How the SEGA 32X Could Have Saved the Saturn, and to a Greater Extent, SEGA’s Hardware Business

(Originally Posted April 21, 2019)

First off, I’d like to say that I would love it if folks from SEGA of Japan and North America could see this article.  I have been a SEGA fanboy ever since the Genesis was released in North America.  When I got my Genesis and Power Base Converter that Christmas, it was one of the most magical moments ever.  I had only owned an Atari 7800 before that, and the Genesis assaulted my senses and imagination.  Because of SEGA, to this day Mario, Link, and Samus mean nothing to be.  My home experience was a slightly scaled down arcade experience rather than the small screen made for home platforms.  Thank you, SEGA, for making my bedroom an arcade room.

Oh, and I am not a programmer.  Nor am I someone that works with computer hardware, professionally.  If I suppose or think that something could be done in this article and it cannot, please be kind.  This is more of a “love letter” to SEGA and what it meant to me a long time ago.

 

A lot of gamers think that the launch and support of the SEGA 32X was in the top three of SEGA’s mistakes that killed off their hardware business.  I think that how they handled the 32X was.  I think the 32X had great potential, and it’s success did not have to be exclusive to it’s big brother, the Saturn.  As some of you know, the 32X was SEGA of America’s baby.  The Genesis was still a hot success when talk of 32 Bit systems started, and SEGA of America saw it as a means to capitalise on both.  However, SEGA OF Japan wanted a truly next generation machine, and seemed to do everything in it’s power to make the Saturn as seperate and standalone from the 32X as fiscally possible.  However, the success of both the 32X and Saturn could have depended on cooperation rather than pissing contests and inhouse competition.

 

 

Really, the 32X wasn’t that bad!  Have you even played one?

 

First off, if what I heard was correct, one of the reasons that the Saturn had a RAM/Cartridge slot was the success and love of the Genesis/Mega Drive.  Is there any reason that they didn’t make the Saturn backwards compatible with the Genesis/Mega Drive?  True to both the legacy of SEGA and Atari, the Saturn’s sound chip was the main processor of it’s past generation machine.  This helped with the library of their machines because it meant an easy means for their new machines to play games from their predecessors.  The hardware was there.  All SEGA would have needed was to make the cartridge port the same as the Genesis/Mega Drive.  

How cool would that have been to play Streets of Rage 2 on the Saturn?  I’m not even sure if Genesis/Mega Drive backwards compatibility would have meant backwards compatibility with Sega CD, but I’m sure that was something might have been able to have been worked out.  The hardware power was definitely there, but that’s not even that important.  The important thing is that the Saturn would have been physcially compatible with the 32X.  I know, that probably sounds blasphemous to some of you, but keep an open mind and follow me for a few more minutes. 

The SEGA Saturn was already a superior machine to the PlayStation.  The only thing that the PlayStation had on the Saturn was an easier chipset design specifically made for a home console,  and better and easier transparency technology.  The Saturn’s progaming and chipset has been misunderstood and cursed with erroneous lore for decades.  It’s 3D prowess was believed weaker than PlayStation’s because programmers lazily made straight copied ports of PlayStation’s games, completely ignoring the power of the multiple chips sets in the Saturn, which were not just slapped together without thought, but was directly influenced by SEGA’s prolific legacy as an arcade giant. 

Yes, arcade machines’ motherboards used multiple chips to maximise power, efficiency, and performance.  The Saturn and Genesis/Mega Drive were actually at home heirs to that legacy.  Multple processors to lighten processing loads, plus the cartridge slot that made increases in RAM and a second direct access to the processors made for gaming experiences  far beyond that of the PlayStation.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the videos  below that compares PlayStation games with Saturn games that were built from the ground up, rather than being ported over.

(Video by VCDECIDE)

Notice the many objects on the field and how much more deail is in this.

While the PlayStation did have transparency effects, the Saturn has more

to offer visually and does it’s best to replicate the transparencies.

 

 

(Video by VCDECIDE)

Again in the video you can see how the Saturn is able to handle more

sprites and overall information at a time.

 

 

(Video by VCDECIDE)

The final example is Dead or Alive or DOA as the game and

the series has also come to be known.  The difference between

the Saturn and PlayStation was so profound that the creators,

Team Ninja felt that the Saturn was not only superior, but

was “the definitive version.”

