Chris de Burgh once wrote a song called 'Ship to Shore,' but it wasn't about Planetary Annihilation, which I imagine he hasn't even played.

It’s relentless, but I suppose that’s what war really is at its heart - that ever-surging synergy of strategy and carefully-managed economics. It’s particularly relentless in Planetary Annihilation, because you’re not going to run out of the power or metal that you need to build your armies. The buildings that generate these resources will happily chug away forever once you’ve placed them, meaning you don’t need to ration, you only ever need to get more. More, and faster.

"I accessed Planetary Annihilation early"? What sort of introduction is that? What the hell am I even saying? What year is it? Who’s the President?

Above is one of the screenshots I captured that didn’t make it into the review. It shows a nice big, black ship that I made. I like the very big units in this game. They’re large and slow and serious and grim, like a bear playing a mournful tune on the tuba. That’s exactly what they’re like.

Delightful.
spoliamag:

“Bees are the smallest of birds. They are born from the bodies of oxen, or from the decaying flesh of slaughtered calves; worms form in the flesh and then turn into bees. Bees live in community, choose the most noble among them as king, have wars, and make honey. Their laws are based on custom, but the king does not enforce the law; rather the lawbreakers punish themselves by stinging themselves to death. Bees are afraid of smoke and are excited by noise. Each has its own duty: guarding the food supply, watching for rain, collecting dew to make honey, and making wax from flowers.”
From a medieval bestiary.

Delightful.

spoliamag:

Bees are the smallest of birds. They are born from the bodies of oxen, or from the decaying flesh of slaughtered calves; worms form in the flesh and then turn into bees. Bees live in community, choose the most noble among them as king, have wars, and make honey. Their laws are based on custom, but the king does not enforce the law; rather the lawbreakers punish themselves by stinging themselves to death. Bees are afraid of smoke and are excited by noise. Each has its own duty: guarding the food supply, watching for rain, collecting dew to make honey, and making wax from flowers.”

From a medieval bestiary.

Lego!

Back in 2012 I put up this image of that particular girl from a Lego advert (you know the one) and, to my surprise, it got an awful lot of shares. I was surprised because I’d already seen the picture going around on Twitter and I was pretty sure that I’d seen it somewhere else on the internet before that. I didn’t think it was very fresh, especially as it’s almost as old as me, and so I didn’t expect to travel far.

The discussion over the relatively recent gendering of Lego was what first led me to Feminist Frequency, quite a while before all the hassle that Anita Sarkeesian suffered when she started talking about video games. I really liked what she had to say and it expressed many of my frustrations about what was happening.

Well, it turns out that Women You Should Know put up this feature a few months back. They spoke to Rachel Giordano, the girl in the advert who has now become an established physician, and asked her how she feels about how Lego has changed. She said, among other things, “I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to help others achieve health and wellness. I co-own two medical centers in Seattle. Doctor kits used to be for all children, but now they are on the boys’ aisle.

I might just be preaching to the converted here, but I think this is interesting and well worth a read. As an aside, the idea of just looking pretty and smiling for the camera was included on in one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. I rented The China Syndrome a few weeks back and, while I was expecting an exciting thriller, I was surprised and pleased to find it also touched on this concept.

On Poverty

Disclaimer: I have been trying to write this for almost a year and I’m tremendously dissatisfied with the result. It is three and a half thousand words long and has been drafted and revised so many times that I give up and release it from this endless, painful gestation.

I have never owned a table.

Sure, the place I live in has a table. It’s a glass table and it’s considerably better than the slightly wobbly wooden table in the previous place I lived in but, being glass, I’m perpetually terrified it will break and then I’ll have to pay for it. Then I’ll have paid for a table and still never have actually owned one.

I couldn’t tell you how much a table costs, but I did buy the cheapest and most basic desk for £50 once. I have a feeling I’d be charged a lot more than that if this table broke.

