Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: 9/12/18 Edition

I started playing Fallout 3 again earlier this week. I guess the emphasis in that sentence would go on started playing. I’ve put in about five hours I think at this point and, similar to every last time I’ve ever tried, it’s started to weigh me down. Would you know that all those years ago a brought the Game of the Year edition, I’ve never interacted with any of that DLC content at all.

This was probably brought on by Fallout being dragged in the gaming press for the last full month. It’s probably telling that as someone who’s now only lingering on the periphery of gaming spaces I had no

I’ve written before about Skyrim before in the context of Bethesda RPGs, how its attempt to create a completely interactable world ends up diluting any meaning inherent to the space you explore. Its a frictionless experience, but one that does not stand up to thorough interrogation. Read my whole old article for more detail on that, and why such a design ain’t necessarily a bad thing.

It just makes the dissonance way more pronounced when it comes to their instalments in the series: everything, every which way you turn, is screaming at you that something meaningful is being represented here. Blasted ruins, human remains, this dreary oppressive palate of concrete and rust.

I think it’s telling how different the third and fourth games look, outside of the obvious upgrade in their fidelity. The fourth one with it’s poppier, higher contrast aesthetic, and even in the much maligned choice to have a Bioware style dialogue system is clearly one that feels more comfortable leaning into the game’s contradictions

People dislike that it confronted them with an apparent lack of agency, the meaning of their choices now being determined by the designers. But the design decision is an honest one, acknowledging of the fact that they have built a world in which it is impossible for the player to create meaning through their own actions.

I’ve now completed a few of the side quests in this current playthrough, even a few that I’d not actually done before. The philosophy I can determine so far seems to be that this is a dead world and nothing you do matters. At the very most all you can do is to stave off oblivion for a little longer.

McCarthy’s The Road was published in 2006 just as development on this game was entering full swing. Its influence is obvious. I think what’s helping me stick to it this time is that it’s the first playing on the actual intended normal difficulty. I’m bad at games, and I’m finding every battle really hard. I probably, again, won’t reach the end but there’s enough for me here right now.

I’m not sure why though, for a few weeks every year or so, I’m compelled to return. I’ll keep you updated if I figure out anything more.

Saturday was our work Christmas party, which is like the first one of those that I’ve actually had in years. The thing with work functions, even parties, is that they are still work, you still have to be on. There’s refreshingly little drama at this workplace, I mean, compared to where I was where seemingly everyone harboured secret grudges against everyone else.

I’m not naturally good at social things, while I’ve learned some skills over the past few years by deliberately practising there’s a many that still escape me. I don’t know how to be on the inside of things, I’m not always good at reacting to jokes — especially ones that are couched in antagonism — I can’t start conversations. I’ve accepted that i will never feel at home in many places.

Presenting femme makes things easier though. There’s no good full body shots of me from the evening (sigh) but I looked good. After my shift I and a couple of the other girls got together to get ourselves put together for the evening, I say evening, party started at seven, weren’t no night out. It’s literally the first time I ever got invited to something like that.

Like, I’ve always avoided clubbing. Tried it a few times and it was no joke nightmarish. At uni I’d join at whoever’s house for pre-drinks and then go home and call it a night. This was before I had come out and the girls always seemed to be having more fun. We’d talk about it and they’d say that it was the best part of the evening, some that the clubbing was incidental to the whole experience but it’s nice to get prepared for it with friends.

I think that might be a part of life that I’ve just missed out on at this age. At the work function I couldn’t drink because I had to drive home, afterwards more people were gonna go out and hit the town and I couldn’t because I had to drive home. As everyone was drifting off there was a breif moment when we were in a space that wasn’t quite work and wasn’t quite not. There’s people there I could hang with. Folks who seem chill.

Living in a different town, working around each other’s shifts would be hard, but Imma try to be friends with these people.

I’m writing this now as the EU court have announced that the UK is free to unilaterally revoke Article 50 and May has cancelled the vote on her deal a day after parliament found her government in contempt and she’s apparently going to give a statement at in a few hours. I’ll be at work when she’s delivering it.

I wonder what it would be like to have a sane and functional government at this time. We’re heading rapidly for disaster, every prediction is hellish, and I’m ruing not converting our garden into a vegetable patch last year.

At this point I’m acutely aware that I will not be on hormones before the deadline. I probably won’t even have a diagnosis that would put me anywhere close. There was news earlier this week that if there’s a shortage of drugs the government will decide how they will be allocated. The NHS will be underfunded further, and I’m not second guessing what they’ll decide to cut.

We are reaching the end of things now. There is unlikely to be a future for any of us.

I didn’t participate in the riots seven years ago.

Now…

That’s it for this week then. I’ll have reviews up soon for Spiderverse, The Old Man and the Gun, and Tulip Fever. Desperately trying to catch Sorry To Bother You as well. Oh, and Mortal Engines is dropping midweek so there’ll be that too, you can read about my fears based on the trailer here, that series probably deserves better.

I keep meaning to make note of topics to discuss in these but never do. If there’s anything you want me to chat on hit me up, my twitter’s here.

Y’all stay safe out there. The world can be rough sometimes.

Esther
xx

 

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