Saturday, September 7, 2019

Finally got around to writing that review for Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. Click here if you’re interested. If you’re not, well, I don’t blame you.

I’m pretty sure that’s the first ever game review I’ve written. The thing that got me moving was seeing a tweet from one of the editors at The Escapist looking for indie reviewers. Doubt much will come of it, as I’m sure there are loads of hopefuls, but one never knows & it never hurts to try.

I used to make what I laughingly called a “living” as a music reviewer, with forays into movie & book reviews, but by the time I considered myself a “writer”, I no longer played video games of any kind. As a matter of fact, I didn’t start playing video games again until long after I’d quit being a writer of any kind.

To be honest, I’d quit reading at that point, which was probably the first sign that the depression had gotten a-hold of me in a drastic way. Long story short, I came across Good Old Games & it was having a sale on the old Origin games like Ultima & Wing Commander. What would’ve cost me a couple hundred bucks 20 years ago only cost me around 15 & they all ran on my Mac, so I figured why the hell not.

This was, what, 2014 or so, just after my erstwhile girlfriend & I had split up. I was getting sick of what I was reading, mainly because (as Joe Bob Briggs would say) they’d have way too much plot to get in the way of the story. The book that broke me was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel, which wasn’t bad, mind. It was just a short story stretched into an 800-page novel. Most of the philosophy I read just bored me &, frankly, I was a bit burnt out on pop science & history.

So, I quit reading books, which if you know me at all you know was incredibly troublesome. I don’t want to blame anything on my ex, but I pretty much shut down when she & I split. It was less her & more just where I was heading, in other words. Plus, my life had gotten so screwed up that all I was doing was working to get by & getting stoned off my gourd whenever I wasn’t at work.

I think it was my need for a narrative, a story to involve myself in, that got my back to playing games. I had a number of “rules” I set for myself, most all I’ve broken, & while it still does come close to defining me as a person I guess I am close to a “gamer”. That being said, it’s just a hobby & while I enjoy it & the connections with people it’s allowed me to make, I’d never associate with “gamers” as a group. That’s a sad bunch of bastards right there, & if you know anything at all about them, you know what I mean.

At first I stuck with games from my youth or ones I’d missed out on during my absence, like Baldur’s Gate or Fallout. Eventually I moved on to more recent releases but I’d never buy a new game. Well, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw broke that rule & here we are. In the past three-four years I’ve sort of grown cold on big company or “AAA” games & lean more towards idie games. Darkest Dungeon is a favorite, as is Hard West. One I particularly liked that I took a chance on solely because it was compared favorably to XCOM – a favorite AAA release – was Galaxy Squad. It’s very indie – rouge-like with pixilated graphics – & it’s a lot of fun.

Speaking of XCOM & Baldur’s Gate, along with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw that pretty much sums up what I like in games. Either top-down RPG’s with a story, sci-fi space shooters, & real-time strategies. I don’t much care for third-person ARPG’s – though I like The Witcher 3 & love Fallout: New Vegas – & most first-person shooters make me jumpy. Same thing with horror survival games; even though I usually like the stories, the whole experience just makes me twitchy. Maybe that’s what Yahtzee means when he bangs on about “immersion”.

Speaking of the motor-mouthed Brit, he’s one of the few “gamer journalists” I pay any attention to, & that’s just ’cause he’s good with his medium. He’s like H.L. Mencken or Nietzsche or P.J. O’Rourke; someone who’s entertaining to read – or in this case, watch his videos – but not someone you take seriously beyond that. I don’t know if I’ve bought a game on his say-so, mainly because we like different things. If I’m looking, I go to ACG, as he reviews the particulars & cuts the shit. If I given even the merest of damns about actual “video game industry journalism”, I’ll tune in Jim Fucking Sterling, Son, because he seems like the only one actually doing any real journalism rather than freelance PR. He’s also apparently relocated to somewhere in Mississippi; damned if I can figure out where, though.

Anyhow. Enough about video games. If the Escapist don’t want to know, forget ’em. I’m really not in the mood for today’s goofiness, especially Day 6 of Trump’s insistence that he wasn’t wrong about Dorian hitting Alabama (godamighty damn, he’s fragile) but I do want to bring up something. Apparently, at a speaking event, Kamala Harris took a long-winded question from a voter who referred to Trump as “mentally retarded”. At the end of the question, she laughed & responded “well said”.

Okay, so this is not cool for a multitude of reasons & I will not truck any disagreement. If you’re the type of person to refer to someone else not agreeing with you or being what you think is lack-witted as “retard”, you are a dirty asshole & should be kicked in the crotch repeatedly by small children. Same thing with putting “-tard” at the end of a word. If I have to explain why this is, fuck you, piss off & eat shit, because I don’t have time for that.

After receiving much criticism over it, Harris tweeted an apology & claimed she “didn’t hear the words the man used in that moment, but if I had I would’ve stopped & corrected him.” Well… maybe. And to her credit, she did own up to it & said she was sorry for her inaction, not that half-ass “sorry if you were offended” crap most do when they’re buttholes.

I honestly don’t know how much it’ll hurt her, though like with “Pocahontas” jibes Trump fans can fuck right off because they’re not fooling anyone (especially since “liberalism is a mental disease” is one of the three or four “jokes” they know). I know a lot of folks have problems with some of her past stances & actions as California Attorney General, but I think she has a lot of the qualities the next Democratic president will need. Specifically, she has the ability to twist Republicans’ nuts until they break down & cry. Not only is it fun to watch, we’re going to need a nut twister to get us out of the mudhole Trump, McConnell & Graham have been wallowing in for the past couple years.

And that’s it for tonight. Boom boom.

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