Sunday, October 12, 2008

.. how invaders are born ?! :: A

Hit it on the head..

-->> .. to grow up in dissociation .. and in an environment of mixed messages, a mixed love / chaos ..and so much fear ..simplicity i think became key.  The intricacies of existence have always been facinating to me. I know i liked how things worked, how the world worked, but i couldn't ever ' FIGURE IT OUT' .

I recall wanting to understand symbols, words, numbers.
Messages and texts at the end of television shows, the words and lists on the sides of cereal boxes, my mom's extensive sets of encyclopedias and childrens' educational books. Things i believe were always trying to connect .. but they never quite could.

Experiencing death at such a young time in one's life is such a great tragedy. To know how many children who've lost their families ,mothers , and fathers in so many situations such as this monstrous and unjust war .. an uncertain statistic rolls in my mind and brings me shame and sadness. Humanity can call itself 'Human' and allow such atrocities to be ok and right in their so - called minds ??  Let alone the the children already killed ..the children to suffer alone, and on their own. Once the family is gone.. yes there are kids that wander the world and some have survived into adulthood, near adulthood, i  shudder to think the ones that do not make it past them loosing their families. So many screams unheard and calls for help left unanswered. I don't know..  i just don't get it. I don't think i know how.

I suppose at least i  had a home. But it doesn't help to think of the haves and have-nots when carried for so long this guilt. Maybe that is one of my faults.

So much as child ..  ' THIS WAS MY FAULT', THAT WAS MY FAULT.. :: distracted me.. it's your fault,  that kid got hurt because you failed to do this or that ..  it's all your fault. You didn't do this that that and the other .. and you failed to learn because you were distracted, you failed this test and that grade.. it's all your fault,   you were in this fight and these people hate you and all these bad things and you are spoiled and it's all your fault.

You fail to see these things and understand that   and those and this..  it's all your fault.

Corporal punishment became known to me only later as a i  got older.  To fail to understand, react a certain way, fail to be 'good', obey or ' listen ' .. these things seemed as if they were supposed to be preprogrammed into me, since i failed to make so many connections, it was  ' ALL MY FAULT .

A damm T.V. is not working and people would get a fuzzy picture.. it was the T.V.'s fault i suppose. So they'd hit it ..because it wouldn't make a connection. Pound it..  maybe if they were lucky.. the T.V. would work.

Children aren't T.V.'s tho'..  .. and i guess when i was struck .. it only made things worse.

People always aimed for my head.   For some reason. Yeh i remember getting hit, and struck like in my gut, tripped and falling over and smashing myself, or getting hit in the back..  but mainly.. i always remember people hitting me directly in the face or head.  Not sure why so many times people saw my cranium and just saw like this punching bag .. but so many times being struck, it never made sence how over time it would not effect my thinking, my mental health, and even my reality.


Much like comics i  had not  ever been convinced for an instance that video games weren't an art unto themselves, even before and after the 1980s and 1990s and the million dollar games of today.

To grow up in video arcades .. i'm not sure but perhaps it was the escapism.  I  was never a superb player at any single game.  The Pac-Man family of games had always been my favorite as the characters were very warm and inviting. Even the villains and storyline had a simplicity and charm. Almost abstract. ..

To connect Pac-Man  to the spherical ball of a cartoon character that he is represented in Pac-Man games of today was a little different. The 2 - dimensional interaction with the characters ultimately was the whole point. In a way one was left to fill in the blanks. There was a beauty in this. For the player was left to the imagination .. on whatever subtle level as to why these characters were trying to eat each other, eat the dots , or kill each other. Survival could go either way. While it is common knowledge that Pac-man .. the little yellow puck is the hero .. and the monsters are the villains, potentially and perhaps at a certain point within the minds of some players ..what - ifs may have occurred. What if Pac-man was the invader, what if the Monsters weren't so much the villains but trying to protect their ' Turf' as it were. What if the player was playing the role of the villain.. the destructor, the  ' Galactus ' and thus eating the Monsters' world ""

To conquer the game with the highest score you most devour. In some regards ..  .. Pac-man could almost be a Conqueror  of sorts. Being the Pokémon of it's time however..   on a good end, a bad ,end .. and a marketing end  .. Pac-Man was given much much more of a back-story.

