Top 5 Deadliest Catch Vessels/Boats

20 08 2014

Deadliest Catch Logo

I love Deadliest Catch. I like the idea of being at the helm of a boat and driving/sailing it across both rough and calm seas day and night. Deadliest Catch for those who have not seen it is this ace series on Discovery Channel about a bunch of crab fishermen who put their lives on the line to fish both Red (Alaskan) King Crab and Opilio Crab (and sometimes Bairdi Crab). Why, because it is worth a lot of money and within the space of a few weeks could make more than the average pay than in a year. But there are rough seas out there and every year, lives are lost and boats sink. But despite all this they continue to do it. Deadliest Catch unlike other shows like it also has great people in it as well as an actual sense of jeopardy where say other shows, like Gold Rush have some moments of possible false jeopardy by putting in the odd sound here and there before a break. There is nothing fake (as far as I can see) in Deadliest Catch. But the things I like the most are the boats that the fishing takes place on. Each one has a unique look, name and almost a personality by itself. So here are my Top 5 Favourite Deadliest Catch boats/vessels.

Saga

5. Saga – Elliott Neese: While quite a young boat as it has so far made very few appearances in the show, The Saga is quite a good-looking boat. While potentially a lot smaller than most of the big trawlers, its design and shape gives it the look of more of a proper ship than just a floating platform as do most of the vessels in the show. The colours of the boat are in particular one of the best parts as while the ship has a dark tone in colour, it is also got bright bits of yellow and together makes it quite colourful.

Cornelia Marie

4. Cornelia MariePhil Harris: A great boat for a great captain. The Cornelia Marie does look like an outcast amongst the other vessels as most do go for a dark look or just completely jet black. In comparison The Cornelia Marie is very bright and colourful, but is also very big, as in long. Surprisingly though the boat has not appeared to have been updated during its career as most of its on-board appliances for dealing and sorting crabs come down to plastic tubs and almost rust prone facilities meaning that most forms of sorting come down to use of handwork rather than other facilities for getting rid of rejected crabs as well as offloading them from the pots themselves. Other vessels include mobile sorting tables and trenches of water acting like conveyor belts to remove unwanted crab. This however gives the Cornelia Marie its own as well as historic personality, and if it looks like an outcast to most boats from its exterior, maybe it should continue that on-board as well.

Time Bandit

3. Time Bandit – Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand: Possibly the largest by eyesight (but is probably the same size as the Kodiak and Wizard) but also one of the coolest boats in the show. The Time Bandit may look like any ordinary crab fishing vessel with its platform like deck and may at first-hand look a bit dreary all in black, the Time Bandit is a boat with personality and most of it comes from the Skull and Crossbones logo then spreads out. I don’t know exactly what it is but this boat gives off a great aura when it’s on-screen and I think because the look of the vessel is quite casual and un-extraordinary it gives off great personality too and I think that if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned logo, it probably won’t look as good, but seriously, when this boat is on-screen, it looks fabulous.

Kodiak

2. Kodiak – Bill “Wild Bill” Wichrowski: The Kodiak is an impressive boat by all counts. It’s nice royal blue exterior as well as it’s on deck look and just its general size all come together well. The Kodiak’s deck looks very different to all the others seen in the show as it appears to have more of a wall around it and the only open access to the sea is the area where the pots are launched and picked up. This could be added to be a lot safer and perhaps more modern in design but as most of these ships have this platform like look, it makes the Kodiak look like more of a tanker vessel than say a factory ship and is aesthetically more pleasing to the eye. In essence, the Kodiak is more like those giant Japanese fishing tankers than a fishing vessel and for that reason along with its other features (including the previously mentioned choice of colour and size) the Kodiak is one amazing vessel, it’s just a shame that it’s no longer in the show.

Northwestern

1. NorthwesternSig Hansen: To me, the Northwestern is the star of the show. The Northwestern actually looks like a proper vessel/boat/ship with the cabin at the front and the platform end for all the fishing at the back instead of the other way round. Because of this, the inside cabin shots show more of the actual ocean and sea as the boat ploughs along and it also gives the idea that it may be more secure and safer for its crew. I think it’s because of the way it’s designed that I like it so much, but add-on to that the snow-white exterior, the rustic and basic design and even the great sounding name (plus the crew actually seem to get along with each other and the fact that Sig Hansen is great as a ship’s captain) all together make a great boat.

Northwestern 2

GENEPOOL (Apologies if I didn’t go not into too much detail, but how else do I talk about how great the boats in the show look while not really being a fan of boats in general. I prefer big ships like the Queen Mary 2 and Oasis of the Seas, along with the boats in Deadliest Catch).





