Coffee at Scratch before work. Downtown Durham.
Don’t have to go into the studio today (It’s eye exam day! ugh) so took Harold to work and we had lovely coffee and breakfast together.
Last summer, I posted about reading David Wishart’s latest Marcus Corvinus mystery, Solid Citizens. This summer, I received the newest one, Finished Business, which means more Roman mystery. YEAH!
Marcus Corvinus is aging a bit now, and becomes a grandfather when his adopted daughter and her husband have their first child. But he doesn’t quite have time to be the doting grandpa with all the mysteries, murder, and kidnapping going on around him.
Finished Business is another really great Marcus Corvinus mystery, set at the end of Caligula’s reign. The story’s on a larger Roman scale, a bit like Germanicus, because Marcus Corvinus stumbles upon a conspiracy against Caligula. This time period will be familiar to fans of Robert Graves and Suetonius. (Oh! Did I tell you that I tried to watch I, Claudius with Harold? He said he liked it, but then he wandered into the kitchen for a soda during “don’t touch the figs”, so I’m thinking he was just pretending to follow it.) Without revealing too much, Marcus Corvinus has to decide just how loyal he is to a notably unstable emperor.
The author’s note explains a couple minor deviations from history (although I expect the details around an assassinated emperor have been fudged many times before), but it’s still close enough for a Roman historian reading a novel. Wishart also explains that Messalina must have had a previous husband since she’s an aged spinster of at least 21 at the time of her marriage to Claudius. (I just remembered my 30th birthday, drinking margaritas and toasting my impending spinsterhood, with Tryon, Kate, and Roy. Which is preferable to a Roman woman of that age sacrificing to, I don’t know, Juno Lucina, probably, in thanks for not dying in childbirth in her twenties.) I really only get cranky about historical inaccuracy when it’s glaring, like when someone gets a message from Gaul that was written yesterday.
Overall, more adventures in ancient Rome, with plenty of household snark, and the ending makes it pretty clear that there will be another Marcus Corvinus tale under Claudius’ rule.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for review. Opinions are my own, as always.
I’ve been trying to thoughtfully articulate how yet another thing women are supposed to buy and do to prevent rape isn’t really thrilling me (besides getting a nerd thrill from the sneaky-science cosmetics, that is), and this tweet basically sums it up.
My last post was reblogged by someone I don’t know and have never interacted with, telling me I have no integrity. I reread my post, trying to figure out what could possibly have been unclear (Was it reviewing a game MORE THAN 12 MONTHS before any possibly scandal was attached to it? Not taking a blog post as indisputable proof?) and what could possibly sound ethicless.
Then I saw the My Little Pony porn on that blog, so probably best not to respond.
I tweeted my link to my Depression Quest review the other day, and accidentally walked into the Zoe Quinn Twitter battle. I try to tweet my games journalism multiple times, because I’m a narcissistic attention whore, or working freelance writer, tick where applicable, but this is the first time I’ve had to immediately block Twitter burners saying awful things to me about it.
Game designer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend has written a pretty scathing tell-all blog post, with dates and names and screenshots of chatlogs, accusing her of sleeping with several guys in the games industry. This would just be weird gossip about people I don’t really know, except for the disturbing number of people (gamers, male) who decide that a post from an angry ex is 100% true beyond all doubt, and proves that the female designer slept with reviewers for positive reviews of a clearly awful game. For large numbers of angry gamers, an ex’s blog post completely legitimatized the shadowy spectre of the talentless and immoral woman, sleeping her way to success, and so the angry hordes took to the internet to vilify Zoe Quinn, in the particularly terrible ways gamers are constantly awful to women on the internet, usually involving Photoshop and porn, or rape threats on burner accounts.
Info from an angry ex is often unreliable (source: Existing on earth), and social media screenshots can also “prove” that Aeneas was on Facebook. Not that I’m saying the ex made it up – I don’t actually know either of them, so for all I know, she cheated even more, with more guys in the industry, and he never found out. For all I know, his manifesto is the tiny tip of the cheating iceberg! She could have banged every man in the state while her boyfriend wasn’t looking! That doesn’t really have any bearing on the quality of her game design work, though.
For the record, I reviewed Depression Quest positively for Indie Game Mag, over a year ago, before any of this happened, and I chose to reshare the post during a wave of conversations about suicide and depression following Robin Williams’ suicide. Also, no one offered me sex or cash or kickbacks for it. Also if there really is a lot of money and prestige in reviewing indie games, I am definitely doing it all wrong.
Shaun at Discover Games has a really good take on it:
The difference in this case is that the developer is a woman, and the game she’s selling (as pay-what-you-want, I think it should be noted) is the exact kind of nontraditional game that makes myopic hateful nerdbros apoplectic with unrestrained rage. So, instead of people either ignoring it or reviewing the journalists’ writing and questioning their ethics as we do with every other case, all those angry nerdbros have turned this into the Scandal of the Century, and it’s all about the deceitful woman using her sexuality and feminine wiles to extract positive press for her terrible game that could not have gotten good press by any means other than her prostituting herself.
Ultimately, of the many accusations flying around, I have no idea which are true and which are not. And I mostly don’t care. I find it difficult to believe someone would sleep with people they didn’t want to sleep with just to get a few positive nods for a game they’re basically giving away for free. But even if it’s all true, I’m more interested in the way the story is being framed, and the way in which it is different from the numerous other instances of similar situations.
Anyway, Depression Quest is a good, thoughtful game, I hope you play it and I hope you get something out of it. Encountering angry dudebros on the internet is neither good or thoughtful, and I’m embarrassed that this kind of harassment and attack is (still, frequently) happening in my industry.
Soccer Physics, from Otto Ojala and on CrazyGames, invites players to a chaotic mini soccer game.
You can play against a friend, or against the computer, in a funny two-versus-two soccer game. Players try to adjust to random elements in each silly version of the game. Soccer Physics players get random balls (sometimes you get a typical soccer ball, but sometimes it’s a beach ball), random fields, and random player abilities (we’re mostly talking rocking and jumping, here, not superpowers). Five goals wins the game, but be careful, with all the random factors, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Because the game is a little chaotic and very random, you don’t have to know a lot about soccer (aim ball for goal, stop opponent from hitting the ball into your goal) in order to play. Since you’re just trying to bounce the ball, it’s probably more like foozball than the World Cup. It reminds me of another mini sports spoof, Wrestle Jump, from the same developer, and a little bit of Mighty Knight, another cute buttonmasher on CrazyGames. Not a lot of time for strategizing, but the randomness and fast pace makes it fun.
The silliness and constant near-misses make for a fun, quick game.
This post has been sponsored by CrazyGames.
HOME! I didn’t want to get up, it was so nice to wake up in my own nice bed. Now I have to go to my work!