Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017)

While Kingdom Come: Deliverance was downloading 27-odd gigs of first-day patch, I was stuck for something to play. So I figured I might get into the backlog and blow through the somewhat short Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a game I’d heard good things about, largely for its approach to mental health.

(That sounds like a ball-tearer of a reason to play something, right? Right.) (more…)

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Goodreads review: Infinite Jest

Infinite JestInfinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So I finally read it.

You know, the brick. The thing. The book. The enormous tome. The encyclopaedic novel of encyclopaedic novels. The objet d’enthousiasme I’ve been lugging across the world since 1999, a brick-sized chunk of narrative excess that I’d promised my then-partner – a DFW army footsoldier for life – that I would read, such was their enthusiasm for the wordy luggage-filler.

So, this.

Secondly, the secret.

It’s not really that difficult. (more…)

Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)

So.

I had just finished playing the three Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games on PS3 in an attempt to catch up with a franchise I’m about 200 entries behind in – TLDR: surprisingly short, still look good even on last-gen hardware, still kind of shocking and completely popcorn in a large set-piece YEAH MAN kind of way that I’m vaguely embarrassed about – and I figured I needed something short and sweet to break up the testosterone. Something completely different.

So of course I picked the Japanese-designed game where you’re a cheerleader who fights zombies with the aid of her boyfriend’s decapitated head.

Pretty standard, I guess.

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Conquistadors and comrades

I’ve recently finished two games that seem very different, but I seem to have linked together because of their oddity, and the sense that they were both passion projects. Both are kind of broken, and were frustrating in places, but I keep thinking about how much I enjoyed them, despite these irritations.

So, here’s some loose thoughts about Singularity and Betrayer. We’ll go with the latter first because it’s the one I finished most recently.

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One week, one hundred guitarists

It’s a nice reminder: two guitarists busily strumming away is a jam; a hundred playing for dear life is a fucking movement.

That quote is something I came across a couple of days ago. It’s Tristan Bath writing in The Quietus about A Secret Rose, a piece by Paris-based composer Rhys Chatham. The whole review is worth reading because it bears some resemblance to a piece I took part in, A Crimson Grail.

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As Malcolm Young would have said, hit the bugger!

The piece, performed as part of this year’s Sydney Festival, is pretty enormous. An antiphonal piece, it generates a huge sound – though not as loud as you’d assume – with elements passing around the audience, who sit in the middle of the performance space. Players can’t really get a sense of how the whole works – not the way the audience can – because they’re so close to their particular section. But for those in the middle, it’s epic, to say the least. (more…)

Planning the pages

So there’s this.

Words.

Buncha words. Also, I should really mop this floor.

As I wrote just a couple of days ago, 2018 is the year I’m going to take the whole reading challenge thing a bit more easily.

I usually try to shoehorn 52 books into each year in some kind of book-a-week plan. Some years I’ve done more than 100 book per year. But mostly, I feel kind of hampered by there being a goal at all: I know I want to read more, and I know that how many books I read, I feel I should have read more. (more…)

2017 CONSUMPTION: A LOOK AT SOME STUFF I LIKED

Oh, look at the time. It’s that time again: the time I write about the stuff I liked or consumed this year, briefly, for the edification of myself and nobody else, most likely.

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Previous versions are here, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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Goodreads review: 1001 Australian Nights

1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir.1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir by Dave Graney.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Dave Graney is someone who I’ve never understood. But then, I suspect that’s exactly how he likes it.

See, when I first came to hear him – circa Night of the Wolverine – it was just before he blew up into an ARIA-winnin’ pink-suit effigy. I didn’t get the trip: it was a bit too arch for me, who was very meat-and-spuds rock. But over the years I’ve come ’round to what’s on offer – the range of moves and the dedication the man and his machine have towards making their particular kind of music. (I mean fuck, he’s still at it, and still good at it, which is more than can be said for some outta the same starting-blocks.)
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Until Dawn (2015) and Life is Strange: Before the Storm (2017)

A quick whip through two games, because the heat’s left me unable to write anything of length. First up, Until Dawn, which is best described as a Telltale horror flick.

I’d had this one on the to-do list for a while, and I’m glad to have had a chance to get through it. It’s a game that unashamedly mines teenage slasher flicks for material, and manages to create something providing a sense of choice even though it’s pretty much run on rails. (more…)