Archive for the ‘Fun and Games’ Category

You Know You Are Addicted to Twitter when…

Mar 14th, 2009

Bah, something is very tragic about blogging about twitter on a Friday night.

  • You find yourself referring to friends as @twittername
  • You find yourself constrained to speaking in sentences of a maximum of 140 characters.
  • Before recounting an interesting fact you read in the newspaper you find yourself saying RT @guardiannews
  • When in an accident, you reach for a phone, not to call the police, but to tweet the incident.
  • You won’t pick up on a company’s press release unless they’ve also tweeted it.
  • You had to stop synching your facebook status to your twitter account as you were overwhelming everyone’s news feeds.
  • Your twitter account has begun to replace your RSS reader.
  • When your parents point out that they never heard about your marriage, children and pending promotion you patiently point out that it is all available in your twitter feed.
  • You don’t find anything odd about knowing exactly what @stephenfry are for breakfast.
  • You follow more people on twitter than you meet in the average day.
  • You follow more people on twitter than you meet in the average year.

Please add your own ideas in the comments, or alternatively tweet them with the #A2T hashtag.

My stats

I first started using twitter back in August 2007 but for ages the twitter bug didn’t bite, and I rarely even tweeted. My Twitterholic stats show that after an initial burst of activity my account lay dormant until almost a year later when I began slow regular tweets, and added a few friends. Then, at the beginning of this year I gained more friends and followers and began tweeting much more regularly.


Perhaps unsurprisingly this increase in tweeting also seems to correspond with my new-years blogging resolution.

Lifetime achievement

Jan 17th, 2009

Anyone who has played a game on the Xbox 360, or has looked at a growing number of PC Games, will be familiar with the concept of achievements. Achievements are a way of meta-gaming, giving the player a reward outside of the game, for completing various in game tasks. These tasks can vary from simply completing the tutorial, through killing a certain number of enemies, to something as bizarre as carrying a garden gnome through the whole game so as it may be launched into orbit at the end.
Life doesn’t have achievements; there are no amusingly named awards which pop up at the lower edge of your vision whenever you complete a particularly important life event. Unless you were a member of the Scouts or similar, you won’t have a little collection of icons representing the various things you have accomplished. This, I think, is one of the reasons why computer games will eventually win out over life, and we will all sit in large virtual reality booths getting achievements to our hearts content. Or something.
But before this great revolution can occur, I present the proposed list of achievements which will be available in Life 2.0. Note that it will be impossible to get all achievements in one lifetime; this is to encourage replay ability, something currently unavailable outside certain religious groups.


Achieved _

Natal AttractionNatal Attraction

Have at least three people attend your birth.

one-small-stepOne Small Step

Take your first steps unaided.

vocal-minorityVocal Minor-ity

Gain a vocabulary of at least 50 words.

just-another-brickJust Another Brick

Spend at least 6000 hours at school.

What Did I Come In Here For Again?What Did I Come In Here For Again?

Walk into a room, forget what you went in there for and leave again.

facial-ingognitionFacial Incognition

Have a five minute conversation with someone without them realising that you don’t recognise them.

Jack BauerJack Bauer

Remain awake for 24 consecutive hours

Sisyphean CrockerySisyphean Crockery

Maintain a pile of dirty crockery for three weeks, despite regularly washing up.

Unattained _

we-dont-need-no-educationWe Don’t Need No Education

Leave the schooling system before obtaining any major qualifications.

Self Replicating SystemSelf Replicating System

Carry a pregnancy to term.

Mother HubbardMother Hubbard

Give birth to a new religion.

Will Of The PeopleWill Of The People

Be elected to rule a country with a minimum population of 10,000 people.

The Great DictatorThe Great Dictator

Seize control of a country without winning a democratic election.

Tie The KnotTie The Knot

Get married or enter into a civil partnership.


End a marriage or civil partnership.


Circumnavigate the word.

It's Alfred Nobel, HonestNobel Pursuits

Win a Nobel prize.

Novel IdeasNovel Ideas

Have a piece of fiction published.


Have a child conceived when you should be working to meet an urgent deadline.

Class ClownClass Clown

Prompt more than 20 people to laugh concurrently.

fashionDedicated Follower Of Fashion

Have a wardrobe worth more than 30% the combined annual salary of your household.