 

 

Now imagine if that Saturn with the RAM/cartridge port shaped like a Genesis/Mega Drive was able to take advantage of the added power of the 32X.  Can you imagine how much more slack could be taken off of Saturn’s chipsets if yet two more Hitachi 32 Bit RISC, a VDP, and a 32X VDP were pumping out power? Not only woiuld the Saturn get more parallel processing power, but an addition of 4 Meg of RAM from the 32X. Of course, this would have required forethought in the production of the Saturn to have the interface outlets possible There is no doubt in my my mind that a Saturn 32X would be able to play a decently passable version of Virtua Fighter 3, not to mention decent versions of any other SEGA Model 2 arcade games.  Saturn + 32X + 4 Meg RAM cart > PlayStation. In fact, it might have even given the PS2 the same surprising competition that the SNES gave the 32X in graphics.

 

 

(Video by Top Hat Gaming Man)

Top Hat Gaming Man researched and found an attachment that might have been in the

works to give the SEGA Saturn that extra UMPH! that could have KOed the PlayStation

right out the box!  ‘Look familiar..?

 

 

(Video by Michael’s Retro Game Reviews)

In Michael’s Retro Game Reviews Channel, Michael uncovered that SEGA

almost released a Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 3.  it was speculated that

it might be possible with the latest development packs.  However, this was

more likely to be possible because of an add-on with technology from

Lockheed/Martin.  ‘Sound familiar, again?  Could this have been the 64X?

Do both of these technologies get inspiration from the 32X?

 

 

Now instead of being sold for $20 a pop in clearance bins, 32X machines would have been a hotly sought after accessory in the 90’s rather than a cult object of interest in today’s retro gaming world.  Who knows?  SEGA might have actually had to have made more, as well as Saturns.  Maybe it would have pushed back the timeline in video game generations, increasing the quality of all gaming consoles to come.

But for this to have been possible, like I said, it would have required cooperation between SEGA of American and Japan.  It would have required SEGA of Japan to see all of the possibilities of the 32X and all of it’s strengths suggested by SEGA of America.  If that failed, then SEGA of America could have also embraced the other side’s suggestion of the Saturn, and sought to find a way that 32X could have played support for it’s big brother, as well.  In the end while both sides failed, it ultimately falls upon the shoulders of SEGA of Japan to take the lion’s share of blame.  They were the ultimate authority, and should have been more open and mature about the rivalry, especially since thier bottom line is ultimately the international bottom line of SEGA.

So what do you think?  Did what I say make any sense?  Do you think the tweeks I suggested to the Saturn’s hardware and design were reasonable?  Would a 32X charged Saturn have made that much of a difference?  Comment below on that.  Share to perpetuate the debate.

I cannot think of all of the sources of information I have for this article.  Like I said, it is sort of a “love letter” to SEGA and the Saturn.  I can tell you the places that I do get my information from when I need it, and chances are that they are responsible to a great deal of what I do know and allowed me to write this article.

 

Thanks to The Top Hat Gaming Man and Sega Lord X.  Their YouTube channels are constants in my retro-love, and I don’t miss any episodes.

There are also a couple of Facebook groups that I am in that help tremendously when I have questions in real time:  Sega Saturn Collectors of America and The PS Junkyard (Planet Saturn Junkyard).

Thanks also to David Lee and Ke Kona, fellow members in many of my Facebook groups and hosts of SEGA SATURN, SHIRO Podcast.

All of you have helped grow my knowledge and obsession with SEGA.

‘See you next timie.

-HEREITCPRIME

Mother Monster’s First Collaboration with Ariana Grande “Rain On Me” Is a Beauty of a Banger!

“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive, rain on me.”

Fewer statements better encompass the overall sentiment of 2020 better than this one. 

“This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry.” Lady Gaga explained via Vulture

In Lady Gaga’s second single from her sixth studio album Chromatica, she gifts us with her first ever collaboration with pop princess Ariana Grande. The team up, in their twinsies fetish wear, elicit a sentiment that while they both share powerhouse pipes in the same genre of music, that is where their similarities end as they each have unique expressions of their musical personas. Together they demonstrate through their complimentary/contrasting vocalizations and personal style attributes that not only is there room for more than one fierce femme in the pop game, they would rather be pop sisters rather than rivals. 