REUS

13 08 2014

REUS Logo

Have you played Godus yet? I haven’t. Why? Because it’s still in early access and I don’t quite fancy playing a buggy game until it is supposedly finished to a point that it isn’t so buggy. It’s also why I have not played Folk Tale, MAIA, Prison Architect and War for the Overworld. All these are games I am eagerly anticipating to play, just not yet. But why am I talking about said games if the title suggests a 2D game with Giant Monsters in it. Well it sort of looks like games like Godus and Populous.

REUS World

REUS is a game about a world, a world that currently nothing exists, except for a group of Elemental Giants who each have the power over a certain type of land and abilities. One makes mountains and can create deserts and mines to mine (obviously) minerals. One can create oceans and sea life while another can create grass lands and fruit. Then finally there is a swamp giant who can create swamps and technology and sciences. What is basically a God Game where the giants are such entities and can create life and resources for the humans down below and provided the humans stay loyal to them, and not get to greedy, the giants and humans will stay in happiness together and some humans may join the giants unlocking new abilities for them. Although, the player has no direct control of the humans (a lot like Evil Genius) and if the humans get too greedy, they may declare war on each other, or even on the giants themselves which are not invincible. But if a race of man gets too powerful you can just destroy them, provided that you still have a giant that can?

REUS End

REUS is nicely designed and has a nice cartoony look about it and is also very colourful which is always a bonus. So even if the humans decide to go to war with each other, or sometimes you, at least it’s not all gloomy and horrible. The games mechanics are in the ability to give the peaceful/war like humans the things they need in order to survive/kill. So each giant while having maybe some similar abilities, each one does something different, and on top of that different types of region and the people that live on them require different kinds of resources. Grasslands initially require food, desert initially requires wealth and swamp initially requires Technology/Science. What do they require these resources for? Projects. As soon as a town is settled they begin building something which usually starts off quite basic and if accomplished thanks to the help of your giants, they grow in prestige (I think, it’s been a while since I last played it) and then may decide to upgrade that building into something better. By that point though, they require more resources and of different types. It is through this that they can get greedy and if you give them too much, equally so. But in order to achieve even these potential accomplishments the game introduces a system of multipliers. These are basically points in the resource system where combining certain things together will cause more abundance in those resources, and seemingly the strongest way of doing this is through the buildings themselves as they cause larger multipliers than the actions of the giants.

Reus Water Giant

The game while fun, colourful and perhaps playing in a more arcade style game than the standard RTS is also quite difficult as you need to inspire and provide for the humans, but also need to control them in some respects. But the game is very addictive and on your part you want to see the projects completed and do things to see them completed, but the multipliers aren’t as easy to complete as you think they are and can get quite frustrating as you try to use them to provide, but there is a real sense of accomplishment though when the projects are completed. And it is through such things that make me think of Godus as in that the humans create their own villages and building, and the same goes for this. And even when the humans decide to go to war, it is interesting to watch them do so. The world is beautifully animated, from the giants, to the humans, to even the plants and animals that live in the world and it is great to see so much diversity in the game, particularly from the animals themselves to the projects and if you are able to accomplish bigger ones, they lead onto even bigger ones. And if you are a game who likes accomplishments, there is an in-game accomplishment/trophy like system where in the lifespan of a single game you are able to accomplish a group of tasks you chose at the beginning of the game, that sense of accomplishment returns.

Reus Mountain Giant

REUS is an extraordinarily fun game. Addictive with a lot of replay value in a beautifully crafted, animated, colourful and even sounding world with lots to do and achieve while also trying to survive and do all of that within a predetermined amount of time with lots to unlock too, it is seriously good fun. Give it a try, I highly recommend this game (it’s both available on Steam and GOG.com, I have the GOG.com version).

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Murkum Show Episodes (Season 1)

6 08 2014

Murkum Show Titles

Some of you may be aware (thanks to some of my past posts) of my good friend Matt and his great talent for animation. I have spoken about this in the past particularly when he did an episode of Arbitrary Stopframe which was written by me entitled Monster Movie. About a year ago he did a small spin-off series around one of his characters called Dr. Murkum for which I also wrote a couple of episodes for and as the second series has just gone I thought I would look back at the first series and pick my Top 5 Favourite Episodes of The Murkum Show (for those of you who may have questions as to who or what a Murkum is and other pieces of essential information that may help you to understand what anyone in the following sketches are saying, please refer to the blogs from Matt and Tim).

Murkum Show 2

5. Drinkies – What is quite a quick episode has a real sense of slapstick that works really well. Murkum needs oil, someone goes to get it. Some one is getting drinks and Murkum orders a coffee. Original person comes back but Murkum forgets about the oil and drinks it thinking it is tea. It is quite interesting to note though that Murkum is supposedly a robot scientist yet oil is poisonous to him but this adds a sense of suspicion about his character and makes you want to find out more, even if it is just to see if robots like coffee.

