If Anyone Wants Me, I’ll Be Making My Own Socialist Dream

Finally, the other boot has dropped. The UK’s snap General Election is over. Thanks to Theresa May’s alliance with the far-right DUP group, it’s highly likely that the boot that dropped will be dropping on the throats of millions of the under-paid and under-privileged in the country.

What? You weren’t expecting talk about the UK’s general election? Tough – this IS a co.uk site after all (.com was too expensive).

The big surprise of the night was the exit poll, that predicted the Conservatives (Tories), being the largest party – but also falling short of an overall majority. Since the Tories were the political party that called the election, losing their majority counts as a pretty major loss for them. The Labour party also surged back, with an increased vote from younger, disenfranchised voters that secured them many previously Tory seats.

Tropico 5 funny

So while the Labour party has seen a resurgence of popularity, they still remain a minority party within the UK parliament. And while the dust hasn’t fully settled on what form the UK government will take – I’m still hankering for some true socialism. What better time to start playing Tropico 5?

Continue reading “If Anyone Wants Me, I’ll Be Making My Own Socialist Dream”

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Rocket League should be the next big e-sport

Rocket League could be huge, and I reckon it will be. Here’s why I want it to be.

If you haven’t heard of Rocket League, let me ask you one question: do you like football?

If no; you’ll like Rocket League.

If yes; you’ll like Rocket League.

Take all the whiny teenagers out of football and replace them with rocket-propelled cars (because you would if you could), that have little regard for gravity, cosmetic damage, and the fundamental laws of physics, and you have Rocket League. It’s a frantic, five minute long, bonkers-fest with exploding cars, rocket flips, and goals that cause smoky explosions. It’s tense, exhilarating, and it rarely stops being fun.

It’s easiest to understand it by watching. And I’m not just saying that because I made a video of it.

But I reckon I’d enjoy watching Rocket League even more than I enjoy playing it.

Continue reading “Rocket League should be the next big e-sport”

E-sports – wait, they’re good now?

It’s been over an hour in the making. The crowd roars, the commentators scream and the final explosion signals the end of the match.

What? Explosion? What sort of sport is this? The competitors are routinely butchered, sometimes multiple times in a match-up, and only the strongest is allowed to continue onwards. What sort of barbarity is this? Oh the huge manatee! Won’t somebody think of the children? Why isn’t anyone thinking of the children?!

Put your writing tools away, newspaper readers and middle-class sentiments in us all, it’s only an e-sport. More specifically, it’s the DOTA 2 International competition, and I’ve just watched the previously invincible Alliance team come undone at the hands of the Asian superteam DK.

Plus it’s a rather pretty game. And you can eat trees.

This is my first time really watching e-sports, and I’m finding it to be a very enjoyable experience. If you’ve ever watched a sport for the first time, the process to enjoyment is much the same; settle down, learn the basic rules, and pick a side. I have some experience with other MOBA games, such as League of Legends, but the rules are easy enough to understand; two teams begin on opposite sides of the map. Each one attempts to push through to their opponents’ side and destroy their HQ. The map consists of three lanes, half initially controlled by each side.

It’s a simple set-up, but it leads to some masterful strategy. Rather than relying on brute force to push through the opponents’ towers and minions, most teams play a vicious game of cat and mouse, where either side is loath to engage on weaker terms. Heroes heal slowly, and if dead, they face a hefty respawn timer, so it’s common for a fight to end on seemingly empty terms, as the aggressor runs back to their side of the map, leaving their foe alive. But often there’s a deeper strategy at play, and forcing an opponent to use their ultimate ability can be as rewarding for the team as outright killing them. It’s a game in itself to try and out figure out the strategies being played, a game that always only be improved with alcohol.

An aid to the confused are the excellent commentators available on the DOTA 2 stream. Whilst they succumb to over-excitement during the team-fights, devolving into a fast stream of technobabble somewhat reminiscent of horse racing, their explanations of the deeper strategy at play and the next steps for the team is very welcome for those who’re new. It also gives you the ability to sagely nod and agree loudly, just to make you feel better, you poser.

I mentioned that this was my first time watching e-sports, and the largest surprise for me was the capabilities of the platform for presenting it. Rather than watching through a video stream, I’m able to watch the match through the DOTA 2 client itself, and watching the game in this way means that lag is essentially non-existent and gives the viewer the ability to survey the battlefield for themselves, moving the camera as they see fit, or choosing to follow a specific character. Or you can hand the reins over to the aforementioned commentators, who can then talk you through the game as they show you exactly what they’re referring to. For me, this was a massive boon since I had no idea what to look for and when, plus my Easily Distracted nature.

Though this match was terrible.

This has surprised me. Even in this age, and with the backing of the mighty Valve itself, I was surprised by the smooth nature of my viewing. I’ve viewed several matches now, and enjoyed all of them, and it’s been the easiest thing in the world to start watching. DOTA 2 is free-to-play on Steam, so if you enjoy the MOBA genre, give watching it a go.

If you don’t, give it a go anyway. A five GB download isn’t that much in this day and age and if you really can’t be bothered with the download you can still watch it over at the DOTA 2 website. Grab a friend, re-read my explanation of the rules, pick a team and settle down. Once the commentators get screaming, and the towers start falling, you’ll start screaming.

E-sports are as viable to watch as real sports. And I don’t know what I’m more surprised by; the fact that this is the case, or that after DK’s awful second match they managed to pull off an amazing win against Alliance. Like, seriously?

I’m off to watch the third and final match between Alliance and DK. I hope to see you watching too.