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About Simon

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    Thumb Citizen

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  • Location
    United Kingdom
  • Interests
    Music, video games, illustration
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  1. Kickstarters

    The only one that I really regret is Last Life (May 2014). Double Fine pulled out in late 2015 (information which was only shared with backers in August 2017), and it's struggled along. The creator is now proposing to shift focus to a new multiplayer sudoku game, which would theoretically raise funds and allow him to complete a cut-back version of the Kickstarted game. All a bit of a mess and I don't see it happening - although I've not been on there hectoring him and demanding a refund or anything. There are a few I got carried away and backed that weren't for me in the end - e.g. The Flame and the Flood and Massive Chalice. Those are as much cautionary tales for me as Last Life - I've learned not to get swept up. I don't have that urge to be on board first thing, or reserve loads of exclusive fan swag. I've continued to back occasional book and comic projects, where it's usually a matter of the creators covering production costs and I can expect have something in my hands quite soon...but games are too much of a gamble. Very excited about Psychonauts 2, but I did not back it - it was always going to smash the target, and it'll be a day one perch for me when it's ready. Also, as promised, the video updates are on Youtube (do backers get extra ones?) I think I'm just waiting on: Guard Duty (March 2017) - fantasy/sci-fi comedy point & click adventure, out early next year. I know the guy behind it and it's shaping up nicely. Jenny LeClue (August 2014) - out quite soon I think. Although it's been a long development and my interest has waned a little over 4 years, they've been very diligent with the updates and seem to know what they're doing.
  2. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    I watched season 1 over the past couple of weeks. Incredibly witty writing, a very likeable cast, impressive direction and production design...I think it's my new favourite TV show. I wonder if it's an idea she'd had in her pocket for a while before getting the chance to make it. As a first season of something, it seems so perfectly formed, with every little plot thread balanced and sustained so cleverly across the eight episodes. I think it's back next month! Glad I don't have too much of a wait.
  3. Netflix Originals

    Me too! I enjoyed it all but those two were outstanding. I also thought Carter Burwell's score was excellent. I've streamed the 'All Gold Canyon' section several times now. I slightly regret not catching it on the big screen now, but I've been struggling with a cold all week and it was a very limited release (one week, Curzons only), so watching it on Netflix in bed was the only way.
  4. Other podcasts

    Congratulations on wrapping up Checkpoints @declan! I've only just begun listening to it, but I've dipped in and tried a few like the Mr. Biffo and Chris Remo episodes, and I can tell I'll enjoy the rest. Looking forward to the complete re-run. In the absence of Thumbs I've tried various weekly video game podcasts of the 'what we've been playing' type, but few stuck (similar reasons to others here). Video Game Hot Dog (thanks for the tip @Cleinhun) and Splitscreen are currently in my subscriptions and I'm enjoying both so far.
  5. I really enjoyed this! They did a great job of picking out key scenes that let each actor shine, and also kind of told the whole story within an hour. What a perfect voice cast. Glottis' goodbye still gets me, right where my heart used to be, twenty years later. Clint's whistling made me want to play Outlaws again, or maybe just track down the soundtrack.
  6. Congratulations and all the best for the big move, Thumbs! I trust that Valve will be taking delivery of a crate full of orange foam very soon. Does this happen often in these games industry acquisitions? A dozen pals/colleagues all at once upping sticks to live and work in a different city seems like a rare and singularly exciting/terrifying thing to me.
  7. Wonderful work on Surfin' the Highway, Jake, and nice to hear you to talk about putting it together. I have the softcover (couldn't quite stretch to the hardcover with bookplate when Telltale first released them) and more recently the Comixology version which I dip into on my phone from time to time. A real shame they weren't able to keep it in print for longer, but the digital release is very welcome, as I often find myself recommending the comics to people. I believe it was Jake who recommended this to me elsewhere on these Forums, but to spread the word a bit, the Facebook page Sam & Max Funhouse is a steady stream of interesting bits from Steve Purcell's archive - well worth following.
  8. Other podcasts

    A new favourite of mine is Loremen. Each episode, the two hosts pick a couple of obscure folktales to narrate. They make as much sense of them as they can, and then rate them out of five in categories like names, gore, supernatural, mispronunciation, and anything else that seems appropriate. It's a lot of spooky fun. If you enjoyed Something True, I reckon you'll like this too. I burned through the first five yesterday, and there's a new episode today!
  9. The Asian Film Thread

