Saturday, 27 July 2013

Scribblenauts, The Walking Dead: 400 Days, Dishonored, Unnatural Creatures, and Van Helsing

In the days after London I finished Scribblenauts Unlimited completely. All the stages, all the starites, all the shards, all the achievements - everything. It was a childish yet fun game and sometimes hard enough that I had to cheat to figure out what the hell the game wanted. I think the fact that English isn't my mothertongue may have contributed to that. Anyway I love the strange things you can do in the game. In one of the underwater stages Cthulhu lies sleeping at the bottom and you get a shard if you waken him xD Also in another underwater stage you have to help Shoggoth xD I think one or several of the creators of Scribblenauts is an H.P. Lovecraft fan!

After that I downloaded and played through The Walking Dead: 400 Days on my Xbox 360. I liked it although it felt too short and as if the game never took off properly. My favourite story is Bonnie's, although I think my favourite character is Becca. I also like the Easter eggs present in 400 Days which refer to stuff that happened in the original game.
Then I installed The Walking Dead on my computer and played through the game a second time. I made sure to make some choices different from what I had done in my first playthrough since the game adapts to the choices the player makes. I went to save Shawn instead of Duck on Hershel's farm. I saved Doug instead of Carley. I sided with Lilly instead of Kenny in as much as possible. I didn't leave Lilly by the road after she shot Doug. I didn't save Ben in the clocktower. However I still didn't steal from the abandoned car, I still shot Duck instead of having his parents do it, and I still showed the bite to the group, and I still had Clementine shoot Lee in the end instead of just leaving him

When we got to Toni's and I finished The Walking Dead I started playing Dishonored. Toni had recommended it to me after he played it last autumn, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I felt like trying it out. I played on easy cause I'm an amateur player and I still had some trouble with the tallboys. I played on high chaos all throughout the game and played more of a hack n' slash than stealth game xD In the end I got the bad ending. I may do another playthrough some other time and go for stealth and not killing and getting the good ending, but not right now. Anyway I finished the game in 15 hours and I really liked it. I loved the scenery and general steampunk feel to it :) However I wasn't very good at getting all the runes and discover all the blueprints etc when I was at a place. Especially in areas including tallboys where I mostly wanted to get the hell out of there to the next area before I was killed by those things.

I also finally finished the book Unnatural Creatures. I had it with me to Metaltown, but I didn't read on the train. I had it with me to London but I hardly read on the plane. Anyway it was a lot of fun to read. In the end of the book was annotations to whom had written the short story and when it was first published. Most
of them were recent or from the 60's and 70's, but the oldest one was from the 1880's!

  1. 1885 - The Griffin and the Minor Canon" by Frank R. Stockton
  2. 1900 - "The Cockatoucan" by Edith Nesbit
  3. 1909 - "Gabriel-Ernest" by Saki
  4. 1942 - "The Compleat Werewolf" by Anthony Boucher
  5. 1958 - "Or All the Seas with Oysters" by Avram Davidson
  6. 1963 - "Come Lady Death" by Peter S. Beagle
  7. 1969 - "Flight of the Horse" by Larry Niven
  8. 1972 - "-----*----¤---*-----" by Gahan Wilson  (the name is just a blob in the book, I tried to recreate the shape of the blob)
  9. 1977 - "Prismatica" by Samuel R. Delany
  10. 1982 - "The Sage of Theare" by Diana Wynne Jones
  11. 2004 - "The Smile on the Face" by Nalo Hopkinson
  12. 2005 - "Sunbird" by Neil Gaiman
  13. 2011 - "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu
  14. 2013 - "Moveable Beast" by Maria Dahvana Headley
  15. 2013 - "The Manticore, The Mermaid. and Me" by Megan Kurashige
  16. 2013 - "Ozioma the Wicked" by Nnedi Okorafor
My favourite short story was by far the one without a name you can pronounce by Gahan Wilson. It was also the first story of the book and it reached into the fields of psychological horror, which completely took me in! I also really loved The Cockatoucan, Gabriel-Ernest, Or All the Seas with Oysters, Come Lady Death, Flight of the Horse, The Sage of Theare, The Manticore, The Mermaid and Me, and Ozioma the Wicked. The Cockatoucan is brilliant and old and presented as a classical children's tale as you'd imagined Peter Pan to be. I don't know why I stopped reading Nesbit at all. She's brilliant - or was I guess. Gabriel-Ernest is a fantastic mash-up between Mowgli and a werewolf :P Or All the Seas with Oysters also played on the border of psychological horror. Something seen but not tangible. Come Lady Death feels like a Victorian vampire story despite the fact that it's really about Death herself. Flight of the Horse is really a sci-fi story that gets mixed up with fantasy due to timetravel. It's hilarious and exciting at the same time! The Sage of Theare is more of a classical fantasy tale from the author who gave us Howl's Moving Castle. There's a little Hercules over it all, but still amazing and year's ahead of Disney's Hercules, albeit centuries after the original Hercules tale. The Manticore, The Mermaid and Me started out as a sort of teen story which quickly turned strange and then into pure horror. Amazingly executed story. I like Ozioma the Wicked mostly because it has that African feel to it of the image the Western world used to have of Africa before it was all poor and after it was all racism. Somewhere in-between there. You know that picture? The picture of an ancient culture and tribes converted into towns? This story has all that as well as an element of urban fantasy. 
Then there are the other stories that didn't exactly speak to me. The Griffin and the Minor Canon felt like a classic fable turned into a longer story and without rhymes. The Compleat Werewolf was just long. Really, really long. Prismatica was interesting at first but turned boring about halfway through. The Smile on the Face was more like a classic high school drama except for a small magical element that only happened for a short while. Forgettable. I had read Sunbird before but it didn't strike me as great the first time I read it either. I liked it but it wasn't amazing. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees was interesting, but written in a kind of boring way. Moveable Beast I completely forgot about as soon as I had finished reading it. 
It's been quite a trip reading all those stories and for the most part I really enjoyed it. Now I'm off to more Gaiman. I think I'll start with his newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane and then there may be more Sandman :)

