A collection of reviews that can be written by anypony! Generally it's done and overseen by Tyro The Fox but anypony is welcome to write up an article reviewing anything they like. Games, movies, Youtube videos, poetry, Fan Fiction, almost anything.

You could do an article on a brick, I suppose, but I can't vouch for anyone being fascinated by it.

Would you like to write in the Leather Bound Book?

I'm still figuring everything out but I will happily add you to the Blogs permission list or post the article under your name if you drop me a PM or at leatherboundbookreviews@gmail.com.
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  1. [​IMG]
    [size=+1]My Little Dashie by ROBCakeran53[/size]

    I don't think anything has been more recommended to me whenever I've asked what I should look at next. Apart from something like Fallout: Equestria, of course, the Brony Recomended reading list can get pretty dauntingly long with personal preference.

    However, My Little Dashy is something worth picking up and reading. This right here is someone's fantasy in prose. It's executed well, drawing a simple metaphor around the action while genuinely attempting to explore the idea of interdimentional adoption. Bizarre but carries it well, I think. Even better, you can pull bits out of it to improve your own works.

    Although, you can say that on almost anything...

    The plot is simple, for those that haven't picked it up already. The narrator is this guy who's pretty much had to survive life on his own since loosing both parents. Now alone, struggling to pay bills and finding nothing in his life worth a darn any more, depression is quite rightly settling in and holding up colour swatches of gray. Then, he finds a filly Rainbow Dash in a box with little to no explanation of why she's there. Taking her in and trying to contain a primal Brony scream of joy, he effectively raises her in a story spanning fifteen years.

    Until that fateful day when she has to leave.

    Now, I will say that this story is very well done. Its not particularly sophisticated in its symbolism, I will add. I would have thought that the average reader would sus that the town around him links to his emotional state right from the get go (it get's better as his life experience gets better). It works to create that Mellon mood necessary for the rest of the story to progress from as we trudge through this depressed area.

    The first person perspective is oddly sketchy on details too. Possibly rightly so. The result is to draw attention to the only thing the author wants you to pay attention to - the narrator - by blurring the outside world. Rainbow Dash is barely there as an effective character and not another soul intrudes. Rainbow Dash is the subject, not the point of what's being said. The introverted nature points back at the feeling of the narrator. The extrapolation is the whole point because it's an exploration of your experiences through the idea of Adoptive Fatherhood, not being a Brony, necessarily.

    Yes, Fatherhood, not necessarily Brony Fandom. In fact, the narrator - whom I suspect is a self-insertion character (who are perfectly fine when done well (like here)) - gives up on his Brony interest while Rainbow Dash is in his company. Whether you think of this as part of him shielding Dashie's brain from an existentialist melt-down if she were to ever find out about the show (and the Fandom as a whole) or because having Dashie is all the pony he could ever need is entirely up to you. I like to say it's a mixture of the two, heavily sided on the 'I-don't-want-Dashie's-brains-to-explode' motive.

    Those that have read this one before will likely just nod and say "Yeah, so what?" to the above paragraph. Well, I said Adoptive Fatherhood which is a different kettle of fish with one, recurring problem that My Little Dashie presents in a novel way, I think: not being related does not affect you as a family.

    The Narrator does mention that Dashie know's that she's not of his flesh and blood. One is a human and one is blue and able to fly. The Author can't draw out that old "Your adopted!" cliché as is where the child finds it out on their own before they can be told by their parents. There's fights, drug taking, booze, crying and can probably be found on something like Hollyoaks or the OC. Yadda-yadda, see it a mile off but it makes no sense here. My Little Dashie is bizarre because of it's cross-dimensional element.

    Dashie does find the show online and, quite rightly, is horrified. Why? Because her first thought is to throw a knee-jerk reaction to how creepy this all looks. He's been raising a part of a show he enjoys for fifteen years. The initial reaction is to shout 'Pervert!' and run, right? And there is the new spin on the old formula. Dashie is outraged, sprinting off to process the tidal-wave of information while the Narrator slips back into his depressed groove. Not because his best piece of memorabilia is gone but because the soul point of his life has run away, exposed and vulnerable he proceeds on a walk.

    What I like to think My Little Dashie is saying on, well, I want to say Bronies specifically but it really could be anything that we would say defines us as us is how we truly care about it. We'd want to defend it as well as nurture it with our support, no matter how small. We'll make changes in our lives to accommodate this interest. People take time out of the day to play a game, or to write things. They'll even attempt to get better at it by gathering information to help or even set aside a special place for that interest. I'm sure most of you have a shelf or a container of all your Pony items. Maybe even a whole room where it's allowed to grow in. I like to think of the metaphor of a child representing a strong interest but I'm not convinced it's strictly 'correct'. I could be wrong.

    But that's not the reason you've read the Fan Fic, is it? Nope! While the Fatherhood Aspect is what appears to fuel it, what your reading it for is the feels. It's a tragedy at the centre of all this that delivers the punch that gave this Fic a kick that others haven't got. If this truly is a story with a self-inserted narrator in it, I have to hand it to the Author for the sadism that goes into wrenching daughter from father. While I will not agree that the landing has been made perfectly as you can see the ending coming from a mile off, it does manage to have a decent impact.

    Actually, if I think about it, the inevitability of the conclusion, that could only be one logical conclusion ratchets up tension like a roller-coaster, to then release it when needed to make the Tragedy more effective when needed...Anyway...

