Two Months with Kratzen
As the dapper man is back at it again at Krispy Kreme, so too is your boy coming in with a hot update fresh out of the kitchen, though only producing stale memes that will require a separate editorial board to understand within the decade. All developers should be obligated to produce monthly reports and post – mortems of the works they create, as an understanding that they only exist when their audience exists. Though given I only pushed 15 views to my visual novel over four days, I speak for all artists when I say, where the heck are ya’ll at?
So let’s start with the basic statistics, the vital stuff. I reviewed eight games over thirty days. Four of those days are reserved for articles, of which I only produced three. So that leaves twenty days where I didn’t do a thing. Huh. I guess the tagline, “Honest reviews that save you time — every day”, went from half – true to entirely untrue.
I’m an idiot for allowing this to happen. Undisciplined, you see. Without the courage to shut up and to simply write as one speaks, for such comes easy to me, but to show any effort beyond “none at all” causes the lazy body to revolt and want to kill itself before simply working on what the mental mind demands it work on. What more can I say? I didn’t do it for the simple fact I didn’t to do it. I have no excuse for that. It’s disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.
I understand that even with such small of an audience that I have, I must keep the discipline to please them, because to fail to do so is to violate their expectations of who I am supposed to be: wise, courageous, and someone who will say they will do something and then do it. At least, this is how I see myself. I don’t expect to write another 600,000 words this year, but I will be satisfied with at least half.
In “A Month With Kratzen”, I went over some thoughts about workaholism and about the obligation to do so, detailing the philosophy behind Kratzen. In “What Has Froge Done?”, I discussed the time I spent de jure on vacation, and found it wanting. I have for the past few weeks been de facto on vacation. I have no excuse for that… I suppose I should explain why, in the first place.
It’s summer, and I hate summer. It is a hot season, and when I am hot, I am tired. I sleep more often, and I even find myself — scandal alert! — taking naps. Although I would like to rebel against this attitude of the primal mind, I know that it is stupid to do so, because I will end up hating myself during the time when I should be getting a snooze. Whatever I write during that time will be the result of a mediocre brain and a body which only cares about when it can get its cut in and go comatose; neither of these are prime conditions for writing.
I have recently gotten myself into anime, and you may call me a weeb for that. I blame Digibro, formerly Digibronymlp and I will never let him forget that name, for recommending me too many good shows, the bastard he is for making me see such extraordinary work out of an extraordinary medium. Watching “Please Tell Me! Galko – chan” was the closest to realistic adult dialogue in quite some time, talking frank about bodily fluids and teenage girl stuff without being crass. It’s very mature, and I love it for both that and it’s Zine art style. “March Comes in like a Lion” is a work directed by a master, written at a steady clip, suffers no pretensions that it’s basically about Japanese chess, and was something that managed to hold my attention through those few episodes that I got to watch. Then there’s work like Cowboy Bebop and Kill la Kill that you already know is good, so let’s not dwell on it.
I also watched Zootopia… Yes, I know. Listen, it’s not a bad film. The plot is a shambles and suffers from the typical Disney tripe of “follow your dreams and also don’t be racist”, but the writing is as damn good as the characters and acting, which is no small feat to impress me with. Pleasantville was a really surprising film to me, full of beauty, irony, satire, and a convoluted world that’s both funny and sad and yet makes perfect sense when you think about it — only to throw all that nuance and brilliant writing away in a cheesy and condescending ending. Still up there with the greats, though. Speaking of alleged greats, No Country for Old Men was bad. I would explain why, but The Washington Post mirrors my thoughts - how lucky. Also big ups to “Coraline”, “A Knight’s Tale”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and a special mention to “Helvetica” for typographical geekery that only about a dozen people will really get — myself included.
In terms of games, I’ve twisted and turned, but frankly found myself just reading Roger Ebert reviews, boning up on my TV Tropes, and playing two games that I’ve reviewed myself: Streets of Rogue, and Ravenfield. The simple answer for Ravenfield is that it was functional enough to be entertaining without much fuss, and I managed to speedrun all flags within three minutes, with a recording I deleted the footage of and don’t really care that I got the world record for a game nobody plays, and so won’t contest it. Streets of Rogue released an update removing the randomness from the teleporter, making speedrunning that game more enjoyable. I’ve found finishing runs within ten minutes to be a hell of a lot more engaging than trying to get cartoonishly powerful. But everything else — the bad level design, sloppy combat, arbitrary AI decisions, screw – the – player design choices, unintuitive mechanics that require trial – and – error gameplay, and the potential to die at any moment for any reason — is still there. Both of my star ratings remain unaltered. My fun should come to me on a silver platter, and not force me into creating my own.
