Cheaty Cheatington, Dungeons & Depression, Switching Browsers, First Lines (some pants, some brillo pads), New Bangai-O (bonkers fun)

06 May

Phew, Chiara’s intro-story-thing is done. Needs polish, but don’t we all? Turned out to be a bit longer than I expected, even with cheaty cheaty tell-don’t-show passage-of-time cheaty cheats, but oh well. Maybe I’ll cut some stuff out later. On to Christoph’s now, which isn’t strictly necessary, but it shows another side to things and has a minor pay-off later, and it won’t be too long so why not, eh? Why not indeed. Good to have a break between Talise’s longish one and Chiara’s longish one, anyway.

Watched The Dungeon Masters today and found it horribly depressing. You know what was missing? Laughter! That’s what I remember most about roleplaying, lots of arguing and lots of laughing. I think it focused too heavily on the ‘obsessive escapism’ aspect and too little on the ‘enthusiastic fun’ side of things.

Something else I did today was switch browsers, because Firefox 4 was so slow that I had to write out my bjournal posts in a text document. Huge lag between hitting keys and letters appearing. I’m using Chrome now, and it’s very speedy indeedy.

Maybe it’s just me, but this list of 100 ‘great’ first lines:

… seems to have a lot of first lines that are, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly pants. But let’s not focus on those, let’s be positive and fish out the truly brilliant first lines from amidst the rubbish. 1984’s first line is one of my favourites–not just as a first line, but as a great line in general:

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
—George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

Nicely twinned with one of the most famous first lines in geekdom:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
—William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

Tolstoy, of course, author of several classics that are actually very readable:

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

I haven’t actually read this book, but it’s a good line:

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
—Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

Haven’t read this one either, but now I want to:

Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.
—Günter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959; trans. Ralph Manheim)

That this line has been quoted and paraphrased and twisted and abused and yet still retains its impact says a lot about its truth and its power:

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
—L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

Not a huge fan of Iain M. Banks, but credit where it’s due:

It was the day my grandmother exploded.
—Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

C.S. Lewis had some good ones, but this is, in my opinion, his best:

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
—C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

And of course, the eternal, the classic:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

In closing, I’d just like to say that the new XBLA Bangai-O game is totally, ridiculously bonkers and stupendous fun. D3 Publishing, they put out these janky, odd, B-grade games that manage to kick the pants off more high-budget, polished, high-profile games in terms of actual gameplay. The fact that there can be, literally, thousands of enemies and missiles and giant ants and oh dear goodness the FLOATING FRUIT on screen at once is just … I don’t know. You’re a giant robot and you charge your EX attacks by collecting giant floating pineapples. To some, baffling. To others, intrinsically appealing.

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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Just Other Stuff, Of Writing


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