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“Dirty Bird”, a fried chicken vendor in Wales, has been forced to defend its choice in logo:…

Some rather prudish individuals have complained that it looks a mite dubious, while the owner of Dirty Bird has insisted that people are seeing what they want to see, and not what was intended.
It is claimed that the logo is simply the lower case initials of the company placed back to back in order to form the neck and wings of a cockerel.

Seeing one of Dirty Bird’s recent promotional images, however; one might be given cause to doubt their professed innocence.

And people ask why I like living on this spiteful little island :D
I don’t know whether it’s because games were faster to produce through the 90s or if it was simply because, as a kid, you CAN’T buy every game you want to play, but there always seemed to be something new on the shelves back in the day. You could never walk into a game store, look at the shelves and find nothing of interest.
That’s what it’s like at the moment, though.
Over the last few years, I have become used to there being a couple of months where there are no new game releases (of any note, at least – there’s always plenty of chaff), but 2014 seems to be the worst it's ever been. You can go into a game store, look at the shelves and actually think “I’ve played everything”.
As a gamer, this is kinda depressing. More so given that there’s nothing on the horizon that I’m looking forward to. Most of the “Next-Gen” games are being released on Current-Gen machines, so there doesn’t seem to be a point in upgrading. You’d think that a good thing, but it has the weird effect of diluting any excitement that might have been generated at the prospect of playing those games. Why pay for a big, new, expensive machine when you can play a new title on one you already own? But, at the same time; if you buy the current-gen version, you know you’ll be playing a visually inferior copy.
Steam is usually a pretty good place to head during such dark times. If I was stranded out in the desert, this would be the scrap of metal that I lick moisture off every morning in order to survive. I check the “new releases” section daily, now, in the hope of finding an indie game that’ll keep me amused until I have a reason to return to my console.
Unfortunately, even that’s started to rust over a bit.
I’m on the verge of playing Facebook games, which, sticking the “dying of thirst” analogy, is like having to resort to drinking your own urine.


I'm having trouble with a pop-up. This keeps showing up when I open my browser or move between web pages, regardless of how many times I hit "don't allow":

I've tried everything I can think of to get rid of it (running malware/virus removal utilities in case it's something dubious and uninstalling/reinstalling flash) but it just keeps coming back.

I've currently disabled flash, which rids me of the pop-up, but it also means I can't view anything that requires it.

Has anyone encountered this problem?
Are there any tech-savvy people out there with a suggestion of how to get rid of it?
M$ hasn't so much shot themselves in the foot with the XBotch as they have blown their entire f**king leg off; this we all know.
Were they sane they might just keep quiet until they actually have some games to push, but their advertising suggests they're taking aim at the remaining limb.…

"Check this out; Xbox, snap does two things at once, so I can play games while I watch my favourite show at the same time."

People knew this was impractical/useless when we were first presented with the 1989, when we watched Back to the Future 2.

Who the f**k is running this marketing campaign??!!

During Steam’s summer “if these prices don’t tempt you into giving us your money, nothing will” sale, I picked up RPG Maker VX Ace dirt cheap.
I’d played around with the demo a little while back, but didn’t think it worth the price they were asking as it simply wasn’t as versatile as the Clickteam software I’ve been using, in one form or another, since 1993.
However, at 75% off, I thought “what the hell”.

Now, I’ve only been messing around with the system for a few hours, but I can see how it’d be easier for me to make the “great big f**k-off” RPG I’ve always wanted to put together using RPG Maker rather than MultiMedia Fusion. With the latter, I’d have to put together all the internal workings myself. With the former, that’s already in place. All I have to do is focus on the story and pretty graphics, which is useful as I have zero programming know-how. That’s why I use these WYSIWYG builders!

I’m actually thinking about revisiting the Fallout-inspired design I was chipping away at a couple of years ago, continuing its development using this new software. I’ll need to become more familiar with the inner workings of RPG maker, though. Once I work out how to remove unnecessary stats, I’ll be on a roll (Magic points and skills don’t really work in a post-apocalyptic game).

RPG Maker – very rigid. You use it to make retro-style RPGs and retro-style RPGs only (unless you've some coding skill which you can use to alter the underlying scripts).

Multimedia Fusion 2 – Highly versatile, but you build your games from scratch. Nothing is pre-set, as with RPG Maker.
I’ve been using Clickteam products for years, starting with
Klik & Play, followed by two versions of The Games Factory.
I live in a nice, quiet, some might say "dull" part of the world. Certain things will just never, ever happen here..... like a man getting stuck inside 30 tons worth of stone vagina.…

Now, I will defend the intelligence of Americans until the day I die. Much of my favourite writing, movies, games, comics and music comes from over there. They're not an inately stupid people. Every nation has its morons. It's just American morons are the f**king benchmark.
I love the Team Fortress 2 short movies. They're like little Pixar films......just with violence, blood, dismemberment and a general disregard for health, safety and human life.

Usually they're quite brief, but the latest to surface is a whole 15 minutes. Positively feature-length!….

It's making me want to revisit those TF2 "auxiliary units" I designed a couple of years back.

TF2 Morale Officer by jollyjack TF2 Shock Trooper by jollyjack TF2 Strategist by jollyjack
I tried out a DRM for my digital comics a while back. It was way too clunky and irritated the people who actually buy my comics rather than hang around dubious forums begging people to post them for free. This meant I basically had to sit back and accept the losses being incurred through unauthorised distribution – and by “unauthorised distribution”, I don’t mean one person posting it to another person, I mean the product I’m trying to sell being made available for anyone and everyone to download free for an indefinite period. Something which the offenders don’t seem to believe (or care) to be damaging.
Recently, some bright spark has collected every scrap of digital material I’ve ever created with the intent to sell and put it all in one place as a free download. This has essentially wiped out my inventory and is forcing me to take another look at possible DRMs I can apply to future digital content.
I’ve earmarked a few that I’m going to examine more closely, but if anyone has a recommendation, feel free to post it below.
I got bored....and I had a microphone handy.....

One of my fave comedians has died.
Pretty much everything Rik Mayall starred was in was over-the-top, offensive and purile.....and it always had me in stitches.
Farewell, Flashheart!…

Edit: Now this is how you do a tribute :D

Photos taken within the Fukushima exclusion zone.

Witnesses describe it as an oily-black creature with either very stunted legs or an actual fish-tail. It strides around on abnormally long arms.

Image drawn by a child in Souma, over 30KM north of Fukushima.

Feel free to post any evidence you may have found yourself in the comments section.

(And by that I mean: doctor your own photos to perpetuate the myth)
I only really click on the thumbnails that appear on DA’s front page if they look good. I think most people do. A couple of days ago, there was a fabulous pencil-rendered image that caught my eye. I clicked on it, looked at it, admired the work, added the artist to my watch list and then noticed the minor anatomical flaw.
It was a simple error, one probably born from a mix of the figure’s position on the page and the artist being so eager to start working the image up that they began before double-checking their construction lines (if they use them at all).
My mind, working in the way it does, saw a funny cartoon in it, and, me being me, I drew it, posted it and fully accept the consequences of it and the reaction of the audience, good or bad.

A little while later, another idea popped into my head. This one inspired purely by the concept of long-armed mermaids and the cartoon I had drawn, not the minor flaw in another artist’s quality work.
(This is how inspiration works, y’see: one idea leads to another, leads to another.)
That idea was a 9 second, crap-tactular animation of a long-armed mermaid, based on the design from my earlier cartoon, slapping her way across the screen before pausing and emitting a blood-curdling shriek.
The kinda freaky crap I’m known for.

I posted no link to it here on DA, nor did I make any connection to DA in the video or its description, because there isn’t one. A few people, however, are now convinced I’m making some kind of extended attack against the creator of the piece that inspired all this, and that this silly animation is somehow intended to belittle them.

