Sunday, September 16, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Hello again, blog. Saturday, August 11, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Need to post. Things change, again, and once more I'm in a place where I'm uncomfortable and uncertain about the future. Change is good, mixing things up keeps life interesting and all that shit, sure. But I have... trouble with change. It's the run-up, the anticipation that bothers me - that's when I get the horrible hollow feeling in the region between my gut and chest, the sensation that I've always had difficulty explaining to people. Feeling hungry and sick at the same time. This nasty, petty existential angst thing. And I'm generally quite good at pushing myself through it, forcing myself to face up to it, because once the actual change is underway, I sail through without any worries. But the build-up... that's hard.
And it's because of work. Again.
As much as I love my job, the fact that I'm fully aware that I'm not being paid properly for doing it makes me itch inside, and is something that the people I immediately work for also know about. The yearly salary's about £3k below where it should be, and if I say that £3k is roughly 25% of what I *am* getting paid, you'll probably understand why that's such a major issue. Basically, I'm getting fucking peanuts for something with some relatively major responsibilites and a hefty workload.
So, in order to keep me happy, what the people above me have done is dangle the carrot of paying for me to get some more qualifications, while the job evaluation goes through whatever proctracted process it has to (a process that feels, to somebody on this end of it, like nothing more than a series of delaaying tactics, if I'm entirely honest about it).
It's nice, in a way. It at least demonstrates that they want to keep me, if nothing else, which is more than I ever had in the old job. The main motivation is undoubtedly that they're fully aware of the difficulties they'll face if I do up and leave - not because *I'm* particularly essential, as a person, but because I've taken on so many additional responsibilities that nobody else is dealing with, that if I leave it'll be extremely hard to get anybody else trained up. When there's one person processing all of your income and expenditure, one person keeping track of your budgets, one person paying all your employees, you're inevitably going to face a fairly massive hurdle if that one person disappears.
So, tomorrow I start an NVQ.
Here's my itchiness: it's not long since I finished my degree. I went into that late, got a decent result, then spent two years unemployed as, I suspect, a direct result of my CV having seven years' worth of that old job on it and not an enormous amount more. So: one step forwards (degree), two steps back (prolonged period of unemployment).
And then another step forwards: into a job that I love and have discovered a previously unsuspected innate ability with, working with and for people who have, to a large extent, become more friends than employers.
An NVQ? That's got to be another two steps back. I'm 32 next month and here I am, about to start over from scratch. Yet a-fucking-gain. The NVQ forces me to accept that the degree was, to all intents and purposes, a total waste of time. I could have got this job without it - I wouldn't have been the person I am without the experience of those years, but in terms of qualifications, I could have got this job where I was before returning to full-time education.
Worse, it looks an awful lot like everything I'll be learning for the next twelve months (or twenty-four, should the pay increase materialise in the interim period and temporarily stop me from looking for alternative employment), I already know. It's exceptionally basic stuff that *might* have been useful to me this time last year, but I'm now some way past. When you've spent eighteen months providing a payroll, finance and HR service on your own, for a staff of around 150 people and a combined budget of £800,000 - well, it's been a trial by fire, but it's ensured that I've had to get a bloody good grounding in these things pretty quickly, just to survive. So, going to college to be taught how to "record income", how to "use IT"... it's going to be diffciult not to feel patronised by that.
The main issue for me is that it's a waste of my time. It won't help me in my current job, because it simply can't teach me anything that I don't already know, that I haven't already been dealing with for a year and a half. Worse, it's taking a day away from me - I'll now have four days to do what five was already far too few for.
And it's Mondays. 0900 - 1600. It's going to take a power of will to stop myself from falling asleep.
But maybe it's a good thing. I'd been getting comfortable with the job, and when I'm comfortable I tend to stay still. I can't carry on earning as little as I am - it's not enough for me to even think about renting a place of my own in this town, for fuck's sake - and even if this course doesn't add anything of worth to my resume, it might at least light a fire under my arse and get me considering different possibilities.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 21:09
Hello. Sunday, June 18, 2006
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I was going to post something about how I've really been struggling - again - with a small bit of games-related writing that I'm working on and which has a submission date of this coming Monday, but then I realised that it might be a wiser use of my time if I got on with it, instead of posting here about how depressing and stressful I find the whole business.
