MERRY (BELATED) CHRISTMAS

So, this is a little later than I intended, but I wanted to wish everyone a Merry X’mas. Last year I was pretty busy, but it didn’t really prepare me or how busy I was going to be this year… so it’s safe to say I haven’t managed to get quite as much done during December as I had originally planned. Nonetheless, it’s been (more or less) a good month – Santa was good to me this year, and with extra hours comes extra money… so I’m definitely better off now than I was at the beginning of the month (which goes without saying to an extent…).

Looking on to 2016, I’m spending this last week planning as opposed to acting, using the age-old “New Years Resolution” excuse to put things off just a little bit longer. My hope being that by putting a little more thought into the hows and whys of what I’m doing, my chances of succeeding will be higher. Generally speaking, I’ve got the usual changes planned (quit smoking, lose weight, etc), but there are also a few other things in the pipeline that I’ve been putting off for to long. So, once New Year starts I’m going to be making some serious attempts to be more productive, and consistent – in the hopes that I’ll finally get to where I’ve been going.

So, in retrospect, I wish you all a late Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year! Hopefully 2016 will bring good things to all of you. 😀

Advertisements

KID CHAMELEON | HIATUS

So, this should have been obvious to me but I’m actually going to be incredibly busy over December, with Christmas and all. As a result blog posts are going to be a lot more sporadic than I had originally intended them to be during this time… but it can’t really be helped. Things will settle back to normality, or some form thereof, once January comes around – and work becomes more relaxed again – so I’ve decided to focus more on planning decent posts for then than rushing half-assed posts out every day just for the sake of it. I will most likely post a few things up this month, but there won’t be as much as usual, as what little time I do have to myself right now I would like to use relax. Nonetheless, I will be floating around here every now and again, and I will be back in January with a new posting schedule, as I re-establish my priorities in regards to this blog, and what I intend to do with it.

Anyway, just in case I do find myself too busy to post beforehand, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a great time, and enjoy the season to it’s fullest 🙂 x

KID CHAMELEON | TOP 10 SONGS FROM JAPAN

Just a quick Top 10 today; my top 10 songs from Japan. I’ve listened to a lot of Japanese music over the years, so this list isn’t really inclusive of all my favorites, more just a brief collection of the songs/artist I currently listen to. For instance, had this list been written when I was 18/19, it would have most likely consisted solely of Visual Kei music. That’s not to say I enjoy the genre any less, I just don’t listen to it as often as I used to, as I’m a little more varied these days. Here, in no particular order, is my current top 10 songs from Japan – and one English-language “honorable mention” – hope you enjoy! 🙂

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – PONPONPON

Perfume – Spending All My Time

LM.C – Sentimental Piggy Romance

Gackt – Oasis

Nami Tamaki – Brightdown

Utada Hikaru – Passion

SuG – 39GalaxyZ

An Cafe – Maplegunman

T.M.Revolution – Resonance

Ayumi Hamasaki – Microphone

Honorable Mention
MIYAVI – Real?

KID CHAMELEON | DARK

top_dark_new

I purchased Dark last year, full of optimism. I’ve been a huge fan of the urban fantasy genre for years (you can thank Buffy for that), but I’ve always found the genre to be sadly underrepresented in the video game medium. So, when I heard about Dark – a stealth game with vampires – I was ecstatic. Since the Legacy of Kain series died off, I couldn’t remember the last time I had played a video game where a vampire was the main character (Skyrim’s optional vampirism notwitstanding), and to have it in a legitimate urban fantasy setting for once was incredibly appealing.

The game itself started off well, with a promising story, and a tutorial that showcased what seemed like strong gameplay. However, by the second half of the very first level, it became apparent that the game wasn’t exactly… polished. Eric Bane, the hero, has numerous abilities at his disposal (which are unlocked by spending experience gained through killing enemies, and completing locations), but many of them don’t actually work – especially in the situations where you need them to the most. The game has numerous glitches, which end up causing the gameplay to devolve into an exercise in frustration – with trial and error becoming the only way forward.

Xbox-360-Dark

Saying that, in the moments when Eric’s powers do work, and the AI acts how it should (rare though they are) the game does reward you with a feeling of pretty immense satisfaction. There’s nothing quite like leaping off a railing to sink your teeth into a security guard below, then telekinetically grabbing his nearby friend and choking him to death, all in one fell swoop, but sadly situations like these are few and far between, as usually you’ll find abilities refusing to be activated – especially when there are enemies around with which you could actually utilize the abilities.

