take everything you know, apply it to games. don't know enough? learn more.


A Grand Day Out At The British Museum

Hark and I went to the British Museum earlier this week. Here are some things I saw; they are all things in which I am aesthetically or culturally interested, and many of them are also things which I see as plunder or booty to be used as influences upon gaming, some less directly than others.




The works of Durer demonstrate both allegorical density and immense complexity; in particular, the physically-impossible-to-build-on-the-budget triumphal arch of Maximilian I, shown below. Imagine a realm where every ruler commissions something like this and, by magical means and agency, it’s actually possible to build them; a realm where the monument dwarfs, and is the principle product of, all other forms of residence or industry. Many of Maximilian’s conquests were outright fabrication; possible future events used as demonstrations of his informed prowess; again, imagine that as the norm. You don’t do things, you just lie and say you did, in grand architectural form.




Gold coins, in the pre-industrial sense, are actually wafer thin. I never realised, and it’s something I haven’t always considered in terms of encumbrance. I’m sure they still weigh a fair bit but not, being not so chunky as the modern oncer (shown above), as much as I’d envisaged. The weighty coin seems more a late medieval thing, especially commissioned as ornate artefact commemorating or honouring an individual.




Verdigris’d bronze tablet and crocodile-cult parade armour. The former was used to convey the metal from foundry to forge (or is it the other way around?), the latter to display membership in the cult (presumably they wore dead crocodiles rather than butchering live ones). Shown here for… reference. Reference of course having nothing to do with impending Nurgle releases for WFB, nor for the Gatormen who I confess are one of the more compelling Hordes factions. I’m also quite inspired by the crocodile cult; the forsaking of human kinship and the embracing of a totem animal chimes in with some of the ideas about ancestry and religion that are knocking around at the moment. It’s cool because of the kind of implied shapeshifting, or soulshifting; you are (or were) what you wear (or were).


An archaic Chinese (I think) banknote, of value equivalent to one thousand strung-together coins. The size of the thing’s what gets me; it’s about an A4 page and densely populated with information. Imagine them bespoke, like banker’s drafts; detailing not merely the amount for which they’re good, but the status of the originator, aspects of their biography and wherewithal – not merely a promissory note, but a guarantor grounded in reputation.




A couple of depictions of ritual magic at work, the latter especially interesting to me since it depicts a raising of the dead. I love this crowded, monochromatic style; it has a certain stark quality, a statement that Here are the Things and you’d better like them ’cause they’re going nowhere.


Mentally captioned ‘The Adventuring Witch’ – and isn’t the spaniel-Cerberus on the right the most adorable thing you’ve seen all day?


Satan, Sin and Death, after Milton; the powers that wrestle over men’s downfall. Interesting to me less because of what it depicts than how; the anthropomorphic personification and its allegorical reflection. Eternal life in damnation vs. the final release of oblivion, with temptation as arbiter and uniting factor between them. That’s the sort of thing I expect to see in religious art.


The greatest of the Temptations of St. Anthony. Mentally captioned: Bad Day, Worse Day, Actually Quite Alright Day, and then this one: the Worst Day Ever. St. Anthony becomes less and less relevant to his own story after a while, eventually becoming a tiny detail in this vision of apocalypse. With all due respect to Ian Miller et al, sometimes one just has to go back to one’s sources.

Despite recent lamenting and trailing off in content I am very much alive, actually quite interested in the prospect of the new Nurgle releases for Warhammer (though I can’t in all good conscience afford them) and currently soaking up inspiration and impression in readiness for next month’s writing odyssey. Tempting a colleague and a close friend into joining me will be crucial in the venture’s success, I feel. I’ve also been playing one of those despicable modern RPGs, as will be discussed on Sunday or thereabouts.


[WoW Thing] I led a raid and I liked it / hope my guild leader don’t mind it…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is exactly how I feel when I put something I painted last week next to something I painted ten years ago. It may not be quite up to the current standards and vogue of ultra-realistic gritty brown bullshit, but there’s a tangible improvement in quality that leaves the newer piece slightly out of place compared to its surroundings.

In the last few weeks before Warlords of Draenor drops, I am (alas) working most evenings, but I have enough time off to have plausible ambitions in ref. heirlooms. Oh yes. Having learned that a piece of heirloom loot is now guaranteed from the final arm-wrestle with Garrosh Hellscream, I’m greenfiring my way through his associates on Normal difficulty, one last time. I could probably do it on a higher difficulty if I had a good group to hold my hand, but I want to try something else. Since I’m organising a group of my own at the times when I’m available, that seems to make me some sort of raid leader by default… and apparently, I’m not that bad at it.

Despite occasionally needing to ask the more seasoned raiders in the party for actual tactics, people… seem willing to listen to me. Mels thinks it’s because I don’t scream blue murder when something goes wrong, which… well, that’s certainly true. What’s that going to achieve? Nothing. It’s like bringing the “how can you POSSIBLY not know this fight by now?” attitude into a group; the attitude that tends to develop when seasoned raiders and regular players forget that not everyone’s as far along the curve as they are. I’ve had to ask one person to leave for coming on board with that kind of mindset and, to his credit, he did so without fuss – which was nice.

I’m still sulking that some post-patch bugs have reset my raid progress twice, so the efforts are currently shelved until Blizzard decides to let me make meaningful progress, but still; this bodes well for the future. I quite like lining up a group of people I actually know, and who aren’t exactly regular raiders, to do stuff together. It’s certainly preferable to the poisonous LFR or RBG experience of random grouping, and I’d feel quite optimistic about leading a cross-guild raid squadron into Draenor. Probably NEVER going to get a similar thing off the ground for PvP, but if I can have a regular arena pal I’ll be happy.

#GamerGate: No More

I had more to say, but this is what it boils down to, really.

Let’s go back to brass tacks.

  1. Threatening your fellow humans with violence, rape and murder is wrong. (Might be funny, between friends, but that doesn’t make it right, or appropriate behaviour around strangers.)
  2. Threatening your fellow humans with violence, rape and murder over anything at all to do with video games is a) wrong and b) ridiculous.
  3. Threatening your fellow humans with violence, rape and murder over anything at all to do with video games, and doing so on such a grand scale that they no longer feel safe in their own homes, is a) wrong, b) ridiculous and c) so far out of proportion that John Blanche is squinting at it and saying “you know, something’s not quite right here.”
  4. Threatening your fellow humans with violence, rape and murder over anything at all to do with video games, doing so on such a grand scale that they no longer feel safe in their own homes, and claiming that doing all this for the sake of journalistic integrity somehow makes it okay, is a) wrong, b) ridiculous, c) disproportionate and d) absurd, given that i) game reviewing has always been a dodgy business and ii) the journalistic integrity of the entire video game industry is not as important as even one human being’s right to feel safe in their own home and go about their daily business unmolested. This shit doesn’t matter that much.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a conversation we could benefit from having about professional ethics in the games industry.

I am saying that this conversation is less important than basic quality-of-life matters like feeling safe in your own home.

I am saying that the way we’re having this conversation, at the moment, makes me ashamed to be associated with gamers and game culture.

I am saying that, before we even talk about the gender of the people involved, treating other human beings like this is repellent.

If you can’t agree with that, I’m not sure we can be friends any more.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers