7 Nov 2011

My Last Blogger Post

So things are changing, I've been blogging for a few years (November 2006 according to <a href="http://pikachuind.blogspot.com/2006/11/my-first-blog.htm" target="_blank">my first blog</a>) now. Since those days long past I have progressed from the original <a title="Brainshare" href="http://pikachuind.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Brainshare</a> where I had written a few articles about my youthwork degree &amp; ministry (&amp; which I stopped being able to access, so I had to create a new one) to include much more varied topic in the newly created <a href="http://pikachuind2.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Brainshare 2.0</a>. As I imported my old blog, I can tell you that as of today I have written a total of 303 posts which vary in length, subject matter &amp; general quality!

Now that I'm married to Maddie (Hodgkins ha ha ha!) who also wrote her own blog <a href="http://madeleineking.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Madd Thoughts</a> I thought we should amalgamate to create one blog which we can both contribute to...yes, I know - very couply, but hey what can you do - we are married after all!!

What will follow will now be a series of ramblings that we choose to share, but will include our first days, weeks &amp; years of our married lives.

Now doubtless it will include ramblings, music, gaming &amp; (brain)sharing/(madd)thoughts, but that is to be expected.

However, I am shifting from the Blogger over to Wordpress, as the interface is detached from Google, so if you want us - we shall be over at Brainshare 3.0

My journey as a single man is at an end, now Our story begins...

15 Jul 2011

My summer holiday 2011

So it's the time of year of BBQ's, shorts & jango's (& general sweatiness) so it's either April still, or finally the summer time! This year, there seems to be a distinct lack of my having a long summer break scheduled for fun & frolics in some foreign (or domestic) land - I've got no MWCC camp this year, no trip to France or anything in its place...so what's going on?

Well if you had forgotten, I'm getting married this year & therefore pretty much all of my holiday is going to be taken up with a week before (sorting everything out) & afterwards (that's would be the honeymoon then!). This leaves a vitally short amount of time for anything resembling a 'proper' holiday outside of the honeymoon, apart from Easter & Christmas & a couple of days for the stag weekend.
However, I did take off an extra 2 days for something rather special - a gig, which then became 2 in the same small period of time!

The first was in Hyde Park & featured the delightful Arcade Fire, supported by Mumford & Sons. Now each of these bands I would say I am a big fan of - since I first heard the Arcade Fire on Neon Bible (their 2nd album) I have wanted to see them live & after getting tickets & finding out that Mumford were supporting - this was a pretty immense & became a must-see for me.

On the day, there was a real party & & almost festival-type atmosphere. This meant it was all very relaxed & things ran smoothly. The warm up bands were fairly forgettable until Mumford who sounded simply amazing! They ran through most of their debut album (Sigh No More) & even dropped in a couple of new songs as well & definitely got the crowd going.

Eventually it was time for the main even - Arcade Fire. Now I have heard that people have complained about the sound, but I didn't notice a problem. But that aside, they played a really good set, mixing songs from all 3 studio albums & gave a great representation of their music. I just think that with large outside gigs you do lose the intimacy of a smaller venue. That said - it was a brilliant day & well worth the money (about £50 a ticket!).

Next was some band started by that drummer from that "that pretty famous grungy band from the 90's" - some Fighters of Foo!! The living legends that they are - Dave, Nate, Chris, Taylor & (officially back again) Pat forming the mighty Foo Fighters!

They're a band I've been a fan of for a very long time - since I first heard their 'Down in the Park' cover (originally by Gary Numan) from some random X-Files Album from way back 1996! I have every album, most B-Sides & have seen them live 3 times previously - Birmingham NIC & Hyde Park for their 'In Your Honour Tour' & Wembly Stadium for their 'Echoes Silence Patience & Grace Tour'. To say that I'm a bit of a fan is a mild understatement!

But even when I heard they were playing a stadium tour in 2011 I thought (with saving for a wedding etc.) that I might just give this one a miss. However, I then heard the new album - Wasting Light (available at all good record stores...wait there's only HMV left now!) & thought...nuts - I really gotta see them live again! So when one of my Foo's buddies had a spare ticket, I initially seriously contemplated, but refused. But then it became apparent that it was so spare that I was offered it at half price(!) so I couldn't refuse!
 Anyways, enough of my backstory - it was a new place for me - the legendary Milton Keynes Bowl - which although not having the greatest layout I've ever seen - it's literally a bowl shaped bowl, but with the toilets & food vans outside & the music inside. However, the track running round the outside very thin, & when you get 65'000 trying to use the...facilities simultaneously it really gets too busy for me. That aside, there were some sound issues, where if you were at the bottom of the bowl the sound was alright, but as soon as you went up the sides, it was dramatically better - highly unusual, but that would explain why people were trying to get to...the back!

