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VERGE THE 10 MOST DEVASTATING ENDINGS IN LITERATURE

VOLUME II

ISSUE 13


UCC

EXPRESS

VERGE March

Don’t Sell Out, Bow Out FORTNIGHTLY FAVOURITE 4 VERG E

Words: Ellen Desmond, Entertainment Editor

VOLUME II ISSUE 1

This editorial was initially meant to be written by the section editors, Rob, Eoghan, Meadhbh and Brian (they are the people who do all the work that I take credit for.) However, that plan fell through so I’m just going to talk about myself as usual. The past year with The UCC Express has been one that I wouldn’t exchange with anything else in the world. This time last year, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and pretty much no experience to set me on a road anywhere either. One year on and I’ve more or less edited a magazine, worked with truly inspirational people and interviewed more famous figures than I’ve had nights out (Verge is also the reason why I haven’t had more nights out.) Considering I do this on top of studies, I have had to put in some serious hours of work but in exchange I’ve been given an incomparable experience, both on personal and employable levels. The next month will see applications open for section editors of The UCC Express. These range from news to sport to gaming and features. I would encourage you to no end to try to get involved with the student media in UCC, who knows, you might end up finding your road is that of journalism like me. Even if you don’t, it’s never going to be a waste of time and journalism is such a varied and eclectic field that you are extremely likely to find something else you like through it. During my time as Entertainment Editor, I have had the pleasure of working with many people. However, I worked most closely with the four I mentioned earlier - Rob, Eoghan, Meadhbh and Brian. To them I would like to extend a huge thanks and congratulations, for constantly producing the varied and impressive sections of Verge but mostly for their kindness, support and friendship. They are easily the four most different people to ever be placed in one room together, let alone one section of a newspaper, and seeing how well they worked and laughed together has been one of the most amusing parts of my second year in UCC. This editorial for once has not been themed but it took its title from lyrics in Paolo Nutini’s song Last Request - “don’t sell out, bow out” - which is hopefully what this issue will do.

-Ellen

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

-Eoghan

Gaming Editor: Brian Conmy

2 VERGE EDIT

@Ellen_Desmond

The Constant Gardener is my second favourite film (after Sweeney Todd, of course.)It’s also my favourite book and is, in general, probably my favourite story. The Constant Gardener is a love story that unfolds backwards. In it we see Justin (Ralph Fiennes) fall in love with the memory of his wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz) as he discovers a side of her that he never knew, while trying to piece together the mysterious circumstances of her death. However, the love story is very much the least dominant of the many intricate storylines and mysteries in the film - which also include a TB epidemic, a British High Commission Scandal and a topical investigation into a ‘Big Pharma.’ It’s based on the story of a real woman and it’s very interesting that the main character is actually dead for most of the screen time. Despite none of the characters actually being journalists, The Constant Gardener is one of the reasons I’m so interested in journalism, and is the main reason I’m currently working on exposing a corrupt pharmaceutical industry in Nairobi.

Frank Sinatra - My Way

@EoghanLyng

As I leave this wonderful Uni after what have been the best three years of my life, Ernest Hemingway`s wonderful war novel seems to contain the most pertinent title of any of the mediums I read throughout the year. Concerning a love story between American soldier Frederic Henry and nurse Catherine Barkley, it`s a beautiful read, with one of the most devastating endings in literature (as shall be explored further in them Arts and Lit section). The book concerns loyalty to love, loyalty to battle and ultimately a person`s loyalty to themselves. Based on Hemingway`s own personal experiences throughout the First World War, ‘A Farewell To Arms’ has an authenticity to it few war novels can match. It may not match ‘Wuthering Heights’ as the greatest romance of all time, but it`s damn close. Certainly, Hemingway`s fingerprints can clearly be seen in Eric Segal`s brilliant ‘Love Story’ (1970). A classic of twenties literature, ‘A Farewell To Arms’ is, honest to God, one of the greatest books ever written and rivals ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” as the best thing I put in the ‘Favourite Fortnightly’ section. So long UCC, and thanks for all the fish!

-Meadhbh

@meadhbh_crowley

And now the end is here, and as I write my final favourite four as music editor, there is no better soundtrack to accompany it than the legend that is Frank Sinatra. Listening to the song, it really tracks my year writing, editing, crying, interviewing, embarrassing myself in front of celebrities and those late nights spent trying to find the next big artist for the music section. Not only is it an emotional song reminiscing all the amazing times I’ve had this year, but Sinatra’s voice and tone are simply amazing, and it’s no wonder that so many artists like Michael Bublé, Westlife, G4 and thousands of others have tried to emulate this incredible voice. So in the words of the man himself “The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!”

Costume Quest

EDITORIAL TEAM

Arts & Literature Editor: Eoghan Lyng

2013

The Constant Gardener

@ellen_desmond

Entertainment Editor: Ellen Desmond

21

Music Editor: Méadhbh Crowley

Design: Cathal O’ Gara

-Brian

@aerach71

It’s been over two months since I’ve played my PS3. It’s becoming a craving at this point. I have my Vita but it’s just not enough. In fact, since I’ve been here I’ve bought maybe 12 games, half being shipped home and half being sent to my place in NY. Yeah typing this out really does make it seem like I actually have a problem. What I have been playing in place of my console games is Costume Quest on PC. I like RPGs and I like Halloween, so this was perfect for me. Of course not too long after starting the game, the announcement came out about Costume Quest 2 being released this year. This isn’t the first time I’ve delayed playing a game only to have a sequel announced or a port to a preferable platform be dated. In fact I started Papers, Please roughly two days before they announced that was coming to Vita. So naturally I’m going to wait and play it there for no explicable reason. Yeah. I have a problem.

CONTRIBUTOR LIST

Laura Hussey

Chris Boyle

Robert Byrne

Stephen Patrick Barry

Daniel O’ Driscoll

Aoife Gleeson

Sarah Glascott

Darragh Murphy


I simply had a story to tell, and I went about telling it Irish author Louise Philips talks to Laura Hussey about her new book and the ups and downs of life as a writer aving just finished the first draft of her third novel, Louise Phillips spoke to Verge about her journey as an author. Louise is proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams of writing. Following a 20 year gap of raising a family and managing a successful business, Louise Philips returned to her first love, writing. She was not sure what to expect when she sent a draft of her first book to publishing houses around the country. However, Louise’s book, Red Ribbons, was snapped up by Irish publishers within a week of sending it. Louise now realises, as an accomplished writer, that this was certainly not the norm within Irish publishing. She explained how Irish publishers will often get around 3000 submissions a year, so hoping to publish a novel can often be a process riddled with rejection. ‘‘The week I submitted it (Red Ribbons) to an agent, I got a call from the first publishers to say they wanted to publish it, and I also got a call from the agent to say she wanted to represent me,” Louise told of her luck, “I was understandably thrilled, but now I realise how unusual this was.’’ However, after reading her first two psychological crime novels, it is easy to see how her first novel was eagerly considered by publishers. As a crime novel buff, I can say her first two novels are impressive and gripping. Although Louise’s start seems like a dream come true, being picked up by her first publisher, skipping the multiple rejection letters, she acknowledges life as an author is not always easy, ‘writing can be full of fear and self-doubts’. However she went on to say that ‘if you really want to write, you will keep going, and hopefully write stories you will

be proud of.’ She says the key is to get into a routine with your writing. ‘The main piece of advice I would give to writers is to simply write. By this I mean, allocate a time and a place to write daily or weekly. Decide that for two hours of a particular day or days, you’re going to sit either with a pen and paper, or a keyboard, and write. If you only write one sentence, one hundred sentences, or nothing at all, the mere fact that you have allocated this time and space means that most likely you will write something.’ Philips also recommended writing groups and workshops, accrediting them to giving her the push to start. Writing is a ‘solitary affair’ so she says it’s good to get out there and meet others who share your passion. There are creative writing workshops available in UCC for those interested. My mind wandered to being the next George R. R Martin but what’s it really like writing a book? We asked Louise about her own writing process, a mere two weeks after completing the first draft of her latest novel. She explained

that ‘I don’t plan or plot my novels, which is unusual enough in crime writing. Having just finished the first draft of my third novel, I have learned to trust this process, but every writer is different and what works for one would not necessarily work for another.’ Louise’s books have received their fair share of critical acclaim since the debut of Red Ribbons and her second book, The Doll’s House, collecting an impressive list of awards and nominations including the coveted Jonathan Swift Award in 2009. Despite Louise’s massive success as a crime writer, she told Verge that psychological crime novels were not her first intention. ‘At first, I didn’t think about writing a crime novel,” she admitted, “I simply had a story to tell, and I went about telling it. But I soon realised I was intrigued by people who don’t follow the same rules as others in society, and I became fascinated with the ‘why’ if you like.” Louise’s preoccupation as to why people do bad things is clearly seen through the characters in her novels. Interestingly enough, the killer always gets a voice in her books. We get the point of view of criminal psychologist, Dr Kate Pearson, detectives on the case like Detective O’Connor, even some of the victims, but Philips gives us something unique, in presenting the voice of a killer. With the first draft of her latest book, Last Kiss, done and dusted, Philips gave Verge an exclusive; the killer of her latest book is female. The readers are in for a treat when we encounter the killer of Last Kiss. ‘Like my other novels, Red Ribbons and The Doll’s House, I tend to include the point of view of the killer, but with the latest story, I really get up close and personal. I found the killer’s voice utterly fascinating from the moment the character arrived on the page.’ A female serial

killer is certainly not the norm for her books, however, Louise tells us that ‘I think with each story, a writer should strive to create something different to what went before; otherwise, what is the point of writing it?’ Readers have naturally been drawn to one of her main characters in her two novels, criminal psychologist, Dr Kate Pearson. As a fan of Kate and what she brings to Philips’ work, I was eager to learn if she would be sticking around in the future. Philips happily replied that we can expect to see Kate in her upcoming novel, Last Kiss and in book four! ‘She (Kate) will most likely continue for a while. I think it’s interesting for a writer and for a reader, to see a character develop over a number of stories.’ When asked about the highlight of her career so far, she replied that it had to have been her nomination for the Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year 2013 and eventually winning the prestigious award. ‘Considering over 50 Irish Crime Novels were published in 2013, to win Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year, was amazing.’ The most profound part of being an author for her is having people read her books. Philips tell us she considers herself a reader before an author so to have others enjoy her book is the greatest compliment any writer could wish for. Red Ribbons and A Doll’s House are available in paperback from all good bookshops now. Last Kiss is currently going through an editing process, before going to print.

VERGE ENTERTAINMENT 3


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Verge’s Top Ten Study Month Movies Entertainment Editor Ellen Desmond recommends the ten best movies for procrastinators to watch this study month

10. JUNO

9. DEAD POET’S SOCIETY

The indie classic that every hipster loved before hipster was a thing; this blast from the somewhat-recent past will have you reminiscing and delighted you ditched whatever phase you were going through when you first watched it. Now that you’ve settled down in college and have advanced to procrastinating studying instead of homework, watching Juno will probably help you realise that you’re just as much as a waster as you were in 2007. This sometimes-funny, sometimes-touchy, coming of age tale will have you humming along and downloading the soundtrack which I can only recommend.

One for the English students: surely a film with such a title counts as study for EN1001? Robin Williams toned down his usual Mrs Doubtfire-style acting in this performance, but hey, while you’re at it why don’t you watch Mrs Doubtfire too? Dead Poets Society was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Williams. It will no doubt have you itching to get to Q+3 and inspired by the unconventional teaching methods of Williams’ character John Keating. Why not apply for a Post-Primary HDip to further procrastinate actually studying for your exams?

8. MEAN GIRLS

There’s never a bad time to watch Mean Girls, so study month fits into that category nicely.

7. SCHOOL OF ROCK

School of Rock is definitely one for those hoping to rebel this study month. School of Rock will have you both inspired and hoping to drop out of UCC in favour of a Rock career, it’s a prescribed watch for all struggling Med Students. It may also inspire you not to end up as Jack Black’s Dewey Finn, sleeping in till noon in his mattress-sized side of the apartment.

6. AN EDUCATION

An Education is a 2009 British coming-of-age drama film, based on a memoir of the same name by British journalist Lynn Barber.In 1961 London, Jenny Mellor is a 16-year-old schoolgirl well on track to get accepted to Oxford University when she’s charmed by a Jewish businessman, David Goldman. He takes her to concerts, clubs, and fine restaurants, and easily charms her parents into approving of the relationship. When David proposes marriage, Jenny accepts and leaves school. Later, Jenny discovers that David is an already-married con man. Jenny despairs, feeling she has thrown her life away, but with the help of her favourite teacher, resumes her studies and is accepted at Oxford the following year. Stay in school, kids!

4. THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Any Computer Science student’s dream, The Social Network is a (vaguely accurate) retelling of Mark Zuckerberg’s early success with launching Facebook, and the less known story of Eduardo Saverin. This movie is well worth a watch and you’ll feel like you’re going to be the next student genius. What’s more you could even watch this while scrolling aimlessly through your Facebook news feed; that will take up plenty of time and have you in a perfect study month zombie-state.

5. PITCH PERFECT

Are you Choral Soc’s next Anna Kendrick? I’m not sure if Choral is the right choice there, but this movie is all about singing and the American equivalent of societies! This is an easy to watch, cliché feel-good film. Most importantly, it includes Kendrick’s performance of “the cup song” which will take you days to master - ideal for avoiding assignments.

3. AMERICAN HISTORY X

This is a movie not for the faint-hearted, in which we see a dashing Edward Norton engage in Neo-Nazi ideals, only to be arrested for murder and reject his previous beliefs. The rest of the movie sees a reformed Derek Vineyard (Norton) try to save his younger brother (Edward Furlong) from heading down the same route as him. A heart-wrenching, award-winning, absolute must watch - one that will make you appreciate every opportunity you have.

2. LEGALLY BLONDE

1. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

To this day I only believe I passed my Leaving Cert and made it to UCC because of this movie. Legally Blonde is an inspiration, in which we witness Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a “dumb blond” as a sorority girl who struggles to win back her ex-boyfriend by earning a law degree - the only reason to earn a degree I’m sure. Thanks Legally Blonde for making me a feminist. However I did cry at the ending and reassess my views of this film’s intentions, I will admit. Also not for the faint hearted.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll go through a rollercoaster journey of emotions - some I’m sure you didn’t even know you had! But seriously, rarely are sequels ever a good idea; this is an exception. However, between this and Toy Story, Pixar seem to be able to master it. This tells the tale of Mike and Sully before Boo, and before they were the famous chums we know them as. Worth watching both for the adorable young Mike Wazowski and because basically everyone loves Monsters Inc.

4 VERGE FILM & TV


DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

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Ellen Desmond discusses why there’s more to gain from Dallas Buyers’ Club than seeing a skinny Matthew McConaughey

Dallas Buyers Club is one of those movies that are hyped up. Probably from the moment the photograph of an extremely thin Matthew McConaughey made headlines, Dallas Buyers Club has been a film on everyone’s lips. However, the 3.5 stone that McConaughey lost in order to play Ron Woodroof has done more than just ensure interest in the film; it set McConaughey’s career as an actor on a more serious route than ever before - in what fans have labelled the “McConaissance.’ He said on the Graham Norton Show that he lost the weight because he had “a responsibility to portray the man to the best of my ability” - otherwise, the film just would not work. McConaughey’s character, real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose wild lifestyle was brought to an end in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. This real life story of one man’s battle against the medical establishment is chaotically quickpaced, funny and life-affirming in the face of mortality. It avoids the easy trap of over-sentimentalising the story line and instead riddles the tale with black humour. The whole film was shot on a $5 million budget in a mere 25 days, even less than the number of days Woodroof was given to live. The publicity of his weight-loss aside, McConaughey is hands-down impressive as Woodroof, and portrays him as a thoroughly despicable human being - “an all-out Texan renegade who hustles, gambles, womanises, and drinks and snorts his way through life.” When his initial demands for treatment with unapproved meds are rejected by the Food and Drug Administration and his own doctors, he begins illegally importing highly-effective anti-retroviral drugs from all over the world himself. It is the start of the Dallas-based network that will become one of the many “buyers’ clubs” which cropped up across the United States in the 1980s as cases of AIDS and HIV increased. Woodroof’s course of action would eventually place him, alone, against such forces as the FBI and the IRS, as he slipped through bureaucratic loopholes and bent the law in his sheer will to survive. At Dallas Buyers Club’s ultimately soft core, is Woodroof’s relationship with fellow AIDS patient Rayon, a transsexual drug addict played with impressive poise and sheer fabulousness by Jared Leto - whose performance has also gained an appreciative reaction. A disturbing and heart-wrenching theme it may be, but this is supercharged film is full to the brim with humour and cutting dialogue. In lesser hands it may have lost the realistic or engaging elements, but the “powerhouse performances” by McConaughey and Leto held the pace and quality together - and nabbed two Oscars for Best Actors in Leading and Supporting Roles.

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QUIRKE

Ellen Desmond reviews RTE’s crime series, Quirke Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon star in this RTE adaptation of Benjamin Black’s (John Banville) acclaimed noir novel series, Quirke. Black’s crime fiction series had enough publicity around it already, following Banville’s public slating of Black’s (his own) work. Now, the TV crime series of the same name that resulted is one of yet another great series from RTE, who have recently come under positive critical acclaim with the Love/Hate series. Quirke too ventures into themes relevant to modern Ireland. Adapted by Andrew Davies from the first Quirke novel, Christine Falls, it is a fresh and addictive, welcome new addition to Irish television screens. Gabriel Byrne plays the internally conflicted Quirke who is, a consultant pathologist by day, and a messed up alcoholic by night. When Quirke he discovers his estranged brother has covered up a murder, he is determined to be the one to discover the truth, in an attempt to release himself from his personal issues. The trail leads him right to the last place he expected to go.

Quirke is an intelligent mystery which “faithfully adheres to the rules laid down by the noir genre.”  This makes for captivating viewing for audiences.  Gabriel Byrne’s performance as Quirke has been acclaimed as the greatest performance of his career. The debut episode, Christine Falls, makes good use of the social issues present in 1950’s Ireland, which are impressively depicted.  Banville may have scoffed that Quirke was a mere “between jobs” series for him, but what he went on to produce has made a fine TV series, appreciated by thousands of viewers. Quirke is a must see for any fan of addictive murder mystery drama and has been a much needed addiction to RTE’s body of work. It looks set to continue on its successful part with forthcoming episodes already being highly anticipated. It appears that RTE have finally made it into 21st century standard series making. Quirke is the first of three feature-length BBC-RTE dramas based on Banville's/Black's books about the “eponymous pathologist” living in 1950s Dublin.