After I finished Dishonored I decided to start up The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. A game I bought during Steam Summer Sale. I've only played it for 1½ hours yet, but it has me intrigued. It looks and works like Diablo, but without the online element which makes it waaaaay better in my eyes, since I don't want to play with a whole lot of other people all over the place. It would be like reading a book with someone hovering over your shoulder - completely annoying. Anyway, this far the story is really interesting and the fighting style is really hack n' slash, which suits me perfectly. And now I'm off to play it! 


Friday, 19 July 2013

London day 3 - Going home

Check out time was at 11am and our flight didn't leave until 7pm so we had a lot of time to kill after checking out. We started by going to Piccadilly Circus to eat brunch at KFC and then we took a trip down Chinatown and Soho, before reaching Oxford Street.

At Oxford Street we went to HMV and I ended up buying three games for Nintendo DS. They don't sell any good games for the DS in Sweden anymore - only games for the 3DS so this was very refreshing! :D The games I found were Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits, Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life, and Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy. They all seem to be adventure games and could all be a lot of fun :) And except for the fact that Britain hasn't invented air conditioning yet, it was 30 degrees outside and no air inside, I really enjoyed being at an HMV again :) After HMV we went to the tube station and went to Green Park. Originally I thought we could check out Buckingham Palace before we left but we ended up just falling to the ground in the shadow of some trees and resting there away from the scorching sun.

After resting there for a good long while we decided to go to the airport and except for going to the wrong Terminal at first everything went smoothly as soon as we got to the right Terminal :P We checked in, dropped off our bag, went through security and went to look at the tax free shops. While talking about how fun it would be to have seen a real TARDIS, we happened upon a Doctor Who stunt in the middle of the airport! A TARDIS, a Dalek and a place to take pictures as the Doctor and Clara. The inside of the TARDIS had a green screen and it was supposed to take a picture of you and share it to your Facebook, but it didn't work. Neither of us could log on to our Facebook accounts :/

After all the Whovianism we decided to have sushi for dinner. Then we looked around in shops and waited for our gate to be announced. The flight was 15 minutes delayed even before it was announced -.- When the gate was announced we went there and that's when it was announced that the flight was 30 minutes late due to being late from its last destination -.- But when the plane finally arrived and we could get on we had the luxury of having a completely cloud free flight :D

Back in Copenhagen everything went smoothly until baggage reclaim. Our bag was very slow to arrive and I started to get nervous that it had gotten lost, but then it finally showed up! We got on the train back to Malmö and the bus home. It was kind of nice coming home, but at the same time I miss London. I've always liked London a lot!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

London day 2 - Going all over town! (and more on what happened on day 1)

I was so excited after the Studio Tourlast night that I completely forgot to write about getting here and then some stuff happened after that blog post too.