Musically the song is soft and upbeat, a contrast to the stormy lighting and set design of the music video. Yet Gaga/Grande conjure color in naughty neon pinks, lusty pastel lavenders, combining a sexy fusion of leather and latex punk with “pretty girl” fashion. By the end of the video Gaga/Grande appear as doppelgängers reminiscent of characters from the HBO series Euphoria, cool gals from the neighborhood that know how to get into dance clubs with fake ids, sexy outfits, lots of eyeliner and molly.

While many fans have been long awaiting a return to the avante garde Gaga we saw in the Fame Monster and Born This Way era (especially after the stripped down rawness of Joanne) Rain On Me is probably a bit more “mainstream music for the masses” than some would prefer. However considering Chromatica comes after a four year long hiatus between albums, returning with easy to digest, feel good tracks -is a smart move towards a sustainable comeback.

One must always remember when it comes to Gaga that while her sound passes as mainstream her intentions have always been to subvert the industry from within. Lady Gaga is a Queer, hard femme and judging by the esthetic choices in Stupid Love and Rain On Me she clearly doesn’t want you to forget it. Punk, leather and fetishwear all have their intersections in the queer community’s efforts to subvert gender norms and Gaga/Grande standing side by side as the hard and soft sides of the same femininity coin, owning their sexuality while defying expectations, certainly deliver subversion successfully. Futuristic fun was a fabulous choice in regards to makeup and hair styling, as Gaga/Grande’s flawless faces were BEAT to the gawds while they flipped and swished inches upon inches of rain slicked, gorgeous hair, stylishly serving dirty pop glamour. 

Despite the somberness within the song’s message, the video invokes jubilation in its choreography, laden with some of Gaga’s (a former gogo dancer) signature moves. From arms waving over head and jumping up and down, to pelvic thrusting and hip grinding, watching Grande dance á la Gaga, was more adorable than any of us could have imagined. Clearly Chromatica is a place of great diversity as we see a broad spectrum of back up dancers in Rain on Me, just as we did in Stupid Love. It is almost as if the storyline of Chromatica is that of a planet within the universe Gaga presented us with in the Born This Way video, as a continuation of the narrative (pertaining to unconditional acceptance and radical self love despite societal hardships) she started with it nearly a decade ago.

Back to the song itself, while some might find the repetition basic and blatantly reminiscent of Stupid Love, it gives both tracks a “song stuck in your head” quality that all hit songs have. In the case of Rain On Me, that repetition represents a mantra, a thought for meditation to recenter yourself and breathe. That’s what this song is, a reminder that no matter how difficult life is right now -if you are alive to learn and grow through it- you are winning.

This makes a truly powerful statement alongside a few others that resonate deeply to a millennial (born the same year as Gaga) like myself. In the  opening verse: 

“I didn’t ask for a free ride

I only asked you to show me a real good time

I never asked for the rainfall

At least I showed up, you showed me nothing at all”

There is a sense that the stereotype of the ‘entitled millennial’ is being confronted here with the sentiment of our generation’s reality; we were told we could accomplish anything if we just pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and worked hard enough (while being held to the highest expectations) regardless of being abandoned to fix a broken world left behind by our predecessors with no support. While Gaga has been able to break through using the Boomer method, this feels like an acknowledgement of how challenging it is for the rest of us to do so as well.

Then we get to Ariana Grande’s verse which brings up some intriguing implications:

“Livin’ in a world where no one’s innocent

Oh, but at least we try, mmm

Gotta live my truth, not keep it bottled in

So I don’t lose my mind, baby, yeah

These words really evoke an admission of being complicit in the systems of oppression that we are all guilty of perpetuating and the struggle to freely express yourself in a world of “cancel culture”. What makes this verse especially poignant being sung by Grande is the fact that the singer’s career has endured ongoing contention since her striking transformation after the cancellation of her Nickelodeon series “Sam & Cat” and the debut of her first studio album “Yours Truly”. Many critics of Grande have accused her of being a “Blackfish”, or a white woman profiting off her racial ambiguity, exploiting  the “exotic” appearance of minorities who regularly face discrimination. Though Grande has repeatedly refuted these claims, not all fans have been swayed by her responses. Perhaps this verse is meant to serve as a reminder to leave room for her humanity along with our own as we all make mistakes on the path to finding our identity.