4. Cough Sweets – The second of two episodes I wrote. This one about people wanting something badly to get rid of a cough and will settle for anything hoping that it will cure them but not asking if said item will do more harm than good. This is the case here with supposed cough sweet delivery actually being the arrival of cyanide capsules, but it is all too late as Murkum is more interested in people getting better than safely reading the ingredients label, even if someone else has. This episode also works on the opposite side of most episodes of the show as most of them involve Murkum getting hurt in someway, while this one takes the approach of his actions causing harm to somebody else. In addition I really do like the use of sound effects in this one and Tim’s voice as Mephnar Senior.

3. Headlong Dash – Another great piece of voice acting from Tim here pointing amount the most obvious of things. This episode actually does show some of Murkum’s military might but Murkum has forgotten to open the door. His speech is also a bit lacklustre but this could be a way of showing how un-intelligent he actually is. When he finally get’s in his car and crashes, it’s the additional voice who points out Murkum’s mistake, which in turn is what is so good about this episode.

2. Shiny New Toy – Another one from me now. I like this one a lot (and not just because I wrote it) because instead of Murkum getting injured in some ridiculous way, here is just getting robbed/mugged. I also like the little jokes I made towards Apple and the iPad brand too by using the names Pomegranate and X-Brick as well as the reference to Angry Birds by saying Happy Pigeons. Murkum’s cluelessness as well to the format shows just how difficult such devices can be to people as well as people’s general ideas and names to such things/devices. Also one thing to point out is the idea as stated in Chris Martin‘s Book Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area: Driven Crazy by the Modern World? that people don’t really know what the point of an iPad is, with Murkum stating that it might “help”.

1. Boss Machine – This one I think is the absolute funniest of the bunch. Murkum has a machine that he thinks will help him brainwash people into doing what he says, however it is not quite ready yet and Murkum constantly asks the same person over and over again to do things for him bordering on the ridiculousness including trying to steal all of the man’s money to making him  sing while setting his trousers on fire. This eventually accumulates to the point that the thing that Murkum asks for finally is the one thing the man has been wanting to do to Murkum all along, that is to punch him in the face. From the moment that he demands money, this becomes such a funny episode and does not stop until the very end, and that is why it is my favourite (of series 1).

GENEPOOL





Payday: The Heist

30 07 2014

Payday Logo

Fancy robbing a bank but don’t want to go to prison for a long time? Want to steal gold bullion, jewels and maybe the odd hostage without spending time in the big house? Well now you can do all that from the comfort of your very own home (and by that I don’t mean that ridiculous Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess or Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch game from The Big Bang Theory) with Payday: The Heist.  (Turn off inner advert accent) Payday: The Heist is a four player co-op game for PlayStation 3 and Windows (and Steam) by Overkill Software where you the player play as one of a group of armed robbers who have obviously decided to go the way of the Judas Priest song, Breaking The Law by breaking the law in hope of making their millions that way. The four robbers have cool nicknames (aliases) too. They are Dallas, Hoxton, Chains and Wolf and are armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons. But what looks like an arcade game, is actually a lot cleverer.

Payday 3

The game keeps to its arcade look, but instead of a mass shoot and rob for all, is also a tactical shooter. Going in all guns blazing and nicking as much loot as possible is not so easy when there are lots and lots of police officers out there who want nothing more than to take you in, or in most cases just kill you. So you will need to get into cover to prevent being killed, and much like Left 4 Dead, the game does heavily rely upon co-operation as if you go down, your buddies will need to rescue you, or if you end up getting arrested, your buddies will need to grab a hostage to trade. The game also comes with a levelling up system which means that you can specialise in a special skill to unlock new upgrades, equipment and weapons. But that is not all, not every mission has you robbing a bank. Levels range from diamond heist’s, armed raids, stealing entire safe rooms and setting prisoners free (and raiding a hospital if you so wish). But on top of all this good stuff, the police have specialities too. While there is the occasional group of standard police officers, as your siege gets more and more deep, specialised units will come in to deal with you ranging from Taser people, massive heavily armoured shotgun wielding people called Bulldozers (sadly no real bulldozers), Swat Teams and Snipers.

Payday 2

I really enjoy it, however I do think that the upgrading feature could be done differently. It can take quite a while to upgrade equipment and weapons and so I think it would benefit to have an experience system like that of Borderlands to allow more skills and upgrade such skills and allow weapons and equipment as well as upgrades for them done through a shop based system like Far Cry 2. This would mean that the player could get new weapons and equipment sooner rather than later and upgrade them as they go along using the money they have stolen. So in a co-op game the money would be split between players and to use as they wish. Also, I do think that there should be levels of difficulty where the player can choose to play a game that is too easy and would just pit the player against the normal police officers but would pay less and gain less experience, but it would mean that those who are just beginners could have an easier time of it. From then on, each new level of difficulty would introduce a new specialised law enforcer and pay more and give more experience.

