Monthly Archives: September 2010

I ain’t making shit

The job I do could reasonably be considered a creative role, seeing as it does indeed involve some semblance of creativity. Sometimes. But that doesn’t mean I’m a creative person, at least not in every regard.

This re-re-re-dawned on me not so long ago, as I was playing the beta of LittleBigPlanet 2. See, the first in the series (for those not in with the cool kids and our mad knowledge) was a platform game where you could create your own levels. In its own way it was a minor revelation.

It was also something I barely played, as the main game was a bit pump and I didn’t ever get beyond the novelty factor of it being a game where I would turn it on to play the best creations other people had come up with.

And so the second game has rolled around, at least in beta (demo) form, and with it comes the rather major changes. Mainly that instead of just being able to create your own levels, you can create your own almost anything. It’s a slight step up, you have to admit.

But with that step up comes the step up in realisation that I just don’t have the talent, patience or sheer bloody mindedness required to create things like this. I can’t be bothered to go through the same thing 40 times in a row just to make sure a two-second sequence of a level plays out well. So what the hell is going to make me play through something 400 times to make sure the entire game I’ve made plays out okay?

This all began back on the Amiga, where I tried to muck about with AMOS The Creator for a while. I got something up and running, but I didn’t think it was very good so I gave in and did something else. If I’d have stuck with that from the age of about seven or eight then I probably wouldn’t have much of an issue with making a few levels or interesting types of game on the LBP series. I’d also probably have a very different job right now.

Hey ho. I’m going to try and make something entirely comprised of cocks, just to make myself laugh.

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Do you not know who I think I am?

I’ve just had some shopping delivered by Sainsbury’s (it’s alright, I had a voucher), and it reminded me of something. See, I allowed Anna to handle most of the ‘deciding what to put in the CYBER-TROLLEY’ stuff, so I didn’t have to bother. Also I would just get £50 worth of noodles. But in doing so she evidently decided, without me noticing, that for this particular delivery I would be Captain Dransfield. Hence when the pleasant delivery chap arrived, he kept addressing me as “Captain”.

This made me laugh.

But it’s not the first time it’s happened, and I hope I’m not alone in this, otherwise we may have discovered some bizarre proto-fetish I have and didn’t formerly know about. Aside from the obvious “King”, “Sir” and “Queen” titles I’ve had on post, packages and other such deliveries, I have had one wonderful experience in the Leeds branch of Specsavers.

My friend Kat worked there at the time and so, when I went in to get some new specs, she filled out my personal details. In it she decided I would be Viscount Dransfield. I laughed, then immediately forgot about this. Half an hour later when it was my appointment time, the waiting room was addressed by a slightly confused-looking employee of the shop (who wasn’t Kat), asking for “Viscount… Dransfield?”

I stood and strode confidently toward her, knowing full well everyone in there was probably stupid enough to think I actually was some form of special person. Special in the good way, that is. Later on I overheard another employee discussing with her colleagues how the shop had “royalty” in that day, and how everyone should be on their best behaviour.

I laughed. Kat laughed. But Specsavers had the last laugh. £300 for a pair of fucking glasses? Do you not know who I am?


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Ghosts of internet past

I was doing some thinking earlier, so I had a sit down and a sandwich. Made me feel right as rain. Anyway, during that particular thought-blast I considered some of the websites I used to visit during my history of the internet. And the results were… well, they actually weren’t surprising at all, to be honest. I’m still going to talk about them, anyway.

One of the first favourites that sprang to mind was one that myself and friends would waste – literally – hours on. It was, for those unaware, a little ditty called Hot Or Not, and saw visitors to the site ranking people on looks alone, from one to ten. Hot, or not. It was also bizarrely addictive, with the added bonus of being able to put your own pictures on to see how you were rated. Obviously the novelty wore off, probably around the same time Ben got a higher rating than me. Coincidence? Nope.

Pre-all that though were the chat rooms on Yahoo, for one very good reason: they had voice chat. This meant I and a friend or two could go on and wind up Americans by actually talking to them. I still remember some guy threatening us with the whole of America coming over to kick our ass, which I took literally.

