Rants, Raves And Reviews

Browsing Posts published in April, 2015

With the UK General Election Date set for the 7th of may I wanted to inform people about the party policies and manifesto’s so that they could make an informed decision on voting day, and vote based around the declared policies as opposed to which face they find preferable and who’s slanging matches they believe, or which parties they’re told to avoid rather than actual voting on the issues which matter, which is what changes you would like to happen in the next term of government coming up to 2020 as opposed to avoiding getting certain parties into majority power for the next election, which lets face it if you believe the statistics state no party has a majority and party power will be shared and decisions will be influenced by MP seats in parliament over decisions as opposed to actual power held.

Of course the whole seat system and the forecasts are a matter of discussion because not only can these be completely inaccurate they seem to change on a daily basis, and with some news organisations omitting some parties over others, and often including others which really shouldn’t count such as SNP in the english sector where mp’s aren’t even held for voting and won’t hold primary power where other parties could.

Ignoring all of that, your vote does matter, and if you actually go out rather than listening to forecasts you can make a difference, because forecasts themselves are an influencing tactic, stating you’ve got no chance to put you off voting against that party so they will get the majority in your area, and only by voting can you make change, and by voting you can get a council power in your area that works for you especially over devolved matters, and only by getting seats in parliament which represent the issues which agree most with you can you actually get things in the country to change in a manner which suits you.

So watch the video, or visit The BBC Manifesto guide and have a look through the issues that matter to you, and see which party most closely matches the interests you wish to be represented in the next term coming up to 2020, which itself has its own political issues, especially with the EU mandated changes expected by 2020 which have thier own consequences, and issues which effect young people such as the availability of jobs, homes, the working week, working time directive and “zero hour contracts”

Perhaps some parties have issues which effect different classes or age ranges, and some represent certain socio economic groups and others might better represent another sector, the only way to know who represents you best is to look through the manifestoes, and short of that read the highlights pointed out in the bbc page as I discuss in the video, whatever the option the only way you can truly have an influence is to vote on what matters to you, as opposed to which particular leader you like in a popularity contest, especially when some leaders (IE david cameron) aren’t going to be in power for a full term and you will be represented by some unknown party throughout.

It is a shame that corrupt mp names who have been involved in previous scandals do not get published, as I would have liked to have pointed out a distinct list of names to avoid completely, as you do not want expense grabbing scummy leaders in parliament representing thier own interests as opposed to those of the country and thier county which they have been elected to have a greater responsibility to cover, and are paid more than adequately to cover without looking for every excuse to scum the books while in the name of austerity cutting off benefits and services to those in need.

Whatever your thoughts, and wether they match mine or disagree completely the simple matter is you should vote, as the only way to make a difference is to go out there, if you’re under the impression it makes no difference and only certain parties get in, that is how they continue to get away with it, playing on your mind to put you off voting for a party that goes against them and playing on your insecurities over a split power rather than a majority, when split powers with mutual interests which benefit you as opposed to a majority power which goes completely against your interests is surely a better choice?

Voting day is may 7th 2015, don’t forget.

Potential spoilers as reviewing this episode would be next to impossible to review without talking about issues and themes which reveal what happens in the episode, so if you wish to avoid spoilers watch and read no further.

Episode 2 of life is strange deals with some hard hitting plot lines dealing with issues from depression, rape and drugs to gaslighting and suicide throughout. The main plotline of this particular episode is kate marsh and how you have dealt with her in the past and throughout the current episode and the problems she has been going through with the release of a viral video, we soon discover that this isn’t illicitly filmed footage of her in her room with a boyfriend but instead out at a vortex club party where she has been drugged by nathan prescott. Of course proving this and simply knowing are two different matters which will pan out diffferently depending on the choices you have made throughout the playthrough as perhaps directly blaming nathan and confronting him on every instance could cause him to destroy any evidence you may have been able to find, whilst supporting kate and keeping things on the lowdown may be more likely to cause him to slip up in the future.

Divergent paths can be seen to begin as to whether you get a party invite finalised on the list, whether you choose to go on a date with warren or avoid him entirely, and also whether you actually suceed in saving kate marsh from the rooftop or not, and also who you ultimately blame in the final scene all have consequences, with mr jefferson losing priveledges if you blame him, perhaps the security guard losing his job or being put on repromand if you blame him and nathan getting suspended regardless of blame for simply being involved in the party.