    That's seredipitous - those are the two Ozu films I picked up in a recent BFI sale and I'm planning to watch them soon! I wasn't really sure what to expect but I knew both were highly regarded. Thanks for the tip, I'll start with Late Spring. Sticking with Japan, do you know much Mizoguchi? I've seen Ugetsu and Sansho The Bailiff and found them totally absorbing moral fables, with beautiful cinematography. The tragic, epic sweep that Sansho crams into just two hours is pretty staggering, and I loved how Ugetsu blended ghost stories into a realistic period setting. The 'Late Mizoguchi' box set seems to be out of print, but I keep meaning to watch more of them because those two films are fascinating.
  10. Pre-Discussion: The Odyssey

    Great, looking forward to that! I know The Odyssey well, although the most recent translation I've read is Barry B. Powell (2014). I gather this new Emily Wilson one is excellent too, so perhaps you'll be the last nudge I need to pick up another version.
  11. Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

    Brilliant, thanks for the tip @dartmonkey! Labo seems very clever. Building those cardboard contraptions would be fun, and even if some the actual games might eventually lose their novelty value, at least you're not then left with a huge waste of plastic (thinking about the Guitar Hero Wii accessory in my loft). I Iove that it is all recyclable.
  12. I approve of this sort of Wiki-sabotage. Several years ago a friend and I, both fans of Paul McCartney, became aware of this music video for his 1986 single 'Press', from the album Press To Play. We amused ourselves by imagining that Macca super-fans would make a special pilgrimage to the London Underground stations seen in the video (despite the song being a largely forgotten piece of his unloved mid-80s output) and edited the Wikipedia articles for Piccadilly Circus tube station and the single itself, to reflect this fictional subculture. All credit to my friend for the brilliant, totally standards-trolling turn of phrase here (link to the version of the page from August 2013). Sadly, the Wikipedia vigilantes struck and the edits did not last long - but long enough for the misinformation to filter down to a few blogs and, most excitingly, the official Transport for London website! Our absolute nonsense eventually surfaced here in a blurb for Art on the Underground: We are still hoping McCartney himself will somehow end up acknowledging the phenomenon in a interview, maybe when the album gets reissued. Wax House, Baby!
  13. Star Wars Episode 8

    Re: acting in TLJ, the nice surprise for me was Ade Edmondson (famous from British comedy TV like Bottom and The Young Ones, but more recently the BBC's War and Peace adaptation) turning up as a First Order Captain. I've since seen it referred to as a cameo but it's a meatier role than that, like Admiral Ozzel in TESB - he's in the very first scene with Hux and several others, bearing bad news. As it happens I saw him on stage as Malvolio in Twelfth Night last month and he was terrific, and I sort of wondered why he hadn't done more film work - now, hey presto! An inspired choice, continuing that great tradition of British character actors as Imperial officers. I liked the score and it seemed to expand on the new themes from VII nicely but I'd have to see it again. dartmonkey's right about 'greatest hits' - it's tough now because if we get a thrilling Falcon chase scene, Williams seems to feel he has to quote the asteroid pursuit music from TESB, and he's probably right (I loved that!). That leaves a little less room for new ideas - maybe Canto Bight let him stretch a bit, but I can't recall that music right now.
  14. Star Wars Episode 8

    I liked it! First thoughts... Weird self-deafeating pacing in the first hour when the tension of one thread was constantly punctured by the slow build of the other, and vice versa. Some of the island scenes felt wasted in this context, but edited differently I think I'd have loved all of that stuff. For about ten minutes it didn't really feel like a film anymore - picking up on Jake's take, more like a rushed TV series finale. For me, it did recover from that.
  15. Music Of The Year 2017

    I did a little round-up of my top albums of the year in this Twitter thread: Hard to pick a single track, but the title track from Hurray for The Riff Raff's The Navigator nicely represents what is a really fine album. I tend to buy a lot of reissues and compilations but, for whatever reason, I've not kept as up-to-date on old music (if that makes sense) this year. One big relevation was this box set of early, scrappy recordings from Twin Cities punk heroes Hüsker Dü. I'm still getting to know it, but it's great that this stuff has finally made it out.