Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Relocated

On the off chance you've ended up here on purpose, I'm terribly sorry but I've moved! Batterywine is now on Wordpress.

Thanks for your interest, anyway! Check me out!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Raywomyn

Am I the only one who didn't hear Rayman Legends was coming out this year? And that it was a Wii U launch title? And that they just introduced the world to Barbara the Barbarian? And that bloggers everywhere started making "axe to grind" jokes? I guess that last one's not surprising.


If you're just hearing this as well, this not-so-news of Legends' (token) female character comes on the heels of yet another sexism-in-gaming debacle, in which a developer let fly a lazy and insensitive jab at girlfriends everywhere. "Girlfriend Mode," he called a co-op mode geared towards less experienced players.

Many are saying that it's a mild symptom of a bigger sickness and maybe not worth fighting over. That's almost true -- certainly Hitman and Tomb Raider are much more deserving of vitriol. But it should go without saying that dismissing "small time" sexism is a cop out. In my mind, it's exactly John Hemingway's sort of presumptuous cheap shot that begs a response because it's made so casually, with the unspoken assumption that "Hey, you know what I'm talkin' about, huh buddy! Broads, eh?" It's offhand sexism -- offhand racism, offhand homophobia -- that is the most insulting because it is perpetrated in broad daylight, with full confidence of one's safety from criticism. They're just plain asking for it.

But, hey, wait, still -- Legends is looking really good. And I don't have the usual sequel worries. I'm not concerned about Legends being worse than the original, even though Rayman Origins was immaculate. It was masterful. Can it be topped? Dunno. Probably. These folks have been making these games for a terribly long time, and Origins was less a pioneering exploration of unknown wilderness and more an artisan distillation of years of experience into a nutrient-rich, technicolor maple syrup. Origins wasn't some ideological gamble Ubisoft is now forced to repeat -- they knew exactly what they were doing, and my guess is they can do it again.



Happy Monday, everyone. If you're on break, read on for what I had to say about Origins back in February. (Sorry for all the archiving; not sure how long these old articles will be hosted on the University server.) Cheers!

(Bonus edit: apropros questionable depictions of women, in replacing a broken link I learned that "Barbara the Barbarian" is a apparently an 80's porn starring Barbara Dare. Ms. Dare was quite the sensation (see: dat hair) and also starred in such classics as "Bratgirls," "Where The Boys Aren't" and "Blame It On Ginger." She was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame, and in 1992, just a few years after the start of her career, she stopped making films for Essex Video and instead began work in their PR department.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

No New Leaf Left Unturned

Tomorrow, I'm going to quit smoking.

german lung ashtray

Well, no -- tomorrow I'm going to start the painful process of quitting. Past experience predicts a cowardly campaign riddled with retreats and pleading treaties with Future Me. But he's a traitor, and just as weak. Within one month or two I'm at the 7-11 waving dollar bills like so many white flags.

But now my ultimatum is Online, and I'm hoping that might keep me honest. It's in that same spirit that I'll vow, with comparable solemnity, to post here twice a week. (Please note the emboldened text, top right. Big letters = Serious Changes Y'all.) In the next few days I'll do a sort of Lightning Round with paragraph reviews of the various little indie gems I've been mining. Soon enough I'll bring you up to speed on my collaborations with the PIGSquad folk -- it looks like I might write a feature for Portland's first (presently nameless) chiptune zine, so look forward to that. I'll also pump out that KOTOR "After Pressing Start" and post it here if Nightmare doesn't want it.

I won't die a slow death if I lose this war, but I'm starting to think creative consistency will be just as important to good health. So here goes.

This post is maybe too short and too personal, so here's some game stuff -- an old review for Rock of Ages, a game I thoroughly enjoyed playing through a second time. The article was originally published by The Trail, our student newspaper at the University of Puget Sound -- hence some formatting issues, a semi-academic style and such references as "semester" and "major." Cheers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Coming Attractions

kotor jedi training

Thinking about doing a KOTOR retrospective in the style of Nightmare Mode's "After Pressing Start." (If it's any good, I'll try submitting to the site before publishing it here.) The game was massively important to me and to the nascent notion of morality-driven reward. I always thought it was strange; the game's best force powers (and, come to think of it, all of BioWare's "evil" rewards) are earned with flat dismissal of potentially enriching quests, insensitive insults, brazen demands for More Credits, all the way up to thoughtless murder, betrayal, and taking a dive to ruin someone's stripper audition. I mean, the Dark Side stuff is silly, and I don't take it any more seriously than I did when I was thirteen, but it gets really surreal, the sort of stuff the game encourages -- hoping to earn a couple red-tinted bonus points and a sweet new portrait, you purposefully demolish a stranger's chance at becoming a dancer. And you know what? I don't even think you get any Dark Side points for that one. You just actually feel like a dick.

