I’ve got an account on Goodreads, and as you may know, every year you can set yourself a goal of how many books you want to read. I fell well short of mine (4 out of 12) but the ones I did complete I’ll briefly talk about:
Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett
I actually finished Pillars of the Earth at the very end of 2015. Both it and World Without End are about a minor fictional English town called Kingsbridge during the middle ages. Pillars follows a cast of characters of varying backgrounds whose lives become connected in different ways. The story has at its core the struggle of building a cathedral in Kingsbridge, but there’s a lot more meat on this bone. It’s an epic story of love, hate, intrigue, politics and spans a lifetime.
World Without End takes place some 200 years after Pillars, has an entirely new cast of characters who have a loose connection to the original cast (some are descendants of some key characters from the original). (more…)
I’m of the opinion that we are in a great age of TV. Multi-season, continuous narrative story telling is now truly matured and to my tastes a better experience than feature length movies. That’s not to say that films aren’t a viable story telling medium anymore, just that I find I get so much more into TV shows these days. Here I’ll go over the shows and films I’ve watched this year:
Better Call Saul Season 2
“Is it as brilliant as Breaking Bad?” is a moot point. Better Call Saul is a different animal, and in its second season it’s come into its own nicely. Both shows have a similar base line – portraying the change of their protagonist into their ‘evil’ alter ego – but they go about it in such different fashion. That’s all because of how different the two men are. Walter White’s change is much more drastic, so his story poses a much more dramatic chain of events, whereas we can already see Saul Goodman in Jimmy McGill quite clearly. His arc isn’t as extreme, but it’s nuanced and very subtle. People will say that this show is boring, but to me it’s still great fun and fascinating to see watch. His relationships with Kim and his brother Chuck are complex and a whole lot of tension is created from it. It’s just that it doesn’t manifest in explosions and killings like in Breaking Bad, but in great verbal battles one after another. The final episode of the season masterfully sets up things to come and I’m really looking forward to it. (more…)
2016 was for me a year of playing older games, not least because my PC is now at the point where I most likely cannot run new AAA releases with any satisfactory performance – except for one. (more…)
It’s almost been exactly a year since my last post. I wasn’t planning on having a year-long hiatus, I just didn’t feel the motivation to write much of anything really. Hopefully I’ll be more active in 2017 though. Writing about media stuff I consume is actually very rewarding, once it’s written that is.
So…what did I do in 2016? I’ve played a lot, watched a lot, read a bit. Here I’ll go into things in minor detail one by one:
My gaming of 2016
My TV watching of 2016
My reading of 2016
I actually completed another game the other day! Mark of the Ninja had been on my plate for months; I’d play it intensely for a few days, then my attention would inevitably wander off to something else. That’s nothing against this game though, because now that I’ve beaten it, my verdict is this: Mark of the Ninja is the best stealth game I’ve ever played. (more…)
That’s a mouthful huh? Maybe they should’ve just gone with “Game of Thrones Season 1”. It worked with “The Walking Dead” just fine, didn’t it? Anyways, this is my verdict for Telltale’s first take on the Game of Thrones franchise.
Game of Thrones + Telltale = IMSOHAPPYOMG
I’ve been heavily into Game of Thrones since the TV show’s first season. I read the first book while watching season 1, finishing it before I even got to the last episode, and went on to read the rest of the released books. It’s been my escapist fiction of choice and the most engaging fictional universe since Harry Potter. When I heard that Telltale were making a companion game series, I was just overjoyed. If you’re like me, you should be very happy with the game that came out of it. The ASoIaF universe always felt like a perfect fit for the writing pedigree of Telltale, and I wasn’t disappointed. This might well be my favorite Telltale game so far. (more…)
A few weeks ago, I decided to throw myself into Dota 2. A mixture of admiration for its design and the bad feeling that I was left with from my time with the original Dota were reason enough. It was about getting over my negative bias which I’d gotten because of stuff that had nothing to do with Dota itself. So I did. I actually really enjoyed my time! But I’m at peace with the game. I’m still bad at the game of course, but I learned to have fun in it nonetheless. In any case though, I’ve stopped again.
It’s all because of (duh!) Hearthstone. Much like with Dota, I can’t help but admire this game’s design. The crucial, crucial factor that effectively made Hearthstone replace Dota for me is its lower demand for my time. Overall, probably, I’m investing about as much time as I would into Dota, or any “hobby game”. But single matches take 5 – 10 mins tops, and this gives me more agency over how I spend my time. I can choose to spend my entire Sunday wrestling on the ladder, or quickly do 2 matches to finish a daily quest before bed time. Also, I can play on the PC and my phone. So it’s perfect for lunch breaks. It’s a game that’s just much more compatible with my life style.
I didn’t jump into it all full force though. It’s been a year and half since Hearthstone launched, and even before that, it had a lengthy beta, so it’s been around a while. This means there’s been a couple of expansions, and the card pool is quite daunting for people starting out now. I’ll address some of these concerns that I’ve had myself. (more…)
I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies, especially Marvel. I just didn’t grow up with the comics or cartoons. I think Captain America is a ridiculous, almost embarrassing creation at face value. I watched the first Avengers movie and thought it was unimpressive. Last year I bought into the hype and watched Guardians of the Galaxy and left the theater with a big “meh”. (more…)
Work’s been a demanding mistress these past two months. Suffice to say, I worked the weekends and overtime. I write for this blog in the office, but the workload has been such that I couldn’t get myself to spend any energy towards updating this here site. I’m really hoping my current project will be successful, it’d make life a whole lot better! (more…)
I don’t have much in common with Michael Corleone, but there is one thing. What the mafia is for him, Dota 2 is for me. I’m in no way trying to say that I’m the godfather of Dota 2. I’m not. I never was. I’m actually dreadful at the game. But I also have a deep respect and fascination for what it is.
Where I’m from, Dota 1 was all around me. At school, all my friends played Dota. When you passed random males on the street, you could hear them discuss Dota. When you walked into a LAN cafe, on 90% of PC’s there’d be Dota (the rest were CS 1.6 and FIFA). So naturally, as a gamer, I played Dota. My roots in PC gaming were heavily influenced by the Blizzard holy trinity: Diablo 2, Starcraft and Warcraft 3. So playing Dota came to me naturally, it all made sense. Some guys made a mod where you didn’t have to do anything but play the Warcraft 3 hero micro-ing gameplay, coupled with some weird mutation of tower defense. It was actually more relaxing and inclusive than the traditional RTS gameplay of Warcraft 3, which I was in love with (but still sucked at). Instead of having to split into pairs of two, dishing it out Undead vs Orcs, Night Elf vs Humans and so on, we could all more or less play together in the same game, have a shared experience and later have banter about that experience. (more…)