Regardless of how one might feel about the controversial careers both artists have held, ultimately this song with its accompanying music video is a showcase of the endurance these two women have acquired to maintain successful careers while navigating the pain of heartbreak, tragedy and loss in both of their lives along with the beauty that comes from releasing those tears while dancing joyously in the cleansing rain. 

About the author

Guilty Pleasures: Weird Rappers

This started out as a hybrid article in the “What’s Cool Now” and “Guilty Pleasures” varieties, but I realised that if this really was so cool, I wouldn’t feel so guilty enjoying it. There is a cheesiness to it. I obviously don’t mind proclaiming my love for things I consider a little tacky or weird; those of you familiar with the older version of the site will remember my old “Guilty Pleasure” series. I just don’t want to be one of those folks that lies to himself thinking that just because I like it, it’s cool.

With that being said, join me as I take a small voyage of the senses, and introduce to you several artists that I think fall into the category of “Weird Rappers.”

 

Necro

I remember seeing this guy’s stuff maybe 10 years or more ago. I came across one of his videos, White Slavery, by accident. From what I can remember, it began with Necro in gimp mask giving shout-outs to some folks before he began rapping and eating a hot Italian meal in an aluminum takeout pan, on the ass of what looked like a sex-slave in distress. It was definitely unsuitable for YouTube.

At that time I thought he was just some creepy, weird internet gangster with delusions of grandeur. Who would be afraid of this guy? Who the fuck is this guy killing? How is he enslaving women and bitches? Who the fuck is he?

Well, for better or worse, that was my first impression. The atmosphere of the video is meant to illicit a strong response, but then Necro also opens his mouth…Holy shit…some of the most disgusting shit I’ve ever heard in my life poured out. This guy has imagination and problems…but it doesn’t stop there! The boy can rhyme!

Richard Pryor’s supposed words of wisdom come to mind: “You can’t just have no curse show!” In other words, Necro wouldn’t have amassed his cult following on just being some disgusting weirdo with the manners and vocabulary of some MARTA dweller. The boy can spit! Necro is so witty and inventive with is rhymes, with the sick and evil shit he says, you actually start to feel ashamed of yourself. You have to acknowledge the skills. Your body is moving a little without your permission.

Necro is definitely a gimmicky and dark themed rapper. I’m not saying that he really is a gangster that kills people, sleeps on mattresses full of money, and has a dungeon full of hoes like he raps about, but the darkness and inventiveness is there and real, nonetheless.

 

Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator is probably the most famous featured name on this list. He’s one of the founding minds of Loiter Squad, a group of dare stunt lovers in the same vein of Jackass (associates and producers). (Loiter Squad also created skit and prank comedy.) Who he is as a rapper is more complicated because of what he was.

Tyler the Creator was a young, brash, and irreverent well-spring of energy, testing the limits of taboo, his own creativity and powers of expression, and senses of daring and adventure. A lot of his style that I brushed off as just childish gibberish was kind of a clever camouflage for other issues. However, like anyone that puts such cryptic allusions in their art, Tyler the Creator wants you to follow the bread crumbs to his secrets. He’s just not going to make it too easy or apparent for the average person that can’t handle them. He wants you to crack the code. He wants to be caught…Also, I do honestly think that some of weirdness was just for weirdness sake. (Yeah, that’s snarky youth for ya.)

Tyler the Creator needs to push you away three spaces for every one that he lets you in. I also think that in his creativity there is a mad scientist curiosity and amusement in seeing how people will react to aspects of his being, both what he presents and what they assume.

Okay, I just went a lot more into the person than his rap style, but that’s only because my ideas of him changed in listening to him and learning about the person. I think that you will always find the strange in his work. He is a stranger person. However, the average person often mistakes the strange, eclectic, or misaligned with goofy, immature, or mentally skewered.

Oh, BTW, if you haven’t seen any Loiter Squad, see you some. As a big fan of weird comedy, I whole-heartedly endorse them. If you like Eric Andre, I think you’ll like this; it’s comparable, but not exactly the same.

