Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fallout 3, pt. 1

I've been playing this since it was released last year
So why haven't I seriously posted about it here? The game is immense. It's only recently that I've managed to scratch below the surface of what has to be one of the best games to be released last year.

Pt. 1?
Can't say how many parts there will be, but I don't want to bore you guys and gals too much by squishing it all into one entry.

This is the third game in the main part of the series, and the first one to be released in quite some time. What we have here is a pretty, free roaming, RPG that is science fiction in nature, and in some ways, speculative fiction as well.

You can choose the gender and ethnicity of your character and customise their appearance. Their story is whatever you want it to be, except that you come from a Vault (a protective bunker environment), two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust gripped the world. It's set in the US.

So, yes, the game has a post-apocalyptic setting. I can't tell you too much about the story, because it would spoil it, but this game has some pretty decent narrative structures at work.

To come...
I bother to talk about game play for once, and think just how much I like this game more than others.

Related links
Official Fallout 3 website
Wiki entry for Fallout 3

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Day of the Dead (the remake)

Yes, a remake
I have just watched the 2008 remake of the classic George Romero film of the same name from the mid '80s. As per usual, I saw the DVD going cheap, which is why I bought it.


This film is an entirely different film to the original. In this version a small Colorado town is beset by a mysterious flu like illness, and as this is a zombie horror film, the illness is not the flu. No, it's a zombie creating machine.

We follow survivors as they try to survive the nightmare that has been unleashed. The usual stuff.

Zombie lore

The film completely breaks with the zombie law esta
blished by Romero in his films. We are presented with zombies that have super human speed and strength, but incredibly mushable bodies. For me this combination makes no sense, because in theory anything that would move like that with such a delicate body could not stay in one piece by moving the way the zombies do in this film.

I know the remake of Dawn of the Dead didn't quite follow the lore, but it was better directed than this film.

Worth buying?

If, somehow, you have never seen any of the original films, Romero's newer ones, or the remake of Dawn of the Dead, then you'll enjoy this piece of zombie filled nonsense. However, those who are fond of the genre would perhaps do well to give this a wide berth.

Related links
Wiki entry on the film
IMDB entry on the film

Monday, 20 April 2009


Bored, and in London? Buy some cheap DVDs!
Yes, I've got a bored during the evenings here, so I had to go down to HMV and purchase a few DVDs that were on offer, and this, Danny Boyle's Sunshine, was one of them. Don't ask me why I bought it, the reason does not really go beyond "it was cheap".

It's 2057 and the sun is dying. Yes, dying, and doing so very prematurely. The crew of Icarus 2 have been sent forth from Earth with the last of all of Earth's fissionable materials in order to jump start the reactions that a healthy star normally makes, and thus restore the Earth and solar system to normality.

As one should expect with a space set sci-fi film such as this, everything goes horribly wrong and it looks like the crew may not survive long enough to complete their mission and save all of humanity.

What was SUNSHINE like?

I don't know how many of you, my dear readers, have any level of science qualification, but let me assure you, most of the science in this film was pretty impossible or just downright wrong. Don't want to take my word on this? read this New Scientist review.

Everything is rather lovely to look at, but there's some holes. Some really big holes.


Yes, holes in the film world's logic. For instance, despite their ship having one of the most advanced computers ever created by man, they didn't have any maintenance robots. There's a particular scene when the first crew member dies that had me thinking "why didn't they have any robots?" They do have a hugely, fantastically amazing computer, but no robots.

Also the reasoning for the crew to go and check out Icarus 1 was no where near as difficult to come to. Any attempt to make contact with the initial voyage, which failed, would add too many possibilities that could have messed up the whole mission.

And don't talk to me about gravity. The film had real serious issues relating to how it treated gravity.

Recommend it?
If you can look past the science issues, then sure, go and get a copy of the DVD and watch it. I warn you though, it's not just the science that's dodgy, it's also what wrecks the mission in the first place.

Official website
New Scientist review
Wiki entry on the film

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Catch up technology!

Don't you realise, how far behind we are?
I believe the people of Britain do not realise just how far behind we are in terms of consumable technology in comparison to a country such as Japan. Just one read through of this article convinced me of this.

