A linchpin holds the wheel of a car to the axle, thus allowing you to drive. Where would Conway be without his truck to take him along the roads of the great state of Kentucky?
A linchpin is also consider an important person that holds an operation together. This definition is less important, but at the same time, one does want to know as much as one can, especially when it is free, or so I’ve been told.
Kentucky Route Zero is a game. It is a brilliant game, a game so perfectly written that I can hardly give it enough praise, or quite articulate the praise it deserves. It is slow, but the tension is just right; everything in the game seems so peculiar, but at the same time, you never quite question what is going on, as it seems that everything is exactly where it is supposed to be, and you are just looking into a world that you aren’t quite familiar with, but everyone else is. The point-and-click nature of the gameplay is perfectly suited for the subdued, and ambiguous storyline that is being presented to the player. Nothing makes sense, but that makes everything all the more valid.
What the game does is provide, perhaps, one of the most vastly realized worlds in which the main character is more suitable to the player than one might realize. Conway is just a guy trying to do his job, but everyone else seems too bizarre for him. They seem too bizarre for the player as well, no doubt. Sure, Conway occupies the all too familiar white male protagonist role, but at the same time, the many characters that he encounters range in gender and race, and all of them are just as quirky as they could come. No one quite seems to have the answer, but no one seems to be trying to mislead you either.
What Kentucky Route Zero does is portray a world that is not unlike something that writer-director David Lynch would create, yet here, KRZ (as it will be abbreviated) follows many of the same patterns that Lynch might, but instead of violence, there is bureaucracy. Where two characters are played by the same woman, there is a family desperate to help a man, yet they can’t quite pay for their own farm. Nearly all of the aspects of Kentucky Route Zero line up in many ways to a Lynchian perspective, but at the same time, all of it is fresh. The same question is asked, “What is down the rabbit hole,” yet for these two pieces of media, the underbelly of society couldn’t be more different.
Jeffery finds and ear. Jeffery wonders whose ear it is, and he finds himself in a perverse world of misogyny, dangerous criminals, and an earth that is filled with bugs and morality issues. This is a very watered down description of what you might find if you watched Blue Velvet. The audience travels into the ear in the beginning of Blue Velvet, and they come out of an ear when all is said and done. There is a tunnel into chaos.
For Conway, the main protagonist of KRZ, he meets a young woman on a farm who is beyond intelligent, yet she can’t fix a TV. She sends Conway to find her cousin who might help with the TV, and so he travels to a mine to find the young woman. Her name is Shannon Marquez, and when he finds her, disaster strikes. Eventually, once they are out of the mine, a crisis averted, they travel back to find an empty farm and a blank TV. The TV becomes a portal to the underground, a world of seemingly endless tunnels filled with bizarre markings and routes that make about as much sense as Eraserhead. Instead of violence, he finds a place to ask questions, but he must ask someone of the first floor of the building for the answer, but he must get a sheet of paper to request the chance to ask a question on the fourth floor, but the copier is out of toner on the fourth floor, so he has to go to the fifth floor to get some toner, etc. There is not violence, there are circles.
Both of our heroes are transported to a world that they don’t quite understand, but to obtain the goal that they have set for themselves, a goal not really for anyone else, they must grow familiar with the illogical. Jeffery doesn’t have to find the owner of the missing ear, just as Conway could turn his truck around, yet they both press on. And this is one of the key points of both of these works, to show how far we will go to prove that we can get something done that we assign to ourselves. Sure, Conway has a job to do, but no job is worth the risk that almost takes Conway’s life in the mines, just as Jeffery feels he can longer bear the world unless he understands the maniacal nature of his tormentor.
Lynch, in many of his films, has flashing lights or flickering lightbulbs, as these things can represent a great number of things given the, rather, unstable structure of many of his films, often times they obscure the main characters from seeing perfectly what is right in front of them. They have nearly every conception of the movements, of what is being said, but there are loses of seconds, moments that mean little out of context, but it’s these missing pieces to overarching plot lines that provide some of the mystery to Lynch’s films. They represent the information that we don’t quite have, or the grasp of the material that seems so clear one minute and then disappears the next. We cannot understand the importance of what we missed because we believe we have seen the whole picture, and this is part of the reason why Conway’s mission seems bizarre to us, yet at the same time, we don’t understand everything about him to make a judgement as to why he wouldn’t just abandon his mission.
The flickering lights of Lynch’s films are appropriated in beautifully subdued ways in KRZ. The stactic of a TV casting a hazy light on everything, turning the lantern off in the mines allows an electric spark to illuminated countless shadowy figures that seem to stare at you through the darkness, yet the main characters remain oblivious to them. Blinking lights alert the main characters that there is no road left to travel. Where, with Lynch, the light obscures, here, the light illuminates something in the dark. There is a caveat to this though. What exactly is being illuminated, well, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, so it goes as something interesting as opposed to something helpful. Light, usually a symbol of knowledge of safety is shifted slightly. It produces the unknown in the works presented. It proves just how far away we are from something, even if we are standing right next to it. It doesn’t ask whether or not what we see or don’t see is really happening, but more so, does it matter?
KRZ and Lynch also call upon American roots to help flesh out their realized worlds. Music is an important aspect of placing Kentucky Route Zero in the state that it occupies, with both Acts so far featuring some well placed bluegrass/country/folk music. And while speaking of music, both KRZ and Lynch have been known to use the score to provide the ambience that their media demand. The industrial sounds of Eraserhead perfectly fit with the motif of industrialization that permeates Lynch’s work. Every film, every episode of Twin Peaks, there is the musical cues that places a small understanding of what is happening. The same ambiguous ambience is seen in KRZ as a means of never exactly placing the characters in the dark and surreal places that they end up in. The songs are peaceful tones and melodies, but they always seem both out of place and exactly descriptive of the sounds we should be hearing. Both use scores to appropriately modify the surrealism that is being featured on the screen.
Lynch uses certain American past-times and one stands out in particular with the use of suburbia, or small towns. The sort of quaintness that comes with people that seem, almost, cut off from a wider world. He calls into question how people can pretend to have such perfect lives that fit so nicely into manicured lawns. He never laughs at, or necessarily, makes fun of those that chose to have such a life, and he almost seems to regard them with an inch of respect, but he always has this sort of underlying seediness about the spaces that seem so perfect.
In KRZ, the Museum of Dwellings creates almost an exact fit to what Lynch does. The museum is filled with houses that people still live in, apparently, perfectly preserved so that no one can quite understand if they are actually old or new. The owners of the museum claim that they go out at night and pick up the houses to bring to the museum within the day, as though it was a task that any person could do without any hesitation, yet, clearly, they are a facade. They hide a man who rides a giant bird, as magical as it seems (magical realism being something also heavily featured in Lynch’s work). The people who live in the dwellings provide clues to where to go next, but these people seem as cold and preserved as the museum that they apparently live in. They represent the best of suburbia, but prove that suburbia is something that is merely a concept as opposed to a haven, timelessly articulated for people to stare at in marvel, but something that cannot quite be obtained in the world that we reside in.
By the end of Act II, Conway is asked to think of small things to help him drift off so that a procedure can be performed on an injury he sustained earlier, and he does, slipping into the world of dreams, yet the player might almost question if he were not already there given what has graced their computer screen. Lynch does something similar, where everything seems slightly off enough that it can’t truly be real, but at the same time, it is real to the characters. This is the lives that they have been confined to, and it is up to them to save themselves. It is a waking dream that is both beautifully masochistic and sublimely irrelevant, yet something impossible to look away from.
So, what do linchpins in both of their meanings have to do with any of this? Well, aside from being a clever pun that I wanted to make, Lynch has been hailed by many as one of the most influential American Film makers. That’s probably a fair assessment of him, though his movies are never quite as huge as they could be. His films push the boundaries of consciousness, but they don’t quite push the number of screens needed to contain the masses that would be watching them.
Kentucky Route Zero is a quiet game. It is a simple point-and-click adventure where we are invited into a world of boundless imagination. It deserves attention, not just because it can be compared to David Lynch’s filmography, but because it is proof that video games can be art. As Lynch pushes the medium of storytelling and film, Kentucky Route Zero pushes the medium of storytelling and video games.
Art style, music, writing. Kentucky Route Zero begs to be experienced, not played.
so my biggest issue with this whole “anne frank was bisexual” thing (aside from the obvious) is the fact that she never said herself that she was bisexual
everyone on this website gets so fucking up in arms when people try to police other people’s sexualities and assume people’s identities
AND THEN THIS HAPPENS
not to mention it’s creepy as fuck that everyone is like “OMG HOW COOL” or “NOW I LIKE HER EVEN MORE” someone’s sexuality isn’t like, a personality trait to be attracted to, I just don’t get people sometimes.
hmm i never saw it this way? I think everyone is just really excited to find out something censored about a famous historical figure that they can identify with. It’s not so much that everyone is sensationalizing that she was ‘bi’ or pan or whatever but moreso that she had those thoughts and that they were deleted from her diary before being published? It’s exciting and adds more dimension to her. Which makes her more likable and relatable. At least that’s how I interpreted it.
she was a child she was murdered she literally never was able to even explore or have a self identified sexual identity (she never said she identified as bi these are labels being pushed on her) her sexual identity shouldn’t be the identifiable reason she’s relatable and likable you should respect what she went through as a human being she was not killed for her sexuality but rather for her religion you should respect that and not put weight on something so relatively insignificant (i know there were homosexuals prosecuted in the same way as jews were but she was young and would not have been under this scrutiny) she was a real human being not a sensational fictional character please show her memory respect it is not okay to suddenly only care about someone upon finding out they may have been queer especially when that person was the victim of genocide
I think it'd be really cool for Rocksteady to add Steph in the game. They've had Barbra as Oracle but we've never seen a Batgirl in the Arkham series. Or she could show up as Spoiler, seeing as she's back in the comics now. I'd love to see Tim with a better design as well, and we're pretty overdue for a Red Hood appearance.
I didn’t mind Tim’s design from Arkham City at all. It was just a little different, but he had some snark, and he looked like he was a little older than he is normally portrayed, but I thought it worked for him.
I’m all about including more of the batfamily in any way shape or form, and now that I know that Rocksteady is making this game, I actually assume it’s going to be a lot more fun than the last game in the series (which I really didn’t like Arkham Origins that much at all).
My name is Alana, and I’m a student at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). Each year, the students here at UF put on the largest student run philanthropy in the southeast: Dance Marathon. During the event tons of students will stay awake and on their feet (dancing!) for 26.2 hours to raise funds for Shands Hospital for Children. The kids we save are the same kids whose pictures you see on Tumblr each day- children who fight battles we can only imagine. We reblog their pictures to show support, but here’s a more direct way: donate to Dance Marathon. Over the past 17 years, Dance Marathon at UF has raised more than $4.5 million for pediatric research, leading-edge medical equipment, and diversionary activities for children who must endure long hospital stays. Please help me continue this tradition of raising money for the kids! and encourage your followers to do so as well. This means a lot to me personally, and it would be amazing if you would donate, even $1! For all the right reasons, Alana
Just to add some more info, Shands is a children’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida that provides a variety of specialized pediatric care including:
Bone marrow transplantation
Congenital heart services - cardiology and cardiac surgery
Genetics and metabolism
Oral dental surgery
I know I don’t normally post about things like this, but there is a big fundraiser going on for the hospital and now’s just as good a time as any to donate anything you can give to help save these kids, many of whom are a part of this program because their parents cannot afford to pay for their treatment alone.
One of their programs that your money would help support is the Shands Arts in Medicine program, which uses art as therapy for the children at the hospital, as well as providing them with art education.
We live in an age where it is easy to call out people in social media when we think they have wronged a certain person or community, and many, in droves, will make sure to let a celebrity, or whomever it is that said the thing, know that they did something wrong. In our interconnected world, people often wonder what the likes of Xbox Live or the Playstation Network does when people talk during games, and often trash other players with some of the most horrible slurs. Sometimes it is the story that causes the stir from within the community, and often times, these issues need to be addressed.
While women, people of color and the LGBT* community are slowly starting to be added into more pronounce and prominent narrative roles (very slowly for some of these groups), it’s important to start looking critically at the way that we handle minorities within the narratives, and this is why I bring this issue up.