VERGE FILM & TV 5


JOHN GRANT Robert Byrne reviews John Grants recent gig at the Cork Opera House

6 VERGE MUSIC

f there is one musician who is certified to offer advice on the vicissitudes of life, it is John Grant. Inside a snug Cork Opera House the giant figure faces a sell out crowd that hang on his every word; an audience eagerly anticipating a welcome break from the murky drizzle of the past few days. It has been a fairy tale journey for the Colorado native, an extraordinary odyssey of ups and downs that has seen him struggle to come to terms with depression, homosexuality, homophobia and HIV, before becoming the internationally renowned artist he is today. Initial disappointment over Sinead O’Conner’s no show promptly dissipates once John Grant slips into a sombre piano led number taken from his latest critically acclaimed album, Pale Green Ghosts. ‘Vietnam’ struts across its four minutes with aplomb thanks to Grant’s typically frank lyricism, which examine a relationships painful decay, “Your silence is a weapon/ It’s like a nuclear bomb/ It’s like the Agent Orange/ They used to use in Vietnam.”Most fans advice to bring tissues to a John Grant concert, and while this may hold some truth; John Grant’s unrivalled audience interaction balances the fulcrum between sonic tearjerkers and humours spiels in favour of the latter. While Grant’s ballads are hopelessly beautiful, it seems that he is most comfortable channelling 80’s synthpop. The title track ‘Pale Green Ghosts,’ which channels both Grants love of industrial electronica and his Anglo-Icelandic musicians ear for untamed and raw electronic arises as a clear audience favourite, receiving a rapacious response throughout its experimental ten minute lifespan. A stomper of a track, ‘Black Belt’ follows, stretching Grant’s dance ambitions to the very limit, shooting pulsing synth beats as fast a Grant’s quick fired acerbic lyricism, ‘Hit your head on the playground at recess/ Etch-a-sketch your way out of this one reject.’ As the encore nears, the pace and mood is aptly subdued. ‘Glacier’, perhaps my personal favourite of the night utilizes Grant’s rich baritone timbre to evoke the power that depression has had in shaping him, ‘This pain/ It is a glacier running through you/ Creating spectacular landscapes.’ As the lights dim to shadow, Grant’s band members withdraw from stage, leaving him to perform what he jokingly claims was the only true love song he has ever wrote without a hint of darkness, ‘Caramel’ isolates Grant with his piano for a moment of hazed melodic bliss and that now trademark lyrical wit. It is a rare treat to absorb a musician so diverse and polished in the live environment. While other artists have attempted to deal pain of the human condition, none have done so with the lyrical charm and intelligence of John Grant. Combine that with a mellifluous vocal performance and the bravery to channel the industrial dance of Gus Gus, the vulnerable folk of Elliot Smith and the Europop of Grant’s guilty pleasure, Abba, and the result is a departing audience who wished to have one last fix of what was a gloriously enthralling performance.


Silver Apples: The Forgotten Inventor of Electronic Dance Music in the 60’s

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FLASBACK

WORDS: ROBERT BYRNE

Spotify can lead you down some dark alleys. My last Spotify session found me browsing through endless ‘related artists’ lists. Now without too much offence to the respective artists or Spotify’s algorithm, most of the music on these compilations is either total garbage, or completely unrelated to the artist you had previously heard. Nevertheless, I find it a fascinating exercise; one that can occasionally unearth gold amongst the mire. One of these nuggets is Silver Apples, whose biography appears to be lifted from a fifties science fiction script. Silver Apples’ debut album was made not with guitar or bass, but from mishmash of analog oscillators, effects pedals and circuits found in dumpsters and scrap yards across New York City. Struggling for cash and inspiration, the band isolated themselves from the public life and most importantly, popular music for six months in an abandoned Brooklyn apartment to create their debut LP. In a recent interview, the elusive brainchild behind the project, known simply as Simeon, stated that Silver Apples never intended to make something revolutionary, or avant-garde, instead his band simply wanted produced music that made people dance. The resulting effort is fascinating and demanding in equal measure. The opening, and perhaps strongest track ‘Oscillations’ still sounds stunningly futuristic today, booting into life with a spine tingling electronic pitch that preludes some equally spaced out lyrics, “Oscillations, electronic invocations of sounds

magnetic.” Perhaps the culmination of this genius can be found on ‘Program’, which employs an early inauguration of samples by fading, amplifying and fusing several radio shows on a conventional tuner to a syncopated analog bassline; something that Radiohead would attempt thirty years later. Sure Silver Apples had neither the polish of Revolver, nor the finesse of The Velvet Underground, but what was created set the template for every facet of electronica today we hear today, past and present. Considering Silver Apples experimental sound the band were a phenomenal success on the live circuit, encapsulating the spirit of a psychedelic sixties America obsessed with all things futuristic; a success that culminated in a live performance to thirty thousand people at Central Park in 1968. So at this point I guess you are concluding that something must have gone wrong, and, yes, the project went very wrong. The group’s sophomore effort, Contact immediately sparked controversy due to its sleeve that depicted drug paraphernalia dispersed across the cockpit of a Pan-Am airliner. Soon Pan-Am filed a lawsuit against both Silver Apples and their independent record company, forcing both the record company to file for bankruptcy and Simeon and his band members to go into hiding to avoid paying the $100,000 claim. A decade later Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder would be seen as the fathers of electronic music, and Simeon? A locally renowned ice-cream van driver.

CPlealyelbist

Our final celeb playlist comes from Music Wditor Méadhbh Crowley

SIMEON

Music editor, Méadhbh Crowley, looks at what bands need to make a comeback this year In the last few months I’ve been at a loss, when a huge number of my favourite bands such as Kids in Glass Houses, The Wantedand Mötley Crüe have decided to call it a day. At the tender age of 21 I’ve seen my fair share of breakups, the Spice Girls, Westlife, Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 and so many others but who will fill the gaps these leave behind? Maybe 2014 will be the year of the comeback…. Black Eyed Peas The band have all been off doing their own projects for the last few years, Will.I.Am has been doing the Voice, Fergie has been off having babies and the other two … Well no one is too sure. However the band has left a huge hole in the music industry which N Dubz attempted to fill but didn’t quite make the same impact. S Club 7 Any child of the 90s like myself would have been obsessed with S Club 7, a group where if you didn’t like one member you had six more to choose from. With hits such as Don’t Stop Moving andReach for the Stars what the

decade is missing is something to replace the One Direction Mania with some equally poppy songs from a group that boy and girl, men and woman can openly enjoy.

