Been absent a bit to work on the next novel (hit the 50k mark) and, among other things, play Mass Effect Andromeda. Here are my thoughts because I might as well post it here. It’s my blog after all.
Finished up Andromeda with 83% completion. Final thoughts? I liked it. It ended up being a lot of fun. During my play through I got to experience the game both unpatched and patched, and while I had rolled lucky on the compatibility dice before, it infuriates me that the game could have easily been better received with just a week or two of updates and some actual play testing. It’s a fucking shame that the game had to suffer from it.
On the game play side of things, the game eventually became a Mass Effect game, meaning the gun play got boring while the biotics/whatever someone else might choose who isn’t ready to be a cool space wizard got really awesome. The upgrade system they implemented though, meant that I didn’t get tired of gun play until hour 40 or so, much later than any previous ME game. Continue reading “Mass Effect Andromeda: Almost A Star Trek Simulator”
Nazis and stupid monsters showed up in both but why does Legends of Tomorrow succeed where Captain America failed?
Yesterday the second episode of Legend of Tomorrow’s second season aired and I found myself strangely okay with their alternate WW2 setting. The episode “Justice Society of America” features just that: the Legends teaming up with the Justice Society to stop an evil Nazi nobleman and capture a magic amulet that may or may not be part of the Spear of Destiny. Easy peasy.
It seemed strange to me that I would be okay with this version of portraying WW2 instead of the Captain America: The First Avengers version, but the more I got to think of it, the more it seemed just so simple. Captain America’s version of WW2 and the Nazis bothered me mainly because they had taken so many steps to removing the Nazis from the film and replacing them with Hydra that it just seemed insulting to me, like a painstakingly big marketing push to get foreigners to watch America indulge in another Greatest Generation wankfest. To me the biggest problem were things like “Red Skull was kicked out of the Nazis for being too evil” or “fully integrated US Army with three token black people in the background” or “Nazi salutes are so out of fashioned, here’s the handglider salute”. Another element was tone where most of the film was so cartoonish that I couldn’t take their attempts at drama seriously. Historical inaccuracy I can, under certain circumstances, abide by, but it also felt highly inauthentic to me.
With this episode and Legends of Tomorrow’s previous episodes historical inaccuracy shows up as it has before, but the added element of time travel and changing the past, coupled with high amounts of historical authenticity, do help. Its small elements like casual racism and sexism on display, like Hourman not taking Sara seriously because she’s a woman, go a long way to help ground the series in the time period, regardless of the inaccuracies, which have a blank check through time travel shenanigans anyway and help suspend your disbelief. The fact that Reverse-Flash is still trying to change history for some reason goes a long way to somewhat sustain this historian.
The tone of Legends of Tomorrow also helps: despite its occasional goofiness in certain episodes, the show does now when to play it serious for stretches and outside of a couple of jokes the episode never winks at the camera, even when the Nazi supermonster roams around. There is talk of consequences, dying in battle, doing ones duty, to the point that I find Commander Steel more compelling in two short scenes than Captain America in his entire first movie. The fact that they are fighting the actual Wehrmacht in covert ops does certainly help to ground this in the actual time period and a secret special ops team is more believable than a propaganda mascot fighting a secret war against Wolfenstein enemies.
Historical accuracy is an important element in fiction dealing with real events since I believe media reception and reappraisal are important parts of one coming to terms with parts of ones own and other peoples history because of the wide range of films and television. Would I have preferred a version of this where everything is period accurate and Wehrmacht soldiers didn’t do the Nazi salute until late 1944? Of course I would, but if I can at least get some authenticity in my World War 2 story I will take that over trying to disney- and cartoonify the era.
Captain America: the struggle between character and caricature.
I originally started writing this blog post about two days before the now infamous press release by Marvel Comics that Captain America, the Steve Rogers one, was an agent of H.Y.D.R.A. all along. Now, never mind that this is just another example of a desperate comic industry ratings stunt to sell more than 25.000 copies of any given book not headlined by Spider-Man, Batman, or Star Wars, what really surprised me was the public outcry over this fictional character. I’ve had my issues with Captain America in the past and talked about it here or there with people, but many people are heavily attached to the character. What makes Captain America who is is, is really the embodiment of the American Spirit. Cap is, in the words of Brows Held High, not the man who fought in World War 2. He is the man who fought in the World War that Americans wanted to fight. One in which the good guys always won, in which the Americans didn’t arrest hundreds of thousands of Japanese-American citizens, in which we don’t have to talk about the suffering and dying on the front lines. Where the bad guys weren’t also mostly people fighting to survive and for their comrades to survive. And I think it took me a while to come to terms with Captain America.
Continue reading “Coming To Terms With Captain America”