Editor’s Note: The following is a work by the heretical former Grand Mage Avran Ebontide of the Keepers of the Sacred Flame. Grand Mage Ebontide was ousted from the order for his permissiveness of forbidden magics within the walls of Glaskerze. Nonetheless, Grand Mage Ebontide was a wise and studied wizard. To abandon his pre-eminent research in defining magic would be folly. Thus, his words are presented below, with some minor edits by Ebontide’s successors.
What is magic? Many an apprentice has raised this question in their first years of study at Glaskerze. No doubt those who raise their voices to question the nature of magic within a magical institute are setting themselves up to be rather wise or rather foolish. I asked the question myself when I arrived at Glaskerze some eight decades ago. Whether I am wise or a fool is yet to be determined. On the surface, this is a good question. What is this thing that we all study? However, some use the question as a shield. The foolish ask because they know their answer and wants the world to agree with their assessment.
So last year I discussed the wealth of indie games available on various platforms that were testing interesting game ideas in ways that large AAA games couldn’t. This blossoming of indie games in the modern gaming space could probably be traced back to the Xbox Live Arcade. From there, Steam acted as a platform for these indie games. I have a lot of indie games on Steam. I have a lot of games in general on Steam. While I used to play lots of my indie games on Steam, of late that is getting increasingly difficult. Steam is awash with titles of every conceivable quality. Just recently, a game in which the player can play as a school shooter made its way onto the platform. Steam is just too crowded these days. That crowding includes fantastic games. However, these games often lost in the fray. Now with the Switch, something is happening to these indie games as they find a space in the console space.
The interview began normally enough. A full-time job as a personal assistant. As it was explained to her, the person she would be assisting was a successful businessman who needed someone to organise his life so that he could focus on the content of his discussions. The job paid well and came with some great travel options. This businessman was often meeting with foreign governments and the like. Things began to get strange when he entered the interview room. His name was Armando Scorpius and he spoke with an accent that she couldn’t quite place. It was eastern European but beyond that, it was impossible to tell. He sat next to the man conducting the interview. Scorpius dressed in an immaculate white suit. He had a strong jawline and tightly groomed grey hair. His most notable feature, however, was a deep crimson birthmark that curled out from his shirt cuff and swirled like a tentacle onto his right cheek. The man conducting the interview began to talk about the great health care plan. Then Scorpius cleared his throat. The room was quiet except for his voice.
‘No fraternising on company time,’ he told her authoritatively.
So recently I got myself a Switch. I’m enamoured with it for one simple reason. It has a lot of indies and can be played portably. I couldn’t imagine playing Stardew Valley on any other console. I own Stardew Valley on my computer but usually, I’m using my computer for other purposes. With the Switch, I can play a game while I’m commuting. I can play a game while the TV is being used for Netflix. I can play the Switch in another room easily. I can bring my Switch to a friend’s place. The Switch fits around my life and that makes it the ideal console for me and possibly for other busy adults as well. So much of the antiquated idea of gamers revolves around the console as a static platform. Sure, phones games exist but a combination of factors means that phone games have their own shape and form to them that lends itself to smaller experiences. The Switch can handle beefier experiences and a controller with more nuanced controls than tapping. With that, I’m going to talk about a feature of the Switch that I never realised the benefit of until I had a Switch. The controller.
So last week I had a look at the first Iron Man film. For me, the thing that surprised me the most about the first film of the MCU is how interesting it’s geopolitics were. 2008 seemed like an epoch ago in the grand scheme of history. It seems that our news focus has shifted from Afghanistan, the country in the first Iron Man, to Syria. Now instead let’s turn our focus to the second Iron Man film. Iron Man 2 is not so well liked amongst Marvel movies, but like most of them (bar the dour Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World) it is supremely watchable. The cast work wonders in that regard. Downey is magnetic. Cheadle, Johansson, and Jackson give enjoyable performances in their role. Sam Rockwell is having too much fun as Justin Hammer. So, let’s look at the movements and the plot of Iron Man 2 and reflect on where we’ve been and what that means for our current moment in time.
So, with Infinity War coming out just last week I decided to rewatch most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. A look back at where the universe has been and where it is now. Now, when I rewatched these films I skipped 2008’s Incredible Hulk, which meant that my marathon began with the first two Iron Man films. An interesting beginning. I’ve never been Tony Stark’s biggest fan. I’m more of a Captain America guy. Looking back at the first Iron Man films is interesting because those films begin with Stark embroiled in the military-industrial complex. Now, Tony Stark may have transitioned away from that model into being a futurist, but his solo films are all about corporate power struggles and the next big weapon.