2016

I don’t usually do this (and it’s literally been years since I last posted a blog), but it’s been a very up and down year, so I thought I’d post some of the main bits; what I’m grateful for and what I’m looking forward to next year.

Levelling up (buying a house)
houseSo I made a bit of a leap and bought my own place which I absolutely love and am slowly turning into a geeky paradise. Huge thanks to my parents for helping me out with it and wishing them all the best with their own momentous move to Norfolk in the new year! Which brings me on to:

Friendship
15193439_10207871659614680_2783575821107051741_nI feel so blessed to have such a good group of friends in Norwich so that it really feels like home and I feel really settled here. A big thank you to my friends from work, especially Emma for helping me move and clean up my old house and generally being there at all hours when I/my cats needed. And it has also been great to build on friendships through my Kung Fu and touch rugby clubs.

jonnyIt was great to keep up my oldest friendships and many more silly and fun times were had.

India
india
The saddest part of this year was having to say goodbye to India, who became suddenly ill with a blood clot in July and had to be put down. She was a really special lump with tonnes of character and I loved the 2 years that I had with her.

Shadow
shadowA few months later, I found my ninja cat Shadow, who I am incredibly grateful for. She is the most affectionate and sweetest little cat I’ve ever come across. Always happy to see me and generally a bit bonkers 😊

Training
headstandIt’s been great to continually train and progress with my kung fu and yoga. My fitness levels have never been higher and it really is one of the things I love best; training hard but having a lot of fun doing it.

New challenges
mudder
Doing the Tough Mudder run in September was definitely something out of my comfort zone, but something I absolutely loved and will hopefully do again next year. It was testament to the great folks from the Norwich Rebels who helped drag me through. And big thanks to all the people who sponsored me and wished me well.

So yeah, a lot of changes in 2016. I suppose I’m hoping for a more settled 2017 and to continue building on the many positive things I have in my life.

So thank you one and all and see you on the other side 😊

2016

It’s taken 2 and a half years…

…but this is the first Matt Smith episode of Doctor Who to have actually annoyed me.

**SPOILERS**

I had some quiet reservations from the outset because Chris Chibnall’s previous episodes include the David Tennant story, 42 and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood two-parter from series 5, neither of which were particularly humorous (or strong episodes, even). To give him the ‘romp’ of series 7 seemed a strange choice.

It had what on the surface should have given a silly but funny story. And as everyone on the production crew seemed to be beaming “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship – need I say more?” The problem was that the episode didn’t actually say any more, or give any more than we were expecting.

There is gushing blog review of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship on the Guardian website, in which the plaudits basically amount to:
– It had Rupert Graves in it
– It had Mark Williams in it
– It had Mitchell and Webb as camp robots in it
– It had dinosaurs on a spaceship in it

Which is all very well and good, but we knew all of that from the outset. If the episode doesn’t actually add anything beyond the Radio Times synopsis & cast list, then it hasn’t done a very good job. And when the title of the episode becomes the strongest joke, then you’re definitely in a comedy mire.

The attempts at humourous dialogue were awkward: a lot of the jokes fell flat, weren’t clever enough or were too overtly sexual (something which I suspect comes from Chibnall’s time on Torchwood). Of course, Doctor Who is no stranger to double-entendre, but there’s subtle and then there’s hitting the audience over the head with innuendo. It horrifies me to say that I was reminded of one of the last scenes from Russell T Davies’ Love & Monsters, in which Moaning Myrtel is turned into a paving slab. There follows possibly the dodgiest line in Doctor Who history.

Moving on…

Mark Williams was woefully underused as Rory’s dad. If you’ve seen The Fast Show, you’ll know just how funny the guy can be. Instead, he spent a lot of his time contending with naff lines and throwing golf balls for the triceratops. The Mitchell and Webb robots were, well, Mitchell and Webb as robots. Again, they didn’t add anything that felt spontaneously funny or not in the synopsis.

Perhaps the direction was partly to blame. It felt like something didn’t quite gel between the actors. Riddell and Nefertiti did exactly what they were drafted out to do: early 20th century misogynist meets powerful sexy woman from history. Hilarity ensues. And I was really looking forward to great comedic chemistry between Matt Smith and Mark Williams, but it felt like there was a missed opportunity.

