Sunday, 29 July 2007

Strangers in the night

Come Dine With Me, come let’s dine away. I think Come Dine With Me is, cook meals for complete strangers and judge them like a deity, great. It should be implemented as I kind of national service. From now on every person across this green and flooded (almost resembling water world, oh god, the oil pirates are coming) land should be put into random groups of five and made to cook and entertain one another. Come Dine With Me is, in a nut shell: five people, take it in turns to cook for one another. The dinner conversation all culminates in a mark out of ten.

The person with the most points at the end of the week wins £1000. Not much of a prize considering the time, effort and having to hear complete strangers prattle on about themselves. That’s the very reason I stopped leaving the basement. Inviting complete strangers into one’s home usually ends in Manson type killings but its alright if a camera crews there. You’re safe.

On to the positives : Bang! And societies ills are gone. People would no longer claim social benefits. “I can’t afford quail's eggs on this hand out and what of my home furnishings, it’ll cost me points!”

All drug use would stop: despite what you think, talking at someone on pills, weed, mdma etc does not result in memorable conversation however much you might laugh/see god at the time. Literally you wont remember what anyone said.

Thirdly, wars would end, as everyone would be too busy making sure they hadn’t overcooked the lamb to declare pre-emptive strikes.

Not only is Come Dine With Me entertaining in its own right but it could save the world. The only downside being, that all the energy used from kitchen appliances would leave us under water but that’s happened pretty much everywhere anyway. Go Tewskesbury!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Once more unto the flat pack dear friends.

“No fucking way, there’s no way I’m going back.”

“Look I'm going to see Transformers, so you can at least help me carry some stuff back.”

Like a convicted criminal I boarded the bus of the damned. As urban boxes gave way to suburban living boxes, it dawned on me that maybe they kept places like Ikea so far out because people in the know realise how dangerous they really are. Apart from becoming refuges for zombies, if the physical structure of the place were ever to crack, all the bottled up resentment and frustration would erupt, spreading a toxic cloud of malice across North London like a consumer’s Chernobyl.

Once inside, things didn’t seem too bad. There was a holding pen for children, the bags were big and yellow, they even had free pencils and list paper. How civilized. It was all a façade, a honey trap to catch and torment me for the next two hours. At first, the child like maps, with ‘You are here’ and squiggly arrows strewn all over, made me feel at ease. Look, they’ve even got areas where you can sit down. These would prove to be the equivalent of fox holes in Stalingrad, where my compatriot and I would try and regroup, our bloodshot eyes, from the horrors we’d seen, darting around nervously.

Worse than anything the place is a barrage to the senses. Billions of colours rape your eyes, the distinct yellow uniforms of the staff, which initially seemed like a good idea, make you want to curse them as they constantly run off and you're left in a sea of tack and consumer idiocy that makes you cry out for the life ring that is their yellow uniform.

That being said the absolute worse thing, which has made me lose all faith in mankind, is the act of going against the arrows. We got lost and with no maps nearby decided to retrace our steps. The seemingly innocuous act of going against the arrows proved almost lethal. It was like the running of the bulls, except with retarded shoppers. Legions of consumers three abreast and ten deep, armed with trolleys and bags with protruding lamps came rushing at us. Their brainwashed minds could not comprehend someone going against the ordered arrows. “We must obey; we must follow the pointed ones.” A small respite was running into a friend and it was just like what bumping into an old comrade from basic training, in the middle of Normandy would have been like.

“You made it!”

“You too!”

Offering a cigarette.

“Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em”

Thursday, 19 July 2007

I AM LEGEND, will smith is not

I just finished watching the trailer for 'I AM LEGEND' and it bloody well deserves the capitalization. Not the trailer but the anaemia inducing, geniusness of the book, that the soon to be released film is based on. I am willing to chop off and send pieces of my body (to prove my love) until all that is left is my head in a jar, as I'd still be able to read this book.

I AM LEGEND follows the post-apocalyptic story of Robert Neville as he eats, drinks, tries to sleep and listens to Mozart. Things are incredibly hostile in Neville's world, like a Chechnyan rebel in Moscow. Anyone and everyone have turned, for all intensive purposes, into vampires. The vampire context is used as a mechanic to explore Neville's and therefore, our own, psychological state at seeing his loved ones become monsters and the savagery that society at large can descend to when things look completely hopeless.

