2020’s Best Computer Game: The Last of Us pt 2

Yeah, that’s right, I review games now! Whadda ya make of that, huh!? I know what you were previously thinking. “This guy, Alex?” You mumble to yourself through bounteous saliva trigged on your thirsting lips brought on by even the mention of my name, “He’s out every night poontang pie eating, his life is all passion, pain and dragon slaying, he wouldn’t even have time to sit alone in his room covered in Doritos dust, slamming down Pepsi Maxes as he twiddles his analog sticks”. Well, guess what ladies and gentlemen? I’m even cooler than you previously thought!

“Yeah, I’m kinda between jobs, friends, basic hygiene standards and general life purposes right now… Do you wanna visit my Animal Crossing island?”

Three things: Firstly, yes, I do play video games, but at a much slower and infrequent rate than, say, the lead game reviewer at IGN. My PS4 is 99% utilised as a way to explore ancient ruins and domesticate live dodos in ARK while playing online with a friend* I bought The Last of Us pt 2 the day it came out in June, and finished it roughly a week ago. It’s my game of the year because, basically, it’s the only game I had time to play this year.

“Come out tonight? Erm, I’ve actually got some really important business to attend to…”

(*if that friend’s reading, I’ve not forgotten that we still need to visit the grasslands in order to hunt pelt to wear to allow us to investigate the mountains, I’ll have time to get to it soon, I promise!)

Secondly, that age old stereotype that I’ve just lazily referred to is based on an archaic Boomer presumption about gamers that dates back to the 80s. Back then, playing games meant sticking 126 floppy disks into your Amstrad CPC 464 and sitting through roughly 72 hours of loading time in order to glance at perhaps an illicitly digitised cleavage in Leisure Suit Larry. Of course these people deserved to be mocked and scorned! Playing video games was purely for children and neeeeeeeeeeeeeerds back then, but now those children have grown into childish adults in a culture that strongly discourages letting go of childish things. In 2020, the average age of a video game player has been said to be as old as 35, while remaining a chief interest of actual children. Now, video games aren’t just a silly pastime for socially awkward preteens struggling with the dangerous sexual enfeeblement of puberty. Video games aren’t just now the biggest entertainment business in the world, but also capable of being legitimate and emotionally affecting pieces of art.

Before internet porn, this was as good as it got. But you were happy

Thirdly, much of The Last of Us pt 2 and the critical response to it seems to still be lost in that debate of the artistic legitimacy of video games, which really shouldn’t still be an open issue. Guys, Majora’s Mask was released 20 years ago!! Many reviews get wrapped up in declaring how this is now proof that games can be considered art, that this is the (sigh) ‘Citizen Kane of video game‘, a lasting monument to the possibilities of the entire form. Then there was an even greater backlash that near unanimously declared that TLOUp2 was actually the worst thing ever, because it doesn’t work as a movie, because they didn’t like plot choices, because decisions didn’t make sense, because, seriously, who is this woman??, and many more. It has meant that what I originally considered to be a somewhat lukewarm explanation of why I liked the game, with dozens of caveats, has actually become a lot more defensive of people’s reasons for hating it that I deem illegitimate. Yeah, there was also the usual sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and transphobic nonsense, which I’m not sure I need to explain the invalidity of.

This will be longer than any album piece I write this year, because- Jesus Christ!- there is so much to say about this game. I’m also venturing into video games journalism, which probably means getting abused online and having my life made into a living hell.

Actually, I’m a guy, aren’t I? I’m gonna be fine. The reason for this extra long introduction is that there’ll be major spoilers for freaking everything after the jump. You’ve been warned.

Yeah… that… kinda.. works…
Continue reading “2020’s Best Computer Game: The Last of Us pt 2”

My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)

You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:

1997

This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.

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“Dad, this is why you’re only allowed to see me one weekend every other month…”

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)”

19 Equip: CURSEBREAKER X

On ‘CURSEBREAKER X’*, Equip step shit up massively. Previously, the less forgiving may have accused them of being more gimmick than legitimate artist. Every album, like 2018’s ‘Synthetic Core 88‘, came with the hook that it was the soundtrack to a video game that existed nowhere but inside Equip’s imagination. This inspired some incredible music, but for many the conceit would be far too ‘cute’ and even ‘eye rollingly hipster’ to bridge that gap between ‘concept you might appreciate’ and ‘music you unreservedly love’. ‘CURSEBREAKER X’ doesn’t just bridge that gap, it clears it in a single bound by casting a +50 COMPOSITIONS spell and fills the cavern beneath it with buffed power ups as it flies over. Equip breaks the game with WWE 2K20 level glitches that make it unplayable, because they’re playing something else entirely with ‘CURSEBREAKER X’.

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(*we’ve seen far too many artists recently, from awakebutstillinbed to Ariana Grande to repeat offender american poetry club, show such a flagrant disregard for proper capitalisation that I’m pleased to see Jamila Woods, Michael Kiwanuka and now Equip have fought against this by, if anything, overcapitalising their records. I’m pleased to officially announce 2019 as The Year We Won Our Capital Back)

Continue reading “19 Equip: CURSEBREAKER X”

Money in the Ranked part 2 (10-6)

Fuck… I’m not going to finish this before tonight, am I…? Yeah, it’s gonna have to be a three parter. Sorry… 22-11 is here

10: 2018 Women’s MITB

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I was all set to start this entry off by explaining the massive caveat in the room. I was planning to sit you all down, make you all a nice soothing drink, lightly tickle you all round the back of the ear and in a cool, calming voice explain that no, this almost definitely isn’t really the tenth best MITB ladder match of all time. As I sensually stroked your inner thighs to calm your righteous sense of injustice I would explain how aware I was of rating the first two female MITB matches as scientifically the weakest two in the stipulation’s history, and how I must have been subconsciously desperate to rank their third go around highly in order to address this imbalance. I’d kiss your cheek as I explained how dreaded context meant it was important to slightly overrate a match that would probably be deemed little better than par for the course were it contested by people each holding a presumed pair of testicles and a thick, veiny and lipsmackingly tempting schlong swinging between their legs*. As your boorish fury at men being discriminated against once again built up, I would try and save matters by explaining that the ridiculously high placing was more in appreciation of how a perfectly serviceable ladder match was managed to be put together by wrestlers with next to no experience in the stipulation, at only the third try. As you angrily and loudly threw furniture around the room and fired off multiple Reddit posts asking whether it was even legal to talk about men any more, I would tearfully explain how I didn’t want all three female MITB matches to float around the bottom of this list, and by far the best of these three was ranked so high as mainly a symbolic recognition of great strides made. However, it’d be too late. By that point, I’d have already been officially and forever deemed a shameless ‘White Knight‘, and political correctness will have decisively gone mad.

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(*apart from [WRESTLER], ammi right, lads?! I’ll let you make your own joke their, as I am unarguably better than that, whereas you are patently not)

Continue reading “Money in the Ranked part 2 (10-6)”

41 The Men: Drift [CANCELLED DUE TO JOSE MOURINHO]

I’m really sorry, Men, and I really do honestly love your album. I’d probably hypothetically put it as forty second or maybe fortieth best album of the year, if I was into stuff as bizarrely obsessive compulsive as only even enjoying art in order to list it at year’s end. And- ho-ho!- I had a straight fire bang up the elephant entry planned! It would have been so funny it would have literally blow all your collective arses out through your collective eyeballs. Literally. Literally. It’s unfortunately had to be shelved, much like my editor told me that it ‘wasn’t a good time’ to publish my ‘Top 100 Boeing Aircrafts’ on September 11th 2001. Especially as I’d planned to hold the launch party in Times Square. While dressed as Osama Bin Laden. It’s really hard to judge the mood at times like that.

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Besides, let’s face it, I’ll just write the exact same piece I was planning later on an album I’m struggling to think of what to say about. I’m looking at you, El Perro del Mar!! Erm… ‘spoiler’… I guess…

Continue reading “41 The Men: Drift [CANCELLED DUE TO JOSE MOURINHO]”

49 Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus

Earlier in the year, I went to the cinema with my brother Mizdow. In the 72 minutes of adverts beforehand, one advert obviously aimed at people with no taste included one with that terrible singer* with a hat. You know that one? With a hat? Yeah, that one.

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(*I don’t know he’s terrible, only that everything I’ve heard that has definitely been by him has been terrible. Never assume you’ll hate something. Also, as will soon become clear, I don’t really know who he is. I just know he exists and he does things)

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47 Big Thief: Capacity

Sibling Thievery

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I’ve already mentioned how much I always appreciate recommendations and referrals, how I am always fascinated by what exact pieces of culture push different people’s buttons and charge up their dopamine. I am always intrigued by different people’s appreciations and infatuations, and am always eager to investigate them further if I have no working relationship with them.

(Once, back when I was drinking, drugging and fucking at university- believing I was living an impossibly cool Hunter S Thompson-like gonzo lifestyle while actually near irreparably fucking my life up for more than a decade- I was in a girl’s room the morning after a CONQUEST the night before- #LAD- and was perusing her CD collection. I laughingly put down the ridiculousness of much of her collection, explaining to her at length how fucking shit Jamiroquai, Sublime, The Mighty Bosstones etc were. She slapped me in the face. Like, hard. I immediately realised how much I deserved it, and changed my life accordingly. I later married that woman. True story)

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Continue reading “47 Big Thief: Capacity”

56 Young M.A: Herstory

Old A.P Loves Young M.A

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I always appreciate cultural recommendations: if you mention a song, album, movie, TV show or wrestling match you think I’d like, or simply something that you really like yourself, I will always afford it close consideration. I once watched a fricking eleven hour movie in freaking Korean (the lamestream media claim it’s only 2 hours 36 minutes, but it’s definitely eleven hours! #FakeNews) and an entire TV series about American football just because a friend suggested I do so. If someone is really interested in something, it’s always worth investigating. Chiefly for the following reasons:

(Bwa-ha-ha! That should ensure they click the ‘read more’ link!! #Clickbait)

Continue reading “56 Young M.A: Herstory”