I finished reading Trevanian's "Shibumi" last week and I'm left speechless..
After closing the book, I sat upright in the glow of my bed-light, pondering if I could muster the English worthy of such a masterpiece...If I could fulfill my promise...
Trevanian's seemingly haphazard time-line, paints a perfectly linear tale that for all intents and purposes, feels exactly like a screenplay...yet turning this work into a movie would be a tragedy - for so much of what I can only describe as poetry, would be lost. I found myself re-reading several paragraphs to fully digest all the subtleties.
The lead character, Nicholai Hel, is everything James Bond wishes he could be, yet uttering that statement rings like an insult to who Nikki is. A man of Shibumi..
What would a review worth it's salt be without some form of negative; Trevanian tends to repeat certain concepts on occasion, which I found a touch annoying, but I'm certain it was merely done to drive some essential points home to slower readers.
I have not read it's equal, and I fear never finding anything good enough to read ever again. A bold statement from someone who doesn't even like political thrillers..
It's towel day today and not surprisingly, I'm the only one with a towel. :(
I'll never forget you Douglas Adams!
It's better to have blogged and lost, than never to have blogged at all.
(Before I forget it)
"In cyberspace, we all live next to each other"
Submitted by Lailoken on Fri, 2004/05/14 - 2:12pm.
, each in our own parallel universe.
Cary Elwes, the lead role in "The Princess Bride". I love that movie.
Is this a sequal/remake of the Bard's Tale of yore? From the Gamespt PC post it sounds a bit like a parody game, and far less an epic fantasy role-playing adventure.
I'll check it out regardless.
Trevanian is a god and henceforth, my new Zen in both art and design shall be known as "Shibumi"
No...I am not on drugs
(I shall post a more in depth review on Trevanian's work at a later stage).
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 2004/05/13 - 3:49pm.
You mispelled "the" in the title
Submitted by MordracK on Thu, 2004/05/13 - 5:54pm.
Nope - I see no error.
Perhaps the word's true form has not manifested itself onto your psyche. Have you achieved inner-peace?
I R TEH L337 [-] A >
Submitted by DemiGoddess on Thu, 2004/08/12 - 12:16pm.
And THAT was another stellar example of the special brand of effervescent wit (in the face of astounding stupidity and ignorance to netspeak) that makes me come to your site every day :)
I am a Goddess. You are a mere mortal. I have no use for you. DIE.
I R TEH uber
Submitted by MordracK on Wed, 2004/08/18 - 2:01pm.
And THAT is a stellar example of why I let you stay. :)
Booking your favourite restuarant in the mayhem that is Mother's day (or the few days leading up to it) can be a logistical nightmare - especially when booking for a larg(er) family like mine.
We finally found room (in the smoking section...almost traditionally) of a place next to Menlyn Park, Pretoria, called "Rhapsodies"
Those of you that know me well, will have an idea of my aversion to most things green, with a tendancy towards meat (pork is particularly favourable), but something on the salad menu immediately caught my eye and get this: Goat's milk feta, Avocadoes and Biltong! In a word: Divine..
Another menu item that immediately demanded attention, was chicken breasts, bound in bacon - but alas, I had to resort to a special of the day, which was jalapeno peppers of varying colours with cheese, wrapped in 350gm of prime rump steak with deep fried potato wedges.
Positively Scrumptious! If you're looking for a venue with modern/swanky decor and a menu that's slightly off the beaten track, I can highly recommend Rhapsodies!
If you have a couple of hours to kill, try out this online AI for twenty questions: y.20q.net.
Some of the highlights during some of my games was the feedback after the AI correctly guessed "a brain"...to which it added (and I quote):
Uncommon Knowledge about a brain
Can you find it in a church? I say No.
Can you talk on it? I say Probably.
Can it be used in a pie? I say Yes.
Does it taste good with butter? I say Yes.
Uncommon Knowledge about a demon
Is it fluffy? I say Yes.
Does it make a good pet? I say Yes.
And (for the record...this wasn't my idea), some of the questions can be very funny if you think of "Crotch" - Go ahead...try it!
Most games have a random element, it's an unfortunate reality. Reducing the random element improves the skill level required to win at that game, and here's my reasoning:
If a player in any game needs to roll a die six, more often than not, it's either the 1 or the 6 that holds the most power. To roll either of those on a die six is always 1 in 6.
Now compare that with one die 20, where the odds are 1 in 20.
A common way of reducing the random factor in dice rolls by many game designers is to add modifiers to the rolls essentially improving/decreasing the odds of said die roll - despite that, I think a modifier on a die twenty holds way more ground over modifiers on 1 in 6 odds.
The above examples, of course, only applies to games that use dice. I shall further elobarate by examples from my favourite games, by explaining their random factors, and how they are reduced.
Let's just kick off with Magic the Gathering: The random element here; The shuffled deck, of course. Because MtG gives the player a selection of literally thousands of options in the construction of a deck, the player has the power of choosing the 60 cards that best suit his underlying strategy and it is thus possible, in theory, to construct a deck where any card drawn at any given time during the game could be considered usefull. On top of that, there exists several cards that manipulate the library, vastly reducing the random factor. Clearly, the biggest part of winning a game of magic lies more in the construction of the very random element...the deck itself. Making it skill based.
Next, Magic's predecessor, Robo-Rally:
The random element, again, the cards dealt to a player. It is common for a young RR player to complain about this very factor, but any experienced player could tell you, that simply planning ahead a bit, improves your game exponentially. Use your hand to your advantage, and use board-elements to get rid of useless cards (like saving that move 2 card in your hand while rotating on a conveyer belt - it doesn't set you back as much you might think - play towards the long-term goal). By keeping cards in your hand that you will need the next turn, takes away most of the random factor.
What about Backgammon? I'm not an experienced player and can't even begin to tell you all the rules or any of the subtleties - but I can tell you why I think it's rated so high internationally. The dice roll's value has little to no relevance, except for the time it's played. Rolling a 6 or a 1 or even a 3 can be considered a good roll only when the player in question needs that particular number - I believe the same could be said for bridge, making the most of what your dealt with.
Last not but least, Settlers of Catan - a game that's rapidly making waves and already has variants and expansions popping up everywhere. The dice roll in Settlers, affects all players, not the rolling player - as simple as that.
It's a pity the game designers of the WarCraft board game did not recognize the value of that simple fact when they came up with the combat system.
The only reason I think 6 sided dice, to this day, plays such a major role in game design, is because it's cheaper to produce little cubes than to contemplate alternatives to the random factor.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions based on personal preference and my reasons behind these choices. You can love your inferior *koff* games for your own reasons ;)