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Clarkson's Columns: Save Up for the Apocalypse & Let Pop Stars Run the Countryside
While you lot splurge on disco balls, I'm keeping my money, money, money for the apocalypse By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times, August 30) My great-grandfather was a very wealthy and very typical Yorkshireman. We know this because one day he paused for a few moments outside Harrods before turning to his friend and saying: "I could buy everything in that window. But I'm not going to." I have certainly inherited that gene, because I get an enormous amount of pleasure by not buying anything, ever. I even get a genuine shiver of excitement by lingering on magazine pictures of speedboats that are for sale and then turning the page. I'm proud that my iPhone has valves and that my car has a tiller. I love that my sofa cover is ripped and that I'm still wearing pants and shirts that were given to me as Christmas presents in the last century. It seems, however, that I am alone in this, because a study out last week has shown that during lockdown, when I didn't use my credit card at all for three months, everyone else went completely berserk. One person questioned by researchers admitted he had signed up for an expensive online course in how to speak Mandarin, which he hadn't got round to taking. Another said they had bought three disco balls and a ceramic pineapple. A third had bought a 7ft inflatable elephant. So, people have been sitting around at home, furloughed from a job that probably doesn't exist any more, and to pass the time, they've been wasting money that isn't even technically theirs on stuff they neither want nor need. This may be a sign that everyone is going mad. Of course, some of this madness may have been caused by lockdown-inspired resolutions. I'm willing to bet a lot of DIY kit was sold, and easels and cookbooks and gym equipment. And I'm also willing to bet that all of it is now in the garage, gathering dust. I also understand the problem of online shopping, because I've been on Amazon and I know how tempting it is to surf around the place, finding stuff you never see in the shops and then clicking on the "Add to basket" button before hopping off to look at some other suggestions. It's so addictive that before a recent camping trip to Madagascar, my online shopping trolley contained three pairs of action trousers, a sturdy torch, two Bob Seger T-shirts, a waterproof bag, a sun hat, a Leatherman multitool, two books about pirates, a solarpowered phone charger, an inflatable pillow, a pair of James May-cancelling headphones and a microfibre towel. But here's where you and I differ. Because instead of feeding in my credit card number and telling the delivery drivers to leave all the parcels in the shed, I went to the checkout, unordered everything and then sat back in a state of utter bliss, knowing that I wasn't going to end up with a skip-load of what is basically landfill. Some would call this typical Yorkshire meanness. But it isn't. According to one report, about 65% of Yorkshire people often buy gifts for other people, and that's 10% more than the national average. If you want meanness, you have to go to Scotland, where only 38% buy presents. No. What Yorkshire people have is thrift, and I'm sorry but in the coming weeks and months you're going to have to learn to live that way as well. First things first. Develop a sixth sense for when someone is taking the piss. I'm building a house at the moment and saw in a bill last week that I'm about to spend £1,200 on fixtures and fittings for an outside workman's khazi. I have absolutely no idea how much lavatories and sinks cost, but I know that if they were more than a grand, most of the country would be doing its number twos in the street. Exactly the same alarm bells go off in my head when I'm in a sunglasses shop. I know that when you select a pair by Ray-Ban, you're supposed to think you're buying a crown jewel, which is why the sales assistant takes out a soft cloth and wipes the lenses as if she's trying to burp a glass baby. But listen to that inner voice in your head saying that a bit of metal with two lenses cannot possibly cost £150. Then go to the market and find a pair for £8.99 before realising that actually you don't need a pair of sunglasses at all because you're not a pilot and this is Britain. This is the critical part. Understanding that there's a massive difference between what you need — which is two shirts, two pairs of trousers and a toothbrush — and what you want. Which is a speedboat. So when you're sitting there, thinking about buying one, consider all the breakdowns you'll have and all the rainy days when you can't use it and all the extra bills for servicing it and fuelling it and keeping it in a marina. Pretty soon you'll know that you'd rather have genital warts. Want a new car? No, you don't. There's nothing wrong with the one you have now. Need a holiday? Why? You'll only get bitten by something, possibly a dog. And healthcare? Ha. Don't make me laugh. Look at those offices that Bupa has with all those rubber plants. Who's paying for all that? You are, you mug. You can even convince yourself that not buying something is the morally right thing to do. I saw a painting recently that I liked and now I'm feeling extremely munificent because I left the gallery without it. Which means it's now giving great pleasure to someone else. I know that at the moment we are being urged, for the sake of the economy, to get out there and spend as much as possible, but if you lose your job in November, which you almost certainly will, you're going to feel a bit foolish if you've got nothing to your name except a cupboard under the stairs full of disco balls, ceramic pineapples and that massive socket set you bought when you thought you'd build your own greenhouse. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm sending out an SOS to bloomin' pop stars:The super-rich are the only people who can be trusted to preserve the countryside, so we must scatter tax breaks across the land By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times, August 30) There is a sound argument for handing all Britain's countryside and farmland to rock stars and bankers. And then giving them massive tax breaks to help them to run it properly. I'm being serious, because who else would you trust with such a big job? Not the government, obviously. The government can't be trusted to do anything properly. I mean, all it had to do when it saw the pandemic coming was buy some aprons and some gloves, but somehow it managed to make a mess of it. It was the same story in Iraq. Our troops desperately needed body armour and bullets and transport made from something stronger than Kleenex, and what they were sent instead was 6,000 pairs of chef's trousers. So there is no way in hell you'd let the government grow food or manage a hillside in Yorkshire. There was talk by the Labour Party, when Corbyn was in charge, that land should be confiscated from the rich and given to the poor. But that wouldn't work either, because what poor people do when they have a bit of land is use it to store their rusting old cookers and vans. I'm not sure farmers are the answer either, because farmers need the land to be profitable. So when they look at an agreeable view full of dry-stone walls and bustling hedgerows and ancient woodland, they don't think, "Wow, this is pretty." They think, "Hmmm. I must fire up the bulldozer." I get that. If you invest a million pounds in shares, you expect some returns, and it's the same story if you invest a million pounds in land. So you're going to squeeze as much as possible from every square inch. Plus, of course, people want cheap food. But there is a problem with all that. Since the 1930s, Britain has lost 97 per cent of its wild-flower meadows. This is because wild flowers look good on a postcard but terrible on a profit and loss account. There's simply no money in cornflowers and dog daisies, so any farmer is going to replace them with wheat and barley and oilseed rape. My farm, however, has always been owned by rich people who wanted land for shooting or hunting or avoiding tax. They no doubt saw the act of "farming" as a bit grubby. A bit trade. This means the wild-flower meadows still exist. They were never ploughed up. I hate flowers. They bore me. But they do not bore everyone. They certainly didn't bore a man who came to my farm earlier this month. He was literally jumping up and down saying that what I have is pretty much seen nowhere else in the whole of the United Kingdom. Apparently wild flowers don't do terribly well in Mrs Miggins's cottage garden. They need space to thrive, and that's what I have. Six big fields. A total area of perhaps 200 acres, which is chock-full of small scabious, kidney vetch, green-winged orchids, yellow rattle and various other things that sound as if they've escaped from a Victorian book of diseases. My new friend said it was a staggering natural resource. Which