Archive for the ‘Game Related’ Category

Blog Meets Blog

June 25, 2011


I think’s it’s fair to say that my scribblings here over the last year have been haphazard at best. To be honest, I’ve recently found myself wanting to try something with a bit more focus. So to that (not particularly lofty, I’ll admit) end, I’m starting a new blog..




However! That’s not to say this corner of the Writing Kingdom will be completely abandoned – DM will continue to be the mind-mirror of my life, writing, dreams and delusions, however sporadic those reflections might come. Also, I’ve by no means given up on writing ridiculous stories. The new blog simply has a slightly different, more focussed direction.

As for what that direction is, if you were to consult your blogging compass and give it a spin, you’d find the needle pointing towards storytelling and narrative in videogames. I think that’s somewhere inbetween North-North-East and Behind You.

After brainstorming title ideas for at least ten minutes, I’ve decided to call it




which is almost as satisfyingly vague and pretentious a title as ‘Digital Metaphor’, so I think it’ll serve nicely 😉

There’s also an only-a-little-bit-nefarious secondary goal for this upstart of a blog, which is that I’m throwing all my efforts into becoming a videogames journalist. Once again, I have something tangible to work towards, and as such, Persuasion Check will also provide a good way to start flinging my writing around the internet in a games-related capacity, and act as good writing practice in the process.

I’ll be opening up the lightning conductors and cranking the switch on Monday, so if you fancy taking a trip over and letting me know what you think, it would be appreciated!

The url is

Well, I think all that’s left for me to do is wish you safe travels across the Great Hyperlink Ocean, and see you on the untouched shores of a new blogging land!



July 22, 2009

Added my mock-analysis of the first page of the sci-fi ‘epic’ Moon People (oh, you’ve never heard of it?) into the Imaginarium, which you might enjoy if you’re in need of a chuckle, a writer, a sci-fi reader, or anyone who appreciates a bit of satire on their cornflakes:


Also, just read that Sam Raimi will be directing a World of Warcraft film after he finishes Spider-Man 4… crikey! Something to keep an eye on, that. [/geekout]

In the here and now, the 2009 Comic-Con festival is about to begin over in San Diego! While comics don’t do much for me, it spans into all sorts of things; film, TV, games, arty stuff, etc, and the main thing I’m looking forward to this year is the first footage of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’, which, after a lot of exciting-sounding feedback from industry insiders and directors,  I’m hoping is going to be something absolutely incredible. He’s using some supposedly ‘revolutionary’ filming technique that could ‘change cinema’. Skepticism goggles firmly on, of course, but if anyone can pull something like that off, it might well be Cameron.

What won’t be blowing minds any time soon, by the way, (because I know everyone’s interested) is the new Universal Soldier film, with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren back in their cloned boots as a couple of reanimated army experiments. I saw some footage today, and oh. Oh dear… don’t think it could even be redeemed if they chucked someone in a combine harvester again. Which is saying something.

I’ll be keeping up to date with the various things going on at Comic-Con, so I’ll make a few posts over the next few days on the interesting stuff going on over there in an attempt to curb my bitterness at being on the wrong continent.

Edit: The trailer for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland has been released:

Click Me

I see Johnny Depp’s branching out his acting technique… Hard to sum up much from rest of the brief snatches of scenes but it has promise. Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee look great!

Time Flies Like The Swine Flu Virus

July 19, 2009

Blimey; has it been that long since the last entry? It’s been a busy week, but a good one, spent with my cousin Indi and aunt Den dodging swine flu, although now I’m back in Leicester for how much longer that will continue I’m not sure, seeing as I live next to a hospital and two universities… Although when you look at the statistics that normal flu actually kills more people a year than swine flu has, it kinda lessens the impact of catching it. Apart from for those who have died from it, of course, who would no doubt tell me to shove those statistics somewhere unpleasant.

Moving on from the viral outbreak of the year, yesterday the Farndale household was merry with all the excitement that comes from getting a new games console; my housemate (the infamous capnscar) got an Xbox 360 and I bought the game Left 4 Dead for it, so the day was spent doing some wholesome zombie shootin’ and completely and utterly failing at the driving challenges in Burnout. Great stuff!

Oh, went to see The Half-Blood Prince this week as well. In a word: brilliant.

In more than a word: while people who haven’t read the book would probably find the plot development choppy and slightly lacking, the cinematography was stunning. I’ve not enjoyed just ‘watching’ a film as much in ages, there’s so much going on in each shot. The humour and heart of the film is fantastic too, warming up a gloomy and foreboding film that the director has clearly structured as a ‘set-up’ for the grand two-film finale of The Deathly Hallows. The removal of a large fight scene at the end suggests that he’s gearing up for a massive one in those films, which is something to look forward to. And to be honest, a battle scene would have been out of place in this film; it’s a lot more of a low-key, character focussed film. Not to say that there aren’t epic and exciting scenes in it, but the overall mood is one of the gloomy calm before a storm

There was also a fair bit in the film that was not in the book at all, which personally I enjoyed. In an adaption from a source that I know very well, it was nice to be surprised and given something new. The whole ‘Half-Blood Prince’ aspect of the story was barely focussed on, which made it a bit strained when a certain ‘announcement’ is made from one of the characters at the end.

Looking forward to seeing it again on Wednesday and catching more of the ace little details going on in the background.


The Infamous (Time-Travelling) Capnscar

July 9, 2009


One afternoon last year, my mate Ben and I decided to play a spaceship game called Freelancer and go online, where there are other players zipping about in their ships doing the kinds of things spaceship owners do. It was the first time either of us had played it, but for our part we’d decided we were going to be space highwaymen. It was one of those kinds of afternoons.

