Category: Commentary


Once again folks, there’s been another blog gap. I’ve not had much impetus to complete an entry – there have been several false starts but after getting to a second or third paragraph, I realise that my scribings are utter drivel and just cannot bring myself to inflict them on the public. But today, I wanted to catch up re E3, GTA Online’s latest update and of course to whine about the summer. 

So in that order – E3. IMHO, Nintendo were the winners although the new Super Mario is basically a rip-off of the Amiga game Putty. Or Kirby. Still, they got people excited and talking by just announcing stuff without actually committing to anything. For yours truly, what I’m looking forward to most has to be Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. I watched the trailer and have to say, I bought that recording of “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton so every time I hear it, I can mentally picture BJ running through the USA blasting apart Nazis.

As for the new Xbone, looks good, upscaling might be a very nice feature to have but the biggest drawback as far as I could see, is that the console only comes in a 1TB HD model. Surely a 4K game is going to be bigger than a regular HD one and the internal HD won’t cope. However, my concerns aside, I think the better news has to be the fact that backwards compatibility is going to extend to the original Xbox console. With any luck, that’ll mean Battlefront 2 (as in the original game) will be re-released! I mean, I enjoy the occasional killing spree on my laptop but I seldom switch it on these days, not least as the dining table is horrible to sit at.

GTA Online – last Tuesday saw the release of the latest addition to the online world: gun running. It starts off by using your in-game funds to acquire a bunker where Agent 14 (aka the contact from the Prison Break and Humane Labs heist) inducts you into the world of weapons development. You can also acquire a truck to act as a mobile operations centre (which clearly underscores somebody’s affinity with Knight Rider – first KITT, now the FLAG Mobile Unit) as well as a much welcome anti-aircraft gun to swat Hydras from the sky.

The point of the base is that you can either manufacture weapons, develop new weapons (not available at Ammu-nation) or do both. All the bases are located in Sandy Shores, Paleto bay or other isolated spots in the north of the map thus further addressing one of my long-held bugbears, that players tended to spend huge amounts of time driving around LS itself whilst neglecting Blaine County. And you can access your base whilst being a CEO or heading up your local MC so both options are available to the player.

I’ve not really immersed myself into the game too much – other things going on. That said, I did manage to rack up a few hours. My in-game bank balance of $5M has crashed to $1M by just buying the base and the add-ons which _were_ optional but still… Still don’t have enough for the truck, not without buying in-game currency or grinding horribly. That said, my car warehouse is full of vehicles that are begging to be sold. Anyway, I’ve taken care of a few resupply missions and they’re actually pretty challenging on the main map and a great deal of fun as armoured vehicles are de rigeur. Driving halfway across the map to drop off a tank whilst blasting apart army jeeps – great fun.

My last post was about a month ago so I haven’t really commented on the election. One of my abortive posts which I still have the draft of read:

“Speaking of the election, in Vauxhall the Liberal Democrats are really going all out to see Kate Hoey (current Labour MP) dumped, principally on her pro-EU exit stance. I’ve had correspondence and flyers every day this week, stickers are appearing all over the borough – on lamp posts, on telephone exchanges and the like. Given as Lambeth recorded the highest pro-Remain vote (Gibraltar aside), it’s not looking too good for the incumbent.”

Alas, that didn’t become manifest. I did see the candidate on polling day, with child strapped to his chest in one of those baby carrier things but no sign of Labour’s electoral machine. Ah well, I think that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election. Correction – I hope that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election.

Oh, and I wanted to post the following about the Griffin:

The refurbished Vauxhall Griffin has opened under new management. The new landlords have gone for an idiosyncratic look, kinda like the old place but there’s a smash-up of two very different styles (possibly three) which I have a hard time seeing it blending together. I don’t know if they’ve deliberately gone for eclectic (or post-modern) deliberately – it’s just…odd. The two feature walls: one is red brick, the other is recovered (and painted wood). The bar area is white ceramic, the furniture is contemporary, the light fittings are quite nice (hi-tec lanterns), the toilets are a vast improvement but the upstairs function room hasn’t been touched other than a clear out of the art (so far). It’s definitely lost something but I’m at a genuine loss as to say whether anything has been gained. The landlords seem nice enough. So all things considered, I don’t hate the place – I don’t ‘like’ it – I guess cautiously neutral for now. If nothing else, at least I still have Zeitgeist (although I still object to the sneaking in of Adnams behind the bar for the real-ale twats).

S’all for now.

 

Advertisements

38

Nope, not the flat number, nor my lucky number.  But the number of successful orbits of the sun whilst maintaining my status as a passenger on planet Earf.

Like most people, I’ve taken the opportunity to bunk off work (read: taken  a couple of days off) to mark the event.  And  it’s been a quiet old day so far, noise from the street excepted.  The last two days were spent in Dublin with work.  I had a quiet, pleasant stay although the rain felt quite incessant at times.  There was allegedly some snow on Tuesday morning but it had melted by the time I emerged from my hotel room.

So what’s been new, hip and happening?  Answer: not much.  More of the same, really.  Am I in a rut?  Perhaps, though I’m not rushing out to embrace the new.  Is there anything that’s truly new?  Apart from picking up a new mobile last weekend, no.  Letting February slide by as quickly as possible, I guess.

Continuing to enjoy Star Trek Timelines and the recent events have given my inventory a chance to rest and rebuild following a succession of missions which have drained them dry of all the really useful stuff.   And finally have a couple of friends playing it although they are not quite as into it as I.  Still, good times.

On the Xbone,  I downloaded the free copy of The Force Unleashed and replayed that, forgetting how much fun it was to throw Felucians into Rancors.  And to fry that bitch  Shaak Ti.  GTA continues to be my most played game although I’ve been trying to get into Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts again.  It’s just hard to like it.

Board games: lots of 7 Wonders, finally got around to breaking in “Under the Pyramids” expansion for Eldritch Horror and whilst in Dublin, I treated myself to “The Dreamlands” as it was cheaper there thanks to the collapse in GBP. I was particularly proud of this game with Joey and Scott:

 

Finally folks, I was doing a YouTube crawl and stumbled across this parody music video.  I almost wet myself cackling as I think I’ve experienced every one of these deaths:

So that’s your lot, just a quick update before my second coffee of the day and hopefully, a decision about what to do with the rest of my time today.  And if anyone else is celebrating a birthday today (Ron Howard, Harry Belafonte,  Dirk Benedict, George Eads, Doris Hare and of course, Frederich Chopin), PISCEANS ROOL!

Five minutes on 2016

It’s almost time to stick two fingers up to 2016 and I know of few people who actually will be sad to see the back of this year. Flo and Joan said/sang it well in their song (just ignore the patronising comments below). 

But in time-honoured tradition, here’s my review of 2016.

It sucked. Kinda like 2015 actually (I’m looking at last year’s post as I type this) though with far less potential optimism. Aside from deaths of some well-loved, talented and creative people people (again, listen to Flo and Joan), the EU Referendum and the run on the pound, the Berlin Market atrocity, ongoing strife in Syria, failure of peace deal in Columbia, the rise of “post-truth” and pseudo-fascism…

In the good news? Possible cure/vaccine for HIV is definitely top of my list. Granted, it’s not confirmed but is the best news for a while in that area and could bring relief to what – 50, 60 million people? Team GB did well at the Olympics which isn’t really my bag but brought a bit of cheer to the UK. And despite the failure of the peace deal in Columbia, the Nobel Prize for Peace went to someone who deserved it. There was also Obama’s historic visit to Cuba; progress of a sort but might be undone in 2017. But perhaps more cruelly, there’s also been a lot of schadenfreude to revel in. Like Martin Shkreli’s indictment (true, it came at the arse-end of 2015 but close enough to enjoy this year). Michael Gove’s back-stabbing backfiring. Zac Goldsmith’s two election defeats, England losing to Iceland (that was hilarious), Sarkozy being dumped in the first round of his party’s Presidential selection process, UKIP’s meltdown…

Travel: Failed to get to Prague. But visited Vienna, Bratislava and Madrid for the first time, two trips to Berlin, couple of outings to Brussels as well as the usual forays to Swansea. A very memorable year for getting out and about and I really hope that June 23rd will not see this curtailed. Though I can probably skip ongoing trips to Brussels as I’ve been there several million times. I would like to try for a transatlantic trip for 2017 though am not confident of this happening. Still, never say never, especially if I can stop splurging on board games and video games. And food. Liked the new Eurostar carriages, didn’t like the mini planes I went on from Berlin to Brussels and from Berlin back to City Airport.

Personal Life: I think an improvement on the previous year. Felt more involved with everything going on. Emphasised some friendships over others which has been rewarding, trying to build in more diversity with activities. Gaming at Casa Beaufoy has gone from strength to strength. Met a couple of new people this year, others have faded off my contact list.

Vices: Booze has been up and down. Some dry(ish) months, some very wet months. And regular trips to Utobeer haven’t helped! Weight – up. But that’s because of the damn Achilles Tendon problem. It’s on the mend however and I hope that it’ll begin to fall soon. No other vices to report. Hell, I’m even going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. My younger self would be disgusted.

Love Life: Picking up. Some options at last but I’m being careful in how things proceed – given track record.

Work: Post-referendum was tedious but things have picked up since and am in the middle of things again. Going to put a little bit more effort into getting a promotion. It’s more about the money than anything else. Job satisfaction is for the middle classes.

Ailments: The Achilles! So that started in May time, got progressively worse in the summer and culminated in me registering with a GP for the first time in almost 20 years. But the pills and the new shoes are allowing me to reclaim my independence…or at least my ability to get out and walk more. Other than that, a couple of sniffles, the hay-fever seems to have largely gone away. There are a couple of days I have to reach for the antihistamines but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. Sinus pimples have been a nuisance.

Gaming: I’d like to think I’ve bought fewer games and expansion packs this year, at least with regard board games. Cannot necessarily say the same for video games. 7 Wonders has been the main game played this year with Twilight Struggle a distant second and all the others jockeying for third/fourth. Playing in the board room has also been great and I hope that can continue throughout the year. More Eldritch, more Talisman – and I still bloody well need to learn how to play Age of Empires 3. On video games, regular readers will know my ongoing love affair with Fallout 4 which has supplanted GTA Online as my “must play” game. Though I’ve enjoyed the HD versions of Dead Island and Arkham Asylum City. On my iPad, AdVenture Capitalist and Clicker Heroes have been supplanted by more Talisman, Twilight Struggle and a resurgence for playing Bang! As for my laptop – been playing very little…

Murder at Ku’damm

‘lo, 

I’d written a blog entry for today – was at the editing phase but following yesterday’s news, I thought I’d shelve it for the time being.

According to the Beeb, the death count for the Berlin Market murder is at twelve. I was there, one week ago. I visited that market three times in my time off because I reckoned it my favourite. I soaked up the ambiance, ate and drank there, engaged in conversation in my halting German with people, bought souvenirs, admired the arts and craftwork. And now, some quark-for-brains coward with nothing more than hate in his black heart, has so callously acted, ploughing a juggernaut into the middle of the market just because. 


(Not quite the market just up the road a bit) 

No justification, no warning, just pre-meditated murder, the most heinous of all crimes.
There’s no rehabilitation for someone like that. I hope that when he’s tried and convicted, the German government dumps him in a pit somewhere and leaves him to rot.

Twenty Fifteen

It’s January – that means it’s time for a look back at 2015 or to use last year’s quote, a time for modest meals and modest reflections. First, the question: what was 2015? How can I best sum it up? 

In terms of world news, 2015 has pretty much stunk: religious fundamentalism (not just in the middle east) on the rise, doom and gloom over antibiotic resistant diseases, the turmoil in Ukraine, stress over the economy, Paris, the developing situation over the Spratley Islands and climate change wreaking havoc. And here in the UK, the political scene which saw the re-emergence of adversarial politics with nearly 4 million people voting UKIP, 1.6 million voting for nationalist parties and then the Labour Party’s continued meltdown. We’ve also got the serious housing issue – a bubble which threatens hundreds of thousands, a rental market which is going to erupt like Vesuvius in 79CE and the fact that there are so many empty properties hogged by developers with a government firmly on the side of the money. And we saw farewell to Leonard Nimoy, LLAP.

But it’s not all bad, I guess. Top of my list is that Kirchner has been kicked out of office in Argentina (well, she couldn’t stand again but good riddance), Cuba/US relations, Polio all but consigned to the ashcan of history, the Climate Change deal, the case against News International which showed just how vulnerable Murdoch’s empire actually is (despite a lack of actual prosecutions) – this is getting hard, I stand by my 2015 stinks comment.

Travel: Not as much as last year, particularly with a lack of Brussels action for six months. Berlin twice, Paris once, Swansea twice and that’s about yer lot. Failed to get to Prague which was a target but short of a nuclear war, it’ll be there in 2016. 

Personal Life: improving on last year, more stuff happening for a majority of the week rather than the minority. I avoided the trap of taking huge blocks of time off so that things could continue unabated. The Griffin quiz prizes of the escape rooms, lunch up the Shard et al have also been very welcome. The quiz has been somewhat grating this year as attendance has been ropier than the bridge at the end of Temple of Doom.

Vices: Well, you’ll recall I whined back in October about weight issues having seen myself in the niff in a changing room and going on a strict diet. That has helped, as has a fairly good November and December. Salad for lunch most weekdays, a reasonable meal in the evening (lots of baked beans for some daft reason). Even curtailed diet Pepsi consumption in favour of squash. Alcohol – thanks to my predilection for German ale, this went up in 2015 but is back under control at the end of the year. I bought a load of Belgian beer the other week and it remains untouched in my cupboard at home.

Love Life: Again, the tomb of the forbidden subject. Had only one proper date this year. And one…improper date (that’s not the right term but it was a spontaneous thing with a friend… I know what I mean). Sufficed to say, if I actually owned a date book, it’d be a poor return on my investment. At least there weren’t a score of multiple cancellations. That said, these last couple of weeks have shown a flurry in recent interest. Dunno what to make of it – yet.

Work: Want to leave. I’ve been here almost five years and enough is enough. Looks like redundancy is not an option any more in this organisation unless I get lucky (or unlucky). But I’m going to have Re-registration finished off and will then make a concerted effort to get that promotion. I’m feeling coerced into trying for a leg-up programme to help people at my grade get to the next level. I don’t want to do it, it’s a load of rubbish but there’s a tribe of monkeys (checks collective noun for group of simians…) – correction, a barrel of monkeys on my back.

Ailments: I don’t recall any sick leave taken this year though had a couple of colds which were enough to cause several days’ worth of misery. Nothing has fallen off, ceased to work, grey hairs are kept in check, hairline recession is still glacial. Ankle is a cause for concern though not majorly so.

Gaming: A very good year for games in general. Bought the Xbone obviously and have racked up a lot of time on that. And the releases in 2015 have been pretty inspiring for the game I have/have played as well as the games I want/want to play. Still haven’t replaced my DS… For board games: an equally good year with 2016, or at least the first half, looking to have some good releases. There are a lot of expansion packs being developed for pre-existing games which helps keep stuff interesting. In a way I’m glad I haven’t cashed in on the recent Imperial Assault fad as it’d be hard to keep up with the current packs. I must have spent…£500 on new board games in 2015…definitely not sustainable!

 

One or two items of geek

Xmas 2015: summed up by saying five days spent playing GTA V Online.  

OK, there was other stuff too. The usual heavy meal (cooked in the evening rather than at lunchtime), bad TV, inability to get off of the couch, late nights, late mornings (no snoozes past midday though). A foray to the usual den of iniquity (most productive though I’m sure my pocket was picked – my shirt pocket…) and a mad dash around the supermarket late on Saturday evening. Today is the first day I’ve eaten breakfast in five days – when you get up after 11, there’s just no point otherwise.

Steam Sale: I bought four games in this year’s sale, all very heavily discounted. It feels more of a token purchase compared with previous years but the games acquired are Dark Forces, Dark Forces II, Tropico 4 (+ all expansions/DLC) and C&C RA3 (I know I have this game already, I just wanted the e-version). What is more interesting are the purchases of friends through Steam. I note Jackbox has been spreading throughout the land which will be fun at games evenings. KKOB was gifted Rome Total War II (I think he’ll be disappointed), Alex got more Might and Magic, couple of people were lured to Civ V and Beyond Earth…

So, 2015 in terms of Geek. First, I have to say that someone has to stop the octopus that is Marvel from spamming the airwaves with so much garbage. I saw two episodes of Jessica Jones earlier this month – housemate was watching it as I was on my laptop. What unadulterated garbage. The protagonist is someone you’d happily drop off the end of a cliff, David Tenant looks bored (possibly waiting for his paycheque), the other characters are the usual bit-part nobodies. Agents of SHIELD – what little drivel I’ve seen is…oh, I’ve already finished my sentence. These shows have such lousy actors, I’m sure they exist so the talent can do proper stuff. Not that DC is much better. Arrow and the Flash – ugh. Like the bad old days of Lois and Clark (season 4). I still haven’t made time to see Gotham, I really should do one day but have no overwhelming urge.

Haven’t really done any films this year – hell, I can’t remember the last time I was at the cinema. Comics then: my regular titles are tie-ins. Probably the one I most look forward to each month has been He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The story has been absolutely terrific, a lot of good twists and turns, proper development and a good weaving of the He-Man characters into a modern story. I wish the whole Hordak storyline had been stretched out longer as they only really focussed on She-Ra’s development with a couple of the minor characters (Shadow Weaver and Swiftwind) getting any sort of a mention. The return of Skeletor and the epic duel between Teel and Evil-Lyn (still don’t know what happened there) are particularly noteworthy. 

Munchkin Comics have been a pleasant surprise this year (with free cards!!) – they’re more akin to British comics from your childhood such as the Beano, Buster and Whizzer & Chips rather than proper graphic novels. And they’ve finally started bringing in other Munchkin sets for the main characters to play in/tell jokes. I’ve enjoyed the limited Galaxy Quest series and have picked up the Back to the Future comics too, certainly not disappointed there. The Star Trek series has been dropping off in terms of overall impressiveness lately. I thought the Star Trek/Green Lantern cross over was a bit much and refused to buy any of the titles. And the recent story where the Enterprise was stranded in the Delta Quadrant (hmmm, where have I heard that before?) and then managed to get home in the next issue…ugh. 

Simpsons continues to please as does Futurama (whenever I can get a hold of the bloody title) though I think that the former are still spreading themselves too thin with multiple titles. Their major plus is that in comic book format, Homer is not the centre of attention (Marge and Maggie et al get plenty of air time) whilst there are very few stupid guest stars). I have spotted more and more rehashing of episodes in comic book format lately after a streak of some truly original episodes. And Edna K, Lionel Hutz still live on!

Board games – been another great year. Betrayal/Traitor type games have been the driving force this year amongst our circle. Strategy and Eurogames have taken more of a back seat whilst Talisman goes from strength to strength. Still a major bastion of originality and creativity though expansion packs really should be reduced in price. I’m worried that many of the bigger titles have been the sort that require a PhD to read the manuals (could just be lousy editors). If companies keep churning out difficult games, people will stop buying them. Or just play the utter dross like…no, I can’t say it.

 Back in the office a mere two days this week before another four day weekend. Then working full time with nothing in the diary for 2016 beyond the usual annual (and weekly) events. Ho-hum.

Nous sommes Français

I was going to post some regular bumpf today but having read what I have read, I think I’ll leave it as the title says. 
Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tout Français. 

T’other day, I was reading on TVTropes the comments/page relating to the Sega/Nintendo wars of the early 90s. Of course we in the UK missed out on a lot of it – except perhaps in the pages of the computer media where Sega and Nintendo fan boys (and girls too) would just trash each other, chiefly to no other avail than to prove Freud correct. Did it ultimately matter though in the development of 4th Generation consoles? On paper, it was no-contest. The Megadrive (or Genesis to the rest of the world) was a lousy console compared with the SNES; weaker processes, lousy RAM, poor colour palette and yet it was more than able to hold its own against Nintendo’s offering. Of course, Sega’s winning strategy was superior marketing, particularly in North America. They didn’t so much promote themselves so much as reassure existing owners that their product was the superior one. Nintendo appeared to use the power of momentum to help their cause and when Streetfighter 2 was released…no contest. But those days feel wholly removed from today’s “Console Wars” are more than about the machine and the games but what multimedia experiences are on offer.

It’s still fun to speculate what would have happened had Commodore not run out of money for the CD32 or had the judge in the case not barred the console from being shipped to North America over allegations of infringements. Perhaps it’s more partisan of me but I think it would have kept up with the Playstation as games such as GTA would have had a simultaneous release and Commodore was still backed by many developers – or at least those who hadn’t been gobbled up by Sony (like Psygnosis). Would a three-way war with Sega have helped the Saturn? Not impossible I guess. More competition means more opportunity for software houses. Would it have also kept Commodore in the PC market? Say an “Amiga 10K” powered by Intel or AMD? Who can say?I finally reached the now infamous torture scene in GTA V and having played through it, I admit I was left thoroughly uncomfortable by it all. I should acknowledge the creativity and design of Rockstar for making this scene so realistic and awkward – it’s difficult to invest emotion into a video game character, particularly an NPC. But conversely, it was OTT, even for the world of GTA which is an exercise in hyperbole. All in all, I was pleased when the victim of the torture was helped to escape in a cut scene and I hope that if there is a GTA VI, we learn his character has a better time of it outside of Los Santos.

Dr Do(o)m and I played a game of Eldritch Horror on Saturday, chiefly as I wanted to relearn the rules ahead of Thursday. I was Chun-Li and he was the Shaman (as opposed to Ebenezeer Goode’s Shamen). We lasted one hour and a giant spider consumed the world. So sorry folks. Still, I think the nuances are sorted out so bring on the challenge. It’s been what – four months but I finally broke out the Talisman Woodlands expansion pack with Dr Do(o)m and Brendan and we just didn’t finish the game. It plays a little differently compared with the other three board-adding expansion packs as the use of fate has been overhauled whilst the new characters have special abilities involving the use of tokens (I was the ancient oak and I could get stronger as the game progressed). Also, as one progressed through the woodlands, there were game-changing effects in play with a different goal for each player. That said, progress seemed to be slow and measured. It’s not a region in Talisman you can just blindly enter and expect to progress through like the Highlands or the Dungeon for example but you need to build up a little before wandering around blithely. I also feel that this expansion needs to be played with one of the other boards – no other reason than a gut instinct. Using the card-only expansions wasn’t enough.

I also downloaded a copy of Picross 6 for the 3DS, I think the first major purchase (major???) for that console in six months. I was also pleased at the number of free puzzles unlocked as I own titles 1-5 (they give freebies). It’ll keep me busy for a while at least. My oft-repeated rant to Nintendo still stands however – release more damn games through the Virtual Console Service! I don’t care about independent titles being squeezed out third party developers, I want to play the games of yesteryear either for the first time or on a nostalgia trip. And if they can put some Master System games on there too…perfect.

Second Life 

Following on from the last post, five old games I’d like to see again:
1. Desert Strike – yeah, I’ve waxed lyrical about this in my top ten video games (see earlier posts)

2. Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle (Game Boy version) – at school when Gameboys were all the rage back in the early 90s, many of my contemporaries seemed to have a copy of Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle, a hybrid platform/puzzle game where the hero wandered around a series of levels collecting carrots and trying to avoid enemies like Yosamite Sam, Daffy Duck and Wile E Coyote. Played for hours at the time, never actually finished it.

3. Parasol Stars – Bubble Bobble III with umbrellas! Top notch platformer where Bub and Bob are trying to save their solar system from being taken over by an evil villain. Filled with the usual Bubble Bobble secrets increasing replayability, massively.

4. Turrican – This was one of my favourite games on the C64 and I remember playing the demo of the sequel over and over again thanks to a Zzap 64 covertape. Like the Last Ninja, it really pushed the technical specifications of the system to the max producing almost Amiga quality games from nothing but a cassette. Tunes by Chris Hülsbeck only helped this fine game.

5. Cannon Fodder – Probably the reason I broke my Amiga mouse – through incessant clicking. Well that and the original Civilization. Jools and Jops and Stoo – RIP (the game characters, not the real life people).

