Hello, my name is…
1 - Medron - Happy Easter. No Fooling - I have never understood exactly how Easter is calculated. It is some black art mixing mathematics, calendars, star charts, and tide patterns or something like that. I have never known when Easter would be. Imagine my wry amusement when people started saying it was on April Fools Day. Now I may be a bit slow at times, but Momma Pryde did not raise a fool. So I assumed people were funning me.
Then I found out they were right and that was a mind job. So what do you do when Easter, the day we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, ends up on April Fools Day? Ignore it in some kind of stuffy huff because a silly day for making jokes happens to coincide with it? Or run with that theatre of the absurd?
Well. It’s me here. What do you think I’m going to do?
Laugh at the devil and say “April Fools! He fooled you, He fooled you!”
2 - Medron - Ready Player One - I watched Ready Player One over the weekend. Much like other Spielberg movies, it borrows shamelessly from the book it is based on while being almost an entirely different story. It shares some scenes with the book, but most of the movie is created in whole cloth for the big screen.
This is actually a good thing, I think. I enjoyed the book, but it was written to be a book, not a movie. Many of the scenes in it simply wouldn’t work for a mass-market movie. They wouldn’t be amazing enough. The opening race in the movie was exciting and allowed for an opening extravaganza of sights and sounds. Watching a battle of the classic arcade Joust like in the book? It wouldn’t have the same punch.
More changes are that the abject poverty in the book, in both real and digital worlds, is glossed over in the movie. And many things that Parzival did in the book are parceled out to other characters for the movie. This is very nice as it gives them more time to shine, but at least some of those were major character points for the hero, and change the course of the story. One character’s contribution is completely and utterly changed, denying him a major character point, but granting him a host of others that I think are worthy of him.
I may disagree with some of the changes, while agreeing wholeheartedly with others. In the end though, the movie is the movie, which is a substantially different animal from the book. And I think that is good. It was a fun movie to watch, and stayed close enough to the heart of the book that I think it is a worthy translation of the source material. I enjoyed my time in the movie, and will look forward to buying the DVD when it comes out.
I give the movie two Deloreans, flying up way high.
3 - Betty - Japanese Kitsune - The vast majority of the Japanese Kitsune use entirely cybernetic augmentations to achieve the Kitsune look. Wearable ears or attachable tails. Some even wear masks, but those are not common. The professional Kitsune organizations all encourage minimalist augmentations to act as more adornments than actual, permanent changes. They have always wanted their members to be able to step in and out of normal society at will since the days when they were a derided subculture. But there are a small minority who seek to truly become the fox through gengineering. There those who have “natural” fur, tails, or even ears are celebrated as part of a brave new world.
4 - Jack - Rin - We were on Sunnydale the first time I met Rin, back when we were preparing to attack the Hyades Cluster. She came in on one of the big carriers. America? No. Constitution. She was one of the new Enterprise-class Fleet Carriers that came out before The War. Tough old girl. She and America showed up with new orders and several transports full of soldiers looking to bring The War to the enemy. Most of the cybers on that cruise were young and still getting to know their pilots. But Rin was old. She didn’t tell me until years later, but she came from the same branch of the cybernetic family tree as Emiri, Sara, and more than a few others. Sometimes I think all of the Japanese cybers must be related. Point is, the Japanese cybers tend to do better with large numbers of people than most American-style cybers. Call it cultural. Not always true, but true often enough. So while the American cybers spent time working their new pilots up to snuff, Rin spent her time jumping around the fleet and entertaining everybody. I was there when several thousand American G.I.s from every State in the Union, not to mention several colony worlds, marched off the transports, in cadence, shouting their praises to Lovely Rin at the top of their lungs. Four syllables. Lov-e-ly Rin. Have I mentioned that I had some strange days on Sunnydale? If I haven’t, this would be one of them.
5 - Charles - Japanese Kitsune - One feature that distinguishes the Japanese Kitsune from other humans is the tail that signifies their place in society. It is a cybernetic augmentation for most Kitsune, built and customized to their exact measurements. Anyone can buy a tail if they wish, but Kitsune society has rather strict procedures when it comes to official Kitsune regalia. A member of the Kitsune must earn their tail, much like a Boy Scout earns a badge. The first tail is generally easy to earn, since they recognize the real world. If they made it too difficult to earn, people would wear fakes more often. So the first tail comes quickly, though a thicker or longer tail is an indication of further advancement. That is all the vast majority of Kitsune ever earn.
