Leroy Quade Transhumanism Horror

A while back, I backed a horror magazine called Creeper on Kickstarter. You can click here to buy the magazine as it is out now. (I get no money if you buy it.) In the magazine there is a story called Ground Control to Leroy Quade, and it’s transhumanism horror at its finest. In case you don’t know what transhuman is, here’s a brief primer. The idea of being transhuman is merging humans with technology. It is the stuff of science fiction, but it is slowing turning into reality. Cybernetics, brain chips, shared biomechanical consciousness are all part of the larger scope. It is also a possible means to immortality, or at least extended lifespans.

The picture shows the cover to Creeper Magazine 01, which contains the transhumanism horror story Ground Control to Leroy Quade

Ground Control to Leroy Quade presents a transhumanism nightmare of horror with surprising ease. The tone of the story sets the reader up for the inevitable gutpunch, but does so in a way that we feel safe. The story lulls us into a false sense of security through its main character. Leroy is detail oriented and a creature of habit. He is a futurist, but doesn’t want to live forever; wants to do things, help people, improve the world. He visits his mother in a nursing home, and has a casual relationship with a woman. Put simply, he is an average man.

Then, he has a doctor put a chip in his brain. The chip allows him to always be working, even when he is dong other tasks. He eats and works; sleeps and works; fucks and works. It’s a godsend to his productivity.

However, as this is a horror story and not a happy go lucky one, something happens and the chip begins to take over his life. That’s as far as I’ll go for spoilers.

I Enjoyed The Transhumanism Horror of Leroy Quade to Ground Control

I read this story last week and it has stuck with me. The author, Ganzeer, uses precise and simple language, making it easy to read. However, just because the language is simple and straightforward does not lessen the impact of the words or the complexity of the ideas. In fact, they enhance it. Any time a writer can present high concept ideas in an easily understood fashion is excellent. I appreciate ability like that.

I really liked this story, not only because of Ganzeer’s way with words, but also because it explores a topic interesting to me. Human-machine hybrids fascinate me because they seem so out there, but at the same time like a real possibility. Admittedly, I have not read much of it, but what I have has sparked my imagination. The prospect is exciting and terrifying at the same time.

What do you think about futurism, transhumans, and the merging of flesh and machine? Let me know what you think in the comments. Oh, and seriously, buy this magazine. The $4 pdf is worth it for this story alone. Thanks for reading.

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Battle Supremacy Evolution Switch Review

I’ve been looking for a fun space simulator/shooter for the Nintendo Switch for a while, and I had hoped Battle Supremacy Evolution was it. Unfortunately, it is not. Granted, I have not spend a ton of time with the game. Okay, I’ve only spent like 5 minutes with it. However, that is enough for me to know I am going to hate it.

The image shows the title screen of Battle Supremacy Evolution for the Switch, the topic of this review.

What’s the problem? It’s not the graphics as they are decent. And, it’s not the soundtrack, though there is nothing special about it. So what is it? Simply put, it’s the controls.

The controls on Battle Supremacy Evolution for the Switch are atrocious. They make the game unplayable for me. What’s wrong with the controls, you ask? In a nutshell, everything. First and foremost, the player uses the left stick to move the vehicle, while they use the right stick to target. In theory, this could work, but the execution here leaves me wanting. The controls are not responsive or smooth enough for satisfying game play. I spent my first battle driving in circles as I tried to control the tank as well as target enemies.

One neat feature of the game is your vehicle transforms. You can drive a tank or change into a jet. I had hopes the jet controls would be a little bit better than the ground vehicle. To an extent, they are, but they are still clunky and frustrating. Which is too bad, really, because fuck yeah! I can be a tank or jet and blow shit up!?!? How cool would that be? Super cool, in theory. In execution? Not so much.

Battle Supremacy for the Switch Feels Like a Bad Port

I think this game is a port of a mobile game, which would explain some of the issues I have with it. On the other hand, I would have hoped that the developers would have taken advantage of the system’s capabilities. However, they didn’t, and the game suffers from their shortsightedness.

The game retails for $9.99 on the eShop, but I didn’t pay that. Instead, I used my Nintendo coins, but I wish I had saved them for something better. So now, here I am out a bunch of coins, stuck with a game I don’t like, still in search of a good space shooter. I know Everspace exists, and that’s the game I really want. However, $39.99 seems like a steep price to pay. Maybe one of these days I will.

Have you played Battle Supremacy Evolution for the Switch? What do you think of it? Am I way off in my review? Should I give it more of my precious time? Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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Deadlands: Hell On Earth Role Playing Game

When I was in college I ran a Deadlands Hell on Earth table top role playing game for a group of friends. There were five players and me, the GM. We played almost every week, on a Sunday. We were often hungover from Saturday night shenanigans. And Friday night. And Thursday night. We drank a lot.

The image shows the cover of the main rulebook for Deadlands: Hell on Earth

When we started, I was in a pretty good place. Sure, I was single (had been for a while) and a drunk (also for a while). But, I was also doing well in school, had made lots of friends, and mostly felt good. Depression reared its ugly head every now and again as is its wont.

And, I was happy to find people to play RPG that weren’t D&D with. We maintained the game for about 18-24 months. I don’t remember exactly because it’s been over 15 years since that time in my life.

I do remember that the group was good. We had a decent mix of experienced and new players, but everyone invested themselves in the game, which is important. If you’ve never played RPGs before, know that player involvement makes everyone’s jobs easier, especially the GM’s.

