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Alien: Covenant – Movie Review

WARNING: Contains minor spoilers.

Those who know me will know that the Alien franchise is, hands-down, my favourite series of movies of all time. I am too young to have actually seen any of the “original” four at the cinema (when they were released, at least) but I have since seen Alien (the Director’s Cut) on the big screen, Prometheus and now Ridley Scott’s new release, Alien: Covenant. I don’t really count the AvP movies as part of the franchise, although I did go and see them when they were released.

It occurred to me as I was planning this review out, that I haven’t actually written any sort of review or retrospective on the other movies in the franchise, which I really must do – but first, a review of Covenant.

Into the thick – the Black Country Living Museum

A week ago, Jem and I took the kids on a semi-planned day trip out to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

A Shop of Miscellany at the Museum

I’d not been before, but the name made it sound like it would be right up my street, being a little bit like Blists Hill Victorian Town in Coalport, which is just down the road from us and (from what I remember) is a cracking museum for kids and adults alike.

On arrival, we met up with a couple of friends and made our way into the entrance.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – Movie Review

WARNING: Contains spoilers.

The first Guardians Of The Galaxy movie (from hereon referred to as GotG) was a smash hit for Marvel Studios when it came out in 2014, raking in over $750 million at the box office. It was considered a refreshing change from previous Marvel movies, with more humour and, crucially, a setting that did not involve Earth.

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (PC)

Hey there, readers! It’s been almost a year since my last post on here, because I’m a complete and utter prat who keeps forgetting that this domain name even exists. Still, never mind, I’m here now, eh?

What’s brought me back into the fold, you may ask? Well, it’s the hotly anticipated release of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on the PC (and various other platforms, but I do 99% of my gaming on a PC, so the PC version is what we’re talking about here.)

My Old Game Reviews

I’ve been programming these computer-ma-whatsits since the tender age of 6, when my Dad brought home from work a Sinclair Spectrum 48K.

Well, I say that, but my time with that machine was somewhat limited as I had two brothers living at home then as well, Bob and Mike, and they were even more interested in this alien bit of kit than I was, both of them being nearly 10 years older than I was.

Nevertheless, that lovely old squidgeboard was my introduction to the world of computer programming. 48K Sinclair BASIC isn’t exactly a powerhouse of a language, but it was more than enough for my tiny brain.

I never really managed to do anything particularly great with it though – it was only after I’d migrated to the Commodore Amiga that I started really digging my teeth into the biscuit that was creating my own computer programs. Initially I used AMOS BASIC, followed by AMOS Professional, and ended up using Blitz Basic 2.

Using AMOS/AMOS Pro, I created a number of games for the Amiga that I released on Aminet in the mid-to-late 90s. At the time, I was a subscriber to Amiga Format, and they ran a seemingly popular “Reader Games” segment – kind of like Readers’ Wives, but (certainly the first couple of times) making myself look more of a tit. Naturally I submitted my games for review in this magazine section.

I present these reviews to you now, for you to make up your own mind. They’re in the order of publication.

Hotel Review: Sandford House Hotel

Another odd review this, but (unlike my Silverton review the other day) not because of the experience I had. In this case, it’s more because this hotel is in the town I live in, and there’s probably not many people that have stayed in a hotel in their own town.

Restaurant Review: The Silverton Hotel, Shrewsbury

This is going to be a bit of a weird review, primarily because I’ve been to The Silverton many times before and although the quality of their food has gone downhill in recent times (but don’t get me wrong – it’s still good stuff) I’ve never felt compelled to write a review of the place until now, and this isn’t going to be a glowing report.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC) Review

Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Two possibilities exist. Either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

It’s always been one of my favourite quotations, so it’s rather fitting that it gets a prominent place (right at the start of the intro sequence) to a reimagining of one of my favourite games.

X-COM: UFO Defense (or, to give it its European name, UFO: Enemy Unknown) was developed by the Gollop brothers, Julian and Nick and was released in 1993 by Microprose to an unwitting audience.

With it’s crazily in-depth layering of micromanagement, strategy and turn-based tactics, the game was a great success and went on to spawn it’s own franchise, from the enjoyable-but-flawed sequel Terror From The Deep to the frankly abhorrent first-person shooter X-COM: Enforcer.

I was introduced to the original game on the Amiga, by a friend of mine who didn’t make it at all clear to me just how addictive the game was – so my obsession with X-COM is all his fault.

Restaurant Review: Bistro Jacques, Shrewsbury

The Shrewsbury Flower Show is in full swing, and Alex and I decided to take a brief trip into town to check out the crowds, have lunch and perhaps go for a bit of a walk while we were at it.

Unfortunately, the walk didn’t really happen (we had to get back to the car before our parking ticket expired!) but lunch definitely happened, and I’m really rather glad it did.

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Note: This is a pretty long review, but should be almost completely spoiler-free.

It’s been a long time coming (four years almost to the day, in fact) but the final instalment of Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy is here at last.

In 2005, we all sat with trepidation as we watched Batman Begins, not knowing what we were in for after the atrocity that was the previous Batman movie (1997’s Batman & Robin, directed by Joel Schumacher)

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