Currently Playing: Mother (NES)

Thank you Virtual Console for allowing me to play Mother! Originally released only in Japan in 1989 on the NES (or Famicom), I’ve been dying to play this because it’s the prequel to one of my top three favorite games ever, Earthbound. When it was announced in June of this year that Mother was finally being released on the Virtual Console I was completely ecstatic and bought it right away. I’ve finally got a chance to get stuck into it properly this past week or so and so far, I’m really enjoying it. It’s definitely reducing my Earthbound withdrawal symptoms somewhat. because the two games are almost exactly the same in terms of game-play. It’s no wonder that Mother was released on the Virtual Console under the title Earthbound Beginnings. I prefer to use its original title of Mother but I can’t fault the underlying logic at work. The two main differences are the plot (obviously) and Mother’s use of a random encounter battle system. The battle system can be a bit annoying sometimes, especially because quite often I literally take one step forward and boom, I’m in another battle. When that happens navigating an area can be laborious because it can take a while for me to actually get my bearings – the battling in this game is very frequent. So much so that I’m at level 20 already and I’ve only just arrived at Merrysville, so I’m still pretty early in the game. It’s sucked the challenge out of the battles at the moment because I’m able to breeze through in about three attacks at most. The battles themselves are still really funny though – Earthbound was famed for having battles with anything from cups of coffee to mystical records to abstract art (I’m not kidding). Mother isn’t quite as extreme but enemies such as Momseyes, Dadseyes and Foureyes have made me giggle. Chances are, I won’t prefer it to Earthbound but even still, I expect Mother will rank very high on my all time favourite games list!

Public Service Broadcasting – Go

Definitely a case of eating humble pie. I first became aware of Public Service Broadcasting in very early this year. A relative recommended I try them as he was convinced I would absolutely love them. So, I tried a few songs from their latest album, The Race For Space and I was completely bemused. It was strange instrumentals that were littered with samples from key events in the Space Race such as the launch of the first satellite into space, the first human to go into space and of course the moon landing of 1969. On first listen I just couldn’t grasp it and I quickly ruled them off as not being for me. Fast forward to yesterday evening when I was in the car and suddenly I heard an instrumental on the radio that I suspected was Public Service Broadcasting… and I found myself really liking it. Then came those space samples and I knew beyond doubt it was them. The song was ‘Go’ from The Race For Space. I’ll admit, I think I dismissed them too quickly. Perhaps the first time I tried them I just wasn’t in the right mood for all those space samples. All the coverage of Tim Peake’s launch to the International Space Station here these past few days has probably helped me appreciate their sound much more. Back to retry The Race For Space after all I guess…

Currently Reading: Dear Boy: The Life Of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher

I’ve read several books about The Who but I was especially excited to read Dear Boy as the infamous life of the manic genius that was Keith Moon is perfect material for a biography. I’ve heard so many good things about this book and as far as I know it’s regarded as a classic of the genre. It’s also incredibly weighty, the latest edition being over 600 pages in length. I”m 300 pages in and my goal is to finish it by Christmas Day. The reason quite simply is that I always get a new book (usually several) for Christmas – this year I’m hoping someone has bought me that new Lee Brilleaux biography. Anyway, so far I’m loving this book. I had high expectations as I’ve already read A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga Of The Smiths which was also written by Tony Fletcher. His level of research is fantastic and whilst he writes with plenty of love for Keith Moon he also doesn’t shy away from highlighting his faults and failings. The book has been a serious eye-opener into Moon’s character. Some of the details regarding his relationship with his late wife Kim have made for very uncomfortable reading. It underscores what I’ve long suspected: that if Moon was growing up in more recent times he’d have been diagnosed with a condition such as ADHD or manic depression. For all of his genius he seemed like a very difficult person to deal with. A fascinating man but could I have been friends with him? Probably not as I’m too straight laced a person and I seriously lack in patience. Anyway, I’m at the dawn of the 1970s in the book, were Keith has just accidentally ran over and killed his chauffeur, Neil Boland in a tragic accident. Of course, I already know that this tale doesn’t have a happy ending, but the sense of inevitably regarding Moon’s early demise is just shocking. I really don’t think the man was meant to live a long life.

London Calling!!

By far the biggest thing to happen to me that’s worth writing about on here in the past two months is that on February 12th I will be flying out from Belfast to London, to see The Who play the SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday. February 13th! Some fans have expressed anger that they’ve announced another “final UK show” of The Who Hits 50! tour but it’s the first time I’ll be seeing them live so I’m massively excited.  Every new show is an opportunity for a young fan like myself to see them live for the first time after all. Besides, Roger & Pete put on a fantastic show, so why not? At their age we should be thankful that they’re still able to do it at all, especially following Roger Daltrey’s battle with meningitis in recent months. Treasure the legends whilst we still have them – that’s my philosophy. Of course I’ll also be doing some sightseeing whilst I’m there. I’ll be definitely visiting the Joe Strummer mural and Joe Strummer subway because I’m a big Clash-nerd. 8 weeks to go!!

Update

Woah, has it been two months since I last wrote on here? I’ve been a hamster caught in a never-ending wheel of stuff to do for the past two months. The biggest change being that I’m now a University student, studying English Literature and English Language. Ironic considering I’ve had writers block really… anyway. Time to knuckle down to work. I’ll start with the design on this blog because right now it looks abysmal. Don’t have high hopes for that though because words are my thing, not visual design. After that I’ve got plenty to talk about so see you very soon!