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Meet the person that has guns for hands and likes to clean trapped in Rainbow Six Siege

Davenport: First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat. We really appreciate it. But give us your story, who is Cleany Gunhands?

Gunhands: Hey there. Yeah, thanks for having me. My name is Cleany Gunhands, and I love to clean, but I also have guns for hands instead of regular human hands for hands. I’m stuck in a scary digital hell dimension where I’m thrown into a very messy house or cafe or something and, like, I have to stop a bomb sometimes. There are others there, and they’re always yelling at me, yelling, ‘Dang-it, Cleany! Stop shooting the fridge and help us make these walls strong! We need the strong walls! But I’m just trying to clean the fridge, but I can’t because I have hands that aren’t hands, but guns instead of regular human hands.

Davenport: So you have hands that aren’t hands, but guns instead of regular human hands. Wow. Tell us, tell us a little bit about that.

Gunhands: Well, you see my hands? You don’t. You can’t. I don’t have hands. [Holds up gun hands] Where I have hands, should have hands, instead I have guns, not regular human hands.

Davenport: Have your hands, or gun h—which do you prefer?

Gunhands: Gun hands, please. Thanks.

Davenport: Have your gun hands always been gun hands? Or were they once hands, regular human hands?

Gunhands: Good question. I don’t remember to be honest. I woke up in the digital hell dimension where all the places are dirty and my last name is Gunhands so I didn’t think much of having hands that are gun hands and not regular human hands. There are many angry people who may also have guns for hands in the digital hell dimension but don’t like cleaning so they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t know and just make the mess even worse and say terrible things if I try to clean the fridge.

Davenport: You like to clean. Why is that?

Gunhands: I don’t know if I actually like cleaning. I’ve never successfully cleaned anything in my life. When I wake up in the digital hell dimension and see my name, I just think, ‘Geez, my name is Cleany Gunhands, my hands are guns and not regular human hands and I just gotta clean!’ So I try to clean, but I can’t, because my hands are gun hands and not regular human hands. I’m always trying to clean the fridge, and the others are yelling about the strong walls, and I just shoot the fridge instead of cleaning it, because my hands are gun hands and not regular human hands.

Davenport: What’s the closest you’ve ever come to cleaning something?

Gunhands: I was once able to nudge a piece of sheetrock into a corner using my clumsy digital body. Without direct control of my feet and no feeling in my extremities, I just walked back and forth until the small piece of sheetrock was at least out of sight. It is my happiest moment.

Davenport: Have you ever tried throwing a grenade? To see if you have regular human hands too?

Gunhands: No, that’s impossible. I have gun hands for hands instead of regular human hands. But sometimes one of the angry people yell about the strong walls and throw a flash grenade and my vision will go white and I can’t hear anything and it’s like, it’s like everything is clean for just a moment before I’m returned to the digital hell dimension.

Davenport: These angry people, who are they? What do they want with the strong walls?

Gunhands: They want to hide from the other angry people. I don’t think they want to make a mess, but they, they make a mess. They make the walls go down and the walls also go up. Some make the ceiling or floor a hole where instead it was once a ceiling or floor. They take the beautiful home or sophisticated cafe and make them not beautiful or sophisticated but I do not think they are there to see how beautiful or sophisticated the home or the cafe can be.

Davenport: Is there anything in the digital hell dimension that you’d like to clean most?

Gunhands: The fridge, I think. It’s a nice fridge and should be clean. But if I can take a moment to think.

Davenport: Sure, take your time.

Gunhands: I think I would clean the angry people, clean the angry people of their anger. They dress as strong, special military people and they yell about the strong walls and do not want to clean. They only want to make a mess. I don’t think a mess is good. I think a mess is bad, in fact.

Davenport: But the digital hell dimension, it’s a video game, yeah? They’re playing the game. Why aren’t you playing the game and making the strong walls?

Gunhands: My name is Cleany Gunhands. I like to clean and I have guns for hands instead of regular human hands. I’m stuck in a digital hell dimension where the angry people yell about the strong walls and I can’t clean the fridge. I can only shoot the fridge with my gun hands, which are not regular human hands. It is in my most basic nature to do this.

Davenport: So is it in the angry people’s most basic nature to make the strong walls? To be angry? To dress like strong, special military people? Can you fault them for that?

Gunhands: No, I cannot. I don’t think ‘fault’ is at stake here. It is just strange to me to see a mess in a beautiful home or sophisticated cafe and to not want to clean it up. Instead, the angry people make the strong walls and knock over all sorts of domestic implements and shoot the other angry people. No one will clean. No one will clean the fridge. This may be a game to them, but none of them pay attention. None of them see the beautiful home or the sophisticated cafe. None of them are encouraged to see. So, who else will clean the fridge? Cleany Gunhands, the person who instead of regular human hands has guns for hands? I must try. Perhaps someday, I can find a way to make the digital hell dimension tidy and neat and beautiful and also sophisticated.

Davenport: That is very noble and sad.

Gunhands: Yes.

Davenport: Thank you for your time.

Gunhands: Don’t shake my hand. I have guns for hands instead of regular human hands. We’ll bow.

Davenport: I can’t bow, my head is a sword instead of a regular human head.


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I moved across the US to write about video games

WHA?

After what was undoubtedly the hardest year of my life (leaving teaching, unemployed for six months, IT work, bullshit quarter-life crisis, loved, lost, and on and on) I've stumbled into a position that I couldn't ask more from. Granted, I'm an intern, but if it goes well, my time here could lead to any number of interesting positions. 

How?

