Spirit Temple Levels



Jacking In

Many video games have over twenty Levels, each with complicated 3-D sites. A Level may take hours to complete successfully---even for an experienced player and fast learner. Average amount of time spent to complete such a game: over 70 hours. One game in 1998 took at least 120 hours to finish by an expert gamer. Tolstoy's War and Peace can be read in less than 70 hours.

Unable to complete our game? Call the Company for hints and maps faxed directly to you. 95 cents per minute; $1.95 per fax.

The Games are as patterned and formulaic as their Villains, each with identifying strengths and weaknesses. Yet these must be discovered by making mistakes, through trial and error and "wasted" time. Reading a Guide to the Game and using a map changes the experience of the Game completely, making the strategy merely something to execute, not discover. But such Reader's Guides could be thought of not as cheating but as just another weapon in the Hero's belt---not one earned at the previous level (like a treasure map found) but one purchased at the Mall store selling Gamer Guides. But Gamers go where they need to go to win.

At each Level the playing field is never level.

Theory: games played as children will be useful for negotiating airports later in life. Proof:


Unfortunately, it is not so clear who is the Boss in this adult airport world, or how to defeat him (her, it).



23 Fully Rendered Endings

Reality Vest with 4 Vibrator Sequence Settings for its Rumble Pack


White Gloves & Black Gloves



Many cartoon characters have just four fingers---to mark their world as like the human and animal worlds, but different. They also usually wear white gloves---a genealogical trace of the cartoons's origins in blackface and then vaudeville, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century forms of theatre where the various characters all had white gloves to "mark" them as recognizable characters. (Early- and middle-period Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons often incorporated racist comic characters and routines directly from blackface entertainment as well. Moral: if you think such pop entertainments are somehow free of the blindness of their times, think again.) Both Porky Pig and pals and the Wolf wore gloves, and nobody minded: gloves in the early cartoons just seemed "natural." And they persisted in cartoon characters long after vaudeville and blackface entered the netherspace of American historical memory (that is, amnesia).

Here is Mickey in a classic pose, from a 1990s rendering:

Time to make a time jump now.

Mickey's pose above is taken directly from the vaudeville/blackface stage shows popular just a few decades earlier, back into the 19th century.

Check out the gloves and pose of Al Jonson in blackface singing "Mammy," his arms outspread, in the first "talking picture" [movie], 1927:

Now no one's claiming that our icon Mickey is really in blackface, though lots of his face is black. Rather, it's the pose and the props (the gloves)--for the early fans of Mickey in the 1930s especially, they would have understood the connection easily, because vaudeville and blackface was a living memory.

Jolson may have been the most popular stage singer for whites in the first half of the 20th century, in part because he helped "ethnic" European immigrants to urban America become both "American" and "white" via the use of blackface routines. Jolson himself was Jewish, as was his character in The Jazz Singer, and via the medium of blackface performance he loses his "ethnic" Jewish identity and becomes American, performing "American" music rather than the synagogue singing his father wants him to devote himself to. He even changes his name from Jakie Rabinowitz to Jack Robin!---all through the power of blacking up, and wearing those gloves.

Jolson's story was popular enough to be revived frequently into the 1950s, when seismic cultural changes brought upon by civil rights struggles made Jolson's whole blackface routines seem suddenly not just dated but embarrassing to many. (There are fansites on the Web, though.) Before the 1960s, blackface routines were routinely accepted in popular Hollywood movies---so popular, in fact, that the plots were often absurdly manipulated just to be able to introduce minstrel/blackface song and dance: cf. Bing Crosby's hugely popular "White Christmas," where the blackface routines done by all the stars gives a whole new meaning to the movie's title. Later Disney stuff played with vaudeville and blackface too, especially the notorious Song of the South, based on the Uncle Remus stories, which isn't shown much anymore because its contents now seem so racist they make even black mouse ears blush.

Video game heroes may be millennial cyber upgrades of cartoons, but they rarely wear white gloves. Instead, they prefer black gloves made of black leather or a synthetic equivalent.

For example:

Lara Croft; Crash Bandicoot; a ToughGrrrl drawn by Alphonso Go, a girl in the Philippines; another drawn by a pro:


Cultural sources for these black gloves?

Pro Wrestling gloves?

Hollywood action films, especially solo renegade villain/heroes like Han Solo and Indiana Jones

gun gloves for shooting (police, military, gun clubs)

mountain/downhill biker gloves; motocross and motorcycle riding gloves

driving gloves---esp. NASCAR? but these tend to be whole-hand gloves, to protect against burns

Madonna's gloves, early and late. (Note: Madonna may be the only heroine equally attracted to black leather gloves and silk gown gloves)

Xena's leather gloves (and other body armor)
anime heroines? Princess Mononoke?

other sources?

With gloves, what is the meaning of this shift from blackface white to kombat black? Don't search for answers by assuming that white gloves must be benign while black gloves symbolize violence. Blackface's white gloves and open hand masked a fist, a disguised form of cultural violence. And if white gloves were worn by both heroes and villains in cartoons, black gloves similarly are worn by the good guys n girls and the bad in cyber/playstation space....

Sometimes women action figures have a black full-body-hugging suit to go with black gloves (or not).

Cultural sources for this "action" suit for women?

Emma Peel (The Avengers, 1960s British TV; the best Emma Peel in the series was Diana Rigg. She always wound up wearing it just before she got in a fight. The suit had a dumb nickname: "Emmapeelers." Emma Peel pioneered the bare midriff look for an action figure too, long before Emma, I mean Lara, Croft.) But how much cultural sophistication (as opposed to weapons knowledge) is Lara given, compared to Emma Peel?

Catwoman (Batman). Catwoman become part of the Batman comix in the early '40s. Did she have a "catsuit" and black gloves? Artist: Bob Kane. Writer: Bill Fingers.

The rise of leotards in popularity (beginning in the 50s, though especially after?), from the dance world?

But go farther back: Kali, the Hindu goddess. You don't need so big an equipment belt (like Lara wears) if you've lots of arms:



The next Levels try to come back to some of these gender questions from other angles and feints. As in Grrrr-l.

In the meantime, let's end with this:

Most game and 'toon action heroes have their gender very sharply drawn: no gray areas.

But some do not: Sheik, for example.



Hand-in-Glove with Entertainment)