Bloodborne and the Lovecraftian Curse of Capitalism | Curio v1e8



this video is dedicated to anyone who said that I won't be taken seriously because I call Nazis sad nerds No this video is where I will be taken seriously it's October and October is Halloween month so I wanted to talk over a spooky topic in fact the spookiest topic of all the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalist class section 1 introduction I need to talk about a really serious issue here that I've seen in a lot of games now this is something that honestly holding back a lot of eight or nine games from being solid tense there are just pieces of media here two pieces of art that are compassionate and clever and rich but they fall down again and again in this one place I'm talking about the Adam driver creator it takes me sometimes two or even three hours to make something even vaguely resembling Adam driver or in some cases I never make anything all that close and I think we can all agree that's totally unacceptable I come into so many games excited but I'm playing I'm just so distracted by what a poor Adam driver the game let me create pitiful do better blood-borne what we need here is clearly a multiple point system to create a nose shape a jawline a general face shape you know the the white upper jaw the square chin that NASA rocket knows a set of sliders isn't gonna cut it in some cases I can't even make his ears stick out what kind of Adam driver am I going to create if I can't even make his ears stick out no kind of Adam driver at all from software I'm talking to you directly now ditch all of your existing facial hair presets I can see what you were going for some of them are pretty close to actual facial hair Adam driver has but some of them jeez a full beard when is Adam driver ever won a full beard ridiculous and and the hairstyles I mean one or two of them as a pretty good kylo Ren in there but where's the weird bowl-cut nowhere that's where three out of ten but boom is released in 2015 by from software it's an installment in the from software souls Bourne series although it may or may not actually take place in the same universe as Dark Souls and Demon's Souls unlike other games blood-borne is set in a city resembling 1800 s European city for example Victorian London we all the things were afraid of and that's a provable fact because nearly all of them are in blood-borne blood-borne has some horrible critters in it but luckily for me the thing I'm most afraid of didn't make the final cut to the bone blood-borne is enormous ly popular it's almost universally hailed as totally fantastic almost everywhere I've seen it reviewed and rated it has over ninety percent approval from the gaming community let's see if we can change that blood-borne is an allegory for how capitalism ruins everything section two aggressive readings why is why is this here is it because it's the blood-borne Halloween spooktacular or is it because natalie threw a cup full of coffee at the wall hmm in sinister or how to play games wrong big joel explains quite adeptly why authorial intent and video games have a really strained relationship I think that's the best way to describe it the author's intentions aren't completely absent from games but they just have a really strained relationship wealth Oriole intent never really got to achieve everything it wanted and it has this degree in our history but video games is the one paying the bills so they always do what video games wants to do and authorial intent is always trying to get video games to notice something really clever it's done and video games feel stressed at work because it has this big head boss and you're in the back of the car while there's all this tension between them and you don't understand why and you already asked authorial intent earlier if you could go to Blockbuster and it said no but you thought you might get a different answer if you lost video games and you didn't mean to make them stop fighting again you just really want to go to Blockbuster necessary I just need a minute so I'd like to talk about hi sometimes read something aggressively what I basically mean by this is sometimes it's okay to know that the author of a piece doesn't have the intention you're talking about if you can demonstrate at the reading of a piece of media you're putting forth has some value then it's a good reading I want to use this term an aggressive reading separately to death of the author because the assumption the death of the author sets up to counter is that the author's intention is the correct interpretation of the work and the way a lot of people use death of the author now is to argue why their interpretation is the correct one an aggressive reading isn't supposed to be the correct interpretation just a valid interpretation a lot of you may be asking just an excuse to insert your shitty political howtechs into video games with no accountability because video games an authorial intent has such a strained relationship I think they're a really ideal medium to apply this analytical concept the case I want to examine today is of course a reading of blood-borne I'll say once again I'm not trying to claim this is what blood-borne is about but I just think this reading has some value is the interpretation blood-borne is an allegory for exploitation of the worker under capitalism before we get around to that though and I'd like to look at a couple of examples of aggressive readings just get totally on the same page it'll be easier TMI point across if I can relate it to a piece of media everyone knows really well so of course I'm going to talk about the mobile app game Idol miner tycoon Idol miner is an app game in the popular genre known as idle clickers the idea being that the main interaction with the game is simply clicking at first you click together in-game currency and then after some time you use the currency to buy things that make your clicking redundant therefore allowing you to be idle this is an absolutely huge game genre and it has been for a few years now youtuber simulator was really popular or a while back I think I don't know I I didn't really play it when I want to accurately simulate being a youtuber I play overwatch on Twitch and say racial slurs a lot of idle clicker games those basic mechanics I just discussed but plus some in-app purchases for if you want to skip ahead and not have to wait as long dressed up in some sort of narrative or other aesthetic disguise I say disguise because the window dressing of an idol poker game is the only thing that distracts you from the fact you'd just wasting time quickly on a screen and occasionally handing of your money to developers for essentially nothing and that's where idle minor Tycoon comes in idle miner tycoon is a game where you click to set up you guessed it a mine and then click more to use the profits to expand your mind or set up more mines partly because idle miner has such a simple premise with no story to speak of the mining premise seems oddly metaphorical as if the game is saying that the players paying money for in-app purchases or clicking on ads are the miners creating revenue for the mine owner representing the developers they're just clicking away after the developers made the initial effort of setting up the mine it's also partly because the mining industry has a really long three of exploitation and abuse and battles between workers unions and catalyst bosses I guess I just want to know why over miners look so happy and no real miner has ever been this happy to be getting black lung what world is this setup I sealed into it and it's made by a company called fluffy fairy games based in Berlin fluffy fairy games only have one other game but they appear to still be active so I feel like you might see more of the same in the future but Eric you can't just assume they're gonna keep making the same stuff good point imaginary contrarian except that the other game of fluffy fairy made is called idle factory tycoon again thin aesthetic veil over idle clicker mechanics again oddly self-aware metaphor for worker exploitation I did have to go check these games weren't actually some kind of satire because honestly why do they keep picking like Dickensian forms of labour is there I don't pick a premises that's exactly my point though that perfect self satire wasn't their intention there's an interview with the creators in which they discuss making idle workers as a quick easy way to make games that turn a profit with one of them even describing idle clickers as essentially a spreadsheet with an interface hopefully with this example you can see the benefit of my aggressive reading definitely not the author's intentions but what serves is a better metaphor for the way that I don't cook is like idle – squeeze profit out of users than idle miner itself now since I always have to be a Debbie Downer let's look at an example of aggressive readings being used for evil and by evil I mean shitty homophobic nonsense in 1954 Frederick virt and published seduction of the innocent the influence of comics on today's youth seduction of the innocent isn't the gripping thriller that you may have first thought it to be its instead a long screed against comics from a pulp flushing garbage person think all the people who today say that video games are making young people violent only sixty years earlier and max instead Burton claimed the Wonder Woman strength and independence from men made her a lesbian which like no dude being raised on an island of women made her a lesbian he also claimed there is a subtext of BDSM fetish play on Wonder Woman which firstly the creators were fairly open about and secondly Frederick I thought you were trying to make me like comics less even called Superman on American and fascistic Superman unamerican Burton Scully never read the issue of the American government but Superman in prison as a baby what I really want to talk about though is the claim that Burton made the Batman and Robin contains a subtext for a homosexual relationship this spawned decades of cheap lazy homophobic jokes about Batman and Robin and probably forever Todd a father-son dynamic that was supposed to be a wholesome and positive relationship they're not just children but also parents to learn from the lesson to take from this example as that aggressive reading of media have their place and that as a valid interpretation instead of the correct one they shouldn't be attached to that piece of media for life if you aggressively read something great people can go experience the media that way but they should keep it to that taking that idea on to blood-borne I should say this it's easier for an aggressive reading to take hold in that way when there isn't already an obvious interpretation it has to displace luckily I don't have to worry about that because blood-borne is notoriously easy to understand with clear plot and obvious uncomplicated law right Section three when the caucus would call swashbuckle coast it's inside so the email but even coke the yeast is a caused by a particular one it's existed as a result of the special sort of productive activities the nature of which is determined by it alone mode of operation favorite value no no no yeah you start blood-borne by joining the yharnam hunt yana mites are hunting beasts the beasts used to be people like that but something called the old blood has transformed them the hunters are hunting beasts and the hunters are becoming beasts too and since you've begun by taking a transfusion of the old blood so are you as with any soul sport game you get used to just dying and dying and dying you'll even be standing around and will just admiring the viewer fucking dark portal will just scoop you up the space deal you bunch of damage for no reason and then throw you back down and since you're so used to dying you don't think twice about it after you've killed a few different bosses above when you make it to Rome the spider a big mama spider with lots of horrid babies look away at this point if you don't want to see hordes by the babies defeating Rome is a wild ride you see Rahm was by some magic holding back the true nature of the world Rahm was keeping you from seeing them the great ones these huge creatures perhaps cosmic beings or Sonic entities have been watching you and everyone else all along that spooky dark portal that scoops you up that was a great one picking you up in its hand and crushing you the truly brilliant thing about the way this twist works is you can see the great ones before you defeat wrong if you have enough insight which is an in-game currency in point system however when you can't see them yet and you get scooped I'm a cathedral ward there's actually a faint outline of a hand just holding you up you just want looking to see it so you probably missed it the first time and that's just insanely cool often the main bosses do you kill Margo an infant gray one this was your mission all along you were really working for yet another great one known as the moon presence or if you're real fan like me and you know it's real much scarier name for at this point you can be executed and reawaken and yawn and having forgotten everything resist and defeat government and then flora turns you into the new gomen or if you found certain special items in the game you can fight flora and wake up as a tiny alien squid baby Donelson made a video a little while ago about the deceptive endings of blood-borne what initially seems like the best ending reawakening in yharnam as yourself is perhaps the worst and it all depends on your point of view the game models insight which I mentioned before as a kind of madness following the love crafty tradition that someone who learns the deeper truths of the universe would seem mad to ever announce with that in mind the ending way yuria waken in yharnam as a hunter is one way you have no insight anymore the ending where you become gurmann allows you to escape that cycle but it leaves you in a different trap that third ending although you sacrifice your humanity allows you to become one of the creatures who actually affect change in the world it allows you agency and perhaps control so there are your three endings working in service of the great ones becoming a middleman to them or joining that upper level of existence here's where we can start with our aggressive reading three classes okay now I know now it sound crazy or do I just have a higher insight score than you the rich and powerful control the actions of the working class in myriad ways politically if you make changes to health care education workers rights the benefit anything that the government is basically supposed to provide you're going to affect the actions the working class to me the invisible interdimensional creatures manipulating workers into slaughtering each other as they continuously imbibe a supposedly magical cure-all from the creatures that ultimately only makes the situation worse yeah if that reads pretty smoothly as a class system metaphor the primary currency system in blood-borne is blood echoes it's pretty funny considering that blood sweat and tears is the idiom we have for labor when we want to conceptualize labor as infused with its product if you've read capital the one takeaway lesson if nothing else you get is that only labor can create a value so a value can only come from labor and blood one's currency system is blood and no I just think of had an alien ask me what's a class system how does that work I'd say it's just like fucking blood-borne and they'd say what's a blood-borne and I'd say oh fuck you're an alien and I'd realize I have loads more explaining to do the metaphor goes deeper than that though and I mean deeper there's a second optional quest of the game working through the to Marion chalice dungeons these are dungeons deep beneath Yanam full of exceptionally horrid critters in one of the dungeons there's another great one called a British great ones are were chipton revered but for whatever reason she is trapped in the dungeons I see the dungeons which are supposed to give you a window into Yanis past as a perfect extension of the metaphor because what came before yharnam looks just like what came before capitalism serfdom worship belief in higher powers and theocratic societies and hereditary monarchy though as a Brit it is my duty to see an allegory for the monarchy any video game I play but as a socialist it's my duty to compare the Queen to a tentacle monster from space living underground worship I call that the undead it works really well for me that the same great ones who were ruling out the Tamarians now rule of a Yanam but in secret because again that reads just smoothly like what happened