Stu vs The World, part 3
And finally, rounding up the last batch of interesting Formspring questions, this time covering three categories: Politics, Media & Culture, and Miscellaneous. Click below to read, unless you don't care what I think about stuff, in which case you're probably on the wrong website.
Do you support an independent Scotland?
Absolutely and unequivocally.
Have you ever considered running for elected office? You're quite the opinionated chap and probably would piss off about the same amount of people as the mayor of Doncaster has which I'm sure you'd enjoy!
Yes I have. In all seriousness, I think the SNP should field candidates in England. Many polls show greater support for Scottish independence in England than in Scotland (for a variety of reasons), and I think having the English vote to break up the Union would be a pleasingly left-field way of achieving it.
In Mother 3 there's a society of people that seem to have a communist way about them e.g. when you go to the shop instead of "buying" something you "take what you need" but it's not actually called communism. Would you like the world to be like that?
Firstly, obviously I haven't played Mother 3 so I have no idea how the thing you're describing actually operates. I don't think communism is a viable structure for human society, because it's too at odds with fundamental human nature. If it wasn't, obviously it would be a lovely way to exist – people all voluntarily doing whatever they were good at, for the benefit of everyone.
Socialism is an attempt to hold to something of the idealistic values of communism within the constraints of real-world human nature, and I find it odd that it has become such a reviled and derided notion in much of the Western world at precisely the point in history when it would be most easily achievable.
That, not smashing the unions or whatever, was Mrs Thatcher's true victory (and true horror). She managed to persuade the entire nation to look at the world only from the perspective of the greedy, and to make selfishness and greed acceptable – even desirable – traits.
What happens to Labour now?
Christ knows. They could tear themselves apart with recriminations and infighting, but I don't think they will, because I think they wanted to lose this election. Running a successful coalition, particularly in this case, would have been hard work. Sniping from the sidelines with no responsibility for five years is a much easier way to earn your £65,000 plus (reduced) expenses.
The best-case scenario is that lots of disgruntled Lib Dems join up, and drag the party significantly to the left. Apparently they're being flooded with new members at the moment (probably from said source), but whether that can overcome the influence of Sith Baron Mandelson or not is the question we have to wait for the answer to.
(And of course, without PR, the pressure for all the main parties to triangulate further and further right will continue.)
It's a faint hope, but when Theresa May is the Home Secretary, hope is all we have left.
Would you ever consider voting LibDem in the future after what happened today? [question posed the day the Con-Lib coalition was agreed]
It's hard to say at this point. It certainly got less likely. But I'm not sure what else they could do after they were betrayed by the disgusting backstabbing Labour fucks who were going to vote down a PR referendum.
It's difficult to shake the feeling that a Lib-Con coalition is at least better than a Tory minority doing unrestricted evil for however long it took for them to be kicked out. (At which point they'd probably have been re-elected with a majority anyway.)
But that's a small consolation after we were close enough to reach out and touch a true revolution in British democracy. However, I hold Labour's pathetic, self-interested cowards at least 95% to blame.
When and how do you forsee the fall of capitalism?
I think it'll fall just before the total irreversible collapse of Earth as a sustainable environment for humans, as people finally realise that it's the pursuit of money that has been the chief driver behind the despoiling of our habitat. So sometime around 2040.
You've been sad recently, too sad to blog. Here's a new perspective, however: The Tory Liberal coalition might be a farce, but at least that total CUNT Peter Mandelson is out of the way. That's a win, surely?
I have a horrible feeling that Mandelson, like the Daleks, can never truly be destroyed, and will find a way to come back and torment us again. (I certainly wouldn't rule out the idea of him switching to the Tories, for example.)
But after the crushing disappointment of coming within touching distance of a true revolution in British democracy only to be foiled by the despicable cowardice of some Labour MPs, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that there will be some good things about the new government, not least the restoration of some important civil liberties. (It'll be interesting to see if the ConDems renew the 28-day detention-without-trial law, which is otherwise due to expire quite soon and revert to 14 days.)
I fear for the poor and the unemployed, though. And I think we're in for a big increase in both.
What's the story in Balamory?
Vote Labour, get Tory.
What did you think of Roger Ebert's recent "Games are not art" article (assuming you read it)? Why do so many gamers care so much whether their hobby is regarded as "art" or not?
I wasn't aware of him writing a recent one, but I read one by him on that theme a couple of years back and I agreed with it almost entirely.
Gamers suffer from a cultural inferiority complex and want their hobby to be validated by being thought of as "serious" culture like films and music, because they're feeble creatures secretly ashamed of playing silly videogames. Personally, I have no shame about playing silly videogames at all, so I have no problem acknowledging that they're not "art" in any meaningful sense of that word.
Do you think there's a future in papers like The Times charging for content? You seem to do well enough charging people a subscription fee for articles.
