Review of The Sims 3 Complete Edition

Oddly enough, it was a review of The Sims 4 that made me decide to finally get the complete edition of The Sims 3. I’ve had most of it for quite some time but honestly I forgot about it until fairly recently. I’ve always quite liked The Sims franchise since my parents bought my brother and I the first one when we first got a computer that could run anything.

There are a lot of things to like about The Sims, but the first one, for me at least, is that it enables me to be lazy. I like idle games and tower defence games (though not grand strategy for whatever reason), games where I am basically only involved as bankroll and micromanager. Generally, unless I am torturing my Sims, their autonomy is set to highest and basically they can do what they want, unless I want them to do something.

The main reason, though, that I like The Sims is that it actually supports a lot of my ideology. I don’t honestly remember if the first one allowed gay marriage, but all of them since do. That is one thing, but the main thing I like is that it doesn’t matter at all what your Sims look like, they might have eyes in the middle of their forehead and tattoos covering all available skin (I wish) and no one cares. The amount anyone likes your Sim is down to how they treat others. You can make them arseholes or angels, loners or extroverts, and it doesn’t matter, no one judges you for it, not really.

This is the thing about The Sims that I really like, this and that I can have a Sim write three novels a day. I really like that a Sim’s worth as a human being (or Sim I suppose) has nothing to do with looks or gender.

In this area, though, something that I, personally, would have liked to see would be the ability to make a sim asexual or aromantic. You can abstain from romance or sex or whatever if you want, but you will still find that your sim wants these things from time to time, and it always annoys me mildly, but (if you’ve read my about page recently) you’ll know that this is a very personal gripe.

So, having acquired the compete edition, I finally got to play (and learn of the existence of) the most recent three expansions, University Life, Island Paradise, and Into The Future. I haven’t, admittedly, done much with Island paradise, mostly because my game keeps freezing when I look at water in game. But the other two are actually quite interesting.

University, obviously, lets you go to university, or college because the game is American. The first character I sent to university was a vampire, who took on two many classes and, upon coming out of an exam, pissed herself, passed out in it, and starved to death. Which I thought was hilarious. The next one was a regular person who I had already been playing for a good long time, she became a vampire in college but it was basically happenstance.

Into the Future, though, is actually a really cool notion. University is kind of banal (depending on what you do there I suppose) but going into the future? Changing the future? Awesome. First character I made to go to the future was a ghost robot mechanic who I haven’t played all that much because I can’t be arsed dealing with robots. Other one was the same one who went to college and didn’t die. She spends a lot of time in the future, or did before she got a clone, she met her descendants and failed to seduce them and hasn’t been back since.

You may have noticed that all my characters I’ve mentioned are all women and all single. This is generally the way I play the game, they also tend to be loners, afraid of the outdoors and aspiring writers and painters, just because I’m boring.

There isn’t really much to say about the Sims when it comes to a review, other than what is already said I suppose. The allure, if that’s the right word, of the game is that you can do whatever you damn well please. You can make any sort of character you want and you can make them do whatever you want them to. It is more like a creativity toy than any sort of regular game, but I think that’s great.

Totally forgot to mention

I forgot to mention in the note on the chapter I posted a bit earlier that I will put up a review today. I’ve decided to put reviews up on Fridays for the foreseeable future so yeah. Hope you like what I’m posting.

Untitled Fantasy Project – Chapter One

A/N: I was intending to put this up sooner and post more of this story this week  but I was surprisingly busy and haven’t had the time, but I won’t be next week so I’ll get a few more posts up. Fair warning, if I forgot to do it when I mentioned I’d be doing this again, everything from this story I’ll be posting is first pass edited (as in very little editing has happened) so there may be mistakes and a significantly higher chance that the content of the chapters will change without my updating them here. Also, if anyone wants to help with names the first iteration of this was called ‘The Last Attack’ but that name isn’t relevant anymore.

“Pier thirty-two, yeah? A woman named Sam, hardly no teeth, yeah?” The man tried to give Astrid and intense look, but his eyes wouldn’t seem to focus. Astrid wondered who he was to comment on teeth, he had one tooth in his head, maybe two if you counted the one lodged there after the brawl last night.

“Sam, hardly no teeth, yeah.” She replied, snatching the paper from the man’s hand.

“Get a reply or no coin, yeah? You got much?”

