Webcomics: Why do I still read this stuff?

As somebody who grew up during the dying days of Web 1.0, I got into webcomics pretty hard, often binge-reading stuff for hours.This continued well into the early days of Web 2.0 and then… I just sort of stopped. I don’t know why, but given what I was reading at the time it was probably no great loss. But I’ve already said one webcomic I read is one of the best comics ever, so surely I had better taste than I think… right?

Right? Continue reading


Long Live The Queen

After enjoying 80 Days a whole lot, I was in the mood to explore some more interactive fiction (in my day, we called them “text-adventures”) and Steam was more than happy to oblige, albeit in a really weeb way. It recommended me I try Long Live The Queen, which basically seemed to be Princess Maker, only less shameful. Its main draw was the many ways the titular Queen could die. An interesting way to market a game, but I thought I’d give it a go. Continue reading

The Ten Commadamwestments

I was having a clearout of all my stuff, and I happened across some notes I’d written down years ago, apparently as part of some free writing exercise. I’l share the one thing I wrote from that period (slightly edited) that I’m actually rather proud of.

Thou shalt have no other Caped Crusaders

Thou shalt not mock tights, or a joyfully camp tone

Do not bear grudges against those who do mock, for you know their laughter is empty

Thou may use “Bat-” as a prefix, but not for everything, for there is a limit

Remember the 1966 movie, and keep it in your DVD library

Honour thy Alfred and thy Aunt Harriet

Thou shalt not kill, but using the Batzooka against thine enemies is fine

Thou shalt not consort with Catwoman, for that is just asking for trouble, old chum

Covet no other Batmobiles, because when you look for a suitable parking space, it will not be there

Thou shalt not steal, even if thee send riddles beforehand

Nerd Cons in Brum: UK Games Expo 2017

I have ineffably fond memories of last year’s UK Games Expo… if only because it was part of the tail-end of 2016 before Britain lost its fucking mind and fell for complete and utter bullshit. Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I can get onto the actual convention.

As far as I can recall, there are two things I’ve never done at the Expo: booked in the full three days, and done a full day of roleplaying. The reasons were mostly logistical (it’s a good 40-60 minutes from my place to the NEC by train), but after using up some annual leave and 20 minutes on Trivago, I managed to get a three-day ticket and two nights at the Yardley Travelodge, a mere 20 minutes by bus to my destination. Continue reading

Adam West: 19/09/1928-11/06/2017

I was at one of my regular nerd hangouts when somebody mentioned that Adam West was dead. My first thought was “That’s got to be bullshit”, promptly followed by “Wait… it probably isn’t”, rounded off with “Now I’ll never get to send him that birthday card”.

See, I had it in my head that I’d send Adam West a birthday card, telling him how grateful I was that he was part of my childhood (one of my clearest memories is of getting home from school just in time to catch the beginning of another episode of Batman) and how I hoped to make his work part of the childhood for the next generation of Prestons.

I even bought the card last year… damned if I know where it is, because of course I forgot. The man made such a difference to so many lives, revived a character that DC had almost killed with stupid nonsense by imbuing him with silly nonsense, and endured so much petty sniping from people trying to be “cool” by pretending they never liked the show (let’s be honest, we all went through that phase).

And I never told him.

I forgot to tell him how much I loved him.

I never met him, but I loved him so damn much.

We all did.

He knew he was doing something silly, and he never stopped doing it, because it was so much fun. I can only hope I can go through life with as much humility, self-deprecation and good humour as he did.

Goodbye, Mr West. You had one hell of a good run, but I’ll still miss you.

We all will.

The Addams Family Musical

Well, of course I was going to write this. Given how I’ve covered pretty much every Addams Family adaptation (not counting the live-action TV shows and films, because everyone’s talked about those… Shit, am I a hipster?) it was inevitable that a) I would go see the musical when it came to Britain and b) blog about it immediately afterwards. This isn’t exactly rocket science here, people.

The plot is quite straightforward: Wednesday’s all grown up, and she’s inviting her new boyfriend, one Lucas Beineke, and his tight-laced parents round for dinner. So far, so “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show“. Now, I’m not going to go into any further details, because I genuinely want people to see this for themselves – it’s that good. Seriously, go book your tickets now. Continue reading

International Tabletop Day 2017

Spring has sprung, which to nerds like me means two things: first, sporadic (yet potentially profitable) sales for Rifftrax and Steam; secondly, somebody in the local area will be organising something for International Tabletop Day. This year was no exception, and quite a few places in Birmingham put something on. Manaleak (a gaming store just off Birmingham’s Irish Quarter) was doing a miniatures event on the day, but as I’m not much into that sort of thing I decided to go with something a bit more local.

Clifton Road Youth Centre was holding two events – one in the afternoon for families, and one in the evening for grown-ups who wanted to play something a bit more complicated than Kerplunk. I have to admit, I was expecting the afternoon event to have a decent mix of grown-ups and kids. The fact that the first game I played was Hungry Hippos broke that delusion quite thoroughly. Granted, I managed to get a game of Ticket to Ride: Europe soon after, with the organiser and a boy who almost got the longest route, but still…

The afternoon ended with me playing Mancala with the girls I’d played Hungry Hippos with (I know their parents through a few local board game meetups, so it wasn’t just me ingratiating myself with random children), which was very enjoyable; in our world of games with apps and custom meeples, we tend to overlook traditional board games. However, all good things must come to an end, and the organisers were literally packing things up as I was making my last move.

The evening event was, of course, a little more varied. It started off with a little Batman Love Letter (we ignored the new rules, because nobody could be bothered to look them up) and we moved on to playing my copy of Thunderbirds: The Co-op Board Game (I actually consider it better to base Pandemic, even if we lost on the easiest difficulty) and were halfway through Colt Express (second-best programming board game – best is 404: Law Not Found), before we realised we were running out of time.

All in all,  a good day.