By admin on Aug. 9, 2012.
So it’s been quite some time since I updated this blog… two years, in fact. Two years? Really? Did two years just go past? I thought I heard a “whooshing” noise…
I’ve been pretty busy with work the last couple of years, and moving house – just down the road, but it was still stressful. And playing games, of course… everything seems to have squeezed out the time I previously spent blogging.
But no more! I’m going to make a mid-year’s resolution, and that’s to put fingers to keyboard more often going forward, and let you all know my thoughts on the tech and gaming world, as well as anything else that takes my fancy.
Anyway, in the past two years a lot has happened. Android has become the top mobile operating system. Symbian has disappeared down the plughole, threatening to take Nokia with it.
Apple is flogging tons of tablets. Microsoft wants to flog tons of tablets, but risks alienating desktop users with the “touchy” subject of Windows 8. Is the desktop PC a dying breed, and are the laptop’s days numbered thanks to slates and hybrid slate/notebooks such as Microsoft’s upcoming surface?
But never mind all that – here’s what I really want to talk about in this first post in a long while – Game of Thrones!
We’ve now seen two series of the TV version of George R R Martin’s world, and to say it has been brilliant is an understatement.
The shocks and gritty storyline, the acting and characters, the fact that it dabbles enough in the diplomatic intrigue, without going overboard like the books (yes, I can hear the gnashing of purist’s teeth from here). It’s just simply superb. If you managed to miss it, somehow, go buy or rent the DVD of season one now.
I can’t wait for season three. And the same with The Walking Dead, too, although I’m less sure that the zombie apocalypse can hold my interest in the longer term, as opposed to the swords and sorcery.
At any rate, it’s going to be fun watching and finding out on both counts…
By blog on Jun. 4, 2010.
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, the movie, will ship to our fair shores this September!
I noticed a link on IGN to a review of the movie, and with great trepidation clicked. I was surprised to see that there were only two real gripes with the film, and one of those is a little unrealistic in my mind. Basically, the review suggests that the only two downsides to the film are an overreliance on CGI, and that the production values aren’t as good as Miyazaki and that sort.
I really didn’t expect the film to be as good as a Miyazaki, so that isn’t a problem for me, though the CGI gripe is something that could really bother me, to be honest. I really can’t stand the modern cartoon industry’s overuse of poor CGI, not when there’s such good CGI out there as well as really great traditional animation. If Pixar has shown us anything, it’s that CGI can be fantastic. The new Ironman cartoon, however, shows us that CGI can be really, really crap.
Apparently there’s even puzzles during the film, and the art style is most of the time very faithful to the series. I have to say, after thoroughly enjoying both of the Layton games that I’ve played on the DS, I’m really looking forward to picking up a copy of the film.
There’s something so… nostalgic and quietly humorous about the series that I think could lend itself to film, if done well, but I do think suits the gaming medium more. The sense of exploration, and being the director of that exploration, is a large part of the fun in these games, so I’m not sure how well that would be done in a film by comparison.
Still, the closing comments state that it’ll put a smile on your face, and really, for a fan of the game and someone who’s aware of how terribly game to film crossovers are, that’s a nice assurance.
By blog on Sep. 18, 2009.
I don’t just play any game, most of the time, I tend to play ones that have been rated very highly by my peers and professional reviewers. When a game scores below a certain point, it’s almost certain I won’t play it.
So yeah, don’t have as much time for gaming as I used to, which is why I haven’t been playing LOTRO so much. That’s a little sad, because I think it’s a great game, but there it is. I’m still interested in MMOs though, so when Champions Online was coming up, I thought I may drop in and give it a go.
But then I saw the review today on IGN… 7.6 from them, but the reader review average is 6.7. Now, I usually don’t play games that got under 8.5, so this means that Champions Online is completely and totally out, unless they put out an expansion that dramatically alters the score for the overall game, I won’t be playing it.
The reader reviews are really interesting, actually. They seem to swing between scores of 3.5 through to 5, which basically talk about how buggy the game is, repetitive, animations aren’t working, skills aren’t working, and powers have already been nerfed. Then you have those who are rating this game around 8 to 9 saying it’s fun, especially once you’ve a few friends to quest with.
I have to say, though, that a quick look over of the reviews with the low scores, and the reviews with the high scores, that the low score reviews are better written and more in-depth, whereas the high score reviews are a little superficial and you sort of get the impression these people would be happy playing any game.
So, from what I’ve read, this game sounds unfinished, and it really doesn’t look all that good, either. Server downtime seems to be a big issue, which I find hugely frustrating when you’re paying for a subscription.
All in all, from what the reviewer on IGN said, I’m sort of surprised they reviewed this game as highly as they did.
By blog on Sep. 10, 2009.
I’ve one more cast member to announce, and general frustration with George to complain about, too.
I noticed on George’s blog a few days ago that Cersei Lannister has been cast, and will be played by Lena Headey. Now, obviously they will have to give her golden hair and green contacts, but I think this is a very good casting choice for Cersei, actually. Doesn’t this lady look like she could play an evil calculating so-and-so? I think so, and it’s nice to see that the casting is still going pretty well.
There are more pictures of the two Stark girls, too, up on George’s Not A Blog, and they really do fit the parts of Arya and Sansa, if you ask me. I was concerned about these characters, because finding good child actors can be very difficult, one imagines, but George said Arya especially blew the competition out of the water. That sounds like Arya spirit to me.