6 - Betty - Japanese Kitsune - Most Japanese Kitsune do not have gengineered tails and ears, let alone fox-like fur. But there are some who go all the way towards being truly fox-like, and they look up to those who make the choice to permanently change themselves. The changes can be passed on to children, though they are not always dominant. It depends on the level of gengineering performed. Sometimes the changes are temporary, though most don’t consider that gengineering at all. Sometimes they only last for the lifetime of the individual. The best gengineering changes the genes passed on to their children, but even those don’t always take. Sometimes they are recessive, while in other cases they will dominate whenever they are present. And some traits can be dominant while others are recessive. I’ve seen plenty of Kitsune with ears but no tails. The fur is the hardest to maintain dominance, and is the rarest of the modifications that breed true. There were never very many of them. Most of them died when Yosemite fell.
7 - Jack - Rin - I didn’t see a lot of Kitsune growing up back home. Some have argued that the ones with fur all over their bodies would be perfect for the colder winters up there. Some have even decided to experiment with Northern Minnesota winters, only to find that someone who grew up in Los Angeles has no idea what real cold is like. So I didn’t have a lot of experience with Kitsune in real life when I met Rin on Sunnydale. I didn’t know what to expect of her, but several thousand G.I.s marching down the ramps, in cadence while singing her praises, was not anywhere in my speculations. That was a real Alice in Wonderland kinda day for me. Bright. Shiny. Crazy as a mad hatter. Just like Rin. Don’t get me wrong. She was smart. Scary smart like all cybers tend to be. But she was New Japanese to the code. That crazy amalgamation of Home Island Old Japanese and Los Angeles Surfer Culture is her baseline personality, and she positively loves to live it up at maximum volume. And for all that I love to play at my party animal roots, I had nothing on Rin. Turns out Los Angeles parties are a bit bigger and louder than the ones I grew up with, and Rin was a veritable master of ceremonies on the party circuit. I never had a boring cruise with her.
8 - Charles - Japanese Kitsune - The vast majority of Kitsune only have a single tail to wear at formal occasions, but more tails can be earned or gained per the ancient Japanese mythologies the modern Kitsune use as inspiration. A second tail is often an indication that the individual has become a low level leader or sponsor in the Kitsune organization. Players in the sports leagues can earn them for superior playing. Third and fourth tails are rare but not unheard of. But few people actually wear them as they become increasingly cumbersome. Holoform tails are actually rather popular in the higher ranks of Kitsune society for a reason. Nine tails are relegated to the highest ranked or awarded Kitsune, per Japanese myths, and it is all but unheard to see them displayed in anything but the most formal of black tie occasions.
9 - Medron - Dairycon - I went to Dairycon over the weekend. It is a nice little con with around a hundred or so people showing up to talk about, buy, and sell Transformers. The toys, not the power station thingies.
I brought a couple Xbox 360s, some Transformers cartoons, and some Transformers games. Left them running Friday and Saturday, and entertained a bunch of kids who got to play around while their parents went hunting for the toys they wish they could have found when they were kids. A good time was had by all.
The trip was marred a little bit by the hotel I was staying at. The Country Inn and Suites in Fond du Lac Wisconsin had three front desk operators who could not figure out how to charge a credit card. The first could not figure out how to authorize my business card, which had funds in it to cover my share of the hotel bill. The second attendant on Saturday managed to authorize the card, but then could not figure out how to charge it. The third attendant on Sunday first told me there was no authorization and never had been. When I showed him the proof in my bank account that there was one, including the reference number he could use to track it down, he said the bank had released the authorization, and that maybe I’d just overspent on the card, which is why they couldn’t authorize it.
I will note, for the record, that my “day” job is as a night auditor in the hotel industry. I work with credit card authorizations nearly every day of my life, and have done so for eighteen years. When a bank grants a hotel an authorization on a credit card, that is an iron clad guarantee from the bank that the funds are available. Period. End of line. The bank puts that amount of money in a little lock box labeled “their money” and the owner of the card cannot touch it. The card will decline if anyone else tries to draw it for any reason. The only way to get a bank to release the authorization if for the hotel in question to call them personally and request that the authorization be released. I have done this, so I know what I talk about. The hotel industry depends on authorizations be honored, which is why they are so iron clad.
I will note that the card worked all the way home, just fine, and when I got home and called my bank, they have the authorization on file. It is good until the 11th of this month, which is a standard authorization length for the stay I had scheduled. Authorizations typically are good for a matter of days to a week after the projected checkout schedule. That's standard practice in the hotel industry, and it was not respected by my hotel in this case.
