Dear Square Enix,
I arrived home this morning after a brief journey into town to find that Amazon had delivered my copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I was naturally pleased to get my new game, so I grabbed my laptop, popped in the disk, and it began to install. Register on Steam? Fair enough, I like Steam, and it’s good to know I’ll be able to download and play if I scratch the disc or something.
John Finnemore? If you listen to the credits of Radio 4 comedies, you’ll notice his name is a frequent occurance. Anyway, the other evening, I, along with NRB associates Scott and Luke, went to see the recording of some of his new sketch show for Radio 4. While it’s fairly easy to get to London from our general location, it’s still a bit of a hassle, what with having to get a train then a Tube then wander around until you find the darn place, which a bit of a dull slog, even to someone like me, who likes train travel*. Fortunately, our experience was unexpectedly enlivened by a bomb scare.
New podcast – Feedburner is messing me around, so it isn’t on iTunes yet, but you can get it straight from the site. Go and listen. Subscribe and review us on iTunes!
A few things. I’ve been spending a little time over the last few days unfollowing people on Twitter and unfollowing feeds on Google Reader. Partly because I was following over a thousand people on Twitter and separating the good from the cruft was becoming increasingly problematic, so I cut it down to 551. I just read this thing which Merlin Mann wrote some time ago. I think I was subconsciously trying for something in this vein – trying to ingest only the best, rather than an absolute cavalcade of crud.
Hello! I’ve had rather a long day, visiting the University of East Anglia in sunny Norwich. Very nice place, and I’ll hopefully be going there in September*. I’ve also been playing Dragon Age 2, which is excellent. I’ve been playing Origins for the last month or so, and the improvement in combat is VAST. The increased immediacy of the combat is such a welcome relief after the sluggish, shuffle-around-to-hit-anyone combat of Oranges. I prefer the Hawke character to the Oranges character, if only because he has a name characters can call him**, but also because his family and background affects you immediately and continuously, rather than in the origin story, wherever you visit that’s relevant and in the epilogue.
Sadly, I haven’t finished watching Series 5 of The Wire, and nor have I finished Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, so I can’t review either of those things. The one thing I have finished is the January round of my exams, which meant a whiplash-inducing change from virtual penury where free time is concerned (due to all that revision) to whole hours spent doing nothing productive at all – mostly playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, which is very good. A refinement in almost every way from Assassin’s Creed 2 (more of which whenever that review is written). It’s also meant that I’ve been thinking about doing other interesting stuff. I’ve got a laundry list of long-term projects to complete in the purgatory between exams and university, but there are a few things I need to start doing inbetween. Firstly, podcasting. Some of the more astute (and dedicated) NRB readers may remember this blog once had a podcast, the NRBcast, which I did with Friend of the NRB (and former contributor) S.C. Wilson. It was rubbish, in all honesty, but it was entertaining rubbish, and fun to do. So, it will be starting again at some point in the near future (I’m aware I said something similar a few months ago, but I mean it this time), probably as the hecklr podcast (and if hecklr doesn’t relaunch, as has been promised for the last however long, the podcast may well become the site).
So I’ve been watching through box sets of The Wire for the last few months. For the most part, it’s really, really good, and when I’ve finished watching all of them, I’ll do a longer post on the topic. I’m currently midway through Series 5, and before I started, my father told me that Series 5 isn’t really as good as preceding series, that it gets a bit ‘weird’. He’s right – it is different to the other series, albeit subtly so. One of the things that makes The Wire so great, so unique, is (at least in comparison to the majority of television dramas involving police) the lack of artifice. It excels at portraying brutal mundanity – the harsh truths of life on the street. Series 1 chiefly deals with the Barksdale drug dealers, Series 2 with the slow death of the Baltimore docks, Series 3 with the corrupt and corruping world of Baltimore politics, and Series 4 with the Baltimore school system. The new element introduced for Series 5, however, is the Baltimore Sun newspaper, where David Simon, series creator and producer used to work.
I’ve had quite a good day today, all told. It began with an exam – Chemistry, F331 retake, in case you’re interested – the third (and last) this week, third out of seven total, and the last of the retakes. I’ve got C3 (Maths) next week, and M1 (Further Maths), F334 (Chemistry) and Unit 4 (Physics) the week after that. I then had some lessons, which were good, wandered down to the local Starbucks, had a drink and read The Times, which was thoughtfully provided for free (a brief diversion for a second. I have previously refused to read The Times out of principle – I think it’s a newspaper of quality and like its style, even if I disagree with some of its viewpoints (same with the Economist) but I wouldn’t read it because it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, who’s quite possibly one of the greatest forces for evil on the planet today (perhaps Michael Gove’s a contender for that position, but we’ll get to him). The long and the short of it is, it’s OK if I’m not paying for it, so Murdoch’s not getting my money. I’m happy to watch The Simpsons and Firefly and Family Guy and Futurama and Star Wars, so why should I continue this folly if I’m ultimately not giving Rupe his tithe (however small)? The answer is, I still won’t buy it, but it can go in rotation with The Graun and The Indie of Newspapers I’ll Read In The College Library. Hey, it’s free. The Telegraph can still go dive in a skip full of used syringes for all I care (apart from the games people. They’re pretty good. And Oliver Pritchett).
I got a new phone today! Hurrah! It’s about time too! As you can see in the photo above, it’s a Samsung Galaxy Europa, the cheaper end of Samsung’s Galaxy line of Android phones (and that’s a CERN shirt, by the way. The equations you can see there describe the fundamental forces, particles, and the Higgs mechanism). And that is a map of the world and a periodic table on the wall behind me. With such things is my bedroom decorated.
A few things, quickly.
Firstly, I have the worst superpower. I have the power to break earphones. I have no idea how or why, but somehow, every pair of earphones I buy stops working in one or both ears in no short order after purchase. I’ve had the current pair for about a week, and they’re already starting to break. The only sort that are in any way resistant are Apple’s, which seem to last a little longer than the rest of them. I can’t think of anything I do which might cause the peculiar incidence of breakage. It’s quite infuriating.
Secondly, my NaNoWriMo has been non-existant for the last few days. I’m trying not to be disheartened, but I might have to give up and try in the summer after all my exams, when I have some semblance of free time, rather than now, when I’ve got university applications to do (though I’ve finished all that, actually) and lots (and lots) of revision to do for my January exams.
Thirdly, and finally, Starbucks gingerbread lattes are back. Those with any sense will, of course, know that Starbucks Gingerbread Lattes are the best things in the world. Magically delicious doesn’t cover it.
Oh, and one more thing – I haven’t had the chance to talk to them yet, but congrats on my aunt and uncle on their new baby, Anya. She was having trouble putting on weight and had to go back into hospital, but should be out tomorrow, hoping all goes well.
That’s all for now, folks. Hopefully some iPod touch game reviews soon, since that’s my current most played platform (for things other than Minecraft). Galaxy on Fire 2, Game Dev Story, Helsing’s Fire, Trainyard, Rat on a Scooter XL… all fantastic. Goodnight!