Month: May 2018

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    Statik on Playstation VR

    Statik is one hell of a fun game to play. Lasting only a couple of hours, depending on whether you solve the puzzles of course, this game never got boring. Despite the fact that you spend the entire time with your hands locked in a box.

    Locked in a box

    Your hands are locked in a box within its VR world for the whole game, whilst in reality you take a hold of the standard PS4 controller. That controller is used in very inventive ways throughout the game to try and solve each puzzle.

    Each level gives you a new puzzle to solve, which become increasingly tricky and mind-bending as they go on. Each button, whether it be the directional buttons; the shape buttons; triggers; or analogue sticks, will control individual parts of each box.

    There are some puzzles that require you to hold the control bindings of a box in your mind all at once, with one particular box being on a timer. This gave me just the right level of stress to warrant fighting back against being put back a step or two.

    It’s not just a box

    A lot of the game must actually be solved by using the environment around you. Parts of the room and certain objects around will very subtle guide you through the cryptic puzzles. I found myself at times just dumb-founded without a clue on how to solve something. Until I would make a really clever connection between my box and something around me and I’d end up with a great big grin on my face.

    My personal favourite was taking control of a small remote control camera buggy. As you move around to otherwise-inaccessible areas to solve its particular puzzle, you get live feedback to your box. It felt so trippy to be inside a VR game controlling a remote control car that can show you a live feedback of yourself in that chair.

    So frickin cool.

    A quick game that feels just right

    Even though each game involves you solving a different box that has your hands locked within, the game never felt repetitive. Each puzzle was so different from one another that I ended up feeling like I’d been on a real test of the mind to get to the very end.

    I completed the game in about two to three hours and that felt just right to me. I’d had my fill of that particular world, but could probably have played just one more level.

    I guess that’s one of the marks of a really good game – leaving the player wanting just that little bit more.

    In Summary

    If you want a challenging mind-bender of a game with truly ingenious uses of what the PlayStation VR can do, please do check out Statik. This game was a random recommend on a list of “best PlayStation VR titles” I stumbled across, and I’m so glad I picked it up on the PlayStation store.

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    Joyner Lucas – I’m Not Racist

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    One of the most exciting pictures I’ve seen in a long while

    This picture is one of the most exciting pictures I’ve seen in a while. On the surface it is just three people looking at something on a computer monitor. However, for those who know and enjoy two of these people’s work, it is something to shout home about.

    Junji Ito

    The guy on the left is Junji Ito – horror manga legend and instrumental in bringing the genre to modern mainstream attention. I enjoy horror manga very much and Junji Ito is one of those authors whose work I actively search for. His art style is instantly recognisable and has created some of the most memorable and terror-inducing images and stories.

    His most well known stories are probably Uzumaki, Tomie, and Gyo. Each masterpieces in their own right and serve to solidify Ito’s position at the very top of his game. His stories, especially those mentioned, work within the horror sub-genre of ‘Body Horror’.

    Hideo Kojima

    The guy on the right is Hideo Kojima. Kojima is a name well-known and highly respected within the gaming community, and indeed the wider community of action and story telling. He is the man responsible for the Metal Gear Solid series whose reputations really do precede them.

    Each of the games of Kojima’s that I have played I have fallen in love with. The first two Metal Gear Solid games, the first on the Playstation and the second on the Playstation 2, were such important games to me growing up, with me being about fifteen years old and eighteen years old respectively when they were released.

    These games were some of the most memorable gaming experiences that I have ever had and have definitely stayed with me to the present day.

    Why this picture is exciting

    To have both of these people present in the same photo, apparently reviewing something together in an office, s exciting. The had previously been working together on what was going to be a new Silent Hill game. The very thought of that even being a possibility is cause enough to lose your shit over. Junji Ito’s twisted and macabre creations within a world created and directed by Kojima…

    …But it was never to be. Silent Hills, as it was called, was cancelled and they both went their separate ways. And that was that…

    …Or was it?

    Death Stranding is the game that Kojima and his team are currently working on, which is exciting in itself. However, when you take the recent image above and consider the very real possibility that the two masters themselves could in fact still be working together, whole new levels of awesome enter into the mix.