I’m not, nor would I.

You can level any kind of criticism at me you want, but base it on what I have actually done. Don’t make stuff up.
And if you’re going to post a comment, for f**k’s sake, at least LOOK at what you’re commenting on. There’s already been one retard who actually said “I’ve not seen the video, but you’re a dick for making it”.

Internet high-horsing hysteria. Nothing like it.
Two girls in Wisconsin have been arrested for stabbing a classmate, apparently with the intention of becoming minions of the Slenderman. They were caught walking near a local highway, en route to Wisconsin’s Nicolet National Forest, where they believe the fictitious character lives.

The victim, who was stabbed 19 times, is making a recovery.

All the girls involved are around 12 years old.

That’s all terrible, but what actually irks me more is that a spokesman for the Slenderman creator, and administrator for the website where most fiction revolving around the character is posted, has said "We are not teaching children to believe in a fictional monster, nor are we teaching them to be violent."

I think it’s pretty bad that a person who comes up with a concept has to be afraid of the reaction to how other people use it. Especially children. They’re random, dangerous little buggers.
Think back to your own childhood. What was the stupidest thing you did, and why?
Me? At the age of about 8 or 9, I loved the The Goonies. Nothing wrong with that, you might think….except it’s a film about deadly traps, which I found fascinating and tried to emulate. I remember one occasion where I tried to put a very heavy rock in a tree, with the intention of having a tripwire set off its fall. Thankfully, I never managed it. If I had, I could have killed someone!
The 80s were a slightly more logical period in time, though. If I had crushed someone’s skull, I don’t think Steven Spielberg would have felt the need to cover his arse with a statement, nor do I think the media would have blamed him, unlike today, when everything is the fault of Grand Theft Auto.

Kids are sponges. You’ve no idea what information they’re going to absorb or how they’ll react to it when they do. This is why they’re more dangerous in the digital age than ever before; there is so much information available. The only way they survive to puberty unscathed is through the strange and archaic practice known as “parenting” – that being where the parents monitor stimuli upon their offspring, as opposed to just sitting them in front of a media portal and letting them soak up whatever content they stumble across.
The TV is not a good babysitter and the internet is an open sewer. You don’t want your kids being messed up? Don’t give them unrestricted access to either. Caught them accessing content they’re too young to handle? Sorry, you’re gonna have to do damage control, which involves talking to them (the horror) and explaining why something is wrong/bad/unhealthy/dangerous.
It obviously doesn’t guarantee that a child won’t do something stupid, inspiration can come from anywhere, but engaging with them does lessen the likelihood of them, y’know, trying to kill someone.…

The UK Games Expo was held last weekend, and I finally got a couple of my old Fighting Fantasy books signed by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.
The authors also held a seminar where they spoke about the early years of the Games Workshop, which they founded. During this talk, they touched on the cover art of the game books, and how their publishers wanted illustrations of fairies and mushrooms and pretty things, while Livingstone and Jackson wanted imagery of things that would tear your face off.
They won. More or less.
Generally, all the FF game books have the same covers wherever they are released. So, Deathtrap Dungeon looks like this in most corners of the world:

Japan is not one of those corners:

I’ve been asked to list which video/computer games I like. I actually compiled a list a while back, with the intention of writing something slightly lengthier than a journal update.
The list is not so much what I think are good games – games age and some of them now play like a dog – but they are titles that most inspired me. They either introduced me to new concepts or changed how I saw things.
I won’t go into detail on why each was important to me (that’ll take too long to write!) but if you’re familiar with both my work and these titles, you’ll probably spot where I picked up certain things from.

