Sunday, September 29, 2013

On 'The Russian Front': a hit of that digital rush!

Opening the offensive
I said back in June that I was "going to master the first Operation on CCIII:TRF if it kills me". I procrastinated, as is my wont but eventually got down a couple of weeks ago to 'Blitzkreig: the War Begins', which links together the first 3 maps with which I am well familiar from previous battles with Close Combat: The Russian Front. I felt a bit intrepid: five days across 3 maps with a campaign system metagame of whose workings I have the barest clue- a whole new level of digital gaming ambition for yours truly. Sure, I can win the first map on autopilot, probably the second one too, but what unknown equipment might the Russians bring to the table, and what about factors like attrition, and resting and refitting? I could soon find my small platoon sorely depleted.
The first battle briefing

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Guilty pleasures and morbid imaginings

A guilty secret
The oft-mentioned mellowing effects of age are a true fact, well observed in the case of yours truly. A phenomenon which began with my increasing squeamishness in my mid-30s, the most extreme example of this effect is the case of one of the most hated figures in recent times here in Britain- the late Margaret Thatcher. I shared this hatred quite viscerally, to the extent that, back in the early/mid-80s I used break out into fits of apoplectic rage at the mere sight of her on the TV, and the sound of her in her prime still sends shivers down my spine. And yes, I went to the local party on the day of her death. I didn't sing, I didn't dance, but I'd promised myself I'd turn out and that was a promise I could not but keep, but that's another story.

"Who's got the last laugh
now you mad old bat?"
I blame ex-Chancellor and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for spoiling my party (no, no, not the Labour Party- that had stopped being 'my' party 20 years before the moment in question). No, Brown spoiled my Thatcher's 'death-day' party when, on the occasion of becoming prime minister in 2007, he followed his predecessor Tony Blair's lead by inviting Thatcher for a photo opportunity on the steps of 10 Downing Street. The moment was truly pathetic, this one-time demented ranter cut down by senile dementia and rolled out for all the world like an old-time mummified Soviet Communist Party General Secretary to give her doddering seal of approval to the latest simpering heir to her so-called 'revolution'. And in that moment I couldn't help myself, I felt sorry for her.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Adventures in cabbage #1: "Go for your greens!"

I blog therefore I am
It is a truism that our hyperconnected world this mighty engine of commerce, knowledge and communication in which codebots endlessly war over the dupes, the data and the users' processing power and into whose coffers even our free activity is given a truism that this incredible techo-social spectacle- the crowning scientific and technical achievement of the 20th century; that this is the original Cyberpunks' mid-80s low-life visions made virtual flesh (virtual by virtue of the lack of ubiquitious direct neural jacking with its resulting sensory immersion- that emotionally empty screen so beloved of the trolls who soil and poison the social networks). When my pal's copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer circulated round to me back in 1984 little did I realise that I was about to experience with unsurpassed intensity a delicious cultural trope- getting in ahead of the avalanche unleashed by a new voice at the cutting edge of a genre-redefining honest-to-god artistic revolution. No sudden impact this. It was a slow-burning mind-bomb the full impact of which only became evident when, after a month's apparent indifference, I suddenly realised that I couldn't get the damn book out of my mind.

"It's electrifying!"