Right so on to the music - the support acts - 'Lame Impala' - grungy but didn't really care & 'Death Cab for Cutie' better, but still don't care. Then a bigger band - Biffy Clyro...I've seen them 3 times now & haven't cared any time I've seen them! The crowd loved it & went totally mad for it...but not me! Even the guys who I was there with stared at me like a madman - why don't you like it? It's unexplainable really, but they just don't float my boat - I liked 'Machines', but that's about it.

Finally it was time for the Foos to get on stage. Their setlist was massive - but what do you expect from a band who have made 6 albums with such great songs on each! So how about this for a playlist:

Bridge Burning
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn to Fly
White Limo
Cold Day in the Sun (with Roger Taylor of Queen)
Long Road to Ruin
Stacked Actors
Dear Rosemary (with Bob Mould of Husker Du)
Monkey Wrench
Let It Die
Best of You
Skin and Bones
All My Life
Wheels (Dave solo)
Times Like These (Dave solo for the start)
Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
School's Out (Alice Cooper cover) (with Alice Cooper!)
I'm Eighteen (Alice Cooper cover) (with Alice Cooper)

& that list is even songs that I thought were missing - I should have known, This is a Call, Weenie Beenie, For all the Cows, In Your Honour, DOA, Hell, Hey Johnny Park, Low!

Mr Grohl is a master of playing to the crowd & did everything right - good banter, great humour & made the whole crowd feel like they were special - he really is a great performer! Overall then a brilliant show - top tunes & a superb atmosphere - if you haven't see them before - I recommend the Foos in the strongest possible way!

12 Jul 2011

GMiL 1

Discovering Original Kronenbourg with JMC & other Cokethorpe people
during the infamous French Exchange to Argenton. We still celebrate
this when we get together & have a beer in the summer time.
Finding a dead rat at the Cranston's with Smellit & dropping it into
into wheelie-bin - also at that time the infamous bear in the woods
Eating ice cream till all hours in the original Haagen Daz shop with
the originals - Jo, Caroline, JMC, Cheryl & Vivi.
The Solid Rock weekend away - for the infamous poo-sticks - "That's
not a stick THAT's a stick" (i.e. a tree) & climbing the wall &
helping up all the rest of the group over the wall.
Picnics in University Parks, Oxford with various people including the
originals - Jo, Caroline, JMC, Cheryl & Vivi.
Swimming from the Victoria Arms pub in Oxford as I couldn't get back
on the punt & being mocked for a very long time.
Discovering Trance - Gatecrasher Red on cassette & then the arrival of
CD's meant life would never be the same again - dance music forever a
part of my psyche.
Discovering Hard House - via Rick Castle/ISC crew - Insomnia 1 & Hard
House Euphoria begin a long & industrious career as a
clubber/cyberfreak - baggy combats, acupunture shoes, tight cyberdog
(ultraviolet glowing) vest tops & spiky multi-coloured hair!
Hearing Adam Freeland's live mixes: Wonderlust & Essential Mixes, the
COPE album & Evil 9 , Ills & Fabric mixes - these are the breaks
becoming a permanent fixture phrase.
Swimming in the sea on very cold 1st December - with boardies only -
no wet/dry suit!
Coasteering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coasteering) for TC's stag
weekend - running between rocks & the sea, climbing, diving & trying
to navigate an epic journey - once in a lifetime...but I want to do it
Spring Harvest - never working so hard in one week & discovering the phrase Spring Harvest-strong coffee!
Soul Survivor - holy spirit encounter - deliverance ministry
Soul in the City - pringle sandwiches!
Singing for Helen Barker's wedding
Escorting/helping/walking with Joanna into the sea with my first visit
to Mid Wessex Christian Camps
My own baptism & organising the music for 2 other baptisms - blowing
the roof off Kidlington Baptist Church.
Blasting out Knights of Cydonia to wake up Mid Wessex & then driving
out to the same track later that day - immense track & great memory.

5 Jul 2011

My first animation to thinking about...a cinemagraph?

