mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, about that pay-for-play DLC...

Wow.  Pretty Marth is pretty... pretty unnerving, that is, with those eyes.  IDK, man, he's beautiful but he looks like the hypothetical offspring of Ike and Soren to me.  Tellius!Marth is a strangely compelling thing to behold.

Also, I think we can finally lay to rest the oft-spouted delusion that Ike is now the "real" ambassador of Fire Emblem to parts worldwide and the inclusion of Marth in, well, just about everything is just some sop to Super Famicom nostalgia because the Japanese are weird and like shitty games.  Nintendo expects you to pay extra for extra Marth content, OK?  They're banking on the fact that you love him.  Their first-ever offering of paid DLC as a company is extra Marth, with sparkles.  I think that says something.

It says goddamned Sigurd is not the "most popular Lord in Japan," OK?  So you can put that one to bed as well, or set it on fire for all I care.

So, which "Marth" ends up in Super Smash Bros 4?  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
My hypothetical FE dream game was an Archanea/Valencia crossover that tied that whole "world" together and featured at least one mid-ocean battle with hopefully some sea dragons.  And a Pegasus Knight as the main character.

Got stiffed on the Peg Knight Lord, but still holding out hope for the ocean battle.  Come on, IS!

-x-

OK.  So, we have a teaser as to "Butterfly's" identity.

It's all very fishy. )

That's enough new-game weirdness for one day.  Here, have some old-game weirdness.  It's a pic of Finn and Lachesis dressed up as Shinji and Asuka.  It's from this Clare de Lune person's blog.

Have another FinnLache pic from Electric Flowers, while we're at it.  Safe for work and all that.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I've been wanting to talk about this for a while, and conversations with [personal profile] amielleon  and [personal profile] scarletmorning  spurred me to post it now.  Now, originally I had the post formatted in a proper fashion, defining my terms and explaining the difference between fandom "theories" and a true scientific theory, but I'm guessing nobody cares.  If you want to go into that sort of detail, please ask.

Anyway, use of Occam's Razor in fandom (or anyone else, really) amounts to this: the more complicated an explanation is, the more machinations it requires to work, the less likely it is to be true.  Doesn't mean it can't be true; some "elegant" explanations are wrong.  But the "elegant" explanation is more likely to be the correct explanation for whatever it is you're trying to explain and/or predict.

As Ammie said here (locked post), one explanation for Ike's FE10 ending is that he's a selfish character.  Well, that's pretty simple and to-the-bone.  But accepting that Ike is fundamentally selfish above all else requires ignoring, or bending, a great deal else in Tellius canon.  It's a seemingly elegant explanation that requires pretty complicated machinations to work, and is therefore suspect. 

Fandom isn't science, so perhaps it makes sense that we've borrowed terms from religious debate for fandom discussions.  We invoke "canon" aka "Word of God" to indicate that we get material from a media creator that can't be overturned, but creators can be sloppy.  Creators can change their mind  Creators can give supplemental materials to explain (or contradict) what's in the text.  Things can get altered in translation (see: when Ammie exploded my nice little idea that used the wording of the NoA FE8 script as opposed to the NoA FE7 script to explain the relative ages of the Lord characters).  

And then we can always play "Death of the Author" or exploit readings of the text that are likely unintended but nonetheless make sense on some level (ex: Kirby is the true villain of the Kirby games).  That's part of what makes fandom compelling for those of us who are into the meta and fanfiction.  But the basic rules of constructing a logical argument shouldn't be ignored, even when it's all in fun.  Delightful crack theories are delightful precisely because they make an alarming amount of sense.  Delightful theories exploit "gaps" in the canon, or explain things that hang out there unanswered.  Ideas that exist completely inside a gap in the canon with nothing to support or contradict them, or that explain things that don't require an answer, don't have quite the same impact on a reader. 

Example: Raphi and Sriya were batting around the crack idea that Lyon somehow got transformed into Legault.  It's cute, there's not really anything to contradict it, and Raphi even made a 'fic out of it.  It doesn't really shed any light on Elibe canon or Magvel canon, though-- it's a self-contained little bit 'o crack.  Whereas the idea that [personal profile] kyusil  proposed regarding Roy and his marriage options (that Roy's various unromantic matchups are in fact a demonstration of his alleged political ability in action) is, to me, a highly compelling one.  Do I think that it's necessarily what the scriptwriters intended?  No, I think they were likely just being sloppy.  But the political angle is to me a very interesting one that a 'fic writer can (and should!) exploit to good use.  It offers a new way of examining Roy that takes two things from canon (his diverse marriage options and his stated political skills) and unites them in a way that can be used to shed light upon the characters, their world, or both.  And with Roy being the arguable central figure of the entire Elibe saga, something that illuminates his character "matters" a great deal, inasmuch as any meta-fun "matters". 