Dark is, sadly, not a game I would recommend. It’s well designed, with some beautiful graphics, but as a whole it’s incredibly poorly implemented – to the point of being by far the most frustrating game I have ever played on the Xbox 360. What had the potential to be a lot of fun was sadly lost amidst a fog of glitches, bad lighting, faulty AI, and poor choices. This is made all the more depressing by the fact that, to my knowledge, there are no other urban fantasy games like it on the Xbox 360. I know of a few games that were planned, but none of them ever came to fruition.

dark_screen_15_22042.nphd_

Dark’s premise had a lot of potential, but sadly the final product was just incredibly underwhelming. My only hope is that this game’s failure doesn’t deter future game developers from re-visiting this concept, with – hopefully – a bit more success. With properly integrated vampire skills, and better use of light and dark in the stealth gameplay, this could have been, at worst, a passable game. But with a bit more thought, and some proper playtesting, it could have been great – and I sincerely hope that the Playstation 4 and Xbox One get to see a game like this released, only… better.

KID CHAMELEON | FIGHTING FANTASY DIGEST

So, I wrote a post recently about the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. It wasn’t particularly in-depth – being more about my experience with the books, rather than being about the books themselves – but it got the job done. As with the majority of the content on this blog, it wasn’t really written with the expectation of people actually reading it… so I was surprised to discover the next day that it had been featured in the Fighting Fantasy digest. At first I was frustrated that my content was being shared without my consent – as I only discovered it due to a mention on twitter, announcing that I had “contributed” – but eventually I decided to just take it as a good thing. After all, at least I got credit for it, which is more than some people get out there. So, I just thought I’d do a little post about it – after all, being featured sent readers my way, so it’s only fair that I attempt to do the same. So, if you read my post about Fighting Fantasy, and enjoyed it, feel free to follow the link below for more content of that kind. If you’re a fan of Fighting Fantasy, I’m sure that you’ll find plenty of things there that will pique your interests.

Fighting Fantasy Digest – 28/11/2014

 

 

KID CHAMELEON | THE 10TH KINGDOM

So, I’ve been on a bit of a fairytale kick recently – inspired in part by my recent return to obsession with Once Upon a Time. Having caught myself up to date with Season Four, I found myself looking for my fairytale fix elsewhere, and remembered this mini-series I had on video when I was younger. To put it simply, the 10th Kingdom is pretty brilliant.

Set in a world that amalgamates various fairytales, the 10th Kingdom manages to follow the various tropes common to the genre, whilst remaining fresh at the same time. Snow White, and other recognizable characters, do make appearances, but the plot doesn’t rely on them for fuel, and instead merely uses them to enhance the story and utilize our familiarity with those characters to enhance our opinions of those connected to them.

The plot follows the character Virginia, a waitress from Manhattan, and her father Tony, as they find themselves transported to the Fourth Kingdom (one of nine kingdoms rules by fairytale princesses of yore – with the titular “10th Kingdom” being our own). Joined by a polymorphed prince and a “half-wolf”, the pair initially seek simply to track down a magic mirror in order to return home, but soon become caught up in the machinations of the Evil Queen – with whom they share a deeper connection than they realize.

The 10th Kingdom was initially conceived by it’s writer – Simon Moore – as the first in a series, with each exploring one of the nine kingdoms. Sadly, this never came to fruition, and it’s a shame because over the course of it’s five parts The 10th Kingdom does an excellent job at building a world the viewer can sink their teeth into, and it would have been great to see more. Nonetheless, in this world of seemingly endless fan-fiction that we live, in the 10th Kingdom lives on in the hearts of it’s fans (for better or worse).

Still, it seems rather strange that the second series was never commissioned. As far as I can tell the series was incredibly successful upon it’s original airing, with a video box-set and tie-in novel being sold during ad breaks. One would think that NBC would want to milk a potential franchise such as this for all it was worth, but I guess they just didn’t think it would be a lucrative enough option. Maybe the books didn’t sell well enough.

Either way, the series makes for an enjoyable 7-ish hours of viewing, and will definitely satisfy the cravings of any fellow “Oncers”, while they wait for the next episode with bated breath. The special effects are a little dated by todays standards, but the make-up and costumes stand the test of time, and the sets are uniformly gorgeous. So, if you’re a fan of fairytale fiction, I recommend you seek this series out – it’ll be worth your time.

Oh yeah, and the opening sequence won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design in 2000. If you watch it, I’m sure you’ll be able to see why. It’s kinda awesome.