Red Dwarf X

I have to say I was not expecting much prior to watching the first episode of the new series. I personally think the show started to go downhill from Season 7, with Back to Earth being the lowest point. Series 7 was passable, but the earlier series are definitely my favourites. However, I will always watch anything new from Red Dwarf and I was very shocked that it turned out to be a funny episode which I enjoyed.

There were only 2 things which I disliked, the first being that Rimmer’s brother was telling a pack of lies all these years! The thing which made Rimmer throughout the previous series was his twisted up hate for his three brothers who were more successful than him in every way. So for one of his brothers to be exactly the same position as Rimmer was a let down. The second was the Mac spinning eyes, which I felt was a bit cringeworthy.

Red Dwarf Books

The Man in the Rubber Mask – Robert Llewellyn
Llewellyn’s descriptions are hilarious which makes it very easy to vividly picture all of the situations described. The book made me laugh quite a lot and I definitely recommend it if you are a Red Dwarf fan. I’m looking into getting some of his other (fiction) books.

The Official Red Dwarf Companion
This covers Series 1-5; it would have been nice if it had been published a year later to include Series 6 too.

Red Dwarf Survival Guide
This disappointed me a little bit! I think I was expecting more a guide written by the crew themselves, rather than an “official” guide with their annotations and suggestions.

Illustrated007 Blog

Another Bond post! I found a fascinating blog featuring artwork and book covers from the James Bond series: http://illustrated007.blogspot.co.uk/. I love to see all the unused material and even just the different covers of the books! The blog goes back to 2008, so the level of content is incredible, but also very organised as the image posts are tagged by authors, book titles, and types of merchandise.

Michael Gillette’s James Bond covers

I found an article on the development of Michael Gillette’s Bond book covers on this blog. I really like the 2008 reprint covers, so when I found these magazine articles showing the design process, I was really interested to see the changes made between the initial sketches and the final product. I like how his simple pencil work was recreated in the final pieces using a limited colour palette, and strong bold shapes to create the figures of the Bond girls.

Click to enlarge

FILMography Blog

Very interesting concept where stills from films are printed out, and then held up in front of their location, to create a seamless photo of fiction and reality. I can recognise a lot of the New York sights from when I went in 2008!

http://philmfotos.tumblr.com/

Oh come on, you knew I was going to choose this picture to post!! 🙂

Crash Bandicoot Development Art by Charles Zembillas

I have previously posted about Crash Bandicoot’s development and The Naughty Dog Story + Original Soundtracks, but now thanks to Charles Zembillas we are able to see previously unposted Crash Bandicoot concept art! The changes that Tawna and Aku Aku went through are the biggest and it is both strange and interesting to see how they have developed.

Origin of Cortex
Origin of Cortex Part 2
Origin of Aku Aku

Lost Tawna Concept
Original Tawna
Original Pinstripe
Origin of Papu Papu

Aku Aku Concept Art by Charles Zembillas

Breaking Bad

When high school Chemistry teacher Walter White finds out he has inoperable lung cancer, his first concern is how his family will manage financially after he has gone. When his DEA agent brother-in-law unwittingly shows him the money that can be made in the drug industry, Walter teams up with one of his former students and begins to manufacture methamphetamine.

I was first told about Breaking Bad by one of my lecturers in my first year of university, but it wasn’t until now I actually decided to finally watch it. I instantly became obsessed with the show and I have gotten up to date (Season 5, Episode 7). There is now only 1 more episode to air this year; the rest of Season 5 is going to be aired in America in Summer 2013.

I think the first 3 seasons were my favourite. I liked Walt having to balance his home life and his “business” life; trying to cover it up from his family. I preferred the show towards the beginning where Walt and Jesse were driving out in their RV and it was so obvious that they didn’t know what they’d gotten themselves into. I think Season 4 wasn’t as good as the previous ones for some reason, but the finale was brilliant.

Video contains spoilers for all seasons.
Watch up to around 1:52 if you’ve never seen Breaking Bad before.
 

In many ways I can see similarities between Breaking Bad and Death Note (spoilers for both ahead). Both protagonists could easily be viewed as antagonists, and they are both working/living closely alongside their enemy (Light with L, and Walt with Hank). What made me see the similarities even more was at the end of Season 4, when Walt says “I won”, that is just Kira down to a tee! At the start of the series, Walt was doing it for his family, but now he has changed, as proven when he turns down the $5 million. Even Jesse realises that Walt has changed and he doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore.

SEASON 5 UPDATE (Spoilers for both Breaking Bad and Death Note finales):
Even more similarities now. When Walt is in the desert, he goes past his “past self” (his trousers that flew through the air in the opening of the first episode). In Death Note, when Light is escaping the warehouse, he literally runs past his “past self” (hallucination/visual effect).

walt barrel PDVD_225

The final scenes for both shows also mirror each other, a pan out on the character as he lies dying.

walt end PDVD_217

(Death Note screenshots credit)

Crash Bandicoot XS

I’ve had Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced for the Gameboy Advance since 2008 and its predecessor Crash Bandicoot XS is something I have been meaning to buy since then. I got XS on eBay for £1.25.

Both games, but particularly XS, remain faithful to the PS1 games. It’s due to the style of platforming in these (the aptly named “Sonic’s ass“) that it does translate incredibly well into a 2D environment. The themed levels are a mix of settings from Crash Bandicoot 2 and 3, but the levels are not carbon copies – making the game playable for somebody who has already played the PS1 games to death.

Crash Bandicoot 3 VS Crash Bandicoot XS

Crash Bandicoot 3 (PS1) VS Crash Bandicoot XS (GBA)

The game is fairly easy, but some parts in XS are punishingly difficult due to the jumping controls. If you are too close to the edge and try to jump, you will just fall even though it doesn’t appear that Crash has stepped over the edge. There is a fine line between what the game deems as falling off the edge and successfully jumping. This, coupled with particular jumping sequences, makes for a game which frustratingly has that “one more go” factor to it.

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Audiobook

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers is written by Doug Naylor and Rob Grant, the creators of Red Dwarf, so it remains faithful to the TV show. It elaborates on the backstory of the characters in the show. The audiobook is read by Chris Barrie, who plays Rimmer in the show. As we already know, Chris Barrie is an excellent impressionist, which really shines and adds to this audiobook, creating many laugh out loud moments.

I have never listened to an audiobook before, but Chris Barrie’s reading definitely made it engrossing to listen to. If you’ve already read the book or are a fan of the show, I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook version too. I listened to this audiobook whilst working on my University projects. In a way I sort of looked forward to doing work as I knew I’d be able to listen to more of the book. There is an abridged version of the audio book, which I had unknowingly downloaded, but after noticing many cut lines I downloaded the unabridged version.

Here is a extract from the audiobook, in which Rimmer’s study habits for his long time nemesis – the astronavigation exam – are explained in detail.

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