“Not a cop, sir,” she gave the half-hearted shrug she had masted over the last few months, “reply or no coin, yeah.”

“Get to it then.” Again an attempt at a serious look that failed when his eyes continued not to focus, he probably needed someone to look at the tooth.

Astrid turned and ran, the soft souls of her boots making barely a sound against the cobbles of the street. She turned a corner and immediately slowed to a walk, unfolding the note a reading it.

‘Meet me, Randy Bastard, yeah?’

The Randy Bastard was an inn on the dock, one of the few buildings that was not a storehouse that was built on the boards. It was, admittedly, near pier one-twenty-eight, but surely it would have been easier to talk to this Sam in person. With a sigh through her nose Astrid refolded the note, stuffed it into a pocket on her coat, and started running again. Sure Jayme was nice enough when he asked for something, but he was also a drunk and shit when it came to errands.

It wasn’t even like pier thirty-two was that far, barely a half hour jog. Astrid did not, as she had when she had come to be on the streets, keep her head down as she jogged. Keeping your head down meant one of two things this close to the docks, either drunk and good for a robbing or on dirty business and good for a robbing.

Pier thirty-two had a big sign at the entrance with the number painted on, as did all the piers, and was not as crowded as some of the other piers. For the most part piers twenty-six to forty-two were scant for business, though the construction that happened there sometimes meant easy pickings if you needed something for your hole, which Astrid did not.

“Sam,” she shouted at the top of her voice, trying not to wince at the loud noise she was making. Two men and a woman looked at her, but none did more than that. Astrid jogged over to the woman. “I got this for you from Jayme, yeah? Said come back with a reply, yeah?”

The woman took the paper, unfolded it, and smiled to herself. As Jayme had said, she had hardly no teeth, though still more than the man did. Sam read the note slowly, nodded to herself, and extracted a stick of charcoal from a pocket that left her hand smudged black. She scrawled a reply on the back of the paper, folded it again, and handed it back.

“You be quick, yeah? Go straight to the Bastard, yeah? Tell Garth that Sam sent ya, yeah?” She also attempted to give Astrid a serious look, and managed better than Jayme, probably being less drunk.

“Quick, yeah. Straight to the Bastard, yeah. Tell Garth Sam sent me, yeah.” Astrid parroted, pocketing the note.

“Get to it, then.”

Again Astrid was off, this time she didn’t bother to pause and read the note, the smile on the woman’s face had been telling enough. It took probably longer to get to the Bastard than it had to the pier, but it was easier jog since it wasn’t downhill.

“Yo, you not drinkin’ girly,” the big man behind the counter greeted her. The bar was nearly empty, though Jayme was there.

“Sam sent me, yeah?” Astrid replied, making her way to Jayme, who was already nursing a drink. “Here, yeah?”

Jayme took the note at about the same time the big man behind the counter slammed half of an apparently rock hard loaf of wheat-bread down on the counter. “It’s on Sam, yeah? I find you lyin’ to me girly and you ain’t never comin’ back, yeah?”

“She ain’t lyin’ Garth,” Jayme vouched for the girl, pocketing the note and handing over a square iron coin. “You a good egg, girly.”

Thankfully he did not try to ruffle her hair, as he did sometimes when he made this proclamation. “Give her some fish, yeah? On me.”

Astrid showed the correct level of surprise, which was more than she felt. “Thanks, yeah. You need another runner I’ll be around a little, yeah?”

“Yeah. Fuck off, yeah? I got me a date,” Jayme instructed happily.

Garth gave Astrid a suspicious look and removed the bread. The knife he used to cut the loaf was more like a saw than any bread knife Astrid had ever seen, but she also hadn’t eaten in two days and really didn’t care. Garth picked a fish fillet from the grill with his bare hands and slapped it on the bread.

The bread still sounded like a stone upon being placed on the bar, but it smelled like food and Astrid snatched it up regardless of how hard she knew it would be to eat.

The bread was stale and the fish was overcooked but Astrid couldn’t have cared less as she shoved it down her face as quick as she could. She had developed the habit of inhaling her food from eating outside too often and it didn’t matter a bit that she wasn’t outside at that moment.

The shadow that fell over Astrid and the majority of her table indicated a massive man and possibly ill will. The face of the man who belonged to the shadow did not indicate ill will. “You runnin’?”

