Fuck, and I cannot express this any more sincerely, Cuphead.
I’m just kind of screwing around with my various video game systems while I’m waiting out the Elden Ring series, and after five years of sitting on the fence about it I finally downloaded Cuphead.
Two reasons for the delay: one, the game’s visual aesthetic borrows extensively from 1930’s era Fleischer cartoons, with all the racist history that that era and that style of animation brings with it. And if I’m being 100% honest I feel kind of dirty about it. I dropped $20 on the game; I may make an equal or larger charitable donation somewhere appropriate and see if that eases my conscience at all. (To be clear, I haven’t noted anything directly problematic with the game itself, and you should read the articles I linked to, both of which make a nicely nuanced case about the game, but … it’s squicky. That’s a scientific term.)
Also, not for nothin’, it’s hard as hell, and that’s coming from me, a certified Fromsoft Guy. Worse, it’s hard as hell with short chapters, so there’s tons of swearing and immediately jumping back in going on, all the while insisting that I’m going to quit after this fucking stage kills me one more time. I mean, you win a stage in like a minute and a half if you’re playing well, probably faster once I get better at it. But I’m not going to get better at it if I end up throwing the Series X out a window, now, am I?
(Subject for a later post: I hate the Xbox Series X’s UI, a whole fucking lot.)
I devoured John Scalzi’s new novel, The Kaiju Preservation Society, over the last couple of days, and it was exactly what I wanted from it. Kaiju might be the John Scalziest book that John Scalzi could possibly write, and given his description of how the book happened (he spent 2020 beating his head around a novel that was decidedly out of his comfort zone and ended up bailing on it, and then this novel jumped into his head more or less in its final form and he wrote it in barely two months) it’s not hard to see how it ended up that way. Now, I love Scalzi’s style– my writing at its very best approaches Scalzi’s command of his tone, and I think I’m flattering myself by saying that, to be clear, but this is someone I look up to– but it’s turned up to 12 here, to the point where he almost feels like he’s parodying himself a little bit. Like, not every single conversation needs to be quippy. Sometimes people can just talk. If you’re not already a fan this isn’t going to be the book that convinces you (I’ll hand you Redshirts for that) and if you’re a fan you’re going to enjoy it. The rest of y’all? Smart, sarcastic, accessible science fiction and giant monsters. The word Kaiju is right there in the title; you know what you’re going to get. Go grab it up.