Best Albums of 2012

I’ve resurrected the blog to post up the Best of 2012 List, for those who aren’t members of http://gallifreybase.com
To start with, whilst I’m writing up the 25 from this year; my Top Three albums of 2011 that I only got to hear in 2012.
3. Dark Dark Dark – Wild Go
On a technicality here, as the UK release was early 2011, but the US release was late 2010. I’m in the UK, so I’m counting the former. An American folk-group featuring the wonderful Nona Marie Invie on vocals, with a collection of tightly-spun songs, that only falters on the couple of songs which male bandmate Marshall LaCount takes lead vocals on.Song to listen to: Daydreaming
2. Officers – On The Twelve Thrones
A strong mix of heavy electronic rock and haunting atmospherics, with a brilliant sense of energy behind the songs. They impressed Gary Numan enough that he’s had them as support for his tours for all of this year, and they’re a fantastic live act as well.Song to listen to: Co-Education

1. Liz Green – O, Devotion!I first happened upon Liz Green at Latitude Festival, after being intrigued by the description in the programme guide, and fell in love with what I heard instantly. (And maybe a little with Ms Green too.) A blend of folk and jazz stylings with distinctive vocals, working together to create a blend of beautiful and haunting tunes. The album would have likely made it to the top spot in the list last year if only I’d heard it in time!

Song to listen to: Luis

25. BBC – This Is 6Music Live
I’m placing all the compilations at the bottom of the list, for fairness’ sake, but as a self-certified hipster before they were cool, a double-CD collection of live songs and covers from acts associated with my radio station of choice was a little slice of heaven. However, contains a really quite poor live version of Video Games by Lana Del Ray.Song to listen to: First Aid Kit – ‘Play With Fire’ (Rolling Stones cover)
24. Loose Tapestries – Presents The Luxury Comedy Tapes
The soundtrack album to Noel Fielding’s brilliantly oddball TV series from the beginning of the year, written in collaboration with Sergio Pizzorno of Kasabian. Whilst some songs don’t work quite as well outside of the context of the show, others are still quite catchy in their own right.Song to listen to: Fantasy Man Theme (Use an unofficial Youtube link, the official one has the wrong song!)
23. Various Artists – SID Chip Sounds: The Music of the Commodore 64

A collection of classic in-game and loading music from a bygone era, where you needed a tune to help you through an eight-minute loading time from cassette. However, whilst this could have been done as a lazy hack-job, composers of the time such as Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard decided to push the boat out with what the C64’s built-in SID sound chip could do with just a three-track recording, and created some masterpieces of early electronic music. Some of the songs here have even been re-recorded on the original equipment to give the best quality of sound possible, and with the absence of a few well-known classics, a second volume is hopefully on the way.Track to listen to: Glider Rider
22. VCMG – Ssss

Vince Clarke and Martin Gore re-unite to write songs together for the first time since the early 80s, and the result is an album of not-quite-focused-enough instrumentals. There’s a few good tracks, but when you put them in the overall line-up, it begins to be difficult to tell them apart. An unfortunate miss for what could have been.Song to listen to: Single Blip

21. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

I didn’t get caught up in the hype surrounding Lana Del Rey in the run-up to the album’s release, I didn’t even listen to ‘Video Games’ until the beginning of this year. What’s been released here however, can’t have lived up to the expectations most people had however. Whilst she does have a nice voice, it’s wasted on a number of filler tracks that struggle to keep the momentum going.

Song to listen to: Carmen

20. Gaz Coombes – Here Come The Bombs
The first solo album from the lead man of Supergrass doesn’t quite capture the magic of the glory years, but has Mr Coombes branching out somewhat in musical stylings. Not a great leap, but hopefully a step forward to something a bit more robust next time round.Song to listen to: Break The Silence
19. Miike Snow – Happy To You
I loved Miike Snow’s debut album back in 2010, even if I ended up having to buy it twice because of the amount of reissues it got with extra tracks. However, I can’t profess quite the same level of love for the follow-up which loses a lot of the energy from the debut, leading to a more subdued affair.Song to listen to: The Wave
18. The Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made The Radio

A surprisingly good release from a group that common sense would dictate must surely have left their better years behind them. Thankfully, that’s not the case here, with a strong line-up of pop songs that neatly wrap up The Beach Boys with the sad, but triumphant farewell of Summer’s Gone.Song to listen to: Isn’t It Time17. Air – Le Voyage Dans Le LuneA soundtrack to the newly recoloured cinema classic of the same name, Air provide an album that manage to hold up in its own right, though not quite as strong as previous release Love 2. Also loses some points for ending somewhat rather abruptly.Song to listen to: Sonic Armada

16. The Futureheads – Rant

A completely a cappella release of songs, including past songs, covers and standards. A bold move for a current band, and one that works superbly despite expectations, with every song being performed near flawlessly by the group.

