The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, November 5, 2021 – Nice and Spicy

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

EDIT: Yes, I read the date wrong again. That’s what I get for going back and forth between US and UK format every day.

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you’ve all had a productive week and that you’re ready to wind down for a much-deserved weekend. We’re nearly there — at least those of us in Europe as I type this are — and then there’s a weekend of relaxation and gaming ahead of us all.

Me, I’m going to be spending some time in the company of some long-awaited pretty girls doing pretty girl things, but that’s a tale for another. For now, let me remind you that you may submit letters to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page at any point throughout the week — simply hit up the “Write to Rice!” widget over on the right-hand side of your page and leave us a note there. We’ll get to it the Friday after you send it, so feel free to send things earlier in the week if things occur to you.

And we don’t mind what you send us, within reason, either — if you’re a creative type we’d love to hear about your new projects, for example, so feel free to share! Or if you just want to tell us how lovely you think we are, that’s absolutely fine, too. Whatever the reason, write. It makes us happy.

Anyway, let’s get into this week’s mailbag, shall we?

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page
Fanart by Kusano. Support the artist on Pixiv.

Onii-chan, let’s feel good together

Hello Mr. Editor, my heart is very weary after this hellish week. Can you suggest me a “feel-good”/therapeutic anime for this weekend? Thank you!

P.S. : I love the newspaper style columns of the site, keep up the good work!

Shaddox


Hi Shaddox, it’s good to see you again on the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Hellish week huh? Oh no! Make sure you take some time for yourself over the weekend if at all possible. It’s good to take the opportunity to recharge the batteries every so often, ‘specially if a week has taken it out of you for one reason or another.

As for feel-good anime… well, I can think of a fair few, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

My go-to choices for something lightweight, silly, funny and ridiculous that will usually put a smile on my face are Squid Girl/Ika Musume and Yuru Yuri. They’re both shows in which very little actually happens, but the characters in both are so appealing that it’s hard not to get drawn into whatever antics the casts are getting up to each week. I was specifically recommended Squid Girl a good few years back now and rewatch it regularly; Yuru Yuri was one I just decided to watch on a whim one day, and I found myself promptly devouring the entire series. The opening and ending themes for that one are pleasantly uplifting.

Letters page: How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?

For more recent anime, I enjoyed Gamers! quite a bit, along with How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? The latter is actually surprisingly inspirational — it got me off my ass and going to the gym for the first time in ages when I started watching it. I’ve been slipping a bit of late; I should probably rewatch it.

There was that great anime season a while back that I always think back fondly on — it was the one where we had Gabriel Dropout, Interviews with Monster Girls and the first season of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid all happening at the same time. That was a blissful time; Interviews with Monster Girls in particular is a thoroughly feel-good time that is a lot less chaotic and crazy than you might expect, so be sure to check that one out if you want something a bit gentler.

Alternatively if you like monster girls and are in the mood for chaos, both Monster Musume and Interspecies Reviewers are a thoroughly good time — though I found I actually preferred the manga for the latter somewhat. It handled things with a bit more… uh… I don’t know if “class” is the right word, but I certainly preferred it.

All of you reading this, get your recommendations over to Shaddox now via the comments or Discord or whatever.

P.S. Glad you like them! I grew up with gaming magazines and feel that this format works quite nicely for a smaller site like this. It helps give things a bit of structure and personality and hopefully keeps people coming back for more.

No Fuckin’ Thankyou

Dear Rice,

I saw a tweet the other night saying that “crypto gaming” and “NFT gaming” is likely to be the future of gaming. What do you think this means, and do you think there’s any truth behind it?

LagMonster


Hi LagMonster, welcome back to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Right now, NFTs are the new hotness with a certain breed of insufferable crypto-twat on social media, but for the vast majority of people they are both an unproven and largely undesirable technology. As a result, they’re something of a joke towards a lot of people online — but there are some interesting things to consider.

An NFT, or “non-fungible token”, if you’re unfamiliar, is basically a means of digitally tracking ownership of something. For the most part at the time of writing they are being used so people can buy shitty computer-generated Twitter avatars and kid themselves that they haven’t just wasted several thousand dollars on a “WankingApe” or whatever it is — but the technology could theoretically be used in a more practical, useful manner.

