I saw a Monster High Mini-Movie and it Kind of Blew My Mind; Also, L’Empereur is Harder than I Remember

I confess, I kind of like the idea behind the Monster High dolls and think they’re neat. I can vicariously enjoy them through my girlfriend who has a small collection of them.

Anyway, just for shits & giggles, my girlfriend put on Monster High: Fright On! on netflix for background while we read. First of all, wow, Draculaura is short. Like, even with platform shoes, she’s a head shorter than everyone else. I also liked that she had a pretty decent Romanian accent (just like Veemonro’s!), even if it was fake. But that’s not what blew my mind.

What blew my mind was that instead of some weird vapid nonsense story, Monster High: Fright On! was a stern warning against the dangers of using ethnic studies as a pretense for fomenting hostile race relations within the education system. WHOAWHAT?!

See, the Vampires and Werewolves go to separate schools because they have a “history”, but they’re about to be integrated into Monster High. The villain changes the school history curriculum to focus on past ethnic friction and encourages the formation of Werewolf and Vampire heritage/pride clubs (Vampowerment and Were Pride), which simply become fronts for hate groups. The tensions even threaten to break up Draculaura from her werewolf boyfriend!

In the end, Frankie and the Abominable Snowgirl (who has a Russian Accent and reminds me of a female version of that one kid from Psychonauts) manage to out the villain and what he was doing, and everyone realised that what’s importance is not past racial grievances but the opportunities for reconcilliation going forward.

How the hell did this get made in 2011?!

Anyway, because I am the worst kind of nerd, instead of finishing reading my biography of Talleyrand over the weekend, I installed L’Empereur and tried to conquor Europe with very little success. For those who do not know, L’Empereur was (I think, I’ve only seen a few screenshots of the latter) what Koei came up with when they retrofitted their Three Kingdoms engine to accommodate the Napoleonic Wars.

Replicating Napoleon’s early historical victories in Italy is nearly impossible, given the constant shortage of manpower early on. You can only recruit soldiers in March (once every 12 turns), and victories can be hella costly in terms of men. Or worse, leaders (“Murat has died in battle” is about the worst thing you can see during your first campaign). Typically, if you win, before you can consolidate yourself in your new city, a foreign power comes in and kicks your significantly weakened ass. After about a dozen restarts, I managed take Venice within the historically accurate time frame, and actually held on.

From that start, I finally managed to take the rest of Italy, but now I’m in a standoff against the Bavarians, Holland and the Prussians behind them. Sure, I can take Holland. I can even force the Bavarians out of their stupid forests. But the moment I do, I’m overwhelmed by a gianormous army of Prussians who just steamroll me. So, I wait. Everyone in Europe hates me except for the Spanish, who are on the verge of hating me, so no one will trade with me. I’m also at the juncture in the game where the problem is no longer troops but competent men to lead them. If your ranks get shuffled too badly, you’re stuck with idiot politicians leading large infantry corps simply because there’s no one else to assign them to.

It is not a great game. It is maybe not even a fun game. But it’s definitely the only game I have at the moment to scratch my Napoleonic Wars itch.

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12 responses to “I saw a Monster High Mini-Movie and it Kind of Blew My Mind; Also, L’Empereur is Harder than I Remember

      • I’ve noticed that a lot of small-scale productions are a lot more willing to address much headier topics than you see in mainstream television. I’m usually surprised — but the production values are almost never worth following a smaller series for very long.

        I’m not sure if that means I’m not hardcore (or liberal, or progressive, or “hip”) enough for the message — or if already knowing how to think for myself means I can’t be arsed to sit through something that doesn’t look visually appealing.

        –Dither

      • It looked like it was on a shoestring budget, made in Flash or something, but still, this is Mattel we’re talking about. They’re usually one of the first under the gun if they rock the social standards boat in the wrong way (like when feminists got mad at Game Designer Barbie because they didn’t understand how video games are made), and this was a pretty heady social message to be delivered by an advertisement for dolls.

        It also had a lot better comedic timing than I was expecting.

      • I Google’d an article about software engineer Barbie and now I want to read the offending children’s book. I mean, really — how bad can it be? 😉

        –Dither

      • So bad that Barbie tells a fan that she doesn’t do the actual programming (that’s for her codemonkeys); she just comes up with the game idea, game assets and manages the project. Feminists were apparently mad that Barbie was the project manager and had men doing the dev grunt work for her game.

        I haven’t read the whole thing, but I’ve seen some screenshots from a few pages.

    • It is amusing how simplistic in terms Napoleon’s career, especially the overthrow of the Directorate, is portrayed by the game. Little heads of important people from “history” all “The Directory is Corrupt.” “The Revolution Needs a Leader.” “Gentleman, I need your support!” A speech by Talleyrand and a speech by Fouche later, Barras is in exile in Italy and Napoleon is First Consul.

      Also, the game seriously overstats Napoleon’s diplomacy; I’d’ve given him a C or a D. His foreign policy fluctuated almost daily based on how well the thought his army could perform, so needless to say, he was a bad negotiator.

      • Sweet! I do enjoy some Hornblower. One of the most interesting things I’m finding about the Napoleonic Wars is it was kind of an Awakening in the world of European politics where people finally were realizing that wars of territorial expansion in Europe were no longer practical or feasible. Except for Germans/Prussians, who decided that in the face of a fragmented europe, having a ridiculously strong military industrial complex should be part of their national identity.

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