Monday, August 28, 2006

Football good. Emotion bad.

Tonic for male autism in mine, Jake O'Leary, and John Stevens' Premiership blog here: The Trailing Leg.


I wrote this for The Guardian's 'Short Cuts' section in the space of about 45 minutes, but they didn't want it. So I thought I may as well do something with it...
In the days before X-Box 360s and Pro Evolution Soccer 5, the most invigorating computer gaming experience you could hope for involved typing ultra-simplistic instructions like ‘walk forward’ or ‘pick up box’ only to be told, invariably, ‘this command has not been recognised’. This interactive ‘text-gaming’ thrived in the 1980s, when personal computers could store about as much data as a single digital photograph, and gamers managed without the 3D graphics, dance-mats, and ‘ultra-realistic death scenes’ that are borderline-mandatory today.

Last week Wired News reported that lost text classics like ‘Zork’ and ‘Adventure’ are to be given a reappraisal by American film-maker Jason Scott in a new documentary called ‘Get Lamp’. Scott is hoping to save a pivotal chapter in the development of computer games from being lost to the recycle bin of history. But is it really worth saving? Most of my childhood memories of these games are of scenes like this:

Computer: you awake on the floor with a nasty headache. You are in a dimly lit room in an early-modern French castle. There is a painting on the far wall. On your left-hand side is a door. On your right-hand side is a table. In the distance you can hear screaming. The faint aroma of burning flesh drifts through an open window. You could do with a haircut.
Dan: ‘stand up’
C: you stand up.
D: ‘walk forward’
C: you walk forward. You are now standing in front of the painting.
D: ‘look at painting’
C: the painting is a religious homage to an obscure Saint, possibly from the Fontainebleau School. It is very valuable. It would be worth a lot of money on the black market. Maybe you could steal it, sell it on, and use the money for a haircut.
D: ‘steal painting’
C: I do not understand ‘steal’
D: ‘nick painting’
C: I do not understand ‘nick’
D: ‘half-inch painting’
C: I do not understand ‘half inch’
D: ‘take painting’
C: you cannot take the painting. That would be stealing, and stealing is wrong. Didn’t your mother tell you that? In any case it is attached with iron chains to the wall. You would need a blowtorch to remove it from the wall.
D: ‘look for blowtorch’
C: a blowtorch?! This is early-modern France! Weren’t you listening at the beginning?
D: ‘spit on painting’
C: I do not understand ‘spit on’
D: ‘punch painting’
C: I do not understand ‘punch’
D: ‘kick painting, urinate on painting, defecate on painting, look askance at painting, give painting a negative write-up in the Tate gallery’s official magazine’
C: no-one likes a philistine. Especially one who so obviously needs a haircut.
What I didn't mention in the article was that the guy's previous film was a five-and-a-half hour long documentary about message boards. I'm serious. Sounds fucking thrilling.

Did anyone ever play a game called Fish!? It was kick-ass. You had to fight against a group of gill-ed gangsters called the Seven Deadly Fins. They don't make 'em like that anymore, which is probably for the best. I've got soup to make you know.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sloveniaction for the terminally bored

This is just too much fun... the opportunity to be pointlessly rude to random virtual people, in the body of a cute little cartoon character, all in the name of Slovenian tourism.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Auntie Mussolini

So I turn on the usually reliably inquisitive and balanced Radio Five Live this morning, and they're reading out some listeners' text messages.

"It's simple. Make Muslims have their own separate airline."

"The only solution to the terrorism problem is to ban Muslims from flying until they get their act together."

until they get their act together

I really honestly despair sometimes. And Radio Five should be fucking ashamed of themselves. I wouldn't expect an airing of such retarded, ignorant loathing on the fucking Wright Stuff, let alone from one of the BBC's most respected broadcasting outlets.

Now, where did I put my copy of the BBC complaints procedures again..?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mmmm, nuclear waste...

As my local paper the Wandsworth Borough News put it:

"The next train will be carrying nuclear waste"

Read the full Greenpeace Nuclear Train Timetable here.

New day, new genre

Well, new to me anyway. Don't even try and act like you haven't heard of Emo Violence:

The major difference between Emo Violence and Screamo is the chaos element. Whereas most Screamo albums are meant to be well produced, tight, coherent and less than dissonant, Emo Violence tends to forsake that for a more raw, unpolished aggressive sound.
Sounds like a laugh eh what?

Friday, August 04, 2006

On anti-war marches

Why is it not possible to go on a march (tomorrow, Hyde Park, 12 noon) against a barbaric and excessive use of force against innocent Lebanese civilians by the IDF, without lining up alongside narcissistic, um, poppinjays who say things like this:

"I side with the resistance to that injustice. Hizbollah is leading that resistance. I do not hesitate to say, and Blair and his law officers may take note, that I glorify that resistance.

I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah"

Well thank you George Galloway, I'm sure Blair and his 'law officers' (what is this, 60s Nashville?) would be taking you down to the police station right now if it wasn't for the fact that you provide the easiest way of undermining the left since Militant drove around in taxis to hand out redundancy notices or Nikita Khrushchev stood up and said 'now listen, I think Uncle Joe might have hurt a couple people...'.

Meanwhile with the authors of the equally pompous Euston Manifesto (Iraq apologists who want to maintain the badge of being 'left' essentially) still cavorting around like they're as bold and clear-headed as Orwell in his more patriotic or bellicose moments, well why is it that being on the left feels like being stuck in the middle again: you know, "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..."

The thing is, despite all the mirth-makers, I'm not laughing.