17 October 2014

Some life goals - some missing!

Learn Arabic
Learn Russian
Write a book
Appear in a film
Appear on TV
Have more than one child
Visit almost every country in the world
Visit every continent
See the largest mountains
Visit the Seven Wonders and more
See Fleetwood Mac in concert again with Christine McVie in it!
Acquire a Political Science MA and/or a Political Science/History PhD
Re-learn French
Work abroad for a year
Acquire a stable career, maybe in the civil service or academia
Live to 100
Walk someone (a daughter most likely) down the aisle
Perform a wedding
Be a best man
Complete my national currency collection
Collect glass
Buy all the games I've ever played and some more

13 October 2014

Possible Nanowrimo/first novel settings

I hope to try my hand at NaNoWriMo next month. I heard about it in 2009 and only now feel like I have the time for it. Who knows, it might lead to bigger and better things. I will try and set it somewhere in my custom world - I have three regions that allow for diversity and familiarity.

The blue is a meant to be a heavily balkanised region full of conflict and ethnic tensions. As time goes on, three great empires emerge which fight a number of proxy wars. Eastern Europe, Africa and the Asiatic Steppes roughly compare with this area.

Red is one of my favourite areas, being dominated by two religions which overlap heavily. It is very dry along the peripheries and is similar to the Middle East if it were a little less desert.

Purple is the strongest de facto candidate. It is the only region which resembles Europe, Russia and certain parts of the Far East like Japan and Korea.

11 October 2014

10 games that influenced your life may-may trend

While it has probably done the rounds before and will do again there was a recent Facebook trend I took part in, what 10 games are your favourite/influenced you/hate the least. I had to create a Word document as usual with these things and figure out what 10 games influenced me at some point and am still playing now. I decided that the games I played between 1997 and 2004 were probably the most influential and informed my gaming habits since, with a few notable games left out:

  1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
  2. Pokemon Red (GB)
  3. Super Mario All Stars (SNES)
  4. Civilization 2 (PC)
  5. Age of Wonders (PC)
  6. AoE 2 (PC)
  7. Star Ocean 2: The Second Story (PS)
  8. Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role (PS)
  9. Eternal Darkness (GC)
  10. Halo 2 (Xbox)


I chose Ocarina of Time because it felt like the full game and was the first one I played. It got me to appreciate sword, sorcery and adventure. Pokemon Red is there because it got me into handhelds as well as teaching me about the power of friendship and an addiction to collectibles. Super Mario All Stars is a bit of a cheat because it as my favourite game Super Mario Bros. 3 is in it as well as Super Mario World and other older ones like the original remastered game. Bros. 3 made me love 'secrets' as did World with its various secret levels and whole secret world. Civ 2 I used to play on my brother's old Windows 98 and I distinctly remember listening to the Presidents of the USA 'Peaches' while playing it. I generally play Civ 4 now but I still boot up Civ 2 on Emperor for a real challenge. Age of Wonders was a staple I played almost religiously from around 2003 until 2013! It had a really good map maker for making pretties that I also indulged in a lot. 

Age of Empires 2 was the first game I played online but before that I played it a lot offline and I played some of its predecessors when I was even younger. It would psyche me up for the ridiculous pace of online games like Halo 2 and Call of Duty 4. Star Ocean: The Second Story was a game I played a few times on the Playstation and was the first Enix game released outside Japan, so despite the terrible voice actors and poor translation in places it was still a ridiculously deep game. I am still trying to beat 2 of the 3 mega bosses which have millions of HP. Smackdown! 2 was bought by myself and Royce one lazy weekend and we had immense fun with the CAW, this was also around the time I watched wrestling on Saturday mornings roughly from 2001-2004. Eternal Darkness helped me appreciate horror and was so well made and yet underrated. Halo 2 was the first triple AAA modern game I got and I managed to stay with the herd until around 2011 when my money ran out and game releases outpaced my savings.

Notable exclusions:

I left out Goldeneye mainly because while I thoroughly enjoyed the single player and still play it every now and then I thought this game belonged in a list of multiplayer games that I enjoy. It has been a long, long time since I played 4 player Goldeneye and the first few dozen times were in the late 1990's/early 2000's with a group of neighbourhood kids and the second few dozen times was with Aaron, James and Royce around 2004 to 2009 at the very latest.