Anyway, same day we were going we packed our stuff and on our way to the bus I realise that I've forgotten my printed booking confirmation that I was supposed to bring to the Studio Tour and exchanged for tickets. Had to run all the way back and then all the way to the bus (almost), but we made it. Making room for margins is a really good thing! At the airport we realised that we couldn't check in ourselves before-hand without the booking reference - which was on Toni's mail. Since the airport was in Copenhagen (which is abroad but still the closest one) we couldn't have the mobile's own internet on so I had to pay for the airport's Wi-Fi so we could find the booking reference number, check-in and drop off the bag without having to wait for the check-in desks to open. Kind of annoying :/ Then we spent some time in the tax free shop, had some food and hung around waiting for our gate to be announced. That's when it turned out that our flight was delayed and I had to mail our hostel telling them that we might be later than our previously stated arrival time. When the flight finally arrived and we could board we all sat there waiting, cause for some reason the workers couldn't load the plane's cargo properly (summer workers?!) and our flight ended thusly up being 2 hours late. Arriving at Heathrow we picked up our bag got Oyster cards and got on the tube for Hammersmith. The hostel was placed really close to the tube station and after only one wrong turn we found our way :) Once again I was asked for a booking reference that I didn't have cause it was on the phone and I had no internet (recurring theme), but by saying what name the booking was in we could check-in and get to our room. Well there I changed from jeans into shorts cause London was hot even after dark, then we went outside again to look around and maybe find a Tesco to buy breakfast for the next day. We found a Tesco right next to the tube station inside the mall that surrounded it. In one of the shops I also found this sign which I found really funny:

The next day was The Studio Tour.

After the Studio Tour we met up with Tiffany at Piccadilly Circus and had dinner at a small Japanese restaurant. I could eat tonkatsu again for the first time in over three years!!!! :D:D:D:D After dinner we split up again and Toni and I decided to have a walk around nearby. In an Asian shop right next to the restaurant I bought some lovely Calpis Water and four different flavours of Puccho :D

Then we picked a direction and started walking. Turned out we walked along Regent Street and gawked at all the fancy shops until I caught a glimpse of Hamley's and decided to go inside. Inside Hamley's I always turn 7 years old again. All the toys flying through the air does that to you :P I immediately found the Harry Potter department, but since I had already bought lots of stuff at the Studio Tour I decided against buying anything. That is until we found a Doctor Who 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and decided to get it. Just cause it would look great in a frame. We also found this Power Ranger made out of Power Ranger action figures. After that we looked up the closest tube station and went back to the hostel. On the way we bought breakfast at Tesco.

The next day we woke up early to shower and then we took the tube to Camden Town and walked all over the place. I love the decorations on the house walls at that place! Why can't they be like that everywhere?!

I finally bought a pocket watch there since the salesman offered me half-price (=£5) We also found a fun comic book store but didn't buy anything since the prices were about the same as in Sweden :) After Camden we went to King's Cross. I had already been there to take a picture at Platform 9 3/4, but since the store opened they had made a big thing out of it and people queued to have their picture taken. You could buy it later but there was no need to since you were allowed to have someone on the side taking a picture of you :) After it was my turn we had a look in the store, which was miniscule.

 After having another Harry Potter moment on this trip we went to 221b Baker Street. Didn't Baker Street tube station use to look all steampunk-ish? Or which station was that on the Metropolitan line? Anyway the queue to the Sherlock Holmes museum was huge! So we decided to only take pictures of the front and then we had a quick look in a rock store opposite.

We had sushi for lunch and then we went to see Big Ben. After taking pictures we decided to go and see Tower Bridge and doing that by walking along River Thames all the way there. It's a really long way especially if it's 30 degrees out xD But the walks along the Thames are all filled with fun people and street performers and amazing buildings so at least I had a lot of fun on the way there.

On the way we also walked past Shakespeare's Globe. Last time I didn't really care but this time it holds a special place due to the Doctor Who episode with Shakespeare :)

After seeing Tower Bridge we got on the tube and went back to Hammersmith. We bought alcohol at Tesco and then we sat on the porch of the hostel and had drinks out of mugs :P We only had mugs given to us at the rooms, the kitchens didn't have any glasses and we forgot to buy plastic cups xD

Good night! :)