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Mexico bound

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m off to Mexico in the morning.

This means I won’t be posting for the next two weeks, I know what you’re thinking let’s be honest James you have barely posted for the last two weeks so how is this any different.

It’s not, but at least this time I have an excuse!

However Wi-Fi/3G permitting I am going to try and bring you this month’s Armageddon post direct from Chichen Itza, we will see how that works out.

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Snail Mail

August 14, 2012 1 comment

After the catastrophe of my kindles demise last month, I decided to splash out on a case for it.

I didn’t go for the official Amazon case on account of it being £31, which I thought was a little excessive, so I instead purchased a 3rd party one. I still bought it from Amazon but it was one of the resellers or whatever it is that you call them, and instead I paid the princely sum of £10 and got a car charger thrown in for free.

Now I know what you’re thinking this is not very exciting James why are you sharing this with us? Well ill continue, I placed the order almost a month ago and still hadn’t received it and what with me leaving for Mexico on Thursday it looked like my kindle was going to be going naked on holiday.

But today I got mail, I finally received my case.

 

Looking at the letter it’s clear however why it took the best part of a month to arrive.

It’s safe to say that at a first glance there is no reason for my package to have taken a detour via Jamaica, the address was pretty clear on the envelope, it clearly states my address and even more importantly in capital letters states UNITED KINGDOM.

Although on closer inspection it turns out that there is indeed a Hampshire in Jamaica and perhaps that somehow confused the mail man. Perhaps if I’m lucky on my way back from Mexico ill accidently get sent via Jamaica as well.

Either way the good news is that I now have my Kindle cover and am already for some quality reading time in the sun.

Olympic Overkill

August 7, 2012 1 comment

I’ve got no objection to the Olympics; I think it’s a great celebration of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen in the world.

On top of that it has been refreshing to see the last 10 days worth of newspaper front pages celebrating our nation’s sportspeople’s achievements as well as those of other nations around the world.

It’s been great to see the public outpouring of national pride, something that this country in general lacks, as a rule we take somewhat more joy in bringing our idols down than putting them on a pedestal.

At the same time I have little or no personal interest in the spectacle. With the exception of the opening ceremony, which if I’m honest I watched out of morbid curiosity rather than any sense of national pride, I have not watched or followed a single part of the Olympics.

I’m not knocking it, I felt the Opening ceremony was extremely well done, my personal favourite moment was the forging of the Olympic rings, which was pretty epic, and Mr Bean and the Bond sketch where without a doubt a stroke of genius and quintessentially English.

It’s just something that really doesn’t interest me.na

The closest to “interest” that I could profess was in the Football, but even that meh, it’s not like it’s the World Cup or the Euro’s

My gripe isn’t at the event itself, it  isn’t at the enthusiasm of those who are avid follower or supporters of one sport or another, or even those freakishly weird people who think it’s normal to dress head to toe in a Union Jack.

Instead it’s the lack of media coverage of anything else in the world what so ever, unfortunately I forgot to charge my kindle the other day and was faced with a 20mn journey with no reading material but luckily being a London train there was ample newspapers that had been left by the previous occupants.

But rather than being a newspaper it was essentially an Olympic Program, literally cover to cover the only page that wasn’t a story about the Olympics was the classifieds pages.

I have no objection to celebrating the achievements of these outstandingly talented athletes, at the same time I really would like to be able  read a paper, watch the news or check my Facebook and read about something else.

I guess I now know how those non Football fans feel during the World Cup.

won’t somebody think of the children

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve spoken about this a number of times over the last few months and my views a fairly well known, but considering the industry I work in and the importance of this change to it, it would be odd not to at least post some kind of comment.

As of the 30th July the PEGI age rating has now become legally enforceable in the UK. PEGI stands for Pan European Game Information and works pretty much like the BBFC does for films.  Previously a game would be rated by either body leading to a somewhat interesting situation where one title could be rated a 15 and title containing similar themes and depictions of violence or sexual content would be a 16.

The significant change is that until this the PEGI rating has essentially been a recommendation with no legal standing, however I would like to point out that a majority of retailers have treated the two the same for many many years, so the fact that this is now legally enforceable really will make little or no difference to who can or cannot by a game.

I have no problem with this becoming law, from someone who has worked in retail and sold these products having one unified method of identifying the content of a game is most defiantly a good thing, although I do have a problem with both the way that it was reported and the comments of both the Media and those people that they interviewed.

It baffled me how many parents they spoke to who raved about how this made everything so much clearer and was going to change the way they purchased video games, using my own anecdotal evidence I know that nine times out of ten they couldn’t care less about the rating of the game, but on a most basic level who rates the game, or whether it is a 12/15/16/18 really shouldn’t make it that hard to understand.

It’s pretty simple, is your child at or above the age of the rating on the box, no? Then it’s not suitable, yes? Then purchase away.

For me one of the most useful features of the PEGI system is the inclusion of symbols to represent the reasoning behind said rating, whilst BBFC rating did often include a brief summary of the reason for a titles classification such as “contains strong language and sexual content” it seems that for most people this isn’t simple enough and perhaps having it in picture form aid them to understand.