What I found most compelling is the real, everyday stuff Neville has to deal with: How do I get food, how am I going to power my home, what do I do to past the haunted days and the terrifying nights? I AM LEGEND is a very short story, the darkness and despair of being the last man alive never becomes boring. If its not your veins bursting with the sheer amount of adrenaline surging through them when Neville gets stuck far from his home fortress with the sun setting, then its the agonising moments of self reflection as Neville comes to terms with being the last man alive.

The story is dark and the rare moments of humour are as black as my beating heart. Which is why it nearly burst when I heard a few months ago that it would be Will Smith playing the part of Neville. Will Smith is not a serious actor. He's as serious as being held hostage by Ghandi. I dread to think of the brain gagging one-liners he's put into my beloved story, 'hey vamps do you like stake!'

I have no choice about seeing it but for every time Mr. Smith does something to piss on my mental image of Neville and the story as a whole, I’ll defecate and throw it at his arrogant face. I'll be hitting a projected image but his image none the less! Go read I AM LEGEND now before the Smith bastardization is the only reference burnt into your frontal lobes.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Drugs don't kill people, demons do

“This is shit.”
“No, what we’re standing in, I think its Warg shit.”

Sploodge put one skinny finger into the mysterious substance. A small, still warm piece came off under his fingernail. Placing it to his stubby nose he took an extended whiff. It was excrement, true enough but not a Warg’s. For a start it was too puny, in both mass and smell. No, he’d only seen this once before when the creature that it belonged to had had its stomach sliced open and along with all the multi-coloured organs and liquids that had spilled out, there had been one of these. Less solid but still one of these.

He knew that the droppings belonged to a human. Bollocks, what to do? They couldn’t go back and risk the bastard sneaking up on them. But Sploodge’s new ward was the rawest of recruits. Vret had quite literally been born yesterday, with all the knowledge of his parents but none of the actual experience. They carried on down the dark and damp corridor. Sploodge knew that the next turning was a dead end.

Each took a dose of the Purple Moss, breathing it in deeply for its supposed ability enhancing affects. They got themselves into position and with the most blood-curdling scream Sploodge could muster from his whizzing lungs, they charged round the corner. Vrek was the first to spot the human outline in the din. His youthful exuberance over powering any rationality, he sped axe first at the silhouette. As these encounters sometimes go, Vrek didn’t even engage in combat, before he could swing he’d failed to notice another turd left in the middle of the floor. Slipping, his skull cracked as it smashed against the stone slabs.

The mysterious stranger emerged from the shadows. Sploodge didn’t recognise the attire at all. Where was the armour, the shield, the larger than thou religious insignia?

“Well, speak, brigand! Why have you come to this place?” He shouted enraged.

“I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about blud. Man’s just found some alley down my breadrin’s road and I came in to have a little puff yeah. Serious though, this purple stuff ain’t good for you, I’ve been shitting all over the place, give ‘en me proper the shits, yeah.”

Sploodge was confounded by the human’s strange tongue. Still, it made no difference. If he didn’t bring back his head he’d be severely punished and be haunted constantly by Vrek’s mother’s unforgiving looks. That’s that then. Sploodge raised his axe.

“Oh its like dat is it, rude boy? Man’s got a borra too you know” The stranger reached in to their hooded apparel and withdrew a large knife. “Yeah and what?”

They ran at each other, weapons raised. The stranger inexpertly tried to slice at Sploodge’s midsection but the heavy iron wrought armour that covered most of his body deflected the blade. The incredulous look on the stranger’s face was replaced by one of abject terror as Sploodge’s axe flew in an arc and separated the stranger’s head from his body. He removed the hood from the head but decided to leave the helm with the protruding visor that had the symbol of a bending arrow and the word Nike inscribed on it.

