Smile Like You Mean It

I was concerned that when we had a child I’d become soppy. There was a genuine risk, I thought, that I’d start to view my whole life through this saccharine lens. This fear prompted a host of questions. Would my legendary cynicism take a hit? By some miracle, would I become more humble? What would happen to the street cred I’ve nurtured for years? (Is street cred even a phrase anymore?)Continue reading “Smile Like You Mean It”

Ready Player Two

Three weeks ago, on the morning of the 31st July, my beautiful daughter, Amber, came into the world. I would like to say that I was hit by a wave of gratitude and awe at the sight of her, but in truth I was so zombified after the traumatic, sleepless preceding night, that I struggled to take it in. Everything felt so surreal at her birth; three weeks later, with the little bundle sleeping next to me while I type, the feeling of surrealism remains. It just doesn’t seem feasible that my wife and I made this splayed-out little cutie, and suddenly the complete responsibility for her well-being rests on our shoulders.Continue reading “Ready Player Two”

Why We Need to See Ni No Kuni 2’s Kingdom Building Mechanic in More Games

I’ve just popped back to the idyllic ship-building town of Capstan-upon-Hull to see if any juicy new quests have become available. Sure enough, I spot a telltale ‘I’ on my minimap. A young lady asks for my help tracking down her father. He’s gone missing, but somehow she can pinpoint the exact location where he is. RPG trope: just go with it.

I hop on my airship, sweep to the marked location – a dusty cave – and trot in to find this guy. I’m ready to save him from a group of baying monsters, or perhaps have to fight him as a result of a misunderstanding. But I don’t. He’s dead.Continue reading “Why We Need to See Ni No Kuni 2’s Kingdom Building Mechanic in More Games”

In Someone Else’s Shoes

Do you commute into work on the train? If not, you should do. It really is an eye-opening experience: the rush-hour train is a microcosm of contemporary society.

The other day, the morning train I usually catch was cancelled. This in itself isn’t a rare event. More unusually, every subsequent train in both directions was cancelled or indefinitely delayed. In short, the whole thing was completely buggered.Continue reading “In Someone Else’s Shoes”

The Alternative Travel Guide: Bruges

I’ll admit up front that the very concept of this blog series is fundamentally flawed. I travel so infrequently that writing travel guides makes about as much sense as a video game critic only reviewing top Xbox exclusives. Many thumbs will be twiddled.

But I feel obliged to share my travel experiences; to provide an alternative guide to some of the most popular and maybe some of the most unremarkable places in the world. Rather than regurgitating the same spiel about must-see attractions that the internet is stuffed with, I’ll offer frank insights on aspects that are rarely covered.

And so we start with Bruges.Continue reading “The Alternative Travel Guide: Bruges”