Another Annoying Little Book

14 09 2016

Mogworld (Dark Horse Books - 2010)

Back in 2014, I finally managed to finish a book which at the time was something of a bane in my reading life. The book was called MogWorld, and it was a book about a character living in a MMORPG video game world and it was written by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw. I began reading it in 2010, but it was a hard one to read although it was filled with a lot of humour and at times was mega funny. Anyway, in 2014 I committed myself to reading the last section of chapters and then I was glad it was all out of the way and that I had finished it.

Well; now it’s 2016, and I have another annoying little book which I began to read a while ago but have yet to finish. The book is none other than Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. I bought it back in 2013 while I was studying a Screenwriting course at the University of Central Lancashire along with a copy of Syd Field’s book: Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. I bought them because, well; the name Syd Field is hammered into your head while on these courses although I have yet to hear of a film or TV show he has worked on, but also because I thought they might help, and I was first introduced to Blake Snyder’s book earlier that same year. I have yet to make a start on the Syd Field one, but I began reading Blake Snyder’s as soon as I got it.

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need (Michael Wiese Productions - 2005)Instantly I could see it was a book that spoken the hidden truth, by that I meant it said things how they were and was in all honesty very funny, but also very descriptive, and easy to understand. It even used examples from the world of film and screenwriting to make its points plus also had a little game inside that you could make a homemade copy of easily. As well as that it also came with exercises, while I have yet to do any of these, the book used them to get you thinking. It also gave me perspective on the 10 basic story lines of cinema too:

  1. Monster in the House
  2. Golden Fleece
  3. Out of the Bottle
  4. Dude with a Problem
  5. Rites Of Passage
  6. Buddy Love
  7. Whydunit
  8. The Fool Triumphant
  9. Institutionalized
  10. Superhero

So why do I talk about it like I have read it and why if I am so interested by it do I consider it annoying? Well, it is very in-depth and I really do like it, it’s a very fun book and I really hope to finish it one day and use it as a way to help me with my screenwriting. The issue sort of comes from putting off reading another chapter for a while, and when you start reading a chapter that references a previous one that you have forgotten, it’s hard to remember the context: that’s what happened. And generally, as my screenwriting course came to an end, plus the enjoyment I used to have for the course by this time vanished; it was hard to keep it up when I wanted to do something else. That was it really and since then, much like MogWorld, it is featured on my ‘currently reading’ profile on Goodreads, consistently reminding me that I have not finished it yet, although the gap from now to the last time I read it is significantly smaller than when I finished MogWorld.

The Foundations of Screenwriting (Delta - 2005)

My hope is that one day, like MogWorld I will finish it and then everything will be happy and I will be able to look back on it more fondly, but right now I just need to just sit down and do it! Whether I start again or not is another question, but right now it’s all about just trying to find a decent time to just do it, while making sure I do not do the same with Project Nemesis.

Project Nemesis (Smashwords Edition - 2012)

GENEPOOL

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A Poem On The Failures And Foibles Of Playing Rollercoaster Tycoon

2 12 2015

Rollercoaster Tycoon (Hasbro Interactive - 1999)

A couple of weeks ago; I wrote a poem in a Limerick format about the failures and foibles that can happen while playing the video game Rollercoaster Tycoon. So here it is. For a little more backstory; recently I have been replaying Rollercoaster Tycoon. I remember purchasing a copy of the game pretty much when it was first released in the 1990’s on the PC, but this copy is one that I purchased off GOG.com about 4 years ago. While playing it, some things happened to the customers in some of my parks that greatly affected my ability to win those levels. Though I should have grown out of and learned over the years that doing such things can cause issues for winning the game, I thought I would use that as inspiration for this little set of poems. They’re kind of bad (near Vogon Bad possibly), it was more a spur the moment kind of thing, kind of inspired by Jim and Yahtzee‘s Rhymedown Spectacular.

Anyway, Here is some Rollercoaster Tycoon inspired Poetry…..Enjoy.

