"After spending years making a game for the US market, at that point we thought we failed."

Little late posting this, but my video games news and reviews source of choice has an excellent interview with Deadly Premonition director Hidetaka "SWERY" Suehiro.

I've mentioned before how I think there's too little diversity of opinion when it comes to video games, and Deadly Premonition is a really high profile example of a profitable cult hit in a medium that's often narrow and risk averse.


So I picked Deus Ex: Human Revolution, naturally. After a little dithering I got the PC version. It runs okayish, but I guess it's an added incentive to finally pick up a new computer before this one finally expires from its various small ailments...


So, Xenoblade Chronicles...

...is pretty much the JRPG we've all been waiting for. No random battles, streamlined interface, save anywhere, equipment choices change the characters' appearances, an open world complete with jumping and swimming (and fast travel)...

In short, everything you hoped that Japanese studios would learn from Western role playing games, without losing its character and uniqueness in the way that many Western-targeted Japanese games have this past decade.


Thursday Comic

Batman: Streets of Gotham, Hush Money - Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen et al.

Batman's dangerous foe Hush has now assumed the likeness of the deceased Bruce Wayne, and even when Catwoman and the new Batman and Robin apprehend him, his complex schemes continue. Meanwhile, a brutal new vigilante stalks the streets, the pyromaniacal Firefly is implanting incendiary devices in the unsuspecting citizens of Gotham, and self-mutilating serial killer Zasz is planning something so horrific, a key member of the underworld resolves to rat him out.

If that sounds like the set-up for a stirring superhero yarn, let me get to my chief problem with this book: I just described everything that happens in it. It's not that they ran out of space, the book's really thin. It's just that all we get are a few disparate beginnings all but one of which go nowhere, and then you've turned the last page. Dustin Nguyen's art is as lovely as ever, but even he disappointed me a little, toning down the prettiness of his Bruce Wayne (or Hush, in this case) in favour of a more typically beefy depiction. Boo-urns.


Day Spent All Over the Place

Pictures taken of Holland: 0

Pictures taken of Canary Wharf: 1

Vehicle types travelled in: Taxi, overground train, tube train, Docklands Light Railway train, turboprop plane.

Percentage of Dutch people met who mentioned London riots: 100%

Feeling I am in the right business: Not present.


What fun!

Tomorrow I shall be flying to Holland and back on business.


Almost Thursday Book

Forgotten London: A Picture of Life in the 1920s - Elizabeth Drury, Philippa Lewis

A collection of photographs taken from the contemporary book Wonderful London, and provided with modern commentary. Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.


Monday Movie: Ashes of Time Redux

In the middle of a harsh desert, the equally dry Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) makes a living as a middleman between assassins and their clients. As the seasons come and go, all sorts of odd characters come to see him: a cross-dressing princess (Brigitte Lin), a warrior about to lose his sight (Tony Leung), and a woman who hopes to buy vengeance with a basket of eggs and a mule... But as killers and customers come and go, Ouyang Feng's mind is forever on the woman who broke his heart (Maggie Cheung, no relation).

As you should expect from a Wong Kar Wai film, Ashes of Time has no plot or structure to speak of, its draw stemming entirely from its lush visuals and understated emotions. When it comes to the former, WKW and cinematographer Christopher Doyle are at the top of their game. I struggle to think of a more sumptuous and vividly realised film, full of fantastic uses of light, shadow, colour, reflections and, of course, that incredible desert. The emotions, though, while they may simmer quite nicely throughout the film, rarely survive emergence into the harsh sunlight, seeming, to me, somewhat forced.

Whether or not any of the multiple story threads grab you, this film is absolutely 100% high grade beautiful throughout. The fact that it was almost lost to history, leading to this "redux" edit of the surviving footage, is rather scary to consider.