There now follows an advert. For which I am not getting paid. Because, well, it's for LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

I think the reason for me posting this video should be apparent to all. It's not available for preorder on Amazon yet. I've checked.
the full press release )
May is also when I can renew my phone contract so I can get over the immense phone envy I am suffering over Jennie's new N8.
Goldeneye was a reason to actually buy an N64 thirteen years ago. I didn't, but a good friend did (my former boss). We spent hours playing that game. A bunch of us would regularly decamp to his house and spend the evening shooting each other in the back. I was crap at it. Really, really, crap at it.

Jennie is pretty much housebound for the next few weeks. My parents have wired me money for Xmas presents early, knowing that we'll have some cash flow issues. I bought a 2nd hand Wii with some of it as our old one is broken. This has proven to be a very good decision. Of the games we have, Worms has proven to be the most popular, we have a houseguest helping us out, so three/four player games are good.

We went into town today (her second time out of the house since the op, her first not in a car for the whole time), and thanks to the staff at the excellent Ninja Games in town (nice store, shame about the website) we got a collection of cheap stuff. We also got a copy of Goldeneye for thirty quid.

I'm crap at it. Really, really, crap it it. It's great. The controls are going to take a lot to get used to, they've put a lot of thought into them and it's a very powerful interface. But, um, I'm not used to it yet. Despite being Goldeneye, it's got Daniel Craig voicing Bond and Dench as M. This Is Good.

The graphics and the game engine have both been updated, but it feels right. It feels like Goldeneye did sat on Lee's couch getting shot by Simon and Doug. In the back. Repeatedly. At least playing it single player I'm getting shot repeatedly by Russians.

We're taking a break from it at the moment, Alien Syndrome looked like a good buy for £3 if the objective is simple multiplayer games. And we got fed up dying as Bond.

But we'll be back to Goldeneye soon. I want to shoot Jennie with a Golden Gun.
Apparently, if I stop posting here, people will start ringing me to check I'm ok, or wondering what I'm up to, or other similar things. This is especially true if I just, y'know, stop writing stuff and stop commenting elsewhere.

Well, I did. It started as a weekend break from t'internet in which I didn't even look at my email, then it turned into a few months where I simply scanned my email for important stuff, occasionally checked into Twitter, but otherwise didn't read any of my reading, friends or feed pages and simply turned off. Honestly? It's been good.

So, what have I been doing instead? Well, making money definitely wasn't one of them. Ah well, that'll have to start changing. What I have been doing is enjoying life in many respects.

Learnt how to bake and cook

I've learnt, not just how to bake (which is quite easy), but also how to actually, y'know, properly cook. I am no longer scared by a recipe that requires I chop an onion. I know what a vichyssoise is (but not how to spell it), and have even made one. My carrot, cream and orange soup, adapted from Mary Berry's recipe, is quite simply gorgeous, and I successfully made baguettes yesterday.

I've been helping [personal profile] miss_s_b in the garden, in which we have potatoes, beetroot, oregano and even scented geraniums growing well. The newly planted garlic is already sprouting, so that'll be nice for next year.

Biggest bestest cake in the world

I've been spending time with [personal profile] amazing_holly, reading, playing games, cooking and having fun. I managed to get her to teach herself the basics of multiplication and division while baking a cake. I even, as a reward for her for sticking with learning to be good enough at Speed Racer to actually beat Mummy in a championship cooked, with her, the biggest bestest cake that Mister Mat has ever made! which has, somehow, now become the biggest bestest cake in the world. Well, she is 6. It was fun making it though, even if it was so big it had gone dry before we finished it.

But also? I've been playing games. A lot of games. For this you can mostly blame [personal profile] liadnan. Y'see, awhileback I had a catastrophic OS failure involving a critical Fx vulnerability and a dodgy porn site, and we gave up on fixing Windows and switched to Ubuntu for the main desktop. I had some problems getting a few things to work, and he pointed me at the wonder that is the world of Linux repositories. So I installed some, to see what I could find.

