Friday 6 October 2023


The Battle Between Heaven and Hell 

After a strong showing at Gamescom 2023, Unawake,the up-and coming first-person Action RPG from Turkish indie development team RealityArts Studio  and publisher Toplitz Productions is ready to take on Steam Next Fest. Available from October 9 to October 16, 2023.

Players all over the world can get their initial glimpse of the intense first person melee battles utilising a plethora of weapons and dozens of special skills to decimate the diverse enemy groups waiting for you in a demo specifically designed for Steam Next Fest. Building on the content of the Alpha demo that was shown to the general public as well as media at this year’s Gamescom, the version for Steam Next Fest showcases not only the intensity of the brutal skirmishes, but offers a deeper look into the mechanics, content and lore of the highly anticipated action game. Using a highly modified Unreal Engine 5, Unawake not only pushes the envelope in terms of game-play, but also visually, bringing the eternal conflict between the forces of heaven and hell in semi-open environments to highly detailed life.

If you enjoyed games like Elderborn, Chivalry 2 and Warhammer: Vermintide then this could be one to dip into.

Check out more on Steam here

Monday 8 May 2023


Of late it seems like every-day life is much more of a struggle than it ever was, getting through a typical week seems more a chore and a mission of survival. Everything costs more, takes longer or 'isn't how they used to make it'. throw in conflict, political turmoil, energy woes and its enough to drive you stark raving mad. However, all is not lost, we all need to escape the crazy as often as we can, and it's important to find ways to unwind and relax during these challenging times. 

For many people, video games provide an escape from the pressures of daily life, even if its just in short bursts to top up on a feel good factor of digital escapism. Not all games are created equal when it comes to relaxation and sometimes its hard to find one that really resonates with how you're feeling. Some games can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing, while others offer a soothing, calming experience. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the best relaxing or chilled games you can play on PC and console. Below are 10 games (and a bonus game) worth a look if you're looking for something to take the edge off a stressful day.

Stardew Valley - In this farming simulator game, players inherit a farm and work to make it prosper. There are crops to plant and harvest, animals to care for, and relationships to build with other characters in the town. The game's gentle pace and charming pixel graphics make it a great choice for a relaxing evening. 

Abzu - Abzu is an underwater adventure game that's all about exploring the ocean and its creatures. There are no enemies or combat in this game and gameplay is more focused on discovery, so players can simply swim around and enjoy the beautiful visuals and soothing soundtrack. It's a great game to play if you need to unwind after a long day, and visually its one of the prettiest games you'll play.

Proteus - Don't let its simple presentation fool you, Proteus is an experimental game that's all about exploration and discovery. Players wander around an island, observing the wildlife and the changing seasons. The game has no clear objectives or goals, so it's a great choice for anyone who just wants to wander and relax.

Journey - Journey is a beautiful, meditative game that takes players on a journey through a mystical world. The game's stunning visuals and haunting soundtrack create a sense of calm and tranquility. The game is designed to be played in a single sitting, making it a perfect choice for a lazy afternoon. The soundtrack was nominated for the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media at the 2013 Grammy Awards, the first video game soundtrack to be nominated for that category.

Flower - Flower is another game from the same developers as Journey, and it shares a similar focus on beauty and tranquility. In Flower, players control the wind, guiding a group of petals through various landscapes. The game's vibrant colors and gentle gameplay make it a great choice for anyone looking for a relaxing game with a much more calming and slower pace.

The Witness - The Witness is a puzzle game that's all about exploration and discovery. Players are stranded on an island and must solve puzzles in order to progress. The game's open-world structure and gorgeous visuals make it a great choice for anyone who wants to unwind and explore at their own pace. Players who played Myst will connect with this game and visually its very pleasing on the eye.

My Time at Portia - My Time at Portia is a farming and crafting simulator that takes place in a charming, post-apocalyptic world. Players can build relationships with other characters in the town, explore the surrounding countryside, and create a thriving farm. The game's laid-back pace and charming visuals make it a great choice for anyone who wants to escape into a peaceful world. Graphically you could say it has a 'Fortnite' look to it, a softer palette of colours with animated styled environments and characters.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Animal Crossing is a long-running franchise that's all about building a community and enjoying the simple things in life. One of the Nintendo Switch 'must haves' if you're into community gaming. In New Horizons, players build a village on a deserted island, collecting resources, decorating their home, and making friends with the animal inhabitants. The game's cheerful graphics and relaxed pace make it a great choice for anyone who wants to escape into a world of whimsy and charm.

