Monday, January 28, 2013

General RPGs' Anime Girl Run Syndrome

This is gonna be another of those rants that’s railing against something that came from (and is much more prevalent in) anime, only a part of RPGs because so many of them are stylistically tied to anime. But a stupid thing is a stupid thing, regardless of whether it’s intrinsic or adopted, so I hold RPGs no less accountable.

What the fucking HELL is up with the way some women run in Japanese RPGs? You know what I’m talking about. It’s when the chick is...I’m not even sure you could call the leg motions “running” actually, it’s more like jogging most of the time, even in instances where running is clearly supposed to be what’s happening. She’s jogging along, and for some utterly inexplicable reason, instead of pumping her arms back and forth like any normal human being does while moving quickly to facilitate oxygen intake and dispersal and whatnot, or even just generally keeping her arms still as some people do, she’s waving her arms back and forth, alternating with each step. I realize that my ability to verbally describe this is limited, so I’ve got a visual aid:

I call this Anime Girl Run Syndrome.

Now, that there is a light case of Anime Girl Run Syndrome, the one which I just described and showed, presenting with only the mildest of stupid symptoms. A more severe case will have the lady’s elbows firmly locked against her sides, and often splay her waving arms in an upwards diagonal direction, bringing her uselessly flapping hands to semi-circle her shoulders. In addition to these bizarre upper-body contortions, severe Anime Girl Run Syndrome will cause the female’s hips to sway unnaturally with each step, such that they appear to actually be working against one another, and causing constant near-collisions between her knees, which are avoided only through some unfathomable dark magicks. A further symptom of this terrible malady will be an almost violent bouncing of the woman’s upper body with each step, such that I suspect her spine may be getting damaged from the vibrations, which of course also means that her breasts are just hopping all over the place, defying several basic laws of physics and anatomy with the tenacious will of a Mexican jumping bean. I think this is meant to have a mildly arousing effect on the audience, but honestly it’s only ever seemed amusing to me, since the wild in-out-in-out flailing of the arms means that the chick is in the perpetual act of very nearly pummelling her own bust. It actually almost seems like a natural response when one considers that her boobs are behaving more like they’ve been possessed by a supernatural entity than as an extension of her body, but I doubt that’s the intent.

Or maybe it is. Japanese culture can be weird.

Anyway, the whole thing looks like someone looked at Turk’s White Person Dance in Scrubs (seen here at about 0:23) and decided to make it into a mode of travel.

Why the rip-roarin’ hell do people insert this idiotic concept into RPGs? Or use it at all? Next to trying to skip to your loo while wearing skis, this is the least effective form of movement imaginable to me. I certainly have never heard of or seen anyone run anything like this in real life, save when they’re actively trying to mimic the fictional characters who do, which obviously doesn’t count. And even if people really did waste their time with this ridiculous jog, they’d never do so at times when they’re actually trying to cover as much distance in as short a time as possible. RPG characters (and anime ones, too, for that matter), on the other hand, are quite often clearly supposed to be in a hurry when they run places, what with the many emergencies and life-or-death situations they find themselves in, so it just looks that much more dumb and inefficient. And it gets even sillier when they get really dedicated to the “running” concept. The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road RPG has Dorothy suffer from Anime Girl Run Syndrome, but when she runs, she’s really booking it, leaning forward and motoring those legs like a track star. But, even as she does that, she steadfastly refuses not to have her arms flap back and forth with each step she takes, so the end result of this is that she’s just flying down the road, full-speed, with her arms limply slapping back and forth like someone’s attached a pair of dead, de-boned trout to her sides.

Now, my sister, who I recently realized I basically never credit for the massive part she plays in this rant blog so expect more mentions of her from now on, is a pretty smart cookie, and she theorizes that this bizarre run’s origins in Japanese culture might be a result of the kimono. Given the long-sleeved, enwrapping, and drape-y nature of a female’s kimono, it might be that this Anime Girl Run is the natural result of a woman trying to run while wearing one--or even just some iconic animator’s imagination of how that might look. After all, if a kimono is done up right, she and I think (neither of us has ever worn one) that one’s knees are quite restricted to a very small movement range, which would explain some of the hip-sway and near-knee-knocking. This also would affect one’s balance, necessitating holding the arms out at the sides to maintain it. And if you can’t step forward properly because of this restricted leg space, it might be easier to move quickly with more of a hopping gait, which would account for the exaggerated upper body bouncing. Seems a plausible enough theory to me.

