Wednesday, 30 September 2015


On the most recent episode of the Burton and Scrooge Podcast, the ever affable Roger and Brian discussed their experiences with collecting. I tried to make a comment on their site which turned into a lengthy post which ultimately failed to post and disappeared into the ether, so instead of trying again, I thought I'd expand on it and blog about it here for all and sundry to see and laugh at/totally associate with.

Collecting started pretty early for me. At around seven or eight I was handed down two massive chocolate tins from my brother. excitedly I opened them, drooling at the chocolatey surprise I expected to be held within, only to face a huge bundle of stamps. Not only that, but they were still attached to bits of envelope. These were the remnants of my brother's collection, handed to me to sort, soak, remove from the envelope scraps and attach to my own stamp collectors book, a Christmas present that had been sitting collecting dust on a shelf. So I set about the work and really got into the whole hobby for several years.

Panini soon entered my life in the form of football sticker books. Every year a new book and set of stickers for the season, with every player in the major divisions. As most boys at that time, I collected, swapped and filled that book, sending off an order to Panini to get the last ones I needed, until the next season came around. I remember also a Guinness Book of Records sticker collection which I obsessed over.

With the release of Star Wars came Star Wars figures and I collected those voraciously. Every weekend I'd take my pocket money to the local toy shop and get the latest figures. I never had any of the massive play sets but at one point my brother and his then girlfriend made me a 6 foot long model of Hoth, complete with Wampa cave and rebel turret. The whole thing was made with papier mâché  and painted white and looked incredible. I played with that for years and was the envy of my collecting friends. It must have taken them ages to make which I never really appreciated and I wish I had taken photos of it, but it's the one toy a remember most from my childhood.

Collecting went on through my teens with Roleplaying books, Warhammer figures, then music vinyl, tapes and cd's and VHS tapes and DVD's. And books, lots and lots of books.

When my daughter was just over a year old, a collectables series became available in newsagents called My Animal Farm. With it came a hard back book teaching you about various farm animals along with a farm animal figure, cows, pigs, geese, even a peacock. As ever with these things, the first one was £1.99 so I jumped on board, thinking it'll make a good collection both of toys and educational books. Naturally it reverted to the full price of £5 every two weeks which was manageable. By issue 30 it hit me I'd spent almost £150 on this collection and I decided perhaps that was enough toy animals.

Now, at four years old, she is obsessed with all things Frozen and what should appear free in a Frozen magazine she regularly cajoles me into buying? Our old friend Panini, Frozen sticker book and two free packets. Now it's my turn to go through what I put my parents through only now instead of 5p a packet as they were in the 70's, they're 50p a packet and you need a lot to finish your collection. Thankfully Panini still allow you to buy single stickers from them to finish your collection but now you can do it all online. It's also interesting to note that a whole market has grown up on eBay selling Panini  stickers, a good way to get rid of 'swaps'

On the subject of eBay, I've now taken to selling off McDonald's Happy Meal toys, which there also seems to be a market for. They go for anywhere from £1 to £7 currently ( where a Happy Meal is somewhere in the region of £2.40) so I'm not sure who is buying them or why, but I'm thankful for the collectors. It pays for the Frozen stickers if nothing else.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Return to Neverwinter and completely baffled!

So I decided to return to a couple of MMO's I've played in the past, Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. Both are Cryptic games so play in a similar way and both left me feeling completely baffled. When I logged into STO, the screen flashed with so many updates and messages I logged out straight away.

Then I tried Neverwinter and experienced the same thing. I've only been away for about 12 months, but so much has changed and even though my main was just 7 levels from cap when I left I now feel like a complete Noob. I have bags full of gear I don't know what to do with, skills I don't know how to activate and so many open quests and invites I'm left feeling overwhelmed. I managed to find a level appropriate quest line and did a few quests without dying too much, before running into a massive Dragon, that was apparently "Heroic Level"

I assisted in taking the dragon down, though I'm sure my contribution was very little and got more currency I don't know what to do with. Maybe I should just roll a new character and start from scratch again.

Have you ever returned to an MMO and felt completely lost?

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Post Blaugust Post Blaugust Post...Post

I have a tendency to write less rather than long rambling posts, mostly because I want to get back to gaming, so I'm glad I don't have the pressure of writing a minimum sentence count, now Blaugust is over!

Today Belghast announced the statistics of the Blaugust on the Tales of the Aggronaut blog and they make for very impressive reading. 88 people signed up for the challenge of posting every day through the 31 days of August and 56 of those made it to the end.

Belghast has kindly awarded participants with badges for their blogs. This one you will see proudly displayed on my sidebar, the Veteran part because I entered last year and Conquerer as I made all 31 posts within the month.

 I found it personally challenging, especially as I was on holiday and travelling around Portugal for 7 of those days. Thankfully technology allows blogging to continue no matter where you are!

In addition to that, I was also fortunate enough to win one of the prizes donated by Kings Isle Entertainment.

My code unlocked a bundle of items for kids MMO Wizard 101

  • Grand Tourney Arena
  • Dyeable Destrier Mount
  • Squirerel Pet
  • Valiant Jouster's Armor
  • Valiant Jouster's Lance

There also appears to be a ton of store currency as well, so I know my daughter will love trying out the game.

So congrats to everyone that entered and thanks to Belghast for all your work in this.