Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 20:43 on 12-06-2016, Ichneumon
I'm with Ms. McGowan here. Besides being just ugly, it does have some really unfortunate sexist implications, to say the least. It's probably a product of tone-deafness more than overt misogyny, but it's just... *bad.*

On a much, much worse note:

So, people on the right here are going to spin this into more Islamophobic bullshit, but before I read the whole "this guy was apparently a Da‘esh fanboy" thing, my first thought was, "This has to be some kind of neo-Nazi thing." But ultimately, there's not much difference, is there? It's frenzied reactionary rhetoric with an added dose of religious fanaticism and barely disguised sadism. This idea that it's really about God more than it is about any elevating cause oriented around hate just makes it easier for the other potential murderers-by-proxy to pretend they're different and special and better when they're really not.

It's scary being queer, you know?
at 01:15 on 05-06-2016, Craverguy
Speaking of the latest X-Men movie, the latest brouhaha in Hollywood is over whether or not a billboard portraying Apocalypse neck lifting Mystique promotes violence against women.
at 18:30 on 01-06-2016, Robinson L
So, I enjoyed the latest X-Men movie. Felt like they did a good job establishing the villain, and the opening sequence got me really pumped. Liked what they did with Jean Grey and Cyclops, and could have done with more Jubilee. Really liked the way all the characters came together to defeat the villain in the end - it really felt like a team effort. And it was awesome to see
the Phoenix
used for good for a change. Also glad that Professor Xavier finally
restored Moira MacTaggart's memories
. The little touches with dialogue and character moments were also very effective for the most part (perhaps too effective at times - I'll come back to that). Despite a huge cast, it managed to stuff in quite a bit of (mostly excellent) character development spread out around its main players. Favorite sequence of the movie was probably Quicksilver goofing around while saving a crap load of people from an explosion and listening to Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" on his walkman.

I have many minor issues with the movie of course, but only two really big ones. The first is that it often feels unfocused: it has a hard time keeping track of all the characters and their activities in the middle part of the movie before they all come together into two distinct groups for the third act. I get the feeling several scenes were left on the cutting room floor, especially ones dealing with Jean, Scott, Kurt, and Jubilee hanging out at the mall. And while I liked the team effort feeling of the climax, it was also quite cluttered, with certain characters - namely
Jean, Magneto, and Storm
- taking an inexplicably long amount of time to step in and make their contribution. It actually reminded me a bit of the climax to Star Trek Phase II's "Blood and Fire," where characters likewise just sort of hung around uselessly for a while until the script called for them to intervene.

My one big complaint is that the film introduced its single most compelling subplot by far for the sole and express purpose of stuffing it into the fridge and delivering a much more familiar and simplistic character arc instead. Boo.
at 18:35 on 23-05-2016, Ronan Wills

Didn't know another Syberia was in development. I remember reading the post about the previous two on this very site and thinking it was a shame that the story was never continued. Any excitement around this?
at 22:06 on 22-05-2016, Arthur B
I don't think I ever read any - I actively read 2000 AD in the early 1990s, after the original run of Rogue Trooper had finished but before they started telling new stories, so I kept seeing references to the series but never got to see the character himself in action.
at 20:57 on 22-05-2016, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Out of the blue question: Arthur, what can you tell me about Rogue Trooper? I know the very basics (shirtless blue man fights a lot of dudes on futuristic hell planet), but I just want to know if it's a comedy, serious war drama, sci-fi action nonsense, or is it one of those things like Judge Dredd where it can be whatever you want it to be, within reason. I'd also like to know if that old Rogue Trooper game would be an adequate primer.

I ask all this because I recently picked up Gordon Rennie's collection of Atalia Jaegir comics, and I'd just like to know how much context I'd need going in.
at 18:23 on 15-05-2016, Ichneumon
Hehehehe. Thanks. The paranoid, creeping aspect was definitely part of what I was going for.
at 00:18 on 15-05-2016, Melanie
My impression: Weird and dreamy, makes for good background listening. The sort of tense, sparse, industrial/electronic sound some of it has makes me feel like I should be sneaking around, trying desperately to avoid being seen by guards/undead/whatever. Or, more likely, hiding in some out-of-reach place I've found, studying npcs' patrol patterns and trying to figure out if I can survive a mad dash to the exit.
at 21:36 on 14-05-2016, Ichneumon
Oh. Fair enough.

I really have no idea how to describe it. There are songs with lyrics and chords? Also synthesisers and strange noises?
at 11:33 on 14-05-2016, Arthur B
I don't think anyone can really tell if they are interested or not without either hearing the album or getting some sort of description of what it's like...
at 02:55 on 13-05-2016, Ichneumon
Speaking of which, I made an album recently. I think it's decent, or hope it's decent; certainly enough time has been spent fussing over the stupid thing. I'll link it here if anybody's interested.
at 02:48 on 13-05-2016, Ichneumon
The first part is still going to likely be a fairly dry and wordy breakdown of the different potential definitions of the phrase "video game," though, seeing as my biggest issue with the original article was the way it applied this sort of semantic absolutism to such a broad and malleable umbrella concept. I really hate prescriptivism in media analysis. But after that, yeah, it's vein-opening time.
at 08:35 on 12-05-2016, Arthur B
Also: I finished the game I alluded to earlier, and it would indeed make a great lynchpin for the article on games and art, but I have come to realise that this article, because of how important this experience was to me, is probably going to get way more personal and reflective and less point-driven and definition-oriented than I had intended. This one got to me.