After a long march through a labyrinth of tunnels, Sploodge reached the main hall. He saw the welcome sight of fellow Goblins and Pit demons. He gave a brief report to one of the administrators and then sat by the great fire as his report was relayed to the Dungeon Lord. As he waited, he examined the head of his fallen foe more closely. How strange this human was. He had small precious stones fastened to both ears, what appeared to be a gold tooth and this soft Nike helm.

Sploodge was summoned and before long was standing in front of the imposing Dungeon Lord. He’d once been human they said. The Purple Moss had both corrupted him but also allowed his powers to manifest. Now he stood towering in the latest overlord fashion with billowing dark robes obscuring his face.

“You have something for me Sploodge?”

Sploodge handed over the decapitated head. The Dungeon Lord rotated the head over and over in gnarled hands. After a long time he spoke.

“This human’s memories are of another time and place, somewhere it seems that we might all find sanctuary from these constant attacks. Take a group to where you first found him. As soon as you discover how he got here, we will all be going on a journey.”

“Wow, relocation” Sploodge thought. A respite from all the attacks from above and below, that would something. This thought spurred him on until they reached the spot where the human body still lay. He ordered all present to check every inch of the tunnel. After a few minutes someone shouted, “Come have look at this!”

It looked like a small patch of wall was moving but only noticeable if you didn’t look straight at it. Upon touching it’s surface the Goblin’s hand went straight through. Sploodge volunteered to go first. After a large hit of Purple Moss, that he exhaled slowly, as if it were his last, he stepped through.

A day passed and Sploodge finally returned, he ordered his group to rush back to the Dungeon Lord. In his presence once again Sploodge divulged what he had seen. He spoke of large towers made of brick, with small observation holes going all the way up and large groups of humans. Preparations were made and the invasion had begun.

Mickey wanted to get lean; he wanted to get lean really bad. Where had Seb disappeared to, it’d been days. Fuck it, Seb was he breadrin but he’d have to pick up off someone else. He was meeting two girls later and he couldn't turn up empty handed. Mickey then spotted a group hanging outside the Lightfoot estate. He swaggered over, trying to project an image of confidence.

“Yeah, yeah, safe. Any of you brears got any chung?”

The nearest member of the group walked over; expect it looked more like it was dragging itself over. Mickey couldn’t see clearly under its hood but he was sure this guy had more of a snout than a nose.

“We gotz something new if your willing to try?” The voice said, sounding like lyrics on a record being played backwards.

“Err, yeah, cool, cool. I’m on that” Mickey chimed.

The hooded figure handed over the small package, the potent smell sending Mickey into a haze.

“We call it Purple Moss, bluuuud.” The voice gurgled, struggling to keep an even pitch.

That night Mickey and his friends’ part took of the new substance. They found it stronger than anything they’d experienced before. Purple Moss was never meant for human consumption after all. Soon the entire estate was coming to Lightfoot tower to get a taste of the Purple Haze. Surveyed from the top flat of the large concrete tower, the Dungeon Lord watched the bustling commerce below. Yes, this place will do nicely. He even considered changing his name to Lord of Lightfoot.

Sony goes nuclear

According to UK Resistance, Sony's new advertising campaign features mushroom clouds galore. I said it over there and I'll say it again...

"The mushroom cloud is a premonition someone in the advertising agency had. Their eyes turned blue and they painted it on canvas. It means that when Sony finally gives up the ghost the self-destruct device fitted in every PS3 (just in case) will detonate obliterating everywhere it was successful. So, you shouldn't worry too much."

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Ikea vs Ben

DIY furniture: The scourge of man and man’s relationships with women, other men and animals. Ikea: The word makes some orgasm, some weep and some think stylish, reasonably priced furniture. For me, apart from frustration, I think of death. Let’s not forget the Cult of Ikea became so feverish that at the opening of the North London store, people physically threw themselves on the pyre of worship, so to speak. Last time we bought a chest of draws. Quite small, about five draws, piney, woody and shiny.

The cardboard packaging removed, all the composite guts of thing were strewn on the floor. It’s all wood basically and there’s only one tool, amazing. Ikea was founded by Scandinavian’s and they’re nothing if not down with good design and efficiency. Piece of Nordic piss. But it wasn’t, was it. Parallel piece A didn’t slot into peripheral piece B. Shouting erupted. The wooden screw driver tool was brandished. People were almost blinded. However, being British and using that supposed pluck like a cockroach surviving nuclear fallout, we prevailed. The object stood, if slightly to the left and all the draws worked. Ha ha, we really do live in the future, now.

Monday, 16 July 2007

A stab at a story (first draft)

On a dreary day, in a dreary town in a dreary part of England, Margaret Slaughter was shuffling home, wheeley bag in tow. Her path and footfalls were automatic. The once weekly trip to the supermarket had become the highlight of her life. A depressing thought, she mused.

Her large, thick glasses reflected the silhouette of never ending ugliness that was the council estate. She longed to get away from this, from her life. Just a bit more money, that's all. A little more saving and she'd be free from the monotony.

It was chance that made Mrs. Slaughter's trolley’s wheel catch in a pavement crack. As she struggled to free it, her weak eyes caught sight of something bright. Anyone else would have dismissed it as broken glass, catching the glare from the nearby street lamp. But for Mrs. Slaughter it was like a siren. Something drew her irises into greater focus than they had been for years.

In a trance she strode, sure footed, towards the gleam. With each step the source seemed to tare itself out of the darkness. At last, someone had finally managed to acknowledge its existence. It belonged now, in this world, this place.

Margaret chuckled, she didn't know what she'd expected but this certainly wasn't it. Her withered, arthritis infested hands were slowly tracing the contours of a brightly colored slot machine. The moment Margaret had touched the machine her mind began spouting thoughts: someone must have thrown it out, its so bright, I wonder if there's still money in it, it definitely still works, maybe just one go. If Margaret had been thinking clearly she'd have noticed, the slot machine was buzzing away but it wasn't plugged in.

Margaret started slowly enough. Just a few coins at first. It was her new hobby she thought. The other elderlys had their bingo and countdown she had this. It was all hers. Days passed and without noticing Margaret fed more and more coins into the slot. It never gave back anything. It was only occasionally; she'd get angry from the frustration of never winning. Still she thought, I'm the only one playing and the prize will be all the bigger. Weeks passed and to Margaret's great detriment she came to the decision to tell a couple of her close friends about the slot machine. She reasoned that if three of them played the chances of winning the big prize would, well, triple.

She invited Toni and Pam around for tea one afternoon to explain the situation. Neither questioned the truthfulness of Margaret's story. It never occurred to them that a pristine slot machine down an alley would seem out of the ordinary. All three were now regulars in their own private casino. They'd take turns, on the hour. Margaret had had the bright idea of bringing a comfy fold out chair with an umbrella holder for when it rained, which was frequently. They spent so much time in the alley, that soon flasks with tea and soup, packets of biscuits and newspaper crosswords were a regular feature.

A month after Toni and Pam had joined the private casino gang, the slot machine began to crack. It was unnoticeable at first, tiny hairline fractures. These soon gave way too much larger scars and a distinct groaning noise, like a stomach with severe indigestion. The three were worried. What would they do if it broke? If it stopped working they'd have to get someone in to fix it. But no one else could know, they'd take the money for themselves. The three had devoted everything to the machine. Each selling off their worldly possessions for a chance at the jackpot and the promise of leaving this place. It was then they resolved to get all the money they had left and stay until either the machine broke or they finally won the big prize. The following hours were agonizing. What if they didn't win? All that time, it had started innocently enough, a hobby, but now...

Finally it happened. Margaret was the last one standing. She had one coin left. It was everything. She fingered the coin like a rosary. Margaret wasn't religious but she prayed to any Gods listening and hoped more than anything that lady luck was smiling. She slowly inserted the last chance. Pulling the lever down so hard and fast it reminded her of ripping off a plaster as a child. It was in that moment that Margaret saw clearly for the first time in months. A fog completely dissipated in her mind. She noticed the plug first but it was only until the realization that there was no logical way that a small slot machine like this could retain the massive space needed to hold all those coins. It was months worth now, between three people! As the last symbol rotated into place, signifying the jackpot, Margaret screamed.