Myspace. Obviously. It became horribly overrun with constant spam and shit off shitty bands I don’t give two squirts of piss about. Though I am still on there, as I checked the other day. This reminded me of another site that fell by the wayside: Friendster. I rooted out my old profile (here!) and… well, as I’ve said before on the blog, I really haven’t changed for five-plus years. Sigh.

This all carried on with other sites and whatever falling by the wayside, with the most recent of these being Rllmuk Forum. I have no idea why I visited that site once a day, every day, for years. It’s full of the most hateful, petty and altogether shit internet-dwellers I have ever had to experience. I will still visit every now and then, but only to look at the trades, see if there’s anything good on offer.

What about you? Any ghosts more interesting or embarrassing than mine?

EDIT: I completely forgot about Punktastic. Spent an inordinate amount of time there for a number of years, before completely cutting the place off. And that was for politic-y reasons, so it’s almost interesting. Except it isn’t. I was a mod there and everything. Bless.


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Some shit blog about not liking superheroes

I’ve never really been big on superheroes. Shocking I know, what with me being both male and a massive geek. But they’ve never really done it for me, beyond a tiny amount of interest and a bit more when the superhero movies got all popular and sheeit.

I see absolutely no appeal in Superman. He’s the cheat code of the superhero world, and anyone who likes him is clearly a prick (apart from you, Mike). What’s that? Insurmountable odds? Oh, he can just beat them by being better and inventing powers we didn’t know he had. And Smallville is shit.

Spider-Man? Irritating prick. Batman? Not a real superhero. Robin? Dislikeable tights. Fantastic Four? Not enough Jessica Alba. Plastic Man? I don’t even know who he is, or if he’s even a good guy. Wolverine? Too popular/Hugh Jackmanny. Beer  Keg Man? I just invented him

In fact, the only one I really like is Preacher. Problem being, he isn’t a superhero. Also he didn’t use his power nearly enough, which was annoying. I mean, it was the Voice Of God – if he tells you to do something, you do it. Hence the “go fuck yourself” line providing endless hilarity. Hey ho.

Generally speaking though, most of these bastards leave me cold. Sorry, lost some geek points there I’m sure.

Oh, I also love The Punisher, but he had no powers. Just MASSIVE FUCKING GUNS. So I can justify that to myself.

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Ian’s new rant, in DLC-minor

I’m a fan of pies, so I went and bought a pie the other day. When I got it home I popped it in the oven and baked it for while – it was already cooked, I just wanted to heat it through. After 10 minutes under the heat I removed it and went to tuck in to my delicious treat. Imagine my surprise when I found that it didn’t actually have any filling in it!

I returned to the pie merchant to find out what was wrong, only to be told I had only bought the basic pie package. Filling would cost an extra pound, and DLC (DeLicious Crust) would be 50p. Needless to say, I was a little surprised.

To get over the pie incident, I decided on a trip to the cinema. I purchased a ticket at the listed rate, not attempting to get a student discount like I sometimes do. I bought myself some popcorn, entered the screening room and took my seat. Strangely, when the film started it had no sound – I approached a member of staff to inform them of the issue, only to be informed sound cost an extra £1.25 – a “nominal” fee, according to the cinema gibbon.

Obviously, I didn’t pay and instead took my popcorn for a walk around town. I should have noticed I wasn’t asked “sweet or salted”, as it was obviously neither. A quick check revealed it’s 35p extra for flavour.

My day wasn’t going too well, so I decided to go home. I happened to have a few grand on me, so bought a car to ferry me home. I sat in the newmobile, started her up and pressed my foot to the floor. Literally, I pressed my foot to the floor. “Oh, does sir require pedals? You should have said! We could have thrown them in at an attractive rate. Unfortunately now we’ll have to charge you full price.” I ended up pushing the car home.

When home, I decided to watch a DVD. It came with none of the extras mentioned on the box, as I hadn’t paid the “nominal” fees for those additional bits. So I listened to an album, which didn’t have any of the bonus tracks because they were 59p extra each.