    The Tragedy is done right because it remembers that levity is an emotion. While you can look at something like....err...Final Fantasy XIII to beat a dead horse (pun not intended), note that most of the emotions experienced by Lightning are largely angst and misery. When a character experiences that and nothing else, the feeling of even greater depression for the character is moot as the player reaches a threshold for the misery on-screen. They either get bored or start to wonder when the fun stuff starts.

    My Little Dashie manages the basics easily. Characters experience happiness and laugh at stuff. Why is that good? Well, the variation throws off any...Let's say, resistance to misery that might happen. As a result, you are more likely to feel that contrast when it's good stuff being taken away than when it's like Final Fantasy XIII when the bad is poured on the bad over and over. In fact, it's this that helps to set up the ambivalent ending. It's dissonant: she has to leave but it's painful to see it happen. There is a moment of elated joy between the Narrator and Dashie at this point just before the ending sequence as a big punch in the gut. Just as things are stable and happy, it all has to stop.

    I can see why this is such a tear jerker. It's geared towards this purpose, managing to draw the two character's together before wrenching them apart. Just as all parents must eventually let go of their kids at some point, of course. My Little Dashie is able to present the biggest trail for a parent in a way that we, Bronies, can understand. The result of years of life and teaching and nurture has cultivated to this crescendo.

    Douglass Adams once wrote about finding works worth reading in Romance Novels, where you'd normally expect trash. I think it's the same for Fan Fics. Stuff like this seems to prove me right.

  2. [​IMG]
    [size=+1]4oD on Playstation 3[/size]

    Bloody, stupid hunk of junk...

    As far as I can work out, the 4oD app on the PS3 is broken. Or just sloppily put together. Compared to the far, far better BBC iPlayer app on the same machine, its buggy, awkward to use and arrogantly refuses to remain on your machine where it would likely have an easier job of things. Or at least have a better GUI.

    The idea of 4oD, Channel 4's online catch-up service, is far more attractive than BBC's iPlayer or the ITV Player: everything is online to watch for nothing. Wonderful. Compared to the BBC's approach of only serving up recent programs, Channel 4 have attempted to replace DVD sales with sweet, sweet Ad money. I don't mind adds to be able to watch something that much. It lets me check stuff inbetween halves of shows. Not ideal but I'll live as long as I get my Father Ted fix.

    It's the application itself I moan and complain about here.

    BBC iPlayer is resilliant and quite reliable in my experience. The GUI has had some though put in for each device its on, so the PS3 has something you can navagate nicely with a PS3 controller. The Wii still has the better UI for my money over that one because of the Wii remote. PC is still king with the iPlayer but its not the most comfortable. A Wii or a PS3 can have a sofa and a massive TV. Anyway...

    4oD is a web app that is run from the PS3's pitiful Web Browser. That first problem should raise issues as the web browser is slow, awkward to manuver with and barely registers some of my commands as I hammer buttoms trying to get it to do anything.

    So Channel 4 gives us a white, stylish looking site that I always thinks resembles a hospital hallway adorned with adverts, with only a few important buttons. The directional buttons will snap to buttons making navigation bareable compared to the left analouge stick which shoves the cursor around. If this was on all the buttons throughout the app, it would be great. Trying to get the video player to do anything requires the analouge stick rather than the d-pad for example. None of that Youtube stuff where the whole screen is a button to stop and start the video. Nope, the cursor hurridly scuttles towards the play button like it knows it's late for something rather than the insta-warp with the D-pad.

    Then there's the playback itself. I've had quite a few problems. On the same video, it's frozen about three times. Furthermore, the browser has actually given up trying to play the video. It told me that the memory ran out and told me to try again.

    Now that I've complained, I doubt it'll ever go wrong again thanks to life messing with me.

    Oh no, wait! There it goes! Frozen again after about 15 miniutes.

    I still believe that 4oD needs to have a dedicated PS3 app to make it a far more reliable service. The thing is that the PS3's days are numbered. I doubt they'll bother trying to update something with a life span of around a year tops. I can't say I blame them but I can't say I forgive them either with the Beeb's app looming over them. Comparatively, it feels lazy. Just send them to the site and done! Knock off and down the pub.

    Compared to all the other apps on the...Hang on...It's crashed again. One of the adverts has downed the mighty PS3 again.

    Anyway, compared to the other apps on the device, of which there isn't much, 4oD looks out of place. Its as solid and robust as a rally car made of breadsticks. I'd have better luck trying to fly out of my window to the shop than watch something uninterrupted.

    But I think the other reason we won't see an app like the iPlayer is becuase the PS3 is awkward to code for, apparently. The archetecture is overly complex, or so I've heard, and there isn't a great deal of RAM under the hood. I know that for sure as its the reason Skyrim's autosave feature locks up the whole game. A web app would be easier to knock up because your not mucking with PS3 code.

    While I understand that, I'm unsympithetic as I load up Escape From Colditz again so I can carry on from where I left off once PC world and that Ginger Beer woman gets out of my face. I'm starting to wonder what my dog would look like with dentures and what colour foundation my skin actually is.

    While I like the Prius song, I still believe a bit of reliablitity could have come from a dedicated app. My vague guess is that the RAM is running out, causing everything to lock up, just like Skyrim as it tries to run the video just inside the already buggy Web Browser.

    In conclusion, use the PC version. Or the Youtube channel where guys you know can stream stuff properly do the heavy lifting.