That, or it’s just to accentuate boob bounces.

However, even if it does have this semi-sensible origin, it’s pointless to have a lady do the Anime Girl Run when not wearing specially-restrictive garments, and it looks silly as hell. I’m also not thrilled about the way it seems fanservice-y at times, and how utterly ineffective and pointedly non-threateningly feminine it makes female characters seem...kind of like how old cartoons and TV shows would consistently throw their women into the kitchen, because a man cooking food himself and a woman with any ambitions aside from housewife? PSHAW, STUFF AND NONSENSE, I SAY!* Maybe that’s just my imagination (I have, after all, seen a male character with Anime Girl Run Syndrome before),** but I flatter myself to think I have some fairly good instincts on such matters. One way or another, though, it’s strange, it’s silly, and it’s dumb. Anime can keep this Anime Girl Run Syndrome nonsense if it really wants it, but I wish RPGs could have the sense to ditch it.

* I would be very much obliged if you read this part to yourself in the voice of a plump-ish, English retired military gentleman straight from an Agatha Christie story. Bonus points of he’s indignantly sputtering around his mutton chops.

** Suikoden 4’s main character Lazlo, if you’re wondering. It’s not exactly the same as Anime Girl Run Syndrome, but whatever freaky shit he’s doing when he runs is closer to it than any other mode of travel I can think of.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Borderlands 1's Downloadable Content

Well, I finally caved in and tried out Borderlands. It’s alright.

Let’s talk about its Downloadable Content!

(Shortest intro of my life, I think).

The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned: I did enjoy this one. It’s got a lot of fun references and parodies within it, and a load of comedy that’s guaranteed to elicit a chuckle from the player at the very least. As a humor DLC, The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned is a winner. That said, this DLC was originally $10 on release, which I find awfully expensive for it. I bought my copy of Borderlands 1 recently on Steam, and thus I basically only had to pay that much for all 4 DLC packages, so it’s not a problem for me, but I’d have to say that $10 is extremely steep for this. Yes, it’s enjoyable, probably the funniest humor-based DLC I’ve seen to date (granted, though, it’s only the third of its kind that I’ve encountered), but 10 bucks? That’s awfully pricey for some jokes, to me, and there’s not much else this DLC has to offer. I guess it’s alright gameplay-wise, but I don’t consider that to be all that important, as you know, and even if I did, “alright” is not high enough praise for that cost. So ultimately, I’d say I got my money’s worth at (basically) $2.50, but unless earlier customers were really hard up for some laughs, I’d say they overpaid.

Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot: I found this one to be a complete waste of time. There’s basically nothing to this DLC--it unlocks an arena area, in which you can fight. There’s only one quest, and while its reward is substantial, it has no story to it whatsoever. Mad Moxxi herself is at best barely worth notice. Adding an item storage option is a nice touch, but still wholly insubstantial. Not only was this add-on most definitely not worth the $10 it originally sold for, I frankly think that the $2.50 that I paid for it (when all is said and done) is still far too much for it. Thumbs down to the Underdome.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx: This one was okay. I guess. There’s not much story to it, really, just rescuing an ex-Atlas Corporation assassin and then helping her cause some damage to said company. There was potential for stronger story development than what we get from this, what with it being the first real, significant, outright interaction with and confrontation of one of the major corporations in the Borderlands universe (the main game’s plot doesn’t leave much allowance for more than skirmishes, all things considered), and also potential for better development of characters, too. It’s amusing enough at times, I admit, such as when listening to General Knoxx having to deal with his superior officer and the brief antics of Mr. Shank, but occasional amusement is all there is to find, which ain’t enough for me. I will also give it props for being a very sizable DLC package--the large areas and lengthy quests contained within this add-on will likely keep you occupied for a good several hours, and I do appreciate that. But it’s nonetheless still being occupied mostly with busywork and pure gameplay, not with anything of substance--but then, most of the main game is like that, too, so maybe I shouldn’t judge it too harshly. So in the end, as I said, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is okay. Not worth the original price of $10, but I don’t feel cheated at having paid more or less $2.50 for it, at least.

Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution: By the time I got to this one, I gotta be honest, the charm of Borderlands 1 was wearing seriously thin for me. I know, I know, everyone is crazy about all things Borderlands, but you know me, I play RPGs for the plot and characters, and it’s only so long that the minimal style of storytelling in Borderlands 1 will hold my attention. Still, I’ll try to be objective. This add-on is, well, basically more of the same. Its story is mildly amusing, though not compelling, and its villain is entertaining, if fairly generic for his archetype. As with the last DLC, I feel like there was a lot of wasted potential here, since another major corporate force of the Borderlands universe, the Hyperion corporation, which was the other of the 2 major corporate players in the main game’s story, had a distinct presence throughout this DLC, yet provided next to no insights to anything beyond the task at hand. I suppose that’s just not Borderlands 1’s style, but it comes across nonetheless as wasted opportunity to me. A better glimpse into the larger setting of this series would have been an ideal way to instill new interest in me (much in the same way that the scope and potential of the Star Wars universe or Mass Effect series initially hooked my attention); as it stands, I am, as I mentioned earlier, losing interest. And unfortunately, I feel like on the gameplay front, which is obviously what Borderlands 1 is more concerned with over anything else, Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution still is a little lacking. The majority of “new” enemies are just old ones with slightly different looks to them, and most of the actually unique new enemies are very simplistic. The final boss fight is good, but overall, this lacks the enemy innovations that The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned and The Secret Fortress of General Knoxx strove to introduce.

Anyway, this DLC isn’t bad, really, because the humor of it does definitely work, and I can’t hold the weak plot against it too much when said plot is, firstly, obviously more tongue-in-cheek than anything else, and secondly, not really any worse than the storytelling of any other part of the game. It’s definitely not worth the original price tag of $10, but having it constitute a quarter of the $10 add-on bundle I got it in is mostly fair, I figure.

So how does Borderlands 1 hold up, DLC-wise? Eh. Not great. None of these packages were worth the original price of $10, and one of them I can’t even justify being a quarter of the 10 bucks I paid for them all. The other three are just the same problem repeating itself that I have with Borderlands 1’s main game--a few jokes that are fairly funny, with very little realization of ideas and plot points that could have been interesting and even immersive. It takes a subtle but masterful touch to make an understated narrative style work, even on a comical level, and Borderlands 1’s DLCs are just as unable to achieve that storytelling functionality as the main game was. I’ve seen games with a worse overall set of DLC (Dragon Age 2’s add-ons and what we have of Mass Effect 3’s downloadable contents, for example), but this is still ultimately a bit of a low point in my DLC experience.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Xenosaga Series's Allen and Shion Romance

(Many thanks to my friend Jolt for his part in making this rant possible, and my sister for bouncing my ideas right back in my face and forcing me to get my shit together with my arguments.)

Oh gosh, I should do a rant about one of the problems with Xenosaga 3’s story decisions. Let me see. How about making half the main cast overall unimportant to the game’s events? Or continuing the decision of Xenosaga 1 and especially 2 to give Ziggy no significant relevance to the story? Maybe the fact that an entire game’s worth of events happened between Xenosaga 2 and 3, and is only related to the player through vague references and an in-game glossary? Perhaps the lack of background and depth for almost all of its villains, whether major or minor?

Oh, I know what I’ll rant about! Allen and Shion. Good God alive, Allen and Shion.

Okay. Before we begin, let me just get this out of the way, to be fair and honest. I personally have advocated, since Xenosaga 1, the idea of Shion and KOSMOS being involved romantically. I think there’s some real romantic potential there, and I swear, it cannot possibly just be my imagination that the games themselves hint at it. KOSMOS is extraordinarily protective of Shion far beyond the scope of her programming; keeping Shion safe can be considered the ultimate priority for KOSMOS, and she will, and does, break the laws of her own construction to make that happen. Shion’s interactions with KOSMOS seem to personally focus Shion in a way that doesn’t happen with her interactions with anyone else, and she’ll allow KOSMOS in without a thought even when she shuts everyone else out. Hell, there’s a scene where KOSMOS even seems to say she loves Shion, in as much capacity as she can--when Shion asks why KOSMOS watches over her in ways far beyond her programming, KOSMOS’s response is basically that protecting Shion is her highest priority, not as a part of her programming per say, but as a direct, interrupting value that comes from her core, able to supercede every other behavioral directive. Shion interprets this as essentially meaning that KOSMOS’s very heart wants to protect her, and it seems like a pretty legit understanding to me (though I am, granted, hardly knowledgeable about the way proposed AI behavior programming and such would work). To me, that is, all things considered, basically a statement of love, right there. Then there’s all the implications of the previous lives thing, the way KOSMOS acts once she’s regained her lost soul...frankly, if the game had just outright acknowledged that KOSMOS and Shion loved each other at some point, and left it at that, it would have been one of the few aspects of Xenosaga’s plot that was understandable and concluded well.