when capitalism started become popular as the world industrialized the power structures underneath the top-level reorganized and society became something totally new but the old blood changed very little in blood-borne a group of scholars who studied the great ones have a mantra yeah the old there's a rich and full war to blood-borne and I shouldn't really go any further well giving credit to mati video without whom I would honestly not understand a single thing about blood-borne beyond the basic plot i've watched hours and hours of his content which i've been kind of writing off of his valid research for this video but he and other people like him spend so many hours more researching by looking into game files reading every single item description and talking to characters while wearing different costumes to try trigger new responses from software don't like to just lay things out plainly you could go through blood-borne and get to the end and not really get the big picture if you want to understand things better you really have to engage and the more you engage the more you get out it's a strange thing to do to deny your players easy access to information to create a rich law but then withhold it unless the player puts in loads of effort to read item descriptions and so on or at least it's strange until you discover that from software are really big fans of JRR tolkien and HP Lovecraft I mean credit to them they made a medieval fantasy series where you have to do a silly amount of walking and a cosmic horror game where you don't understand anything that's going on and you feel like a tiny stupid insect so good job guys I'm sure they'd both be proud most of the players first half-hour in the nightmare of mensis the final major chunk of the game is going to be spent yelling what's even killing me as the player is bombarded by insanity raised from this lighthouse in white trash a 400 year history of class in America Nancy Eisenberg talks about the conditions of the colonies during the foundational era of America America has long clung to a myth that it does not have the class system there's an idea of a country founded on equality and freedom where any one can become totally self-made this is hysterically untrue the colonies of America were a place for Europe largely to just send people it didn't want anymore to do labor didn't want to do in order to turn land that it owned but didn't want anymore into profitable land instead in 1630 John white wrote colonies ought to be a mug trees or sinks of state to drain away the filth Nancy Eisenberg right through 1608 someone described the poor in London as dirty and disfigured monsters living in caves when I read that the first thing I saw in my mind was the yharnam members of the hunt around the same time the sixteen tens someone moving to America could gain 50 acres of land per servant they brought and it didn't matter if the servants survived the journey someone will be made incredibly wealthy in exchange for basically removing the idle poor from European cities debtors addicts or even children could just be kidnapped from the streets and sold into the Navy or into indentured service and sent to America it's worth pointing out that an enemy roaming the streets and blood borne as the kidnapper there are tons of kidnappers carrying sacks as they genuinely would have done in the 16 and 1700s there are parts of this allegory that I think fit really well because of the nature of the Lovecraftian genre that from software wanted blood-borne to fit into the industrial era I hate this stupid fucking game yeah another element that fits the allegory really well to my mind anyway is the third ending the way you get the third ending and become the tiny alien squid baby is to collect three of a special item throughout the game and consume them the odds of you completing the game that way without knowing to look for a miniscule and the most likely thing to happen if you did manage that was that you started the game with some additional knowledge it's ironic that climbing up the metaphorical social ladder was only really achieved by most people because they took part in the community around the game most people who've got the third ending will have found out how to through shared knowledge therefore through people working together maybe your feelings about the three endings do depend on your philosophy your preference between humanity and power but I think we can all agree none of them are what you call ideal the best outcome would be that your new world wasn't secretly controlled by alien squids and the hunters didn't murder each other all the time and the gamin wasn't trapped in a dream wouldn't it be nicer if everyone just left the old blood behind I don't necessarily blame the great ones by the way even if I talked about the system has been manipulating people certainly some of them are malevolent and some of them aren't but I don't hate the rich for being rich I just don't think they should be I hate when rich and powerful people are shitheads unfortunately rich and powerful people are shitheads most of the time it's advantag lactic isn't it meat not building to a conclusion where I say either rich and we work better if I was sticking to blaming this secret shadowy group who were manipulating society wouldn't it well the problem is there are some people who would like it better if I were blaming all society's problems on one secret shadowy powerful group I'm sorry guys I've got to talk about Nazis again section four madness the secondary currency in blood-borne is insight but you