But not to get too po-faced about the episode, the set up of a Silurian ark with a greedy game hunter as the antagonist was actually a pretty solid one. The dinosaurs and ship effects were beautifully realised and ironically the best bits of the episode were its more serious scenes. David Bradley played a suitably malevolent baddie and Matt Smith (as ever) ate up every shot he was in.

I’m not against ‘romps’ at all – series 5’s Vampires of Venice was brilliant. Similarly, another episode in which the title immediately sets the tone. However, in that case the dialogue was razor sharp and played to the actors’ strengths. This allowed the more lightweight storyline to bounce happily along without raising any geeky hackles.

Chris Chibnall has also penned another episode this series: The Power of Three, which looks like a more serious affair, so I’ll reserve judgement for now but overall, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship felt smug, clumsy and lazy.

Saying as the Guardian does,

“Yes, it was flimsy and, yes, it was pretty much a story built around a title. The producers have admitted as much. But second episodes are supposed to be fun”

doesn’t vindicate it, because the ‘fun’ episodes can be – and have been – far funnier and cleverer than this.

Moffat & co, you dropped the ball on this one.

It’s taken 2 and a half years…

Politics

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected” – G.K. Chesterton

Been a while since I moaned about politics. We’re now 2 years into the Dave Dynasty and I have come to a profound conclusion about the three main political parties in this country: “F*** ’em; they’re not worth it.”

With New Labour in government I mostly felt annoyance, anger, repulsion and exasperation. They inspired a kind of ranty energy about politics, but at least it was energy. And I still clung to the hope that there was a viable alternative. After two years of our spanking new coalition government, I now don’t actually feel anything. It’s driven me to political nihilism. Instead of getting worked up like I used to when I saw a news report about political idiocy, I now tend to think, “Have they? Oh…” before going to make a consolatory cup of tea.

We’re still blessed with the media-conscious performances that peppered Labour’s years; we have money-wasting, unworkable policies, pushed through with less than 5 minutes of consultation; we have ineptitude, incompetence, and a veritable trough of shady deals. In that sense,  Westminster feels as distant as it ever has done.

I suppose I’m disillusioned because we’ve now seen all three of the major parties basking in the power of government. And as one internet commenter succinctly put it: Red+Blue+Yellow=Brown

Conservatives

They’ve got themselves into the unique position of being Conservatives-but-not-really, thereby annoying both sides of the political spectrum. As with any party in power in the 21st century, they stand for whatever their focus groups and Malcolm Tuckers tell them to. And it seems they’re advised to do whatever the hell they feel like, before performing an abrupt u-turn.

Labour

Harold Wilson said that Labour was either a moral crusade or it was nothing. Sadly, since Blair, it has become a moral crusade for nothing. With Milidroid at the helm, it has now become more socially awkward as well. And rumour has it that Tony is waiting in the wings, itching to get back into UK politics. Oh good…

Liberal Democrats

Boris Johnson wrote of the Lib Dems years ago: if they had some cake, they would be pro-having it and pro-eating it, but if they want to get anywhere near No.10, they have to actually make up their minds and stand for something. Well they do now; they stand for power (the having of ). Now limping steadily towards electoral oblivion, squealing as much as possible.

 

The overarching problem is that all three parties are infested with career politicians: plonked in Westminster as soon as they’re on solids and nurtured in the bizarre world of tights, ceremonial swords, people with their eyes on the right and noses on the left. Being in government is now all about navigating the Westminster machine and playing to the Fleet Street hackery. With the last two Speakers of the House, even the quaint anachronisms that gave the Commons some charm or sense of purpose seem to be on the way out.

Obviously, it’s unhealthy for democracy, because our politicians don’t actually represent anyone. People spend 5 seconds of their lives putting an x next to a name, but how closely do influential MPs actually resemble us normals? Being a politician is a distinctly weird undertaking that no right-minded person would embark upon. The fact that all three main parties have turned into an amorphous blob of  expedient ideology doesn’t leave the average voter a lot of choice.

But yet we still hear vapid promises of greater ‘democracy’ through reforming the House of Lords. Having failed with AV, the Lib Dems are desperate to push through reform because it’s their final vote-winning gambit. Having an elected upper house will simply give us another set of cronyistic career politicians, desperate to curry favour with the media and to a lesser extent, the voting public. As Betty Boothroyd sets out in this speech, the Lords are not there to be political or compete with the Commons. Reform is still necessary to ensure we have more experts from different fields sitting there and fewer political appointments. Giving us votes for voting’s sake won’t help at all.