But although I personally believe that there’s a connection of love between them, I DO try to stay objective, both when I’m playing a game and when I’m ranting. I try never to let what I want override my ability to recognize what is, you know? It seems to me like the entire series is implying that KOSMOS and Shion are in love, but I concede that you can argue, probably effectively, that every instance of proof for this idea has some other intention, some other meaning. So what I’m about to say is, honestly, me being objective, not letting my personal biases get in the way of the issue.

Allen x Shion is a fucking joke.

Alright, another note I’d like to make before I continue. I don’t dislike Allen. And I don’t begrudge him his interest in Shion (although I sure as hell don’t understand it; good lord is she a pill). I think Allen is an okay guy. Mildly annoying at times, but in his cowardly way he’s dedicated, he’s got a good heart, and...well, that’s about it actually, since his character is rather flat, but he’s alright.

No, the reasons I dislike the whole Allen and Shion thing that Xenosaga 3 decides to make canon are as follows.

First: He’s an emotionally gutless coward for literally more than 99% of the series. I don’t hold his physical cowardice against him, as I said--he’s not a fighter, and he gets involved in some highly dangerous situations against his will, so him comically wailing like Shaggy from Scooby Doo is tolerable to me. But I’m talking emotional cowardice here. He does not do ANYTHING to make his feelings known to Shion for the entire three games until the second-to-last confrontation of Xenosaga 3. That’s over the course of YEARS! And over a hundred hours for the player. Closer to 200. It takes him until the end of the damn game, the right-before-the-final-boss confrontation, to confess that he loves Shion!

Now, I think he does do this confession scene pretty heroically. It’s one of your standard anime-tastic “I’ll stand up for her even though I’m powerless cuz TRUE LOVE HAS INFINITE HP!!!” scenes, where he just keeps getting up and taking more punishment for Shion’s sake, despite having no chance in hell of doing anything. Cliche, but it works for him.

Although now that I think about it, I’m not sure he actually SAYS he loves her in this scene...but it is, for the first time with him, implied enough to more or less be a confession of love.

Anyway. Should I really be rooting for someone who cannot express their feelings to the object of their affection for years, during events of such magnitude as those of the Xenosaga series? It ain’t like the situation in this scene is the first time the Xenosaga gang has gotten involved in something dangerous in his presence! Shion could easily have died any time during the entire series, and more than once very nearly did. He couldn’t find it within himself to tell her at any time during these tumultuous times how he felt? His love for her isn’t strong enough to overcome basic bashfulness during a prolonged period of time in which every time he sees her could be the last time, and yet I’m supposed to accept his feelings as legitimate.

Hell, not to belabor the point, but as I mentioned above, fucking KOSMOS is more honest about her feelings than Allen is, and she’s a fucking robot--a ROBOTIC robot, not the touchy-feely variety. Even if you take that scene between her and Shion not to imply romantic love, it’s STILL a scene in which KOSMOS is being as honest about what she feels as she is literally capable of, which is more than Allen can manage up until the last second.

Now, my sister has argued with me on this point, saying that an unrequited love can still be powerful and real, and I suppose I can understand where she’s coming from on this. I mean, one of the greatest cartoons ever conceived, Hey Arnold!, has a believable and touching case of this with Helga’s feelings for Arnold, which she doesn’t reveal to him for almost the entire series. Of course, Helga is 9 years old, while our boy Allen is a grown fucking man, but we’ll put that aside. So this first point of Allen’s emotional cowardice is, I guess, not a death knell for the Allen x Shion idea, even if I do still think it deserves some consideration.

