Thursday, 30 April 2015

Adventures in MineCraft

Nope, I'm not talking about other people playing Minecraft, or whatever... I'm talking about ME playing MineCraft! Yes, I brought a copy... and now a lot of time disappears while I am playing.

Following advice, I started in Creative in order to get a sense of the controls. Then switched to Survival - Peaceful, eventually moved to Easy, and now on Normal. And I've gotten to the Nether, but haven't tried the Ender Dragon (because, for a start, I can barely find any diamonds, and no sign of blaze creature things).

Still, I have a base:

And a place to grow wheat, and a start of a library / enchanting table.

Oh, and Minecraft water physics is weird.

So yeah, this is now a thing.


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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

RPing through the Ages

So, my physical RPing (as opposed to Skyping) is currently on hold. It's been a while so let's think back...

My renewed interesting in RPGing started when I felt like getting involved easily in sessions, and it occurred to me that on the internet, there must exist recorded sessions. And I was right, RPGMP3. From there, I went over to Heroic Cthulhu, and joined a Skype group.

I also started going to WARGS meetings, and doing the one off sessions of mainly Shadowrun there. Eventually I did find a local group that was starting up, that was basically at the bottom of my street.

And so, nearly seven years ago, I started in with Risan and a 4th Ed companion.

I spent a long time with him, going from one GM to another, to different houses, and some running myself. Eventually, he got up to 24th level... and that's it. However, I also went to other games, like Rogue Trader, and Dragon Lance, and Gamma World. With more GM and house changes.

Eventually, I moved to another group the GM was involved in, and started in on Space Marines. Then Hunter the Vigil. And moved around other game types with them.

Until eventually, back in the D&D world with Pathfinder, which is sort of edition 3.75, and there it is, seven years later. ... have I gone backwards? ...

That was a long time. Other live games might yet happened, but I think it's time for a break.


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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Reign of Winter

[What's this? A day early? There's a reason!]

With the fortress army providing distraction, we went behind the siege lines and attacked the general dragonkin in charge. In which she could fly, and none of us could, so that failed hard. Mage died twice, and Hogan once, so that was fun. And I don't think I even got to hit it once? But eventually, we wore it down, and yay?

With that, we launched our next offensive, which was to get to the Ivory Glass tower and take out the leader Wrex, the white dragon (I do have the name somewhere, but I'm going with that). On the way, we saw a werewolf being attacked by two large creatures, so of course we attacked (on the side of the werewolf). After taking them out, she told us of a useful anti-dragon spear and a back way into the tower.

Going to the cave, we found figures trapped in ice, and I found a Roper. As in found it by having it attack me. It smacked me around a lot (strength damage - I went unconscious), but eventually we bet it up.

And after going through some random encounters we ignored, we finally went up against the dragon. We prepared ourselves... and only about half the spells were useful. The dragon was waiting for us (we weren't subtle), and so the battle was joined. Unfortunately, the spell casters couldn't get past the spell resistance, and the fire resistance, so it was up to us melee people. And generally only two of my attacks could hit. But I did manage to successfully sunder a fog cloud, so nyah sucks boo to you, dragon! And then dealt the killing blow! Go us!

We got the final key we needed for the cauldron, and although the army was having problems, we didn't stick around. Back at the hut, we put the keys in the cauldron, and...

[...and that's it. For now. The GM is a) moving away, and b) selling the house we met in. So no more of that. Technically, the game is 'parked' in case we can ever meet again, but... well... that was a long time I spent RPGing with that group in various forms.]


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Monday, 27 April 2015

Flash A-aah!

I think I saw this a while ago, certainly I’ve seen bits of it. As has Peter and Al and Paul, so read their thoughts.

A weirdo is picking on the earth, and only one mad scientist knows what to do! And that is kidnap two people and take them away to the planet Mongo!! Where they encounter Ming The Merciless!!! And a bunch of other strange characters. Fortunately, Flash Gordon makes all the ladies hot for him, so the princess helps him to escape and off they go to Timothy Dalton land where they play pickaboo with a scorpion creature thing (which is about the only scene I remember properly. Then off to Birdman island where they learn of the Power of Friendship, which is immediately forgotten when Dr Doom turns up (seriously Klytus is one Latveria away from being that villain), and Klytus immediately wins. Then Flash and Birdmen sacrifice themselves so that Flash can sacrifice himself to stop the wedding of the century. And defeat Ming in a rather pathetic way (yeah, that’s really dumb). Hurray!