The lights flashed and celebratory sounds wailed out of the machine. But nothing emerged from the dispenser tray. The two startled by Margaret's scream turned their attention to where money should have been spilling out. A windshield of a car parked just outside the alley smashed. Then the street lamp. It sounded like hail but each impact had a twang. Bits of pavement started to fly up like mud being pulverized in a field. The walls on either side started to shrapnel. Toni was the first to go down. A blow to his leg brought him crashing to the ground. He desperately grabbed through his bloodied trousers trying to find the offending object. Pulling it free, Toni cried in pain. He wiped the blood clean and saw that it was a coin. In unison the three looked around as the hail of coins intensified engulfing the alley and the town with it. When the news crews and police finally arrived the only salvageable thing they could find in the strewn rubble was a pristine slot machine.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Canals on Mars?

"Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know. He's in the best selling show. Is there life on Mars?" Yes, there most definitely is life on Mars despite the eloping, ungrateful actions of Beagle 2 failing to prove it. I'm late to the party and it being a full year since it was first shown, it makes me the prick who turns up when all the beer is warm and someone's been sick in the pond.

I didn't like John Simm and I can't really explain why, it probably stems from the same irrational prejudice that made me ignore the promos for the first series of Life on Mars. 'Err, cop show, 70s, Northern...wank.' That being said, Mr. Simm's portrayal of the The Master in a recent Dr. Who episode made me want to give him a reheat. His Blairesque, sociopath character, won my vote.

That's not to say that Simm has the only gripping character. His gruff, no nonsense, spit in your tea partner played by Philip Glenister, Gene Hunt, is the sort of man I wish I could be. Actually, no, metro-sexuality is SO where its at right now. The cast aside, its the cross genre menagerie that really makes me start salivating ala Pavlov's mutt.

It's important to mention I've only just finished the first series so the true meaning behind Sam Tyler's sudden appearance in 1973 hasn't been revealed yet. On the face of it, the show is like any other cop program but it's the genuinely unnerving, surreal moments, that make it so compelling. The 'end of transmission girl,' who frequently appears to Sam when he's apparently nodded off, is creepier than many recent horror films have managed to manifest. Not to mention the echoing voices of Sam's friends and family talking to him from outside his supposed catatonic state. It's what shows like Lost try to be but have failed like a polish pimp joining the gentry. So as Gene Hunt says,"'s 1973. Almost dinner time. I'm 'aving hoops." Now go watch!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Yo ho ho and a bottle of Scumm, yum.

A lot of the skullduggery that takes place in Ron Gilbert's, Monkey Island series is based largely on Tim Powers', On Stranger Tides. Monkey I and II were/are amazing. In the first, you’re looking to get a reputation, like many hood rats are nowadays, except you have to use insults and your brain, not a gatt and some crack.

Then arrrr, you've got the treasure and everything looks pieces of eight by the beginning of the second installment. Drawing upon the hood rat analogy; you get mugged right at the start. However, you are left with a cool beard which sadly, still isn't enough to get served in the piratey drink holes.

You'd think IDing would be the least of your worries if you were in charge of the Hope & Anchor, (Hopeless Wanker) if it was regular, for your regulars to get in the way of cutlass edges and ball shot. You don't want to drink the booze anyway; it’s more corrosive than the brown bottle Sid the tramp carries outside Tescos. Scumm is a good name for a drink. It implies who should drink it and what it’ll taste like.

Similarities between the book and games include: Voodoo dolls (which are actually a Christian folklore practice from the Netherlands, I think) zombie pirates, salty sea dogs (why not wash them off?) ladies that appear to need saving, colourful characters (that's not racist) and treachery.

That's as far as I've got, I’m afraid. I'm more used to reading, 'Jill sat on the matt next to her DEMONIC cat...' This is what Whackoffpedia calls a stub; I'd call it a snub to you, the readers. Before making me walk the blankedy blank, I’m pretty ill today which means:

a) I'll read more of the book now and can expand your grey goop with my findings.

b) If you're empathetic, don't try and feed me chicken soup through the monitor or disc drive. Send it over Voodoo Express, Royal Mail's shit these days.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Purger and Skynet

The Purger. It sounds a bit genocidal but I assure you its applications are not only peaceful but in theory could make international treaties run smoother.

