Goodreads review • The Paleblood Hunt

The Paleblood HuntThe Paleblood Hunt by Redgrave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A methodical and engaging opinion piece about the lore of the video game Bloodborne.

It’s no longer a secret that what initialled proposed to be a game about Victorian horrors being hunted down, turned into an incredible addition to the Lovecraft mythos halfway. Lovecraft being Lovecraft, this meant the game’s mechanics, concepts and characters all took on an additional meaning without it necessarily being clear what that meaning was.

As in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, Bloodborne tells its tale through bits and pieces carelessly thrown out into the world. Redgrave takes the notes, letters, item descriptions and utterances and moulds them into something a bit more cohesive. I wouldn’t say definite; it clearly leaves room for interpretation. But Redgrave’s own interpretation is actually quite beautiful, both in assembling it and its conclusion. Occasionally there are larger leaps of faith, yet they feel acceptable.

Unless From Software itself ever takes the lid off, we might never know exactly what Bloodborne is about. Which is fine as it becomes a game inspired by Lovecraft. But for all those seeking more closure, The Paleblood Hunt comes recommended.

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Goodreads review • Good Omens

Good OmensGood Omens by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is it wrong to be utterly delighted when Death turns out to be good ol’ Death? Not the religious one, but the “I TALK LIKE DISCWORLD’S DEATH” one? Good Omens also turns out to be “what if” scenario of Discworld logic being applied to real life. Yes, we’ve had a few instances of those (or depending on world view, an entire Unseen University experiment gone wrong), but this has some choice ideas sprinkled in that make “real life” more similar to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and distinctly British as a result.

It’s thoroughly enjoyable and oddly restrained. With some of the characters being able to manipulate just about everything, there needs to be something to hold it back from transforming into a Michael Bay film. You could also say the ending is anti-climactic, which – quite honestly – suits it to a T. Still, it manages to feel a bit cheap as the build-up and rhythm beforehand suggest that other Bay-course.

A great read, but I now feel like I want a host of sequels all focusing on the four horse…-people. After all, they do seem to be back in business these days.

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Goodreads review • The Prince

The PrinceThe Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apparently I never clearly understood the term ‘Machiavellian’. I always assumed out of context that it meant being manipulative to the extreme. While the manipulative aspect is definitely still there, it’s a different form of manipulation. It’s when and how to manipulate, not to ignore it as it would not be right. That’s maybe a subtle difference, but it changes everything.

The world will carry on regardless of your good intent and you sometimes simply need to fight fire with fire. The Prince gives an overview of when such occasions might arise when in government (or in this specific case, while being a prince). Yet its lessons are applicable to different fields as well. Once that idea settles in, the book becomes a good read and (in hindsight not surprisingly) a potential strategy guide for the Civilization computer game series.

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Goodreads review • Making Sense of Color Management

Making Sense of Color ManagementMaking Sense of Color Management by Craig Hockenberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a problem with Making Sense of Color Management. After reading it, you won’t necessarily feel better about the subject. In all seriousness, you might even despair a bit more having looked into a pocket dimension you could’ve done blissfully without.

However, Making Sense does give you some yardsticks to cling unto for hope. If you’ve ever run into the problem of graphics and web colours not matching up, or wondering why photos look ‘different’, this is what you need. Comes recommended if you work with digital graphics.

Unfortunately, it’s not a wholehearted recommendation as Making Sense assumes you are working on Apple hardware. If you work with anything else, this book will give you some rough basics. It feels like a missed opportunity to not turn this text into a more universal resource, but maybe that’s just nitpicking. Get it anyway.

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Instagram’s not-so-subtle change

Did you notice it? Did you open your Instagram app and declared: “hey, that’s different”?

For an app that was predominantly laser focused on mobile photography, it seems Instagram is aggressively trying to innovate and grow by breaking new ground (by, ironically, mimicking other products). To me, that subtle icon change in the navbar wasn’t so subtle. To me it was jarring.

Source: On Instagram’s Inverted UX Iceberg

Yes, the camera icon was swapped out for a plus sign. Ali rightfully suggests this has been done to be more universal understood by its now immense audience. Another more potent reason brought forward is that as Instagram is opening up to multiple forms of messaging beyond a single photograph, the camera icon itself becomes obsolete.

The plus is a more general way of saying “add content”. Which means that Instagram is not yet done with copying Snapchat. It may look towards other forms of competition. In the end, it might even start to incorporate Facebook functionality as imaging becomes even more important.