You can listen to this playlist at:

Hanson Hanson was the Jonas Brothers of their time; with their only real hit being the one hit wonder that is MmmBop. Although they have attempted a comeback, it hasn’t really been as successful has hoped, as they are supporting Carly Rae Jepsen on tour. Any resurrection of their career would be a relief from the constant rolling out of generic pop bands over and over again. Oasis I know this one is never going to happen but really who wouldn’t love to see the Gallagher boys get back together? One of the last sightings of the brothers together was in 2009 and since then they have been bad mouthing and throwing awards at each other. Although they would rather scratch each other’s eyes out or wait for hell to freeze over than stand within 100 metres of each other, who wouldn’t want to hear Wonderwall one last time?

Hozier – Take Me To Church James Arthur – You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You The 1975 – Chocolate The Coronas -The San Diego Song Sam Bailey- Skyscraper Union J – Carry You Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball Taylor Swift –Begin Again Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream Jay Z – 99 Problems

Bring it on Back To You

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

ALBUM OF THE WEEK

ARTIST OF THE WEEK

My Love – Route 94 Feat Jess Glynne The London DJ’s single reached the coveted position as UK number 1 single this week and knocked Pharrell off the top spot. This new dance banger provides all the quintessential needs for a good song: warm house piano riffs and a finger-clicking beat, with Glynne’s vocals adding the “Put your arms in the air and shake them like you just don’t care feel.

Girl – Pharrell Mr Big Hat himself has been dominating our screens and our airwaves for what seems like forever, but his new album Girls has certainly hit the spot. The album with its lead single “Happy” is not only amazing but features the styling’s of Kelly Osbourne, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland , Miley Cyrus, Daft Punk, Jojo and Alicia Keys to name but a few.

Flat Out Le Crunch Apple of My Eye contest which took place in The Sugar Club last week which saw Flat Out win the soughtafter prize of €8,000 after wowing the judges Paul Walsh of Royseven, Roisin O and Le Crunch’s Claire Colman with their rendition of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear from them.

VERGE MUSIC 7


THE 10 MOST DEVASTATING

ENDINGS IN LITERATURE Arts and Literature Editor Eoghan Lyng lists his top catastrophic literary culminations*

… and they all lived happily ever after”. Without a doubt, those are the most clichéd words ever committed to paper. Despite an auspicious use in various mediums, happy endings are urinated on by feudal serf and spender. Those endings seem farcical, forceful and redundant; for the modern reader, these words are passé, a reminder of the fickleness and redundancy of great writing. Happy endings are boring. Like, really boring. More boring than God. More boring than water. Hardly the best thing since sliced bread. It is strange to say, but it is the unhappy endings that have a much greater impact on the psyche of the reader in question. They tend to be strangely cathartic. It`s an odd concoction, but it`s strange how much more tangible the emotions feel after a tragic ending, than a happy one. The Dalai Lama himself said “There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.” And on that note, let us look at some of the most upsetting endings in fiction. *Warning: Spoilers Alert ** **Obviously WORDS: EOGHAN LYNG

1. One Day (David Nicholls):

2. Billy Budd (Herman Melville):

It may be the best romance from the last ten years, which makes its ending a lot harder to take. Characters Dexter and Emma spend the bones of two decades falling in and out of love. As they both face forty, they realise that they truly love each other, although times are hard. It`s a case of now or never if they want children. As Emma comes to the realisation that she may become a mother after all, with the man of her dreams, she is killed in a car accident. This leaves Dexter a grieving widower who`s dependence on alcohol increases by the day. As Dexter returns to Edinburgh with his daughter, he is stricken by the memory of Emma Morley. Having blown his chances at love, Dexter must now try and fix his bond with his child. It`s a poignant scene that brings up the mortality of life and love in a couple of pages.

Billy Budd (Herman Melville): The titular character`s execution is a painful read, largely because everyone, including the crew and the executioners, seem powerless to stop the killing of an innocent man. Crying “God bless Captain Vere!" as he feels the ropes tying themselves around his neck, it’s filled with dignity, despite the atrocity committed on the page. Frank Darabont must have had this scene in mind as he directed the sombre finale for ‘The Green Mile’.

3. The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens)

Reading about the death of teenagers is an arduous task, but it`s even harder when the teen’s Grandfather refuses to accept her death and spends the rest of his life waiting for Little Nell`s return. It`s a senseless waste of life. Queen Victoria allegedly gave the novel two thumbs up, despite the books inherent criticisms of the intellectual and liberal classes.

4. Jean de Florette (Marcel Pagnol) Jean de Florette (Marcel Pagnol): Pagnol`s first of two books is a wonderful example of French Literature at its best. It`s a calculative tale of modern day selfishness and greed. The death of the eponymous hunchback is upsetting, but it is nothing to the horror witnessed by Jean`s daughter Manon who finds her neighbours thriving on the well of water that could have very well saved her parent`s life. It`s a distressing scene, exacerbated by the fact that a child has had to undergo such trauma.

5. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) Huxley`s dystopian novel is a classic of nineteen thirties writing. Ostracised by ‘The Reservation’, John attempts to find himself through a quest of retrospection and solitude. This erudite exercise ends in failure, when John realises that humans must either become part of the machine or die. Hanging himself from a lighthouse to an crowd of journalists, John`s death is a tragic indictment of the incongruous disservice attributed by ‘Fordism’. The Great Capitalist Dream is not all that it`s cracked up to be. Shades of Huxley`s book would be appropriated under the reign of Margaret Thatcher in the nineteen eighties, wherein the desire of the rich overthrew the needs of the majority. Life imitating art, eh?

6. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) For a novel famed for showing the frivolities of the nineteen twenties at their greatest, ‘TGG’ is surprisingly downbeat. Gatsby, the famed lothario, is publicly shamed as both a phoney and a murderer, before he`s shot down for living the lifestyle he always disdained. Nick Carraway attends Gatsby`s funeral, only to discover that everything he stood for was both pointless and futile. Think of that the next time you dress yourself up as Daisy Buchanan for a nineteen twenties themed party!

8. The Last Temptation (Nikos Kazantakis) Generally, the death of the Christ is considered to be the greatest moment in Christian history. But Kazantakis shows it differently. Half of the book delves into the Carpenter`s son`s psyche as he envisions the life he never had. It`s a fascinating portrayal. But as Christ realises that he needs to die as ordained, he needs to sacrifice his personal life. Has he died for humanity or has he died for spectacle? Either way, is it worth the sacrifice? It`s a perplexing question that pulls at the heartstrings as much as it tugs at the mind.

