Video Game Journalist Decrying War Violence as Worthy of Censorship (A response to Dean Takahashi)

I did a post yesterday talking about the trailer that dropped for the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game.  It looks to be a soft-reboot of the franchise, in the same vein as the most recent God of War game.  And it looks awesome.  To think that I am excited for a game in this franchise, which has born the wrath of Activision’s predatory practices for this long, is amazing.  It looks like Infinity Ward has listened to what people wanted – gritty, boots-on-the-ground war.  And that’s what they are delivering.  A game that people will have a lot to talk about.  Everything that has been released shows that while multiplayer is always going to be a thing in this franchise, the single player is getting the love it deserves, and then some.  No gimmicks like Zombies.  Just a good campaign and great multiplayer.  Sounds like a match made in Heaven.

But not to one games journalist, who thinks that this game is going too far.  He was invited to a big event Activision hosted inviting tons of games journalists to show off what’s new in this latest entry in the franchise, and give them a taste of what was to come.  And he wasn’t pleased one bit.  It’s the same guy who made that hilarious Cuphead video where he spent 26 minutes on the tutorial because he’s an idiot – Dean Takahashi.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

I have been a Call of Duty fan from the first game in 2003. But I have never wondered about this question before, until now. Should this particular game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, be made? The small glimpse I’ve seen of it so far tells me no.

Why does EVERY SINGLE article of this nature begin like this?  They all begin with having to establish their cred as fans of gaming or a specific kind of game.  I guess it’s to try and head off the criticism that they are just the uninitiated.  Not for me.  I always call bullshit every time I see this stuff, because they say this to immediately set up shitting on something.

The publisher’s Infinity Ward studio recently showed a part of the single-player campaign for an upcoming installment of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and it has scenes and gameplay in it that are very disturbing to me. It brings to mind the No Russian controversy, where civilians are mowed down in a Russian airport in 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Um, what’s the problem with that?  No Russian was a mission that was designed to make players feel uncomfortable.  That was the point.  Their character was engaging in senseless violence against civilians for a greater objective.  It was supposed to be disturbing.  Why is it a bad thing that this game is going down the same path?

Infinity Ward developers got up onstage at a recent event at the studio’s headquarters in Southern California. Then they showed a press group the scenes. They warned us the game would be mature, authentic, and gritty. No longer would we be jumping about like superheroes. It is grounded in realistic, modern combat and “a complex world that mirrors our own.” Activision says the game has an “incredibly raw, gritty, provocative narrative that brings unrivaled intensity and shines a light on the changing nature of modern war.”

Man, what great publicity.  That sounds awesome!  I’ve been looking for a gritty war game that actually shines a light on how war is ugly and the reality of being part of it is awful for everyone involved for ages.  I did an entire post about what I would love to see in a war game (linked here).  If Infinity Ward actually listened to stuff like that and is going the distance with a dark concept, then they can take my money now!

The premise is that the rules of war have changed. It’s not black-and-white — it’s gray, with a fine line between right and wrong. And yet, undoubtedly, this gritty single-player campaign will be coupled with multiplayer combat where killing is a sport. If you put these things together with extremely realistic human characters, it becomes even more disturbing.

Oh boy.  Let the slippery slope fallacies begin.

In the first scene, terrorists attack central London. A team of British SAS operatives gathers in front of a townhouse that they suspect harbors a terrorist cell. In a manner that resembles a raid in Rainbow Six: Siege, they gather together to storm the house. The music is menacing. The military chatter is by the book. And the people look so real. If you passed by a TV with someone playing the game, you could easily mistake the game for a segment of a documentary about the war in Syria.

Again, you do great promotion, Mr. Takahashi.  This sounds absolutely splendid.  Since Europe is currently dealing with a mass of Islamic radicals committing terrorist acts on the regular, I gotta say, this feels true to modern warfare.  Seems like the devs are really putting in some real world connections.  You allude to the game’s director talking about the amount of dedication they put into the realism of it.

But the game differs from other gritty combat games based on who is in each room. The characters appear to be Muslim terrorist fighters in mostly civilian garb. But those characters include both men and women.

This sounds really awesome.  I love that we finally are getting away from video game villains just being men.  I like that women can be enemies now too.  Especially if you’re fighting radical Islamic terrorists, where it happens a lot that women are either used as living weapons or are radical themselves and will go the distance.  For a game that is marketing on showing ugly, believable warfare, this goes so far in selling that concept to me.