 

 

What does baffle me slightly is the way in which these age ratings are classified.

 

12 – Games are rated for 12-years and over if they include non-graphic violence to human or animal characters, a slightly higher threshold of violence to fantasy characters or significant nudity or bad language.

 

Now that seems somewhat ambiguous to me, significant nudity for example, first of all what exactly is significant and what exactly is “bad language”? Where do you draw the line?

 

16 -Games are rated 16-years and over if the depiction of violence or sexual activity looks the same as it would do in normal life. Drug and tobacco references also trigger the age limit.

 

So Nudity and bad language is perfectly fine for a 12, but get your character to spark up in your otherwise wholesome game and bang a huge chunk of your audience is gone.

 

18 – Games are rated 18-years and over if there is a “gross” level of violence likely to make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.

 

Now this is the one that really make me chuckle, based on this in total across the last decade there is less than a handful of titles that would ever be rated an 18, I mean there are a lot of games out there with significant levels of violence, but I find it hard to believe that there are that many that are likely to make the average viewer feel a sense of revulsion.

Realistically as I have said many times before the only way to stop children getting hold of unsuitable titles is to punish the parents, I agree 100% with punishing retailers who fail to adhere to the rules and allow minors to purchase games that they are not legally allowed to own, at the same time I believe that much in the same way as purchasing a Alcohol for a minor will get you a £5k fine and a potential criminal record the same should apply to Games.

I don’t remotely buy into the idea that games leave any kind of lasting psychological effect on a child or affect their behaviour in any way, I grew up playing computer games and I have never once jumped on turtle and I hate mushrooms.

However I do believe that the current generation of parent’s inability to say no when something is unsuitable and the ever increasing use of the game console as a babysitting device very much does have an effect on the future development of said child into a fully functioning adult.

July

August 5, 2012 1 comment

Well July has been a somewhat mixed month.

From a writing standpoint it has been abysmal; I only managed a meagre 10 posts throughout the month putting my batting average at just short of 33%. I haven’t even opened SFU so my Chapter a month goal has well and truly fallen off a cliff and at this rate chances are I’ll not finish it before the time I’m eighty.

I had both the Wife’s birthday and our eighth wedding anniversary which due to finances and a serious lack of planning passed without much celebration (although we did get a new toaster), the Wife did get some lovely Big Bang inspired “Cooper Coupons” to redeem at a later date, sadly unlike Sheldon I didn’t have the foresight to only include activities that I would find fun, so at some point in the near future I am going to be subjected to Jesus Christ Superstar.

The wife finished Dr Horrible which I managed to actually get time off work to go and see, Twice, and which her Kids did both her and Joss Whedon proud. If it comes on YouTube at any point you can bet I’m going to pass it Felicia, Neil and Nathan’s (thats right we are on first name terms, thats whats bening friends on Twitter means isnt it?) way via Twitter.

My Kindle broke and for a short period of time I was in a position where I didn’t know how I was going to cope with reverting back to good old fashioned paper books, especially as I hadn’t bought a new one for well over a year, but Amazon came to the rescue with some unexpected customer service and I am now back on reading schedule, having rediscovered Katherine Kerr’s Deverry Cycle and currently taking in Salem’s Lot to feed my Dark Tower addiction (Father Callahan is in DT as well) until I get round to purchasing Wind Through the Keyhole, and Hollywood finally gets round to its Film/TV adaptation.

On the more positive side I have started a new job, I am still working for the same company but I have managed to land myself a 6 month Secondment in Head Office, meaning not only a 9-5:30 working day but more importantly weekends off. Now that may sound a little shallow and I can guarantee you that is not the reason I went for the position, after all the trauma that the company has gone through over the last few months I went for it due to feeling that I can contribute something to the greater good and help the business avoid the pitfalls of its former existence, and hopefully I will display enough of that during my six months for it to become a permanent position, but at the same time being able to spend weekends with the Wife are a welcome perk to this new position.

Also thanks to the Ryan Podger post and the recognition that the organisation that he works for gave him, I had my biggest ever day on this blog, they all read that post and as far as I can tell nothing else and its difficult to determine if any of them have stayed around to read anything else that I post here, but either way it was a nice spike to see on the viewing figures and potentially got me a few more regulars as well.

As it stands in a writing sense August has got off to a similar start, we are 5 days in and this is my first post and let’s be honest it is at best a summary of the previous posts that somehow you might have missed, but as I and many others have pointed out over the years perhaps the simple act of writing itself will reignite the drive that I had to ensure that at very least I was posting regularly, if not daily in the past.

On top of that I now have another motivation, the Wife has started her own Blog and the fact that she is spending time writing hers should hopefully spur me onto writing more regularly, even if it is only to defend myself where needed.

Whilst there will without doubt be a two week period of silence due to my trip to Mexico I can at least try and ensure that I post for the next eleven days before I go, and if all goes according to plan I will bring you this month’s Armageddon episode direct from Chichen Itza the “birthplace” of the Mayan Calendar.

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