Firewatch - Firewatch is a narrative-driven game that takes place in a national park. Players take on the role of a fire lookout, spending their days exploring the park and keeping an eye out for fires. The game's simple yet stunning visuals and immersive storytelling make it a great choice for anyone who wants to get lost in a captivating world. The game won 'Best indie Game' at the 2016 Golden Joystick awards along with a clutch of other gaming awards.

Eastshade - Eastshade is perhaps not high on most peoples lists for chilled, laid back games, but Eastshade is an open-world adventure game that takes place in a vibrant, hand-painted world. Players take on the role of a traveling artist, exploring the world and painting pictures. The game's relaxing pace and stunning visuals make it a great choice for anyone who wants to unwind and get lost

Bonus Game: TerraScape - TerraScape is a super chilled city builder / puzzle game where players have to maximise their score by placing buildings drawn from a random card deck on  a 3D map. With its relaxing soundtrack and gorgeously crafted visuals this is a super relaxing game to unwind with. Larger maps can take around 45 mins but its hard to tear yourself away, the game has challenge mode and multiplayer Vs mode too. The game is currently in Early Access and just released its Foundation Update which adds more merged buildings, action cards and overlays with more planned later in 2023.
What gives this game such character is when you zoom in to hear the hustle and bustle of life in the tiny towns you build, zoom back out and the chilled soundtrack comes back. Price wise its a steal too. Both PCGamer and Kotaku raved this one.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

The Iconic Symbolism of Superman’s Black Suit


Ah, the black suit. It’s been a staple of Superman’s wardrobe for years, and for good reason. There’s something about that sleek all-black design that just screams, “I’m the Man of Steel!” It’s  recently become a very popular and  iconic symbol of one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, and it has a rich history behind it. So, let’s take a look at the origin of Superman’s black suit, its purpose, and its most recent appearance in comics and film. While the majority of fans know it simply as his 'black suit' it's also known as the 'recovery suit'. 

The black suit first appeared in the comics in 1984, in the limited series The Death of Superman. In this series, Superman died fighting Doomsday, and the black suit was used to represent his death and resurrection, which ultimately led to the rebirth of the Man of Steel when he emerged from the Kryptonian birthing matrix in Action Comics issue #689. Since then, the black suit has become synonymous with Superman’s death and resurrection, a kind of reborn again interpretation.

When it comes to comic books, few characters are as iconic and beloved as Superman. After all, he's getting on a bit and he's been around for the best part of 80 years. His classic blue and red suit is one of the most recognizable costumes in the world and just as iconic in the same way everyday brands use colour to identify and represent themselves such as Coca Cola red, Kodak yellow and so on. But, while most of us are familiar with Superman's classic red and blue look, there's no doubt that the iconic black suit quickly became a fan favourite when Zack Snyder brought it into cinematic glory. (We'll set aside the fact that WB refused to allow a black costume to be made for the cinematic cut of Justice League)

If like me you were born in the early part of the 70's, nothing quite dropped your lower jaw than believing a man could fly with Christopher Reeve's immaculate version of Superman. The red, blue and yellow which made Reeve such a vibrant hero would emerge as a more 'grubby' looking burgundy tone with the reboot of Superman Returns in 2006, and while Brandon Routh did more than a decent job of playing the son of Krypton, Bryan Singers design decision on the shade of red for Brandon's cape has never really struck a chord with me every time I see it.

The black suit on the other hand has become a beloved part of Superman's look, and is often seen as a symbol of both strength and power but with a heavy dose of mystery. It's also a great way to show off Superman's unique sense of style since there are many who never envisaged Superman in an all black suit, especially those who had never read the comics or the various arch's within his life story. The black suit is an important part of Superman's look and his journey as a character who sacrificed himself for the greater good, it holds an importance in the overall narrative of the character probably more than it ever has before.

The black suit has become a classic part of Superman's more modern look and god bless Henry Cavill for representing the character with the sincerity and respect it so richly deserved. It's not known if the black suit will appear in the James Gunn reboot shenanigans, (I'm guessing not though) and while I won't lose any sleep over that we can all still agree that the black suit really emphasized what a powerful character Superman represents and what he's endured all these years.

Wednesday 15 February 2023


When it comes to adventure movies, few are as beloved and enduring as Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark. This movie has been hailed as one of the best adventure movies ever created, and it’s easy to see why. From its iconic cinematography to its thrilling script and unforgettable characters, Raiders of the Lost Ark has never really been rivalled in terms of its action-packed storytelling, pace and action. Could this be the best adventure movie ever made?

Lets take a look at the creative mix that brough this amazing movie together...


Let’s start with the cinematography of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe created a visual masterpiece, combining sweeping vistas, dynamic action sequences, and intimate close-ups to create an immersive experience. The iconic opening sequence featuring Indiana Jones being chased by a massive boulder is an example of the movie’s superb cinematography, with the camera capturing the action from both wide and close angles to give the audience a full sense of the chaos. Other memorable moments include the fight aboard the thrilling truck chase, the escape from the Tomb snake pit, and the general use of close ups and framing shots to propel the films narrative.

Slocombe used a variety of techniques to capture the action and drama of the movie. For the more intense scenes, he employed a variety of camera angles and close-ups to draw the audience into the action. The use of light was another important element of his cinematography especially for scenes like the digging team shot at sunrise and where lighting was used to bring focus to lead characters such as Indy's entrance to Marrion's Raven bar and the use of light on Indy's face to highlight his eyes during intense closeups. By using shadows, silhouettes and reflections, he created a sense of mystery and suspense. He also used natural light to capture the beauty and grandeur of the exotic locations. Slocombe also employed a number of handheld shots to create a sense of immediacy and excitement. This technique was especially effective during the action sequences, as it gave the audience a sense of being right in the middle of the action. The use of wide angle shots was another important aspect of Slocombe's cinematography. By using this technique, he was able to capture the vastness of the desert and the grandeur of the ancient loations.

Lighting, framing and angles artfully help tell the story.


The Raiders of the Lost Ark screenplay was developed by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. The concept of the film was first proposed in 1977 by Lucas, who wanted to make a modern version of the 1930s action serials. The story follows Indiana Jones, an archaeologist-adventurer, as he searches for a powerful ancient artifact known as the Ark of the Covenant.

The screenplay was a collaborative effort between Lucas and Kasdan, who worked together to create a story that was both exciting and full of adventure. Kasdan focused on the dialogue and character development while Lucas crafted the action sequences. After a few months of development, the Raiders of the Lost Ark screenplay was ready for production. 

The film was a massive success, earning 8 Academy Award nominations and grossing over $389 million worldwide. The Raiders of the Lost Ark screenplay stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential of great storytelling. It was actually Spielberg's enthusiasm for Kasdan's Continental Divide screenplay that got him the Raiders gig, Continental Divide had been bought by Paramount for $150,000 dollars at Spielberg's request, a script about a brash Chicago journalist who falls in love with a woman living in the mountains studying eagles, in the vein of an old Spencer Tracy / Katharine Hepburn flick. The film, released in 1981 would ultimately star the late John Belushi as well as actress Blair Brown who received her first Golden Globe nomination in the role.

George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan

It's perhaps testament to Lucas' own vision that he wanted to position Raiders as a film that revived the 1930's and 1940's adventure movies that ran in theatre matinee's. Films that blended action, wit and romance with cliffhanger moments of peril. Raiders is full of clever dialogue and witty banter that keeps the action moving swiftly, pace wise it's nigh on perfect with very little in the way of filler. Kasdan’s script is jam-packed with memorable one-liners, a great example being when Indy quips “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage” after Marion Ravenwood remarks that he looks older than she remembers. The script also features numerous twists and turns that keep the audience guessing, such as the surprise reveal of the Ark’s true location at the end of the movie.


Finally, Raiders of the Lost Ark features some of the most iconic characters in movie history. Harrison Ford brings his trademark wit and charm to his portrayal of Indiana Jones which was only a year after The Empire Strikes Back had graced cinema screens, a swashbuckling archaeologist who is equal parts hero and rogue. Ford had pretty much cemented his hero status with both Star Wars films, making him hot property and a bankable star. Karen Allen is equally captivating as Marion Ravenwood, a tough-as-nails adventurer who is just as capable of getting out of tight spots as Indy but spends much of the time being rescued by him. And then there’s the villainous Belloq, played with sleazy panache by Paul Freeman. All of these characters come together to create a memorable cast that is essential to the movie’s success. Throw in the Nazi scourge in search of supernatural treasure for Hitler and that just heaps on the ultimate baddie group you could ever want. 

Belloq played by Paul Freeman


Raider's has some of the best and most iconic stunt work in cinema history. Vic Armstrong was the stunt coordinator for Raiders of the Lost Ark and was responsible for some of the most eye opening stunt sequences in the film including the incredible truck chase. Indy gives chase on horseback to intercept the Nazi convoy and jumps from his horse to ambush the driver, in the ensuing fist fight, the Nazi soldier (played by stuntman Sergio Mioni) throws Indy through the windshield, and in a stunt that has never been topped in cinema for sheer thrill, Indy goes under the truck and hand over hand towards the back of the truck via the driveshaft and axel towing himself with his bull whip. Director Steven Spielberg and stuntman Terry Leonard designed the truck chase with Armstrong helping to coordinate Indiana Jones being dragged behind the truck, having to make it look like Harrison Ford was actually the one being dragged as he clings on to dear life with his bull whip.

Truck Stunt

Fightwork in Raiders was also another well crafted accomplishment with some great choreography work including pivotal scenes such as the Flying Wing fight at Tanis between Indy and the shirtless German mechanic played by the late Pat Roach. This fight was choreographed by Glenn Randall, Jr. The scene mixes some great humor (Indy looking at the sand to distract the Mechanic before he kicks him) and shows us that as a hero character, Indian Jones isn't invincible, far from it, since the Mechanic is only taken down once and for all by his lack of attention as to where the Flying Wings propellers were as the plane circles out of control in its hangar area.

The man mountain - the late Pat Roach (his second character in the film)


Overcoming budget constraints, not to mention the heat of Tunisia which also saw 150 crew members fall sick to amoebic dysentery and the added challenges of working with animals such as reptiles and spiders added many lost hours to the films production. Another problem was the complexity of the stunts. Many of the action sequences featured elaborate stunts that had to be choreographed perfectly. This was a difficult task, and there were many instances where a stunt went wrong, leading to costly delays.

Film making at this time utilised primarily practical effects and sets with only minimum VFX work and Raiders is perhaps a great example that it still provides one of the best adventure thrills now as it did 40 years ago as a primarily practically shot movie. You only have to look at the massive Tomb set which was shot on Stage 4 at Elstree and the Well of Souls set filmed on Stage 3 at Elstree, both were large complex sets.

Larger vehicles such as the Nazi flying wing was a full size prop, designer Norman Reynolds created the plane using inspiration from actual aircraft that the Germans had in development, such as the Horten Ho 229. The plane was constructed out of fibreglass and wood and pieces of the plane have been found (and auctioned off) in Tunisia as recent as 2001.

The Flying Wing under construction at Elstree built by Vickers Co

Practical horror effects - melting faces

In conclusion, Raiders of the Lost Ark has to be the greatest adventure movie ever made. From its stunning cinematography to its witty script and unforgettable characters, this movie has never been rivalled in terms of its action-packed storytelling. It is a timeless classic that just doesn't age.

Did you Know?

There were repeated delays while filming the Well of Souls scene: there were too few snakes, a lack of anti-venom, and Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian —who was visiting Kubrick on the set of The Shining —called the Royal Society of the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) about the treatment of the snakes.

Monday 30 January 2023

5 Affordable but Very Cool Watches For Men


Disclaimer: I believe in transparency and strive to provide accurate information to my readers. As part of my commitment to transparency, please be aware that some of the links in my blog posts are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate, I may earn a small commission from the sale as an Amazon Affiliate.

Aside from the premier Swiss made brands that have sat at the top of the the watch market as the all time classic 'must have' luxury watches such as the Rolex, Omega and Patek Phillipe there's a whole range of brands and budgets to put a decent timepiece on your wrist that won't break the bank or break your heart if you damage or lose it, granted it still might hurt a bit but that doesn't mean you can't wear something that's a decent dinner party conversation piece or an everyday statement piece that has oozes great design. Trends come and go but the comfort factor of owning a decent looking and performing watch that is just as universal with a pair a of shorts and t-shirt as it is with a suit means you made one of the best style decisions of your life.

Tastes differ, what floats one man's boat may not necessarily put the steam in another mans stride, styles vary massively of course from the chunky divers watches to the more subtle elegant dress watches or everyday casual watches.

What is affordable though?, in today's topsy turvy economy it could be something fairly low priced and functional that caters to a no fuss daily use criteria, for others it might mean a couple of additional zeros on the price tag for something a bit more outspoken depending on your personal financial circumstances. In an economic climate that puts the brakes on splashing cash on extravagance I've created a list of 5 watches that cater for a broad pricing range.

1. G Shock Range

You can't really go wrong with G-Shocks, they come in a variety of styles and looks although tend to adhere to the rugged outdoors rough and tumble robust design that's served it well for many years. The Octagon series is an entry level watch starting at around £99 the slimmer, stealth look GA-2100-1A1ER harks back to the design it had in 1983. Blacks and greys seem to be as popular as ever as do olive drab military tones. Water resistant to 200M and an interchangible resin strap. Casio owns G Shock so their look and feel are based around that familiar modern design that made their 80's watches so popular. Further up the price scale you can easily spend £379 for a metallic G Shock style such as the GST-B400D-1AER which is the thinnest of the G Steel series they make. he bezel has 5 different finishes so adopts a different shade depending on the angle you view the watch, its darker face contrast really well against the steel look too.

Reason to Consider: Its robust and tough for active lifestyles and the GShocks are highly shock resistant and usually come with a 200M water resistance rating. The digital display is easy to read, and it has a lighted LCD display and a backlight to provide visibility in low light conditions. It also has a stopwatch, countdown timer, and five daily alarms

2. AVI-8 Watches

AVI-8 is probably a brand you've probably not heard of but don't let that fool you into thinking that they don't know how to design a talking point. Inspired heavily by aviation they have a range of watches that really do stand out and at an affordable price. Their Chronographs, namely the Blakeslee Chronograph with bronze oak strap and Avon Chronograph in charcoal green look amazing and will only set you back £149 and £200 respectively. The company also does a steel series in the Type 300 Automatic with the Oxford Blue being a particular bold but tasteful looking time piece.

Reason to Consider: The Oxford Blue face is accented with rose gold details. The watch is equipped with a Swiss quartz movement, and it has a date display, a stopwatch, and a tachymeter. The watch is also water-resistant up to 50 meters and powered by a long-lasting battery.

3. Diesel Mr Daddy Chronograph

Like me you probably previously never really noticed Diesel watches, as a brand its been around since 1974 (yes that long), it was only when they started promoting jeans and men's cologne that I took more notice of them. in 2019 they filed for chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection although Diesel Spa wasn't part of that action. In recent years they've made some pretty bold choices in their range of watches with their current bestseller for men being the very attractive but horribly titled  Diesel Mr. Daddy Chronograph. The watch has a multi dialled look with nice neon blue accents to numbers and face markings which contrast against a black face and strap.30M water resistancy, although more for splashes than full prolonged immersion. Stainless steel in black its a very nice watch and priced around £356

Reason to Consider: The chronograph features a quartz movement and a date display, and it also has a stopwatch with a 60-minute countdown timer. The watch is also water-resistant up to 10 ATM and its scratch-resistant mineral crystal ensures long-lasting durability.

4. Orient Bambino

Looking for something that's understated yet perfectly elegant with a subtle style that looks good on a night out with friends or a dressier dinner party? I guarantee you the Orient Bambino will have people asking "can I ask you what watch are you wearing?". Japanese in origin the brand dates back to 1901 when Shogoro Yoshida opened his first Tokyo shop. The face has a beautiful rich Prussian blue that fades to black on the outer edges which helps the number marker contrast beautifully. The stainless steel bezel and black leather strap give it a classic but stylish finish. The best part though is that this will only set you back £127. The watch has two other coloured styles but this one is the best one in my opinion.

Reason to Consider: The watch is powered by an accurate automatic movement and it has a date display. It also has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and is water-resistant up to 50 meters.


By collaborations they probably don't come much bigger than Omega and Swatch. These two powerhouses got together to offer watch lovers an amazing series of styles and designs that gives you the casual every day aspect of Swatch with the premium look of the famous Moon watch, the Speedmaster as worn by NASA astronauts, and which remains one of the most collectible watches of all time. These watches are made with a with a never done before bioceramic material and none of the pieces are limited edition or numbered, furthermore they are super affordable  at around £207 and they look bloody amazing.

Reason to Consider: other than being one of the hottest watches you can own, The watch is powered by a quartz movement, and it has a date display, a stopwatch, and a tachymeter. It is also water-resistant up to 10 ATM and is powered by a long-lasting battery. This watch is perfect for those looking for a stylish and reliable watch with a unique design.

Got a watch brand that could make the affordable yet cool list?