Song to listen to: Sumer Is Icumen In

15. Marina & The Diamons – Electra Heart

Eschewing the eccentric vaudeville styles of her debut for a more streamlined pop approach, Marina Diamandis got beaten to the punch by Lana Del Rey for the portrayal of a trailer-park tragic figure, but managed to write some better songs to balance that out more in her favour. Again, as with Miike Snow, this isn’t as good as her debut and I’d recommend that instead, but there’s still some strong material here such as ‘Teen Idle’, and on the extra tracks from the special edition including previous single ‘Radioactivity’.

Song to listen to: Bubblegum Bitch

14. Grimes – Visions

Whilst the music press seem intent on labelling her as the next big visionary in music, I can’t quite agree with that level of admonishment. What Claire Boucher has done though, is create an enjoyable album of slickly-produced electronica with an atmospheric edge. Her airy vocals aren’t going to sit well with everyone, and the album does feel like it goes on for a couple of tracks too many, but there’s some great stuff to uncover in the rest of it.

Song to listen to: Oblivion

13. Ladyhawke – Anxiety

A strong, and greatly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s (Was it really that long ago? Blimey.) self-titled album. Dealing more directly with her problems surrounding anxiety and asperger’s syndrome, the songs also pack a meatier punch than before, leading to a much fuller-sounding album, though losing some of the electronic magic from the debut.

Song to listen to: Black White & Blue

12. Marilyn Manson – Born Villain

A slightly divisive album over in the dedicated thread on this forum, Manson strips back the production on the songs included here to provide a sound of simply getting down to business with a guitar-based band, without pushing the theatrics quite as much. What results is one of my favourite songs in his repertoire, ‘Slo-Mo-Tion’, and the album closer ‘Breaking The Same Old Ground’, which hints at a disassembling of the Marilyn Manson character to the man underneath the make-up, and would be a great next step in his career.

Song to listen to: Slo-Mo-Tion

11. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

The Swedish sister folk-duo return with another album of great melodies and vocals, with an ever-present sense of the ladies remembering to never overdo what can be done best with some restraint. Though they do let themselves go with the brass in ‘King Of The World’. An album with a perfect dual-role as a winter warmer, and for a stroll when summer comes around for a couple of weeks next year.

Song to listen to: The Lion’s Roar

10. Tom Jones – Spirit In The RoomIf you’d told me two years ago that I’d be listening to Tom Jones outside of the confines of a Carlton-centric episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I’d have told you to take a hike. Yet since Praise & Blame, Mr Jones has managed to transform his image from a mature woman’s knickers-magnet to a crooning singer who’s growing old gracefully. A collection of songs that suit his voice perfectly, save for the rather left-field choice of Tom Waits’ Bad As Me. Songs like (I Want To) Come Home sound less like covers and more like they were written for Tom himself, with some real emotion given to the singing of them. I hope there’s still a couple of album like this left in the man before he retires, as it really is a continuation of a career renaissance.Song to listen to: (I Want To) Come Home
9. Amy MacDonald – Life In a Beautiful Light
Every album so far by Amy MacDonald, I’ve always hesitated in buying it, thinking it can’t possibly be as good as I hope it will be. She’s a pop-folk songstress with regular Radio 2 plays and slots on This Morning, it should be outside of my musical comfort zone. Every time, I prove myself wrong when I do listen to the album and find she’s created another dozen brilliant tracks, with this latest release being her piece de resistance. Showing a more mature outlook on life in her lyrics, with the sense of someone who’s already lived life to the full, despite being only a month apart in age from myself at 25.Song to listen to: The Game
8. Muse – The 2nd Law
For starters, it’s not The Resistance, which means things can only get better. A return to the mad-cap sound that makes Muse great, with less of an overbearing focus on being overtly political. There’s still some of the ‘revolutionary’ message hanging around, but tracks like Panic Station, Survival and Big Freeze show they can still just belt out a decent song without resorting to it, with the former being the best song never featured on Queen’s Hot Space album. Closer Isolated System also harks back to Muse being able to pick a precise haunting melody and get it right in a way other bands can struggle to do.Song to listen to: Panic Station
7. Hot Chip – In Our Heads