Ben chose the moniker ‘capnscar’ (because ‘Captain Scarlet’ wouldn’t fit) and with myself as the somewhat less enigmatic  ‘Talyn’, we picked a server at random and headed into the universe to make our fortune.

So, we start the game and float up into space, and before we know it another player flies over and hails us.

“Woah…” he types.

“Your money or your life,” I say.

He ignores this, and turns his ship towards Ben. “OMG, it’s the infamous capnscar :O”

In real life, we poke our heads round our doorframes to exchange looks.

Back in the game, the player is continuing: “The infamous capnscar that led the assault on Sector X317!”

Of course, there’s only one possible way for Ben to respond to this.

“Yeah I am.”

And that just sets the little guy in his spaceship off. “That was so cool! Wow! You’re a legend!” etc. while we laugh our arses off. ‘The infamous capnscar‘, indeed… Needless to say, Ben had never flown his spaceship out of orbit before, never mind organised raids on Sector wozzname.

The reign of terror that followed this encounter need not be discussed – suffice it to say that even though we never played the game again, the infamous capnscar disappearing once more into the shadows of the universe,  the incident became an oft-repeated source of hilarity.

The reason I bring this story up, is that yesterday, we were talking about it, and he said something about having never played the game before, and I said, “well, what if you actually have? What if, at some point in the future, you end up travelling back in time and it transpires that your time-travelling self is, in fact, the capnscar of such infamy?”

And then it dawned on me.

“Or…  what if you were in the future, but playing the game in the past?”

And this led on to all sorts of thoughts… surely it would be, although ‘easier’ might not be the right term, more likely that it be possible to send computer data back in time than, say, people? The internet, and data transferral in general hasn’t been around long, so it might be that the window for such an event hasn’t been open long enough yet – we could wake up tomorrow to find we’ve been contacted by people from the future by data packages sent back through time! Or perhaps it’s just a matter of unwittingly developing a network / computer setup that future humans can use to send computer data back?


As usual, complete conjectural bollocks from me, but hey… why break the habit of a lifetime? 😉

The Top E3

June 7, 2009

Project Natal1

Had a very enjoyable afternoon today being treated to good conversation, spicy pizza and Jack Daniels cocktails, which is definitely my kind of afternoon! Thanks Liz 😉

So, the 2009 E3 computer games expo finished the other day, and there was some absolutely mind-blowing stuff on display, out of which I present, to you, the three most impressive gems:

1) Project Natal / ‘Milo’

Hardware-wise, Microsoft and Sony were eager to surpass Nintendo’s now famous Wii motion tech, and both demonstrated amazing examples of face /emotion recognition and motion sensor technology.

Arguably the most impressive overall came in the form of Microsoft’s ‘Project Natal‘, which does away with a controller altogether, instead mapping and tracking the user’s entire body in real-time through a simple, small set-top device. And alongside it, British games industry legend Peter Molyneux revealed something which has the potential to a) revolutionise user interaction and AI in software, or  b) become self-aware and wipe out humanity. It’s a virtual human, and his name is Milo.

Project Natal2

Here’s a link to the demonstration of Milo interacting with a person. It is astounding, potentially groundbreaking, and also slightly unnerving:

‘Milo’ recognises the person standing in front of him, what emotion they are expressing, what they’re wearing, and reacts to their speech. One journalist tried telling him an on-the-spot  joke, and he laughed. Tell me that’s not a little creepy… Of course, there are a lot of clever tricks and reactions going on too, to give the illusion of comprehension, such as Milo recognising the tone of voice but not the content, and reacting appropriately. That said, that the tech has only just been revealed, and is even now only 50% complete, so there’s still aways to go.

Personally, while the ‘tamagotchi-esque’ game that Molyneux has in mind for this particular piece of software might be entertaining for some, I’m more excited about the possibilities it holds for the more active, story-led games. Say in the game you’re looking for a secret cult and asking townsfolk about its location, and you’re frowning or asking aggressively. Some characters might react negatively, while others might be more susceptible to intimidation. Enemies could react to your cursing and exclamations while taking them on, or you could rally people to help you in whatever your cause is, so long as you sound enthusiastic enough…  there are endless possibilities, and you have to wonder what it will be like when it reaches full potential.

2) The Last Guardian


The trailer for Sony Computer Entertainment’s upcoming game, ‘The Last Guardian‘. I’m not ashamed to say I almost shed a tear watching it; the emotion and haunting beauty of it is just out of this world, and those animations and graphics are using the actual  game engine. I urge you to watch it, especially if you aren’t into computer games, or see them as a low-brow medium. This is art, pure and simple. Watch it here.

Last, but certainly not least:

3) Star Wars: The Old Republic


A four-minute masterpiece that is better than most of the last three Star Wars films combined.

Action-packed, CGI brilliance. The game itself promises to be quite something; an online, open-world game that developers Bioware are saying will bring a new meaning to story-telling on a massive scale. They have an impressive enough track record for that claim to be proven correct, so high hopes for this one.

That’s just a small snippet of the amazing things on show this year; it really was a cracker. The games industry is beginning to gather pace, and it’s an exciting time for the concept of storytelling, which could soon mean something different to anything that we imagine today. Characters that recognise and interact with us on an emotional level, stories that span and effect millions of people, and that we can actively affect the unfolding of… I find it hard to imagine not being stirred by the potential of these things.

Roll on the interactive revolution!

Wobbly Stomach Full of M&Ms, Tonight I Sleep

May 13, 2009


Just a quick one before I crash into bed in an M&M fuelled burnout:

‘Today I Die’ is a mix of interactive poetry, gaming and feel-good factor, with a great soundtrack. It’s only a couple of minutes long, and well worth taking that little bit of time out to experience.  Play it here.

If you’re having trouble getting started, try clicking and moving things around. Enjoy!