Pop-culture helps these characters to become icons of fiction. As icons they also become Television cartoons, breakfast cereals, canned pastas, stuffed toys, bed spreads, and home console video games.. and the tip  of the ice berg  is mass-marketed to hell and back before the 'berg crashes into the ship and the ship sinks becoming within' itself iconic. I fed into that 'berg as a kid as much as anyone else.

As a child, close to the time of Atari's  iconic Crash of 1983 had been set up in my mind that indeed Pac-man was really a hero. And in one of my all time favorite Pac-Man games.. Super Pac-man ..   he was portrayed in the cartoons and on the video game cabinet as a ' Super Man ' type hero.

Still  my all time favourite games, were becoming over the years tainted.. ( for all the wonderful things it did for them and me and my mind ) with mythologies and characteristics of their own.

While  the games and heroes i fell for were not the mains. Like by the time Donkey Kong had established such popularity in the players' conciseness ..and the the Donkey Kong 2 game ( Donkey Kong Jr. ) had stepped into the arcades i  was so hooked on the little gorilla. Mario Bros. too also set Luigi as another little hero.  While i love both characters so much to this day, D.K. Jr. does at least bear a distinction amoung other games. Allowing a character who had already been set up as a hero even by this early time in the 1980s ..( Mario ) to become the villain by taking the little son's father captive.

Sure plenty of other classics attacked my heart, addled my wrist  , and chipped away at my digitally damaged brain. Mr.Do , Sinistar , Bubble Bobble , Legend of Kage, Final Fight, Robotron, Ghosts n' Goblins, eventually i'd be very lucky and TMNT would enter into this frame set and help feed my addiction for very specific types of games yet my love for a diverse landscape of genres, variations on themes. If at the odd trip to the arcade, or at home on my Colecovision or Nintendo systems.. the list of the characters and games i do enjoy even to this day is too extensive for me to list.

One series did remain relatively ' abstract ' tho' .. all these many many years later. One that actually have been my absolute FIRST video game of all time.

.. iconography within' the pixels..

.. the game made history in Japan, the States , elsewhere and abroad.  Luckily..   in the U.S. at the time .. from what i recall there was a slight minimum ( not totally ) of marketing to be made off these games. I do not recall a Space Invaders Cartoon or Action Figure series..  .. there was INVASION of the the breakfast table for me and my tastebuds were never invaded by multi-coloured marshmallow  U.F.O.'s as part of any Space Invaders brand sugar cereal. Abstraction  remained for the most part.  I could fill in my own blanks.
Sure.. aliens attack..  the tank fires at the aliens. High score. Simplicty.
Mythos & Rumors surrounding the 'story lines' or inspiration for   Space Invaders parts 1 & 2 .. vary. 

All in all it's very much taken from old alien monster movies say from the 1950s and things like the Octo creatures from WAR OF THE WORLDS. With planes and humans intended as the original antagonists for the games, Toshihiro Nishikado's  choosing of a small assortment of sea life shapes of 'Invaders'  for killing of humans was a bit too much for the game he was creating. 
Still abstraction remained.  The intimidating Golems ( as they were dubbed in 1999's Activision  home console release ) ::
..depicted on the cabinet art were readily evil looking but hardly representational of the almost cute, but creepy little creatures advancing on the tank and towards the bunker and the ground as you try to fire at them.  It may actually be Activision's release where the player actually fights off the Golem from the character art from the oringal game's cabinet. That was 'bout 20 years after the games original release.

..and yes, of coarse with spin-offs and sequels..   to this day, Taito still bends the themes and tweaks the games, introducing new variations under the ' Space Invaders ' banner.

Still the pixelated sea creatures from the original games, for the most part have become icons within' themselves .. and mostly as i  can tell , for the past 30 or so years have represented the brand and it may  be Taito's most successful set of characters ( amoung others ). Safe bet i'm sure.

Archaic Iconic.. frustration- therapy ?! 

