V E R G E
Interviews / Reviews Suas Film Fest / Spin Hits with J90 Daithi / Literature / Next Gen Gaming
E D I TO R I A L
FORTNIGHTLY FAVOURITE Words: Ellen Desmond, Entertainment Editor
so-called “friend” of mine recently noted my involvement with this fine publication and recognised it as, “Oh that thing that fell out of the Express? What’s that about?” I only cried for about a day, don’t worry. However, my stream of feelgood editorials officially ended as those lines were spoken. To clarify, this is the entertainment supplement of the UCC Express Newspaper. The words “entertainment”, “supplement” and “newspaper” can each be researched further online. We at Verge are an accepted and loved part of UCC’s official newspaper and when we fall out of it unexpectedly, it does not define who we are as people. There are many impressive sections, in the Express but Verge gets its own cover and hipster name because all the cool college papers give their entertainment sections aesthetically pleasing attire. This is probably because entertainment writers are usually a creative bunch and so I assume we’re difficult to work with and need to be distracted by looking at pretty things. Verge existed last year as a physically attached part of the Express but this year we’ve stepped it up a notch and soon it shall be ruler of all UCC media. Oops…did I say that in print? I should probably refrain from giving such public insights to my evil power-hungry plan of seizing glory in this wild world of student journalism; lest it unsettle those in ranks high enough to unseat me from my throne. I think my recent fascination with Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series has changed me. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t mention that the rest of the Express is merely a protective layer that Verge uses to travel around in and soon this fantastic supplement will consume said outer shell, to stock up on resources - winter is coming. We’ll leave the Features section for lastfor last but tell the News Editor and The Others that the Lannisters of Verge send their regards. Gods, I really need to stop paraphrasing random themes into these things. The use of the plural “Gods” there was another attempt at paraphrasing Game of Thrones, thought I should ensure that one doesn’t go overlooked. So if you would like to jump on the bandwagon before we take over the world and be able to claim that you weren’t at all shocked when Verge put both the rest of the Express and Motley out of print, then feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org (that’s me) and I’ll be happy to speak with you about contributing for us. We publish articles about art, performance arts, comedy, theatre, literature, film, TV, gaming and anything else you suggest that I, as supreme overlord of amusing cultural-themed articles, deem appropriate after you ask me. Now I shall hope that clarifies matters once and for all, it being 5.08 am (editor’s hour) I shall end the lecture there.
Taking a slightly different tact this week, I’m actually writing specifically about an actor today: Ryan Gosling. There has been a wave of Ryan Gosling fanaticism of late. Yes, Gosling-mania has been running wilder than ever, with his devoted fans throwing themselves at his films, such asThe Notebook, Lars and the Real Girl (which bagged Gosling an Oscar nomination), Drive and Only God Forgives. Actually, I remember a crowd of dejected people leaving a screening of Only God Forgives early on in the film when it got rather ultra-violent and the second Google result for Ryan Gosling is “Workout”...I guess his appeal will always just be a mystery. @theCircleGuy -Robert Now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, John le Carré`s magnum opus is worthy of a rediscovery. More romantic than the best of Fleming, more exciting than the works of John Buchan and more politically astute than Greene, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a cracking read. Only The Ipcress File and 1984 can rival The Spy for paranoid descriptions and subjugated characterisations. Long before the Jason Bourne books spoke of the chilling realities of espionage, le Carré shocked readers with an incredibly uncompromising look at the world.In an age when cinematic heroes have demons the size of nations, The Spy may read better now than it ever did. It really is as good a time as any to read the great work which authorities once tried to restrain from publishing. Publisher Weekly named it “The Greatest Spy Novel of All Time” in 2006- and they`re right! -Eoghan @EoghanLyng I think we all know that feeling, when you hear an amazing song for the first time and you just can’t stop singing it. Well, over the past two weeks, it happened to me with this song; Another Love by Tom Odell. The catchy tune details Odell’s struggle to forget a previous relationship when he thinks he loves someone else. Like all good songs it starts simply, with just vocals and piano,then over the course of the song it gathers steam. Odell becomes more frustrated, the louder and more instrumental it becomes. Regardless of whether you can relate to the lyrics, it’s impossible not to sympathise with him, even though it seems he may become the male Taylor Swift.
These last few weeks, with college getting into full swing, I haven’t been playing quite as many games as I’d like to be playing. One game however, that came into my life in the same way a disease might catch you, has by now wasted a number of hours that I could have spent productively. That game is Cookie Clicker. My housemates and friends quickly caught the bug. Although on the one hand I keenly urge you NOT to play this game, if you do feel like wasting hours of time for reasons you can’t quite explain, simply Google Cookie Clicker and go to the top link: a simple interface will open and find you clicking a cookie. Repeatedly.To get more things. To buy more cookies. Ad infinitum. That’s it, that’s the entire game. Play at your own risk. Skinner boxing at its finest.
Entertainment Editor: Ellen Desmond Bella du Toit Arts & Literature Editor: Eoghan Lyng Contributors:
Gaming Editor: Brian Conmy
Mark O’ Sullivan
Music Editor: Meadhbh Crowley
Film & TV Editor: Robert O’ Sullivan
E N T E R TA I N M E N T
by Stephen King:
tainment Editor .
Words: Ellen De smon
Premiere or Publication?
The end of September saw the release of Doctor Sleep, a novel by master of horror, Stephen King.Three decades have passed since its prequel, The Shining, first made it to print but only now has King decided to revisit its characters. In Doctor Sleep King elaborates on the later life of Danny Torrance, the young boy of the family which The Shining is centred around. The blurb on the back of The Shining describes Danny as “only five years old but […] he is a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage”. Danny Torrance unarguably is the perfect creation for an author to return to. As an already developed character with a background, and a traumatic “story to tell”, a book about his later life was always going to be a success waiting to happen. Yet, with this much publicised release there comes a shock for many. It would appear the majority of young people only know The Shining as a film, made famous by an impressive performance by Jack Nicholson, and it’s the advertising around this new novel that has made them realise The Shining’s true origins. This is a recurring issue with Stephen King’s works because, as an author, he really does have a reputation for churning out potential blockbusters.The classic example here being The Shawshank Redemption, originally penned by King in a compilation of four novellas entitled Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, the film version is pretty much the human race’s proudest example of a good solid watchable movie. The performances given in Shawshank have become legendary, most notably that of Morgan Freeman, and the production was nominated for a total of seven academy awards in 1994. In an unusually high number of cases like that of the Shawshank film, stories born of King’s
imagination have climbed to their highest heights specifically through the performance of an actor. Kathy Bates is another who gave a performance so stirring that it will be frozen in the memory of many forever, this time in the onscreen adaption of King’s Misery. Even after considering myself a fan of King’s for quite a while I found myself shocked to discover The Green Mile was originally a novel by him. Before unearthing this information, the first thing that ever came to mind when considering The Mile, was Tom Hanks or the emotionally provoking portrayal of John Coffey by Michael Clarke Duncan. Sitting in the shadow of this fairly long and mighty string of box office successes, you’re unlikely to find many people aware
With over seventy literary works produced in thirty years, it’s easy to question if the quality of his writing could possibly remain at an impressive constant throughout an almost conveyor belt stream of publications.