A recent poll on the forum indicated that WoS subscriber features are really seen as bonuses for loyal supporters, rather than the main reason people subscribe.
As for newspapers, I think that's a very tricky area, and not directly comparable, because you can't copyright news. Why would anyone pay for The Times when they can read the same news on any of a hundred free sites, just described by someone else?
As alluded to elsewhere, though, I do think there's a chance that the iPad could save the newspaper market. With microtransactions, offline reading and a sensible per-issue price reflecting the absence of any physical costs, buying a digital version of a newspaper could be a pleasurable experience that's excellent value for money, even if you could browse the website for free.
I think the subscription model is a non-starter, but if I can buy a single issue of The Guardian or whatever for 29p or something, that looks like the actual paper onscreen rather than a website, then that's 20p a day (after Apple's cut) they'll get out of me that they otherwise wouldn't, and over a year that's going to add up to a significant revenue stream.
You once suggested that anyone thinking of trying to become a games journalist should kill themselves. Were you just trying to discourage such a career strongly or were you just trying to be funny?
The former. I don't believe it's possible to have any sort of tolerable, vaguely successful career as a videogames journalist now – certainly not working in print mags, and I don't think it's financially viable online either in 99.9% of cases – without being a hateful wanker desperately in need of beating to death with jagged rocks.
And I don't want anyone to have to discover that the hard way.
If you could edit one existing British videogames magazine today*, which one would it be and why? (*ignoring publisher concerns)
Ooh, tricky one. Until a couple of years ago I'd have said Edge, because I'd like to work on a serious, grown-up, non-review-focused games mag without making it a pompous, po-faced, up-its-own-arse borefest.
However, I've fallen so out of love with mainstream console gaming since the DS and latterly the iPhone arrived that that idea's lost much of its appeal. Which leaves me with Retro Gamer, because that covers both neo-retro and gaming history, two things which I love and which are badly neglected by the gaming media.
Which three albums released this year should everyone be listening to?
What are "albums"?
If someone created a games mag where every issue was a collection of well written articles by people that know what they are talking about, would there be a market for it?
It depends what you mean by a market. Retro Gamer is a collection of (mostly) well-written articles by people who (mostly) know what they're talking about, and it's managed to carve itself a viable and presumably profitable niche by working on a pretty small budget.
I think it'd be very interesting to see a magazine like Arcade launched now. At the time, it was canned with indecent haste because it didn't sell huge numbers, but we now live in a very different world where mags like N-Gamer continue to survive on tiny circulations which simply wouldn't have been entertained by publishers 10 years ago. In that world, I think a mag like the early issues of Arcade could make itself a living.
In your opinion, is there a present-day game magazine that isn't actually rubbish?
As I've said, based on the last time I saw an issue (which was quite a while ago), NGamer was still good. And of course Retro Gamer, unless by "present-day game magazine" you mean magazines about present-day games. But apart from RG there isn't a games mag I read nowadays unless I stumble across one in someone else's house or a waiting room or something.
What David Lynch film/TV show/thing is your favourite? (Assuming you have one.)
The Straight Story, no contest. It was a jaw-droppingly bold thing to release a film so glacially slow and understated in the modern age, and it's incredibly moving too. The pace of it completely rewired my brain when I first saw it in the cinema, and I genuinely think it changed me permanently as a person a little bit.
How do you feel about The Vaselines being back in the studio?
THE VASELINES ARE BACK IN THE STUDIO??!!?!??!
What weekly/monthly magazines do you still read on a regular basis?
Viz, Private Eye, Retro Gamer and Esquire, though the last one is only because I got it on a special £1-an-issue subscription offer. (I get Retro Gamer for free, but I'd buy it if I didn't.)
What's your favourite scoring breakdown for games reviews? e.g. Out of ten, per cent etc.
I love 'em all. If I was editing a magazine nowadays, we'd use different ones for every review. So the first review would score 74%, the second would get three stars, the next 6/10 and so on and so forth. I feel that that would be a deeply excellent thing.
What should Amiga Power's writing and editorial teams have done differently?
Well, we shouldn't have lost J Nash on the way to the Viking Funeral, and we should have built a more seaworthy vessel. Apart from that I think we did pretty much okay.
In your opinion, when was the 'golden age' of the videogames magazines? Was there ever a 'silver age'?
I'd say the "Golden Age" was the 8-bit era, maybe stretching as far as early 16-bit with Zero and The Games Machine. Speccy mags selling over 100,000 copies a month was a staggering achievement considering the size of the userbase, and one never likely to be repeated.
What's your favourite film?
An American Werewolf In London, or Restless Natives. My favourites of recent years are Pierrepoint, Downfall, Lost In Translation and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
You mentioned graphic novels somewhere. What graphic novels/manga/comics are worth checking out?
I'm horribly out of touch. The only "current" thing I'm reading is The Boys, and only then when the collections come out. I've never been one for buying monthly comics – a week is the longest I'm happy to wait for the next bit of a story, plus comics are so flimsy compared to a nice thing you can put on your bookshelf and go back to.
A very kindly WoS viewer sends me CDs from time to time containing (among other things) scans of the last six months or so’s 2000AD, and I read them all at once.
Do you feel corruption is an issue in the world of games or is it more incompetence that lowers the quality of games journalism? Have you heard any interesting stories of either (particularly the former, natch)?
I think the corruption in the world of games mags is systemic, which is to say that it's a policy rather than an anomaly. I don't think individual writers take bungs, I think they operate within a system in which management requires them to review games in a particular way and within certain scoring ranges, which is dictated in large part by economic concerns relating to advertising and access.
Have you ever attempted to read anything written by Tim Rogers?
I've attempted it a few times. The only thing I've ever got to the end of, though, is his Bangai-O Spirits review, and that was only because I started in the middle. It's actually a terrific piece, but everything else I've ever read by him just made me want to kick his face off. It's like someone magnified all the bad bits of Kieron Gillen by about a thousand, and ruthlessly cut out any of the redeeming qualities.
So what's your problem with Bristol?
It's ugly and sprawling and awkward to get around. (And to get *to* as well – I've never been to another city anywhere in the world where the train station is so far away from everything, and coming in by road from any direction except the north is just absolutely hideous.)
Practically the only bit of the centre that had any semblance of character and individuality just got bulldozed and replaced by Cabot Circus. And the cathedral is the crappiest I've ever been in. Bristol isn't *evil* or anything, but after almost 20 years I still can't find a single thing to love about it.
What's the best kind of pie?
A pie that's half key lime and half banoffee.
Would you ever fold aces pre-flop?
I've never heard anything so ridiculous in my entire life. What sort of idiot would even think about folding Aces pre-flop?
Do all men read on the toilet? Why do they do this?
No. I don't, and I find it a bizarre notion. I suspect you'll find it happens much less with men who live on their own, and who therefore don't need to use going to the toilet as a means of getting some precious personal space and private time.
What would a new bit of confectionery be like if you were to design it?
It would be a bag full of little chocolates moulded into the shapes of Mega Drives, NES joypads, Pac-Men and so on. They'd be called "Bytes".
Galaxy counters? Pah! Why not just chop bits off your Galaxy instead, it's all the same chocolate. How can size and shape make such a difference?
Ask a woman if having sex is different to having a baby.
What would you do if you owned Aberdeen (the football club, not the city)?
God. Weep, probably. Short of finding half a billion quid down the back of a sofa, I don't think I have any idea what could be done to overcome the massive economic inequalities that have crippled provincial Scottish clubs since the advent of the Champions League. I'd probably try to get Russell Anderson back, though.
You're a big fan of the iPod Touch. Ever thought of getting a Mac? Ever tried Mac OS X?
I've thought about it, but the idea of having to learn a new OS *and* find dozens of new emulators *and* somehow transfer all my email archives, passwords, logins and all the rest of it is just too horrible to contemplate. It's bad enough with a new PC.
Plus I don't have a gazillion pounds.
What's the best flag? I say Brazil or UK.
I have a bit of a soft spot for Cuba's. And, loath as I am to admit it, Wales.
What are your favourite snacks that are no longer around? Things I mourn are the aforementioned Fish N Chips, Farmer Browns crisps, Jaws 3D, SNAX, Piglets, Secrets, Footballers, Cheese Snaps and Cola Refreshers.
Fish'nChips, Piglets and Cola Refreshers are three of my favourites too. I also really wish you could still get Walkers Cheese Heads, and Mutant Fruitant lollipops. There are hundreds, really – I could list stuff all day, but then I'd just turn into Peter Kay, which wouldn't be pleasant.
The one I miss that nobody's ever heard of was a potato snack that I think was just called "Fries", which were like a thinner, curlier version of Walkers French Fries, in tomato ketchup flavour which was more thickly coated on the fries than any kind of crisp I ever remember. They were around in the mid-80s, came in a white packet, and I'm about 90% sure they were made by a company called Hunters. I keep hoping they'll at least turn up on one of those old-sweet-wrappers websites, but nothing yet.
Short but sweet or long but okay?
That kinda depends what we're talking about. If it's a bag of doughnuts, for example, I'd rather have a single really delicious one than have to get through six so-so ones.
Is Mr. Nash as devilishly handsome as the internet rumour-mongers whisper?
Far more so.
What do you think of Scottish Gaelic and do you think it would be cool if someone translated a game into that language?
I hate languages. We have enough trouble understanding each other as it is without unnecessary additional barriers. It's no wonder the Welsh, for example, are so stupid when their kids have to waste hundreds of hours of school learning a completely pointless dead language when they could be studying something useful instead.
How can you "be" Goro?
Sadly, it is not possible to "be" Goro at this time. There is a replacement bus service.
And that's that.