is why I was a bit surprised when he climbed into his Land Rover, attached a small vacuum cleaner to the back and drove up and down the fields, sucking seeds into a hopper. He then laid out what he'd collected on a giant tarpaulin and invited me to take a closer look. Which is a bit like asking someone with a severe nut allergy to apply for a job with KP. My hay fever went berserk, but in between sneezes, and through streaming eyes, I could see that the haul was moving. It was alive with insects. I must admit I was excited, because wild-flower seeds at my local garden centre cost about £60 for 100 grams. And I had about half a tonne of the damn things. I therefore rushed home and immediately ordered a Bentley. However, it turns out that my seeds will not be sold. They will be given away, which is not a phrase the Yorkshire part of my brain likes, or even understands. Apparently, it's all part of a conservation scheme funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which was set up — surprise, surprise — by a wealthy investor in the early Sixties. The idea is that any of my neighbouring farmers who are suffering from eco-guilt can get hold of seeds that are genetically suited to this specific part of the world. And, I'm told, the system works for me too because, thanks to my generosity, the government may be more inclined, down the line, to look favourably on my requests for public money. And there's the problem. I don't want jam tomorrow. I want a Bentley today. I want to monetise my marjoram and fleece the bejesus out of my fairy flax. And I want to sell orchid seeds in my shop, like cocaine, only with a higher price tag. This is because I'm not rich enough to be a landowner. Sting is. He has 800 acres in Wiltshire on which he farms pigs and hens, but not in the way that normal farmers do farming. It's all tantric and aesthetic, because he's not really interested in using the land to make money. He doesn't need to, because every time someone uses "Roxanne" in an advert for panty liners, he can buy another organic jet. If you think that the land should be given back to nature, and managed sensitively, with insects as the No 1 priority — and I'm beginning to think this way — then it is imperative that Sting is encouraged to buy as many neighbouring farms as possible. I may buy Outlandos d'Amour again this afternoon to help him out, and you should too. Sting's not alone, either. For a long time, Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull owned a salmon farm on the Strathaird peninsula, on the Isle of Skye. Steve Winwood, of the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith, has a chunk of land in Gloucestershire, and Alex James of Blur grows quite the nicest vegetables you've ever tasted on his farm just down the road from me in Chipping Norton. All of them should be given more farmland to play with as soon as possible. Thirty years ago, if you drove through the countryside on a summer's day, you wouldn't get five miles before your windscreen was spattered with a million dead insects. Not any more. You won't hit one, because there are hardly any left. And that's bad, because without insects there will be no life on earth of any kind. We need them, and we need hedgerows and ancient woodlands and areas that are boggy and sad. Almost everyone seems to be in agreement on this: we need to put Mother Nature back in the driving seat. And I'm sorry but the only way this is going to be possible is if we hand over control of our land to the super-rich. The government should therefore consider this suggestion seriously: that we turn Britain's green and pleasant bits into the new Monaco, a tax haven for people who have both the time and the money to do the right thing. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And here's the Sun column: "I back Harry Maguire because I was also attacked in Greece and cops nicked ME"
[Progress] Just clearing out the backlog with smaller games this month.
Hallo, Hope everyone is staying safe from the situation out there thesedays. I've been stuck at home, so lots of gaming time and no real work to do. Last month's progress report; So, this month I got through 15 games, but I'm reviewing 17 today. If you make it through, huzzah! :)
February last minute completion
I finished one game after I made my February report, that's why I've left this month's report so late.
Genre: Turn based RPG
Rating: 7/10 Good.
The second game in the Expeditions series, these games have two key factors; Firstly, they are phenomenal role-playing experiences. Secondly, they provide average gameplay experiences. That’s been my experience of the series so far, both Vikings and the first game Conquistador, are great games if you’re into RPGs where you jump in and immerse yourself into the lore, history and time period. Viking, like its predecessor Conquistador, does not downplay the barbarism present in the time period. The major conflict is over religion, the story takes place in the time where Catholicism was taking off and the old world of paganism was dying. Being Vikings, you can imagine what they got up to. Often, you are encouraged to liberally spill blood. Very often, it is of monks and nuns and indeed, children. Many dialogue options are centred around aggressive dick-waving, repaying any insults to your honour with death and more death. It is glorious and it really gets you in the mindset of a Viking raider. The storyline presents you as newly appointed Thane of Skjern; your father having died raiding. He has also neglected his home politically and militarily, so you have the job of cleaning up your internal power struggles and batting off external Viking invaders. There are two parts to the story; The first taking place in Denmark serves as a tutorial, and has you consolidating your home power-base. The second part, sees you raid the north of England and Scotland with impunity as you try to amass power and/or prosperity in order to gain allies to defeat any future political invasions of your lands in Denmark. You can go either way, try and be a trading type of Viking, or go the typical strength-based warrior of legend and do your own invasion. That’s the beauty of the role-playing experience, dialogue is rich and well researched, conflicts are brutal, religion is at the forefront of it all, and as I noted, for a roleplaying game it is great for roleplaying. But, onto the second part; The average ‘gameplay’. Viking’s gameplay is turn based tactical battles, mixed with CRPG exploration. The CRPG exploration part is fine, it’s standard stuff, but you do have to manage your base camp (for when you rest and heal), and your home settlement via instructing orders to improve areas of the settlement. However, due to the long distances of travel, you can be resting quite often, especially as you don’t get free rests when you go to other towns. Rest is required to satisfy hunger and sleep, failure to do any of these awards you with huge penalties to your attributes in battle. The turn-based combat is tough, but good fun. Archers are over-powered, but there’s a good mix of axe and sword dynamics. Swords do damage, but shields can negate everything. Axes however can make a unit lose their shield for a turn, so there is a synergy to the combat, lead with axes, skewer with swords and bows. There are also your witchdoctors healing or poisoning people at will. What lets the system down is there’s no opportunity for deployment. The game is cheap in putting you into battle but giving the enemy the first attack phase. That often leads to artificial difficulty, with members being killed in the first turn because you never had the chance to do anything. There is also morale management, party members are happy if you keep in line with their values and beliefs and vice versa. Since the majority of your party are Vikings, keeping them happy tends to mean aggressive options or skewering monks. The trouble is, the system is hyper-sensitive at times, changing based on dialogue options maybe a bit too often for my liking. Another factor people may not like (and I know lots didn’t) is the game has a time limit. You have a month to finish the tutorial and three or four to finish the main game. The limit is justified story-wise, and it is very generous – you’d have to waste time faffing about the map in order to reach the end of the limit, but still, it’s worth noting. I finished all quests with an entire month to spare, so as I said, there’s considerable leeway if you do your exploration thoroughly. For me, a bit more polish on the turn-based combat, the morale system and the map system and this would be a phenomenal game. It is fantastic with the lore and history, it is a great roleplaying game, and the developers are clearly very talented. But it is a difficult game to get started with, much like Conquistador was. If you can put up with rough systems, then there’s a gem hidden under the dirt here, so check it out. I look forward to the developer’s future works, because they definitely have talent to make some good RPGs.
