Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Being stuck in the snow...

Where I live it rarely snows in the winter. When it does, it brings the entire county to its knees.

So, quite predictably I have spent the last two days stuck in a friend's house, after being marooned there on Monday afternoon. Other than coursework, what did I get up to?

Thankfully, myself and my other-half had the pleasure of staying with a couple equally into games, SF, fantasy, anime, manga, graphic novels, films and snowball fights. Thank goodness I had my laptop with me.
A Welsh film I had never heard of until I got stuck
in my friend's house. Brought out in 1997, it has a very young Rhys Ifans in one of the main roles. There's a lot of sex, drugs and swearing for a film set in Swansea, but this is a pretty decent film. It follows two brothers (not actually twins), who constantly re-offend whilst on probation, and end-up rubbing one of the local runners of organised crime up the wrong way. Cue all hell being unleashed.
Yep, I ended up on Spore on my laptop PC. Admittedly I haven't purchased the latest, and first, expansion pack for it, but I had another good play
through on it. The only problem is that I keep whimping out on playing the Space Stage, which is the final stage of the game.
ELDER SCROLLS III: MORROWIND (with expansion packs, on PC)
A Western RPG (role playing game) by Bethesda. It's set on an island, where you can pretty much roam wherever you want. Lots of magic and swords. I started a new game on it, but I didn't get very far as the game is huge. Some claim there's over 500 hours of play time on it with the expansion packs.
This is a Japanese manga that was first published between 2001 to 2002. It was created by the gals at Clamp. Set in the near future it follows cram school student Hideki as he stubles across what he first thinks is an everyday android, left out in the trash, but soon turns out to be much more than that. This manga was Clamp's first one for guys (they normally write for girls), so there is a lot of 'fanservice', but it is a good read.

A full review will follow in the future.

Ehhh, what's manga?
Manga is a term derived from Japanese to classify comic-books created and originally published in Japan. They tend to be printed in black and white, and are drawin in a style that tends to be noticably different from Western comic-books and graphic novels. Quite often when they're published after being translated the layout remains the same, i.e. the panels are arranged from right to left and must be read as such.

When manga is published in Western territories it's usually released in volumes, unlike in Japan where most mangas are originally published in weekly and monthly publications containing a selection of different mangas, but these publications are targeted at different markets. Young and old, male and female: there's a huge market for manga in Japan.

Right, so what's 'fanservice'?
This is a term used to describe certain characteristics in both manga, anime (a manga that has been turned into an animated show or movie), and some Japanese computer games aimed at teenage boys, young men, and perhaps even older men. The characteristics mostly revolve around a noticeable focus on female characters' panties, busts and other noticeable sexual aspects around the female characters.

So, you weren't bored?
Certainly not.

Related links
IMDB entry for Twin Town
Official Spore web site
Elder Scrolls official web site
Wikipedia entry for Chobits

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