Astrid glanced at Jayme, who had an arm wrapped around a woman who was hopefully Sam and was laughing raucously, the tooth lodged in the back of his head seemed to have come loose in the merriment and was jiggling distractingly. Astrid nodded to the man.

“Right. I need ya to head to pier one-twenty-three, yeah? Wait for a ship called the Falcon, yeah? Talk to captain Herania, yeah? Tell ‘im Norry’s ‘ere and not the Salty Fisherman, yeah?” This man was the first that day who managed to give Astrid a serious look. “Give ‘im this and ‘e’ll pay ya, yeah?”

Astrid had heard that before. “Nah, I come back and you pay me, yeah? I seen this one before, yeah?”

The man’s face darkened, but not like he was angry at her, more like he was frustrated. “Man’s payin’ me, yeah? I got nothing ’till he’s here, yeah? Can ya read, kid? Take a fuckin’ look, yeah? We’re on the level ‘ere, yeah?”

Astrid unfolded the proffered paper and read, in neat hand, a letter of debt for three iron rounds, a fairly significant sum for a wait. The paper had a seal and everything, it looked as legit as Astrid had seen. She folded the paper and tucked it into a pocket. “Pier one-twenty-three, yeah. Ship called Falcon, yeah. Captain Herania, yeah. Tell him Norry’s at the Randy Bastard and not the Salty Fisherman, yeah. Give him the paper and he pays me, yeah.”

The man nodded. “Get to it.”

Astrid nodded, waved to Garth to let Jayme know she’d left, and wandered down to the pier. She didn’t need to hurry, the last wait she’d been put on had lasted five hours. It had been welcome down time, but still a pain.

School’s Out

So I finished my school year yesterday, hopefully, and so I’ll now be the proud owner of copious free time. I figured I’d try NaNoWriMo again, but maybe a bit more casually. I’m in a much better place this year but I know that if I put too much thought and time into it I will burn out.

So I’ll try to be casual about it though who knows. I’ll also get back to posting reviews hopefully once a week.

Review of Breath by Tim Winton – Dull but Readable

A/N: Sorry I didn’t get this up yesterday, as I said I would, but I forgot. I do tend to forget things. This is a school assignment wherein we had to read a book, in this case Breath by Tim Winton and write a review.

To say that I found Tim Winton’s Breath boring wouldn’t be quite true. My description of it is dull but easy to read. There wasn’t anything in particular that caught my attention, but for the most part there also wasn’t anything that made me want to stop reading.

For the most part.

I haven’t, admittedly, read any of Tim Winton’s other books, so I am not sure if it is a trend he has or a style employed in this book in particular but the tone and writing seem to shift, distinctly, between extremes. There is the extreme of solely action and the extreme of no action. Any time there was nothing happening, which was not too common but happened enough times to be a trend, I felt compelled to put the book down and do something else for a while.

The first time this was really noticeable is fairly early in the book when the narrator takes a break from narrating the story of his young life to pontificate on the fact that people breathe. I realise that a theme in this book is breath, hence the title, but whenever this theme is brought up it is done so in a very heavy handed way. There is much ado made of Pikelet and Loonie holding their breath for a long time. There is a big deal made of Pikelet’s father’s sleep apnoea. There is a big deal made of Eva enjoying being suffocated. I didn’t mind this so much, but from page 49 to page 52 is an unbroken ramble on breathing.

This sort of tonal shift happens mostly under one circumstance, wherein the narrator decides to take a break from storytelling to have a bit of a ramble. The only time this is not the case is close to the end of the book when Pikelet is obsessing over Eva, which I have been informed is the normal form of a serious crush and came off naturally even if it seemed odd to me.

Though the story of Breath is clearly a coming of age story, for the most part it acts as a reverse of the normal order, in that things only seem to get more difficult for Pikelet. As he matures he works things out, sure, and understands more about himself and others, Sando in particular, but this doesn’t make his life easier. As he comes upon more maturity and understanding, things only get more difficult and complex. Even after puberty his life does not come together for a good many years, not until reaches around fifty years of age and even then it would be better to say that he has come to terms with his life than that he has worked it out.

The reason that I found the book readable while mostly being unengaging seems to me to be a matter of subject. I didn’t know anything about surfing, surfing culture, small town living, or the strong desire to half-drown oneself for fun before I read Breath. While I didn’t engage with the story or characters for the most part, I was interested in the actions they were undertaking.