Okay, that got lengthy, so I'll try and trim the reviews for March;
The Wolf Among Us
Genre: Adventure “TellTale”
Rating: 8/10 Very Good.
An early Telltale game, this one takes place in Fableland, which is a land where all the mythical creatures and humans from fables live. That happens to be New York City. And the creatures et al are all disguised by glamour magic. You star as the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. He’s a police/enforcer for Fableland, going around making sure the residents keep the glamour on and so on. The story is fast and explosive, with plenty of fight scenes combined with excellent dialogue. Here is a murder mystery and ferreting out corruption in a land of fables. Gameplay wise, it is standard TellTale Games affair, lots of quick time events and clicking combined with a plot that offers ‘choices’, though what genuine impact those choices have are always up in the air. Still, it’s a good story and that’s really the appeal for these types of games, and it’s definitely up there as one of the more interesting and unique ones available for us. The ending twist is superb, and I thought it hit a homerun with how unexpected it was. Having said all that, there are minor issues that bring the score down; Subtitles didn’t always work and sometimes commands didn’t register, which was fairly annoying. Other than that, this is a great fable, well worth the price of admission.
Genre: Point and Click Adventure (Wadget Eye)
Rating: 5/10 Average
The first entry to the Blackwell series (5 games), Legacy introduces the core characters; Rosa Blackwell a medium and her spirit ghost, Joey. It serves as an introduction piece to the series, establishing characters and mechanics of the world. This is the same universe as the recent Unavowed, but in any case, as this is a very early game it is fairly basic. The story is okay, it’s more of an introduction chapter of a sorts to set things up for the future. The characters are interesting enough but overall, it isn’t particularly engrossing. You’re basically investigating a suicide and things unravel from there. Of the game itself, it defaults to full screen at a very low resolution. There are no options to change the resolution. The framerate is also quite poor, it tops out at around 40fps on a good day but chunters around at 20-22fps when a ‘scene’ is triggered. If you can slog through these technical issues, there’s an okay game here, but it has aged pretty poorly considering. Hopefully the rest of the series is a bit more exciting.
Genre: Point and Click Adventure.
Rating: 5/10 Average
The second game of the Blackwell series (of five total), Unbound is a prequel taking place in the 1970s. It follows Joey the Ghost from the first game, as he joins with Rosa’s Aunt Lauren. The story takes place in media res. Lauren and Joey’s relationship is already in full flow, they both know each other and are both experts at saving ghosts, having done it for a while. As far as I understand, this game was meant to be a series of flashbacks for game #3, but ended up being so lengthy that they decided to make it a stand-alone game. As such, consider this ‘part 1’ of the next game in the series. The game itself again, defaults to a low resolution with no option to change anything. Framerate is low as well. However, the signs of new concepts are seen here, we get more use out of items and we get the ability to switch between Lauren and Joey, which is handy as Joey can get into places that Lauren can’t, on account of being a ghost etc. The story is interesting, and Lauren and Joey’s dynamic is great in contrast to Rosa and Joey’s initial situation, but then, they are in full swing with each other. Lauren has taken up chain-smoking to deal with her new relationship with Joey, so it’s quite funny watching them play off each other. All in all, this is a better, more polished game than Legacy, but it still rough around the edges. Still a worthwhile game to have a go on.
Genre: Point and Click Adventure.
Rating: 6/10 Decent
The third game of the Blackwell series, this one takes place back in modern day with Rosa and Joey. Now more comfortable in their lives as ghostbusters of a kind, we are also starting to see the impact of a bigger game budget (I think). Graphically, this is a crisper and better product overall. The UI is much improved, you can now overwrite save games properly rather than spamming fifty saves of the same name. Character and portrait art are improved and the accompanying music is very strong. The plot here is a direct continuation of Blackwell Unbound, so it is recommended to play that first before diving in here. It’ll give a better understanding of things. Personally, I think Convergence and Unbound are short enough that they shouldn’t have been separated into two distinct games, but regardless. This is the first game where things start getting a bit more polished, and is perhaps where it starts getting its footing. This is reflected in the extra point in the score when combined with the graphical improvements etc.
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Rating: 7/10 Good.
The fourth game in the Blackwell series, Deception continues from Convergence’s sequel bait ending, with both Rosa and Joey the ghost returning to their ghostbusting exploits. This is really where the production values start to pay off, we’re in for a multi-mystery with many cases to solve. It is a mile away from the brief first and second games, and this one really showcases the advancement of the development team and the writers. The mystery here is pretty interesting, multiple people are dying of ‘natural causes’ but things just don’t look correct. We also start getting more in-depth backstory for our duo, and more control over the two of them as well. This leads to more puzzles requiring the two to work together, so it keeps things fresh. Personally, I feel the fourth game is the first of the series to jump up to a ‘good’ rating; definitely worth the journey to get here.
