The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, February 25, 2022 – A firm hand

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Good afternoon everyone! We once again reach time for The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, the grand finale of another week — and what a week it is for gamers, what with FromSoftware’s long-awaited Elden Ring finally dropping and apparently being super-excellent, and Atelier Sophie 2 providing something rather more cheerful for those in the mood for colourful happy things. Guess which one I’ll be playing this weekend!

On a more serious note, the world is a bleak and unhappy place right now, so it’s important that everyone finds some time to take for themselves, where they can get their own thoughts in order about everything that’s going on — or, indeed, simply come to terms with your place in the world in 2022.

I wouldn’t blame anyone at all for having even a mild existential crisis after the last couple of years we’ve had, and particularly after the events of the last week or so. So remember: don’t feel guilty if you want to take “time out” for yourself; it’s important to look after your own mental wellbeing as well as caring about the plight of your fellow man. If that means spending the entire weekend immersing yourself in a video game of your choice — old or new! — then so be it. I’m right there with you.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get right on to this week’s correspondence — after the usual reminder that if you want to get in touch with us, you can do so through the form at the bottom of this page, via the one on the dedicated Letters page, or by replying to the Rice Digital Weekly Digest. We’ll read and respond to every letter we get! So let’s do just that!

Letters page fanart
Fanart by Takamokkori. Original source here

Take a hint

Dear Rice,

This is to inform you that I am unsubscribing from and will no longer visit your site. The opinion piece published by the Editor, Pete Davison, on 02/11/2022 is an ill-informed, condescending, and blatantly one-sided diatribe. While there is certainly a time and place for polemic as a rhetorical tactic, this piece assembled and demolished so many straw men that it’s just embarrassingly inept. I will not patronize sites that poison the well because they will not debate a topic in good faith, especially when that site refuses to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, there’s two sides to an argument. I wish you joy in your decisions, but I doubt you’ll find it.

Andy Staples


Oh no! We hath lost the patronage of none other than Lord Andy Staples?! Truly this is a disaster of monumental proportions, and I needs must slit mine belly in penance forthwith. Batten down yonder hatches, everyone, for it doth seem we appear to be in for a rough period; all of us assembled are surely familiar that Lord Andy Staples’ readership was fundamental to the Rice Digital experience, and without it we shall simply collapse like yon puppet with strings that hath been cut.

Remember how last week I said I was going to say all that shit only once? Yeah, I meant it, and it brought me great joy to do so.

Get out of here, you absolute tit. And take your thesaurus with you. You’re not fooling anyone.

She’s laughing at you, and so are we

Exit without fanfare

Dear Rice,

What do you think about the Uruha Rushia situation? I’m kind of in two minds about it. On the one hand it feels like she’s been unfairly treated for things in her personal life, but on the other it seems like she may have been doing some things she shouldn’t have. Any insights?

GhostWaffle


Hi GhostWaffle, and thanks for your contribution to this week’s Letters Page. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what to make of the Rushia situation either, as it kind of seemed to come out of nowhere. Cover are unlikely to spill any further details about what happened, I suspect Rushia herself has some sort of non-disclosure agreement in place that will prevent her from selling her story — and everything else is just speculation that doesn’t really help the whole situation at all.

From what I can make out, Rushia’s termination was due to her sharing confidential company information to third parties who were not affiliated with Cover, nor beholden to any sort of non-disclosure agreement. Some are saying that she had gone to a drama channel about things, while others believe this relates to the accidental DM notification she received a while back.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s anything to do with the latter — not directly, at least. I suspect what happened is that she said the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time, and it ended up being broadcast in a way that Cover simply couldn’t ignore. Their wording was that the things she shared could have damaged Cover and hololive’s reputation, and that’s not something they can simply take lightly, hence her immediate termination rather than being nudged in the direction of graduation.

Fanart by Neruhi. Original source here

It’s interesting to compare with Coco’s situation from a while back, because Coco also got in trouble for sharing information that wasn’t supposed to be shared — in her case, analytics information. She got off with a short suspension, though and ultimately graduated voluntarily, so one can only conjecture how much more serious Rushia’s situation is.

It’s easy to jump immediately to the conclusion that “idol culture sucks”, as I’ve seen some people commenting recently about this. Idol culture does indeed suck — but I’m not convinced that it’s idol culture itself that is to blame here. If she did something wrong, of course it’s going to come back to bite her. She’s probably lucky that she’s “just” been fired and not sued.

Unfortunate, for sure — but I’m glad Cover at least gave her genmates the opportunity to post a (doubtless heavily PR-vetted) statement on the situation, too, as the sudden loss of their friend and colleague probably hit them all pretty hard.

What a strange world we live in.

An important role

Dear Rice,

Do you think the anime RPG scene has been a bit quiet recently? I feel like there haven’t been many big releases for a while, Atelier Sophie 2 aside. Have they fallen out of fashion?

J


Hi J, and thanks for your letter to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. I think you’re right to a certain extent. We’ve got Atelier Sophie 2 this week, of course, which you should definitely go and play, and Monark came out recently too. Then last year we had Shin Megami Tensei V and Tales of Arise — though I’m not sure I’d count them in quite the same category as what I think you’re talking about, what with them both being pretty high-profile releases.

You’re talking about the sort of stuff that previously would have come out on Vita, right? Mildly ecchi at times, colourful artwork, low budget but full of charm? Yeah, I feel like we kind of have been short on that stuff for a while. Idea Factory have been focusing quite heavily on their otome stuff — which is great, we need more of that — but the last vaguely big RPG-esque thing we had from them was Neptunia x Senran Kagura and Mary Skelter Finale. I don’t think they’ve even announced anything since — which would be worrying if they weren’t also working on the aforementioned otome stuff and ports to other platforms.

I suspect the situation is that smaller, lower-budget software houses have just been hit by COVID, and a lot of projects that they might have wanted to launch over the course of the last few years ended up being delayed for one reason or another. If big companies like Nintendo have admitted that this was the case, I’m sure it’s true for the Iffies and NISAs of the world. Hopefully things will start to get back to something approaching “normality” from now — I’m definitely ready for a new Neptunia game, for example.

That said, the relative quietness of the RPG scene for a while does have one benefit: we all have a bit of time to at least think about getting caught up on some of the games we haven’t got around to playing yet! I know I have RPGs stretching back to the PS2 era that I still need to play, so I’m sort of grateful for the fact that there aren’t too many other huge, sprawling adventures on the w… hold on, someone’s trying to tell me something.

What? Xenoblade Chronicles 3? Ah, shit.

Anyway. As I was saying, I don’t think we should be too concerned for our favourite games just yet. The world is attempting to pick itself back up after two years of being completely disrupted — and recent events happening on the stage of world politics probably aren’t helping matters — but I think given time we’ll be back to a steady flow of exciting games in our favourite genres.

In the meantime, as I say, get dipping into that Pile of Shame. I know you have one — everyone does!

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    And there we go for another week. I’m off to go and not think about anything scary or difficult for the rest of the evening, and I recommend you all take the opportunity to do so too if you’re in a position to do so. Be good to your fellow humans (unless you’re Andy Staples, who would like you all to think about the “other side” of not being an asshole to people) and make sure to take care of yourself as only you know how.

    Have a safe weekend that is as pleasant as possible — and as always we’ll be back with you on Monday for more fun, games and lewds.

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