Whachu Doin’… Matt

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The more things change

Quite a lot has changed since my last Whachu doin back in May 2017. In my working life, I have settled into my role as Academic Coordinator at BIMM Dublin, and I built two sets of class timetable from scratch; one for BIMM Dublin and then one for the newly opened BIMM Birmingham.

After building said timetable I have spent the past twenty weeks or so making the day-to-day class, venue and staff changes that make up the inner workings of a third level institution. It has been… an experience, to put it mildly.

With my work life rolling along at a solid pace, I find myself asking the question of what is next? The MA in journalism I have already delayed twice? A springboard course in another area like business or computing? Change of career all together? Who knows!

Every thug needs a lady

My job hasn’t taken over my life completely, however. Back in November 2017, someone new came into my life and turned it upside down in the best possible way.

At the time, I wasn’t particularly looking to date anyone following a difficult break up but, as the old cliché goes, we find love only when we aren’t looking.

A hundred and twelve days later and my free time has gone from being mostly long hours playing RPGs, evenings at the gym and weekends where I drink a little too much to often something much more enjoyable. Day trips, nice evening dinners, Netflix binges and so much laughter.

The new lady in my life is from Mexico, so all of a sudden my life is filled with the sound of the Spanish. I have been saying for years that I must learn a second language. and I guess now I have no excuse not to.

I be there… to say some really inappropriate stuff

Many an evening has been spent recently binging Friends on Netflix. I have very mixed feelings about Friends after watching almost all of it in order, and not all of them are good.

The first thing that struck me is that the first six seasons are now horribly dated. Not because of the fashion or the lack of certain modern technology such as smart phones, but because of the views expressed by the characters and their attitudes to certain issues. Particularly the character’s attitudes towards LGBT people is actually rather jarring in places.

Now, I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed Friends because I have and some of the classic episodes are still hilarious. But the final episode aired almost fourteen years ago, meaning many of the early seasons are twenty or more years old. And trust me, it shows in places.

Mexican soccer makes for a decent sitcom

My favourite show on Netflix at the moment, however, is one most of you probably haven’t heard of. My girlfriend introduced me to a Netflix original sitcom called Club de Cuervos.

Club de Cuervos follows the story of a half brother and sister who inherit a professional football team when their father dies of a heart attack. It’s the perfect mix of humour and drama and I can’t think of another non-English speaking show I have enjoyed this much.

Gotta catch-em all… again!

On the gaming front, I found myself on another Pokémon binge in the form of Pokémon Ultra Moon. I updated to Pokémon Sun/Moon and actually ended up enjoying it more.

Tweaks to the battle system, tougher bosses in the game’s main story, additional Pokémon, ability to catch all of the legendary Pokémon of the past and probably the best post game story in any 3Ds era Pokémon game. It’s the full package. And yes, I completed the Aloha pokédex, again!

Oh nemesis my nemesis

Pokémon Ultra Moon aside, my favourite game recently is Middle-earth: Shadows of War. Having avoided the game in the wake of the micro-transaction controversy upon the game’s release, I honestly regret listening to the hysteria.

Middle-earth: Shadows of War improves upon its predecessor Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor with its introduction of a fortress capturing/defending mechanic and an expanded nemesis system. Instead of two areas with a three tier nemesis system and one war-chief at the top, you get four fortresses each with one warlord, up to five war-chiefs alongside three tiers from the original game.

While some critics and players were unhappy with the story and the repetitive war of shadows final chapter (behind which the game’s true ending is locked), I still enjoyed the hell out of this game.

Honestly, there are very few mechanics in gaming I enjoy as much as the nemesis system; a system that creates new increasingly harder enemies for you to overcome that adapt to the way you play. I am surprised that we haven’t started to see clones of the nemesis system in other games.

On the topic of micro-transactions, the internet hysteria was blown way out of proportion. While the micro-transactions are essentially highlighted in all of the game’s menus, never at any point in the game are they necessary for progression.

As you kill increasingly powerful captains, who drop increasingly powerful gear so it never really becomes necessary in my eyes to buy the loot boxes. And if you do want to buy the loot boxes, by completing the game’s online missions and improving your online rank, you can earn the game’s premium currency. Meaning never at any point is it necessary to spend real world money to progress.

Having finished Middle-earth: Shadows of War, I feel it got unfairly caught up in the micro-transaction controversy caused by EA with Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Nothing in Middle-earth: Shadows of War was locked behind a paywall and to finish it I didn’t even spend half the time I put into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

While I am against the presence of micro-transaction in full price retail games, Middle-earth: Shadows of War taught me that gaming industry controversies shouldn’t always be taken at face value.

That’s my two cents

Well, that is everything that is going on with me in the realms of life, love and everything in between. Please continue to support www.the-arcade.ie and thank you for reading.

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