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Rating: 8/10 Very Good.
Ah, the finale of the Blackwell series and what a finale it is. Good writing, good set design and interesting characters. Everything comes together in a nice bundle to present what is essentially the best game out of the Blackwell series. The final scenes are particularly touching, but as a game it is more robust and refined. This is the conclusion of Joey and Rosa’s adventures and the conclusion of the story arc, revealing quite a lot of lore, but also finding time to throw in some clever Easter eggs. This game features a multi-case story, which answers plenty of questions left over the previous four games. I think it is definitely worth experiencing the initial few 5/10 games just to get to this conclusion, but I also recognise that the story here wouldn’t be that interesting if it wasn’t for the groundwork that the previous instalments did. Also, if you’re interested in the game: Unavowed, it takes place in this universe and both games share characters and themes, so if you’ve played it before you played Blackwell, you’ll find plenty of little hints throughout. If you haven’t played Unavowed, but have played Blackwell, then get on with getting Unavowed! :P
Genre: Visual Novel
Rating: 7/10 Good
A very deep and thoughtful visual novel, Eliza has fairly strong reviews across the board and I can totally understand why. As a visual novel it is fairly static, the art is nice, the UI is good enough but this doesn’t break any new grounds in terms of visual novel design. But then, it doesn’t have to. Because Eliza is very much a game where you settle down with a pot of coffee and listen. Everything in this novel is voiced acted, and the subject matter is quite varied; We start with what Eliza is; So, Eliza is a counselling program, created by programmers and engineers. It’s not an A.I. but it’s basically an offshoot of machine learning. Eliza counsels her clients via providing prompts through a headset to a human ‘proxy’, who basically relays the prompts to the person receiving counselling. It’s a novel and futuristic look at mental health in a way. What starts as a minor jaunt down the rabbit hole of this machine programme, eventually spirals into some fairly heavy discussion about mental health, depression, anxiety, the feeling of failure, the attempts of some people to get out of these states. In fact, a core theme throughout the game are the various character’s own methods of dealing with bad feelings, and our wonderful lead, Evelyn is just as equally flawed as a lot of the other major players are. Some of the discussions can be heavy, and these discussions conveniently slot in and around actual counselling sessions, so you get to see the action and consequences of certain methods first-hand, so you can start making your own conclusions about things. What keeps things interesting is the game draws you into these discussions via Evelyn. There are plenty of opportunities to contribute to discussions with your thoughts via choices, which can keep things engaged, and there are plenty of ‘I don’t know’ options, which for such subject matters is fair enough. All of this combines together, a modern tale of corporate work, future-tech, AI-theory and mental health, to provide several conclusions over the span of around 7 chapters. It is very much worth a read, but I think this is the type of novel that you really need to be in the right mood to read, as it can be fairly heavy to listen to. In spite of that, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion points within and the story presented. I thought it was an enjoyable novel and I’m really glad I picked it up on HumbleBundle choice (if you sub to it, do consider getting this as one of your options.) That said, the reason it doesn’t score higher is the toughness to chew the subject matter, but also because the endings are a bit lukewarm in contrast to the rest of the novel.
Genre: Top down shooteTower Defence hybrid
Rating: 7/10 Good.
This is a curious hybrid game. It is a tower defence, where you build towers to shoot enemies, and also build walls to force them to take longer paths to your ‘hq’, which needs protecting. You can set up the towers with no time pressure after every wave. When the wave starts you fly in your gunship and basically join in, nuking the enemy forces either to speed things up or to go after high value targets. The combination works quite well, it is fast and enjoyable and you get to do upgrades over the course of the main campaign. Story? It’s rather simple, there’s an alien invasion and you’re blocking the armies from hurting you. Plot twist? You’re the alien invaders. Woo-hoo! Anyway, that’s basically it, and sometimes, games with a simple idea work well, and this is a good example of a decent game that takes a simple idea and pulls it off admirably. A word of warning, there’s a sharp difficulty spike midway through the game for those not used to Tower Defence games, but otherwise, still a good game.
The Lion’s Song
Genre: Point and Click adventure/puzzle
Rating: 5/10 – so-so/average.
Tough one to review, this is a combination of a visual novel/point and click adventure game. It contains four episodes, each with a different protagonist and each with a different theme. The main theme of the game is the way the mind works and how people seek creativity, whether it be through music, art or math. Each character has their own individual struggle to create alongside a struggle to exist or co-exist within a world that can be restrictive, demanding or outright hostile to them. The first episode deals with music and inspiration found via objects/items. The second is art and is more about interviewing people, getting to know them in order to paint them. The third, deception and math in a world where women aren’t respected enough to do math. Finally, the finale ties things together with a ‘connections Aesop’, showing how we’re, all connected as WWI kicks off. It is all fairly interesting, but I would say that this is the sort of game that would appeal more to those of a more creative mindset. For those who would come from a position of understanding of the arts/creativity and the challenges posed within. For the vast majority of gamers, I don’t think this would be enjoyable either as a game or as a story. Gameplay wise the mechanics are thin on the ground. Story-wise, it doesn’t really get interesting and kick off until episode three, which is the longest episode and a fairly engrossing one but I don’t think everything really ties together in the finale as well as the developers intended. Overall, the package is a good risky type of adventure for the developers, I’m just not sold that this is ever going to be fit for the mainstream. For me, it was okay, I liked what I got from it, but I did spend most of the time there wondering why I was along for the journey, what was I getting from it? Perhaps I missed the point, but at the end of the day this should have been so much more.
Magical Eyes: Red is for Anguish
Genre: Visual Novel (All Ages)
Rating: 6/10 Decent.
Completion: 30 (Game received for free.)
