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  1. MarkN

    Vegetarian / Vegan recipes

    Just bought a tin of jackfruit from the Sainsbury's I work in. This has to be very new because I'd have seen it before (working as an online shopper means I know the store like the back of my hand). This is just jackfruit in water, and cost £1.20 for the can. Was in the aisle with tinned tomatoes and pulses, near the bags of quinoa and packets of couscous, FWIW. Not a clue what I'm going to do with it yet - will have a trawl of the internet for ideas. This is the stuff:
  2. MarkN

    Demon's Souls

    One of the things I love most about Demons Souls is that I haven't played it in years, and yet whenever this thread resurfaces it's a must-read, and I get to enjoy it all over again through other people's experiences. What a game!
  3. MarkN

    Xbox Adaptive Controller and related peripherals

    Great stuff. I saw it mentioned on Eurogamer yesterday but there weren't many details. That Ars article shows it seems to be really well designed. Not trying to solve everything, but trying to enable much easier, cheaper solutions for as many cases as possible.
  4. MarkN

    Relaxing games

    Viva Pinata really suffered from being incredibly manic at the start when you were just trying to learn how to play. On your very first go it would be a constant assault of pop-ups - tutorial advice, warnings about conflicts and incursions, achievement notifications etc. You'd try to respond to one mini-crisis and get 3 or 4 other messages pop up before you'd even identified the first problem. Once you've got through that, and learnt how to prevent most of the bad things happening it's a fantastic game to relax with (and incredibly charming to boot), but the first couple of hours are really fraught.
  5. MarkN

    You're saying it wrong!

    The look I got when I asked for a copy of Lumines on PSP from Gamestation - like I was absolutely mental. "Do you have Loo-min-ess?" They did have a copy of "Loo-mins" though, so I made do with that instead..
  6. My mum makes this tomato and garlic flan each year at Christmas which is usually really lovely. Several years back it started being a bit bland, so I (kindly) pointed out that it was lacking a bit of flavour. Next year it was no better, but my mum was puzzled because she said she'd doubled the amount of garlic in it. Next year even blander still, and she'd upped the garlic again. It was then that I realised that all it was lacking was a bit of salt. I mentioned it, and she said "Oh yeah - your Dad had high-blood pressure so I changed the recipe". Sprinkling a little salt on top helped, but it would have been much better cooked through it. If you don't want too much salt, you could try MSG instead. It's perfectly fine (providing you don't have an allergic reaction to it), and you can pick it up in Asian supermarkets fairly cheaply. It won't do the same job as salt flavour-wise, but it will boost the flavour in its own way.
  7. MarkN

    Jay Rayner reviews Le Cinq, Paris

    I don't recognise him from your description. The "cardigan-wearing" dig is lost on me. "Pompous" is a loaded word. He knows his stuff and speaks his mind. Some people call that pompous, I certainly don't. Here's a video of him talking about his piano playing. He's frequently self-deprecating and doesn't wear a cardigan even once
  8. MarkN

    Jay Rayner reviews Le Cinq, Paris

    Food critics serve the same role as game reviewers, film critics etc. They're there to try inform the public about how best to spend their money. This is useful info - especially when eating out can cost a small fortune. The fact that food critics often come across as pretty awful people is a problem they need to address amongst themselves. Many of them probably are awful people, but not all of them - and Jay Rayner IMO is one of the good ones. With a restaurant this bad there are two main options - either they didn't know the food was this bad before they decided to charge lots of cash for it (in which case someone else really should have told them before they spent huge sums of cash opening a restaurant - friends, family, someone...), or they did know it was bad and opened it anyway (which is pretty damned cynical and unpleasant). Either way they're prepared to take hundreds of pounds off customers for food that simply isn't good enough. They deserve to be held accountable for this, and when the discrepancy between the price and the quality is so large I think it's fine if the gloves come off. For many years when I worked in the games industry I was a Creative Manager, and as such would get to review the CVs of artists who'd applied for a job - occasionally with a view to hiring them for my team, usually just to whittle the wheat from the chaff so the company could just keep the half-decent ones on record. Out of the many dozens of CVs I reviewed for a job as a professional artist maybe 5% were truly great, another 25% were good enough, and another 60% were varying degrees of bad. The last 10% were truly awful. Not just bad - absolutely piss-poor, far below GCSE level, utterly wretched. They had no business sending them in, but they did so to try to win a well-paid job - either deluded or chancing it. Now happily, the only thing they were wasting was my time, so other than keeping a few examples of the worst stuff to show to friends when we fancied a laugh it went no further than that. If however, I'd have paid good money to go into an art exhibition and seen work of this abysmal standard I would feel perfectly entitled to rip it to shreds and deride it to as large an audience as I could find, because they've had the cheek to take my money for absolute tosh. When they're asking for lots of cash for worthless crap I think it's fair to stick the boot in. Edit: Also this thread has two examples of reviews of terrible restaurants separated by nearly a year. I've read the majority of his reviews between these two (which are weekly) and almost all of them are of good, great or fantastic places, beautifully written. These are the very occasional exceptions where he gets to have a field day. This isn't what he does week-in, week-out - it's usually a celebration of great food, good service etc.
  9. MarkN

