The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, November 26, 2021 – Backed right up

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Happy Friday afternoon everyone! We’ve come to the end of another week — and as usual, we close out the weekly proceedings with the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, which is your opportunity to have your say about whatever you fancy. Got a question? Ask it. Got a creative project you want to plug? Share it. Got a hilarious joke no-one in the “real world” understood, but you think we might “get it”? Tell it! The only limit is your imagination, and your Editor’s patience. And, as is hopefully fairly clear, the latter is in reasonably abundant supply most of the time.

If you want to participate in the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, you don’t need to sign up or do anything special. Just head on over to the “Write to Rice!” widget over on the right of ever page and drop us a note there with your pen name — no personal info required. Alternatively, if you’re signed up to the Rice Digital Weekly Digest, you can reply to any issue of that (making it clear that you’d like your message included in the next Letters Page) and contribute that way, too.

Anyway, with all the official business out of the way, it’s time to open up this week’s mailbag!

Letters Page
Strike Witches fanart by Niwa Mizuki. Original source offline.

Attack successful

Dear Rice,

I really appreciate “Attack the Backlog“.

Regarding one of my favourite sections, “The History of Lewd“, I would love to read new content weekly.

Thanks for your work!

Kerift


Hi Kerift, and thanks for your kind words this Letters Page. I’m glad you like Attack the Backlog, it’s an idea that just sort of came to me that I thought might be interesting to experiment with. It’s an opportunity to revisit some older games from the “pile of shame” as well as write about them in a way that’s a bit different to your usual “review, preview, interview” format.

In quite a few cases, I’m anticipating that it will be quite interesting to learn new things about the various games we explore over time — and by writing about them after each session, it will help us to chart that journey we all go on when we immerse ourselves in a new game. Sometimes that takes a long while — I suspect Trinity Universe will take quite some time to get through! — and at others you can pick things up pretty quickly.

So we’ll see how things go — and how practical it is to have several things on the go at once to keep things interesting!

Letters page: Trinity Universe

As for The History of Lewd, that’s probably my favourite thing to write, too, so I do try my best to keep it weekly as much as possible. Sometimes we’re just a little too pressed for time, though, and other things have to take priority — so apologies if you miss out on your weekly dose of lewd in the meantime!

I’m also in a position right now where some of the lewd games I want to explore are longer than can be practically explored in the space of a week, so I may end up taking an approach similar to Attack the Backlog, where we explore these more substantial works a bit at a time rather than trying to cram everything into a single article. I’ve got a big pile of visual novels and other eroge just waiting to be explored that I just haven’t made the time for yet — so we’ll figure out what to do with them as soon as we can!

If you really want to help us out, do make sure you share our stuff on your social media services when you particularly enjoy something — even if it’s an older article. We do our best to make sure what we write is as “evergreen” as possible, so ideally even if something was posted six months ago, it can still be relevant and interesting to someone stumbling across it for the first time. That was part of the thinking behind features like The History of Lewd and Attack the Backlog, as it happens.

Anyway, glad you’re enjoying what we do. We all take great pride in providing a site that’s just a little bit different from your usual gaming and/or popular culture sites out there, and it’s always nice to know that people appreciate it. Thank you very much for your support!

Feeling crabby

Dear Rice,

I’m sad you didn’t enjoy Crab Game more. It’s actually a really great game if you mute all the chat and ignore the racist lobbies. But I appreciate that sounds ridiculous, now that I look at it.

RedLightGreenCrab


Hello RedLightGreenCrab, and thanks for writing in to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. I really wanted to like Crab Game, I did — I’ve seen lots of VTubers having a blast with it and it seemed like it would be super-fun — but when my first experience was literally what people joke about when they talk about the stereotype of Xbox Live… yeah, I was a little put off.

I can appreciate that it’s a good game. Although it’s (deliberately, I suspect) janky as heck and looks super-rough, there’s a definite charm to it all — and the sheer amount of stuff to do in the game in terms of modes and maps is seriously worthy of praise.

It is, I suspect, something best played with a large group of friends — like, say, a massive group of collaborating VTubers — but sadly not all of us have access to a substantially sized group who can commit an hour or two to a video game, even if said video game is both free and fun. I speak from experience, unfortunately; as my friends and I have gotten older, it’s become increasingly difficult to pin them down to do anything fun, particularly in the cases of the ones who have started a family.

Letters Page: Crab Game

Perhaps we should host some sort of Rice Digital Crab Game session one evening. That might be fun. Someone was asking about community events a while back — perhaps this could work. Hmm. We’ll take it into consideration.

Anyway, yes, you’re absolutely right that no game in 2021 should come with the disclaimer “it’s fine if you completely mute all communication features and ignore the racist lobbies” — it’s unfortunate that the situation is so bad and right in your face when it comes to Crab Game, and I suspect there’s not a lot the developer Dani can do about it, since they’re not actually running the game servers.

Or maybe there is something more, I don’t actually know — I’ve never built a multiplayer game before. Either way, anyone reading this considering trying Crab Game for yourself: consider yourself warned!

Freckle-faced and full of beans

Dear Rice,

Who decided that November 22 was Love Your Freckles Day?

Gunter


Hi Gunter, that’s a very good question. Every time one of these “International Day of [x]” or “National [y] Day” comes up I do my best to try and track down where it came from. Sometimes there’s an actual answer — Pocky Day has a clear origin point, for example — but at other times it just seems to have sort of become commonly accepted by some sort of mysterious cultural osmosis.

There’s a site called National Today that sometimes provides a bit of insight as to where these “holidays” came from, but in this case it came up with a bunch of waffle that didn’t really explain anything. Their “History of Love Your Freckles Day” was actually nothing more than an explanation of what freckles are and where the word came from. That doesn’t explain who first coined the phrase, when and why — and that information seems surprisingly hard to come by.

Letters Page: Freckles

As with most things online, I suspect it’s best to treat most of these supposed holidays as either just a bit of fun, or something that has its origin in advertising. Or, like Pocky Day, a bit of both. The simple answer to “who decided that November 22 was Love Your Freckles Day?”, then, is “no-one knows, and it probably doesn’t really matter”. It’s just a fun day where we can celebrate something — and if it’s something that catches on, you know you can expect some quality fanart from Japanese artists in years to come.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for seeing some freckle-faced anime girls on November 22 every year. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if that becomes a thing, though, I guess!


And there we go for this week. Have a thoroughly pleasant weekend, and for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, a belated happy Turkey Day to you all! I hope nursing your food baby hasn’t been too much work — and that you can look forward to a couple of days’ relaxation!

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Pete Davison
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