Wednesday, 10 April 2013

First Guardian Piece: Running and Nerds

I'm pretty pleased to say that my first piece for The Guardian is now live and doing the social media rounds. It comes complete with an interesting choice of picture that I can't decide whether I'd like to claim credit for. But I can't, so hey-ho. Here's a slice from the middle:
There are a couple of ways you can slice this seemingly odd collision of running and nerd culture. One is that if two million or so people in the UK run, then presumably some of them are going to be a bit nerdy. I don't have hard statistical evidence with which to carve up the demographics, but if something is popular, then there's no reason it can't be popular with the geekier cross-sections of our society. But I've heard that football is pretty popular too, and experience tells me that the number of regular, active footballers in my geekier circles is comparatively minuscule.
The rest is, of course, through the link.  

Monday, 18 March 2013

Review: LEGO City Undercover

You'd be forgiven for expecting less of LEGO City Undercover than it delivers. Or, I'd forgive you, anyway. I was expecting something pleasant and forgettable, but Traveller's Tales has gone a fair way beyond 'pleasant and forgettable' and into the territory of 'meaty and impressive'.
The game stars Chase McCain, a cop returning to LEGO City after leaving under a dark cloud. Chase's former foe, Rex Fury, is on the loose and causing mayhem and LEGO City's police commissioner isn't prepared to admit there's a problem. So, of course, it's down to Chase to deal with the problem.
Without a big license on board I was expecting a return to the more linear action/adventure style of earlier Travellers Tales LEGO games rather than the more open world of LEGO Batman 2, but I quickly discovered I was thoroughly wrong. LEGO City Undercover is basically Grand Theft Auto for kids.
And it ends like... well, like this.

Friday, 1 March 2013

March of the Eagles: Grand Stategy Vs a N00b

I wrote a piece for SPOnG on trying to find your way into a Grand Strategy game from a standing start:

So, I've been trying to invade the Netherlands since yesterday. And it shouldn't be that difficult. I mean, the Netherlands, right? Flat. Windmills. Clogs. Relaxed sex and drug laws. And it's 1805 and I'm in charge of Great Britain. Great Britain!!! In 1805 we were so hard that we were still (just barely) turning up in other peoples' countries and just nicking their blokes because it was cheaper and easier than just paying people a decent wage. Plus, I have 490,000 men, and the Netherlands has, like, 9,000. So, yeah! Rule Britannia and all that.

Except, I'm kind of struggling to get my guys into boats. I mean, I have boats, but it seems like for some reason you can only put soldiers on some of them. Official transports are what I need, apparently. And it seems some of my armies are too heavy for the boats. I thought about just starving them for a little bit so they'd lighten up, but that doesn't seem to be an option. It's possible I can separate them, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Bureaucracy, innit. This is the exact kind of red tape that brings Imperial ambition to a sluggish crawl.

More through here.