For example, the upcoming Intellivision Amico console, for all its faults and questionable elements, presents an interesting use case for NFTs: providing a digital product that is attached to a physical item — in this case an RFID card that you can tap on a console to “read” it. The theory runs that you can buy a “physical” copy of an Intellivision Amico game and download it to your console by tapping the card on the console — but also loan, sell or give the game away to someone and transfer full ownership of it.

The fuck is this shit

This is something we currently can’t do with regular digital purchases, though I remain unconvinced that NFTs are the only way to achieve this sort of thing. Publishers and retailers just don’t want to do it for a variety of reasons. On top of all that, the whole digital aspect makes the “physical” part even more meaningless than physical copies of frequently patched, DLC-tastic games are today. It feels like solving a problem that doesn’t really exist.

Add all that to the fact that the blockchain technology that NFTs use to do their thing is notoriously energy-hungry — and that we’re all supposed to be trying to cut down on the energy we’re using, not increase it exponentially — and you can see why most people are pretty resistant to the whole idea.

As for NFT gaming, crypto-bros online seem fairly cagey about revealing exactly what all this means, but it’s safe to assume there will be some sort of “collectible” and/or gambling aspect. Examples I’ve seen so far include collectible card games and horse-racing games — hardly stuff that is going to set the gaming world on fire.

I can see triple-A gaming trying to do something with NFTs — FIFA Ultimate Team using NFTs for its “cards” is fairly likely to happen, for example — but I suspect people like you and I, who just want to play interesting and creative games without the “business” side of things invading our experience, will be content to just carry on with games in the form they always have been.

Ask me again in a few years!

Spice up your Rice

Dear Rice,

Any plans for a spicy fire noodle taste test after the recent Tokyo Treat box?

coffeebeast


Hi coffeebeast, and thanks for your letter. I’ve actually been considering this — though I’ll level with you, I’m supposed to be dieting right now and one pack of spicy fire noodles is like 19 Weight Watchers SmartPoints™ (not a sponsor) so the most I’d be able to do is one per day. That said, I suspect attempting to consume more than one packet of spicy fire noodles per day is a sure-fire route to an extremely painful visit to the little boys’ room the following day, so perhaps that’s for the best.

That said, I did actually order some of the Samyang noodles a while back simply because I was so curious to try them after seeing (or rather, hearing) so many VTubers suffering at their hands. I went for the Buldak Curry flavour — and you know what, they’re absolutely genuinely delicious. I was expecting them to be all heat and no flavour, but no — these are genuinely really tasty noodles that I simply enjoy eating. And those 19 Weight Watchers points actually get you a decent portion, too — a pack of these absolutely works for a fairly substantial lunch. These ain’t your mama’s Super Noodles.

I mean, yeah, they’re hot — the spicy aroma of them while they’re cooking can make both your eyes and mouth water, and eating them provides a pleasant lip-tingling sensation — but they’re not unmanageable by any means, and I’m not someone who is especially “good” with extreme spice levels, I don’t think.

Highly recommended.

I can’t speak for any of the other specific types of Samyang noodles, but if I get around to ordering and trying any more, I’ll definitely provide a full report. I’m particularly curious what a “carbonara” fire noodle means, because I hear “carbonara” and I think “Italian creamy sauce”, and I’m sure it’s not that. Or is it? I just don’t know. One day I will, and on that day you will take a flavour journey with me, just as if you are riding along inside my very mouth.

Maybe… maybe not that. That’s gross. But some sort of noodle report is definitely a possibility, for sure. Dare I try the “2x Hot” ones, though? Surely that’s madness…?

In the meantime, if you want some authoritative views on noodles, I highly recommend the excellent CheapShow podcast (also not a sponsor), which frequently involves noodle time as a key part of its format — much to the chagrin of one of the hosts. But, after all, people love noodles, and that’s a fact of CheapShow he’s going to have to learn to fucking accept.


And that’s your lot for this week. Have a thoroughly pleasant weekend, enjoy some feelgood anime, and don’t pay any attention to anyone who thinks No Nut November is a thing. You spend your free time however you see fit, and you have our full support.

Now I’m off to… relax for a bit. Yes… relax…

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Pete Davison
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