Saturday, March 7, 2015

GAMING POST: The Salt Is Real

Picture the scene the weekly Fighting Game Tournament - Ultra Street Fighter IV being the game in question. This week one of the established Top 3 of the tournament is in attendance so things are going to get competitive. I made it through the first round but the second round brought the Top 3 guy and of course that meant it was on.

Tournament details and write-up can be found here
Venue: Xtreme Gaming

I went with my main Chun Li and he picked Cammy and things were going good with a solid win in the first round but it looks like I peaked too soon as I went on to lose dumped into the second round of losers. So yeah OK that was a loss and it stung but then I got drawn against my nemesis of sorts a Rolento player.

I don't know what camp you fall in whether you think Rolento is one big backward rolling, gimmick laden, online curse or an interesting character but he drives me mad, it becomes so much worse online as his moves go from hard to punish to pretty much invincible if you suffer any latency at all. This was of course and offline tournament so that is no excuse in this case but again despite a bright start I found myself losing in straight games.

Then the salt flowed, I'm not the kind of guy to go smashing my controller against the nearest wall or throwing my club into a pond but that didn't mean I was any less annoyed. I managed to beat that Rolento the last time we played and there were moments against Cammy where I didn't maximise my opportunities.

Still in the end the only way you can deal with this is train, train, train until you reduce the errors and turn those losses into wins so I'll hopefully be there next week playing better and winning more. The only thing that could be thought of as a positive was my win at the Skull Girls Tournament where I was expecting to go out first round.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

GAMING POST: Gaming Journal let's talk about

I haven’t written a great deal on here about video games but it is something I have taken a greater interest in. Through taking part in activities such as the regular Fighting Game Event at Xtreme Gaming and following YouTube Channels like and Capcom Fighters I have really got into the community which is so much bigger than I expected.

I had heard about competitive gaming through things like Starcraft mostly just hearing various tales of it being professional over in Korea and it being well respected there I only knew that because I played World of Warcraft so the marketing just sort of washed over me every year during the Blizzcon hype.

All this was years ago and I never really thought that much about it I liked WoW fine but wasn’t really that much of a Starcraft fan only having played the first one a little while I was at College. It wasn’t until later just from following one person who shared my interest in anime that I found myself getting into the Fighting Game Community.

So you can now follow a little of my progress on Fighting Games on my preferred game of the moment Ultra Street Fighter IV on my gaming YouTube Channel. Views and Likes appreciated as well as any thoughts.

Next time let's talk about my limited experience of Events in the FGC.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart is a 2013 novel by noted fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson. It is also the first book in The Reckoners Trilogy. The ISBN is 057510399X and the book was published by Gollancz on 26 Sept 2013. I purchased this novel.



Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.


I bought this on the back of the incredible Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson which lead me to believe that maybe this guy was a decent writer. That series was an excellent adventure epic with a magic system that you just have to experience to understand how creative and interesting it is. Seriously. There was even some talk of a video game adaption though I’m not sure where that is at the moment. I have also read Legion which was ok and the follow up to the Mistborn series which I hope he continues soon.


This book essentially takes a common nerd “What If” and makes it into a gloriously fleshed out thesis. That premise is what happens if Superman went bad essentially a god on earth unable to oppose. Of course if you have ever seen a Superman movie you might wonder how much more damage he could do after destroying half of downtown Metropolis but this book gives you an idea of that.

In this world those with super powers are referred to as Epics, very catchy if you ask me the important thing to remember is that if you are an Epic and you “use” your powers they corrupt you and slowly make you a worse version of yourself. Steelheart of the title is the ruler of Newcago (formerly Chicago before he took over) and is seemingly completely invulnerable having killed or subjugated anyone and everyone who has tried to take him on in the decade or so he has been in control. 

Something about Epics that is not necessarily well known is that all Epics have a weakness, yeah like Superman and Kryptonite but some of them are so weird as to be completely unguessable but it completely disables their powers rendering the high level Epics killable when usually they’re pretty much invincible.

We learn that with the emergence of Epics the United States crumbled, it would seem that much the same thing would happen across the world but in the first novel we don’t find out anything conclusive on that front.

The idea of power corrupting people is not a new one and it was one that made me thing, I love comics and I pretty much know that if I woke up one day with some non-lame powers I would quickly probably think I was godlike and do some things I shouldn’t (after thinking up a name and a costume of course).

There is also a movement in that world of people who think that eventually there will be an Epic who isn’t corrupt one who will save the normal people from the brutality of the Epics.

The Reckoners
The Reckoners are an almost mythical group of regular people who have killed a number of Epics around the US (possibly Canada?). They are a hidden network of agents who through research and observation find the weaknesses of Epics and then kill them though they tend to stick to Epics who are far from the best of the best.

The Reckoners are an interesting bunch, eccentric you could say but they are all driven but one of the things you come to learn about them by the end of the novel is the secrets built on secrets at the core of the team. You get the idea that this isn’t something that can go on indefinitely especially given what happens at the end of the book.

David lost his father and his innocence to Steelheart when he emerged shortly after the event known as Calamity. Steelheart killed his father after a crazy series of events lead to Steelheart being shown to bleed which seemingly hasn’t happened since. Since then David has obsessively collected information on Epics on their powers, habits, weaknesses and such which is part of his greater drive to somehow kill Steelheart and get revenge for his father.

David is an intriguing character totally focused on revenge to the exclusion of everything else you can quickly tell how socially awkward he is and the fact that he is a loner with seemingly one real friend at the beginning of the book also he has had to grow up pretty fast and though a teenager he is in a lot of ways a lot older. He also has a healthy respect for guns not in an action hero but as someone who respects the danger they represent and strives to know as much about them as possible.

One of the most interesting things about this book is the fact that it is interesting, we all know where it is going and while we don’t know if David will be successful given how powerful Steelheart is we tend to think that whether it be in this book or in later instalments we think that he will kill Steelheart even though we know the trajectory of the plot there are still more than enough subtle plot points and one or two surprises that you don’t see coming that make you glad you read through it, David is adorably awkward any time he isn’t talking directly about dealing with Epics or his research you can see the price he has paid for his obsession and it makes at least me respect him for those sacrifices.

There is so much more to the book but you know that because you have read it I hope, still to others who are fans of superhero comics and want to see a whole other take on all things cape and spandex then grab the first two books of The Reckoners Trilogy and then wait around in a small dark room until the final book Calamity is released.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Firefight is the second novel of the Reckoners series written by Brandon Sanderson. The series is published by Gollancz and was released on 8 January 2015. The ISBN for the book is 0385743580. I purchased this book.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be spoilers of this and the first book in the series Steelheart. So don’t read further if you haven’t read the first two books of the Reckoners series AND the novella Mitosis.

Steelheart (Reckoners #1) really took the idea of super powers and our traditional ideas of heroes and did something original. Add to that the lore of the world he created meant I was always going to head back once I realised it was a series.

Wow I certainly wasn’t expecting that when I heard about Firefight being released for the first time probably back in December. I was really looking forward to visiting the world of the Reckoners again and to learn more about Epics. I’m not sure how I feel about losing two of the central characters right off the bat. We may not have learned a great deal about them for the first book but then that is the point of a second book right to take the time to look at the other characters within a central cast instead we kind of discard them.

After a brief prologue of sorts in Newcago where the novella Mitosis is mentioned (so maybe check that out first if possible) we move to a whole new city. I find David frustrating some of the time I can understand why he does what he does and other times I just want to throw the book down in frustration.

Too many times he says one thing and do the complete opposite. It becomes frustrating but overall I think he is a likeable character. Perhaps it is a way of showing that he is feeling a little lost after realising his revenge against Steelheart. Also he has had to deal with the fact that he was only able to kill Steelheart through the direct help of two Epics. I just wish he would take the time to assess his thoughts on things like his approach to dealing with Epics and whether he ever intends on actually carrying out an order he gets given.

We also have to talk about Epic weaknesses which were introduced in Steelheart but were really a theme in Firefight. I bring them up because I think if you read Steelheart and Mitosis by the first third of this book you should know what the nature of all Epic weaknesses is at least the theory of it while of course not being able to know what it exactly is without a fair history of that particular Epic.

It can be frustrating when something seems so evident to a reader but that characters don’t get it especially in this case where the characters have access to all the same information that we readers do.

The things I liked about this book was the way that the Reckoners went about trying to learn about how things work in Babylar it is nice to see the methodical approach instead of just running in there with no plan even if it seems that Regalia was always two steps ahead. I have to admit that in the end her plan was complete genius and pretty difficult to stop.

The thing that bugged me other than David’s character ticks was the whole tease of David being made into an Epic. As soon as the scene started I knew this was one of those book teases where a writer proposes something that would fundamentally throw everything you know about a book or main character on its head only to lead up to edge then say no no no only kidding.

EDIT: On a whim I tweeted at Brandon Sanderson with a question. I asked him what David’s Epic name would have been should he have gone through with it and he replied that we have already heard that name in the books so far I have an idea of what it might be though it doesn't give much insight into what his powers might have been which is a shame I find myself wondering if David would qualify as a High Epic or not but we'll never know as I doubt we'll be going in that direction in the last book of the trilogy Calamity.

I finished the book being eager to find out what might be happening next in the world of the Reckoners. The last book in the Trilogy will be released next year and is called Calamity.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Debug is a 2014 Canadian Sci-Fi Horror film written and directed by David Hewlett. If that name sounds familiar to you it is because David played Dr. Rodney Mckay in Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and in Stargate Universe. Seriously he was 50% of the reason for watching Atlantis the other half was probably Rachel Luttrell’s abs because damn.
The film stars Jeananne Goossen, Jason Momoa, Jadyn Wong, Adrian Holmes, Sidney Leeder and Adam Butcher. Debug is distributed by Signature Entertainment and was released in the UK on 3rd November 2014.


