Saturday, 18 December 2010

Top Ten Moments of 2010, with no narration by Jimmy Carr.

Hey all,

So yes, the New Years is almost upon us. Christmas bells are in the air, carol singers are repeating the same bloody songs over and over (or is that the shop's communal CD?) and we're starting to see the 'Top Ten _____ of 2010' lists emerge everywhere. So, as I'm a festive sort, I felt I'd get in on the action. Unfortunately, there's no way for me to cash in on this thing, so think of it as my festive gift to you.

Remember, for every person who doesn't read this, I kill one of santa's elves.


10.  Moving into my new uni house.
So yes, my new room is smaller, and the rent is a little dearer, but honestly, the new scenery, company and closer proximity to university pushes this event into the top 10 moments. Plus, saying you live in Kensington when you're at Liverpool really throws people back home.

9. First Magic: the Gathering prerelease.
I won't dwell long here. After all, I posted a blog on that. I suggest going to read it if you want to find out more. for now, onto number 8.


8. LUDS presents: The Seagull.
It was a fantastic play, but if I'm being 100% honest, it's mainly here because I got to show off my favourite waistcoat. Golden naked girls and swans are always featuring in my top 10 lists - Always.

7. Wall-E Costume Building.
Perhaps one of my favourite things I've built. If I'd done it a few years earlier, maybe I'd have gotten a higher grade in my graphics GCSE. That said, Wall-E wasn't around then, so would have been even more impressive... anyway, the thing needs some maintainance, as it's starting to look more and more like the end of the film.

6. Suit Up!
For the many times I've suited up. The stares are weird at first, but suits are just so damn comfy. All the times that make up this moment were Legen- wait for it... Dary!

5. Sticky Floor gigs.
Even though I've been in Sticky Floor since first year, every single gig is so much fun (well, except Liverpool Hope, but that's a different story). Highlights this year have been the playing the Manchester Comedy Store and the Reader gig at St. George's Hall. Here's to many more crazy and unplanned moments in the New Year!

4. LUDS presents: The Kitchen.
A great performance with such a huge cast and great moments; what's not to love? Plays will nearly always sneak into my top 10 lists (considering this is one of my first, that's very true!), and we've had two already. Told you so.

3. Toy Story 3.
I fucking love Pixar! Next.

2. Berlin.
My first trip abroad with fantastic people, and such a great city to visit: the Berlin Wall, Potsdamer-Platz, and the blissful lake by the palace I can't remember the name of are particularly wonderful memories. I can't wait to go back, as well as visit other places in Europe. Will probably go for Paris next, or maybe another German city if Jacqui will have me. Allons-Y!

And our number 1 spot is - Drumroll please... 

1. Every moment of University.
Anything I've missed out that took place at university. After all, it's the small thing that make up the big moments; the journey, not the destination. Thanks to all who made it so special, and shared it with me.

And on that Christmas message, I'll leave you to your egg nog and your mince pies.

Ho ho ho,
Chris.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Catchy Ditties.

Hey all,

So yes, I've seen 2 plays this week, and both have contained pretty awesome music taken from computer games. It's crazy, but I'm getting slightly paranoid that the world wants to break my mind with the inclusion of songs that I can't sing/hum along to even though I really want to!

Firstly, the 12 Hour Play, which took place on Wednesday 1st December. In it, we used a particularly sad song taken from the masterpiece that is Final Fantasy X: Nobuo Uematsu's 'To Zanarkand'. It is, quite simply, one of the most moving piano songs I've ever heard. If you listen to no other song this week, listen to this. Or maybe another Uematsu piece, "A Dream that will End Sometime":


As for the second song of the week, that came in the LUST Panto, Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This song came just before Robin hood was told by John about Maid Marion's capture, and showed how Robin was eager to help those around it. The song itself is "Tail's Theme" from Sonic Adventure. It's actually pretty spot-on for both Robin's and Tail's characters in the game, which is unnerving and awesome at the same time.


