o · tac · ra · cy [oh-tok-ruh-see]
1. government by otaku; a form of government in which supreme power is


Latest Articles

Anime LA 2011 in Slow Motion

News image

Cosplay photography kinda bugs me. Yeah, I've been doing it for a while, whether it be for friends at co... [More]

Review: The Olympus E-3

News image

After nearly two years with the Olympus E-3, it's time to put this DSLR back out on the market and into ... [More]

Review: The Horipad EX2 Turbo

News image

The Horipad EX2 Turbo is a good pad for Xbox 360 gamers needing a pad for fighting games.  After al... [More]



Anime Songs for Busy People PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 10:18

I've been meaning to post this, but now I've finally gotten around to it:

Anime songs for busy people. Thanks to all the nico nico guys who've taken the time to reassemble anime music to fit our hectic lifestyles...

These are pretty smooth ones.  The majority of stuff out there is focused on even more extreme recombination of the words even at the expense of the smoothness of the mix.  Some of you guys might not like it.  Some of you will be in histerics.  Check out more over on nicovideo...
Nico Nico Douga is Amazing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 14:30

For most people, the first thing they think of when it comes to online video is Youtube.  Youtube is great.  It's cool.  It has ridiculous amounts of stuff.

It's not Nico Nico Douga.

Most people know about the scrolling comments, which can add greatly to the enjoyment.  But did you know about the looping?  Pretty damn cool.  Here's a pretty innocuous example, while this one is a considerably less innocuous example.

Okay, so maybe you did see a couple of these before, but there's more to Nico Video than comments and looping.  Have you seen this video?  Try pausing it.  I laughed way too hard at this.

(I actually spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a non-anime MAD example of that pause functionality.  No go.  Why does that make me sad?)

My Old Music Workstation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 05 March 2009 11:06
Indie Game Jam 3

Since the release of Flower and a couple of articles on it and its music, I've been getting a few e-mails on the usual stuff: how to get into the game music world, what classes to take in school, what looks good on a resume, things like that.  Seems to be a good thing to jump off of for a few write-ups in the hows and whats of my music making stuffs.

That pic?  Yeah, that's what I was using for music making back in 2005.  The keytar was indeed trés cool.  I'm nowhere near as cool anymore (why oh WHY did I sell it?  Anyone have a Roland AX-7 for sale?) but I definitely have a lot more capability these days.  I'm actually going through a bit of a transition period at the moment, so let me start off with what I was using day to day up to January 2009 and the end of Flower music production...

(If you're not really a music composer guy, this probably won't be of too much interest to you.  If you are, read on...)

Flower for PS3... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Saturday, 14 February 2009 08:19

...is now out.  Surprisingly, people are really getting into it.

I say surprisingly not because we thought it wouldn't be a good game.  We (myself, That Game Company, Sony) were certain that we'd put out a solid game that would successfully one-up TGC's earlier offering, Flow.  That game metacritic'd at a 71.  Me, I thought Flower would probably hit 80.

Right now, Flower's metacritic stands at 88, with all but 2 of the 26 reviews above the 80 mark, some well above.  To put that in perspective, that puts it in the same company as games like Dead Space and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.  Just 1 point below the much lauded Orange Box and sneaking ahead of games like Virtua Fighter 5 and (my personal favorite) Valkyria Chronicles.  Perhaps more impressive is the insanely positive reception on game forums like Penny Arcade's and NeoGAF

Yeah, yeah.  Pat myself on the back, whatever.  That's not really the point of this post.

I'm really glad that people are enjoying this game.  Flower's Lead Designer Jenova Chen and I definitely have our differences when it comes to what makes a good game, but I'm happy that he shares at least one of my sentiments about what the game world needs.

Game developers should deliver to game players more than just what they want.  Out of the box, blah blah...

...really, seriously.  It takes a special kind of developer to be willing to create something that is somehow beyond himself as a game player.  I know during the development of Flower, there were times when the designers and programmers and artists just weren't certain about what exactly they were crafting.  That they were somehow able to let go themselves as veteran game players of many years who (obviously) know exactly what makes a good game to go pursuing this ambiguous ideal in their heads of this PS3 game that evokes emotions in petal storms and grassy environments... I can't respect those developers enough.