Even Mr Speaker: the supposed embodiment of impartiality and democracy has been reincarnated as an attention-seeking kaleidoscope twerp with a Napoleon kaleidoscope complex, who swans around with an entourage of kaleidoscope bullies, looking down (figuratively) on his kaleidoscope colleagues.

It inevitably becomes the case that a government stagnates after a prolonged period in office. However, I think it’s now true that 90% of Westminster has stagnated and I’m not sure how we can fix it, short of ideologically bulldozing the entire lower chamber and putting some nice, real people in there instead (no admittance for under 65s). Maybe we should just divulge all power to a 100-year-old sage webmaster on a “Democracy Facebook Page” and keep the Houses of Parliament open as a tourist attraction where families can go and throw water bombs at John Bercow, who will be chained to the Speaker’s chair for all eternity.

I shied away from studying actual politics at uni, instead contenting myself with the literary outpourings of blokes who had been dead for at least 200 years and generally sported rather intimidating facial hair. Had I studied contemporary UK politics in detail, I probably would have had this attack of nihilism a few years ago.

Not that any of the 3 main parties actually got my vote at the last election. Bastards.

Politics

Earth Hour

So all ‘non-essential’ lights are going off again tonight to raise awareness of our impact upon the environment. Of course, ‘Raising Awareness’ is the great 21st century, conscience-salving euphemism for not doing much. But at least it’ll look like you care more than you actually do and it’ll look like you’re being more pro-active than you actually are.

It flies in the face of the Christian notion of charity: it lacks sincerity, commitment, requires no sacrifice, is done publicly with great spectacle and you get to brag about it afterwards. The end result: it looks more like a WWF publicity stunt than it does a genuine act on the part of the switcher-offers.

Imagine a flashmob is organised to yell “WE HATE CANCER” in unison, at 12 noon in a busy shopping centre. How do you react? Well, you would assume that the sentiment is pretty much universal, unless you actually delight in human suffering and death. The notion that it needs to be shouted at the world or that the corresponding Facebook group must be joined smacks of moral insecurity.

So once Earth Hour is over, once it’s stopped trending on Twitter, what will happen? 99.9% of people will forget about it for another year. But I don’t want to be entirely cynical about mass charity. Yes, people can be inspired to come together in a spirit of genuine selflessness and giving. However, it’s much easier for them to come together for a publicity stunt with minimum inconvenience.

Well, you’ve switched your lights off and are proceeding to play your Xbox 360 on your 50″ plasma screen by candlelight. And you’re having a good tweet about it. Good for you, you’re ‘Raising Awareness’ about the plight of our dear planet. And you can take part in the great Earth Hour power surge when everyone switches their lights back on…

Earth Hour

A Retraction…

We at the LHC Institute for Ranting and Wittering would like retract the incorrectly published details concerning the fictitious work, The Atlantis Code (blog post dated 22-03-11) Henceforth, our writing and editorial staff would like to issue an unreserved apology to its author, Charles Brokaw. TAC is most certainly not the worst book ever written and in the spirit of freedom of the press, it was unfair and unnecessarily critical to label it so (even if it was merely a speculative assertion). We hope to undo any offence that might have been caused to Mr Brokaw or to his fans and sincerely hope they won’t be pressing charges.

We can unanimously and categorically confirm however that its sequel, The Lucifer Code, is in fact the worst book in existence and wish this to be put on record.

Ok, best to get the theological ‘oomph’ out of the way, because for all its 516 pages of noise, this is what the entire story amounts to (I’m not even going to bother hiding the spoilers):

The Vice-President of the United States is, in fact, the devil. No, really. He has a scroll read at him and vanishes in a puff of smoke. There’s some Middle Eastern politics, too. fin.

Heeeee’s back: Professor Thomas Lourds, the academically astounding and sexually unscrupulous scourge of terrorists, attractive women and religious zealots the world over.

And this time, he’s got a goatee. No, really.

But fret not, dear reader; Lourds still wears his customary khaki shorts with football top and he’s still the same colossal tool that we loved to loathe in TAC.

