(no subject)

There's clearly something about the month of March which is suggestive of new beginnings. Sap rising, the little creatures of the field re-emerging. We did it - we drove back the night one more time.

The older you get, the closer together the new beginnings. No-one at 14 years of age gets up one day and declares "Today is the first day of the rest of my life", because in the world of 14 the summers are still endless and every week you can encounter the fresh and the new. New beginnings are more like new seasons: childhood, adolescence, adulthood.

My new beginnings now arrive at six-week intervals. "I am a new man!" I declare in January, "Free from ego and attachment, with dauntless courage and terrible resolve!" and then I go ahead and declare the same thing late in February. They say that the unexamined life is not worth living, as if anything could possibly be gained by examining your life.

Oh, it turns out that I'm a base animal motivated mostly by fear and occasionally by hunger. Oh good, I'm glad that I learned that. Now I've thought it, I'm sure that I can think a way through it. Yes, the very brain that got me into this mess will dig me back out.

I wish that today was my last.

Plenty of Sea in the Fish

So, I got to contemplating a bit.

Seduction capital - how desirable you are to other people. I'm not sure how men and women found partners in the Dark Ages, but we can assume that for the average shit-covered peasant it meant drawing on a pretty shallow pool consisting of persons of opposite gender in the immediate geographical area. Perhaps economic considerations or the wishes of parents may have played a role but even so, if you lived in a village of two hundred people, being 'a bit picky' would have meant dying alone.

Human nature being essentially unchanging there must have been a fair number of discreet liaisons and the heart wanting other than Hrod The Solvent-But-Uncomely. Still, even then the choices must have been limited. If the options consist of Aethelstan Pigraper or Blind Ken the Dunnykin Diver, you may as well elope with a herring.

Did the very option of there being a choice first occur among the upper classes? Presumably their social circles would have been wider and more diverse with each potential mate possessing Seduction Capital in abundance.  Even so, there must have been limits. Who does a lady choose? Lord Montcrieffe, a fellow with impeccable manners and bearing, from a long line of minor nobles who can trace their origins to the Kings of Bohemia or Sir Walmsley who owns all the bits of Scotland which don't stink of piss?

Even among such exalted company, there must have been a desire for more. More options, more choice. For decades people have gone to bars, clubs, singles mixers and joined dating agencies precisely to explore a widening pool of 'Possibles'.
Yes, you can raise your Seduction Capital by buying a new car and stuffing a courgette down the front of your chinos, but you can only raise your Social Capital by networking.

The rise of Social Networking would appear to have expanded our Social Capital to the infinite. Suddenly our options include every man, woman, celebrity cat and space alien with an internet connection. Now there really is someone for everyone.
Yet its not true. Now you have more choice but here's the rub: so does everyone else. It doesn't matter whether you have a social circle confined to your fellow abattoir-workers or one which encompasses the entire world, there are probably only three living humans who are prepared to put up with your shit.
If anything this devalues your Seduction Capital, unless Instagram have a filter which replaces your face with something more alluring, such as a dented tin of mouldy peas.

That's modern dating for you. The options encompass the entire world and unfortunately you're The Global Village Idiot.
Fun: I'm going to take advantage of this new-fangled option to share posts on Facebook so that my single friends can read this and feel bad about themselves. Yay!

The Return Of Darkness And Evil

Hello Hive Burn-All (Livejournal)!
What's new?
A ranking system? So my aged journal which I haven't updated in three years is around 240,000th in the grand scheme of things? While that does make me feel incredibly worthless, it also makes we wonder about everyone who ranks lower than that? What are their journals about? The Catholic Church's role in the invention of the Spinning Jenny in East Pontypridd during the great Hamster Riots? I would definitely read that journal.
i also now have a thing called Social Capital? Yes, I know that I'm probably late to the party with all of this, rather like a political commentator suddenly enraged that we're extending the vote to women but please bear with me during this difficult/boring time.
For me this is actually sort of timely as I was watching a TED lecture yesterday (while masturbating furiously) about - among other things - Seduction Capital. You can probably guess what that might be without having to look it up on Wikipedia or consult a Buzzfeed list of the twenty ways in which Kate Middleton is enhancing her Seduction Capital while maintaining rock-hard abs with this one weird old trick.
Seduction Capital is your desirability factor. In ages past that was nothing more than having the right parents and playing your own allotted role in society. Then it was about having the correct haircut and a motorbike and being the actual Fonz. Potsy's Seduction Capital was not very high. These days its about...well I dunno. If I was an expert on that my Seduction Capital would be 10,000 and right now this would be very difficult to type owing to the fact that Kat Dennings would be on my face at all times. ALL TIMES.
Actually this is quite difficult to type anyway as I'm using a touchscreen, which is sort of like trying to eat soup with a laminated photograph of Terence Trent D'Arby and also because I'm using Photon Browser for iOS, despite that I DON'T KNOW WHAT EITHER OF THOSE THINGS ARE.
Anyway, my Social Capital is officially 'Less Than Ten'. I suppose that means that in real terms I'm about as employable as the reanimated corpse of Jimmy Saville and precisely as sexually desirable. So it goes.
Now fuck off.

The Follow-Up

Just completed the single-player campaign on Black Ops and yes, it was a truly great game. Also, I took the plunge and ordered Dead Island, although what with an impending holiday and other responsibilities it looks like I won't get to play it until Tuesday. God-damn!

Making Up For Lost Time

Following  a self-imposed fast, I've been gaming like a motherfucker.

We should pause here to consider why the standard simile for enthusiastically persuing an activity is "like a motherfucker". I suppose we can only assume that to address someone as a "motherfucker" is not only to infer that they're engaged in an incestuous relationship with their mater familias but also that they are doing so with great fervour and wild abandon.

I digress.


Batman: Arkham Asylum

In which everyone's favourite cosplay fascist bastard finds himself up against the combined might of the Asylum's inmates after the Joker so generously releases them all from captivity. If you've read the online review of this one, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is nothing less than the holy grail of gaming. Certainly the presentation is great and the voice-acting flawless and even the story - the mass Asylum escape being a pretty standard trope in the comics - is well realised. It's hardly surprising that the usual suspects of IGN, Gamespot etc went nuts over this game because reviewers seem to place greater emphasis on story, characterisation and atmosphere than ever before. As a somewhat long-in-the-tooth gamer I tend to find it rather odd as I never recall anyone running down Monty Mole for being 1-dimensional.

Monty Mole: Yeah, but what's his motivation?

Once you get past all the visual guff and the story, the game is pretty solid and is in some ways a Batman simulator. By the time you get all of the Dark Knight's gadgets you'll be chucking Batarangs, shooting ziplines and swinging around like Tarzan with a fetish for skintight black rubber. You'll do this a lot by the way. In fact you'll pretty much be doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Yep, in Batman you'll:

Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack
Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack, except that this time it's Bane
Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack, while fighting a bunch of normal guys
Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack, except this time there's two of them
Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack, except this time you're also hallucinating
Fight a musclebound boss who does a charging attack, while fighting loads and loads of normal guys

You'll also:

Take out a bunch of guys using stealth attacks
Take out a bunch of guys using stealth attacks except now they've got guns
Take out a bunch of guys using stealth attacks except you can't use gargoyles for cover
Take out a bunch of guys using stealth attacks except now they've got alarmed collars which attract others
Take out a bunch of guys using stealth attacks approximately forty more times

Needless to say, I didn't end up finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum because if I wanted a life of soul-destroying repetition I'd go back to working in Telesales.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage

This is a good game to compare to Bat's latest outing because like that game, FotNS:KR is a beautifully presented game based on a comic which features repetetive fights and bosses. There are however a key difference: rather than being constrained by the genre of roaming fighting games and rather than being constrained by the source material, developers KOEI have consistently tried to give the player more.
For those unaquainted with the source material, FotNS is (as one reviewer put it) a cross between Mad Max and He-Man. In a post-apocalyptic world a young martial-arts expert named Kenshiro fights against injustice wherever he encounters it. In this case 'injustice' consists of ludicrous mutant giants, a bunch of guys who are clearly our of their fucking trees and other fighters who's styles have exotic names like Nanto Suichoken and Nanton Seiken (Ken himself practises Hokuto Shinken).
The end product is nothing less than a love-letter to fans of the Anime and Manga. The generous cast of characters includes Ken, Rei, Toki, Mamiya, Raoh, Shin, Thouzer, Jagi, Heart and a generic but fun 'Outlaw' character, about half of which have their own 'Story' modes in addition to a 'Dream' mode which plays very much like KOEI's Dynasty Warriors series. It's the Dream Mode where it becomes clear just how much work has gone into fan-service as each character is presented with a vision of the future where they've taken a different path in life.
So (and this is where I lose just about everyone reading this), we get to see a future where Ken passed the mantle of successor to Toki, Raoh joined the rest of the Hokuto brothers against the Nanto, Shin turns against Thouzer, Jagi avoids a confrontation with Ken and becomes a hero in his own right and so on. Jagi's tale (aided and abetted by Amiba) is played purely for laughs and it's here where the writing really comes to the fore. As Amiba enthuses over collecting more warriors for his experiments, Jagi enquires "Just what is it with you and musclebound guys anyway?"

FotNS:KR came out a while ago so you may wonder why I'm still banging on about it. Well, that's because I'm still playing it! I'm not generally a completist but I'm determined to do everything which can be done on the game. The involves playing through with every character on all three difficulty levels and completing the Challenge mode and levelling every character up to the max. Thus far I'm up to 84 hours playing time.

Forza 3

Another oldie that I've turned my attention to. I'm not usually a fan of these strokey-beard racing games but this is probably the best I've played. I'm not sure I play them in the correct spirit though. I don't get as excited about buying a Bugati as I do about turbo-charging a Datsun.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Just got this one in the post yesterday and I'm still not sure whether to be impressed or not. Certainly the format of the game is quite clever, with the playable sections being the reminisces of a Black Ops soldier undergoing torture. Thusly, the story doesn't have to evolve in-game but rather through seperate exposition. This means that instead of plodding from area to area a la just about every other first-person shooter, you get thrown in at the business end of a variety of Cold War conflicts. Thus far I've attempted to assasinate Castro during the Bay Of Pigs fiasco, broken out of a Russian POW camp, engaged in all manner of mischief in Vietnam, battled a team of assassins on the rooftops of Hong Kong and even played as a Russian special ops guy fighting against Nazis.
I've always avoided the COD games for their reliance on multiplayer as their selling point over a decent single-player campaign. This gives service in every area though with generous single player, local multiplayer, 'zombie' mode and an entire COD take on Smash TV in the Dead Ops Arcade bonus game.

What I'm still not sure about is the utterly relentless nature of the game. Every section of the game is a chaotic, delrious firefight from beginning to end. From the get-go you move and shoot and move and shoot and die and restart and move and shoot while helicopters explode, buildings collapse and every last drop is wrung out of the horrors of war. It certainly feels realistic and it certainly gets the adrenaline going but it doesn't leave much opportunity to stop and smell the roses, with the exception of a short but obligatory stealth bit in Vietnam.

I'm pretty sure I like it, but it's not exactly a stress-reliever.


Warriors: Legends Of Troy

The spiritual sequel to FotNS:KR which I haven't played simply because I'm still playing the latter game. Looks mightily good, Dynasty Warriors meets Fist meets ancient Greece with gallons of gore.

Tropico 4

Looks a hell of a lot like Tropico 3 which was a hell of a lot like Tropico 2 but 'm such a fanboy that I'll probably get it anyway, although not at full price.

Dead Island

Slightly mixed reviews for this one so I'm 50/50 on whether to get it or not. Again, marked down due to poor voice-acting and story but let's be realistic: This is effectively going to be Zombie Flesheaters in as much as the Dead Rising series is Dawn Of The Dead. Anyone expecting Citizen Kane is probably missing the point.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

Is this really the last version, Capcom? Really really? Well okay,,,

Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon

What is it with colons in the titles of games these days? Oh well, I'm very tempted by this latest installmwnt in gaming's most brainless franchise even if the last one was such a colossal disappointment.

Mortal Kombat

With the solitary exception of MK3, I've loved every iteration of this series and I even buy into the whole back-story which Ed Boon or whoever has been foisting on an indifferent public for the past twenty years.

Red Faction Armageddon

Christ, I'm never going to get through all these am I?

LA Noire

Probably get around to purchasing this sometime prior to the release of the Xbox 720.

Mass Effect 2

And this one in the space year 2038.