Phone HomePhone Home

Communicate with a person on Earth while on the surface of another moon or planet.

Race RelationsRace Relations

Live at least once under four different racial classifications.

Midlife RerollMidlife Re-Roll

Undergo gender re-assignment.

Lifetime AchievementLifetime Achievement Award

Live a complete life from start to finish.

Smash LandingSmash Landing

Land a commercial airliner, with no casualties, after total engine failure.

Phew, that took far longer than it should have done and I don’t even get an achievement.

I am a corporate Wh*re

Jul 12th, 2008

Oh dear, and to be frank this post isn’t going to make things any better. I was playing arround on the website Wordle, which generates a tag cloud from any text. I ran my blog through the program, and company names seem to dominate somewhat. I’m not quite sure how MOO became so prominent, I’m sure I’ve only blogged about them once. A few sciency words get a look in, but not many. I’m also amazed at how few words there are related to computers or gaming. I’m now off to run a few more things through the generator.

Edit: Ahh, much better. I ran my blog through a second time, and I find this word list slightly less worrying. (Card is so large thanks to the ‘what have I got in my wallet post)

Delving Greedily and Deeply

May 19th, 2008

My last blog entry briefly mentioned the game Dwarf Fortress, and as promissed I thought I’d go in to a bit more detail.

Dwarf Fortress is a freeware indie game, that comes in at just 5.3 MB, that’s just 37 centipeggles for those familiar with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. However inside this small package you have one of the most detailed and absorbing games I have ever played.

Dwarf Fortress is really two games in one; fortress mode is a strategy/management game; adventurer mode is a Rogue alike RPG. Both games are set in the same world, and when your fortress finally falls you can descend into it in adventure mode and read the story of its fall engraved in its walls, and perhaps pick up a few artifacts that your dwarves themselves created.

However it is fortress mode which recieves the most attention, and rightly so. To attempt to compare it to commercial games would be to describe a breeding experiment involving Dungeon Keeper, The Settlers, and a DOS era word processor. In attempting to describe my first impressions of the game over at the snopes message boards I said the following:

I’ve been looking at the arcane and unwieldy ‘Dwarf Fortress,’ a freeware ASCII strategy/Roguealike game with the depth of an oceanic trench and an interface that would make the cockpit of a space shuttle seem user friendly. Despite its rudimentary graphics, the game still manages to take quite a chunk out of my computers processing power.

The games motto is ‘loosing is fun’ and that is something I fear may soon hit me. The first winter has hit and already I appear to have run out of seeds and yet have just taken an influx of new migrants which has doubled the population of my fortress. My carpenter has been working flat out to produce new beds for the migrants, while I’ve been very fortunate that one of the newcommers brought an axe with them, as the only one my party brought with them at the begining was stolen from the bedside of one of my dwarfs by an invading kobold.

Unfortunately I have no weapons, as I can’t build a smithy without an anvil, and the trading caravan that was supposed to bring one left with impatince as not only was my trade depot not built, but my broker was asleep when the caravan arrived.

Of course I can always slaughter some of the horses that gave birth in my Dining room, and the dogs have been trained up to hunt. My brewer is working efficiently, although I fear I may have brewed up too much alcohol, depleting valuble food reserves in the process. Still, my leader is a bit an alcoholic, so maybe she’ll get through the supplies.

I’m also dreading the day when I accidently mine into a nearby pond, flooding half my fortress.

That fortress survived a flooding, but sucumbed later, not to invaders, but rather to the after effects:

Dead, all dead. A series of invading goblins were bravely fought off by my quickly recruited militia, but we suffered heavy losses. Many of the Dwarves were severely depressed, and their refusal to work meant that the bodies of their friends began to rot in the corridors. In an attempt to raise the mood ‘Stoney,’ the leader, threw a party, however tragedy was to occur. A woodcutter flipped, sinking into a blood-frenzy, murdering half the dwarves in the party, and chasing the rest through the tunnels of my fortress. Those that weren’t killed slipped irreversibly into depression, and the death of the leader ensured they all stood arround doing very little. Eventualy the mad woodcutter was taken down but it was too late, the three remaining Dwarves starved in their beds until a final invading goblin force wiped them all out.

