Thursday, August 16, 2007

Short break

I'm leaving for a one-week trip tomorrow morning, visiting friends. I'll not be taking a laptop or anything, so between social obligations and the problem of finding a computer with internet connection there is a good chance that you won't hear from me until next Thursday. August in Europe is not a very productive month, everything comes to a standstill because so many people are on holidays. And there appears to be some slump in gaming news internationally as well.

But things are looking better for the autumn. I'm in *three* MMORPG betas, and at least one of them has me very excited, I'm just not allowed to write about it. For single-player games there also appear to be good times ahead, lots of good stuff announced for release before christmas.

Meanwhile, there are other things in life than just games. I just finished the last Harry Potter book unto it's predictable end. From a literature point of view I find the idea of publishing a series of 7 books, one per year, with each one getting more and more mature as the hero ages from 11 to 17, quite interesting. From a practical point of view it's unwieldy, the seventh book had lots of characters and events from previous books reappearing, most of which I had completely forgotten during those 7 years. One could now read the 7 books in a row, but then the transition from a children's book to a teenager's book becomes more apparent, and the change of style towards increasing darkness more jarring.

I also got completely hooked on watching The Wire from HBO on DVD. Just started the third season, currently the last one out on DVD. The Wire is brilliant, but unfortunately a bit too challenging for the mass market. For example there is a phenomenal scene in one of the early episodes of the first season where McNulty and Bunk reconstruct a complex crime scene using only non-verbal communication and many variations of the word "fuck". Hilarious, but maybe a bit too strong for middle America. The second season has a scene where a not-so-bright white drug dealer is trying have success in the business by dressing and talking exactly like the black drug dealers. Another highlight is the organizer of the drug dealing operation taking economics classes at the university, and receiving advice on how to sell a "weak product in an aggressive marketplace" from his professor. Crime feels a lot more real in The Wire than in the much bigger HBO hit show The Sopranos. The Sopranos I never even bought the second season, feeling that the joke of the mafia boss visiting a shrink was already running thin after one season. But a lot more people got that joke, and the stereotypes on which that show runs, while the far more complex and often more realistic characters of the Wire pass over many people's heads.

So, see y'all (sorry, couldn't resist that one) back in a week.

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