So, yeah. Goodbye.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 16:51
The latest Xbox 360 dashboard update hasn't solved my random "DVD drive powering down" problem. I didn't think it would, but I suppose I might as well confirm that it hasn't. Playing Hitman: Blood Money just now and heard it start to spin at a lower speed, followed by the inevitable "the game disc is dirty - please remove and clean" error message. It's brand new disc, you fuck! There's not a mark on it. Sunday, May 21, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
So I do what I should have done months ago and I phone MS customer support. The chap on the other end of the line is pleasant enough, but the steps he asks that I go through in order to check the hardware... well, they're bloody insulting. Are the cables plugged in correctly? Have I tried another disc? Look, it's happening with most of the games I've played on the thing and it's happening at totally random times - sometimes I'll be able to get five or six hours straight out of the thing without a hitch, other times it'll die on me after three minutes.
The worst step is the last. Delete the saves for the games it happens on, play those games again and see what happens. We're talking about saves that are at around twenty hours worth of time invested in some cases. I've already said that it's a problem that's occuring with the majority of games I own - do you honestly think that I've been so unlucky as to have *all* of their saves corrupt on me? And that a corrupt save file is in any way connected to the clear and obvious fact that there's a hardware fault with the DVD drive?
So I'm going through the motions and it's turning gaming into work. Delete the PGR3 file. It's only now that I have to play through it from the beginning again that I realise what a dull game it is - and I've got to play the fucking thing until the random crash pops up. Why? Like I say, it's bloody obvious that the problem isn't anything to do with saved games. And hell, it's not even like I'm going to get a new console at the end of this process - I'll send it back to them, in return they'll send me one that somebody else has returned as faulty and that they've refurbished, which'll be just as likely to be faulty. Trustworthy anecdotal evidence suggests as much.
All of which leaves me in the bizarre position of wishing that the thing would hurry up and crash again.
No wonder MS offer an extended warranty for an additional £60. Almost as if they knew full well that there were going to be problems relating to build and parts quality.
In happier news, I bought a second-hand GP32 and love it. The screen is fantastic (bar the lack of a decent light source - mine's a front-lit unit which, much like the GBA SP, makes colours look washed out and bland). The microswitched jostick comes second only to that of the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The one commercial release that I've played on it to date demonstrates the machine's ability to pump out great 2D visuals. Mainly, though, it's the emulation and homebrew that makes it such a nice thing to have. Portable PC Engine/Megadrive/SNES/C64 from a company that intended it to be just such a thing all along (even if they did fuck it up slightly by not including enough buttons)? You don't get much cooler than that.
It takes a bit of digging around the Internet to find the files necessary to link the thing to your PC to be able to transfer all this stuff across, becaue the (stupid) official websites stopped supporting it ages ago, but it's more than worth the effort. Other things that let the side down a little are the ease with which you can get dust particles between the screen and the screen's frontplate, which then show up horribly whenever the light's turned on.
Oh, and the file system can feel a bit counter-intuitive at first.
The most comfortable handheld that I've used in a good long time. A couple of round nobby bits on the back provide you something to curl your middle fingers around - nice element of grib, nice and comfortable. Colour scheme of the hardware is dead attractive, creamy white and grey.
Basically, I wish I'd supported it when it was still a going concern. How can you not love the idea of a Korean company trying to take on the giants of the industry by providing a hardware alternative that, by being truly open to bedroom development, goes against everything that those companies have traditionally stood for? Playing it now, it's such a shame that it ultimately failed to generate the interest that it required to be able to compete at any significant level.
The chances of me picking up a GP2X in the future - should a third hardware revision appear that has a more sensible button layout - just went through the roof.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 15:16
Item #1: Reviews. One new Pixelsurgeon review - Exit - one from a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to mention - Dragon Quest VIII. Monday, May 01, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Item #2: The usual apology for lack of regular updates on this blog. Sorry about the lack of regular updates on this blog.
Item #3: An interesting/anal (depending on who you are and what you find interesting) possible discovery about the genesis of the game that effectively bankrupted Sega and forced them out of the home hardware game.