I look forward to reading it even more now.
at 01:22 on 12-05-2016, Ichneumon
A trans* friend of mine once observed that Tingle's use of the "unicorns=transfolk" metaphor as a satirical device in his work managed to be infinitely more respectful than the Powerpuff Girls revival's use of the same idea in earnest. Which, given trans* representation in media as it stands, is kind of alarming.

Also: I finished the game I alluded to earlier, and it would indeed make a great lynchpin for the article on games and art, but I have come to realise that this article, because of how important this experience was to me, is probably going to get way more personal and reflective and less point-driven and definition-oriented than I had intended. This one got to me.
at 23:49 on 10-05-2016, Arthur B permalink
at 11:48 on 06-05-2016, Arthur B
Chuck Tingle's whole web presence is basically trolling - in the "amusing Internet performance art" sense, not the "harassment and hate-spewing" sense - so Vox Day bringing Tingle into the whole mess just gave him a huge opportunity to get Tingley everywhere.
at 01:35 on 06-05-2016, Adrienne
At this point I actually hope Tingle gets the short story Hugo. I mean, it wouldn't be the worst thing ever to win a Hugo award; it wouldn't even be the worst thing to win one THIS DECADE.
at 01:31 on 06-05-2016, Michal
This is beautiful.

If there's one thing out of this year's Hugos I'm enjoying, it's seeing Chuck Tingle troll the ever living fuck out of Teddy Beale.
at 21:58 on 04-05-2016, Arthur B
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that going silly is the way most people would approach Round Robins.
at 19:33 on 04-05-2016, Shim
I always wondered how serious it was supposed to be. Lovecraft's section is verging on self-parody, though not outright there, and Howard's section is superlatively machismic. The writing circles did a lot of joking around, so I'm not convinced it was meant to be a super-serious project. As you say, it'd be interesting to know.

Rereading it reminds me I meant to check out Long and Moore and haven't got round to it yet. Merritt's stuff is okay.

I also noticed how short the early sections are. Obviously Lovecraft is very verbose, but I wonder if it's more difficult doing the early sections where you're trying to brew up something without pinning it down too hard for the rest?
at 15:11 on 04-05-2016, Arthur B
Relatedly, The Challenge From Beyond was kicked off by C.L. Moore, who ended up marrying fellow pulp writer/Lovecraft correspondent Henry Kuttner when he wrote her a fan letter under the impression that she was a dude.

I kind of wonder what Moore thought of the way Challenge From Beyond turned out.
at 07:54 on 04-05-2016, Melanie
So I found this anecdote involving Lovecraft and Howard and thought of you all.
at 03:13 on 04-05-2016, James D
Well, lore-wise the Space Marines are supposed to reflect monastic orders, while the Sisters of Battle are supposed to be nuns, and that kind of "separate but equal" thing might work if they were, y'know, at all equal in terms of spotlight, miniatures available, relative power (Sisters of Battle are more akin to elite Imperial Guard as opposed to the superhuman Space Marines, IIRC).

The easiest solution would be to just say "hey women can be space marines after all," but would it be better to make all the chapters co-ed, or make all-female chapters and thus preserve the whole "space nun" thing to go with the "space monk" thing? I mean you'd run into problems either way - if they integrate existing chapters, we'd most certainly end up with "Smurfette Syndrome", because all the Chapter Master positions are taken and all the Primarchs were dudes anyway, so there would be a couple of women like, holding bolters way off to the left somewhere in big battle scene art, and in a big army box you'd get a couple of female marines in your tactical squad or something. Who barely look any different because they're all wearing helmets anyway. Or, you go the sex-segregated route and say that the lost primarchs were women and give them all-women chapters, but there's so much lore behind the existing primarchs that any kind of new inclusion on that front is just going to seem shoehorned-in. What were these lost primarchs doing during the Horus Heresy? Just hanging out? That's no fun.

I mean probably the fairest possible thing would be to just retcon a ton of shit, gender-swap a bunch of the big primarchs, and integrate everything, but then you're left with a mountain of novels that aren't accurate anymore. Maybe there's another way I'm not seeing, but it's just such a boy's game for boys about men doing manly things with other men (NO GIRLS ALLOWED!!) from the ground up that as far as I can tell it's a "damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don't" kind of situation. Which is fitting for Warhams, I guess.
at 23:45 on 03-05-2016, Arthur B
Header image is an Imperial Fist so I approve.