LEGO in motion
March 5th, 2013 by

A friend and I worked on the following animation. Enjoy:

So yeah, I’m now editing a documentary on all this, which will also be posted here. It’ll be interesting.
(For more info on that, I guess you could click here.)

In other news, Twitter is still a thing. If you’re into that.

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The Grammar Police
April 28th, 2012 by

grammar nazis

I saw yet another comment thread descend into minor quibbles about grammar. I have come to the conclusion that I just… don’t care about it. If someone can’t spell, it doesn’t mean they’re stupid, it just means they can’t spell.

On another topic; exam season. I probably do have time to update the blog, what with the time I waste not revising. But regardless. Blogging properly resumes on the 28th.

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A Physical Connection
March 13th, 2012 by

I love getting physical games. Tearing off the plastic wrap, piggling off all the stickers the shop adorned. Flicking through the manual, even though the tutorial will cover everything.

Most of all, I love how it can never be taken away. When Viewtiful Joe is an historical artefact*, and Pokemon Misty-Squid-Colour is released, I will still have my cartridges and discs of the originals, long after the new consoles have given up compatability. Or, if I decide to burn everything I own and change my identity and start a new life, I can do that too. Carts give me freedom. Half the fun is poking through the bits, fondling the physicality of it, and then putting it on a shelf so my visitors can bow before the games I have decimated. If I dislike a game enough, I can literally blend it.

I will never, ever pay the same to download a game as I could on eBay to get a second hand copy. I hate the idea of locking games to a console, as Nintendo so proudly do, and I distrust services that require DRM. Have you seen my internet connection? Our phone line is attached to the exchange with sticky-tape. Telling me that I must be connected to the internet is telling me that I am only allowed to play your game at 2am, three nights a week.

And this, friends, is why I am not buying a PlayStation Vita. I got a 3DS to enjoy backwards compatability with the DS (which I have never owned) – and since then I have played some incredible DS titles. In contrast, the only way the Vita can play PSP games (which I also never owned) is by downloading them on the store, paying the publishers for games produced years ago.**

This deprives me of all my technophilic joys. There is no eBay bidding, parcel opening, box stroking fun.

Which, frankly, is pretty much the only reason I own as many games as I do.

* Google wouldn’t tell me whether it should be “an historical” or “a historical” artefact. So I decided to be pretentious.
** I’m sure there’s an argument that I should buy a PSP for PSP games. Or that I should use my 3DS for 3DS games and a Vita for Vita games. But you would be mistaken.

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Subcard to the Heart
February 21st, 2012 by

There is a point in your life when you do something you regret; you might let your fish die, or kill your husband’s mistress, or become a regular at Subway. Unfortunately, I have succumbed to the latter.

It started at the beginning of the year, when I discovered how expensive London is. I have grown up paying £2 for lovingly made sandwiches of fair size and taste. (If you visit Truro, find Warren’s by the Cathedral!) Subway had never quite been worth it in my home town – the extra pennies are not justified when the cheese tastes worse than the plastic bag it comes in. However, in London, there is no Warren’s, and every meal costs you more for less. And that was when it started.

Soon, the pretty salad girl smiled at me when she saw me. She would ask how I was. I got a ‘Subcard’, which gives you a free Sub if you spend £50 instore. I ate my free Sub.

Sometimes days would go by, but I would always find myself drawn back to the little Subway at the end of the road. (Originally my brain wrote ‘end of the world’ – perhaps that says too much about my London existence.) It is worse than an addiction simply because it isn’t an addiction – I would find this so much easier if I could just say “I’m addicted”. But I’m not, and I keep returning… My problem is, I think I like Subway.

Yesterday I was miles away, and thought I would try the Subway there. They splatted half a scoop of meat onto the bread, threw a couple of leaves on, and declared the Sub complete. My heart broke; I discovered I do not like Subway. I like my Subway, and the pretty salad girl.

PS: I need to get out more.
PPS: This footnote has the HTML tag “<Sub>”. That made me smile.

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Jump: Ultimate Stars
February 13th, 2012 by

Last year I played an absolutely stellar game that you haven’t heard of – what’s more, it turned out to be my favourite game of the entire year. Imagine Super Smash Bros, on a handheld console. Now imagine deeper fighting mechanics, and a tactics system stronger than Pokemon. (Though that’s not saying much.) And finally, imagine that it had licensed characters you recognised – and not just one series, but from 41 series. Forty-one series. This game simply doesn’t sound possible, in this day and age.

Jump Ultimate Stars

Turns out, it’s real! The game is called Jump: Ultimate Stars, and it is simply jaw-droppingly good. It is the best Nintendo DS game. And it has never been released outside of Japan, of course.

It manages to license so many series because it is the game of the manga, Shonen Jump – the manga that launched most of the series on offer. There is something oddly satisfying about using Luffy to beat down Naruto, though I hasten to add I am no particular fan of any series on offer. (Since, alas, Cowboy Bebop was not serialised in Jump). This game is just good, in so many ways.

It requires a little patience when playing without knowing the language, but, on the plus side, complete translations are available through that amazing thing called the internet. Frankly, knowing what ‘Deathmatch’ is in Japanese may be hugely useful in your life, should you ever find yourself taken captive and put in Japanese gladiator matches. But I digress: playing this game in a language I don’t speak was still tons of fun, because good game design is universal.

Allow me to post the first picture on the internet where, in official media, Vegeta punches Rukia in the face:

Rukia gets punched
Multi-series violent fanfic now has official material to work from!

The game’s strength is how it takes the simplistic-yet-addictive mechanics of Smash Bros-style multiplayer combat and adds depth through rock-paper-scissors strengths and weaknesses, and a completely customisable ‘deck’ that is brought into battle on the lower touch screen, for easy character changes, heavy attacks, and bonuses. (Triple jump was my personal favourite, as victory often comes in speedy entries and exits.)

In essence, this game works because it is the only game in the Smash Bros style that focuses on competitive play, where the better player always wins. If you die, it is always your fault, and nothing compares to that feeling.

The game never made it outside Japan because of the immense licensing issues – how would one go about licensing 41 series? (For that matter, that is probably why the magazine the game is based on, Shonen Jump, is not published outside Japan.)

I got it for the startling price of $5.20, though I would recommend it even if it costs ten times that. This is the best game on the DS.
(Also, don’t emulate – this game is for playing with your thumbs!)

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