Tuesday, 24 November 2009

"How I'd Love To Feel A Girl Your Age..."

I can't believe I've never written about Phonogram before.* In short, a comic about how music is magic, with a playlist of Kenickie, The Smiths and, relevantly, the Long Blondes. You can perhaps see why I like it. The latest issue, Lust Etc, finally inspired me to put finger to keyboard and produce this, a review.
"It’s hardly a criticism to say a comic left you wanting more, but given that Phonogram mk2 was always going to be my favourite/most important comic of ‘09, there’s something almost infuriating about the tiny 16 page stories told in the pages of The Singles Club. Almost. Each vignette falls very comfortably into the realms of small-but-perfectly-formed, and every time my (musical) worldview is subtly changed, and every time I find myself thinking ‘I wish I’d thought of that’. But there’s just not enough time to invest myself in these characters."
To watch me stumble through pain and praise, in both plain and purple prose, check the review out here. As usual, I can't resist taking the less obvious path, and wander into wider commentary and theory on music, comics and my huge man-crush on Kieron Gillen.

*Journalistically, anyway. Some corner of my dissertation will be forever Phonogram's.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Like an evil twin...

Welcome to the bi-weekly comeback.

I'm posting this from my once-broken laptop. Damn it's good to have my baby back. As usual, been busy editing the hell out of Britain's best-looking student paper Redbrick. Still, I've had time to write up a fair few things, and now the time has come...to link to them!First up, my visit to Eurogamer Expo '09 bears further fruit. I equally gush and rant about my look at forthcoming 360 sneaky-shooty-game Splinter Cell Conviction. I'm getting the hang of this preview business...
"After a very smooth opening cutscene, showing Sam Fisher interrogating some generic evil-doer by smashing his face into urinals as information gained was projected on the wallls, Fisher runs out into a civilian-packed street. Pulling his gun out causes a panic, people running away and shouting, allowing Fisher in a very Assassin’s Creed-esque moment to slip amongst them unnoticed by guards. The game might have gone “back to the drawing board” a year or so ago, but its certainly kept the initial mission statement, a game about hiding in plain sight."
Spot the internal battle raging, to stop me just constantly repeating the word 'smooth' throughout. Read the rest here.

Second, a (late, as usual) return to the Moneyless Gamer feature for Gamersyndrome.com. With slightly less immediate enthusiasm than my usual posts, I basically link to experimental weird-out game . The post is probably the most normal thing I've ever written, but I'm trying a bit of an experiment (to match the game). Hint: There's more to come...
"Less a game than a mass experiment, Dungeon is nevertheless worth playing. I'm a bit afraid I don't have the necessary reach here to get discussion rolling the way the game really needs, but there's no way I can't talk about it. Created by Swedish one-man prolific indie-game machine Jonathan Söderström (aka Cactus)."
If you play it (and I heartily endorse giving it a go), please, post on the article and tell me what you thought of it. Here.
Meanwhile, in my other life: The Redbrick Top 40 best albums of the 21st Century (that's right, the whole damn' millenium.) It's starting to get really interesting, as all the classic choices pop up. I've even written a few entries for it. Start here, and you should be able to click through to where we are now (#'s 20-16 should be going up in the next day or so).
Alternatively, you can pick your starting point by going here.

I've also argued out the Hot(ish) Topic of band reunions with my co-ed Erica Anne Vernon. She likes 'em, I think they're a force for evil. FIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!

This post carved out of the very flesh of its brother.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What I Did With My Weekend...

I've been away awhile but I'm b-b-BACK. Don't call it a comeback.

In that time, I've battled a broken laptop, edited the hell out of a few issues of Britain's hottest* student paper Redbrick, and attended a games-expo. It's been a pretty fun time. Somehow, during all that, I found the time to write up a coupla articles for y'all.First up, it's a (late) return to the Moneyless Gamer feature for the lovely yet-MMO-keen people at Gamersyndrome.com. I talk about joyous crayoned-in speed-platformer, Runman, and just why YOU should play it. Because it's the best, that's why.
"Level names like ‘The Awesome Zone’ reveal exactly what the game is about (apart from having a genuinely funny and warm personality): making you feel damn awesome. The very best sugar-rush speed moments match that of the Burnout games, and as your little yellow mascot cheers encouragement (WOO! OH SNAP!), you’re going to have to smile along with him."
Click here and you can be awesome too.

Second, the fruits of my visit to Eurogamer Expo '09 begin to flower. I write about the PS3's next-big-thing, point&click thriller Heavy Rain.
"The comparison to film is important- Heavy Rain is gaming's equivalent to the thriller. Obviously so; it wears the trappings of a Se7en or Usual Suspects, but more importantly it captures the central feel of them- the thrill. Until now, games have looked like a thriller- see Condemned for a game example- but they've never played like a thriller- Condemned had dark moody atmosphere and the occasional jump, but it was more akin to a survival horror than a true thriller."
Yup, it's one a' them there revolutionary games**. Do I crown it gaming's Citizen Kane, or noble failed experiment? There's only one way to find out.

Finally, I haven't technically written anything for it yet (I'm the curator), but we've got a Redbrick countdown going on, of the 40 best albums of this whole millenium. Where the hell is your favourite? Good question: check it out/complain here.

*By hottest I mean most-attractivest. Obv.

**There's a beautiful video of what the game is capable of (or more excitingly, was capable of in 2006) here.

About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.