Hey there everyone.
It has been a while. Apologies for that (I often seem to be starting posts by apologising) but this time I have a (relatively) good reason. I haven’t been playing much, watching much or reading much of late.
I haven’t been able to focus on any one game/show and although I am focusing on one book, I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like.
At the moment I am on a train heading for Manchester (mad fer it etc..) so figured this was a good time to write a bit of a post covering what I’ve been looking at or doing recently. Then I am planning on spending some time playing and reading, again flitting between games and my book to make the journey pass…
Okay, so let’s start with the book…
William Gibson – Peripheral.
Now, for a short bit of background. I love William Gibson. His work is always thought provoking, clever SF (sort of). His earlier work (Neuromancer, Virtual Light etc) are dystopian futures, not what I’d call far future, but certainly not near future. Recently he has been writing near future or contemporary stuff that is almost not SF. I’m not sure how to classify it, so I’m not going to try. But at Christmas I was given a copy of his latest work. Now I know that this is going to take some concentration and focus, so I’ve put off reading it until the summer, when I have more time to read and here we are.
Normally these books take a couple of read throughs to get things exactly clear in my head and even though I know it’s pointless to try and second guess Gibson’s writing I can’t help myself sometimes. Anyway…
This book is (as ever) expertly written, with brilliant atmosphere and some really interesting characters. Gibson does a brilliant job of creating realistic characters who draw you into the story and this is no exception. I’m about a hundred pages in and really enjoying taking my time with the book. Eventually I know that the pace will pick up and I won’t be able to put it down… So I’m savouring the slower introduction and character development at the moment, reading a chapter and then stopping myself from reading more… Trying to work out where I think the story is going to go, how I think the pieces will fit together and so on.
The reading I have been doing with Claire (see last post on Do Androids Dream…) has really made me think about how I consume books, simply reading them in huge chunks and not really digesting them.. Which I am trying to change, especially with this book, because I have been waiting for so long to read it.
I’m going to wait to write anything about the plot (I’m not worried about spoilers because the book has been out almost a year now – I’ll try to write as spoiler free as I can when I get round to it) because I don’t want to put anything down until I have finished it and hand chance to digest it and think about it (maybe even read it again if I get chance)
I have to admit at this point that the SF reading group I have for work have lost out (or maybe not) because I haven’t even touched the reading group for the last few months. Next month I am going top have to pick up my game or they’ll be complaining about me…
So, games, I have not completed Bloodborne, but because I haven’t had the focus to sit down for long periods of gameplay I haven’t been playing it much for a while. I, sure I’ll head back to it at some point, but at the moment the it’s demands are too much for me.
I have, however, been playing other games. Unfortunately I haven’t played anything so much that I can write a complete post about.
I have recently downloaded this onto my iPad and it is truly addictive. An endless runner take on the classic from the minds behind Crossy Road (another addictive old school game re-imagined) and BandaiNamco. Basically you swipe up, down, left or right to take the next path and try to run away from the glitching that is following you. A brief history lesson… On the original Pacman arcade machine, level 256 was unbeatable, because the level glitched, something to do with the memory or something (I can’t remember and as I’m on a train can’t do the research.. Google is your friend if you are interested in learning more). You can unlock bonuses have as lasers, or ice to either destroy the ghosts or slow them down, and, as ever, you can collect power pellets to make Inky, Blinky, Clyde et all edible.
This is a game, so simple and so addictive that I introduced Claire to it. This may have been bad… When I rang her the other night I didn’t get a “Hello”… Oh no, I got “oh, you just made me run my Pacman into a ghost” with definite undertones of why did you ring me… Which is not the sort of response I ever expected from Claire regarding *any* game… A sure sign of a modern classic then 😉
This is on my phone and I’m not sure you would call it a game. This one was brought to my attention thanks to a podcast I listen to, called MidlifeGamer (Basically two 30-something or 40-something’s talking about games and ribbing each other)… Their show can be a little… Erm.. Adult. So be warned, but again, if you want to check it out then Google is your friend.
Anyway, basically you tap on a coloured block and it disappears, giving you gold. Tap on more and get more gold. You spend that gold on hiring (computer controlled) shooters to fire at the blocks for you. The more damage they do the quicker you progress. Now when you stop playing the game (say because work apparently need you to do work) you can close the app, and these guys keep working away, building up your hold so when you come back you can spend it on more guys or leveling them up. Eventually they do so much more damage than you can do by tapping, so you open the app, level them up, then go and do something else.
Once you get to level 100, you get the opportunity to win bonus cubes, which you can use to permanently level various stats (think RPG games), however, to spend these cubes, you have to lose all your guys, all their damage and start again. So you start again, spend your bonus cubes, and start hiring/leveling the guys again… Rinse and repeat…
This is kind of a “dip in and out” game and I usually drop in, spend my gold and level up in the morning and on an evening… There’s not rally much else to this game, it’s simple and kind of addictive, with rewards for reaching specific levels (both for your guys and progress) and having so much gold and pretty much everything… It’s kind of simple and you don’t really ‘play’ it, but it’s addictive and there is something about wanting to progress and level up that appeals me…
Star Wars – Knights of the old Republic
Now this is a bit of an interesting one. Yes, those of you in the know will say it’s old. And yes it is, it’s a classic Bioware game and anyone who is even remotely into both Star Wars and gaming will no doubt have played it. I however, tried it but couldn’t get on with it originally.
With it’s recent release on the iPad I figured this was the perfect opportunity to drop £8 on it and have another go. Being able to play it on the go making a big difference to me at the moment so here I am saying what many call the best Star Wars game ever (for what it is worth, they are wrong. It’s Tie Fighter).
This is an interesting game to play on the iPad. The controls have been simplified, and work really well, the game looks impressive enough on the iPad screen too, crisp enough and pretty enough for a tablet game, but of the time enough to be a little retro. The game is deep and the voice acting (yes, voice acting so better dig out the headphones) is as good as you would expect from a Bioware game.
Turn based combat (that goes on behind the scenes) makes it interesting and challenging to play and the story is typical RPG/Star Wars fare. The only thing I’m not sure about is being able to sit and play while holding the iPad for long periods, which the game encourages. Maybe I’m a wuss, or getting old or something, but the other night after playing for an hour or so, my wrist hurt from holding it upright… Something that hasn’t happened to me since the days of Unreal Tournament…
I’m not very far into the storyline, but I am enjoying it and feel even for the time I’ve spent with it, it is totally worth the £8 I payed for it.
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
This was one of the ‘free’ games with the Playstation Network last month and I have been dipping into this a little as well. After playing the first one right through and being really proud of myself for beating some of those puzzles I kind of have to take on the challenge of the sequel.. I’m only a couple of puzzles in and it is, as I hoped, more of the same, although this time there appears to be a bit of a story attached. I’m not fussed about story, but I am enjoying the puzzles, trying to work out how to get through a test chamber has all the challenge and euphoria of the first, along with a few ‘AHA!” moments when you realise what you are supposed to do.
Working with light and dark to avoid being seen, moving blocks to be able to make jumps or press switches, using smoke to avoid detection, all introduced very early on, so I would comment playing the first one to get an eye for the puzzles as sometimes they can be a little complex for people knew to to the game (or maybe I’m over thinking them).
Well, there you go… I’ll save the ‘What I’ve been watching’ for next week so I have something to post and don’t go for ages without putting something up here because I know at least 2 people tend to read what I put up here (foolish people!)…
As the Romans probably never said, ‘see you on the flip side’.