Pokémon vs Potter

Leave a comment

Adam looks at two similar games to consider why one succeeds, and the other doesn’t.

I have relatively little shame in admitting that I’m a Pokémon Go player. I will admit that I do have some shame, but it is manageable. I started playing back when the game was new, exciting, and popular, and kept playing as everyone else I knew slowly dropped away, leaving just a small group of serious players who refuse to move on.… Read the rest

RoboRoos 2019

Leave a comment

One of the interesting things Adam does in his “spare” time is to build robots.

After taking a year off, in 2019 I returned to mentoring the local student robotics team, the RoboRoos. I enjoyed my break but I admit to missing the team, and even though difficult years can be more than a tad frustrating, when things are working there is little that I enjoy more.… Read the rest

Rediscovering old loves

Critical Mass is an Adelaide-based SF discussion group that continues to meet after many, many years of existence. For a long time it was based around a volunteer speaker each month, and some of the best talks I’ve had the opportunity to listen to come from those guest speakers. I will always remember John Foyster’s awe-inspiring demolition of one page from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, Zoran’s introduction to the Thomas Carnacki books, and Julliette’s discussion of Mary Sue in fan fiction.… Read the rest

Crowdsourcing and SF Projects

A few years ago, a colleague and I had the cunning plan of supporting a new crowdfunded project every two weeks. We’d get cool stuff, it wouldn’t cost too much, and we could support creators – in particular, in my case, those involved in SF projects. I don’t know if she ended up continuing with the project, but looking back on my own activities it seems that I’ve managed to keep the desired average right where we’d planned, so that’s something.Read the rest

AI and the Trolley Problem

One of the delights of SF is that it often raises interesting philosophical questions; as Adam discovered, this is even true of the short story form…

In the Trolley Problem it is proposed that you are standing by a lever next to tram tracks. The lever controls a switch through which you can change the path of the tram (if this was set in Adelaide it would be less of a dilemma, as here it is impossible for a tram to turn right).… Read the rest

Rampage (2018)

I’ve been playing video games since the Atari VCS first hit the market and watching movies for even longer. I still spend way too much time on both. However, the combination of the two has not proven to be quite as appealing as I might have hoped.

The problem is, (with a few significant exceptions), video games aren’t noted for providing great cinematic plots.Read the rest

Salvation

Salvation, a US science fiction thriller TV series filmed in Canada, is a surprisingly enjoyable yet odd show. It starts with Liam Cole (played by Charlie Rowe), an MIT student who discovers an asteroid that is due to collide with the earth, creating an extinction-level event that will destroy all of humanity.… Read the rest

Margaret Cavendish and The Blazing World

A look at the 17th centenary SF writer, Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, based on a 2017 talk given to the Critical Mass SF discussion group.

Virigina Wolfe in 1929 wrote of Margaret Cavendish:

What a vision of loneliness and riot the thought of Margaret Cavendish brings to mind! as if some giant cucumber had spread itself over all the roses and carnations in the garden and choked them to death.

Read the rest