18/04/2017

Easter... Egg? Gothcon

Brains...?
So Easter have come and gone and for me that most of the time means spending time in Gotheburg attending the Swedish boardgame/miniture/TCCG/RPG convention Gothcon. Now as far as international cons goes this is a small one with around 2000 people (that can be reliably tracked). But as far as this type of conventions goes in the Nordic region it is one of the larger. Beyond that things would feel fairly similar to other cons, you play games, hang out with people you only see once or twice a year and spend money on stuff you probably should not spend money on like... well..more games. 

But first and foremost it is the atmosphere that gets me every time. Because no matter how protective and elitist different sub-factions of physical gaming culture can get (and trust me... it can) once you set foot inside the con, you are at home. Around you are people who are as if not more geeky and nerdy as you are and nobody judge you for it. This of course rings true for any sub-culture con but since i am a gamer and i this is my hobby. This is where i call home 

So what did i do over these four days? Well apart from having a look at a metric ton of stuff i liked to buy i took the time to sit down with some games i was unable or unlikely to be able to play at home. It was nice to be able to play games and not mind the real world outside. The highlight of the weekend was oddly enough a tiny storytelling RPG. One of those that you pick a random scenario and just roll with it. Ours was a team of the most failed superheroes this side of the Great Lake Avengers. But it is a type of game i really enjoy when i am in the right mode because it lets me flex my storytelling muscles. I think the game it self was called Followers or some such. Anyway getting to sit down with a table of people and together weave a story is something that always have and i hope always will bring warmth to my heart. 

Now fortunate enough for me i do not have to wait very long for the next con as we have one coming up in my home town in about a month. expect a more in-depth write up of that one as i can get some decent sleep during that con. The perks of being withing walking distance. 

Anyway, that was just a quick update on what i have been up to. For a review of the games i played head over to spelkult.se in the coming week or so. 

Until next time

Stay safe, be kind and play fair. 

Bye. 

04/04/2017

To see your heroes grow old.



I was for many years in my youth a big fan of wrestling. especially the WWE (WWF back then) variety. Now I of course, did grow up in a world where the kayfabe, the masquerade of wrestling being anything beyond a well-rehearsed show had fallen. We all knew the wizard behind the machine. But it was still very interesting and not to mention difficult as heck to get ahold of. Now everyone who watches wrestling does at some point end up with a favourite wrestler. Mine was always Mark Calaway. Better known as "the Undertaker". A beast of a man, a hair short of 210 cm and for most of his career built like a brick house. He was also initially a very mobile wrestler as he was doing high flyer moves in an era of American wrestling where big wrestler tended to be slow power wrestler. As time went by many others would push the game forward. But the Undertaker was also always carried by his other gimmick, he was able to "call upon dark powers" to ignore hits and moves. This did grant him an air of indestructibility that really played into the same power fantasy as superman. 

But this was over 20 years ago and as I out of curiosity watched a recap of Wrestlemania 33 that happened this last weekend. The Undertaker headlined the event and every single one of those 20+ years could be seen in his face, his body and how he moved. It was in a way heartbreaking. A part of me really wished that he would have hanged up his boots a lot earlier. Not having to see him go through matches being carried, made to look good by others as his body does not longer have the power to really do that himself.  

Now there would be no shame in doing that, the Undertaker have been wrestling for over 25 years. Most athletes retire long before that and many WWE wrestlers work shows every week, sometimes several shows a week. That does take its toll on the body. But for some insane reason Mark Calaway kept on wrestling. While wrestling as a "sport" is fake, the action is as real as any stuntwork and many times more dangerous. It does leave its marks on the body. 

So as I watched the end of the match and once it was over I saw the Undertaker slowly remove his gloves, his coat and then finally his hat. His face a mix of sadness and relief. Then Mark Calaway exited the ring but for the first time, the Undertaker stayed. In the ring, a legend laid and walking up the ramp was a 52 year old man. I hope this is the actual retiring of the Undertaker. Not built up with any hype or made a spectacle of. It was quiet and dignified. The proper way to send off someone who have been a hero me and many others. 

But it is the end of an era and I do feel a tinge of sadness but at the same time I am glad that Mark Calaway finally is free from the alter ego that was and in many ways still is the Undertaker. But there will never ever be someone as dedicated to his craft as the Undertaker, nor as dedicated to the whole idea of the spectacle of wrestling.  





28/03/2017

Mass Effect or Mess Affect...?

Oh boy did EA manage to piss people off with the release of Mass Effect Andromeda. 

Now my guess is that most people, like me. Had a fairly balanced opinion on the chance that EA would not in some way cock up the next chapter in the most beloved space saga on modern entertainment media. But we do very little in the way of waves on the internet. 