And in the final room, you confront an unarmed woman. She tries to divert you. She moves despite your warnings to stop. She then grabs a bomb detonator. You have to shoot her.

Yup.  That’s war.  It’s ugly.  It ain’t pretty.  Sometimes you gotta do some morally gray shit.  You are really bad at making this kind of game sound bad.  Everything you say makes me want to buy this game more.

This is the nature of modern combat, the developers say. But this should not be a part of a modern video game, in my opinion, given the thin line between civilians and warriors and given the impression it creates in our world, which is driven by social media sound and video bites. It looks so much like you are killing innocent civilians. And if you make a mistake, you are.

Another ideological idiot who I guess never saw the studies (so many studies.  Tons and tons of studies, mostly commissioned by governments) showing that video game violence has no connection to real life violence.  No, can’t have the facts get in the way of a good narrative, eh?

To that last bit, yeah, war is an ugly thing.  Civilians die all the time.  Earlier he brings up that there is a woman who runs for her baby but the devs said you can’t shoot her.  Personally, I think that wouldn’t be the worst if there was a chance she could be a casualty.  War is ugly, and letting the players be able to experience that first-hand is what I have been wanting to see for ages.  Maybe have things get crazy, and you’re shooting and fail to realize you killed someone just trying to protect their child.  It would leave an impression, for sure.

My reaction is not that the developers should censor themselves or someone else should censor them. My question is about choices. We can make this kind of game, but should we? But should this kind of content, which we can see in movies or books, be in a video game? Should they be depicted in a form of art where we have so much agency? It’s going to be a Mature-rated game that kids shouldn’t play, but I had a conversation with an Uber driver who told me he lets his 6-year-old play Call of Duty.

So…you don’t want gaming companies to censor themselves, you just want them to not put stuff in games.  In other words, you want them to censor themselves.  This guy is so full of shit.

And as for the Uber driver you talked about, it’s up to parents to figure out what their kids can handle.  That’s part of being a parent.  If more people would actually do it, what a world it would be.  I personally wouldn’t like my 6-year-old play a game like this.  At least not if I hadn’t talked with them and they understood that it isn’t real and that hurting real people is bad.  There are some kids who get that, and can handle that.  My favorite episode of Bullshit! had that, with a kid who understood and a mom who knew her child understood that difference.  Parenting is hard.  Perhaps you are unaware.

I would like a Call of Duty game that makes me think hard, feels intense, and is fun to play. And I usually shrug off criticism from people who say these games are too violent. As far as I can tell, you still play the “good guys” in this game. Michael Condrey, the former co-head of Activision’s Sledgehammer Games, said at our recent GamesBeat Summit event that, in the age of the shooting at Christchurch in New Zealand, is it really appropriate to make a game like Modern Warfare today.

Oh for fuck’s sake.  Slippery Slope Fallacy!  The fact that the shooter did video of himself committing the crime like it was a video game doesn’t mean that video games bear the blame for it.  It means that he was a fucking psycho who decided to treat killing innocent people like it was a game.  He even pimped out PewDiePie just because he thought it was funny.  The contributor to this was the fact that this guy didn’t feel empathy and wanted to kill people who are part of a religion he doesn’t like.  This is NOT on the shoulders of those who make games.  Infinity Ward isn’t responsible for this.  Nor is any other developer.  But we have to get moral grandstanders like this nitwit who decide that they should tell them to censor themselves in order to appease his sensibilities.  Maybe, if this game is too dark for you – don’t play it.  That’s an option.  You don’t have to play games like this.  You can stick to Fortnite like the rest of the plebs.

The article wraps up with – dark war game bad and shouldn’t be dark war game.  As for me, fuck that!  If what this dude talks about is only part of this game, I cannot wait to get ahold of it!  The visuals are amazing, It’s going back to warfare without all the bombastic set-pieces.  I wanna play.

Until next time, a quote,

“I will say this – getting out of the Vietnam War through daddy’s connections and then not living up to your end of the bargain is probably a form of cowardice.” – George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s First Take: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

I have such a confused amount of emotions right now.  See, on the one hand, Activision is an evil corporation who, over the last few years, has produced some of the biggest piles of shit.  They are money-grubbing cocksuckers who don’t care about anything but milking players from their wallets.  The stories about them are plentiful, and they have earned the hatred players have for them.  So when I heard that they were rebooting the Modern Warfare games, I was all aboard to hate it.  I love the original three games.  Even the third one, which has its problems but is still fun.  It’s an okay conclusion to the saga.  So when I heard that Activision was rebooting this, I figured that I would have nothing but negative things to say about it.  However, with the trailer for it finally having dropped…I’m sorry, but this looks awesome.  I feel so bad saying that.  How can a game in this franchise look this good?!  Let’s watch it, then talk about it.