Open source, extendable games

Mostly, I found games. Open Source, extendable, games. Based on some wonderful classics like Elite, Civilisation, Sin City and similar. I will, I hope, write up the ones I enjoyed, just so I can have a record of them. I may even write up the ones I hated, to remind me not to install them again. In the meantime, I'm back. I've been reading, and even commenting on, most of my reading pages, and plan to completely reorganise them to keep my sanity in place.

In the meantime, enough about me, what've you guys been up to, have I missed much?
I don't play MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. I try to avoid buying too many computer games, especially new ones, as I know what I'm like. Up until now though, I had no idea that Jennie was, in actualy fact, worse than me in this regard as well. She's hidden it well.

Those of you that read [ profile] miss_s_b or [ profile] theyorkshergob might be wondering if her silence today is due to hangover or similar from her birthday yesterday. You might suspect she's recovering. Well, she is, sort of.

She's sat on the sofa. Playing Speed Racer on the Wii. She's been there pretty much non-stop except for food breaks. Since 4pm today. 91/2hrs and counting.

It's a fun game, with lots of little tricks to learn. But she's way way past the "I want to be able to teach [ profile] shrublette how to play this" stage.

Doesn't bother me of course, I've been distracted for more than a few hours by Oolite since I started playing it in November. But I don't recall an 8 hour straight game. Meh, I've turned the TV volume down and crawled into bed, I have books to read and candles to read them by--if she doesn't come upstairs until the morning that's her call.

Visitors tomorrow, [ profile] innerbrat and [ profile] ms_ntropy are braving the Megabus from The Smoke. So she'll teach them how to play it tomorrow evening I've no doubt.
This is a pretty good description of my friends list and feed reader this morning:

How about you? Taking Jennie to work for an eight hour shift in abit, then back here—got a bit of a grotty cold so don't want to sit in the pub given we're doing that tomorrow for her birthday anyway. So, come on people, post stuff, amuse me!

OK, how about a meme. Um, Most expensive Xmas present? Most annoying? Most useful? Why?

For me, all three are one. We got a Wii. Well, when I say we, what I mean is Jennie got one and I grudgingly said OK. Obviously most expensive, and obviously, it's a Wii, it's annoying. But most useful?

Can we say babysitting service? Shrub's got the idea I'm completely useless at it already, so accepts that I don't want to play it lots. So as long as I make sure she takes regular breaks and go down to talk to her a bit, I can keep my sanity when she's off school. Yay!

Also? Worms: Space Oddity is cool, even if I can't aim for toffee, and it makes Jennie smile. Making Jennie smile is always fun.
I never did get into Dungeons and Dragons. This might seem weird to a lot of you, who either know me through gaming, or know that I am (or at least was) a gamer, but ultimately by the time I tried AD&D I'd played many many much better games (Blood Bowl being my first and favourite "gamers game"), so despite the efforts of friends such as [ profile] draich_goch and Duncan, I never did actually manage to get into it.

Having said that, the news that the games creator, Gary Gygax, has died does sadden me a little, for although I didn't like his game, I did like the many many (better) games that came after it. Indeed, I spent 5 years working full time and 7 years working part time for a company that would never have existed if he hadn't created that game. Sure, odds are, someone else would've come up with something similar eventually, but they didn't—he did it first.

[ profile] theferrett is doing a tribute post of all the best quotes about his death, from Salon's "final quest" to the huge variants of "failed his save", although I do agree with [ profile] pickwick, the best one is undoubtedly Gary Gygax was finally gotten by the gazebo. A joke that either cracks you up or makes you go "huh". I'm not even sure I can explain it to a non-player (here's an attempt), if anyone wants to give it a go in the comments feel free.

Of course, the best heroic(ish) fantasy RPG was WFRP, as anyone knows, and the writer of one of the best adventures there is does I think the best tribute:
Gary Gygax created modern gaming ... The class-and-level system dates explicitly to Gygax’s work ... By today’s standards, after thirty-five years of refinement and polish, the original edition of D&D looks incredibly clunky. But if you look beyond ... what’s astonishing is how much of the game is right. It wasn’t the concept of roleplay in D&D that birthed the genre, it was the way the rules encapsulated the core ideas behind it
Can't say fairer than that. Extra: Order of the Stick has a nice special episode as well.