No! it is the loud people tossing a fit that get into the media. Now this was fairly meek coming on the heels of the "Jim sterling gave Breath of the wild a 7" tac nuke that had people losing not only their shit but literally try to melt someone with anger. It did also help that people had an actual cause for their anger. The game shipped with some serious issues such as poor animations and a story that need a few hours to get going. 

Personally, I was expecting the 4th game to be much like the third. That is not as bad as one might expect. I did like the third game but I also saw the entire game as one long ending chapter.Wrapping up some nice stories and the conclusion to  Mordin Solus arc made the entire series for me. At the point of the third game, I was pretty sure that some serious Deus Ex Machina shit would have to go down. Because there was no other way to solve the whole reaper issue. Now I did not really expect an actual god machine but hey, in the end it does not matter if you see the wizard or just the strings being pulled. The illusion is still broken. So I mostly disregard the last 10-ish minutes of the game and enjoy the ride to get there. I am sure that I will view the fourth entry into the series in the same way but I do get why people are pissed. 

Now the game in general is jaw-dropping and I found myself eerily fascinated by the face wrinkle system. And for some weird reasons, I find myself invested in the characters around the Ryders. Time will tell if that is enough to carry the game and if it will be enough of a hit to get proper sequels. 

For now Mass Effect Andromeda is a flawed game with potential. 


Also why does it always have to be some ancient but now lost civilisation...? It makes sense from a reality perspective but we kinda been there done that. 

Until next time, stay safe, be kind and play fair. 

Bye.

21/03/2017

Iron Fist. Putty in a silk glove or seriously good? (spoilers)


Did the Marvel/Netflix behemoth do their first bungle?

Well according to the score aggregators. Yes.

But i personally think that is mostly due to the expectations not being met. You see Iron fist is not kung-fu action series, it is in fact not really a kung-fu anything... Like most other of the Marvel/Netflix shows it is a personal drama about facing great personal adversity. In this specific case, it is a pretty much spot on "fish out of water" story about how someone who is basically an emotionally stunted child in a grown man's body with an understanding of the modern world of a 10-year-old. 

Now that does not for a good trailer make and I feel that Netflix was feeling a bit like I do about the character... Danny Rand is dry white toast (in the comics usually clad in green and yellow spandex) with the personality of a Weetabix. So they did not really have much to work with. Most of Danny's good stuff comes from bouncing his dry wit off Luke Cage in the comics and his role is most of the time the sage and calm centre. He is of course not at that place in the series... In fact, in the series he is dumb as rocks. But in a way that does make me at least sympathetic towards him. We also need to remember that Matt Murdock carried a pretty big idiot ball in the first season too. 

Now the worry i have is how they are going to complete Danny´s journey before the defenders (or more realistically at the start of the Defenders) to give him a role outside of "glowing punch guy". I guess he could have the Tony Stark role for the team. Using his money to solve some of the issues like transport and medicine. But for all intents, acting as the moral and emotional centre of the group. I have a difficult time seeing that. 

But the show is solid and while I feel the lack of a solid villain might a bit distracting  It does open up for some serious twists and keep you invested in what will happen. But just stay away from the idea of this being something akin to a Jackie Chan movie. 

Because it sure as heck is not. 

Until next time.

Stay safe, be kind and play fair. 

07/03/2017

Logan... My opinions (no spoilers)

Ok to be fair... By no spoilers i mean no more than the trailers have spoiled (actually less) but fair warning is fair. 



So now this movie is way more in line with the MCU movies as in it is a story that happen to contain super heroes. It is not really s story about super heroes who does stuff. Now my biggest complaint is that the version we saw had a horrid audio mix but that might be down to the cinema and not the movie. But it was LOUD at times and not a pleasant gut punch loud, no this was a more along the lines of shaking your teeth kind of loud. 


Did not detract from the story at large, but worth mentioning. 

So on to the movie it self. 

There is not much i can say about the plot without going in to spoilers so i will simply say that the story is well written and hit all the notes i would expect from such a story, the only nicks being that it get a bit lazy in the third act. But that might be due to editing, i can see a extended version solving some of those issues. It does also tie in nicely to the two previous movies without winking and nudging so much that you have to watch the, A basic familiarity with the character is enough. All in all it holds together to the end and wraps up in a satisfying way. 

Visually it is a stunning movie, the sets look very good, music and soundscape ties things together and the final track in the movie will do you in. Is it the best super hero movie... No not by a long shot, Nor is it even the best Marvel movie in my mind (that is still GotG). but it is with out a doubt the best movie featuring Wolverine in my opinion. The supporting cast is also very solid and i really like the story beats they choose to go with. 

