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Hex step

The months since June have been a rollercoaster of emotions. I had a further tussle with the black dog, moved home, passed my CHE in Humanities with the OU and discovered that Diazepam works wonders for me.

May was the last time I posted here but it was also the last month where I did any writing whatsoever. Since the start of August I have been weighing-up my options for a return to some serious writing. I now feel I have found an outlet that is aligned with my way of thinking.

If you follow me on Twitter you may already have seen that I have been contributing to a site called Hex Dimension. The team there originate from the Nerds Assemble podcast and Hex Dimension allows them to develop themes and discussions along the same themes in their podcast. What also appealed about joining the team was that Hex Dimension wasn’t going to be a site for news; if there’s anything that drains my enthusiasm for writing more is writing generic news posts from endless press releases.

So in future the majority of my online writing will be found over at Hex Dimension(you can find my posts here). My future games diary posts will be over at Hex Dimension only with the first in the series covering The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

For now I will be keeping this blog as a place for posts that don’t fit with the ethos of Hex Dimension.

I hope to see some of you over at Hex Dimension. They’re a great group and deserve a nice readership.

Joe’s

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On the back of what I recently posted about, there’s a new comic book title from the newly formed Joe’s Comic that I suggest you read and read and read.

Ten Grand (by J.Michael Straczynski and Ben Templesmith) is now only my fourth current comic book subscription following Revival, Saga and Constantine. I’m always on the look-out for that new title that has the hook and power of great inks and story. The first issue of Ten Grand shows both those qualities. Looking away from the comic singular for a moment, I was truly impressed by the ‘mission statement’ of Joe’s Comics at the back of the book;

Starting with the issue you hold in your hands, we will begin rolling out new monthly titles at regular intervals. Most will go for 12 issues at a stretch. While others will go for 6 or 8 issues, depending on the needs of the story. Each arc will go the length it requires, no more, no less. After each arc we’ll let the title rest for two or there’s months while we recalibrate and decide if there’s another story to be told…

J.Michael Straczynski.  Joe’s Counter, Ten Grand issue 1 May 2013.

The downside to this kind of statement means that sales may go either way on a title if readers don’t know the longevity of the title they plan on buying from Joe’s Comics. I do hope the books sell and if you like your comics with a little urban fantasy, a little John Constantine and a little 100 Bullets you should let Ten Grand into your reading pile.

Bigby

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My reasoning had led to me to believe that the next Telltale Games series – The Wolf Among Us – was not due out until 2014. Thankfully after reading this excellent piece on its development and a bit of further digging I now know that the first episode is due in Q2 2013. Colour me excited!

Here are some of the finer points from the article;

  • Players will run with the Bigby Wolf character in this prequel to Fables.
  • Minor characters from the Fables comic book like Mr.Toad and Colin (one of the three little pigs) will get bigger roles in the game.
  • Ichabod Crane will govern as Deputy Mayor.
  • Bigby will be investigating a murder as sheriff of Fabletown.
  • The threat of a Fable blowing their cover will also be introduced and will be something players will need to be mindful of.
  • The Snow White/Bigby relationship will have its origins in the game. Players will have moments where betrayal of trust will have to be addressed.
  • Player choice extends to deciding when to visit certain locations, who to help and when to use violence or intimidation.
  • Bigby can resort to using his wolf instincts through violent confrontation within the narrative but it will come at a cost.
  • Violent confrontations will be more ‘over the top’ than in The Walking Dead but will still be driven by the narrative.

As I did with The Walking Dead game from Telltale Games, I will be doing a game diary of The Wolf Among Us as soon as episode one hits the XBLA.

Comichood

Comic books have been part of my life since I read an X-Men UK reprint of the very first issue back in the 1980′s. My reading and comic books themselves have, shall we say, matured since that time. I prefer a thoughtful comic book but that is not to say that I don’t enjoy what Marvel and DC produce and have produced on a regular basis. Rather I’m far more selective in my choice of title to read.

What has always puzzled and ultimately pushed me away from the superhero book is the rebooting/alternative timelines of stories and characters and the overlap of stories between titles. The marketing ploy of a story completing or continuing outside of one title via a crossover is something I really do hate. It’s only ever done to promote titles which don’t sell as well as the core titles. Frustrating if you have a limit on how many titles can be realistically subscribed to.

While watching Iron Man Three I was again reminded of this feeling. The current Marvel studios movies are again re-imaging their universe with changes to story, timelines and characters. I’d never been a fan of Iron Man comic book and watching the third movie I wondered if the comic book fans of this title would be unhappy with the changes?

My spin on how I see the current crop of superhero movies is that they have entertained me in a far more adult way than the comic books have done in the past. I’ll take them for what they are; another alternative vision of that universe. As long as these movies remain within their own context then I’ll be happy to watch them. If and when these movies begin spinning into the comic books themselves is exactly when my interest in them may indeed wane.

Azorian

After watching The Aviator for the first time last night – not my favourite Scorsese movie – my curiosity was drawn to find out more about the late Howard Hughes. The biopic only represents the early part of his life and career and there’s much the movie didn’t touch on.

Howard Hughes was a maverick film-maker but he also advanced aviation – hence the movie title – to new heights(oh dear). In later life he worked covertly with the CIA, aiding in Project Azorian during the early 1970s. I also learnt that the character of Andrew Ryan from the game Bioshock was partly based on Howard Hughes. With all the workings of his varied career the one standout moment was his collaboration with the CIA to salvage the Soviet submarine K-129. Although there have been movies and books that have been influenced by this unlikeliest of collaborations – see The Abyss – to see this as a premise for an adventure game…well…I’d be hooked.

If you think that this could make one hell of a great, tense drama; on one side we have a sunken soviet sub that had nuclear weaponry and possible launch codes(that the Soviets had failed to find), a maverick character in Howard Hughes in cahoots with the CIA in a top-secret mission, aboard a specially designed drilling ship the Hughes Glomar Explorer.

Surely with game development and its reliance on re-treading the tired ground of the likes of Call of Duty, we are missing out on some exceptional adventures that don’t need the exuberant caches of weaponry or death match multiplayer modes?

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