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Talking about games!

Hi! I decided not to write a blog post, but try something new instead. I recorded what I wanted to write. It’s so different, you can’t just backspace and delete your mistakes.

In April 2016, I recorded a very non-professional video about some games I had recently enjoyed. I was too chicken to post it, because the audio is crap, this is the first time I edited a video and I’m not a native speaker and I say “ummm” a lot. But whatever, this is raw! Also, the games are probably really cheap on Steam now that it’s 2017!

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Hello, readers. If I still have any. My last post here was in 2016 and it was not a happy one. Apologies might be in order. Here are the main reasons why I have not been posting:

  1. I’ve been writing my dissertation. It’s been the focus of my life, period. Good progress is being made, I just drafted the third chapter. For my academic interests, you can read my other blog,
  2. Twitter. Damn you, 140 characters! It’s much easier to tell you about something fascinating just dropping a note or retweeting and article. You can follow me @thiliel.
  3. I’ve been writing fan fiction. In March 2014, I started writing an epic whopper of a story which might very well shape up to be the first work of fiction that I actually finish. It’s a story set in the BBC Sherlock universe. Sherlock, John and (Greg) Lestrade have to solve a case and figure out their love lives. I adore these characters and I wear them like a second skin. The story is up to 30,000 words now and it’s not that bad, so I’m sharing it.

So, you see, I’ve written like half of two books and tweeted 2,000 x 140 characters. Will you forgive me?

Anyway, I’m back here, and I’ve been gaming a lot, so expect a review of ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ to magically appear in the next days. In the meantime, go read my other stuff to keep you busy.

 

2016

This year has been very shitty. I’m not sure to what extent I’ve been influenced by media narratives. Some good stuff happened as well, but at the end of the year it’s hard to think about that looking back.

I lost a family member.

I got married one week after the funeral.

I had two minor medical procedures, they were stressful but also not dangerous.

I fought for my rights two times. Both were disputes in which I did not want to compromise and I did the right thing in saying something and insisting. Both times I succeeded; one matter was dropped, the other postponed but at least people acknowledged that it couldn’t be implemented like that. But that also cost me a lot of time and energy. While I should be proud of making a difference, I just feel exhausted.

There will be no Top Ten Music this year. This hasn’t been an album sort of year. I mostly listened to long mixes (BBC/fabric), but as far as dedicated listening goes, that didn’t work out so well.

Anyway, fuck off, 2016. I hope 2017 will be just normal.

#savefabric

Maybe you’ve heard of fabric in London if you’re into electronic music. I have never been there myself but I’ve been enjoying many of their live mixes which they sell online.

Unfortunately fabric closed down this year. Two men OD’d and died on the premises, which is why the council revoked their license.

Discussions ensue. About the future of safe clubbing, and of music.

a1035112512_16

Since then, the London club scene has launched a massive campaign to save the culture. Which also results in this 111 track compilation – ten quid for 11 hours of music. I’m in.

Sherlocking London

We just spent four days touring London with a bit of a twist. As many of you might know, I’m a fan, and have been looking forward to exploring the city memorably serving as a backdrop to the famous detective. Even though most of BBC Sherlock was shot in Cardiff, many exterior shots were filmed in London. So we visited most of them and some of the ACD canon locations as well.

As a base, we used this free Sherlock Holmes tour:

If you want to know more about the locations, Sherlockology has a pretty swell list.

Lots of gratuitious selfies ahead, so stop reading now if you’re not into stupidly happy people. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday 

We arrived at Heathrow at an ungodly hour and had to have a kip once we checked into our hotel. In the evening, we started the tour at Picadilly Circus.

picadilly

This location is at the beginning for two reasons: It’s in the opening title of the BBC show as an iconic London landmark. In ‘A study in Scarlet’ Watson meets his friend Stamford at the Criterion. Over dinner he tells him that Sherlock is looking for a roommate. The Criterion is very beautiful:

crit_photo

We were a bit underdressed but had some kick-ass martinis and ogled the gold ceiling (Thias had Tiramisu and I’m holding a surprisingly delicious Chili and Passionfruit concoction).

criterion-lene

After that, we met up with a friend and went to metal pub in Camden. Talk about contrast.

Monday

On Monday we had a Full English at Speedy’s Café. Best coffee I had in London so far.

speedys

And of course, a gratuitious picture in front of “221b”.

221b-north-gower

While scanning for free wifi I found this little gimmick:

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Hilarious!

Then we adjourned to the real 221b Baker Street. Emerging from the tube, you bump into the Sherlock Holmes statue.

sherlock-statue

There is a little QR code you can scan as a part of the talking statues art project. He wishes he was facing the other way because it’s so boring. Also he misses Watson at his side. So sad.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street was expensive (15PS) but nice nonetheless. The first thing you notice when you enter is the intense smell, lemongrass oil. I wonder why they burn it, maybe the whole place reeks? It is rather old.

incense.jpg

Obligatory picture in the study, pipe, hat, the whole shebang.

museum.jpg

Behold the Hound and the mostly Chinese fan mail he boldly protects.

hound.jpg

After that we had stroll around Regent’s park to catch a break from all the belligerent tourists with their stupid selfie sticks. I was too ashamed to be photographed outside the museum wearing a deerstalker. I just couldn’t do it. It’s just an ear hat, anyway.

In the afternoon, we drove out to St. Barts.

barts

Sherlock jumped off the roof here. For the record, I still don’t believe Moriarty is really dead. If Sherlock can fake it, so can he.

barts-outside

Sherlock left quite the “impact”, there was this where he landed on the pavement.

barts-baustelle

If you zoom in closely, you can see the fan grafitti. Seems to be sort of a pilgrimage thing. The pathology wing is not in active use anymore, so tons of people wrote in the dirt on the windows.

fan mail.jpg

Speaking of fan fiction and various *locks, it might have made me chuckle just a tiny bit what kind of street is located exactly opposite the wing.

cock-lane

We had a Sherlock-and-Molly-appropriate lunch at Barts (without any corpses).

chips-lunch-barts

Next up was Tower 42, used as the bank in “The Blind Banker”. Exterior shot:

tower-42-outside

Interior shot. Managed to sneak a quick picture in the lobby. As if I was going to rob them. Or am I?

tower-42-inside

Mike Stamford and John Watson meet in Russell Square Garden in the new series. They’re still drinking Criterion coffee as a nod toward the original meeting place.

russell-square

After all that walking around we thought “Let’s have dinner!” and went to Angelo’s. Or rather, Tapas Brindisa in Soho. They redecorated a bit since filming ‘A Study in Pink’, but the hanging lights are still there.

brindisa-inside

Need a cab?

brindisa-outside

Tuesday

We started at the South Bank and systematically worked our way to Belgravia.The South Bank is basically all of ‘The Blind Banker’.

OXO Tower Wharf is where they find the murdered museum security guard. Fortunately, it was low tide, so we could descend to the shore.

oxo-wharf

Next up was the skate park where they find the code fragments.

skate-park

Waterloo Bridge (where Sherlock meets a representative of the Homeless network) is also there, but it was a bit dangerous on the other side.

Trafalgar Square.

trafalgar-square

The Diogenes Club aka the British Academy.

diogenes

St. James Park, on our way to solve the attempted murder at the Wellington Barracks.

st-james

Observing Wellington Barracks.

wellington-2

 

wellington-1

For reference: ‘The Sign of Three’

bank-wellington

wellington-3

My Watson is not in the picture because he’s obviously taking it.

New Scotland Yard. Hi, Greg.

scotland-yard

44 Eaton Square. Hi, Irene.

eaton-square

In the evening, we paid a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Pub near Trafalgar Square.

sh-pub

I had Mrs Hudson’s Ale Pie and the local Sherlock Holmes brew. Couldn’t move after, so good.

There is a study you can peak into.

sh-pub-2

Little details in decoration.

pub-3

After dinner, we went for a stroll along the shore again.

Hungerford Bridge by night.

hungerford-bridge

big-ben

Wednesday

In the morning we visited the Natural History Museum, which in the late 19th century was still called the British Museum where Sherlock Holmes went for his research occasionally. Lots of dinosaurs and dead things.

dippy_2904036b

Postcards home! Can you decipher it?

postcard

Flying home in the evening. Bye, London.

bye-london

 

Black light objects

We resurrected the Zauberwald at Waldeck Freakquenz 2016, an small forest clearing with surround sound installations. It’s really quite the experience, standing in a beautifully illuminated forest and not being able to pinpoint the exact location where the sound emanates from.

