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Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay
Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay
by Miguel Sicart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Helped with dissertation, makes for a pretty good read., 21 May 2014
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There are times when Sicart seems to talk in circles before landing on the exact perfect way to explain what he's talking about, but on this subject, he is king. Bear with him.


The Martian
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy this book, already., 21 May 2014
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This review is from: The Martian (Hardcover)
Seriously, you'll be doing yourself a favour. It's cheap and it's lovely in hardback, it's a brilliant read. Not much more I can say that hasn't already been said. If you've read enough reviews to reach mine, you should just buy it.


Samsung S24C550VL 23.6 inch LED MHL Monitor (250cd/m2, 1920x1080, 2ms, 2x HDMI, MHL, VGA)
Samsung S24C550VL 23.6 inch LED MHL Monitor (250cd/m2, 1920x1080, 2ms, 2x HDMI, MHL, VGA)

5.0 out of 5 stars Get it., 21 May 2014
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Broke my old Samsung screen by accident and didn't want to get anything worse so I went for this. You can get some screens with similar specs for less, my friend got a BenQ one for £113 with speakers, same size and things, and I'd recommend that to anyone. However, this screen seems to be everything you could ever want from a 24 inch monitor. It's colourful and sharp, responsive, the speakers are good. The speakers are a bit quieter than my last screen's, but much better quality overall, better than most monitors with built in speakers, including the BenQ one. It did have a bit of a green tint to it, but I brought up a white screen and turned down the RGB Green in the menu from 50 to around 45, and now it looks perfect. It's not the most expensive but it isn't the cheapest either. It does, however, seem to be the perfect balance between price and quality.

However, if you're looking to spend less and willing to settle, here's that BenQ one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/BenQ-GL2450HM-Widescreen-Multimedia-Monitor/dp/B005OPLG0O/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1400695117&sr=1-1&keywords=benq+monitor


Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Volume 1
Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Volume 1
by Ed Brubaker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.39

4.0 out of 5 stars It's good. But I didn't get into it as much as I was lead to believe., 21 May 2014
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I'm an avid reader of Fraction's Hawkeye, it's lovely and I love it because it's lovely. Lately I thought to look into more of his work and came up with Sex Criminals and this book from research. Most Fraction readers seemed to lean towards this as his best work, and maybe it is, maybe I'm missing something. But I liked it a lot, I just think the work he's doing with Hawkeye is better. It is funnier in a cheap way and has more depth of character and a strange layer of tradgedy.

I'm not going to recap the plot of this book, you can find that anywhere else, just know that this pretty much contains everything Fraction did for The Immortal Iron Fist, and for this price, it's a steal. Aja does incredible art as always, with the colours working perfectly. Not all of it is drawn by Aja, however, and while most of the other artists are just fine, they pale in comparison. Flashback scenes litter the main issues, and they actually provide the more interesting story, but without Aja's art. Strangely enough, the finale of the storyline (issue 14) is entirely drawn by someone else, which I thought would ruin the sense of consistency right when it was needed most, but Tonci Zonjic, penciller for the issue, has a style I almost thought was Aja. You can see differences if you look close, but they really managed to keep it looking right.

Annual 1, I hated. I thought it poorly written and poorly drawn, both art styles it switches between. It's shoved right in the middle of a story that otherwise has good momentum, and while it's kinda necessary, I would have preferred to just skip it. There are then 3 other issues that break up the story that tell the stories of 3 previous Iron Fists. The first, the pirate queen of Pinghai Bay, is awesome. The second tells the story of the previous Iron Fist, Orson Randall, and his run-ins with The Prince of Orphans. I didn't like this issue much at all. The third is more in the vein of the first, telling the story of Bei-Bang Wen, with the perfect strategic mind. I like this one, but less than the first.

Then finally there's issue 16, which is straight Fraction/Aja story dealing with where the series is headed next after the events of this story. I liked this issue, less action, more character depth. It was the first time I felt like I was getting to know Danny. This series does a great job of characterising everyone else, but he always seemed like a bit of a blank slate to me, the tear between who he is and who the iron fist are never really explored in enough detail to stick before. And then there's a short issue for Path to Civil War, which is fine but it's a bit random. Then another random 2 page story. I think those are just there so this book can contain everything Fraction did on this series, and I appreciate that. It's messy but complete.

At the price of around £15, I'd recommend this wholeheartedly. Most fans prefer this to Hawkeye, so maybe you will too. Either way, nobody can deny that the story being told here is epic and a bit of a comic book classic. Great addition to any collection.


Batman Volume 4: Zero Year - Secret City HC (The New 52)
Batman Volume 4: Zero Year - Secret City HC (The New 52)
by Greg Capullo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I find this so hard to rate., 20 May 2014
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Because the content inside is 5 stars easily. It's a wonderful book, highly recommended. But what I am very disappointed to find is that neither issue 0 nor Annual 2 are present, as described here (AMAZON, FIX THIS). It certainly doesn't bother me as much as many, but I'm pretty sure a product being sold with a false description is cause enough for some to seek refunds, and while this is a lovely book that isn't suffering in content, the fact that it's advertised as having a lot more content is wrong.

Doesn't matter much to the story, Annual 2 as loose fitting in this story, I hated the artwork and the story didn't grab me. Also, I think issue 0 was effectively retconned by Snyder's work in these main four issues. I was curious as to where it fit into this story in his mind, but this book seems to answer this question with "not at all".