know what I like a lot more than materialistic things knowledge in the Lovecraftian tradition as I said before madness is a perceived state of being and not an illness or internal condition people appear mad to others who simply have not discovered the truth knowledge in his book madness and civilization Michel Foucault points out that in the past before the advent of sanitariums to essentially remove the insane population from the sane the concept of madness was seen very differently madness used to be a state that potentially anyone could go through at any point with this point of view the Lovecraftian dichotomy between madness and as bloodborne models that insight doesn't seem unreasonable the mad are simply people with a different point of view when you take your transfusion of the old blood you see a vision of your beastly self reaching out to you after you fight the first mini-boss the cleric beast you gain one insight and you can see the doll in hunter's dream is alive consume an item called mad man's knowledge and gain more 50 insight and you'll see new enemies 40 insight and you can see the great ones before you defeat wrong 50 insight and the game actually changes the musical score in the hunter stream 60 insight and the sound of a baby crying follows you everywhere you go 100 insight and hit it taka Miyazaki watches you every night while you sleep the reason to discuss and think about this model of inciting its madness I think has to do with understanding why other people have different points of in different political beliefs how many times have you seen someone you disagree with talking about their political beliefs and reached for the word crazy to describe it I certainly know there's a huge trend among right-wing and even centrist dickheads to describe leftism as a mental disorder leftist youtuber Angie speaks just made a video about conspiracy culture which is really good it got me thinking about how the actual way capitalism functions the oppression of workers would read as a crazy conspiracy to someone if they didn't believe it it also made me think about how easily you could believe other conspiracy theories if you had some of the information and not all of it it would be like having a some amount of insight enough to make the game harder and scarier but not enough to properly understand what's going on the kind of conspiracies that you might be drawn to believe if you can see that the world is wrong but can't see how or see that some people get all the money in power but don't understand who are extremely harmful I'm talking about the deep state conspiracy white genocide Nazism the old right conspiracy theory is that sjw's are taking over universities people who believe those things could make the same aggressive reading of blood-borne that I've made just inserting their views instead they would maybe claim that the invisible monsters manipulating the hunt are Jewish elites or Obama or blue haired sjw's or Hillary Clinton I think a lot that when people learn information and that information changes that point of view it's like the discussion around Mary Shelley's Frankenstein the common misconception that the creature and Frankenstein is called Frankenstein and led to lots of people smugly informing others actually Frankenstein is the doctor not the monster I think there are three people in that situation people who think Frankenstein is the monster people who know Frankenstein's the doctor and people who get the doctor Frankenstein is the monster the people believing that a secret cabal of Jews control the media or that s JW is a ruining Society those people know that Frankenstein is the doctor they have some of the facts some of the understanding of how power class and money interact in the world but the fact they know something and they know that they know something lets them think they're totally right they've got 15 insight and they think they understand the whole entire game the thing is having all the insight in the world isn't gonna be enough in fact it might just make the world seem scarier and leave you to draw the wrong conclusions entirely the law is out there if you want to put in the effort reading item descriptions and wearing a cauliflower head to talk to the villager DLC just so he'll recite a little poem for you if you're still wondering about the allegory at this point that the villager would be Dziedzic and the poem is I already anything from the trash can all the time you have to read and learn and make that effort you have to share what you know and be willing to receive ideas from other people just not hateful ones section five the canary commuting is one of the times if you have a job especially a job that you don't like very much do you really feel like a small piece in a large machine some people commute in different ways to make it more fun and I think part of that really has to do with not feeling like you're just part of the crowd the setting of blood-borne is powerful because the misery is pungent and obvious but at the same time the system can remain hidden at least until the big reveal similarly I can go to a place like Canary Wharf near where I live and there isn't really one thing I can point my camera at and say look at capitalism Canary Wharf is really bizarre and has lots to do with private ownership of public spaces and the bizarre design I could get into but there just isn't time so consider this these guys aren't police officers police in the UK look like this these kinds of private security I promise seriously they're not police those kinds of design elements