Six young computer hackers sent to work on a derelict spaceship, are forced to match wits with a vengeful artificial intelligence that would kill to be human.


I just decided to take a chance but the fact that Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis, Game Of Thrones, don’t mention Conan) and Jadyn Wong (crushing on since Scorpion) meant it was definitely worth a gamble. I do love my B movies they are hard to do wrong though of course it does happen.


I do love B movies I’m not sure why anyone would not like them. This is a good example of the genre a decent amount of action more than a bit of gore the story is an interesting take on the old trapped in a scary house set piece of most horror films. The Sci-Fi element makes things interesting a revamp for the modern age with it being set on a vast space ship. The size of the ship doesn’t make it feel any less claustrophobic and the hacking elements are interesting. The virtual reality stuff cranks up the horror elements too which is a nice step.
It is hard to talk about Debug without having a discussion around the fan service present in the film.

Fan Service: a term originating from anime and manga fandom for material in a series which is intentionally added to please the audience and usually refers to gratuitous titillation.


In this case I can definitely point to some fan service of the racy/sexual kind. Of course this is not unheard of for horror films and it is handled well here of course it isn’t hindered by the fact that the lead Jeananne Goossen is a stone cold fox and the other actresses are gorgeous as well. Between Jadyn Wong in a T-shirt and panties and Sidney Leeder with very little of anything on there was something for anyone who appreciated fit young women. Of course noting that there is a discussion to be held about where all the pecs and sixpacks were so fans of the male form could have their turn.

So now with that aside let’s consider the film as a whole it is a great distraction for a night in with friends and definitely worth taking the time to check out. The gorgeous actresses on show don’t hurt either. So Sci-Fi fan? Horror fan? Check this film out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seetec Complaint And Independent Case Examiner

So there it is after well 2 years and a whole lot of follow up this week I finally got an answer to my complaint lodged with ICE (Independent Case Examiner). To find out why you only need search my blog for Seetec and do some reading on my various issues with them. 

In the end I got what is called a partially upheld complaint which according to those in the know is a win and doesn't often happen. I won’t bore you with the details as it will take me way too long to decide what I can and cannot share but what I will say is that it is a lot of work to get that partial victory and the way Seetec twists the truth may not be worth the stress once you review the reasons given for the decision.

I have to thank a lot of people for supporting me through this:

- Unemployment Movement forums – great place to get general
- Refuted great website full of resources lots of guidelines
- Jobseekers Sanction Advice unfortunately not sure if they are continuing past January


If you think that you are going to go forward with a complaint there is one thing I must stress RECORD everything. My complaint to ICE took over two years and in that time I was contacted more than once and asked about things that happened over a year in the past and then asked if I have documentary evidence to prove things. It drove me mad and was a good part of the reason I think for only getting a partially upheld complaint.

As a result of my partial victory I should say that Seetec has to pay ICE £5000 apparently as well as giving me compensation for their poor service.

EDIT: Just when I thought my problems with DWP and their croneys was at an end I get a package from the DWP that I had to pay £15 to get from the post office. It was a data request that I had lodged more than a year ago. A request that should have been filled in 40 days at no cost to me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

GAMING: Something To Know About Fight Sticks

So I recently made a decent sized investment on a Fight Stick because I wanted to learn and doing it once a week wasn't cutting it. I decided on a PS3 Soul Calibut Fight Stick made by Mad Catz. The choice was down to cost I low balled a Best Offer on Ebay and got lucky. I thought it would be great to take to tournaments and such but there is an issue. the Mayflash PS2/PS3/XBox 360 convertor doesn't work with it.

I should also add that the Mayflash convertor when used on the XBox 360 won't recognise most if any of the 3rd party PS3 controllers this is because the PS3 pretty much recognises any controllers that would work on a modern PC while it seems that XBox 360 is a far more discerning device and needs purpose built controllers.

Still I definitely don't consider the Fight Stick to be a waste as I have a decent collection of Fighting Games on my PC and I am looking forward to hopefully doing some streaming subject to finishing up my computer upgrade. So just be aware that for now with pretty much all the tournaments being on the XBox 360 it pays to invest in an XBox controller of your preferred style be it pad or stick if you are thinking of doing a few tournaments.

So the Mayflash is fine if you're a dedicated PS3 player who needs to take his own controller to tournaments but only the official Sony ones and not any of the licensed variety. Hopefully that will save you some annoyance and having to try and auction off an unneeded stick.

Hope to see you guys in tournaments. I'll talk a little about our weekly tournaments next time.
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