Endless Space and Why Can’t We Have Anarchist Strategy Games

Publishers: Amplitude Studios, Iceberg Interactive

Release: 2012

Recommended? Yes.

This morning I conquered an entire galaxy as a race of spacefaring, pacifist-ish, ecologically-focused anarchist robots. I won an economic victory. There’s probably some irony there.

Endless Space is a damn good game. I’ve played its non-space-based sequel Endless Legends a couple of times, and I think I actually like this spacey one better. I play strategy games to lose myself for a day or three after too much bullshit like work and the world being a garbage fire, and this is now one of my favorites. I’m sure I’ll sacrifice more of the finite hours in which I’m alive to play this game.

It’s a “4X” game, which is like some weird acronym for things that don’t start with the letter X [editor’s note: “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate”]. Basically, it’s the genre of turn-based games in which you construct buildings, research technologies, extract resources, colonize territory, negotiate trade deals, and go to war.

Which doesn’t sound very anarchist now that I’m typing it out.

Why am I addicted to these fucking things?
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SLC Punk 2 is more punk than SLC Punk 1

Writer and Director: James Merendino

Recommended? Yes.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “wait, they made a sequel to SLC Punk? Why would you watch that?” and believe me, that’s an understandable sentiment. I don’t entirely know how I stumbled upon the sequel, to be honest. But stumble upon it I did, and I even watched it, and more surprising of all: I even liked it.

Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2 not a better movie than SLC Punk. By most criteria, it’s objectively worse. It’s not as funny, it’s not as engaging. The plot is dangerously linear and the intentional stereotyping of the characters is more awkward (to put it lightly). The emotions are more subdued and some of the acting is worse. The copy I illegally downloaded had weird file errors that made it skip a couple seconds here and there and clearly that’s something I can blame the filmmakers for. But we all know “more punk” does not directly translate to “better.” So somehow, even though the main character isn’t a punk, the movie itself is leaps and bounds more punk.
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So A Nazi Walks Into An Iron Bar: the Meyer Lansky Story

I’m starting a series here where I talk about history, because geeks love history. I’m going to focus on stories I think anarchists will like. Here’s one:

“The Nazi scumbags were meeting one night on the second floor. Nat Arno and I went upstairs and threw stink bombs into the room where the creeps were. As they came out of the room, running from the horrible odor of the stink bombs and running down the steps to go into the street to escape, our boys were waiting with bats and iron bars. It was like running a gauntlet. Our boys were lined up on both sides and we started hitting, aiming for their heads or any other part of their bodies, with our bats and irons. The Nazis were screaming blue murder. This was one of the most happy moments of my life.”

That was Max “Puddy” Hinkes, of Newark, New Jersey, and today we’re going to be talking about Jewish gangsters who fucked up Nazis.
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Everything I Need to Know About Trump I Learned From Playing Skyrim

If you’re anything like me, this is what happens when you first load up the game Skyrim.

You’re a prisoner on board a cart. Everything is dark. Why is everything dark. Is it everything supposed to be dark? Does your character have a blindfold on, or is there a problem with your pirated copy of the game?

Oh, it’s the latter.

Re-install, try again.

You’re a prisoner on board a cart. The Empire is planning to execute you for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (and for illegally crossing a border). Fuck the empire. Your name isn’t on their list of prisoners to be executed, but what the hell, they already have you, might as well cut off your head. Fuck the empire.
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Vintage Tomorrows (2015)

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Director: Byrd McDonald

Recommended? Yes.

Vintage Tomorrows, currently streaming on Netflix, is a feature-length documentary about the steampunk movement. It is based on the book of the same name. It is a very personal film for me. I was a steampunk event organizer, DJ, blogger, and maker from 2007 until about 2013. I was such a fanatic that the large bureaucracy I worked for wrote a memorandum about hats in the workplace just to get the bowlers off my head. I know many of the people interviewed in this film personally. Full disclosure, one of the interviewees is Margaret Killjoy of this website. The film has clearly been in post-production a long time: none of these interviews or events took place any later than 2012, so this film is unintentionally a retrospective of steampunk at its peak.
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MRA Pissbabies Should Be Even Madder About Ghostbusters Than They Are

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Director: Paul Feig

Screenplay: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig

Recommended? Yes.