We start with some absolutely breath-taking visuals, which the trailer promises me are in-game footage.  There’s a very British guy narrating, about the rules changing (a phrase that needs to die.  It’s been used in fucking everything, and it needs to die), and how him and his are being sent into places that nobody knows about to do bad things.  Okay.  Then we zoom in on the British guy and see that it’s Captain Price.  Only voiced by a new person this time.  Kinda bummed about that.  I loved the original voice-over of Price.  But let’s see where this goes.

Following this, there is a breath-taking montage of visuals that are just incredible.  Our special forces guys are breaching a home and killing people.  Then there are some Army dudes jumping out of a plane.  That’s cool too.  A cut to what seems to be some kind of riot, and a dude shooting at someone in a car.  Then it seems we are in the perspective of a cop, shooting back.  Wonder what the story is there.  Riding along with some tanks in a Middle Eastern nation, with a fighter blowing shit up, and troops on the ground getting caught in an explosion.  It looks like the primary backdrop of this game is in the Middle East, where shit has gotten real.  Okay.  To be fair, that is modern warfare.  Proxy wars in the Middle East.  Liking what I see.

Then it cuts to…a child soldier?  Damn.  I had heard Infinity Ward was going to be going all dark and gritty, but I genuinely didn’t expect them to go to this level.  Not complaining.  I love some darkness, so long as it is handled well.  Too many times, dark things in games are either brushed aside or handled poorly.  But this is Infinity Ward, after all.  They did make Modern Warfare 2, which had one of the darkest scenes in all of gaming.  So let’s see where this goes.

It concludes by telling us that the game is coming out October 25th.  Again, I’m sorry guys, but it looks cool.  A promise of a rich campaign, with a compelling narrative, made by the guys who made the best games in the original franchise.  I’m not gonna lie, I wanna play.  It’s trendy to hate on Call of Duty these days.  They’ve made some real shit in the last few years.  Their parent company is a money-grubbing asshole.  But maybe this is what it will take to pull them out of a rut.  Going back to boots on the ground with a compelling narrative and good characters.  A man can dream, right?

Initial Verdict
I feel dirty liking this

Peace out,

Maverick

Living In A Moment

I have this friend who comes over to my place and I make the two of us dinner.  As luck would have it, every time they want to do so, I get this inspiration for an idea.  See, I don’t plan cool things I do.  Ever.  I just do them off the cuff.  I’ll get some crazy idea out of nowhere and my brain is like – that’s what I’m gonna make!  And each idea has been crazier and more ambitious than the last.  To date, I haven’t had a complete fuck-up of a night I make dinner for the two of us.  But I’m sure that I’m just opening the door for Lady Luck to fuck with me.  One day at a time, right?

These projects are always a ton of work.  Usually there’s an insane amount of prep, and then I get to do the final cooking.  Every time, as I build up to putting it in the oven, I think to myself – is all of this worth it?  But then I see my final project and I realize – yeah it is.  It really, really is.  Plus, my place smells amazing right now.  All of the ingredients ready, the dough ready, all to be assembled and put in the oven.  It’s gonna be fantastic.  I’m proud of my work.

So here I am, sitting in my chair, in my living room, listening to some soft music, in this moment.  It’s such a great moment.  I was smart to wait to take my shower until after all the prep was done.  I get all sweaty, and I don’t want to smell like BO when my friend comes over.  There’s this gentle, quiet, feeling of contentment inside of me.  I could live in it.  I really, really could.  I could live in this for a thousand years, and never leave.  It’s wonderful.  All the tension is gone, and I get to just have my soft music and my thoughts.

Which got me to thinking about all the times in my life that I’ve felt like this.  I bitch about this apartment a lot, but at least I finally have kitchen space to do this.  To really get to have this feeling.  There’s something about this crampt space.  It’s cozy.  I feel cozy in here.  It’s looking like there are rain clouds outside.  Maybe I’ll get to hear it falling on my deck.  That’s another great thing.  What are the moments in my life where I felt like this?  That I wanted to live in forever?