So which song do I want to see in plays next? Clearly, we need the ultimate end credit song; one that is both catchy and terrifying. Just listen to the lyrics... "While you're dying I will be still alive". Haunting. Also, it makes me want cake.


Which music would other people like to see in shows? For that matter, which songs have you heard in shows (both theatre shows or TV shows. Heck, even films) lately that you can't get out of your head?

Peace out,
Chris.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Alternate Dimensions: My Hatred of 3D in Cinema.

WARNING: This article contains some minor (if that) spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. You have been warned...

Well, the latest film in the Harry Potter franchise, The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, is upon us. First, I'd like to say just how much I love this film. It's probably my second favourite in the series so far (number one with the bullet being Prisoner of Azkaban, which is a masterclass in reality-grounded fantasy filmmaking as far as I'm concerned, and easily enters into my top 10 films of all time list). I went to see it on opening weekend, with some mates from my degree, in FACT Liverpool. We had fantastic seats; middle seats of the middle row.

However, during one of the opening scenes, we see a meeting of the Death Eaters with Voldemort present, as well as his faithful snake Nagini. Also present is the Hogwart's Muggle Studies professor Charity Burbage, who, spoiler alert, is then killed by Nagini. In this particular scene, and in other points during the film, Nagini attacks by lunging directly at the screen. Being center and head-on to this shot, this freaked the hell out of me. It was brilliantly heart-stopping, if for a moment, and captured perfectly the snake's lightning reflexes that would return to haunt Harry and Hermione and Godric's Hollow later in the film.

Fig I.: Nagini, about to perform what I've dubbed the 'screen-throw'.

Were it not for the fact you knew exactly what was coming. No, it wasn't because people have read the books, it's because this trick has been done time and time again thanks to the arrival of 3D! Something is hurled at the screen and towards the audience, giving them the shock factor 3D seems built for. It happened here (and later in the film), and we see it all the time in trailers for gore-porn fests like My Bloody Valentine or Saw 3D. It's been done time and time again, and while it did freak a lot of people out (myself included, though that's mainly because I hate being startled), it's a cheap trick that's been done to death, based on a natural instinct that if something dangerous is coming straight towards you, you get the hell out of there.

Not only is it a cheap trick, but it breaks immersion. You're startled, and in a storyline like that of the Harry Potter series which relies on subtle clues to tie it all together, you don't want to break away from the storyline. Of course, as we know, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, was not actually released in 3D. This was, however, a last-minute change by Warner Brothers. The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is already confirmed, and we can be damn sure that snake is showing up again, only to lunge at, and this time out of, the screen. That's even more immersion breaking that I sure as hell don't want, and something I'm sure many others don't want either.

Those damn glasses don't help one bit either. As a guy who wears glasses anyway, a second pair is far from comfortable, meaning I constantly have to adjust them to get them to even stay on. Many, many people wear glasses to watch cinema screens, if not in their daily life, so they're likely even less used to it that I am. So far, the only good I've found 3D glasses come to is for holding part of my Wall-E costume on. That's not saying much, is it?

Fig II.: Pixar's Up. Unfortunately, the empty spaces in some of this film
just didn't work with 3D.

But what about the other end of the spectrum, films that come out in 3D yet hardly use it? So far, the only company I can think that does so is Pixar. Both Up and Toy Story 3 were both released in 3D, and, for all I could see, you might as well have brought a 2D ticket. The main use of 3D in these types of films seem to be in setting up distance, and there was very little problem with that before 3D arrived. I'm not saying that they should resort to the 3D 'screen-throw', but it might be nice to find a new way around it.

So, what would I suggest 3D is used for? For me, I think the best way to use the technology is in a first-person film experience. Make the viewer the main character, or shoot entirely from the angle of one character, in much the way Peep Show does. That way, you can add the depth companies like Pixar use the technology for, and justify a few 'screen-throws' everyone else seems to use it for. So far, I feel like there is no middle ground, and this is what we're lacking. If that can be overcome, then 3D might have a place for me. Until then, I'll buy 2D tickets.

And find a way to remove those god-awful glasses! Nintendo's 3DS has some glasses-free technology in it. Let's find a way to enhance that.

