Sunday, September 30, 2007


Before the month closes out, I thought I'd just pen down a few thoughts about Bioshock (Xbox360, PC). I haven't been playing this game as much as I want to, which we can all agree is a travesty. I haven't touched the game since last weekend, and as such, I'm filled with shame; The kind of shame that could cripple a man.

The game is very atmospheric, and it really sucks a player into suspending disbelief. You'd think, for a moment, that you really were walking about the dystopian underwater city of Rapture, set in the 1960s. The music, the sense of style. and the antiquated machines all contribute toward that total immersion.

And here, I draw special attention to the ambient sounds that form so much of the aural landscape. Eavesdropping on wayward conversations, hearing seawater flooding into the city, having the heavy bootstomps of the Big Daddy reveberate through your bones - These are just some of the subtle elements that highten the experience of the game to an undefinable degree.

"What was that?", I exclaim, swinging around violently, straining to hear the fading echoes of a woman's scream.

And as I journey through the city of Rapture (the setting of the game), so many elements help to bring the city to life. The visual style conveys almost a forlorn sense of abandonment, striving to re-capture a piece of its past glory. And gameplay elements such as picking up tape recordings of past inhabitants of the city paints a picture that is surreal, unfathomable, and at the same time, frightening. You begin to realise that the imagined utopia has been usurped by the deficiencies of humans.

What little I have seen of Bioshock has greatly impressed me. And I can't wait to continue on my journey into Rapture.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blurring the lines between real and virtual

HP has just announced a fairly interesting device, one that seeks to blur the lines between the real world and the virtual world, and I think that this is a very innovative idea.

The device renders real world images into digital landscapes, with images, sounds and textures. Overlaid on top these landscapes would be additional information, such as GPS markers which would in turn affect game play. So you could conceivably convert the real world environment into any game world, complete with goals/objectives/targets. Imagine visualising a street, rendered into any scenario you like (medieval, sci-fi, etc). And now imagine it being done in real-time, as you are walking down that same street. Imagine turning real life into a game! Turning the world into a virtual playground!

That idea blows my mind.

Each piece of technology that can continually blur the lines between real and virtual excites me, because it can affect the way in which we percieve the world. It's like seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses, if those glasses included targetting reticles.

I am doubtful about the technical aspects of this device, because I'm not so sure I want to be carrying a clumsy device in front of my face the whole time I'm walking somewhere. But imagine if these were far more portable, or existed as implants, and you could see them straight with your eye. The very nature of percieving would forever be changed.

Everything you percieve is entirely up to you. And you can once again view the world as a child would; a world that is full of wonder and discovery.

Link to the story

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk like a Pirate!

Yarr! 'Tis be a most grand day, for it be the Internataional Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarr! And all you land lubbers, and scurvy rats best be putting on your best pirate accent. Or ye be walking the plank, I tell ye! Gyarrr!

Yo-ho! Heave-to! Hoist my colours! Make sure those knots are sqaured off! We be sailing for sunset, and not even Davy Jones will be stopping me. Well, me hearties, feel the wind in your hair, taste the salt in the air! Yar!!

And fetch me a bottle of rum!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Appreciating Clouds

When was the last time you looked up and marveled at the clouds overhead? When did you last catch a glimpse of something, and it left you filled with wonder?

There are many things of infinite beauty around us at every moment, and it takes but a second to notice. And only a second before they are passed by as we hurry on with our everyday lives. Such passing, fleeting moments should be savoured, as each little thing enriches our lives.

When was the last time we looked up?

The Cloud Appreciation Society, I think, has got the right idea in mind. Capturing transient moments of beauty and taking the time to look up. We should always be admiring the beauty that surrounds us, and the jewel we walk upon. And always be thankful, joyful and delighted.

And I think we should spend less time with our heads hung low.

Friday, September 07, 2007

President Bush understands...

President Bush is truly able to see dangers around the corner, that we ourselves are unaware of. He may be able to save us once again.

We have to prepare ourselves, in the likely eventual zombie apocalypse. Damn you, Barry Lank! Do you not know what is at stake here? Our very freedoms are being threatened by zombies!

The Good Wife's Guide, circa 1955

Here are some tips on how to become good wife. Especially useful for prospective wives and mothers. Apparently, this is what it took to be a good wife in 1955.

Some choice tips:

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you've been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal is part of a warm welcome

Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a life too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always excercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

A good wife always knows her place.

Wow. We've come a long way, baby.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

30 Tips for Happiness

This really shouldn't have to be said, but I guess most people need a reminder sometimes. Happiness is something that we all need, and I dare say deserve, in our lives. But people get caught up sometimes, and forget about being happy.

So I'm linking to a page that provides 30 tips to being happy.

Some choice selections:

Think solutions. Instead of thinking about problems, move to the next step: how to solve it. When someone says to me, "Oh, this is so hard," or "Oh, I can't seem to do this," or "Man, we don't have any more of that," I just ask them, "Well, what's the solution?" If you develop solution-oriented thinking, you'll be much happier.

Notice small things. Along the same lines, try to notice when you feel good, or you're not suffering, or you are tasting something really delicious, or you feel something cold or hot, anything. Noticing the little things will help keep you focused on the present.

Treat yourself. Take a few minutes each day to give yourself a little treat, whether that's something like chocolate or berries, or a bubble bath, or walking barefoot in the grass, or taking a nap. Whatever it is, treat yourself. You deserve it.

Realize that you deserve it. You deserve happiness. That simple statement is actually profound for many people, as they don't believe they really deserve to be happy. It's often unconscious. If you feel that within yourself, you need to first realize that you deserve happiness. Repeat it if necessary.

The article was written by Leo Babuta.