But the thing is, Hey Arnold! really sold the watcher on Helga’s love for Arnold. I mean, we see many occasions that give us an understanding of why she loves him, from how her feelings started, to her consistent monologues about it, to how well they mesh when Helga puts down her defenses, to how clear it is that Arnold’s influence makes Helga into the better person that she often yearns to be. If you’re gonna aim for the unrequited love angle, you gotta make it believable...and that brings us to our second point.

Second: Why the hell does Allen love her to start with? Now I understand love is all about emotion, but even emotion has its own form of rhyme and reason, and to sustain as powerful and involved an emotion as the love that Xenosaga clearly wants to imply Allen has for Shion, one needs to have some level of connection with the person that one is in love with.

Where is that with Allen, exactly? What is it that draws Allen to Shion? What is it about her that he loves so much? She’s more or less never shown to be considerate of him. Most of her interactions in the games are just bossing him around or getting exasperated with him, and on the occasions where she’s not being mildly hostile, she’s always distant. You could theorize that he’s attracted to her intellect or professional abilities, but we never see an indication that Allen has a particular pride or interest in such things (I mean, he’s great at his science-y job, but it’s never shown that he has more than a typical interest in it). So basically, it’s never shown that they connect well or that there’s a reason to think they connect well. It’s shown that he has no real idea of the pain she carries inside of her until the rest of the cast is aware, and that’s really her only substantial character depth, so what part of her is it that he loves? There’s not a lot to her personality otherwise. I mean, she does put her life on the line for stuff and do the usual hero-ing it up that an RPG character has to, but Allen’s feelings are shown to have been established before any of that stuff started, and there’s no indication that they grow over the course of the games--for all we’re shown, they’re roughly as strong at the beginning of Xenosaga 1 as they are by the end of Xenosaga 3, and if they HAVE grown, then we’ve never been made privy to what it was that nurtured them. You could theorize that he’s a shy and pathetic social outcast so that he’ll swoon over any girl who treats him halfway decently (basically, me in high school...and college...and...let’s stop there, actually), but for Xenosaga 1 and 2 Shion only treats him as either a work underling or an annoyance, and in Xenosaga 3 she’s distracted all the time, so you can’t even go with that (plus, that interpretation’s a bit of a stretch for Allen). So basically, what Allen sees in her is never shown. Does she do anything for him or to him in a spiritual sort of way, like how Arnold influences Helga to be a better person, or Final Fantasy 10’s Yuna and Tidus nurture their own best traits within the other through their emotional connection? Not that we’re shown. I mean, Allen changes for the better, I guess, in that by the end of Xenosaga 3 he’s willing to join the rest of the party in a dangerous situation without complaint, meaning that he’s gotten much more of a backbone, but...well, it’s not Shion that’s inspiring such a change in him, I think, so much as it is his love for Shion. But that motivating love for her is being born entirely of himself, not her own actions or influences, so I don’t think it really counts as a point of something he’d love her for. It’d be like saying he loves her because she’s someone he can love. And either way, he never gives us the idea that he acknowledges her potential betterment of him. So again, we’re not shown any real reason for him to love her.

Now, if you look through that last paragraph, you’ll see I used the word “shown” several times at key points. Rather than just being a case of having a low vocabulary, that was intentional, because it leads me to this piece of storytelling wisdom: Show, don’t tell. Now, I think that tell is underrated as a narrative fashion these days (Isaac Asimov, after all, mostly told in the first book of his Foundation series, and it was awesome), but it’s overall sound advice. And that’s the thing--we’re told that Allen loves Shion, but we’re never really shown that he loves her. Oh, the games throw us several scenes of him looking and acting like he loves her, yeah, but we’re just never given any understanding of how, why, where it came from, what keeps it going, and so on. And this is all just why this pairing is stupid and wrong from Allen’s side...which brings us to the other side.

Third: Shion never had any interest in him. She barely seems to even consider him a friend for most of the series, and on the occasions when she does, it’s still not as a particularly close friend. She clearly likes him just fine, but that’s all.

