Following on from my review of Monster Mind, I metaphorically sat down with Argon Vile to discuss the game. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and consistency. Let's jump straight into it!
Rakuen: In the credits, you say Monster Mind was pretty much just done by you, although you took various assets from others. How long did it take to put everything together and what kept you motivated through it all?
Argon Vile: Development of Monster Mind began in January 2016 and finished in April 2018. When I first started the project, I tried to strike a balance between working on the game and working on my art. But after six months, I realized the scope of what I was creating, how long it would take. I decided to fully focus on the game, but I was still dissatisfied with the amount of progress I was making. I eventually adopted a motivational technique Jerry Seinfeld popularized, which is to take a physical wall calendar (being physical is important) and set a daily goal for yourself. My goal was to work on my game for one hour. Every day that I worked on my game, I would put an X on the calendar for that day. And eventually I would accumulate a string of five or 10 Xs in a row, and it would feel good. And that was my goal; don't break the chain.
Monster Mind is a puzzle-solving, Pokémon-themed, flash game created by Argon Vile. It's available to play for free through Inkbunny or Fur Affinity. One might be tempted to immediately dismiss it as just another pornographic game, however not only is it very well-executed but it also contains deeper questions about sex and sexuality than you might expect.
A puzzling start
The main puzzles—as well as the title—are based on the board game Master Mind. In the classic version, you have to guess the colour and position of each peg in a row of four, usually with six colours to choose from for each slot. After each guess, you are told how many pegs have the correct colour and how many are in the correct position. Over multiple guesses, you can determine the correct pattern.
Monster Mind is slightly different. While you are still required to find the pattern, several guesses are already provided as clues. You must use those clues to determine the correct sequence; although in the most difficult puzzles it might be necessary to make assumptions about more than one peg at a time. You can choose between various difficulties starting from a pattern of just three pegs (although in this game they are adorable bugs instead of pegs) and going up to five pegs. There is also a secret 7-peg puzzle with some extra rules!
"Augmented reality" mobile game and worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go was released to the public July 6, 2016, meaning the game has just passed its first year anniversary. To celebrate, the game has released versions of series mascot Pikachu wearing a hat based on anime protagonist Ash Ketchum's into the wild (Ash hat versions of pre-evolved Pichu and evolution Raichu are also available).
The anniversary event featuring the hat-bedecked Pikachus is expected to run through July 24, and also features an "Anniversary Box" in the game shop, which six Incubators (allowing players to hatch eggs), six Max Revives (items that heal Pokémon "fainted" during the Gym battle portion of the game), 20 Ultra Balls (needed to capture Pokémon) and two Raid Passes (allowing players to participate in Raids). The box is 1200 Pokécoins (currency that can be bought for real money or earned by battling at gyms).
The final days of the event coincide with the first days of Pokemon Go Fest, an event scheduled to be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA's Grant Park starting July 22. According to the event website, attendance is already sold out.
At the time of release, the game, which allowed players to track down and capture Pokémon "in real life" using smart phones, was a major hit, though opinions were divided as to whether it was the best thing (outside of Zootopia) to happen in 2016 or just another strike against the year. At one point, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton encouraged voters to "Pokémon Go to the polls"; she was not elected president. Players searching for elusive Pokémon managed to stumble across bodies so frequently that articles were written assuring people stumbling across dead bodies is normal.
Despite all this, Nintendo and Niantic have claimed over 750 million downloads of the game, with over 250 billion Pokémon caught, all over the world.
Nintendo has released a trailer for the previously announced Pokémon Sun and Moon pair of games, the latest generation of Pokémon games. The games are set for a November release, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the franchise. The trailer, like the one for last generation (X and Y), features the three new "starter"; a Grass-type owl, a Fire-type cat and a Water-type seal. The trailer also includes two as yet unnamed legendary Pokémon that, perhaps disappointingly, aren't winged unicorns.
Of the three new Pokémon, Litten, the fire type cat, seems to be the most popular with furries so far; it's already racked up 67 tagged pieces on e621.net (NSFW, so you can do your own research to verify), compared to Rowlet's 25 and Popplio's 24.
The Pokémon franchise has been around for a long time. After two decades of tackling many genres, the concept of Pokémon battling arrives, for the first time, in one to which it seems particularly well-suited: the fighter.
Pokkén Tournament allows you to take full control of 16 different Pokémon in live action combat against your opponent. The game was developed by those experienced in the development of fighter games, and are known for the creation of Tekken. But even with this expertise behind the scenes, can the game rise to the challenge and leave a mark within the niche fighter market?
Last April, web animation series Death Battle's spin-off series One Minute Melee featured as combatants Digimon Renamon and Pokémon Lucario. However, that battle could be considered an under-card fight in the Battle of the Mons, as the main series has now featured Agumon and partner Tai for team Digimon versus Charizard and trainer Red for team Pokémon.
NSFW Warning: Violence with blood in embedded video.
This news is a year old, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of it on any furry newssite from then until now..
There was a Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon convention in Yokohama on August 9-17, 2014 that included a march of 1,000 costumed Pikachus (according to original press releases; it appears considerably less Pikachus actually marched) through the city.