Hot Chip have always proved to be something of a dichotomy for me, they’re a great electro-pop act as well as a great electro-soul act, but the two styles have always seemed to clash on the previous two releases, with one facet getting in the way of the other, leading to a disjointed sound. This album manages to combine both with apparently minimal effort, and results in their most cohesive sounding album since The Warning. Night and Day is an eccentric yet danceable club song, Look At Where We Are a slick R&B song, and yet the two can happily co-exist in the tracklisting, without a single dud amongst the rest.Song to listen to: Flutes

6. School of Seven Bells – Ghostory

Ice cool electro-rock from the American now-duo, in a concept album where the overriding themes happily rest in the background whilst the songs get on with being great tracks. Alejandra Deheza’s moody vocals glide effortlessly over the guitar and keyboard hooks provided by Benjamin Curtis to provide an album that really needs to be listened to in its entirety to fully immerse yourself in.

Song to listen to: Low Times

5. Tame Impala – Lonerism

Psychedelic charms from an artist not tied down by adhering to the notion of psychedelica as having to sound like it came from the 1960s to be authentic. The sound here is crisp and clear, with every part carefully arranged to come together in a cacophony of music and vocals, complete with long stretches of letting the music do its own thing without an over-reliance on vocals, such as the middle-eight section of the thumping Elephant. However, Kevin Parker’s vocals never feel like they’re intruding on the songs when they do appear, and suit every track they’re on perfectly.

Song to listen to: Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

4. Yeasayer – Fragrant World

This is not the album to introduce people to Yeasayer with, it’s a much more layered and dense album than poppier predecessor Odd Blood, but it’s no worse for being so. With the songs having a much more unifying sound to them, the album flows through to the very end, despite the contrasts between discordant sounds and melodic choruses present in most of the tracks. It’s an album that shows that Yeasayer weren’t just opportunists hopping on the ’80s revival’ bandwagon when they began to use more synthesizers, as their sound continues to grow and mature.

Song to listen to: Folk Hero Shtick

3. Mystery Jets – Radlands

After seeing a number of middling reviews for this album, I decided to pass on it due to limited funds and didn’t get round to picking it up until last weekend. I’m now kicking myself for doing so, as it’s one of the band’s best releases, showing a much more reflective and grown-up sound. Whilst there’s no full-on poptastic single like Dreaming Of Another World, which if you haven’t heard you should click on that link and do so now, the album in fact shows its strengths in the slower songs throughout the album with some beautiful melodies and introspective lyrics. Notably, the song that calls back most to their earlier sound, Greatest Hits, is easily the weakest track. The album’s bombastic penultimate track Lost In Austin combines everything altogether in a fantastic life-affirming piece, piece before the calm after the storm of Luminescence brings it all to a close. An album of almost nothing but new highs for the band, and hopefully indicative of them transforming from a good band to a truly great one.

Song to listen to: The Nothing

2. Passion Pit – Gossamer

Passion Pit return with another album of happy-sounding music for melancholic people. Dealing with issues influenced by Michael Angelakos’ own problems with bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse, the songs revolve around Angelakos as he pushes away people in his life whilst blaming them and the world in general for the fact that he’s doing so. This quite dark lyrical content is contrasted by his sing-song style vocals and the chirpy nature of the musical backing, which provides for a compelling listen from start to end, that could still be feasibly danced to at a gig or or a festival. Every song sounds meticulously crafted and the true test of its greatness was the genuine sense of disappointment I felt when I realised the album had ended on my first listen-through. Almost made the Number One spot on this list until the following entry turned up out of nowhere and stole it in early November.