Since we had some black lights, we decided on some last minute crafting. Here is a short instruction on how to build some easy black light objects.

Materials for one object:

about 2,4 m strips of wood (thin)

small nails

hammer

white wool

UV paint

Saw strips of wood each about 80 cm and connect with nails to a triangle shape. Of course you can build other shapes, too.

2016-08-18 15.47.20

Put nails into the wood in about 5cm intervals.

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Connect the wool to one side and start making patterns (keep it tight).

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When you’re done, paint the frame with UV paint.

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If you want to build 3D objects, just build two triangles, one slightly smaller than the other, and insert it in the bigger one.

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Sadly, my camera is to shit to capture the whole thing at night. But it looks nice. Maybe next year we’ll try something more difficult. Enjoy your crafting!

Super Mario Kart Turnier

Auf dem Waldeck Freakquenz 20. August 2016 planen wir nicht wie die letzten fünf Jahre ein Tetris-Turnier, sondern probieren mal was Neues.

Hier geht’s zur Voranmeldung!

Live VJing

Here is some live VJing I did for the International Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats @ Waldeck Freakquenz 2014. I used Avenue.

http://bit.ly/29Mgzi0

Sorry for the poor sound quality, there are some things a GoPro can’t do.

 

Hey, we finally edited some of the GoPro material we filmed on our festival, Waldeck Freakquenz.

See our retro gaming café, our Kinect sandbox, bands, enthusiastic Tetris chanting and further awesomeness.

 

Review: Sherlock Holmes – The Devil’s Daughter

I enjoyed the last two Frogwares Sherlock Holmes adventures so much that I anticipated the next part eagerly. Supposed to be released in May, it came out in June, on my wedding day, so I thought ‘Hey, I’ll buy this one now as a gift to myself’.

Was it fun? Yes, it was fun! 20 hours of fun, to be exact.

There are a lot of things going for this title. I love the dense Victorian London atmosphere, the hidden references, the ‘mind palace’ and character portraits.

But sadly, there are also many things that felt off to me.

Characters

The voice acting and characters in this series have been getting better and better. They were well done in the previous titles, e.g. ‘Crimes and Punishments’.

And they changed the voice actors, which is always a shame. I liked the previous interpretations and I was disappointed to not meet old acquaintances.

(Except Lestrade. They didn’t change Lestrade. Hey, Greg.)

I’ve grown rather attached to that version of Watson. The Watson character in ‘The Devil’s Daughter’ looks like a Spanish rent boy and embodies none of his characteristics as charmingly as his predecessor.

Sherlock_Holmes_Crimes_and_Punishments_Card_1watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is that the same person?

 

 

Also Katelyn aka the Devil’s aka Moriarty’s daughter was just plain annoying. Her story arc was well executed, but she didn’t feel like a kid you’d want to save at all. Sorry. Her voice acting felt like an adult playing a cranky girl.

Sherlock was more or less ok, though he looked very disheveled – not very English, right? You don’t even get a suit until the third case. How I am supposed to live?

New and old elements

Some old elements were changed: The lockpicking system has gotten more intricate, which is good, because I like lockpicking! Now there are two levels you can switch between. I think I prefer with system to the previous one (turn the cylinder until the lines match, boring).

They added a some new elements to the game: There are some balancing and chasing scenes. The balancing acts felt very contrived to me. I’m not a assassin, I’m a dectective. I detect. I don’t want to join the circus. In one episode you play street urchin  Wiggins (from the ‘homeless network’) observing a suspect, that was in character and appropriate. The chase was fun and ‘Assassin’s Creed’-like. But I feel that the game could have done without that extra element, which just makes you spend more time on not solving any cases. Which is what this game is all about. Or it should be.

The bar fight was fun, though, and had the right pace! So not all the new elements are useless, but some just weren’t very ‘fitting’. Character portraits, deductions and crimes scene mechanics are the same, thank God.

All in all, it’s worth spending time and money on. But I miss my old pals, and I have no sense of balance whatson-ever.

 

 

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