alias_sqbr: (up and down)
2017-05-07 10:59 pm

Dear White People

So, to the extent my opinion on a show explicitly about the Black American experience matters: I liked it!

Here's a review I read by an Actual Black American which criticises it for being designed to make white allies feel good about ourselves. Even I noticed it was way too easy on the Nice White Dude and looking back I guess I assumed an implicit criticism of him that was never actually said, and may have been entirely in my head.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
2017-04-27 01:46 pm

Things consumed April 2017

Long list of stuff I have read and played etc!

Note that almost all the tv and movies are on Australian Netflix.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
2017-04-27 01:15 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (no spoilers)

Mush up Pirates of the Carribean with the original Guardians of the Galaxy in a blender with some cheese, and give it a flouro 80s candy coating, and you get this movie. If you can turn your brain off and enjoy the silliness and explosions it's pretty fun. Not very deep and mostly about A Man And His Father Issues but gives the female characters more to do than the last movie. The perfunctory attempts at a Peter/Gamora romance are ineffective but also pretty easy to ignore (I usually like that kind of pairing but this one doesn't work for me) and the Gamora and Nebula sister relationship gets the exploration that was missing from the original. I feel like they sanded off the unhealthiness of Peter and Yondu's relationship for convenience, but otherwise enjoyed the story, which is all about family. Mantis's character felt like a bit of an Asian stereotype but her arc was ok. None of the female characters get sexualised very much and Chris Pratt is super pretty.
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
2017-03-30 02:17 am

Mass Effect Andromeda

My tl;dr review: this is a profoundly mediocre game that I mostly enjoyed. I wanted a mostly upbeat game where I got to play a queer woman exploring planets, shooting bad guys, and and kissing cute girl aliens, and that's what I got. If there were any other games that let me do all that I might have been more dissappointed with the quality of the experience, but there basically aren't, so. Also I had a health downswing so bad I'd normally have to lie in bed playing hidden object games for a week, which made the drawn out, simplistic nature of the game kind of a plus. My enjoyment fell pretty drastically once I got better haha.

Many people have gone into the game's flaws, and they are all absolutely correct! So I'm going to use them to structure my review. The reasons these flaws didn't ruin the game for me are all very subjective, this is definitely not a game for everyone.

I'm assuming you've played a Mass Effect game before, if you haven't: play one of the other Mass Effect games instead. They are all much better games. This game is for people who have run out of good Mass Effect games and want more badly enough to lower their standards.
No major spoilers )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
2017-03-18 10:44 pm

Mass Effect Andromeda: initial thoughts

It's currently possible to play ten hours of Mass Effect Andromeda if you sign up for EA's streaming service Origin Access. This costs about $7, and you get 10% off the $80+ game, so, definitely worth doing if you are pondering buying it!

I have played 6 and a bit hours, which was enough to get to a large area that will probably take more than 3 hours to finish satisfyingly, so I'm stopping for now. It's been fun! I'll try to avoid any major spoilers in my thoughts below but minor ones will come up.
general thoughts )
Initial crew: thoughts and the result of flirting )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
2017-02-16 01:40 am

Return to...the Adventure Zone!

So I am up to date on all 56 episodes of the Adventure Zone and I love it and I want MORE why do I have to WAIT?? I have a few standalone episodes I haven't listened to yet but right now I want the end to this arc not something else.

It continues to be a very funny, meta, rule-bending dungeons and dragons game, but what started out as a fairly generic fantasy plot livened up by jokes has become a really engaging and well written fantasy plot livened up by jokes, and the characters have gained some depth.

It actually reminds me a lot of Homestuck, it's not remotely as convoluted but has similar slapdash fourth-wall-breaking pop-culture-heavy humour that somehow forms a weirdly coherent and surprisingly affecting whole.

Other similarities: none of the characters have canon appearances, the creators are supportive of fanart to the extent that there's official Fanart Spinoffs, and despite being 30 something white American dudes(*) with typical dirty nerdboy humour and blind spots there's obvious attempts at diversity, specifically lots of female characters and some canon m/m(**) and f/f. There's even a canon, sympathetic, background non binary character! Who was a construct but the non binariness was never a big deal and they got canon "they" pronouns, which was nice. (Some of the guys took a while to stop defaulting to "he" but they all got it by the end)

(*)And one 60 year old dude who doesn't try as hard in this respect.
(**) hearing two brothers roleplay a date between one of the main characters and an NPC was kinda weird but I still ship it haha.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
2017-01-14 08:31 pm

Things consumed!