That is the service I got at Country Inn and Suites in Fond du Lac Wisconsin. I do not think I will return there in the future.
10 - Betty - Japanese Kitsune - The Kitsune Sports Network aired numerous competitive sports to America and beyond. Many of them were quintessentially Japanese, and so completely beyond the understanding of other Americans. Their game shows are particularly confusing, for instance. But one KSN sport that has gained worldswide acclaim and fans is the Kitsune Lasertag League. Teams of well-drilled amateur and professional players fight simulated battles in real life arenas in their never-ending search for sponsors to fund their quest for better gear. Many of them become worldswide celebrities in their own right, and start businesses from firearms to clothing lines to perfume. It was one of the most popular sports in all the worlds before the Shang attacked.
11 - Medron - Dairycon - I had a lot of fun at Dairycon this weekend. I setup a couple X-Box 360s and had some games and cartoons available to play. Transformers the Movie, and the original TV show. Some Transformers themed games. Fun stuff like that. Lots of people stopped to relax and watch between bouts of going off in search of toys they wish they could afford when they were young. And I did some advertising for my little stories. I didn’t bring anything to sell, mind you, since I wasn’t an official vendor, and hadn’t even planned to keep my stuff up on Saturday. But it was a good setup on Friday, and the guy in charge liked it. So I asked if he wanted me to keep it up, and he said yes. Sometimes that’s just how things happen. It was fun to see the people enjoying the station. And that’s the whole reason we go to conventions. To have fun. So, mission accomplished. I’ll be back again, and so will my little station of fun. And maybe I’ll even dust off and polish up some of my old Transformers fan fiction and bring that too. ;)
12 - Charles - The Changing Olympics - The Chinese conquered most of East Asia in the mid-Twenty First Century, which resulted in a large number of refugees. The greatest number traveled to India, Australia, and America, where they built new homes and formed new communities. Some of them were athletes who were happy to compete under the flag of their new homes. Many wished to compete under the flags and anthems of their old homes though, and China would not allow that unless they returned to their conquered homes with their families. The Olympics had long practiced the act of only allowing athletes to represent official government organizations that were in good standing, while allowing those not representing such organizations the Olympic flag to compete under. Or forcing the Olympic flag on them as many Russian athletes had charged over the years. But the new paradigm forced the International Olympic Committee to finally agreed to allow athletes to choose what flag and anthem they would compete under. Subject to the unanimous veto of the committee of course. Athletes quickly chose to represent Free Tibet, Free Taiwan, New Japan, and numerous other nations swept aside by the march of history, as expected. But other athletes chose less expected organizations to represent.
13 - Betty - Japanese Kitsune - The Shang attack that started The War dropped a piece of Yosemite Station on the Kitsune Lasertag League’s corporate headquarters. Many of the most prominent members of the organization died that day, but many others had been traveling on various business ventures. Some had been looking for new opportunities, while others had been competing in official games. The vast majority of those traveling combat teams volunteered for military service after the new President addressed the nation. Many did not work out. There’s a pretty big difference between the civilian and military mindsets, and many simply cannot make the switch. But many of those former Kitsune Lasertag League operators flourished in their new calling. Killing the Shang.
14 - Jack - Japanese Kitsune - The Kitsune Lasertag League was a big part of Kitsune culture before The War. I always figured they picked the name because they really just wanted to say KiLL on the national networks. I watched some of their matches back in the day. It was fun seeing them collect the tails of their vanquished foes and waving them high for the crowds to cheer for. That all changed after The War came for us, of course. Many of their best joined the military, and a few of the teams even stayed together. I ran into some of them from time to time during the Hyades Campaign, tails and all. One time really stands out, though. Standard infiltration op went sideways all the way and I was stuck behind enemy lines with no way to exfiltrate. Team Inyusha happened to be on planet, saw it all go down, and saved my bacon. I still can’t say how we got out. Literally. Can not say, even here. Seriously top secret squirrel kinda stuff. They violated secrecy orders just talking to me because I was not cleared to even know they were there. That was one of the more interesting days of my life, let me tell you. I still owe them a few dozen favors for getting me out with all my pieces intact. Mostly.
