Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekly Alice : A Console Game for the Lolita

(Weekly Alice should be termed As and When Alice by now!)

I didn't really start playing video games until I got a PC that was capable of supporting all the necessary requirements around 2002. And even so, the games I like to play were rather selective. I've got a taste for survival horror and back then, excellent survival horror games on a PC format were few and rare in-between.

So in 2002, passing by a bookshop a few months after I got my nifty new PC, I noticed on the bargain rack, a title that caught my eye. After picking it up to check out the blurb, I had no hesitation whatsoever in plonking down S$19.90 for it.

American Mcgee's Alice is a third-person shooter PC game that came out way back in 2000. While not true survival horror, perhaps more geared towards action and gothic orientated, I LOVED this game to bits and still do! Everything about it reaches an almost perfect 10/10 in my gaming scores. The characters and game design is absolute genius. The backgrounds as you move through the game are unforgettably beautiful. Gameplay too is fun and exciting with an arsenal of unusual and different weapons. And of course, the story itself, of an Alice gone insane and committed to an asylum after her parents died tragically in a fire.

Blaming herself for her parents' horrific deaths, the Alice in the game is not someone Lewis Carroll would have imagined, 10 years later. After repeated suicide attempts, Alice is now confined, under restraints, at Rutledge Asylum and practically catatonic. This is the beginning of American McGee's game for the Alicephiles who might like things a lot darker.

After her stuffed bunny comes alive (or is it just a figment of Alice's badly fractured mind?) and implores her to save 'us', Alice is once more sucked into Wonderland but a twisted, malicious Wonderland that bleeds pools of blood, fire and brimstone, and where the Red Queen's card guards kills anything on sight.

Even after 11 years since it came out, the graphics of the game is still stunning to behold.

And a lovely bit of update is that American McGee has finally come out with a sequel to the game! And the sequel, entitled 'Alice: Madness Returns', looks even more gorgeously rendered and macabre than the first. The sequel will be out on PC, Xbox and PS3 format on 14 June 2011 which is...next month! And I confess I decided to buy a PS3 last December, partly because of the sequel, lol.

Alice's new outfit for the sequel? The kick-ass boots still remains though, yey!

I'm really excited for the new game and will be reserving my copy, no chances will be taken! You don't have to play the first Alice game to play the sequel but it would help to know some of the backstory first. Visit EA's official Alice: Madness Returns website if you like, it's fun, prettily designed with loads of Alice artwork to enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A random holiday post with Regency Lolita thrown in

It's confirmed! Air ticket bought, hotels booked, begged a leave period from my boss at work, and I'm heeeeeading down to England in Sept! Specifically, I'm going to attend the annual Jane Austen Festival held at Bath, as it's something I've always wanted to do. I've been saying and saying I want to attend the Festival for ages but side-trips to Tokyo has distracted me for the past few years =X But finally, Jane Austen Festival, here I come!

One of the grand highlights of the week-long Jane Austen Festival is the Promenade Walk where attendees are encouraged to wear period authentic garb and this is something I'm especially looking forward as I do plan to wear a Regency outfit for it too (in the midst of planning said outfit!).

Before I got into lolita fashion, I was interested, and still am, in vintage and historical costumes. My especial favourite eras were the Regency, late Victorian and Edwardian periods. In a sense, perhaps that's partly why I became immersed in lolita fashion as well, a natural progression? Lol! I do love Victorian influences on lolita fashion.

Besides Bath, I'll be spending a few days in London and am also considering taking the Eurostar for a day trip to Paris since I've never been to France before. If that happens, maybe I'll visit the Paris Baby store, just for fun!

And to make this post less random, I've mentioned going to wear a Regency outfit for the Festival's Promenade Walk. While I'm not planning on a Regency Lolita outfit, I did do a search out of curiosity and found this drawing by Primabanana's al·leg·ed·ly who does managed to mix the two genres wonderfully!

Regency Lolita!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The original Lolita, maybe

The latest issue of the Gothic Lolita Bible featured a tie-in with the children's story, 'Heidi', complete with a lolita-fied Clara in a wheelchair.

The story tie-in somewhat led me to think about manga and lolita (don't ask how I made the jump, I just did!) and the love-hate relationship that both have with each other. When it's done nicely, you have something like 'Godchild' and more recently, 'Gosick'. And then I remembered this absolutely seminal shoujo manga of my childhood and youth and thought, 'she just might be the original lolita manga heroine!'

And just whom am I referring to? Why, it's Candy of course! From 'Candy Candy'! lol!

'Candy Candy' started out as a novel by Kyoko Mizuki in 1975 and was serialised in a manga magazine by Yumiko Igarashi a few years later. It's Igarashi's illustrations of Candy that I'm most familiar with since I've only read the manga version.

The manga looks dated and IS dated, afterall, it began in the 70s. But even so, girls who grew up reading 'Candy Candy' still remember it fondly for the freckle-faced orphan girl heroine and her tragic love-life (her first love died, her second great love had to leave her for another woman) and yet remaining optimistic and cheerful throughout her many trials and tribulations. Which all sounds a bit like a Pollyanna syndrome and kinda might make one want to smack Candy for being so annoyingly glad mostly. But well, it helps a lot if you're reading Candy as a starry-eyed kid and a less cynical point of view.

The story of Candy is set at the turn of the 19th century, almost prior to WWI. And certainly those dresses she wears doesn't resemble pre-war Edwardian style to me and more lolita-esqe. Hence, to me, Candy will probably always be the first ever manga lolita character on hindsight.

Even when Candy decides to embark on a career choice as a nurse, her strong lolita aesthetics remains, good for her.

Nurse Lolita, anyone?

If you don't mind nostalgia, 'Candy Candy' the manga is available on Mangafox here. It's truly perfect for reading on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The A-Line Dilemma

I'm liking Metamorphose's Yoke Switched A-Line Dress quite a fair bit.

It's simple, understatedly sweet and well, ok, it looks super comfy to wear is the main reason I like it so much! Of course, the problem with it, for me at least, I'll definitely look like I'm expecting a bundle of joy in it but which might get me (hopefully) nice people offering me their seats on a crowded train or bus.

I might try to de-emphasize the looseness with a nice belt but in doing so, it'll become more of just a pretty dressy dress and not very lolita, hmmm.