Monday, 29 September 2014

The Companion Piece 06: The Caretaker

This week's episode of the Doctor Who Companion Piece was quite an exciting one, for a couple of reasons.

The first exciting reason is the newly improved visual theme, which you can actually see right here! I'm really pleased with it, and I learnt a bunch of new stuff figuring out how to do it - I've already got a much better grasp of CSS, JavaScript, and even basic HTML than I did last week. I want to learn more, too, so expect this blog to become a playground of graphical nonsense in the coming months.

The second, even more exciting reason is that The Caretaker is the first episode of this series that everyone in the team properly enjoyed. With the exception of a naff baddie, this one delivered on every level - and it actually gave us a lot to talk and think about.

To read all those thoughts (and talks) just click the fancy link below!
The Caretaker

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pile of Shame: DotA 2

Hopefully you're aware of Pile of Shame - it's one of the regular weekly features over at Hex Dimension, and it's a really great idea. Basically it's a look at the games you've owned for ages but never got around to playing. It's been running for a while, but I've never played any games that qualify... until now.

DotA2 (it stands for Defense of the Ancients) is probably the world's biggest electronic-sport - a game where two teams battle it out for supremacy on a fixed playing field. But, more to the point, it's free, which means I've had it for ages but never actually risked the humiliation of playing it. That changed last week, as I finally dipped my toes into the world of online multiplayer.

You can read about all my n00bish DotA adventures right here, and you can enter Hex's current competition to win a free novel here! It's a busy week!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hex Picks: Crime Comics

The theme for Semptember's recommendations is still Crime and Punishment, and this week we looked at comics. Obviously this is the most superhero-oriented week we've ever had, since superheroes are crimefighters and all. Only one comic in the entire list managed to avoid tights and capes entirely!

But, even though superheroes were the obvious choice, this is the week where I finally bent the theme as far as it could go. Whether or not it actually works as a Crime and Punishment choice at all is up for debate. Why not take a look and decide for yourself?

We're also running a competition right now, so for a chance to win Jeff VanderMeer’s new novel, click here!

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Companion Piece 05: Time Heist

Doctor Who does Ocean's Eleven. It sounds like an amazing premise - so amazing, in fact, that I couldn't believe no-one had thought of it before. I couldn't wait for this episode! Yet Time Heist left me cold somehow.

Heist movies, and series like the BBC's own Hustle, have a very particular structure - the gang plan the job (with a slick montage and great music), then they execute it and it all goes horribly wrong, and they have to improvise their way out of it (which often turns out to have secretly been the plan all along). But Time Heist had none of that - they stumble in without a plan, meaning that there's no plan to go wrong - so it never actually feels like the heist movie it's trying to be.

It felt like a wasted opportunity. But there was still a lot to like, and the rest of the Companion Piece team seemed to love it. To get both sides of that discussion, as well as some deeper insights into the series this week, click the mugshot below.

Also, for a chance to win Jeff VanderMeer’s new novel  Acceptance, click here!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hex Picks: Crime Games

When you think of games that fit the theme "Crime and Punishment" you think of stuff like GTA or Driver, right? What you don't think of is point-and-click adventure games. Yet here we are, with a list mostly made up of exactly that!

Click here to find out which adventure games in particular made our list. Why not sign up for our weekly newsletter too, so you never miss out.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Companion Piece 04: Listen

Last May - at the lowest arc of my relationship with Doctor Who - I wrote a piece describing the elements that make up the best Doctor Who stories, and lamenting the fact that they seemingly weren't making them like that any more. This week, following the latest episode, it's hard to believe I ever felt that way. Steven Moffat has written an episode that perfectly encapsulates everything I was talking about and more.

Listen is easily my favourite episode since The Girl Who Waited, A Good Man Goes to War, or maybe even Day of the Moon. It's just that good. In fact, it's probably even better.

So, I've kind of spoilt any surprise that will come from reading this week's Companion Piece - but you should still read it anyway, because the team have some really great thoughts on this one. For arguments about whether the monsters exist, and a wonderfully mad theory about the Master, click the image below!

By the way - in the ongoing debacle of the 100th Post, it turns out that my Tic-Tacs were passion-fruit and not mango. I thought you'd want to know...

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Hex Picks: Crime Movies

Who would have thought that there would ever be a week of these recommendations where I would be the one person playing the theme straight?

This week - part of "Crime and Punishment" month - we've ended up with one comedy, one sci-fi, one comedy-sci-fi, an anachronistic-steampunk-comedy-action-thing, and a horror film. And only one straight crime thriller, weirdly chosen by me. I love how creatively we all interpret these monthly subjects - it might be my favourite thing about them.

It's a really great mix this week, with no two films even remotely alike, and you should absolutely get over there and check it out!

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Companion Piece 03: Robot of Sherwood (100th post!)

Last week I mistakenly thought this blog had reached its hundredth post. I was dead wrong - it was only the ninety-nineth. But that means that today's post - this post - is the hundredth post instead! Yaay!

To celebrate one-hundred pages of my rambling, I've treated myself to a random box of Tic-Tacs that I found at the back of a cupboard. They're mango-flavoured and everything!

If you fancy celebrating with me, the best present you could give is to pop over to Hex Dimension and give us some traffic. Lots of awesome stuff on the site this week, as always, including an interview with Liz Prince about her new comic, Tomboy, and the latest installment of the dreaded Pile of Shame.

And, of course, we've got Doctor Who coming out of our ears. The latest Robin-Hood-themed episode seems to have been less well recieved than the others this series, but our team had a different reaction. To read the latest Companion Piece, and find out what we thought, click on the birthday cake below!

Here's to the next hundred!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Hex Picks: Crime Novels

This is my hundredth blog post! To celebrate such a momentous occasion I've decided to do something special and... um... post the same thing I post every week. I guess I thought it would be more of an occasion. Sorry.

Our recommendations this week focus on crime and punishment. Also time-machines, ghosts, and robots. Maybe one day I'll manage to actually stick to the suggested theme but, alas, not this week.

Check out our eclectic mix of book ideas here, and why not subscribe to the newly spruced up Hex newsletter, for all your geekish needs!

It turns out this is only NerdTech's ninety-ninth post, so it's even more of a let down than I thought!

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Companion Piece 02: Into the Dalek

Were back again, with another look at the Doctor's adventures! There's Daleks this week but, more importantly, far more time with our new Doctor and this latest incarnation of Clara.

I feel like The Companion Piece is really starting to find it's footing. It's becoming quicker to actually have the conversations, and it's slowly becoming fun to edit and format, rather than a chore. The new layout works really well and, for the first time, I think we figured out how to include pictures without breaking the flow.

On the whole we liked this episode a little less than the first, though I personally liked the peripheral stuff a lot more this time, and our own Dalek, Emily, actually liked this one a little bit more. Click the rather nifty banner below (biased opinion) to find out what else we thought about this second episode!