I'll explain the Purger's applications in the Infomercial style:

Todd: Hello everyone! Today we're super privileged to have Mike Comma, the inventor of the Purgernator 9000.

Mr. Comma: Thanks Todd. Yes...that's right, I've brought with me the Purgernator 9000! It's like doing a spring clean of your whole body with an atom bomb.

It's simple: connect yourself up, press go and then the Purgenator's patented 'wish wash system' will clean your colon, suck your snot, empty your ears, urinate from your urethra and pour sweat from your pores!

*connects Todd for demonstration*


Todd: Holy *bleep* Mike, I haven't felt so clean and refreshed...ever! How do I get my hands on one?


With everyone feeling more clean and alert than any mere shower or Pro Plus pills could achieve, humanity would reach a new age of hygienement.

However, some sections of society would purge too much. Spending hours, sometimes days on the purge cycle rather than the recommended three minutes. With no new sustenance some would simply fade away. Other, more ingenious addicts would hook themselves up to a drip so that the purger experience could be prolonged indefinitely.

The Purgenator is not patented so if I see you on Dragon's Den trying to flog that bad boy i' absolutely nothing, that's how much I want it to exist. I think it could be the next Skynet but with more fluids.

Friday, 6 July 2007

The Art World vs Ben

I went to an exhibition held by the I-2-U gallery in Notting Hernia. It was possibly smugger than the rest of the The Hernia due to this eye sore.

In true Nathan Barley idiocy what should, at face value, have been a den of inequity and corruption is in fact a highly sort after residence for smuggers.

Once at the gallery, an evening of booze, floose and ceramic poos (if only). It wasn’t all arse speak, there was a Palestinian guy there who I talked to at length. His view of the world was bleak; I said everyone should buy teak.

MMOs 4 t3h w1n

I just saw this add:

Please note the use of the word 'EPIC' in this and every other MMO trailer ever conceived…

"The MOST epicing epic of epicingness ever, for all time, EVER!"

I’m sure playing this and similar MMOs will only result in your mouth forming the letters W,T and F when someone ‘gimps’ the line you’re queuing in. You’ll watch as a pensioner slips in the street and you start to LOL. Humanity is doomed, epically.

Flotsam Prison Menu


Spoon fried Crack cakes

Main course

Life affirming alphabet soup: ‘Toothbrushes are not weapons’


Sautéed anal pilfering

Thursday, 5 July 2007


When I was sixteen I had to go to court. At the risk of lowering my street cred and rude boi status, it wasn't a crime I committed but one that I witnessed that brought me to the dock that day. My friend's dog had been stolen at knife point.

On the day of the trial I remember going up to the witness stand, looking around at the Jury, Barristers and Judge thinking, "this is all a bit serious. This would be awesome if everyone was an anime character and had gimmiks like carrying a whip or looking like they were from a different centurary." Low and behold my wish came true:

If I were a lawyer in the world of Phoenix Wright an average day would go like:

Bailiff: All rise.

Judge: Is the prosecution and defense ready?

In chorus: Yes your honour.

Ben Wright: I'd like to call the first witness, who happens to be dead but can be here today, channeled through a spirit medium.

Joanna Von Karma: OBJECTION!

Joanna Von Karma: Your honour, this is a foolishly foolhardy joke isn't it?

Judge: I'll allow it.

Some fist slamming and index finger tapping to the head later...

Judge: Well, after all those twists and turns we've finally reached the truth. I find your defendant, NOT GUILTY!

And quite literally, little fireworks and party poppers go off in the court room. Phoenix Wright is judicialtastic on so many levels that I have neither the space or inclination to get them all down here. Alright then...

Memorable characters, some genuinely amusing and others frustratingly fatwable. The game plays as half court room drama and half film noir but with much brighter settings. Think circuses instead of grim metropolises.