I’m now on my second fortress, located in the same world as the first, but some distance away. I learnt lessons from the first, and dug myself in much deeper, with only an entrance. Still, at one point I was down to a couple of dwarves, before a huge influx of immigrants rescued me. I’ve flooded half the fortress and rescued it, using the drained flood water to tide my fortress through the winter when all surface water was frozen and beer had run out.

I’ve got regular trade going on with elves, dwarves and humans, although have managed to annoy the elves on one occasion. (I’d dread to think what it would be like cooking for elves. The vegitarianism isn’t a problem (although I’m sure my dwarves don’t agree) but I fear they’d also object to my wooden table.) I’ve now extended my defenses, which seems to have attracted even more attention from the goblins than I was getting previously. The last siege was fought off with few casualties, but a smaller ambush proved to be a greater issue as my moat froze over in the winter, allowing them to bypass the bridge.

The game is still under development, and new features are continuously being added. It seems that the next version will look at military activity during world generation, with the eventual goal of providing the player with the ability to launch invasions against other settlements. However, the immediate results will be seen as a more detailed world history, and more variation in the civilizations you meet.

The early issues with the interface faded quickly as I became more familiar with the game, you get used to it. I…I don’t even see the code. All I see is dwarf, elephant, tower-cap. However, the game still seems to be throwing new challenges at me as my fortress gets larger, not to mention my projects are getting more and more ambitious. My warehouse/tower next to my trade depot is more or less complete, although still needs a final roof. My new defense network is mostly up and running, and I think I’ve got my resevoir systems hooked up correctly. Of course, I need to think about draining that moat. but that will involve blocking off the feeder chanels, so shall probably have to wait until winter rolls around again.

What do I have in my…

Apr 25th, 2008

Inspired by a messageboard meme:
* University ID Card (in Date)
* University ID Card (Expired)
* Work Access Card (Disintergrated)
* Work Access Card (Intact)
* Misc Student Discount card (Never Used, probably expired)
* Virgin Student Card (Always forget to use. Probably expired as Virgin are now Zavvi)
* Buisness Card for StarHotels Florence (18 months since I stayed there)
* CamCard (Cambridge Alumni Card)
* National Insurance Card
* HMV Student Card
* BSAC Membership Card (Expired)
* £1.78 in 7 coins
* WH Smith Club Card (Not used for years)
* Sommerfield Saver Card (Likewise)
* GAME Reward Card
* 36 reciepts of various ages and levels of importance
* A ticket for the Work Burns Supper dated Jan 31st 2008
* A Cinema ticket for Cloverfield, Dated 16th Feb 08
* A USed Bus Ticket (25th Feb 08)
* A Sainsbury’s ‘Active Kids’ voucher
* £10 Note (Scottish)
* UK Provisional Driving License
* HBOS Visa Credit Card (Number … Err, I’ll skip that)
* HBOS Visa Debit Card
* Nectar Card
* NHS Organ Donor Card
* Vodafone Top-up swipe card (No longer valid)
* European Health Insurance Card
* Gamestation Student Card
* Gamestation GEDIT Card (Odd and slightly funky loyalty card which is based on winning stuff and being occasionaly sent freebies)
* Buisness card for dusit Thai Restaurant
* Tesco Clubcard (Rarely Used)
* Florence Bus Ticket (Stamped, 13th Nov 06)

* Wallet
* Keys + USB drive
* Mobile Phone
* Twix Wrapper

* Raincoat
* Old pair of trainers (Broken)
* 8 Reciepts
* Notepad
* Direct Debit request that should have been mailed a week ago
* A Ball of String (Seriously! What is that doing in there!?)
* iRiver H120 MP3 Player, remote and headphones
* Bus Ticket Dated 31st Jan 08
* Glasses Case (Contains Cloth)
* Train Ticket, Cheltnham Spa To Edinburgh, 04 Jan 2008
* 35-in-1 USB Card Reader
* 3 Payslips
* 1 Envelope containing:
2 Train Ticket reciepts and accompanying address card
* £40 Virgin Wines voucher
* 1 Treasury Tag
* 1 pen
* 1p piece

Sorry, disabled comments on this post as I was getting hit by credit vultures.