Worried that he might have been over-polishing his hero, Brokaw this time reins in his enthusiastic projecting (sort of) and reminds us constantly that “Lourds is no Harrison Ford”. Of course this leads to some wonderful irony as the book proceeds to steal numerous bits from Indiana Jones and every other film I imagine Brokaw has in his adolescent DVD collection.

Once again, we have two bits of tott- I mean er, women, for our hero’s delectation: the exotic Prof. Olympia Adnan and IRA cutie Cleena Mckenna. I assume Lourds ditched the last pair shortly after their dinner date (what a guy). Anyway, TLC‘s ‘romance’ unfolds in much the same way as it did in TAC: Olympia sleeps with Lourds immediately, while Cleena initially detests the bearded git. However, by the end of the book, she succumbs to his charms, whatever those may be; answers on a postcard, please. Oh and Lourds is still remarkably good in bed, in case you were worrying that he’d lost his mojo.

If a book manages to put me in an angry feminist frame of mind, then I suppose that in itself is quite an achievement. Firstly, there are the leering, drooling, gropey descriptions of the female characters, in which it isn’t clear who is talking: Brokaw or Lourds. Secondly, I simply refuse to accept that anyone would find this smug, nerdy, goatee-wearing berk attractive in the slightest. Even someone totally bereft of their senses and thikastooshortplanx would have reservations. But no, they all have a good fawn. And Lourds loves it. What a guy.

But that’s enough about him. Back to the book:

Brokaw’s style remains wonderfully inconsistent, to the point where I doubt he even re-reads his own work. You can spot the good days and bad days. On a good day, TLC is actually perfectly readable. On a bad day, it is turgid, clunky and throw-the-book-across-the-room frustrating.

Brokaw still employs his tried (tired?) tactic of introducing a new character: have them say a couple of lines of dialogue, before launching into a complete biographical account of their life up to that point. The characters are then considered ‘developed’ and their subsequent speech and actions are there purely to shove the plot forward and occasionally to give Thomas Lourds a bit of libidinous entertainment.

I think Brokaw expended his vitriol towards Catholicism in the first book, so the RCC takes something of a back-seat here. Indeed, it transpires that Lourds had a kindly old priest as his mentor, so I suppose they’re not all bad.

Instead, we have shady CIA suits, staring intensely at walls of monitors and sending ‘assets’ after Lourds and his entourage. Jason Bourne and James Bond are both name-checked and the action flings itself all over the world, with dates and place names zooming on screen at the start of every scene. Oh sorry, I forgot: IT ISN’T A MICHAEL BAY FILM. You’d be forgiven for getting mixed up, given that there are trailers for Brokaw’s works on his website…

So what is it that makes TLC so buttock-clenchingly worse than TAC? With the Atlantis myth, there was at least some scope for imagination and invention. Brokaw decided to superimpose the Catholic Church, mix in a bit of dodgy theology and hey presto, a conspiracy was born. With TLC, he instead talks in great detail about what really interests him: political & economic crises in the Middle East, with some spy pulp thrown in for good measure. Snippets of dull dialogue are interspersed with multi-page encyclopaedic descriptions of cities and political situations. At times, it felt like I had strolled into Wikipedia (the editorial quality is comparable). As if that wasn’t bad enough, Brokaw is one of those people who clearly gets a kick when describing technology...

So if you’re looking for a 2-hour, departure lounge distraction with some silly adventuring, you’re in for the dullest shock of your life. The preposterous conspiracy-nuttery and overblown stupidity of TAC at least made it a ‘page-turner’. However, Brokaw’s politico-economic tracts and soporific ramblings make TLC a page-sticker-togetherer.

Indeed, he gets so carried away talking about the ins and outs of the political and economic ramifications of Middle Eastern tension that he darn near forgets to include the obligatory explosive ending. The events of the story are hurriedly wrapped up in about 20 pages.

Why do I read these godawful books? Because it actually inspires me (as it should any literate person) to write something better. Expect another retraction when I have read the next sequel, The Temple Mount Code. Who hasn’t he covered yet? Ah yes, the Muslims. Should be interesting.

One final piece of advice: don’t get these for your Kindle or E-Reader; you’ll end up having to buy a new one.

I thought I’d end with a few of TLC‘s gems, to celebrate Charles Brokaw’s unique approach to the written word:

A British character’s outburst during a high-octane scene:
“The bloody car is out of control. Let’s see if we can survive the impending crash, eh?”

