X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 40

will: Welcome back all, to chapter 40 of Wedge’s Gamble, where we start jumping perspectives within a chapter, a clear sign of an avalanche conclusion.

Here in New York, things are fairly normal. My boss and coworker are on vacation, a coworker has the flu, and my spouse and I both were out of commission for a little while with a cold.

z: As for my side, you can guess what I’m going to say, right? Right? Good.

So, OK, normal it isn’t, but it is quiet.

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 39

z: Hello, gentlebeings, and welcome to Chapter 39 of Wedge’s Gamble, wherein these pre-mission conversations are going to go a bit differently, and Corran is going to botch something in every single one of them.

In personal news: Things on fire at work, and also I’ve been having some extra Homeowner Joy recently, which hasn’t helped. But anyway.

will: Calmer here again. I did finish The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the other day, and I haven’t yet found and dived into a new game (but it’s distinctly possible it’ll be Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon).

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 38

will: Welcome back, all, to Chapter 38 of Wedge’s Gamble, where we get the final go-time plotting, plus Corran and Wedge have the conversation they need to have, and honestly, it goes as well as you’d expect.

Things are quiet here in New York, who knows how long that will last…

z: Things are very much not quiet here near DC and I really don’t want to talk about it. In this past week I’ve used more dumpster fire pixel art than I ever have since I made that image.

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 37

z: Hello, gentlebeings, and welcome to Chapter 37 of Wedge’s Gamble, wherein oh hey, there is a limit to how far a middle manager can be mismanaged after all.

In personal news, at work a lot of things suddenly caught fire again, and I don’t want to talk about it.

will: Things are calmer here, which isn’t saying much. Mostly I’ve been playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And on the other hand, ask Z what game I got her hooked into.

z: {glares} Horizon: Zero Dawn, which as he carefully didn’t tell me ahead of time, is an open-world RPG, which is something I usually avoid like the plague because he means it when he says “hooked” up there. It’s what Tomb Raider would have been if it had a better story and the openness of Breath of the Wild. I’ll probably still be unfinished with it after a year. Bad Will.

will: Not sorry.

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 36

will: Welcome back all! This week is a short Chapter 36 of Wedge’s Gamble, where the author says “you didn’t really think I’d do it, did you?” and we go “no, not really.”

z: It’s also a wham episode of sorts after taking that into account.

will: In other news, if you’re in the Detroit area, I’ll be at Confusion this MLK weekend! Come by and say hi.

z: In my personal news, this week hadn’t looked like it was going to be hell week at work from the halcyon days of, oh, last week, and yet. So it’s lucky that it was Will’s turn, not that I still don’t owe him a few.

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 35

z: Hello, gentlebeings, and welcome to Chapter 35 of Wedge’s Gamble, wherein wow, this is actually a wham episode, isn’t it?

In personal news, Will and I spent about eight days actually in the same physical locations. For the New Year’s Eve and the weekend before that, we were in Myrtle Beach, SC, renting a house with some very dear friends to ring in the New Year as we always do; from the 1st to last Sunday Will was staying at my place and we were commuting to MagFest in National Harbor near DC. Which was glorious. And now, back to the rhythm of the things.

will: Before we dive completely into the rhythm, a weird note: both Z and I saw The Rise of Skywalker shortly before the New Year. Both of us agreed that it was fine; not the brilliant work that we found The Last Jedi to be, not the letdown that the prequels were. Some of the choices and story elements were disappointing–while I firmly do not believe that J.J. Abrams was doing anything so direct as “refuting” or “undoing” TLJ, there were definitely choices that could have leaned into that movie’s decisions and didn’t–but it was still perfectly satisfying in its way. It feels, appropriately, comparable to TLJ the same way that ROTJ feels comparable to ESB. Frankly its biggest flaw (much like the original trilogy, though with far less excuse) what seemed like a complete lack of cohesive planning.

Oh, and the less said about “Release the Abrams Cut,” the Star Wars universe’s own version of QAnon by way of Justice League, the better. (If you don’t know what that means, don’t look it up. If you do, and you actually believe any of it…we don’t need readers that badly. Get some perspective.)

z: …what? No, no don’t tell me.

will: So what’s the weird note, I hear you ask? That we didn’t think to say anything about it until now. Yes, we had the holidays, and yes, things were busy and hectic, but this was the latest, and arguably final, element of the series and saga that has defined so much of our adult lives, and we didn’t even think to mention it. Part of that is the fact that hot-take criticism and critique of current content is exhausting in general (it’s the second-most-tiring thing on Twitter after watching the end of the world play out in realtime, 280 characters each); part of it is that particular conspiracy-lunacy I mentioned last paragraph. But another part, I think/fear, is the way that Star Wars has been Disneyfied. John Scalzi’s review of Rise called it a victim of “Cinematic Dynamic Range Compression”: Star Wars under Disney is consistent and consistently entertaining, but it’s lost some of the grand scope and ambition.

There’s more truth to that than I would like to admit.

z: And part of what made The Last Jedi as attractive to us as it did was that it was attempting to bring back some of the scope and ambition, in variously-ept ways.

will: But hey. Also, the damn thing is still brand new and it’s going to take a while to really process it all. Z and I are still planning to do chatwatches of the rest of the films, at least (in fact, Z has never seen Solo, and now is planning to not see it until we chatwatch it; that will be fun), so come back in a few…years, probably…and we’ll see how well this film ages.

But anyway. Back to the past…

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X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble, Chapter 34

will: Welcome back and Happy New Year, everybody! We hope your celebration of the end of 2019 and of the decade (yes, don’t start) went well, and that your re-entry into normal time after the holidays did likewise.

Technically, I’m sort of still on holiday, and Z is at least half, as we’re spending this weekend at MAGFest, so come say hi if you’re around!

z: “At least half on holiday” is a very good descriptor of what I’m able to achieve on that front nowadays, although if you don’t consider the arrangement work to be work (call it playing a puzzle game instead, say) that may rise to three-quarters. Library work is more work-like.

Anyway, yeah, what he said about MAGFest. I’ll probably be mostly hanging out where there is jamming.

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