    Oh...don't get me started on the Youtube app on this thing.
  3. Due to a video limit, I will have to present each of the videos here as a link. Enjoy. Second half of picture was a joint effort between myself and Poetic.


    It was my first ever convention. I've never bothered before. I'd liked to but I've never had the money, or the direct opportunity or the right company to attempt the travel across the country to meet all these fantastic people that would actually understand me if I happened to casually chat about either interpretations of mythological creatures or that new game or what-have-you. Only recently that I've had the opportunity, the money and the right company to even think about going. Suffice it to say that I think I've caught the bug.

    So, my trip was arguably longer than most of the British members of the Everypony Team. While most where already in the north of England and so had very little distance to travel comparatively, me and Foxy had to travel from the south east. And I had to go even further than Foxy because I live along the coast. So, I got the earliest tickets I could get and ended up boarding the train on the 17th of August. Having to travel through most of the night from Brighton with nothing but rock hard train seats to sleep on for only four hours, you wouldn't be very surprised about my energy levels afterwards:

    ~ Video ~

    Amongst the noise of rail cars bumping along, weird positions and the recorded voice counting down every stop, I managed around four hours of sleep.

    Despite running on handfuls of Sugar Puffs, a carton of milk and little sleep, BUCK was still awesome. I don't think I could give higher praise that I enjoyed myself despite feeling so rough. Weirdly, a change of T-shirt and I felt perfectly fine the entire day. I even managed a little bit of Mario Kart where I could flex my skills. I got rather badly beaten by and outsider chance. Baby Park is a battle field when playing with the guys I was playing with.

    So, after finding the venue and scarfing down whatever was handy, I began my self-appointed task of Cameraman, starting with the crowd outside.

    ~ Video ~

    Turn out was fantastic. Although, I haven't the experience with such things so I'm not a great judge. I also, I'm not the best cameraman in the world and its teamed with the slightly naff camera on my Motorola Defy.

    Still, shall we start the tour?

    ~ Video ~

    Sorry about the sound. The mic wasn't up to much against those speakers either. It was good to be blasting the contents of the Radio's library through nice big equipment. I think we generated a nice buzz with the stuff we were playing. Maybe not the Seaponies song we blasted out at the people leaving the conference hall at one point but still, we generated a little bit of interest in this little place.

    So, having decided to leave Foxytail to his work, me and Poetic spotted something off in the distance:

    ~ Video ~

    I am rather jealous of Anime League's DDR machine. While my skills with such things are just shy of awful, it was a huge amount of fun. Makes me wish I could find a copy of the song list or something for a Plastation version and practice at home. I'm tempted to run a Smash Bros. Tournament next year too considering how much that caught on...

    ~ Video ~

    Yeah, I'm not hundred percent sure why Anime League were there too. While I did RP there for a short while, I don't know what their cons are like. Again, not the money or the company or the opportunity to go. I guess it was just promotion but they did stick out rather a lot. At least they brought the DDR machine. Makes me wonder if you can hire it now...

    ~ Video ~

    This was all a hive of activity. I could barely believe how busy this place got as well as how awesome some of the artwork was. Everything from Firenze's dog-fight with the Shadow Bolts to Cross-stitch to Humanised Mane Six. Even Furries and TF2 was among the mix of stuff present in this jumble of styles and colour. Is it any surprise that me and those that followed me and Foxy back to do a little doodling of our own and compare?

    ~ Video ~

    This place was lovely. Thanks to around a hundred bodies wondering around, the temperature rose considerably over the course of the day. Considering the humid weather of the past few weeks (but that might be more from myself acting as a human radiator when it was just me), most of us was practically swimming. Especially me as I ran up and down stairs like an idiot. This room had air conditioning, on the other hand, giving panels an added incentive to attend.

    Now, would you like to see some Wooden Dancing?

    ~ Video ~

    Well, when you see something that silly, you have to just run up and join in, huh? I think I have some leverage on Lord Luna now too...Heh-heh-heh...

    Well, this is meant to be a review blog so, here's my review: BUCK was so much fun that I want it to be something that happens every weekend. I sort of don't at the same time for the same reason that Christmas is only once a year: so it remains special. That was a great point of just sitting down and talking to people that using a site just can't make up for. You can build a relationship online but it's like a perfect dinner party when it's face to face. At least I feel like I've had a good time rubbing shoulders with guys I'd only ever be talking to behind an avatar. I feel somewhat closer and have a better understanding of the people behind the pastel colours and the coloured outlines. If anything, I'll stay on sites and join more just to stay in touch. Well recommended.

    The venue was fantastic, the atmosphere had something happening all the time and the stalls had something for everypony. Even people who'd wondered in by mistake.

    Still, now that we know what's expected, we can now try and make a larger splash next time we go and show off my Smash Bros. skills! Olimar rules!

  4. [​IMG]
    [size=+1]Ubuntu Games[/size]​

    The Ubuntu operating system really isn't as bad as you might have heard any more. The days of having to sit in front of the terminal, typing code near endlessly into the screen till your eyes or fingers bleed is still here but only if you want to do anything really wacky or compex. In an effort to actually add some user-friendlyness to using your Linux computer, The Software Centre was added. For anyone that doesn't know the ins and outs of the Ubuntu OS front top to bottom, it's a god send for two reasons:

    1) You need only click a button to install a program that's guaranteed to work. No more inputting commands only to find that something has gone wrong. Somewhere...Somehow...