The game begins to develop some new gameplay mechanics also, pointing out that noticing the little things which have cause and effect and also memorising the little details might be something immensely useful in future episodes, especially as you learn that you have a very limited time travel potential, not only the the ammount you can go backwards in time, but also that max’s health deteriorates if you use it too often, so perhaps adding a limited time travel potential per room which could cause the instances of missing possibilities for change even more likely in future episodes.

The ultimate reveal of the episode however is that max can also freeze time, or slow it down to such a degree that effectively time stops, whilst being very draining on her abilities and removing any ability to use them in the future this could become an essential mechanic later.

Regardless of how you have treated kate to this date she will end up on the roof, simply because mr jefferson gaslit her to end up there by being accused of making things up for attention and blowing everything out of proportion, this can be hard hitting if you’ve put everything into caring for kate but also reveals potential further involvement from mr jefferson, which I am happy to say isn’t highlighted to be something to rewind when they have a confrontation outside of the classroom and simply remaining as something you can learn if you utilise your ability to manipulate time correctly.

It would also appear that the security guard is simply misguided and overreacting in a protective manner to his daughter over the majority of instances as opposed to being more directly involved in the dissappearances of the students, and persuing things in an incorrect manner, because as stated he is not cut out to be a cop, and perhaps resents this and hopes to investigate himself without involving others, causing increased danger to the students at blackwell academy as a result where if he had simply handed in evidence to the police things might well have gone different, although the prescotts essentially own the town and may be able to get around police investigations confronting kate and simply gathering evidence rather than acting in her interest also did have some influence on her not being prevented from getting on the rooftop.

Chloe herself seems to be coming accross more unstable owing money to drug dealers and perhaps not being so honest with max as she comes accross, being far more invested in rachel amber than max and being selfish in many instances insisting max perform tricks for her and spend all her time with her instead of others, getting jealous at max taking kate’s call for example, and seeing max as a way to solve all of her own problems rather than simply being her former best friend.

I can see how the plot could be very different in future episodes depending on how you have played through so far, and I would be very dissappointed if they wrote kate out of the game entirely even with a win condition especially considering how much effort some people have put into saving her life and making her feel good about herself, and also that she could be the very key to getting a conviction on nathan and unlocking the whole mystery of rachel ambers dissappearence. I would hope she remains a full character in the game who you can interact with and even bring along on investigations, perhaps storming nathan’s locker or dorm room while everyone else is at a party as an option rather than ending up on a date with warren, or off helping chloe with her drug dealer debts.

Also at the end of the episode the mystery depeends around the flashes forward to inside of the tornado itself and a solar eclipse which could be a metaphore for max’s life light going out and dimming in a future where she may already be dead or on the verge of death having been knocked out by a falling lighthouse, depending how you interpret what has occured in the game to date.

I can’t wait for the next episode to come out, and so far to date this is definately an award winning work in my opinion, and if it doesn’t win an award from a larger institution at least it deserves an IStar, which any readers of my reviews will note I very rarely give out and are only awarded to the most very exceptional works in thier field, and this is something I believe definately deserves such an award.

Life is strange episode 2 is out now on be sure to check you’ve unticked and reticked the dlc for episode 2 if you’ve purchased it and it won’t download.
life is strange IStar 9/04/2015

After having put complaints in over the past 3-4 years (depending if you count complaints prior to my home being reposessed by the housing association) and constantly being ignored, recieving responses from different departments and districts to I sent messages to, with heavily delayed responses and despite asking for messages to be forwarded to correct departments and for a direct email for the correct department because the ones listed on birmingham city councils website themselves proved fruitless I was forced to involve the ICE and LGO as well as mp’s to get the situation sorted.

Having filed ICE and LGO complaints last year (where they stated they would have to wait for official final responses, which never arrived or constantly arrived from incorrect departments despite every effort to contact the correct departments and asking for responses from the correct departments) I have been forced to involve local and westminster MP’s in the situation to investigate, and it is only because of thier pressure as well as the ombudsmen actually taking on the case now that significant efforts have been made constantly over the past 3 years after losing my home, and significant time since messaging the ombudsmen to investigate and thier own attempts to contact the correct departments for a final response that I have finally recieved a response from the benefits department of the birmingham city council.

