Super Mario Odysesy

December 16, 2017 at 14:54 (Games, Switch) ()

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I pre-ordered this before realising I wouldn’t have time to play it until weeks after the release. In that time I saw lots of feedback about how great the game was so it was perhaps inevitable that (slight) disappointment would follow when I first started playing. It wasn’t until I got to the end of the New Donk City that the game truly impressed me with a magnificent sequence that is full of joy. It didn’t help that I somehow completely missed the T-Rex early in the game although I did find one later but only as a result of fumbling the controls and ending up somewhere I wasn’t trying to get to. It’s those controls and to a lesser extent the camera that marred my early hours with the game. I expect more from Nintendo, I don’t want to feel let down by the controls or be unsure exactly where I should be heading and certainly not miss an epic set piece. As I continued through the game, it never felt like a slog but it did feel a bit like going through the motions, albeit with a smile on my face. Those moments of pure joy did pop up from time to time but not enough to be fully impressed. This already didn’t feel as memorable as the Galaxy games or even Sunshine not to mention 64.

I tried not to read too much about the game but I was already aware that things may not be exactly as they seem. Throughout there is a sense that something else is being teased and as I approached Bowser’s Castle my hopes were raised. I don’t really think it’s a spoiler (but others have so feel free to skip ahead) to say that the 10ish hour story is really just a really long tutorial for the real game and it’s only once that starts that, for me, the game really came alive.  I’m not far into that stage of the game but already I feel the desire to play more which I didn’t have before. It is filling me with joy to play and also to marvel at how well the levels are put together which I didn’t appreciate as I was being funneled through the story. The funny thing is this is how I’ve said games should be designed, a brief story to introduce you to the world and mechanics but then an open world to explore and enjoy fully.

I have no idea how much more of the game I’ll play, it feels like there is a lot to see and a desire to do so but this felt like the right time to say something about it before I forget (like I did with Breath Of The Wild and possibly Tomb Raider).

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Little Nightmares

December 2, 2017 at 13:00 (Games, Misc, PS4)

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It’s a while since I finished playing Little Nightmares and I can’t remember what I was going to say but in attempting to write about all the games I play* I thought I’d write something. I played this straight after Resident Evil 7 and this smaller game is far more effective; it’s creepier, more engaging and just a lot better. There are flaws, most notably a control scheme seems to require you to contort your fingers across several buttons to perform simple actions. Not mastering the controls means a lot of death and restarts and this is frustrating but not as much as RE7 and here there is a drive to carry on. I was captured by the look of Little Nightmares when I first saw it and it really does seem like this is the main feature of the game. The art style is so fantastic that I wanted to see what was next, I didn’t mind the setbacks or the simple puzzles (nor the few obscure ones), or never being entirely sure what to do (run or hide – a similar problem to RE7). It felt like it was the right length as well (not sure how long I played it for), leaving me satisfied without ever feeling like there was too much filler as with most games. It may not have always been fun to play but it was still a great experience.

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Rob Kemp’s The Elvis Dead

November 3, 2017 at 21:00 (Comedy, Festivals, Gigs, Music) ()

Hyde Park Picture House as part of Leeds International Film Festival 2017

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Resident Evil 7

October 22, 2017 at 11:18 (Games, PS4)

I was impressed by the demo and positive reviews and wanted to give the full game a go. The only problem was that it was now spring and I wanted to play in the dark. So I waited until September when it started to get dark earlier and finally got stuck in. At first I wondered if I’d made a mistake playing in the dark, the game was genuinely creepy and perhaps I did need the light on after all.

The opening sections of the game where you are restricted to the same locations as the demo continued to impress but once you are properly ‘introduced’ to the family things go wrong and not just in the story but the entire game. The more I played the more I got annoyed and more than once wondered if I should just quit, but it’s not a long game (apparently 10-15 hours is considered short) so I persevered. The good parts of the game are done extremely well: exploring the locations, trying to figure out what is going on, feeling a sense of dread from a realistic threat. It’s not long before that realistic threat becomes stupid overblown science-fiction/horror nonsense and that’s when the game starts to fall a part. The story makes little sense, seemingly shoehorning in a plot to loosely tie it to the rest of the series. There’s an inconsistency to encounters where you’re never quite sure if this is a stealth moment or unload all your ammo and hope for the best. The boss sections, like practically all boss sections, are tedious drawn out affairs that feel like they just get in the way of the rest of the game. Later in the game you’re asked to make an important choice but one of the characters is so underwritten I was barely sure who she was and her connection to the main character seemed tenuous at best.