The publisher, Fruitbat Factory, released five or so of their visual novels for free over on Itch.io due to Coronavirus. I grabbed them, because although they weren’t strictly on my radar, they looked interesting enough. Fair warning: Japanese Audio only, but the game is in English otherwise. Magical Eyes is a visual novel that takes place in modern day Japan. It is, as typical, in school, with the characters being 16-18 years old as is tradition in these hero stories from Japan. :P It is quite an interesting story though, Yuu, the protagonist is a fighter (a Disobeyer) who takes down Variants. A Variant is an excess of emotions from a person who has died recently, that decides to possess an item/person/animal and chase on to reach their goals. Sort of like a ghost who won’t pass until their unfinished business has concluded basically. The concept is rather interesting, and the story, after a bit of a rough start, is actually quite intriguing. This is more or less a straightforward book, however, with gameplay limited to two aspects; The first aspect is the ability to traverse a map to story points. You only have two story points, the ‘main’ story, which obviously progresses the main story. And then you also have optional sub-stories, which flesh out what is happening with other characters and fills in some more background, but are entirely optional. The second gameplay aspect is called ‘reasoning mode’. This mode happens at the end of an important arc and is basically the protagonist asking what the evidence points to, in the form of questions. If you answer all questions correctly for an S rank you get a bonus story scene that reveals critical information. Most of these are obvious if you’re paying attention to the story, except, interestingly, the very first one, because in that one the third question has a trick/comedy answer that most people will get wrong. :P Overall, I thought this was a well-written visual novel. It won’t break the bank in terms of visuals or production values though, and there are a lot of unresolved plot threads as this is part of a series, which is still in production. With those issues in mind, it scores a 6 from me, as I felt there could have been more in terms of graphical assets and in particular, more fleshing out of the side-stories. Still a decent novel, but maybe not something I would have paid much for.
Forward to the Sky
Rating: 7/10 Good
Oh, this is downright adorable. Forward to the Sky is a platforming game in 3D, where you control a very zealous young Princess, who set off in her hot air balloon to scale a crystal tower and defeat the resident witch! It’s charming! Endearingly so. The Princess is naïve, but her heart is in the right place. You scale six levels of the tower, chopping away at skeleton foes and smashing statues to collect crystals. Collect 100 at a level and it reveals the full story for you. Collect fewer than 100 and you get half the story or just one part of the story. (They don’t drop individually, they drop in clusters of 10/25, so it’s not a chore.) As you progress the young Princess debates with the witch as the lore becomes more revealing. It’s pretty good. Gameplay is fairly simple platforming and you swing and hack at the skeletons, though combat is a minor and trivial part of the game. It is probably a great game for kids to play, but it isn’t perfect. Some issues are floaty controls, which can make jumping sections tricky and a rather unrefined combat system. Those two issues aside, the game is short and the difficulty is trivial. If you fall off a platform for example, you don’t die, it just rescues you in the hot air balloon. You only have to restart the level if your health expires and you’re given 1,000 hit points, which is fairly generous. It is however, appropriately priced at a mere £5 and you can probably get this for less at places like Fanatical. Definitely a good game and a little hidden gem to try out if you ever get the time. Sensible gamers should be able to finish it in two hours and a bit.
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on you
Genre: Visual Novel / Investigation game
Rating: 8/10 Very Good.
Every once in a while, a game will come along that you simply won’t put down and will try to finish in one sitting. For me, Orwell fits that category, for it was thoroughly engrossing. As the name suggests, Orwell deals with privacy and government surveillance. You are an ‘investigator’ of the new Orwell application, an app which, with the right authorisation, allows you to snoop on people’s phone calls, e-mails and all their online histories at will. It is a disturbing look into a surveillance state, and yet, by putting you in charge it opens the door (and your mind) to justifying the system. In the introduction, there is a terrorist bombing that kills some people. That’s where you come in, you’re in to investigate the prime suspect and ultimately to bring down the terror cell. You pick datachunks, which is vital (and non-vital/misleading) information and assign it to a person of interest in order to shape a narrative about them. For example, you can use it properly in order to keep the authorities informed about a person’s whereabouts or connections with other people. Likewise, you can misuse it, say you might see a Twitter conversation where someone says “oh that’s torture!” (in reference to being taken out nightclubbing to dance) and the system will update to suggest that the person in question is, actually, a genuine torturer. It is pretty obvious that Orwell intends for you to use your best judgement in the situation, take it seriously as a proper investigative tool and suddenly the arguments for invasive surveillance look quite appealing, especially if you succeed in foiling terror actions. Use it inappropriately on the other hand and suddenly things look a bit bleak. For me, Orwell’s story was enticing and gripping. I was captivated trying to deny the terror actions, but also by the investigation into the terror cell. I don’t want to spoil anything, but basically, I swept through this in one sitting, without breaks, in just over four hours. Why not a higher score? Well, I did encounter some bugs. At one point in a new chapter it would keep defaulting back to the previous chapter’s screens. I had to reboot the game in order to cut this nonsense out and continue. Without these, I may very well have given a 9, but I think that perhaps, would be too generous given the nature of the game. Still, this is a very good game and I’m definitely going off to buy the sequel!
The Darkside Detective
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Rating: 8/10 Very Good
If you’re a fan of point and click adventure games that don’t take themselves too seriously, then stop reading here and go buy this game. I picked it up due to good reviews and it really is a genuinely amusing game. You’re in charge of a detective investigating the ‘darkside’ cases, so, paranormal activity, a bit like the X-Files. The game is full of wit, and sets out to be a light-hearted comedy from the off-set. There are six cases to solve, all of them fairly simple to get through as the puzzles are fairly clear and obvious. I only struggled with the bonus 7th case as I wasn’t really observant enough. The simplicity in logic of the puzzles keeps this enjoyable, whilst the comedy nature of the game ticks’ things along nicely. There isn’t really much else for me to add to it really, the game is cheap enough if you shop around that it is a fairly safe bet if you’re looking for a fun Point and Click Adventure to spend a few hours on.
Art of Murder: FBI Confidential
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Rating: 2/10 Awful.