This response clearly states that payment should have always been in place and I should never have had to resort to filing a new claim in september 2011, which was only filed because efforts by myself and family housing association to get due benefits into payment were proving fruitless and contacting the correct department, providing proofs both postally and directly to the office were doing nothing, and emails and phone calls to sort out the situation were proving fruitless, it was hoped this fresh application would get the housing benefit into payment; especially as in august 2011 investigations had been completed after providing all of the requested proofs and my benefits were reinstated (yet housing benefits remained unpaid)

In september 2011 the new benefits application was accepted, with provided proofs, and yet actual payment of housing benefits remained unpaid, constant attempts by myself and family housing association were ignored and went unresolved, and family housing association began reposession of my home in september, ultimately reposessing it in the begining of january during the period while the job center and council were closed for the christmas period. Forward to the 17th of february 2012 a whole 6 months after the filing of a fresh application (which they note themselves was not required to get housing benefits paid, yet clearly was due to thier non payment) they paid PART, not all just part of the housing benefits due, only backdated to that claim, almost a whole 2 months after my home was reposessed and I was forced to stop attending jobseekers to an inability to look for work with no stable home and being scared to leave the house for being locked out of it while I attended the jobseekers as they would know when my sign on dates were to lock me out as they had sucessfully filed for reposession in the courts.

None of this would have happened if the council had paid the housing benefits that were due, on time without delay (8 months of delays essentially) I would still have my home, all of my posessions, had been able to look for work and sign on, yet despite all of this they deny being responsible for me losing my home and everything, and three years of my life as they “lose” housing applications, forwarded proofs and more to attempt to get back to birmingham and my life, and also asking unreasonable proofs of where you’ve stayed temporarilly on sofa’s and clearly could not have bills and registered bank statements at very temporary accommodations and other excuses to simply avoid putting right what they’ve done wrong.

Still they send a message stating they will arrange an interview to put me on the housing register, which now almost a month later, and despite sending another email asking why this has been delayed no interview has been made, and I remain off the register as they unreasonably delay further where I should really just be given a place back in birmingham as I never should have lost my home in the first place, and would not have if they had simply paid the housing benefits that were due, and constantly chased for from myself and family housing association to get into payment which was actually due, and they admit should have been paid.

Now they have offered compensation… yeah “compensation” of £250 for losing everything you own (valued far higher) all the stress and discomfort, three years of your life and being unable to look for work stuck arguing with them trying to get back to birmingham and get this sorted, not really an adequate level of compensation is it.

Quite frankly I’m getting sick of the way they think they can treat people, and something needs to be done. The entire council needs to be fired and replaced by competent individuals who aren’t scumbags, and they need to stop treating people like this as I’m not alone in this, and only by speaking up and being heard can we prevent this happening, and by voting for someone who isn’t going to be scummy towards those unlucky enough to not be able to find work despite trying.

If you’re in a similar situation speak out and be heard, especially now they’re under investigation, get your voice in, get your case heard and get this situation changed for everyone.

TorqueL went a little unnoticed as a steam release due to the new nature of the steam front page where instead of having a list of latest releases products get hidden behind layers of “curator content” and “recommended products” and by the time you do get down to where the releases are located it tends to be automatically set to “popular new releases” despite changing the setting, it always reverts to this, which is unfortunate because TorqueL was one of the games I wanted to show off so much I got permission to show the prototype in early form, if it wasn’t for the fact that the developer sent me a product key through youtube the release would have passed by completely unknown

As it stands the release was in january, and as I do not actively check that inbox this video has been delayed in being released due to late discovery.

The game itself remains higlhy polished, with smooth well designed totional control involving extending sides of your cube and rotating, using the physics of this to traverse over pits of death or difficult terrain in order to reach the exit. New features added since the prototype include things such as gravity flipping funnels, moving platforms and scenery of increasingly difficult nature to traverse, accross 50 chambers with 8 routes, one of which is noted to be very secret there are reasons to replay through, wether attempting to speed run through the game or traverse all of the routes possible.

Whatever route you choose the game is challenging and fun and if you enjoy puzzle games this is one that you wont want to miss, the mechanics of the rotation and physics of the extended limbs just feel so right and satisfying and must have been very difficult to programme, the object feels like it has a correct mass and weight every time you extend a limb, wether to help gain a rotation you couldn’t achieve before or to launch yourself accross the terrain, things operate as you expect when using the torque to your advantage.

Check out TorqueL for yourself on steam, I know I’ll be playing it through and I think you should too.
TorqueL is copyright