One was the night I saw the moon reflecting on the water of the lake my parents used to live on.  That was amazing.  It was a night that you only get once in a blue moon.  Where the moon was just low enough to have this reflection that spread out across the water like a white glow.  It helped that I had my kitty with me, and peach yogurt.  I miss my kitty so much.  She was the most loyal friend I’ve ever had.  For over half my life, at 30 years old, she was my companion.  Eighteen years of life.  That’s insane, for a cat.

Then there was the morning after I lost my virginity.  It was with someone who I was so worried I would disappoint, sexually.  But they were understanding, and we had an amazing night.  The next day, I woke up and felt her there, in my arms.  It was fantastic.  Did everything I could not to move so I didn’t wake her.  But then, I’m kind of fidgety, so I did anyway.

When the brother I never had and I were up until 0300 talking about the world we wanted to create.  Two young people, dreamers, idealizing a world where everyone is happy and we don’t have to deal with all the bullshit.  If only the two of us understood just what a rigged system it is.  So depressing.  Best not to let it get me down.

The night that the wind blew out the power of the entire city.  It was an insane windstorm.  A girly-mate and I went out walking in the darkness.  So many people who were cooped up in their dorm rooms came out of that darkness and there was a sense of camaraderie born out of everyone not wanting to spend their evening in the darkness alone.  You could see power transformers reflecting as they blow up off the low clouds.  It was ominous, but kinda cool at the same time.  I loved it.

Those are just a few.  Then you have to move on from the moment, and you forget the feeling you were having.  But I still wouldn’t change it for anything.  I guess this post was kind of rambling, wasn’t it?  Oh well.  What are the moments you have had that you could live in?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I could rewind and live in this moment forever.  But then it wouldn’t be a moment, would it?” – Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

America’s Obsession With Abortion (and how insane this is)

I’ve been following the news about the sudden push for new abortion laws that are each more draconian than the last with some interest in the southern states.  It’s fascinating, to me.  Been missing talking about politics on here, and this seems like a nice and awkward topic to get back into it with, so yeah, let’s talk about it.

A coworker of mine and I were talking about this stuff at work.  We came to the same conclusion as to why this is all happening so suddenly.  Red state after red state introducing legislation that flies in the face of Roe v. Wade.  The big question is – why do this?  Why now?  To me it’s obvious – to get this to the Supreme Court.  These states want this to go to court, and then get it to go to the Supreme Court.  Because now they think that this can be the point where it will be overturned.  It’s a conservative Supreme Court, and the newest justice definitely has an ax to grind with the liberal mentality ever since they overplayed their hand going after him.  They might be right.

The aforementioned coworker was wringing his hand about this.  I was more nonchalant.  Why?  Because it’s obvious what will happen.  Assuming Roe v. Wade is overturned, what this will do is throw the issue to the states.  So all the blue states will pass bills legalizing it, while the red states will pass bills making it illegal.  While that is a bad thing for the women in red states, in my eyes it will just have the abortion issue be something that is divided among state lines.

Another thing this will do is take it off the table with Republicans to use in elections against their enemies.  See, abortion has been a nice wedge issue with the right for a long time.  Once it is given back to the states, then they can’t do that anymore.  At least not on the congressional or presidential level.  On state levels they can, but only to a point.  After all, red states are going to be red no matter what and they know that.  Same with blue states.  So trying to use that against their opponent would be a waste of time.  Taking a wedge issue off the table for Republicans is gonna be bad for them in the long run.  With their voting demographic getting older and older and dying off, the Republican Party is gonna be losing a ton of support.  The fact that Texas got as purple as it did when Beto was running against Ted Cruz should have been a worrying sign.  If the day ever comes that Texas is a blue state, and the Electoral College is still a thing (which I am all for getting rid of.  It’s an archaic institution from a bygone era whose usefulness has passed), there will never be another Republican in the White House for the rest of my lifetime.

It’s fascinating to watch all this unfold.  Each law I see is more insane than the last.  Alabama was the big one.  A law that would make abortion illegal after six weeks.  Something that women rightfully pointed out was stupid because women can not even know that they are pregnant after six weeks.  The law would also make it so that the abortion doctor would go to jail for 30-60 years.  Someone on Twitter pointed out that it’s funny because if a woman is raped and doesn’t want to keep the rape baby, the doctor who helped her get rid of it will get more jail time than the person who raped her.  Irony is a lost art to conservatives.

My own home state presented a bill saying that all abortion, no matter the time-frame, is murder.  Yeah, a bill that is clearly unconstitutional.  The outrage was everywhere, but then people realize that the chances of this even making it to the state legislature was practically non-existent.  That made them quiet down.