I found, though, generally, that I was engaged by the story or characters most when there was least surfing. I enjoyed reading about Pikelet and Loonie meeting and become friends and being stupid together. I enjoyed reading about Pikelet’s school camp and the girl who informed him she was his girlfriend.

While the surfing was interesting in a learning experience sort of way, it seemed often to be a point at which a break was taken from the narrative. I am aware that this isn’t actually the case, this is a novel about surfing, but that was how it seemed to me, mostly. The main exception to this was when Pikelet surfed Old Smokey by himself or, for that matter, most of the times any of the main characters surfed Old Smokey or Nautilus.

It is, for this reason, that I enjoyed the book more the further I read. As Pikelet drifted further from Loonie and Sando and surfed less, I could engage with the character far more.

I wondered, at first, if it wasn’t a creepy that some random old man (from the perspective of the children) had approached these two boys and offered to keep their surfboards at his house. But Sando doesn’t really come across as creepy in that area, he comes across exactly how Pikelet thinks of him: awesome then mildly annoying then aggravating then awkward to be around.

While it is made clear that Sando is, indeed, taking advantage of the boys, it is not in the way that would be expected these days. Though the book was written in 2008, it harkens back to a time before a lot of the stranger panic was widespread. Pikelet’s parents, who admittedly don’t know the full nature of the relationship, don’t really appear to mind Sando much.

Oddly, Tim Winton chooses not to use quotations to mark dialogue in Breath and while this was jarring at first, it barely made a difference. Once I was used to this way of doing things the dialogue actually blended quite well into the form of the story, which is a recounting. This way of writing dialogue gives the impression of recounting dialogue, which is what is happening, without having to phrase it all passively. I would say, though, that if this was the writer’s intention in writing dialogue this way, that it may have been made more clear if he had used quotes while writing the present.

While the book had a fair number of good moments, I did not, overall, enjoy reading it. It isn’t my deal at all, but for something that I wouldn’t normally read, it is actually quite good. The characters, if unappealing to me, are actually quite well developed, the setting is clearly well researched and the story is interesting in patches. I expect that someone with either more interest or more experience in surfing would enjoy this book more than me.

Wow, another gap

So I was intending to post something sooner, once my holidays started (they have now ended) but clearly I didn’t get around to it. The main reason for this is that I have been quite sick for a while, the other is that I have barely gotten anything done in at least a month. So yeah, apologies for not holding up my end of the bargain, if there was a bargain or whatever.

I will be posting something tomorrow, and hopefully after that I will get back into the swing of things, but I’m not totally sure as the computer I generally use is in for repairs (it is also the computer with my movies and stuff on it) but I should have that back soon. Regardless of my computer, I will have something to post for tomorrow.

Busyness

My intent was to post a review today, but I haven’t got any written so seems like that won’t happen. I don’t think I’ll manage it next week either as next week is when all my school work is due so I’m busy. I don’t know if anyone minds, but I figured I would inform you anyway.

Red – Unsurprisingly good action

Red is a movie I’ve quite liked since the moment I found out it existed. I don’t actually remember if I saw it in the cinema, but I probably did, and I liked it right from that moment. One of the things I like about the movie is that effort was obviously put into it. It could easily have skated by on the sheer star power of numerous famous people (and Karl Urban) being involved.

The story is of Frank Moses (played by Bruce Willis) who is a retired CIA agent living peacefully in the suburbs somewhere, alone. He fairly seems like he had nothing to do, and that is the point. When something finally happens to him, he almost seems happy about it. He ends up pursued by CIA agent William Cooper (played by Karl Urban). The story, honestly. isn’t so interesting, though it is very well put together. This is an a ction movie that is made mostly so that a group of aging famous people can get together and make jokes about being aging famous people. For this fact, it is really quite good.

I have a couple of nitpicks for the movie, but really there is nothing majorly wrong with it, the idea is solid, acting of course good (it stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren), and the characters and dynamic believable and well fleshed out. The main nitpick I have is that it seems like the ‘romance’ is more like Stockholm syndrome, but I also didn’t really care. The main reason I saw it was for that scene in the trailer where Bruce Willis casually steps out of a spinning police car.

