Category Archives: Music

Life, the internet and everything

Hi everyone,

This is going to be one of those long, intense posts that barely touches on gaming, so you have been warned. It’s also maybe the most personal thing I’ve ever posted so yeah… let’s see how that turns out shall we?

I’ve had almost a complete break from facebook for about three months now, and I have to say, it feels like eternity. It gets easier, but not much. Before I get back to that though, I want to write some background as to how I’ve been for the last bit. Basically I’ve been tangling with some powerful and elusive thoughts for almost a year, and now I feel as though things are slowly clicking back into place. The thing that has been hardest for me to figure out is my relationship with the internet and my friends thereon, both local and international (I’ve decided to use the term “local” in lieu of “real life” or something, as Von has often pointed out to me that the internet is real life). So I thought I’d try to work things out a bit by writing it all down and seeing if that helps. Continue reading

ESO, Saga and musicians

Hey everyone, I thought I’d write a quick post today about something that’s been on my mind the last week or so: Elder Scrolls Online, or more specifically how I WISH I COULD PLAY IT BUT I CAN’T.

Allow me to elaborate. I like a good Elder Scrolls game as much as the next fantasy RPGer, and with all the hype about this one ‘breaking the mould’ and being ‘revolutionary’ and all that PR crap that is spouted every time a major re-hash comes out, I was really looking forward to it. I have many friends and family members who were also looking forward to it, because now we could finally play an ES game as a group. So great – it was going to be awesome. But now it’s out, I’m sad to learn that one thing that is not ‘revolutionary’ about it is the payment model. Oh, so I have to buy the game and then pay a monthly fee? That’s just… I’m just kind of astonished, I can honestly say I didn’t expect this.

Maybe that was silly of me, but I just thought they wouldn’t think I’d stand for that, and so they wouldn’t even try. But apparently they do think I’ll stand for it, and they’re wrong. And the other five people I knew who were planning on getting it won’t stand for it either. And they’re all as sad as I am about it.

We really want to play your game, Bethesda. But how about a variety of payment options, if you simply must charge us after we’ve already bought the game? Which, by the way, is a business practice that St. Thomas Aquinas recognised as dodgy only about eight hundred years ago. He called it “double use” – buying something and then paying to use it – and it was sinful back then, and it’s not nice to expect people to do it now. I accept that’s the way it’s done with these products, but I’m not happy about it. If you’re going to charge a subscription fee then the game itself should be free at least.

Anyway, by “a variety of payment options” I mean that I’m not a single person with regular hours to burn. The main gaming demographic in Australia averages in their 30s! These people have families, jobs, and responsibilities, and paying a monthly fee for something they may or may not have time to use in any given month is not going to seem a good idea to them. So they won’t do it. I won’t do it. If I could instead pay a micro-fee, say $1.99, every time I logged in, I totally would. But I can’t.

OK so I sound like a broken record here: companies are always trying to push us, we have to fight for what we want as consumers, blah blah blah. I’ll stop now.

On a more upbeat note, my brother in law Bones (or at least we would be brothers-in-law if either of us were married to the sisters we’re er… attached to) is in a band, and they’re doing really well. They just played Coachella and are heading to Glastonbury soon, and this morning I watched them play on the Jimmy Fallon show. So yeah. I suddenly realised, out of all the people I know who have ever been in a band (which is a lot), these guys are actually kind of famous. Which makes me feel warm and fuzzy and also like I am cool by association. Anyway good on you brother.  Check it out: they’re called Courtney Barnett and the Courtney Barnettes. He’s the Barnette with the bass.

Oh, and in even more news, I just read Bernard Cornwell’s excellent The Last Kingdom, and watched a whole season of Vikings in one day, and now I find myself investigating the miniatures skirmish game Saga.  Preserve my wallet O wise Odin!

Some Philosophy

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I haven’t done any gaming besides D&D, which is still going well.

What I have been doing is reading a lot.  One of the things I’m reading right now is the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: the mighty Roman emperor who was also a philosopher of the stoic school.  There’s a lot to admire in there.  This passage in particular made me think of the last post I made, and the problem I was having with wanting praise for my creations and measuring myself against others:

Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was – no better and no worse. This applies, I think, even to “beautiful” things in ordinary life – physical objects, artworks. Does anything genuinely beautiful need supplementing? No more than justice does – or truth, or kindness, or humility. Are any of those improved by being praised? Or damaged by contempt? Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it? Or gold, or ivory, or purple? Lyres? Knives? Flowers? Bushes?

And speaking of beauty and stoic philosophy, here’s Lana Del Rey singing a song about mortality and seizing the moment:

Till next time,

James

Ronin Beats vs. the Beat Ronin

I’ve just discovered that there is a Japanese hip-hop artist out there called Ronin Beats.  He’s offering a free download of a short instrumental album called Ocean of Trees.  I downloaded it and gave it a listen, and I really like it.  It’s atmospheric and spooky sounding, but not light or ambient.  I’m going to check out the rest of his stuff now.

I’m pretty eclectic music-wise, but I particularly like instrumental hip-hop when it comes to electronic music.  And I’m also a big fan of Japanese hip-hop legend DJ Krush, whose influence I can definitely detect in this music.  I actually met him at the urinals once at a gig he did in Canberra (DJ Krush, not Ronin Beats) but all I said was “great set, man.”  It wasn’t really a good time to chat I suppose.  We couldn’t exactly shake hands or anything.  He did smile and nod though.

So it’s kind of neat that Ronin Beats and I share a similar name.  I think this would be perfect music for playing in the background during any cyberpunk game, particularly track six, Death Valley.  The album is also pretty serviceable when it comes to walking around a brooding wintery city with head phones on pretending that you are in a dystopian future.  Surely I’m not the only one who does that?

Anyway hit him up and give it a listen here.

Till next time,

James