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Or, how my new hobby became watching other people play video games.

Let me begin by saying that this post is neither an endorsement or a recommendation for spending any amount of time on Twitch, although it hasn't been a negative experience for me.

It all started back in February. I listen to the podcast Wonderful, which is Griffin and Rachel McElroy talking about things they enjoy, and in one episode Griffin talked about a Sonic the Hedgehog 1 speedrun from the recent Awesome Games Done Quick charity marathon.

I'd never watched a speedrun before, but I do have a strong nostalgic streak for Sonic. I never had a gaming console growing up, but in the year my family lived in the UK (1993) a lot of my neighbours had Sega MegaDrives (as they were called), and I got very into Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 there. So I watched the speedrun video and had a great time! And then YouTube decided I wanted to see more GDQ content. So I watched some other Sonic runs, including this Sonic Mania race (Sonic Mania being a 2017 game and thus not being a game I've ever played, but which feels very familiar due to its own relentless nostalgia for classic Sonic games). A race! What a great idea! And from that I ended up checking out races for games I'd never heard of, which led me to a Celeste race from SGDQ2018*, which had the actual developers of the game providing commentary and an interview at the end. It was really fascinating and made me want to see more of that particular game.

It's all downhill from here... )
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Everyone has been talking about this movie for ages, but I am very bad at going to the movies. I have ambivalent feelings about Spider-Man* but I love animation, so I finally pulled myself together and went out to see it in the cinema.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thoughts follow, spoilers included )

* Which is awkward, because my most popular Marvel fic is about Spider-Man
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On my last Content Consumption Log post I asked for recommendations for narrative audio, and I got some! So here's some assorted thoughts on what I've listened to.

Wolf 359, Episodes 1-14

This was not so much recommended as suggested by [personal profile] alexseanchai, so I sought out more information and found a blog post by Wil Williams, "You Should Be Listening To: Wolf 359". This made it sound appealing, so I dove in, heeding the advice that it "got good" around episode 10.

Even though Williams mentions that the main narrator, Eiffel, can be very grating, I really feel I need to emphasise it, because he is so. obnoxious. The early episodes were a real trial to get through. And (mild spoilers) it doesn't so much "get good" around episode 10 as it does take an abrupt turn from quirky light comedy with unsettling weirdness peeking in around the edges to a full on conspiracy drama.

I'm going to continue because I'm committed now and I really want to know what's going on! (But I hope Williams is right that Eiffel becomes better developed /o\)

PS: Did we really need a creepy experimental Russian doctor character? Come on.

Canon Romance(s): None so far

Tides, Episodes 1-8 (Season 1 Complete)

After reading the Wolf 359 post mentioned above, I poked around the blog a little more in hopes of finding other recommendations. I found this review of Tides: First Impressions: "Tides" a Refreshingly Funny, Smart Sci-Fi Audio Drama.

It's slow moving and contemplative, and largely concerned with exploring ideas of alien biology. The protagonist, Dr. Winifred Eurus, is fascinated by her surroundings but also deeply annoyed at being stuck on this planet alone, and her abrasive commentary on her situation really adds an interesting edge to the podcast.

Spoilers for the end of the series. )

Canon Romance(s): None so far.

After listening to these two I was thinking about how scripted podcasts seem to feel the need to explain their medium in a way traditional radio dramas didn't necessarily - Welcome to Night Vale, The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Wolf 359 and Tides all present an in-universe justification for their audio existing.

Immediately after having this thought, I listened to one that didn't.

The Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episodes 1-12 (Complete)

This was recommended to me by [personal profile] donutsweeper. There's very little information about what it's actually about online, so let me attempt to summarise: In a world where supernatural creatures are real, but most of the world doesn't know about it, the Chicago Center for Supernatural Support attempts to help werewolves and other supernatural creatures cope with their lives in any way they can.

I really enjoyed this, it was kind-hearted and fun, and I liked the way the shifting points of view developed the characters of most of the Center's employees and associates.

Some more specific, spoilery reactions )

I'm going to throw out a mild warning for episode 6 (Jasmine), for use of lycanthropy as a metaphor for sexual assault.

Canon Romance(s): f/m
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The Strange Case of Starship Iris is an audio drama by Procyon Podcasts (or a scripted podcast). It's a humorous SF drama set in deep space, with space-going humans and aliens and the requisite dystopian empire.

One thing I will say outside the cut: this is a series with (what TV tropes calls) a first-episode spoiler (ie. that discussion of anything before episode 1 is a spoiler), so if staying unspoiled is important to you, don't, for example, read the TV tropes* page before you begin. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Spoilers follow. )

In short: I enjoyed this a lot. Episode 5 starts with a warning for graphic violence, so I think I'll take a break until I can figure out what that's about. (Maybe I'll skim the transcript?)

* Sometimes I do this when I'm having trouble finding information about a piece of fiction and want to know if it's relevant to my interests. It definitely backfires.

Next in my podcast listening plans: TAZ: Dust, I think. (Or whatever not-too-dark narrative podcast you want to recommend in the comments!)
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I found this D&D gameplay podcast through a somewhat circuitous route, but the short of it is that one of the players wrote the "Four Sherlock Holmes and a Vampire (Who Is Also One of the Aforementioned Sherlock Holmes)" one-page RPG the McElroys used for this year's MaxFunDrive content.

I thought the concept for this was really cute, described as "a light-hearted fantasy police procedural show", which is relevant to my interests as a fan of light-hearted* mystery novels and also fantasy novels. Unfortunately, the gimmick of having the game live streamed on Twitch and having the audience act as the jury and vote on the conviction has a couple of consequences that didn't really work for me. The first was that the audio quality was Not Good. The second was that the options are a) convict the suspect arrested by the players, or b) the Black Inquisition, who AFAICT are distrustful of all paranormals, make a case and that case is accepted by the judge.

Cut for spoilers, negativity )

In conclusion, cute idea, I wish I'd enjoyed it!

*And thus, unrealistically divorced from the reality of policing


As my next experiment in filling out my podcast app, I'm going to try Starship Iris. (If you've listened to it and think you need to warn for something, please let me know!)
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Being the kind of post I called "random thoughts" before. I'm trying to join the 2010s, or something.

Here there be spoilers )
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Adventure Zone! Come on, grab your friends. We'll go to very distant lands...* No? Wrong one?

Thoughts and spoilers abound. )

*With Jake the dog... No dogs on the moon!
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At risk of sounding like a scene from The Castle, in this entry I'm going to talk about the movies I watched on the in-flight entertainment instead of the actual trip.

Mr Holmes (2015) - the 93-year-old Holmes movie starring Ian McKellen

My thoughts )

Mistaken for Strangers (2014) - the documentary nominally about the National

My thoughts )

I also watched a Fall Out Boy concert recording that turned out to be post-Folie a Deux, so presumably pre-hiatus and therefore from like 2009? It was a fun time but unexpectedly dated. (Patrick with his cute little hat and not saying anything on stage though ♥.)
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