Friday, 31 July 2015

Shopping On A Hangover: Sorry, I Can’t Carry All These Swords


“If everything is fun, is anything truly fun -- how do we know?” - Geralt of Rivia

Context is inescapable when it comes to most things. Take, for instance, a beer being enjoyed at three in the morning with your live-in beloved. It's a frosty Corona, fitted with a generous slice of lime. It comes as standard with a helping of 90s dance music, something like, I dunno, Dr. Alban. Now, in isolation this is one of the most wonderful of situations I could ever hope to find myself in. I'm dancing in my living room. I'm maybe having a small snack in between sips of beer. I'm jumping up and down, as if I’m really back in the throes of clubland delight. I'm reminded of why, for me, a good, well maintained, mutually respectful and -- of course -- loving long-term relationship is preferable in every way to actually being in a club --  in the 90s or any other period of time -- and trying to find that special someone. I already have. And I'm drinking a beer and dancing with her in my living room at three in the morning.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Patching Up Geralt Of Rivia, The Last Action Hero

There's always a catch. When a Witcher asks for "what you find at home yet don't expect" in return for saving someone's life, neither party really knows what form that reward will take. It being an unknown quantity, one can usually be safe in assuming it will be somewhat meaningful. There's always a catch, after all. I like ambiguities like this, and The Witcher 3 is full of them. You've got your more standard video game ones, like not truly understanding the wider consequences of your actions, or never having a complete grasp of your companions' intentions. But it's home to many more, ones that are much more specifically, well, Witchery.

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.