I’ve found that once you realise that you’re not fully on board with something all the small niggles really stand out as well. Poor inventory management is perhaps part of the series. Your character has a torch but hardly ever uses it, even though a lot of the game is in the dark and it’s too difficult to make things out. The videotape sections make sense initially but who’s supposed to be filming the later ones? There were more things that annoyed me but thankfully I’ve forgotten those now.

Demo: 5/5
Full Game: 2/5

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Kevin Brownlow: the Restoration of Napoléon

October 13, 2017 at 15:30 (Film, Talks)

Widescreen Weekend at National Science and Media Museum

Widescreen Weekend is proud to welcome the acclaimed British film historian, documentary-maker, filmmaker, and author Kevin Brownlow.

Kevin Brownlow will deliver a special talk taking us through his incredible 50-year journey to restore Abel Gance’s five-and-a-half hour silent masterpiece Napoléon.

The event will be accompanied by a screening of Napoléon’s famous triptych sequence, showcasing one the film’s most innovative techniques and one of the earliest uses of widescreen.

https://www.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/whats-on/kevin-brownlow-restoration-napoleon

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Robin Ince: Pragmatic Insanity

October 10, 2017 at 18:30 (Comedy, Gigs)

The Wardrobe

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The Surfing Magazines + Fur Blend

September 22, 2017 at 19:30 (Gigs)

Brudenell Social Club Community Room

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TV Posts

July 1, 2017 at 13:21 (TV)

You may have noticed, although I suspect now, that I stopped posting monthly lists of what I’ve been watching on TV. It didn’t take long to do and was occasionally useful for me but I figured I’d rather watch another half hour of TV than making a list.

I’m still using Trakt and you can see what I’ve been watching over there.

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Glastonbury 2017: The List

June 27, 2017 at 14:17 (Festivals, Film, Gigs, Music) (, )

A list of all the acts and films I saw (or partially saw/heard) at Glastonbury this year. Nothing was disappointing (apart from the massive crowds and gridlock) but also not much stood out as a real highlight, those few highlights are in bold.

Thursday

  • La Strada (Black Lamp)
  • Rogue One (Palais)
  • The Libertine (Cineramageddon)
  • Withnail & I (Cineramageddon)

Friday

  • Hacienda Classical (Pyramid)
  • The Pretenders* (Other)
  • Glass Animals (Introducing)
  • Dua Lipa (Peel)
  • Roe (Introducing)
  • Kris Kristofferson (Pyramid)
  • Royal Blood (Pyramid)
  • Elbow** (Park)
  • Lorde* (Other)
  • Radiohead* (Pyramid)
  • The Flaming Lips (Park)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road* (Cineramageddon)

Saturday

  • The Bootleg Beatles (Pyramid)
  • Jeremy Hardy (Cabaret)
  • Kernow King (Cabaret)
  • Phil Kay (Theatre Field)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (Pyramid)
  • Run The Jewels (Pyramid)
  • Katy Perry (Pyramid)
  • The Avalanches* (Holts)
  • Foo Fighters** (Only heard them walking behind Pyramid)
  • Fatboy Slim* (Sonic)
  • Craig Hill (Cabaret)

Sunday

  • Robin Ince (Crow)
  • Cassette Boy vs DJ Rubbish (Glade)
  • Rag’n’Bone Man (Missed because of a nose bleed)
  • Barry Gibb* (Pyramid)
  • Kiefer Sutherland* (Avalon)
  • Stuart Goldsmith (Cabaret)
  • Chic** (Pyramid) 
  • Goldfrapp* (Peel)
  • London Grammar (Peel)
  • Justice** (Holts)

* – Partial set
** – Passing through/couldn’t see but heard

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Sara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads (Preview)

May 30, 2017 at 20:45 (Comedy, Gigs) ()

The Wardrobe Leeds

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