Notes:
  • Fig.http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wkUc6vQNV4E/TJxlz2KYWLI/AAAAAAAAAgc/abYtGgRXgcA/s1600/untitled.JPG
  • Fig II.: http://richwatch.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/pixar-up-house-balloons-single1.jpg

Monday, 1 November 2010

Rise of the Group Pictures.

Hey all,

Well, it turns out my workload makes it pretty much impossible towrite a long article on the DCI situation. Instead, I shall write up a semi-thematic blog entry. Why aren't I working now then, you ask? Because my home internet dislikes VITAL.

So yes, two events have happened recently; the LUDS Ghost Tour and the First Annual Manchester Comedy Improv Tournament (TM?). Let's start with the former.

LUDS Ghost Tour 2010

The Ghost Tour cast. I always seem to be peering over shoulders.
The Ghost Tour took place on the 27th October and was, if I do say so, pretty damn effective. We sold out all 90 tickets, and scared a fair few people. I've done it every year I've been here - once as a general 'boo man' (I made up the title myself), once as a tour guide, and this year as a widower. The format this year was a little different, as we focused on a continual story throughout the tour. It seemed to work, which is good because it's quite a step away from the tradition collection of short stories.

I have, and will always, assert that my character was male - Despite what many of the other characters and the script said on the night!

First Annual Manchester Improv Tournament 2010.

The Teams from the Tournament, and our Referee.
Last Saturday, Sticky Floor took to Manchester in order to take part in an improv tournament. There were four teams in total: Us, Impropriety, ComedySportz Nutcrackers and the Comedy Express Veterans (who had reformed for one night after about 30 years - all very exciting!). It was a great show, even if we did come last. For that, we blame on a combination of going first and so getting scored low in our first game, and loosing a very controversial dance-off. There's a video of the dance off floating around Mark's facebook profile, and I strongly urge people to watch it. As you'll see, we were robbed of a win!

In the end, Comedy Express Veterans won, Impropriety came second, ComedySportz Nutcrackers (the home team) third, and us fourth. Look out for us trying to get many of those teams across to Liverpool for fun-filled nights and maybe even our own tournament.

So yes, that's about it. While I'm on an improv kick, keep your eyes peeled at www.stickyfloorimprov.co.uk. It should be up and running by today, or so the site administrator tells us.

Peace out,
Chris.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Blog On.

Hey all,

I have decided that today I will post a blog entry that isn't painfully short, or ramblings on a set topic. This is just a random update about my life. I have a few ideas for in-depth topics I want to blog about, the next (coming mid-week) will be about Wizards of the Coasts' changes to the DCI system, where now only shops can run prerelease Magic: The Gathering tournaments, and FNM, or Friday Night Magic, can only be run on a Friday instead of any day. That sounds redundant, but I shall go into it in more detail during the article. Keep your eyes peeled, people!

For now, the major change in my life has been my new laptop. A few weeks ago (for anyone who hasn't seen my numerous angry tweets on Twitter between then and now), my laptop blue-screened. I went home last weekend in order to get a new one: An 'Advent Modena M200', in shiny red. During the week, I had many a problem with it...

Firstly, the touchpad is highly sensitive, meaning that whenever I tap it while typing, the cursor's location moves, and the typing continues from this location. This was quickly rectified with a cheap mouse, and I now actually prefer a mouse over the touchpad. Crazy world, eh?

Secondly, the disc tray was jamming when I tried to eject it, and when I did manage to pry it out, it was quite clearly dragging. I took it to the Currys digital in town, and managed to get it exchanged for a new laptop. Same model, working disc tray. Another problem fixed.

However, my final problem is one that is still ongoing: I have no internet in my room. Well, tell a lie, I have internet in the morning, up until about 1 in the afternoon. However, after that, connection becomes incredibly unstable, and I often can't connect at all. I'm currently typing this from the living room, but to not have access in my room is painful. My old laptop worked fine, I should point out, so it;s this computer's WiFi Card. I plan to ring up tech support in an hour or so, and nag them to try fix it. If that fails, I'll get an internet booster off amazon, or go down to Currys in the week and see how cheap a booster they sell there.