    Original source of image here.

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    Leveling Meg as a new main survivor in Dead By Daylight to get me some lovely cosmetics. Been playing Laurie every match so far.

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    Persona 5 is such an engrossing game. Hours slip by so easily.

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    Morita Hospital (Tomie part 2)

    He speaks ill of you to no end… and yet, I guess that’s the kind of man I like.

    Tomie โ€” Morita Hospital

    What is Morita Hospital about?

    Yuki is a school girl who is being kept at Morita Hospital awaiting a kidney transplant. She waits patiently while her condition slowly deteriorates. Often found sitting with her is her friend – a boy named Tadashi. The pair seem close, but the boy seems slightly withdrawn from the room when we join them.

    As he leaves Yuki to her hospital room, she spots him out of the window walking with another girl. She knows nothing of the other girl, except for what she can see of her. This new girl is beautiful and has a distinctive mole under her left eye. We as the reader know that this is Tomie, but these people know nothing of her or what she is capable of.

    Although it isn’t explicitly stated, I believe that this is the Tomie that Reiko found growing beneath the cave at the end of Part 1. Tadashi reveals how he met Tomie at the beach, which in itself isn’t that strange. But considering the fact that Tomie is referring to herself as Reiko, my theory is that she killed the original Reiko and assumed her identity. I can’t confirm this, but I like to think that this is what would have happened.

    Main Characters

    Tomie is a spoilt brat

    We start to see the spoilt brat side of Tomie in the Morita Hospital story too. When she is walking with Tadashi, she tries to get him to buy her some new earrings on a whim. Unable to afford any more financial offerings of love, Tadashi unwillingly causes her to go storming off in search of a rich man who can cater to her wants.

    A common thread of her personality is the wanting to drain the men who dote after her of all of their money. She just wants to be pampered and waiting on; told she is beautiful; and never crossed or betrayed in any way. I agree with not being betrayed, but what she considers betrayal, and what normal people consider betrayal, are two completely different things.

    I felt that this story went further in developing her character for us than her first outing did. Of course, that initial story we discussed last week was just the kernel of the idea. Once he had received the praise he did for Tomie part 1, I assume it gave him the conviction to go further into his imagination, leading him to really begin fleshing her story out.

    The organ donor

    Due to an unfortunate encounter between Tadashi and Tomie, she ends up in hospital and ultimately dying. The doctors then, under advisement of someone claiming to be Tomie’s next of kin, decide not to let her healthy body go to waste. I won’t spoil who this apparent next of kin is, but it is somebody you may know from before.

    It turns out that she also happens to be a perfect match for a certain patient awaiting a certain kidney transplant. The operation goes ahead and with great success. However, the spirit of Tomie is strong and she can not be killed – not easily at least. Her darkness will always find a way back to the light, squeezing through the cracks from within any living flesh.

    In summary

    The second part in the Tomie series continues pretty much from where we left off. However, it does take the story into a new direction with new players. This seems to be a running theme throughout the series. Tomie will show up in new people’s lives and pretty much just put them through hell.

    Although not my favourite in the series, Morita Hospital is another layer across the character of Tomie. I think Junji Ito was really starting to find his feet with his artistic style in this chapter. Especially with the final panels and seeing just how Tomie manages to keep her spirit alive.

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    Hanging Blimp

    Her face was hanging up in the sky, right above that tree there.

    A student explains the strange sights he saw โ€” Hanging Blimp

    What is Hanging Blimp about?

    Hanging blimp felt like a waking nightmare to me. The other stories in the Shiver Selected Stories collection had at least some kind of explanation to them. However, with Hanging Blimp, there isn’t any explanation offered as to why strange, head-shaped balloons are coming to town. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.

    The strange occurrences of this Horror Manga begin when a well-known girl is found hanging from the telephone line outside of her bedroom window. What follows soon after is very strange indeed – her head, floating in the wind, is spotted by one of her school friends. And this isn’t even the strangest part about this story.

