Plague Inc. You ever get frustrated with a game because it’s got a great idea and then simply doesn’t go deep enough with it? Plague Inc. is one of those games. Take the old Pandemic II skeleton, put more options into it, really have fun with it. And in some ways Plague Inc does that because they put in a lot of new game modes – Neurax Worm and Necroa Virus are both interesting, fun ideas for a plague game to tinker with. But the problem with this game is that in most of the modes, there is exactly one way to realistically win: lurk in the background for a long time with as little visibility as possible until the entire world is infected, and then turn on fatal symptoms immediately. In short, the only way to win the disease game is to make sure your game doesn’t play anything like diseases actually do. And that’s kind of boring.
The latest episode of Game of Thrones. Depending on which showrunner you’re interviewing this week, you’ll get a different answer about whether Jaime raped Cersei or whether she was into it. (HINT: the first one is the one who’s right. You are entitled to slap anybody across the face for advancing the “she was into it” argument.) But of all the changes the show has made from the books, this one is by far the worst so far. I vaguely suspect it was done to humanize Cersei because Cersei is so awful that in order for anybody to feel sympathetic towards her something really awful has to happen, but here’s the problem: nobody needs to feel sympathetic towards Cersei. She is a villain, and that’s fine, and her villainy actually comes from a perfectly reasonable place (her anger at her relative lack of power as a woman, even as a noble). Choosing to have her be raped is a cheap plot point, and although Game of Thrones is usually a well-written show I don’t think it has the narrative room by half to dwell on the ramifications of the sexual assault in a way that would make it worth including in the narrative. (For the record, Sons of Anarchy did it very well in the second season and should probably be considered the model for “if you must do a sexual assault storyline, this is how.”) Just a terrible idea on so many levels.
The end of Superior Spider-Man. Maybe “sucked” is too strong here because this was not a bad comic especially – but after a superhero comic run as refreshing and solidly entertaining as Superior was, it definitely limped to the finish. Otto’s heroic sacrifice was a wet fart of an ending for his character arc, the most blatant “we’re doing a retcon of this entire storyline because we have to, okay” that I’ve seen in some time. Ditto Peter’s return, which was just… bad, a deus ex machina without the machina bit, expressly rewriting what had gone before in the comic – and you have to figure it’s because the movie’s coming out in a month and we need the status quo back for the movie. Slott is still writing good stuff here, overall, and the last issue is reasonably entertaining and it’s nice to see Peter in the costume again, but that doesn’t really change the fact that a remarkably good comic dropped to “basically acceptable” right at the end.