But today I saw one that really took the cake.  I mean this is just fucking bonkers.  Georgia just introduced a new anti-abortion law holding women criminally responsible for miscarriages.  Really think about that.  A woman could be held criminally responsible for miscarrying a baby and spend 30 years in prison.  An article on the subject (linked here) pointed out, rightfully, that it is nearly impossible to determine the cause of a miscarriage.  Gee, it’s almost like this insane law coming out of yet-another retarded Bible-belt state is written by men who don’t know the first fucking thing about women’s anatomy or fetal development.  Women have miscarriage all the time.  There are plenty of women who miscarry having never known that they were pregnant in the first place.  I have a friend who was nearly killed because of a miscarriage when she didn’t even know she was pregnant.

Not to mention, I have another girly-mate who lost a baby.  Her and her boyfriend have been trying to get pregnant for a while.  This was the second offspring they’ve lost.  It’s been unbelievably hard on her.  I can’t imagine being in a state where she has to get told by a police officer that she is going to jail for 30 years because of something that she had no control over.  She wasn’t drinking while she was pregnant.  She was constantly fighting the urge to smoke.  Had a cousin who was in the same boat too.  Now we have a state who wants to tell those women – oh, this is something that’s hurting you because you wanted to have a child?  Well go to jail, cunts!

This country is so insane.  I kind of love it.  As I said, I haven’t talked politics on here in a long time, and this was an issue that I just had to weigh in on, because it seems like red states are trying to one-up each other.  I’m just waiting for the law that says that if a man jerks off, he’s wasting cum that could make a baby and so he goes to jail.  Because Jesus, right?  Well, no.  God clearly doesn’t care about the unborn.  Moses commanded his armies to slaughter pregnant women and tear open their bellies, along with smashing the heads of babies against rocks.  In Numbers, one of the ways you could tell if a woman was committing adultery is to give her “bitter water” that will cause her to swell up and kill the fetus.  Which she would then shit out of her vagina.  Oh, and when that happens, you know she committed adultery, which you then kill her for.  The Bible has never been against abortion in any serious way.  But it does have a problem with women, so there’s that.  Lines up with Carlin’s views on being “pro-life.”  They’re “anti-women.”

Yet none of this insanity changes the point of why it’s happening.  It’s all so they can get this to the Supreme Court, which in turn can be used to overturn Roe v. Wade.  But getting that is fun to watch.  This country is sinking into madness.  We have an orange retarded monkey in office who is so pathetic and thin-skinned at that when Fox News takes their lips off his ass for one second to cover a mayoral race, he gets pissy at them.  We have a culture war between the left and the right where both sides now look equally pathetic.  I’ve finally reached a point where I am detached enough at this to see the funny side.  Maybe I’m maturing.  Wait, I play video games still.  Never mind.

Until next time, a quote,

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” – George Carlin, Brain Droppings

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Batwoman: First Look Trailer

This has been kicking around, and I have been hearing from all the men and women that I know that this looks like a giant pile of shit, so I went into this with a thought about – let’s see if the bad hype is right.  But oh boy, it’s so much worse.  I’m not gonna get too far into it now, because I want to go through this with you, but as bad as I thought this was gonna be, it’s a thousand times worse.  I can’t believe how terrible this looks.  I’m sure my opinion is just gonna be “you don’t like it because it’s a woman!”  Whatever.  I”m more Marvel anyway, and let me tell you, I was bummed when I found out the R-rated Black Widow film was cancelled (or maybe never was a thing?  Unsure.  Still, disappointing).  I think The Bridge from the Kill Bill films is fucking awesome.  I have no qualms at all with a female action star.  But this?  This looks like ass.  Let’s take a look at the trailer and then we’ll talk about it.

First problem – The CW logo.  Anytime I see that, I just assume that whatever I’m about to see is a giant pile of shit.  Thankfully, this lived down to that wonderful pedigree.  Right off the bat (pun intended), I can’t but notice how bad the acting is.  From just everyone.  Every character in this is the absolute worst ever.  I can’t believe how fucking terrible the acting is.  We have our MALE security guy, who we obviously need to hate because he’s a man.  I’m sure the trailer will make sure we know how incompetent he is soon enough.

This series apparently is during the time in the DC comics when Batman left.  That did happen, and then he returns later on.  The character of Batwoman is someone who was inspired by him, and took on his mantle.  But that’s the comic book character.  Let’s not get bogged down in the source material.  That will just remind us what a giant pile of shit this is going to be.  Then we introduce our…villain.  And…oh Groj.  She’s awful!  That is just terrible!  The acting for this chick is the worst of all of them.  I mean, wow.  So subtle.  Like a wanna-be Joker.  Ew.