15 - Charles - The Changing Olympics - The change in Olympic policies to allow athletes to pick their own flags and anthems resulted in the expected results of refugees representing their old homes. The Free Tibet, Free Taiwan, and New Japan Olympic teams are examples of this. But there were numerous unexpected results of this policy. Real life organizations like PETA were quick to capitalize on the opportunity, as were fans of various fictional organizations. The Star Trek-themed Federation and Klingon teams were quick to appear, as were the Star Wars-themed Empire and New Republic teams. The majority of modern athletes still represent physical nation states, but many “non-governmental organizations” now compete in the Olympics to great acclaim. That is one aspect in which the Olympic Games continue to evolve, sometimes in unexpected ways, as time goes on.
16 - Medron - Goodby R. Lee Ermey - Ronald Lee Ermey has been an institution in my life. He was discharged from the Marines before I was born, but from the moment I was conscious, he’s always been there for me to see or hear. He’s appeared in TV shows and movies that I love to this day, and his voice acting credits are legion. It’s impossible to overestimate the effect he’s had on my generation. We grew up hearing his voice in everything from Toy Story, to Kim Possible to Family Guy. His voice and tributes to him are in the video games we play. He’s a spokesman for everything from Glock to Tupperware, and we’ve seen him selling Coors Light and GEICO. We can see him in every form of media we have.
He is THE Marine Drill Instructor of my generation. He will be missed.
I can think of no more fitting end then to let The Gunny sign off with one of his more famous lines from a movie that is almost as famous as he is.
“Marines die, that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever.” - GySgt. R. Lee Ermey
17 - Betty - The Second Great Depression - The Second Great Depression, The Cybernetic Wars, and the rise of the Chinese and Russian blocks helped create the world we live in now. Some histories say that it all started when America defaulted on her foreign debt and kicked off the Second Great Depression, but that is simplistic thinking. The fact is that The Second Great Depression was just one step on a long path all of us walked to get to where we are now. It was simply one of many crises we have seen. Probably the reason it sits in our cultural baggage is because of how many people alive today saw it happen. It was the greatest crisis of their lives until The War came upon us all. So of course they remember it as world changing. And they’re right in a way. It did change the world. But it wasn’t the cause of the change. It was the result of the change.
18 - Jack - The Second Great Depression - I didn’t know anybody who lived through The Second Great Depression when I was young. Or if they had, they didn’t advertise. That’s Northern Minnesota for yah. We all have history, so why talk about it? I’ve met a few people after The War came who did, and the thing that gets me is that most people never saw The Depression coming. They thought there was always another person, bank, or country to borrow money from back then. They thought the credit lines would never end. All they wanted was enough credit to buy the next television, phone, or gaming console. And if they watched the news at all, it was about places far away like Washington, Europe, or Asia. None of it meant anything to their world. Until it did. And then it was just far too late to save the world they knew.
19 - Charles - The Second Great Depression - The Second Great Depression came as s surprise to most people of the time. They had not listened to the economists who said the deficit spending was unsustainable. Or the foreign policy experts or the businessmen who said that America could not maintain her position in the world without making hard choices. They thought the good times would never end. It was too late to stop the train of history by the time they realized the truth. The American government had lost all faith and credit with the last constituency it could not afford to lose. The American people.
20 - Betty - The Second Great Depression - The Second Great Depression started when the American government defaulted on its foreign loans. That’s the standard lesson taught in history. It’s more accurate to say that a newly elected Congress stopped paying the interest on certain foreign loans to geopolitical foes in an effort to balance the yearly budget. When China reacted by demanding immediate repayment of all outstanding loans, the government could not have done so if they’d wanted to. They did not. What started as a budget battle turned into a geopolitical crisis. China soon nationalized all American-owned property in their sphere of influence, and then began impounding American cargos traveling through their waters. I will remind you that they had already laid claimed to the entirety of the South Chinese Sea at the time. The economic impact on America was…bad.
21 - Jack - The Second Great Depression - The Fall of Japan and Taiwan. The Korean Unification. The Invasion of the Philippines. I’ve talked to people who lived through all of it. The funny thing is, most of them never even knew it was happening. America had her own domestic difficulties after the American government began to fail. Many State governments collapsed under the dead weight, and the fall of law and order in their own backyards is what most people noticed. But I’ve also talked to people who lived in those other nations when it started. People who came to America as refugees looking for a new home, only to find us in nearly as bad a shape as their homes had been. The difference was that we were far enough from China that we had time to rebuild. And with a whole new pool of Asian refugees to draw workers from, we had the people to do it with. It’s a matter of faith to them that they built the Republic of California. That without them, the entire West Coast would have collapsed into an apocalyptic wasteland of civilization. I’ve played more than a few games that started with that scenario. It’s scary dark, let me tell you.