My main one word review: Cartoony. Certainly fitting considering that this was indeed a comic strip originally, but with the bright colours, overly done sets, and over the top performances, the cartoony nature influences everything. Which rather makes it hard to take seriously. Fine, this isn’t something that is trying to be a philosophical treatise, but still it needs some gravitas to pull this off, and doesn’t come anywhere near it. Some of the effects are good… but most, to me, are a failure. Maybe too early to meet production’s vision?

Topol has the best role as mad Zarkov, and looks to be having the most fun. On the other hand, while Melody Anderson has the leading role as Dale, the character goes from nearly a strong woman to simpering helpless creature in a matter of minutes. And she, of course, has a cat fight with Ornelia Muti as Princess Aura. Keeping to the original subject matter and its treatment of women, eh? And there are some other well known people in this as well.

Basically, this was best left as nostalgia memories rather than as something to be viewed again.

And because one must:


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Agey Ultrony

Hey, another movie that's out before the US releases it... just like the last Avengers actually, if I recall. But this is the second one!

We definitely start with an action beat... and then the plot goes into quiet moments and then action moments, back and forth. The overall plot won't surprise most people, but the actual beats aren't what you might expect from the trailer, which didn't give everything away for a change... but I'm not going to say what because you're already decided if you are going to see this, or already have seen this, so there's not much point.

Anyhoo, there's decent performances, although there are a lot of characters packed in, with some cameos and some just getting name referenced. This is one of them problems with people being actors needing to have contracts and so some of them just aren't economical to get in for a quick moment, and some just don't want to be involved with the movies if they can help it (Hello Natalie Portman). New characters wise, I didn't think much was really done of note with Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Elizabeth Olsen gets more meat, and they're layering in future relationships. James Spader is clearly having fun, but then he's mainly audio (unless he pulled an Andy Sirkis (who's also in this, briefly) and stood in for Ultron for all scenes).

Final important note, there is a mid credits (as such) tease, but no post all credits tease (at least on the version I saw, which would be the international one), so if you need to run off to a small room, you don't need to hang around.


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Saturday, 25 April 2015


There can't be that many superhero based movies I haven't seen. But there was at least one, so now I've seen it. Yep... that's a movie I've seen.

In an incredibly stupid plot, the devil wants someone to lead his armies and kick off armageddon on earth. So he gets a clown demon to get a bad guy to get another guy to do nasty things, and eventually that latter dude is killed off. The devil says 'come back and your wife will be safe', so he does, of course, but comes back with lots of bad CGI based powers (really, was this an Asylum film?). The clown convinced bad guy to wire himself up with bombs, then tries to get Spawn to kill him... so that's where the movie completely falls apart. Why doesn't clown kill bad guy to set off the bombs? Why didn't the clown just set off the bombs directly? There might be reasons for this in the comic (assuming this is an actual plot from the comic), but they aren't explained here. And then Spawn is good, and doesn't kill anyone, and is cool with his ex-wife's new life, and everyone gets puppies and rainbows and whatever.

Let's talk about the clown, played by John Leguizamo... no-one is coming off with any dignity here, not John, not the actors acting with him, not the character. Was he from the comic? In some way I hope so, because he might be better fleshed out there. In some way I hope not, because not even the comic deserves that. (I haven't read the comic.) And there's a lot of other good actors in this who also get terrible roles, Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen, D. B. Sweeny... I doubt any of them signed up because this was a 'classic' script.

So yeah... as I said, that's a movie I saw. And don't feel like you need to.


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Friday, 24 April 2015

Wonder Woman?????

Oh gods... look at what we could have had in 1967.

What the hell was that? What we have here is the worse depiction of Wonder Woman that we are lucky to have evidence that we dodged. What's up with that timing of lines? ("All that... (leave space for lightning strike that doesn't happen) noise.") And Diana is a clutz? And has a harridan mother?

And that costume? The hell? And what's with all the "she thinks she has the beauty of Aphrodite"? And then the actors can't even do the mirror scene properly. That's acting 101! Was this the first take with no rehearsals?

Still, I will give them they did the wire work nicely, with her climbing out first. (Although the quality helps there... although that sound effect doesn't.)

Come back Adrianne Palicki, all is forgiven!