Anyway, the 4 issues that remain (one of which is double sized) are 4 of the best issues in comics in a long time. This is such a good reimagining of Batman's story, clever use of ambiguity as always with Snyder's Batman, and they work on their own as a single story arc while setting up for the next part of Zero Year pretty well. I love this book to bits, and it very easily stands amongst the best Batman stories, alongside Court of Owls and Death of the Family. My favourite is Court of Owls, but I'd have to see that this story is the most successful of his work, because thus far, Zero Year has achieved the impossible; retold Batman's origin in a new and interesting way while staying faithful AND being deferent in every way. If I had predicted the best possible outcome of Snyder redoing the origin story, it wouldn't have come close to predicting this. Snyder gave us fans pages of a story none of us even knew we wanted until we saw them.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2014 1:17 PM BST


Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood TP (Wonder Woman (DC Comics Numbered))
Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood TP (Wonder Woman (DC Comics Numbered))
by Cliff Chiang
Edition: Comic
Price: £8.79

4.0 out of 5 stars I love this book., 16 Mar. 2014
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The only reason I give it 4 and not 5 stars is that it simply doesn't feel complete without issue 2, and 2 doesn't without 3. I tend to like self contained stories that don't always require the next volume to feel right.

Either way, this, to me is what Wonder Woman should be, and the greek mythology ties are great. Just make sure you stay on the ball and get used to what colour speech boxes indicate who, or you'll be lost as hell.


Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC (The New 52) (Batman (DC Comics))
Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC (The New 52) (Batman (DC Comics))
by Scott Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Court of Owls..., 16 Mar. 2014
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But what the hell is?

This is one of the best Joker stories told in a very long time, I much prefer it to The Man Who Laughs. Instead of retreading old ideas with Joker and Batman, it explores one that's always been there but never explored. Batman's allies are his weakness. As long as they exist, Joker has a way to hurt Batman. This isn't just Joker being Joker, which is always fun regardless, it explores that relationship in a way hasn't really been seen since The Killing Joke in my opinion, though it's hard to compare the majesty of The Killing Joke to anything.

Many felt the ending fell a bit flat, but I disagree. Everything that needed to happen did, and while the way these events could have shifted the status quo for future comics was ultimately overshadowed by the death of Damian in Batman Incorporated around the same time, this story, as a self-contained piece, is near perfect.

Also, the Joker face thing, while creepy and gross, is entirely unnecessary. Snyder wanted to tell his story, but had to deal with the fact that last time we saw Joker was in Detective Comics 1, having his face removed. So he made the best of a bad situation, it maybe would have been better without that.


Hawkeye Volume 1 Oversized HC (Marvel Now) (Hawkeye (Marvel Now!))
Hawkeye Volume 1 Oversized HC (Marvel Now) (Hawkeye (Marvel Now!))
by Matt Fraction
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Might be my favourite comic I own., 16 Mar. 2014
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I have a lot of comics now, I tend to only really buy trades, and only the stuff I really like, so saying this is my favourite of my collection built entirely of favourites is kinda a big deal.

Fraction has made Clint Barton a human being with depth, issues and motives of his own. It's funny and fresh. This is rarely about Hawkeye going on Hawkeye missions and doing clever things with arrows to beat superhuman foes, this focuses on the Clint Barton who is terrible at being a human being. Mostly taking place in his shady new york apartment building he took over from some Russian mobsters, it's mostly about him being kinda dumb, occasionally witty and quite often beaten up.

It's hard to do this comic justice in a review, just read it.

Oh, forgot to mention, the art is absolutely perfect throughout, and there's an entire issue from a dog's perspective and it's the best thing ever.


Hot Head
Hot Head
by Simon Ings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good., 16 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Hot Head (Paperback)
There's a serious lack of information online about this author and any of his books before "Wolves", but those who know him tend to think he helped shaped the genre. Maybe he did, but I'd expect to find more info on him if that were the case. So I took a chance with this book and it paid off.

This is one of those books that I found I needed to learn how to read, nota lot is spelled out for you, and you need to really get used to this kind of writing first. Maybe that's just me. Either way, by the end I was understanding around 70% of what what happening.

I love the ideas and themes in this book, and it's clearly written by a very smart man who doesn't compromise for accessibility. You have to stick with it to really get why you should be reading this book, but it's more than worth it. I've read many books that you can compare ideas used to the contents of this book, but I can still say that I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. I look forward to reading some of his other books, perhaps Wolves.

I could swear there were quite a lot of typos - missing line breaks and quote marks, mostly. Wasn't much of an issue, but this book released in 91, you'd expect some of that to be fixed by now.


The Echo
The Echo
by James Smythe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smythe rarely pulls the same tricks twice..., 9 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Echo (Hardcover)
... And when he does, he reveals more intricate layers than you could have ever expected the first time round.

This book is so similar to the last in the series, the Explorer, yet at the same time, so utterly different. After the events of the last book, I would think it difficult for an author to write a sequel with a similar tone and yet have the same impact. Smythe has achieved this and much more.
Like with the first, you really understand the setting of the ship and the crew that inhabits it. He also introduces concepts and rules of this world that make you think very hard about every situation in the book.
Two books in, I now have complete faith in this author to build upon his world without repeating too much, but repeating just enough to keep the appeal of prior books. I really loved it.
Finally, having read this and The Machine, I have to say that his approach to plot twists is rather incredible. In both, I found myself guessing large plot points chapters in advance, but he'd still manage to make an impact and defy my expectations.


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