Cam is on a work trip so I have been on a so far largely unsuccessful quest for light fluffy romance to distract myself. This has taken me to some odd places.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
2016-12-20 08:54 pm

Talking about "Kindred Spirits on The Roof" instead of playing it

This was hailed in femslasher gamer circles as The First Real Yuri Game On Steam, and so even though it hit a lot of my Do Not Want buttons (including being quite expensive haha) I eventually gave in and gave it a go. And, as the subject of this post suggests, I have very mixed feelings.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
2016-12-19 10:50 am

Seasonal Consumption

(Where that season is Summer, regardless of what most internet sites assume is globally universal)
Books, movies, anime, manga, webcomic )
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
2016-12-15 04:16 pm

Star Wars Rogue One: SPOILERS

SO MANY SPOILERS OMG.

So, first, off, the triggering content warning!
Spoiler: Just a line describing the trigger )

Ok and now some more detailed spoilery discussion, read at your own risk etc.

MORE SPOILERS )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
2016-12-05 10:54 pm

A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet

A fluffier, less morally ambiguous Farscape/Firefly-ish "found family of misfits have adventures in space" story where everyone is nice and there's a very obvious attempt at inclusiveness and diversity, including POC, queer, and disabled characters in significant roles getting to be fully rounded and happy. It's very comforting and light but still has enough narrative tension and plot to be engaging. Also, there's AIs. Overall I quite enjoyed it!

EDIT: After ranting to a friend my issues boil down to (a) It feeling pointedly Progressive while actually having a bunch of unfortunate implications (b) the author wanting the heroes to be Good People Who Do The Right Thing to an extent that felt morally and intellectually lazy especially given the author's narrow vision of what "good people" can look like.

But it rubbed me the wrong way 'progressive' speculative fiction often does )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
2016-11-12 05:58 pm

Arrival

This is a really good, thoughtful, humanist science fiction movie. It doesn't turn into horror or action halfway through, it's just about ideas and emotional truth. The heroine isn't badass in any traditional sense, but is still great, and gets treated like a real person instead of a Girl (eg she wears sensible clothes with her hair in a ponytail in situations where that's what any real person would do)

At times it crossed my personal line from "meditative and beautiful" into "ponderously slow" for a minute or two, and I imagine that if "linguist solves alien language problem by thinking about it very seriously" isn't your idea of a good time you'd it boring. But I loved it!

I read the original short story years ago and feel like the movie captures the stuff I loved about it (and I loved it a lot), some aspects didn't translate well to film (eg they do cut out the more technical linguistics) but other parts worked amazingly well. Knowing the plot didn't ruin my enjoyment but Cam LOVED the experience of going in unspoiled and I'm a little sad not to have experienced that.

There's very little "hard science" as in physics etc, Jeremy Renner's physicist character mainly serves as a sidekick. (I think the most sciencey thing he does to progress the plot is solve a fraction) But it's hard scifi in the sense of being about ideas. But also feelings! And a compassion for all people which is something I needed right now. It's also really visually effective, I'm glad we saw it at the cinema.

While ultimately uplifting in a bittersweet sort of way there's some very sad moments and it made me cry.

Content warning about one specific kind of sadness below. This stuff comes up in the first few scenes and I don't spoil anything past that point.
****Content warning, some spoilers**** )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
2016-11-07 09:16 pm

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

A space opera novel I wanted to like more than I did. In terms of basics it was good, I breezed through it quickly and was engaged the whole way through. But I am left feeling a bit meh now I'm done.

The things people recommended it to me for: diversity, space opera, robots, and maths.
My tl;dr thoughts on which are, respectively: good, ok, ok, and meh )
alias_sqbr: Hannelore: Worry hat! Bravery plus 10, charisma plus 5 (worry hat)
2016-10-05 02:14 pm

Things consumed in Australia!

Which is to say, things I am using to distract myself from stressing about our upcoming trip.
Read more... )