    Good crisp bad crisp

    Ha ha. No, I didn't. Well spotted. Not sure what that's about - I just picked the first decent-sized pic I came across.
  10. MarkN

    Good crisp bad crisp

    I'm always on a quest to find the best Bombay Mix - and this is right up there. Note - it's the luxury line, not the standard (in the Sainsbury's where I work this is in the crisp aisle, not the world food aisle where the regular one lives). This ticks so many boxes - it has the thin noodles, the thick noodles, and the triple noodles. It has roasted peas and lentils, as is proper. It has roasted peanuts which you'd expect, but also cashews which are rarer, and almonds which are rarer still. It also has sultanas, which are a must for me, but often overlooked. On top of that it has a 4th noodle type - and it's ribbed for extra pleasure! (that one just below the word "snack" in the picture) This is the winning element - it's super-tasty, beautifully spiced - I could scoff an enormous pack of these on their own. I think this cost a quid a bag. It's a steal.
  11. MarkN

    My Picross game - Picrastination

    Cheers. Sorry - I said I'd get a Mac version done a while ago, and never did. I'll try to get both Mac and Linux beta versions sorted tomorrow so that I can get some feedback on them ASAP. I've not forgotten - just found I needed to focus on getting this first big step out of the way first.
  12. MarkN

    My Picross game - Picrastination

    Hi folks. Just a quick heads-up to say that I've just clicked the Release button on Steam. It lives! \o/ http://store.steampowered.com/app/799110/Picrastination/ Thanks for all the feedback - it helped a lot. Enjoy!
  13. MarkN

    Jay Rayner reviews Le Cinq, Paris

    Bit of a bump, but today's review is another absolute savaging, once again done beautifully: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/11/farm-girl-cafe-chelsea-we-dont-stay-for-dessert-because-we-have-suffered-enough-restaurant-review
  14. MarkN

    My Picross game - Picrastination

    One other thing - thoughts on the tone of the tutorial would be good. I kept it chatty and informal. Did that work? Too much? Was it fun? I've seriously not considered putting in a time penalty. I'm not sure it's needed. So now that becomes something I'd definitely like feedback on from as many folk as possible. I could easily add it as an option, but all it does is add an additional punishment to having made a mistake, which has slown you down already. On a 25x25 grid one late mistake that made you miss the par time by a couple of seconds would be a bit of a wounder, I think.
  15. MarkN

    My Picross game - Picrastination

    Thanks for the feedback. Some of the audio themes are quite fun (if I do say so myself). The captions are the thing that tipped me over the edge into actually making the game. I was only dabbling with Picross because my other project was going nowhere. It was really quick to get up and running, but I put in a few 5x5 puzzles and - well - the images you can make that small are all a bit dull. And I think it was probably the one that looked a bit like a handbag, and I just heard the classic quote from Importance of Being Earnest in my head - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyuoUwxCLMs - and suddenly I'd found a hook that would make this a bit different. (A few of the 5x5s are quite obscure, and one or two are perhaps the weakest in the game, but on the flipside there's a few I'm really pleased with too.) And then I just ran with adding puns and references all through the game, from the colour schemes to the level names on the level select screen etc. As to other feedback - bugs would be great, or any features you find awkward, or think are missing, or would like to see. (I'm just about to look at adding mouse assist to keep the cursor in the row or column you're working on, because that's been flagged up). Thoughts on the tutorial would be good too - I've kept it super brief, and I'm not sure if I overdid it or not. Anything beyond that I'd still love to hear, but those are the areas I'm focussing on.

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