 

Oliver Tree

As a character, Oliver Tree is a weird vaping, bowl-cutted scooter boy with huge skateboy bell-bottoms,  Physically, he a mash-up of the same version of the same weird boy circa 1991, 1998, 2003, and 2018, but that’s not all that’s so familiar about him. Oliver Tree also has so many aspects that are almost frankensteined from some of pop culture’s best weirdos. His bowl cut would make Moe Howard proud, not to mention Doc Ock, who would probably sign off on his specs as well.

Oliver Tree is sort of famous and I didn’t even know it. He has a song, Hurt, that has been getting good regular airplay for about a year now. Calling Oliver Tree a weird rapper may be a stretch. He is definitely weird, but he is one of those singy rappers. He’s got a unique voice that lends itself well to singing, rapping, and that weird place in between that his songs tend to live in half the time.

Oliver Tree’s musical style is almost two styles. Some songs he straight up raps. Most of his songs are actually songs complete with chorus, but in which he sort of rap-sings the verses. It all fits together, though.

As far as what Oliver Tree raps about, each song is like a conversation with someone that he is apologetic to for some sort of weird misunderstanding. Sometimes his songs feel like the confessions of an alien weirdo pleading his case to a jury in the Court of Normalcy. Other times they are upwellings of emotions from not being good enough.

Oliver Tree is a lot like Tyler the Creator in the sense that his music is a major aspect of his talents, but not limited to it.

 

Shakewell

I actually discovered Shakewell in a video that he did with Fat Nick (also featured in this article), for a song called Pemex. While I thoroughly enjoyed the combined efforts of the two, when it came time to examine Shakewell on his own, I was disappointed.

He’s all over the place. Sometimes he’s a redneck nobody. Sometimes he’s playing gangsta. Even his rapping style is inconsistent. Sometimes he’s a mumble rapper. Sometimes he goes T-Pain and sounds like he has a synthesiser shoved down his throat. It’s like he primarily uses hip hop to fuel his fantasies.

How does that make him different from a lot of hip hop artists or rappers? It doesn’t. I suppose that I expect a little bit more from indie artists; I think we all do. We expect a little more substance and integrity because these indie artists haven’t “made it” yet, but sometimes we underestimate the allure of fame and even near-fame. I think Shakewell likes playing the part of a rapper.

Maybe I’m being hard on Shakewell. Maybe I just don’t like his work. Maybe he’s just not so good. *shrugs shoulders*

 

Fat Nick

Fat Nick is pretty much an extension of Shakewell. Both of them are a part of the group “The Buffet Boys.” They do a lot of collaborations and appearances in each others’ videos, and their styles are similarly all over the place. However, if Shakewell is a trailer park gangsta wannabe, Fat Nick is the the Mexican kid that watched too much Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon and enjoys the image of Thug Life.

Of the two, I would say that Fat Nick is the more lyrically talented of the two. Visually, he also more entertaining, plus he exudes a weird sort of rainbow-enema aura of positivity.

 

SonReal

SonReal is a pop rapper. If I had to describe him, I’d say that if Weird Al Yankovic could do the fusion dance with Justin Timberlake, you’d get SonReal. I wouldn’t say that he seems very deep or has something to say. He just makes semi-witty rhymes that are catchy and easy to bob to.

I wish I had more to say about him, but he really didn’t strike me as much else as what I’ve said.  He’s very polished.  His strangeness is mathematical.   His oddness is well rehearsed.

 

Awkwafina

Before she was the wisecracking funny actress pigeon-holed into Asian comedies, Awkwafina was an internet personality that went viral in her response to Mickey Avalon’s own viral opus, My Dick. (My Vag)

‘Awkwafina’s rap style? In comparison to some of the folks mentioned here, her flow is much more natural. It’s also effortlessly clever. This could be because she’s just a cleverer rapper, but I think there’s a bit more to it. She raps like someone that not only listened to rap her whole life, but as someone that grew up in the culture that cradled and gave birth to it.

I know that Shakewell is this guy that messes with the guns and has boys around. I know that Fat Nick is a person of colour, and one of Shakewell’s Buffet Boys, but Awkwafina strikes me as more genuine. This little woman with the nasal voice of Asian mother complaining about why you don’t call home enough, and a Yiddish mother that does the same, actually has more authenticity in her being. It also helps that her rapping voice tends to me a silky smooth and laid back version of her speaking voice.  The differences between Awkwafina and Nora Lum, besides voices, are probably very few.

