light. He needs a woman to save him from his wrath. These types of men were typically raised by strong women when the father figure is on the passive side or completely absent from their lives. I sympathize with the situation. However, they can’t possibly expect the woman to save them from their short falling, do they?

Maybe he is not necessarily a bad boy…but his pouty personality was always a turn-off for me.

In video games (mainly Japanese games), I rarely see games played from the perspective of a woman, and not having male traits with a woman’s body like 2b from Nier Automata does not justify a solid woman’s character. Well, duh…she is an android. So, it’s hard to pull an example from video games on what bad boys are like when you’re always playing from a guy’s perspective, and if you are a guy, you always think you are right. Take Ryo Hazuki from the Shenmue franchise as an example, he travels to Hong Kong so he can kill the guy who has murdered his dad! That doesn’t seem like a good guy’s trait! But he is surprisingly a nice guy who just needs a little guidance. Don’t we all do?

Ryo gambling
Um…what are you doing Ryo? Dropped out of school, and now gambling for big money in the shady part of Hong Kong? Well, at least you stick to a goal. It’s better than being an indecisive guy.

But if you want to analyze the bad boy on a deep level, you’d find more of them in books written by women. Think of Beauty and the Beast as an example. Unlike the damsel in distress, the bad boy doesn’t seem to be a burden. Instead, he brings out the nurturing side of the woman, and thus it elevates her. Have you ever wondered why so many intelligent women end up with the wrong guy? Well, it’s a classic tale. By saving the bad boy–she feels as if she has won a trophy that set her apart from other women. Sadly, she is mistaken. It’s an imbalance relationship dynamic. When the story is told from a woman’s perspective, the bad boy trope is the same as the damsel in distress when we flip the script. It’s a one-sided relationship when one partner is objectified to make another feel superior while the other is being used because the partner feels incapable of helping him or herself. It’s nothing more than a self-centered relationship for both parties, the more I look at it.

So, what do these two have in common? Well, other than the fact they need constant saving, they are tropes used to mask the rescuer’s deep-rooted insecurity which is self-worth. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. The rescuer loses his or her self-worth when there are no more people to save. It may be a noble characteristic, but a detrimental one, especially when one is being used by the cry of distress. Now you know why I don’t like these tropes. Their distress may very well be just another form of control (a.k.a. emotional abuse). Sadly, it’s the rescuer who becomes the victim, not the distress.