RCT 2

I once built a monorail with a track of brown,

Thinking the exit was above the ground

Completely forgetting the math,

I forgot to build a path,

And as such everyone drowned.

RCT 3

I was in need of extra cash,

So I built a rollercoaster in a flash,

But I threw safety out the Window

And it was something I couldn’t undo,

And eventually it ended in a big crash.

RCT 1

Everyone was getting lost,

So I built a maze of paths at great cost,

Soon everyone got even more stuck,

So much so I would need to ship them out in a truck,

So I built a miniature railway (and even that didn’t solve the problem).

RCT 4

GENEPOOL (I know that last one did not end in a rhyme, but I ran out of ideas).





Uncivil War: “Get Ready For War!”

12 11 2014

Uncivil War

Back in July/August when I was on work experience in Manchester, I was looking through twitter and discovered that The Escapist had a new show on their website. The show is hosted by the combined efforts of Jim Sterling who presents the Jimquisition, and Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw who presents the internet phenomenon; Zero Punctuation, to which both shows are shown on The Escapist. Jim and Yahtzee, both being originally from Great Britain previously co-hosted a show on the Escapist called Jim & Yahtzee’s Rhymedown Spectacular where they would each present a poem on a similar theme each week. The show went on for about a year, and was quite entertaining in the process; both showing their talent for poetry as well as write and perform poems about Video Game subjects.

Since the poetry however, Jim and Yahtzee have now changed direction and have started, once again co-hosting a new series on Video Games; Uncivil War. Basically each week, the two presenters play the same game, and make up a challenge which does not really exist in the game whilst also providing an awesome sounding name for the challenge and see who is better at it. For instance, in one show they played the new Watch Dogs game where the challenge was to run over as many in game characters who wearing the same colour clothing as the car that the co-host was driving and so therefore named “The Car-Clothing Colour Co-Ordinated Carnage Contest“. On a later episode, the challenge was a lot simpler as they played Left 4 Dead and challenged themselves in trying to be the first person to board the helicopter at the end of the ‘No Mercy’ campaign, suitably named the “Get To Da Choppa” challenge.

Uncivil War Title Card

The show is very well produced as the title card and intro for the show publicize itself as being like an old-fashioned boxing match with even a pumped up introduction in the opening sequence while simultaneously assigning a blue and red corner to each participant. The title card at the beginning of the show as well as on the video view slide also gives the impression of a fly poster on a brick wall somewhere promoting the fight. The show also has a brilliant opening theme produced by another Escapist; Gavin Dunne who creates the Miracle of Sound songs and videos (including the brilliant song; Gordon Freeman Saved My Life). The theme tune is actually really catchy and while short can be expanded for little points in the show’s soundtrack. The opening theme though begins on a strong point with the lyric “Get Ready For War” before continuing with the rest of the sequence and keeping the song going.

Uncivil War is a terrific Show. I like it for the part of the shows co-hosts as well as the theme and soundtrack; but what I like most about it is that it represents for me anyway of what multiplayer games should be. Not just a straight race, or death match, or anything along those lines. Games should have more daft, silly modes for the basis of multiplayer more often, and the show’s two brilliant presenters have shown that. These are the kind of little games I would like to play in multiplayer more often, a little challenge between players to spice up the multiplayer element that little bit more. I remember watching my brother and a friend play one of the original Need for Speed games and not race each other, instead they spent their time tipping over big trucks with their cars. It’s little games like that between players as to what multiplayer games should be about, having fun doing something a little bit silly every now and again as well.

GENEPOOL





The Annoying Little Book

19 02 2014

ZP

I love reading (something that becomes abundantly clear to my regular readers). I like to get lost in amazing worlds and connect with the characters that you meet and greet as you continue to read. I even have ideas of what I think I will read next, I have just started reading The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey for my bed time reading, while my main reading at the moment is of course the final book in the GONE Series; LIGHT by Michael Grant. As well as both of those I am also reading Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. While all of these books are very enjoyable, there is one book that has cast a shadow over my reading.