From 2008, I picked this up when I was young and it didn’t work on my PC at the time because I didn’t have a genuine graphics card. Long way away from the gaming rigs I play thesedays. :P I got this again because it was available in a pick and mix bundle, with other more decent games. Art of Murder is fairly outdated, even for 2008. There are no game option settings, you’re stuck with the resolution it picks, though you can change the volume. There’s no sound in the cut-scenes for my copy. I guess. It is a standard old-fashioned point and click game; It is slow, annoyingly so. Dialogue is awful, voice acting is atrocious. And puzzles? Filled to the brim with busy-work and moon-logic. Example? Your printer runs out of printer paper. But the printer paper replacement isn’t in storage, rather it’s outside in the hallway next to renovation building work site. Why is it there? Fuck knows. Other puzzles have randomised solutions (no walkthrough guides for you!) and are just… For example, why would you pick up a fire extinguisher in a museum? For no logical reason at the time, but later you’ll use it to blow up an inflatable dinghy to move two crates of artefacts apart so you can scan it with an x-ray device. Who knew? Later, you find a pool table pocket is blocked, so how do you unclog it? By finding an umbrella and making a wire out of that. Who knew? Fuck knows. The story follows Nicole, world’s dumbest FBI detective, who in the intro that happens before you even start a new game, and is therefore skippable by mistake, is put with another officer who pretty much demeans her by sending her off to get coffee. She fucks off, he gets shot, crisis time occurs as she wails for getting the coffee and not being there for him. Seriously, she’s thick as shit, I’ve no idea how she got to be an FBI agent without doing some shady business on the side. For instance, she handles evidence without gloves – and even gets called out for it. When she crashes a car off a mountain, the first thing she says when we’re back in control is “Aw, this place is beautiful, I’m so glad I came!” Like, holy shit lady, you threw a jeep off a mountain and your first instinct is to appreciate the scenery? Who wrote this script? It is so bad. This is more or less the entire game, you, as Nicole, slowly creep around doing moon logic puzzles until you solve the case, whilst listening to some very bad dialogue. There’s little to recommend from this game back in 2008, so there’s absolutely nothing to recommend in 2020. Save yourself the hassle, avoid.
Genre: Investigative game.
Rating: 8/10 Very Good.
Wow, so, I had to make up the genre for this, since I don’t know where it falls into really. So, think Orwell (if you’ve played that) and you’re sort of on the right track with this one. It’s a game entirely contained within a fake iPhone. Not even yours. Basically, some girl called Anna’s phone ends up in your possession and you start being a real sneaky bastard and looking into her phone, pictures, e-mail, Twitter and all that (you dirty bastard). It transpires, Anna is missing, as in, genuinely a missing person. All you have to go on is a video of her in a state talking about unknown forces and asking that you don't find her. You get sucked into using her phone to investigate where she could be, and ultimately what eventually happened to her. You end up meeting some of her friends and acquaintances via the phone, teaming up as you all strive to find out what has happened to Anna. It is Live-Action acting as well, some of it is hilariously cringe (in a good, light-hearted way), and the acting isn’t top notch, but… The investigative hook, the story and the conversations within are very good. In fact, you can join in on text conversations, picking from a list of (limited) options to reply to people as you work together to find the truth. There’s a lot of B-movie tech horror in here as well, it’s designed to be played with headphones and preferably, the lights are off! Expect lots of static, distorted voices and a low horror tone. For me, it was interesting stuff, I had a blast with it, even if I got a pretty shitty ending (there are four I think). Look, this game goes on sale for like £2, is in a bundle on HB right now for £1 and will last you about 3-4 hours of gameplay. There’s no losing with his one, I think it is a very good effort by the developers to make something different and interesting, and more importantly, I think this one kind of works. Check this one out.
Those are my completions, but there is one game I did abandon;
Bio Inc. Redemption
Genre: Save/kill medical game
Rating: 3/10 Bad
Might be a bit harsh on the rating here, but I think it’s a poor game. Basically, think Plague Inc, except instead of the world, you’re dealing with an individual human being. You infect or heal (you can pick to be a doctor or the plague) various systems, so flu for respiratory system and so on. The aim of the game as the plague is to kill the person, whereas as the doctor you have to heal all the shit they somehow picked up. There’s not always a rhyme or reason to what they pick up, but you can identify the issues via trail and error from the symptoms presented. Once you get beyond the colourful and interesting presentation, you’ll find a bit of a dull and boring game going on here. Because it is split into two distinct parts; Part one, you go through the systems on the body map and pick ‘points’ up via clicking on cells/viruses. Those points get spent on diagnosis, treatment/infection. You can spend a lot of time whistling to yourself trying to build up a bank of points and once the novelty wears off, and it will do fairly quickly, there’s not a lot to do. To compound it, I found the game’s difficulty to be a bit offset. On ‘normal’ default difficulty, I was pushing things close to the wire, perhaps I didn’t take enough risks on things, but although the challenge was interesting, you have to score points based on the difficulty level in order to unlock the next stage. Again, I despise this sort of systems, since they gate content, and you have to be a fairly interesting game to get away with gating content enough for me to bother trying to score higher to unlock levels. As such, I honestly couldn’t be arsed with this. Get the mobile version, which is where it should have stayed tbh.
That's me done for the month. I wrote a list of 38 games I wanted to finish and I've done 25 of that 38 list right now. I'm actually considering closing the list off now because, with 25 of it done, I think I'm pretty happy with my progress and because I think I want to break away from the list and jump into other games. We shall see in any case. Erm, so yeah, I think I went a bit overboard this month. I've no games lined up for next month. Everyone stay safe and keep gaming. :)
[UK Politics] A giant post on the policies/promises the three main parties are campaigning for.
I hope this thread allows everyone in this thread contribute positively, with opinions and facts, and not be afraid to voice out something that this sub isn’t too favourable on. I have asked the mods to remove votes for comments to allow discussion and not get the hive mind to start upvoting/downvoting whenever something is set.
Warning this is going to be a big, meaty, thread entailing a lot of points, some not included because of how long it is – so if you have no patience to read, don’t voice your opinion just because you feel like contributing.
*I was trying to write a basic view in how our democracy works but I realised it was too complicated to add it as an addition to what is going to be a hefty piece already so I compromised. I might make a separate thread for how things work within our democracy but I think it might be too much for a sub dedicated to economic thought and theories.
Also do note my main sources are the parties individual manifestos and the BBC, I choose the BBC over other new sites because I think it takes the most unbiased position it can for all three parties. And in regards to some of the vagueness of policies, it's either because it's vague on purpose as I have found nothing concrete to add onto or they have not yet released information to the public. And yes, I didn't have the time to perfectly align positions that are similar or different in a side by side comparison, I will fix this in the coming days but for now I wanted to make sure everything important was included.
