Old Guy With a PS3, Year 7: You Are Now Leaving Skyrim

Skryim PC!

That time my character had to assassinate the emperor himself by posing as a chef. Well, “had to” might be an overstatement.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, at the beginning of 2016:

As a kid, I frequented video arcades regularly. As a parent, my son and I spent a good decade playing games together on his various systems. When he graduated and moved away to college, he took all his systems with him, leaving me with only my old Nintendo that won’t play cartridges unless you keep the Game Genie firmly inserted, and an Atari Plug-‘n’-Play Controller I got for Christmas a few years ago that interested me for about two weeks. On Black Friday 2014, I decided I wanted back in the 21st century gaming mode and picked up a used PS3.

Naturally I started off a generation behind the rest of the civilized world, but I didn’t care. After fifteen months without, holding a controller felt abnormal and rusty for the first few weeks. Once I got used to it again and figured out how to disable the “Digital Clear Motion Plus” feature on my TV, I could shake the dust off my trigger fingers, choose the games I wanted to play, sprint or meander through them at whatever pace I saw fit, and try some different universes beyond Final Fantasy and our other longtime mainstays…

…and it’s been a minor MCC annual tradition ever since. On average I would play three times per week, maybe two hours per session, and get through four to six games per year, except when I spent thirteen months on Borderlands 2, that other time I spent nine months of 2019 on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel…and, as you can understand, when I ventured to Skyrim for eleven straight months in the Year of our Pandemic 2020. That February I’d entered the Elder Scrolls world for the first time. A month later, the real world fell to pieces.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After “The Green Knight” End Credits

Gawain in "The Green Knight"!

For standard heroes, yellow is not a good look…

Some Hollywood adaptations go through the motions of the full original story, typically regarded as a boon for new viewers unfamiliar with the original. Some of your more challenging renditions assume everyone knows the original text backwards and forwards, thus giving the filmmakers leeway to invert, subvert, satirize, or otherwise frame it through a cracked lens from an askew angle. With the visually majestic misadventure of The Green Knight, writer/director David Lowery (whose riff on Disney’s Pete’s Dragon was straightforward and exceeded every expectation) opts for the latter treatment and avoids the easy way out, the road taken by far too many King Arthur flops. The tale of Sir Gawain and his verdant nemesis recently came up in the BOOM! Studios series Once and Future, which benefited me as an advance refresher. Other viewers who came into it cold might have questions and argue about it with the driver the entire way home. Which is fine! Arguing about cinema is much more fun offline than on-.

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“Onward”: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants


Are they elves? Goblins? Bugbears? Kobolds? Smurfs? I have no idea.

From the studio that brought you Up and Inside Out, it’s Onward, another in-depth exploration of a directional adverb. Expect more in this series in future adventures such as Diagonal, Hard to Starboard, Thereabouts, and Counterclockwise!

(The word actually appears in-story and makes perfect sense after you’ve seen the movie. As an enticement for luring reticent viewers into the theater, it falls…shortward.)

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MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #9: “Forever”


The only new fantasy/sci-fi series of the Fall 2014 season that’s not based on a comic book, the hero of Forever, a Manhattan medical examiner who’s also a 200-year-old immortal, could’ve been adapted from the medium, using either DC Comics’ Immortal Man or Vandal Savage, or Marvel’s Mr. Immortal from the Great Lakes Avengers. Instead this mash-up derived from the crossed bones of the much more popular Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock will have to rise or fall on the strength of some added flourishes and the charms of star Ioan Gruffudd, who’s much more at ease here than he was as the uptight Reed Richards in the two Fantastic Four films.

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Gen Con 2014 Photos, Part 5 of 6: Last Call for Costumes

Khal Drogo!

Not taking Khal Drogo seriously would prove to be his last mistake. After the scene of carnage, his friends divided up the contents of his pockets between them.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I attended Gen Con 2014 and took pictures as usual.

Parts One through Three were the Costume Contest winners and contenders. Part Four was cosplay in the exhibit hall, the other halls, the other rooms, out and about, and wherever. Part Five: more of those, but the last usable ones in our collection. If you’re not shown here, either our destinies didn’t cross on that fateful Saturday, or we crossed at mistimed moments (really sorry I missed Pirate Harley Quinn), or we have a tragically blurry pic of you that’s not worth anyone’s upload time. Better luck next year, maybe?

For those who know every fictional character ever invented, this entry shall be your geek-culture playground, as it contains the largest number of “WHO DAT” cosplay moments. If you recognize any of the unnamed folks in these pics, now’s your chance to label them with pride.

Right this way for the last of the famous international cosplayers!

Gen Con 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 6: the Costume Contest Winners


Toothless! America’s new favorite reptile (sorry, Godzilla), the star of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Winner of this year’s Staff Favorite award.

This weekend our starstruck hometown of Indianapolis hosted the 47th edition of Gen Con, one of America’s oldest and largest gaming conventions. Whether your gaming mode is RPGs, tabletop games, TCGs, dice games, family board games, or video games, Gen Con has its sights aimed in your direction. Try a new game, pick up supplies for your current campaigns, network with gamers from faraway lands, or just wander the premises and gaze upon the wonders. Attendance in 2013 exceeded 49,000, an impressive 20% increase over 2012. Judging by how overcrowded the main exhibit hall became by mid-afternoon Saturday this year, I’d say they’re on target for another increase.

This was my fifth GenCon and my wife’s fourth, even though we’re not certified pro gamers. Some of our personal geek interests intersect with enough of the available exhibits, dealers, and special events that we’re rarely bored except in the occasional line, but those come with the territory. I have somewhat obsolete working knowledge of the early days of gaming. In my youth I used to spend dollar after dollar on the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons hardcovers and modules, as well as various other TSR RPGs (Top Secret!, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super-Heroes, et al.) and a subscription to both Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Adventures (starting with issue #1!) until all my childhood friends moved away and took their Player Characters with them.

Anyway: we took too many photos because too many people did interesting things. Our photos will be paced out in a six-part series that I hope to post on a slightly-more-than-daily basis over the next few days, Lord willing and if non-internet responsibilities don’t interfere. We begin with the easiest place to start: the winners of the 29th annual Gen Con Costume Contest.

Caveat for newcomers to MCC: some of our photos aren’t the greatest ever. The 500 Ballroom is poorly lit at all times whether any conventions are using it or not. Flash photography was forbidden, which is just as well because using the flash from the non-Press-Pass, non-VIP seats produces even worse results. This is something my wife and I enjoy doing, to show our appreciation and awe for those with the flair for this particular aspect of the scene. We apologize in advance for the costumes we missed, and for the opportunities we blew because of our limitations and hindrances.

Comments and especially corrections are always welcome and appreciated. (That’s my standing policy for every MCC entry anyway, not just the Gen Con six-parter.) I’m not plugged directly into every single geek scene out there. Very few geeks are, even the famous ones with their own YouTube channels. If you notice any wanton acts of mislabeling, please don’t hesitate to call me out. I enjoy learning about new worlds and universes, giving credit where it’s due, and dispelling my old man’s ignorance.

Right this way for the winners!

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