The 'Advent Modena M200'. Do Not Buy! Moving on...

as I type this, I'm currently rekindling my love of the Barenaked Ladies. For anyone who doesn't know them, they're a Canadian Band, perhaps most famous at the moment for performing the Big Bang Theory theme tune. Their style i usually quite varied, but they tend to have a great sense of humour and fun in their work. Though it's not particularly funny, here's one of my favourite tracks: 'Old Apartment' (because Warner Bros. Records won't let me embed 'One Week'...). I'd also recommend 'Be My Yoko Ono', 'If I Had a Million Dollars', and, obviously, 'One Week'. To be honest, most of their stuff is fantastic.


I also plan to start up a photo-a-day project in a few weeks, once I'd got my internet connection established. I'd post it here, probably with a few lines explaining why I photographed it. It'll be started either on the first of the month, November 1st, or my birthday, on the 9th November. Anybody got any preferences? Then comment!

So, after the painful plee for recognition and attention in the form of comments, I'm going to finish. As I said, new blog entry coming this week, about WotC and the DCI. If you follow Magic, tune in. If you don't, tune in anyway.*

Peace out,
Chris.

* Note to Self: This is not a radio station.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

English Guilt

I feel bad for not having updated my blog in a LONG time.

To make up for it, here's something cute.


That's better.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

History or Legend? A Look at Disney's Mulan.

On 9th September, Alex von Tunzelmann wrote an article looking back of Disney’s Mulan, a 1998 animated film that retells the fifth century Chinese Ballad of Mulan. The article can be found here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/09/mulan-disney-reel-history), and a version of the ballad here (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ballad_of_Mulan). The article did not look too kindly on the film, criticising it primarily for its historical content and portrayal of the Hun armies. However, there are several points in this article that I feel need addressing, as the writer paint the film in a far worse light than it deserves.

In the second section of the article, ‘War’, Tunzelmann reminds us that the enemies in this Disney film, the Hun, never expanded their rule into the area of China that Mulan came from, even at its largest under Attila in 434-453.  She does point out that there are possible links with Xiongnu tribe, but that the wars against China that there were engaged with happened a few centuries before the time of Mulan. While I cannot dispute this, my problem is that Tunzelmann seems to think that Disney has a huge concern with historical accuracy. The presence of the talking dragon, which Tunzelmann points out in the ‘Violence’ section of the article, shows as much, and I’m sure that the fifth century Mulan never had her general sing through her army training. On the matter of the army that invades China in the Disney movie, it’s likely that the makers of the film simply took a well-known tribe, namely the Hun, and either extended the area they tried to control for the purpose of the film, or used them as a replacement for the lesser-known Xiongnu tribe. Either way, the Hun of Disney’s Mulan do not seem to be the Hun of history. After all, if they were, chances are Attila himself would be leading them to battle.

Fig. I.: Shan Yu, the villain of the film.

The topic of the Hun carries over into the third section of the article, ‘Race’. There are two points here that stand out; firstly, there is the way the Huns are depicted in the film. Tunzelmann describes the Hun leader, Shan Yu, as having “sunken yellow eyes, vampire teeth and massive claws”. To me, this point seems very similar to these raised by the big-screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, which also has an army fighting against an invading army. At the time of its release, it led to cries of racism among Middle-Eastern viewers because of the Persian’s depiction. Both are very similar, not least in their apparently racist portrayal of the invading forces. It is this, however, that is key to understanding these portrayals. Both films are told from the view of those defending their homelands against those who would take control of them. The way they would view their enemies is as monstrous forces, not quite human because of their strange  features and armour. Secondly, though pointing out that the antagonist Shan Yu is definitely fictional, Tunzelmann suggests a link between him and the Chinese warrior Xiang Yu (who fought against the Hun in the third century), or even a member of the Xiongnu tribe. The inability to place Shan Yu supports the idea that the Hun of the film are either fictional or an exaggeration of a real life tribe shows that Disney were not completely concerned with the historical accuracy of the film.