We don’t really do hot takes here at AGR, apparently. Now that you’re all done talking about Ghostbusters and probably never want to hear about it again, here are some thoughts.

MRA pissbabies should be even madder about Ghostbusters than they are. Though that would probably kill them. Which, I mean, ok, if they have to go, literally burning up in a column of incandescent rage over a movie that has girls in it is probably how they’d want to go.
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Don’t Make People Nazis Just Because You’re a Lazy Writer: A Response to this Steve Rogers Hydra Nonsense

It’s like Marvel reads my posts. One minute I publish an article claiming that Steve Rogers as Captain America exemplifies anarchist principles, the next minute he’s being clumsily outed in the comic books as a fascist this whole time. Under deep cover. Under such deep cover that he has been fighting Red Skull, and also was able to pick up Mjolnir, and has done so many other things directly counter to being an undercover Hydra agent this whole time (since BEFORE HE WAS PICKED OUT FOR THE SUPERSOLDIER PROGRAM????) that it’s just not worth getting into. It doesn’t work, and we all know it. This is bad, bad writing. It’s gimmicky crap in the worst tradition of gimmicky crap comic book plot twists.
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Captain America is a Big Screen Anarchist Superhero, How Fucking Weird is That?

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Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Recommended? Yes.

Is it weird to call Captain America an anarchist? Yes, yes it is. Of course, there’s a ton of different versions of the character throughout the canon, from the hyperpatriotic and jingoistic to the I-hereby-renounce-my-US-citizenship-because-I-am-so-disgusted-with-this-government. “Captain America” is not so much an embodiment of America as he is an embodiment of whatever version of America the creators who are working on him at whatever moment think would be the ideal. So even though yeah, we’re talking about a guy called Captain America who wears a red white and blue costume, we’re not talking about AMERICA.
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Are You My Comrade? part 1

Welcome to “Are You My Comrade?” where I will evaluate fictional revolutionaries on the basis of whether or not I would personally like to hang out and/or revolt with them. This will be an ongoing, multipart series, and is theoretically infinite, since I don’t see us running out of fictional revolutionaries any time soon. Suggestions for future entries are welcome; leave us a comment with a fictional revolutionary you’d like to see judged in a highly subjective way!

Les Amis de l’ABC, Les Miserables

Friends of the ABC

Oh you guys. You’re so passionate, and sincere and sincerely passionate. I think my favorite moment in any musical ever is when Marius comes into the revolutionary plotting meeting singing the “I just saw a girl for like three seconds and now everything has changed oh my god you guys” song and gets told “dude shut up, we’re trying to plan an insurrection over here. You can chime in with whatever you want when we sing Red and Black if you must but tbh no one cares about your feelings right now and don’t you dare try to bring your heterosexuality into Do You Hear the People Sing.” It’s pretty satisfying.

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Fictional Cops I Love, Ranked By How Guilty I, As An Anarchist, Feel For Loving Them

Detective Jack Robinson

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

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So, so guilty. Maximum guilt. This guy is just a standard stereotype of what people who say “most cops are good, it’s the bad ones who ruin things” believe a “good cop” to be, and I am an absolute ass for accepting and loving this character just because he wears sharp 1920s suits and because I want him to make out with Phryne Fisher. You do not get a pass on being part of an oppressive colonialist law enforcement agency just because I think it’s cute when you get flustered by a flapper’s free-spiritedness. So much agonizing guilt here.

Should you suffer from the same guilt, I highly recommend constructing a parallel narrative to the show in your head, where Bert and Cess never gave up on being communists and are quietly plotting a 1920s Australian revolution in the background of literally every scene in which they are not actively helping Phryne stop murders. If you like, you can also pretend that Jack knows about this, and is turning a blind eye or even helping them, but I honestly don’t know if my imagination can stretch his character that far; he is a cop, and I feel bad for liking him. I feel bad for liking Phryne too, if it comes down to that, but Free-Spirited Flappers Who Are Also Imperialist Aristocrats I Guiltily Love is a much shorter list so it doesn’t get its own article, I just thought I’d mention it.

Guilt levels: so high.
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