What Did You Just Finish?


#22

It’s crazy, I feel the exact opposite way. MGS1 is such a chore to play through now, so many modern conveniences and gameplay mechanics are totally missing. The weird button combos you have to do in order to do basic things like walk and shoot, not being able to see where you’re aiming beyond a few feet, having to in-equip items to open doors, and the storytelling now just feels childish. It’s very much a product of its era where people were just crossing the gap between old 2D games and newer, more expressive 3D models and they hadn’t figured it out yet. While games like FF7 took the path of making their characters emote wildly with huge obvious gestures. MGS kind of split the difference with moment of huge pantomime moments between long stretches of stationary bodies and comically bobbing heads. That and the less said about the twist reveal and how that would have to work the better. MGSV is so reserved by comparison that it’s almost a relief after so long.


#23

Yes! I felt the same way when I read this book a few months ago.
One thing I’d add is that Shevek leaves his society because he feels that is research will go nowhere if he stays. If I remember right it was considered subversive, and he also had to struggle against internal politics in the scientific community.
If you’re interested in more SF that explores communal societies, Becky Chambers latest Record of a Spaceborn Few is great.


#24

(Spoilers for The Dispossessed)

It was a combination of the two. If I remember correctly, Sabul, the publishing gatekeeper, declared his ideas to be a useless and unproductive dead end largely because he wanted to maintain his status as a leading physicist and didn’t want things getting pushed beyond his understanding. The thing that was considered subversive is that Shevek wanted to use the community’s resources to publish anyway even though, according to Sabul (whom they trusted), there was no demand for his ideas.

Thanks for the recommendation I will definitely check it out once my newfound Le Guin kick burns out a little bit.


#25

I can see what you’re saying about MGS1 and its archaicness, but the controls simply don’t bother me. I can see the modern convenience issue for things like having to equip a keycard to open doors, but I think the rest is generally simple enough to manage. Limited top down view isn’t too bad either imo considering your obstacles operate on even more limited rules. (expect for that one elevator room that seems specifically designed to screw with you)

As for the story I think it’s effective if a bit clunkily written, the twists and turns and the interplay between characters work for me, even the cutscenes where it’s effectively two lego men rigidly gestating their dialogue, it’s endearing to me.

The problems I have with MGSV’s narrative is that what little there is of it feels empty and dull; both villains and protagonists don’t have motivations that make sense, everyone’s unlikable, and everything surrounding how the game treats its most interesting character, Quiet, is just embarrassing.

I’m probably gonna jump back in and get to the final ending for the second time because the stealth gameplay is just so rad, though.


#26

Woof, I just finished the Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first run of Black Panther (“A Nation Under Our Feet”) last night instead of sleeping at a reasonable hour and I have lots of thoughts. The entire work is extremely On Brand for a man with the biggest hard-on for norms of all time. Hell, he invents not one, but TWO straw revolutionary movements to dismantle within the space of 12 issues. He eventually allows his characters to concede that Wakanda should become a… drumroll… neoliberal democracy! Who could have seen that coming? Oh but the king stays. Because norms. The art is great but overall, I thought the story was just okay. I’m not particularly excited to read the remainder of his run, or find out what he does to rehabilitate Nazi Captain America. CW: neoliberals


#27

mad love to the underappreciated VR developers at Foxhound who spent hundreds of hours working up dozens of VR missions about snow and snow-based stealth techniques…


#28

I recently completed the single player campaign of the Syndicate reboot. I don’t know if I can recommend it.

It felt like a bog standard linear FPS which was all the rage at the time. While I’ve felt games these days allow players to explore new and different ways to play, Syndicate felt like there was one solution they expected you to execute.

The hacking typically never got more advanced than holding the E button for a second. When hacking opponents you only had three powers, and two of them ended with the enemy committing suicide which I didn’t feel very good about at all.

The story is predictable and not really worth going in to.

The art design was kind of boring and had all sorts of bloom and post processing effects that made things more difficult to see.

I was pretty disappointed because I enjoyed the previous Syndicate games and I had heard good things about the new one when it came out, but wow. I was not impressed in any way.


#29

if you’re interested in old-school syndicate may I recommend Satellite Reign


#30

I just finished The City and the City by China Mieville. My first book by this author. This had been on my list due to a recommendation on a long-ago Idle Weekend or Waypoint Radio from Rob Zacny. I truly can’t remember which. It’s a magical realist detective novel, I guess, with shades of superpositions and also Cold War Berlin. It plays within the genre very well, but also manages to bring you into its truly unconventional setting very seamlessly (pun intended). I was consistently impressed with how well I could visualize the two Cities, as well as get a feel for what day to day life within them would be. So much of the exposition was environmental and within the narrative, it was very cool to have such a good picture of the setting without any momentum-breaking lore downloads. Highly recommend it.

