Introducing: Diēs die Kratzenkatze!
Welcome, once again, to another arbitrary Kratzen Update! Yes, that joke about putting out another update twelve hours later is even funnier when you realise this update came twelve days later. Actually fifteen. Look, it’s all jokes. If you don’t laugh, who am I? Who am I really?
I already used up all my jokes in the last review, and I don’t have nearly enough ground – breaking, revolutionary, modular, systemic, game – changing, uh… Cloud. Don’t forget the Cloud. Let’s see, what other buzzwords can I use? Emoji, virtual reality, haptic feedback. Oh, hell, I could never be a Silicon Valley asshole! I’ll just have to settle for being a regular asshole. Or, if you prefer, ein Schwachkopf.
What’s with all the German around here, besides the magazine being named after a very bad pun that eight months into its existence nobody ever brought up and I have to explain to people, only for their eyes to widen like they were a newborn baby finding the nipple for the very first time? Well, I have a very special announcement to make, which has already been spoiled by your browser tab (don’t look, damn you!). I’ll suffer the illusion that anything thing ever goes according to plan and I don’t have to fend off the rats in the Digital Arena each and every day of my life because my opinion on Sonic Meet and Fuck Adventure 69 XXL was different from somebody elses, who found it a very emotional and heartwrenching portrayal of the daily life of a sex worker in the Vancouver slums, and which I found to be pandering to the already – existing Meet and Fuck fanbase without offering any innovation on the classic formula. Of course, you’re only allowed to have the pre – approved opinions about such games, or else you’ll be torn apart by legions of Sonic Meet and Fuck fans.
You know, this magazine is getting more stupid by the day. On to the changelog!
Kratzen 2.1: Electric Boogaloo
• Fixed archives list being biased to the left.
• Changed licences and dates on list to abbreviated forms.
• Changed “NA” designations on list to asterisms: ⁂
• Removed “Games” and “Studios” from developers names on list.
• Increased vertical padding for entries on list.
• Added Froge’s itch.io link to about page.
• Added Partner affiliate code to the end of all itch.io project page links.
• Links to everywhere else on Itch, including profiles, are unchanged.
• And I even added Die Kratzenkatze: our new kitty – cat mascot!
We will now discuss the cat
Yeah, the version numbers on Kratzen are meaningless. The only revision system that makes any sense is the “increase every time an update goes live, no matter how minor” system. According to this system, I’m on Kratzen Version 421! If I didn’t have to upload the index page twice last night, I would have been able to post that number on the military – industrial complex and get free upvotes. Ugh, I just realised I’ve gone my entire career without writing down the word “the military – industrial complex”. I’ll probably censor myself later and replace it with “the military – industrial complex” or something.
But enough of that cancer. It’s took me too damn long to come up with an actual favicon for Kratzen, and that old cross was as generic and uninspired as the 10kB favicon. It’s my pleasure to introduce my new scrubby catgirl, Diēs, who is a female cat as opposed to a horrifying manipulation of the human figure used to sell plastic figurines at three – thousand percent markup.
Her design deviates slightly from the typical minimalist philosophy of many of my other designs due to the difficulty in representing a cat unambiguously as a cat. The four – colour palette does all the legwork in fulfilling the shape and form of the cat, the dark bits representing all at once: a cat’s flat rounded head, its interior whiskers, its markings, and its natural chin scruff. The snappy punctuation of pure white provides a visual symmetry that saughts the natural markings and odd ears, like white specks in a modernist’s painting, and defines the ears, eyes, and whiskers in a way that provides the contrast the scenario demands. The pure black, of course, is for the whole structure of her head. As much as we have innovated in line art over the years, practicality in design dictates we keep our lines when they must be unambiguous, or else the design will be muddled.
When you read a book about cats, you always see mentions of their big personality. I like that. I like the idea of the behaviour of cats being dictated by personality and not, like ghosts and dogs, arbitrary actions. Because you really do understand how dignified the creatures are, and how much of an anomaly they are compared to the deterministic actions of lesser mammals. They are intelligent, but they are also fussy, as smart as a three – year – old and in far less size. Cats, like birds, are among the most fascinating of creatures, for you wonder how they exist at all, why they came to be, and how we had the privilege to domesticate them. You cannot represent an animal without understanding who they are, where they came from, and what they do. To not do the research on these beautiful creatures is an insult to everybody who owes their life to a pet that died before they did.
Diēs is a European Shorthair (also known as a European Tabby) based after the real – life cat I’ve known for over a decade, Frisky. Like Frisky, Diēs has many markings across her face, as well as a chipped ear on her right side — though I forget if Frisky had it on his left or right, or even how it came to be, given the absence of photographs I have. But the ear represents the willingness to fight and a sense of constant alertness, always having “one ear open”, and provides much – needed natural shapes to offset the natural symmetry that favicons so often are. In essence, she can be considered to be a typical cat. Her body is aged, and so is she, but she is still graceful because of it.
More symbolism can be found in the scruffiness of her fur, being misshapen deliberately as a representation of what I do here on Kratzen: be a scrub who cares not for the opinions of lessers. She’s pouty because she has a pessimistic personality, though with bright eyes representing the vain optimism of youth. The markings, with their purposeful deviations, represent a method to her madness that is not present in lesser cats. And her whiskers are there because… she’s a cat. You gotta have ’em!
Oh, and her name is Latin for “day”, so as to represent the daily grind I force myself into to be the first and final word in free culture, as the cheeky marketing copy of the Degenerates collective says. My other choice would be to name her “Kite”, but I found it too anime for my tastes, and I already have the Froge character copping the unpronounceable name vaguely based on a real – world animal æsthetic. The German title of “Diēs die Kratzenkatze” is supposed to read “Diēs the Kratzen Cat”, as opposed to “Diēs the scratching cat”, though both titles make your eyeballs roll out of instinctive protest.
It’s spooky to see how much of your subconscious comes out in the art you create. Even with something as simple as a favicon for my Bloge run by Froge, you can see so much of what I value and pride as an artist, and what I appreciate when looking at art. You see the history of who I am and how I got here, and you see how much I appreciate coy animalisations as is typical of the Furry Persuasion. Every day I appreciate more and more the privilege to be learned, for in learning I have the opportunity to share so much with those not as educated, and even though much of what I write is a sort of stream – of – consciousness (first draft, best draft, eh?), I always do my best to be as genuine, honest, and forthcoming as I can be. Because if I’m none of those things, and I’m still writing regardless, then what right do I have to impose my opinions onto you?
I always appreciate the little things that artists put into their work that seems so small, seems so unnecessary, and yet they put it in for the sake of being discoverable for those fans that care to pore into their creations and ravage it from the inside – out. It’s the easter eggs and the density of design and all the hidden references to their life’s work that makes them topics of such fascination. And in designing my own work, I hope to make it, too, a topic of fascination. I hope that as the days go by, Diēs comes to represent all that I care about.
But, more likely, she will remain in her own little 16²px prison. For her protection, not yours. You see, there are some sick people on the Web, and I don’t want her getting lewded.