Mario Run: The No-Star Review

Mario Run: The No-Star Review
  1. No Nostalgia – If they’d cracked open the pixels and given us the Mario of yester-year, we’d be on to a winner.  Instead, as soon as you open the app you get a ‘Nintendo Wii’ vibe.  They should have gone classic-Mario.
  2. The Wrong Name – This game should be called Mario Jump. That’s all you do for the entire time.  Jump.  Jump in one direction.  Want to run back to another bit of the game? Tough.
  3. Adrenaline Junkies need not Apply – Remember the terror as Goompas ran towards you…desperately trying to jump out of their way? The sheer joy when you managed to escape with your life?  Yeah, that doesn’t happen now, because Mario jumps over these automatically.
  4. Burst the Bubble –  Fell down a gap in the road – didn’t die, appeared in a bubble, safe and well.  What is this? A game for 2 year olds??
  5. Narrative Disaster – It all kicks off with Peach hosting a party.  Does she send a message to Mario on Instagram? WhatsApp? No – she sends him a letter.  Not exactly a secure method of communication.  That’s how it gets intercepted and she ends up getting captured.  If she’d used Snapchat – she’d be safe, now.
  6. Data Download – it keeps downloading data…then not…I miss normal games, where you just had the game and didn’t need to download anything.
  7. You can play this game with one hand.  BORING.

FINAL THOUHHT: it’s like giving Louis Hamilton a self-service car for his next race. I’m going to dig out my Gameboy Advance.

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David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace

Today is World Mental Health Day, and it appears that myself (and other bloggers) couldn’t let it pass without mentioning the late, great, David Foster Wallace.

His short piece, Suicide as a sort of Present is poignant, (today, more so than any other day).  

The title seems a little odd at first, but becomes a phrase that haunts the reader long after they have closed the pages of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Wallace’s sort not only highlights mental health (thus offering us a platform to talk about it), it offers an insight, into, possibly, his own darkness – given his death by suicide in 2008.

Suicide as a sort of Present is that rare fiction piece, which seems to say so little on the surface, but offers so many questions once the reading is finished.  

Who exactly dies at the end?  

Does Wallace try to justify their demise?

And attempts at literary critique inevitably cross over into mental health – why did that character kill him/herself …?  These are the type of questions people actually ask, after suicides occur.

In short, Suicide as a sort of Present is the discussion we should all be having on World Mental Health Day.  

Wherefore art thou Juliet?

Wherefore art thou Juliet?

Today the BBC ran a story about Shakespeare’s heroines, and their ability to act as role models for girls today.  They reeled off a list of ‘usual suspects’ – except nobody mentioned Juliet.

Why Juliet is a fantastic role model:

  1. Juliet is a love struck teenage girl.  She echoes the thoughts and feelings of love struck teenage girls, everywhere.  Role models need to be relatable, and Juliet is.
  2. She is true to herself and what she believes in.  Her parents more or less tell her, ‘No, you can’t go out with Romeo; he’s from the wrong type of family’.  Not caring where he comes from, she goes out with him anyway.  
  3. She is tolerant.  She is told over and over how the Montague’s are different, or bad – but she still likes Romeo.
  4. She struggles with her emotions.  There is no escaping it; Romeo and Juliet is a text where two young teenagers take their own lives… Maybe teens should be taught to view Juliet as a teen who struggles with her emotions.  If Juliet was their friend, how would they help her?

I suspect Juliet was left off the list because she, (and Romeo) meet an unfavourable end.  Isn’t suicide a topic that should be approached more readily with teenagers?  Would exploring the text from that angle, get teenagers to talk more about such a sensitive topic?  Would it help them, in their own troubles?

So, maybe Juliet isn’t just a role model, she’s a gateway into a whole new mode of discussion we should be having with teenage girls (and boys).