Gary Gygax. Boat Barge sunk this day, 4th March, 2008. RIP.
So, the inevitable has eventually happened, and Todd's announced the end of the game at the Temple.

I effectively stopped playing when I moved to London, just never got back into it. While it's not my favourite game, I definitely have to say that the community (not least the Temple itself which I invested a huge amount of effort in for awhile) is one of the best I'd encountered. I got my first adult passport to attend a tournament (and made a chunk of friends there *waves at Arne*). The Greek expedition was linked as well. My only trip to the US? With [ profile] the_prince, to play Warlord. Sure, I stayed on for another three weeks and wandered around California, but still, wouldn't have gone over if that game hadn't existed. Travelling for events and cons and bracketing a holiday around it is a great way to travel. Sure, I missed the most recent KoHIT (as initially planned, that post now unlocked), but memories of the first will be with me, and I think the friends are keepers

In the CCG world, good games start, they build, they plateau and unless they're really lucky, they run out of steam and die. Some of them keep going for years (my default icon? From a dead CCG that I still love). That Warlord survived as long as it did surprised everyone that knew the industy. That it's finally dead doesn't surprise me at all, I thought it was going to die early last year.

Ah well. At least my choice for what CCG to buy into if I ever go back that way is easy now.

ETA: There are some comments from other players on the imported Facebook note as well, including Arne, the KoHIT organiser.
What happens when a group of gamers who prefer European/German board games get told they have to play Advanced Squad Leader?
"These rules," he wailed, "all these rules! Look at them--rules for smoke screens, rules for vehicles, rules for tanks who don't have turrets... rules... too many rules. Too much conflict--I don't want to shoot anyone, I just want to move wooden cubes and trains across the board--where is the auction system? Why can't we bid on who gets shot?"
GeekList: Gaming in the Nine Circles of Hell... | BoardGameGeek

I know how they feel. I've met players of all the types listed, and more. I can see older versions of myself and friends in some of them. Via Mr Pink himself.
I is sat in bed watching Jennie's birthday present from [ profile] pmoodie, having eaten a midnight snack of haloumi, oat bread and carrots. Life is goooood...
Mr [ profile] mapp has a question:
I'm wondering whether or not it's time to churn out some more stuff for this game. I'm not sure what MCIHTY 3rd edition will be like
That would be My Character Is Harder Than Yours [2nd Edition] for those new around here.

Go on, it'll only encourage him...

Caveat: I'm not getting involved, I don't do that sort of thing any more--but there's a chunk of you that might be interested...
So then. In 2002, I got an email from an obvious loon I'd never met. If he organised a [ profile] warlord_ccg event in a climbing hall[4] in his home town, would I be interested in attending and bringing friends? Where's his hometown? Muenster, Westphalia (that would be as in 'Treaty of', possibly one of the most significant documents in, oh, world history?). I didn't even have a passport. Massive fuss getting a passport, but eventually [ profile] paulatpingu, [ profile] nadriel, [ profile] malkavelli, Vince[ profile] the_prince[8] and I managed to get there. My first trip abroad as a functioning adult[6].

Best weekend away[1] ever. Seriously great fun[7]. I've sinced travelled to similar events all over Europe (waking up in a Paris bed next to Malk was weird, watching the premiere of the BSG mini-series in an Anaheim hotel room with Vince was slightly weirder). But the original event remains the best.

Last year was the fifth and, we thought, the last. This morning I got an email. From the same loon.

[ profile] shakalooloo[3]warlord_ccg: KoHIT 6
Temple of Lore » View topic - KoHIT 6: A Gathering of Friends. Nov. 9-11 in Münster, GER[2]

Didn't know how to react—for a start, I need to be saving up the pennies, second, it'd mean a weekend travelling that wasn't to go visit Jennie, and, well, I'm not 100% sure I can afford it anyway. Except when we chatted earlier, [ profile] snapesbabe said she'd like to come.

So, um, [ profile] granjero? That'd be two decks I'd like to borrow this time Mr Player Design Team member...

Footnotes o'doom )
Quoth [ profile] mapp:
you'll probably beat me on this game, what with "zones" as your opening word.