You can never over-describe:
“The huge hideously dead corpse”

I think I know what he meant to say…
“Her smile was cold enough to adorn a morgue”

Mixed whataphors?:
“the white elephant in the room”

Lourds’ continence:
“His kidneys also suddenly declared they were losing the war against containment […] he’d rather die with some dignity. That meant no wet pants”

This is DIALOGUE:
“The addition Cisco Systems made of the Mobile Electronic Systems Integration has tied together a lot of information from all over the city”

“he’s got answers to some of what’s wrecked my world”

The chivalry of Thomas Lourds, BSc, MSc, PhD, GiT:
Lourds: “Ogling is one of those male traits that I’m afraid is hard-wired into every cell of my being. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.”

“he was too aware of her gender to ignore her”

A Retraction…

Look out Earth, the slime’s coming home!

Ok, it’s fair to say I had a few reservations about the new series of Red Dwarf. However, having been at the recording at Shepperton on Friday, these reservations have well and truly smegged off. Of course, this is only based on seeing bits of one episode, but judging from other fan reactions to the filming, the boys are well and truly back on form.

After some fine warm up from hairy comedian Ray Peacock, but just before the cameras rolled, Doug Naylor stepped out to say a few words. He thanked everyone for coming along, before requesting that we didn’t tweet or blog any spoilers. There was no introduction to the series, or even the particular episode being filmed (4 of 6), so I have no idea how this series ties in to Back to Earth or Series VIII, no idea at all. Which is rather wonderful, because I don’t feel like I’ve had half as many spoilers as I should have done.

Anyway, how does it compare with the Dwarfers’ back catalogue?

The first obvious plus point is the fact that there is a live audience. Performances in Series VII and Back to Earth noticeably suffered because the cast are at their best in front of an audience. They really upped their games here, particularly Trans-Am-Wheel-Arch-Nostrils himself, Chris Barrie. Incidentally, there should be some good smeg-ups for the DVD from Friday’s recording (we were treated to the Kenneth Williams impression…)

Also crucially, the sci-fi is back. Series VIII in particular was lacking in complex sci-fi concepts, instead trying to be ‘Porridge in Space’. While it had plenty of laughs, it isn’t what the show does best. Back to Earth meanwhile was an unfunny, self-referential pastiche of Blade Runner, Coronation Street and Series V‘s Back to Reality. Having more original concepts as foundations helps create stronger episodes (why Series VI is my favourite). Suffice to say, the wibbleyness and creatures in Series X were both clever and satisfying.

No more of that self-referential stuff that clogged up Back to Earth.

The characters are back to where they should be: Lister is a space bum, rather than an ’emotionally rounded’ hero-character; Rimmer is about as anal as he has ever been; The Cat is a great mix of early series’ cattiness and his later acerbic wit, while Kryten, as ever is a funny balance of ‘fussy bog-bot’ and ‘exposition droid’.

There were a lot of Cat/Kryten 2-handers in this episode, which is a surprisingly unexplored area, but one which works well.

Wow, it’s one of the best sets they’ve had. Back to Earth was a little too clean and glossy, considering Red Dwarf is supposed to be a mining ship. The new sets capture the mood of the show perfectly: grimy, but with high production values and inventive set-dressing. The footage looks fantastic too, as it is being shot on the RED cameras.

The most important costume issue has been solved: Rimmer looks a LOT better (i.e. not like a pregnant woman). The Cat is, well, the Cat, perhaps with some more inventive hairstyles akin to the early series (I maintain that Danny John-Jules does NOT age). Lister is in a familiar gittup for seasoned fans, but it’s an outfit that works very well. Kryters has had a bit of a makeover, which will probably get a mixed reception. However, he has a hilarious new function to rival his groinal attachment, which should settle the argument. I shall say no more.

I think the RD crew have a remarkable ability to pull themselves together when something they try doesn’t work. They tried an American pilot, which flopped, so they came back and made the wonderful Series VI. Then, Series VII was controversial, so when they came back with Series VIII, everything just felt much better. And now they tried Red Dwarf: The Movie (Back to Earth), so now they can return to ‘proper’ Dwarf.

I’m with Robert Llewellyn: this new stuff very reminiscent of series V & VI, which is no bad thing. Here’s to the summer, smegheads.

Look out Earth, the slime’s coming home!

