Monthly Archives: January 2011

Books and Words and Things

This weekend, I wrote the first book review I’ve ever written. If you’d like to, you can go and read it here, it’s of the really rather wonderful Love Is A Mix Tape. I say it’s the first, but that’s a little disingenuous, because I wrote one when I was in year eight at secondary school as well. That was a review of Michael Crichton’s second Jurassic Park book, The Lost World. ┬áIt was part review, part suggestion of what I’d like to see in the inevitable Lost World movie. I don’t remember many of the specifics, save for that I cast Brad Pitt as a character, so I could see him get eaten by dinosaurs.

I’m not entirely sure why I never got into writing about books, considering they’re a passion above and beyond anything I feel for videogames. Maybe I was afraid of spoiling the relationship I have with the printed word, cheapening it somehow by spilling my thoughts out for other people to read and disagree with. Having said that, I really enjoyed writing the review, and intend to do lots more.

What I also intend to do is write a children’s science fiction novel and get my dear sweet friend Joe to pull his finger out and make some comics with me.

Oh, you can also read some more of my stuff on Den of Geek here. It’s about games and what not. Just don’t tell me that I ‘forgot’ about Skyrim. I didn’t forget about Skyrim, I just didn’t write about it because I didn’t think it deserved a place on the list. So there.

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“But is it better than Speed…?”

It’s a question that we often find ourselves being asked. We’ve just been to the local multiplex to see the latest 3 dimensional blockbuster, when one of our many socially networked friends asks us if the movie was as good as Jan De Bont’s seminal bus based thriller, Speed. How do we answer? What’s the best way to express whether or not a film is as good, not as good, or, heaven forbid, better than Speed?

After some serious research, I’ve come up with a foolproof way that I like to call “The Three Bus Rating System”. Catchy, right? Let me walk you through it. If you’ve seen the film Speed (and if not, stop reading right now, go to your local video library and rent that bad boy) you’ll remember that the number of buses that explode in it is 2. The one that explodes quite near the start, and the one that explodes quite near the end. Using a rigorous mathematical formula, I worked out that the number 2 sits snugly between the numbers 3 and 1.

So, using a slightly different rigorous mathematical formula, I worked out that more buses exploding=better. Thus was born “The Three Bus Rating System”. Using TTBRS, you now have an easy way to express whether or not a film is up to pace with Speed. Here it is broken down, nice and simple like.

 

Three Buses=Better Than Speed

Two Buses=As Good As Speed

One Bus=Not As Good As Speed

 

“But this is entirely arbitrary,” you may be screaming at your computer screen. “It’s a rating system that only makes sense if someone has an understanding of the specificities behind the grades, and as such could never be properly implemented in a universal sense. This is madness Harry, people simply won’t be able to comprehend. What if they didn’t like Speed? The whole thing is based solely on an opinion in the first place, so trying to quantify solid fact from it would be entirely pointless.”

To which I would have to reply, yeah, but we live in a world where people are still giving scores in videogame reviews.

Zing.


Briefs.

Writing is fucking difficult.

Okay, it’s not, but writing in such a way that people want to read the things you say is nigh on impossible. I very rarely make money from putting words into some semblance of order, but that is something I am endeavouring to change this year. It’s a sort of resolution, except not, because resolutions are stupid and easily broken. In which case, it’s more like a conscious effort to become good enough at doing the thing that I love so that people will give me money for it. Hence the blogging. As a billion people have said before, writers write. So here I am writing.

I’m stopping now though, because writing is fucking difficult.

Actually, no I’m not.

I’m currently playing through Splinter Cell: Conviction, one of the blockbuster games I missed last year because I was poor. I remain poor, but now I’m poor and rent things. I have the same problem with Splinter Cell as I do with almost every other stealth game – I enjoy them, but when it boils down to the nitty gritty, I’m terrible at them. I lack the patience to remain hidden in the shadows, or the grand master like ability to understand a pattern as it’s forming. Instead, what I do is roll out of cover too early, vainly shoot some terrorist/corrupt government agent/mercenary in the knees, then take a shotgun blast to the chest and have to go back to a checkpoint.

The strange thing about stealth based games is that they can be epically playable, but I am unable to gain the same joy from them as others due to my ineptitudes. In essence, it’s my fault that the game isn’t any good. Sorry Splinter Cell, I promise to try harder.


New Year, New Me

I say this every year, but this time I actually mean it. 2011 is going to be the year that I manage to keep a regularly updated blog. Things are going to change round here, that’s for sure. Before the year is out I will be successful, happy and feel like I haven’t wasted another twelve months wallowing around, wasting the talents I have. I realise that sounds big headed, but I mean it in a “measly talent” sort of a way, not an “oh, I’m wasted here” sort of a way.

This isn’t going to be a post a day sort of a blog, because I’m pretty sure that I’d fail at that within a week. Instead, I intend to post here at least once during the week and at least once on the weekend. It’s a schedule that I think I’m going to be able to keep to, and it allows me a little wriggle room if I fall in a hole or get distracted by something shiny and close.

The blog will deal with anything I feel like writing about, which might include vidya games, board games, films, books, cooking, or any number of things that I can’t think of or type right now. There might even be short stories or poetry, who knows? I don’t. There are links you can click on to find out more about me if you’re so interested. This counts as my weekday post for this week, so I might be back later on in the week, but I will definitely be back at the weekend.

Unless I fall in a hole.