I reply:
yeah, Zones was a good one; OTOH, Jennie recently hammered me with 3 bingoes in one game, things can turn around quickly.
Facebook | Scrabulous:
Last move was MANKIER by Mark R for 73 points
Did I call it there or what? (By the way, that last link won't work until the game is over, which may be awhile, I need to plot). OTOH, I may be a bit distracted for a bit...
Facebook | Scrabulous:
Need another day.

What we did last night did not work, we need another day to get this running.

There's no point in letting everyone try to play and face errors, so we're closing it for some more time. Please check back in tomorrow.

Any programmers with experience in load balancing please email . We can do with some support in that area.

Sorry folks ... trying our best to give you the best.
Because, and I know oyu're out there, his addict needs his fix. And, you never know, there's a chance I'll get a win rate approaching 50% at some point before hell freezes over...
D'you know what the very first thing I ever did on a PC was? We're going way back now, before I owned my own, before hte internet was common, we're talking '95 or '96. I was working in Games Workshop Torquay, and one of our part timers invited me back to his to play some games. So I didn, he had two PCs, and he taught me how to play Warcraft II. I was hooked; it became a regular thing, most weeks after work, I'd give hima lift hom, his mother would cook us a meal and we'd play one of the best early RTS games.

Then Starcraft came out. Oh boy. We played it regularly, and at one point a bunch of us hired a local cybercafe (again, before the internet was common) for a weekend, and played it pretty much constantly. Considering I didn't ever get to play except at Sy's, I got to be pretty good. Eventually, I got my own PC, and bought a budget pack with both WarII and Starcraft with Brood War. I still play each of them occasionally, and my PC has the two-headed ogre We're ready master / I'm not ready as the boot up sound. I don't play World of Warcraft because a) I don't have a good enough connection and b) I know what I'm like, and you'd never see me leave the house ever again. Those Korean guys that are found dead in 'net cafes? I relate to those poor gits; there but for the grace of bloody strong willpower go I.

The point of this article? I'm doomed. No, really, I'm in real trouble. There's so much cool stuff, and the even have some videos! (via)

I suspect my fairly new PC will be below spec for it, but so much pretty! And, let's be honest, I'll spend at least a few games building every unit possible and clicking on them until they say something silly. Because I'm like that.
OK, the thing is, now I'm working in a job that doesn't allow me much time online, and the journey home is fairly long, by the time I'm in and caught up, I've less time (currently) to post. So here's a backlog of links for you, because I know you've all missed them...

Firstly, [ profile] linkfrenzy is back, despite [ profile] drjon's insane interpretation of Aussie copyright laws, and is also catching up with a massive backlog of Links From The Dawn Of Time, including three methods of making tinyy Daleks. How cool is that?

[ profile] jonnynexus has a bit of gaming history with a scan of the contents page of White Dwarf #77. The last one before Ansell moved it to Nottingham. Pay close attention to the words spelt out by the first letter of each line. Of course, this humble non-RPGing gamer thinks better to have a miniatures based White Dwarf than no White Dwarf at all, and better to have a Games Workshop making products still than a dead company and some 'good old days', but I'm very aware that most gamers will remain of the GW = EEEVIL mindset no matter how many times actual real facts are presented to them. Yes, I'm biased, but I do not in any way regret the years I spent working for them. Although Ansell was an arse, they're right on that point.

Next up, LJ polls! Everyone likes a good poll, right? Ongoing discussion of 'best SF film ever' is added to by [ profile] bagrec who first asked his readers for nominations and then put upa poll of the finalists. [ profile] talvalin, who I met [properly] for the first time Friday, had a similar poll a few weeks back. And yes, I had meant to link to Richard's first nominations post while they were still open, I acquired one of those 'life' things and forgot, sorry...

[ profile] pickwick has a poll about knowledge of scientific theories and experiments, and asks What other experiments and theories should everyone know about? So go tell her, mm'kay? Also, can anyone else out there confirm that Occam's "simplest possible solution" for pretty much everything was in fact "God did it", or am I talking out of my backside with miss remembered facts again?

Met [ profile] the_vin Saturday at the Imperial War Museum, and a look through his archives gives this Zombie!Christ video that is, well, disturbing in its hilarity.

