Here's something different from me: a brief list of works I enjoyed this year about the interplay of magical power and personal identity.
It was the big theme that got me into Homestuck: of more magic falling into the kids' hands, and them personalising it, making it their own.
If your self is defined by the limitations of your will and your outer world, how that definition is challenged when both limits fall away!
It is, you may say, a very important theme for me: how you choose to incorporate your incredible newfound magic into your sense of self.
Honourary mention of Cucumber Quest chapter 3 (2015) - which had some good fun with the trope of the nightmarishly powerful magical villain.
Gunnerkrigg Court (2005-on) - among this large work I liked its individual magic: events of cosmic scale whose meaning is purely personal.
紫色のクオリア / Qualia the Purple (2009) - a silly story of magic begetting more magic, of wielding the utterly absurd with steel seriousness.
Counterfeit Monkey (2013) - a setting of strange, cruel, indiscriminate magic coolly juxtaposed by an equally strange inner drama.
A glance at the train interior reveals each seat is taken by a copy of your ex, a kilometre in each direction. You try to jog past them all.
"We're still a mean husband-and-wife team, even if we're married to different people!" "We're in these masks to keep them from finding out."
Facing alien annihilation, humanity unleashed the Evolution Accelerant and rapidly evolved into common cold viruses for a final stand.
"I couldn't confess to her… my platters took too long to spin up." "Isn't your consciousness on an SSD?" "brb garbage-collector running"
You've both invested so much in your publicly-performed relationship. If you broke up, not even your current names and bodies would survive.
A shrine of foraged boughs sits in this wasteland clearing, built by local thirsty teens so they can again order each other to go to church.
"Relax! According to the guide, humans are six inches tall." *very large shadow appears* "One stroke means inches and two means feet, right"
Everything changed the day you typoed "as well" as "ass welt"… From then on, you had to keep saying it, to pretend you typed it ironically!!
"It's more important than just sex. When I see boobs… I'm taken aback with wonder and amazement. The universe makes sense."
"We looked at the uncircumcised penis, and asked: why can't the other human orifices have loose, slidey skin coverings?" *shows next slide*
You check the calendar again, and sigh in relief. You still have another week left to search your apartment and find clothes.
Due to licensing changes, your friend Hestia will be deleted once this update downloads, and replaced with Ziggzy the open-source Help Flea.
The woman in the next flower sadly scoops handfuls of nectar into her mouth. She misses solid food. You do, too.
Your new-money father needs you to pass yourself off as his clone daily to stay enrolled in the prestigious academy for cloned aristocrats.
The only silver lining of this dark future timeline is that all your dead friends turned into riddlesome ghosts who challenge you to races.
"And lastly… in the next compiler version, No Fun Poopypants Pedant Mode will be on by default." *crowd rises to deafening, elated applause*
"It's just a story I wrote one time. It's, you know, just frRICKING INCREDIBLE!!" you levitate out of your chair as your vision clouds over.
Your late 20s… everyone you know has paired off with a shattered god to search the world for their lost fragments, except you.
You walk in to your new roommate eating a wad of junk mail. "Ah, s-sorry," they splutter, "I t-took photos in case you wanted to read it."
(Though, I do appreciate that one can, when given an object, universally ask "WHY?" and receive its documentation.)
https://doc.perl6.org/language/mop#WHAT – Many of these names invoke familiar Perl cuteness, but HOW's pained etymology only elicits a wince.
No one asked how the cats appeared on the space station. As humans created domesticated cats, then wherever they go, cats will appear.
Your cat hairpins have moved around so much they've ended up inside your brain, and your roommate's giving you scritches instead of helping.
The year is 1990… to share a file online is an act of adventure and mystery. Tiny, sealed treasures that your programs may never open.
"Who needs furniture when I can dump junk in suction-cupped bags and toss them onto the ceiling? It's like a whole other floor no one uses!"
"My smart AR contact-lenses have a touch interface." *moves needle-thin stylus toward pupil while rapid-cutting to friends' masked horror*
Schoolyard head lice are just schoolyard rhymes and jokes that achieved transcendence and attained a physical form.
You spy your true reflection – not in your mirror, but in a dark window while you smiled about nothing. That person… they believe in you.