Does this sound ridiculous? Well I can guarantee you it won’t if you’re a gamer. Why? Well, because publishers are increasingly attempting to sell us half a game and make us pay extra to unlock features that should fucking well be there from the start. The most recent example is the new MX title from THQ. Sure, motocross isn’t a genre I have any interest in, but it’s another thing I can see permeating through to other areas and it’s starting to piss me off. Basically they’re releasing it a bit cheaper than normal, then releasing tracks, racers and whatever else as extras later on. For a price, naturally.

I call bullshit on that. I guarantee you there will be more missing features from the game than would make sense for the price drop. “If a person wants to spend a $100 on a game then they can do that,” they say. “Fuck you,” I say, “I want to pay a normal price to get a full game. I am not a cow, I don’t have udders – stop trying to milk me dry,” I hilariously add. Full price, full game. Not ‘bit cheaper initially, but more expensive to actually get a full game’.

We’re not buying popcorn without any topping. We’re not buying picture and no sound at the cinema. We’re not buying empty pies. So why the hell are we expected to buy racing games without tracks, fighting games without characters or second-hand games without any online features whatsoever?

I want publishers to make money – money means they get to continue putting out games. But this is the wrong way to go about it. Just like it’s wrong to criminalise the people who buy your games second-hand, it’s wrong to short-change your public by selling them a pup. Except the pup has no legs, because they’re £30 extra. Each.

Fuck that shit.


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Vegas baby!

I want to go to Las Vegas. I think that my gambling problem, which I clearly do have, would be a lot different over there. Rather than getting caught up in the madness and throwing all of my cash (which I don’t actually have) down the greedy gullets of the casinos (which definitely aren’t run by the mob) I think my inherent Yorkshireness would take over.

“How much?!” it would say, as I approached a table. “You can’t spend much, you need to save some for a rainy day” it would add as I consider trading in everything I own for a few more chips. “Don’t bet more than $1 a hand, otherwise you won’t have enough for PIES later on,” it’ll throw in just to remind me that I’m a fat bastard who likes pies.

I think it would be a more interesting trip from the perspective that I would appear to be a dodgy bastard to any and all pit bosses across Nevada. I don’t only  get nervous when I’m doing something I shouldn’t be – I get nervous when I’m near someone in authority who stops people from doing things they shouldn’t be, even when I’m not even considering doing things I am not supposed to be doing. Ya dig?

I would fully expect to be ejected from multiple casinos for being some kind of cheat, thief or rapist just for sitting at a table trying to act like I’m minding my own business (when in reality I’m actually just trying to mind my own business). Ejections ala the head-first bloke on Casino spring to mind.

I probably wouldn’t even get any free drinks.

Yeah, I think Vegas would be a great trip to go on. Someone sort it out for me – I can’t afford it right now. Gambled all my money away. I mean… umm…

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It’s getting cold. KNITWEAR TIME!

It’s getting nippy outside – to the point that today I had to put my hoodie on to stop myself from being terrible and cold like a WEAK, WEAK PERSON. We all know that only the truly WEAK, WEAK PEOPLE are the ones that have to put on their outerwear after having already made the decision to not wear any in the first place. I let the north down. I let myself down.

On the other hand, it does mean we’re now fast approaching one of the best times of the year: knitwear season. I don’t mean anything fancy, or hardly anything actually knitted. No, I mean the season when it’s acceptable – and sensible – to wear jumpers you’ve bought from TK Maxx.

I don’t knit myself. I don’t actually think much about jumpers and ting. I don’t actively shop for jumpers, outerwear and other such knitwear. But I do like to browse the racks of questionable quality knitting products. Also synthetic products. And cotton. And other stuff I don’t actually understand.

This is an overly-elongated way of saying: I want a new jumper. I’m going to go to TK Maxx next week to get one. Yeah, that’s about all these couple of hundred words are about. Sorry.

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Drinking: a habit I seem to have lost

Booze is great, but I’ve found myself not drinking nearly as much as I used to. I’m saying this like it’s a bad thing when it’s clearly nothing but great and healthy and all that shite. Though it does mean I’m not as sociable as I once tried and failed to be.

Alright, so that’s a lie – I didn’t try.