22 - Charles - The Second Great Depression - Most American citizens did not care when the American government stopped paying the interest on certain foreign loans. They did begin to care when the Chinese raised their prices and cheap Chinese goods became expensive Chinese goods. They cared even more when China began shipping American crewmen home, with only the clothes on their backs, after impounding their ships in the South China Sea. The news carried stories of them being unable to find new jobs after companies stopped shipping anywhere near China, and the people lost their last vestiges of faith in America’s ability to defend them beyond our borders. When the people lost faith in the government’s wish to defend them inside our borders, it was the beginning of the end of what many called the Second American Republic.
23 - Medron - I Don’t Want To Grow Up - I’m a Toys “R” Us Kid.
I grew up when Geoffrey the Giraffe opened stores catering to every toy a kid could want in towns near and far. I remember the awe I felt when I walked into a store filled with nothing but toys.
This weekend, I walked into two of them with bittersweet memories. I’ve never stopped going to them, but their prices have risen so much that I couldn’t justify buying stuff there when I could get it several dollars cheaper at Target. I’ve gotten stuff when it went on sale, and I’ve gotten the exclusives, but main line stuff I just had to shake my head at.
And this weekend, while walking through those stores I saw the end of what that meant. They priced themselves out of the market, and now the childrens’ palace of my youth is fading away.
I felt sorrow this weekend as I looked upon the piece of my childhood that the children of our future will never see again.
I’m not going to grow up. But soon there will be no more Toys “R” Us to be a kid in.
24 - Betty - The Second Great Depression - Many people called it the Second American Republic at the time. The result of the Civil War. Most historians call it the Third Republic. The result of Roosevelt’s New Deal. America’s been through a lot of changes over the centuries, echoed or begun by both the culture and the government. Southerners rebelled in the 1860s. Civilization hung by a thread in the 1930s. Hippies checked out in the 1970s. Everybody was checking out by the 2010s. The Culture Wars were hitting their stride and America was on its way to becoming at least two entirely different peoples who really didn’t like each other. There were actually three, or more major cultures at the time, but the noisiest two were the ones that got the news and the network ratings. And most of the history books. It was flash points like the 2010s that serve as warnings that the cultural differences between two or more groups are becoming critical. We saw them in the 1760s, the 1850s, the 1920s, and the 2190s as well. I really wish more people had listened before things got worse. Worse like the Second Great Depression.
25 - Jack - The Second Great Depression - I know people who lived through the years leading up to the Second Great Depression. They’ve told me what it was like back then. They had access to the best technology ever invented. They could talk to anyone in the world via electronics designed in The West and built in Asia. And Western vaccines had erased many of the worst diseases mankind had ever known. They were on top of the world in many ways, with the best living conditions ever enjoyed by mankind. But not everyone had it so good. I know people whose company’s shut down because they couldn’t compete with foreign sweatshop construction. High-paying jobs were hard to find, and people worked longer and longer hours to take care of their families. They lost the houses they’d owned for decades or longer, and some cities even began tearing the vacant houses down to fight the rising crime and poverty levels. The gulf between rich and poor had never seemed so vast. That’s part of what drove us to the edge.
26 - Charles - The Second Great Depression - Most historians separate the history of the United States of America into the Colonial Era, the American Confederation, and the four American Republics. The Colonial Era of course speaks about the time under British Rule, which ended with the Revolution against the Crown. The Confederation was the first formation of Free Colonial Rule, before the adoption of our current Constitution. The First American Republic started with the passage of the new Constitution and was generally characterized as a mutual assemblage of Sovereign States. The Civil War, or the Second American Revolution as some name it, transformed America into the Second Republic, with a far more powerful Federal government. The Second Republic ended with the First Great Depression and the New Deal. This Third Republic grew up in World War II to become the new guarantor of peace in the world. Some call it the First American Democracy. Whether a Democracy or a Constitutional Republic, many Americans alive today were born and grew up in this time. They lived through the Second Great Depression in living, bleeding color.
27 - Betty - The Second Great Depression - One of the things that made the Second Great Depression as bad as it was is the decades of political and cultural division that preceded it. Identity politics divided people by race, sex, religion, politics, and more. Those who had friends in other groups were called race traitors, or the like. And there was always a protest group happy to march with signs held high to call for someone to lose their job, their business, or worse if they didn’t do exactly as they were told. By the time the economic crisis hit its peak, the time when people really needed to hang together for the good of everyone, too many people no longer cared what happened to those outside their close group of trusted friends and associates. And too many others took a delighted glee out of watching those who’d attacked them lose their jobs or homes in turn. And when the governmental social safety nets failed, those who depended on them had to sink or swim. Far too many of them pulled others down with them in their frantic attempts to avoid drowning. It wasn’t just the economic crisis that hurt. It was the political crisis. The culture crisis. The moral crisis. It all came to a boil at once, and when it hit America, it hit the rest of the world like a thunderbolt.