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Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Pieramid

Why am I watching these movies? I know they aren't good. Okay... I hope to find a rare gem, but in the meantime I'm watching stuff like this.

A team find a pyramid, with three sides! Woo! (Nothing interesting is done with that aspect.) However, because Egypt is having problems, the team can't stay. And so, because they must be stupid, they quickly enter the pyramid to look around before they have to leave. And then they get lost, because of course they must. And there is something else in here with them. (Because, again, of course.)

The creature is well done. There are some close ups of it, and it looks good, not too plasticky, and has actual character sculpted into the face. And the acting isn't too over the top, although the characters are extremely cliched. And this is supposed to be found footage... except there is also narrative shots, and no clue as to how the footage gets found, so that's off.

Not the worst film ever, but not really one to bother with.


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Reign of Winter

War. War never changes. And neither do sieges really. When I realised what was going on, we are in the fortress of Spurhorn, besieged on three sides by an army that wants to expand its territories. We try to come up with a few ideas, but nothing that practical, and so a few days later...

Breach! We're off to one of the watch towers, in which a frost drake and two barbarian scum (and I say that as a barbarian scum) are attacking the defence equipment. While my compatriots take on the barbarians, I deal to the drake... by which I mean I kills it dead within two rounds. And the others don't last long, although they do take out a ballista.

Then we're off to see off an income siege tower. As I don't have any range abilities (my crossbow is more decorative than anything I bother to use), I watch as Hogan spikes up the ground, and Beatrice flames the incoming hydra pushing the siege tower... done!

[Some fights later we are glossing over for reasons I'll explain later...]

The final push involves a silver dragon being beaten up by a blue, a white and a gold dragon... charge! My blood is up and I'm in there, dealing out damage... and getting hammered. I'm barely on my feet, the white dragon is taken out and I can either get healed or charge the blue... charge! And I swipe in hard... and then...

The others do take out the other dragons, and I'm sure they'll raise me any minute now... now... now? [Yeap, I died. Again. And will be resurrected. Again.]


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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

All Quiet on the Western Front

Another war movie, this one being the black and white 1930 version of All Quiet on the Western Front.

We start with "we're off to war, isn't this jolly good fun chaps" (only in German, as this is about the Germans, although the experiences could easily be swapped around), off to the training camp and the overly officious and nasty corporeal, then out to the front. Where it falls down pretty quickly, not much food, dead man's boots handed around, and the constant threat of death, either from above or in front, and occasionally having to deal with handing it out yourself. This movie goes into all that, and near the end compares the youthful ideals with the broken men who come back on leave. And, because this is a depressing war movie, the final shot is the final shot for the main character.

And certainly we don't get the glory of war here. Good acting all around so it's easy to connect with the characters, and there's a wonderful moment where the director shows the progress of those who have those boots.

That said, at over two hours, it packs a lot in. I think we could have gotten the points in a shorter version. But this is still quite watchable.


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Monday, 20 April 2015

That 7 Samurai Movie in Space You Remember

Oh, I remember this. Been a while since I saw this. But I do remember Richard Taylor’s facial mark… you can never forget that. Don't forget to find out what Peter and Al remember.

The planet Akira (I think) is under attack from Sardine (I'm not good with names), but Sardor gives them a week to give up. Instead, the planet with no space capabilities happens to have a ship, and launches Chad out to get some help. After being forced to have sex with a mad scientist’s daughter, at the scientist’s insistence (okay, they don’t actually have sex, but it’s still with Dad insisting), they stumble across a number of weird beings and ships. And they all conveniently decide they are willing to help Chad without much pay. Because for the lulz, basically. Going back to Akira, they destroy the one patrol ship (which had kidnapped and raped a woman, who then does her best to help them get killed), then there’s a battle. Some of them die, there’s a moment’s pause for philosophical ponderings before they are back in battle and the rest of them die. Except the two leads, of course. Happy ending!

The cast of this is amazing. Richard Taylor's birthmark. John Saxon's smirk. Sybil Danning's breasts (seriously, whoever costumed this was instructed to put those mammaries on display). And Robert Vaughn’s stoney expression. And lots of space ships. And sound effects from Battlestar Galactica.

And yes, let’s not dance about it. Another way to write the summary of this is “guy goes out, gets the Seven Samurai, and then they die in glorious battle”. It’s decently told and the characters have arcs, albeit not detailed ones. The plot becomes extremely convenient, and then it’s just a checklist for who dies. Aside from the visuals, there really isn’t much reason to watch it.


