Vaporwave II: Enderpunk

(Convo with Patrick.)

As of today, I finally understand vaporwave.

Nikki and I both agree that it’s already dead, but the legacy will live on on the BSV blockchain, using Rholang smart contracts imo
I’ve told Rill about BSV NFTs, I think Vaporwave boils down to Craig Wright or something, I think Cameron Gray at Decentral Vancouver spied that first probably

That’s the thing, the aesthetic itself is twilight.
The 80s nostalgia is somewhat incidental, other than timing.
But what pulled me to it is the thought that it’s a lot like the eclipse in Berserk.

I’ll put this link here to remind me:

Very foreboding feeling, kind of like there’s a sickly sweet music in the air and you know it’s about to change to dubstep and Mayan sacrifice pyramids.

And this:

I was thinking about how fuschia and magenta and sunsets are very in place in Evangelion but very out of place in Metal Gear.
(I was looking at Hyper Light Drifter fan art this morning, so fuschia is on the brain.)
Hyper Light Drifter is very Aztec sacrifice pyramid but not very military industrial complex.
It’s more implied post-MIC.

What’s Hyper Light Drifter? Bro I don’t watch Anime.

The greatest game of all time.

I thought Chrono-Trigger was, or Majora’s Mask?

Chrono Trigger was.
Ocarina is in the same class, but falls short thematically.


I will get it for PS4 or something

I’ve never played Majora’s Mask tbh.
Hyper Light Drifter is, aesthetically, a tribute to the world of the old Samurai Jack cartoon.
And especially the protagonist and the villain.
So when you boil down vaporwave, it’s this interplay between sickly sweetness and implied horror.
Hence magenta, right on the border between pink and red.
Hence twilight, right on the border of evening and night.

For me it was a sign that I had to stand up and defend something, that the good was fake and that the horror was real, so I needed to up my game, defend innocence, defend basic goodness.

It’s like the enjoyment of the moment right before the first sign of thunderstorm rolling in.
If vaporwave had a smell, it would be ozone.
With maybe a hint of blood.

Yeah, pure realness, even in fear it is refreshing, it’s liberating when we remember what the point of life is, when we remember than our soul is worth more than any money

Maybe the smell of ozone and a copper aftertaste.

It’s a clean smell, but also mentallic or earthy
Yeah I agree

It’s about enjoying wholesome things with mindfulness and intentionality, even in the eye of a storm.
Especially then.
The knowledge that they’re fleeting makes you appreciate them and raises the poignancy.
It becomes an intense longing to remember the image.
Right before these good things are sacrificed on the altar of a madman’s ambitions.

Yes, the Shambhalla Warrior attitude
And it marks a boundary between novelty and freshness and also deep tradition
But now it’s the future, now we can do all these good things. There’s not even decentralised Uber yet, decentralised AirBnB, it’s just jumped straight to overthrowing the Fed with some Mafia shitcoin

The color pink is the visual synesthetic representation of sweetness.
It’s halfway between red (pure desire) and white (purity, innocence).

Just because Kevin O’Leary is a hack and a piece of shit doesn’t make you or me or Josh or Mycroft of anyone else a bad person, that’s just their choice
Everyone can choose who they want to be
Yeah that neon pink was the main Vaporwave colour for sure

Shading toward red suggests a loss of innocence gradient.

It’s definitely dead now you’re dissecting it lol

I am autismo, cultural undertaker.
So again, vaporwave is about hanging on to that memory of innocence in the midst of horror.

But it served an important purpose and it went out in style, with a bang, with purpose
What it’s about we can hold onto, but it was what it was when it was
We just need to make a new style around the same thing. Nikki has a daughter now and she’s thinking about all these things too.
She’s doing OK and we helped her to do OK, and I think she’s going to find a new way to express this stuff.

Well, cold war aesthetics are on the brain lately.
I suggest starting there.
You’ll like it, UFOs and all that.

I already did start there two years ago.

Oh, well then hang on a minute while I think…
I’m having trouble separating what I like from what’s coming.
We still need a villain and a protagonist.

Did you make any headway on defining the villain of your game?

I think some cross between the MSGS2 AI Colonel, and Jordan Peterson and Kevin O’Leary at Bitcoin Miami are looking likely
After Bitcoin Miami 2022 I have no shortage of villain concepts


From the NPCs to basic tier early bosses to the supervillain final boss I think I’m set now


Supervillain would be like Warren Buffet larping as Peter Thiel who is actually controlled by CyberSatan AI because he sold his soul, something like that anyway

Now we just need a color palette, some thematic elements, and mood music.
Practically there.

