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It's only valentine - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
It's only valentine
It's amazing the difference a day makes: on Tuesday night addedentry and I went out for a lovely meal at the Brasserie Blanc, during which we didn't have roses or red candles cluttering up the table, and didn't have to stick to a substandard menu or be pressured into choosing heart-shaped chocolates for the dessert (though I did in fact go for the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, and very nice it was too). On Wednesday night, by comparison, every restaurant we passed was full (admittedly, this was in London, which is always full), so we went back to Paddington and bought pasties from the West Cornwall Pasty Company, two miniature bottles of wine from Marks & Spencer, chocolate muffins and a bag of grapes from Sainsburys, and had our own little picnic over a game of Travel Scrabble on the train home.

The reason we were in London was to see the Science Museum's Game On exhibition, an exhibition notable (or perhaps, sadly, no longer notable in the Science Museum) for its complete lack of science. It was Grate Fun, though, giving us a chance to play everything from Pong to PaRappa the Rapper. It was hard to see a linear narrative -- the exhibition didn't try very hard to enforce one, though frankly I was more interested in running from side to side going "Oooh! Shiny!" anyway -- but interesting to see such a variety of games in one place, to think about what makes a game fun, and to see just how bad (or, in some cases, how good) the graphics really were in the olden days. Or indeed lack of graphics: it was a shame that the only text adventure represented there was the notoriously impossible Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy adventure game (which I mention partly in order to plug the shiny new version with gorgeous graphics by andrewwyld) rather than the classic ADVENT, but a useful point of comparison for the audio-only challenge of Chillingham -- an experience which addedentry accurately summed up as "Telephone Menu Systems: The Adventure", though I suspect he was still miffed that I'd chosen to inspect the librarian.

The commentary on the exhibition was minimal (and read as if it had been hastily cribbed from Wikipedia) but it still at one point managed to trigger my usual ten-second rant about the idea that the way to get women playing computer games is to make them more social, more emotional. For heaven's sake! If I want social and emotional stimuli, I'll talk to people (LiveJournal: it's like The Sims, with fewer pictures); from computer games, on the other hand, I want addictive gameplay, decent music, bright lights, and the ability to blast things into smithereens.

Another minor rant is that is far as I could see, no Apple ][, BBC or Mac games were represented, which I found quite astounding: it would have made sense if the remit had been solely video/console games, but there were a couple of PC games in there, most notably the beautiful freeware game Warning Forever (which I'd never seen before, but will be downloading to addedentry's laptop tonight while he's out at his driving lesson, ha ha), and the Atari, Commodore, Spectrum et al weren't solely games consoles, even if the gaming side was a large part of their appeal. Perhaps I should actually use all the ancient hardware and software which is cluttering up my life, and put on my own exhibition of the greatest games from the squarer side of the home gaming revolution...

Computer games were possibly not the obvious choice of entertainment for Valentine's Day, though thinking about it, being a bespectacled nerd has never done my romantic prospects any harm. When the cutest boy in the whole of my small primary school came round to MY HOUSE it was because we had a copy of Chuckie Egg (and in fact all we ever did was play computer games, but still, CUTE BOY, MY HOUSE, SO THERE); and virtually none of my serious relationships would have happened if I hadn't been able to speak Unix or use netnews and irc. (I suppose I met addedentry through Scrabble, first, but really, that's just a different subspecies of nerdiness.) I guess what I'm saying is that people do make passes at girls who wear glasses -- and not just when they're only wearing glasses, as in my entry (sir!) for LibraryThing's photo competition (not very unsafe for work, really).

All in all, a productive day's Bunking Off. And now it's nearly the weekend!

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bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: February 15th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is a brilliant pic!
From: rgl Date: February 15th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Shirley the BBC version of Elite should've been there? (Not that I ever played it myself, but you'd have thought etc etc)
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: February 15th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, excellent photograph. Very very you. *hug*
From: kjaneway Date: February 15th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Scrabble rocks.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: February 15th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
...take forever to chisel the letters into ?
From: kjaneway Date: February 15th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
the_elyan From: the_elyan Date: February 15th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I went to Game On when it was at the Barbican some years ago, and it was great fun. My only gripe was that, being a Spectrum boy, the game they had chosen to represent the ol' rubber beermat was Ant Attack which, while very iconic, wasn't exactly the greatest thrill ever seen.

There was lots of wonderful stuff there - I spent quite a while playing R-Type, as I recall, which is one of my all-time faves...

Far be it from me to appear overly retro, but as you may have gathered, I've spent an unconscionable amount of time playing Lords of Midnight recently...
addedentry From: addedentry Date: February 15th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
As another Spectrum boy I was simply delighted that this time its representative was 3D Deathchase: simple, fast, addictive.
the_elyan From: the_elyan Date: February 15th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was pondering a game of Deathchase a couple of nights ago. As you say, one of those games whose simplicity and smooth ascent from easy through to brain-blendingly tricky made it incredibly addictive. And still playable, 24 years on...
jvvw From: jvvw Date: February 15th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, yes we decided to go out for dinner this evening rather than last night for similar reasons.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: February 15th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and current projections look like my household will be going out for a Valentine's dinner in a new and interesting restaurant sometime in the second week of April.
sphyg From: sphyg Date: February 16th, 2007 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
We went to the Carlton which had a beer festival, a pub quiz *and* a valentine's menu, so was rather full but fun all the same.
sbp From: sbp Date: February 15th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)


It's weird seeing the game saying "contacting sub-etha.net" - a domain I owned for many years until I got bored of renewing it this year because I never did anything with it.
simont From: simont Date: February 15th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder how small a minority I'll turn out to be in if I confess to having zoomed in on that photo in order to read the book titles? :-)
brrm From: brrm Date: February 15th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
A minority of two, at least. "Best of Two" amused me more than it ought. :-)
And yes, it is a fab photo. I organised my CD collection by colour spectrum once, but it kind of dissolved, as do all my attempts to organise my CDs.
k425 From: k425 Date: February 16th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
That pic is ace!
From: mzdt Date: February 17th, 2007 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
book related nudity and valentine's night restaurants apart, the post the other day made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

I still maintain that the requisitioner made no attempt to return it once possession had been achieved... ;-)
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: February 18th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I concur with everybody else regarding the fine 'photo and I hope it's a winner.

Other than that, I'm really just posting to say "isn't this icon appropriate for a post about (the person who wrote) Warning Forever?".
boxofdelights From: boxofdelights Date: February 23rd, 2007 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Beauty and the books!
khalinche From: khalinche Date: August 8th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was talking about the '...is love' meme with someone this weekend and I he enthused a great deal over that photo with the books - enough to prompt me to dig it up. It is just as distracting as he said it was.
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