Console Wars, Becoming Characters, and Poor Life Choices

Greetings once again, carbon-or-otherwise-based lifeforms!  I’ve been away a few days, after my last near-meltdown caused by a spiteful 18-year-old white supremacist.  It was touch-and-go for a bit there, as while I fully acknowledge being evil (look at the title of the blog, people), even evil has standards.  But as I struggled with whether I should curse her line for six or eight generations, it dawned on me – for as horrid, spiteful, bitter, useless, and pathetic as Bunny Hopper is, at least, AT LEAST, she isn’t…Paul Zindle.  So she hasn’t completely hit rock bottom yet.  Maybe she has a chance yet.  Probably not.  But that’s her problem.

cthulu
Pictured: Not Paul Zindle, but as close as the human mind can comprehend.

On to more positive, or at least less fucking horrific, topics, shall we?  We shall.  Because this is my goddamn blog and I say so.  Ah, that feels better.  So, while I mentioned last time that I had begun to read The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, my impressions on that particular work will have to wait for the moment.  There are two reasons for this.  First, the book is 1250 pages long, and its immediate sequel is 1300 pages long.  If you aren’t an avid reader and those page counts are hard to put into perspective, those books are considered “holy fucking shitballs” long.  Second, I got distracted by a recommendation that has grabbed my attention away from Kings.  On the suggestion of Brian Altano of IGN, I picked up Console Wars by Blake J. Harris.  If you are a gamer, if you want to know more about an absolutely pivotal time in the gaming industry from the perspective of the men and women behind the scenes of the major players, if the history of our form of entertainment interests you, stop what you’re doing right now (well, not right now, finish reading this first) and read this book.

The book covers the battle between Sega and Nintendo in the late 1980s and primarily the 1990s with their respective Genesis and SNES consoles.  Harris deftly weaves flashback sequences into the timeline to show how older events and the collapse of the American game industry, as well as its resurgence and domination by Nintendo in the mid 1980s, set the stage for the showdown with Sega that changed everything in the gaming world forever, and shaped where we are today as an industry.  Harris’s style is a good blend of historical documentation and narrative storytelling, and is easy to follow and hard to put down.  Put quite simply, if you are a serious gamer, you should read this book.

Next up, just a quick musing that was inspired by something I heard on IGN’s Podcast Unlocked this week (great podcast for Xbox game fans, FYI).  The hosts were discussing the upcoming film adaptation of Tomb Raider and the casting of the lead character, the iconic Lara Croft.  One of the hosts seemed particularly focused on making sure that the role go to someone with an appropriate “body frame” to fit someone with Lara’s “physical presence.”  Now in fairness, I don’t believe that this person was attempting to diminish any potential actresses or was focusing on Lara Croft’s well-known…attributes.  But I find that I wholly disagree with his belief that a particular “body type” is required, in men or women, to accurately portray a character.  Yes, Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider games scales cliffs and trees and explores caves and tombs.  But she also has firearms and weaponry and assorted other tools – so you don’t need Xena: Warrior Princess to convey to the viewer that she is athletic and physical.  I have personally seen plenty of smaller women engage in rock climbing or martial arts to great success without having a “large frame” and if any of them had a pickaxe or handgun I would not fucking mess with them.

To me, portraying a character is more about becoming that character – embracing the personality and demeanor that makes the character unique and memorable.  If I put on a tan trenchcoat, do I look like John Constantine?  No, I look like a loser in a trenchcoat.  But can I pull of a decent Constantine cosplay?  Yeah, I can – because I understand what makes that character tick, and I relate to and can emulate it.  Sarcastic, wounded, flippant – these are all things that people can do regardless of body type, and they are the essence of a character.  So it doesn’t matter that I’m not bleach blonde, or have a British accent, or practice black magi- actually, forget that last one, and don’t ask about it.  The point is, it isn’t about how someone looks that defines their suitability for a character role – it’s how well they can get into what makes the character who they are.

