Archive for videogames

the witcher

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2020 by xi'an

As I read (some of) Andrzej Sapkowski‘s books, and then watched my son play the derived video game, I took the opportunity of the break to watch the eponymous Netflix series. Which I found quite decent and entertaining, given that the books were not unforgettable masterpieces but enjoyable and well-constructed. The New York Times was quite dismissive in its review of the show, seeing as a cheap copycat of Game of Thrones when the books were written earlier than Martin’s unfinished no-end-logy. The Blaviken battle scene in the first episode is certainly on a par with GoT most fighting moments, while lasting a few seconds. And the actor playing Geralt manages to convey much more in a few grunts than, say, Kit Harington’s permanent cocker spaniel sad face!!! The budget here is clearly not the same as HBO’s investment, with some exterior scenes looking a wee bit bare (just as in the BBC’s rendering of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel). But, again, nothing there to dim the appeal of the series (although they could have cut on the definitely gratuitous softporn moments!) and a plot gradually rising from the fragmented time line and the apparently unrelated subplots, which is also a feature of the books, made of short-stories vaguely glued together. I am hence looking for the second season, hoping the GoT curse does not extend to this series. (Tor.com also published a highly critical review of the show. And of the books, which are incidentally not published by Tor!)

ready player one [book review]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by xi'an

This book was presumably suggested to me by an Amazon AI based on my previous browsing, and I got intrigued enough by the summary plot and the above cover to order it while in Austin and read it on the way back to Paris. The setting of the story is a catastrolyptic near-future (2044) where gas is a luxury and most of the planet is unemployed and spends its time in a all-immersive free-access virtual reality. Five teenagers join million others in a quest to win a fortune… Against an evil corporation that seeks this fortune and control of the virtual universe. The story revolves around this quest, with some forays in the real world, and a reflection on characters who only know each other via their avatars. Other books based on videogaming come to mind, from Ender’s Game to Neuromancer, to Diamond Age, to REAMDE… But this one is much more focussed on the nature of video-gaming and on the feature of such of a society. I enjoyed the book to the point of staying up late for several evenings in a row, even though the plot is somewhat weak at the societal level, i.e. in describing the economic dynamics of such a society, but setting the games, movies and music themes within the 80’s is obviously catering to readers like me (although I miss a large part of the references). The book was published in 2011, so this is not any recent publication, but there is a movie by Steven Spielberg coming out soon.