The Game of Thrones

Possibly one of the greatest stories ever created by humans, a legendary book series turned TV adaption by the famous George R. R. Martin is the best book that I have come across so far. So good it was, and so much thrill I got from it, is unforgettable! With some nerve wracking plot twists that you will not see coming and stupendous characters, GoT has outdone itself.

I was introduced to GoT a few years ago when I heard friends talking about it excitedly. But that really didn’t pique my interest. I was into other things back then. But recently, I joined a library and they happened to have Game of Thrones. So I decided to see what all the hype was about. Then it began, the endless adventure and lasted around 800 pages yet which seemed like a teaser for the story still to come! When a masterful plot and great story writing come together, this is the fantastic product that they create. The first book was published in 1995, which is quite long ago. Never have I heard of it before. Quite surprising, that. It became really popular when HBO launched the GoT TV series.

Maybe there plenty of gore and sex, but if you’d like to bathe in maturity here is a golden opportunity. Martin kisses goodbye to naivety and brings the darkest part of our minds come alive with so much cunning that will keep you gripped till the end no matter what! There are a few main characters through whom he narrates the story in 3rd person. Ned, Catelyn, Tyrion, Robb, Jon, Bran, Arya, Daenerys and Sansa were the main characters in the first book of Song of fire and ice which is the name of the series GoT is a part of.

If maturity disturbs you, the TV series is no different. But trust me, you would want to read the book than watch the series to enjoy everything the author poured out into the book. Personally, my favourite character is Tyrion because of his cunning, calm character and the way he can retort to anything spoken to him. It’s really quite amazing how much character development he got and you get to see several sides of his personality like his will to save Catelyn even though it was her who captured him. Tyrion may seem like an evil character, but so is everyone else in that case. The other character I adore is Daenerys. Although not so much in the TV series. She is supposed to be a very powerful person which I felt her actress missed out on. The first book ends on a neutral note, but exciting note. While Daenerys becomes mother to the 3 dragons, Robb Stark becomes the Lord of Winterfell and their banners and they separate from the Seven Kingdoms. Sansa and Arya are still in King’s Landing where prince Joffery is wreaking havoc.

I felt like Ned and Catelyn were the main reason behind the whole crisis that occurred with Ned’s eventual death. He made the biggest blunder by going to the King’s Landing with Robert at the start of the book and almost as a price that he had to pay he was beheaded. None of this would have actually happened if he refused to become Hand of the king. The worst part of it was, not only did he lose all of his personal guard, his daughters were both in a bad position, his wife had to flee and his son had to go to war.

The character who most people will like, maybe not as a favourite nor as their least favourite is Jon Snow. There is a lot to be said about this guy. His life has been terrible because of how his name got tainted with ‘bastard’ and it was none of his fault. Jon Snow’s life on the Wall always served as a good distraction from all the politics and war going on at other times in the book.

I’ll conclude by saying, I can’t wait to read the next book A Clash of Kings!

 

Dota 2 vs. LoL

Probably one of the biggest debates out there! Dota 2, a game started in 2009 and completed in 2013 created by Valve with help of IceFrog and League of Legends a game released in October of 2009 are one of the most formidable rivals in the gaming industry. With Dota 2 comes stunning graphics and spectacular gameplay integrated with Steam where as, LoL has some really interesting background stories of the champions and large amounts of art created by their developers Riot Games.

LoL was officially there on the scene first! Which is why they have amassed a larger number of audience than has Dota 2. There are other reasons behind this, like the huge size of Dota which is like 17 GB whereas LoL is just about a third if that. Another reason is that Dota 2 relies on more powerful PCs which can pose a problem to those who still use ancient machines. LoL is a little lax with its graphics requirements, but after playing both games in full graphics settings, it becomes hard to distinguish between which is better.

Coming to the graphics, LoL terrain and buildings have a much smoother look and they actually look better than Dota 2 buildings. However, heroes look better than the champions in LoL and so do creeps than the minions. LoL offers more than one map unlike Dota 2 where players have to play play on the same old map over and over again, though that does not get boring. I like the Dota 2 map much more, because there are several elements which give it a realistic look like the way the map is in no way symmetrical and even the Radiant and Dire sides are completely different! LoL has a generic map which looks symmetrical and lacks the kind of detail that’s put into Dota 2 maps.

It will not come as a big surprise to you that I find the gameplay of Dota to be better than LoL. The map, the characters, their movement and even the way Gold shuffles hands! LoL has some interesting features like spells which give bonus abilities with large cool downs like healing and agility. Although after playing Dota, I didn’t see the need for such spells I won’t deny that they saved me more than once 😀

LoL has an easier learning curve and Gold is also easier to procure. No gold is lost upon death, but the opponent gains some if we die. In any case, the items that you can buy are in a way cheaper than Dota items and there are 7 slots instead of 6 in LoL unlike Dota which has the latter amount. If you really like stories, you will enjoy the lore behind every champion on their websites and in-game, even every skin has artwork made for it. Just imagine how much artwork is made for LoL, there are around 130 champions and each one has at least 4-5 skins. Some things about that game are really incredible. No wonder LoL has far more players per month that does Dota 2!

One of the best things about the Dotaverse is the Arcade. The Arcade opens up a whole new level of games, like a 10v10 where 10 players on each side battle for the other’s ancient and overthrow. Many of the games are made by the official Dota 2 team, and they have released a development workshop for those who are interested in developing games for that section.

Dota 2 gives full access to all heroes from the beginning to a new user, but LoL relies on the user levelling up and earing influence points (IP) by playing more games or buying riot points (RP) to purchase champions and skins. Every week 10 new champions are introduced to players for free. It strikes me as odd that some champions are more expensive than the rest (does that mean they are also better?). Dota is said to be a balanced game, a fact that don’t think is absolutely true. But then again, it really depends on how your teammates play.

My take on the two games is that, Dota 2 is the better one. It might have just one map, and the size may be massive, but still the experience and fun I had playing the game clearly exceeded my expectations of MOBA.

Discovering Dota 2

Dota 2 is surely a sensation among gamers with its fairly new mode of gameplay, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and the fantastic analysis that has been put in to make this game. Dota originally was a mod based on Warcraft III, until Valve hired the lead developer of Dota and and began working on its own version of the popular battle arena in 2009. It was only in 2011 that they released Dota 2 in beta phase for testing. In 2013, a stable release of Dota 2 was released. Dota is gaining momentum from online communities because of the large money sums offered at tourneys, and also from casual players who want to give it a shot because all of their friends are crazy about it.

An easily addictive game, with people complaining about its steep learning curve which I will not argue about. But the true essence of magic lies in the balance of the gameplay. The way in which the engineers at Valve have allocated abilities and attacks to the 111 different heroes trying to try and make them even. It is incredible how they did this. As a matter of fact, only 5 out of 111 heroes were not played or banned in TI5. This figure justifies the careful fine tuning done to ensure balance of different heroes despite there being a variety of parameters both material and strategic.

If the balance does not stun you much, surely the sheer number of characters that you can play with has by now! The quality of graphics is admirable. It is amazing how they have paid attention to every little detail of this game, like the online match-making. Not online dating! 😀 You won’t have time to think of that anymore. You can form a party and the servers look for a game for your party. That way, you are able to play alongside your friends with other online players.

There are games like LoL that came before Dota 2 and effectively stole the audience that this game deserves. By all means, Dota means serious business unlike the cartoonish looks LoL characters have. Dota relies heavily on teamwork and is a good way of teaching a non-teamplayer. So, no matter how good a player is on their own, if their team is bad, they are done for. Communication, is also key and Dota has provided necessary provisions to do so (thought no one uses the mic).

The intricacies don’t stop there. There are about a 100 items which give additional abilities, or enhance them. The downside of the game being that its learning curve is steep. Nobody cares as far as I am concerned. Once you start playing, you become addicted. Lol.

Black and Light

In a lost, forgotten land,
Far, far away,
There could be heard,
Beneath the cluster of canopy,
Of giant silver oak trees,
On a tropical floor of yellows and reds,
The voices of the moon,
Which every little twig and leaf,
Fresh, dry or auburn,
Covered with a sheet of dew,
Loved to whisper,
Off their supple, delicate bodies,
To the dense conglomeration,
Of dark beauty,
That welcomed the lunar songs,
Wailings of immortals,
Seeking respite of the eternal elixir of pure light.

Wisps of fog descend,
Brooding on the forest floor,
Where lies not a soul,
No one blessed with a conscience of their own.

How desolate,
How in vain,
Do the chants of the moon go,
Of course, no one will know,
But as rain pours,
And calms the temperate,
The smell of wet soil liberates,
Hope is new found,
Love is abundant.

Within the ambiance of loneliness,
Came a light,
A shimmering beacon of pure energy,
With a promise,
Maybe even a dream,
And spread its wings,
To let behold the world,
Its destiny towards a miracle,
Engulfing in itself, darkness,
Rediscover our planet,
The big blue planet,
The one that rotates with sheer enormity,
Taking its annual walk around a bright champion,
In lady like frivolity,
Showering grace on the four great seasons,
Expressing the whims of god.

All is one,
And one is all,
She sees the meaning of life through my eyes,
And I hers,
Scars of war are forged,
Hope the brave have courage enough to tread,
While the sky collapses in the horizon,
Forsaking us to a cold, dark nightmare,
I beg of you, do not forget us,
Our eyes may not see,
Our touch sends shivers down our spines,
However,
A crackle of determination,
Reminds us of the purpose of our existence,
I will redeem you first,
Then redeem myself in the eyes of god.

The game of Forks and Spoons with Shokugeki no Souma

Shokugeki noSouma was another popular anime of 2015, and it justified its popularity by giving a great viewer experience in those 24 episodes filled with foodgasms, and exaggeration beyond safe levels. But it was an entertaining show that I thought would finish by the end of 2 cours but apparently dragged on with its own pacing.

The pacing was quite perfect for a slow show like SnS where there was a lot of stress on the drama and focus on the food itself. Though they did not delve into the fine makings of recipes, I hope people well versed with culinary knowledge will be able to pick up bits of cooking wisdom that it offered.

Like most anime there was love rivalry of some sort, and although the romance is bleak, it is certain that there will be a romance plot in the near future. The story played out well with the characters, and the character developments were done decently as well with generous attention given to the hero of this anime: Food.

It may be hard to believe that even after 24 episodes, the anime progressed only so much. It has a gradual feel to it with small arcs branching out from the storyline and merging back in without much disruption to the original story. The character development is satisfying yet sluggish, where the characters that need development are properly developed, yet I felt the need for additional information of all of the characters. That can be attributed to the writers wit, without doubt.

The so called antagonist Nakiri Erina is a tsundere at first glance but reveals her soft side as the anime progresses, typical of tsunderes. She is one of the major characters who require development. The arcs are so entwined so gracefully that you will feel like they are part of the main story. Even though the story hasn’t progressed much, they managed to deliver a successful 2 cour show without getting me bored.

The gems of this show are his mates in his Polar dormitory. That’s where the family type feeling reels up on this show. The kernels of love and much of the time in episodes goes in that. I would look forward to the next season of SnS, confident that I won’t be disappointed.