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9. The Trial (Franz Kafka) Better known for political allegories rather than tragic qualities, Kafka`s best known work has one of the finer death scenes committed to paper. As Joseph K faces certain death, he notes his death is “like a dog”. It`s a strange annotation, but it`s provocative, evocative and entirely appropriate for a novella of such property. Dying on his thirty first birthday, K assumed himself a free man. He assumed wrongly. Associating himself with such filthy animals also emphasises the greater velocity of his death.

7. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Ian Fleming)

One of Fleming`s finer novels, ‘OHMSS’ is an albatross in a series dedicated to sexual fantasy and male testosteronical activities. Here, James Bond falls for Contessa Tracy di Vicenzoand opts to give up his career of espionage for her. Written a year before Fleming`s death, it signalled a change in tone for the series that may have continued in such a vein, were it not for Fleming`s untimely death. As it stands, the novel ends with Tracy`s vicious slaughter and a sobbing Bond reminiscing on what should have been the greatest day of his life. It`s a horribly sad moment in one of the better books in the series. ‘You Only Live Twice’ continued the story, wherein Bond, mercifully, gets his revenge.

10. A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway) A brilliant, brilliant book- one of my personal favourite books of all time. But it`s a difficult one to read and the ending is utterly heart-breaking. Grown men have wept reading about the still born birth of Frederic`s son. Horror stricken, Frederic next watches his wife Catherine succumb to a haemorrhage. Wifeless, childless, Frederic walks into the rain with only his wartime memories to accompany him. Just as everything seemed to work in his favour, he loses everything he sat through a war for. It`s awful to read. Believe me, if you can read this scene without feeling even a little bit of upset, then there`s a tenner here with your name on it. But you will break your heart reading the chapter.


An Island: UCCDramat Shangri-La or Island of Lost Souls? Daniel O`Driscoll explores n Island was the latest production taken on by the UCC Dramat Society, an original play from the mind of Ethnomusicology Masters student Mike Ryan, who also acts as the show’s Director. The Granary Theatre sees its dulcet surroundings transformed into a sinister tropical island off the coast of Al Papa. Though the plot is somewhat traditional in the way of the disaster story line, with influences from old and modern classics such as Robinson Crusoe and the hit TV show Lost, Ryan takes this concept and explores it from a slightly different angle than one might not expect. The washed up islanders come in the form of Bill, Anna, Beth and Jack. Each of these characters represent different deposits from the Celtic Tiger era or in the words of Ryan himself “Celtic Tiger cubs”; Bill the level – headed and sensible careerist, Anna the independent, modern-thinking female, Beth the materialistic and spoilt “it” girl and Jack the loveable yet erratic adventurer. These roles take the guises of Pádraig Rice, projecting the correct amount of charming sensibility and accidental comedic flare required for the character of Bill. The part of Anna is portrayed with an endearing and spiky vulnerability by Leah McNamara. The aggressively glamorous character of Beth, played with sheer gusto and zeal by Nikki Burke. Completing the unit is Jack, delivered with confidence and a giddy bashfulness by George Cummins. The main four are joined by Hark; an action man like figure brought to life by Alan Courtney; Courtney appeared comfortable in the role, successfully delivering the authority and commanding nature needed – However, the physicality of the part resulted in his voice becoming muddled and at times quite difficult to understand. Paul, the mysterious loner on the island is executed with raw gusto

by Greg Whelan-Curtin. His portrayal is one that most definitely made sure the audience sat up and paid attention, executing a fierce and passionately charged performance that you couldn’t help but be drawn into. While trapped on the island each of the characters(whether they want to or not) have time to reflect on their lives. It becomes clear that four very different individuals are still fundamentally linked through a feeling of fear and unfulfillment; Bill, the sensible office worker is in fact tormented by his love for Anna who, in turn, is haunted by the death of her fiancé. These go hand in hand with Beth’s feelings of loneliness and inadequacy and Jack, whom underneath the vibrant exterior is in fact fearfully running away from a battle with depression. The Island, though what first appeared to be an other-worldly hell for our foursome in the end becomes a form of therapy, as they use it to escape the shackles that consume their daily lives. The plot was not without its problems; at times an audience may have found it difficult to understand the direction in which the story was taken – This I believe is due to the fact that the play fails to solidify itself in a particular genre, thus resulting in it at times being lost in translation. In conclusion, for an original production Ryan should be proud of his creation, and commended for his efforts. Throughout the play there are indeed striking and touching moments that give a true insight into human experiences. The principle cast were supported by a solid supporting cast in the form of the local islanders and in particular the set design team deserve a particular mention for constructing a set that worked effortlessly with the actors. Overall, An Island was a vibrant and fresh show to view, with mostly solid and believable acting throughout.

War Horse is an incredibly moving and emotive tale that touches the hearts of all who have seen it

War Horse: National Theatre London Sarah Glascott gives her thoughts on Morpurgo`s stage adaptation n 27th February, the critically acclaimed stage show War Horse was broadcast live from London’s National Theatre to numerous cinemas around the world. This production was adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford and produced in association with the award-winning Handspring Puppet Company. War Horse first premiered in 2007 and has since captured the hearts and minds of millions of people. War Horse takes place from the point of view of Joey, a strong willed chestnut horse. He journeys from a happy rural life in Devon with his friend and owner Albert, to the trenches amidst the horrors of World War 1. Throughout this inspirational tale, the audience is faced with themes of love, loyalty, loss, grief and survival. At the core of War Horse however, is the bond between a boy and a horse and the lengths they will go to for one another. Author Michael Morpurgo stated during the interval that, despite the success of the show and the film that followed in 2011, the novel was initially unpopular. Morpurgo has also stated that, “When I wrote War Horse, I was very interested in writing a story which somehow expressed the universal suffering that went on in war”. This universal suffering is clearly expressed through the different but similar experiences of English, German and French people in the story. Stand out features from the production itself include the music, staging techniques, cast and puppet work. Adrian Sutton composed the powerful and emotive music performed throughout the show. This music drew inspiration from traditional English folk songs and provided a quiet emotional atmosphere in contrast to the harrowing scenes of war. The set was simple with minimal decoration that allowed for an easy transition between the English countryside and the trenches of war.