I loved the Final Fantasy Games, I must replay them again soon. For all their story and gameplay I liked aspects of VII, VIII, IX, X and XII - perhaps the first and last of these were the most complete to me, closely followed by X and IX; VIII has some of my favourite features and least favourite flaws - the story getting weaker and weaker as time went on for example.

I play Civ 4 now more than Civ 2, while AoE 3 had guns and cannons that were also immensely enjoyable - Pokemon Silver I almost preferred to Red, but this list is about influential games. If I didn't play the 10 games above I wouldn't be into these. While I don't really like platformer/adventure games any more perhaps playing LoZ got me into Fallout down the line.

07 October 2014

Grad Fair

I went to the NUI Galway Graduate Fair. It wasn't terrible, it wasn't completely dominated by legal and IT stuff. The most viable short term path may be to do the JET program or TEFL for a year or so then get Theo into school here for at least primary school. Perhaps the country will have recovered sufficiently to allow me to get some casual work or maybe even something relevant to my degree for five or six years. I may even go for the research PhD in Political Science as I originally dreamed about long ago in 2011.

It was great to see some old friends around campus, it was very encouraging to talk to them again and perhaps I may come in more often while I am doing the TEFL over the winter.

03 October 2014

Missed September: October WWE Roster

The Blacksmith - the 3rd wrestler ever made in 2002 in Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role on the PSX. Jean 'The Blacksmith' Goldsmith suffers from Benjamin Button Disease, being 43 in 2002 and under 40 in Day of Reckoning on the GameCube in the mid-2000's. Blacksmith defended the WWF Championship over 40 times until Chris Jericho stole it off him. He has held the Tag Team Championships a number of times with his brother the Goldsmith. His favourite title was the Hardcore Championship and it was how he made his debut, often wielding a hammer in his matches. Various finishers have been used in the past by him, most notably the Iron Claw/Mandible Claw in his debut and later the Jackhammer. He recently went through developmental training, Superstars and Raw to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

The Goldsmith - Sean 'The Goldsmith' Goldsmith is one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. His feuds with Eddie Guerrero, Edge and the Undertaker are legendary. He is involved in a long-running lawsuit against Shawn Micheals for the right to use his own music. His finishing moves have included the Golden Chokeslam and the Pot of Gold (KO Punch). King of the Ring 2014.

The Whitesmith - Blacksmith's wife, she occasionally appears to kick ass.

Disciple - an enigma, a high flyer who takes all kinds of risks with his body. He loves Breaking Benjamin, often going to the ring with one of their themes. The Emerald Flowsion is his finisher. He won the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Nulk Wulken - the strongest man in the world, his fists can break bones and his grapples can end careers. A dirty brawler since 2004, he has only just changed his look in 2014.

Sir Killalot - one of the Blacksmith's creations. He is not particularly original, being modelled after Tim Woodman at first. He only wants to love, but was programmed to wrestle in a fake sport.

Killalot V.2 - the more organic successor to Sir Killalot. He is no knight and tore through the roster to win and hold the WWF Championship for several months. Currently marooned in Antarctica for our safety.

Wolf - the first CAW, he never got over this fact and was often 'deleted' for having no other defining characteristics.

The Terrorist - the second CAW, his popularity took a nosedive after being debuted post 9/11

Savage - real name Apoo Nahasapasapetalon, a vicious wrestler who retired early, a bully but a damn strong man

Feaster - not particularly charismatic but very strong and a match for Savage

Big Boy Joe - the largest wrestler ever, he has an unusually tiny head for his size, maybe because as his body grew his head stayed the same, is it a matter of perspective? Teamed with ET they are the fastest tag team ever.

ET - a small alien who has been roped into professional wrestling

Adolf Hitler - the Fuhrer himself returned in 2007 and decided to take on the WWE, occasionally teaming with the Aryan.

Edit Man - the man who showed us all how the moves are performed, a perfectly average and otherwise non-descript guy

Black Attack & White Attack - victims of an oil and sperm bank explosion respectively, they have put that behind them and wrestle for our entertainment!

Harpo the Clown - a legendary wrestler who occasionally appears to troll us all, subject of a 2007 documentary

Blackjaw - Blacksmith's good-for-nothing nephew, rumoured to be dead from massive rectal trauma

Clearing the Backlog #3 Final Fantasy 12 Remastered

Here we go again. Must have played it two or three times on the PlayStation 2 not too many years ago. I always liked this game but it felt l...