The year wot was…

Time for a change up, folks. Seven months without an update is pretty poor going but, well, I’ve not really felt the urge to speak to be honest. I’ve had a funny old year – I’ve been hugely productive on a number of projects, both work and hobbies; I’ve posted about my films over at Short Cut Films and my music at Stage of History. But for some reason I’ve not felt enthused to come here and talk about video games, movies or web development. Moving house, getting my life in order – these things seem to have taken over a bit but, well… I’m back.

2014 is set to bring about some big changes for me both professionally and… not so professionally. First up – I’m starting a new job! After two years being self employed, something I’ve loved and enjoyed the hell out of, I’m taking up a two year, full time contract at the University of Lincoln as a Research Systems Developer. Basically it’s going to involve distributed databases, open data libraries – all sorts of fun stuff that I kind of dabbled in when I previously worked at the Uni as a CLOCK developer. That’s coming up in January so I should be talking about that soon.

Filmmaking! I had a brilliant year at Short Cut Films, stretching my legs as a producer and pulling together some nine short films which you can watch on the Short Cut Films website. I’m very proud of the films we’ve produced so far and there’s more to come this year, although we’re going to be changing things up a bit. More about that in the coming weeks as we prep our next one which is sure to be a doozy!

Musics! I’ve been playing around with a lot of things musical this year but I’ve only released a handful of tracks including an EP back in July and a new stand alone track in December. You can check those out on the Stage of History website. I’ve got a few new bits in the pipeline there but I’m adopting a “Talk about it when it’s ready” approach. There may be some different things coming up but I need to be sure I’m happy with them before I unleash them on the world!

So, please stick around – things should get a bit more interesting on here in the next few months as I start to talk about my time at Lincoln Uni, look at setting up a home studio for my music and film making excercises, as well as (hopefully) getting back to randomly rambling about nonsensical stuff that you all probably don’t care about!

How the Wii U could have revolutionised console gaming

nintendo-wii-u-black

nintendo-wii-u-blackNintendo haven’t had a good time with the launch of the Wii U. I want to wear my colours on my sleeve straight away here and say I own one, I love it and I think as a console it should be getting the recognition it deserves for trying to do something different with the way we approach playing videogames. The truth is, it’s not. A lot of that is down to the lack of third part support in a gaming environment that requires and thrives on it; it’s disappointing to see developers and publishers drop the machine like a hot potato, although it’s not entirely unprecedented when it comes to Nintendo machines. It’s also down to Nintendo’s perceived family friendly image, bright and colourful games that could in no way be entertaining for a teen audience – of course this couldn’t be far from the truth, but modern gaming craves the thrill of the kill, something that a Nintendo machine rarely delivers.

But, these aren’t new issues for Nintendo; they’ve soldiered on over the years, pulling through the murky launch of the original Wii to have it become the best selling console of the last generation, as well as doing the same for the 3DS. They’re survivors, they produce high quality hardware and software and get the recognition they deserve from the people who know they deserve it.

The Wii U is a very capable system, probably not technically in line with Microsoft and Sony’s imminent consoles, but Nintendo could have done something dramatic that would have given the system a chance to be a real contender going forward.

The hook for the Wii U is the screen in the controller; sometimes this is used to display certain game elements, allowing for greater interaction. Most games also allow you to play the game in its entirety on this smaller screen, freeing you from the TV. And this is where Nintendo should have elaborated. The controller screen works by streaming a video signal from the console, and does not do any computation of its own. But what if it did? What if Nintendo had created the worlds first handheld/TV console hybrid? Wii U is an expensive console for what it is, but if the cost hadn’t shifted and Nintendo had perhaps housed the guts of the TV box inside the tablet, giving it enough on board flash memory to store games and saves, we could potentially have the first high end machine that you can play on your TV AND take with you, rather than having two devices like Sony tried to do with PS3 and Vita cross play.

It’s an intriguing thought and one that bears consideration. The Wii U is not a terrible console. But in an age when console gaming is seemingly becoming irrelevant, the three main hardware manufacturers need to step up their game to genuinely change the way we play. So far, none of them look to have done that, but Nintendo certainly had a chance.

The Flicks has done moved…

Following the recent announcement that Posterous is due to close, I’ve moved my film review site, The Flicks, to a WordPress.com blog. Clicky looky!

I review the films…

Something I’ve been meaning to do for sometime, I’ve set up a Posterous to record my thoughts on films wot I have seen. You can find it here. My philosophy is to post a review for every film I watch going forward, whether it’s something I’ve seen before or something I’m watching for the first time.

Go read!

I haz a film!

Filming Refuse and Recycling with Jonny Orme and Pete Hawbrook

Hooray for Short Cut films, the production group (I’m reluctant to call us a company) that I work in! We’ve got our first short film entered into the third annual Lincoln Shorts festival this Friday!

It’s called Refuse + Recycling, was written by myself and my good buddy Dan and directed by Jonny Orme of Ormeson Films. You can find out more on the Short Cut Films website and, if you’re in Lincoln on Friday, swing by the Drill Hall and check out our film as well as material from other local film makers!

Expect more output from Short Cut throughout 2013.