make places like that really weird in ways you can't quite pin down because like I said you point to the source of it all that's why it can be helpful to have a good metaphor or allegory places like Canary Wharf are so sold us and gray and depressing and the kind of architecture that demonstrates wealth and power but also cold efficiency is probably what our era looks like in the collective cultural mind's eye if there was a modern set souls born game maybe it would take place in a city of glass and steel and concrete and plazas with unimaginative curated greenery maybe the stock enemies would just be men in suits your own custom Adam driver versus a thousand haunted demonic Phoenix Wright Ace attorneys doom 2016 had the next less anti-corporate themes but also the entire game could be read in a similar way to what I did here an anti-capitalist metaphor it contains the same kind of divide and conquer workers tearing each other apart nightmare as blood-borne and the reason is basically capitalism is that specific kind of nightmare and so it's a specific kind of scary story we relate to h-bomb a guy made a video about Lovecraft that covered this stuff pretty well but sticking to aggresive readings and the value of seeing this capitalist metaphor for a second I'd say that if people want to understand the nightmare that capitalism is a lot of games turn out to be easy for metaphor just especially blood-borne when you play most games you and a bunch of other low-level mooks fight and kill each other until you rise up to the level where you can take on the boss in god bless you mr. rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut millionaire adult son of the rosewater family Elliott rosewater has gone totally crazy and wants to help people instead of just managing his family fortune forever when his father comes to find him and talk him out of it they have an exchange that really lays bare a central idea of the book I think it's terrible the way people don't share things in this country the least a government could do it seems to me is divide things up fairly among the babies there's plenty for everybody in this country if only we'd share more and what do you think that would do to incentive oh you mean fright about not getting enough to eat about not being able to pay the doctor about not being able to give your family nice clothes a safe cheerful comfortable place to live a decent education and a few good times you mean shame about not knowing where the money river is the what the money river where the wealth of nations flows we were born on the banks of it we can slurp from that mighty river to our hearts content and we even take slurping lessons so we can slurp more efficiently slurping lessons from lawyers from tax consultants we were born close enough to the river to drown ourselves in the next 10 generations and wealth simply using differs and buckets but we still hire the experts to teach us the use of aqueducts dams reservoirs siphons bucket brigades and the Archimedes screw and our teachers in turn become rich and their children become buyers of lessons in slurping it's still possible for an American to make a fortune on his own oh sure provided somebody tells him when he's young enough that there is a money river and that there's nothing fair about it and they damn well better forget about hard work and the merit system and honesty and all that crap and get to where the river is go or the rich and powerful or I'd tell him and learn their ways they can be flattered and they can be scared please them enormous Lior scare them enormous the in one moonless night they will put their fingers to their lips warning you not to make a sound and they will lead you through the dark to the widest deepest river of wealth ever known to man you'll be shown a place on the riverbank and handed a bucket all your own slurp as much as you want but try to keep the racket of your slurping down a poor man might hear Vonnegut was a socialist and a humanist he believed in the power of people working together and looking out for each other he didn't want us to carry on holding power at the top of some arbitrary system pretending that that system was just and right and absolute a system quite like the system of power in blood-borne I guess what I'm saying is if we work together we can get the best ending not one where we as individuals joined the group at the top something better than that this essay was definitely my wildest hot take forcibly crammed into a video game so far but I think the full text version on patreon is even wilder but there's that to cut a little bit down so if for some reason you enjoyed what you just watched please subscribe and consider supporting curio and patreon you'll have access to all the text versions of the essays as well as some fun rewards one of which is actually a secret speaking of patreon I'd like to thank my current patrons both for their money and for tweeting at me to keep me company night and day while I made this video I'd like to thank Hannah the man who makes the fantastic music for curio and who made three new tracks for the Halloween spooktacular I'd also like to thank you the viewer for watching all the way to the end the next big essay won't be out for a while but I have some smaller videos planned while I make that one really polished if you need more curio in the meantime I'm on Twitter where you can tweet it me that I've misunderstood blood-borne all of politics and death of the author see you next time but you know what I like a lot more than materialistic things knowledge




