It’s September! I can take left turns (HAR har the joke I’ll hear for the next three months, especially this week and the week after Columbus Day jesus christ Cape Codders get some new material) (I think I made that joke myself last year, though, so who am I to judge).
I’m nearly done with a Winter’s Tale, and I love it. It’s the hottest week of the summer, and the icy landscapes are a total charm (I suspect I’d be charmed anyway, even in the dead of winter, because this does feel like the kind of epic tale told over a fire). The middle section of the book reminded me of If On A Winter’s Night a Traveller, which drew you into a story and then yanked you out just as you got involved. It feels like a very deft weaving, though, where the entire pattern is the city, and you know the threads will meet up again. I don’t love New York City, not more than my beloved Boston, but it’s hard not to love THIS version of it, huge and teeming and indifferent.
(Also, I felt a bit of obnoxious pride when I caught “Stately, plump Marcel Apend” as the literary reference that it is, although any English major forced to read Ulysses would recognize it, it being the often quoted first line of that entire book, so really I shouldn’t have been proud, shouldn’t have smugly chuckled to myself like a pretentious ass. I’m not proud. I am sometimes a pretentious ass and that’s just the way things are).
Meanwhile, with this little flood of end of summer energy, I’ve been dabbling in a lot of games lately. Borderlands was on a very sharp sale on Steam, so I downloaded one and two to play with Payback and e4. I think it has one of the best intros to any video game ever? And I love the art style. Next gen graphics are great and all, but we’re still edging too close to uncanny valley to do it for me just yet. I LOVE this pulp look. I’m no fps superstar, but I hold my own. Any game to play with friends is pretty great!
We downgraded ourselves to Worms Reloaded as well because it’s much less laggy (though not really less buggy) than clan wars. I remain terrible at grenades but improving elsewhere.
I’m also making my way through the games I own. I devoured The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds which hit all my favorite Zelda feels. The music, the story, the familiar characters and places…oh, Zelda. (Although I still can’t make myself finish Spirit Tracks because it is just AWFUL). I replaced it with Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, which makes me want to replay all the games from the beginning because I forget so much damn lore.
It’s been a bad week for women (and, really, reasonable people) in games, and after reading a series of tweets about “gamergate” I lost it in a long rant that will do absolutely nothing but did make me feel better. I don’t have a big voice in the industry, obviously, and I’ve never really tried to. I have a modest readership that has probably all evaporated when I didn’t post for 30 days or whatever. But games have been such a central part of who I am for so long that I feel grossed out and horrified by what’s happening. I don’t know how the public faces do it. I don’t know how they live with that kind of hate and go on to create more, to speak out, to even stay where they are. They’re growing a tough skin that they shouldn’t have to.
It bears repeating, because the thought is getting lost in the panic of this vocal minority: It’s ok to like problematic media. There’s almost no media that isn’t problematic in one way or another, after all. It’s ok to have differing opinions, it’s ok for different styles of games to coexist, or for tv shows or movies to appeal to different people. They can all be super enjoyable and fun and still have issues in their representation of real people, or real issues. Even good, representative games or tv shows or movies sometimes fall victim to common tropes, you know? And sometimes tropes are ok, it’s not like they should always and forever be avoided, but sometimes they’re just habit.
Anyway, had to get back into posting one way or another…