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Marlowe

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  1. Having watched the new trailer twice and a bit of footage from the Treehouse stream, I'm now completely in love with the art style! It's so warm and nostalgic and beautiful. Just as importantly, the updated music is no less impressive. From the snippets I've heard, they've done a great job of maintaining that feel of the original chip tunes with modern instrumentation. I can definitely picture losing myself on the dreamy Koholint Island during the dark October nights while in the world outside we spiral towards the nightmare of a No Deal Brexit.
  2. Me and my best friend from school made some terrible Sonic fan games back in the day with The Games Factory, under the moniker 'Badnik Bandits'. It started out with Super Sonic Smash. There was a story mode (could be finished in an hour) and a few multiplayer levels. What it lacked in actual mechanics it made up for with fart jokes. Unsurprisingly it got absolutely slated by the Sonic Fan Games HQ forum. We did a couple of sequels to it that focused more on platforming and featured cutscenes (in-engine obviously lol) with reams of dialogue - they were a big improvement on the original but never got released to the public I also put together a demo for a Mario fan game, Mario Assassin. It was an on-the-rails shooter but also featured a side-scrolling driving section. It was actually received fairly well by the less critical Mario Fan Games Galaxy guys and made it on to their site. Never ended up finishing that one though! I'd love to revisit them but IIRC they were lost when our family PC running Windows 95 bit the dust.
  3. No thread for this? I guess high school comedies aren't exactly typical Rllmuk fare, but I strongly recommend this for anyone with a soft spot for coming of age films. It's a distillation of nearly everything remotely good about the genre: the two leads have amazing chemistry, the characters are all actually likeable, there's a great supporting cast, the gags are relentless, and it manages to maintain an inclusive sensibility without ever veering into po-faced preachiness. Even the gross out comedy is well judged. Apparently it's bombed at the box office, so it has future cult classic written all over it. Reminds me of the excellent Ghost World, another coming of age film with a strong female friendship at its heart, albeit this is more straightforwardly comedic.
  4. When have you had a phase of having no desire to play videogames, and what was the game that drew you back in? I'm in the middle of one at the moment. I haven't been into this gen half as much as previous ones anyway due to my free time being more limited, but until recently I'd still made time to play a fair bit of 3DS and Switch, and the occasional PS4 or PC thing. MGSV, Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey were my most played of recent years. For the last few months though, playing anything seems like a pointless chore. I absolutely loved the original Valkyria Chronicles, so I started the highly rated VC4, but after only a few missions I can't see myself ever returning to it. In its case, the volume of cutscenes and dialogue doesn't help - why dedicate so much time to some predictable third rate story when I can just go and read a novel or watch a well written film or TV show? I was pretty into SSB Melee back in the day so I picked up Ultimate. No dodgy story to waste my time, plenty of nostalgia to tap into, beautifully refined and balanced and detailed - it felt like a total grind. I have a huge amount of affection for Ico so I gave The Last Guardian a go. Love the aesthetic and the bond with Trico and how that's reflected in the mechanics, but for every touching moment I'm spending another battling with an unwieldy camera. I've always liked platformers so I gave Celeste a try on Switch - struggled to get through an hour. Maybe something will come along soon and pull me right back in, but for now it feels like I'm done.
  5. Shame Ajax choked in that last half of the semi. They'd be bossing this!
  6. How is laughter a problem? It was knowingly silly and comedic so it eliciting that reaction is a sign of success. 2 hours of relentless action without any comic relief would have been pretty tedious. I'm not even sure how the film could have played the majority of those scenes entirely straight. It fully embraces the absurdity of the various scenarios and indeed the world of John Wick, which is why it actually works far better than the first two films.
  7. As someone who could take or leave the first two films, I loved this. The action is impeccable, but it's the humour that I really like in it. There's a knowing silliness to it that is even more pronounced than in the other films. Not to mention Jerome Flynn's hilariously bad cameo. It's about 20 mins too long, but so is every modern action film so I wouldn't hold that against it.
  8. 1. The Finance Curse: How Global Finance is Making Us All Poorer (2018) - Nicholas Shaxson Following his exposé of tax havens in Treasure Islands, Shaxson delves into the world of Big Finance. The central thesis is that despite the headline tax revenues generated by the City of London and other financial centres, when evaluated on a macro level, they are actually a net drain on the economy, and a huge drain at that. We're taken through the costs that Finance's extractive behaviour imposes on consumers and governments, along with the damage wrought by its tendencies to generate unsustainable bubbles in non-productive parts of the economy and starve genuinely productive sectors of much needed investment. The book also tackles the 'competitiveness' agenda and the race to the bottom in corporate tax rates that we've seen in recent years - unsurprisingly, there is no real evidence that these measures actually benefit the countries that adopt them. Like so many of these books, it's strong on the diagnosis, less so on the cure. Shaxson clearly favours much tighter regulation of Finance, from a "saving capitalism from itself" perspective, but there's little discussion of specific measures or any overarching look at credit allocation as a whole and the role of the state vs. the private sector in that process. Overall, it's a decent read with some good insights, but not as substantive as Michael Hudson's books, which I consider the gold standard when it comes to the maladies of the FIRE sector and what we need to do about it. 2. Steppenwolf (1927) - Hermann Hesse First time reading Hesse. You can see why this book was latched onto by the 60s counter-culture scene - there's an isolated outsider protagonist, psychoanalytic elements, music as a recurring theme, drug use, and a surreal hallucinogenic denouement. That really doesn't do it justice though. The Steppenwolf is neither hero or anti-hero, his isolation from society comes more from a place of weakness as it does any actual superiority over it. As the novel goes on, he actually finds liberation and it seems perhaps some salvation in embracing much of the popular culture that he had previously treated with contempt. It's a journey for him from despair to life affirmation in a Nietzschean kind of sense, from passive self-destructive thought to literal dancing. But a journey only made possible by engagement with the Other (the dreamlike women that float into his life at just the opportune moment, Pablo the jazz musician), not from more self-indulgent and circuitous self-reflection. There's the spectre there in the novel of the growing jingoistic sentiment in Germany, and flashes of a society's capacity for violence ready to erupt again. My favourite parts are the long, rambling sections in which Hesse is channeling his own reflections on everything from Mozart to the technology and social implications of the radio. In a passage on the latter he actually comes pretty damn close to anticipating the internet. It's no hippie treatise, what it is is inescapably the work of a tortured and divided and fascinating soul.
  9. Don't hold your breath! Post SAF we've rarely done quick business in the transfer window.
  10. Ambient 2 has a special place in my heart. Along with Boards of Canada - Campfire Headphase, it helped get me through so much late night essay writing and a full blown existential crisis at university.
  11. Marlowe

