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Posts posted by Simon

  1. 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. 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. On 16/11/2018 at 5:57 PM, Henke said:

    The Tom Waits and Zoe Kazan segments were my favourite.


    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. 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. :tup:


    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. 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.


  7. 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!


  8. 3 hours ago, Patrick R said:

    If you are like me and never watched any Ozu but are curious I would probably recommend starting with Late Spring instead of Tokyo Story, as the former is a little more "eventful" (whatever that means in the context of Ozu's quiet and gentle stories) and latter is a little tougher to crack emotionally.


    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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.



    For the first time we have flashbacks in Star Wars, and not just that but Rashomon-esque ones. Also, Rey's visit to the dark depths of the island turns out to be being narrated by her later on. This stuff breaks with the by-now implicit formal constraints of SW (which Rogue One already started to rethink outside of the main saga) but serves the story well.


    I appreciated the amount of Poe screen time - he vanished for much of VII but Oscar Isaac gets lots to do here. Like Harrison Ford, he is able to breathe life into an admittedly simple, archetypal character and, by extension, the whole silly thing. 


    Canto Bight - the casino city - was the most glaringly disposable part of the story, and quite the zany caper, but maybe the film needed that kind of tangent to balance the darkness (it seemed like every twenty minutes someone either sacrificed themself to blow something up, or tried to...which is exhausting). Also it did develop Rose's character, and neatly set up the final minute.



  12. 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.



  13. I loved Heist on the iPad but that doesn't have the Outsider DLC, good excuse to buy it again for Switch. It's a fantastic game - for what it's worth I prefer it to Dig 2, both excellent though.


    I've held off on The Sexy Brutale for now, because I've read a bit about it very poor framerates and loading times - thought others might wish to know as I did hype the port here. Hopefully it will be improved soon as it sounds like a very interesting game.


    Skyrim is keeping me occupied, in any case. I enjoyed playing it in my bed whilst it was actually snowing outside...when I left the house to buy some milk yesterday I felt like I was climbing the Throat of the World.

  14. In Our Time is terrific. I tend to end up with quite a backlog as it's not really something you can listen to whilst doing anything else, but when I get round to it I find it really rewarding - and similarly, I feel like I'm making up for a slightly complacent attitude during my university years. It even occasionally features one of my old tutors.


    Looking forward to listening to the recent Moby Dick episode.

  15. News of another welcome port, coming very soon:


    I've heard great things about this, so will probably pick it up next week. What a wildly good indie roster this system already has.


    Skyrim is a blast and works really nicely on Switch! I've kind of ended up doing a vague circuit of the main cities, picking a few big questlines and odd jobs here and there (haven't tackled much of the main story yet) but it's thoroughly absorbing. I'm finding the dungeons etc. nice and varied, with a real sense of adventure throughout. Playing as sneaky Khajiit archer. 

  16. I found the Fincher-directed episodes (the first two and the final two) a great deal more engaging than almost all the others.


    Picking up on what Arkestry said about Holden, Groff seems stilted throughout to me, especially next to Holt McCallany as Tench (I feel like I must have seen McCallany in loads of other stuff, but looking at his filmography, it's only Alien³ - also Fincher), and the actors cast as the killers. I know he's meant to be an exasperating character, but the performance was too - just unconvincing.


    Whilst it didn't quite justify ten episodes (despite the admirable policy of not sticking to an arbitrary episode length), the slow burn did allow them to establish the ADT man in a menacing way with a series of head-scratching cold opens. I thought that was great, until absolutely nothing came of it! I'll probably watch the second season to see where that leads.

  17. I've finished Sonic Mania (although not with a complete set of Chaos Emeralds, as I'm terrible at those special stages and was avoiding them by the end).


    In every respect it captures the classic Sonic feel, with clear nods to environments and bosses past, but it has enough new ideas to keep things interesting. I love how all the zones are transformed in Act 2, with some new mechanic always introduced to raise the stakes.


    The boss battles are more of a mixed bag, with some very fun and clever twists on classic Robotnik appearances, but also several frustrating and punishing encounters, where it's just trial and error to work out what you're allowed to hit without losing rings. The same is probably true of Sonic 2, but coming to this directly after the friendly, forgiving Mario Odyssey, it took a while to adjust to!


    Highly recommended, and it seems to have been a big hit so I'll be surprised if there isn't eventually a sequel.

  18. Yep, I've got Skyrim on the way. I never owned anything that could run it before this, so it will be all new to me. I am excited, having been hooked on Daggerfall and Oblivion in their past.


    Great list - lots of overlap with mine, and other stuff to look up! I expect I'll get Oxenfree soon as I am in the mood for that sort of thing, and keep hearing good stuff. It seems like Axiom Verge physical release got pushed to January but I'm still going to hold on - plenty to play in the meantime, and I want the 2PP documentary.


    The way things have worked out I'll now play Breath of the Wild next year. I suspect I'll enjoy Skyrim more without having that to compare it to unfavourably.


    That Doom story is cool! I love that it's on Switch but it's another one I'm probably leaving 'til next year.

  19. I agree with dartmonkey. If it was just the familiar Mario aesthetic plus New Donk City, the latter would feel like a total misstep, but taken together, the wild variety of all the kingdoms and their inhabitants becomes the aesthetic - anything goes.



    The Metro Kingdom and the Ruined 'Dark Souls' Kingdom may have stretched that theory almost to breaking point, but for me they really worked at that point in the game.


    The element that doesn't quite seem to fit, despite all that, is the Broodals. I've found that lots of Mario bosses have felt visually out of place since at least Sunshine, so that wasn't a huge disappointment, just an odd choice, and quite throwaway in terms of character design.

  20. I finished SteamWorld Dig 2, albeit with plenty of secrets still to find and optional caves still to complete. I was very much looking forward to this game - it's the first thing besides Mario that I've played on my Switch. I liked it a lot and can recommend it, but the pacing felt off, especially in retrospect. The credits came as a surprise - I didn't know I was tackling the final boss (was anticipating a big plot twist and then a whole new area to dig) and there were lots of upgrades I was still saving up cogs for.


    SteamWorld Heist, whilst very different mechanically (no pun intended), did a great job of balancing and gating itself to make sure I reached the endgame feeling pretty powerful and armed to the hilt with almost everything available - whilst somehow making the grind minimal. In fact, it was very satisfying to return to a level you'd once barely scraped through, and ace it with your improved crew to rustle up some extra cash. Somehow I was able to complete the story of Dig 2 with lots of the upgrade tree still to go. Perhaps I was playing it wrong, but I wasn't rushing at all.


    At some point I'll see if I can reload to just before the final battle and keep levelling up, then tackle some of the more fiendish caves. I'm not someone who tries to 100% everything but I do feel I've short-circuited this game somehow and want to spend more time with it.

  21. @thepaulhoey I also particularly love the Wooded Kingdom tunes!

    I got this on Friday (bundled with my Switch), and no surprise that a flagship Mario game is enormous, absorbing fun...but I never knew how much I missed the freewheeling exploration of Sunshine. I think Galaxy was and is fantastic, but its clarity and focus came at the expense of something. It's wonderfully relaxing and rewarding just poking around a kingdom, invariably finding something new to unravel or just admiring the scenery - I love that Snapshot Mode. It's almost impossible to catch the game in a moment that isn't either beautiful or joyously silly, or both.


     It was only once I reached the Wooded Kingdom that I learned not to rush, and now I think I'm taking the game at its optimum pace. Case in point, here's a snapshot from my return visit to the Cascade Kingdom (I somehow missed the T Rex on my first visit, so decided to return in my explorer garb):