CW For Murder and Gore


#31

I really enjoyed this one too! I’ll spoiler just in case: One thing that’s really wonderful is how Mieville allows ambiguity about whether the two cities are metaphorical, metaphysical, imaginary, parallel dimensions, or what… and then nope, it’s just two cities basically split by pure fiat. It kind of blew me away.


#32

Definitely worth blurring that! And yeah, figuring out that mystery and then having it be that was really good.


#33

I’ve read a bunch of Mieville and I enjoy his books a lot, even if he has a habit of layering on so much unfamiliar elements that it can become dizzying after a while. It’s been a long time since I’ve read Kraken, and I might dip back into it.


#34

The first season of The Good Place, it was just as good as everyone said. I can’t wait to be depressed when it gets cancelled after one or two more seasons.


#35

“The Predator”

Probably the worst film I’ve seen since Suicide Squad. I had to look up the other person who wrote the screen, a Fred Dekker. First thing that pops up is Robocop 3, which just about sums it up.


#36

Season 5 of Bojack Horseman on Netflix.
I like that the creators are really going for it and not stuck in a rut like frequently happens in long running shows like this. Long running jokes peek their way through but most of the returning material is character development that’s been a long time coming. Diane getting a divorce from her unhappy marriage for one. Finally dealing with Bojack Horseman as a character, a horrible but sympathetic person, self aware but unwilling to change, feeling that everyone is fucked up and just being aware of your own fuckedupedness is enough

I loved the episode that is basically a spoken word one act, Bojacks eulogy for his mother.

Back in season 1 when Diane published her expose on Bojack and devastated him, she told him that people would like him more now as a flawed person, pointedly acknowledging that we, the viewer, are mostly interested in him as a deeply flawed character.

The subsequent success of Bojack the show and Bojack the character in the show has only doubled down on his flaws, so it raises the question: is growth even possible for a character like this?

I think the show tries to address this by Bojack having a complete drug fueled breakdown where he can’t tell his real life from fictional, then sees through musical hallucinations that all pain he’s inflicted on others is just fuel for the entertainment fire. Finally in the aftermath he begs Diane to help him, and they drive to the rehab center.
But in those last moments, you see a lot of conflicting emotions on Diane’s face, as maybe she’s wondering if he did truely change they would t be friends anymore as she clearly has a thing for flawed people, and possibly in the meta sense the show would also be over.

Recommended, CW for animated violence (intentionally disturbing scene where Bojack strangles a female coworker) some PG 13 level sexual humor and language, lots of drug abuse


#37

Marathoning Bojack Horseman Season 5 in one day was a bad choice. Being still unshowered and pajamed afterwards is just a catalyst for the downward spiral setup by a season of Bojack.

Hopefully The Dragon Prince abounds more in levity… Or I can show better impulse control.

Update: Dragon Prince could’ve been better.


#38

Just wrapped up the story in Spider-Man, and wow. I don’t think a AAA has bowled me over this much since Titanfall 2. I am debating purchasing the season pass sight unseen just because I want more of this world ASAP.

If it comes to pass that we’ll be playing as Miles Morales in the DLCs, then I’m definitely buying.


#39

The first season of The Dragon Prince. I liked it! Still figuring out a more nuanced take but here are my surface level impressions:

Some of the voice acting, especially for the younger kid characters, is a little stiff but I think the performances are still great and they get especially great as the season goes on, and the show is extremely well animated and composed. Every scene looks like something I could take a still out of and put on my wall. The narrative dumps a lot of history and lore on you right at the start about factions and wars and fantasy stuff but once it becomes more focused on the three main protagonists it becomes a fun ride.

Also, dragon big.


#41

I just finished watching Mandy and holy shit that is a movie!

Super reductive summary by way of comparisons to other films: What if Drive Angry was also John Wick and Heavy Metal, but with a dash of Fire Walk With Me just for good measure?

If you can see it in theaters (it’s got a limited release, I believe), I’d recommend seeing it that way. But if you can’t get to one of those screenings, you can stream it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Google Play (that’s what I did).


#42

I just finished reading Ghostbuster’s Daughter by Violet Ramis. It’s a memoir about her relationship with her dad, the director and writer Harold Ramis. It’s and odd book, and there are parts of it I enjoyed, but overall did not.

I think because it tries to be Violet’s memoir and a biography of father, it fails at both. I wish it would have been one or the other, and mostly a biography of Harold Ramis.

If you still think you might want to read it, there are some descriptions of sexual abuse to be aware of.