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User Journal

Journal Journal: Playing the Back Nine

So, this is the last week of the semester. I feel pretty chilled out...
Oh yeah, and I just got a blog and a homepage - nothing to write home about, really.

Yes, it's a free Livejournal account. Yes, my homepage is Geocities. No, I'm not a cheapskate. I'm just not very technical, and I don't feel it's worth the time or the effort to put my stuff online any other way right now. Maybe in the future.

I just realised how camp the title of this entry sounds, but it's staying. The front nine was the first semester, the current semester is the back nine, and I'll be spending the last day of term at the nineteenth hole (the bar!).
User Journal

Journal Journal: High Gear

Well, looks like the back half of the semester finally kicked into high gear. I have enough work to keep me busy for a while (short fiction, fiction analysis, critical paper on Jane Eyre, critical paper on Regeneration, short presentation on Top Girls, linguistic analysis take-home paper...) and will have plenty more to do next week - mostly linguistic studies.
But on the bright side, I can /. for pleasure and to take a break. The nice thing is, I'm not karma whoring - just posting my views in an intelligent and calm manner, and getting both good moderation and intelligent discussion. There are some great folks out there who are helping a non-technical non-geek pick up on where he's right and wrong.
Thanks for your patience and correction, guys.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fantasy G33k Auction 1

Okay, fellow /.ers - this is a continuation of my post in the Roman D20 auction thread.
I said:

Makes you wonder what'll go under the hammer next...

What would other /.ers like to see auctioned off from the annals of computer mythology? (And no, don't ask for a stable and secure version of Windows - Christie's won't take your soul in payment)

Post your suggestions and bids here!
And remember... caveat emptor!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Contemporary Videogaming - Quality vs. Quantity 2

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with a friend of mine who's just finishing a degree in Video Games Design & Technology.
The long and short of it was, recently I've been using emulators and sites like Home of the Underdogs to populate my HD with fondly remembered classics - games I played on my Amiga, or on friends' PCs, C64s, Spectrums, BBC Micros and such.

Basically, I miss the stuff I liked as a kid - and thanks to some emulators and tinkering, I've recently been replaying classics like Zork and Star Trek: The 25th Anniversary. I've owned a Windows machine now for about seven years, and in that time games have come and gone - my favourites over time have included Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and Half-Life.
One of the things I noticed more recently is that the games market seems to be getting saturated with stuff that's graphically nice or built around one technical trick (like Max Payne's innovative bullet-time feature). So how come the advances in graphics, better processors, data storage, and multiplayer gaming haven't resulted in a better, richer experience? There are some sterling examples - heck, Half-Life is still very popular today, right? The AI in that was pretty awesome. Some strategy games have a lot of replayability. Even the Baldur's Gate series have enough hidden niches and extra missions to keep me coming back.

So why are there so few good games out there today? Well, for one, I think the consoles sort of have the edge - people buy an XBox, or a GameCube, or a PS2 - and the gamedevs have the edge, because they know precisely what hardware you'll have. Plus, for most of the market, you'll be locked into that one format for a couple of years.
With PCs, your hardware and OS are an unknown quantity. Some games won't work unless you have THE latest graphics card; a lot of the classics fall by the wayside unless you know how to convince them that your shiny new Intel Celeron is actually a Pentium II, or that WinXP is actually Win95.
And then there's that one controlling factor: the Almighty Dollar. Yup, market force seems to cause good games to falter or to be released before they're ready (anyone remember the NeverWinter Nights fiasco? At release, it was barely functional. Friends nicknamed it "NeverWorking Shite". A local games shop that trades in secondhand PC titles filled a whole shelf before putting a sign in the window - "We absolutely will not accept NeverWinter Nights!").

I'm half tempted to learn how to write interactive fiction, or buy a decent game (I'm informed that Homeworld 2 is most definitely worth the money!) and get into the mod community. I'll never be technical enough to be a designer or coder, but perhaps if I lend my support to good titles (and add my creativity to community projects) then developers might start to realise that it's about more than "How many really bad Doom clones can we sell this year?"

End of rant. Normal viewing will now be resumed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Ubiquitous Feline

This might be the strangest and most offtopic journal entry ever. However, I feel compelled to note that while browsing /. I have been accosted by a small cat. It has sat on my notes, walked on the keyboard, and rubbed its head on my shoulder while I tried to compose an entry regarding food in space. Luckily, it stayed off my lap.
This is unusual, because I am sitting in a university library. This is not unusual, because the same cat is often seen asleep in the English department (which is predominantly south-facing, so when the weather is good, there's plenty of sunny spots to sleep in), and more frequently in the bar (it's rather fond of chasing pool balls).
I have yet to ascertain whether the cat does, in fact, possess membership for the library and the bar, or if the bar staff have ruled that it is underage and liable to be barred.

You can tell my essay on Jane Eyre is getting to me when I take the time to post stuff like this. I did consider calling this entry "That Darn Cat!", but thought it would open me to ridicule if the /. population realised that I used to like Hayley Mills movies.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 0wnz0red

Okay, so the subject is a little lame (though better than my original work-in-progress title, w00t w00t!! fr1s7 p057!1!! i 0wn j00!), but hey - this is /. after all, and I think I spent a little too much time today reading MegaTokyo .

Anyhow, I finally bit the bullet and signed up. I've been reading on and off for maybe three years now, and thought it was about time I quit lurking. Should be pretty insightful stuff... ("Offtopic" and "-1: Troll" posts notwithstanding!)

Actually, it's not just MegaTokyo I spent too much time reading - a friend recently introduced me to the works of Cory Doctorow, and after reading his novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom , I did a little Googling.
This one's been on /. before, but it's a pretty good story so I thought I'd share it:
0wnz0red on .

Take it easy on the new guy, folks - the asbestos underwear is still in the mail and I'm fresh out of troll repellant!
Oh, and for anyone wondering about my sig line - call me retro, but Zork was the first game I ever bought when I got my Amiga 500, around Christmas of 1990. It is, as they say, an oldie but a goodie - and I've recently taken to holing up in my dorm with my laptop, an interpreter, the IF file, and of course a lamp.
Well hey, you wouldn't want me to be eaten by the grue, would you?

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