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Archive for August, 2013

Batffleck

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Last week following world news made me feel depressed and kind of shut me down mentally for several days, so I made the decision to not talk about any scary world news stories this week. Fortunately, almost immediately a news story cropped up on my favourite subject: nerd rage.

In the world of nerd rage, the most terrible thing in the world right now isn’t the fact that the Middle East is on fire or the fact that press freedoms are apparently under attack in the UK, but the fact that an actor people don’t like has been cast as a popular superhero.

Priorities!

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Straight Male Gamers

August 22, 2013 1 comment

I asked for blog topics on Twitter (@TheCheapFerret), and I was handed this link by @augustgirl515.

She directed it to as a starting point for a post about poor representation of homosexual relationships in video games. However, I won’t be discussing that topic, since I feel that games don’t tend to be a great space for showing off romantic relationships at the best of times, straight or gay, so it’s not really an issue that’s crossed my radar much. However, it inspired another thing to talk about: the suggestion that games need to be aimed at the Straight Male Gamer.

I am a Straight Male Gamer, and quite frankly I wish the games industry would stop catering to the Straight Male Gamer. The obsession with this particular demographic has resulted in some pretty bland games, and sucked all imagination out of a lot of mainstream titles.

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This Just In: Everything Is Broken

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Does anyone ever just feel numb to the world we live in?

I can’t remember what news story I wanted to write about today originally. Probably something about RyanAir being in the news yet again for being absolutely terrible, I imagine. But then last night the news broke that David Miranda, partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was held at Heathrow Airport for nine hours straight, with no access to a lawyer, and ultimately had all his electronic equipment stolen from him by police.

He was held, apparently, under the Terrorism Act, which makes all of Heathrow’s actions completely legal, although naturally questions are being asked about what terrorist activities he was actually connected to. After all, the evidence pretty much stacks up to show that he’s little more than the partner of a journalist who was helping receive some documents on the NSA surveillance story from a filmmaker in Berlin. That’s not terrorism, that’s being a journalist.

Now, you’ll be able to read a ton of hand-wringing and outrage from the general press about this today. You’ll be seeing Labour demand an inquiry be launched into the Terrorism Act, as Ed Milliband and co suffer from a severe bout of amnesia that causes them to forget who introduced it in the first place (hint: it wasn’t the current government). You’ll be seeing lawyers and Amnesty International demanding answers. You’ll be seeing human rights campaigners falling over themselves to show this up for the legalised kidnapping and theft it essentially is.

Me? I’m just sitting here staring at my computer unable to compute how bad things have gotten in regards to human rights and freedom of speech. Journalists are terrorists and I’m going out of my mind trying to figure out when I woke up in Bizarro World.

I have no words or opinion on the matter anymore. Part of me wants to scream and shout and say how wrong all this is, how truly obvious it becomes that we don’t live in a democracy, but the rest of me just slumps in a heap and stares in space.

I want to joke around and poke fun at the situation, making the politicians and police and border agents and whoever else is involved in this look silly. But I can’t find a way to make this funny. This is terrible, and everyone involved should feel terrible. I can’t even feel angry because I’ve grown to accept that this is how governments of the world, especially Britain, are acting now.

I wish I could pull everybody involved into a room, stand in front of them all, fall to my knees and just let out an exasperated “WHY?!” That is my only reaction to all of this, from the surveillance programs, to the dogged pursuit of Edward Snowden, to the repeated lines that “it’s all for your safety” to the detaining of journalists for nine hours straight. If all this is for our safety, why don’t I feel safe?

It’s almost becoming a cliché to say the real terrorists are the government, but it’s one that’s kind of apt when the last time I felt threatened by a Muslim man was in 2005. Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last few months of my life feeling ashamed to be British for a number of reasons, and wondering when the increasingly bad and increasingly invasive decisions made by the government are just going to simply stop. Like David Cameron just wakes up one day and realises that he’s a massive cock and reverses every stupid decision he or his party ever made. Which, with the exception of legalising gay marriage, is all of them.