    2) You now have a large store of programs in one place that you know definitely works with Ubuntu. Some companies do make Linux versions of their software but they can be hard to find. The Software Centre cuts out all that searching.

    So, I thought I'd see what was in this large bag of games and pick out a few interesting ones.

    What I didn't expect was Ubuntu versions of the following games:

    Amnesia: The Dark Decent
    World of Goo
    Super Meat Boy!

    I'm not making that up. Each of these is available from from the Software Centre.

    But lets look at stuff we've never heard of...liiike...

    Tee Worlds

    Imagine, for a second, that Kirby was crossed with Team Fortress 2. I'll let that sink in for a second...Yes, I agree, that is rather awesome.

    Tee Worlds is a 2D Multiplayer shoot-em-up that pits your little blob with eyes and shoes against other shoe-wearing blobs with the gift of sight. The idea is simple. You blast at the other blobs with guns till they die. Depending on the map, you either rack up points for killing or for getting the flag or what have you. It's a very uncomplicated game in that respect. If you have played a multiplayer shooter before in your life, then you'll feel right at home.

    Fighting each other is quite a strange experience, however. Because it's a 2D environment, you know have a severe lack of direction when under fire to avoid being killed. If you want to run away, you can only jump or back off. There's no dodging left or right, of course. This also makes it rather awkward when trying to shoot an enemy that's found a nice little hidey-hole to sit in. You can't really charge in because they'll shoot you. If there's no other entrance then your in quite a predicament.

    But, getting around isn't too difficult. The game gives all characters a double jump ability and a grappling hook right from the get-go. With practice, you can be swinging like a ninja from the walls while firing like a maniac. It's handy for those moments when the double jump isn't quite enough. It's awkward to use at first but in time, it could just save your skin.

    Health and armour is what determines whether you live or die here and their scattered all over the level. Hearts and armour shields tend to get tucked away in little crevasses and offer cover as well as recovery. I'm in favour of this. You don't last very long in some of the messier fights so it does keep everpony moving from one store of heath and armour to the next to stop camping. In theory, anyway.

    The weapons in Tee Worlds do their best make things hectic and fast paced. Your standard weapon is a rifle...I think. It doesn't look like anything else. The rifle has recovering ammo, meaning that you can easily pop off an entire clip as covering file while you find cover.

    The shotgun is particularly nasty, and as always, only useful at close range. However, the buck shot does make up for a lack of accuracy.

    The Grenade Launcher is a pleasing tool for smoking out enemies from cover. It's powerful but arcs it's shots and you can harm yourself with it.

    A katana power-up allows your character to burst forwards like a fireball in any given direction causing damage to anything in the way. That only lasts for a few seconds.

    Lastly, if they get to close, whack them with your hammer.

    Visually, Tee Worlds goes for cutesy but clean visuals. This works well to make the game as clear as possible to play but anyone looking for eye-candy should look elsewhere.

    To be frank, Tee Worlds feels and plays like the 'Thing Thing' flash game series. It a 2D platformer you can shoot stuff in. Making a neat little multiplayer game from that is a fantastic idea and it's created something small, light-weight and quite entertaining. I doubt it'll set the world on fire or kick CoD out of anypony's favour but Tee World is an entertaining little thing. If your stuck with Ubuntu, you could do worse.

    Super Tux Kart

    You can tell where this is going, can't you?

    Super Tux Kart is a Mario Kart clone. What's the selling point, I hear you ask through my speaker-mics? You get to play as the mascot character from various, well-known Linux programs. Well, 'well-known' is a bit of a stretch...Of the ones that I recognise, we have:

    - Tux the Penguin: You know, the Linux Penguin that appears on all the Linux stuff. He's called Tux, if you didn't know.

    - The Mozzilla Dinosaur: I know! Why not the Firefox Fox, eh?

    - The Dingo-thing from G.I.M.P: I wasn't expecting that either but there we go...

    The rest? Either they've been plucked from thin air or I've never seen them in my life. We have, to name a few, an elephant, a pideon, a dragon and a pufferfish. That last one doesn't make any sense either. By rights, it should suffocate and flop over dead, let alone be able to drive but stuff logic for now....

    Firstly, and I'll just come out with it, the game looks ugly. Basic use of graphics to make a few, loosely connected tracks to race around. It's not overly appealing, unfortunately. Even the N64 Mario Kart filled out the environments a little more than these guys have done. But as tracks, the do work. I have, on the odd occasion found that I was in a situation where I had fallen behind so far that I hadn't any chance of catching up. You can get a penalty for accelerating before the green light. The game then makes you sit there till you do it properly, putting you in last place. I then found it very difficult to catch up to the rest of the racers from there on in.

    STK has a few odd ideas about who it wants to go about this kart racing stuff. Like Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing or what ever, you have weapons. These are vaguely similar to the standard fair of weapons with a few tweaks. Instead of bananas it's chewing gum. In stead of shells, it's bowling balls and cakes (again, logic can go get stuffed). Lightning is now the ability to summon parrachutes out the back of the other racer's karts. Interestingly, the unique weapon it a plunger. Fire it and it will stick to a near-by opponent in front of you and slingshot you forwards while pulling them back. Neat.

    As for Mushrooms? Well, STK wants to try something else. Rather than a randomly awarded speed boost, you now collect bottles of nitros from the track that get's stored in a metre on the screen. At anytime, you can spend this pent up speed and gain a boost to push your kart faster. I'm not sure what to make of this. On one hand, it rewards good driving as you meander a little to gain nitros. This leaves you open to use other weapons to make an opening and let rip with a boost for tactical gain. On the other, it can give an opportunity for players to simply spam the nitros button when under attack, for example. They might become more annoying.