Throwback Thursday: Books I loved as a child

Throwback Thursday: Books I loved as a child

It’s 1994, and the Scholastic Book Fair had been unleashed all over your school hall.  This is Nirvana for all young bookworms – who are soon parted from their not-so-hard earned pocket money.

I am no exception.

This time I buy:

The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh.

My reason for buying it is simple: 

  1. It’s about dolls – I like dolls.
  2. The cover is blue – I like blue.
  3. It’s £2.99 – I have £2.99

Then I read it.

It was amazing.  I couldn’t tell you why.  The story was good…and it was a good story about dolls.  I devoured the sequels.

Then, a few years ago – I did something after finding it at the back of the bookshelf – I re-read it.

This book is phenomenal.

So much of it went over my head as a child.

It’s a book about pain and grief, hope and love.  It has qualities so much adult literature lacks (like a well rounded characters).

Don’t believe me?

SPOILER WARNING: 

How many kid’s books do you read where a blue rag doll ends up in a church, praying to a God he doesn’t even believe in, because his twin sister has gone missing? 

Also – one of the characters has an Accrington Stanley Mug. Enough said.

Seasonless Clothes get a frosty reception

Seasonless Clothes get a frosty reception

London Fashion Week is drawing to a close, and BBC News have reported how change is a-foot in the fashion industry: changes like ‘seasonless fashion’.

What is Seasonless Fashion?

This simply means buyers don’t have to wait 6 months to get their hands on the clothes – they can buy them right away.  In effect, there is no ‘Autumn/Winter’ or ‘Spring/Summer,’ anymore.  In September, you can buy clothes for next Summer…you can buy them right now.

This tells us a lot, not only about the state of the world, but the state of our climate.

Do people want seasonless fashion because they are travelling more frequently, globally?  Australia one week, then Sweeden the next?

Is it that global warming means, where-ever we live, our climate has changed? Increasingly wet winters (in my part of the world) negate the need for the wool coat…

Or is all this just an example of global consciousness.  We want to buy spring dresses in September because we follow a sunny other-side-of-the-world designer on Instagram – and we want to share their ‘California State of Mind?’

Of course – there are industry insiders who don’t like all this.  They prefer the rarity of the fashion industry, the exclusivity, the wait list… I prefer the idea of the now.

The clothes we wait 6 months for, can literally be out of season.  The September weather can be so nice, it means you can wear that Spring dress, that’s just paraded down the catwalk.  What’s worse is the other alternative – freezing on the high street, knowing coats won’t really be readily available for months.

All hail seasonless fashion, because we all know – long may it rain….

7 Great things about Bookmarks…

7 Great things about Bookmarks…
  1. They make great presents.
  2. They are light and easy to post (see point 1).
  3. You can make them yourself.
  4. They are environmentally friendly.  They can be constantly re-used.
  5. You can make them from a range of materials – wrapping paper (laminated), wool (knitted), magazine adverts (cut to size), raffle tickets (that didn’t win – laminated… I did this!)
  6. During a tense/scary/horrifying moment in a book, you can use the bookmark to cover your eyes.
  7. If you don’t know where you’re going in life, at least you know where you are in a book…

Holy Jackpot, Batman!

Holy Jackpot, Batman!

Happy Batman Day everyone!  The Caped Crusader has been with us since 1939!  So let’s play a party game:

Tell me what Batman’s superpower is…

Give up?

The answer: Money.  Cold hard cash.

He’s not an alien like the Man of Steel, he’s not a mutant like Bruce Banner, he’s just a man, with a lot of money.

So what does that mean for Batman Day in 2016?

How relevant is a ‘superhero’ whose only ‘super power’ is the size of his bank balance?

Maybe this is why it’s so easy for Batman to tip over to the dark side, to be seen so easily as the villain?  

We can dress up as Batman on halloween, but unless we win the lottery, we’ll never get the car and we’ll never get the gadgets.  We are the counterfeit, he is the designer.

In the modern world, and the current global climate – maybe Batman will only be relevant when he goes bankrupt?