The first few sessions went well, if memory serves. We played about three hours each time, and there was laughter, excitement, and character deaths. I wrote the adventure and let the players guide the story, as is my style. There are other ways to play Deadlands: Hell on Earth, certainly, but that’s how I ran my game.

Showing Up to Deadlands: Hell on Earth Became a Small Struggle

Eventually, things got more difficult. My depression kicked in more than before, and school responsibilities took over the group. Still, we made an effort to show up nearly every week. Sometimes we would only play for an hour. Other times, we would get together but not play. It was those times that I especially felt bad. See, if the players show and you give it your all and it’s a bad session that’s one thing. It’s something else if they show and you go through the motions. I am not saying that’s what I did, but it felt that way to me sometimes. As I am sure it did to the players.

There were times when I didn’t want to play. I felt down and depressed and didn’t want to put the work in. Other times I didn’t know where the story was going, or why we were still playing. I realized then, as well as now, it was my issues. Depression, lack of self-worth, burnout. My friends always seemed willing to get in the trenches and sling some dice. For that, I am and was appreciative.

How Do You Measure RPG Success?

Thinking about it now, we had more successful sessions than not. I wrote a lot of the campaign we played, but I also used pre-written modules. It was, I think, a good mix of both.

Overall, I think the game was successful as evidenced by the fact that the players continued to show up to play, and we usually seemed to be having fun. Not always, but that’s life, right? Eventually, as it happens, life got in the way and the game died. Friends quit. I moved away.

I will always remember it fondly, though. It was the longest game I’ve ever been involved in, and the bonds of friendship are still there.

What’s the longest you’ve ever been in a single campaign? What keeps you coming back? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading this small reflection on a time in my life that I look upon with happiness despite the negative feelings I sometimes had.

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It: Chapter 2 has Scares and Heart

I wasn’t a big fan of It, part one, and I was wary of whether or not It: Chapter 2 has scares and heart. Well, I went and saw it today, and I have to say I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I might be. Did I like the movie? Short answer: mostly. I will explore the longer answer in this post. There won’t be many spoilers in this post, but there will be some. I have warned you.

The image shows a poster for It: Chapter 2, a movie that has scares and heart

I am a huge fan of the novel, but as I wrote in my reaction to the trailer, I understand separating book from film. They are two different mediums, and the novel is so large, there is no way any movie could cram everything in. In that vein, It: Chapter 2 succeeds because it has scares and heart in equal measure.

Things start off strong with a quick flashback to the end of the first film, then we move to 2019, and things never really slow down.We begin at the Derry Canal Days festival, and follow the homosexual couple of Adrian Mellon and Don Hagarty. Don is from Derry and therefore knows the town is mean and nasty. He tries to impress this knowledge on Adrian, but his lover ignores him. Then, some small town bigots jump them and beat Adrian to a bloody pulp.

It: Chapter 2 Has Scares and Heart Thanks to Humans

Sure, monsters are scary and thanks to modern technology, they look good, too. However, I’ve always found the people to be the scariest part of horror films. By that, I mean horror is at its best when it has a human element. Most of the time, that element is the heroes fighting monsters. However, humans acting like monsters is terrifying. Just think about it. We know monsters aren’t real. Unfortunately, human monsters are all too real. All we have to do to see them is to look at the world around us. Humans behaving terribly is relatable, and is something so true we can’t ignore it.

Soon after the brutal business with Adrian and the local yokels, Mike Hanlon makes his phone calls to the rest of the Losers. These calls bring them back to Derry to face the clown once and for all.

All of the adult actors put in fine performances, but three stand above the rest. Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James Ransone do a lot of heavy lifting, and carry large portions of It: Chapter 2, providing heart in the face of scares.

It’s difficult to discuss the movie without giving things away. Instead, I will just say that there were some highly effective scenes in this film. There were a few good creepy moments, some humor, and a surprising amount of feeling. I was worried the film was just going go through the events of the book like a checklist, which wouldn’t be any good. But, they didn’t go that route, and the movie was better for the choice.

Strange Choices Hobble It: Chapter 2

While it is safe to say that I enjoyed this movie overall, I have some gripes about it. Gripe number one is the character changes. As I stated before, changes happen in adaptations. That is a simple fact. Sometimes, the changes work well, and other times they don’t work at all. In the case of It: Chapter 2, the changes hamper the scares and heart found in the film.

What changes? You ask. The first big one is Mike Hanlon. In the novel, and the original mini-series, Mike was well-spoken and well-grounded. In the newest version, however, he is neither of those things. Could the direction the filmmakers took his character have been interesting? Of course, and to an extent it was. But, those changes also opened the door for character inconsistencies from all the Losers. The movie makers made an interesting choice with Mike, but it didn’t fully work for me.

Another odd choice they made for this film was the Henry Bower’s story line. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with it. But, if I think deeper about it, I have to say it felt rushed. Again, there’s just not enough time to fit everything in and give it room to breathe. I accept that. Still, a little more focus on Bowers would have benefited the flick.

There were other choices and changes that irked me at the time, but were so small that I can’t remember them now. I did like the running joke about Bill and his endings. That was a small, and welcome, change.

Final Thoughts

Overall, It: Chapter 2 has scares and heart and is entertaining. It tries to do too much sometimes, and gets muddled with mythology. Additionally, it relies heavily on CGI and doesn’t always give its players time to breathe and grow. Still, the acting is serviceable to excellent, even if adult Ben looks like some free spirit d-bag and doesn’t have much of a personality.

Have you seen It: Chapter 2? What did you think of it? What do you think of this review? Let me know in the comments. And, as always, thanks for reading.

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