Personal Maps

I’ve been keeping a map of (most) walking treks through the city of London and where I’ve been eating and drinking (not often.) It’s all from memory, so it’s not all accurate, but it gives a good sense for how and where I’ve been spending my time here. Yes, I have walked a lot. By comparison, here’s a map showing all the places I ate at (and drank at) and took take-out food from in Toronto, from January up to…

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Game Reviewers Are Lazy?

In a complete show of arm waving attention-seeking, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences President called game reviewers “lazy.” He does make some good points calling for more criticism, which I’ll agree with, but the bulk of his quotes seem delusional to me. He proclaims a challenge to the industry. How can you review a game, how can you give a comment about a game like Grand Theft Auto IV, that has 40-plus hours or more of gameplay, if…

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Sweet About Me

It is known that I have certain musical tastes that, so to speak, diverge from the mainstream. Despite my affinity for hyper-minimal glitchy stuff and 8-bit computer square waves and outright noise and glitch, I do like the occasional softer fare. Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, for example, is one of my favourite albums. When “Hanging on the Telephone” was released for Rock Band, it was an instant purchase. So it was a bit of a surprise to see it reviewed in,…

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The Jacket

One of the foolish things that I did before heading off to the UK was to not bring a coat. With my bags packed and ready to go to the airport, I grabbed it and wondered “should I take this?” It was a 32C day, I had enough to carry as it was, I was going to be in the UK in the middle of the summer and I had plenty of time to buy one before I did need…

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Cinematic Experience

On Friday, I went to a big screen cinema inside of a shopping centre–a decidedly untourist-like thing to do–to see “The Dark Knight.” It was a warm day in London so I welcomed the air conditioning in the empty theatre thirty minutes before the screening. Silly me, expecting major crowds for a record setting movie one day after its release. However, before it started I was in convulsions brought on by the onset of hypothermia. That venue was downright cold.…

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The Thames Path

As with most days here, this afternoon I headed for the Tube with the intention of going for a long, wandering trek around London. I wasn’t sure where I’d go; I figured I’d decide on the train. I walked down the road past the station to a little bakery around the corner and grabbed a croissant and stuffed it into my camera bag. The blue eyed blonde Polish girl wasn’t working today. I crossed back to the station, pulled out…

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iPod Touch in London

On Thursday it was cold and rainy in London so, for the first time since my arrival, I took a day “off”. I was not wandering the streets nor riding the underground nor hitting a gallery nor adding to the blisters on my left foot. Instead, I stayed indoors reading, listening to British radio–it’s very British–and manually added the artworks to all the albums in my iTunes library. This is a tedious process. I’m up to artists starting with the…

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The Hazards of Looking Left

After spending my entire 28 years of existence in places where the traffic moves forward on the right side of the road it would take me a while to get used to it flowing from the wrong end. Not as a driver but, simply, as a pedestrian crossing the road. I’ve managed to avoid any collisions but, on a number of occasions, I have been startled by a car coming at me from a direction I did not expect: my…

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Last Weekend In Toronto

Well, that was it. Last weekend (not this current weekend) was the last weekend I spent living in Toronto. That weekend was also Gay Pride in Toronto and, as was the case last year, I was right in the middle of things. My apartment was in the centre of it all with my front door clogged with revelers, my street closed to traffic and my living room windows giving me a decent view of one of the main concert stages.…

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Touch Three

The iPhone is the Match Three device of the future: Chain 3 Trism. Gamesetwatch: Interview: The Next Big Puzzle Game Wave? iPhone + Accelerometer! Binary Square‘s “Spinblox” Yeah, match three has been done to death but the first two games, especially Trism, do interesting things with the touch interface (the last few are pretty blatant rip-offs and/or ports; I honestly can’t tell.) More importantly, this is what happens when you let small developers — not just companies — openly and…

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Extraordinary Meeples and Ticket to Ride

One of my favourite magazines, Print, has, of all things, an article about German boardgames: Extraordinary Meeples. It follows the rote approach that most similar mainstream articles take — can you believe that some people are still playing boardgames and they aren’t made by Hasbro? Settlers of Catan is one — but it does touch upon the thematic and visual design of these games. Not really surprising since it’s in an issue focused around European design, but it’s a welcome…

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Harmonic 313’s Word Problems

Harmonic 313‘s EP1 is an interesting, if brief, excursion into bleepy, old school “Detroit techno.” The record makes heavy use of retro Speak N Spell samples, which is probably one of the most sampled toys ever. That little reference to the toy game isn’t restricted to the music though, it’s there through the packaging and website. All the track names are obscured behind a simple color coded substitution cipher. The website plays with this and makes a simple little interactive…

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Inside ‘Puzzle Farter’

It speaks volumes that, in the last month, the only games I have touched are Grand Theft Auto IV and Puzzle Farter. Hell, Puzzle Farter is the only game that I’ve finished since Rez HD in March. Of course, I’ve had other priorities. The developer of Puzzle Farter is also a member of a secret cabal internet community that I’m in and it was there that the alpha and final builds were posted. I linked to it, giving a fellow…

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