Tuesday, August 28, 2012


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


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.