(Let me just say how annoying it is to go through countless pages of just bullshit, nothing but pandering and pointing fingers and rarely highlighting a god damn policy… 80-120 pages of this urghhhh)
Click above to see how much revenue they predict they’ll get from these changes.
Click above to see how muc-oh? They don’t have any of the calculations for the public to see their policy effects? How strange, I wonder why...
Well would you look at that, Lib Dems also put their costs up for all the pledges they made.
Bring the railways back into public ownership as franchises expire
Increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000 by 2020
£100bn package of additional infrastructure investment
Regain control of energy supply networks through the alteration of operator license conditions, and transition to a publicly owned, decentralised energy system
Keep pledge to ensure residents can veto high increases in council tax via a referendum
Boost the economy with a major programme of capital investment
Replace water system with a network of regional publicly-owned water companies
Improve HMRC's capabilities to clamp down on smuggling, including improving policing of borders as UK leaves EU
Eliminate the deficit on day-to-day spending by 2020 to control the national debt, and then borrowing only to invest
Reverse the privatisation of Royal Mail "at the earliest opportunity"
Reduce online VAT fraud
Install hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK
Create at least one publicly-owned energy company in every region of the UK, with public control of the transmission and distribution grids.
Spend more on research and development
Additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy
Income tax rate 45p on earnings of £80,000 and above
Ensure industry and businesses have access to reliable, cheap and clean power
Raise employee national insurance threshold to the income tax threshold, while protecting low earners' ability to accrue pension and benefit entitlements
Income tax rate of 50p to be reintroduced on earnings above £123,000
Deliver road, rail, airports and broadband that businesses need.
Ensure those with the highest incomes and wealth are making a fair contribution
Boost wages of 5.7m people earning less than minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020
Increase the amount levied on firms employing migrant workers
Reverse cuts to corporation tax from 20% to 17%, capital gains tax, marriage allowance
Create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250bn over 10 years in upgrading the economy
Listed companies will have to publish ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay
Raise inheritance tax threshold
Deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022
Maintain pledge to cut corporation tax to 17% by 2020
Action on corporate tax evasion and avoidance
A National Investment Bank as part of a plan to provide £250bn of lending power over the next decade for infrastructure
Reform business rates, with more frequent revaluations
Reforming corporation tax to develop a system that benefits the smallest
Scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.
Simplify the tax system
Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank
Corporation tax to increase: (21% 2018-2019)(24% 2019-2020)(26% 2020-2021)
Regulate more efficiently, saving £9bn through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule
Create a new 'start-up allowance' for new businesses
Corporation tax for profits below £300,000: (20% 2018-2019)(21% 2019-2021) *For some reason someone didn’t check their numbers and apparently 2019-2020 is unknown – which I assume it means that it applies to the second increase rate.
Legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms
Review business rates
An end to zero-hours contracts to guarantee workers a "number of hours each week"
Update the rules that govern mergers and takeovers
Protect the science budget, including the recent £2bn increase, by raising it at least in line with inflation
‘Balancing the Books’
Ensure foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services
Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts
Meet the OECD target of 3% of GDP spent on R&D by 2030
Legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders
Encourage employers to promote employee ownership
Separation of investment and retail banking
Consider a ban on companies which cold call people to encourage them to make false personal injury claims
Champion the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine initiatives
Breaking up RBS and create local public banks.
Reduce insurance costs by "cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent" whiplash claims.
40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies.
Introduce an Excessive Pay Levy on companies with staff on very high pay *The Excessive Pay Levy is a payroll tax, it basically charges employers for paying exceptionally high rates to individuals.
Switching from RPI to CPI indexation
Develop a version similar to the Australian system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late-payers for the private and public sectors.
Introduce four extra public holidays each year to mark national patron saints' days
Increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020
Encourage the creation and widespread adoption of a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships and using name-blind recruitment to make it easier for customers and investors to exercise choice and influence.
Maximum pay ratios of 20:1 to be rolled out in public sector
Ensure people working in the 'gig' economy are properly protected
Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors. We will pay this Living Wage in all central government departments and their agencies, and encourage other public sector employers to do likewise.
Ban unpaid internships
Change the law to ensure listed companies nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director
Extend transparency requirements on larger employers to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay.
"Clamp down on bogus self-employment" and extend rights of employees to all workers - including shared parental pay
Introduce a right for employees to request information relating to the future direction of the company.
Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig’ economy, looking to build on the forthcoming Taylor Report
Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces
Strengthen enforcement of employment rights, including by bringing together relevant enforcement agencies and scrapping employment tribunal fees.
End the public sector pay cap
Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees, and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board. We will change company law to permit a German-style two-tier board structure to include employees.
Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining, whereby industries can negotiate agreement as a whole
Reform fiduciary duty and company purpose rules to ensure that other considerations, such as employee welfare, environmental standards, community benefit and ethical practice can be fully included in decisions made by directors and fund managers.
Enforce all workers' rights to trade union representation at work
Reduce the reporting requirement for disclosure of shareholdings to 1% in order to increase transparency over who owns stakes in the biggest companies.
Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions
Require binding and public votes of board members on executive pay policies.
Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent
Shifting the burden of proof, so the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise.
Cuts to bereavement support payment will be scrapped, as will the bedroom tax and the "punitive sanctions regime"
Scrapping the triple-lock on the state pension after 2020, replacing it with a "double lock", rising with earnings or inflation - but no longer 2.5%
Maintain the 'triple lock' of increasing the state pension each year.
Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s
Means test winter fuel payments to pensioners
Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%).
Guarantee state pension triple lock, as well as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes
Tighten the rules against pension abuse and increase punishment for those caught mismanaging pension schemes
We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners
"Rejects" proposal to increase state pension age further
Give the pensions regulator powers to issue punitive fines for those found to have wilfully left a pension scheme under-resourced and if necessary, powers similar to those held by the Insolvency Service to disqualify relevant company directors
Introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to be simpler and fairer and would be set more generously than the current 20% basic rate relief
A commitment to "protect the pensions of UK citizens living overseas in the EU or further afield".
Consider new criminal offence for company directors who put at risk the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations.
30 hours free childcare to be extended to two-year-olds and "some" to one-year-olds
Introduce a "breathing space" scheme to help those in serious debt be protected from further interest, charges and enforcement action for up to six weeks.