An extremely innovative part of the show was the overhead projection of wartime scenes and vast ships in the ocean. These moving pictures, projected in black and white, added a grand scale to the production and enabled the presentation of large sea battles on stage. This technique was also used to illustrate Joey the horse galloping through fields of Devon. War Horse consisted of an outstanding cast and crew. The stand out performances from the talented cast were Sion Daniel Young for his touching performance as Albert Narracott, Ian Shaw as kind and sympathetic Friedrich Muller and Nicholas Hart, Andrew London and Sam Wilmott as Joey’s head, heart and hind respectively. The life-size creations from the Handspring Puppet Company displayed amazing craftsmanship, and witnessing horses galloping around the stage was incredible. Another standout puppet was that of the goose which added a touch of comedy to the show. There was laughter from the audience every time the goose stumbled across the stage and crashed into the door. For me, the only negative aspect of War Horse was the decision to play a ‘Behind the Scenes’ featurette during the interval. This broke the flow of the performance and gave away key plot points, spoiling the show for those who had not seen it before. However, this feature was solely for the cinema audience and would not have affected those in the theatre. Overall, War Horse is an incredibly moving and emotive tale that touches the hearts of all who have seen it. Time Magazine has described the show as “a landmark theatre event” and it certainly is. War Horse is currently touring the UK and Ireland and will be showing in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 26th March to 26th April

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GAMES OF THE GENERATION

hile the PS3/360/ Wii console generation certainly isn't over yet (well ok, the Wii is dead), with games such as South Park: Stick of Truth, Dark Souls 2 and more still coming out, it's likely that most of these consoles’ best years are behind them. And what a generation it's been. The first HD console generation ushered in a number of games that would never have been possible on older hardware and a number of beloved and unforgettable titles have come out for gamers to cherish. These are also the first consoles to integrate online play as a central feature and this development has changed the way we interact with consoles to this day. So to celebrate the console generation beginning to come to an end here's a list of some of our favourite games from this generation. While we can only mention a few games here, we tossed around a couple other titles to talk about, these included: Infamous, Borderlands 2, Portal and Battletoads. Battletoads is a game in far too many of these article pitches. Those games aside, here are our choices for best of generation:

Bioshock by Brian Conmy It's hard to explain in such a short space here why I love Bioshock as much as I do. The game launched in 2007 and I played it on 360, only to be blown away for the entire game's run, from the opening cinematic of your plane crashing into the ocean right up to any of the multiple endings. Although it was a graphically impressive game for the time, what's held up much better and is still comparatively impressive is the art design, a feature of games that is really more important than raw graphical power. Rapture, the underwater dystopia of the game world, was an Art Deco inspired Objectivist dreamland before it all went horribly wrong and descended into chaos, a chaos that shows in the level design of flooded and decrepit hallways, rooms and vistas. While the setting drew people in it's the story that really hooked me. Playing the only survivor of the aforementioned plane crash your player character Jack is a mute protagonist being led around the world of Rapture by requests made on a radio by former Rapture inhabitants Atlas and Dr. Tenenbaum. The world of Rapture is not a friendly one though and it's crazed and mutated inhabitants are out to stop you at every turn. It's not the standard Splicer enemy that are really troublesome though, instead the main challenge of the game comes from taking out the generally optional side enemies known as Big Daddies. These diving suit adorned behemoths are often equipped with giant drills among other weapons and are fearsome only if you attempt to mess with their young charges, the Little Sisters. Choosing to engage a Big Daddy in combat was a big undertaking and always a challenge but liberating or murdering a Little Sister rewarded the player with Adam, the genetic fuel that powers the games special abilities which include throwing fire, ice,

10 VERGE GAMING

To celebrate the console generation beginning to come to an end here's a list of some of our favourite games from this generation lightning and even bees. The narrative, art style and gameplay options in the game tie together in a way that very few games have managed before or since, each one adding to the other to create a game that's more than the sum of its parts. Even though many criticise the gunplay in the game as the weakest part of the game, a sentiment I share, I never felt it actually detracted from the quality of the game. Sure the sequel tightened up the action but no game will ever feel the way the original Bioshock did to me, an insight into a world so impossible yet impossibly real. While the subsequent games in the Bioshock franchise are all personal favourites of mine, the first time seeing the lighthouse that marks the entrance to Rapture will be a seminal gaming moment for me, one that caused me to think more on what a game can be than simply a way to pass the time. In fact, I recently got a Bioshock tattoo. I’ve never been so glad that my parents don’t read anything I write.

Arkham City by Chris Boyle My favourite game out of this generation has to be Arkham City because it combines the two things I most look for in a game: excellent story-telling and engaging gameplay. The Arkham series may have simple combat mechanics, with a mashing of a few buttons making Batman spin across the screen performing his usual array of bone-crunching moves, but while it’s easy to use, it’s difficult to master. Making sure when you have twenty thugs around you that the one on the other side of the room doesn’t brain you with a thrown box while you are finishing off the silly man in the Joker mask can be mind-boggling. It means that the learning curve is nice and gradual, with a person who has never picked up a controller in their lives being able to feel some satisfaction when they see Batman kick a man ten feet across a room but also giving experienced players to pull off long stretches of combos that are so satisfying. The reason I picked Arkham City over Arkham Asylum as my favourite game, is the open environment. Asylum was superb but that open aspect allowing Batman to swoop over the city streets and pick random fights was greatly missed. The game also manages to do that thing which open world games always seem to lack, create a cohesive story-telling experience. For all that Skyrim or

GTA V are excellent games, the open world environment means that the story suffers as a result. And the Arkham series is all about the story-telling. The voice acting is superb, Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker takes up the Joker’s mantle once again to give us his bone chilling cackle while Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in the animated series reprises his greatest role. If video games had Oscars, Mark Hamill would have given Heath Ledger a run for his money. His creepy croaking voice gives shivers. With voice acting this good, you really engage with the characters, Batman is gruff but still has heart, Joker is properly psychotic, we can sympathise with Freeze, and are enamoured with Catwoman. They all bring the writing of this story to life, and what writing it is! Comics are famous for the curse of the never dying character where a convoluted tale shall be woven so that someone may stay alive. Arkham is having none of that, and has one of the most moving endings to a story, where the extent of the relationship between the Joker and Batman can truly be seen. The writers pulled no punches and so the story really stands out as one of the better ones I've played. Couple this with the excellent mechanics, the open world and gritty graphics and you have the makings the best Batman game ever. For this reason, Batman: Arkham City has my pick for best game of this generation.

