Showing posts with label career. Show all posts
Showing posts with label career. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 May 2008


It's May 1st and I need to select a winner for the mimico-sponsored 'give-away' competition! There can only be 1 mimobot Boba Fett winner! The tension is mounting, but I'll announce the winner on May 4th!

Missed out? Don't worry! I'll be running further 'give-away' contests throughout the spring and summer! Fancy winning a copy of AVPR: Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem on DVD? Then enter this competition over at (unless otherwise stated, I accept no responsibility for the content of any other web site, including any site which may link to or from this site).

The month of May heralds the fourth anniversary of my blogging career! And I can't think of a more auspicious way to mark this milestone than with the most recent Google PageRank algorithm update! This blog is now the beneficiary of a PR5! Absolutely awesome.

Did you enjoy Saturday's Sontaran yarn? It was good fun, and most humorous to see the diminutive potato-headed clones back in full force! The tech noir trappings of The Sontaran Stratagem were most becoming! Can't wait for the action figures!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

BioShock Boot Camp

BioShock (Xbox 360) is the "genetically enhanced" first person shooter that lets you do things never before possible in the genre: turn everything into a weapon, biologically mod your body with plasmids, hack devices and systems, upgrade your weapons and craft new ammo variants, and experiment with different battle techniques in an incredible and unique underwater city.

You are a cast-away in Rapture, an underwater Utopia torn apart by civil war. Caught between powerful forces, and hunted down by genetically modified splicers and deadly security systems, you have to come to grips with a deadly, mysterious world filled with powerful technology and fascinating characters. No encounter ever plays out the same, and no two gamers will play the game the same way.

BioShock is loaded with some of the greatest, most modifiable weapons to ever blast their way into a shooter. But guns alone won't be enough to defeat the devious AIs of Rapture. There are literally hundreds of other strategies players can use to take out their enemies.

Here are just a handful of reviews for this landmark video game:

Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 100/100
"Amazingly written and beautifully constructed, it's a complete emotional rollercoaster which we can't draw any parallels with. . . You'll be playing this game for months to come, exchanging story elements to build up the bigger picture, and arguing about what it all means."

Eurogamer Review 10/10
"It takes the tired, worn-out FPS genre by the scruff of the neck, reinvents and bends it out of shape in such a breathtaking fashion that it's going to take something very special to top this in the months and years ahead."

Gameinformer 10/10
"It’s ingenious, enthralling, and a masterpiece of the most epic proportions. In terms of delivering chilling atmosphere, dynamic combat, and startling revelations, games just don’t come any better than BioShock."

Gametap 10/10
"BioShock is one of the few games that I’ve reviewed in my entire career that I feverishly want to go back through and play again."

1up 10/10
". . . . . an experience that's richly and utterly complete, and one that engages the player in a constant dialogue, BioShock is virtually unassailable."

Games Radar 10/10
"A mesmerising masterpiece of horror, the only glaring weakness we can find in BioShock is that it may be too unusual, too original, too artistic and too genius to be embraced by the general public."

GamePro 5/5
"It leaves its mark on a genre that has its fair share of memorable titles and it does it with style and panache. It is easily one of the best games of the year."

Gamespy 5/5
"An unparalleled achievement. No other game comes even remotely close to it in terms of raw emotional connection." A
"There's nothing which will make you ever want to stop playing; you'll simply curse under your breath and get on with killing Splicers and hunting Little Sisters."

IGN 9.7/10
"BioShock stands as a monolithic example of the convergence of entertaining gameplay and an irresistibly sinister, engrossing storyline that encompasses a host of multifaceted characters. This is an essential gaming experience."

Teamxbox 9.5/10
"It's inventive and entertaining, with a number of twists and unexpected situations that'll have you on the edge of your seat. . . It's rare to find a game that has both quality in its engineering and quality in its gameplay."

PC Gamer (UK) 9.5/10
"Succeeds so stunningly on three fronts: narrative, emergence, and a sense of place. If another game did just one of these as well as BioShock, it would immediately qualify as a classic. When a game comes along that does all three, we can only be baffled and thankful."

Xbox World 360 9.4/10
"It's a gruelling game of resource management, and as the ammunition dries up, you end up having to improvise. And more often than not, Bioshock will reward you heavily for thinking outside the box."

Such unanimous praise, from the upper echelons of the gaming press, has convinced me to pre-order BioShock (PC), thus proving the maximum that 'Boot Camp is for Games' too! The more adventurous, amongst you, may even go as far as buying an Xbox 360 Elite to play this on!