Look for clues, break psyche locks (tightly held secrets) use your grey blob to out think the prosecution and deliver your client's freedom. Facial expressions, character mannerisms all make for a laughing whilst falling over (Anime style) good time. It's up to the fourth installment now i think, so go buy!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Soul destroying

Losing. That’s what you do a lot of the time, is lose. Whether it’s your job, relationship, home, keys or cat. Which is why Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter are such well-observed commentaries on the struggle of living. How can a video game bare such immense philosophical and dramatic weight on its pixelated shoulders? I’ll tell thee.

The world of Myth is a bit like Western Europe in King Arthur’s day, with the Middle East right at the edges. The setting really isn’t that important because it’s the usual fantasy malarkey: small people, pointy eared people living in trees, half naked painted people with thick accents, basically anywhere in rural England.

What makes Myth so engaging is it beats you up, a lot. You get emotionally battered when the narrator tells you that even if you won, some massive fuck up else where means its time to run again. Physically battered from the inevitable case of RSI. But like a bruised spouse, you keep coming back for more.

You play a General of sorts, on the end of a losing war against, well, if you can imagine every dictator in the world and combine them into six individuals who have devastating magic as opposed to devastating WMDs… a sort of Super Duper Axis of Evil. These Fallen Lords head up an army made of decomposing zombies (which would be like having a fight with a relative at a wedding but your mum can’t break it up because he happenes to have a big axe and his ears have fallen off) and other hellish creatures. The war torn world looking like Stalingrad or Bastogne circa WWII.
Things look grim and to the story’s credit they stay grim. As mentioned earlier any small victory by your rag tag army gets obliterated somewhere else. The narrator’s excellent prose communicates how shit and hopeless it feels to be a soldier in a war where the outcome is never certain. You have no Shock and Awe to use here. If anything you’re the insurgency against overwhelming odds.

It’s not all miserable otherwise it’d be like watching Schindler's List while having cod liver oil poured in your eyes. The light-hearted side comes from unexpected places: The Dwarves in the game act as a sort of Guerrilla explosives expert. Imagine Che Guevara with a white beard and much smaller. Their dialogue includes, “Get out the way!” and “Alright, we got ‘em!” etc or laying down satchel charges as they throw a Molotov cocktail and good carnagey times ensue. The Berserkers who resemble Braveheart but with less clothes on, shout things like “Ack, I’ll doo him” and “I’m movin’.” They're simple pleasures for a simple mind.

Without spoiling either games ending's (they’re both really old now) the first has the courage to actually sacrifice the player’s army for the sake of taking out the Osama and Kim Jung Ill super combination know as Balor. For all your hard work you are rewarded with a cut scene that shows the main hero Alric’s (a sort of cross between Tony Benn and Sean Connery) head fly through the air after a massive explosion destroying the pesky evil. You’d never see George Dubya tackle Saddam into The Great Devoid. Video game leaders are inevitably better than real life ones. Myth I and II are probably both silly cheap now so go buy!

Monday, 2 July 2007

A murder of Crows

I recently saw a show that bared more than a passing resemblance to the Role-playing wet dream, Knightmare. Knightmare not only featured poor acting, worse CGI but also the emotionally scaring experiences of:

a) Seeing the main contestant literally wither away if they hadn't eaten for a while (a message to all you size zeros)

b) Being killed by all the usual fantasy fare: booby traps, faces in the wall (an evil glory hole) etc.

Innocent eyes forgave all this and tuned in just to hear team members shouting, "half a step, look right, put it in your satchel, say the password fuck-wit!"

It wasn't like Fun House where Pat Sharpe would guarantee some booty (no, not the twins). In all the time I watched Knighmare I can only remember one team actually getting the Crown, Sword, Shield, Dilido of Might+3. ONCE!

This new program is more like Crystal Maze (with the amazing Richard O'Brian) than Knightmare. Raven was hired because he could grow a beard and has a slight Scotch egg accent. Even the kids stare at him with contempt. He spews things like, "I'm sorry Tom but your aim was wayward and you now lose a life, like the tree loses leaves in Autumn." Er, yeah thanks for that massive insight, Pigeon was it?

Just to show it's not all child's play, there is one challenge called the Tree of Knowledge, where a talking bush, similar to the one in The Three Amigos asks true or false questions. I got them all wrong which just goes to show...something. Catch Raven on CBBC or TV Choice if you don't get in early enough.