Friday, 12 June 2015

Playing Puzzle & Dragons: Pints of Guinness Make You Strong

I've got a hamster called Mr Jibbers. Every day I get in at about six thirty and have my tea (dinner to Southerners). After that he wakes up and starts banging about, flinging his food bowl around and raking it across the bars of his cage in a way reminiscent of my memories of the pound scene in Lady and the Tramp. I'm generally a perceptive kind of guy, so I take this to mean he'd like to come out of his little prison. I oblige of course, every time, and so open the little hatch on top and wait. After about thirty seconds he'll grab a hold of the bars and pull himself up onto the roof, much like a Michael Myers surprise from the ceiling (where he appears behind his victim, lowering himself down from a pipe), just in reverse. His speed and grace in dragging his furry little body weight what would be about seven feet for a human is wonderful and astounding to watch. I do so every time. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Wrestling With The Issue At Hand

I watch professional wrestling. There: I said it. I also play video games, and sometimes wonder why I do either of these things. Come with me while I try to justify myself.

At this point I'm left interacting with video games in the same way I do professional wrestling. Every Tuesday I watch Raw, WWE's premier showcase for its roster's talent. It's about two and a quarter hours without commercial breaks and airs every week. Every single week of the year. The promotion also broadcasts Smackdown!, which I could watch on a Friday. That too airs 52 weeks a year. I don't because five hours of wrestling each week is a lot of wrestling. Also, Raw is the show generally used to tell the stories, with Smackdown! existing as more of a runty sibling to be constantly overshadowed. Indeed, anything meaningful that happens on it is carefully edited down into cruelly efficient recap packages to be broadcast four days later on Raw. It's as if even the people at WWE know they're just going through the motions. Beyond the weekly stuff you've got an ad-free pay-per-view spectacular at the end of every month. Chalk it up: three more hours. These are meant to be super special but are normally only slightly more impactful than a regular TV show. AND, ever since the launch of the WWE Network streaming service, you're also sporadically gifted a second one of these in the middle of the month. All told, on a bad one you're looking at 26 - twenty six - hours of wrestling a month. I get by with 16 at the most. And it's a slog.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Ain’t Nobody Fresher Than My Click: I’m Not Really Getting Better At This, Am I?

Clicker games, or Incremental games to the initiated, are bits of software where you click on a screen and things happen. Popularised by the big daddy of them all Cookie Clicker, they appear to be going through a renaissance of sorts at the moment. As Nathan Grayson off of Kotaku told me this week, an Incremental called Clicker Heroes is super popular on the PC. Almost as popular as Grand Theft Auto V, which I gather is somewhat surprising. Or is it?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sorcery! On My Phone is Great (And I'm Not Embarrassed to Say So)


I self-consciously balked at the stuff deemed goofy by my peers. As a kid you listened to Papa Roach, talked about football, watched the late night softcore on Channel 5, ate your end of term lunch at McDonald's, played football, chased girls, skipped homework, watched football and stole booze from your parents. I only actually liked two of those things - the nu metal and the blueys, obviously - and so spent a fair bit of my time pretending to be into the others outside of school, where, conveniently, no one could see me not doing them. I don't think I fooled anyone, but at the time it seemed I just about passed the societal conditions necessary to be a cool kid. For one to maintain this status you couldn't really like more fringe pastimes. Magic cards? Not a chance. Dungeons & Dragons? Ha! Warhammer (40K or otherwise)? The only little figures you were allowed to play with were of the Subbuteo variety (football again). Acknowledging the other kids who liked these things? Big no no. By the age of about fifteen I’d had enough of this sham personality and jumped ship (let's be honest: I was pushed), but I'd already missed out on many an enlightening formative year. It is for this collection of customarily awkward adolescent reasons that I have never sampled a Fighting Fantasy book.