Friday, 9 March 2007

Fundamental Features and Core Self Expression

With all the PlayStation 3, sky and Virgin Media discourses, I'd overlooked to mention that this blog has undergone significant cosmetic changes, which you couldn't have failed to notice!

When this blog first launched, nearly three years ago, the TicTac template (blue variation) served an invaluable purpose! Thank you SimpleBits. And the look was tired and, frankly, too inflexible at this point of my online career. Hopefully the new layout is cleaner and more pleasing to the eye.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Kylie La La La

I've followed Kylie Minogue's career since Neighbours and developed an adolescent crush, on her, when she embarked on a pop path that has confounded and delighted critics in equal measure! Incidentally, the album Kylie was my first ever CD purchase after buying a Sony Discman D-88 in the summer of 1988.

Further to the above. I read with unfetered interest that Kylie begins her Homecoming Tour later this year! Must secure seats at Wembley Arena for her January 2007 concert dates.

When "Kylie - Showgirl; The Greatest Hits Tour", her sold out world tour, opened in Scotland in March 2005, it was her most ambitious show yet. The show itself was a triumph and represented Kylie's finest moments in music, performance and style and is an homage to the showgirl, one of the most exotic, decadent and sensual icons of our times. Inspiration came from the Moulin Rouge to the Folies Bergere, from the Doris Girls of the Paris Lido to the entertainment palaces of Las Vegas, from the underground burlesque bars of Soho to the Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930s. Kylie's show pays tribute to the showgirl in all her forms and guises.

Thursday, 26 January 2006

The Gemini Apes

The following is a reprint of a feature written for my online portfolio.

A fascination with media production began when I was bought an Hitachi portable tape recorder (its contemporary is an Apple iPod). I started recording off television, my favourite television shows, and listening to the sounds back without the picture (mentally envisaging a different version). I would narrate stories and record conversations and sounds. It became a form of education via entertainment.

This acute interest in "the theatre of the mind" also encompassed Radio drama! The catalyst was BBC Radio Four’s dramatisation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (1981).

During the second year of the BA (Hons) Media Production degree I specialised in audio and video. And undertook a 10 minute audio documentary. Director Dirk Maggs kindly agreed to an interview concerning his successful comic book to radio adaptations, which included DC Comics' 'Batman: Knightfall' (1994) and 'Superman: Doomsday and Beyond' (1993).

In 1998 Dirk invited me to work on 'The Gemini Apes'. My role as a studio assistant involved foley and sourcing original and prerecorded material from The Soundhouse's extensive recording library. This included original content from Skywalker Sound.

Meeting Christopher Lee (he played the character of Drake) during 'The Gemini Apes' recording sessions, was truly a defining moment. This was prior to his career renaissance in 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Star Wars' prequels. He is a gentleman and formidably intelligent. Christopher regaled us with myriad anecdotes. One of which concerned Johnny Depp with whom he was shooting Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow' (1998).

From a journalistic perspective. Breaks during the recording sessions were a plumb opportunity to network with writers from Starburst, SFX and Dreamwatch magazines.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross

Today Sony's PlayStation celebrates ten years since its official European introduction. My first PlayStation experience was on an NTSC import machine from Japan and predated the PAL release by several months.

Glimpsing Battle Arena Toshinden and Ridge Racer drove me back into the arms of console gaming after a four year hiatus in the wake of the spectacular SNES Super Star Wars trilogy. However, it wouldn't be until 1998 that a PlayStation would appear alongside my MiniDisc and Discman!

N64 swayed me away from Sony's CD-ROM console with Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 (racing against Jari is the stuff of gaming greatness) and Star Wars Shadows of the Empire. Not to overlook the female distractions too - Emma how did the career at Deloitte & Touche pan out? This was a brief diversion from the PlayStation path. The allure of the Tekken franchise was irresistible after I loaned a machine from one of my co-workers at Reuters!

A PSP has yet to grace these hands!

Thursday, 4 August 2005

Pure Shores

Last summer I was featured in the Alumni Association magazine, The Talbot, a Media Careers special (PDF download). Eight years prior to this, as a BA (Hons) Media Production student I savored the sights, sounds and salty air of Bournemouth beach. Today, I returned for the first time since 1996 in the company of very gracious hosts who kindly treated my Dad and me to a cod and haddock banquet in West Beach. The rival of any shoreside restaurant in the USA, one wouldn't be surprised to bump into the likes of "LC" and Lo (from MTV's Laguna Beach). Topics traversed Apple Computer, Bauhaus and the cinema of Steven Spielberg. Thank you for embellishing a memorable occasion.