Fig. II.: Mulan, is disguise, during the 'avalanche' scene.


In the ‘Violence’ section of the article, Tunzelmann looks at the death involved in war, and how Disney’s Mulan portrays it. In particular, she points out the avalanche scene, in which Mulan destroys a large number of Hun soldiers by burying them alive. While it is killing, as Tunzelmann says, it is important to note that is it not an incredibly violent death. These soldiers are likely frozen or, at worse crushed, to death. At least five soldiers survive, however, as we see in the aftermath of the battle as they emerge alongside Shan Yu. None of them are visibly hurt, suggesting that this was quite a humane death. Even Shan Yu’s death during the climax of the film, in which he is killed by fireworks, is nowhere near as violent as many other Disney deaths, such as Scar being ripped apart by Hyenas in The Lion King, or Count Frollo being burnt alive in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While all these things happen off-screen, they are still more brutal than a death in an actual war.

It is also worth noting that this article looks at the characterisation of Mulan herself. In the ‘Violence’ section, Tunzelmann makes a point of saying how “Disney heroines do not whip out swords and hack people to death in a frenzied bloodlust”. Later on, in the final section, she also says how “Mulan herself is a clear improvement on the standard-issue drippy princess”, and how different Mulan is to princesses such as Snow White. However, to me Mulan does work as a Disney heroine. Very few of the Disney princesses are actually ‘drippy’, especially those made after 1990. Jasmine, in Aladdin (1992), is strong willed and willing to help the hero defeat the villainous Jafar. Pocahontas, the titular character in the 1995 film, may be based on a real character, but is still a strong female character and a Disney heroine. All three of these have also been introduced to the 'Disney Princess' franchise, meaning that they all, including Mulan, now belong to the same group as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The idea that Disney heroines do not use a sword to fight is true, especially not in war, and this is what makes Mulan so empowered. Though it is possible to view the sword as a form of masculinity, it is important to note that she defeats the Hun forces as both a man, using the avalanche mentioned above, but is only able to stop them one and for all during the final scene, where she had surrendered her disguise and fights as a woman. She also does not ‘hack people to death’, rather using her sword to defend herself until she can defeat her foes in a different manner. Mulan is certainly not a traditional Disney heroine, but rather part of a new generation that began very recently.


Notes.
  • Fig. I.:  Copyright http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_k22xtUjw3-k/S8cwlzkbtgI/AAAAAAAABoA/pO_Zb4p_vi8/s320/shan_yu.jpg.
  • Fig. II.: Copyright http://splicedwire.com/98reviews/mulan.gif

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Games We Play: A Look at Gaming in Society.


In recent years, computer games has grown greatly as a medium. From their early roots in the arcades of the late seventies and eighties,  gaming has since moved into the houses of the world,  be it through consoles or personal computers, and become a multi-million dollar industry. This does not, however, make them a widely accepted form of entertainment. In series 3, episode 2 of his Screenwipe programme, journalist and presenter Charlie Brooker said that, while films and even cookery is considered acceptable and cultured mediums to discuss over the dinner table, conversation about computer games inevitably leads to those involved being “automatically branded a sad spotty nerdo-geek virgin with the cultural sensibilities of a spoon.” While Brooker writes to entertain, and this statement is obviously exaggerated for comical effect, the point still remains valid. Why is gaming treated like a black sheep when films, books and television continue to thrive as serious artistic works?

