I spent some time back in London over the past week or so. It’s been 20 years since I’d been in the Great Wen, but I visited its 1860s facsimile to carry out a bit of neck-stabbing along with the sightseeing.
It’s been a reasonable break since I last visited the Assassin’s Creed universe. Last time I played an AC game, I was kind of underwhelmed with the experience. This time, though? A different story.
I know what you’ve always wanted: a version of Dracula with cars in it, set in Istanbul. And where the head vein-drainer is a military coward instead of a great warlord. And where there’s lots of reference to God, and the steadfast nature of a good Turkish gent is the highest achievement one can have.
So it seems I’m on another Gothic Lit jag. And where better to continue with the granddaddy of fanged fiction: Dracula?
You know this novel, though, right? It’s pretty much the ur-text for how we conceive of vampires, and throws a long shadow. (Though not, presumably, in a mirror.) It’s overwritten and can flip between boredom and action in a moment. I always find it a drag to read until about halfway – I am almost always of a mind to give it away – but then it snaps back in and I’m pulled through to the end.
A great example of a book that does exactly what you’d expect, Soviet Bus Stops is the outcome of years spent travelling through the former Soviet Union by Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig. (more…)
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…)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)