Final Fantasy XV [FINAL IMPRESSIONS]

My first impressions of Final Fantasy XV came after a mere four hours of toe-dipping.  As a result it was quite naive, occasionally singing praises where it shouldn’t.  Conversely, there were many criticisms that weren’t exactly fair.  There’s much to comment on with this release, and the mix of emotions it can bring about in players is stark.  An equal portion of you is likely to utterly despise it as the side of you that loves it.  With both its successes and its mistakes, it constantly provokes a strong response.  This makes the mixed reviews somewhat misleading, since it’s far from an average release skating by on lazy formulas.… [continue reading]

The Art and Nonsense Poetry of Obscure Twitter Bots

Art and curation left in the hands of scripts and algorithms is fascinating, and nowhere more accessible than when on Twitter. There are a handful of bots that tweet varied and interesting art. Art that makes you wonder how useful humans are anyway, other than for coding thousands of these things.

Some bots on this list drip out material from a database, while some procedurally generate art, or mash up existing material in new ways.

My obsession with machine curated/created art has led me to hunt for more and more Twitter bots, and I’ve found and followed some great ones so far.… [continue reading]

ACME (10) – Redemption or Condemnation

10

Redemption or Condemnation
(certainly no kind of conclusion)

Wallace’s trowel turned over the mud in whirlwind motions, mesmerising him. Sebastian, his dignified, auburn cat, sat behind with pricked ears and darting eyes, also fascinated by the grinding movement. He loosely contemplated whether those churnings breathed or bled. Perhaps, Sebastian thought in feline purr, there was a heart and life in the dirt. It certainly looked like it was breathing. Therefore, it seemed natural to conclude that the blunt, diamond-shaped tool, which Wallace continued to brandish, was an instrument of the hunt.

This reminded him he was hungry and, with a soft, intuitive mew, he signalled such to his companion.… [continue reading]

Twat with a Laptop: A Tale of Hometown Alienation

“What the fuck is that twat with a laptop doing?”

Ah, Grimsby charm, you’ve got to love it. Bet it’s some idiot in a beany and shoes far too high-grade for the sweatshop turtleneck he’s draped across a frame sorely lacking sustenance other than the outrage of the internet.

Except it wasn’t. He was talking about me.

And in that moment I felt homeless.

Now, I’m not trying to spin a “woe is me, I don’t belong anywhere” story. I grew up in a town (and family) of little sympathy for people who whine and moan about how bad they’ve got it.… [continue reading]

Hearing Damage: A Personal Aside

Secret Cave has been a quiet dwelling since the turn of New Year.  Indeed, only seven days into it, time taken off in this period is somewhat natural and understandable.  It’s been the case for the two Bens after all, both of whom have had swathes of personal and professional flotsam to attend to.  As a freer agent however, I would usually have posted a couple of things up by now.  Truth is, something terrifying has reared its head; something I didn’t expect until at least my fifties.  For the past week, I have been suffering immense hearing damage.

I’m going to try and use this as a jumping off point for talking about a few things.  … [continue reading]

Tension, Paranoia, and All The President’s Men

If Watergate’s so goddamned important, who in the hell are Woodward and Bernstein?

All The President’s Men is a film that I wouldn’t have normally chosen to watch.

Made in 1976, it follows young Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation into early Watergate evidence. Relying heavily on vague hints and anonymous sources, the pair break news on the biggest scandal in U.S. history, and the events that led up to the only time a U.S. president has resigned.

Carl Bernstein: [Walking up to the Sloans’ house] All these neat, little houses and all these nice, little streets… It’s hard to believe that something’s wrong with some of those little houses.

[continue reading]

The Last Guardian [FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

The Last Guardian
First Impressions

Concept
7/10

From its opening notes, it’s tough to discern exactly what the designers’ intentions were.  However, the game is clearly about teamwork and forming bonds.  Its unique approach of interacting with a very independent beast is compelling in the extreme.  Beyond that, it seems a slow and contemplative puzzle-platformer.  Under that lens, The Last Guardian is far from unique – even from the creators who made it.  While the ideas at play here are interesting and engaging, it’s admittedly a little thin on the ground.  Its minimalism sometimes undermines it, while also being a credit to its approach.  … [continue reading]

Secret Cave Podcast #8: Movie Lucky Dip, AAA Games

‘Tis the season (finale) at Secret Cave. This is the last episode of the year before we take a break from arguing, posturing and bullshitting for a couple of months. We went into this episode with no agenda, and, for once, it shows.

Enjoy over an hour of disconnected chat on classic and obscure movies, indie games, and the biggest releases of the past decade.

As always, we’ll be announcing episodes on Twitter, and streaming them on Twitch.

Subscribe on iTunes to get future episodes downloaded automatically.

…But for now, listen to this week’s episode:

📻 in this episode, we discuss:

  • Thoughts on All The President’s Men
  • How All The President’s Men creates paranoia
  • Parallels between All The President’s Men and Dr.
[continue reading]

ACME (09) – A Final Thought for Old Mrs. Misserly

9

A Final Thought for Old Mrs. Misserly
(erased from memory, stabbed back with realisation)

The kettle on the stove was boiling with bubbling cacophony.  It was a frightening sound, when analysed, with its random and violent blubs and pops.  But old Mrs. Misserly, after years of hearing its wet crackles, found it a comforting noise; a sort of school bell for the end of a long day plagued by peripheral pranksters.  Her days had been the same for some time now.  She would arise every morning as her patch of ACME was only just being tickled by the imagination of dawn’s light. … [continue reading]

Entertainment (2015)

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

When Entertainment premiered at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival, the response it garnered was somewhat predictable.  Numerous walkouts peppered its first showing, indicative of its uncomfortable confrontation.  Certainly a test of patience, it’s a work that demands significant effort on the part of the audience.  However, this is a recurring feature of the creatives involved: director and writer Rick Alverson, star and writer Gregg Turkington and writer Tim Heidecker.  It’s easy to take against their approach, labelling it as pretentious and lazy.  The sad truth is, that would be all too often accurate of others.  … [continue reading]