Being a Mac user means I can't leverage Blogger's Picasa button! No fear because in steps Yahoo! with Flickr. An exceptional photo publishing platform. Flickr Uploadr is available in Mac OS X flavor too and is the perfect citizen. A flash-based photo gallery has been integrated into the sidebar.

DivX is increasing its market and mind share. And, as with RealPlayer, I can now author DivX content. Although the company's Mac support is far from startling, their lab indicates future improvements. Currently preparing demo clips.

eBay has made purchasing a breeze with tighter PayPal integration. Handy for those memorabilia bids.

Sony UK have announced official support for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in PlayStation 3. Can console gaming get any better than this?

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Ebony & Ivory

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEJ) announced an update to the PSP OS and introduced a "Ceramic White" model for iPod musos.

Worth waiting for? Absolutely. Sony's svelte wonder will look perfectly at home alongside my Apple and JBL lifestyle products.

Further to my unofficial Michael Jackson career suggestion. Sony has released The Essential Michael Jackson. This is yet another compilation sans new material, but I guess it pays the bills.

Saturday, 14 May 2005

Singin' in the Rain

The rain is pouring down outside and captures the dramatic nuances of The OC episode "The Rainy Day Women". The reprise of the Spider-Man (2001) 'kissing' scene between Seth and Summer crackled with sexual tension and chemistry.

Having always been a casual fan of No Doubt, when lead singer Gwen Stefani stepped out, to embark on a solo career, I was intrigued by the result. Ms Stefani's debut album repackages early Madonna (an obvious comparison) in a J-pop bubblegum wrapper! Love, Angel, Music, Baby is singularly the most engaging (acidic and schizophrenic) pop album that I've heard in a long while. And the videos are spectacular. Stefani's an audacious Alice.

Monday, 14 March 2005

Once Upon a Time in America

Last evening's edition of Inside the Actors Studio chronicled the career-to-date of Jennifer Connelly. The show's conservative format precludes controversy, but Jennifer came across as highly articulate, intelligent, shy and self-deprecating - as bewildered by her adulation as the acting undergraduates were nervous. I knew that she, like myself, was an only child and it was a very pleasant surprise to learn that both our Mothers are Jewish (none practicing).

Can't believe that I've been a Jennifer Connelly fan for nearly 19 years after first seeing her in Jim Henson & George Lucas' Labyrinth (1986). The movie was showing at the local Odeon and the High School Computer Club (self-confessed geek that I am) arranged a midweek trip - the opening sequence featuring a CGI Owl was generating buzz in the press. We unexpectedly met friends (including James Hearn and Helen Duff) inside screen 2. A veritable popcorn moment. Afterwards James and me went into the nearby Exeter Model Centre to buy Citadel Miniatures' Chaos Marauders!

The memory of Jennifer Connelly's beautiful visage adorning my bedroom wall, listening to the Labyrinth soundtrack (includes David Bowie's haunting "As The World Falls Down") and playing the video game, remains strikingly clear.

It wouldn't be until 1996, at the suggestion of Rudy (a Student Village neighbour), that I would see her cinematic debut in Sergio Leone's acclaimed Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Semiologists have noted that Dark City (1998) set an enigmatic trend whereby Jennifer Connelly's character would stand alone on a Pier at a critical narrative juncture (see also Requiem for a Dream, Beautiful Mind and House of Sand and Fog). Coincidentally the composer Trevor Jones scored both Labyrinth and Dark City.

Jennifer still gives me butterflies.

Thursday, 14 October 2004

Papier Mâché

Mario, the diminutive icon of Nintendo Nation, has endured in various guises over the past two decades. From humble beginnings in Donkey Kong to pole position brand, the Italian plumber has courted career success. To my shame (as an avid part-time gamer) I've only recently discovered (read as a happy accident whilst trading-in my console kit) the delights of Paper Mario (2001)!

A loose sequel to Super Mario RPG, Paper adopts a uniquely stylized pop-up book aesthetic. As a child I fondly recall a fascination with this literary tradition and it's an unabriged pleasure to see it implemented in a modern visual medium. The 2/3-D presentation and predictable narrative premise - King Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach - belies richly rewarding RPG gameplay. Fans of Final Fantasy would be remiss to overlook this adventure!

Yesterday's P2P post was prescient! The code for the French retail release of Halo 2 is apparently online sans Xbox live.