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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Picnic 5 Brevo

I thought this was going to be a horror movie. Instead it's a horror about the things people do in tense situation, aka a dramatic thriller.

A group of paramedics, good friends otherwise, are on the US side of the border, and see a gun shot victim on the Mexican side, and decide to help him. Which leads to trouble with the nearby cartel, and the van being knocked off the road and them trapped inside. What follows that is a pretty screwed up situation as the cartel men outside will go to extreme lengths to get what they want, and those inside go crazy while trying to deal with them.

This is definitely adult, in that there's a rape scene (off camera) in there. This is a decent attempt at serious, but, as ever, I couldn't bring myself to be that invested in the characters that I particularly cared if they lived or dies. Which is just as well as in the end we are shot. (Seriously, some dramatic moment is meant when the gun suddenly turns on the viewer.) This stars, and is written by, and is directed by Kuno Becker, who does good work with containing everything in the van. But there's a little too much plot convenience to be truly believable.

A tidy wee movie that will no doubt not win awards.


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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sarks in Vennice

Anyway, enough of these worthy works, over to the usual dreck I watch. And this one is clearly a classic example of that.

I can almost guess (wrongly) how this must have developed. "We've got this Indiana Jones knock off script set in the canals and caves of Venice, what else can we do?" "Well, the bad guy's got sharks, and sharks are big at the moment... we'll have sharks run rampant through the canals!" "Except we can't afford to have any sharks, but we do have some bad CGI and lots of stock shots, so use plenty of those." "And hey, we can one of the Baldwin brothers, surely that's box office success!" Sadly... no.

This is a lot of a mess. The 'find the treasure' plot gets mixed up with 'sharks attacking people' plot (and I use the word 'plot' loosely), and the movie doesn't really know what it's doing with either of them, let along how they interact. Neither are that exciting, and usually you want to see people die stupidly to sharks, but even that is just limp here.

Stephen Baldin is the brother in this movie, but he doesn't look to be trying. The villain is over the top, in a one dimensional way, There are two women, one of whom nearly has a character, so watch out for that.

Or rather, don't watch any of this.


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Friday, 17 April 2015

Reign of Winter

[I was unable to make it... so harken to the tale of Falgard the Brave!]

We ventured out of the hut into wintery conditions. The sun is much smaller than we're used to although it still burns brightly.

Mage jumped on his broomstick to scout around; fell off at the top of a loop the loop; and then the broom attacked him. Beatrix snapped the broom in half with her bare hands.

Then Mage sent his owl into the air to scout around. It spotted a dragon approaching. So we all jumped back inside the hut.

Falgard pulled out his spy glass and could see a rider on the dragon. The rider was a furred creature with pointed ears. Falgard also noticed that the dragon didn't look quite like the dragons that he'd seen before.

The dragon circled the hut and so Falgard and Beatrix went out to chat. The dragon and rider landed. The dragon pulling out a polearm and the rider putting her weapons down on the ground. Falgard can't speak Draconic and so didn't get very far. Luckily Beatrix and Mage do.

The rider, Beskele (sp?), and the dragon, Euphraxes (sp?), are actually a humanoid (Triaxian) and a Dragonkin. They're allied to a group known as the Skyfire Mandate which exists to oppose and control the tyrannical Drakelands; a group of oppressive warlords.

Beskele took us to the nearest settlement, Spurhorn, that matches two of our clues from B.Y.'s raven; the iron spur and the drinking horn. Spurhorn is currently under siege by Drakelands forces.

We convinced the Skyfire Mandate leadership there that we could use our magical powers of song and dance to help lift the siege and were given the run of the keep.

In digging through the library and the archives we discovered that the commander of the keep had recently been gifted a two-headed eagle which, upon examination, turned out to be one of B.Y.'s keys. The commander agreed to regift the eagle to us once we've lifted the siege.

In the library we also discovered that there is a stronghold in the Drakelands known as Ivoryglass which matches the other of B.Y.'s clues. It's the stronghold of a warlord known as Euraxes. I bet you 500 gp that he has a bear skin rug.


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Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Ghost Line

This is the first book in the new book series based on Elementary. In particular, it is written by one Adam Christopher, known to some of us as the editor of the latter issues of TSV.

