Weekend Reading 28

Jenny

I recently discovered a lovely board gaming blog called Meeple Like Us. This blog is a review blog in two respects. When they review a game, they don’t just talk about game mechanics, or how fun it is. They also talk about how physically, mentally, and socially accessible the game is in “accessibility teardowns.” Their most recent teardown is about Coup.

This is not a review of this game. You will find the review linked in the introduction.

Meeple Like Us is engaged in mapping out the accessibility landscape of tabletop games. Teardowns like this are data points. Games are not necessarily bad if they are scored poorly in any given section. They are not necessarily good if they score highly. The rating of a game in terms of its accessibility is not an indication as to its quality as a recreational product. These teardowns though however allow those with physical, cognitive and visual accessibility impairments to make an informed decision as to their ability to play.

In today’s edition of “cool places with religious significance that Jenny saw on Atlas Obscura and now wants to go to” we have Cattedrale Vegetale, or the Tree Cathedral. It is exactly what it sounds like.

The Tree Cathedral consists of 42 columns forming a basilica of five aisles. Fir poles and branches from hazels and chestnuts have been woven together to create a supporting structure for the 42 beeches planted to eventually grow and form the columns. As planned, the surrounding support structure will deteriorate as the beeches grow, creating a seamless transition from the manmade to the natural.

I’m generally a little hesitant when it comes to video game crowdfunding campaigns. But when I saw the demo for Raji: An Ancient Epic, pretty much all my hesitation went out the window. It’s a game set in India about a girl saving her brother from the monsters who’ve captured him. The art is good. The combat looks solid. The game setting is accurate to the mythology of India, an issue that was brought up in episode 4 of the Game to Grow series. The Kickstarter is still going if you want to get in on this, and the backer level for a digital copy of the game is only a little over $20 USD. There is also a playable demo on Steam, Indie DB, and Itch.io. The links to the demo can be found on the game’s main website.

Raji An Ancient Epic is an action adventure game set in ancient India. Raji, a young girl is chosen by the gods to fight against the demonic invasion of the human realm. Her destiny is to rescue her younger brother and face the demon lord Mahabalasura.

Grant

With two kids, a podcast, and other distractions, I rarely get a chance to read books these days (despite identifying as a bibliophibian bibliophile.) However, being sick did give me a chance to finally read a book Peter recommended back when we started STG (yes, more than five years ago)—The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns. It’s an excellent book about the preconceptions we bring to the Bible, and some of the ‘hangups’ we have that lead to us trying to argue about Scripture rather than read it and appreciate it. I very strongly recommend it.

Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey was released recently, and it seems fantastic—the sort of thing I’d love to have on my shelf. Boing Boing has a good writeup of it, and the first few lines of her translation are entrancing:

Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost
when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy,
and where he went, and who he met, the pain
he suffered in the storms at sea, and how
he worked to save his life and bring his men
back home. He failed to keep them safe; poor fools,
they ate the Sun God’s cattle, and the god
kept them from home. Now goddess, child of Zeus,
tell the old story for our modern times.
Find the beginning.

It’s the thirtieth anniversary of the infamous Max Headroom prank. Its perpetrator or perpetrators remain at large, and while it’s not as unique as you might think, its utter weirdness and timeless madness somehow managed to capture our imaginations. Ars Technica looks back on the event (as other publications have), and it reminded me that this is exactly the sort of thing I ought to include in more of my games, especially Shadowrun:

As with the Chicago takeover, the Hannington broadcast tower was connected by a wireless uplink, not a hard-wired connection. And in 1986, supporters of the Polish labor movement Solidarność hijacked state television stations with printed anti-government messages. State television stations across the Soviet Union were frequently taken over by pirate transmissions that overpowered transmissions from relay stations.

But the Max Headroom broadcast was both more comical and creepy. The man in the Max Headroom mask called out a WGN commentator, Chuck Swirsky, whom he referred to as a “frickin’ liberal.” He also spoofed a Coca-Cola advertising campaign featuring Max Headroom, saying “catch the wave” (Coke’s slogan) while holding up a Pepsi can—then crushed the can and tossed it, holding up a middle finger with a rubber extension.

Peter

It’s pretty amazing what you can get the original DOOM to run on these days – people have even run it on graphing calculators as this article demonstrates.

It’s practically a law of tinkering today: If it has a screen and keys, it’ll run Doom. The game’s software designers wrote the code to be more compatible and flexible than its predecessor Wolfenstein, so it was easy to port to other devices after its MS-DOS release. They probably didn’t have piano keys or toasters in mind, but those, of course, will also run Doom.

As the holidays are now officially upon us, this Gnome Stew article is very timely. I think we’ve probably offered a lot of the same advice over the years, but in particular I like the author’s Christmas party idea. Sadly, Jenny, Grant, and the publicity-shy player in our group all live multiple states away (or over national borders, in Jenny’s case) so we won’t be able to implement that advice any time soon.

With Thanksgiving, Festivus, and Christmas fast approaching, many RPG groups will encounter conflicting scheduling priorities as both family and work events demand attention. This is certainly a problem for many groups, but where others see problems, I see opportunities; opportunities to build a sense of community, if not family, with your gaming friends. There are a few ways to take advantage of these opportunities.

Finally, I know it always gives me hope and pause to read the stories of courageous Christians in other parts of the world, so have one: a Lutheran pastor in Guatemala just received an award for his humanitarian work on behalf of indigenous people.

Rev. José Pilar Álvarez Cabrera, president of the Guatemala Lutheran Church (ILUGUA), received the 2017 Lobbyist for Change Award on Oct. 26 in Stockholm.

The prize recognized his and the church’s struggle for the right to water and other natural resources for the indigenous people around Las Granadillas Mountains in Guatemala.

 

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *