I’ve been listening to The Emancipation of Mimi and 4 non-stop this month. When are Mimi and Bey going to collab tho?
Designated Survivor is a tense, fast-paced show concerning an alternate America where almost all of congress has been murdered in a terrorist attack, and one man with no political experience finds himself becoming president in the aftermath.
Chef’s Table profiles a different chef in each episode, from the eccentric (Magnus Nilsson – why do you want us to eat moss??) to those that actually seem to make good food (Ivan Orkin’s ramen dishes). As a latina, the chefs that really stuck out to me were Alex Atala, and Virgilio Martínez. Seeing their countries, and national cuisine being treated with such love, and care by these chefs was a wonderful change to the pitying narratives usually shown in the media.
I watched Perfect Blue after seeing Super Eyepatch Wolf’s video essay discussing it, and I was absolutely floored. If you like psychological thrillers, this is for you.
For fellow nerds that are currently stuck without a roleplaying group, I recommend The Adventure Zone – a podcat hosted the McElroy brothers, and their dad play D&D every other week.
Imrie and Satia are two black British women that host Melanin Millenials, a topical podcast packed with clever debate, sideeyes, and salt to taste.
Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel Room explores the reality of a young boy, who has been trapped inside a single room with his mother for his entire life.
Imani Perry’s More Beautiful and More Terrible discusses the enduring anti-black racism of America, and encourages us to thoughtfully continue our activism.
bell hook’s seminal The Will to Change argues for the importance of including men, and boys (especially those of colour) in feminism in order for true progress to be made.
Ijeoma Oluo is an incisive, intersectional feminist writer. You can find her work here.
I’ve recently finished reading the Luna brothers’ Girls and Ultra comics – the storytelling is fascinating, even if the art tends to be flat.
Released in spring 2011 by Colibri Games, The Tiny Bang Story opens with a football meteorite has destroyed the planet (or at least its image) and shattered it into several pieces that you must recover throughout the course of the game.
I really enjoyed this game, but this was mainly for the elaborate search for the various puzzle pieces, and other items that are cunningly hidden. Especially later in game, the puzzle pieces would almost perfectly blend in with the scenery and required a fine-tooth comb to recover.
However, there were a couple inconsistencies in regards to the puzzle piece mechanics. While it would make sense that collecting each puzzle piece would be required to move onto the next level, and in some cases that hasn’t been my experience – perhaps because at that point I had already finished my first playthrough.
Additionally, some extra puzzle pieces can be collected in the final level without any actual effect on the game. Perhaps the creators thought that hiding several pieces would increase the probability of players finding them, especially when they are so well-camouflaged. But if so, why then make it possible to continue collecting the pieces after the quota has been reached?
For a puzzle game, there was an unfortunate lack of any puzzles that actually challenge the player.
Many of these were hit and miss, and could be easily solved with trial and error, such as the lightbulb puzzle, and balancing the suitcase weights.
The two minigames I especially disliked were these retro-inspired games within a game.
These were incredibly repetitive and dull. They really felt like cheap fillers amongst other puzzles and really detailed, interesting art.
Luckily I really enjoyed several of the puzzles, particularly those that required putting things together. While you could argue that these lego-style puzzles are as repetitive as the ones I harped on above, they continued to surprise where the mini-games are completely expected. The final piece in each was hidden in the hint image. While I should have known better the second time around, the game completely pulled the wool over my eyes and got me twice.
The Tiny Bang Story‘s soundtrack is bland, understated, and repetitive. Repetitive background music can be incredibly effective in making time pass and helping a player immerse themselves in the game. Just about everyAnimal Crossinggame and The Sims 2 did this really well.
See the difference? Something about The Sims 2 shopping themes helps completely immerse me in my home-renovation fantasy whereas The Tiny Bang Story soundtrack grates on me so much I usually completely mute it and listen to something else.
The art style was unique, varied, and intricate, which suits the investigative aspect of the game. Also, it made me really want to live inside a teapot.
I’ve noticed that characters didn’t always fit with their environments, especially in regards to the main character who looks creepy and out of place, especially when he was younger.
This game’s plot is largely non-existent, which is fine if, like me, you’re more interested in exploring the different levels.
Throughout each level, you watch the blonde man grow from a young child to an adult through the photos kept by who we can assume to be his family members. We finally see him for ourselves at the final level, having become powerful, and wealthy. But to what purpose?
The fact that you are on a journey around the world to track this man’s growth only becomes apparent at the end, and any argument that meeting his family members gives the game continuity falls flat when this cohesion has no actual effect upon the player’s experience of the game. I believe that the developers shoehorned this in in an attempt to give the game some purpose. But again, as this only becomes clear once the game is completed, The Tiny Bang Story is merely a hidden object game with little substance.
The only instance of intrigue (I hesitate to call it a plot point) is when the blonde man sits down with his family for tea, close to a wall where you can access previous puzzles. Sitting apart from the others is an elderly man we haven’t encountered elsewhere in the game. This mystery man is the only thing that leaves players wondering – who is he? And why is he alone?
Additionally, the meteorite hitting the planet isn’t used in the game for any other reason than to give an excuse to hide puzzle pieces. Why even bother with that prologue if you aren’t going to consider other effects that it would have on the planet and its inhabitants?
The Tiny Bang Story is an interesting enough hidden-object puzzle game that fails to draw the reader’s interest for any reason other than camouflaged puzzle pieces. Perhaps this explains why Calibri is yet to release another game.
The Tiny Bang Story is available on Steam, the Apple App Store, and Google Play.
Featured image is from The Tiny Bang Story’s Steam store page. Screenshots are my own unless otherwise stated.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Chechnya has been kidnapping gay and bisexual men and detaining them in concentration camps. Approximately 100 men have been detained, and an estimated 3 have been murdered.
When discussing this, several news sites (the Guardian, Daily Mail, Times, and yes, Breitbart) as well as people mention that it is a predominantly Muslim country.
However, several people have been using this fact as a way to criticise Islam – a lazy way of getting a couple Islamophobic digs in while also caping as a supporter of the LGBT+ community.
Such articles subtly conflate Islam with homophobia, a shallow analysis that harms the Muslim LGBT+ community.
Religious texts are above all else interpretive – even scholars using a similar method, such as Biblical literalism, can end up with a broad span of answers depending upon what they focus upon.
Faith doesn’t need to exist in opposition to the LGBT+ community – just as organized religion can be a tool to oppress, it can also be a tool to uplift and empower. Religion is, above all else, run by the powerful who impress their views upon the greater community, whether these are of tolerance, or of homophobia and sexism.
Blaming Islam for the violent homophobia orchestrated in its name does the LGBT+ community a disservice, just as with blaming any kind of religion.
Understandably, many of us LGBT+ folks are wary of religions, due to the overwhelming prevalence of homophobia disguised as gospel that threatens our lives. We certainly can be critical, and feel hatred towards people that use religion as a weapon against us, but religion can be reinterpreted in far more tolerant, and accepting ways.
A further issue with linking homophobia with Islam is in the ways it allows (mostly white) people to distance themselves from their own homophobia. It’s far easier to feed into the image of the racialised, dark-skinned Muslim that is ignorant, violent, and backwards, than to look at yourself and how your own communities perpetuate homophobia. Perpetuating this view of Islam justifies the violence against Muslims, particularly Muslim women, that continues to this day.
If you still have trouble squaring Islam with the existence of LGBT+ Muslims, you can take a look at the work of these people and get some insight into their experiences with religion.
LGBT Muslims “discusses the issues surrounding Islam and sexual, as well as gender, diversity. We are offering diverse and positive perspectives from varies individuals, organizations, and will do our best to give historical background to these modern issues.”
If you want to make a concrete impact upon the lives of the gay Chechen men that have been targeted by these homophobic crimes, or receive current information about this crisis, you can donate to and visit the Russian LGBT+ Network.
Illustrator and filmmaker Maeril created a webcomic that explains how bystanders can respond to Islamophobic acts.
Additionally, you can contact your political representatives and demand that they push for these gay and bisexual men seeking refuge to be given visas.
This week I’ve been listening to 4 and Humanz and I’ve been absolutely living. 4 is such an underrated album and there are so many absolute bangers. My favourites are Love on Top, Lay Up Under Me, Countdown, I care, and 1+1, AND Grown Woman which isn’t on Spotify and that breaks my heart.