A murder scene leads Holmes to the sewers under New York, and Watson to a gala event at the American Museum of Natural History. These events are more connected than you think, but expect more bodies before it's all wrapped up.

I don't want to say too much about the plot in case I give something away, so on to my opinions. I felt this book was too long. There is no way this could be a tv episode, and the book was taking full advantage of being a book and giving us more scenes. However... I didn't feel like a lot of the scenes really added to the story. Time and pages were taken because they could be taken, not because they needed to be taken. And with that we didn't get more insight into Holmes and Watson themselves like we might in an episode. (I have no idea if that was a restriction that Adam was under, not to develop history that might be later contradicted on the screen.)

That said, I definitely think he caught the characters well. I could picture Jonny Lee Millar and Lucy Liu delivering the lines as written. (It helped that i read this in the middle of a season, so I could easily hear their voices). They are captured perfectly. And there were many references I caught to other things, including Doctor Who because of course. And I'm sure there were many I missed. (I also kept thinking of Puma Man, but I doubt that was intentional.)

In short, characters yes, story no.


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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Le Trou Noir

Ah, I love this movie. Wish I could see it again on the big screen. Also read what Peter and Al and Paul think about it.

The set up is great. This is one of those movies that sets up its premise, then gets on with it. We have a space craft on an exploration voyage, and it encounters a black hole. With a space ship in orbit around it. What? How? They get aboard to find Dr Hans Crazypants and his wild ideas. Because he wants to go into the black hole and was just waiting for someone to come along and watch him. And here they are! Although they start finding out his secrets, so we can’t have that. Can they get away in time?

This has some fantastic models in here. The ships, the robots… I wish I had a Maximillian toy, that is so brutal and amazing and a brilliant design. This does mean there is a fair amount of green screen, but I did occasionally look for strings, but couldn’t see any. Okay, the meteors are kinda silly (and come out of nowhere!), but the rest of it is great.

Then there’s that ending. What is up with Reinhardt? Is he in hell? And the ‘heroes’ make it through, although in the novelisation they end up as a joined consciousness that roams the universe, which I like.

And then there’s the cast. Maximillian Schell is great as Dr Crazypants, and Robert Forster is able to go toe-to-toe with him. The others are less well serviced, with Ernest Borgnine’s character being rather limp and Anthony Perkins one-note. And Yvette Mimieux gets the Lone Female role, although her character has an interesting trait of being able to use ESP with Vincent. Can’t say I’ve seen telepathic connection with machines a common thing.

I’ll leave with one last thing. The amazing score by John Barry. The opening has a lovely majestic and ethereal feeling to it, while also maintaining an undertone of menace. Just listen to this:


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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Time to Love and a Time to Die

The Film Society is quite fond of Douglas Sirk, and with the 100th celebrations, and Anzac Day around the corner, this is a chance for them to show a war film that ticks all sorts of boxes, A Time to Love and a Time to Die.

Germans on the Russian German front are having a tough time of it, and Greber is lucky enough to get a furlough home for three weeks. However, his city, and actual house, was bombed, and so he is trying to find his family. Along the way, he encounters Elisabeth, the family doctor's daughter, and together they find some happiness in between air raids. Ah, but this is Douglas Sirk, so yeah...

I'm guessing they went for telling the German story because a) that was the book, and b) you couldn't tell the story happening to Americans, because no American city (outside of Pearl Harbour) was bombed. And yet, I can't help but feel that they wouldn't be able to make this movie today. Any war movie that isn't intensely pro-American would be considered the terrorists winning. Or it would be made by an indie studio, and never seen.

Good performances, and believable ones, so this is a decent movie to watch.


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Monday, 13 April 2015

Dared Evil

When this series hit Netflix the other day, the immediate reaction of the twitterati was "must watch this immediately and comment on it". So... okay... I'll give that a go too. This is the Marvel Netflix original series Daredevil, the first of four, and as Netflix does, all episodes were dumped out at once.

This is sort of an origin story. After The Indicident(tm), various people took advantage of the economic possibilities of being the ones to build New York. Conincidentally, a new law firm opens up and takes on a client that is in trouble with that builders. And so Matt Murdock first encounters the machinations of the powerful people in New York and their work in Hell's Kitchen.