that these plotlines were all inspired by King’s novels. The list of King films that stole the novel’s limelight is unending, think of films Carrie and It. In this respect it’s difficult not to see the release of King’s latest sequel as a marketing ploy. He embarked on this publication with the knowledge that The Shining has by now hit the status of horror cult classic, and any sequel he pens will most likely find itself in cinemas faster than in public libraries -no doubt turning over more than a pretty penny for the already much esteemed author. With over seventy literary works produced in thirty years, it’s easy to question if the quality of his writing could possibly remain at an impressive constant throughout an almost conveyor belt stream of publications. From the perspective of someone who has read more than twenty of King’s works and found each to be an enjoyable and infectious page turner, it is interesting to note that I’ll be among the first to agree with the argument that his stories do often make for better films than works of literature. Could it be that King writes with the potential movie playing in his head? His writing skills, in a technical sense, often really do leave more than a lot to be desired. It’s unarguable that King is a master story teller and a legend of our time; his imagination has produced some of the most influential tales and terrors to date yet, retrospectively, each story always seems to be a great plot line or an outstanding idea, jotted down by a highly unimpressive pen. Having finished any novel by King, I’m often left with a lingering hope that someone will rewrite the whole damn thing and publish it afresh. Blaze is a perfect example of this - anyone will be itching to get to the end of this rough read
to unearth the mystery but it’s quite plainly really badly written, in a fairly obvious way. There’s nothing satisfying about finishing a book that feels like nothing more than an intentional stepping stone to a screen. It’s unimpressive for any reader to think dedicated time and attention was not focused on the basics of the art, regardless of the unique imagination behind it all. Perhaps King’s aim is not to let the words get in the way of telling an impressive tale, and if so, he has hit the nail on the head but every work of his begs the same question; when’s the movie premiere? Perhaps the time has passed for books to stand alone and be closed shut when finished as the one, definitive and almighty production of the work but the ability to respect the book as a complete and independent art form is really the minimum one should expect from a novel. Doctor Sleep is well worth the read. The last we saw of Danny Torrence he was sitting at the end of a dock in the afternoon sun, with no hints to the possibility of a sequel. King fans, and pretty much anyone who watched the Shining, will be very far from disappointed as they approach this publication with an appetite to find out just what happened to the young after the boiler incident and as he grew up. The usual standard remains present though, so if you don’t have the time to sit down and read about the events that unfolded in Danny’s older years, you might as well just wait for the film to come out. I wonder which unknowing actor is about to make this one a classic. King’s latest stands as much the same as the rest of his bibliography. It’s a chilling and original tale; an easy read; a highly enjoyable page-turner; soon to be a major motion picture.
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Review and experience of an inspiring festival at UCC
Suas Educational Development and UCC Suas Society hosted the 8x8 Documentary Film Festival on campus last week. The festival ran from Monday the 30th of September to Friday the 4th of October. It was one strand of a bigger project, called Global Campus, led by Suas Educational Development and sponsored by the EU and Irish Aid to raise awareness of global issues and development. UCC was one of five campuses across the country to host a segment of the festival. The showings were launched with a screening of Wasteland on Monday. This uplifting documentary focuses on the “art and beauty of the human spirit” and ultimately set the tone for the week to come and for what Suas aimed to provoke in attendee. The festival’s information booklet promised to “get your brain firing, your blood boiling and your heart racing […] in a way that will challenge you to sit up, stand up and want to take action” and that it truly did. Over the next four days, a stunning array of inspiring, emotional and diverse documentaries were screened, with the intention being to highlight eight of the most pressing issues relevant to our generation. From some of the films, the audience left with the feeling of responsibility to ensure we don’t allow a mistake to occur again, and from others still, the audience left buzzing- full to the brim with good intentions to improve the world and tackle the problems they had seen on screen. Touching and true to life insights were given to audiences throughout the week - showing different lives, in different cultures, facing different problems. Perhaps the most impressive element of the choice of documentaries was the different viewpoints the
Words: Ellen Desmond, Entertainment Editor line-up managed to capture, when tackling of governments”, something it succeeded in wholly. Once the audience had finally the portrayal of these issues. Among the eight films was Oscar nomi- finished applauding the film, Director nee Five Broken Cameras, which revolved Emer Reynolds took to the microphone with Dr Mervin O’ Driscoll of the UCC around the daily struggle of a Palestinian villager, Emad Burnat. An intimate, honest History Department. Many in attendance commented on the impressive and unbiand up-close documentary, Burnat went through five smashed cameras ased key witness accounts of the in the process of recording the documentary, among them Ted events, protests and attacks that Sorensen, JFK’s personal advitook place around him every sor, and Sergei Khrushchev, son day, with each new of Nikita Khrushchev. It camera soon becoming was noted in particular representative of a new that extremely balanced chapter in his life. Other “Are we going to be one of interviews were given by documentaries screened all three sides involved around campus included these self-destruct planets?” in the Crisis. Reynolds Rafea: Solar Mama, Fire or are we going to develop herself admitted that she in the Blood, Give us the surprised at how into a generation prepared to “was Money, Town of Run[…] honest they were all ners and Living on One take a stand on the issues of prepared to be”. ArguDollar. the most moving of poverty, prejudice, corruption ably Possibly the highlight these witness accounts and war? of the week took place in was that from the man Devere Hall on Thurswho pressed the button day evening. This stirring showing of Here launching the missile that killed pilot Was Cuba was accompanied by a Q&A Robert Anderson, the sole casualty of the session with one of the film’s co-directors, Crisis, when he looked directly into the Emer Reynolds. This film was included as camera and said “I hope I’m not seen as a part of the festival as a “cautionary” story, murderer”. and included first hand testimonies from The aim of the week was to inspire those directly involved with the debates students to take action and form intelligent during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The and informed opinions about the concerns documentary captured the raw, tense fear of today. Reynolds was heard to speak that had completely swallowed up the lives about how we are the ones who put the of the people during what has become power into the hands of our leaders and known as the most dangerous thirteen days mentioned repeatedly how difficult it is to in the history of mankind. Full of espiomanage the great cultural divides of today nage and tension, this movie is different to and the importance of “who you want to other documentations of the Crisis in that have that power or have access to it”. Here it was aimed to be “a story of men and not Was Cuba, in particular, embodied the
meaning behind the 8x8 Film Festival. The point was made throughout, and during the Q&A session after, that the actions of one individual person can make the difference to the lives of countless people. Humans respond to new stimuli in unexpected ways due to lack of familiarity. The cautionary screening was an example of how different individuals choose to take action in different ways. The position of John F. Kennedy in particular was highlighted and the fact that, had he followed the opinion of most of his advisors and attacked Cuba, the world would be a different place now - or even completely wiped out now. Dr Mervin O Driscoll explained the need for each individual to be as educated about global issues as possible by putting it quite simply; “accidents do happen when humans make decisions and […] inadvertently so”. Having experienced the week I was left with one of the event’s main questions emblazoned on my mind, “Are we going to be one of these self-destruct planets?” or are we going to develop into a generation prepared to take a stand on the issues of poverty, prejudice, corruption and war? Could we be the generation that is remembered for the eradication of nuclear weaponry or the exposure of corrupt pharmaceutical testing and uneven distribution? I think it’s a stretch to say the revolution began in UCC as a result of this festival, but it made its point and who knows, someone in attendance could someday make the decision of a lifetime and look back on that week for moral inspiration. Overall the festival was an undeniably roaring success for both Suas and the UCC students involved.