    Powersliding in Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing means the difference between 1st or 2nd in some circumstances. In STK, it's only really if you feel like it. You have a 'Tight Cornering' button but it appears largely optional whether you use it or not. It's advisable but you appear to be able to muddle along without it. It's also not an under statement either, you nearly turn on a right angle with it at any speed. It takes a little getting used too.

    Despite a few gripes a had with this though, I did enjoy it. Maybe I'm just programmed to like this after enjoying other Kart games but this is a nice little game. It sadly feels un finished, however, in almost every way and that's why I'd recommend Tee Worlds or something else but check it out if you need something to play with your little sister/brother perhaps.

    Armegetron Advanced

    Somepony has made a game out of the Light Cycle Battles from Tron. That pretty much sums it up.

    How is it to play? Really hard.

    The AI always seems far, far better able to stay out of the way of your bikes trails. This appears to be a game that requires far more practice than it looks. You can jump in but expexted to have your flank handed to you.

    The game itself is easy to understand if you've ever seen the films. It's like a gladitorial version of the old mobile game snake. You drive around, attempting to trick your opponent into crashing before you do. I give this a try for a bit but found that pretty tricky to do.While the controls are simple enough, actually figuring out how to stay alive while setting a trap takes quite a bit of luck or practice.

    Asthetically, this game looks very basic. While the Software Centre is capable of some well polished results, this isn't one of them but does make it nice and easy to run, which is a plus in my case. The lack of polish and lack of other game modes might grate after a whie however.

    Oddly enough, I don't think I've ever known a program to have that many options to fiddle with...

    So, until I can scroung together a replacement, I'm stuck with this thing and my phone...At least there's stuff to do.

  5. [​IMG]

    [size=+1]Dear Esther[/size]​

    I loved the Dear Esther Source mod.

    I thought I'd just make that clear. I mean, I'm not sure if it came across in what amounts to wedding vows I had written when I talked about that Source Mod the first time round. It was like a cross between a ghost story and a love letter as you wonder through those hebridean isles, chalk-riddled and cold.

    So, then The Chinese Room decided they wanted to make an updated version. I was excited, booting the game up as soon as I got it.

    It was interesting to see what they did.

    The new Dear Esther is an update in every possible sense. The story has been altered and made fresh, the graphics have been completely re-made and now have a far more bespoke feel but that music is still here, just as it always was.

    So, the game now has a greater amount of detail in its areas. Places not only look dilapidated, but glass has been broken and weeds are now growing out of the concrete. The caves now drip with water, stalactites hang like fangs from the ceiling and are lit with a curious blue algae that grows in lines along the walls. The world has been crafted into a form of art and is beautiful to look at. While my now elderly laptop doesn't enjoy the larger amounts of things to render, I did get it to run well enough on lower settings. Even then, the environments looked fantastic.

    The music has not been changed and I am thankful for it as it's a haunting collection of music that easily moves me whenever I hear it. It's sombre, woeful and powerful, in my opinion. I might not know music that well but I know when music manages to capture the very soul of the art it has been teamed with.

    But the most powerful and insteresting part of Dear Esther is the story.

    In the Source Mod, the story was unclear. It gave everything the feeling of a ghost story. Like finding the love letters or diaries of a long passed-over soul and reading through them, trying to understand their purpose and the writer's mind. The voice they gave these extracts was perfect for these snippets of woe and longing for both redemption and longevity of memory. Someone carved lines into the rock and scrawled across the cliffs to make a living memory of this man's torment.

    Now here's the interesting thing with the new version: they cleared the story up. Now you understand what is happening far clearer. Everything else is still there, save for a largely re-written script. That style of wandering misery and deep thought, that music, that location, that metaphor. It's all here but presented in a much tighter and clearer story. You understand what has happened. You get his pain and what caused this. You get to realise where people like Donnelly comes from or the significance of motorways.

    The new Dear Esther is a sharper story that is able to do far more with it's freedom from the Source engine. One fantastic part comes in the caves where you fall into a pool of water. Originally, this part was signified by a car stuck in the rock but here, they...well, I won't spoil it.

    But what it does do is add some mysticism back into this game. The original game's script was vague and confusing, meaning that you had to collect clues from multiple play-throughs and decipher everything. Nothing was clear and so it gave everything the air of mystery. The new game was lacking that to a degree. In making a clearer story, I had very little reason to play-through again and again to gain the full story because I felt I understood everything after one run-through. It was a good experience but it wasn't as captivating as the original for that reason.

    A further criticism levelled at this game is that the game isn't all that interactive, making for a dull experience where the player is largely superfluous. To that I say: "Yeeeeaaahh, kinda but it's still better than a film or a book, in my opinion. It might feel like a museum tour but at least I can take in the sights for as long as I like. They never let you go for a dip in the tanks when you go to the Sealife Centre, do they?". For having little interaction, it misses the point of the game, which was to be an experiment in storytelling. This is a polished version of that same experiment, with a couple of variables altered just to see what would happen.

    Is Dear Esther worth your time? Well, sort of. If you've played the original, then this is mainly for you. It's more like those "HD Classics" things where they re-touch old PS2 games with HD graphics and sell them in a bundle. This seems more for fans than newcomers. However, if you do enjoy atmosphere and a good story well told but are looking for something to relax rather than thrill you, this is probably for you too.