Payday 1

Payday is a lot of fun and is a nice alternative to co-operative games as thanks to its arcade style it means that people who just want to have a quick single player or multiplayer game can and don’t need to get caught up in a massive story driven game and can just get stuck in. The novelty of Payday as well is also really good as it is very contemporary and has been featured in both Films and Television for quite a few decades now. While I do think that the game could be improved by a great detail by what I have said above, I really do enjoy playing this game, both cooperatively and singularly. If you like games like Left 4 Dead, you’ll (probably) like this as well. Give it a try, it is so much fun, and if you do get arrested, just restart.

GENEPOOL





Colonia

23 07 2014

Colonia

Colonia is an Set Collection, Resource Management and Worker Placement board game released by Queen Games designed by Dirk Henn who also designed Shogun and Alhambra. Set in the ancient Holy Roman Empire city of the same name renowned for its ancient cathedrals and versatile trade, the game plays out over several rounds, but within those rounds are rounds themselves where players take on the role of one of several influential families and instruct them to do several things per mini round. Basically the game plays out with each turn within the round representing a different day of the week.

Colonia 1

On day one, players set up the game board for the week, placing edicts and setting out contracts, items for trade and ships that will set out. On day two, players secretly choose how much influence they will have during the turn by dedicating as many family members as they wish, the player with the most dedicated family members becomes the first player for that round, this is also how the voting mechanic works as a simple yes or no from everyone is multiplied by how many family members each person put forward on day two. On day three, players send any remaining family members they have (but preferably not all of them) to collect resources from the market. On day four, these resources are given to craftsmen to create new resources with family members taking the appropriate resources to the right contractor. On day five these new resources are then taken to ships in the harbour and their cargo holds are loaded with the asked resources. On day six the ships leave the harbour and the players are given the money for their products. Each ship though represented a different location in the empire and so the player is given money based on the type of money that the ship carries. Finally on day seven, players get the chance to buy relics using the money they earned from the week. Relics are how players win the game, as the family with the most points from Relics wins the game. After all this has been done the game continues for an allotted period of rounds before the game ends. As players go round the board again though, they retrieve the family members they put down on the previous round space by space.

Colonia 6

At its heart, Colonia is not a bad game, a definite improvement I feel over Alhambra which while having an ok mechanic is completely random where you want to build something but need the required money, save up and by the time have the correct money the building is gone.

Alhambra

This time around though, there is more opportunity to get the correct money you want in Colonia as the money is readily available, you just need to plan ahead and get the satisfactory results to get the money you want to buy the relics you want; however that is also one of the game’s short comings. The relic’s score so low a number of points that you personally think that more high scoring ones will be out in a bit but as most score no more than between 1 and 3, you hold out for as long as possible instead of buying as many as possible. While the game does include shrines, one of each colour that doubles the score of up to 1 relic placed in it, it’s still not enough and it is really only thanks to the end game stained glass window bonuses that a winner can be crowned at all.

Colonia 4

Colonia’s basic structure of buying resources to turn into other products to then sell is brilliant, and an absolutely brilliant idea at that. It beats the usual resource gathering mechanic where you buy resources to use only once for certain things. The mechanic in Colonia is more like that of the world today and I am surprised to see that said mechanic is not used more often, even in big economic games like those designed by Uwe Rosenberg.

Colonia 3

While I do like the game to a point, there is just a sense that there could be more to this game. Why is it that I hardly have anyone in my family remaining to do the basic of commands, why is it that I lose family members trying to buy contracts and resources, why can’t all the ships leave the harbour every round instead of just a few, why is it that the edicts don’t seem to make much for understanding without reading the rules and why do we decide on them during their round than right at the beginning so we don’t forget about them, why can’t the relics be a lot more valuable. It’s almost like the game is trying to sabotage itself by limiting options when in the end you need as much as you can, which is very hard to do when to begin with you are limited to the point of almost impossible. I don’t have problems with games that limit what you can do, it puts a real strain on your gameplay if it’s part of the mechanic and forces you to think clearly about what you both want and need to do to accomplish them. That’s fine, but not when such gameplay prevents you from doing the most basic actions that are required in order for the game to work.

Colonia 7

The look of the game is very basic and holds some charm but given the detail of games out there which play and look along the same lines, there could be more to appeal to the player, though on saying that, the player shields which are used to hide the resources collected and produced are a nice touch and the bag that is used to place resources randomly on the market tiles is a good device also and prevents the players from holding a monopoly on certain resources. While Colonia is still a very enjoyable game, I don’t think it carries enough value for much in the way of replay value and at most is a game that you will want to play after a few months or so after playing it for the first time.

Colonia 5

GENEPOOL








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