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BREAKING HEARTS Words: Rob O’Sullivan
W Kate Clerkin gives reason to believe Cate Blanchett steals the show in Woody Allen’s newest
Woody Allen’s had a so-so career since the turn of the century. Excellent movies like Midnight in Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona were undermined by flops like Cassandra’s Dream and Whatever Works. Many have cried out that the man has lost his spark, that his recent work is nothing compared to his “early, funny films”. Seemingly in response to the mixed reaction to last year’s To Rome with Love, Woody has silenced the naysayers with what might be the best movie he’s made since he stopped working with Mia Farrow. Blue Jasmine seems at once “vintage Woody”, yet something of a departure. The trademark humour is still there, but slightly more subdued than usual. There’s a surprisingly caustic streak totally unlike the frothy comedies he’s been doing recently. And when it gets serious, it might be the most devastating film he’s done in over thirty years. The story structure mimics The Godfather II, following the fall from grace and the subsequent effort to start over by spoiled socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett). After her millionaire husband (Alec Baldwin) is exposed as a con man and hangs himself in jail, Jasmine is left with nothing. Desperate, she leaves New York to live with her working class sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco, where she attempts to get back on her feet. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal the circumstances that led to her husband’s arrest and her family’s meltdown. If the pampered rich girl in a blue-collar environment sounds like a predictable morality tale, the film wisely avoids sentiment or cliché. Jasmine just may be the most petty, narcissistic,
delusional, neurotic character Woody Allen has ever created (any fan will tell you this is no mean feat). She drinks heavily, talks to herself, throws frequent tantrums and chugs antidepressants as though they were Smarties. She hopes to find a job and a new man, but she has no skills, no education and no grasp of the concept of work, and her refusal to come to terms with her controversial past undermines her current relationships while preventing her from starting new ones. This part takes an extraordinary actress to pull it off, and Blanchett is at the top of her game. Wisely, she avoids any attempt to make the character warm and likeable, instead settling for making her eventually understandable and tolerable.Blanchett sets the bar high for the Best Actress race in the upcoming awards season. What makes Woody Allen’s dramas so powerful is that, even when he paints in broad strokes, like he does here, his characters never feel anything less than genuine. Credit here must also go to the supporting cast. As the outwardly jovial but sleazy con artist and adulterer, Baldwin merely has to show up to nail the part. As the conflicted sister trying to put up with Jasmine long enough to help her get going again, Sally Hawkins is absolutely wonderful. Credit also goes to Bobby Cannavale as her rough but big-hearted boyfriend Chili. In the end though, when I try to think of Blue Jasmine’s MVP, my mind keeps coming back to Woody. The stars may be on top form, but it could never be possible without his assured direction and magnificent writing. In today’s world, his status as a cinematic treasure is undeniable, and here, he reminds us why. Rarely has he been this good, even in the heyday of Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and her Sisters. And, at the age of 77, I’d doubt he’ll be this good again.
At the time of writing, it is less than 24 hours since the end of AMC’s Breaking Bad. What has been dubbed one of the greatest television shows of all time, and was given the title of “Highest Rated TV Show of All Time” by the people over at Guinness, did not have an easy beginning. Creator Vince Gilligan brought the show to Showtime, FX, HBO and TNT in the US, with all of them turning down the show. Some of the networks liked the show, but turned it down due to the drug-related aspects of the show. It wasn’t until Breaking Bad was brought to AMC, the company also responsible for shows like Mad Men and the Walking Dead, that it found a home. The show, which began in 2008, had slow beginnings, with people not flocking to televisions screens for it until as late as its third season. Although the show will be remembered for a long time for itself, of internest now is thethe future of the people involved. Will Bryan Cranston be able to escape Heisenburg, as he did with his previous immortal role as Hal on the comedy show Malcolm in the Middle? I think we all hope that the Seinfeld curse doesn’t strike the stars of Breaking Bad, but the signs are already there: Aaron Paul has already reprised his role on several comedy shows and of course Bob Odenkirk is going to become Saul Goodman again in the prequel spin-off Better Call Saul. Only time will tell the success or failures of the Breaking Bad aftermath. For those of you just starting to watch the show, I encourage you to begin this endeavour. I know it’s often said that you just HAVE to watch a show, but if it ever was true it’s for Breaking Bad. And for those of you delaying the finale, take the plunge.
Words: Cathal Dennehy
After Ron Howard’s disastrous foray back into comedy with 2011’s The Dilemma, it’s great to see the usually very reliable director get back to his comfort zone and take a more dramatic, intelligent approach to a film. Rush tells the story of the epic rivalry between James Hunt and Nikki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 season. Some would have entered into the film with trepidation, fearing that it wouldn’t be enjoyable for non-F1 fans. However, like most of the best sports movies the focus is solely on the characters and story itself, with the sport element incorporated only as a background feature. With that said, no prior knowledge or even interest in the sport is required to enjoy or understand the film. Unfortunately, as the film is more of a biopic than a sports movie, it does succumb to some of the usual pitfalls associated with the genre. For example, the film doesn’t really take off until about a half an hour in, having to establish the characters, their personalities, the sport itself and the stakes involved in the story. Also it does add a little ‘Hollywood drama’ to the end (much like Argo). Presumably the events weren’t quite as nail-bitingly tense in real life, but hey it’s a movie! As the film is less concerned with the F1 races themselves, one would imagine that the central characters should be interesting and well rounded in order to carry the film and this absolutely is
the case. Chris Hemsworth pushes his machismo up to eleven as the charming Englishman James Hunt, while Daniel Brúhl is the stoic, calculating but endearingly determined Austrian Nikki Lauda. The actors have great chemistry when depicting the fascinating dynamic between the two drivers. The pair’s relationship is mutually beneficial in that one needs the other as much as the other needs him and so the pair drives each other on, infuriate each other, insult each other and ultimately complete each other as drivers. It being a story of two F1giants going head to head, our sympathies, grievances and interest shifts between the two drivers constantly and the film is very even-handed in its treatment of them so that neither ends up as a clear protagonist or antagonist.
In the same vein, a central focus of the story is both men’s search to find what kind of person they really are. This is mirrored by what kind of driver they want to become. Hunt; while incapable of having a mature relationship with his wife (a sadly underused Olivia Wilde) is serious in his pursuit of becoming world champion. Lauda, on the other hand, must try to let go of his determination to dominate his profession and think about what’s actually important to him. It’s a simple yet gripping transformation that the characters go through. Rush is a very welcome return to form for director Ron Howard. The film is anchored by two fantastic central performances, while overall its greatest success is that one needs no knowledge of the subject matter to understand or engage with the story, something that all good biopics should do.