Song to listen to: Cry Like a Ghost

1. Dark Dark Dark – Who Needs Who

Nona Marie Invie and company return for an album that deals with the break-up of the relationship between herself and fellow band member Marshall LaCount, with the songs within covering the wide range of emotions and feelings that come out of such a situation. From the denial of feelings in the title track, to the disbelief of Last Time I Saw Joe, and the anger of Hear Me, culminating in the shared acceptance of blame for the relationship failing in The Great Mistake. All before picking up the pieces ,and remembering the good things about the other half that made you fall in love with them in the first place, in I Collect Things. The entire ensemble of songs is a heartfelt and passionate portrayal of the split and eventual reconciliation between two people, and highly deserving of the top spot on this list.

Now go and buy it.

Song to listen to: Patsy Cline



As the inevitable evils of Christmas approach, work has started to stock pop-culture calendars for 2009. One of which is the ‘Simpsons Fun Calendar’. This has led me to wonder why it needs to be described as a ‘fun’ calendar, and whether there is indeed an ‘un-fun’ calendar.

Well, just for you lucky people, for November 2008, there is:


Good Gaming Friday: Fahrenheit

…or Indigo Prophecy if you were unlucky enough to be born in the United States and have marketing people give the game a much less cool-sounding name.

Fahrenheit – PC/PS2/XBOX/360

As this was released relatively recently (2005), I would presume most people have heard of this game. Billed by the makers as ‘anything but a standard third-person action adventure’ * the game focuses on three main characters; two police officers, Carla, the female one, Tyler, the stereotypical African-American one, and Keanu Reeves Lucas, the more-main-than-the-others character. He is not a cop.

You may have noticed already that this review isn’t taking itself too seriously. The principal reason for this is that after a certain point in the game, it becomes very hard to take Fahrenheit seriously at all. Before this point, I would list Fahrenheit as one of the best third-person adventure games I’ve played, but afterwards, as a friend says: “It all goes a bit batshit.” The plot starts as a suspenseful murder-mystery, as you control Lucas evading the police and trying to prove his innocence, whilst also playing the part of the police officers trying to track him down. So noir, so good. You even influence the scenarios the other characters will face, such as whether you hide/find evidence, ask/answer questions, and build good/bad relations with friends and family members.

Do you hide the body? Do you wash your hands? Did you flush? Do you change your fashion sense to look less like a homicidal maniac?

Almost everything in-game is timed somehow, so that you act on the spur of the moment, and as naturally as possible. This includes having only a few seconds to answer questions in, or 24-esque split screen moments as you attempt to accomplish a task before the police arrive. Most of the game’s actions are controlled using the two analogue sticks on the controller, or (in what I found the easiest way) a combination of WSAD and the Arrow keys on the PC. This control method works superbly at first, meaning you can get involved in the game from the off, without having to worry about learning fiddly button combinations. Action sequences are controlled in a similar way, with either two flashing circles corresponding to a combination of the directions you can press, or a bashing of certain buttons to perform an action.

However, as you progress through the game, you realise that’s it. Aside from a shooting-range section, there’s never more to do in action scenes than match on-screen flashes, like a European arthouse version of Parappa The Rapper.  Then, as you start to get a bit tired of this, the ‘batshit’ kicks in, and the action scenes are a direct rip off highly influenced by The Matrix.

Lucas Kane. An average guy, hanging onto an average helicopter, in the midst of an average pre-apocalyptic blizzard.

Once things start going weird, the game falls apart very quickly. What was once a suspense-filled game, that drew you into the plot perfectly, is now a by-numbers videogame pile of rubbish, with important characters and plot-points ‘revealed’ no more than an hour before the game ends. It all descends into one of the most disappointing end-fights in gaming history, where it’s the same old action mechanics, and, (edited to remove the most stupid spoiler in history.)

I couldn’t find any action shots of Carla, so here she is in her underwear instead.

Overall, Fahrenheit is a rewarding game experience for the first half, and then unbelievably stupid for the second half. It’s worth the 1200 Points currently on the Xbox Live marketplace (approx. £10) but that’s all.

Pros: Strong starting story, easy-to-learn controls, non-pretentious nudity.

Cons: Weak second half, controls get repetitive, two annoying stealth sections.

Demo for the PC



…and with internet. Last time I posted, I was getting ready to move, so I set up a torrent, and left it running, coming back to internet access for emails only. Then, at the new flat, no internet for a while, and recently, I’ve just been busy playing shiny games. It’s a hard life.