I barely make orders on anymore, which must have them worried as I’m sure I was their best customer (who was on the dole at the same time) just the other year. But some things just aren’t the same.

I still love Zubrowka, but it just doesn’t have the magic anymore. And as for pressed apple juice (the only thing to drink with it)? That shit seems to get more expensive every sodding day. I’ll have to try some of Lidl’s finest in it one day.

Beer is still just as great as beer has always been, but I want an Oddbins nearby with a crate of 24 bottles of Quilmes for £16, like back in Leeds. The every-few-weekly trips to Headingly with Jack for a crate each were the stuff of LAD legend. Even though there’s a wider selection of beers and ales in Waitrose, it just doesn’t feel right. And beer is a bit too expensive from the aforementioned (seriously, I don’t work for them).

Wine? Pick it up on the day/night. £5 tops. Gone within an hour or two. Some shit never changes.

But the one thing I honestly think has put me off drinking as much – ordering from The Drink Shop (dot com) – is this: Sailor Jerry’s. They changed the recipe months ago, and it went from being a delicious beverage I was introduced to by Kat and Rich to an awful, bland, pointless stain on the boozing community. And I blame Kat and Rich.

The day they changed that recipe is the day my enthusiasm died, and it’s not yet managed to recover. I’ve been hunting for anyone with remaining stocks and asking advice on similar-tasting rums, but no dice as of yet. I have a quarter of a bottle of the old recipe sitting in the kitchen, and I doubt it’s going to get touched for at least a few years.

Maybe I can finally develop a taste for scotch…


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The day my life changed forever (today)

There are things in life that come along and change you. They make you a different person, as instantly as… instant mash. These things are unavoidable and inevitable – you cannot get away from the fact that, at some point, you will encounter something that irrevocably changes your entire life. Today was one of those days for me.

I was all set to write a blog about something different, to chat shit about nonsense and chit chat about nothing at all. I was happy to fill hundreds of words with inane wordage, as I usually do. But then I was shown something. I was shown something bad. I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it.

As a result of what it was I saw, my mind wandered away from the task at hand. Whereas initially I had a vague idea of the topic I would cover in today’s entry, not five minutes after I saw the thing I had forgotten entirely what I wanted to scrawl. Not only had it wiped my mind, though, it had changed me as a person.

Immediately I felt it, and since seeing it just a few hours ago I haven’t felt the same. I haven’t felt like Ian Dransfield. I haven’t even felt like an Ian. It’s a good job there’s no one else around right now, as they wouldn’t be able to recognise me as me.

I hope I will recover, at least in some small way. I hope I can return to my usual nonsense by tomorrow, or that I can even concentrate on my work that needs doing during the day. I hope I can end up back in control.

But I know I will never be the same again. And it’s all because of this.

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The lifecycle of my Nintendo Wii

I have owned a Wii since the day it came out. Well, technically I’ve owned one since day one. I physically owned one from about a week after they’d come out, seeing as I had to wait a while to go and collect it from the sorting office.

Like many, I was initially enthralled and excited by the possibilities, and like many I soon became disillusioned and bored with what was on offer. I am a solitary gamer a lot of the time, and while Wii Sports was fun to break out at the many (many) parties I had at my flat, it just didn’t cut it in the long run.

The Wii received a new lease of life in the Manchester flat as it sat there in the living room. This was for two reasons: one, my flatmate’s young nephews enjoyed playing on it, and two, I started getting a bit of freelance for it, as it seemed I was the only one willing to do reviews of Wii games. MadWorld? Score.

But when I moved to Bournemouth the console didn’t even make it out of the box. It stayed firmly encased in its Nintendo-branded cardboard for months on end before I finally broke it out. Why? Resident Evil Zero freelance. Then it went right back into the box.

Today it’s been broken out once more, freed from the constraints of a container that never really held it that well. Why? Wii Party. Guess what’s going to happen once I’m done that freelance? Straight back in the cupboard – though maybe not the box, as I can’t be bothered trying to jam everything in there again.

What have I learned through all of this? I don’t care about the Wii, but I don’t hate it enough to sell it on. Oh, and controllers that use those old-fashioned “battery” things need to fuck off and die. Soon.


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