Was trawling through some seldom-visited fora that I've got bookmarked when I came across a thread on the PCEngineFX forum. A number of companies used to give their PCE HuCard-format games volume numbers, and it turns out that when you follow the numbers in sequence, you find that there are gaps where those companies intended to release games but canned them. Here's the thread in question. That's quite interesting, but not really as interesting as the next bit, which is totally unrelated.
There's a PCE game called The Kung Fu. I've never played it, but it looks like a it of a duffer. Anyway, check out what forum member stevek666 has to say about The Kung Fu and its proposed sequels:
Hudson planned on releasing a new "chapter" every month over the course of a year. Upon completing a chapter, you would be given a special password that would allow you to continue with your health, score, and storyline (yes, an elaborate storyline was planned, with a story arc that spanned the entire series, punctuated by cliffhangers at the end of each chapter).
Okay? A scrolling beat 'em up that was originally supposed to be followed up with episodic sequels (a bit like that .hack thing that's been coming out on the PS2), each one ending on a cliffhanger as a lead into the next ep. Now read the post by Kaminari:
And it's a little known fact that The Kungfu was to be converted onto the Saturn under the name Project Berkley. The original name of the main character, Sam Dude, was dropped in favor of Ryo Hazuki (bah!). But as far as I know, the port was still not finished in 1998 and thus never made it to the stores
Project Berkley. Ring any bells? Here y'go - the codename for Shenmue before Shenmue became Shenmue, with a main character called Ryo Hazuki. And what's Shenmue? An episodic game, originally meant to be released as a number of chapters, with a large portion of its gameplay roots in Yu Suzuki's other big franchise of recent years, Virtua Fighter. A beat 'em up. And which machine was Shenmue originally going to come out on? Saturn.
Is Shenmue the grandchild of The Kung Fu? I suppose that this Kaminari dude might be having a laugh at somebody's (my) expense, but ze doesn't appear to know about the PB/Shenmue link, nor that Shenmue originally existed on the Saturn in prototype form.
Interesting? You decide. Hell, for all I know this might already have been confirmed somewhere, years ago. Passed me by if it was, though, and I was a pretty big fan of the Saturn way back when.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 21:18
Bought a PSP. Saturday, April 15, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
It was Taito's Exit that made up my mind for me. I'm a sucker for anything that goes for an individual, distinctive look, and this certainly hits that note. It's also a lovely game - a puzzle platformer that comes across like a cross between the first Oddworld game and Lemmings, only much better and much less off-putting than that sounds.
Also got Ridge Racers - pointlessly and innacurately renamed Ridge Racer in the UK - which I love, but already knew I loved. Hammers home how lazy Namco were when it came to a lot of the elements in the 360's Ridge Racer 6. Archer Maclean's Mercury is excellent - the physics on yr blob of mercury are flawless. Virtua Tennis World Tour is pap, from what little I've played so far, but it came with the machine so I'm not so fussed about that.
Already looking at import stuff and the one game that keeps pushing itself to the front of my brain is Baito Hell 2000.
This is a recent phenomenon, I think - videogames as a medium being used for purposefully arty projects. It's cause for optimism in a world where small publishers are getting smaller and big publishers are getting bigger, that a few fringe projects are being recognised and financed by those larger companies (note: only in Japan, mind, as US and European publishers are *still* largely incapable of seeing videogames as being anything other than time-wasters for the mindless).
Most recently we've had the exploration of videogame as a narrative tool and Lynchian subconscious mind-fucker of Capcom/grasshopper's Killer7. We've had the musical toy and audio/visual synthesis tool of Electroplankton. Baito Hell is cynical commentary on the mundanity of modern working life, combined with cynical commentary on the mundanity of videogame tasks - s selection of minigames that ask you to repeat tasks over and over and over again, for little reward other than more minigames that ask you to repeat the same tasks over and over and over again. The point at which I decided I had to have it was when I heard about the bit where you're working on a production line, sticking pen lids onto the top of biros - a game that only ends when you finally get fed up of doing it. That, plus the visual style that's both quite fugly and... well, quite fugly.