I’m worried that, in the future, any kids I have will outshadow my current (pretty high) grasp of technology, so that when I’m a parent, I won’t be able to set up the Holo-Recorder, or switch on my Rocket Boots to get to Space-Work. I could avoid this by not having any kids, but then I’d have a Holo-Recorder, and not know how to use it.


Marvel/Titan Books Transformers Reading Order

I noticed that there doesn’t appear to be any sort of helpful reading guide for going through Titan Books’ reprints of the Generation 1 Transformers comics, from Marvel and Marvel UK, in chronological order. So, I’ve done my best to compile a list of my own.

I’ve broken the list down into issue-runs which form a story-arc, and named the graphic novel in which they can be found in brackets. Once you reach US #56, Simon Furman from Marvel UK takes over the writing of both sets of comics, and so the run is easier to follow, by simply reading the US collections from there.

There are also some black+white reprints of later UK comics Titan Books did, but I’ve never tracked those down, hence why they don’t appear on the list. If I do, I’ll see where they fit in, and add them where appropriate.

Transformers US #1-6 (Beginnings)

Transformers US #7-12 (New Order)

Transformers UK #45-50 (Dinobot Hunt)

Transformers US #13-16 (Cybertron Redux)

Transformers UK #59-65 (Second Generation)

Transformers US #17-18 (Cybertron Redux)

Transformers US #19-20 (Showdown)

Transformers UK #74-77 (Dinobot Hunt)

Transformers UK #78-88 (Target: 2006)

Transformers US #21-22 (Showdown)

Transformers UK #93 (Second Generation)

Transformers US #23 (Showdown)

Transformers UK #96-100 (Prey)

Transformers UK #101-102 (Fallen Angel)

Transformers UK #103-104 (Prey)

Transformers US #24 (Showdown)

Transformers US #25-27 (Breakdown)

Transformers UK #113-120, Annual (Fallen Angel)

Transformers US #28-30 (Breakdown)

Transformers US #31 (Treason)

Transformers UK #130-131 (Time Wars)

Headmasters #1-4 (Trial By Fire)

Transformers UK #132 (City of Fear)

Transformers UK #133-134 (Legacy of Unicron))

Transformers UK #135-136 (Prey)

Transformers UK #137-138 (Legacy of Unicron)

Transformers US #32 (Treason)

Transformers US #35-36 (Treason)

Transfomers UK #145 (Second Generation)

Transformers UK #146-153 (Legacy of Unicron)

Transformers US #37 (Treason)

Transformers US #38-39 (Trial By Fire)

Transformers UK #160-161 (Space Pirates)

Transformers US #40 (Maximum Force)

Transformers UK #164-171 (City of Fear)

Transformers UK #172-173 (Space Pirates)

Transformers US #41-42, 44 (Maximum Force)

Transformers UK #182-187 (Space Pirates)

Transformers UK #188 (City of Fear)

Transformers UK #189 (Time Wars)

Transformers US #45 (Maximum Force)

Transformers US #46-48 (Dark Star)

Transformers UK #198 (Second Generation)

Transformers UK #199-205 (Time Wars)

Transformers US #49-50 (Dark Star)

Transformers US #51-55 (Last Stand)

Transformers US #56-62 (Primal Scream)

Transformers US #63-68 (Matrix Quest)

Transformers US #69-74 (All Fall Down)

Transformers US #75-80 (End Of The Road)


Catching Up

So, in the past few days, with birthday celebrations and such, I’ve finally seen three movies I’ve been meaning to see for a while now, some more recently than others.

Futurama: Bender’s Big Score

After the announcement of more new Futurama a small while back, I was looking forward to this with glee. Then, it arrived, and suddenly the experience of The Simpsons Movie came flooding back. Make no mistake, Bender’s Big Score is simply one extended episode, with the gaps between jokes also extended. It’s still funny in parts, but even Dr Zoidberg falling for a Nigerian scam email fails to save this from being a disappointment. Thankfully, the second release, Beast With a Billion Backs, is a much better affair, but I’ll leave that for another time.


In tenuous link mode, I saw the trailer for this when I went to see the aforementioned Simpsons movie at the cinema, and knew I had to see this movie, as it seemed to echo the fantasy greats of the 1980’s, such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Princess Bride. Unfortunately, due to time and money constraints, I never managed to see it at the cinema, and recently picked it up on DVD.