And penultimate boss would be like Eric Weinstein is actually Harvey Weinstein’s cousin and connected to Jeffrey Epstein and covered for him all this time and the whole media ‘confession’ thing was a double bluff hoax inside job

It’s funny, aesthetics is the one area where Nazis are completely the opposite of helpful.
“Can I have some mood music for this setting?”
“Here’s some Prussian marching music and some Wagner.”
“And I replaced all of your sprites with Nordic folk heroes no one’s ever heard of. We’re bringing it all back!” Blacksun_Savitri_Devi.gif

So something around the core economics of Power Capital and espionage and intrigue and lobbying and technocracy where nothing is as it seems
And to play the game is to reveal the truth, so the narrative goes like Poker

Bro it’s too early in the morning for that level of horror.
In other words, you may have nailed it.
It’s all just Hideo Kojima levels bro
But it works, eh? It’s all lining up right aesthetically and in design

Beethoven chiptunes via elevator speaker quality.
Interspersed with industrial meatgrinder sounds.

That song actually has a very interesting background:
Ay, check this out:
So for color palette, I’m thinking black, sky blue, and tan.

And it can flip back and forth between SteamPunk Zelda world and AI ‘Vaporwave’ world
And the music remains classical, but it’s the difference between acoustic and electronic, so it’s like whether you’re in the real or virtual world, you can’t escape
Like technoBabylon is like that too, has that same theme

For a more optimistic theme, maybe signifying victory and peace, percussive fingerstyle acoustic guitar.
E.g. when the world turns green and pink.

It signifies a number of things, as well as being a universal music for civilized people.
It’s the new form of classical.

Like this?

Like Andy McKee.
Yes very good

So figure Bastion protagonist slash Guts, black world with sky blues and tans…

I’m gonna go ahead and say my particular conception of the nightmare tower is the archvillain.
Complete with 5G outposts and techno-cthulids.

Techno-Cthulids that were originally designed by a Dark Lord occidentalist occulist?

‘The Emperor’s particular interest in hydroids has to do with a phase of their unusual lifecycle, which alternates between attached colonies, with branching stalk and tentacles and free‐swimming true individuals.

At a certain point in its life, the reproductive members of a colony produce buds that break off and become freeswimming umbrella‐shaped medusae, either male or female.

The Emperor has specialized in research to understand the lives of the medusa stage, which produces sperm and ova that unite to become the attached version of the animal, which then reproduces additional members of the colony by budding.’

rillxn suggested an artist to draw inspiration from…
A horror artist.

Yeah me and him are in contact, he likes how I interpret his work
And he’s looking at BSV NFTs and Twetch

Similar to this^
Throw some sky blues into the mix.
The movie Apocalypto, basically, except cyberpunk.

Yeah like a cross between Ex Machina, Tron, Mad Max and Apocalypto
In the Crystal Maze

Excellent choice.
Xue Jiye, that was the artist.
Don’t forget the part where the Bastion kid has to build things.
Metal Gear VR missions a little bit.

Yeah like flipping in and out of VR, with that MGS2 meme theme

I think the Crystal Maze catches the most of the idea, other than the Apocalypto body horror aspect.
But I have to insist on the Bastion kid building things.
First of all, it’s the only positive thing.

Secondly, it provides the tension because there’s no reason to go into Technobabylon except for scavenging.
And there’s no reason to scavenge except for advanced defense technologies. And there’s no reason for advanced defense technologies unless Technobabylon is sending raiders to kidnap children for the pyramid.
I think that just about covers the new aesthetic.
It just needs a name.

OK so the Kid is like James Jones and he builds stuff IRL, but then the hacker mages sometimes need to hack TechnoBabylon for the advanced equipment and classified technology blueprints from GloboHomoCorp to defend against it, but it’s also risky to do so.
And maybe along the way we can rescue John Sokol from the dungeon of GloboHomoCorp
We can make allies by awakening the Edenic energies in the enslaved Nephilim
Let them redeem themselves

Nobody likes being in a crab bucket that’s also a gravity-fed meatgrinder.
Talk about economic precarity!

This is very true, this would explain a lot of people’s actions at this time imo
Even perhaps Kevin O’Leary deserves forgiveness

Maybe Enderwave is a better name.
What do you think?
Nah, Enderpunk.
More hardware, less software.

How about DestinyPunk?
Destinations, journeys, beginnings, ends, struggle, agency, fate

Ender’s thing also has the “don’t trust the adults” vibe.
The game Destiny has the right aesthetic, but the wrong story and setting.

How about EndoPunk?

Potentially too broad of a concept?

But Ender sounds too fatalistic to me

Endo catches the scavenging versus Aztec slaver bands.

We’re not ending, we’re beginning

That was part of why I picked it.

We’re breaking out

It’s post-everything, i.e. we’re living in the “final analysis”.
All masks have dropped.
But Ender’s Game ends with a beginning.
And it’s a book about growing up.
And not trusting the adults.
And being a very smart kid in the middle of a cosmic war.

This ‘EnderPunk’ vibe is very self reflective, very deep
It’s a level 80+ vibe
I’m not sure who’s even ready for it yet

Who cares?

Maybe Rill and Shadowhand

The other thing about Ender’s Game is it’s about realizing that you’re in charge because you’re the talent, not the adults.
They need you, you don’t need them.

OK I will watch it today
I need to understand this

Oh goodness no, don’t watch it.
The movie is 2.5 stars out of 5.
Barely watchable.
Read the book.
It’s short but powerful.
You can knock it out it about five hours.
1984 level powerful.

[Ed: I’ll give some credit to the Ender’s Game movie where it’s due. The aesthetics of the spaceship fights toward the end were phenomenal. I have a folder full of gifs from that part. Most of the child actors were also excellent and the practical effects were on point. The rest was pretty trash.]

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1 Response to Vaporwave II: Enderpunk

  1. rillxn says:

    As the most namedropped person in this post I’m pretty much obligated to respond, no?

    Vaporwave occurs to me as an image of a simulation breaking down, or more precisely, of the mechanics beneath being laid bare – seeing the 3D grid of the game world and the black/indigo void beyond. It reminds me of an aesthetized test/demo environment (turns out aesthetized isn’t a word, but it would certainly fit snugly in my lexicon).

    >The color pink is the visual synesthetic representation of sweetness.
    It’s halfway between red (pure desire) and white (purity, innocence).

    I foresee this insight influencing how I apply pink in my work going forward.

    >Shading toward red suggests a loss of innocence gradient.

    This is quite a keen, granular insight. There’s really levels to this symbolic interpretation shit.

    >We just need to make a new style around the same thing

    Well, not that that was ever my intention, but I can lend some insight in this regard. Insofar as my work is concerned, I tend to portray quite a bit of harrowing, macabre material, but I do so in such a way that’s accessible and digestible – nay, even aesthetically inviting. The visuals pull you in and facilitate your analysis and focus on the material, which if it were depicted any more realistically, would be gruesome and unpalatable. The reason, I recognize now, is to take something dark, and ‘tragic’, and akido it into a source of inspiration and resolve.

    >So for color palette, I’m thinking black, sky blue, and tan.

    Sky blue like a barren desert sky?
    Black like a smog of spiritual darkness suffocating the human realm?
    Tan like raw, primitive earth/material/flesh?

    >And it’s a book about growing up.
    And not trusting the adults.
    And being a very smart kid in the middle of a cosmic war.

    This, my friend, is precisely the kind of insight that won my readership. Scott Card really tapped into something with Ender’s Game (it’s a shame he subsequently milked it with 47 conceptually incoherent sequels, though I do recommend the first novel of the Bean series – especially as inspo for this world you’re building).

    >The other thing about Ender’s Game is it’s about realizing that you’re in charge because you’re the talent, not the adults.

    This is a really good distillation of how I’ve been feeling since 2019.

    Enderpunk certainly has a ring to it. To lend more credence to its legitimacy as a successor to Vaporwave, I too have been formulating a graphic novel set in a universe that’s not all that far from the one you’re describing. It’s set in the distant future – modern society has long since collapsed and the fall out is a distant memory. What has remained, and then gained a foothold, has been Old Testament-esque tribes and city-states. Given the international scale of the collapse its catastrophic effects have been asymmetrical over the span of the world. Regions have responded to their unique situations much differently. Some have regressed to completely primitive, hunter gatherer, pagan, viking-esque raiding bands. Another is like an old-school megalith-centric warrior culture – a hybridized Sparta/Sumeria in the style of Xue Jiye. I imagine one in China/Japan as having recouped, consolidated, and then advanced tech to the point of instantiating an almost fully realized borg hive of cyborg replicant zombies. Each city-state is ruled by a watcher/fallen angel/nephilim. These nephilim have supernatural capabilities in the vein of the descriptions in the book of Enoch, with a bit more artistic liberty (shape-shifting ala Ganon). I’m imagining the protagonists as a sect of angels God has dispatched specifically to deal with the most heinous/malignant transgressors. They would be something like the horsemen of the apocalypse – divinely ordained psychopomps. I’m imagining them as having a spec ops/samurai ethos. This is all very rough and I haven’t ironed on the theological inconsistencies. But I think it has promise – especially in how I’m imagining the design and personalities of the psychopomps and nephilim. Working title: Psychopomp

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