Many people took videos of the marching Pikachus, added music including heavy metal tracks, John Williams’ Star Wars Imperial march and old Imperial Japanese Army military marches, then posted them to YouTube.
In response to the ultimate fanboy question, "who would win in a fight?" the web-series Death Battle from website Screw Attack decided to finally answer the question with actual "research" about the abilities of various fictional combatants, complete with sprite animations of the fights. Then, because research, even fictional research, is hard, the spin-off series One Minute Melee was started, which is a quick and dirty, no explanations, this-is-how-we-want-it-to-go-down version.
March 31 is the deadline for player's chance to download Mewtwo as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS and Wii-U. Mewtwo will become the first downloadable fighter in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, Nintendo's mascot fighting game. In order to obtain the character, players must join Club Nintendo and register copies of both the 3DS and Wii-U versions of the game. Despite the deadline of the end of the month, the actual character will not be available until a later, still unspecified date sometime this spring.
There are currently no plans for further downloadable characters; though it is entirely within the realm of possibility, Club Nintendo's discontinuation makes it an unlikely possibility. Blue vixen fans will just have to wait (and hope) for the next console.
Update (April 1): Mewtwo will be available April 28, and further downloadable characters have been verified (though, once again, not Krystal). [Sonious]
Update 2 (April 2): There is now a system in place for voting on characters; I forgot who I picked. It is available until October, so don't expect a quick turnaround. Also, the March 31 deadline was only for a free Mewtwo; Mewtwo will be available for $3.99 for one game or $4.99 in bulk.
Three years ago, Nintendo announced Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS, the latest in Nintendo's series of fighting games featuring various Nintendo characters. As the game's Japanese version launched this Saturday, the full roster for the game is now known (though it had actually been leaked back in August). The starting roster can be found here. The furry part of the complete roster will be covered after the break, so don't click on Read More if you're worried about spoilers.
The game will be hitting stores everywhere else October 3, with the exception of Germany, which gets it a day early due to a national holiday. Lucky them.
So, here we are again, with the second new batch of Pokémon introduced via semi-anthropomorphic fox; while Zorua and Zoroark got that honor last time, this time the new starter Pokémon, including Fire starter Fennekin, were the first glimpse at the new Pokémon. And, okay, Fennekin doesn’t exactly start out even semi-anthropomorphic, middle evolution Braixen evolves a mini-skirt (regardless of gender, of course) while final evolution Delphox goes for something a bit more modest (and slightly less gender specific).
If for some odd reason you’re a furry who doesn’t like foxes in mini-skirts (I guess it’s possible, but please explain yourself in the comments), well, you’ve also got the Water starter Froakie who turns into a frog ninja Greninja. That’s just the starters, and with those two, we’ve already got the furriest set of starters pretty much ever (though the Grass starter manages to be fairly non-anthropomorphic despite becoming more-likely-to-drop-the-animal-than-anthropomorphic Fighting type, as well as pretty lame, actually). So, that should make furries excited.
But does the game add anything to the formula? Well, this is one of the most radical overhauling of the basic framework of the Pokémon games since at least the second generation. Most of this new stuff works, but there are some issues as well.
Funny Animals and More: From Anime to Zoomorphics, based on Fred Patten’s weekly columns from Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research animation website, was published March 26 by Theme Park Press. It is available in paperback and digital formats, and on Amazon.com.
The book is about animation and comic books rather than specifically anthropomorphic animals, but cartoon and CGI funny animals are a major theme. Topics include anime cat girls; Pokémon and Monster Rancher; Astro Boy and Atomcat; how a popular 1970s anime TV series led to the import of thousands of baby North American raccoons into Japan as pets, whose descendants are ruining thousand-year-old Buddhist and Shinto shrines today; animated Summer Olympics mascots like Misha the bear cub, Sam the eagle, Hodori the tiger, and Cobi the sheepdog, from 1972 to 2012; Patten’s favorite childhood comic-book funny animals like Amster the Hamster, Doodles Duck and his nephew Lemuel, Nutsy Squirrel, Dunbar Dodo, and SuperKatt, and how he would still like to see them animated; Crusader Rabbit; rats in animation; Reynard the Fox in animation; and Disney’s forthcoming 2016 Zootopia.
Love it or hate it, you gotta admit that Pocket Monsters, a.k.a. Pokémon, are anthropomorphic. In Japan, “monsters” are any fantasy animals; “pocket monsters”, like Pikachu, are monsters small enough to fit into your pocket – although since they were introduced almost twenty years ago, there have been some giant Pokémon as well.
The annual Pokémon theatrical movies started in Japan 16 years ago and are still being churned out, but in America they have gone direct to TV for the last few years. This year’s, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (96 minutes), will premiere in English on the Cartoon Network on October 19, at 12:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. It will follow last year’s movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice at 11:00 a.m., if you haven’t seen that yet.
Nintendo spokesmon Pikachu has announced the sixth generation of the popular Pokémon franchise: Pokémon X and Y. The pair of games will be released simultaneously worldwide for the first time ever in the franchise's history, and will feature 3D graphics rather than the traditional 2D sprites of games past. [tip: Lovejoy/Weasel Wordsmith]