Annotations for “Untitled (What Are You?)” 8 pages in Cinema Purgatorio #12
Writer: Kieron Gillen, Artist: Nahuel Lopez
Note: Some of this is obvious, but you never know who’s reading and what their exposure is. If there’s anything we missed or got wrong, let us know in comments.
General: This chapter riffs on the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game genre.
- These appear to be smaller versions (toys?) of various modded. Left to right:
– honking creature (CP#11)
– Fringe’s new modded from CP#11 (P8p3 suggests it is called a Broodmotherfucker)
– Mister Boom
– Tower Offensive (CP#6)
– Tanky Andov
– Curs’d Stabberina (CP#6)
– Junior Ultramyocyte
- These terms seem likely to be in-jokes, though some are obscure.
– “Subclass of a publication particle design” – suggest??
– “Anti-modded modded meta mod” is probably riffing on the overuse (and over-loading) of certain terms to the degree where they become almost meaningless. See this classic OOTS strip.
– “Middle-warewolf” is a combination of “middle-ware” (a term for utility software used by game companies to help make their games) and “werewolf”.
– Unit-E fighter” refers to “Unity”- a popular game engine, and also has been used as an element of several games’ names.
– “Seuck-ian retro-flip faux-blue-sky-er” – Commenter Greenaum points out: “SEUCK was the “Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit”. Back in the 80s, let users design their own shoot ’em up games, the ones where you fly something around shooting at other flying things”
- Fluffbumble (Fringe’s former companion creature) reappears, last seen in CP1.
- Fringe and Fluffbumble recognize each other.
- This is the reader’s first look at a chainsaw rhythm reggae action arena. This is a riff on gaming’s Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (generally abbreviated to MOBA) genre.
- MOBA characteristics are visible: 3 “lanes”, several landmark structures, and a number of lucrative “jungle” areas marked by dollar symbols.
- The largest difference between MOBAs and CRRA is that MOBAs are (usually) played between teams of 5, and CRRA is one-on-one (probably to simplify the storytelling).
- More details about this type of game in further notes.
- The headless female staue near Fringe’s start point may be a commentary on the sexist treatment of women in videogames, where their bodies are usually given much greater attention than their minds,
- Mister Boom (disguised under a box) gives Fringe the instructions for gaming the course. The conceit that hiding under a cardboard box provides perfect stealth, no matter what the context, is a reference to the Metal Gear Solid series of games.
- “Optimum paths” references how, in extremely popular competitive videogames (such as many MOBAs), players will try to identify the single “best” strategy in exhaustive detail. (Game designers hate this, and try to ensure that many strategies are viable, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.) As these games are updated, and as experimental players try new things, the popular wisdom about the “optimum” will evolve, but there is always wide belief that the current optimum strategy is known.
- “Simple steps” is ironic. As satirized going forward, these steps are only “simple” to a seasoned veteran of the genre. MOBAs are positively baroque in their complexity and specialized vocabulary. Most of the basic gaming concepts (and jargon) involved were inherited from earlier game genres, and are well understood by long-term gamers, but no other genre has crammed so many elements into their gameplay.
- “Skibble-fapping” may be a satire of a specific MOBA jargon term – suggest??
- “Dance with that” is presumably another CRRA jargon term.
- “Pop back and buy…” references how, in most MOBAs, there is a store located at each player’s starting location where equipment may be bought. There are usually strong opinions about the best equipment to buy and the best order in which to buy it.
- “Foobles” are the currency of CRRA.
- “It is a waste of foobles” references how, just as there are strong opinions about the best equipment, there are similar opinions about what is “worthless”.
- Note that the indicated path has already crossed itself several times and become hard to read.
- “Push,” in this context, is to aggressively engage a specified objective/enemy/region.
- “Sinister” is the left lane. MOBAs have three “lanes” of action, usually referred to as “top”,”middle”, and “bottom”. In CRRA, the jargon appears to be “sinister”, “center”, and “right”. (The root of the word sinister is left.)
- “Gargan boosts its noohoos” – Gargan may be the name of a region or of a computer-controlled monster. The “noohoos” are presumably creeps (weak but numerous AI fighters) that appear near the Gargan, and which may be in some manner “boosted” by it,
- “Circlet of un-nerfed” references how, in gaming jargon, something is “nerfed” when the game designers weaken it in effectiveness (usually because they thought it was originally too powerful). (The term is taken from Nerf brand toy guns.) Presumably, the circlet of the un-nerfed was at one point subjected to such a change, but has now been restored to glory.
- The path indicated on the map is now so complex that it is completely illegible.
- These “subhumans” are the equivalent of MOBA “minions”, relatively small and weak fighters that fight on the side of the player, sometimes under the player’s control, but usually autonomous.
- “Biffo” and “biffoing” are more unknown jargon.
- Perhaps “biffoing” involves taking control of the “toodangle”, which Gaunt MF expected to be contested. Many MOBAs involve structures placed around the map which provide benefits to their capturer; presumably the toodangle is one such.
- “Ungle” is clearly the CRRA equivalent of MOBA “jungling”. This is the practice of going into the “jungle” area between the three main “lanes” in order to collect relatively unprotected resources (here, “foobles”) at the opportunity cost of not moving forward on the main lanes.
- “Static-buff” references that, in gamerese, to “buff” a unit is to grant it a temporary benefit of some kind. Similarly, one may “debuff” enemy units by causing them penalties of various kinds. Since Susan seems to be advising Fringe to do this to her opponent’s units, we must assume that “static-buff” is some kind of debuff. Perhaps it causes the affected unit to cause electrical damage to nearby friendly units.
- “His pooble-doobs” are presumably the subhumans/minions working for Gaunt MF.
- “Buy-queue” is jargon for the highly-detailed plan of what equipment to buy when, see notes to P4p2.
- “Toon-dangles” are presumably related to the “toodangle” in P6p2. Possibly an error, but just as possibly obscure jargon usage. Whatever the specific benefits they grant, Gaunt MF has three of them and Fringe none, leaving him at a strong advantage.
- Many MOBAs include methods to make your characters do silly dances. These are usually reserved for victory dances at the end of a match, but can be done for its own sake.
- Gaunt MF and his team are engaged in destroying the enemy base, the win condition for both MOBAs and CRRA.
- “Broodmotherfucker” would seem to be the new modded that Fringe acquired last chapter.