Is it just me or are Otaku constantly getting younger? When it comes to an online presence, the young'uns are always gonna have a step up on everyone else, because besides school, homework, and maybe an after-school job, they have an insane amount of free time. I remember those carefree days, hitting up the video store (yes video a.k.a. VHS. Wiki that if you have no idea what I'm jabbering about.), wandering over to a friend's house, popping in the latest hard-to-find anime and sitting back chillaxin' when those kanji credits rolled. Afterwards, we'd talk about it while playing some street hockey and then getting on an AOL chatroom to further that discussion with dorks from other states. If you have to ask what a chatroom is, then Wiki that, too. The point is hardcore Otaku talk used to be few and far between for many. That is, until we could convince Mom to let us go to a con. We wouldn't know anyone other than who we came with, but soon made friends over common interests like what we were watching, how we figured out how to make a cosplay outfit from stuff we found at a thrift shop, and what bands from overseas we got a bootleg of at the last anime club meeting. Thank goodness for cons.
You'd remember it if you'd ever heard it. Skrt skrt skrt. Kunk. Sutk. Shkrt skrt . . . Then silence all at once. A possible echo of the sound moments later in another bit of the wall, a bit you've never seen. Nooks and hidey holes, a maze of up and downs, ins, outs, left and rights coursing through the veins that inhabit the skeleton of a home. Inside those veins, an occasional sickness occurs. Many reasons can be speculated for the cause, but even at its most benign, the virus still causes immediate concern and treatment. The veins must be flushed before the virus can spread and become something worse. Something that breaks the skeleton down from the inside, that creates rot where once was vitality and purpose. The virus feeds on everything the host has to offer and feeds more on what would be refused. That virus? Rats.
*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.
When's the last time you read the instructions of a board game and felt like you were at a feminist rally of gamers? As they picket the headquarters of a gaming company demanding equality and burning pink game pieces in effigy? When? When? When?! If your answer is more than zero, then you are probably in the 1% section of gamers and most likely have a restraining order against you. But, why does it have to be "Parker Bros," when it was the Parker sister's idea, probably? When will we get our day in the sun, ladies? As we sit in a basement or coffee shop rolling 12-sided dice, daydreaming of being wooed by Klaus Teuber or Leslie Scott, and having them create a RPG where the goal is to garner our attention and approval. It's time for a bit of recognition and kudos for being the minority in a culture saturated by mouth-breathing breeders.
The Secret History of the Foot Clan. Although some uninitiated to the world of TMNT may think this would be a chronicling of a fetishist hate group, there's a much easier explanation behind this tale. It's simply an origin story for the most notorious clan of ninja to ever exist, interspersed with the events that surround two vitally different groups, both intent on gaining the information this origin story has to offer.
Wizards of the Coast. If you've ever rolled a 20-sided die, you know that name. Hell, the recent movie Unicorn City gave the company a nod by naming a game designing firm in the movie "Warlocks of the Beach." If you're reading this, you've already taken a step into a much larger world . . . but enough about my ego, let's talk Dungeon Command.
"I play right field; it's important, ya know? Ya gotta know how ta catch, ya gotta know how ta throw. That's why I play in right field, way out where the dandelions grow."
If you were a childhood Turtles fan, before you wore the tape out, you knew every word of that song from the Pizza Hut commercial before the beginning of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. You knew where to get the scrolls in the sewer of the NES game, where the Neutrinos are from, and that the Foot Clan was a bunch of hunchbacked robots wearing purple masks . . . maybe not that last part. This might be a good place for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret History of the Foot Clan #1 to lend a hand . . . or toe . . . or . . . whatever.
Crossover. Not just what Tangina from Poltergeist asked spirits to do when she instructed them, "Cross over, children. All are welcome. All are welcome, go into the light . . . There is peace and serenity in the light." Clear that creepiness from your minds, and let's keep it simple and go with the other definition. A crossover, for those who don't know, is when one character or group from one series somehow "crosses over" into another series. Some favorites include Steve Urkel visiting Full House, characters from both Buffy and Angel crossing over into each other's series, and my personal favorite, the many crossovers on Scooby Doo. Because anytime Mystery Inc. can get a hand from Batman and Robin, you know it's going be curtains for the baddies who would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
You see it on television clips from the past, not so much anymore. Hordes of fans writhing to a frenzy, just to catch a glimpse of the band or performer that sets their soul ablaze. Teenage girls swooning at the sight of Elvis, screaming 'till hoarse as The Beatles exit a plane. Today's fans don't give that same impression. Many seem to be there just to get their faces on television, to extol to the masses that they were there, rather than being there. Many are desensitized to the experience, because they can access their personal lives at the click of a button. Knowing where they are, who they're with, and what they have to say on the topic of everything they care to share. Instances of overkill have become more and more frequent with the advent of technology. I myself have become immune to most events due to the nature of viewing them. Celebrity means less than the fiber content of a cereal being shilled. I haven't felt the excitement of actually being in the same room and getting to meet someone in 15 years. Having done interviews with celebrities, working with them, even eating with them has less (if any) effect on me than the time I got to meet, talk with, and shake hands with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. I still remember exactly how it happened and how that memory has stayed with me over all these years. Again, I haven't felt that twinge in the back of my neck or chill of awe and inspiration in over 15 years. Until November 14, 2012. Like the great Peter Sellers movie taught us, the most important part of life? Being There.
Imaginary babies can be fun. Not the invisible type that strange people roll around in empty strollers, but the type that are the byproduct of the game, "What if So-N-So and Wassername had a baby?" Some of my favorites include, "What if Reed Richards and Mystique had a baby?" or "What if Black Panther and Cheetarah had a baby?" or best "What if JC and Tina Fey had a baby?" They all have interesting answers. The one we're working on today is "What if Anne Rice and Edgar Allen Poe had a baby, and Matt Groening held the camcorder during delivery?" That's kind of what we're dealing with when we look at Baltimore: The Play.