Comments
  1. I do think your reading has some validity to it. Based on your reading of capatilism and the old ones… well other than the fact that the old ones are designed to be unknowable to be in line with lovecraftian ideas. Capatilists on the other hand are fairly easy to understand.

    That said I think there is a different interesting way to read bloodborne. In bloodborne some of the old ones are being exploited. It is heavily implied the blood the healing church uses was taken from ebreitas. And in the dlc you find another old one killed by the hunters. Again it is implied the relationship with the villagers and the old one were ultimately positive. In my reading the healing church is the ruling class. They use their control over the old blood to control yharnam and its people. (If you buy into one of vaati's videos they even poisoned old yharnam to create a market for the old blood.) The way I see it the healing church exploited a resource they didnt understand and suffered greatly for it. Now this might be a stress but you could even tie this to say coal. The way we used it without fully understanding the effects it had on our planet. Now we see our own scourge taking form but the established power is trying to minimize it. Similarly the healing church tried to cover up the beastly scourge and shift the blame off their blood.

    So in my reading I think the healing church would be a more apt allegory for capitalism than the old ones.

  2. Loving your channel, after being introduced to it by Jack Saint and your drunken tweets yesterday, some top class video essays!

    But…

    On to the serious stuff, what did you think of Adam in Blackkklansman?

  3. I LOVE your aggressive readings!!! Please keep doing it whenever you find a game/visual media you want to do an aggressive reading of!

  4. Very good video. The only thing is that, as you say, a lot of video games can serve as metaphors for class struggle and capitalism, even the other Soulsborne games (they all have the souls as currency thing, the hidden secrets beneath etc.). What I find really interesting about Bloodborne is how good it functions as a metaphor for ideology. And you do touch on that in a couple of moments.

    Or maybe it's just my aggressive reading of the series that I'm very precious about :)).

  5. so about an hour ago, i started talking to a friend of mine about the seemingly unique way i love strategy games (i've always been more concerned with the story than the gameplay, and am endless sad there isn't the wide spectrum of stories in strategy games that we get to see in RPGs – and i already know what people are going to say in response to this, but like… let me make some other post about that somewhere, that's not what i want to talk about in this comment), and now i'm finding myself in the middle of writing up an aggressive reading for how the entire Warcraft series has actually been a criticism of Great Man history, and that's why Battle for Azeroth sucks, because it's giving in to Great Man theory. and also because it's ruining what is perhaps Blizzard's most nuanced character ever (which, honestly, isn't saying a whole lot, but still), but plenty has already been said on that topic.

    note to Blizzard fanboys who are getting upset at this, and about to say that i'm just hating on WoW: i've been such a big Warcraft fan that for the last five years, i've been working on turning the MMO into a D&D campaign, taking the actual in-game quests and turning them into an engaging series of adventures that don't just feel like MMO quests. and i am now running it with my group. we've been through Tirisfal and Silverpine, defeated Arugal (because yes, i did the research to keep it accurate to pre-Cata WoW before we head off to Outland), and are now running about in Stranglethorn. i'm pretty confident in saying that i love Warcraft more than most, so calm your tits.