    Although, there's still the original for nothing. It depends on whether graphics bother you or not.

  6. [video=youtube;W6M9QydM_Bs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6M9QydM_Bs[/video]

    [size=+1]Video Review - Songify[/size]​

    Yes, that is my real voice...And hands.

    Well, I'm certainly no Autobrony. Ha! Autobrony! Geddit? Huh? Auto...Yeah, I'll be quiet now...
  7. Right. And seeing as the Book's back, that means that your Fan Fics are no-longer safe! Ahaahahahahaahahaaaa!


    [size=+1]Magyck By Legion Brony[/size]​

    Legion has managed to pack a great deal of something I already rather like into this one: Fantasy Theory. I like sitting down and pondering how exactly a spell should work and coming up with magical mechanics and rules almost as much as Legion appears to. While I'm likely to jabber on about Yokai and Chi and what-not given half a chance, Legion creates his own, underlying magical system that needs a much, much better way of being introduced. And needs more explanation. Still interesting though.

    Either way, I've become increasingly interested as the Fan Fic progressed. The early chapters are where the most work is needed so I'll likely be talking almost entirely about them.

    Right, plot! Human turns up in Equestria with no memory and discovers a knack for magic. Twilight trains him. He is then asked to hunt down some sort of evil by Princess Celestia.

    And that's it so far. First things first, let's get this rather large and underlying problem out the way. It not just you Legion, in fact, all of us have slipped up on this golden rule at some stage:

    [size=+1]~ Show, Don't Tell ~[/size]​

    Through-out the Fan Fic, Legion is telling us all about these actions and conversations instead of actually writing them out. Somepony said this, somepony said that with a little bit of detail about how but when this happens, the narrative becomes numb. Discovering these things for ourselves by watching the events unfold are far more interesting and engaging than a dictation of the highlights of such things.

    The biggest problem this causes is with characterisation. We get told about Brendon, our main character, rather than experience anything from his normal life. We're told he's a Brony and is ridiculed because of his Genius Father who is building a Teleporter. Notice the word 'told'. Keeping a certain distance from the by simply telling the reader about important details rather than taking the care of showing them to the reader creates an alienation as you have no real context to base this information on. There's no association created between character and attribute so gets forgotten. And event is more likely to stick in a readers mind, along with the actions and demeanour of the character, cementing those shown traits in the reader's idea of the character's demeanour.

    However, a structure sort-out should change such a cool attitude towards the character's narration along with a group of extra benefits. How about we get to actually be see Brendon's life at the beginning of the story that could then lead into the rest of the events in Equestria. Show Brendon turning up at school. Show us him managing to keep his love of ponies away from every other student. Show us the teasing if it's such an important part of the character. We can gleam more information from seeing those encounters than hearing about the general details from the narrator. Things that would give Brendon more character than that which he currently has. Currently, Brendon appears to be intelligent but doesn't show any of it for around 9 chapters when his voice returns. More details and time to learn about those details relating to the character would greatly improve the appeal of Brendon for the rest of the story. Considering that the reader will be likely stuck with Brendon as a main character, it would be good to know more about him.

    As an added bonus, we'd also get a greater juxtaposition between Earth and Equestria to drive the idea of Brendon's alienation further home. Being transported has greater weight as we're likely to know more about the character and even know more about him.

    My next point concerned the introduction of Magyck. While I, as a fellow Fantasy nut, am perfectly happy to sit down and read an entire chapter devoted to the subject of magical theory and history, I don't know if everypony else would share our enthusiasm. It also throws off the structure and natural pacing of the story. Things happen, things happen then BANG! Your in Hogwarts learning about mages casting some important spell, then it's on with the show as normal. It's disjointed and sloppy to fact dump on the reader so suddenly. Typical fashion tends to be more inclined to trickle such information when there is a natural moment of pause to carry over one scene and the next. You could even present the scene with the Unicorns casting their spell as a prologue. This way, the information regarding the greater story doesn't feel like it's exploded from nowhere and that the reader has suddenly changed Fan Fic. These details are an important part of the story right from the beginning and can then start to become more and more important as the story progresses. This drip-feed approach also encourages further reading as it suggests that more bits of information are coming up, just keep reading to find out.

    I know the reason for this too and it's a very very common problem. I'm guilty of this myself and it's the desire to skip ahead to all the good stuff. It's such a bad habit to get into as the 'good stuff' ultimately suffers from a lack of set-up. The best mentality I can think of ought to be something along the lines of "put the reader first". Try and make sure that you give him/her everything you possibly can to make all the 'good stuff' worth getting to.

    Now onto more nitty-gritty bits.

    I really like your portrayal of Twilight. Your version appears to focus predominantly on her as a kind of scientist and interlectual which is perfectly correct, as far as I know, and her portrayal accentuates this. I found it interesting to read, even remembering to slip in Twilight's idiosyncrasies. It's a good angle to take on the character, I thought.

    Other characters had a few hiccups like Applejack missing her trademark accent and I wonder if Luna, at this point, would bother using her Canterlot Voice knowing about it's effects from when Twilight explained it's unintended effect but that's rather more picky and not worth worrying about. What's a bigger concern is whether Rainbow Dash really would dangle a helpless creature metres from the ground and extort information. Rainbow Dash might be impatient and impulsive but that appears over the top. I'd cut that for something less nuts.

    Combat within the story was rather interesting, almost feeling like an Anime in the way that characters would temporarily distance themselves from the fight and dwell on things or mentally calculate the situation for the benefit of the audiences understanding. Next time you watch Bleach maybe, take note of how the editing cuts up the fight to show all the things that are going on while people are attacking people with swords. The best fights always have more than just people hitting each other (or in Bleach's case, explaining how they managed to pull yet another magic power out from nowhere) going on at their centre. In this case, it's Brandon trying to train with Twilight but also show how well he's learned everything. Nice work.

    For the next few chapters, I wonder about the fact that Brendon is also supposed to be a Brony. Currently, he's got no clue about anything of his previous life but is happy as a larry, as they say. It will be interesting to see what is done with that as the aspect of the character was quickly swept out of the way the instant Brendon arrives in Equestria.

    For my money...Wait...Fan Fics are free...I'm rusty. Let me try again. *ahem*

    For me, Legion Brony appears to have created an interesting Fan Fic despite the reputation of the Human-In-Equestria genre this falls into. That would be because it's not the sole focus of the story. That story element is aided by an underlying fantasy plot that attempts to compliment the HIE element as best as it can, creating something that gets progressively better as more is revealed. I'm quite sure Legion has managed to stumble upon my weakness but I think he's done well enough so far to be proud of his work thus far.
  8. Right, more decoration is probably needed but I think we're basically ready to go with The Book 2.0. The colours easy on the eyes but if I put this off any longer, it'll be next to useless.

    Sort of useless now but, there we go.


    [size=+1]Very, Very Late Sci-Fi Movie Run-Down Thingy[/size]​

    Right. Back in the seat of inane jabber. Ah! Tis good to be back. Right, I dare say you've been meaning to go to the cinema and you know what? There's probably two films your dying to see...Last week. All right, maybe this review will sway your DVD/Blueray buying choices then.


    [size=+1]Men In Black III[/size]​

    These reviews were pretty late. Still, it's two movies in one review so it'll be short.

    Men In Black III attempts to do what Men In Black II did and rekindle the magic of Men In Black I by way of making J figure out what K's hiding as the central plot of the film. While this did manage to build upon the world of MIB, it doesn't quite feel right. While action does get fun at times, the dialogue is slick and a few jokes pay off nicely, Number 3 still cannot hold a candle to Number 1.

    But, it is allowed to lord it over Number 2.

    2's villain hadn't much charisma compared to Borris the Animal. Borris is a strange, anatomically confusing biker that fires spikes from his hand while also being able to make claws appear out of his feet when needed. Oh! And survive space...Anyhorse...His competition is Edgar the Bug from the first film and the worm thing of the second. While Edgar was not only a spasm filled freak of nature that decomposed as the film carried on so managed to be visually interesting throughout, the worm thing failed to make much of an impression on myself. The fact that I called it a worm thing rather than go and Google it's name is probably testament to that. My only problem with Borris is that he doesn't do much. He's all menacing and what-not but is otherwise kept at arms length plot-wise until the final fight. To add to that, his lines seems to be primarily spouting a few catchphrases. This leaves filling the rest of the screen time to J, K and K.

    As you'll probably know, time travel is what's driving this plot. Borris plans to get revenge on K for shooting off his arm and stopping his entire species from feeding on the Earth. He manages to do this and kill's K. Back in the present, J is the only one aware of the temporal shifts resulting from K's death so travels back in time to the 60's MIB to help 60's K stop Borris.

    What you've heard is true, Josh Brolin is really good as Agent K in his twenties. Other characters that I liked were Griffin and Jeffery Price (the guy who gives J the time-jump device) because they were both maddeningly unhelpful and slightly lost in what they were doing. Will Smith seemed able to play off that nicely.

    However, the biggest problem with the film is that it doesn't utilise everything to it's fullest. There are ideas in this film that could have been interesting to see such as xenophobia in the MIB of the 60's (that seems to have come from no-where) to J being black and in the 60's. There was even potential for...oh...Hang on...

    Andy Warhol being an undercover MIB agent. Between you and me, the joke didn't pay off as much as the writers probably hoped it would but I won't spoil it if you don't want to.

    These ideas are all flagged up and nothing is really done with them. They could have fleshed out characters or added to the history of the otherwise mysterious MIB by showing us what they were like. Apart from one point where J get's pulled over for stealing a good looking car, all these ideas are flagged then ignored. The only important piece of information is between J and K that wasn't 100% necessary.

    So, my summation? It's all right. It beats 2 but can't quite compete with the tighter 1. If you must get this to plug the whole in your DVD collection, I won't stop you.

    Not that I physically can...



    Yes. Yes it is a prequel to Alien.

    Ah...if only it was that simple....

    What we have here is a fantastically well-realised, highly-polished, fantastic looking film that looks and feels great while keeping some of the spirit of the original Alien film. It's a good film that will leave you confused, possibly angry but definitely a little queasy.

    Prometheus charts the story of two scientists that grab a group of other scientists and hard-nuts-for-hire to go and investigate what is believed to be the race that created human life. They all get in a ship and travel to a group of stars. They land, do science-y stuff, wonder around the ruin of a race called 'The Engineers' then slowly get picked off one by one because it's an Alien Prequel. It's legally obliged for monsters to come and kill everything after a while.

    Now, for any one that's ever seen 'Lost', I understand that if I tell you that this was partly written by Damon Lindelof the next statement probably wont shock you too much.