My message
I want my manga and short fiction of my mobile, now!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Weighing in on the Amazon controversy

If you didn't know yet...
Amazon.com has recently recieved a bollocking over the way books that feature or are on homosexuality are listed in searches, and with some specific book searches not coming up with the title at all, after their listings seemed to start changing two months ago.

For a more detailed analysis on the tech side of things, I suggest you read this.

Titles are back
After this weekend just passed, titles were returned to a prominence in search results.

Where's the problem then?
As suggested in the linked article, human interference may have led to the algorithm that Amazon uses to organise search results, becoming biased against books that deal with homosexual themes. Books that were not erotic in genre were automatically classified as adult material, seemingly because they dealt with homosexuality, and were removed from search results on their site due to a move to make sure that books rated as having adult material did not come up in searches.

The problem is that homosexuality seemed to be judged as adult, and kind of wrong, in this reclassification. The article linked above makes a point that a book that advised parents on how to stop their child from being gay was for a time at the top of searches on homosexuality. So in essence, Amazon appeared to be making a judgement call that homosexuality was bad and dirty.

You're straight, where's the problem?
I may be straight, but that doesn't mean I think discrimination against gays and lesbians is right, and I see nothing wrong with homosexuality. I can imagine now, certain religious groups in the US jumping for joy over what has been happening over the last two months on Amazon.

Books that dealt with heterosexual relations and were to some degree adult in nature, were not affected by the reclassification that caused the outrage. These are the kinds of double standards I cannot deal with.

Has the problem been rectified?
Not sure.

Related links
"Why Amazon Didn't Just Have a Glitch", on TechCrunch
Article on SocialVibe site about the controversy
Article at The Register on issue

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Finished reading the third novel
Last night, I finished reading the third book in Stephenie Meyer's popular teen novel series Twilight. The third book is called Eclipse.

Erotic abstinence ahoy!

A lot of time was spent in the book dealing with Bella's, the protagonist's, increasingly physical attractions to the vampire Edward and the werewolf Jacob. And apart from a lot of kissing, and pretty much no heavy petting, as usual, nothing happened.

This book really seemed to carry the message of 'no sex before marriage'. Not something I plan on enforcing on my kids when I finally get round to pushing a couple out.

Now the books seem mostly about sexual tension. Where Rowling wouldn't really mention the sex lives of her characters, in Meyer's books you just get this whole feeling of teenagers on the brink of breaking into orgies, but always thinking of the greater good and never doing so.

Err, story?
It continues on from the consequences of the previous novel New Moon and you are faced with an increasingly irate Bella, who is peeved off to the extreme, because her vampire love, Edward, will not make her into a vampire until they are married.

Oh, and a vampire wants revenge against Edward for him killing her mate, and so this vampire tries to get to Bella. The book gets a bit grisly and gruesome towards the end.

Flying body parts for the win.

Read it?
If, like me, you have become hooked on the series, due to its trashy romantic nature, then you'll keep reading regardless. The thing about the Twilight series is that the writing is not necessarily the best in teen fiction today, but the books are like junk food: bad for you and highly addictive.

Read them at your own peril.

I've started on the fourth book already: Breaking Dawn.

Related links
Eclipse official page on Stephenie Meyer's website
Wiki entry on the novel

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Family comedy
I've spent another Wednesday afternoon watching a comedy at my local cinema. Complete contrast to The Boat That Rocked, which I watched last week. After all it was a family orientated comedy, not some Brit comedy with lots of sex.

You would think...
That I would be unimpressed by this blatantly pandering, American comedy. But you know what, this film made me laugh, cringe and smile far more times than The Boat That Rocked.

What makes it good
After the film, my fiancé and I were wondering what the pitch section for this film would have been like:

Kevin James: "Yeah, it's like a cross between Mallrats and Die Hard."

Adam Sandler: "Awesome."

(Sandler was one of the producers.)

Though, seeing as how both of those films are 18 rated in the UK, and I'm sure they have suitably high ratings in the US, then it's kind of interesting how they made a family friendly film out of this. My guy and I like both of those films, so it was weird, but cool, seeing someone combine them together like this.