  6. I'm sorry to say this because most of the other points you've brought up here are pretty good, but the "aggressive reading" of Batman and Robin as a gay couple is actually a good representation of authorial intent, and not at all a misreading of the text. The author was, at the time, a closet homosexual and this came out in his work as a series of relationships between a superhero and a young boy protege character. Because the climate at the time was so anti-gay he couldn't just come out and make gay characters like he wanted to, so this is the way he found to express his desire for mainstream acceptance in his work.

    Other than that though, good stuff. 🙂

  7. As one of those obsessive nitpicky weirdos who totally does that lore digging stuff and reads all the flavor text and discusses it with other weirdos, I love seeing these sorta reads on Bloodborne and the Souls games. This series is almost always very supportive of anti-establishment interpretations, and it's part of why I think it's some of the best dark fantasy.

    (But the jury's still out on whether MP is actually called Flora, or if the doll uses Flora to refer to a different entity, /or/ if she merely uses it in a traditionally poetic capitalized sense of referring to a concept so as to address the fabric of the Dream itself. Just filling you in on that info you definitely needed!)

  8. The term "deep state" or "permanent state" is a tricky one because, yes, it can refer to an unfounded conspiracy theory about Jews, etc., but it can also quite correctly refer to the very real phenomenon of a kind of "middle management," particularly in but not limited to the military/industrial/intelligence complex, that consists of unelected officials who tend to view presidents, generals, etc., as temps or even interlopers and who have a strong hand in influencing both policy and how that policy is enforced.

    I guess what I'm saying is that not everyone who uses that term, "deep state," is referring to the exact same thing.

  9. I really liked the video a lot, and if we look at the lore from the perspective you present, it makes for a great allegory.

    However, while I don't disagree with your allegory, you got some of the lore a little off. The Great Ones aren't active participants in controlling the lives of the mortals. For example, ebriatas (spelling?), Is not controlling aspects of the world, rather, she is trying to bridge the gap between the great ones and mortals, she wanted to help them. She was the only great one who wanted to help. The curses and attacks of the Great Ones stem from the "crimes" of the mortals. The Orphan of Kos is trapped in a sort of limbo because of their experiments. And they constantly harvest and consume old blood, abusing the old God's, and thus their retaliation. In their hubris to become like the old ones, they caused them to suffer. Thanks death of Kos and The trapping of the Orphan in the nightmare is a result of this hubris. So in this, the Great Ones are more like victims. They aren't causing the beasts and the curses and the mutations. That was the church and scholars that did it.

  10. My only experience of idle clickers is cookie clicker, which I assume is the first one, as it was really free to play and an exercise in game design. That game sort of started with a clear indication that you are a small business owner, who becomes more and more wealthy, to a nightmarish point. If you haven't tried the game, i recommend it highly, tho i don't know what permutations it might have gone thru since 2016 or 14 or whenever i saw it.

  11. I started reading Marx's Capital this summer and the nightmare scene is too accurate. I swear at least once I sat bolt-upright in bed with my hands raised as if to ward off evil spirits shouting "TWENTY YARDS OF LINEN!!!"

  12. Hey, your content is seriously pretty awesome, and this video is great. I've made sure to show your stuff to friends- your level of quality deserves more subs.

  13. The funniest intro explaining class warfare. I almost spit my cereal out of my mouth when you said, "The spookiest topic… the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalist class"

  14. Fucking great video man, so much work and effort put into this
    the only criticism I'd have is that the "Intermission" joke went on too long in my personal opinion. Really intriguing stuff otherwise

  15. I think we really need more "Capitalism is a cosmic horror" reimaginings of Lovecraft, because let's be honest, capitalism is a lot scarier than oh no, miscegenation, how horrible that blacks and jews might be treated like actual fucking human beings, Howard you fucking racist.

    Also I'm going to be honest I haven't watched this yet but I'm already subscribing and I've got your video about queer themes in New Vegas queued up.

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