We are then introduced to the chick who will become Batwoman.  And…could they be any less subtle about the fact that she’s gay?  Why is it that every lesbian character now has to be so fucking butch?  I speak as someone with one of my best friends being a chick who is gay as the day is long and used to be the biggest tomboy ever.  But now she is settled in to her femininity side a lot more.  Though I know I’ll never catch her in a dress.  One step forward, am I right?  But seriously, this is so bad.  Why is this woman so butch?  Her haircut and her look just screams “I eat pussy!” to everyone who sees it.  Which is ironic because the character in the comics is very feminine.  It makes the fact that she’s gay surprising.  She’s single at the start of the series, and we find out later that she’s gay.  Here, they might as well just paint LESBIAN on her forehead.  The lack of subtlety in this series just blows my mind.

Then we get a montage of terrible action, which I’m sure will be shot with a thousand cuts and be so awful to watch.  And we find out she’s Bruce Wayne’s cousin.  Okay.  She goes down into the Batcave, and says one of the cringiest lines I’ve ever heard.  Lucius Fox (or what I presume is Mr. Fox) tells her that the Batsuit is perfect, and she says “it will be, when it fits a woman.”  I threw up in my mouth a little.  Virtue Signaling!  Woman Power!  Feminism!  Oh Groj, the cringe just leaps off the screen.

It cuts to a montage showing off the various DC shows that The CW has done, and I giggled at that.  Can’t help but notice something – ALL of those shows are shit.  All of them.  Nice to see that this network is putting their best foot forward in terms of promotion.

A montage of her in her terrible-looking batsuit.  Then another cringe line – “I’m not about to let them give me credit for a man’s work.”  FEMINISM!  Pop Feminism!  The best kind!  Where they don’t actually believe any of their bullshit, but they need to sell their product to you – a shit show.  Made on a shit network, with action and costume design that looks so silly that Adam West would have chuckled.  Speaking of, when we see the logo, then it cuts to a scene of her in full costume looking at the camera.  And that fucking red wig!  That’s the worst!  Anyone remember that terrible trailer for the cringe-tastic Teen Titans live-action series?  Remember that terrible hair they gave to Starfire?  That’s what it reminds me of.  It’s so fake.  It’s the fakest fake wig I have ever seen.  Why did they do that?  Because of the comics?  I guess.

DC is such a dumpster fire.  The DCEU is trash with a couple moments of something that could be brilliant.  Their animated films used to be a standard of quality, now they run the gamut.  And everything The CW touches in terms of live-action is televised abortion.  Whoever is running that company needs to bail.  It’s a shame, because this actress could actually be good in the role, if it was done by someone without the biggest fucking ax to grind.  This reminds me of all the promotional material for Captain Marvel, when the worst thing in that film was the titular character.  Now we have this crap.  It’s awful.  I can’t believe this was green-lighted.  I Feel bad for this actress because I liked her in John Wick: Chapter 2.  She could be a cool action star.  Guess that’s down the drain with this shit.  Oh well.  Hope the paycheck is worth it.

Initial Verdict
I can’t believe this is real

Peace out,

Maverick

Rational Man in Disney Movies

I got to talking to a now former coworker of mine about how there are so many things that I would do if you put me in any random film.  And I still feel that way.  So I gots me an idea for a post series that I could do – putting a rational man inside of films, books, what-have-you.  These are just going to be little things that I have noticed in little blurbs.  Let me know if you have ones that come to you.

Rational Man in Snow White
To the Evil Queen: “So, you go through all the effort of making a poison that seeps into an apple when you are the queen of a kingdom?  Why not just send your army to kill that chick?  It seems like you went out of your way to make killing her a thousand times harder than it needed to be.”

To Snow White: “Why is it you felt that it was a good idea to just set up shop in the home of seven dwarfs?  I mean, they probably haven’t seen a woman in years.  The fact that they didn’t turn you into a living sex toy is insane.”

Rational Man in Sleeping Beauty
To Maleficient: “Look, I think you’re awesome.  But why is it you decided to become the dragon?  I mean, as a witch you have nigh-unlimited power.  It seems like you were REALLY handicapping yourself by taking them away and turning yourself into a giant fire-breathing monster when he was clearly geared up for that.