Recommend it?
I think it'll be worth a watch once it comes out on DVD, if you don't have kids, and if you're looking for something to take kids to this Easter, then I'd recommend it. The kids that were there when I watched it seemed to laugh quite a bit at the on screen antics, and some of the humour was aimed at adults as well.

Related links
Official web site
IMDB entry
Wiki entry on film

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dreading the release of

This is not because of religious issues, more, on the writing side of the film. See, when I watched The Da Vinci Code just over a year ago, I was amazed by how awful they had let the film become.

But this is not meant to be a review. The topic has come up, because I saw a trailer for it last week.

Films this summer
As we near the 'blockbuster season' I always start thinking about the films that I may or may not want to watch at my local cinema. This happens to fall into the category of one I don't plan to watch.

Now the new Star Trek reboot and the Transformers movie, yeah I'll probably go see them.

Will I ever watch it?
I will see it, some day. I suspect a scene similar to how I watched the first movie, to make me see it. I'll be over a friend's house. They'll say their mum got the film on DVD, and asks if everyone wants to watch it.

We'll go into my friend's bedroom, with crispy snacks, fizzy drinks, sweets, and laptops in tow. Two of us will watch the film, whilst the lucky buggers who have their laptops with them will have played the sensible game. We'll get through the whole film, then myself and the friend who's house this is in, will look at each other, and our expressions will read, "WTF?!"

Mind you...
It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised. I used to be a bit of a Tom Hanks fan.

I'm just a bit worried about a film that centres around another 'secret' organisation. Yes, and the particular one featuring in this film, I last saw used in the plot of a Tomb Raider movie. It doesn't fill me with confidence for this film's future.

Related links
IMDB page on Angels & Demons
Dan Brown's page on his novel that the film is adapted from
Wiki entry on the film

Friday, 3 April 2009

Interesting, and a little scary

"How Comic Books became part of the literary establishment"
Well, I'm not sure how to feel about this article, here on the Telegraph web site.

It all feels like it's leaning towards the message that comic books haven't been a valid form until recently, with people drawing and writing comics/graphic novels of a rather more 'serious nature'.

High literature
I have issues with 'literary literature', because well, it tends not to be entertaining to read. In fact Tim Martin's article completely misses out on why comic books and collections of comic books turned into graphic novels, and manga in Japan, have been a success for so long: they tell stories, and they tell them well.

A good media text, is a text that tells a story well, and doesn't try to force a message directly in front of you and down your throat, (if there's a message, it does it subtly).

So, your problem with this article is?
It seems to be validating a form of media based off the backs of something that does not represent the majority of the body of work that is annually produced.

I know these are big words, but when something does not sit well with me that is what happens.

Also, Martin fails to mention that it just seems like a bunch of always profit hungry publishers jumping on a bandwagon. But who can blame them? it does look like they need the money.

Related links
Tim Martin article on comic books
Wiki entry on graphic novel Persepolis, which image is taken from

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Boat That Rocked

Richard Curtis, what have you done?
Somehow, he's made a film that I actually like. Not sure how, but he has.

How was it?
Bloody awesome.

It follows teen, Carl, as he lives through the heyday and demise of pirate radio in the UK during the late 1960s. Carl ends up becoming a member of the crew on Radio Rock, in the middle of the North Sea.

Lots of sex, hijinks, and sticking it to 'The Man' ensues.

If you like
If you happen to be rather fond of music from that period, then you'll certainly enjoy the film, but it's not like there's a load of rare tracks from back then that are played. How do I know this? Well, I regularly tune in to 'Sounds of the Sixties' on BBC Radio 2, so that would be why.

I would say that this film is different to the usual dribble Curtis writes and directs. It's not a romantic comedy, but it is definitely a comedy.

There are some really loveable characters, and others that are complete and utter rotters. Someone for everyone, I suppose.

(I also have a soft spot for a load of the actors who star in it.)

Go and see it
Probably worth at least going in on an Orange Wednesday's deal. Y'know you want to.

Related links
Official website for The Boat That Rocked
Wiki entry for The Boat That Rocked