I’m glad that I did (under the advice of my best friend Eilidh), as it’s without a doubt one of the best fantasy films I’ve ever seen. The characters are charming and charismatic, the backdrops are breathtaking, and the story is a classic fairy-tale, unmarred by modern sensibilities. Aside from one slightly deus ex machina part towards the end, I couldn’t find a single fault with this film, and even then, being a fairy-tale, I think I can forgive some previously-unexplained magic saving the day.

The Birds

A Hitchcock classic, but one that I hadn’t actually seen up until tonight. Even though the effects obviously look a little dated nowadays, it’s quite surprising how tense the film still manages to be. The claustrophobic nature of the small town works perfectly, and as I somehow have never had the ending spoilt for me, I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout, wondering how things were going to pan out. The film starts out my planned run-through of a collection of Hitchcock films, due to HMV having a generous boxset of about 12 films going for £25. (Plus i picked up North by North-West separately at the same time.)

So, that’s three catch-ups there, and hopefully I’ll be returning to my usual Music Mondays and Good Gaming Fridays soon enough. The VS System related stuff is going to remain laying low until I manage to buy some new cards, and get back into being able to actually play it.

Until next time, toodle-pip.


Fight Club. Honest.

Been away for a bit, as it was exam season/lots of work/travelling/lack of money for VS. System stock. Now I’m back, with a random aside stemming from my Ars Magica roleplay group. Whilst discussing some movies, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen Fight Club, but had seen enough clips, and heard enough from people that I could piece together the plot.

So, here’s my attempt to have a semi-coherent script for Fight Club:

Fight Club: A Movie Starring, and Possibly Written, Produced and Directed by Brad Pitt.

ACT 1: A Suburban Home, With One Of Those Odd Kitchens Where The Floor Level is Lower Than The Rest of The House.

-> It’s morning, and a man in a generic shirt and tie walks in on his wife in the kitchen.

Bruce Banner: Hi honey, did you sleep well? I can’t stay for long, I’m late for work after our perfect marital sex overran by exactly 17 minutes and 27 seconds.

Corpse Bride: That’s okay perfect husband. How’s your head, I know you’ve had trouble sleeping lately, which I’ve heard can really effect your ability to sell cars at your incredibly frustrating job.

Bruce Banner: I’ll be okay, just so long as silly customers and arrogant workmates DON’T MAKE ME ANGRY I should be fine, and not suffer any sort of mental illness whatsoever. Or random monster-transformations.

Bruce drives to work, and gets into a stressful situation in a traffic jam, causing him to reach for a prescription capsule in the glove compartment, where there’s also a gun/knife/knuckle-duster.

Bruce Banner: Damn it, I’ve run out of my pills for my headaches and sleeping problems. This might be a problem in the forseeable future. TO THE DOCTOR’S SURGERY!

ACT 2: The Doctor’s Surgery

As Bruce walks in, he starts looking at the various sick people, and tries to keep away from them. He eventually gets to his doctor.

Doctor Strange: I’m sorry Bruce, due to budget cuts from our incredibly stressful government, I can’t prescribe you any of your medicine. I sure hope this won’t cause you to go crazy or anything.

Bruce Banner: I’m sure it’ll be absolutely fine Doc, don’t worry about it.

Cue a montage of his day at work being incredibly bad, including spilt coffee down his shirt, being hit by a car in the car lot, and being told he’s getting a paycut.

Bruce Banner: Noooooooooooooooooo!

Bruce ends up in a generic seedy-looking bar. Brad Pitt sits down next to him.

Brad Pitt: Wellitlookslikeyou’rehavingabaddaytherebuddy. CanIbuyyouadrinklike?

Bruce Banner: Sure, whatever. Get me the moddiest drink in the bar.

Brad Pitt: Itellyouwhat, Iknowagreatwaytorelievestress. Finishyourdrinklikeandfollowme.

Bruce finishes his Bailey’s, and follows Brad Pitt down a dark alley, to a clangy metal door. Brad Pitt knocks on the door to the tune of a nursery rhyme. It’s opened by a gruff man, and Bard & Bruce enter an abandoned store-room with a judo mat on the floor.

Brad Pitt: ThisistheFightClublike. There’stwentysevenandahalfrulesforFightClub, thefirstisthatyoudon’ttalkaboutFightClub. Becauseofrulenumberone, nobodyknowswhattheothersixteenandahalfrules are. Sowealljustquotethefirstrule,andhopeitcatchesonwithcultsocietylike.

