When Vitriol Spills – Thanks Guys

“Going forth encounters going forth.”
-Dogen, Uji (Being-Time)

Oh, #gamergate , I’ve sat at the sidelines of this debate since it started. With your recent attack on Felicia Day’s well-worded response, you’ve disappointed me. Then again, my opinion of you was so low, that really didn’t matter. In short — grow up. Fomenting won’t get you anywhere. On your side, anyway.

Let’s play this out. You can try “Doxxing” me or wtf it is you call it, but I don’t care. Try. Try it all you want. Even if you can do wtf it is, it won’t matter, because I’m not scared of basement-dwellers. As if you did anything useful. Call me on that.

You -collectively- like to smack-talk nice women gamers working jobs, doing decent things. I don’t get why you do this. But I know I support them, and not you. It’s fun to be part of a group, or for some cause, but you. waste. our. time.

If you want to hurt someone, I challenge you to try. You already have hurt so many women with your stupid, senseless and arrogant garbage. If you’re in for the game, so am I. But I doubt you’ll answer. And I doubt you can do crap. If that’s the case, just concede, and shut the fuck up. Go back to your basements, and let the world move on.

Try me.

Thanks.

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Well-Timed Cinematic Villanelles

interstelartravelIf there’s one movie people seemed convinced will be a success this Fall, it’s probably Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Rumors bounce around over how much of the original -crazy-ass- story (related to Spielberg) made it into the actual Nolan product. More rumors bounce around saying it’s an epic sci-fi flick that crosses unworldly -see: Interstellar- distances. This is all click-baity crap based on speculation, not evidence. I think the movie is really about time travel. Continue reading

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Catching Up

reachyou

I feel bad for not updating here recently, because a lot of cool stuff has been going on, but, I really didn’t have a choice.

The lack of new content here has been due to:
- an abscess in a molar where I had a root canal years ago
- an allergic -eczema-related- reaction to antibiotics and ibuprofen
- very boring recovery time spent after tooth extraction
- a couple nights in the ER getting meds that only made my condition worse

Even so, I’m BACK, and brushes with modern medical science really can make one want to write.

So, keep watch. I’ve got a couple posts planned.

-MT

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Divergence

ImageI’ve been occupied with a bunch of miscellany since my last post about the Interstellar trailer. I built a new -awesome- desktop with an i5 and -finally- a legitimate copy of Microsoft’s Windows 8-1. MS won me over with their promise of seamless integration via OneDrive. All I need now is a Windows phone, but that likely won’t happen, because I’ve spent so much time on customizing my Android phone, and I use my phone (with an unlimited data plan) for Internet access.

Aside from the new desktop, I got myself set up with a Raspberry Pi. It’s been somewhat of a g.d-send. It has given me a rather oblique way to pursue programming. While I wish I was writing poetry instead of code, it helps that there is a free Pi version of MineCraft. So, I have been trying to punch trees with code.

The next part is more of a mimetic exercise, but doing this stuff does help me focus more. Thanks, Sarah, for directing me to the OP.

1) What are you working on?
I’m trying to learn Python, a coding language. But I still have designs for my hybrid novel Fabrications.

2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
Fabrications is a cyberpunk story; a lot of it has been solidified via various tropes. The story differs in that it uses -serious- neuroscience to inform consciousness. This is a difficult matter to deal with, considering I don’t have, for example, a PET machine readily available…

3) Why do you write?
I write poetry and fiction, because, simply, I need the exercise. It gives me space; it gives me freedom. I need those things for any activity, but writing stands out because it is strictly driven by rules. Without the rules, I’d be lost.

4) How does your writing process work?
My writing process is too sporadic to distill into a process, but I think there are some trends I follow. When I write, I break it down. I always give myself an objective to my writing, then consider what formal constraints I wish to apply for that idea.

BTW: the above image is from Steins;Gate, a brilliant franchise from Japan that has enraptured me with both an anime and visual novel (one I am still working through).

-MT

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Ghost in the Shell: Arise – an Innocent Origin Story at Best

innocenceProps go out, in part, to the SF Meetup group that helped make seeing the first two episodes of GITS:Arise last week possible via TUGG. Overall, it was worth seeing, but, hardly comparable to what I’ve seen from the franchise in the past, well before crowd-funding sites. I mean, I saw Innocence for a CLASS at Vanderbilt in 2004. And that took no funding, just us showing up to see it at the local Nashville indie theater. Not so much luck in SF, I guess?

That stuff aside, Arise wasn’t terrible. It had the fantastic animation I’ve come to expect from the studio, and the translation (when I could READ IT) was good. But, it isn’t a spoiler to say I expected more. GITS has wowed me with films and mind-bending tv series, but Arise felt forcefully convoluted. I followed it fine, but it was more tropey than not, and not in a good-tropey way. It didn’t really innovate. It used what was safe, lodging character consciousnesses into other consciousnesses in some maze that seems philosophical, but, really, hardly could be called a Garden of Forking Paths.

Even so, it was amazing seeing an origin story for Motoko. She’s such a strong character, and I can excuse SOME narrative issues because I like her. However, I didn’t like how she ran around for large portions of screen time in her underwear, as those segments did nothing to help the narrative, which, to me, was pretty sparse to begin with. But, I’m sure people seeing Arise had no such complaints.

Arise is great, but only if it’s approached as being longish tv episodes. It is not Innocence, by any means, and it’s not good enough to stand on its own, in my opinion. If you’re a GITS fan, you’ll get it, but not otherwise.