If you've got a PS3 and haven't played Flower yet, I strongly urge you to give it a try.  I think the music is pretty good, and I'm happy that most of the reviewers think similarly...

(I'm horrible at selling myself...)

Edit: Oh, the Japanese Flowery website is pretty neat!

Why this photo? Really? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 09:14
Fanime 2008

One simple question: Why is this photo so ridiculously popular?  Why is it the most visited photo on my flickr photostream?

It seems that every day, this photo gets a couple dozen hits.  Despite being less than a year old, it has far more hits than many more interesting photos in the photostream, like this close-up Anonymous photo from a Scientology protest, or various photos that have made their way into articles on Wired's or Gamasutra's websites.

If the stats are to be believed, nearly all the traffic for that photo comes from search engines.  Looking specifically at the Google breakdown, the most popular searches are:

  • death the kid cosplay
  • soul eater cosplay
  • soul eater
  • maka cosplay
  • cosplay soul eater
  • etc...

So I go onto Google image search and try these searches... yep.  There's my photo, first row of image results.

Ah well.

It's kind of annoying.

I guess Soul Eater is the new something something...

Music Inspirations? For Kanno and Myself... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Sunday, 18 January 2009 10:05

Been kind of busy the last few weeks... so here's just a little thing that I've been meaning to post.

Lots of people love Kanno Youko's stuff for various anime and games.  Many love the fact that she just hits the mark with such a diverse range of music.  I personally loved some of her older stuff; Brain Powerd is such an "honest" soundtrack, and that sort of honesty is something I strive for in my own music.  Her new stuff?  Eh.  Not super awesome stuff, I think.

Regardless, I was really surprised when someone sent me to this website: 【菅野よう子】インスパイア?類似曲比較動画まとめ ([Kanno Youko] Inspired?  A Comprehensive Music Soundtrack Comparison)

Basically, check out the various Youtube and Nicovideo links.  Come to your own conclusions.

Me... well... it's interesting thinking about it since over here, someone recently accused me of grabbing the Phantasm theme in order to make this first track from Castlevania: Order of Shadows.  Eh... I guess it's possible to see it that way.  If you really want to compare, the stuff that's similar are pretty different from a functional standpoint.  In my track, that beginning motif is there primarily as a backing for the guitar solo, and the phrase length is twice as long as that in Phantasm, which is more a theme than a motif.  It's also there for the entirety of the song in Castlevania, while in Phantasm, it drops out as soon as the soloistic part develops.  I mean, really, it just feels very different to me as a song.  Take it or leave it, but any resemblance is purely coincidental, as I've never heard of Phantasm until a few days ago.  I'm just not a horror film kind of guy.

(Also... man, what's up with that music in that Phantasm youtube link?  That performance is pretty bad.)

Oh yeah, my thoughts on those Kanno comparisons?  I definitely think she or her assistants were a bit more than inspired.  Yeah, my little Castlevania song contained a primary element that sounded similar to another primary element in another piece of music, but the pieces themselves were quite different.  Many of those Kanno pieces don't just have one or two similar elements, but many elements coming together to create a very similar song structure with similar arc and similar feel.

Filipino Catholicism is Pretty Extreme PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 19:13
(Picture of) Picture of Crucifixion

The title of this post is something I've said more than a few times about the religion I was born into.  I've also used the label Marian Cultic to describe the Filipino brand of Roman Catholicism.  As you can guess, the religion of my parents' homeland is not something I talk about in the most glowing terms.  (Not that I dismiss Christianity entirely: anything that can inspire something like this or this can't be all bad... I think...?)  One of the reasons comes from one of the (very few) memories I have of my early childhood in the Philippines: seeing a man crucified.

I've described this before to some people and many dismiss it as me misremembering or stretching the truth... but it is indeed the case that people volunteer to get themselves flogged, walk a few miles with a cross on their back, then get themselves nailed (not roped, nailed) up in the hot tropical sun for a while.  Obviously it's meant to just be a temporary crucifixion, but sometimes things go wrong.

I was reminded of this when I arrived at my parents' home on the other side of the country and decided that I needed to do a little bit of reading before going to bed.  The first thing I see is a random issue of National Geographic which I open up to a random page, to be immediately greeted by: a picture of a crucifixion.

If you'd like to see more, here's a video showing that the practice is alive and well.

Merry Christmas.


Page 6 of 12