    Nintendo Switch

    I've played an hour of Celeste and haven't really got into it so far. Does it get drastically better?
  12. There's a guy in my office who rants about this show every week now and is very much in the "everything is stupid and makes no sense" school of thought. His criticisms ultimately down to the fact that the pacing has stepped up dramatically in the last couple of seasons and events happen too quickly. I don't think that's a strong criticism at all. I can understand a personal preference for the pacing of the earlier seasons, but you have to evaluate these latest episodes on their own merits. Then there's the character development criticism especially with regard to Daenerys. I really don't see how her character needed any more development than what we've already had across many seasons to make that plot turn consistent and believable. It happening when it did and how it did was a fine balance between being consistent with her character arc while maintaining some shock value. Actual human beings regularly do terrible things in extraordinary situations that are far more incongruous with what people understood their characters to be than what happened in this episode of TV. Aung San Suu Kyi, who someone brought up earlier in the thread, being a perfect example. I should say that GoT has never been one of my favourite shows (I enjoy it, but not on the same level as BB/Better Call Saul, Mad Men, Twin Peaks and other shows), so my point of view probably comes from a place of being less personally invested in it and the characters than a lot of the people who are now upset with it.
  13. The way Twin Peaks ended 25 years ago was incredible. The way it ended again 25 years later was somehow even more shocking and perfect.
  14. I know right! I'm keeping someone else happy though.
  15. Does anyone want to see Oh Sees at the Albert Hall in Manchester on Saturday night? I've got two etickets, I don't want to go through the hassle of selling them so they can go for free to the first person interested. They're a great live band but I can't go as I'd forgotten it's Eurovision that night and I have an annual Eurovision tradition that I can't miss! Edit: Gone!
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