Dead Space by Darragh Murphy Before the franchise became big, with those dreadful spin-off movies and needless multiplayer in the absurd, multi-layered story sequels, there was the one and only Dead Space. To me, it was the first PS3 game that I played at the time where I thought to myself, gaming had really evolved, that it had surpassed its predecessors in every way. It was the first game to clearly define its generation and finally stray away from how a game is usually presented. So, to put it bluntly, I love this game and there are plenty of reasons to do so. Dead Space was one of those games that changed things up, that brought something new to the table so survival horror fans (such as myself) had something new to munch on. It delved into the idea of isolation and brought the genre into space and instead of having the generic zombie enemy that we were all too used to, we were instead introduced to Necromorphs. These weren't just mindless creatures to shoot in the head, they were animals hunting their prey by whatever means possible; using the vents to drop down to surprise you from behind, playing possum to grab you when you get close enough and doing everything in their power to slice you up, even when their legs have been cut off. The variation of these enemies, such as the regenerating Necromorph or the mutated projectile-throwing baby, only made the situations you were put in worse and worse, but this only made the game better and better. Dead Space made its stamp on its generation of gaming through its realistic attention to detail. It


“The empathy we develop for these people leads to a number of powerful and at times tearful moments” absorbed the players into its universe as the role of Isaac Clarke by throwing away what the player sees on screen and instead more of what the character can see, an aspect that heavily contributed to the impressive story. Menus, maps, inventory and video logs could all be seen through Isaac's holographic HUD, and health could be seen from the characters RIG on his back, which monitors people’s health in the game. Dead Space also didn't have the typical gun selection, because realistically you were on an industrial ship, not a military one. All you had at your disposal were futuristic tools that, thankfully, work so gruesomely brilliant in your fight for survival. All these changes from the usual games we play and little details fully immersed the player into the game; made you feel claustrophobic when in tight spaces or terrified when the horrifying sound of a Necromorph came from behind. The past generation has been great for survival horror and third person shooters alike, as Dead Space set a milestone on what can be done to evolve the gaming experience. Already we can see the likes of The Last of Us and even Tomb Raider stem from certain elements of Dead Space. I, for one, cannot wait to see what more can be done in this new age of gaming. It's just a shame EA like ruining franchises on their third instalment.

The Last of Us By Stephen Patrick Barry The Last of Us is almost definitely an obvious choice when one thinks of games that have defined this past console generation. As the Playstation 3's swan song, it has captured the entirety of the gaming media and community's collective attentions. And without a shadow of a doubt, it is an effort that is definitely worthy of this recognition. The tale of Joel and Ellie, brought to life by the inspired performances of Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson respectively, as well as the rest of the supporting cast, captured our hearts and minds like no story we have seen in gaming before. Beyond the widespread critical acclaim for writing, voice acting, sound and level design, and art direction that The Last of Us has garnered in its short lifetime, it has also achieved a number of well-deserved awards. Numerous publications have awarded it the coveted Game of the Year title, and even upon its announcement at E3 in 2012, it became a hugely anticipated game. However, one achievement that The Last of Us can definitively say it has earned is the profound emotional effect it has brought upon those that have experienced it. Joel and Ellie's struggle through a not entirely implausible dystopia is one that has a sole focus on its characters. The empathy we develop for these people leads to a number of powerful and at times tearful moments. Joel and Ellie's trials and tribulations evoke an extensive set of emotions that cause an experience that the player does not soon forget. Honestly, without that important concentration on the characters' stories, The Last of Us would have been merely a solid action game drawing from a number of tropes that are beginning to wear thin. But perhaps it is their use and reinvention of those tropes that makes this game what it is. It explores the now common post-apocalyptic landscape, but Naughty Dog has broken new ground on a path that has been previously walked by the likes of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The Last of Us takes what has been done, and puts an innovative spin on it. Taking what could only be called a perfect mix of The Walking Dead's character focus and The Road's take on parent-to-child relationships, with a healthy infusion of Naughty Dog's sterling writing ability, the game extends beyond cliché and

gives us an entirely new experience. As we enter the next, or perhaps current generation of gaming, The Last of Us is still a name on the tip of the entire gaming community's tongues. It is a game that extends beyond its technical elements, its gameplay and its graphics. Through the collective efforts of its voice actors, writers and the entire team at Naughty Dog, it has given us an incredible, unforgettable tale that captures the human condition and the need to survive. It is truly a story that is not simply the sum of its cut scenes.

Mass Effect 2 by Aoife Gleeson A lot of the time when people talk about their favourite anything (film, TV shows, song, book…) they tend to get pretty starry-eyed and gushy. That’s basically how I feel about Mass Effect, so I’m going to try to explain, somewhat objectively, why Mass Effect 2 is my favourite game of the past generation - and why the series as a whole is one of the most important to said generation. Mass Effect 2 revolves around Commander Shepard (an intergalactic military spaceship commander) as he (or she) brings together a specialised team in order to launch a covert attack against the Reapers, a species of enormous space creatures who are attempting to eradicate the human species for, as yet, unknown reasons. Your team is comprised of an eclectic mix of personalities and species, who you must recruit through individual missions on various planets. In order to make each character a fully-fledged, loyal member of your team you have to aid them through loyalty missions, usually helping to resolve some haunting personal issue that’s keeping them from giving their all to the mission. This is where Mass Effect 2 really shines. Despite the huge scope of the world and associated lore, Mass Effect manages to ground it in truly memorable and relatable characters, while giving them amazing backstories. The way you interact with these characters feels so honest and engrossing that, even though I’ve played it multiple times, I always seem to play it the same since that’s just who my Shepard is. The game also allows your Shepard to develop romantic relationships with some of the characters, which ranges from the hilariously cringe inducing (Jacob) to the surprisingly sweet and touching (Thane/Tali). The relationships you forge in the game aren’t the only choice you’re given – you also have to choose whether you’re going to be Paragon (good) or Renegade (evil). The series really popularised the use of a morality system (which was also used in games like Fallout 3 and Infamous) and, although the system is harshly binary, it paved the way for more nuanced systems, like that of The Walking Dead Tell tale game. This isn’t the only area in which Mass Effect was a leader – as one of the first mainstream games to feature same sex relationship options it sparked a conversation across the industry about the lack of proper representation of anyone but straight white males. The ability to play Shepard as a female was huge to me – particularly because she was such an amazing badass. The series is a shining example of progress of storytelling in the past generation, creating an amazing galaxy populated with equally brilliant and diverse characters. Mass Effect 2 shines over the others for me because of the resonant character stories it tells, as well as one of the best end missions of any game I’ve ever played (where all of your choices come into play beautifully), making it my favourite game of the past generation (and ever).

VERGE GAMING 11


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