I was watching season six of 24 recently, with Boothe Powers as the President, and I think this actor could fit in so very well in the SoIaF world, he looks and sounds just right. It’s funny, but I couldn’t say exactly which character – have to be ‘bad’ or ruthless one – but I think he’d be a great addition to the show.
Now, just for a little bit of a complain, because it wouldn’t feel right to leave this out… George has been talking about writing more on A Dance with Dragons… about tackling a certain portion of the book, and not getting anywhere with it… Well, and this is a restrained version of what I want to say… What the hell is going on!? I want to write in all capitals right now, but I will refrain… George! Stop spreading your attentions over fifty bloody projects and get this bloody book bloody-well published! You told your fans when you released the last one that Dance was more than half done, which later turned into a third done, which meant this should have taken half to a third of the time of the last one! But no, NO! The last book came out October 2005! The one before that August 2000, so by my estimation of time and what he said, this book should have been out at latest early last year… We are looking to hit 2010 before Dance with Dragons is actually released, and I can’t help but feel this is due in part because of George’s lack of focus.
I know that it’s hard to write a book, to write a short story let alone a novel, but when you’re running off to write graphic novels and other things, it’s going to take even longer. It’s just so annoying. Respect the people who love your work. This is part of the reasons why Malazan makes into my top five favourite series, Erikson gets books written in a fifth of the time, and they are just as epic, larger in scale even, that Song of Ice and Fire, and as interesting in terms of storylines. Too depressing, I will admit, but Westeros has more than it’s fair share of that, too!
By blog on Aug. 13, 2009.
Now for 15 through 6 is IGN’s top 25 PC games…
15) Command & Conquer – This is an alright RTS game, in my opinion, but there are others I prefer. Often the themes are less appealing to me than those you would find in Age of Empires, Total War, or Star Craft games.
14) Company of Heroes – Somehow I completely missed this game, but it looks pretty damn good. I may have to retract what I said in the above comments regarding RTS games with real-world settings.
13) The Sims – I really did enjoy The Sims when it first came out, and, thanks largely to my SO’s enjoyment of the game, had nearly all the expansions by the time Maxis moved onto The Sims 2, and oh, wasn’t that annoying? There’s so much to like about this game, yet so much to dislike about those who market it.
12) World of Warcraft – This is my blog so I get to say what I like. I hate this game, it looks like crap, it lacks depth, character, and respect for it’s players, a startlingly large percentage of which seem to be idiots.
11) SimCity – This was a great game, so much fun, so hard to stop playing in spite of a pretty simple premise.
10) Call of Duty – I’ve never really felt any desire to play any of the Call of Duty games, in spite of the raving reviews the series usually receives. I think it’s the setting, I just don’t find myself interested in it.
9) MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat – I didn’t play this game, and only have a vague recollection of it.
8 ) Rome: Total War – These games are always just amazing fun, and usually just as amazing (for their time) graphics wise. These games actually push my graphic cards (I always try to have good ones) and that is another fun side to playing them for me, personally.
7) Sid Meier’s Pirates! – I’ve played later versions of this game, but never the original, and from what I’ve read, the later ones don’t stand up to how good the original was.
6) Half-Life – I didn’t play Half Life, but Half Life 2 was a fantastic game. I enjoyed it so much, I thought the game was just the right combination of on foot and vehicle levels, I liked the accuracy of the weaponry and the story-line was fun too. Unfortunately I had a fatal error in my version and didn’t get past the first few areas of Part 2. I think it was a corrupted texture, but didn’t get around to reinstalling and going further.
The last five will be in the next post, because I think they deserve a post of their own.
By blog on Jul. 23, 2009.
A while back I learned that Guillermo del Toro is going to direct the two Hobbit films coming out in 2011 and 2012, and I wrote about how unhappy I was with him being chosen to direct.
At first I was completely and utterly against this, I mean, del Toro has done some good films, Pan’s Labyrinth for instance was great, but movies like Hellboy and Blade 2 were less than great, less than good in the case of Blade 2, so I really felt like the wrong director had been chosen. del Toro is also famous for his off-beat horror/thriller films, all of which I found extremely unappealing after reading the synopsis of each film. He seems to have a bent towards the depressing, too many of his main characters end up dead at the end of the film for my liking. When I wrote my last entry on this, del Tor had been talking about how he intended to bring out the scariness of the Hobbit… I really didn’t like the sound of this… but anyway, that was all covered in that post.
Now, I don’t know how I got onto it today, but I was looking over The Hobbit film wiki page, and was rather pleasantly surprised by what I found there. It seems that the actors for Gandalf, Gollum, and Bilbo (at least in voice) will be appearing in the two films, which have now been altered so that both films will contain the narrative from The Hobbit, rather than one film being The Hobbit, and one film being a bridge between the events in The Hobbit and the events in The Lord of the Rings. I think this is a good thing, as the bridging film sounded rather… odd and unappealing.
On that Wiki page, I read of the work being done by del Toro and Peter Jackson, who have been working together to write the film, apparently reaching twelve-hour work days quite regularly; now that’s dedication! From what was written in that page, my ideas on this film have been turned around, and I am really looking forward to more Hobbits on screen!