    Prometheus has a really good lead-up but lacks not only cohesion towards the end but also some of the impact the set up part of the narrative hoped to achieve. Some basic information about character motivation is unclear and it's unsure whether they are there for effect or whether they are there because of the 'It'll make sense later" style of writing that 'Lost' had carried over. For example, the pilots of the ship being strangely quick to give up their lives, their nice enough guys but why? But I can't go into most of the odd moments in the story here because that spoils everything. I'll do this instead:

    Things like how Mr Weyland is still alive and has come along on the trip with the hopes of extending his life along with how one of the crew members is skrink-wrapped when his helmet melts but then comes back as a monster. Also, when David spikes Charlie's drink, what was the point? Why poison a crew member? Why not run tests on the black goo? When David finds that there's an Engineer left, why doesn't he get the crew to check it out first, then bring Weyland along to make sure it's safe? How many robots are there on this ship? Man, those pilots were in a hurry to kill themselves! What in blue blazes is that thing being removed from Shaw's abdomen? Why would a biologist be that stupid?

    For those that wish to prolong the sanctity of the Spoiler Warning, so haven't clicked the button, in there is just questions. Questions about everything from the true purpose and effect of a black goo the crew finds to what killed off The Engineers? Why are cave paintings pointing to a star system? Why bother going in the first place when it could also be a warning rather than an "invitation"? Why is the medical pod in Meredith Vickers' quarters programmed for males? Why does she keep it when it's useless to her? Why...Hang on...

    You see, the point of Prometheus is to raise questions. It doesn't ever offer much in the way of answers. It presents conundrum after puzzle after mystery deliberately to get you, the audience, thinking. Your invited to question everything in order to fill the vacuum of facts the film creates. Now everything is written well enough, even if it does fail to capture the same conversational style of the original Alien but the plot would appear to be simply a method of presenting each part of the mystery when it's needed. While effort is handed over mainly to the weird-stuff goin' down, it's good to see a few conversation moments between characters otherwise doing nothing like the pilots betting on things to Vickers and The Captain slinking off to join the 'Deep Space Club'. The only members so far have been Star Trek characters, David Lister and the annoying character Chris Tucker plays in The Fifth Element. It adds some human familiarity to a story that's designed to make you question everything.

    Lastly, let's talk horror. Alien was, at it's base level, a slasher movie in space. Prometheus plays out in a similar light, aiming to keep a few of the original horror beats but with the aid of today's technology. While I will say that not every part of the gore and death hit home (although, that might have been from people laughing at it in the cinema), there is one scene that managed to bypass any built up resistance to horror on the big screen I had. I was genuinely hoping that one scene would be over in the next two seconds through-out. Of course, I won't say anything right now but those who saw the film, probably know what I'm on about.

    All in all? Good. It's really well made and is intended to become another film that's similar to 2001 Space Odyssey. While I wonder if Ridley Scott has attempted to make the film get above it's station a little, I'm happy he attempted it. Prometheus is visceral, interesting and plays with the audiences curiosity to make sure you never forget that movie. If only to then retire to Wetherspoon's afterwards to try and figure out what in the hey you just saw...
  9. I'm still figuring out Blog settings for The Leather Bound Book V2.0 but I found this might be handy.


    [size=+1]DLC Woes[/size]​

    Two DLC's packs have been released for two of the most hotly anticipated games of two-thousand-and-whenever: Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. I was looking around for my girlfriend about this new DLC about both these games and I stumbled upon a little bit of useful information that should be useful for today only.

    Those in the UK, listen up.

    Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut was released for Xbox 360 and is available for download right now. PC users have to wait until about 11 o'clock MST which is about 6pm for myself who lives in England (GMT) and should get later and later as you go along the map. PS3 users will have to wait until July the 4th because...I dunno, either Sony are lazy to update their servers or EA doesn't like you.

    The staggering is pointless and irritating. I don't think I need to express that having these delays between each version is annoying but there we go.

    Bias towards Xbox 360 owners continues with Bethesda as Microsoft has exclusivity over the Dawnguard DLC for 30 days. If you have a PS3 or PC version of Skyrim, you'll have to save your money until next month.

  10. The Leather Bound Book pretty much started when I first arrived last year and I was wondering about what to do with it.

    For those that did actually keep up with the review thread, I do intend to return to adding to it. My assosiate, JJWCool has been working on a review and even Foxytail has told me about a possible article to but I'm not sure where that's got to. I haven't added anything recently due to bothy studies and a personal project I'll try and unleash upon you shortly. I'm already late with it but exams and coursework eat time like I eat....well, almost anything.

    No, the reason I write it here is because I'm not sure about whether to make the Leather Bound Book into an Everypony Blog. While I've always tried to make sure articles looked presentable, the ability to customise the appearence sounds appealing. Plus, it places the Book on a better soapbox.

    But this is all on the assumption anypony cares. I can only think Legion would be wondering where his review has got to. The other concern is that new articles not writen by myself would have to go through me. A thread meant that anypony could just add an article whenever without anyone's input. If I made the Book a blog, I would have to give permission to post here or have everything moderated through me. It removes the freedom but would give me the chance to edit submitted articles. Anypony that put anything forwards would be properly credited, of course. I'd have to signal the author with a little image of their OC or something.

    I thought I'd ask for a second opinion from the blog reading public. Should I upgrade the book? Would you read it if I continued it? If so, what would you like to see looked at?

    Just comment below. I'll read it soon enough.

    Thanks for reading.