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This week’s celeb playlist comes from J90 1. Bell X1 - A Thousand Little Downers 2. Chromeo - Night by Night 3. Oingo Boingo - Weird Science 4. QOTSA-The Vampyre of Time and Memory 5. Animals as Leaders - An Infinite Regression 6. Alter Bridge - Addicted To Pain 7. Justin Timberlake - Pusher Love Girl 8. David Foster - Winter Games 9. The Stranglers - Golden Brown 10. J90 - Tears
You can listen to this playlist at : spoti.fi/190SSYQ
S i n g l e o f t h e We e k
Keywest- Electric Love After the success of their first album “The Message”, Keywest have now released their new EP featuring the title track “Electric Love”. The song which was recorded in LA and London, promised big things and delivers just that. With its tight vocals and catchy melody it will be stuck in your head for a long time.
Bouts were a surprise to many when the headliners for Arthur’s Day were announced. When researching in preparation for the interview, I discovered there is very little made public about their origins or other vital information. I was left with just their first single, 6.0, which soon made it clear why they were chosen for the prestigious event. Right before they began rehearsals in their secret venue, the Odeon in Dublin, they took time out to talk exclusively to the students of UCC. What are you most looking forward to this Arthur’s Day? Playing two gigs back to back, in different venues, an hour apart, with some quite amazing international artists. Can we tell you who? Or where? Of course not! It will be hectic and it will be fun. This we can confirm. What do you think makes Arthur’s Day different from other events you’ve played? The completely secretive nature of who plays where and the fact we’re playing in pubs to a different audience than we might normally... Your recent single, 6.0, has an unusual name to say the least, why did you choose it ? It’s a lyric from the song. Most of our songs get named this way. The numerical aspect of it just makes it that little bit different.
Living the Chameleon Life
A l b u m o f t h e We e k
Kodaline – In A Perfect World Kodaline have been making themselves known since early this year and over the Summer released their album “In A Perfect World”. With well-known tracks such as “High Hopes” and “All I Want”, the album proves an enduring presence and won’t be getting boring anytime soon.
Fiona hit W e chats to A r t i s t o f t h e We e k Galwegian producer The Wanted Daithi ahead of his There’s been a lot of buzz around The Wanted gig in Cyprus this week and not just because of their ever Avenue. changing relationship statuses. The long awaited new album “Word of Mouth” has been set for release in November,having been delayed by nearly a year.With their world tour to be announced next month, the Wanted have made safe their place as Verge’s Artist of the Week.
Méadhbh Crowley catches an Arthur’s Day headliner for a questions and answers session
Where did you get the inspiration to write the song? We were being a little cheeky, brash and going for ridiculously over the top guitar-pop sound. We came upon the general riff, added the weirder guitar lead bits from another unfinished tune and just took it from there. The single also features on your forthcoming album, Nothing Good Gets Away, how are you feeling about its impending release? Excited. Eager. Scared. Happy.Relieved. We demoed it in August 2012 so it’s the end of a long process. Our emotions are run ragged! Was it a difficult album to come together in the end? The songs have all come together quite naturally. We had some of them already and we went out of our way to demo others. About 25 or so, and many more unfinished songs, were whittled down to ten. And finally, any advice for the musicians of UCC ? Listen to as much as possible. Play with conviction and if it feels good follow it.
Finding initial attention from an Irish talent show in 2009, Galway-based producer Daithi has come to the attention of many DJs, radio presenters, agents and producers thanks to the summer underground hit, Chameleon Life, featuring singer, Raye. The title comes from change. It is applicable and accessible to the mass market as the initial idea behind it, Daithi explains, “the idea of adapting to any situation and enjoying yourself”. The track took one week produce in the bedroom of Young Wonder’s, Ian Ring, and Raye’s vocals were added in half a day with one day of vocal processing before the track was sent to London to be mastered. The video for Chameleon Life, which was filmed in Connolly’s and has nearly fifty thousand views on YouTube, can give you a small example of what to expect from Daithi. Daithi’s live show however is something that can only be experienced in person. Hawaiian shirt, live fiddle playing through a Boss ME70 effects pedal, with ableton and two Kaoss pads to “build white noise and effects”. For those who are not tech-savy, they are two large boxes with a whole load of colourful buttons on them, the shirt is bright, and the desk is surrounded by LED lights. “Why the Hawaiian shirt?” I ask, “Why not Hawaiian
shirts is the real question.” he replies. The energy he brings is amazing as he furiously plays the fiddle and the smoke and lighting add to the journey of the fusion between trad and electronic music. Nobody knows what is happening but judging from the positive reaction of the crowd at Connolly’s, Electric Picnic, and Castlepalooza (to name but a few), nobody really cares. Daithi will be touring with La Galaxie and Funeral Suits in November and is aiming to have an album out in the New Year which I can already tell you, will be one to get. I asked if he has experienced any snobbery from fellow artists based on the use of his Kaoss pads or introduction of the traditionalfiddle rather than “cool” percussions such as the drums. He explains, “People put up this image of snobby DJs and producers debating about what real dance music is, but to be honest all I've found is people looking to have a good time. I’ve never had as much fun playing as I do now.” I can confirm that, he really is having fun and secondly, if you see him live, so will you. I have a suspicion however that you will also be seeing something really big in the making. Try to see him now before you have to fly internationally or pay an extortionate amount to see a performance.
The Strypes: Snapshot Us Irish are an undiscerning bunch; engrained into our psyche is the habit of building anything we can call our own up to mammoth levels before dropping it the moment it becomes too popular (U2, the Catholic Church…). The latest in a lengthy line of hyped Irish acts are four young lads from that hotbed of musical creativity;Cavan. Along the way to achieving a recording contract with Virgin EMI, the quartets blistering live performances have garnered approval from the duke of rock himself, David Grohl, and even a brief nod of approval by Elton John on American television. So can four teenagers, seemingly immune from wrongdoing at both home and abroad relight the long extinguished fire that is sixties rock and roll through their debut LP Snapshot? I think not. Let’s start with lyrics; the poetry of song; the primary vein of connection to the listeners’ emotions. But the quality of lyrics from The Strypes is very poor. For example, in “Queue Blue Collar Jane” lead singer Ross Farelly sings “Always has a teacup when she knocks upon my door/ she just wants some milk and sugar but all I want is her/- You got a four wheel drive? /You know that’s how she gets around”. In my opinion, every lyric contained in Snapshot makes “the Teletubies” seem like high intellects. Sadly, the musical misery sees no sign of ceasing in this LP; with the exception of the somewhat passible faux-Zeppelin blues of Angel Eyes, each recording follows an identical route; undercooked guitar solos, a light dash of harmonica, off kilter singing and more lyrics á la Google Translate. Every inch of Snapshot screams marketing product, discharging corporate ooze for young impressionable teenagers to latch onto. In many respects, The Strypes are a parasite in today’s music industry. At least pop bands such as One Direction make no attempt to impart a musical integrity ontoits listeners. It would be a truly worrying prospect if The Strypes ascend into legendary stardom, will Snapshot be seen the White Album for future generations? Will Nickelback become the next Led Zeppelin? Life is precious and there are so many things you could do in the thirty-five minutes that Snapshot limply stretches over; clean your housemate’s dirty dishes, watch someone sleep or maybe start a stamp collection, just please don’t waste it listening to Snapshot. You’ll regret it.
