28 January 2014

Don't Starve

Don't Starve is Civilisation's gothic second cousin twice removed.  The game presents (on an individual rather than nation basis) much the same situation - increase your technological sophistication while exploring, setting up a base, fighting off attackers (or attacking) and, most critically, not starving.

You start out knowing nothing.  The game does not come with a  manual, or handy help tips.  You explore, and you click things, and you work out the most efficient steps for taking the randomly generated resources and getting through the night (and, worse, winter).

I haven't beaten this game.  I've died a lot.  And it's permadeath.  Starting over and over is frustrating, but I've improved (and expanded the selection of characters I can play), and I even made it halfway through winter once!  The sly dark humour is a lot of fun, and the game is challenging but pleasingly replayable.  It's also very cheap!  [I got it for $15 on Steam.]

Officially adding this one to the Excuses for Maybe Not Getting A Book Out This Year List.

14 January 2014

From the shelves

I've a guest post over at The Book Smugglers today, where I recommend women writers by listing all the ones on my shelves.

11 January 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I generally don't watch Ben Stiller movies - I don't enjoy humiliation comedy at all - and so approached this movie a little doubtful of whether I'd enjoy it.  And, indeed, if it had kept to the tone of the original story I don't think I would have enjoyed it particularly.

But Stiller's Mitty is not a cringeworthy comedic humiliation magnet, nor a Mr Bean-type oblivious disaster, but a more rounded and functional person in an invidious situation.  He has been worn down into meekness by an imperative need for money - someone who gave up his real dreams at seventeen in order to deal with sudden debt - and so the movie is a journey to finding that person once again.  And it's a very enjoyable journey, a little surreal in places even when not in Mitty's dream world, but definitely worth watching, and populated by people who (the three 'beards' aside) seem quite real and ordinary and relatable in a way that few movies actually succeed in doing.

It also has some of the best use of music I've ever seen in a movie.  Watch it for Major Tom alone.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...