This was a more straightforward journalistic post-mortem of the development process than most of the Boss Fight Books installments have been. Having never played the game, there were some details that did not interest me that I’m sure would be more compelling to fans. I’m glad to have read it, however, for the material about the tensions in designing a game in the growing trans-media Star Wars franchise universe. The problem-solving inherent in balancing these tradeoffs between game design and the marketing imperatives of the larger media engine made for interesting material.
I continue to enjoy these small mysteries. The gay community of St. Denis and environs plays a central role, and it’s already remarkable how outdated the ostensibly “sympathetic” portrayal written by a middle-aged straight male author a few years ago feels in the contemporary context of increased focus on increased representation for queer people in media.
KSR of contemporary science fiction authors most successfully balances the rhetorical and discursive possibilities of the genre with engaging characterization and story-telling. This had been on my list for a very long time when I eventually got around to it. It’s gotten me interested in getting back to some of my marine ecology and climatology reading I was into when I first meant to read this.
Roger MacNamee was a relatively early investor in Facebook who despite early enthusiasm has come to fear what he believes to be a lack of ethical responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. The critiques here are well-stared, but also not much new for a reader who is following the general conversation about the ethical crisis in tech. MacNamee’s perspective is that of an outsider for most of the period covered, but there are some interesting insights regarding early moments when he thinks things could have gone differently. This book is not essential reading, but I’m satisfied having listened to it as an audiobook while running errands.
I came to this for the running, having forgotten what an enthusiast Jurek is for plant-based diets. I listened to it as an audiobook (sometimes even while running) and am glad to have given t that level of intention. Jurek has an intense commitment to running and dietary discipline and sitting with his reminisciences of training and long races provided useful opportunity to reflect on my those two areas of my own life.
I bought this shortly after it came out based on a recommendation by Cory Doctorow. I understand the recommendation, particularly in the context of the time at which it was given. The setting of an authoritarian and fragmenting United States in the near future is developed with some pretty thorough and interesting world-building. The Trump era as it has proceeded since the book was written has providing some dismaying rhymes. For me, though, the book was all setting and world-building. I tended to lose the thread of why I might care what happened next aside from providing an opportunity to present the next place.
This is the first entry in the Boss Fight Books series that I was a little bit disappointed by. I have never played any of the Kingdom Hearts games and am only aware of them as an object of extreme, but relatively niche, fandom. In the beginning, I was charmed by the obsessive level of detail in which the author explored the world, plot, and characterizations, but I was expecting this to be the prelude to some more analytical work to follow. That never really came. Eventually my interest in tagging along on an obsessive’s deep dive into the minutia of their enthusiasm (something I legitimately do enjoy) wore off.
This installment of the Boss Fight Books centers on two primary themes: a post-mortem of the development experience and an analysis of the design constraints inherent to producing a game with retro sensibilities for a contemporary audience. I’ve enjoyed other things I’ve read from David Craddock on the development process and intend to hunt down some more.
It took me a while to commit to listening to The Adventure Zone podcast, but I’ve finally made my way through the Balance campaign, so I’m reading the graphic novels. There are several elements of the podcast that pose a challenge for the translation to a graphic novel including the meta-layer of gameplay mechanics and the deus ex machina game master, the rhythm generated by the improvisational nature of the original performance, and the intrusion of allusions from outside the fictional world. All of these elements are balanced well, I think, and I particularly like the way Griffin’s game master character is handled. The artwork by Carey Pietsch is a good fit for the goofy, sincere vibe.