While this is 13 episodes, there is a lot of ongoing plot across the episodes. People will return and plot points are not wrapped up by the end of the episode, and events will change over time. People actually die, so that's surprising. And I don't know if it was in the original comics, but there are a few moments that call back the movie (unless they are comic references).

This is around 12 hours and with the way it comes out, could easily be seen as one hit. Should it be? Having it as episodes does make it easier to take breaks, but how much are the creators depending on people shotgunning these? This is a decent enough story, but presented like this does make it feel it takes a little too much time with padding (and mini-bosses!), and could easily be cut down to a main story.


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Kingdom of Loathing

It's a game I've been playing, a single person multi-player online free browser game, called Kingdom of Loathing. It's single player in that all the adventures I've done are just me at the moment.

This is fantasy based, where you are a guy with a turtle... or a seal clubber... or an accordion. It's not exactly serious either, as you might be able to guess. It is fairly basic turn based adventuring, completing quests, levelling up, etc. There are lots of wacky creatures, mostly misspelt variants of more normal monsters, but they work. And it's look at the picture, read the text, click on the option turn play, which works well in a browser form.

It's a lot of fun, and it can be quite addictive. It's free, although you can donate monies and get a few items, but the amount of times you can play in a day is limited (with limited ability to get more), but there's no money = more adventures option... which is probably just as well!

Give it a whirl. I'm enjoying it, and so can you! Just have the wiki ready because I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing most of the time.


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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Another Mishop

I said that I would play Mishap 2, and there we are. Firstly, there are the same lack of screen options as before, so that's annoying. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find out they did this game in conjunction with the previous one, given the similar feel and reuse of cast.

The ghost wife Elena is captured by... wait for it... Nailliv. Yep, it's that subtle. And he's taken over an island, so it's up the player to repeat the game play from last time, with the same number of rooms as before, and find all the objects, solve the riddles, and play those mini-games. And I will give credit here for the creators making up new rooms. Many other games would reuse rooms, but not here.

But the mini-games aren't any better. Indeed, many of them are worse, and I just skipped them as hard as I could. About two I enjoyed, of the eight. And there was an extra collectable object in each room in this game, although it was optional, and so it wasn't recorded if you got it or not. I missed just two of them, and there was no way to go back and get them.

This also had more extras, with wall papers and a cheat guide and behind the scenes (for the collector's edition at least).

More of the same.


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Friday, 10 April 2015

Lair of the White Worm

If we are talking Bram Stoker, and we were, then the other of his that comes to mind is Lair of the White Worm, and the audiobook is here. This was apparently written near the end of his life... which I wouldn't have picked. It feels like an early effort to me.

This is a mishmash of plots and weird events happening for no reason I could discern. Adam arrives and falls for one of the local girls, Mimi. Her cousin is under mental attack from the chap, Edgar, who owns the nearby castle. Lady Arabella is, they realise, a wyrm in disguise. And Edgar opens a chest and flies a kite. And... the hell is going on here?

It's just messy and has too many elements in it. As I said, it feels like an early effort before the writer gets to grips with how to tell a story. And, oh, the lack of women's lib... and this is after he wrote the character of Mina, in which he very nearly comes to writing a decent female character. We do have Lady Arabella, but she is a snake. And this isn't exactly doing much for race relations either (although credit to the speaker retaining the use of the word 'nigger' as Bram had it).

Not a great read/listen.


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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Foxglove Summer

The latest in the... is it the Peter Grant series? The Rivers of London series? The Folly series? I'm not quite sure what it's referred to as, but it's the latest one anyway.

Two children get kidnapped, and Peter has to go up to the area to make sure the nearby magicians aren't up to anything suspicious. While up there, he gets involved (as a good copper in the area would, trying to help), and slowly uncovers that there is more going on than they expected, and that just because beasts are imaginary, that doesn't make them huge nasty brutes.

Because of the opening tip of the hat to Terry Pratchett, I got more than a little Lords and Ladies vibe from this. Most likely Ben Aaronovitch intended this, but don't think this is a homage to that. Ben has his own plans, and there's no morris dancing here.

One thing I realised while reading this, is that Ben goes for the slow boil. Not just in this, in which I noticed it, but also I remember Broken Homes taking its time as well. This did make the book feel a little rushed at the end, when everything comes to a head, and the Beverly subplot felt unnecessary. But we do get some more hints with Lesley... don't expect that plot line to get resolved here, that's not the way this series works with that arc.