So I have been experimenting with animations for a project at work (making a red pacman chew up some words & then boom, it turns into a red Deadmau5 instead!) & whilst researching techniques for how to make this happen, I came across a new theory of animations linked to animated gifs & high definition photos - combined to form a partially moving hd photo. The effects are quite beautiful & the amount of work needed for them (not to mention Adobe CS5) seems large, but for web designers I think there are many applications & possibly in other circles to.

So check out: http://fromme-toyou.tumblr.com/tagged/cinemagraph for some really good examples.

We continue.....

1 Jun 2011

Dear America...more good shows please & stop cancelling ones I like!

So I've said it before, but in the last year or so has seen an irritating trend in the cancellation of what I considered to be rather good TV shows.

Some like Lost & 24 found their natural conclusion (well kinda) & others stopped in the middle of a secene (Sopranos) but some just stop when things get interesting.

So here are 3 examples of shows which have recently been cancelled:

  • Rubicon: something in the most secret of secret agencies looking at a plot which was nicely complex & was becoming essential viewing. This plot spanned the whole of its 1 season (only 10 episodes) before being axed - damn.
  • Human Target: a great little comic-book adaptation which had strong performances by the whole cast - good plot lines, great sequences, but left by the wayside after 2 great seasons. Really sad to see this go.
  • Lie to Me: this was one of the most watchable shows on TV for a while - I would say I prefer it to even House. The excellent Tim Roth giving a massive performance every week, with a highly interesting take on a crime drama - being a human lie detector who could read peoples faces & uses this to discover rather uneasy truths. The overall plot was progressing nicely & had some truely brilliant episodes with great guest stars. It was axed mid season 3...seriously disappointed!

So so if you're cancelling this quality of show & producing pap like Two & A Half Men, I think you need to think about those who don't apreciate canned laughter & predictable plots - treat the audience with some intellect please!?

We continue.

P.S. Game of Thrones & Archer fall under the AAA category (& yes the A stands for awesome)

27 May 2011

Wake-up song of the month: Foo Fighters "Bridge Burning"

So I've had to get up rather too early too many times (more flights to the Dentist) so have needed something seriously loud to get me out of bed....this wins!!

26 May 2011

Thor: God of Thunder vs. Thor (the movie)

How is it possible 2 things can be so many worlds apart? I am of course referring to the difference between say a movie & a movie-tie-in-game! There have been some properly shocking games released at the same time as movies & I really struggle to think of one which has really stood in the same league as the movie they claim to be tied to (I would suggest a hefty pair of scissors would see to that)...well maybe the Chronicles of Riddick prequels & Lego Star Wars!

If you look at some of the offenders: Iron Man, Transformers, anything James Bond (except the excellent, classic Goldeneye), Prince of Persia (the game of the movie of a game...wtf!) Tron Evolution, Battle of Los Angeles, Avatar & the Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings Games & there is a much bigger list (most of these all have sequels!) the developers don't seem to learn from their mistakes.

When you look at some of the brilliant games out there (I would argue Bulletstorm, Call of Duty, etc.) then why on earth does sheer crap like Thor: God of Thunder exist?

Now I tried with this game, I really did, but the gameplay sucked, the combat sucked, the camera angle sucked - it was wave after wave of mindless enemies & button mashing like the evil spawn of Dynasty Warriors 12 (or whatever number they're on) - but the irony is that I'm sure I would prefer the current iteration of DW, than this steaming pile of manure! I struggled on for about 6 hours & got a minute percentage of the way through the game - you would have to be a super-human to reach the end!

Now don't get me wrong the characters are some of my favourite in the Marvel Universe - Thor is definitely my favourite, eclipsing any of the Xmen, Deadpool, etc. I loved the movie it blew me away. But there are certain, universal rules - if you make a game of a movie or a movie of a game...it will almost certainly suck! There I said it, now let's move on!

In the end I had to trade it in, within a week of owning it! I'm going to save the in-store credit for Thor...the movie when it's released later this year, at least that will entertain me :D

Rant over (but for a full rant by those G4 Pros, see here)

24 May 2011

Fighting...Bullletstorm & CoD7: Black Ops

So I've had both these games for a few months & with my recent blog-slackerness (9 posts in Jan + 3 in Feb + 4 in March + 0 in April & only 2 this month = fail!) I may have overlooked these quite remarkable games which have been stuck in my console at various times since pre-Christmas (& February with Bulletstorm).

So what's the big deal, well with Black Ops (Call of Duty 7) there have been massive improvements to what has been one of the most successful video game franchises/series of all time - selling 55 million call of duty units since 2003 -  not including Black Ops which has sold over 20 million as well so that’s at least 75 million units & over 3billion dollars – so they must be doing something right!

So the game, well now there are even more thing that are now possible both online & offline. The single-player mode is nicely varied around the world with a host of never-before-user weapons (a personal favourite being the crossbow - so much fun) & arenas of destruction. There is definitely a more theatrical experience in the single-player game, with a bigger emphasis on interactivity, but with that classic CoD idiocy that nothing can continue without your imput! Once again you have a great cast of actors this time Avatar/Terminator 3’s Sam Worthington is the ‘hero’ Mason, Ice Cube as Bowman & Ed Harris as Hudson, all supported by the great Gary Oldman back to the franchise with his best Russian accent as Reznov!

The big addition has be the bots – so rather than needing a host of friends or go online, you can add up to 9 bots & play against either a fixed or incrementally difficult digital opponent. This strangely does not get tiresome & helps you improve & practice for online warfare. There are also is a different system for unlocking weapons – cold hard cash! You earn it for every point you earn – this can be for kills, objectives or general skills. This means that although you can still level-up & unlock better weapons, you have to purchase the customisable parts, such as sights, camouflage, frag launchers & a host of other attachments.

This game simply begs to be played & completed & then when you’re done, there’s a vast multiplayer & the return of Nazi Zombies (with massive maps) to keep you busy – a serious 5 out of 5!

But next up, there’s the story of another title – this time it’s an original gaming title (difficult to come by these days with all these franchises Call of Duty, FIFA, Pro Evo, Project Gotham, Lego X, Battlefield, etc,) & although it has very close ties with the Gears of War team – they are using a new development house (People Can Fly), but with the rather-often-used Unreal Engine as the driving force behind the game.

It's called Bulletstorm & seemed to have been plugged rather heavily in the gaming press as it was so different  to many other things, but also because of the ties to the Gears (of War) franchise.The big kicker (pun intended) for this game is the ability to slide (a quick tap) to the nearest available cover - like the cover system in gears but even more awesome & 2 choice melee options - an electronic leash - a lightening device which means you can grab enemies from distance  (just like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat!) & the ability to kick people...really hard! Combine these together with some ridiculously vicious weapons (what could possibly go wrong with a quadruple-barreled shotgun?) & some tough customers/enemies & you have the makings of a great game - add in some witty dialogue & engaging storyline & you have a really special game.

This is another 5/5 game but some people might take away a point because of not amazing online multiplayer (it's just trying to score as highly as you can - competing against your friends/leaderboard)

...w.e continue

17 May 2011

Music is my drugless drug, but it's still addictive!

For those people that know me well, you will know about my borderline-obsession with music. I listen to it all day, it’s always on in the car & I even have to fall asleep with music (specifically the Adam Freeland: Back to Mine, which has a massive play count of 1265…just on my laptop!)!

But one does occasionally need contemplate why this is the case – why does my life need a soundtrack?

There is a history to this – I will always say that I was brought up on a certain variety of music; it was a mix of some classic rock with Dire Straits & some new age electronic music with Tangerine Dream & Wavestar. Now 20 years have past since this & what has changed?

Dance & rock music has evolved since then. Rock has grown into many different directions & if you believe the the hype on the BBC is a dying art form as there were only 3 rock songs in the charts in 2010…quite frankly I don’t! there are some great rock albums from the last couple of years & if you look at the likes of Foo Fighters, Muse, Arcade Fire, Silversun Pickups, Kings of Leon, Them Cooked Vultures, Mumford & Sons, Smashing Pumpkins, the Mars Volta, it’s a big old list! Even if you remember Christmas 2009 when a Facebook campaign to get Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” to number 1 in the charts, so that another bunch of cereal-box-created, written-by-someone-else pop music pap being celebrated by getting to the head of the charts (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_in_the_Name).

But what does it mean to me?

Dance music, well that has exploded & keeps flitting with mainstream popularity, but champions like Pete Tong, Judge Jules, Annie Mac & Zane Lowe on Radio 1 keep exposing the scene, free podcasts like Adam Freeland's Marine Parade, Tiesto's Club Life, even David Guetta help showcase new out future tracks. But for me I've loved it since a cassette I heard many years ago - On a Dance Tip. I didn't understand why, but something clicked - it was new & different. Then after some mainstream albums, I was introduced to Gatecrasher back in 1998/9 - something amazingly melodic & a cut above any other dance music I had heard up till then - Trance - I was now officially hooked (although I have only visited Gatecrasher once...in 2011).