    What is initially thought to be her actual head, is in fact a giant balloon that bares her exact image. As the story progresses we of course see more of these blimps and even find out what their true, horrific, intentions are.

    From out of a dream

    Perhaps the reason that Hanging Blimp lacks any solid basis for its events, is because it came from a dream of the young Junji Ito. In the commentary contained in the Shiver collection, he explains how a dream came to him before he became a mangaka, which led him to the images that you will find in this story.

    I actually love how he hasn’t tried to force any kind of back story into this. Instead, he seems to have stayed true to his dream. Half of what I love about Ito’s work is the artwork itself and the unforgettable images he conjures up. And this story contains, what I would say are, some very memorable images indeed.

    In Summary

    This isn’t the scariest story in the Shiver Collection by a long shot. But it is one of the stories that made me think the most about it after reading. The appearance of these head-shaped balloons felt to me to represent the inevitability of death. I felt as if it was showing, very vividly, those people running from their own self-imposed doom. Without ruining the end of the story, I can’t really elaborate on these thoughts though.

    Why not give it a read yourself, then we can have a chat and swap ideas? Either below in the comments, or in the Horror Manga Collective group on Facebook.

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    My friend Tomie is dead. Pieces of her body were found scattered everywhere.

    From Tomie (Tomie part 1)

    This first entry in the Tomie series is fascinating to me for two reasons. Firstly, it is the starting point for all of the stories that follow. Perhaps not all of them are linked to this specific incarnation of her, but it is our first meeting with the young lady. And since she has gone on to have such a huge legacy within the world of Horror Manga, is worthy of discussion.

    Secondly, it is the first manga story that Junji Ito completed – while he was still a dental technician. He submitted it to the Umezu Awards where he went on to earn an honourable mention for it.

    Main Characters

    The beginning of a legacy

    In this first entry of the series, we are introduced to Tomie and how she has seamingly managed to rise back from the dead. Of course, we only know this at the start from the account of Tomie’s friend, Reiko. However, we come to learn that not only did she in fact die, but that the witnesses went to some very extreme lengths to hide her body.

    We learn how she has most likely been sleeping with her Teacher, who himself is also married. This in itself is a light introduction to a large facet of her character – that she really has no moral boundaries. If she wants something she goes after it. And most of the time she gets what she wants.

    There isn’t too much in the way of Ito’s signature “body horror” in this story, save for the very last panel. But gosh how I loved how he decided to close this first chapter. We get to glimpse the genesis of Ito’s flourishing talent in that very last scene.

    The start of a great artist

    Junji Ito is now regarded as a titan within the horror manga community – in all manga in general, in fact. When you look back at this chapter after seeing his more recent stories, you will notice the difference in quality immediately. The detail isn’t anywhere near where we now know his work to be. But that does not detract from the story’s impact.

    What you have to remember is that this is his first published story. It feels akin to the debut albums of great bands – like Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’, or The White Stripes’ eponymous debut. Yes, it’s rough around the edges and not indicative of the quality that comes later, but it is the honest, unfiltered core from which his talent would come to grow.

    In Summary

    The opening chapter in the Tomie series is a staple in the chronology of the Horror Manga genre. It not only begins the life of the beloved Tomie, but also marks the beginning of one of the most exciting artist careers within this world.

    While this won’t show you the wildest imaginings of Ito, or his better artistic work, it will enrich your knowledge of the genre. I’m eternally grateful to Junji Ito for keeping Tomie’s story open like he did in this one. And also for continuing this lasting saga for the years that have followed.

    Welcome to the story of Tomie.

    Final thoughts with slight spoilers

    I can only imagine what it must have been like to read this when it came out. Without the knowledge of Ito and his now-heavy back catalogue. That moment two thirds in when the teacher stands over Tomie’s dead body with his students. All stripped down to their underwear and ready to cut her up into twenty pieces with knives and saws.

    As mentioned above, the only real body horror in this story is on the closing page. And that whole regrowth from one of the parcels of Tomie’s dismembered body parts was cool as hell. This was the demonic glue that brought the whole chapter together for me. Not only did she arise from the dead in some ethereal way, but that she is physically capable of regenerating from separated pieces of her body.

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