Rational Man in Cinderella
To Aurora: how is it, if that glass shoe fits you just right that it fell off your foot?  I mean, that seems to signify that it is too big for your foot.  Which means that the Prince could easily have found a woman whose foot fit it more snugly and lived happily ever after with her.

To the Prince: why is it, precisely, that you needed to have a shoe fit to prove that someone is the person you danced with the night before?  I get that her attire would be different, but it would still have her same facial features and eye color.  Is your memory that bad that you couldn’t remember those details about her?

Rational Man in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (the Fantasia one, not that shit-tastic live action abortion)
To the Sorcerer: this kid nearly destroyed your entire home, ruined your spell-book, destroyed Groj-knows how much priceless artifacts of your trade, and could have potentially made a nigh-unstoppable army of broomsticks and all he gets is a whack on the butt with your broom?  I would kick the shit out of that little snot.  At this period in history, that wouldn’t even be frowned upon.

Rational Man in Robin Hood
To Prince John: Why is it you never hired an assassin to kill Robin Hood?  I mean, it can’t have escaped your notice that your own men can’t hit the broadside of a barn.  So why not hire a professional to deal with the problem?  A man with your power and connections, I refuse to believe you didn’t have that ability.  Hell, I bet there are people within your own country who could have got the job done.

To Robin Hood: So wait a minute, you’re telling me that you’ve been in a place where you could easily have dispatched the Prince and you never did?  Why?  It would have saved the kingdom a ton of grief, and you were already a wanted criminal.  It’s not like you would be losing anything by killing him.

Rational Man in Aladdin (the good version, not the live-action abortion)
To Jafar: Why is it that you decided to kill Aladdin in a way where he falls into the Cave of Wonders?  Seriously, you could easily have helped him out of that pit, gotten the lamp from him, and then killed him right there.  You were in the middle of the desert.  The only ones who would know is the sands and the vultures that would eat his body.  Hell, you were in disguise anyway, so yeah.  It just sounds like a needless risk.  And since his clever monkey friend got the better of you, it sounds like you lost out anyway.

To Aladdin: How is it that a guy with your level of cunning wasn’t able to find easy ways around the Genie’s rules?  I mean, you should have been able to see this right in front of you.  For starters, wish that the no wishing for more wishes rule was gone.  Boom, problem solved.  Or, failing that, wish for more genies.  Again, problem solved.  You show early on that you are capable of outsmarting the Genie and getting him to have his ego make the best of him, so why was this beyond you?

Rational Man in The Little Mermaid
To King Triton: How come you didn’t let Ariel absolutely have it after everything she did?  That girl not only disobeyed you, but she fucked up your kingdom, betrayed you and everything you stand for to an evil witch, and all for a boy that she likes.  In the end she gets everything she wants and doesn’t have to answer for anything.  I mean, how is that fair?  That girl should at least get locked in her room for a year or two until she gets why what she did was unfathomably stupid.

Rational Man in Atlantis: The Lost Empire
To Rourke: Why exactly is it you felt the need to try and steal Atlantis’ power source to get rich?  Do you not realize that your discovery is going to make you and everyone else in that crew rich beyond their wildest dreams?  They are a lost civilization, with untold treasures.  I mean, in the end they sent everyone back to the surface with a mountain of gold and jewels.  Who knows how much more they would have parted with if you left on good terms.

Rational Man in Jungle Book (the animated version, not the live-action abortion)
To Shere Khan: Why didn’t you just kill Mogli and be done with it?  You are too good to die this way.  Your pride is the thing that killed you.  You should have been picking your teeth with that upstart’s bones.  Seriously, fuck that smug kid.

Rational Man in Frozen
To Elsa: Why is it exactly you had to flee from the kingdom?  You’re a princess, eventually to be a queen.  Why do you care if the peasants label you a witch?  You can freeze their asses when they rebel and then sit on your throne with absolute power and a sister who is pretty much your bitch.

To Kristoff: So…what’s the deal with you and the reindeer?  I mean, the level of closeness you exhibit makes me REALLY think there’s something going on here.  I can’t be the only one who’s noticed this.

Rational Man in A Night on Bald Mountain
To Chernabog: How do I land an invite to the next party you have?  This looks to be a pretty awesome time.  You have sexy fire women, all these crazy demons and ghosts, and you’re fucking with everyone.  I bet this party is off the chain.

Let me know if there are other works you want to see done.  This is just testing the waters on my concept.