Want to know how bad it’s gotten? A few weeks back, I went on a tweeting binge about the royal baby. In the midst of this, Cameron announced the proposed porn block, and in my annoyance I tweeted that I’d quite like to throw a chair at him. It was playful, it was meant in jest, and it was not meant as a serious threat.

However, after the Twitter Joke Trial several months ago, I got paranoid and deleted the tweet within five minutes, afraid that somehow some GCHQ spider would find the tweet, and have me arrested for making threats to the Prime Minister. How is it, in what is supposed to be a free country with freedom of speech as a fundamental right, that I can feel so paranoid about an offhand tweet like that? What country am I living in now? What is going on?

I hope something gets done about this Greenwald case. I support any efforts to drag it out in the open and expose it for the abuse of power it is. But until it all blows over, I wish I could just crawl in a cave somewhere and cry. It doesn’t help that things don’t seem much better elsewhere. Russia is criminalising gay people, the Middle East is pretty much on fire, Greece is filled with small-scale concentration camps and the US is complicit in this whole spying business in the first place.

Does anyone else feel this way? Like they want to just hide away while the rest of the world goes to crap? Does anyone else feel jaded about how badly represented they are by the people supposedly working for our benefit? Does anyone fancy moving to some deserted island and setting up a new country with me? Only awesome people with brains need apply. We could show them how to do it properly.

I will be back Wednesday with a gaming post, but until then, I’ll just be here staring into space some more. Don’t mind me.

Ferret vs. The Movies – The World’s End

August 19, 2013 1 comment

(2013, Edgar Wright)

Cornettos are pretty delicious. Essentially a packaged ice cream cone, it typically comes in three flavours: Strawberry, Vanilla and Mint Choc Chip. They were also used for what was seemingly a throwaway gag in 2004’s zombie comedy Shaun Of The Dead, where the title character Shaun buys one in the midst of a zombie invasion, and fails to notice the zombies.

When they turned up again in 2007’s police action comedy Hot Fuzz, made by the same core team, it became obvious that Cornetto was actually a central aspect of these films. In fact, it turned out that the two films were actually part of a trilogy, called Blood And Ice Cream, all based around Cornetto flavours – Shaun was Strawberry (coloured red like blood) and Fuzz was Vanilla (coloured blue, the traditional colour associated with the police), with a third film based on the Mint still to come.

That film is The World’s End, which finally got released this year. Where Shaun was horror and Fuzz was action, The World’s End is science-fiction. The plot is this: in the early nineties, a group of teens left school and attempted a pub crawl through the whole town. They didn’t succeed in hitting the twelve pubs, but their “leader”, the cool kid Gary King, considers it to be the time of his life. Cut to the present day, and Gary (Simon Pegg) decides to get the gang back together to return to their hometown of Newton Haven and re-attempt the pub crawl, aiming to actually finish it this time.

However, upon returning to the town, something feels off. Initially, this seems like just a simple case of having been away for so long and their lives being so different to when they were in school, but things begin getting a little suspicious, and the gang begin to suspect that the people of the town may no longer be people…

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An Open Letter To Nintendo

August 7, 2013 1 comment

Dear Nintendo

I used to love your products. I was a proud owner of a NES, SNES and N64, and later a Wii. I feel that you have a great capacity for producing quality games and your impact on the industry as a whole is pretty clear.

You ended the video game crash of 1983 by showing Atari how it was done. You created a legion of well-loved and well-recognised characters. You set standards for gaming across the board. You drew in a casual audience with the Wii, attempting to make it accessible to many who would otherwise never touch a video games console.

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Twits On Twitter

August 6, 2013 4 comments

The big story of the last week has to be the amount of abuse that has been flying around on Twitter. I’ve heard of several cases, from a Treyarch employee harassed by Call Of Duty players over minor frame changes to a virtual sniper rifle, to One Direction fans sending bomb threats to GQ magazine over an interview with the band that apparently misrepresented them (even though many of those fans discovered the article because the band themselves linked to it…), but I’m going to focus on the biggest one.

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