Finally, it’s time for another brief segment of common-goddamn-sense.  As you know, if you’ve given enough of a shit about this blog to click on the tab with my bio, I practice law.  Specifically, I’m a public defender.  You know, the guy the court appoints to represent you when you go on a bender, drive your car through someone’s living room, and spend all your money on bail so you can’t afford to hire a “real attorney.”  (Editor’s Note: If you say something about the “real attorney” thing around public defenders, who are, in fact, real attorneys, know that behind the polite smile and words of understanding they are contemplating that if anyone on earth was capable of making you disappear, it’s probably them.)

Now, normally when I meet with someone, I anticipate some level of confusion regarding the legal process.  This is completely understandable, as the legal system is extremely complicated and difficult to navigate if you aren’t trained to do so – hence why people like me have to hock most of our possessions and attend school for years in order to do it for a living.  So this doesn’t bother me.  But what DOES bother me is when someone decides to tell me everything I need to do because they “heard from the guys that’ve been in the jail a lot how this goes down.”  First of all, numb nuts, if they’ve “been in the jail a lot” wouldn’t that seem to indicate that they aren’t very fucking good at this?  And secondly, what precisely makes you think that this total stranger and convicted criminal has your best interests in mind and is just trying to help you out of the kindness of his heart?

Shackles
Does this scream “good life choices?”

So maybe, just for the hell of it, you should think about listening more to the guy who literally does nothing but represent people for a living over the guy shackled to the bench next to you who hasn’t showered in two years.  Just food for thought.

And as always kids, a quick word to Donald Trump and his ignorant masses.  There is a distinction between “opinion” and “fact.”  Too many people assert that they have “the right to their opinion” when spouting what is actually just an incorrect fact.  For example: “I don’t like math” is an opinion, and likely one that most Trump supporters can relate to.  I don’t agree with it, but you’re entitled to it.  “2+2=4” is a fact – it is not open to opinion.  “Well, I’m of the belief that it is 5” is not a fucking opinion that you’re entitled to; it’s just an incorrect fact.  You can have an opinion ABOUT a fact – i.e., you can dislike that 2+2=4 for some fucking reason, but it doesn’t change the underlying fact one goddamn bit.  So to apply it to Trump, “I don’t like minorities” is an opinion – a loathsome, vile, disgusting, backward opinion,  but one that in this country you are entitled to have.  However, “illegal immigration is at an all-time high” is an incorrect fact – it’s just wrong.  Your opinion of it is irrelevant – the statistical fact is that it’s at its lowest point in ten years.  So next time you are about to say something is “your opinion and you’re entitled to it” stop and think about whether or not you’re right or if you’re about to make an even bigger jackass out of yourself.  – EWE

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5 thoughts on “Console Wars, Becoming Characters, and Poor Life Choices”

    1. You’ll hear no disagreement from me on that! The discussion on the podcast was regarding whether Daisy Ridley would be a fit for the new film, and one host felt she was too small and lithe to portray Lara’s physicality. I just don’t see that as being an issue. Ridley played a very physical role in Star Wars, and more importantly I feel she could embrace the intangible character traits that have made Lara Croft memorable, particularly in the two latest games.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree that physical attributes are far less important than the actor actually “becoming” the character. I didn’t know a new Tomb Raider movie was in the works either. Game movies have a low success rate for me so I’m not holding my breath, lol

    All that Law stuff makes my head hurt. Props to you for having a career as a public defender! It must be a tough job to represent some people, but at least you help everyone have access to a fair trial.

    I definitely have to check out that Console Wars book now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, law is fascinating but can also be very frustrating. I’ve been on the prosecution side as well as the defense, and there are tremendous struggles for both. The biggest question I get as a public defender is “how can you defend what this person did?” And the simple answer is, I don’t. I don’t defend someone’s actions, I defend their rights within the system. If everyone involved does their job properly and my client is in fact guilty, then there isn’t too much to be done. It’s only when someone didn’t do their job properly that there are problems, and that is when people are entitled to have someone represent them that recognizes the errors.

      Liked by 1 person

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