My tribute to Armando Montano, the AP reporter killed in Mexico City, was published at Medium Difficuly. The MD folks have been unbelievably encouraging and accommodating when I needed it most -- can't thank them enough for that.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gettin' Goin'

It has been an excellent couple of weeks: a few days ago, I got a job as a freelance translator. I'll be writing little English articles about big German companies, and someone will give me currency for that, which is extremely nice of them.

A rusty and creaking train of thought, one that departed an academic station in 2011 and had since wound across the long rough country of Rewrites and Research, pulled in at The Escapist Magazine yesterday. To my great surprise, people seemed okay with it being there, and no one was much bothered by the billowing smoke (read: hot air). Anyway, it was my first "real thing." I'm happy with it.

In more concrete and thus more invigorating news, I met a bunch of game developers, an elite cadre operating under an ominous moniker:


They are without a doubt Good People, and I can't wait to see more of them and their work. With a pronounced Community Outreach bent, PIGS has been making a difference all over town; in a couple weeks they'll be hosting a game tournament for charity in an space-themed dive bar. It's going to be good. Actually, they're loosely affiliated with a chiptune show going on this evening -- I'll update with pictures once I have them.

Good, good, great. All great. Mostly, though, I just can't believe this happened:



I just went to the bathroom and came back to four more clicks on my bitly link. This is the sort of thing that makes me happy. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear Sir or Madam

Walter Garrett Mitchell
Post-Grad Limbo, OR, USA
(719)  PLZ - HIRE
grownup_email@bigbusiness.net


To all Potential Employers:

Salutations!

Welcome to the dogeared photo album of overambitious daydream that is my oft-neglected Blog! If you're reading this I can only assume you took the blue-tinted bait I left for you, tucked in the resume that was sent to your temporary Craigslist address and/or left with your nonplussed personal assistant.

And how happy I am that you're here! As you can tell, I've spent my valuable time (of which I keep a near endless store, in industrial vats of Afternoon) tweaking and aligning the various metrics of personal expression that frame the deluge of my self-indulgent mumblings. And (lets please be honest with one another) all in hopes of impressing you! So, please, take a moment to peruse my carefully stacked sidebars. You'll notice the scattered scaffolds of eDentity I have begun to erect here and elsewhere on the Web -- upon which I will, without a doubt, Establish Myself -- as well as topical pop-culture appreciation (relevant hyperlinks included) and inter-blogosphere awareness! Aside from endearing me to your refined tastes, I hope to prove by way of demonstration that I am On My Way, Social Network-Capable and perfectly willing to engage in Ravenous Identity Whoring. I heard that these were good things!

That central monolith of text is less important. I can only hope that my actual opinions are spurious to whatever drudgery I'd shamelessly (happily!) sign on to do for money, so, should you decide to read on, note at least my impeccable grammar, innovative spelling, and avid devotion to the Oxford comma -- commendable and marketable advantages, all.

I wouldn't want to sound like too much of a suckup, so here are a few thinly veiled boasts under the guise of Telling You A Little About Myself -- I recently graduated from a prestigious liberal arts college, often called "The Harvard of The West" by pretentious assbags as desperate as myself. Along with my numerous (and extremely competitive) academic awards, the English/German B.A. I received in May is already collecting dust on a pastel shelf in my childhood bedroom, alongside my numerous (and extremely competitive) youth soccer participation medals. Oh, no, I don't live at home -- I'm proud, militantly proud to have finally attained my independence, but really, who am I kidding? I'm on food stamps.

Given that a Bachelor's Degree sets me apart from the crowd about as much as a personal email address, you might say that this blog serves as a kind of ersatz personality. I want you to get to know (the presentable, premeditated, heavily edited, Wikipedia-fact-checked) me! As such, I see my blog a sort of inimitable signature, a breathtakingly dynamic, endlessly surprising portrait of a white male 20-something geek from a middle-class background -- a portrait like no other. Do not be alarmed at my ideological daring, my willingness to wrestle the hulking oily blackness of the unknown and interrogate with P.I. precision stomach-turning postmodern monstrosities like the Video Game, the Color Television Program and the Animated Gif Of A Silly Face (The Slow Motion One, From That Sports Thing (I Don't Watch Sports Though, So)). It might unnerve you, but I'll be upfront: I live on the bleeding edge, drinking the bleeding blood of the NOW.

Whoops, getting a little heavy there. Striking a balance between professional determination and approachable affability can be tough, but I hope you've noticed my readiness to walk this shit-slick tight-rope for attention! Just imagine the horrors I would put up with if you started paying me to do it -- if the polish on my online presence is any indication, I'd crowbar my tendons free if I thought I might score more Twitter followers!

I do hope to have made an impression, and if you're interested, I'd love to discuss your job opening in person or over the phone -- either way, I'll be seven times more self-conscious than this irreverent blog post might suggest. I'm actually an anxious shambles of a human being!


Oversincerely,

OH GOD PLEASE PAY ME