It is a good movie, funny, well paced, good action, all that stuff. It isn’t mindblowing or unique, not really, but it is well worth watching.

Doctor Who: Season 8 Episode 2: Into the Dalek

I wasn’t really intending to do reviews of each episode, but I may end up doing so. The odd thing I’m finding so far about this series (and yes it is a small sample so far) is that the stories of each episode aren’t really very impressive, but everything else is. What I mean by that is that basically good acting can do a lot to make up for a shit script. Sure whatever is going on is stupid, but everyone is selling it really well. I didn’t like this episode as much as the previous one, but it could have been worse. The odd thing that I’m also finding so far is that I enjoyed the episodes more the second time I watched them.

As is fairly pointed out by the episode title, the story is of going inside a Dalek. The Doctor, Clara, and three supporting characters are shrunk and stuck inside a dalek that claims to want to kill other daleks. Then they fix it and it gets over it. The thing about the plot in this episode is that it is really very simple, which I think is a good way to do it if you can’t write plot well. All the characters seems almost like real people, the dynamic is pretty good and really it mostly works, except that it doesn’t quite.

I have to say that the most annoying thing in the episode is that apparently now the sonic screwdriver can be used as a welding torch. I’ve fairly watched the sonic screwdriver transform was useful tool (in 2005) to magic wand over the last few seasons. The interesting thing about this observation is that it has already been made, within the tv show itself (in the 50th anniversary episode). The point, I figured, of this observation would be that the use might change, but it is not so.

Really, there isn’t much to say on the episode (I’m not going to review each episode, just the ones I feel like), if you’re a rabid fan then you’ve seen it, if you’re a mild fan then you might as well watch it, and if you aren’t a fan, then you should start with the first of the current iteration of the show (which started in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston). Not shit, but not that great either. Just try not to expect too much and you’ll probably like it.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Unimpressive and largely inoffensive

I didn’t see the Amazing Spider-Man, 1 or 2, in the cinema. I didn’t actually know that the first one existed before a reviewer I follow mentioned it. I don’t have much investment in the previous set of movies, or in this one for that matter. I kind of liked the first Amazing Spider-Man, kind of being operative. One of the things that I like about this reboot of the franchise is Spider-Man’s attitude, the way that he doesn’t really take much seriously. At one point in the second one he is swinging through the city and swings past some people on the street with a “hello pedestrians” which amused me.

Really, the movie isn’t much good. Andrew Garfield (who plays Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (who plays Gwen Stacy) have a very good dynamic most of the time, and I quite enjoyed the first part of the movie (pretty much up until Electro turned up). It just goes steadily downhill from there, though. The two main problems I had with the film in general where, first, that the villain’s motivation seemed tenuous at best to me and, second, that there is no suspense.

I think, for me especially, the motivation issue is a matter of investment. I had no investment in the character of Max Dillon (played by Jamie Foxx), though I found the portrayal of that particular character very believable from Jamie Foxx, who I wouldn’t have associated with that sort of character. But Harry Osborn? Nope, nope. First issue being that he is introduced in this movie, and then is apparently Peter’s best friend even though they’ve not seen each other for years, and second being that I thought he overreacted to Spider-Man saying he would have to consider it.

Oddly enough, while I was watching it, I found the changes from arguable good (or at least not bad) guy to bad guy quite strained, though when I thought about it, it seemed reasonable. I had more problem with Harry Osborne’s transformation than Max Dillon’s mostly because it is clear that Max Dillon is unstable to begin with, less so with Harry, though they hammer it home soon enough. The main problem I had with Harry’s transformation and with the film in general, was one of suspense.

The main reason that Harry’s transformation into a villain didn’t work for me was because it was so obvious. There is a difference between foreshadowing and telegraphing, though that wasn’t so bad. The film’s problem with suspense main came from always, always, knowing what was coming next. This problem was largely created by the marketing, but it is also in the poorly considered script. I don’t want to see someone become a villain and fly off to deal with Spider-Man just before it happens, I can put that together on my own.

A lot of my issue with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is down to personal taste, I don’t like being bludgeoned with information, I don’t care about Harry Osborne’s boardroom meetings, I don’t care about Peter Fucking Parker’s Fucking Father. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you have the spare time and no qualms about downloading things, you might as well, it isn’t really worth getting worked up about though, certainly.

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