"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
In the Playstation 2 and Dreamcast era, a number of very fun and highly addictive music and rhythm games started to gain significant traction. Indeed, seminal entries coming out of Japan such as PaRappa the Rapper were sparking imaginations for creators of some of the genres biggest hits like Guitar Hero. Some of my favorites were Dance Dance Revolution, Gutaroo Man, Space Channel 5 and Samba de Amigo. A few friends and I were so into the DDR scene that we would frequently arcade crawl, scouring DDR Freak to find the latest import machines from Japan. It really got addictive when we became comfortable enough to start mixing up rotations to include knee drops, hand stamps and rail hops; it really was all about the swagger.
One of the more memorable games in the era was made by Sega by the name of Rez. It didn't fit any specific mold, combining a blend of rhythm to rail shooter mechanics. It was set in a simple, yet colorful and surreal polygonal world where you are a hacker trying to infiltrate a network while avoiding viruses and security systems. All enemies would be locked onto in a sequence and firing would be done to the beat, adding a hypnotic rhythm while playing. In Japan, there was a "Trance Vibrator" accessory that had become somewhat famously associated with Rez that added a special sensation while playing. Of course here in the States, we never got to diddle with that aspect of the game...not even through a crappy knockoff with cheap, oddly colored plastic and an unnecessary amount of buttons. What the heck?!
When I was a teenager, I would often think it really odd that American society seemed so sexually repressed. Not only that, but averse to dealing with more mature subject matter in gaming and animation. I know one of the biggest draws to anime for me was the fact that there was more complex subject matter and I really grew to hate it when both anime and games would get toned down or altered for "American sensibilities". It felt like a huge slap in the face as if I, as an American, couldn't handle nudity and violence. Even if some may consider it tasteless, I always hated the idea that art, as an expression, would be altered for societal conformity.
As time has changed, I would like to believe, or at least hope, that people are getting more comfortable with sexuality, sexual preferences and gender identities; repression of self is destructive and reprehensible.