And then there's the deep end of fandom meta.  Or the "off the deep end" sector, the kind that constructs amazingly elaborate theories, air-castles of assumptions piled upon tiny projections of canon, just begging to be demolished.  Harry Potter fandom was terrible in this regard.  Please look up "Archiving the Banana Peels of Imagination" if you want to see some of this in action; I will say for this particular theorist that they seemed to be a very nice and enthusiastic person, but their meta was just... incredible.  In the original sense of that word.  The problem with a lot of the HP meta crowd, both the cheerfully zany sort and the oddly... malicious... sort, was that they started with one assumption, slapped another upon it, and then another upon that, and finally they had this great towering edifice of headcanon that made sense to them but had little to do with the actual, you know, books.  Whether the idea was "Dumbledore didn't really die" or "How Snape will save everything" or "Dumbledore is evil" or "Ron will become a Death Eater," they cherry-picked canon (took what they wanted and ignored the rest) and employed complicated machinations to make everything work.  We're talking Rube Goldberg contraptions, if not MC Escher mechanisms.

Well, elaborate contraptions, whether physical constructions or meta constructions, break down easily.  These meta writers had made themselves the meta equivalent of the Space Shuttle-- magnificent and fundamentally faulty.  And when their meta-shuttles exploded, many of them had the nerve to get pissy with Rowling.  If they'd showed respect for basic logic and the principles of argument on the front end, not to mention a bit of respect for canon, they might have come up with sturdy and functional vehicle for their meta instead!

By all means, ignore Occam's Razor in fandom if it's all fun and games.  But if you're expecting to convince other theorists, or if you're trying to provide a serious explanation of a problematic text (film, book, videogame, TV script...), or if you're so invested in your pet theory that it makes you upset and angry to see a rebuttal[*], it's good to keep the basics in mind.  The more convoluted your pet explanation is, the less likely you are to convince anyone, and the more likely you are to be entirely wrong.

And we've all gotten things entirely, 110% wrong. 

* Not kidding about the HP crowd when it comes to anger and vitriol re: exploding headcanon.  Not kidding at all.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, last Memorial Day weekend, I'm pretty sure I just hid in the house complaining about the heat wave that rolled through to spoil my plans to hit the World Steam Expo.

In which Mark goes offline for a weekend )

I had something to say about the Civil War and the skeevy parts of reenactments and celebrations, but I doubt anyone cares.  I'll just say this: yes, the war was about slavery.  Really.  If you don't believe me, go read the text of the actual Articles of Secession passed by the rebel states.  It was, current popular opinion to the contrary, about keeping dark-skinned human beings as property.  There was more to it, but that was indeed the core issue.  So sorry if that spoils the romance.    
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Not just the FE fandom, but pretty much everyone I've ever joined.  But since those of you out there on f-list land are from the FE crowd, listen up.

This has irked me for years, but since darling [livejournal.com profile] raphien  mentioned something about "a sinking ship," it's time for a reality check.  Or at least some perspective.

Stop bitching about how fandom is dying.  You know how inviting it is to join a fandom when all the regulars are already pissing and moaning about how everything is now not-good and used to be sooooo much better?  Not very.  And y'all were pissing and moaning when I showed up late to the party in '09 (that's two years ago, people), and from reading the then-extant archives on the FFNet fora, I already knew at the time that the pissing and moaning had been going on for a couple of years.  

So that's three or four years of the long, slow, demise of the Fire Emblem online fanfiction writing community.  And yet, the writers and stories keep coming.  Is the fandom what it used to be?  No.  Review counts and such are down by any quantitative measure.  The day of the epic long-form story seems to be at an end for this fandom.  But a lot of what was "so great" in those days really isn't all that good in hindsight ("Fourteen Days" is crap, sorry) and a lot of the shorter pieces were totally out-of-character (bad Kent/Sain slash-- also crap), but that's the fandom you came into and stuck with.  Of course you liked it better then-- it was fun!

Now, take off your rose-colored mirror-glasses and ask yourself why anyone would want to join a fandom where the old-timers are constantly screaming about the end times like it'll never be 2005 again.  Damn, people.  You're lucky anyone who came in the door from 2007 on stuck around.  So stop dragging up personality conflicts from a Very Long Time Ago-- it doesn't help.  Stop gazing misty-eyed at the fandom days of yore, because in your blindness you're stepping on the feet of writers who would like to be a part of the fun but have to wonder if there's any fun to be had.

After all, these old-time fans are so bloody miserable about everything.  Why join them?

This has been brought to you by the Committee to STFU.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Troll troll troll, all night long / troll troll troll while I sing this song.