Mogworld

This is Mogworld by “Internet Sensation YAHTZEE Croshaw”. I have been a fan of Yahtzee for almost five years now and while my consistency of watching Zero Punctuation has waned over the years, every now and again I get back into watching it, and continue to enjoy it. When I heard that he was writing a book, the moment it was released back in 2010 I picked up a copy of it and instantly began reading it.

Mogworld is a very funny book with a weird bunch of characters and settings and situations. And as the chapters go on things get even weirder, but the one thing that stays consistent is the high level of comedy, no matter what happens in the chapter, there is always room for scenes of laugh out loud comedy. But it’s not just the laughs, the book delves deeply into the world that the book is set in which (this is not really a spoiler as this has been well documented before the book was released) on this occasion is a video game and delves deeply into the culture including in-game finance, politics and how zombies are not as stupid as they look.

So you may wonder ‘what does the above title mean if the book appears to be relatively good?’, well thank you for asking. The problem is that the books in-game structure is very hard to read. The books type text size is very small and there is hardly any spacing, ok for many people this may not be a problem, but it is for me. Due to this it can take almost 5 minutes to read 2 pages. Each chapter has 13 pages and when it can take a while to read them, it does get annoying and I do get very despondent, which after almost four years does begin to get at you. Which is a bit of a shame, because there are roughly less than 100 pages to go until I will have finished reading the book.

While at the moment it is not my main read as such, I do hope to finish reading the book at some point, I am too far in to just stop because it will niggle away at me. In the meantime though, it will be nothing more than a book on my goodreads ‘currently reading’ profile with no end currently in sight, but don’t let this put you off from reading it or YAHTZEE’s second book Jam.

Jam

GENEPOOL





LIGHT

5 02 2014

LIGHT

After going to see The Hunger Games in 2012, I got back into reading for the first time in years, (despite the fact that I had been unsuccessfully trying as well as struggling to read “the Smash Hit Debut Novel Mogworld by internet sensation Yahtzee Croshaw” – YAHTZEE). Since then I have regularly visited my local Waterstones looking for more books to read. One of the first ones I noticed was a book called FEAR. It was a round about the same time I was reading The Hunger Games that I noticed it, and the one thing that struck me about it was the front cover artwork. It looked interesting and so I went in for a look, and saw that it was part of a whole series of books, the first of which was called GONE. I was interested to read it, but I didn’t want to interfere with my current reading schedule at the time, So I just kept it in my mind. This past June after almost a year of wanting to read it, I started reading GONE, the first book in the series, and since then I have read through every book in the series. GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE and I have just finished reading FEAR.

FEAR

This past Saturday I went into town, and it was a very auspicious (if that is the right word) moment as I purchased LIGHT, the final book in the series. Since June I have been consistently reading a thrilling and almost unstoppable book series, and now the end is coming. I have known about the coming of this day for a while, and it is one I am greatly excited about, and sad that it is approaching too. I feel like I am in this amazing world created by Michael Grant. I can feel like I am there and have my own feelings towards the characters and how I want their story to end, but also the world. I also have my thoughts as to how if I was in it, how I would want it to end.

GONE (Michael Grant)

One thing I am certain of though, is that whatever the ending will be, it will not be sedate. As the series has progressed, life inside the FAYZ has gone from bad, to worse than traumatic, and while FEAR has somehow ended the paranoia I have felt as the reader from LIES and PLAGUE, it is probably nothing more than the beginning of the end, a possible calm before the typhoon. But what that ending might be, I am sure it will be worth it.

GONE HUNGER LIES

The one thing getting to me at this stage though is; What am I going to read next? I have some ideas; I could finally get round to reading Mockingjay, or I could get back into The Spook’s series, or maybe read the copy of BATTLE ROYALE that is staring at me from my bookshelf. Or maybe, just maybe, I might take a gamble on a couple of books I have spotted, Stone Heart or The Fire Within. Will need to make a decision soon though.

Stone Heart

GENEPOOL








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