28 - Jack - The Second Great Depression - The people I’ve talked to who lived through the Second Great Depression remember a time of plenty and opportunity. And a time of horrible division. They could buy anything they wanted from food to electronics. They could move from coast to coast on a whim, or play in virtual worlds better than the real one. And at the same time, the political and cultural divisions were beyond anything a people can survive for long. Political parties taught their members to hate people based on their race, their heritage, and their religion. They called their political foes mentally deficient, crazy, or hypocrites. They attacked political rivals with demonstrations and riots. Political assassinations, both virtual and real, became commonplace. Homes of opposition supporters were vandalized, and businesses were protested out of existence. The politics of destruction allowed no one who believed differently to survive. Many people just checked out of politics and tried not to pay attention to it. Others wallowed in it and moderates faded from the political landscape. Most people just didn’t care what was happening in Washington by the end. Apathy is the five-dollar word people toss out for why people let it get so bad. I suppose there are worse ones out there.
29 - Charles - The Second Great Depression - Whether it existed as a Constitutional Republic or an effective Democracy, many began foretelling the Third American Republic’s downfall as early as 2000 or 2010. While the elections of 2008 and 2016 certainly proved to be clarion calls when it comes to the health of the Republic, most historians agree that the government limped along for the next quarter century without observable historical change. There was great cultural and rhetorical outrage, but true political or cultural change was slow and minimal. The cities went one way, while the rural areas went another, and as time passed they had less in common with each other. The end years of the Third Republic were times of division, and it became common to call people on any side un-American if they did not agree with a chosen slate of values. Gridlock and savage rhetoric ruled the era, and political violence of a kind not seen in decades, or centuries, rose to become almost commonplace. But for all the news and thunder of this violence and rhetoric, little actually changed in how the country worked. The Second Great Depression became that change.
30 - Medron - BattleTech - So there’s a new game out there, called BattleTech. It’s a PC game based on the 1984 tabletop wargame of the same name. It’s guys in big robots blowing up other guys in big robots. Knights of the Fallen Roman Empire in a Successor States kind of a universe scattered across a couple thousand star systems spread across a thousand lightyears of space. That’s the matchbox background.
There’s dozens of novels, dozens of sourcebooks, hundreds of playing pieces, and a dozen different computer games in the universe, making it one of the more published gaming universes in existence. Unfortunately, it suffers from a virulent strain of IP-distribution similar to Star Trek and Robotech. Basically, different companies own different parts of the IP. Microsoft owns computer programs while Topps owns the tabletop game and other physical products. This has caused some issues of late.
But BattleTech, the computer game, just came out, and it is awesome. It places you out on the Periphery of known space in the classic era of the game, at the lowest ebb of technology as the universe has been falling for centuries after the Star League collapsed into civil war. You end up commanding a mercenary unit trying to survive in the hardscrabble existence of paying wages, repairs, ammo, and keeping one step ahead of the banks that want to repossess your spaceship if you miss a single payment.
Oh. And you get to go on missions where can stomp on enemy vehicles, punch enemy BattleMechs, or just shoot them all full of holes with your missiles, lasers, and particle cannons. It’s turn based rather real-time, so you can carefully pick your moves and targets, right down to called shots on particular limbs. And it is beautiful. You get to see cinematics of your mechs walking through swaying trees or swirling dust storms on their way to punching or shooting the enemy. Sometimes they even zoom the view in so you can see the missiles tracking in for final attack. And watching your BattleMech tearing the arm off an enemy and dropping them on their back is always a thing of beauty.
This is not MechWarrior, MechAssault, or the BattleTech Virtual World Arcade Pods, where you play a single BattleMech in real time. This is not a twitch game like Halo or Call of Duty. This is a turn-based strategy game, closer to MechCommander or the Crescent Hawk games. And of course the tabletop game it takes its genesis from. It glories in being a faithful computer representation of the spirit of the tabletop game. And a fun game in its own right.
If you have even a passing affinity for strategy games, I’d like to suggest that you try this game out. It is fun. I love it. I hope you will too.