At the moment, there are a wide variety of gaming platforms that allow anyone to experience and enjoy the hobby as and when they please. Not only are there the more traditional consoles such as the Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3, or even personal computers, but there are also consoles which use far less traditional methods of interaction. The Nintendo Wii, a huge step forward in opening gaming to a wider audience, replaced the button-based controller that might have isolated people from gaming with a somewhat more interactive movement-based controller. This allowed players to enjoy more casual games, in particular those based around imagination and sports. Handheld consoles have experienced a similar divide, with the Sony PSP continuing the button-based gaming of pervious generation’s Gameboy, and Nintendo again reinventing interaction between player and game through the use of the DS’ touch screen interface. In the past few years, people have not even required high-powered, dedicated machines to play games on. With over 60 million active monthly users, Zynga’s FarmVille application for Facebook allow people to game without the need to invest a lot of money into the hobby, as they are free to Facebook users. The games itself has drawn in over 60 million monthly players, according to the application’s page. Finally, massively-multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft and EVE Online make billions of dollars every month from subscription fees and sale of in-game items, as well as sales of the game itself. With so many avenues for people to explore games through, why are they treated like such a taboo subject?

Fig. I: FarmVille, the hugely popular, free to play Facebook game.

The problem with gaming’s perception in the public eyes seems to rest partially in the hands of the media. Frequently, gamers are portrayed as angry loners, striking out at those around them. There have been a number of articles run over the years condemning gaming and gamers, and a number of links between the hobby and violent crime made. Perhaps the most well-known case in the UK was that revolving around the killing of 14 year old Stefan Pakeerah and Rockstar game Manhunt in 2004, which led to the game being banned. Recently, following the events surrounding Raoul Moat, the Daily Star ran an article that claimed, amongst other things, that Rockstar were making a game based around the event. Though the Daily Star soon admitting that this was false and apologised, saying that they had not checked the sources used or indeed questioned why such a game would be made, the journalist who wrote the article goaded adult gamers on his own website, challenging them to “a virtual reality duel”. These are not isolated to the UK, and a number of studies have attempted to link popular shooting game Counter-Strike with school shootings across the world. Alongside these links, outspoken authority figures have been highly critical of computer games; Michael Atkinson, former South Australian Attorney-General, strongly opposed violent video games during his time in office, refusing to introduce a R18+ certification on video games. He also said, during an interview, that he felt more threatened by gamers than he did by biker gangs. Another figure to take a stance against violent gaming is former lawyer Jack Thompson, who has often strove to have games such as Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto and Canis Canem Edit (otherwise known as ‘Bully’) banned, due to their violent content. Both these figures were in positions that commanded a certain level of respect, and so directly influential over media, and capable of getting their voices heard and so influencing those who hear them. It is through the media that those not overly interested in gaming receive the vast majority of their news and, if only these views are allowed to be published, then the majority of people will be exposed to biased opinion, rather than information that might shed a different light on gaming.

Fig. II: Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, often noted for its 
controversial content.

A number of studies have also appeared, particularly in the last ten years as gaming has become more realistic, claiming games negatively affect those who play them. This research is often related to violence in games; Dr. Warm (2000) carried out research that shows violent tendencies in people who played two different games containing varying levels of violence. Meanwhile, other research continues to state otherwise; work by Barnett et al (2008) showed that those who played online game World of Warcraft are more likely to feel tired, rather than angry, after 2 hours of playing. Some research, however, takes a more middle-ground approach to the issue, with one study by Weis and Cerankosky divided a group of pre-teen boys into two groups, giving one group a console and 3 ‘all age’ games. When they returned four months later, they discovered that those without the console had a better grasp on reading and writing skills than those who had been given them. They did, in spite of this, stress that technology is not dangerous itself, but rather dangerous if overused. It is this view, in my eyes, that is best to be taken, as it is with all types of technology.

One might notice that the majority of games mentioned here carry an age rating designed to restrict access younger gamers may have to them, and in turn have them played only by older teenagers and adults; ages 15 and older, at a minimum. This rating system is often identical to that used on films, and it is illegal to sell a rated game to a person below that age, as it is with films. During a segment on the sex scenes in Bioware’s Mass Effect game, American news channel Fox News commented on how, while many young adults play computer games, their children are likely to experience games that they might not have access to otherwise while playing unsupervised. While this is true, the exact same can be said of films or television shows, and while games are a more interactive medium, a gory video game set during a zombie apocalypse is just as unsuitable for young gamers as a gory film or show on the same subject matter would be for a young watcher.