Fave 2015 memes * Coloured dress * Duck video that always shows today's newspaper * Woman in Vine who slowly realises everything's repeating
You napped so deeply that you woke up as the wrong person, and now have to sleep again before they rifle through your things with your body.
"Yeah, it sucks, but there's dozens of super-psychic girls who turn you and your army into toys for a chapter. It's the reality of warfare."
"Remember to eat lots of seeded berries before battle, so that if you perish, your corpse will someday bless us with a beautiful orchard."
"The more of your human friends you've fused with, the more anthro you'll appear when you transform into dragon form. Basic arithmetic!"
The deity looks puzzled as you gaze at them drawing strength from a bath of liquid prayers. "Humans can do this too – don't you know?"
You can think of nothing you want more this day than finally receiving a gift from your coldest, most callous friend: yourself.
"Argh!" you shout at the awful humans in your squeaky fairy voice, "just boff already!" Fortunately, neither of them deduce what that meant.
Batman gathering unholy power by breaking into other fictional worlds and devouring the off-brand versions of himself therein
"You ever think about how we're on Earth as it circles the Sun at 30km/s, so really we're faster than cars" *runs alongside freeway traffic*
"Technobabble increased at an exponential rate; people found their ovens were now atom oscillators, and their pants were leg oscillators."
"Now can you tell me?" they ask you, ten miles from any town. "Not yet" you bark as you tug the reins, "this secret's a twelve-mile secret."
"Why is he your "hot" evil clone? Isn't that…" the party's healer eyes up the warrior, "a tautology?" You clutch your fairy gut in agony.
Wizards adhering to the max legal teleport distance by popping in and out in trees, cars, peoples' bedrooms on the way to their destination.
"No," you reassure them, "I'm just having fun window-shopping today!", not telling them your feet have long ago rooted to the pavement.
You calculate, based on your horoscope and twitter analytics, the one day in your life you could have become happy – years and years gone.
Constantly asking yourself who you really are, as if the thousands of identical answers you've given in reply are somehow still not enough.
You lead yourself back to your room and place yourself in bed and turn off the lights and seal the door and pump out the air.
You'll never be well, you shout down a corridor at yourself, running to grab your arm before you leave, news you desperately need to tell.
Wanting to tell the world about your newfound power to sit and write without freaking out – an unthinkable magic that amazes and humbles you
https://dypqnhofrd2x2.cloudfront.net/CC17-0000-00EF-105F.jpg https://dypqnhofrd2x2.cloudfront.net/CD1C-0000-00C4-EEC5.jpg Someone make an account that just posts Mario Maker one-screen puzzle level screenshots.
One of Smash Bros.'s cutest things is that lives are called "stocks" - reminiscent of 80s/90s games calling them "chances" or "rest".
How many drawings are there of the manga trope of clapping a vertical-slashing sword with bare palms, but instead with large boobs
"They say we wear skin on our mouths to hide our skulls' eternal screams – and these badass Halloween masks to reveal them anew at $15.99!"
"They believing once Heaven was finally full, only underground would protect from the clattering din of souls wailing at its closed gates."
"It measures your physical attributes: Height, Weight, and Zeight, your body's distance in the fourth spatial dimension."
Your robotsona also has very limited time-reversing powers, solely to let you diegetically undo mistakes while cybering.
"Why did I have this stomach, when I do not eat, these lungs when I do not breathe? Only when I created humans did I finally know myself."
People think it's a joke when you say you look great in the dark, but you really, really do look hot when lit only by a door an inch ajar.
RPG where instead of mana, casting magic drains your gold through performance fees for copyrighted spells.
"Some bits of matter tend to move around and do pointless things for no reason," said the bones. "That was me, until I kicked that habit!"
You should've just upgraded to the cryo-sleep pods, you think as you try to keep your head above the lukewarm-o-sleep pod's water level.
Your dad's built a second, smaller garage inside the garage to amplify the effects on the software company he founded in it yesterday.
A young teen hires you to frame her family's immortal, intangible patriarch for a minor felony, to give her a year-long window to escape.
You step into the cemetery. The gravestones are now bare, unhewn rocks, the flock of strange birds having picked them clean of meaning.
You slowly type "explaining to parents that magic is real" into the family PC, then, instead of hitting enter, you run and pull the plug.
"This feeling in my human body… are these the latent psychic powers unleashing?!" "It's adrenaline. You get it from playing videogames."