With all of this said, I almost forgot to mention my favourite thing about Awkwafina: She’s really funny. I always get a laugh. She doesn’t have to be weird or goofy. She doesn’t have to try too hard. Awkwafina is a straight up clever, funny, New Yorker with some street in her bones.

 

Die Antwoord

If anyone else on this list could possibly rival the following that Tyler the Creator has, it would be Die Antwoord. Die Antwoord is the crazy South African rap duo of Ninja and Yolandi. Die Antwoord has a musical style to go with their lifestyle. Die Antwoord can be described as ranging from experimental electronic to heavy incorporation of both traditional Native African and contemporary African styles; a rapid-fire techie tinny, drum bassy, African sound blast that is Die Antwoord’s music, with words to match.

Somewhere in their songs I also feel a strong impression from some of the British club groups of the 90’s like the Stereo MC’s and The Shaman.

I wish I could be cool and say that heard about them because of their music, but I was introduced to Die Antwoord in Chappie. Supposedly their characters ended up taking shape very closely to the musical identities Ninja and Yolandi portray.

There were some bits of controversy about some racism, gay bashing, and human trafficking, (Ninja and Yolandi supposedly lured another artist to live with them as their sex slave), but eh: who knows.

On a personal note, I don’t know what to say about Ninja and Yolandi’s life together.  I remember Ninja being very insistent that He and Yolandi were merely best friends to the point of family.  Then I find out that not only do they have a daughter together, but they are married, and adopted three more children together.

There’s something in how you choose to describe yourselves, and perhaps the important part is that they consider themselves best friends that became family before any other definitions.

 

Conclusion

I’m sure that there are more weird rappers that I could list, but these are the ones that really stuck out to me at the moment I decided to write this.  With the way that rap is evolving, and becoming more and more accessible to everybody, I think that many of the mainstream rappers would have been eligible for this list 10 years ago.  Some of them I’ve only heard of, like Post Malone.  Some of them, are actually very talented like Lil Nas X.  This explosion of variety is to be expected with so much new blood coming from so many new places; the genre and its norms becomes that more fluid.

Here’s to weird rappers:  for better and for worse.  From serious to ridiculous, may they continue to be a guilty pleasure and not an embarrassment.

What’s Cool Now: 2/3/20

Okay.  Way back in November of 2019, when I was revamping the site and didn’t know what direction I would be going in, I decided this new article series be bi-weekly, but I’m going to publish it somewhere between when I can and whenever I want.  ‘Don’t like it?  Tough.’  Anyway, enough of that.  Let’s get on with the goodies, shall we?

Rico Nasty

I came across Rico Nasty looking at Doja Cat videos.  She was featured in a song with her called “Tia Tamara.”  I didn’t really like the song, and video was just odd;not even cool odd.  I guess I didn’t think their styles mixed well.

Anyway, from what I gleaned about her, her mother is Puerto Rican and her father a Black rapper from the mainland USA.  Rico Nasty has been a maverick from an early age, getting kicked out of boarding school for possession of marijuana and developing her own style of rap based on listening to her father.

What I enjoy about Rico Nasty is that her songs are filled with energy, personality, and varying styles.  I don’t get bored with her songs, and there is no gimmick to them.  Where it is the rule of female MCs to use their sexuality in some way and in varying degrees, Rico Nasty could be a man and her flows, beats, and rhymes lose no cleverness.  They also lose none from her being a woman.  I think she might be one of the best MCs in the business.

Poppy

I’m sure that most of you have heard about Poppy, but I never really wrote anything about her, and I thought it would be a good time to.  For those of you that don’t know, Poppy (originally “That Poppy) is a living meme girl that originally spread on YouTube.  She is the joint project of Moriah Rose Pereira, the person who performs as Poppy, and Titanic Sinclair (Corey Michael Mixter), and YouTube personality.

Apparently Titanic Sinclair had some falling out with a past partner, Mars Argo (Brittany Alexandria Sheets), took her image, changed it a little, and used it for Poppy’s originally template.

Looking at what Poppy’s channel has been putting out, I think that Poppy has something planned.  Her videos have seemed a little “Illuminated” lately, and forbode almost planned cryptic symbols in them.  Yeah…don’t mind me.  Sometimes I just say weird shit, but this time it’s because I saw weird shit.