Cough.

Sweet killfile, how I do miss thee.

Anyway, "Dark Sun of Desire" got updated again tonight.  This chapter finds Nyna in Port Sofia (Southern Valencia), spending her gold unwisely and getting absolutely nowhere in her search for Camus/Sirius... in part because she doesn't know he has yet another pseudonym when he's at home.  Also features one more flashback, a Marth/Nyna scene that can be filed under "it's complicated," plus this chapter finally introduces Cellica.  Yay, Cellica.

People are clicking, but nobody reviews this one for some reason, so maybe my readership consists of hitbots.  Maybe I should throw a fit on FFNet to score some attention and then blame my father for it.

;P

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Fanfiction is by nature a derivative exercise.  

That said, both the overall "fandom" of those who write and the specific fandom communities have rules.  Some of these are modeled on professional literary and scholarly guidelines for behavior, while some are peculiar to fandom.

A) A person takes a story about Innes from the FE section of FFNet, rewrites it (somewhat) to be about Marth(!), gives it a similar title, and posts it on FFNet under their own name.  This person runs afoul of plagiarism standards however you want to define them.    

B) A person takes a lengthy fanfiction, makes some bizarre changes and insertions with promises of more ambitious changes to come, and posts it in the same fandom on FFNet under their own name.  This person might possibly be engaging in some bizarro performance art, but it sure looks like out and out plagiarism.

C) A person reads a story, likes it, and writes a very similar story involving their own favorite characters.  Theft?  Well, it made the author of the first story uncomfortable and they expressed their discomfort.  It is their right to do so.  Does this act of flattery-by-imitation put them in the same class as Thieves A and B above?  Does it mean that all their new works need to be greeted with suspicion, as all new works of Thief B will be?  

D) A bunch of people simultaneously post bizarre crack stories featuring similar elements of plot, theme, and characterization.  They're all in on the joke, but what does a newcomer make of it?  Is this sort of thing common in the fandom?  Can everyone join in the fun?

E) A semi-regular to a contest comm posts a 'fic that is damned close in structure and content to a meta piece that one of the other contest regulars published quite some time ago.  These two writers do not really talk to one another outside of the contest comm, but the meta-writer's posts are unlocked and free for anyone to come across.

In my opinion?  A and B are clear-cut cases of theft and have been exposed and brick-batted accordingly.  Future works by them do need to be greeted with suspicion.  C is far more problematic and I would personally answer No to both my own questions.  I think this is a sincere case of not knowing the ropes and does not need to be handled with virtual baseball bats to the head.  D is of course the Crackwood fiesta we all had a while back.  

As for E... as the meta-writer in question, I appreciate that someone alerted me to the borrow (the 'fic seemed familiar to me at the time, but I didn't realize I might have been the source material).  I haven't contacted the writer in question and I don't plan to unless I see them doing something of that kind again.  There was a long gap in time between the meta and the 'fic, and they might have read my piece and forgotten it... or not read it at all and it's a coincidence.  I personally try to credit people when a specific idea inspires me, but I'm not a zealot about it.  Maybe I should be.  Maybe not.

My point?  The ropes of fandom are sometimes closer to invisible trip wires.  Tread carefully.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Moving along with the real Part Three: Canon, What Canon?  Also not about Fire Emblem, FYI.

Meta only gets you so far... )

Anyone who's hung out with me for a while probably has a sense of what's coming in Part IIIB.  That is, the ne plus ultra of Canon, What Canon?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I changed my mind.  This is another installment of Part Two, When Pairings Eat a Fandom.  It does not focus on Fire Emblem.

A roundabout defense of gen fic )

Whew.  That was good to get off my chest after ten long years.  Next time we'll cover Part III: Canon, What Canon?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Part Two: When Pairings Eat A Fandom

Now it's time for FE9/10... )

Stay tuned if you like for Part III: Canon, What Canon?  In the meantime, recs for good Ike/Soren stories are appreciated, and feel free to pimp your own.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
IT'S A TROLL, GUYS.  

He admits to being an ex-troll.  He admits to being a trouble maker.  And he comes on with his barrage of bogus facts, his misuse of inflammatory words (Ellen the pedophile?), and his statements that cannot be taken as anything but offensive, and the people who call him out on it can't get a break.  

OTOH, rebuttals to his trolling have stimulated some actual discussion of canon in that Pairing Game thread.

But dammit, if I were a mod I'd have banned his ass by now.  (Greener, not Korean Boron Etc)

-x-

This on [livejournal.com profile] emblanon  caught my eye.  Not convinced Ephraim is intended as disinterested in women.  He reacts too strongly to L'Arachel, IMO.  And if you don't think that's a reaction, compare Eph's interactions with L'Arachel to, say, Marth's interactions with any female not named Caeda in any of the Archanea games.  By Fire Emblem standards, "She's rather cute" is practically "I'd hit that."