Many fearful celebrities publicly appear behind screens. The most frightening are only observed indirectly, from evidence of their presence.
You're so out of it you can't remember what porn is, so you hope it includes these pastoral landscapes you've been staring at for 5 minutes.
Having finally got telecommuting privileges, you search "how to astral project" and rush through a 15-year-old forum post's instructions.
＿人人人人人人＿ ＞Sudden death＜ ￣ＹＹＹＹＹＹ￣ Cause:[Tried to use toothpaste as shaving gel and got a cut] 90.0kg
You kept bottles of your true-self that you regularly drank to dilute your outside-self, but you don't know if you can replenish any more.
"Just push the cellar door shut for five minutes on midnight. You have to do it yourself – only the force of a living being can hold it in."
"You will be able to download a full archive of your memories from now until your scheduled death, whereupon all memories will be deleted."
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=34526098 – Another "basically me" illustration.
"Your friends can't help you now," she hisses, triumphant. "Call all you like – they've all sworn off social media to avoid movie spoilers."
A butterfly imagines her unlaid eggs contain caterpillars containing chrysalises containing butterflies, and proceeds to totally flip out.
(I should add that the game is quick to admonish my word choice – "What we do isn't magic. It's science.")
That the power they wield has touched even them, inside and out, and they feel its unnatural effects every step of their caper.
I deeply relish the melancholic feeling that this transformation imparts on the remainder of the game, too.
I like how strong this game starts, that the first object shown mutated by the world's weird magic is the identity of the player themselves.
This weekend I played Counterfeit Monkey, and interestingly was captivated by the strange state of the protagonists more than anything else.
You hope people get your eye-shadow game is invoking the image of two Earths shining amid the black lifeless cosmos… Maybe too high-concept.
You hear the news describe emoji as "a whole new language, unknown to the human mind" while showing stock footage of teens levitating.
Your body thumps out of bed, stumbles to the wardrobe, takes you out, and puts you on. Another fine morning.
"Hahaha! No mere dry dock can imprison the Boat Sorceress!" *horrible screeching as her hull slowly grinds along the concrete*
"It becomes clear that the game's "high school" is actually an RPG fantasy world that has been reskinned with high school-themed textures."
When you and your partner fuse after a long time apart, and you sink into their dominant personality like a deep feather bed.
"Oh, how we immerse in fiction where the word "human" is used readily to distinguish, only to surface in a world with only us, only us."
An additional reminder to anyone who uses my Twine 2 code: https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/673868227559092228
"Honey, we all could turn into magic swords back in the 10's. Look, this sword's me, and here's your aunt, and–" "Noooo!" groans your child.
""Shy Guys are Uboas we've all been hypnotically trained to ignore" – no post of this theory has lasted 3 mins before suddenly vanishing…"
You managed to lock the L97 Gigachimera's AI into using Saliva Waterfall every turn, so you just need it to wash you away without drowning.
Projections of cryo-frozen super-psychics are luring you to their ruined laboratory to thaw them out and give this ruined world to them.
Your nastiest prank is to stand outside the telepaths' dorm at night, think "Mewtwo sucks" and hear them shout "NO IT RULES" in their sleep.
http://pastebin.com/MXNyfYDJ – "Q: Why is he shooting Nick in the face? A: Each shot skips a dialogue line."
Humanity discovers other animals are breeding dogs, too – bears made them large and clawed; crocodiles made them short and long of snout.
"Thanks to my messy breakup, I'm now fully equipped to spot red flags!" *holds up still photograph* "Hmm, no, those are flapping too much."
"Imagine a heart torn in half. One half flips over and rejoins, forming… a DIAMOND! …OK it's a wonky rhombus, but it's still COLD and HARD."
"We all know restrictions promote creativity," said the politician, "and there are no bigger restrictions than financial restrictions!"
"I used to do my own therapy. Then I took my own advice and left myself for my dog. Best help I ever got."
This replaces the ad-hoc feature descriptions I'd formerly had to offer, and was a long time due. Forgive its absence for so long.
http://twine2.neocities.org/ – I've released a manual for the Harlowe story format in Twine 2, documenting all of its features comprehensively.
Footage of the secret world rulers' meeting reveals rich, hot vampires licking a globe, while secretaries transcribe each lick into policy.
