Five Things That Impressed Me

This week, I thought I’d take the time to go through five things that have impressed me the most in the past few weeks.

But first, an update. March madness is going quite well.  I’ve averaging the 1000 words a day that I need (just about) and making pretty good time. The story has changed slightly though, as I sort of wrote myself into trouble and then had to write myself out of it again, but what’s the fun in writing if you can’t challenge yourself?

I’ve also done some research for book three. Primarily, I’ve been looking into the Great Freeze of 1709. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I love research. I learn so much that I didn’t ever think I’d need to know.

And now onto the point of this weeks blog.

1. Saga

As some of you know, I’m a big comic book fan. And Brian K. Vaughan is one of the best writers in the business.

He’s the writer of Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad and Ex Machina. All of which are superb and come highly recommended by me, so his new comic series was always going to cause a bit of a stir. And Saga lives up to every inch of that promise.

It would be easy to say that Saga is just Romeo and Juliet in space, but that does neither the characters nor story justice. More was done in this first issue, than most writers manage in five or six these days.

Praise must also be given to Fiona Staples who does some wonderful art, both on the fantastic action scenes and the more dialog and emotional heavy stuff too.

I don’t want to say any more, because this is the kind of comic that you should go into without knowing the story too much. But be assured that this is the start of something a bit special, much like Y: The last man. If you have any interest in comics, sci-fi or just good writing, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.

2. Hunger Games

I’d never even heard of this book up until about a month ago, when I saw the trailer for the movie and immediately thought – Americanised Battle Royale for a teen audience. (For those of you who don’t know, Battle Royale is one of the finest films of all time and is about a group of kids stuck on an island who all have to kill each other until one remains. It’s incredible, dark, funny and very, very violent.) I held off reading the book because I didn’t want it to be another Twilight ‘will they, won’t they, how can she decide between the two’, which really isn’t for me. Turns out I was wrong so far. I’ve not finished it yet, but damn is it ever dark.

I’m also finding it to be very well written and gripping. I don’t know if the film will be any good, and maybe the end of the book goes all pear shaped and I’ll hate it, but at the moment I’m very glad I got myself a copy.

3. Mass Effect 3

I love Mass Effect. Love it. I love the characters, I love the setting. Pretty much everything about these three games scream “Steve, buy me, love me.” And Mass Effect 3 took me 32hrs to complete. And I loved 31hrs and 45 minutes. Then it all went horribly wrong.

I’m not going to spoil the end of the game because that would be a really shitty thing to do. But it was the biggest let down I’ve had from an ending in a very long time.

But those 31 hrs and 45 minutes before then, pure gaming gold. Characters I’ve seen grow and develop over the three games came back to fight once more, and I had quite the touching romance with a certain alien female as I did my best to save the galaxy. It was all heading towards being the best way Bioware would have ended the trilogy. But, damn. Just… damn.

4. PS Vita

You may have guessed that I’m a big fan of videogames. I have been for many a year, and will probably still be playing when I’m old and sat on my rocking chair, waving my walking stick at youngsters and demanding that they stay off my lawn.

I’ve played most handhelds since the Gameboy back in 1989/90. The PS Vita is the most impressive I’ve ever used since… well, since ever. It’s an incredible piece of technology with a fantastic launch line up. The touch screen on the front is wonderful (as is the screen itself), the controls feel right, and even the rear touch pad is a nice touch. There are issues (PS1 and PS2 games should be playable, Wi-Fi should always connect and every single one of the ‘compilation games’ like Sly Racoon should be playable on it) but they’re tiny compared to how much fun I’ve had playing Uncharted on a handheld.

Sony deserve to do very well with this as it blows the Nintendo 3DS out of the water in terms of features and capability. Hopefully that success will come for them.

5. Suits

I’m not a big TV watcher. I like Supernatural, Burn Notice, Lost Girl and Psych. And I watch a few things with my daughters (Ben 10 and Phineas and Ferb are big hits in my house), but there’s very few other things that I’d consider to be unmissable.

