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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Archive for May, 2018

On Practice

Recently I got into a brief conversation on the nature of practice. In fact it’s a topic that keeps popping up lately, someone else I know was crowd sourcing ideas on how to get in to writing when you lack confidence in your ability to do so, and I found myself considering some advice that works for me, but might not be all that great for anyone else. Here’s what I didn’t say:

“Write. Keep writing. Don’t stop until you hate yourself for doing it. Then stop, because tomorrow you’re going to do it again.”

I have forgotten the last day I spent without writing anything, I carry a notebook in my manbag, I have a notepad installed on every mobile device I own, at work I carry notepads that get consumed faster when writing notes than on actual work related purposes, and even when I’m ill, or depressed, I’ll excise my frustration through words, or simply force myself to put pen to paper, hand to keyboard, black to white in some form so that I can say “today I created something”.

It works for me, I’ve looked back over some of my old work and, while I appreciate a lot of the ideas behind some of my old pieces – even on GeekOut – I still mark several differences in my writing style since I began. Even now I’m writing this at… let’s see, 00:51, ten-to-one in the morning, having woken up at an obscene hour to start the day, desperately constructing a quiz for tomorrow’s (today’s) GeekOut Shrewsbury Meet, printing the bomb defusal manual for Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes, and getting the daily duties done like eating a real meal and not just coffee and another cookie.

I do it because it makes me productive. It forces me to strive, and to accomplish, to complete projects that I set out to achieve, like the books I’m working on, the company I’m trying to set up, something more than watching all of Deep Space 9 so that I can draw judgemental comparisons to Babylon 5. And dammit I have kept to my schedule of work, producing regular content for GeekOut, beavering away at side-projects, and getting things done.

I wrote the comment above, and deleted it, in that dramatic “hold down the backspace button even though you don’t have to” fashion. Why would I encourage someone wanting to enjoy an old hobby to dive so fanatically into it in the way I have? If they had the mad devotion to writing I have then surely they wouldn’t need the advice, and if they take that advice they’ll soon lose interest in writing.

I don’t draw for example. I can draw, and I’ve no doubt I could get good at it if I devoted myself to the task, but why would I do that when a quiet doodle every now and again helps me relax after a month of hard written work? I enjoy it enough, and tend to destroy my sketches once they’re done to my satisfaction, but I take no pride in the work or set much store by the end product. It is fun.

Ultimately, if you enjoy something enough that you are willing to exhaust yourself to do it, then you are going to get good. That goes for writing, drawing, programming, the physical activities, or even public speaking. Bur don’t motivate yourself out of a good thing. Keep your hobbies as just that, and only let your passions consume you.

… Yeah, that’s what I should have wrote at the time!

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Magic: the Gathering – Building A Casual Fun Deck For Modern

A lot of people seem to think that after I created one hell-raising deck, that I’d create nothing but destructive decks. I had a discussion a little while back, which made me reflect upon all of the terrible decks I’ve built. So, I wanted to make this right and build a deck that was a lot of fun for me, but brutal to play against. Without any hesitation, I started to make my strangest deck – So here’s a look at how I go about building fun decks for Modern.

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The Shropshire Dungeon Master Update V – British Ironwork Centre

So, it’s a busy week at the moment, and not looking likely to get quieter for some time. Part of the mad dash has now been and gone as of this Saturday, Dungeons & Dragons played at the British Ironwork Centre near Oswestry, in support of Hope House and Severn Hospice, a pair of local healthcare charities.

This is an event I’ve been working towards for some time, in fact there have been a lot of elements of setting up the business that have rather fallen by the wayside alongside the preparations for this, this week’s GeekOut Shrewsbury meet, and UKGE, and fighting off the classically bad-timed mental health episode. Interest in the event was incredibly high, although actual engagement was low, and attempts to fill up the table for the day were tough, and while a few people who secured spaces were sadly unable to join us, those who played were truly fantastic. (more…)


Tekken 7 Anniversary Update: May 31st 2018 (and World Tour Global Finals)

It’s no big surprise that with the announcement of the Tekken 7 Anniversary Update, I was all over it. Since the games PlayStation 4, XBox One and PC release on June 2nd, 2017, I’ve racked up 294 hours on the fighting golliath. This anniversary update then was something that brought me back to the game just before its release, as admittedly, I’ve been somewhat off and on with the game recently (blame Clone Hero). Picking my main Lee back up, I managed to get back towards where I should be; around the Vanguard/Warrior mark – Not too shabbby!

So what has this free anniversary update promised us so far?

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Behind The Scenes: Running A GeekOut Bristol Meet

I’ve been asked a few times about how we get it done; how every month, without fail, we’ve managed to run a GeekOut Bristol Meet since 2013. How every month, I manage to get a large collection of geeks to a pub. How we manage to get people playing games, people drinking and eating together – and most importantly, how on Earth do we get such a good atmosphere? I can’t answer all of these questions (trade secrets), but if you’re looking to run your own Meetup event somewhere, perhaps this is food for thought?

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Top 10 Over-Designed Weapons

Over-designing a weapon is something that I thought would go more to anime, but no. It turns out that over-designed weapons are all over. Video games, films, books – You name it, they’re everywhere. But what is it we mean exactly by an Over-Designed Weapon?

The weapon must be aesthetically overly thought-out; it can’t be something that just looks the usual part. It must be visually over-the-top to some capacity. However, a weapon doesn’t necessarily have to be a conventional sword, axe or so on – But it certainly helps with categorisation! Let’s check out this week’s list – It’s our Top 10 Over-Designed Weapons!

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Mobile Game Review: Scribblenauts Remix

The highly acclaimed Scribblenauts is a unique puzzle-sandbox, which allows you to type in anything you want and get that item (within reason). Of course, this was a match made in heaven for smartphones! Released on iPhone in 2011 and Android in 2013, Scribblenauts Remix takes the format of the original Scribblenauts and condenses it down to a simpler play. But does this condensed version contain mundane gameplay, or is it a hidden gem in the Apple and Google stores?

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Review – Hidden Folks

Here’s an old idea made new, another game derived from a series of puzzle-books, but this time instead of choose-your-own-adventure games, this time it’s a hidden object game a-la Where’s Wally (that’s Waldo if you’re across the Atlantic), the classic red and white master of hiding in plain sight, the must-have test of your children’s observation skills and patience.

Hidden Folks seizes the concept and turns it into something that is both addictive and strangely adorable. Layers of interactivity, vast scenes in which to seek tiny details with dozens of similar-looking items scattered everywhere, it’s wonderfully simple, and drives you back day after day for just one more game. (more…)


Conversation Time: What Games Do You Keep Going Back To?

Some of you may have realised that we didn’t post at our usual time, which isn’t like us – Well, the article scheduled for today for some reason didn’t publish. So, in the interests of keeping a conversation going, I thought now is a perfect time to introduce a new series of articles.

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Jeffrey Combs!

I’ve been devouring my way through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine of late, and it’s rekindled an unexpected fondness, and a habit of mind to pay respect and homage to those lesser known actors who deserve nothing but the utmost deference. Today, Jeffrey Combs, a regular on Star Trek in a wide variety of prosthetics and make-up, but also a face that appears in considerably less make-up across a wide variety of science fiction and horror films and TV shows. (more…)