Siege Of The Dead

And I'm still waiting for the best game in the world which doesn't actually exist. Dead Rising was the first game to take a step in the right direction, in that it trapped the player in a single (albeit large) location and tasked you with escorting survivors to a 'safe house'. The zombies weren't actually the device by which the plot was driven along, they were presented more as a massive inconvenience to be avoided or turned into so many steaming meatpiles. Unfortunately, everything else about the game sucked. For the most part rescuing people didn't actually matter and was something best ignored seeing as how the 'humans' of Dead Rising are possessed of the worst A.I seen in two entire generations of gaming. Possibly more. Add to that the ludicrous difficulty of certain bosses, the insane difficulty of the last 'extra' portion of the game and the time-dependent nature of your actions which made the gameplay rather linear and it was a case of one step forward, several hundred back.

What I want is an open-world game, similar to GTA in which Zombies are gradually infesting the city. The purpose of the game would be to rescue survivors and barricade locations. The safe-houses would start off small and gradually grow larger as the game progresses. Survivors would have tangible, usable skills and barricading would involve using whatever comes to hand, or travelling to other locations for supplies and materials. Starting off in a cabin in the woods, you'd need other people just to keep watch when you need to sleep. When the cabin gets overrun, you'd move to a larger location with its own peculiar strengths and weaknesses, right up to the culmination of the game in a shopping mall or similar.

Barricading and survival is something which is creeping in to modern zombie games. Dead Block, COD: Black Ops, Resident Evil 4 and any number of Flash games (usually Turned Based Strategy or Tower Defence) all have these elements but as yet there's no a single game I'm aware of which effectively replicates a zombie siege. Strange really when you consider that most Of George A Romero's movies have been about just that.

So here's to high hopes for Dead Island and for Dead Rising 3.


A Lightning Rod For Bastards

So here's what happened: like everyone else on your friends list I decamped to Facebook which is far preferable to blogging. After all, why compose a lengthy and deeply considered diatribe on the nature of whatever-the-fuck when you can tell the 7,482 people on your Facebook that you've just had an egg sandwich?

But you know what, Facebook just isn't as much fun as it used to be and here's why:


When I first joined FB, I quickly discovered that an awful lot of people I went to school with have turned out to literally be the worst people in the entire world. You can't judge a book by its cover but you can definitely judge a person when they almost exclusively join groups for people who like to fight at football matches and like to fight racial minorities at all other times. This was such a regular occurence  that I'm surprised that the greetings card industry didn't cash in with an entire range of "Congratulations! You Turned Out To Be A Racist Fucking Cunt!" cards.
Sadly, none of these people had much staying power and within a few months they'd all exhausted their repetoire of racial epithets and had got bored of arguing with other barely literal idiots on groups devoted to 'The Baggies' whatever they might be.

Having said that, the recent riots did bring out the right-wing fuckwit in just about everyone, including people who are usually quite reasonable and have probably never before typed words such as "rubber bullets", "water cannons" and "Hanging's too good for 'em". Who'd have thought that so many people would get so obviously sexually aroused at the thought of soldiers brutalising fourteen year-olds?


There doesn't seem to be the mass joining of certain groups anymore. You know the ones; either the "Oh NOES! God bless you Baby P, you are in heaven now with Mike Yarwood and Fred West!" and ones devoted to sex-pests and murderers where people get the chance to get all batey while writing things like "I can't believe how sick these people are. I want to gouge out their eyes with lollipop sticks, then insert them back into their rectums while fourteen rabid marmots chew their balls and the backs of their knees".
Even when groups like that do pop up now, they tend not to be public because people like me used to troll them.


Now I actually have to use my imagination...

And that's it to be honest. All FB is good for these days is charting which of your friends is going through a public nervous breakdown. Also: recording how many people de-friend you when you post something like "I just had four wanksover that picture of bald Gail Porter in today's edition of The Metro. Heil Hitler!"

So in conclusion - Facebook: It was sort of funny for a bit when everyone on there was mental but now it's shit. Heil Hitler.

Awise Fwom Your Gwave!

I'm going to have one last shot at this blogging thing. If it sticks, it sticks, If it doesn't then I'll just confine my creative output to bursts of inanity on facebook. Alternately, I've been toying with the idea of a video blog. Making it proper interesting, like a v-blog version of or something.

Looking back on some old entries today. I used to be a funny motherfucker, huh?

Anyway. Hail Satan and all that jazz.