I saw a tweet. PC Gamer threw out a tweet advertising a paid internship. I'd applied to several before (a call from Joystiq played a huge part in chin-keepuppance), without much in the way of hope, but I've always figured it's better to try than cry. If you can't help it. I cry a lot. Anyway, I applied. Two months later, without much forethought, I ended up here, in San Francisco.

Now!

I've been putting out some things on The Internet, guided by some really, really great people. I'll be sure to update the various links on here in time. What's up? I eat burritos way to god damn much, I check out the ocean when I get scared, and try to network when I can. The whole ordeal has been pretty overwhelming, coming into my own at work and around the people here, but I've always been a slow burn at the start. The biggest takeaway has been that for the first time in my life, I'm excited to go to work. That said, writing is difficult. Don't mistake it for a whimsical passion. This shit is hard.

Soon.

Stay tuned. Some good stuff coming. Twitch.tv/pcgamer is a good place to be. Podcasts? Podcasts. And I'll be putting out all sorts of stuff in the coming months. It's only been six weeks or so, and I've already written a healthy variety of junk. Here's some:

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General Bad

I wrote this small series of surreal vignettes last year as a way to work through some creative and personal blocks.

Sell: An atom bomb is spiraling towards Missoula. Here's what a few people were up to right before it came down.

I'm not sure where it belongs, but my hard drive isn't a likely destination. 

Let me know what you think, or if you find any egregious editing mistakes (javemport@gmail.com).

Download it in whatever format works for you. 

Thanks for reading.

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Progress!

Nearly done with the first Twine segment I'm including in the game, or at least the demo. I have a concept in mind, that is, to somehow use Twine and Unity scenes in conjunction. We'll see how it goes....

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Introducing Powell - a short, first-person exploration narrative about your (possibly) dead dad!

Concept art. I can't make concept art. Get at me, concept artists. 

Concept art. I can't make concept art. Get at me, concept artists. 

When I stopped teaching in 2013, it was for one reason: make shit. It's why I've applied to so many MFA programs (fingers crossed) and why I've been chipping way at my novel, Violence at Night, and it's why I've been dipping my toes into some light programming. Luckily (or not), game creation engines like Unity and Gamemaker are fairly easy to use and require little granular programming skill to get basic prototypes up and running. Within a day of using GM, I was able to get a two dimensional platformer with rough (ruff) animation and art set up. This is the first game I started to make, titled Dog Prom. It will be my back-burner exercise, something I do that doesn't hog much brain space. It will be short and dumb and hopefully entertaining.

What I've decided to focus most of my time on is Powell (see title). The game is an homage to the valley I grew up in, and it deals with circumstances that will hopefully resonate with some folks. Simplicity will be my focus. I don't expect this to be anything exceptional in the indie game space. This is me, getting my feet wet, and sticking with simplistic mechanics. My goal is to align the design with my capabilities, and since my only capabilities right now extend to creating a first-person controller and cubes and a single light source, the game won't be packed with "game." My guiding light right now is a narrative and soliciting pretty arts. Collaboration with talented folks is key. It's how I want to spend the rest of my life. 

Anyway, a pitch, sort of(?):

Dad said if he ever left, he’d start dying. He said the same thing happened to his dad. Took him out of Cut Bank, away from the high line, and plopped him into Helena. “It was because we were closer, he was getting old and shit. Couldn’t drive anymore, feed the dog.” Couple years in, after we built that fence around his place, and Grandpa went to the home. Bumblebee something or other. I remember that visit. Grandma insisted on making us lunch before we left. Ham on moldy white bread, and some stale tortilla chips.

Dad was afraid. I’m not sure if he was right, that he was sucking up some kind of life force from the Deer Lodge valley, or if he had just resigned, figured he was too tired for anything new at his age. Either way, when mom quit her job at the mill and sold the house and dragged dad to Helena, his old anecdotes cropped up more often. He started forgetting which of his friends had died, which were still on the res, which existed. “Jerry still out by Wolf Point? I ever tell you about when the storm came in during our walleye trip out there?”

So we took a trip back to the valley. A weekend up on Powell to look for fish in mountain water.

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Reflections West - Mom, I'm on the radio!

About half a year ago, I wrote a small essay and published it on this website. I submitted the same essay to Reflections West, a radio show that highlights the humanities in Montana, and through various machinations and iterations, the essay wound up on the show.

I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. Writing for the radio was a hefty challenge and something I'd never done before, but I'm glad to have been run through the editing gamut in such a strenuous way. The folks at RW were relentless, and I'm super thankful for their feedback. After all, the dream is to have someone tear me apart, piece by piece. I want to sharpen my skills in every way possible.

Check the episode in the link below.

Reflections West - Episode 91 - James Davenport / John Steinbeck

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Work and Play

I miss being social. Not that I particularly like going out drinking, dancing, or to semi-formal dinners--these gatherings, to me, are the cultural vestiges of a time quickly fading. Rather, I miss board games with convoluted rule sets. I miss long nights screaming over shitty mics in Left 4 Dead. I miss splitting a tiny screen into four tinier screens and then shooting my friends in their stupid friend faces over a tense match or twenty in Halo. 

All my gaming these days is done alone. This isn't necessarily by choice. I know I could cultivate a group or insert myself into a community online, but as a first year teacher, my time is pretty precious. Little can be spent on avatars, when real-life-fleshy folks are hard enough to befriend in Southeast Idaho. 

But maybe these are just the emerging symptoms of adulthood. Maybe my priorities are changing without compliance. 

I don't buy it. The average adult doesn't play enough. This work-as-life ethic is gross and old fashioned. So I take the play to work, using games as centerpieces for lessons on the English language. The kids respond like moths to florescence, and who can blame them? When I trick them into learning, everyone benefits. My job becomes fun, the kids' work becomes fun, and a stigma dissolves.

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