Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Halloween !! Its Scottish and Irish ! Celtic !

English Heritage today are the latest body to quote again the incorrect fact that Halloween has come from America.

NO NO NO !!! Every year we email and tweet and try to correct this !!!

Now in Glasgow we celebrated Halloween when I was young ! I am 50 !  But reports from my family record halloween happening 80 and 100 years ago.
My uncle remembers blackening their faces and tying the opposite doors on a tenement close together and running away !
This would have been around World War 2 time.

We always carved turnips - so at least English Heritage are mentioning that - now turnips make a great smell when carved and with a candle in them - but boy are they hard to carve ! So pumpkins are perhaps a welcome import there !!

We did not do "Trick or Treating" - we went "Guising" - we were in Disguise - and we had to have a joke or a poem memorised as we went round the houses, before we would get any sweets or money etc.
And the main enjoyment about getting dressed up was the month beforehand when you thought up and created your costume !  I once went as a pantomime horse with my best friend Jane, who is now a respectable doctor !! We did a pantomime horse dance as our entertainment - the old ladies we visited were scared as their china was dancing in their cabinet so they quickly gave us our sweets !! Another year I went as a witch (apparently made my brother be the cat !) and my friend was the Alien from the Smash potato advert !  Other great costumes in my family included a dalek, a washing machine and an uncivil servant !!

We would do "dooking for apples" - dooking as a word comes from across the north sea I believe, and there would be treacle scones hanging from the pulley and toffee apples !

Now the tradition in Scotland has never stopped - its a spooky night and we did have the idea there were spirits out there so maybe best to stay near a light !  Ireland had the same tradition and it wouldnt surprise me if Cornwall, Wales and Brittany had the tradition too.

Now, please in England if you only discovered Halloween recently, yes you personally may have heard of it from America - but the rest of us have always had it, and it only got to America because of Irish emigrants !!

So lets take back our own tradition !! Also traditionally we did not go in for the majorly scary costumes and props etc you see in the Supermarkets - so lets get rid of those.

It is of course the eve of All Saints Day - or All Hallows - hence Halloween. Many of us also visit church for All Saints Day and All Souls Day the next day. And November is a month of Remembrance and on the 11th Nov we have Remembrance Sunday. Personally it also seems to me to be a good idea if the shops did not bring out their Christmas goods until after that. Certainly I have refused to look at them so far.


Ref : http://www.scotland.org/features/halloween-traditions/
and more (including the blacking faces tradition of guising -- http://www.milngavieherald.co.uk/news/local-headlines/ways-to-celebrate-hallowe-en-in-true-scottish-style-1-3929175)

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Computer Games Design - Suggestions to Reduce Disruption to Family Life


Need each game to be possible to leave at any point - especially those that are not online.
As how often do you hear "But I'll lose all my progress ! I've been on this mission for an hour" ... well you are not always feeling a heartless enough parent to pull the plug at that point ...but you can see the kids point ...but also the dinner is ready or you need them to set the table ... so WHY cant the programme just save their progress ? I mean at any one point the game is just a variety of variables which presumably have numbers attached - all those could be saved - EASY !
the question is - why hasnt this been integrated into games ?  Are they trying to fuel realism (and Addiction) by creating hour long or longer scenarios/missions in games ?

Suggestion 2 - Clear Age Rating Display
An age rating could be displayed in a small box at top of screen at all times.
You could have a 18+ logo or under 18 content in eg GTA.
Could be clearly displayed the logo at all times.
Again - Simple
For example in GTA if there are areas of the programme you dont want under 18s to visit then why not just close those off for the under 18 game. Simple. Again each section is just a load of variables and functions. It does mean that age ratings have to be integral to the programming, but I suggest they should be.  And then if scenarios or missions are displayed the programme just has to check what the age rating is set to.

So I hope Computer Game Developers are listening - as well as government etc who could insist the developers do these things - although better still, the industry could take a responsible adult approach to this !  Before family life is ruined !  And really overall it would be better for the gaming industry overall too as they might even generate more sales if they got the adults on board !