Sunday, 6 June 2004


"Art imitating life imitating art" was the maxim behind Dawson’s Creek. And anyone who knows me can attest to the parallels between Dawson’s obsession (and by extension writer Kevin Williamson) with Steven Spielberg movies and my own!

Set in the fictional town of Capeside, MA, Dawson's Creek is the coming of age story of four friends on the verge of adulthood. The pilot episode features arguably one of the best mythology establishing openings of any show! The Creek at dusk segueing into the John Williams score for E.T. (a movie that still strikes an emotional resonance) as we are introduced to the principal protagonists Dawson and Joey and their interpersonal conflict.

Dawson, Joey, and Pacey are life long friends, whose lives start to rapidly change when a new girl, Jen, moves in next door to Dawson Leery and the foursome start high school. Along the way they are joined by two other newcomers to Capeside, Jack and Andie.

Often characterised by its intelligence, sharp wit, rich and (often) verbose vocabulary, Dawson's Creek was created by Kevin Williamson. It was loosely based on his life, with each character incorporating a different aspect of himself. The show quickly launched the careers of its stars and in the words of The WB, "defined a network."

Dawson's Creek was filmed primarily on location in Wilmington and Raleigh, NC. It spawned spin-off series Young Americans. Not only did the series re-ignite my passion for film production, which had become diluted by cynicism and creative inertia. It re-initiated a cycle of writing that has led to my being published in international magazines as diverse as heat to starburst.

The two-hour season finale was a tour de force underpinned by the themes of death and marriage. The most insightful line was reserved for Joey Potter (Katie Holmes who is starring in Batman Begins). “Writers get to live twice!” Eloquently put. Goodbye Capeside. Fade to black. Cue end titles.

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

Sleepy Hollow

Bournemouth University's Alumni Association would like to include me in Under the spotlight - focus on careers in the media - for an upcoming edition of The Talbot magazine. This is flattering news.

World of Warcraft shenanigans continue. DarkRyder met her untimely death courtesy of Shelob's spawn who had infested Night's Hollow! However, she's now resurrected as an Undead Warrior and achieved catharsis!

Revisited MacMAME this morning and played Namco coin-op shooters Burning Force, Dragon Spirit and Dragon Saber. The latter has a soundtrack on a par with the best in Japanese animation and evoked memories of Battle of the Planets, which was centred around the weekly adventures of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny. It would be inexcusable not to mention 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1! Camp fun for all the family!

My application to become a Figleaves affiliate has been accepted.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

Seattle sans Frasier

I'll start this entry by bidding bon voyage to Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Martin and Roz! Tonight it's "Goodnight, Seattle" for the last time! Life without Frasier will be a little poorer. Michelle Branch articulates this sentiment best in her emotive ballad "Goodbye To You..."

Thanks to the ingenious invention that is sky+ (PVR), last evening I watched Sunday night's all-new episode of Alias, which guest starred Canadian director David Cronenberg (Rabid, The Dead Zone, The Fly and eXistenZ)! His cameo follows in the footsteps of silverscreen luminaries Quentin Tarantino, Ethan Hawke and Olivia d'Abo. Conscious was so good - a postmodern homage to the cinematic oeuvre of Cronenberg - that it commanded a repeat viewing!

Readers of the official Alias Magazine, published by Titan Magazines, can read my series comments in Issue #4's Dead Drop section. Look for Psychological Profile, which ties in with Frasier! On newsstands now!

The spring issue of The Talbot, Bournemouth University's Alumni Association magazine, arrived this morning. In the next edition they're focussing on careers in the media and are seeking contributions. So, it would be remiss of me not to respond to their clarion call!

As you may already know, I am a staff writer for Inside Mac Games (IMG). Currently I'm on the waiting list to join the beta test for Blizzard's upcoming World Of Warcraft - an online role-playing experience set in the award-winning Warcraft universe. In the meantime I've attempted (and failed) to download the latest patch (1.15) for The Frozen Throne! Blizzard is suffering from FTP overload! However, the game is one of my favourite (RTS) titles alongside Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and Clone Campaigns expansion pack! So, I'll keep trying... A new Neutral Hero, the Goblin Tinker, has been added to the game and many more enhancements.

Browser company Opera has released version 7.50 of its popular flagship application. However, I was disappointed to note that several bugs made it into the GM! The smart money is still on Firefox and Safari 2!

As I write, iTunes 4.5 is playing Life For Rent on shuffle play! Dido's lyrics are replete with rich narratives, which transforms, via iPod, my personal space when traversing the urban landscape!