Friday, August 16, 2019

Dark future retro


I was a teen in the 80s and as any Stranger Things viewer will know, roleplaying games were a thing. For a few hours, you could be in another world as someone else and it was all good fun. I never played D&D, but we did give 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' a go for a while.

The game that really had my attention was Cyberpunk. A schoolmate tipped me off to it and if I'm honest, I've always been more of a sci-fi geek than a fan of fantasy. Mind you, I absolutely loved playing the Skyrim computer game: that was just amazing.

So Cyberpunk - aka CP - fitted my late teen misanthropy. Good & evil weren't a thing: everyone had an angle they were playing and there were times when the (so-called) heroes of the hour were, well, doing some decidedly questionable moral activities. Nothing out of the ordinary compared to your typical Bond film - in terms of violence or cons - but not the noble quests of Tolkien's works or TSR's Forgotten Realms.

Gaming was a chance for friends to get together and explore ideas that wouldn't be possible until computer games caught up some 15+ years later (IMHO). To play, you needed a rule book, some funny-shaped dice, time, and your imagination. All things considered, it was a pretty inexpensive hobby and lots of groups would make up their own rules or settings to keep things fresh. Want to do an A Team style game or play as perps in a Judge Dredd world? Fill your boots. :-)

Hauling this all back to T stuff, the game let me play a female character. I wasn't out back then and scared of the idea that others would find out. I would play one game as a male character, then the next game as a female one. It probably goes without saying which characters and games I remember more than others ;-) Just like today where having a female character in a computer game somehow helps keep the Trans Clock from ticking towards midnight, so did the same in RPG terms.

Next year there will see the release of Cyberpunk 2077. I guess it's all the stuff from the old game plus whatever the original creator and new team have thought of. One thing that's missing from the old game - and oddly, predicting the future is rather tricky - was the lack of smartphones.... and no Transgender Tipping Point.

The old game was very gender binary - give or take a few minor mentions - and certainly, the language used in the books ('sex change' or 'swap op') mirrors the time when they were written (the early 90s).

Thing is, when I stumbled upon such characters, they were not - unlike many portrayals in films - victims or murderers*. They had a backstory and they were part of the world. Sure, the language feels kinda off compared to today, but there is a positive trans character. They're in charge of what they do, loved by their partner, and - crazytalk I know! :-)  - they are more than just trans.

[ * Earlier this year, BBC crime drama. Ooo, with a trans character! Ah, they're the murderer. Again. ]

In more recent news, the computer game company put out a demo featuring an advert of a trans person. I think those of us on that continuum can say "that's not a great tuck" and I won't be linking directly to the image as it feels quite graphic. But, I'm not offended by that ad. I know I'm very late to the party, but I'm here to clear up and take out the trash. :-)

The world setting is one of corporate greed turned up to eleven. So, yeah, some of us with our real-world eyes looking in may judge that as inappropriate... but, as a former gamer and trans person, I look at that for what the advert is. It's making the point that the companies are not your friend. They want to exploit and they'll ride any bandwagon that pimps their stuff. A quick look at the headlines this year will display a few companies caught stiffing the consumer.

As someone said about dystopia novels: they're a warning, not a handbook. ;-)

Stay frosty,

Friday, August 09, 2019

Don't make eye contact


With a bit of luck, the Jones Crew will be working our way around Europe on our summer holiday. The thing is, I find that as I'm getting a little older, I worry a little more about the What If. of it all.

What if we miss our flight? What if the hotel we've booked is closed? Just, well, silly worries really.

As the Ever Lovely Mrs J would say, you only have to do one step. All we need to do is get to the hotel down south. Then, just be up on time to get to the airport, and so on and so on.

I do my best to listen, but it's not always easy. Perhaps it's because there's four of us and if I'm going somewhere new to me - like another country - my worries play up a little more than they should.

But, the crazy thing is I'm happy to drive most places and compared to flying, cars are statistically less safe. Plus, I sometimes go our in 'Lynn Mode' and we know that being openly LGBTQ+ can leave you to being attacked. Again, risk.

Perhaps I need to think of the travel along the same lines as T stuff. What I mean is, feel the fear and do it anyway. What if someone sees me out? What if I bump the car while out? What if I can't get home to get changed in time?

All those worries could become barriers if I let them. Maybe, it's about nodding politely, not quite making eye contact, and doing what I was going to do anyway.

After all, if I'd listened to The Fear all those years ago, I'd not be married, not have a lovely family, not have T friends, not have a good job, and not have this blog: so the list goes on.

I shall just have to put my metaphorical big girl pants on, take a deep breath, and try to enjoy the ride.

See you in a few,