That philosophy extends to everything around me where I live, where I have lived: I don’t own it, but I will be paying for it if something goes wrong. There is a special sort of added excitement to this, since most of the places I’ve lived in have had all sorts of things wrong with them already, things from faulty electrics to ill-fitting windows to no doors that will close properly anywhere, that are never addressed. I’ve feared these things as well because I’ve wondered if I’m going to be the tenant who is deemed to be responsible for them, particularly because landladies and landlords seem to be curiously divorced from the properties they own. They always live far away, or they’re out of town or they’re overseas again. One landlady looked around a flat I was renting from her with surprise and awe and bafflement, failing to recognise many of its features.

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I may have been dreaming.
Normal service may never be resumed. I’m sure I’ll have some more links to post up here soon, though.
For several hours now I’ve been trying to upload more photos to my Flickr collection, but Flickr doesn’t seem to like it when people use it as a website to put photos on any more (apparently this problem is well documented). So, while I was initially planning to link you to a few new images of places I’ve been, I… can’t.Here’s a picture Flickr doesn’t want. Maybe it will want it later.

I may have been dreaming.

Normal service may never be resumed. I’m sure I’ll have some more links to post up here soon, though.

For several hours now I’ve been trying to upload more photos to my Flickr collection, but Flickr doesn’t seem to like it when people use it as a website to put photos on any more (apparently this problem is well documented). So, while I was initially planning to link you to a few new images of places I’ve been, I… can’t.

Here’s a picture Flickr doesn’t want. Maybe it will want it later.

What is the RPS GDC BFFCast? It’s a bunch of people on a bed cramped oh so close together. This was good fun and a really good discussion. Thanks to John Walker for letting us all clamber upon his hotel room bed.

(The sound’s a little bit quiet at times. Listen carefully!)

Magic.

It was a while before I discovered proper wizards. When I was young, magic was a benign thing: lighthearted entertainment for early evening television. The magicians made things disappear or convinced you that the card you were holding wasn’t what you thought. In Magicka: Wizard Wars, you can cast spells that will make people explode into chunks of bloody meat.

It’s a kind of magic.

I’m technically on holiday right now and I wrote copy for this a little while back. However, I did do some proper video games reporting the other day, jumping at the chance to report on a particularly special story. I contributed to this reporting on the Pillars of Eternity Paradox/Obsidian partnership and then followed it by contributing to this news story, after a chat with Fred Wester and Feargus Urquhart.

Penguins.

I’m quietly optimistic about Age of Wonders 3 and after having spent some lovely evenings amidst its shimmering spires, creaking forests and flitting faeries, I’ve very much enjoyed myself, but I must make it clear to you that it’s a little bit silly.

I was a big fan of the classic (and terribly unbalanced) Master of Magic, something that has kept me interested in fantasy 4x games ever since. Not that many have come along. Not that many have appealed. I’m hoping Age of Wonders 3 might be what I’m waiting for and, boy, that AI can be pretty wicked. It’s given me the run around plenty of times.

An interview.

I have recently come into an excess of happiness, and I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with it. It was in little piles on the sidewalk, so I brought it inside before whoever owned it could take it back.

After writing yesterday’s post about Campbell, I was inspired to go back through old Pictures for Sad Children strips and also search a little wider. I forgot that this excellent Horse Master Review existed. Campbell’s blog entry on self-immolation and whether rejections of society do or do not get classified (or smeared) as mental illness is also very worthy reading.

Also, special thanks to Amy for providing this overview of recent events in my previous article’s comments. This, I think, gives a little more context.

On Pictures for Sad Children

image

EDIT: I’ve been informed that PfSC’s creator posted a non-public update recently saying she now identifies as a woman. I don’t have access to this or know the full details yet, but I wanted to add that and say that I don’t mean to misgender. I’ve changed pronouns in the text below and will also change names as soon as I can.

I know pretty much nothing about John Campbell, creator of Pictures for Sad Children, and these days I don’t read webcomics anywhere near as much as I used to. I’ve only recently caught up with the news that her very successful Kickstarter has halted fulfillment and and his site has effectively closed.

But I wanted to write something.

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