Suits is now on that very short list. In the 6 or 7 episodes I’ve watched, I’ve grown to love this show. It’s smart, funny and very well written, with characters that are both believable and entertaining. Long may it continue.

And that’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend.

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Posted on March 22, 2012, in Comics, Fun, Games, Personal, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. So last night I finished ME3. I’m trying to figure out if Bioware scripted their ending in a deliberate attempt to do something different. I’m cool with the main character ending up the way things were, but the whole thing felt very abrupt and way, way to open ended. Now I’m hearing that no matter what choices you made, the ending is the same for everyone, which flies in the face of the game’s original premis. I don’t know, loved it, but…

    • It wasn’t the main character ending I had much of a problem with it was

      Spoilers

      The lack of an ending for the characters you grow to care about over 70+ hours of game time. That felt unfair. That and the abruptness of it all. Like your decisions didn’t matter at all from what you’d done during the game.

  2. Hm…this isn’t looking to good for one of my close friends. My husband and I, along with our close nit group of friends, are all gamers. One of our friends is obsessed with Mass Effect. When Mass Effect 2 came out, he sat on our couch for 2 days straight! Didn’t sleep, didn’t shower…he only ate and got up to use the bathroom when we forced food on him or stood in front of the television demanding he not ruin our couch 🙂

    He is currently playing Mass Effect 3, albeit, not as intensely, but playing all the same. I won’t tell him about the ending, it might ruin is week. That sucks the ending was bad of you! All that time invested into the game to have it end badly! That’d be like if Voldemort won the battle at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. LOL.

    • It’s an incredible game, just wonderful to play. I’m sure they’ll release DLC to extend the ending to give something more worthy of the time spent playing. I hope so anyway.

      I hope your friend enjoys it though.

  3. It’s such a shame about Mass Effect. Loved number one. Number two was more ‘arcadey’, but if they’ve stuffed the ending for number three then I may not bother.

    The Hunger Games seems to be everywhere I look on the internet at the moment. I may have to take a look…

    • It shouldn’t out you off playing it. The number of stories that end before the actual end of the game is large and they end well. The Geth, Krogan and more all have their stories finished in 3. It’s worth playing just for that.

  4. I think perhaps my original reply got lost. Can’t recall what I wrote exactly.

    But anyway, I was surprised hearing about the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy. Bioware had always been so good with their endings, putting a lot of thought into them and catering to the choices made throughout games. The Baldur’s Gate series had some very nice epilogue endings for the characters in the game. The Minsc epilogue was good, with his little traveling companion Boo-the-hamster getting a mention:

    “Eventually he formed his own adventuring company, the Justice Fist, striking fear in the hearts and faces of evil until, in his advancing age, he again set out across the Realms… and disappeared. And what of Boo? Well, what is Minsc without Boo? The two would never be separated, and some say they are together still, up amongst the stars where hamsters are giants and men become legends.”

    I’ve actually had the three “Hunger Games” books in my to-be-read stack for awhile, working their way up. They’ve received enough praise that I’m looking forward to them. I remember Stephen King praising their pacing and engagement as storytelling in his review for Entertainment Weekly a few years ago:

    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20419951_20223443,00.html

    Although he did feel the plot was somewhat derivative (mentioning even his own works like “The Long Walk” and “The Running Man” in addition to “Battle Royale”) and wasn’t as enamored with the young-adult love-triangle aspect, he described the first book as: “a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn’t stop reading, and once I got over the main character’s name (Gale calls her Catnip — ugh), I got to like her a lot.”

    • Hunger games has been great so far, and it’s different enough from Battle Royale et al that it’s still interesting. Also not sure about the love-triangle stuff as I never got the impression it was something that was happening.

      Baldur’s gate was superb, as was the second, although my favourite Bioware game is still KOTOR. I adored that game when it first came out.

  5. I’m a big fan of The Hunger Games. Hope you like!

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