I also like the fact that, by buying it, I'll be both a conspirator in and a victim of its central joke.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I just found this site, which I hope is something that's been put together by the game's creators. Maybe it is. I really don't know. Sony's official page is here, but I'd love to think that the first link is the unofficial official one. It seems to be perfect.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 11:14
Quick follow-up on Taito Legends 2: Monday, April 03, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
The fuzziness created by the filter damages a couple of the puzzle games. It's especially annoying in Puzzle Bobble 2, where it makes judging those pixel-perfect shots deeply frustrating.
The original arcade version of Puchi Carat, as featured here, isn't a patch on the PS1 game. It's not only the lack of the home version's extra modes that does it - more serious is that the option to dim the backgrounds isn't present here, which means it's all but fucking impossible to floow the path of the ball properly as it bounces around the screen. Really highlights the importance that one small change can make to a game.
Gekirindan is very good indeed and I'm seriously considering tracking down the Saturn version (depending on whether or not it contains a tate mode or any extra material).
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 00:00
Taito Legends 2 arrived today and I've just had a quick go on it now. Figured I might as well post some impressions here as a follow-up to the review that I wrote for Pixelsurgeon of the previous compilation. Saturday, March 18, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Immediate thoughts: it's just as lazy as last time around. The front end is identical in almost every way. Same music, same design, same everything. The only real difference I've noticed is that it now includes the option to turn off the distracting background in the vertically orientated games. Otherwise, all the moments of stupidity are present and correct - the default screen option being to have vert-oriented games stretch horizontally to fill the screen, the complete lack of a tate option for any of those games, the default difficulty on everything being set to Easy, the lack of customisable controls (and the fact that the Bubble Bobble setup remains the wrong way around, with jump where you'd expect fire to be and fire where you'd expect jump).
Where it wins out over the last comp is in the selection of games. There's less of the barrel-scraping that was present there. I don't see why Empire felt the need to include Space Invaders DX, though, when Super Space Invaders '91 and Space Invaders '95, also here, are far better games ('95 is excellent). Oh, and when the last comp itself included three or four other versions of Space Invaders...
The other reason I much prefer this second comp is because more of the games fit in with my personal preferences. In other words, it has a number of good shmups. Gekirindan (which I've never come across before) feels like it must be the template from which Cave formed a number of their repeating motifs - most noticably in the available choice of player craft. Rayforce is brilliant, its dual-layer gameplay later being lifted wholesale by Raizing for their Saturn classic, Soukyogurentai. Darius Gaiden is as cool as ever, even if the original arcade music that's used here isn't as bizarrely hypnotic as in the rerecorded soundtrack used in the Saturn and PS1 versions.
The real star of the show isn't a shooter. It's one of my favourite puzzle games - the genius Puchi Carat, a blend of Arkanoid and Puzzle Bobble that works perfectly and provides one of the greatest two player games in existence. The downer here is that as it's exactly the same as the arcade game, it doesn't include any of the excellent extra modes that were added to the PS1 version. That damages it to an extent, but it doesn't make it any less worth playing. Still worth the price of the disc on its own, in fact - £12.99 on Play.com right now. Take note that if you do enjoy the game then you'll definitely be wanting to track down the PS1 version (it did get a UK release, by the way, although I'm fairly sure it came very late in the console's life and might be a bit hard to find for that reason alone).
In terms of line-up, there's no other classic gaming compilation that can touch this. It may contain the odd duffer again (I LOLled heartily when the in-game info told me that Metal Black has "amazing graphics" - or words to that effect - because it's undoubtedly one of the ugliest shoot 'em ups ever created) but they're very much in the minority.
There's also the issue of how the publisher has decided to make four games exclusive to the PS2 version and a different four exclusive to the Xbox, effectively forcing anybody who wants the set to buy both versions. They want shooting for that, they really do.
In terms of presentation, what I said last time remains just as true here: the lack of effort is a fucking disgrace and Empire should be deeply ashamed. They're probably too busy rolling in my cash to care.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 18:29
PGR3 and squishing the image when displayed on a PC monitor: yes, it does. It pushes it in at the sides, making everything look taller and thinner than it should. The steering wheel becomes a steering oval. The cars end up looking like the Buggy Mode from Ridge Racer Revolution (think Penny Racers). It's a fucking joke, to be honest, and further indication of just how rushed the entire 360 launch has been.
Halo 2 suffers from it in emulation, too.
The VGA cable I ended up getting was a Joytech one - £12.99 on Gameplay.com, if anybody else is still searching. It does the job, but as I said last post, my monitor isn't the best around - it has a habit of automatically filtering any image that isn't at a resolution it likes, so every 360 game I've tried on it has buttery covering to the visuals. The contrast is pretty bad on them, too, which is a problem when only DOA4 contains its own brightness settings. Difficult to tell whether that's an issue with my monitor or the cable itself. Oh, and Amped 3 looks fucking awful through it - every single aspect of the game is made blurry and indistinct.
Looks like a proper HDTV will be an essential purchase somewhere along the line, then.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 13:41
Project Gotham Racing 3 review now up. Thursday, March 16, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
On the Xbox 360: I've had mine crash twice tonight, both times when playing Live Arcade games off the hard drive. This is a first for me, as previously the crashes have happened when I'm playing a DVD-based game, and makes me think that it can't be all that long before my console gives up the ghost completely. It's also displaying the wrong quadrant in the ring of light - it seems to think that I've laid the console down horizontally, whereas in reality it's standing upright. To be honest, I kind of hope that it *does* die on me, and soon, because at least then I'll be able to send off for a replacement. A new machine (or a refurbished one, seeing as that's what most people appear to be receiving as replacements) would at least mean I'd be less likely to fret about every little click or whirr that seems to come from the wrong place.
That's something I may well do anyway, because *any* crashes are unacceptable. I've got Dead or Alive 4 arriving soon - tomorrow, hopefully - and will see how that fares. I'm likely to be spending some extended periods playing it, so it should help me discover whether the console is truly fucked or if every problem I've experienced with it so far has been software-related.
Should also be getting a cheapo third-party VGA cable so that I can link it up to my PC monitor for some high def goodness. If my monitor likes it, that is - I've got a nasty feeling about this one. And it's still not going to be how the games are supposed to be viewed - it won't cover the widescreen requirement (plus, it sounds as though PGR3 doesn't like being displayed in high def on a 4:3 screen and decides to squish the image down - will check and confirm).
But yeah. All in all, I'm really quite annoyed by the way Microsoft have fucked this launch up. Even those people whose consoles aren't defective must be terrified every time they turn theirs on, the number of faulty ones has been so high. You've almost got to give them credit for throwing away the good reputation they'd built for themselves with the original Xbox so quickly and in such stunning fashion.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 00:37
Getting to the end of a week off work and have been spending a large chunk of it in the world of Squenix's Dragon Quest VIII. Friday, March 10, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Initial impressions weren't great. The localisation is excellent, sure - the orchestral soundtrack works very well indeed (I can't even begin to imagine what playing the Japanese original was like, given that it supposedly has a synth soundtrack) and the voicework sets a new standard for translations. And yes, the characters look fantastic - almost indistinguishable from their 2D, sketched inspirations. This is something that a lot of commentators have missed the significance of, unfortunately - that regardless of the angle you're viewing them from, they always look hand-drawn. (Btw, just in case any of you lazy hacks manage to trip over this, the technique used here is *not* the same thing as cel-shading.) Compare it to Psychonauts, where there's a clear gulf between the design sketches and the final character models as they appear in the game.
But the world itself... well, in those first few hours it's nice, but nothing stunning. The detail in the characters isn't carried through to the world they inhabit, which all looks a bit basic (if very colourful). And that's about the best way of describing how the game actually plays: basic. It is, as has been mentioned pretty much everywhere by now, a game that plays exactly like those old 8 and 16bit console RPGs that were virtually identical to each other. No real depth to the battle system, no imagination in the overarching storyline. A series of 'towns' (which are generally made up of about five houses each) linked together by an overworld map, which you must spend hours traversing in order to get from point A to point B. Random enemy encounters. The usual.
Then, about five hours in, it turns a corner. Just as you turn a corner, in fact - you're walking around the world map, trying to find your way to a new town, when you hit a fork in the road and come out onto a stretch of beach, a seafront that goes on forever. After having been running in and between fields and hillsides, with only the odd waterfall standing out, it takes your breath away.
And from that point in the entire game lifts. The fact that the main plot is dull as dishwater and easily guessable becomes less important as each new town that you visit brings with it its own, individual tale. Some of them are genuinely touching and genuinely amusing - the story of Baumren's Bell, in particular, is told with a subtlety and intelligence that comes as a surprise in amongst all the derring-do, good vs evil blandness that surrounds it.
The environments, too, suddenly step up a notch from relatively dull to awe-inspiring - you see a mountain miles away in the distance, you run to it, you climb it, you look out and see another one, you do the same again. The world becomes a joy to explore because it feels like a real place. It's got to be pushing the PS2 as near to its breaking point as anything else has so far.
For the next twenty-five hours, it was a really superb game. One of the best things about it is how smooth your sense of progression is - there may be one or two boss encounters that you don't get right first time, but the failing will be yours and will be obvious. You brush yourself down, acknowledge your mistake and try again - and succeed.
But. Butbutbut. The halfway point comes and the game decides that you've made too much progress. Time to stop you dead in your tracks with one of the most horrendous hikes in difficulty I think I've ever encountered. There are a number of reasons why the boss encounter at this point - and I'm being careful to avoid spoilers here - is so terribly unfair, but there's no real point in going into them here (I've banged on about this at length in both the GHZ Impressions thread on the game and the Barbelith "OBI" thread, if you're desperate to know). Suffice to say, unless you've either been extremely flukey with your character development, you ain't getting past here without hours of pain. The simplest solution is to abandon the storyline at this point and just roam around the overworld, trying to farm enough EXP to get your characters up to a level where they stand a realistic chance of success - again, though, this will take hours.
And then, when you do finally manage to win that battle, you're thrown stright into another one.
I appreciate that the developers wanted to make a game that revisited a classic form of RPGing, I really do, but some things should remain in the past. Things like sudden lurches in difficulty. Things like making the player become so annoyed with the game that ze puts it back in its box and goes and plays something less frustrating instead. Because that's exactly what I've done today - after two days of being stuck on this one section, I've done what I always try my hardest not to and abandoned a game.
It'd maybe be a different story if DQVIII made the process of increasing character levels enjoyable, but it doesn't. It makes it a fun-free grind. There's no depth to the battle system, none of the intertwining of various gameplay elements that makes power levelling in, say, the Nippon Ichi games so rewardable. All there is, is a repetitive process of running about in a field, waiting for a random encounter to kick in, then putting all your characters' AI onto auto for the duration. Then again, then again, for however many hours it takes.
I don't understand it. I really don't - my brain fizzles then farts whenever I try and figure out why anybody whould go to that much trouble to create a stunning game, then erect a fucking great brick wall in the middle of it that only the insane will try and climb over. It's such an obtuse thing to do. "You're enjoying our game? You want to carry on enjoying it? Right then - you fucking prove to us that you deserve it."
No thanks. Not for me. Not this week, anyway - maybe when I'm so depressed that all I can lift myself to do is press one button on a controller for three days straight. For now, though, there are too many other games out there for me to rise to your idiotic bait. Games created by people who actually want people to enjoy them.
It was going to be a Pixelsurgeon 9/10 up until that point, too. Maybe I'll still review it. Maybe it'll even get a decent score - I'm led to believe that one of the possible reasons I'm having so much trouble with this one section is that I've somehow found the rest of the game too easy, and have ended up at this point distinctly underpowered compared to the state most players arrive in. And hell, maybe that's true. It doesn't make it any less grating, though, because if true it only confirms that I *do* now have to go through the grind of experience farming if I want to get past this point.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 13:29
I am an enormous hypocrite.
Goodbye, bank balance! Parodius games are hardly the most expensive around - you're probably talking between a tenner and fifteen quid, at most - but there are a hell of a lot of different versions. The Hardcore Gaming 101 pages are a pretty good primer, although what they can't convey is just how much fun the games are to play.
E. Randy Dupre's brain told him to write this at 00:07
|Losing the fight against mediocrity for the last few years.
Fire a volley