Who?(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

I started playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 after finishing the main quest line of Pokémon Sword and watching Spirited Away. I'm now in Ultra Japanese Mode, and the choice was between Tales of Vesperia and Xenoblade 2. I went for Xenoblade because I have finished a Tales game and wanted something I haven't done before.

I'm about 7 hours into the game and the combat is a brilliant mix of random encounters, MMORPG, and Action RPG. In true Japanese form, it is still dropping new game mechanics on me. Also, in true Japanese form, the English voice acting is dreadful. Fortunately, you can download the Japanese voice pack and play with English subs. The final straw for me was when a character, purely deadpan, pronounced "hehehe" as "he. he. he". I can't listen to that sort of thing for 80 hours.

The fact that I'm even considering finishing an 80 hour game says as much as anything else. Usually 40 is my upper limit.


Smother

Smother

Since Amelie died, Sudo has been the recipient of a large amount of redirected affection


Brighton Pavilion

Brighton Pavilion

Never been to Brighton Mosque Pavilion before but I've always had a morbid curiosity about it


Kyria Split Build pt 1

Kyria Split Build pt 1

It's not a secret; I love keyboards. I love building them, I love talking about them, I love programming them


Apple's "Sign in with Apple" thing is the first thing of theirs I've used in a long time that is Apple-ish. When you use it, it pops up and asks you if you want to reveal your email, or have Apple issue you a burner email to use for this. That is exactly what I want from a service like this.


Fire

Fire

Sometimes I just see a thing and it's a photo. I scared a guy, taking this photo


Pokémon Generation 8 is a delight

Pokémon Generation 8 is a delight

I seriously can't believe how charming this game is


Ciara

Ciara

Jumped off the bus on my way into the office this morning as the sea was going crazy over the marina walls


When you buy a new iPhone, setting it up should just be a matter of turning it on and signing into your iCloud account, and everything is exactly the same. No signing into anything, no chicken-and-egg nonsense. Just get it done. I just gave you £1000, Apple. Don't make me regret that for the rest of the day.


Amelie

Amelie

We had to have Amelie put to sleep today. One of the most brutally difficult things we've ever had to decide to do, made even worse by the fact that she seemed fine a month or so ago.


If you’ve ever played Pokémon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The guilt you feel when it’s time to bench your Pidgeot – the one who started with you as a humble level 4 Pidgey on Route 1 – because you know he can’t take you to the dizzy heights of the Indigo Plateau

I wasn't going to play Pokémon Sword. I couldn't finish Let's Go Pikachu because I just got bored out of my mind, and figured I was done with these games now. But Charlotte sent me this article and it reminded me that the enjoyment in a RPGs a lot of the time is in the imaginary relationships you create with the characters you encounter and it made me really want to play. Should be a good one to play alongside Jedi Fallen Order.


It's no longer exciting to read that there's a brand new version of a piece of software I use (yes, it was before, shut up). My first thought is now "what ridiculous subscription pricing model have they implemented?!".

Today's offender is Flexibits with Fantastical. This is a piece of software that I credit with single-handedly changing the way I organise and plan my day. It helped me to establish a fundamental culture of organisation of my time that I feel has made me a less frustrating person to deal with, overall.

That being said, £20 for a Mac license, and I think the same again for iOS was already a lot for a calendar. Now they want £5 a month! The fact that every piece of software I use wants a piece of my salary until either I die, or they decide to stop making it, is just ridiculous and totally unsustainable. No calendar is worth £5 a month. I can just get a diary and text Charlotte whenever I add something that affects her. This is getting out of control.


Badminton?

Badminton?

Madlad-minton, more like.


I can't sufficiently characterise the immense relief when you finally start reaching the end of an injury that has taken ages to heal.

Like if David After Dentist (I can't believe that video is ten years old) had a year-long hangover that finally started to clear.


Against my better judgment, I've been playing Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. In many ways, it's a great bookend for a generation: it tries to combine some of the biggest game design elements from the last five years. Unfortunately, these elements seem to have been built by people who haven't really understood what makes them truly enjoyable.

The obvious comparison is the Soulslike. This has been such a huge genre this generation, with very few games capturing the essence of what makes it such a compelling format. From Software knows that brutal difficulty in a game is totally fine, but it has to be fair. Enemies in Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro all have the ability to send you back to the last checkpoint, but every time it happens, it's because it's hard; not because it's unfair. JFO feels cheap and unfair almost constantly. Enemies travel on rails to hit you, making dodging impossible. Perhaps the most important issue is that enemies can block a combo attack, but if an enemy is comboing you, there doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it.

However, when a fight is fun, it's really fun. The swordplay is very satisfying, and once you start accumulating force powers, they become a really cool part of the combat.

The other big genre they've had a go at is the Metroidvania. It's not a popular genre to attempt on a 3D plane but they have done a very good job at making this fun. Progression never feels arbitrary, and when new pathways open up, exploring them is a lot of fun. The platforming is also done well. Platforming in 3D is notoriously frustrating but it's very satisfying here, and chaining wall-running, climbing and vine swinging is fun when it goes well.

The main criticism is that it can be difficult to carve a path on the map. Trying to navigate back to your ship when you've finished a mission can be super disorienting. It would've defeated a fundamental principle of the Metroidvania but having some sort of waypoint system so you don't get lost would really help. I genuinely almost gave up returning to the ship after one mission; I got so lost.

Major criticisms notwithstanding, I am having a lot of fun with this game. Normally a game that annoys me as much as this one does would've been traded in by now, but something about it keeps force-pulling me back (I will not apologise). However, I don't think I'd ever recommend someone pick it up. It really can be infuriating.


Pens, Ross!

Pens, Ross!

I love pens. Any stationery, really. What I really want is a Tactile Turn in copper, but I've yet to find a G2 refill I like


In case we were wondering whether there's a problem with inclusive language being our default; Steve Irwin in 1999:

...and he...well, they...


Slipknot at Arena Birmingham

Slipknot at Arena Birmingham

Overall, I don't really like Slipknot


The Subway meat-free meatball is not good. It doesn't help that the person who served me seemed to have never made a sandwich before, but the meatball itself was like soggy, compacted sawdust. Their adverts that show people pretending to be worried that they're eating meat are borderline false advertising. It's almost entirely flavourless, but they've done their best to try and mask it with the other ingredients in the sandwich. I do like their Sriracha, though. Don't know how long they've been doing that.

The Greggs vegan steak bake, on the other hand, is very good. Exactly how I remember steak bakes from when I was 18. On reflection, that is nearly 17 years ago, which makes me feel somewhat sad.

I should point out that these were two separate meals. I didn't have a meatball sub and a steak bake for lunch!


Weird clouds

Weird clouds

I usually don't stop for anything when I'm cycling home, but I don't think I've ever seen this before.