I would like to take this time to express that I am an American, speaking with the tone of gender theory as I have learned it in an American conception. I think this is an important point to make as I am going to be discussing games that are Japanese, and culture is something that needs to be addressed here, and that is not lost on me. Issues of gender and sexuality in the United States are not the same now as they were when some of these games were made, nor are they the same as they are in Japan now or as they were when some of these games were made, but as the games find their way around the world, I think that it is important to critique them, and as I can critique them with the lens that I have, I wish to do so, for I do think it is important, but I also wish to point out that I am aware of the cultural differences. As our world becomes more interconnected, and that many of these games are localized BY NINTENDO OF AMERICA (and that it is closely related to it’s Japanese founder), I still think that localization and original properties can be discussed in, at least, somewhat of a similar light. That being said, I highly encourage people to reblog this and discuss it, as that was what it was posted for, and any cultural misconceptions that I might have made, I am perfectly fine having them pointed out for me being ignorant to them.
That being said….
Nintendo is a company that is well loved by many, as it should be. Nintendo basically solidified the home as a place to play games when it introduced the Nintendo Entertainment System, and then proved that mobile gaming was something that was equally possible with the Gameboy. Some of the most recognized and beloved characters in gaming stem from Nintendo’s extensive branch of intellectual properties. There is no denying this.
There is also no denying the fact that Nintendo has some pretty horrific treatment of it’s canon trans* characters, as well as any character that could easily be considered (or should be considered) non-binary. So why don’t we call them out on it!?
The first case is a classic example. Birdo, the pink dinosaur that gained fame from appearing in Doki Doki land (and then the re-skinning of the game as Super Mario World 2 in the US) was listed in the game booklet as a character who thought of herself as a girl, but was biologically male. Most fans know about Birdo, and truthfully, if you read the booklet’s information, Birdo’s gender is seen as something that is supposed to be a joke, but it is clear in representing who Birdo is (even if it is done in a horrible way). I know what many might say, “But that was in the late 80s and the early 90s. Things are different now!” And yeah, sure, things have changed, but it has certainly been some erasure going on, not actually change in the light that Birdo is represented. In many of Birdo’s later incarnations, she is called female and seen as the girlfriend of Yoshi, but the part about Birdo being, as she should be called, transgendered, is completely ignored or erased from her backstory.
Here is where it goes from not so great to worse. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when you get Birdo’s trophy, she is no longer referred to by her preferred pronouns( literally canon, Birdo has preferred pronouns), she is referred to as “A pink creature of indeterminate gender that some say would rather be called Birdetta. A big ribbon on its head is its most distinguishing feature.” Not only was Birdo retconned to have her transgendered history erased, in a game that came out not so many years ago, she is then called ‘it’ as opposed to the pronouns that she has always been called by.
For people, misgendering is a serious issue, and all people’s preferred pronouns should be respected.
Now, there are some people out there that like to think that when Birdo shows up in Mario Tennis and some of the other spinoff games where she is seen as being biologically female and Yoshi’s girlfriend that she could be considered having fully transitioned, and I don’t wish to erase that some fans do like to think this way, but if Nintendo actually refers to Birdo as ‘it’ in one of her later appearances….
Another important character whose gender is constantly debated by fans is Sheik, the disguise of Princess Zelda seen in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Many fans of the game still try to distinguish Sheik’s gender, and the debate rages on. Check any wiki, or message boards. These debates take up pages and pages, and now what seems like the majority of gamers are calling that Sheik is a man and that Zelda used her magic powers to cloak herself from Ganon, and the best way to do so was to change genders completely.
Some of the key points in the debate that are meant to show that Sheik is a boy and at the very least, should suggest that this incarnation of Zelda could be considered a trans* (I use this truncated trans* here because in my knowledge I’m not exactly sure if Sheik should or would be considered transgendered or transsexual since the idea is that Sheik is a new male body that Princess Zelda has made through magic…it was confusing to understand the translations of the manga that I read, and so yes, I needed this disclaimer I felt) character, or non-binary, is that Princess Ruto actually refers to Sheik as a man. Also, in the manga for the game, which is supposed to fill in the gaps (and has been quoted by one of the creators of the game, Eiji Aonuma, to “fill in the gaps precisely”) the writing says that Sheik is a man and that Princess Zelda’s memories were sealed inside of Sheik so that she could not be found by Ganon at all. Zelda’s magic then created the body of Sheik to protect herself further from being discovered by Ganon. This would make Sheik a man, especially if Aonuma’s comment should be taken as true, and it would also technically mean that Sheik can be considered non-binary, or that Sheik being trans is something that should be more than just considered.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a great deal of debate among fans, and sometimes it can get very heated with people saying that because Sheik is Zelda, it doesn’t matter if Sheik is a man because Zelda is a woman and so that means that Sheik is defaulted to a woman. This argument eliminates the reading that one of the most recognized characters is actually non-binary or trans (I also don’t think that these have to be mutually exclusive).