Now, how about a bit of filth? Political point making, Belgian style, in which a rather nice looking young lady offers the world 40,000 blow jobs in order to get publicity for her campaign. Umm, yeah. Well, she certainly got my attention. Then we have, well, not to put too fine a point on it, Muppet Porn. Yeah, um, even I found that one a bit disturbing. Amusing, but a bit weird.

Finally, for those complaining about the Eurovision block voting, a proper academic study of the voting patterns, revealing something we sort of know anyway. Besides, Anglophone nations tend to vote for songs in English, why is it a surprise that slavonic countries like to vote for slavonic songs?

Yeah, that's folder one cleared out. More to follow at some point.
See, I'm trying to cut back on CCGs. I'm trying to not get back into anything expensive, trying to do different things with my spare time and money. I've even been discussing why CCGs fail in the UK at L5R-UK. But then [ profile] shakalooloo goes and posts a link to the new trailer for the next Legend of the Five Rings expansion (larg(ish) Quicktime movie). There is some damn good looking art in that set. And they killed the emperor? The Shogun is at war with the Lion, and the Khan is making his claim? Külness.

Maybe I could just go read the story and look at the spoilers...
[ profile] adamshadow is posting again, and has a question.

Good to see a dead LJ become active again, now all he needs is some readers. Oh, while you're at it, join [ profile] warlord_ccg as well? It's not had a use for ages, but y'never know. [ profile] shakalooloo? Can you kick [ profile] granjero into posting something somewhere?
Oh Michael? Look what I found:
Elf Team Yup, it's my Elf team. The first miniatures I ever bought, and amongst the first I ever painted. Scarily, of the figures I own, they're also the best painted unit, even though I last redid them when I was 18, way before I'd spent 10 years working for the company painting figures every day. My Cawdor gang for Necromunda is quite good, but these just rule.

Anyway, the point of all this? Well, after last weeks debacle, I have gone through all the gaming crap piled on the storage shelf and dug out the team I know I can win with. So, firstly, a rematch my friend. When?

Secondly? [ profile] londonbloodbowl. Only just set it up, no posts, or rules, or anything. If Mike and I are going to be playing regularly, might as well organise something, right? I've sent invites to those who expressed an interest, but anyone else, feel free to join and we'll see what we can arrange.
Via a friends locked post, Sparta Reconsidered - Spartan Women:
In a frequently quoted incident, the wife of King Leonidas was allegedly asked why Spartan women were the only women in Greece who "ruled" their husbands. Gorgo replied, "because we are the only women who give birth to men." In other words, only men with the self-confidence to accept women as equals were men at all.
Sounds good to me. From what I'm hearing, the film is fun as well. Don't think 'd have wanted to live there, but can't argue with that attitude.

Anyway, just got in, had to share that one, have to plot my revenge on [ profile] nadriel now.
Dude. Dude!. Pinnacale have switched to Wordpress as a CMS, and have a nice little survey going. What games have you played of ours, and, um, what would you like to buy next. One of the options is a CCG.

Pinnacle want to know if we'd like a Deadlands themed CCG.

Now, my ever humlbe and loving friends list. Don't all queue up at once. Go tell them yes. Now. PLZKTHX.

And for those wondering what the hell I'm talking about, and those wondering where my icons/personal avatar bloke come from, that'd be it. Doomtown. Best damned CCG ever released.

Which reminds me, really ought to mail them anyway to check out if they can give me any image files for the new DT site I'm sortof building in the background...
Yeah, I'm going to play again. Playtesting it is fun, and the wrinkles are getting ironed out. Some of the cheating whingers annoy a little, but there we go. I'd like to survive the next one, but that would mean getting the notification email...
Infection game card, cut for your boredom threshold )
I'll put the card into my u-info at some point soon, it's about time I tidied it up. Just got back in from Rob's, played Amun Re while battle #4, month/turn 2 (July 1861) was half completed downstairs for the ACW campaign. The CSA has taken Maryland and is pushing north into Penn State, but has caught up with the fleeing Union forces near a small, insignificant and never before heard of crossroads town of Gettysburg. This scenario is even nastier than the last one.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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