I’ve given up, and I’m not afraid. Only there’s something I would like to understand. And I don’t think anyone can explain it. You see, I know it’s the end for me. I know it, but I can’t quite believe it, I can’t feel it. It’s so strange. There’s your life. You begin it, feeling that it’s something so precious and rare, so beautiful that it’s like a sacred treasure. Now it’s over, and it doesn’t make any difference to anyone, and it isn’t that they are indifferent, it’s just that they don’t know, they don’t know what it means, that treasure of mine, and there’s something about it that they should understand. I don’t understand it myself, but that’s something that should be understood by all of us. Only what is it, Kira? What?
Ayn Rand, We the Living
Last week I had one of those urges that only a pregnant man can have, to step back into the shoes of Tommy Vercetti and relive the delights of Vice City. This 2003 Rockstar outing was easily one of the best games I ever played, everything about it simply oozed style and polish. It’s almost as if the developers took a standard checklist of things that get rated in a game, made sure every area got given the works, and then spent the rest of their time filling in the gaps. Because it’s exactly that which nails it for this game, the attention to detail that makes playing Vice City like stepping into the ’80s: the clothes, the music, the cars, the giant mobile phones, heck, even the intro scene features the game being loaded on a Commodore 64. Rockstar’s particular sense of humour is also here to see by the bucketload, from the tongue-in-cheek nature of some of the missions, through the fantastic dialogue and hilarious radio stations, to the small jabs and puns that little the streets of Vice City.
All of which is without even touching on the gameplay. Sitting firmly in the sandbox genre, Vice City gives you a wonderful feeling of being able to go about things your own way. Goofing around, stealing cars, running from the police, there’s plenty to do in the game when you aren’t really doing anything! But fortunately that doesn’t mean that Rockstar skimped out on the main storyline, which is by all means fantastic, and features all sorts of mission types, from starting riots, racing through the streets, to knocking off banks and delivering numerous methods of ‘persuasion’ to various denizens of the city. Aside from the main plot, there are plenty of other side missions and extras to discover, which add ample distraction to the standard mayhem generally meted out whilst driving between missions.
Meine Gedichte brauche ich dazu nicht mehr; in meinen Bücherregalen ist das alles viel besser gesagt. Aber was würde mit einem passieren, wenn das schon ein Grund wäre, etwas aufzugeben? Wo blieben wir alle? So schreibe ich weiter, doch oft genug erscheint es mir grau und papieren gegen den Abendhimmel, der jetzt über den Dächern weit und apfelfarben wird, während der violette Aschenregen der Dämmerung schon die Straße füllt.
Erich Maria Remarque, Der schwarze Obelisk
I’ve been using Steam for a fair while now, in fact pretty much since the beginning, and have seen the program grow on from its fairly humble origins. There are now hundreds of titles available, including games from big-name publishers and independent game houses alike, and the usual crashes and quirks that afflicted the early releases are pretty much gone. Nevertheless, there are still a number of key areas in which Steam continues to live up to standards, at times making using the system a bit of a nightmare. This is a list of some of those issues which in my eyes prevent Steam from becoming a really top class product, delivering everything the platform really promises. Some of these issues admittedly have their origins outside of Valve’s headquarters, but the way in which they are dealt with only compounds the problems further, for both customers and clients.
The Intelligence² group hosted a debate in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, in October, considering whether the Catholic church is a force for good in the world. Speaking for the motion were Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP and Catholic convert. Speaking against were Christopher Hitchens, writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book “God is not Great”, and Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and television presenter. The debate was presented by Zeinab Badawi.
Since the new Intelligence² website appears to have done away with transcriptions, I’m publishing this one here. Please note that this is an entirely unofficial transcription, so any mistakes are my own. The full video can be found on the official site, as well as on YouTube.