Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Doing it Right: WH40K Space Marine and Strong Female Characters (yes, really)

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

**Spoiler Alert** The following posts contains spoilers for the first two chapters of Warhammer 40K: Space Marine.

Patch says:

The Games industry so often makes a fail when it comes to depicting women, it’s a pleasure to stumble across someone Doing it Right, even in a small way. And this instance occurs in the most unlikely of places: a game set in the Warhammer 40K universe, centered on the story of three hyper-masculine Ultramarines.

The game is mainly about blood and gristle and the slaughter of hordes of Ork people. But there’s a point in the second chapter where we pause for a moment, to meet an Imperial Guard Lieutenant who appears to be responsible for the fact that a small contingent of Imperial Guard has survived, and is still holding ground and fighting.

And surprise: the Lieutenant is a woman. And she’s wearing practical, masculine armor. The texture artists gave her makeup, but it’s understated makeup — it’s more the sort of makeup an actor would wear to highlight their features on stage, than the sort of makeup someone would wear to go out on a date. One of the space marines is suprised that she’s a woman — “you’re in charge?”, he says. The main character ignores this statement, and proceeds to address her straightforwardly, keeping the conversation focused on the situation at hand. It was a nice acknowledgement that, yes, there is sexism in this game’s culture, but the story and the main character were going to deal with this person more in terms of her military competence than her gender.

And while she is a minor character, she has agency. The Space Marines are surprised to find survivors; it’s a plot twist that she is directly responsible for. The collectibles in the game are little audio story vignettes, and the collectibles for Chapter Two take some time to flesh out her story, as she deals with the death of her superior officer, and the sudden weight of command.

It’s a nice touch. It’s not perfect. She’s depicted as being conventionally attractive, which wasn’t necessary. And it’s not as cool as a fully fleshed out, interesting female main character would have been. But someone made the effort to make that character interesting, and I’d like to tip my hat to that person. Games industry: more of this, please.

ADHD (Movie Version)

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Patch says:

I think that I’ve lost the ability to be moved by hype on current Hollywood timescales. Specific example:

  1. Trailer for Cowboys and Aliens came out x months ago. I said “ooh, that’s stupidly clever; should be fun.”
  2. Saw the trailer a couple more times on Hulu. Was still entertaining.
  3. Occasionally came across references online in subsequent months. Thought that I’d probably see it when it came out.
  4. Now we’re in the billboards on bus stops stage … and the whole thing kind of feels old hat. Cowboys and Aliens. Eh. I don’t really feel any urgency to see it in theaters. Might see it when it hits one of the streaming services …

I don’t think that the economic engines of Hollywood can run on something quieter and more organic like word of mouth, as far as blockbusters are concerned. But the hype engine is just too slow for my attention span nowadays. Wonder if I’m not the only one, and what will replace it …

The Non-Mystery of π

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Patch says:

Today is π day. Which is nice, because pies are tasty.

Minor rant, however, related the number itself, because a lot of people seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the infinite, non-repeating sequence of digits following the 3. They memorize as many of the digits as they can. Spin foofy psuedo-scientific theories around them. Make long movies about people who go crazy trying to unlock the secrets of π.

The silly thing is that π would be much more mysterious if it was a rational number. Even more so if it was an integer.

If the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle was, say, 3, something really odd would be going on. An integer speaks of exactness and perfection, of cold rigor not often found in nature. An integer would suggest some sort of divine plan or design. But π isn’t an integer. Or a rational number. It’s just a regular old irrational number. One random number out of an infinite number of possibilities.

Doesn’t mean that it’s not useful. Or cool to play with. (Even it is wrong.) But the exact numerical value of π has very little to do with anything.

End rant. Now to decide what sort of pie to have today.

The cool thing about formal legal language …

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

… is that, in skilled hands, when the circumstances are appropriate, it can seriously soar (the last two sentences, especially):

For the reasons stated in the sections that follow, the evidence presented at trial fatally undermines the premises underlying proponents’ proffered rationales for Proposition 8. An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters’ determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.

Full text of the ruling.

This isn’t the end of the matter, but this is a Good Day for tolerance, respect, and for marriage.

Electricians and Mothers

Monday, July 19th, 2010

I spent my day dealing with both, and boy am I glad that the one will stay constant in my life while the other will not.

Thank you, to both my mothers for being such kind, caring people, who will go as many extra miles as you can see.  And thank you electricians for leaving me a second day without power, and acting as if I am putting you out.  Though in defense of the profession, the young man who came out from the electric company was kind and friendly and provided a little bright spot in the whole “the box that holds my power fuses melted” ordeal.

Wing and a prayer

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Red says:

It’s been a long time since Patch and I spent more than a few days apart and even longer since we’ve been separated for more than a week.  Now, I’ve been three thousand miles away for almost two weeks, and I miss him terribly.  Today, I take to the skies and by evening, we’ll be together again.  I don’t believe the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes you more aware of all the little things that are regularly shared and suddenly can’t be.

Big Game

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Red says: With the government kick back shining golden, Patch and I have been crunching numbers, pulling strings and trying to find a way to buy a house.  There are some great deals out there, but there are far more people hunting than there are fantastic buys.  Now that we have moved into October, and no longer have time for a 45 day escrow, Patch and I are just about done with our futile hunt.  So the time has come to reflect, lick wounds, and settle in for winter. (more…)

Playing With Fire

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Patch says,

This video makes me happy, and also a little bit sad. Is our culture, as a whole, really denying kids these sorts of experiences?


Friday, December 7th, 2007

Patch says,

I’ve had the nagging suspicion that character death is not actually a necessary element of game play for some time.

And now I’ve played Transcend, which confirms it. Not only is dying not necessary, in fact, but you can make a game that is both more challenging and less frustrating if you drop the silly dying thing.

Very cool.