Still, decent read, and where's the next one?


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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Reign of Winter

We entered the barn... and there were two rooms. In the first, we found a wee chap who wanted us to meet his master. And was willing to offer us rubies! Nice! Off to the second room...

Inside, I think it would be a good idea to turn and beat up the clearly invisible witch I know about. [This is the fun of barbarians. Will saves ain't gonna happen. And so, inevitably, I get dominated. Woo! We all knew this was coming, and here it is.] That witch is actually Mage, but meh, I still follow orders and bash him around. (If my second swing was as able to hit as my first, and if I was raging... he would be dead.)

Felgard does see the beast we should be fighting, mouth tentacles and all, and Beatrix the monk is dealing with the other chap. Me, I remain dominated for the entire fight. I go to beat up Felgard, who is sonic'ing the beast bad, but he gets dominated too, and does in the Mage. Then I sleep...

Felgard gets better, Beatrix is finally able to help, and Mage eventually gets past spell resistance (that's always a nasty thing to deal with), and, with the beast running away, they finally put the beast down.

Afterwards, we poke around a little more... and find the exit for the hut! Yay! So, yeah, we're gonna have a bit of a rest up first, and we have a puzzle to solve, and then could explore the hut more, or our surroundings... which seem to be on another planet...


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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

F & F 7

Yep, I did see it, and was irritated by my fellow patrons, so... yay?

So the Dom family must now fight Deckard Shaw... in the most roundabout way ever. In order to fight Shaw, first they must get the key and then the lock and then the box and then... this is a Fetch Quest of a movie! The whole Shaw line becomes the B plot, and although he constantly comes up, it's more like 'hey, I'm in this too' rather than providing the main impetus for moving the plot forward. However, because we get the excuse to go all over the place for the Fetch Quest, we get the excuse to have all sorts of set pieces all over the place. Which doesn't help make the movie feel connected.

And then there's Paul. This is his retirement, and there were some scenes that were about Brian more than were with Brian. I thought it largely worked well, and in the action sequences, I couldn't spot anything untoward. Still, at the end, there is, as the kids say, the 'feels'.

With all these characters, it's hard to get proper screen time, and we are flicking around a lot of locations and actors. Yes, Lucas Black is in this (as Sean, not, as I kept spelling it, Shaun), but briefly, and we finally put Tokyo Drift into the chronology properly, and there's Letty's sub-plot, and the Brian/Mia sub-plot and... and yet, it's over two hours, and feels like there are actual action scenes that could be removed to make it more streamlined.

I understand there's already mention of an 8, but the series could easily have stopped here. And maybe with Paul Walker's ending, they will cap it... or the studio could continue to demand it gets made for money.


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Monday, 6 April 2015

Furious 4 5 6

Continuing the catch up in preparation for 7... which is looking to happen at an annoying time in a packed theatre...

Reminder: There will be spoilers.

F and F: This is the sequel to 1 that we should have had earlier. That said, this is a lot of machismo between Brian and Dom, and that's largely all it is. And we also get Dom's Car Vision super power. And we get back into the family way (as it were) between them all. And Letty dies. Shame. That's a thing that will never be undone...

F 5: This is often cited as a Heist movie, and yet it's not until the second part that it goes there. And it takes a while to go there. This also feels like while they are trying to develop things, it's really all the same as before. And if the BadGuy is the only one who can open the safe... how did the money get packed in there? Although with the severe violation of physics going on with the safe, that's not the worst thing.

F 6: Remember that thing from a few movies ago? Yeah, that gets retconned. And again 'family' becomes all important, and we get the 'evil family' which gets lampshaded. Again we have big set up, and a big set piece... and then a tacked on second second piece. The tank would have been enough, but nope, got to have a plane in there. On the longest runway ever. Still, we finally link up the chronology of the series and lead to 7. [Which might take place during the last half hour of Tokyo Drift, depending on when Dom races Shaun.]


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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fast 1 2 3

Digital Drift just did a series on the Fast and Furious movies, so check that out. Because, of course, of number 7 about to come out. And for that, I rewatched the series.

If you haven't seen them, this will contain spoilers.

The F and the F: Wow, they look young, Paul Walker especially. One thing I really noticed was how quickly Doc took to Brian. After one race, Brian is basically in Dom's family. And Dom's telling him the story of his father's car. That comes across as a little abrupt. And I'm glad the ending isn't them making up, because it feels like they need more than that to get past the whole cop betrayal thing.