The original 2 games remain incredibly challenging for me stil lto this day. Comprehension of score only got me so far as i recall as a child. While when i got older, i was able to grasp the concept of needing to achieve a hi-score as the objective of these games, when i was smaller .. it was about about surviving the round. If i was lucky ..  i'd make it 3 - 4 rounds into  the game maybe even ..  if i was really lucky ..maybe 7 or even 15.  I wasn't really good tho' in general ..many times even now .. my patience wears thin .. and i loose myself in the game. How many times just playing the first 1 - 3 rounds and then  getting killed, only to play those same 1-3 rounds over and over for hours.  Sometimes..  in anger i play .. and i am unable to make for 2 rounds without getting even  angrier, then i just shut the fucking old thing off.  I am lucky to have a old  Space Invaders part II machine to pound on just up  the street i can play from time to time at the Launderette. Tho' the cabinet is a bit of a dwarf, and is frustrating. When i was smaller ..these machines were bigger than me and i needed a chair or something sometimes to stand on to see the play-field, .. now i have to do  the splits a little bit so i can fight the glare of the sun coming into the window so i can see the play-field.  I am taller than some of the   old cabinets now.

I notice, when i concentrate on the score,  i usually die relatively easy. When i  let go of that .. tho'   .. i do ok, maybe survive more than 2 rounds, and even hit the bonus U.F.O.s for extra points sometimes.  How well i do on the game  is drastically effected on how well i am doing in real life. The more frustrations i have, the more i seem to drawn to the game and taking it out on the aliens. Pounding the shit out of the fire button, even tho' this was before power-ups in S.I. and you could only shoot one blast at a time.  If i am a bit more focused, again .. i do well.  If i am  too wound up, multitasking in my mind, concentrating on all the little details of the score and all the other shit in life, i die pretty quick. Sometimes i've played while i am in a certain trance or seeing shit.  I think even having mild seizures of sorts. Those times playing the game seem to go into slow motion. I still to this day have yet to record my highest score. Then again i play for much different reasons than other hardcore gamers.   While others may play these for hi-scores , ect.   It does appear i am playing in part for a certain  type of therapy.

I think  that was the case too, as a kid. I so wanted to be the best i could be,  but the logic was impared.. even too the numbers and comprehension of them beyond a certain point of the score just became lost on me. I was pounding the fire button and dodging out of frustration. Within' this ' world ' i suppose it was a little easier  to dodge getting hit and i was able to HIT back to a certain destructive effect. I was trying to survive this game best i could, cuz outside of the game ..   dodging the hitting, the chaos, the confusion and pain was allot harder.

Over time..  the planet continued to grow ever so much more confusing to me. The illness increased and the mixed messages.  While to some it's ludicrous, laughable, strange & weird.

The coincidences with the iconography and abstractness ( using allot of the same words again ) of this game  would soon be used to identify very strange visions, occurrences in my existence and character traits.

In the game dodging bullets from the invaders was so hard, even if it killed me.. i could always put in another quarter.. again..

After that fateful night i was stuck by those cars  .. the illness exploded on me and i was not supposed to come back, but i did.

But even before that ..  my own little ' Cult ' icon was forming.  A character that is i'm convinced one of my most important creations. While it's taken time .. a long time for him to find his audience, his place in the vast and psychotic world of the arts, and comics in general. The experiences with my very first video game.. are tied into this character. A character .. yes ( but here, i use that awful word again ) ..but ABSTRACT in his story-line, his origin and a bit in his creation. Complex it all is, yet very simple at the same time.

'Spaze, Finger Explode'

A self-characiture, an invader, a wonder-er,  a wander-er, an alienated being, a lost invader, a creature of the heart, a suicidalist, most assuredly NOT a hero.  And a web-comic that is not a web-comic .. and a character who's as unknown to himself as he is to his creator.

As much as he is not me.. he is everything to do with me.

His origins are also tied into another franchise close to my heart.. and inbeaded within' my D N A ..

but those things should be explained at a future time, for those that dared or cared to read and learn..

2 be continued. 


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