(Listed in the order of which I first played them)

Cops and Robbers (C64)

The Last Ninja (C64)

Spy vs Spy 2 (C64)

Lemmings (Amiga)

Sonic the Hedgehog (Megadrive)

Sim City (Mac)

Prince of Persia (Mac)

Diggers (Amiga CD32)

Monkey Island 2 (Mac)

TIE Fighter (PC)

Alone in the Dark (PC)

Darkstalkers (Arcade)

Myst (Mac)

Ultima Underworld (PC)

Tomb Raider (PC)

Half Life (PC)

Codename Eagle (PC)

Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast)

Resident Evil 2 (Dreamcast)

Ico (PS2)

GTA Vice City (PS2)

Knytt (PC)

Fallout 3 (360)

Portal (360)

Team Fortress 2 (360)

Borderlands (360)

Bioshock Infinite (360)

The last few names there have inspired recent projects. I may revise their presence at a later date. But from Fallout 3 back; those are pretty much set in stone.
The “Holy Trinity” of inspirational games, those which have had the most influence on myself and my work, are:
Sonic the Hedgehog – The visual style of the early Sonic games, particularly the crazy-but-clean, very anime-looking technology, can be seen quite clearly reflected in my own visual style. Also; the whole cartoon-animal thing can probably be traced back to here.
Myst – Books, antiquity, steampunk, surreal worlds; Myst has it all. More importantly, what Myst does is present a world for the audience to uncover. It demonstrated to me that getting the audience to participate and invest in the world is the key to keeping their interest and attention.
Fallout 3 – In much the same way as the Victorian era is seen as Britain’s defining period, its golden age, the 1950s and 60s are (in my eyes at least) the golden age of the United States. Post-war Americana oozes optimism and a consumer-fuelled, anything-is-possible attitude. Weirdly, it took seeing a parody of it reduced to irradiated ash and rubble to realise that. Not only did Fallout 3 introduce me to the post-apocalyptic genre, it opened my eyes to a whole new and delightfully garish period of history to plunder ideas and concepts from.
A few people are whining amid the comments that I’m being negative about recent movies and video games.
Well, kids, I’m negative about them because: they’re crap. Not in a “oh, everything was so much better in the olden days”, view-through-rose-tinted-glasses, “I don’t like new things”, luddite’s view “crap”. I mean they’re flat out sh*t.
I’ve played a hell of a lot of games and watched a hell of a lot of movies. There is quality out there in spades, all of it providing comparisons for us and benchmarks for them to aim for. The problem is that, recently, all that good seems to have been looked at…..and then studiously ignored.
THAT’s why I rage on about this stuff. That, and the apparent apathy of the collective masses who are quite happy to bend over, take the endless mediocrity and pay for the privilege.
Nothing seems to be fun anymore. I used to leave the cinema with a spring in my step, the score still ringing in my ears and each memorable scene replaying in my head. Now I’m asking myself if I saw the same movie as everyone else.
It can’t be an age thing. There are movies from before I was born that I think are examples of high quality cinema. There’s a REASON they’re called “classics”.
It’s the same with games.
I’ve been enduring Wolfenstein: The New Order for the past week. I thought it would take the bad taste of Ass Creed 4 out of my mouth. It didn’t. It’s an endless battle of attrition to traverse tiny levels populated by bullet-sponges who fire insta-kill weapons in an effort to make the game last longer, leaching all of the fun out of it. It’s crap. It’s not fun. It sure as sh*t doesn’t feel like Wolfenstein.
Don’t believe me? Go fish 2009’s Wolfenstein out of a bargain bin, or better yet, go play Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Both are more fun, especially the latter. Play them and tell me I’m wrong.
And don’t roll out the “oh, you just don’t like it because you’re no good at it” BS. There are lots of games I like that I’m no good at. The difference is that, with those titles, I know the failure is mine and not the games’.
Example of failing at a good game: I know the move-set of my preferred Street Fighter character, I just didn’t deploy them in time.
Example of failing at a bad game: I get shot to pieces because I’m wrestling with a terrible weapon-select wheel and cannot highlight the required tool for the job.

People tell me that it’s unfair I should pass judgement on upcoming content from Michael Bay or Ubisoft without having seen it.
In order to see it, you have to GIVE THEM MONEY, thus perpetuating the problem we have. Look at what these people have done in the past. Look at their track record. If it’s naught but an ongoing brown smear, I think I’m quite justified in saying “I am not going to watch anything Michael Bay is involved with ever again” or “I am not investing time or money in another Ubisoft title”

I don’t think everything new is crap, nor do I think everything old is good, it’s just we live in an age where the makers of a movie or game are obsessed with sales figures rather than creating a quality product. Rather than target one audience, they try to target all of them, resulting in bland or flat out bad products that have nothing memorable or redeeming about them at all.
I’m not negative, but I am negative toward garbage that actually aims to be mediocre.

A tiny snippet from Jeremy Paxman's interview with Silvio Berlusconi.
Some might not know who Berlusconi is: he's a media tycoon, 3 time Prime Minister of Italy and is generally regarded as the face of political vice and corruption in Europe.
Many won't know who Paxman is: he's the brick that the BBC throw at people like Berlusconi. His questions being so blunt that it's nigh on impossible to wriggle out of answering them without looking more of a prat than you did at the start.…

I'm pretty sure that Paxman also hates that fact that you, whoever you are, share the same planet as him:…

These aren't outtakes. This stuff airs :D
You cannot run up stairs in Assassin’s Creed 4.
It is the 6th game in the series. You’d have thought by now that all of the flaws, so glaringly obvious in the first game, would have been dealt with, but no. If you try to run up stairs – for example, between the decks of your ship – the player character will leap onto the railing and refuse to come down.
That the main enemy in Ass Creed is still the method of navigation tells you everything you need to know about Ubisoft’s design ethic: “make the game pretty and that way we don’t have to address the mistakes we keep repeating”.
The aesthetic is the only reason I stuck with the series, up until Ass Creed: Revelations, when I finally gave up the battle of attrition against the controls, deciding that there were better games out there for me to spend my time on. In that respect, Ubisoft are much like Rockstar, only that Rockstar present a beautiful virtual world and then don’t give you anything to do in it, while Ubisoft present a beautiful virtual world FULL of interesting diversions, but make it a chore to actually take part in them.
It seems for every good design concept, they’ve made sure that there are minor things inexplicably present to undermine them. Take the menu and option selections, for example. Each choice you make and each time you change menu there is a prolonged animation or transition, dragging out the simple task selecting what you want to do with cargo or captured vessels to the point where it’s a chore. As that is a core part of advancing in the game, it renders the whole thing a grind.
I was tempted back to Ass Creed because I’m a huge fan of Sid Meier’s Pirates!, from which Black Flag does seem to rip ideas from. Unfortunately, not very well. I’ve just spent the past 2 hours playing Pirates! Gold and the 20 year old game is more fun than its unnecessarily clunky contemporary.
(I’m not joking. Go find a copy.)
There have been catastrophic flaws with all of the Ubisoft games that I’ve played. I was tearing my hair out during certain sections of Sands of Time, I didn’t bother to complete Warrior Within for the same reason. I’ve mentioned the monstrously bad Ass Creed above and Far Cry 3 is one of the few games that has been purged from my game collection altogether thanks to its shoddy mechanics and lazy use of QTEs, a rare and dubious honour previously bestowed only on the likes of 2008’s Alone In The Dark and a handful of others.

Ubisoft make terrible games. That cannot be understated.

Using their back catalogue as an indicator, it’s an educated guess to say that the upcoming Watch Dogs, which looks to require the player to do delicate tasks at speed, much like Ass Creed, will be another hateful title. It will be pretty. No expense will be spared on its sumptuous visuals, but the word “dog” in the title will no doubt be an accurate description of how it will play.
If they can’t get Ass Creed right on their 6th attempt, why the hell should we expect anything more?
Keep that in mind when you’re taking the insanely priced disk to the counter.