What a busy week it's been at Stuff Towers.
What with E3, the biggest gaming event of the year, producing some mouth-watering previews, as well as the start of the new season of our office FIFA 15 league, you're lucky we've managed to update the website at all.
But fortunately we have, and we've also found time to compile this list of the best things to do and consume this weekend.
Film to watch: Listen Up Phillip
Calling Philip Lewis Friedman obnoxious is the mother of all understatements, but although he frequently demonstrates how unbearable he is, you can't help but want to see more of him in this excellent film.
Listen Up Philip could easily be mistaken for a prime Woody Allen work thanks to its brilliantly crafted humour, eloquent cut-scene narration and inventive camera angles; at times you're left wondering if the filmmakers strapped a GoPro to an innocent bystander.
Jason Schwartzman once again proves he's one of the best comedy actors out there while the supporting cast, which includes Elizabeth Moss and Jonathan Pryce, do their job perfectly: ie they give Schwartzman as much screen time as possible.
Stuff says ★★★★✩
App to download: carrot weather
On iOS, there’s Apple’s basic weather app, the data-crazed Weather Pro, and dozens of apps trying to win someone designer of the year. Carrot cuts through any po-faced nonsense and clutter by having forecasts delivered by a cranky AI hell-bent on the end of humanity.
Data from Dark Sky ensures the forecasts are broadly accurate (plus UK and USA users get an hour’s rain prediction), but it’s fun to poke around, get threatened, and discover secret locations.
Stuff says ★★★★✩
Book to read: Look Who's Back / Timur Vermes
Adolf Hitler was just a bowler hat away from Charlie Chaplin, so while the Führer is an infrequent subject for comedy, it’s important to take the proverbial out of him every now and then. Vermes manages it splendidly as he imagines poor Adolf waking up in modern-day Berlin and struggling to be taken seriously. Well it would be hard for anyone to be taken seriously if people thought you were the Hitler impersonator from the History Channel....
Stuff says ★★★★★
5 Minute hack: pimp your docs
Though our simple brains like Google Docs' clean look, there is time-saving gold buried within its ‘add-on’ menu. Just click ‘get add-ons’ and search for these:
If there are secrets within a shared doc (your password, an address, a Hollyoaks spoiler) that you need to password protect, use this add-on to encrypt them in Chrome.
Fancy yourself as the natural successor to Wes Anderson? This add-on will format your whimsical tales into accepted screenplay standards.
If you like publishing your Google Docs on Twitter, this sidebar lets you send them directly to the Twittersphere and track any retweets. Not in a desperate way. Just every five seconds or so.
Mobile game to download: You Must Build A Boat
You Must Build A Boat is an endless runner and match-three game that plays out simultaneously, and then deviously lobs into the mix various chunks hacked off of RPGs. By the time you’re halfway through, your brain will be breaking, due to the frenetic pace of it all, as you attempt to find weapons to kill psychotic foes while the clock relentlessly counts down.
Actions - ducking, leaping, swiping etc - are determined by matching tiles on the board, with matches and open chests helping you gradually amass crew, ship components and currency, which can be used to buy upgrades. You can then plunge back into the fray with sharper swords, stronger shields, and power-ups such as fireballs to fry anyone who happens to get in your way.
There are no in-app purchases — this is a pay-once-and-play game. And while it can be a bit repetitive, it’s rarely a grind. Aside from the odd difficulty spike, you always feel you’re moving onwards with each run, especially once you grasp the depth lurking in the game, mastering dungeons that subtly adjust the effectiveness of tiles and weapons as you sprint to temporary glory.
There is an ending, but you’ll be smacked back dozens of times before you get there. Lesser gamers would walk away, but you just can’t, because this title is far too much fun; and, besides, you must build a boat.