"I changed my name to "😳". Now, whenever anyone blushes around me, I'll instantly turn around, and see them."
An ancient temple which actually doesn't contain any deathtraps – just high-tech machinery that the temple looter constantly bumbles into.
Your robot date staring at the café menu in silent, rising panic, before finally blurting out "Which of these foods is the one humans eat?!"
"Damage is a toxin that gathers in your body from attacks. Us fat folk can store more of it in our bellies, so we have more hit points."
"Do you also have that dream where you get out of the mechsuit, and you still have jet-feet and back thrusters? And you're just so happy?"
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=31238963 – Very powerful beetle gijinkas.
A familiar sight: a wizard bites your Lv.13 chili with a grin, and then the hurried syllables of the Spell to Resist Fire from full cheeks.
"Yes, the Force of Ultimate Destruction… You humans, us angels' feeble offspring, know it as the "orgasm" – a shadow of its true might!"
The first astronauts saw their planet from afar, and it was beating like a heart. And as it worried them, the beating got faster and faster.
Cant believe they swapped the "Notifications" and "Install Windows 10" links #CantBelieveTheySwappedTheNotificationsAndInstallWindows10Links
Both of your 2016 calendars are ready to roll: Moms Posing With The Momsword, and the specially-imported Mums Posing With The Mumsword.
"Every human has the urge to conjure a tower matching the might of their sorcery. Few realise it beyond card-houses and stacks of change."
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=30843093 – Two fellow high-flyers.
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=12793789 – A crouching figure?
"Stalwart Person's famous phrase "I'll have time to die when I'm dead!", which they utter as a greeting, comforting a friend, and flirting."
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=315823 – Three-colour curved-line texture.
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=2859328 – This is cute… Oh, for the days of childhood illustrations like this.
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=48473353 – Very bright rabbit knight.
"It's hard to find latent telekinetics. We search for reports of balls moving oddly in games, or dropped bowls miraculously not spilling."
Clockwork robot lovers detaching and placing each other's gears in their chests. One excitedly runs faster, the other blissfully slows down.
You tell your child that it is time for them to embrace Mother Slumber, and that you, their actual mother, are now demoted to a mere aunt.
"Eh? Why'd I conjure a battle spectre shaped like you naked? D-don't get the wrong idea, nerd! I just think you're utterly hot, not strong!"
"But, one of God's passive-aggressive miracles occurred – the saint's severed head fell in slow motion, hanging in midair for 3 full days."
The winter service delivered your allotted metre-cube of snow in the night. You go to spread it on your yard before your dog burrows in it.
Your A-party has slain the sorcerer, and your B-party has second-hand toys and game carts for the sorcerer's stolen souls to haunt in peace.
While ramping the broken bridge near the fun park, the train conductor nimbly switches the train's rail gauge to "roller-coaster" in midair.
"And now, to extract your soul." *docks outie navel with their victim's innie* "N-no…" "Yes! Soon the world's innies will be in our thrall!"
On their front, an orifice endlessly dilating, skin flowing outward. On their back, an orifice endlessly constricting. Your hand reaches out
You reach the end of a shopping experience so profound and affirming that the store offers to sell you the camera footage of it for $60.
"Place the Gift, closed, in the Special Person's arms. Be sure nothing is securing their body to keep them from Embarking on the Adventure."
"Rocket-jumping was inspired by the flight of birds, as seen in these two pigeons repeatedly shooting Wind Slicer beams at the ground."
"Gimme a tall glass of red acrylic," says the toon. Their human friend gently picks open their linework and pours it into their head.
"W-what's happening?" "The API passed a reference to your body, instead of an immutable copy. The client seems to be modifying it." "Oh no–"
http://www.ssbwiki.com/images/a/a7/ZSS_Trio_PM.jpg – My other favourite part was the Zero Suit Samus costumes that gave her her NES palette and attire.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuXKCvhTvw – My favourite part of Project M was this video purportedly porting the Smash Bros. Brawl fighters into Smash 64.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IcallPlasticDressing.jpg – Illustration seen on Wikipedia's page for "Perm (hairstyle)".
"You know Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, but we tell of Suraci, who flew too close to the MOON, and, got juiced-up nightmare magic,
"The spirits shan't believe I am a noble unless I hold someone visibly subjugated" your mentor apologises, even though you've readily knelt.