I Won’t Play Cuphead and That’s Ok

Cuphead is a good game. Cuphead is a hard game. Cuphead is a Microsoft-backed indie game. Cuphead is meticulously drawn in the style of 1930s cartoons. Cuphead was first announced at E3 2013 as a boss rush game. Cuphead was released recently for Xbox One and PC. Cuphead excited me from announcement to sometime before release. Cuphead is a good game, the critics say. Cuphead is all anyone is talking about in games media this week.

Now I’m talking about Cuphead.

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‘Rick and Morty’ and the Ship of Theseus

[Note: This piece contains spoilers for Rick and Morty episodes, SE3E01 ‘The Rickshank Redemption’ and SE3E08 ‘Morty’s Mind Blowers’.]

So, this season of Rick and Morty has been interesting. After blazing through season one and two on Netflix, I came to Rick and Morty this year watching week to week (though I waited until multiple episodes were out before beginning). This season, as opposed to previous seasons, I find myself delving deeper into the ideas of Rick and Morty. Now, something happened in the first episode that shocked me. Something that I thought would never happen.

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La Belle et La Bête

Bête stepped out onto the balcony that overlooked the verdant grounds. The cold wind bit at the matted fur that covered her hands. She placed her clawed nails on the cold stone of the balcony and tapped them melodically. She looked at the world below. The overgrown, dilapidated ruin that had once been her family’s estate. Then, on the edge of her vision, something brown crept into the lush greens of her garden. A creature had appeared in her family home. A trespasser.

Time is running out. This could be our chance.

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What Words Mean

In the words of Hamlet ‘words, words, words’. So, language is sort of my thing. It kind of comes with the territory of being a writer. Naturally, I think about the nature of language and how we use it. Language is how our brains translate our inner thoughts into outward communication. Language is one of the ways in which we exert power in the world. Now, with the Internet breaking down all the barriers, most people have a chance to voice their thoughts. That’s a double-edged sword that we’re still living under. So, let’s look at words and how they function in the modern world.

So, I have this strange linguistic dichotomy in me. Say I’m in a conversation with friends and one of them uses the wrong term, using stagnant instead of static for example. I might catch the mistake and mention the correct word. They’ll apologize and we’ll all move on. However, sometimes it’s worth noting that using the correct word doesn’t matter. So long as the two people in the conversation know what is being said, then as long as meaning is conveyed it sort of doesn’t matter how the language is used.

On the other hand, there are a few words that I care about that I demand be used properly. Like ‘political correctness’, like ‘ethics in game journalism’, like ‘feminism’. To me, using these terms correctly matters, even in casual conversation, and I’ll explain why. Look, I know how this looks. It looks like I’m about to start a rant. The truth of it is that I’m maybe about to start a rant.

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What Does VR Mean for Storytelling?

So, recently I’ve been tinkering with Virtual Reality. With that, I’ve been thinking about the sort of experiences we can convey in VR that wouldn’t be possible in any other medium. Essentially, I’m going to look at three ways you can experience VR and what each can do to tell a story in its own unique way.

 

Headset Only

The most basic version of VR is headset only. This could take the form of a smartphone and a device like Gear VR or Google Cardboard/Daydream, or it could involve the headset for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. With this set-up, you are essentially a floating head or camera. So any stories that would use this method would rely on accelerometers to judge what you’re looking at. A couple ideas spring to mind.

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The Spy Who Audited Me

From the desk of Hugh Williams – Head of Finance at MI6

Costing of last mission – to be raised with Mallory:

  1. Q Branch
    • Exploding pen – £62
    • Cufflinks, filled with nerve gas – £131.20
    • Aston Martin V8 Vantage, plus accessories and weapons – £246,996
    • Walther PPK, with biometric scanner in handle (plus ammunition) – £623.10
    • Holsters (shoulder and leg) – £116
  2. Damages to country infrastructure
    • Soviet-era tank, hijacked and driven through downtown Kiev – £38,605.80
    • 18 civilian vehicles, insurance payouts – £160,564.90
    • 3 local police cars, insurance payouts – £33, 812.90
    • Damage to local roads – £6,4001,948.25
    • Damage to private property – £39,385,814.30
  3. JB, personal expenses
    • Salary – £1,538
    • Flights – £382.20
    • Equipment (see Q Branch a-e, shipping and handling costs) – £672.80
    • Expenses
      • 3 tailor made suits – £11,666.70
      • Rolex watch – £27,170
      • Firearm licence (domestic) – £62
      • Hotel Room, five nights (+ lost deposit) – £3,171.45
      • Meal costs – £2,500
      • Casino money (to infiltrate criminal organisation) – £9,156,946.40
      • Healthcare plan (venereal diseases) – £256.30
    •  Drinks
      • 7 Vodka Martinis, shaken, not stirred – £140
      • 6 Heinekens – £8
      • 3 shots of vodka – £21
  4. Total costings – £113,073,209.30

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