2 F 2 F: This is low rated by some people, and I think that's because there's no heart to this movie. It's all about the job of doing McBadGuy's thing, and there's no discussion or backstory. People are just there and one-dimensional. Considering the rest of the series, this is just a random diversion.

Tokyo Drift: And this is a complete diversion, but it does retain the ideas of family, in particular Shaun and his dad. We also get the introduction of Han, and we know what happens to him... and he seems rather more chill considering what he will go through. And he doesn't mind hanging with the ladies, so I guess he got over that love loss pretty easily... and then there's the sudden cameo of Dom to tie things into the main series.


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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Teenag Mutan Ninj Turtl

Even having just watched, I'm not sure if I saw this before or not. This is the 1990 version, just to be clear, but the recent version echoes a lot of the same plot line.

The foot clan are causing problems around the city, and April O'Neil investigates. She gets caught in an attack, but is saved by the Turtles. And then, to surprise of everyone, the movie follows the Turtles, not April, and we spend time with them, and their family moments. They save April again and are with her when Splinter is taken (who calls a rat Splinter?). Arguing, they separate, get taken down, crawl away, come together as one, then go and get Splinter back.

The masks are definitely odd when speaking, and the suits do not look great... but in distant shots, when the stunt actors can wear more form fitting stuff, you can see the potential of having them flip around in the tighter more manoeuvrable suits.

Having seen this... I can't say I'm wanting to watch the sequels.


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Friday, 3 April 2015


I thought I had seen this. Nope, so wrong, had never seen this movie before.

Liam Neeson is a scientist with a lawyer girlfriend who is getting into areas people wish she wouldn't. And so they beat up Liam (to get an important piece of paper), turning him into a superhero with the ability to having a hideous face, wear bandages and a trenchcoat, and somehow acquired equipment and a base. With these powers, he can create disguises for himself and slowly hits back at the gang, until they come after his girlfriend again, at which point we get the wonderful super heroic moment of... letting the villain die.

How long has it been since I've seen Larry Drake in something? He stands out more than Liam Neeson does. And, of course because this is a Sam Raimi production, there's Ted Raimi. And, yes, when you weren't expecting it, a Bruce Campbell cameo!

While this isn't super heroic really, in the last act it gets very cartoony. Looney Tunes style. And the whole movie itself feels very... unrefined. Only watch if you need to fill in a gap in your knowledge.


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Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Puncher

I did see the 2004 version, but not the 1989 version. Time to correct that!

Frank Castle is beating up the bad guys, leading them to get together. However, the Yakuza decide to step in and start killing people themselves. Since Frank doesn't like other people doing that, just him, he takes them on. They steal children, he steals them back, they still have one, so he sides with a lesser bad guy to get him back. And there's lots of death, because comic books.

[Really, how do the lighter super heroes accept him and his ways? Sure, they complain about him, but none of them really try to stop him.]

Dolph Lungren is showing off his classic action punching and shooting self, and we get some Louis Gosset Jnr action. And some others, but none really stand out. Lots of 80s hair on the women though. Those were the hair styles.

Let's see Marvel unleash a revised Punisher movie then! How many people die on screen in their movies?


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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Reign of Winter

Hey, remember when we were playing this? Yeah, me neither. This is why a lot of this session was catch up on what we did before (encounter the three women statues and get the two keys we need), and catch up on crafting some items. I've now gone from a +1 Axe to a +3 Axe!

Heading back to the hut, we encounter the guardian dude who doesn't want to let us in, being compelled by a ritual. As it happens, Mage picked up a book which contains the anti-ritual in it. Huzzah! He's free and goes on his way, leaving some nice boots with us.

We put the items in the cauldron and end up in a gazebo in a garden. (Most likely this is another interstitial encounter like the crows last time.) We wonder around the garden, get attacked by a plant, feed a shambling mound, as you do. Then we head into the tropical forest (there's a dark forest, a tropical forest, a normal forest, and a bramble patch). And it's not long before we are attacked! And less than three rounds later, we have destroyed two large Moonflower alien plant things. Yay?

Then we find a wooden storehouse. Being the brave adventurer that I am, I step up and knock on the door...

And then we wait until next time! Which should hopefully be next week.


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