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Interstellar – It Will Happen

INTERSTELLAR

I was sick last Friday, which left me absent from seeing the latest Kaiju film, Godzilla, and while I’ve been told from co-workers it is quite good, I would have just been satisfied to see the accompanying Interstellar trailer in a theater. I’ve probably re-watched it over two-dozen times since it was released, and I’m totally willing to fall for Nolan’s Interstellar marketing techniques.

After seeing the first Interstellar trailer, I decided to compare it to the first Inception trailer; I wasn’t surprised at the coy way Nolan unveils things to his potential audience. The first Inception trailer suffices on ideas of “a single idea” and “theft” while being juxtaposed with revolutionary imagery. The ONLY hint we have to the true nature of Inception is when Ellie/Ellen Page screams “‘WAKE ME UP!'” With Interstellar, it’s mostly similar in the approach.
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Giraffes, Water Slides, & Trading Cards – A Recipe for Mobile Games

Hey readers. As the month of March comes to a close, I thought I’d do a round-up of games I played this month, with a bit of commentary aimed at exploring gameplay elements that make particular games sticky. This is far from exhaustive, as gamers differ in taste, but maybe there is a recipe in all this that can help devs. I dunno.

None of these games are staggeringly new; I got bored of Threes before the other rip-offs arrived. These are long-lasters for me, which is Kind-of-a-Big-Deal. I wrote Best Apps Market Reviews for all but the last one, which, being Guild Wars 2, I decided to review in the style we do at BAM.
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Seattle: cool. AWP: meh.

“Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?”
-Plath, Elm.

No. Sure, AWP was very disappointing, but Seattle was perfectly fine, and I enjoyed my time there. Maybe I am dissatisfied about AWP. Maybe I am hesitant to say that all the AWP presenters I saw gave content that I already knew plenty about, and that I ended up hearing authors with more money, better book deals, talking about stuff I already knew.

While I don’t mind that, I wanted to show them stories they’d never seen, because, well, they’re sheltered authors, and some of us actually did screw up, and have stories that might not sell a ton, but will entertain. Besides, I figure AWP isn’t interested in anything but their brand of writing, so, it makes sense for me to say that writing serves purposes aside from their stale RHETORIC.

For future reference:
If  you know something about writing but have no connections, AWP is a waste of money. Networking is a joke and you have to smash people’s faces into tables in order to convince them you don’t care about Journal X. You also have to pay money to listen to authors that write trash that explains how they made that trash, which is marginally useful, but you’d be better off exploring the city you’re in, because AWP is a stale bureaucracy that will die out sooner or later, and, as someone working at a startup, I welcome it, because I’m going to do something for them that is better than they could even imagine.

So, please, just die.

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Deep Down Ingrained Sexism, Games, and Whining

I Flipped through an article on February 17 by Brenna Hillier that had a catchy title, but decided to relegate it to my “stuff to address later” project. Here’s where I try to unpack Ms. Hillier’s arguments, then comment on them. For tl;dr readers: Hillier’s complaints overlook the fact that games are entertainment, which should never be -reasonably- sanctioned.
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Why EA’s Mobile Dungeon Keeper Ironically Succeeds

Last week, after a protracted time of testing, Electronic Arts opened the flood-gates and let the rest of the world play a mobile rendition of a franchise they bought from properties created by Peter Molyneux called Dungeon Keeper. As it happened, on 01-30-14, I did my job and played, rated and reviewed the game for the Fetch app-discovery app, saying:
 
Recruit minions and carve out a sinister underground empire by harvesting resources and laying devious dungeon traps to painfully foil your enemies! EA did a great job bringing a PC classic to mobile devices.

I rated the game 9/10 (4.5), so imagine my surprise when I see a bunch of posts from other reviewers of games critically saying Dungeon Keeper is an example of everything wrong with mobile games, and that EA essentially raped the franchise because purchasing virtual currency is practically required to enjoy the game.

Well, I thought about refining my review to reflect recent trends, but instead opted to respond–I want to provide background to my reviewing processes and metrics, and, why EA was able to pull a well-planned fast-one that pissed off everyone. Essentially: EA orchestrated this as a blow to free-to-play, and it might be a good thing for mobile games…

I sat tapping through the tutorial of Dungeon Keeper with little surprise. I figured EA would turn Dungeon Keeper into a free-to-play game the second I saw it soft-released. As expected, the demonic guide talked down to me and encouraged me to pursue tasks that would take gems to complete quickly, like, surprise, Clash of Clans, or any other derivative. I tolerated it and took it in stride.

The tutorial was annoying, but compared to other games I’d played on Android, above-average, so I kept tapping through things until I found the point where I could break the MANDATORY tutorial. I assessed what I saw and rated everything in the game accordingly. I then un-installed Dungeon Keeper because I was disgusted, which, in retrospect, I think was intentional. EA did this to show the ridiculous nature of profiting in the mobile gaming sphere, and I’m forced to agree with them: you can’t adopt new payment methods to emulate traditional gameplay mechanics for mobile without pissing people off.

I stand behind my rating and review because the Dungeon Keeper gameplay exists, but is behind a pay-wall for those that want immediate gratification. EA engineered this to TRAP the media and with the hope that that would benefit them in the long run, because they’ve just used a cult game to make people find reason to hate freemium mobile games even more.

As a mobile games review editor, I don’t like what EA has done. EA has taken a wonderful PC game and commodified it to fit current mobile gaming trends. But, I don’t disapprove of their tactics either.

All that being said, when I rated the game, I figured Dungeon Keeper’s score in light of what you’d either be willing to pay or wait for, and not how upset you’d be at either junction. So, take that as you will.

-MT

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