Tony Hawk’s Project 8 – A Child’s-Eye-View of Skateboarding?

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Recently, I spent a few days revisiting Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and completing the Xbox 360 campaign. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Although many reviews described TPH8 as a realistic return to form for the Tony Hawk series, I perceived it as being strangely unrealistic; busier, sillier, and a little closer to the jackass-inspired THUG2 than I recalled*. However, I couldn’t describe why I felt this way- something about the level design and gameplay just seemed “odd”.

While thinking about this, I remembered a video I watched months ago. The video, from the channel Errant Signal, discussed why the author found Burnout Paradise more appealing than many other racing games. To the author, Burnout Paradise represented the childlike aspects of enjoying cars – rather than being a “serious” reproduction of aesthetically pleasing supercars, it instead felt like the world of a child playing with their toy cars.

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Academic Update- July (and Graduation)

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As of yesterday, I have graduated from my MSc. So now I’m a … post-graduate? double-graduate? (Someone with more degrees than sense- probably!)

I found the day a little odd, thanks to being in the mildly-uncommon situation of graduating from the same university twice. I experienced a few déjà vu moments as a result. Yet some parts of the day were different. The biggest difference was size: in 2014 I graduated in a class of 200, in a ceremony dedicated to psychology qualifications. Yesterday I was one of a class of 9 (7 of us were at the ceremony). We shared a ceremony with one standard-sized group – biological sciences – and other tiny, specialist, and/or interdisciplinary subjects.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! | Deckbuilding + Selling

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When it comes to selling Yu-Gi-Oh! online, selling decks is more complicated than selling singles and playsets. This is because an eBay listing for a deck can mean at least three different things:

  1. A high-end competitive deck for tournament play.  These decks will have every card needed for advanced combos and strategies used in the archetype and may include “tournament-staple” expensive cards such as Pot of Desires (currently $60 for one). Many are advertised as OTK- (one-turn-kill) decks.
  2. A low-end beginner deck for those just starting the game. These range in quality and utility- some may be made solely from cards in the archetype, regardless of how useful those cards are or what other cards could improve it. Some may contain only the archetype’s most common monsters, alongside other generic monsters and spells/traps. As a result, a poor beginner’s deck can lack playability because it may not have the cards necessary to understand the archetype’s key mechanic or it may have only parts of important combos.
  3. An awkward middle ground which may sometimes be called “budget competitive”. Decks here can occupy any potential point between 1 and 2. Lower-end ones will be playable, just nowhere near competitive standard. Higher-end ones may have all the commonly-used monsters of an archetype, and one or two copies of higher-priced monsters, without having the Pot of Desires-style overkill cards. They should contain the key mechanic and combo of the deck, but they will probably lack advanced-level setups.

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Adventures in Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading

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For the last few months, I’ve been selling Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on eBay in my spare time. Initially, this was from listing cards on behalf of my friends, while more recently I’ve been specifically buying cards to create and sell decks from.

Although it’s not the most profitable endeavour in the world, I’m not losing out, so the idea of investing more in this in the hope of bigger rewards is tempting. However, I’m not sure about that yet, because the main thing I’ve learnt is that eBay is incredibly unpredictable.

Searching through the completed listings for any card or set of cards shows their final price varying dramatically within the same day or week. A card may sell for £4.99 that day but £1.99 the day before, while in-between these may be listings which didn’t sell for no observable reason.
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Yu-Gi-Oh! | Maximum Crisis release

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The newest YGO set, Maximum Crisis (MACR), came out recently and, as expected, it’s got more powerful monsters than previous sets. After seeing just how game-breaking this set’s boss monster is,  I feel like “Maximum Crisis” also describes Konami’s strategy right now.

MACR seems like the pinnacle of current-format YGO- “peak Yu-Gi-Oh”, if you will. But there’s still two more sets to go before the first Link-format booster box and I have no idea how anything could possibly compete with, let alone defeat, the MACR boss monster.

I obtained one copy of the boss- Supreme King Z-Arc – from a MACR box, so let’s have a look at him.
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#OER17

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This week I went to my first academic conference, OER17, to present my MSc research.

Having never been before, I wasn’t sure what to expect- I’d only been told “this is a bunch of people who want to change the world”. That didn’t help me prepare, but it did sound interesting.

After attending, I can fairly confidently say that expression was not hyperbole- everyone was incredibly motivated about their projects, and equally supportive of each others’ projects. While presentations aren’t a comfortable experience for me,  the experience was valuable: I’m glad I was encouraged to apply in the first place, and that I listened.

Now, to process the ideas I learned about over the last two days.

P.S. If anyone is curious about what I did, my presentation slides are up on Google Drive, as well as two versions of the questionnaire I developed for my research. The Word doc is an exact copy of the version my participants took through Qualtrics, and the PDF version solely contains the questions.