Gha... I do not really know what to say... Go and see it, it is worth the price of the ticket. 

I will do a more spoilery dissection in a week or so. Because there is much to talk about. 

But for now.  

Stay safe, be kind and play fair. 

Bye. 

28/02/2017

Ghost Recon Wildlands... Not Just Cause 3.

So i did participate in the Wildlands open beta this last weekend. The game ran well and apart from the usual issues one get with Ubisofts take on P2P servers. In short.. The solution does not really like stress tests. At all... 

Now the game it self is for all intents a more serious (but still as unrealistic) challenger to Just Cause and sadly it falls short. The game has a gorgeous open world and you really feel like you are in a fairly exotic (for a northerner like me) location. The world is open in as so far that you have a big chunk of map to faff about on and a scatter of missions for you to take on in any order you like. In short it is the usual bits and bolts. It is worth to say that the Co-Op functions... When they work.. Are really good and offer a nice group experience. 

So the story pretty much boils down to you and your group of ghosts taking down a drug cartel because they beat up a friend of your friend. There is no real grander picture in this, just some seriously black book shit. I am sure it gets deeper at the later point of the game but i would not expect a games version of Schindler's List. 

You are given a decent amount of customization of your character, from stern military man to something more akin to Jay and Silent Bob, together with a decent slew of weapons and drive-able vehicles both on land, sea and air. So you will be able to play the game pretty much the way you want... .. . As long as that includes shooting members of a drug cartel... No pacifist option here. Now with that said you can not just engage in some casual genocide... Each shot civilian does count and it can end your game. 

Now i did bring up Just Cause before and that is mostly because beyond gun physics the game has a similar wacky and often wonky grasp on how reality works. Cars act like drunk go-carts and the helicopters move like they are drones (most likely because they use the same system for both.) This is not a Battlefield game... Not do i think it strives for it. But in my mind it does the open world worse than Just Cause and if you can stand the silliness of JC3.. Get that and leave this to the crows. 

Oh by the way... The banter in this game is... It is something for it self.. The exact stereotypical  military bullshit steeped in hypermasculinity that one would expect from this sort of fantasy. The word cringe did cross my mind at times. 

In short.. This is not a bad game but there are better games than this in every category it can enter. But if you want a more serious Just Cause 3 with solid Co-Op. Pick this up. 

But i am going to give this a pass. 

21/02/2017

Back in my day....


So as i was going through my Creative Cloud account to check up on a few things, i stopped and looked at the list of software that i have at my fingertips. For a short moment i think about how my 18 year old self would have felt knowing what toys that lay in his future. Sure we had Dreamweaver and Photoshop back then too. But compared to the things something like Photoshop is today... It was about a step above hacking lines in to stone. But unlike some people who only can see the saturation of a crowded market and a march of technology that slowly leaves them behind i am really glad for this. Not only does it make my life a lot easier as tools get better and become more affordable, but it acts as a equalizer. 

You see when i was young... Pretty much the only way to get Photoshop was to pirate the living shit out of it. Why... Cost... The product it self was aimed at a professional market and priced as such. At around 10-15.000 SEK it was not only a pipe dream, it was beyond reality. Me and others did reason that pirating it was a victim less crime. It was not like we took away sales from Adobe since we could not even buy the software even if we pooled together. 

Now i like to say that this does not excuse what we did, nor does it actually creates a moral ledge for us to stand on. Now the thing was ofc that outside of Paintshop Pro, Coral Draw and Photoshop there was not much to work with. So we simply did not give a fuck. We where young and brash. Not saying that renting your software from Adobe for a few hundred a month is all that much better. But going by the price of Adobe software in the past the pack i currently have active would run me in the hundred of thousands SEK range, and that is one torture i prefer to have delivered one needle prick at the time. 

Anyway... As i said it is a equalizer because today pretty much anyone can get a computer and a software package that let them work with digital art, and pretty much every smartphone have a camera good enough to at least start out as a photographer och video photographer. The gatekeepers are fading away and that in my mind is a good thing. Sure it is getting harder to stand out and it becomes much more about marketing your self and creating a brand. But at least you do not have to work with stone age tools or steal to get going. Heck you do not even have to bow down to the likes of Adobe, Free software like GIMP and the fairly cheap Clip Studio paint offer really good places to start with digital art and for video and audio there is a plethora of tools. 

I look forward to see what the future holds and i wish the kids of today the best of luck as they try their own wings creating the most amazing things. 

Not particularly much meat in this post, but what is a personal blog worth if one can not indulge in the fancy of thought every now and then. 

Until next time

Stay safe, be kind and play fair. 

Bye.