Cork’s Fortnightly Music Forecast 10th October Fred at the Pavillion
M U S I C
To Arthur! - A Music Editor’s Christmas Probably luckier than most Arthur’s Day celebrants, I managed to see not one, but It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four two, of the headline acts that were here in years since Arthur’s Day debuted across the Cork; Kodaline and Janelle Monáe. Don’t globe, to celebrate 250 years of the “black get too jealous, 17:59 was as hard a time for stuff ”. Since its inception, the aim was me as everyone else. I too was in the depths notonly to provide world famous artists in of conflictionwhen deciding which venue to intimate venues, but also raise money for the hit first. After a brief chat with my sources, Arthur Guinness Fund which supports causes I headed to the Old Oak, oblivious to who (in countries where Guinness is sold) where would be performing there. The Old Oak was individuals and communities are trying to nowhere near as packed as I had expected make a change for the better. This year €7.4 and I instantly felt regret and I feared I had million was raised for The Arthur Guinness made the wrong decision.Then, the MC came Fund, funded in part by revenues derived from behind the stage and announced a clue from ticket sales for the global Arthur's Day to who would be performing: the clue was the event. letter J. Everyone racked their brains, pulled Now in 2013, Arthur’s Day has gone from out phones and conferred with friends, as I strength to strength and is celebrated not screamed inside, “it’s Janelle Monáe!” only in Ireland but also worldwide, where After what felt like hours, a riff started to acts such as The Wanted performed in Ma- play and the small crowd instantly knew they laysia and One Republic played to a sell-out had a headline act and relished in the idea crowd in Singapore - it seems that everyone that they were seeing a Grammy nominee for is getting into the Arthur’s Day spirit. free. Arthur’s Day this year may have been Soon, curiosity got the better of me and I a disappointment to Corconians, as the headed to Reardan’s, blagged my way through amount of headline acts was limited comjust in time to hear one song in the exclusivepared to those of 2012, a year which saw ly paid-entrancevenue (you definitely hate me stars such as Ellie Goulding and Fat Boy now). As soon as I walked in the door I knew Slim grace Cork’s venues.Speaking from exactly who it was, the undeniable sound personal experience, I on the other hand, of the Swords band Kodaline, playing my thought the atmosphere of the day was much favourite song “High Hopes”. It was the moimproved on last year, with a variety of acts ment I knew that all the running around had from every genre and a plethora of tastes been worthwhile and defined this Arthur’s catered for. Day as the best I’ve ever had.
Words: Méadhbh Crowley
11th October Altan at the Pavillion 13th October Caroline Moreau in Cyprus Avenue
11th October 12th October KILA 25th Anniver- Heartstring in the Pavillion sary concert in Cyprus Avenue
13th October Rynne Dunny Barou in the Pavillion VERGE
A R T S
L I T E R AT U R E
? The Great Literature Debate:
A case for and against the e-reader “Bye, Book” The Necessary Persistence of Literature
- Aaron Elbel shoots down the idea of going by the book
- Bella du Toit likes to turn pages
Some of the soundest advice I’ve ever received comes from that mysterious literary master, Here’s an interesting fact, the most popular e-reader of all, the Kindle, takes its name Mr Lemony Snicket: “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them”. Books from the Old Norse for candle, kyndill. Apparently, this word was plucked from Volmake stories that have entertained the imaginations of generations, bored and disillusioned taire’s famous statement in the Enlightenment-era; ‘The instruction we find in books by reality, as solid and real as the hated chores and monthly bills that mark those hours is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to spent away from the beautifully crafted worlds that wordsmiths have given us. Books lend others and it becomes the property of all.’ Now, you can interpret that as PR bullshit a physical dimension to the act of reading – picking up the weighted cover, hearing the soft if you want but there is no question that Voltaire might as well be describing modern crack of a new spine, flipping the pages on which the faint smell of fresh ink sometimes e-reading. still linger. These sensory qualities, which accompany and add to the wonderful tradition Of course, I won’t deny the unexpected drawbacks that come with e-books. The of book reading, are but a part of what eBooks fail to offer us. Yes, the words are on the hardest hit by this new shift to the digital era of e-book consumption is unquestionably totalitarian dictators. The Arab Spring has already shown the role digital mass ‘page’, but with a page that is a mere projection, an illusion of a story. This is the age of the media can have in destabilising governments and organizing the people, and now, computer screen, but the paper book is not yet ready to retire, and the reading public is not with the advent of e-books, dictators can no longer fall back on that beloved totalitaryet ready to allow it. In an opinion piece written for the Wall Street Journal in 2012, acclaimed American ian staple – the mass burning of dangerously intellectual books. Let’s face it, if you essayist Joe Queenan articulates the need of self-proclaimed book hoarders like himself to really want to destroy every intellectual work (or, every copy of Twilight – but I’m own the physical object, despite the fact that e-readers offer the type of comfort and mobilnot trying to tell anyone how to do their job) for the last 200 years, then ironically enough all it takes is one Kindle, half a firelighter and a couple of matches. That’s not ity that massive stacks of ‘to-be-read’ books never can: “People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themenough to toast even a small bag of marshmallows. But after all that, those books can selves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely be downloaded onto a different e-reader in all the time it takes to paint an anti-authoritarian slogan or two. objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine The thing is, much to the disappointment of dictators everywhere, the essence of Chapel”. The sacredness attached to physical books stems from, as Queenan argues, the fact Voltaire’s point is even more relevant today than it was when he wrote it. In the tranthat we know that they are full of the words and phrases that make up the stories we love. We can touch and feel them as a part of our world. They are also singularly devoted to the scendence of books from the page to the internet it’s become harder to be ignorant in word, an attractive quality in the digital age. Whereas e-readers often double as computers today’s world. Whether carved on stone, painted on papyrus, penned on vellum, typed or internet browsers that gives the reader the opportunity to flit between different texts and between the covers of your favourite hardback, (or for that matter, scrawled on the platforms, books function only as that – books. back of a stained beer-mat), the important thing is that the words are read and the idea Author and media commentator Tom Chatfield applauds the democratizing of reading spreads from one person to another. This burning in the mind, as Voltaire might put that multi-platform readers has provided the public with in that we can filter and choose it, is like some kind of literary venereal disease. In this respect, accessibility is vital. from a vast pool of information which has the capacity to enrich our learning and reading Sticking with the STI imagery here, the easier it is to access something, be it novels experiences, but also voices his concern about texts which are engaged with for the pleasure or horny first-years, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with something in return. of reading or storytelling becoming a part of this technology ebb-and-flow. I share ChatWhether that’s literary enlightenment or an uncomfortable trip to the GP depends on field’s concern – there is a type of seriousness and value attached to the printed word that what you get up to in the evenings. comes to us through a long tradition of knowledge being made available through books. The There are an impressive number of e-books for sale, or even for free with sites like absence of the book object seems to somehow take away from this value, reducing the need Project Gutenberg, and all available at the click of a button.In the short space of time to concentrate and focus on the words which become but another part of realm of hypertext. since getting an e-reader I’ve read quite a few books that I probably wouldn’t bother It is not only literature lovers who still gravitate towards books; academics also prefer buying otherwise, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Island of Dr Moreau, a Sherlock working from the physical object. Jisc and RLUK’s recent survey of about 3500 academics Holmes collection and I’m currently eyeing up War and Peace with some trepidation. revealed that, although many choose to read electronic versions of journal articles (many of On the other hand though, a lot of people complain that e-readers, unlike paperbacks, which do not appear in print anymore), 86% of them don’t see eBooks replacing books in can run out of power, which does ruin the reading experience. This is fair enough if the near future as the object is still an integral part of research. Around 90% of respondents you live in Burundi. However, in 21st century Ireland, it’s not that hard to keep an also indicated that they find it easier to conduct in-depth reading of entire print sections, and e-reader charged, except in the case of a total societal meltdown, in which case not that library collections of books are still integral to the research process. It would seem that being able to finish the Hunger Games will be the least of your problems (oh, and do Northrop Frye’s contention that “The most technologically efficient machine that man has bear in mind that if Skynet does take over, than at least our merciless robot overlords ever invented is the book” rings true to many. will be well read). It is naïve to deny the advantages that eBooks offer us. For us as students it Don’t get me wrong, I do like physical books. There really is nothing offers mobility and sharing options that previous generations did not enjoy like relaxing at the beach with an actual book in your hands without (not to mention the money saved on printing and photocopying extensive worrying that it’ll overheat and explode and kill you. But I do Ed note: What do you think? chapters!). But the book is not dead, nor is it dying. It has become an also like e-books, and as a way of keeping books alive, relevant integral part of the tradition of carrying over knowledge and stories. and, most of all, accessible in today’s digital age, there really Send any comments to The time and effort put into creating beautiful cover designs that is no beating them email@example.com, the UCC Express reflect something of the magic inside testifies that people still value Facebook page or website the printed word.
A R T S
L I T E R AT U R E
Relatives and Relationships in Art
Modern Families has been on show since the 25rd of July and runs until the 3rd of November.
this is truer than ever with many families composed of half-siblings, in-laws, partners and friends Modern Families tries to In recent times, the Lewis Glucksman gal- put contemporary relationships under the lery has proved itself to be unequivocally microscope through artworks by a range relevant, with both timely and relatable of both Irish and International artists. The exhibitions such as the haunting and artists of this exhibition explore this familpoignant Living/Loss, which discussed iar theme through their own unique and the timeless themes of illness and death dynamic perspectives and a multiplicity of through art. The current exhibition is mediums from video, sculpture, painting, another thoughtful and timely exhibition, audio and photography. presented by Glucksman curators, Chris “Soft Stillness and the Night”, the Clarke and Matt Packer. This exhibition, beautifully crafted sculptureby Isabel Modern Families, delves into the emotive Nolan,greets visitors on entry to the world of family and relationships in conexhibition. A series of elegant and poetic temporary life. The word ‘family’ seemsal- curves, it both resists and entices the most inappropriately simple for its endless viewer, as one searches for meaning. Here connotations. It can ignite every emotion the viewer quickly discovers that all meanimaginable, yet it can be summed up in ing to the exhibition is found through one’s just seven letters.“Family”, a word so solid own experiences with modern family life. and certain,comes to us in life asmany 2013 was branded as the year of the different shapes and forms. Families have gathering, with many of us trying to entice always been complex, however today loved ones abroad,both near and far, to
return home. Nolan’s sculpture powerfully represents the nature of our relationships with dispersed family members. A steel structure composed of differently stretched and compressed elements, it represents how those geographically closer to us sometimes feel more like family than distant relatives. Trish Morrissey’s photographic series “Front” is a major element of the exhibition with her bright and cheerful works intermittently placed around the gallery. In each photograph, Morrissey places herself in the midst of families holidaying in the British seaside. Around every corner in exhibition, Trish can be found whollyintruding on a family, taking the place of the mother figure. Whilst in some Trish appears to be ‘one of the family’, in others it is quite the opposite. Critically, these family portraits again raise questions within us, regarding what truly is a family in the modern day?
There is something very engaging and interactive about the exhibition that manifests itself through the variety of mediums and forms of which the artworks take. Marko Maetamm’s contribution takes the form of 30 Stories which explore the darkly humorous side of family and relationships. These satirical and revealing cartoons are almost impossible to break away from as they uncomfortably discuss ugly truths and dark fantasies of modern relationships.The strength of Modern Families lies in its ability to strike a chord with anyone who wishes to engage with it. Familiarly is often a double edged sword, on the one hand offering engagement and relate-ability, regretfully on the other,it can be a rehashed and jaded subject matter. Modern Families mercifully falls on the former providing abeautifully inventive and relevant take on contemporary family and relationships. Once again the Lewis Glucksman team have made us remember what it is like to feel human.
Foil, Arms & Hog: City Limits
of ensemble mastery. No genre was off limits for Sean Finegan, Conor McKenna and Sean Flanagan (who is what according to their allusive title was never explained. It`s of little relevance anyway. Nobody ever asked the components of Monty Python who they represented in their odd title!)Period dramas, passable movie trailers and political ramifications were all discussed within the first twenty minutes – and they didn`t even break to change their costumes! Memorable highlights included the blues based
“Ryanair Song”, reality television satire “Who`s a Prick (You`re a Prick!)” and the hilarious portrayal of “The Net People” (they have head like sieves, you know!). Again, it is hard to praise one performer over another. The three worked excellently as a team, none outsmarting or overstepping the others. Infectious, inventive and anarchic, and distinctly Irish in tone, the festival darlings left their audience in stitches of laughter. Their unassuming conversation with the audience at the bar afterwards was a reminder of what we had seen on stage; three down to earth, Dublin lads who had not forgotten their roots. Egos free, with talent to spare, “Foil, Arms and Hog” were a cracking form of entertainment! “Foil, Arms &Hog” may have been aided by the fantastic acoustics within the venue (credit must go to the City Limits venue for this), an intimate atmosphere (again, credit to City Limits) and an enjoyable first half of comedy. But even without any of these luxuries, they would undoubtedly still have won the audience over; their humour is simply that brilliant. This is what sketch comedy should be; an art form of unadulterated ecstasy. The best Irish sketch comedians of their generation? Based on that one gig, it is a resounding yes!
Words: John McCarthy
candle lit tables, somewhat reminiscent of a scene from “Casablanca”. Placid and sombrely, Ross Browne, the night`s Master of Ceremonies opened the night. His edgy humour had certain Frankie Boyle nuances, perfectly suited for the majority of the audience in question. Browne Words: Eoghan Lyng had the crowd in stitches with his digressive comments about the Irish stereotypes and There`s always something exciting about sketch towards the audience. Browne`s other comedy. Free from the rules and regulations of anecdotes revolved around Mickey situation based comedy, sketch comedy allows Mouse digressions, Christy Moore imcomedians the chance to go places that they personations and general laments about the lack ordinarily could not go; thus, their imagination is of a musical called “Fermanagh”. Resident Cork stretched to the maximum. And that is what the comedian John Cronin (perhaps Cork`s answer to auspiciously titled “Foil, Arms & Hog” are espe- Graham Clarke or Glen Wool) finished the night`s cially good at. Whatever else you can say about first half with his stories about other Irish stereothem, the three Dublin comedians are consistently types, life on the dole and reverse paedophiles energetic, passionate and most of all, imaginative. (don`t ask!). Gloriously distasteful, Cronin While their humour may be on the alternative left the stage to much fanfare and applause. spectrum, these Irish performers are not as polaris- Cronin and Browne`s routines may have ing as, say, “The Mighty Boosh” or “The League skirted around offensive topics, but their of Gentlemen”. Their humour is unconventional, general stage charisma and gregarious yes, but not erratically so. Certainly, the crowd energy made such taboo subjects that bit who gathered to see them on Saturday 28th easier to laugh off, leaving the small crowd September,in the great City Limits venue, saw hungry for the main act. great humour behind their jokes; there were even And boy, did the main act deliver! Foil, moments the crowd`s reaction was so great the Arms and Hog`s erudite sketches were performers themselves sniggered profusely at the profoundly original, energetic and entertainscenarios in question. ing. All three were completely on the ball As the gig began, the audience sat behind throughout the show, making for a routine
G A M I N G
Most Anticipated With a new generation of consoles just around the corner, Sony and Microsoft are showing off a plethora of games for their respective consoles, some small scale ones and some large scale ones Here are fourof the most anticipated games of the next generation chosen by gamers:
Next Gen Games
Star Wars: Battlefront
Speaking as a Sony fanboy, the PS4 seems to be a heck of a stand-up compared to current gen consoles. Having chosen to buy the PS4 over the Xbox One, the next problem is which of the 22 launch day titles grab enough of our attention to Chris Boyle warrant forking out sixty euro. Of course, there is the standard annual titles; Fifa 14, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 (which looks and feels stunning) and Assassins Creed 4: Blackflag (which has the most engaging multiplayers from the As a kid there was one thing that I loved above all else: Star Wars. I had all the movies, the figurines, and the games. Showing my age here, the first VCR I owned series that I've seen). Yet, the title I'm most anxious to get my hands on is a lesser known title, Ubisoft's Watchdogs, set in an open world was the re-mastered original trilogy. I had the Lego, the books and the Star Wars and densely packed Chicago. The world as we know it is run, organised and operated through an omnipresent camera encyclopaedia. I was never a console gamer following the event in which my little networkand intensive surveillance system of its citizens, known as ctOS. It connects trains, phones, social networking, sister poured milk over my PlayStation 1 and my family PC wasn’t good enough media, and security systems; anything which has technology. for anything other than pinball or solitaire, so when we got a new one I was really This is where our anti-hero protagonist comes in, Aiden Pierce. Pierce is a former criminal and thug, but now a brilliant excited that I could play games. hacker. After his criminal ways led to family tragedy, and feeling that the government failed him; Pierce seeks revenge That Christmas I got a real game. Star Wars Battlefront 2. I played that game for four years on and off, messing around between being a bad-ass Jedi and shooting and justice for those he lost. As it stands, we know very little of Pierce's history and how he became the hacker he is today, let alone how he manages to have more advanced technology than the government - all of which is neatly packed into a some rebel scum. So I was super excited when they announced the sequel at this concise handheld smartphone. year’s E3, simply, called Star Wars: Battlefront. All we saw from the trailer was From this you'll have real time control over the city allowing you to manipulate the world around you to your every snow, meaning Hoth and an AT-AT. So we don’t know much but the game is being need, from hacking into bank accounts, cars, security cameras, personal accounts, control public transport, and a whole lot developed by DICE - the guys behind the Battlefield series. This means we can more. This allows every mission to be done in any way you find admirable, use stealth and shadows to your advantage, or expect large maps, excellent driving and flying, as well as a multiplayer fuelled go in guns blazing "tearing the place up", as it were. experience. I’m excited because rumours have been circling about maps which The full storyline, Pierce's history and all the extent of his intentions, in regards to vengeance, are not fully known as of allow you to run around, shooting some Noobs, then hopping into your spaceship now. Yet, from the small few details we do know, this game looks to be monstrous. With a free roam and open world to and whizzing off to join the orbital battle above, which sounds quite impressive. rival that of Grand Theft Auto 5, weapon, technology and hacking possibilities to give Call of Duty a shakeup, the stealth The last related game was 2006, so an increase in the quality of graphics, sound and secrecy to challenge even the most dedicated Assassins Creed fan and a storyline to give even Beyond:Two Souls a and physics engines will make this a truly spectacular game. Who doesn’t love wakeup call. Set to come out the launch day of Playstation 4, Ubisoft's Watchdogs is one I highly recommend looking out shooting or Star Wars? Combine the two and you have yourself an epic game. If they bring back Darth Maul, I may even have to have a little lie down.
InFamous: Second SonAoife Gleeson
Power. That's what InFamous has always been about for me. Thunder dropping onto a street and then unleashing a lightning storm to cause a swirling vortex of chaos and destruction is breath-taking, not to mention cathartic. Thankfully, Second Son is looking like it's going to top its predecessor in every conceivable way by letting us wreak beautiful chaos all over again, making it easily my most anticipated game of the next gen. Set seven years after the ending of Infamous 2 (and taking the ending as canon) the protagonist of this game is Delsin Rowe, a 24-year-old Native American with a dislike of authority and a penchant for civil disobedience and street art. The game takes place in Seattle, which has become something of a police state run by the DUPwho find and detain any conduits, who have now been labelled 'bio terrorists'. This is a clear parallel to the US's TSA; security at the price of freedom being a big theme in the game. When Delsin comes across a crashed van of these detainees he discovers his powers when aiding one of them, which is to absorb the powers of others. Starting off with smoke powers, which allow him to phase through things like chain link fences and air ducts, he will gain others as the game progresses. This may be where the morality system comes into play this time around, possibly with a system like that of Bioshock's saving/harvesting of the Little Sisters. With absolutely beautiful visuals, particularly those of the smoke and dust around Delsin, an organically destructible environment and powers that look to be a blast, Second Son is looking to be a must have. Don't miss this one.
With a next generation of consoles just around the corner and a gamut of games, big and small scale, announced there are some I look forward to. As a huge InFamous fan Second Son looks pretty stellar, Knack looks like it’s tapping directly into the games of my youth, such as the much loved Spyro, Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank. However what I look for in a next gen game is a next gen experience. Neither the Xbox One nor PS4 has so far shown off anything that I don’t see being possible on current generation systems. As a matter of fact the Wii U had the best opportunity of doing this through its new control scheme that we haven’t quite seen before. The Wii U though has not lived up to any level of early promise and while the PS4 and Xbox One easily seem more promising there is no new style of game, no particularly new ideas, no pushing of the hardware limits. Surely this is what we must look for with new hardware? The leap from cartridge to CD gaming, the jump from CD to DVD and from DVD to Blu Ray all heralded an expansion of gaming as a medium. In particular pushing the visuals to stunning heights but also allowing for the creation of games like GTAV or Skyrim with huge awe inspiring maps to explore and game systems that required more power than already existed to run. Though the new focus Sony has put on indie gaming and the focus Microsoft has on violently changing its policies on a moment’s notice are both exciting, neither are bringing out the kind of experiences I had hoped for. It’s early days though and as seemingly powerful as the consoles are, eventually a game will arrive that shows why the upgrade to new hardware is worthwhile. Truth be told, the Steam controller is the thing I am currently most excited for, though I’m not a PC gamer. While these are only a few of the games being released soon for our new batch of consoles, there are plenty more to look forward to: Drive Club, Dead Rising 3, Resogun, Deep Down, Knack and so many more. What are you looking forward to?
G A M I N G
Gaming: the rationalisation of a waste of time? Brian Conmy Growing up I was always a gamer. Starting with the classic grey brick Gameboy and eventually working my way up to a Playstation and beyond. I always had an affinity for platformers and RPGs and, in particular, the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series. I liked these for a multitude of reasons but mostly for one thing: the story. These long games, often with sprawling open worlds, had storylines that were unparalleled at the time and not seen in most forms of the western media that I had access to. With the evolution of Western gaming development and the increased availability of access to a wide variety of games, these interesting stories are no longer isolated to JRPGs. In fact, more western games are coming forward with a level of storytelling that surpasses anything we’ve seen before, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us leading the pack in this area. As such,gaming has never been more worthwhile if you’re in the hunt for a rewarding story experience. However what if you are in search of a more mind numbing or time wasting experience? Recently I heard tell of a game called Cookie Clicker. The free game, available online, simply involves clicking a cookie to get more cookies, to buy upgrades to get more cookies, to buy more upgrades. Forever. There may be a mild type of narrative being told through funny messages at the top of the
screen but that’s narrative used in a loose sense of the world. With that description it may sound like I didn’t particularly enjoy the game but I sat and played it for a straight six hours. By the end of that time, my two housemates were also mindlessly clicking away at that cookie. Although that’s the last time I played the game, a few more of my friends have invested much more time into it lately. This
led me to consider why people invest time in these games at all. Often the players aren’t what some may call “hardcore” gamers but in truth what is the difference between so many hours spent on Cookie Clicker or Call of Duty? Each is a repetitive system designed to give you a sense of progression with no real benefit and yet both have eaten up too many hours of people’s lives. As someone who writes about games by choice, and enjoys it, it took me a very long time to come to a simple conclusion: gaming is a pastime. It’s about passing time, whether this is because you’re hunting a strong character to relate to, looking to test your skills on Call of Duty online or just passing time on a bus by crushing some candy. With time being such a commodity in college between societies, clubs, course work, lectures and friends and family sometimes it’s hard to feel good about time spent on a game that has no bearing on your life. With that said sometimes that little break is all you need. After six hours of repetitive clicking on a cookie to get more cookies to get more cookies and laughing at how silly it all was along the way, I basically came out of the ordeal with a funny story, a better perspective on why I play games and what games I want to spend time on but also a slightly clearer head. I had spent five hours not worrying about impending deadlines and anything else going on in my life. Maybe Cookie Clicker is as good a game to distract you as any other.
In a big week for the PC gaming community, Chris Boyle gives us the run down on Valve’s newest venture Oh Valve, what a tease you are! The game company which runs the computer game marketplace Steam gave us three very special announcements this week. Each one spaced out two days apart and kept me checking my computer every ten minutes to watch the counter roll down. The first announcement was for a new operating system, based off Linux which would be orientated around Steam, and would be designed to run off a TV. This announcement caused much speculation as Valve has been hinting for a while that they would be coming into the TV/console market. This comes with problems however. Steam has roughly 3000 games for sale on their market place, some of them the triple-A titles that we know and love such as Battlefield and Bioshock. Others are small indie games which sell for a couple of euros. Most of these are windows only games, with about 500 available for Mac and only 300 available for Linux. To combat this, any device which is running the Steam OS will be able to stream games from a windows computer allowing you the full access to your Steam library. This announcement has us all reeling, with two announcements to go, it looked like a precursor to something BIG. And so it was, there have been rumours flying around about the Steam Box for years, a pc based console that Valve were supposed to be developing. Valve laughed theatrically at the legions of internet conspiracy theorists
and said close but no cigar. What they announced were the Steam Machines, a whole cohort of consoles running the new Steam OS built by various hardware developers and all with different specs. On their announcement page, Valve said “Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.” Most importantly, the hardware is hackable, changeable and open source.It’s a box, a completely upgradable, variable, do with as you please box. “Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot? Sure.” The whole project is built off of user preference and their ability to do with the console whatever they wish. Valve are selling you the tools to build the product you want, X-box and PlayStation are selling you the finished article. For eons passed, PC games have revolved around two components, a keyboard and a mouse. Saying that you were entering the living room is all well and good but I don’t really fancy balancing my keyboard on my lap as I shout at the N00bs playing Arma 3. The only problem is that while many steam games facilitate a controller plugged into your pc, some games, particularly, strategy, or role playing
games, were built with a keyboard and mouse in mind. Step forward, the Steam controller. Built using dual track-pads as well as a touch screen, this controller is designed to be used for all pc games even those which would normally only have mouse compatibility, and allowing us out of our bedrooms and onto the couch. Steam machines and controllers are shipping sometime in 2014 meaning that they will be in competition with the new Xbox and PlayStation. Microsoft Executive Phil Harrison stated during the week that “Valve are a very impressive company and obviously we’re going to be watching what they do with great interest.” Sounds like someone is shaking at the thought of someone muscling in on the console market, and keeping a beady little eye on their progress. What this means is that those people who were complaining about the DRM policies on the Xbox One and didn’t see the PlayStation as a viable alternative now have a new option. The Steam machines will probably never have the same market share as the Xbox or the PlayStation but it allows people who have never played PC games before a compromise between the two, and an excellent compromise it is. Valve are currently looking for 270 people to fill a closed beta test of the first Steam machine and controller that Valve themselves are building. Anyone can enter so do it! Do it now!
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Bus Éireann Travel Centre, Cork: 021 4508188
All above services depart from Bus Station, Parnell Place, Cork.
Shuttle service operates from Gaol Cross(U.C.C) to Bus Station on Fridays @ 1210, 1310, 1410, 1510