***When I originally wrote this article, it was in November 2019.  Don’t ask me why, but rather than rewriting something when I find out new information, I like showing the process of thought and production, and favour amendments to articles…

 

Anyway, it appears that Titanic Sinclair has repeated past behaviours and has fallen out with Poppy as well.  Poppy has stated that Titanic Sinclair used mind games and strange tactics to get what he wanted not only in the studio and project vision, but with Poppy’s heart as well.   ‘What kind of tricks?  How about threatening suicide when he couldn’t get his way and even physical, mental, and emotional abuse? (The physical abuse is supposedly public record as he was actually arrested for it with at least Mars Argo.) 

Dr. Diablo and the Rodent Show

At first I thought Dr. Diablo and the Rodent Show might have been something cool, but the more I look and listen, it seems like a case of a famous couple that built some sort of media empire, broke up, and one of them tried to keep it up with a new partner. 

I’m not sure who Dr. Diablo is.   He’s out there for looking up. (Who am I kidding.  I’m going to look him and provide a link somewhere in all of this.  It’s what I do.) The most important part of this duo is “the Rodent,” aka Ratfink of Alien Sex Fiend, whom’s last project was something called “Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show.” (‘Seem familiar?)

Dr. Diablo almost seems forced into his position of replacement.  In promo ads and pictures, it looks like his best attempt at looking fiendish and evil is looking constipated or being fucked by a gorilla with a giant corkscrew dick.

In the end I think the imagery is pretty cool, a throwback to the great rock shows of old.

***Yeah, I looked for info on Dr. Diablo, but I couldn’t find diddley.  Who knows.  Maybe he’s the money behind this act.

Duckie L’Orange

Duckie L’Orange is a fucking weirdo, but like most weirdos, she’s also a genius.  Duckie L’Orange is a performer that not only specialises in entertaining children, but adults in adult fashion.  Hailing from Germany, she is known for her strange and unorthodox style of comedy

Recently, she gained a little attention because of a television appearance on Germany’s equivalent to “America’s Got Talent,” and her “Bumhound” skit.  There was a time when comedic geniuses like Duckie L’Orange received their due.  Now they get cult status from the few that get their humour, like Tim and Eric.

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope she performs here in The States.

Bonsai Pop

Bonsai Pop is a group of guys (Grant, Mike, Tyler, and Ryan) that write retrospectives on anime and their influences on pop culture.  Their pieces are very insightful, and the a part of the reason that I watch YouTube more than actual television and cable.

Bonsai Pop does a great job at disassembling their subject matter not only by plot, language, or other aspects of literary storytelling, but by explaining other intangible feelings that most of us felt watching these anime, as well as what the creators might have been trying to express.

Another part of their appeal is that they do not just pander to new anime, but anime from the turn of the century and before. (I find many new anime lacking in many areas.)

Other than that, I wanted to also share some new media. (Well, it was a lot newer in November, but I’m sure some of this is new to some of you.)

Midnight Pulp

Midnight Pulp is a streaming service for “All Things Strange.” Right off the bat, I gotta tell you that this reminds me a lot of the vibe I used to get from watching Night Flight late at night and being introduced to Indie films as well as the strange in Hollywood.

Well, while I don’t think that Midnight Pulp is as big on the Indie tip as Night Flight was in the day, they showcase some great gems from all cult corners of cinema, including sci-fi and kung-fu. 

Their collections are even grouped by innovators in acting, writing, and directing.

Tubi

If you do not know what Tubi is, then you are missing out.  Tubi is a streaming service that shows great movies, television series, documentaries, and mockumentaries for free.

Their video selection reminds me a lot of when Netflix was new, not featuring new movies from the last couple of years, but they do have some great ones from 3 or more years.  Tubi has a lot of horror and great B movies from the 70’s-10’s.

Tubi features movies and television from Filmrise and Full Moon Features, as well as many other film and television groups.  

I cannot stress how great a service Tubi is.  It was a huge factor in my canceling of Netflix after so many years.

Genius

Genius is s site that explores the meaning behind the lyrics of popular songs.  Sometimes they even have the artists explain the meanings of songs.  

That’s it.  I dunno.  Sometimes the idea is pretty cool.  Check Genius out to see what I mean.