Brad Pitt then challenges a random guy from the assorted crowd to a fight. It happens to be loveable rocker Meatloaf.

Meatloaf: I’m gonna pound you like a bat out of hell Brad!

Brad Pitt: Bringit.

Brad performs a Hadoken, and sends Meatloaf through a wall. There’s a stunned silence as Brad walks over to Meatloaf. He then grab’s Meatloaf’s hand, picks him up, and everyone cheers.


Bruce begins fighting regularly at the club, and arriving home late, to the frustration of his wife. Eventually, Brad takes Bruce aside for a private chat.

Brad Pitt: NowBrucemyfriend, we’vegotaspecialprojectgoingon, butweneedsomefunds. Iwantyoutohelpmeraisesomefunds, forthisspecialprojectIcan’ttellyouaboutjustyet.

Brad takes Bruce outside a factory.

Brad Pitt: Nowthen, we’regoingtomakesoaplike, butwe’lldoitonthecheap. Now, grabtheserandomsacksofhumanfatfromthedumpster, andwe’llgobacktoyours.

Cue Brad and Bruce making human-fat soap in Bruce’s bath-tub whilst his wife is out. She returns to find approximately one million bars of soap in her house, and starts arguing with Bruce.

Brad Pitt: Nowthen, Bruce, letmehandlethislike, IthinkIcansettlethingsout, andexplainwhat’sgoingontoyourwife, youjustgooutsideandcooldownabitlike.

Bruce goes outside and into his car. Brad comes out a few minutes later, and dumps the soap in the back of the car. They then drive to Fight Club, where they give the soap to a gruff man, who then proceeds to sell human-fat soap at wherever it is you can actually sell human-fat soap.

Bruce Banner: So, what do we do with the money? We going to party it up, or put up some drapes in the Fight Club?

Brad Pitt: Now, that’sjustsillymate. We’regoingtoblowupaloadofbuildingwithbombs. Allpaidforwiththesoapyoumade, and completelytraceablebacktoyourhouse. Let’sgo.

ACT 4: Skyscraper Building Car-Park

Bruce Banner: I don’t know if I want to do this. Isn’t blowing up buildings a bad thing? Plus, I don’t want to get my perfect wife involved.

Brad Pitt: Nowthen, don’tworryaboutthat. Ikilledherwhilstyouwereinthecar, soshecan’tpossiblybeaproblem.

Bruce Banner: Noooooooooooooo!

Bruce then turns into the Incredible Hulk, and has a fight with Brad Pitt. The view switches to the security camera in the car-park, and it shows Bruce fighting with himself. Brad Pitt wins the fight, and leaves Bruce in the car-park, proceeding to blow up the building.

ACT 5: Epilogue

A series of flashbacks reveal that Brad Pitt was in fact not real, and was an extension of Bruce Banner’s personality, brought about by his lack of medication. As he became more stressed, ‘Brad’ became more violent in his stress relief, resulting in Bruce killing his perfect wife, and being the one who sets up the blowing-up of the buildings.

The film then ends on this ‘cliffhanger’, with some cheesy rock music.


Why There’s No Updates Right Now

I thought I’d put up a message a few days ago, but apparently not. It’s exam-season for me right now, so I’m concentrating on revision, which means I don’t have much free time at the moment. Plus, when I do, I want to spend it away from my room where I’ve been cooped up reading all day, rather than on the PC.

My last exam’s on the 15th, so hopefully should be back to normal after that.


Sunday Catch-Up#2: Good Gaming Friday: System Shock

“L-look at you h-hackers, a p-p-pathetic creature of m-meat and b-bones…”

No, I haven’t suddenly turned into Gareth Gates, that’s the near infamous line quoted to you during the Sound Test part of the install to an all-time PC classic that nobody bought:

System Shock – PC (DOS)

System Shock is a name many PC gamers might know, a cult classic from 1994, that brought so many new ideas to PC gaming, that the reason it flopped sales-wise is still a mystery. The game itself is a first-person action/adventure game. If you want it that way. Or it could be a first-person shooter. Or a purely puzzle-based first-person adventure. One of the innovations System Shock included was the ability to assign four ‘levels’ to different aspects of the game, such as Puzzles and Combat. A ‘1’ would practically remove it from the game, for instance in Combat, enemies would ignore you, and be killable in one hit. A ‘4’ in Puzzles would give you the hardest variations of the puzzles available and set a time-limit on the game.