Fig. III: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a 2010 film that uses a number
of gaming elements to tell the story.
 
Nonetheless, games have become far more accepted and even incorporated into modern media, especially films and television shows, than they were a decade or so ago. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a new film based on a comic book series, uses video games as the basis for a number of jokes as well as the plot itself. Animated shows like The Simpsons and Futurama, also use a number of video game jokes based on games. There are also a number of books based on video game franchises, including Halo and Assassin’s Creed. With gaming as a growing media, it is unsurprising that elements of it appear in other areas. However, these are often aimed at the stereotypical gaming audience (namely, teenage to young adult males) and so it is difficult to have these seen by people outside this age group. The rise of ‘geek culture’ in recent years, with superhero and Sci-Fi movies becoming incredibly popular as well as comedies such as The Big Bang Theory and The IT Crowd focusing on geek social groups, means that this type of material is being seen by a far wider group of people.

So why is gaming considered such a strange thing to enjoy? Though negative studies appear to show the dangers of gaming, there are those that show otherwise. It would seem, therefore, that the major problem that the gaming industry faces in being taken seriously is breaking through the bad press generated by those who paint a negative picture of it. Recent exposure in film and television seem to be assisting this, as well as a number of games that break typical views of what the hobby involves. It may be a number of years yet, however, before games can take their place amongst the other parts of our cultural landscape.


Notes.
  • Fig. I.:   Copyright http://gamerant.com/wp-content/uploads/Farmville-Screen.jpg.
  • Fig. II.:  Copyright http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/screenwriter/files/2009/12/070403_cb_grandtheftautoex.jpg.
  • Fig. III.: Copyright http://www.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-movie-image-32.jpg.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Productive Summers

Currently replaying through Tales of Vesperia. I blame the job market. It's a good thing that this game is awesome, and has some of the funniest lines and likable characters I've seen in any media.

Seriously, if you own an xbox or a PS3, you have no excuse not to play this game. Do it, now! I'll wait... In the meantime, let us all enjoy the opening video to it, with a cracked song to boot.


I wonder if there's a stage version. If so, I wonder if we could put it on in LUDS. If not, I wonder if I could write one, and we could put it on in LUDS. Win-win, I say!

Peace out,
Chris.

P.S. That is the way I end my LiveJournal entries, for those reading both.

P.P.S. If you are reading both, you're sadder than I am. Well played.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Magical Me.

No matter what this title might suggest, this entry is not written by Gilderoy Lockheart.

I went to a Magic: The Gathering tournament this weekend. It's a card game, and before anyone questions it, that is the sort of thing that Pokemon was. Now, let's move on.

Came 17th place, out of 20. No, that doesn't mean I suck, it means that I'm just not incredible. 5 round, best of 3 for each. Won 1 rounds, tied 1, lost 3. For anyone who plays, my deck was thus:

6 Forest.
3 Greypelt Refuge.
2 Jungle Shrine.
3 Kazandu Refuge.
4 Mountain.
4 Plains.
3 Terramorphic Expanse.
----------------------
25 land.

2 Ant Queen.
2 Mycoloth.
4 Nissa's Chosen.
4 Rip-Clan Crasher.
3 Soul Warden.
2 Qasali Ambusher.
4 Wild Nacatl.
4 Woolly Thoctar.
----------------------
25 creatures.

3 Lightning Bolt.
4 Naya Charm.
3 Oblivion Ring.
----------------------
10 spells.

2 Act of Treason.
3 Angelsong.
2 Demolish.
3 Nature's Spiral.
3 Pacifism.
2 Relic of Progenitus.
----------------------
15 sideboard.

I wonder if there's a way of formatting certain parts of a blog into columns... Ideally, that would take up less space and have the 10 spells and 15 sideboard cards in column next to the land and creature cards. What can you do, eh?

If there is, though, I will some day return here and make those columns! My blog will, as it were, suit up. Awesome...

This blog...

... It will likely be pure rambling. I hope it will someday evolve into something more eloquent and profound.

That, or a Pidgeot.