Modern Warfare (Pt.2): Compulsive, console-biased and invasive

Despite the current popularity of first-person shooters, the game alone does not make the gamer. Playing a first-person shooter doesn’t turn you into a cold-hearted killer (nor does it make you a crackshot with a rifle, to the disappointment of many). Far more crucial is the culture that gamers find themselves in. And it ain’t a nice one.

So if it isn’t the games themselves that are entirely responsible for the cultural decline in gaming, then what is? Step forward, the internet. Even with the frenetic crescendo of online multiplayer, gaming still feels like an anti-social pursuit (with perhaps the Wii as the only exception).

I’m sure I’ve droned on about it before, but the internet is a compulsive, inherently anti-social medium. Good for quickly grabbing bits of information, but not really for making and sustaining friendships. Mix it with compulsive, arcade-style games, such as Call of Duty, and you have a rather unfriendly and humourless arena.

I’m not against multiplayer. I’d just rather play with or against people I knew. Many hilarious rounds of Team Buddies on the PS1 have taught me this. Several friends sat on the living room floor, conversation lubricated with beer, as they joyfully maim pixellated, cartoony versions of each other. What could promote a better image of gaming? (er, that’s rhetorical)

Contrast this with Call of Duty‘s approach: hurling whoever’s online into an anonymous global gladiatorial, where they slug it out for however long. I’ve watched several people playing and have had a go myself. It was an alien experience: running round a CGI landscape, blasting the stuffing out of someone who’s really on the other side of the world. The most disturbing element came by way of the unofficial commentary: one of the other players had a microphone and spent the entire round yelling expletives in a foreign tongue. I gather this is a common occurrence.

That’s one of my more general gripes, but as a PC gamer, there are several things I have come to resent about the modern gaming industry:

(1) Console dominance. I suppose it’s understandable, from a business point of view: the games cost more and more people buy them. As a result, the PC sections of shops like HMV and even Gamestation have slowly dwindled until disappearing entirely. Even in Game, the PC section seem to have been shoved in the corner furthest from the door. Games are now developed for consoles and hurriedly adapted for the PC, which means we get a nice little swarm of bugs to confront, followed by some hasty patching.

(2) This leads on from the first point:  Because consoles are connected to the internet permanently, it is assumed that PCs should be too. Therefore we have the rise in applications like Steam. The beast of a computer I built solely for gaming shouldn’t need to be online permanently, or so I thought. How naive I was.

(3) The rise in downloads. It’s cheaper for the developers to sell games without having to produce manuals, cases and DVDs. Well, I like having the disk. It’s the same appreciation I have for inlay cards with music.

(4) Worst of all: you can’t complain, because both online and printed on the back of game cases is a disclaimer, advising that you need to be permanently connected to the internet in order to play the game. Therefore by buying the game, you have tacitly agreed to their conditions. Ergo, shut your face and fire up the ‘pooter.

Ok, I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t like the web. Well, it has its good points, but I don’t think it should be the ‘default’ option – like the ludicrous proposal to make access to the internet an inalienable human right (because everyone needs to see the Fenton video, I suppose). It’s not that I have difficulty connecting, so why does it get my goat?

Well, megalithic corporations forcing you to register your games in order to play them, is a pretty good reason. For instance, I recently bought Mount and Blade: Warband. Even though I had the disk, I couldn’t play the game before I registered it on Steam. Every time I want to play it, I have to open Steam, so I have to be online. I can’t even insert the DVD and play offline. The same for Assassins’ Creed 2 – I had to register with Ubisoft, though thankfully they don’t force you to be online. Activating a game with a product key is one thing, but signing up to a company’s online services and unconsciously sending them usage stats is quite another.

Due to mass compulsiveness, everyone seems to have rolled over and accepted these impositions. Well, at least the online clients and communities are secure… Oh. Recently, the Playstation 3, Xbox and Steam networks were all hacked, exposing the personal information, playing habits and in some cases, card details of the world’s gamers…

Sadly, it looks like these trends aren’t going to reverse or even slow down: there’s too much money in the industry and the only developers left are the whopping great companies who can pretty much dictate the terms.

The only thing left to hope for is that we don’t end up like South Korea, with people starving to death or neglecting to look after their own children because of too much time spent online in virtual worlds.

On that cheery note, nads to this, I’m off to play Simon the Sorcerer.

Modern Warfare (Pt.2): Compulsive, console-biased and invasive