More Plans, More Kratzen
The four most tragic words in English: “Sorry for not updating”. It’s a sure sign the author of the blog just didn’t care enough to make it happen. There are a few superhumans who can keep a consistent schedule, even as their work spews mediocrity, for they are the ones who have nothing left to live for. Gaze your eyes at the TV Tropes Hall of Fame for consistency, where mortals only dream of being, including Sinfest “updating seven days a week at or not long after midnight without fail. For THIRTEEN YEARS”. I admire the creator of Sinfest for being so dedicated to the cause, even if he went insane because of it. If I ever go full Sinfest, shoot me on the spot, so I can finally get my rest.
Well, I used to be that. Gaze your eyes on Froghand! Or even 10kB, to a greater extent. They missed their days, sure. They took breaks. Rather, I took breaks, because I was the only one who wrote the things. Although Kratzen has its fair share of work — 500kB without any images — it is noticeably more sporadic, especially as the format makes it easy to see which days and weeks I’ve missed. I’ll have you know I’m keeping the tagline up. I will either change to be honest, or the world may call me a liar.
I won’t apologise for having the dignity to be human and choose to sacrifice some of my written experiences for the sake of my unwritten ones. I will apologise for having the sheer, unchecked ego to waste my time on watching speedruns without thought, for once one has seen a hundred of the things, what in the world is there left? By that point you’re just watching GladJonas on autoplay, and when that happens, you need to take a step back and realise there is nothing on YouTube that’s worth checking more than once a week. So I had to block the website, for being a great big distraction. People like me should, too.
It’s true that I can write up a great big piece just like that, spending an hour to write about 1,500 words. Hard – pressed, I could do more, but my fingers are not built for such flights of dexterity, and my brain appreciates greater having time to digest the thoughts going through its head, as opposed to excreting them without regard for who will read them. And it is true the great men of history have made consistent schedules and stuck to them no matter what, just as I had in the past. But it is, as with all things, an exhausting thing. And I would rather live happy than to be in indentured servitude to an audience of a dozen… it’s fortunate that writing this does make me happy, or at the very least smugly satisfied for having written it.
As Robert Heinlein said, “Progress doesn’t come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things”. I have yet to make Kratzen easy to update, being a repetitive chore that involves redundant typing, and so find myself writing the articles and then delaying the actual updating, the article all embedded in valid HTML. A sufficiently advanced programmer would be able to see my use case and create a small program to allow for the easy updating of such, for the site is very predictable, semantically and syntactically valid, and would only require basic substitutions to implement. Sadly, I am not that programmer. I know how computers work, yes, and I have made an entire Froghand about that. But talking to them is another matter entirely, frustrating and literal, and so is a skill I would rather cast away for the excellent skill of English discourse.
The same as all developers should make post – mortems and monthly updates, so too should they release their roadmaps and design philosophies. Well, my philosophy is on my about page, and my roadmap is theoretically releasing a review every day and an article every 10 days and at the start and end of each month. I have heard good things about the articles I have written, even the ones I haven’t read for a great long time. I am cursed to remember them though, and so what somebody sees reading them for the first time will be beyond me for at least five years. I suppose my philosophy will involve making more work that my fans really like seeing. If I was solicited to do games design, then surely I’m not awful?
I meant it when I said Froghand was a privilege. I mean it when I say 10kB’s beauty will not die. This is not a job to me. It is not a paycheque. This is the work that I create because I honestly believe there are things that I may say which will influence somebody for the better and until the end of their lives, as I have been influenced myself. If I may teach some youngblood a little bit of philosophy or knowledge that sticks with them forever, then have I not led my legacy? I have heard legacy defined as building a garden you will never see grow, but I am impatient enough that I want to see it, and so want to work to see that happen. But the world revolves around those who do, and those who want are the undeserving and unentitled by comparison.
What matter is the small audience? I am forced to write for myself. Forced to! I earn no criticism from my work, and yet I don’t find them perfect by any means. I write blind, and so from the edge of my seat I gift to you the ideas of a man with the privilege to have ideas. If my prose should be weak, then wait, for it will be better, and my rhetoric will not be rhetorical questions, but in the persuasive meaning of what I say. And should you be confused, wait for the next article, for I too often say the same things, refined over time, to create that which deserves to be read. And it is this, I suppose, that is my legacy: to make work that deserves to be read.
Kratzen? Phooey to not updating! It deserves better, and better I shall give.