Fast forward a few years & it was then Hard House - Tidy Boys, Lab 4, etc. who have a very 'bouncy' sound & a high rate of BPM! Fast forward again & it's Breaks & something I'm not even sure which genre it fits into - Adam Freeland, Evil 9, Deadmau5, Wolfgang Garner & Pendulum (is it dance, drum & bass, rock, metal - I'm still not certain?!). There is a constant search to hear new things & listen to suggestions from close friends & those who regularly either create their own or have similar music tastes - so a friend from school suggests coming to a Breaks night in Oxford, at around the same time as another friend introduces the Adam Freeland album (2003's Now and Them. That same friend also says that I must hear this Deadmau5 guy - he's crazy good! Dance music is always going to be part of my life, because not only does it continually recycle itself, but it changes & develops & grows in new & unexpected & exciting ways.

Now rock music is something which has had a long emotional bond with me - not only with memories of people & places, but also of teenage rebellion & escapist from when I was a kid. But now, although there is some form of escapism, it is much more diminished. But my tastes are normally more specific - I need riffs, great riffs & a good loud noise! This is plainly evident with some of my favourite bands - Foo Fighters, Silversun Pickups, Queens ofthe Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Sonic Youth Rage Against the Machine, Muse, Arcade Fire, Autolux, etc.

The soundtrack thing is slightly more difficult to explain - originally it was as a form of bullsh*t remover - blocking out the irritating sound of someone at work who drove me nuts with their constant babble of current affairs...on television - soaps, celebrity gossip, Big Brother & other crap they had read in The Sun that day. But now it has become a staple part of my working life - I don't know anyone else who has a constant stream of music playing (in 1 ear) all day, every day, all year round! My theory is that it keeps me sane & working. I know that regardless of the tediousness of any task, I can prevail - so long as I have my choice beats to accompany me - be that gardening, accounting, HTML/CSS coding, or even writing long blogs(!).

I now have a massive collection of albums & remixes & have a firm belief that I could make a totally kick-ass set/soundtrack/playlist. However, a distinct lack of tech, self-belief, combined with a knowledge of my own failings means that I don't think I'll ever be a DJ, but I will always continue to enjoy music, creating playlists & introducing myself to new sounds & artists, regardless of the development of it all.

3 May 2011

How to write good

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10. One should never generalize.
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  14. Profanity sucks.
  15. Be more or less specific.
  16. Understatement is always best.
  17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

I love this & it made me laugh rather a lot, at work - brilliant!!

14 Feb 2011

Facebook Games = Fail

So as many will know, I am a Facebook user & a bit of a (massive) old-fashioned gamer (yes, I realise the irony in the fact that a) this makes me old & b) old-fashioned really just means console/hardcore) but what happens when you combine the 2 & I try playing some of the games now available on Facebook?

Well unfortunately the result is a resounding....fail!

Now the reason is that all of these games share some common issue - an inability to be able to actually complete a game, no new content by the developers to keep the user interested, but the biggest failing (yet marketing genius) is that of recharging/building/earning/mining to get resources.

There are 3 games I normally play: My Empire (oh dear), Pirates Ahoy (don't start!) &  Backyard Monsters (wow). Now each of them have no maximum level to achieve therefore no completion is possible - there is no concrete end. Each of them requires you to complete buildings/earn coins etc. but tell you that you have to wait 24 hours or in some cases a whole week - I cannot imagine any standard game asking you to wait so long - but the overall reward is so limited, it becomes pointless very quickly. Couple this with almost imperceptibly no development & what you are left with is a novelty game which loses its shine faster than my chocolate teaspoons!

Rant over, we continue...

6 Feb 2011

Who do you think you are?

So whilst dong some washing up today, my brain switched itself on & I’ve got a couple of ideas for blog posts & I thought why not – something to do on a Sunday avo!

Anyways, I was thinking about some old BBC website articles I read some time ago: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3683260.stm & http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/05/technology_online_gamers_unmasked/html/1.stm & was contemplating the whole subject of online profiles of people & how this both does & does not represent the offline individual.

So for some time now I have been using the online tag of Pikachuind – I use it for my Xbox Live profile, Twitter, Gmail, & even this blog & even though my actual name is also associated with these profiles, my online presence dissociates with this & becomes something totally different.

