In response to "Grinding to Infinity"> from The Escapist Forum: The wonderful thing about Disgaea - aside from being "pornography for numberphiliacs", as a friend of mine charmingly put it - is that it works perfectly well as an ordinary SRPG. The story and writing is full of black, self-referential humour, the item world can be a completely optional extra for producing high-powered special weapons for your favoured units, you don't even need to get into reincarnation at all... And for the fanatics, you can level your units to ten thousand, reset them right down to level one by reincarnating them into a class that's functionally identical except for slightly better stats, fight through hundreds of levels for the sole purpose of powering up a single item, and then do it all again for the rest of your team.
Then again, I am a SRPG lover, a Nippon Ichi fanboy, and a Disgaea fanatic, so I might be very, very wrong. But what the hell, I'm going to go play some more Absence of Justice. Because it's great.
Disgaea is perhaps the most perverse video game series I've ever played. The entire system is about breaking the system. Instead of making the player feel cheap for leveling well past the challenge point of any given map, this series fervently demands and rewards such behavior. Your _items_ have dungeons to be cleared...think about it. It's an amazing well of gravity and you are rewarded for turning eye candy _off_. Turning games back into stochastic math is a service to some of us.
Yes, I'm a fanatic.
In response to "The Art of Fandom" from The Escapist Forum: I find fan art is a great way of being creative when my own ideas dry up. Bringing something new to someone else's work is something I enjoy. Personally I draw and create a lot anyway, and just recently decided I may as well put some of my work online, which adds an incentive to put a bit more effort in and to actually finish stuff. Actually I've done fan art of a lot of things, half of which I don't even like, but found the designs interesting.
I still don't understand fan art or fan-fiction properly. Where fan art is bad, it's painful to behold; where it's good, it seems like a waste of creative talents, and possibly a bit lazy to boot. There are certainly some fine artists and writers working with materials which they are fans of, but the only thing that typically I'm thinking of when I see these is, "How much wasted potential - why couldn't they come up with their own ideas?"