The reason for a potential time-limit is that the game is set on the Citadel space station orbiting Earth, circa 2072. The rogue AI, which you helped to remove the ethics-restrictions on, SHODAN, has taken over the station, killed or zombified the inhabitants, and plans to strike the Earth with the station’s giant mining laser. Thus, it’s up to you to thwart SHODAN, and also to survive.

The environment is rendered in full-3D, in comparison to Doom II’s 2.5D graphics, which allows you to perform a variety of actions not found in most games of the time, such as looking up and down, climbing surfaces, crouching and leaning, and more. There was even mouse-based aiming, numerous amounts of digital speech, and high-resolution graphics.

Look! Real 3D! Take that Doom…and your sweet, sweet deathmatch and..oh, yes, System Shock forever!

So, aside from the technical marvels, what makes System Shock so fun to play? Darting from corridor to corridor, low on effective ammunition, SHODAN contacting and taunting you at every step, the game is an early example of the survial horror, except viewed from a first-person perspective. It’s hard to beat the adrenaline rush the game can give you at times, and the, using an ominous-looking headset, the gameplay changes entirely, as you get sent into cyberspace.

The Internet: Apparently it *is* actually a series of tubes.

The cyberspace areas of the game can best be described as a wireframe version of another PC classic, Descent. Without wanting to spoil the plot of the game, I advise getting used to the different controls, as cyberspace is used to open locked doors and the like, as well as combat certain enemies. And yes, the plot. Unravelled over time via the personal logs you find dotted around the space station, you get to follow the last days of the crew of the Citadel, hearing their panicked voices contemplate what’s to come, and how they try to figure a way to defeat SHODAN, and was a device picked up in System Shock 2, and of course, the spiritual successor to the series, Bioshock.

You can also zoom the playing screen to full-size to remove that pesky inventory. Who needs health when you have a laser-gun?

Overall, System Shock is a game that needs to played not just because it shows how far PC games have really come in the past 14 years, which aside from advances in graphics, is not very much, but also because it’s cracking good fun to play as well.

Pros: Amazing content, even for today. One of the best computer-game villains ever.

Cons: Outdated graphics, one annoying platform jumping section near the beginning, tricky to get running on modern PCs.


Sunday Catch-Up #1: Extremis Upgrade

So, had a busy couple of days, as usual for the end of the week, though more than usual due to exams on Thursday and Friday.  Saturday evening was taken up by Doctor Who and a work night out, so it’s up to today to make up for what we’ve missed. The first being this lovely piece of equipment, courtesy of Soshi Kenpachi over at his Tek Upgrade blog:

Wait a second…I’ve seen that before somewhere…

Anyhows, enough of that silliness, and on to the mini-review, as Mr Kenpachi has gone into it in almost as much depth as the card can possibly have discussed about it. A 0-cost, non-unique, concealed-optional, stun-remover is pretty darn nice. In order to offset that rather nice effect, it’s character-stamped to Dickhe.. Iron Man. Of course, as I’ve digressed with all of the character-stamped plot twists and locations so far, it’s an ample card for Mystique, Shapely Shifter to use and abuse.

With the upcoming metagame likely to involve a lot of Hulk beatdown decks, having Mystique up front, and non-stunning (and thus, not receiving breakthrough as well) will mean a much tougher time for your opponent to try and finish the game at Turn 4/5, the time Mystique is able to come into play.  Of course, there’s only going to a maximum of four of these cards in your deck, so they need to be used sparingly, but coupled with Iron Man’s other legend-content revealed this week, Stark Armory, you’re much more guaranteed to be able to accrue those +1/+1 counters, and thus beef up Mystique to avoid too much of a beating in the later turns. There’s also the fact that your opponent is going to be forced into tactical decisions of when to use cards such as Righteous Anger, as recovering Hulk to attack again may be a waste if the person he’s attacking can just avoid being stunned.

Actually, it looks like Iron Man could be a rather potent character for Marvel Universe. Shame he’s a di…rector of S.H.I.E.L.D.

August 2022