But I don't see his "support" with L'Arachel as anything terribly deep and meaningful, and I do not for one second believe in his relationship with Tana (and the anons outlined the disconnect in that relationship pretty well).

And Ephraim is kind of... odd, at least as far as his paired endings go.  

Let's recap:

Old history and stuff )

All this has made me reconsider the Tana/Ephraim!fail piece I drafted out a while back.  Maybe I will write that one up after all.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Things I contemplated during my two-hundred-and-fifty (250!) mile roundtrip commute in the ice today:

1) If Archanea/Valencia/Jugdral take place on the same planet as Tellius (which I personally don't believe), then the destruction of the other continents can't happen at anytime remotely close to the gameplay era.  IIRC, the math works out so that FE4/5 have to happen approximately 1100 years prior to FE1/2/3.  But we know from the ending of FE2 that the dynasty Alm and Cellica establish on Valencia endures for at least 1,000 years.  If any sort of ocean apocalypse happened, Valencia would be the first thing wiped out-- Archanea is (we think) a far larger archipelago with mountains in excess of 1500 meters high (per FE3).  If Valencia survives, then Archanea and Jugdral wouldn't be affected either.  So either the Tellius games are in the far, FAR future of Planet Fire Emblem (or VERY distant past), or they don't take place on the same planet.

Or the other continents were never swamped to begin with.

2) So were Abel and Est actually married or not?  Relationship chart, you confuse me.  Abel, if you loved that girl so much that you were willing to Betray the Cause for her, yet couldn't be bothered to make an honest woman out of her... then what the hell is your problem?

3) Looking back over my former fandoms reminded me of all the stupidity from those days that I forget about when I'm being all nostalgic about the Good Old Days of recs pages and essential archives.  Things like people squabbling over who got to be miko of this, or miko of that.  People having to maintain lists of who was "officially" the Keeper of The Hairpick in Duo's Braid or the Keeper of Heero's Gym Shoes.  People who overdosed on Fushigu Yuugi tacking "no da" onto the end of very damned sentence.

4) Eine is such a crappy assassin.  How hard is it, really, to kill Marth using magic?  She can't have been trying very much, or at all, because a ten-year-old armed with a Thunder tome should've been able to pull that one off.

5) I had something else on par with the geekiness of #1, but the nap I took on getting home pushed it out of my brain.  Will edit if I recall it.  ETA: I remember now.  It was something to do with Alteans being losers.  Not the playable ones, the whole country.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This is some essaying I wrote circa 2008, posted at the request of [livejournal.com profile] sailorvfan10 .  It is a bunch of meta noodling revolving around Super Smash Bros, Fire Emblem, and some potshots at the Gundam Wing fanbase.  Not my best work, so feel free to ignore me.

Take one... )

Take two... )

There was more, believe me, but I think this was enough.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Now that I've landed on everyone's B.S. radar for the title...

Cut for fandom navel-gazing )

So, dear f-list-- what fandom paradigms do you plan to subvert in the new year?  
mark_asphodel: (Adult Fin)
As soon as FE12 was announced, the whining commenced.  Marth, it seems, needs a promotion this time.  Or Ike's stat caps from FE9, whichever.

Uh, yeah.  How 'bout not?

Now, if it were purely an issue of weaponry, I could get behind it.  Marth is at a disadvantage being locked to swords, and in FE11 his terrible MAG growth made him darned near incapable of getting use out of the Levin Sword, which meant he was locked to Melee combat.  Er, melee combat.  So allowing him to use something else-- I don't care if it's STAVES-- would be a boon.  Bows, lances, the Star Rod from the Kirby games... yeah, I can see the advantage.

But no, people appear to be obsessed with the idea of promotion in and of itself.  That, and the damned horse.

That's Fin on the horse there. Use your imagination. )
mark_asphodel: (Dead Heero)
OK. A few entries back I was angsting over concrit for a story that did something I didn't like to one of my favorite characters. I now have cold proof that the SSB story I had issues with basically took chunks of text from an FE8 story ("Despair" by Kanthia) and "reworked" it to ill effect. Look, fanbrats, any story in which you think you can substitute Marth for Innes is not going to play right. I didn't even think Innes was in-character in the original fic, and the hack job was even more offbase.

So, instead of feeling funny about my duty to help a poor little amateur author who hasn't developed sufficient respect for source material, I'm going to teach a sticky-fingered fanbrat a hard lesson. I'm going to give Kanthia first dibs on bagging him/her, though.

For great justice!

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