Offline I am a software support technician, a drive, a cyclist & have a wonderful fiancĂ©e. But online, on Xbox Live for example, I’m a bit of a psychopath who likes to use frag-grenades, claymores, C4 & a Famas or WA2000 (with an ACOG sight naturally) to exact my revenge on numerous enemies!! :D

So there is something to be said for contemplating how you present yourself online. Here are a few thoughts from me:

Do you exist online?
Are you true to yourself online?
What do other people think about you online?
If you use an alias, is this appropriate to your personality?

Further Reading:

2 Feb 2011

Online overdose?

A very random thought from this morning & it's all about online social networking

So when I got engaged last Easter, the way we told people, was actually not by telling people (confused yet?) it was in fact by utilising online social networking - specifically updating our relationship status on Facebook! The effect took only a few moments & then the (digital) congratulations began, as well as texts, phone calls & email - it is a strange thing to think that if you go back even as little as 5 years, this would be unheard of! Now it seems that things don't appear to happen if it's not on Facebook...how many people on now remember someone's birthday because it's on Facebook (be honest!)!

I jokingly suggested that during our wedding in October we should update our relationship status again (preferably to say we're married) - for some reason this was met with a frown (can't image why!) & that I must be joking & of course I was (sort of!). 

Having said all that it is interesting to see the afftect of online social networks - they have become almost daily routines for a growing number of people (300'000'000+ users & growing every minute) & has become a part of people's offline lives - an interesting contemplation would be to think about a world without Facebook (or indeed Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) or the internet (like Egypt right now!) - I wonder how people would cope?

28 Jan 2011


Playing around with a few digital business cards:

1) Streaming RSS feeds into my; Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube: http://flavors.me/pikachuind#d3f/blogger

2) 'Proper' digital business card:  http://idently.com/pikachuind

Each have their use, but the digital business card is pretty epic win!

We continue...

26 Jan 2011

Fable 3

Fable 3 - another 2010 sequel, but a game so much darker than previous Fable games (check out my previous review for Fable 2), there are parts which bring some serious edge to the gameplay - you really are facing off against the forces or darkness...but first you have to get to be king (or queen).

This game is split into 2 halves - questing to gather followers, when you have enough, you can challenge for the throne from your evil brother. There are some great moments and you will once again sink days into this game, but you can complete the main part of the game in 10-15 hours, but there are so many side quests & whole hidden realms (there's a whole town that does not exist, even when you complete the main story, it's unlocked through a quest).

It's a game where you have to make some really tough moral decisions, even before you become King and that your actions can have long-running consequences - if you do evil, you will become more evil and vicaversa. This is done to scuh an extent that not only do you begin to change your appearance, but your weapons start dripping with blood & NPC's cower or run away from you when you walk past!

The voice acting is pretty brilliant really - how about this for some voice actors are; Simon Pegg ( as the rebel soldier Ben Finn), Jonathan Ross (as Barry Hatch), Stephen Fry (resuming his role as Reaver), Zoe Wanamaker (resuming her role as the mysterious Theresa - your guide to the throne), John Cleese (as your butler Jasper who also appears in the Sanctuary), Bernard Hill (as Sir Walter Beck) and Sir Ben Kingsley (as Sabine, elder of the Dweller tribe) not bad...for a game!

There are a few (fairly minor) irritants though, like the occasional visual glitch - just try spinning on the spot & you'll see what I mean, or the fact that you still can't jump, the firearm targeting system is not amazingly accurate & the interactions with NPC's is not great either. But they don't really detract from the overall game.

There is one thing which may frustrate/irritate people is once again the issue of DLC (DownLoadable Content) & the cost of adding features which people argue should have been included in the original game.Below is a list of current add-ons for Xbox 360 (or click here) & the most expensive the is Understone pack, which is just one very short mission which unlocks a small town...not the greatest use of 400MS Points ever! See what you think:

1. Fable III Dog Breed Set: 240 MS Points
2. Fable III Free Yule Hat: 0 MS Points
3. Fable III Understone Quest Pack: 400 MS Points
4. Fable III Five Star Dog Potion: 80 MS Points
5. Fable III Hair Pack: 160 MS Points
6. Fable III Female Highlander Outfit: 160 MS Points
7. Fable III Highlander Tattoo Set: 80 MS Points
8. Fable III Dye Pack: 80 MS Points
9. Fable III Red Setter Dog Potion: 160 MS Points
10. Fable III Industrial Knight Outfit: 160 MS Points
11. Fable III Male Highlander Outfit: 160 MS Points
12. Fable III Dog Outfit: 160 MS Points
13. Free Weapons: 0 MS Points