Ghost World and the problem with nerd culture

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The minute I saw Thora Birch in Ghost World, I thought she looked familiar. Not because I remembered American Beauty, or because she resembles Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games. I recognised her because I saw myself at that age – belligerently “different”, sneeringly aloof.

Later on, I realised that she was nothing like me at all – just like in Mean Girls, there isn’t much difference between the cruelty of the alternative kids and the snooty jock set, except that here almost everyone is trying desperately to please her and she throws it all back in their faces.  Continue reading

PS4 real? Making sense of the Playstation 4

PS4 image from Kotaku

The future of gaming is just around the corner, or so they say: the Playstation 4 has finally been announced. Yesterday, Twitter and the wider web was buried under an avalanche of excitement and speculation (well, the bits of it not already knee-deep in the BRIT Awards) – so much information, it was just too much to take in. Especially when the console itself was nowhere to be seen.

Luckily the commentators of the gaming world were on hand to interpret the hyperbole and give us a realistic impression of what to expect.  Continue reading

Nobody gives a crap about your stupid little project: 5 strategies for surviving the internet

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It was just about the rudest comment I’d ever seen: “Give up, mate … no-one gives a s*** about your stupid label and the s*** music you release…”. It wasn’t quite true: many, including me, cared quite a bit about this brave little indie, but it is a Have Not in the digital world, and with that, I can sympathize.

It’s very difficult to gauge hierarchy because it changes so fast: one week this little blog has more readers than the biggest magazine I wrote for; the following week, almost none. White Swan Events, I call them – unpredictable storms of traffic activity, but it’s dangerous to read too much into them, either way, because

Rule 1: Visibility does not equal engagement

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The Hunger Games, Dredd and the 12ification of culture

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I initially thought that The Hunger Games was a really good film. A really good film. It had all the ingredients, after all: a perfectly-cast Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, Suzanne Collins as screenwriter, and a sympathetic director who really seemed to understand the material. The opening scenes of shaky-cammed apocalyptic gloom offset against the slick Truman Show-style televisation were perfectly pitched, so it was disappointing as the film inexorably slid into mediocrity the minute the violence started. Or didn’t, as it turned out.  Continue reading

Felicia Day – Gamer Poetry

507px-Felicia_Day_2012 by MingleMediaTVNetwork

Felicia Day is so the female Neil Patrick Harris. As if acting, releasing novelty singles, producing and writing wasn’t enough for her, Ms Renaissance Woman has turned her hand to … poetry. About video games. The accompanying music sounds bizarrely David Lynch-like, to really top it off. Continue reading

How to write the rules of attraction

A poster on a video game forum sparked a very interesting debate. (Presumably, a) he initially complained about the lack of LGBT-focussed mods for Morrowind, which resulted in a few short list of recommendations, and he said that they weren’t really what he was looking for. I pointed out a few others, including my own, where gender simply wasn’t specified. I’m very much of the view that the player decides how the game goes, and I mentally award brownie points every time I’m allowed to follow my whims and scowl disapprovingly any time I can’t. Bethesda’s games are very much designed in that way, so it follows automatically that I should avoid restricting the player. Continue reading

13 Greatest comedy moments about video games


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Some of these clips of great comedy about video games are a lot of fun (most of them are barred to the UK), but they often don’t reflect the reality of a household where both of you are gamers. For example, Christian Finnegan talks about arguments, and the tradition of how people tend to keep bringing up past rows over and over and how they’re never really settled.

In our house, both being gamers, we know when an argument has reached a Checkpoint, which keeps things refreshingly linear. We’ve made too much progress to start the whole thing from scratch, so you just have to put up with whatever dialogue choices you’ve made to that point and keep moving forward. Trying to revisit a previous argument is as futile as trying to go back to the previous level, only to find that the door is barred behind you. Tough s***, sucker! You should have picked up the Achievement Points the first time around.
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