How did Nintendo respond? Super Smash Bros. (the only sighting of Sheik since Ocarina of Time) has Sheik presenting much more like a woman than before. This isn’t anything definitive, but at the same time, Nintendo not revealing anything (even in the Hyrule Historia) seems to speak to the issue in some ways, that perhaps Nintendo doesn’t know how to handle the topic particularly well, especially since Zelda is one of their most popular series. It’s this writer’s opinion that added representation is never a bad thing, and without definitive canon to say anything different, I’m going to think of Sheik as a trans man (my apologies for the personal opinion stuck in here, but I to am a fan of the Legend of Zelda).
Yet another character with a transgendered background that is later erased (for the US release and much of the PAL release) is Vivian from the game Super Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. In the Japanese version of the game, Vivian is one of the sorcerer sisters that is trying to take Mario down, but she then defects to Mario’s party to help him, and she ends up being one of the most powerful magic users in the game. Vivian’s storyline is one of feeling unworthy to her sisters, but traveling with Mario, she learns to respect herself.
Vivian’s gender is sort of dropped a bit as the game goes on, and it does become somewhat respectful, but there are still many times that she is misgendered for the purpose of a joke. A few times she is even silenced when she attempts to assert her gender.
In the Japanese version of the game, Vivian is called out for not being a sister, but a brother to the sorcerer sisters when Gombella ‘tattles’ on her. It is then seen a few more times that others decide to call Vivian with masculine pronouns because Vivian is biologically male, but she presents and refers to herself as she. Again, her gender is made the butt of a joke often in the game, and yet again, this was erased for the North American and PAL release of the game.
In Fire Emblem, another running joke is that characters are often misgendered due to their appearances. Lucius in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken (just Fire Emblem in America) is thought to be a woman, and many of the characters remained confused about his gender for parts of the game and during his supports. Being misgendered is part of the joke of his feminine (or androgynous) appearance.
This joke occurs again in Fire Emblem: Awakening when a character, similar to Lucius, is seen as peculiar due to his overtly feminine outer appearance. Even his voice actor is a woman, which, clearly, is just a means of furthering the conception of misgendering when Chrom is finally able to talk to him. Chrom’s conversation with Libra is at least a bit more respectful than Lucius’s introduction in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, but very still, it is Libra who must assert that Chrom is alright as opposed to Chrom actually apologizing. Instead he says, “I didn’t mean to imply…well, this is awkward.”
The fact of the matter is that Nintendo is a big corporation with a great deal of fans, and a lot of respect in the industry. While considered somewhat childish by some gamers (I’m not going to actually get into this discussion now) people of all ages play Nintendo games, and find a great deal of joy in them, but at the same time, some of these glaring issues become even more problematic when you realize that a lot of people don’t call out Nintendo for their missteps in misgendering and in their somewhat muddled representation of trans characters. It could do gaming culture well to have one of the backbones of video games to step up and include trans characters that are not seen as the butt of the joke.
The other important thing to note here are these are characters from Nintendo’s first-party games and companies. These are not games that people rarely think about. These are characters from games that have built Nintendo into what it is. Trans representation is important, and a company like Nintendo could make waves in the industry if they chose to change the way they represent some of their trans and non-binary characters.
How quickly dude-bro gamers defend a woman’s costume in a video game and in the same sentence condemn those that decide to cosplay as those woman. Video game women are not real; they do not choose what they wear, the people who design and program the game do, the concept designers do. Many of these designs are targeted at male audiences. When someone decides to cosplay as a character, that is them DECIDING to dress that way. They are making an active choice in their own lives because they have agency in their lives. Do not shame people for dressing up as their favorite characters, but think critically about the way that video game culture perpetuates the male gaze. Cosplayers deserve respect and personal space, since, you know, they are people.
So what fucking actor/actress can I like according to Tumblr
um you can like whoever the fuck you want, but don’t defend the fucked-up shit that they’ve said and done. it always sucks to find that out about someone you liked, i realize that, but don’t pretend like it’s tumblr being too sensitive when the shit they’ve done has often actively hurt people. see this article on how to be a fan of problematic things plus i don’t know, about a thousand different posts on this website for more.