INSIDE.

“I love my job” is what I would have written if reviewing video games was something I did for a living, and INSIDE was my current assignment.

Danish developer Playdead entered the indie scene with their puzzle-based side scroller LIMBO on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010. I reviewed it the year after, giving it my very exclusive two thumbs up. Since the release of LIMBO, Playdead has porting the game to no less than 9 other platforms, firmly squeezing every last potential out of that poor kid.

Last year, the company returned with a brand new game: INSIDE. Not only does the game confirm Playdead’s love for ALL CAPS titles, and young, male protagonists. It also shows that they are still very, very good at making puzzle-based games.

INSIDE somehow managed to fly completely below my radar. It wasn’t until Steam’s algorithms decided that it was time for me to buy something new that I realized it existed. And for once, Steam hit a home run with their recommendation.

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BEARD KING Beard Bib.

With the BEARD KING Beard Bib hair clippings catcher, you can focus on your beard, and stop worrying about the mess.

My Van Dyke has been with me for 21 years now. Ever since I did my stint of mandatory military service back in ’97 and ’98, it has tried it’s best to toughen up my cursed baby face. It hasn’t helped much, though, but at least I’m no longer mistaken for a girl1. The only time I’ve shaved off the beard was for a very brief month during Movember 2012.

Never again. Never. Again.

Another reason I got the beard, is that I think shaving is unbelievably boring. With the beard, it’s not strictly necessary to shave every day. Even though it takes a little time to get the right trim, it’s worth it since I only have to shave every week – or every second week if I really stretch it.

Shaving is still a dread, though, especially the cleanup afterwards. Those hairs get everywhere, and the bathroom, in particular the area around the sink, looks like a bombed-out whorehouse.

But I’m not the only one with a beard and a serious debris problem. There are probably a million hipsters in San Francisco trying to clean their sinks as you read this. And where there’s a problem, there’s always a solution. The great minds at BEARD KING have conjured a product that every man with facial hair should own: The Beard Bib.

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Stellaris.

You might or might not have noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of activity on this site lately. The reason for that is Stellaris1.

Over the last couple of years, Paradox has become a highly respected brand in strategy gaming circles. The Swedish publisher/developer, operating as Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio respectively, has published and developed some of the most popular strategy games and strategy franchises on the PC platform in recent years. Titles like Crusader Kings, Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Cities: Skylines will make most strategy gamers giggle of joy.

Paradox’ grand strategy games, in particular, have amassed a considerable amount of dedicated fans. Despite their steep learning curve, complicated mechanics, and non-intuitive user interface, Paradox’ grand strategy titles are among the finest in the genre. It was not a huge surprise then, that the strategy gaming community got very excited when Paradox announced their first science fiction title back in 2015: Stellaris.

There were some skeptics. Of course. There always are. Until Stellaris was announced, Paradox had dabbled exclusive in historically based strategy games. Would they be able to conquer space as well? One year after release, it’s time to see if Paradox’ first science fiction title has turned into everything it set out to become.

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John Wick: Chapter 2.

What is this? A review of a movie that’s actually somewhat topical, and not just one that was released a long time ago1? Scandalous! Earlier this week, me and Hans Olav had some Indian food, and went to see John Wick: Chapter 2.

As the “Chapter 2” part of the movie title implies, this is a sequel. The first John Wick movie premiered in 2014, and it saw generally favorable reviews across the board. If you haven’t watched the first movie, fear not. That’s not important to be able to understand the plot in Chapter 2. There is no deep meta-story anywhere that you need to be aware of to enjoy this second chapter. Here’s all you need to know: John Wick is a hitman with a reputation for getting his mark. He wanted to retire, but a bad man forced him back into the game. Now that bad man has to die.

Aaand, action! Lots and lots of it. If you need to watch something that won’t challenge you intellectually on any level, John Wick: Chapter 2 is absolutely perfect. You’ll get 122 minutes of pretty much non-stop action, and very, very little chit-chat. This makes the movie perfect for Keanu Reeves, who has the acting skills of a log. But he is absolutely superb as John Wick. Screenwriter Derek Kolstad has written a part that fits Reeves like a glove, and his lines are rarely longer than five words.

Interestingly, though, the scene where Reeves manages to sound reasonable believable, is during the longest verbal exchange of the movie. So maybe Reeves is actually an acting genius that my feeble mind doesn’t understand? Not unlikely.

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“Animal Farm” by George Orwell.

The animals of Manor Farm are tired of living under the tyranny of the farm’s owner, Mr. Jones. One evening, the boar Old Major summons the animals of the farm to a meeting. He tells them the story of a wonderful world where farms are run by the animals themselves. Old Major also teaches them a revolutionary song called “Beasts of England“. With hope for a better life for all the animals, they revolt, and drive Mr. Jones away from the farm. From that day onward, the farm is known as “Animal Farm”. It will be run by the animals, which will all be considered equal.

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm during World War II. Being a not-so-subtle satire about the Russian revolution, the Soviet Union, and Stalin’s expulsion of Trotsky, Orwell had a hard time getting it published. Since the Soviet Union sided with the Allied powers during the war, the manuscript was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers. It was not until 1945, only weeks before the war was officially over, that the book was published. It then became a commercial success, partly to changing international relations, and the Cold War.

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