An Introduction to the Modern-Day Masterpiece Quality Transformers Collectibles Line

Official Hasbro G1 Ressiue of Optimus Prime

 

‘Chances are if you are in your late 30’s to 40’s then you recognise the above picture above as G1 (Generation One) Optimus Prime, one of the most sought after and treasured toy a kid could have. (Well, it’s actually a re-issued G1 Optimus Prime, but it’s very close.) I’m not going to go into who Optimus Prime is. (By now, you should be used to how much time and energy we put into providing hyperlinks to help.)  I’ll just say that Optimus Prime is a pretty big deal in the Transformers universe.  I never had him, and he is but one of many Transformers that I wanted as a child.

Much to my delight, being an adult gives me the spending money and right to buy many things that I could not have as a little boy.  This is something that many geeks enjoy as adults.  It has turned many of us into collectors to correct what we saw as mistakes of the past by fulfilling decades old wishlists.  Saying this, you can possibly imagine my surprise and joy in finding out that not only had old Transformers been rereleased nearly identical to their previious editions, but Hasbro and Tomy/Takara (the Japanese company that owns the rights to the original molds and toys that Transformers were based on) also released re-engineered Masterpiece Transformers that were superior in every way to the old G1 Transformers.

 

Official Hasbro Masterpiece MP-01 (Version 1.0)

I have been curious about Hasbro/Tomy/Takara’s Masterpiece line of Transformers for several year now. Back then it was a line of huge versions of Transformers that were not only model accurate when in machine mode, but engineered to be extremely accurate to the robot forms in the cartoons. The idea was not only better than the best of both worlds, but a level of realism and surrealism that neither machine modes or bot modes had ever reached. There was one problem: price. Back then, Masterpiece Transformers could cost anywhere from $100-300, which was too much for me.

But…many things have changed since then. Third parties started making their own Masterpiece quality versions of Transformers, that were at tiimes better engineered for more realistic bot modes, but also much cheaper than the first party Hasbro/Tomy/Takara Transformers. Also compainies started making knockoff (KO) that were for the most part perhaps slightly less well made, but much less expensive. Basically, more choices meant more competition so that even official Hasbro/Tomy/Takara Transformers had to not only sell for cheaper, but revise how they were made.

 

Official Hasbro Masterpiece MP-10 (Version 2.0)

Not only did revised Hasbro/Tomy/Takara Transformers get made better than their first versions, but they were made to a new uniform standard of size that even the third party manufacterers conformed to. They went down on price, which also made the thrid parties go down on their prices. All of this activity also attracted more thrid parties to make even more high quality options, as well as lesser quality marginally Masterpiece lines that would cost anywhere from $25-80.

Along with the price decreace of recent years, KO companies started their own innovations such as making their own more “official” KOs by making replicas of official pieces, but giving them their own names and making slight differences. Sometimes those changes even made the KOs better than the offical Masterpieces.

Unofficial Transform Element TE-01

The end result nowadays is a highly competitve and low priced market of Masterpiece Transformers of varying degrees of qualities of collectibles for any level collector.  Finally the average geek could might be abe to find some sort of Masterpiece Transformer for a reasonable price if he/she really wanted one to put on her/his shelf, or to fulfill a decades-long childhood desire.

“Okay, great.  Thanks for the…history lesson,” you might say.  Why did I choose to say all of this in an article?  The reason is that I intend to make review articles for different Masterpiece Transformer collectibles, but it won’t be like most others.  In fact, they probably won’t be like any others.

 

Unofficial Transform Element TE-01 / Unofficial Magic Square MS-01 / Official Hasbro MP-44 / Official Hasbro MP-10

When I decided that I wanted to review Masterpiece Transformers, I found that there are many people that were not only doing it for a long time, but possibly doing it better than I could.  That’s when I decided to fall back on this site’s greatest strength:  finding cool culture and picking it apart for easy consumption.  I decided that we would sift through all of the reviews, good and bad, and provide you with the “Cliffs Notes.”  The end result is a review with all of the high points and pictures so that you not only get our well thought out opinion of the version of the Masterpiece for you to buy, but giving enough refined information for you to come to your own opposing decision if we don’t share the same aestheitcs.

Thank you for reading our Masterpiece Transformers primer article.  I hope to write many more articles for you about specific Transformers in the future. 

-HERETICPRIME