Now, though Allen can’t seem to work up the nerve to be honest with the woman he supposedly loves for the near entirety of the series, he DOES make a few blundering, pathetic attempts to let ambiguous implications let her know how he feels about her. These implications are utterly lost on her, and it is, for ONCE in a story coming from Japan, NOT because she is just generally oblivious. It is believable oblivion, the kind you would naturally have if someone just did not even register on your radar as potential romance material. most animes and games and such where this trope of romantic obliviousness comes in, the person (we’ll call them Person A) who’s not picking up on the other person’s interest (we’ll call them Person B) is clearly just completely oblivious. That is to say, there’s reason to think that Person A would certainly have at least some interest in Person B, if Person A were not so completely oblivious as to miss all of Person B’s signals. And it also usually seems kind of unrealistic that Person A is somehow missing all these signals to start with.

It ain’t like that with Shion. The lack of recognition isn’t out of character for the sake of poor writing. It doesn’t come off like she’s just not getting something that she might actually have an interest in. With Shion, it’s clear that she’s not picking up on Allen’s signals because it’s just something she would never think of.

That does not sell me on this pairing.

Fourth: It’s so obviously, and poorly, shoehorned in. And I mean like wow, here. You know the first time, the very first time in the entire series when Shion ever looks at Allen with anything resembling interest? During the end sequence. The END.

I assume you’ve played the game if you’re reading this far, but let me refresh your memory here. They’re all escaping because God knows you can’t have a final dungeon that doesn’t fall apart at the drop of a hat (well, the drop of a last boss’s body, at any rate), and they’re all fighting Gnosis on the way out, and a big appears in front of them, and somehow the rest of them are too busy to notice it, so Allen...sorry, give me a moment to stop giggling at the very memory of how overblown and stupid this is...he lets out this roar and vow to protect Shion, which is about as hilariously over the top as one might expect because his voice acting was not meant for manly roars, and he jumps way up into the air, lands on the Gnosis, and starts beating on it with the butt of his rifle. You are watching a scrawny stereotype scientist jump like 20 feet up, knock down a towering titan of a monster, and instead of FIRING THE GUN HE’S HOLDING, start hammering at it with his skinny little arms holding the rifle butt. By far the most amazingly silly, stupid part of this scene is the fact that you are actually supposed to take it seriously.

As this happens, Shion’s eyes are ever watch your average girl when she first sees the werewolf guys in the Twilight movies go topless? It’s basically the anime version of that.

And that’s it! That is the first and LAST time in the entire roughly-200-hours-long Xenosaga series where Shion shows an actual, demonstrable interest in Allen. The ending of it. I mean, there’s shoehorning, and there there’s THIS. Out of all the truckloads of details and ideas they violently cram into these games, the hundreds of silly and terrible aspects that were given actual game time, THIS did not make the cut! Why should I take this romantic subplot seriously when the writers didn’t? Not to mention that this scene would imply that the only way that the writers feel they can possibly inspire some emotional reciprocation in Shion is by employing the most ridiculously unlikely shit possible.

And hey, at the risk of beating a dead horse by reminding you of my own pairing preferences yet again, I’d like to point out that it’s funny what you can read into this scene. See, at the moment this scene happens, it seems very likely that Shion will either never see KOSMOS again, or will at least not see her for a very, very long time. So, this extremely recent separation and loss having just had enough time to start sinking in, what is it that makes Shion suddenly into Allen? Seeing him fight for her, act as her protector.

Y’know. The thing that KOSMOS is most significantly known to Shion for.

So from a certain perspective, you can actually say that this terribly silly, painfully forced Shion x Allen moment is actually just confirmation that she loves KOSMOS, that it’s nothing more than an attempt to regain that love by replacing KOSMOS with someone who can fill the same role. I mean, yeah, I’m obviously reading more into it than I was meant to here, but be honest--is that interpretation not just about the only thing that could make at least SOME part of that scene halfway sensible?

Whether or not you want to look at it that way, though, the scene is, like I said, utterly absurd, unintentionally laughable, and pathetically last-minute. The pairing itself has 0 chemistry, Allen’s persistent emotional constipation gives the player no reason whatever to support it, and the only time that the writers could bother to actually show it at all was right at the last second. Allen x Shion is a fucking joke.

On an unrelated note, thanks to those of you who sent me rant topic ideas over the little Christmas - New Year break. I've chosen the best one and sent the fellow who came up with it an email about the prize, but I appreciate them all.