Until next time, a quote,

“Provoking people is extremely important because it gets people to think.” – Lawrence Krauss

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale InnocenceThis is a game that really flew under the radar for me, but I’m glad that it finally got my attention.  Apparently this snuck up on a lot of people, and as such leads me to believe that sales are not going to be especially good.  Which is a bummer because this is a game that is really worth your time if you’re like me and looking for a good story.  The comparison has been done between this and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, but while I don’t totally agree with the comparison, I see how people got there.  It’s a AA game, with a price tag to match, but with gorgeous visuals and a LOT of heart.  Let’s talk about it.

The story goes that Amicia de Rune is a noblegirl living in 14th Century France.  It’s a nice day until a mysterious force kills her dog and the Inquisition come calling, forcing her and her little brother Hugo to flee.  Now, with only her little brother and the various allies she meets along the way, Amicia has to find a way to stay alive, stop her little brother’s sickness, not get eaten by nightmare-inducing plague rats, and get back at the people who took her life away from her.

This game has a lot of things going for it.  The first is the visuals.  This game is gorgeous!  It’s fantastic use of setting and both ambient light and ambient dark is just phenomenal.  There is also how they animated the endless hordes of rats.  Those things are equal parts creepy and vivid.  There isn’t a single area where I would say this game’s visuals faltered.  Every character is expressive and looks the part.  The setting looks harsh as you’d expect from the 14th century.  Thanks to books like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series, people tend to romanticize that time period, when in reality it was pretty awful.  Kings by that time period were not living the kinds of lives you think.  So yeah, it looks amazing.

Next up is the performances.  This game is pretty damn solid.  Both in English and French.  I wanted to play in the latter for immersion’s sake.  Get that whole feel for being in a French story.  But English is pretty fantastic as well.  Amicia definitely steals the show.  You can see her transition from a sister who has a responsibility put upon her to someone who genuinely cares for Hugo.  Speaking of, he also isn’t that bad.  Apparently it was a young girl who did his voice, and she’s no slouch.  Child actors is always a risk, because FAR more often than not, they suck.  Like, a lot.  But in this case, they nailed it pretty well.  I believed that this is an actual little kid.  It’s not perfect, but given the competition, they are definitely bringing their A game.

The side characters almost all have a lot of charm to them.  We don’t get a huge amount of time to know them, but the three that stuck out to me most were Milia, Roderic, and Lucas.  Milia and Amicia’s banter makes me think that they could be actual besties, if things hadn’t have ended the way that they did.  Hopefully they find each other again.  Roderic is just such a lovable thug.  Just this adorable, lovable thug.  But the biggest side-character who stands out is Lucas.  He has this obsession with being an amazing alchemist that you can identify with.  He’s quirky but smart.  And the relationship he develops with Amicia makes me wonder if one day they could be a thing.  It would be charming.

The mechanics of this game are where your mileage can vary.  See, here’s the thing about Amicia – she’s a teenage girl living in a time when most people battle you with swords and arrows.  As such, she’s definitely at a hardcore disadvantage.  And when I say hardcore, I’m not kidding.  One hit and she’s dead.  That’s it.  At no point does she gain more ability to take damage.  As such, the tool at your disposal is stealth.  This is a stealth game through and through.  It’s all about using your sling, alchemy, and the environment to your advantage.  And enemies are not completely oblivious.  What’s more, it’s about using the very rat hordes you are trying to avoid to your own advantage.  It’s also in your best interest to make the most of your surroundings and search everywhere, since there is crafting loot in the strangest of places, but worth your time to check.  You can also find neat collectibles that have their own stories.  For my part, the only frustration was when you are forced to defend a point from attackers and you still can only take one hit.  That got frustrating pretty quick, since you only have your sling as a weapon and that has wind-up and cool-down.

One thing that is always fun is the boss fights.  I know, in a game where you can literally take one hit, that sounds like a recipe for disaster.  But you learn to use your surroundings to your advantage, and be strategic in how you play.  There is a fantastic mechanic you unlock later that makes two of the fights just so fantastic.

Another thing that caught my attention in the game is the sprinting mechanic.  It looks so ridiculous.  Hugo has it worse, but Amicia is no better.  They look like wind-up toys.  It’s a little nit-pick, I admit, but you do have to do it often, and it never stops being funny.

Overall, this is a pretty fun little game.  It’s middleware, and I’m okay with that.  I miss the days when there were the big AAA games, and AA games like this where devs could take risks and really do something unique.  If you think this is up your alley, I’d recommend checking it out.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick