Όλοι μαζί! Jingle bells, jingle bells… oh.


Το Imperial March! Πόρωση! Ταααν-ταααν-ταααν… Όχι, κάτσε, δεν πάει έτσι…


Sintang, Borneo, is only populated by immigrants from Asia Minor, which happen to be aristocrats.

I was casually browsing /r/gamedeals (yeah, as if I don’t already own enough games!), inspired by the latest Humble Bundle to look for a good price for chronically expensive Crusader Kings II plus expansions, when I stumbled upon this great offer by previously unknown to me BundleStars: Victoria 1 + 2, together with all expansions and DLC, for only €4,49! Steam keys and all! I only had vanilla Vicky 2 on GamersGate, where I received the review key, so I was itching to get it on Steam somehow. I got it and spent 6 hours non-stop trying to get the Netherlands into Club Great Eight. Alas, my warmongering and trying to take advantage of a surprisingly weak Prussia alerted the bouncers.

Once upon a time, I was writing here about how excited I was that Vicky 2 was announced… “Looks like it could be the best Paradox game yet”, I wrote. Heh, it was still two years too early for Crusader Kings II and three years too early for Europa Universalis IV. Paradox Development Studio has come a long way. Proud of you Swedes. ^^J

Wow. I just realised I’ve reviewed all of these games; that’s where the links go. The reviews are in Greek though. Here’s the one for Vicky 2 also.

In that last review, four years ago, I wrote that Vicky 2 was still a little bit unpolished. Two expansions and lots of patches later, it’s still not perfect, but it’s much more playable. If you also consider all of the mods that inevitably emerged, which I can’t comment on because I haven’t tried them yet, there’s a lot of stuff to discover.

Consider this, from the description of Episode 217 of podcast Three Moves Ahead:

3MA Producer Michael Hermes and GWJ editor Erik Hanson joins Rob and Tom to talk about Victoria II: Heart of Darkness. Rob is reconsidering some of his earlier, harsher views on Victoria while Tom argues that it is a towering achievement of game design that speaks to real-world politics in a way few others have ever attempted.

Victoria 2 might be a more polished gem nowadays, but it’s still notoriously difficult to understand and play, even compared to other Paradox games. Definitely one of the most complex games out there.

But don’t worry. If you buy it at this incredible discount, and I would strongly encourage you to do so if you can see yourself remotely enjoying such a game, here are a couple of videos to help you get started. Let’s play together then and carve Europe between ourselves. }:}

European border change timelapse (1000AD-2003AD)

European time lapse map από stefanelonikitelo

Awesome! Reminds me of all the hours I’ve spent playing Civilization, Europa Universalis, Victoria and Crusader Kings. 🙂 I had a similar idea for a time lapse but more interactive… I guess that’s not needed now.

Also: the music is EPIC!


0:00-0:30 Muslim Spain… <3 0:16 Breakup of Byzantine Empire into Latin duchies. 0:25+ THE GOLDEN HORDE! 1:05 Constantinople/Istanbul changes colour. 1:25+ Poland-Lithuania. Will you look at that! 2:35 Wild Greece appears! 2:45 Unificiation of Italy and Germany 2:50+ Greece, Balkan Wars and Asia Minor campaign. Around 2:50 the change is almost poetic, in its fashion...

Looking Back (part 0)

Είναι μια αρκετά ευαίσθητη περίοδος για μένα… Κάθομαι κάθε μέρα σπίτι εδώ στην Νέα Σμύρνη, διαβάζοντας Scott Pilgrim, Y: The Last Man και The Gunslinger, γράφοντας στην Νένη (η οποία ήταν στην Καπαδοκία τις προηγούμενες μέρες — καταπληκτικό), συλλογιζόμενος το χτες και το προχτές… Είναι πολύ δύσκολα θέματα τα οποία έχω αποφασίσει να αντιμετωπίσω μέσα στο καλοκαίρι. Δεν νομίζω ότι μπορώ να γράψω για αυτά εδώ, τουλάχιστον, όχι ακόμα. Όλοι οι προηγούμενοι μήνες ήταν δύσκολοι (προσέξτε μόνο την έλλειψη ποστ), με πολλά ταξίδια για τα οποία ποτέ δεν έγραψα, πολύ άγχος το οποίο ποτέ δεν κατέκτησα, πολλές στιγμές με την παρέα τις οποίες δεν ένιωσα, πολλές προσωπικές στιγμές τις οποίες ποτέ δεν ανάλυσα… ούτε εδώ, αλλά και ούτε μέσα μου. Ο χρόνος τρέχει και νιώθω ότι με έχει προσπεράσει εδώ και καιρό. It’s time [pun… unintended (?)] to do some catching up…

Και υπάρχουν και τα games. Για αυτά είναι πάντα πολύ εύκολο να γράψεις. Τολμώ να πω… βολικά εύκολο…

Αυτές τις μέρες θέλω να παίξω το Super Mario Galaxy 2, το οποίο είχε πάρει ο Μάριος εδώ και εβδομάδες, αλλά επειδή το Wii μου ήταν στην Αθήνα (α ναι, τον φιλοξενούσαμε με την Νένη καθόλη την διάρκεια της εξεταστικής! *hi-fives to neni and mario*) είχαμε απομείνει όλοι να κοιτάζουμε το κουτί. Αφού, ως γνωστόν, η παρέα μου απαρτίζεται από Nintendo-haters, δεν υπήρχε άλλο Wii στον χρήσιμο ορίζοντα. Και μετά ο Μάριος έφυγε, εγώ, η Νένη και ο Μουράτ (ένας κουλ τούρκος που γεννήθηκε στην Γερμανία, τον οποίο φιλοξενήσαμε στην Μυτιλήνη και μας συντρόφευσε στο ταξίδι μας μέχρι την Κωσταντινούπολη — ναι, πήγαμε κι εκεί :)) κι έτσι δεν είχα την ευκαιρία να το παίξω. Κι επειδή είμαι πολύ φτωχός, το Xbox μου χάλασε και θέλω να αγοράσω τα StarCraft II και Victoria II τα οποία έρχονται στο άμεσο μέλλον, δεν μπορώ να παίξω το Super Mario Galaxy 2… 🙁

Έτσι λοιπόν, αφού είμαι στην Αθήνα, μόνος,  με μπόλικο ελεύθερο χρόνο, αποφάσισα να παίξω το πρώτο SMG. Το είχα αφήσει στα 116 αστέρια. Ε, σήμερα το τελείωσα, μετά από σχεδόν 3 χρόνια. Δεν ένιωσα τίποτα ιδιαίτερο, ίσα-ίσα, θέλω κι άλλο. Μου έκανε εντύπωση όμως ξανά η μουσική… ιδιαίτερα του Gusty Garden Galaxy, που ήταν και το πρώτο τρακ που είχα ακούσει από το παιχνίδι, πριν κυκλοφορήσει, και είχα δει ότι μεγάλο μέρος της μουσικής του παιχνιδιού θα ήταν ενορχηστρωμένη. Δείτε (ακούστε!) το original, τις 8-bit, live και metal παραλλαγές, και σκεφτείτε πόσο η ενορχήστρωση και οι συνθήκες μπορούν να αλλάξουν τι συναίσθημα θα βγάλει ένα κομμάτι. Απερίγραπτο.

Ηχογράφηση που εμφανίζεται στο παιχνίδι (Miyamoto’s getting it on! ^^,)

Live ορχηστρικό:



Χτες είδα το Toy Story 3 μαζί με τον Κίρα και την Μυριάνθη. Ήταν εξαιρετικό… Ήμουν από μικρός φαν της σειράς (είχα το πρώτο σε VHS, το είχα πάρει από την Αυστραλία!), και ήταν ένα επάξιο τελευταίο κεφάλαιο στην ιστορία, αντιμετωπίζοντας πολύ ώριμα το θέμα το οποίο πραγματευόταν και έτσι με άγγιξε σε ένα σημείο που ήδη είναι πολύ ευαίσθητο αυτές τις μέρες: πώς ο χρόνος κυλά και ότι μας συντρόφευε πριν χρόνια δεν είναι πια το ίδιο, όμως ούτε κι εμείς είμαστε οι ίδιοι… Ότι ήταν δικό μας κάποτε μπορεί να μας εκπλήσει… Τελικα, όμως, τι είναι πιο αυθεντικό, και σύμφωνα με τι είναι σωστότερο να πορεύεται κανείς; Αυτό μπορεί να είναι το recurring theme του φετινού καλοκαίριου. Κι ακόμα δεν έχω δει τίποτα, είμαι σίγουρος…

[part 0 γιατί δεν ξέρω αν θα έχει συνέχεια… αν ναι, αυτός είναι ο πρόλογος…]

Blue Moon

Last December had two full moons. Popularly, a second full moon in a single month is called a blue moon, even if that is not the correct definition (check here for more details). This moon rose on December 31st and set on January 1st. It was a full moon that connected two years. Or should I say, it connected two decades? I find it strangely symbolic that the last day of the year and decade just happened to be a full moon day… It was surreal going out to see the fireworks and having the huge light in the sky illuminating everything.

Somewhat obscure gaming reference FTW!

I will not treat the turn of the decade as time to contemplate change, look back or act as if starting today the world’s going to be different in some sort of way. It is still too early for us to even be able to say what the decade we just left behind us will be remembered for, let alone compare it with the fresh new one that’s just a signle day old. I will thus spare with the retrospective craze about how the past decade changed our lives. All I have to say on that is that every change made during this decade was sort of transitional… We ain’t seen nothing yet (sic).

My refusal to look back in sets of tens does not mean that I do not want to see what last year brought, however. It was certainly a full and interesting year for me. I’d like to take you to a sort of new year’s resolution I wrote last year, “More and Less of 2009”. This year’s “More and Less” will consist of all that I did not manage to do during 2009. I’ll give it a go:

More movies, more games, more languages, more activities, more biking, more photography, more people, more travelling, more new experiences, more love, more animals, more beauty, more cooking, more reading, more knowledge, more stars, more planets, more cleaning, more housekeeping, more real working, more specialisation, more subtitles, more cubimension, more music, more peace, more awareness, more spirituality, more science, more history, more dreams, more thoughts, more tea, more vegetables, more cake, more e-mails, more writing, more art, more friendliness, more phone calls, more letters, more enjoying the moment in the right way.

Less procrastinating, less shyness, less lazyness, less internet idleness, less msn, less stupid spending, less sleeping till the afternoon, less caffeine, less absent-mindedness.

These are my personal wishes for 2009.

Alex: You forgot more sex. And more anime. You forgot less facebook too. Less flies too! Yiek!Enloying the moment in a right way eh?..Dunno if you wishing this to yourself ooor you’re trying to tell me something… :P

More movies: I guess this is kind of a pass. I’m doing the whole kinimatografiki thing together with Garret, I’ve watched my fair share of movies in the past year… There’s definitely a lot more in my”want to see” list on Flixster, but is there anything out there really for which this can’t be said? I mean… not on my “want to see” list on Flixster, generally speaking…

Honourable mentions: Kubrick Month, District 9, Dogtooth, Some Like It Hot, The Shawshank Redemption, Inglourious Basterds

More games: Hmmm… my overall “games played” meter in 2009 is fairly similar to, if not lower than 2008’s. I did sign up for Game 2.0, which is good, but I feel that I haven’t played enough games that I’ve been aching to play. I’m up to the neck in music games, if that’s any development. I even  got more of an acquired taste in strategies!

Honourable mentions: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts&Bolts, Victoria, The Longest Journey, Modern Warfare 2, Peggle Nights, Luxor, StarCraft

More languages: My go at learning Japanese crashed and burned and I’ve made little progress with German…next question!! :/

More activities: That’s a check in many different ways.Theatriki, Kinimatografiki, Fotografiki, being out a lot, I have the distinct impression I’ve been pretty active, thank you!

More biking: um… R.I.P.

More photography: That’s a check as well! Just have a look at my Flickr for the results! :}

More people: Yes, met many new people this year but got to know few. This one’s up in the air as is always has and always will be I guess.

More travelling: Turkey, Peloponnese, Kerkyra, Rodos… Good, but I don’t think it can compare to 2008 in any way, many plans died out or haven’t been realised yet. But there’s much hope for 2010, I’ll tell you that.

More new experiences: Always on the lookout! Many experiences I shall cherish forever.

More love: That’s a tough one. I’ll say check, even though I’m not sure if everything I have in mind is aspects of love or something else entirely.

More animals: Does the army of cats on the watch outside my apartment count? 😛

More beauty: Just like new experiences, always looking for more!

More cooking: FAIL UNLIMITED! 🙁

More reading: Hmmm… I give this one a hearty check. In the past 12 months I read many books that I’ll remember for years to come. Coming in contact with Saramago, Gaarder and Mazower are no small matters.

More knowledge: Yes! I I owe this largely to Despina Catapoti for being the best prof ever and leading me to planes of gnosis I always wanted to visit but I wasn’t aware of. Cultural studies, postmodernism, philosophy were all redefined in my head.  I feel like my mind has opened even more.

More stars: I don’t have a telescope… yet… but it’s been a fine astronomical year with many a starry sky and gazing alone or in good company.

More planets: If this is astrology (I don’t remember), I’m now feeling a bit mixed on the issue.

More cleaning/housekeeping: This has reached an all time low… For shame.

More real working: I made my first real money in 2009, which is great. Game 2.0 or my EAA Museum and other uni projects also count and I stand proud!

More specialisation: …hm… nah.

More subtitles: Yes indeed, I did some and I was paid for it. Moar plz.

More cubimension: Another healthy check and it’s getting better!

More music: Not many new bands came into my attention this year, but I’ve been listening to music, yay! 😛 Buying The Incident in Special Edition is something I’m not sure I regret yet.

More peace: No, I wasn’t in peace for much of last year. Good or bad? I cannot tell.

More awareness: Not very successsful, many a time did I let my wandering thoughts cloud my perception of the present. Not a good thing.

More spirituality: I’ve been trying to delve into the secrets of eastern philosophy… Tao and Physics is an excellent book on the subject, but Tao is so deep and mistifying I’m confused and left in awe at the same time. Somewhat healthy.

More science: Web Science Conference?! Hehe, well I’ve been reading some pop science books, if that counts…

More history: Yes yes! Playing Victoria, reading Mazower and looking into alternate histories, listening to Despina talk…

More dreams: After “Counting Sheep”, my take on sleep was briefly something completely different and new. Now I’ve somewhat subconsciously returned to my bad old take of “sleep cuts away from your waking time”… I must make it a point to follow some online lucid dreaming classes.

More thoughts: I’ve been thinking…

More tea: I got this huge bag of tea from Ayvalik (which cops mistook for half a kilo of weed…) and I still haven’t made any of it. Maybe I’m still recovering from the tea overload in Turkey. Or maybe my boiler is kaput. No wait, it is.

More vegetables: uh, I don’t think I’ve been eating any more or any less… I shoud make a habit of making salads a la mama though, they’re downright awesome.

More cake: fail. Or is it?

More e-mails: And all to the same handful of special someones as last year. Pah, no good. 😛

More writing: Judging from my surge of cubimension interest, that’s a positive.

More art: I’ve done my part. That collage for Alex and a lot of digital art tidbits… I know I can do better though.

More friendliness: I think I might be going well with this. Might.

More phone calls: and to whom, I wonder… But you know that I dislike phones!

More letters: I don’t think I wrote a signle one.

More enjoying the moment in the right way: I… think I got that one. Or maybe not. Or maybe both. Or maybe it’s too hard to tell as a rule. Or maybe I’m still trying to do it.

Less procrastinating: No one ever entirely gets away from this one… But it is the goal.

Less shyness: I’ve seen myself be very shy and very not shy. Soooo…

Less lazyness: I think I’m less lazy than usual. Yes.

Less internet idleness: Working on that one but I think I’ve made some progress.

Less MSN: Considerably.

Less stupid spending: …yes, but I still turn out with less money than I calculated. Maybe the definition of stupid has simply jumped around.

Less sleeping till the afternoon: …to which I’ll add: less going to sleep after dawn!

Less caffeine: HAH! Good one!

Less absent-mindedness: Hmmm. Yes.

More sex: Quantity-wise or quality-wise? It makes all the difference in the world.

Less Facebook: I managed to deactivate it. TOTAL SUCCESS!

More anime: Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of One Piece. But where’s my Cowboy Bebop?

Less flies: Less flies, I agree. And less cockroaches please!



I’m reading a book written by a spectacularly honest frenchman titled “How to talk about books you haven’t read”. In this book, among many other things, he says that a lot of authors refer to books they might have skimmed through or even not read at all. He uses a system within his own book that puts a certain tag next to each book he refers to, ranging from. He also uses a rating system from ++ to — to express his opinion on the particular book.

In detail, ++ is extremely positive opinion, + is positive opinion. – and — are negative and extremely negative opinions respectively. I think this system is perfect for sharing your disposition to something without having to use a 1-10 or 1-100 system. I hate it when people ask me to rate a girl, game, movie, or just about anything from 1 to 10. What’s a 1? Even more importantly, what’s a 10? Can you rate anything with a 10 without having any doubts about whether anything will surpass it, ever? Everything in life is experiences, including all the above, and experiences are rating-proof! By the way, before any of you say it: Yes, since the YRS (Yummers Rating System) is a 1-10 deal, I have concluded that it too is incomplete and needs revision.

I like the ++ to – – so much that I’ll use just it to describe what’s going on in my life at the moment by how much I like it!


Paradox Interactive. These guys are one of the best studio/publisher around. I’m seriously hooked with Europa Universalis III and Victoria. Hearts of Iron looks like a thing to check out soon (what am I saying, I already own two copies! I’m not going into detail with that, I want to forget…)

CouchSurfing. I just hosted an Italian guy, his name is Duan. 2 nights it was. I had almost forgot how nice and cozy hosting makes you feel, especially when it’s people you’d easily make friends with but will probably never appearin your life again.

SPACED!! After Hot Fuzz and Dawn of the Dead (I mean, um, a couple of years before those), comes Spaced. It’s awesome, pure awesome, and I recommend it to anyone who has a thing for cleverly stupid humour. Anger, Pain, Fear, Aggression…

Jose Saramago. This guy is quickly, and I mean quickly, becoming my favourite writer. Period. I couldn’t resist and gave ~100 euros to get 5 of his books together (along with the book I mentioned first and 1984). Which brings me to…

1984, by George Orwell. It shocked me. A masterpiece of 20th century literature. I may write something on it one day…


Soon I’ll be translating and subbing eco films, and not for free! I am excited for what may be my first paid job.

The Balkans, by Mark Mazower. An excellent read on the real side of “European Turkey”.

I’m entering a Guitar Hero contest. Yay?!

I’m learning Japanese… And want to learn Turkish. I want to communicate with the world! Is it normal that I’m only learning the languages of the… “bad guys” (plus german)?

We dressed up as vampires with Alex. It had been so long since I had done something like that…

In January we made a little cut-out animation for uni. It’s not completely ready yet so don’t expect to have a look if you haven’t already! 😛 It did turn out well though…

My money is running low much faster than would be desirable, even if we eat everyday at the Uni with Mario!

I still think I have no certain purpose or goals. That I’m not really good at anything but only mediocre in lots of things. Same applies to everything. Is this good or bad in the end?

Nationalistic idiots annoy me.

Pop songs that use Beethoven’s 9th also annoy me.

Waking up early to catch those pesky morning lectures is always a problem… So it is now!

No time for everyone that I would like to have more of in my life… You know who you are.

– –

Keeping my house clean is a nightmare.

Rain and cold. Cold and rain. And no central heating This pretty much sums up 2009’s weather up till now. And for the past week, it’s extreme rain and cold. Where’s summer? Where’s the sun?! I seriously don’t believe I’m uttering these words…

Every time it rains, my second room gets flooded. Argh! How can people be so stupid they mess up a balcony this much?

I hate the announcements in the ships. All of them. Lissos, Mytilini especially. I want to kick the (taped) announcers to death. Yes, that’s how much I hate them.