Won two games of Hex Hex on Sunday, simply by keeping my mouth shut and remaining off the radar compared with the other players. And I won King of Tokyo by stealth. Indulged in a bit of yelling at Dead Island (zombies that appear from nowhere) on Saturday and have decided to give GTA IV my all in an attempt at completing it. 

No other news, gossip or scandal to report. It’s not been a particularly salacious time as of late. Even the news is pretty lacklustre to offer comment on. Perhaps this is no bad thing, it means there are fewer distractions to get caught up in. Although Dr Do(o)m did mention that Han has an ex-wife now. Stupid Marvel.

I have been re-reading the “Fate of the Jedi” Novology (is that the correct name for a nine-part series?) on iBooks – probably mentioned before that I never read the last part as that was around the time I decided to stop buying hard copies of books and go electronic only. Re-reading it a second time, I’m enjoying the story a lot more than I did the first time around, particularly as I was only vaguely aware of “The Ones” from the Clone Wars series so the character of Abeloth didn’t make a great deal of sense. I’m not certain what direction the Legends timeline would/will take given there’s a 80/90 year time jump between the last book Crucible and the Legacy comic books. Granted, some of the gaps are easier to fill than others, I only hope some writers are given the chance to do so. Particuarly, how is Ania Solo related to the rest of the Solo clan?

 

Crown of Command

Game Dev Tycoon – decided to start the game as a female designer, just for the hell of it. Is it me or is the game harder when you’re trying to be Danielle Bunten-Berry?

Another cold, frosty week here in London. Not quite going home at sunset but close…another fortnight maybe. I’m grateful I’m not looking for a new flat in this lousy weather but I wish the letting agents would hurry up and process the details of the new contract. Security and all that.

I feel that I can’t let the current (over-reported) spat between Chris Bryant and James Blunt go by without comment. Personally, I’m siding with the Classist Gimp over the Delusional Bore who of course claimed to have halted the outbreak of WW3. Shouldn’t one have a personality before developing an online persona? Can’t help but think that Twitter should be renamed Knee-Jerk because those are the types of posts/responses dotted over it and again, picked up by News Agencies. Yup, not a fan and frankly, if there was to be a Voyager 3 Probe, I’d be happy to inscribe “You’re Beautiful” onto the Gold Record just to ensure it was blown out of the solar system (and smashed by a rogue comet).

Whining aside, let’s turn to the New 3DS. First of all, does the market or rather do gamers really need the updated console? Well, considering it’s really only Nintendo’s success story at the moment then there’s a certain amount of PR to be had. But one can’t help but feel the timing is a little off. February is too close post-Xmas whereas previous DS/3DS models were available in March time which means people have a little more financial breathing room after the holiday period. Coverplates – nice touch though the cynic in me can see them made especially brittle so you’re forced to buy more than one. Extra buttons (ZR & ZL) – bad idea. A handheld console with a touchscreen display should need fewer buttons, not more. Micro SD card…not sure yet. I can see the wisdom but surely there’s mileage in retaining the current SD format.

Overall – might have to playtest one before forming a proper opinion. Not convinced and I probably won’t be buying one but that’s more because I get more mileage from my iPad as a mobile gaming device – bigger screen and games you just can’t get on the 3DS, particularly strategy titles.

I won my tenth game of Talisman on the iPad last night – had to cheat like crazy though. Not like _that_ but my biggest gripe with the digital version is that when you’re on the Crown of Command square, it can take you ages to kill off your opponents, particularly if they are good-aligned and keep landing on the frigging church for a free-reheal. The Knight and a converted Ogre are particularly annoying at doing this. And if you have no fate and keep throwing bloody 1, 2 or 3 on the dice. So to cheap, with a crappo roll, I restart the turn just so I can finish the damn game rather than waste another hour trying to drain the lives of my enemies. There should be a new rule – if you are on the Crown of Command for ten (or suitable number) consecutive turns, you can drain 2+ life points from your enemies just to end the game. Or maybe drain your life points to guarantee a drain from enemies. Just something Games Workshop, throw a guy a bone here. Oh, and add “discard spells” as an option as well, won as the Necromancer but all my spells at one point were of the “substitute an animal in combat” variety. Useless.

Quiz tonight, have had a plea from ‘er indoors not to bring back more cider. Heh heh heh.