Extend free childcare to all two-year-olds and to the children of working families from the end of paid parental leave
An end to the so-called "rape clause" - part of the policy of restricting child tax credits to the first two children in a family. It means mothers who have a third child as a result of rape can be exempted, but would have to provide evidence in order to do so
An additional month's paid paternity leave
A review into reforming council tax and business rates, in favour of options such as a land value tax
Introduce a new Young Person's Bus Discount Card for 16-21 year olds, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel
A national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their large-scale demise, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider future sustainability.
30 hours' free childcare a week for all parents in England with children aged from two to four years
Take 13,000 children out of poverty by letting both parents earn before their Universal Credit is cut
Reverse cuts to work allowances in universal credit and housing benefit for 18-21 year olds - increase jobseeker's allowance and universal credit for 18-24
Uprate working-age benefits at least in line with inflation
Abandon the two-child policy on family benefits and abolish the 'rape clause'
Reverse cuts to employment support allowance to those in the work-related activity group
Increase local housing allowance (LHA) in line with average rents in an area
Scrap the 'bedroom tax' and the work capability assessment
Ensure that 60% of the UK's energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030
UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses
Ensure that four million properties receive insulation retrofits by 2022, prioritising fuel-poor households
A ban on fracking
Establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills
Prevent 40,000 deaths a year with Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution
Nuclear power "will continue to be part of the UK energy supply"
Smart meters offered to every household and business by the end of 2020
Ensure British farming remains competitive
Introduce an immediate emergency energy price cap to ensure the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year
Make it easier to switch energy providers and introduce a "safeguard tariff cap"
A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025
Maintaining access to the EU's internal energy market and retaining access to nuclear research programme Euratom will be a priority in Brexit negotiations.
Independent review into the cost of energy to ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and meeting 2050 carbon reduction objective
Extend ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities
Against more large-scale onshore wind power for England, but maintain position as a global leader in offshore wind and development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they directly benefit local communities
Run all private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years
Develop the shale industry in Britain
Pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050
Non-fracking drilling treated as permitted development
Aim to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030
Set up a new shale environmental regulator
Support investment in energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, and tidal power
Change proposed shale wealth fund so greater percentage of tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites.
Establish a £2bn flood-prevention fund
Increase the amount of accessible green space
Suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture does not harm bees or other pollinators
Increase maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years, and a ban on caged hens
Clamp down on illegal pet imports
Reform agricultural subsidies
Pass a Zero-Waste Act
£2bn to ensure the provision of high-speed broadband across the rural UK
£2bn Rural Services Fund to co-locate council offices, post offices, children's centres, libraries and visiting healthcare professionals.
Prologue | Next ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ACT I: A TRAITOR AND A TRESPASSER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A human picked up a name tag and pinned it to his jacket. It was inscribed with the words, “Hi! My name is: CAIN!” accompanied by a picture of his face. The man in question had a brown buzzcut befitting of someone in the military and a pair of grey-blue eyes. Then he patted down his dark blue uniform, typically worn by the building's security staff, and adjusted a black vest on his chest. From there, he made a mental checklist. Flashlight? Check. Stun baton? Check. Existential dread? Check. He contemplated whether or not he should visit the local stores on his lunch break to buy an impractical weapon befitting of a mall ninja. Afterward, his mind dwelled on his decisions up until this point in his life. Being in the military for eight years left him with almost no practical skills for the civilian world and in a day and age where overpopulation, automation, and cybernetics rendered most manual labor obsolete or impractical, he was only qualified to work as a sentry. In other words, a glorified security guard. Suddenly, a feminine voice chirped from an earpiece that acted as his translation device. “Excuse me, Cain?” He was lost in his thoughts and paid it no mind. “Cain… Cain Horvat… is that right?” Reluctantly, he looked to his side and found an alien creature called a Gasheran. She looked like a hybrid between a swan and a peacock, with shimmering scarlet feathers that were an evolutionary result of her kind's bioluminescent homeworld. Overall, her avian form was pleasant to look at. “Oh, sorry about that,” he said in a low tone of voice, “I'm used to people referring to me by my last name since they usually did that in the peacekeepers. It's a bit weird now that people are calling me Cain again.” “I can call you Horvat if you'd like.” she chirped. “No thanks. Cain will do just fine.” The plumage of her feathers shifted to express happiness. “Alright! I just have to say, we're absolutely thrilled to have a human on the team! Especially a veteran. But before we get started, I need to give you a few things and ask some questions.” In response, he nodded. Shortly afterward, she handed him a unique pin to add to his vest. He plucked it from the talons of her hand-feet and took a closer look. It said: PROUD VETERAN! That was his reward from the Interstellar Federation for putting his life on the line during his prime. Part of him wondered if he should have served the full sixteen-year equivalents to qualify for full benefits. He thought something along the lines of, At least this is better than being unemployed… “Okay, now I just need to know your preferred gender pronouns!” “My what?” She cocked her head to the side. “Like… what do you identify as? I know it's different with each species based on whether they're patriarchal, matriarchal, or have nonbinary genders. So, forgive me for assuming your gender, but if I had to take a guess, you would identify as a male, correct?” Cain immediately understood what was going on and did his best to conceal a smirk as he pretended to be angry. “Uh, no,” he snarled, “I'll have you know that I identify as an attack helicopter.” The Gasheran's feathers quivered and she looked horrified as her eyes went wide. “My apologies, I didn't mean to offend you!” He crossed his arms and stayed silent for several seconds. “If you say so. I'll forgive you, but just this once. This caused her to look at the ground in shame. “That's what I get for making assumptions. I do my best to use gender-neutral language to avoid these kinds of situations, but I know that I'm far from perfect.” One of her hand-feet went to work at writing on a second tag as she continued chirping. “Forgive me for my ignorance, but what is an attack helicopter? I'd rather not make this kind of blunder again.” With a sneer, Cain tilted his head upwards. Overall, he towered over the four-foot alien, thanks to the fact that he stood a little over six feet tall. “It's an ancient piece of human technology that we used to rain down hellfire on our enemies. Kind of like a dragon. You know what a dragon is, right?” “Yes, I do, and I think I understand.” she replied. With that, she handed him a tag that indicated that he was an attack helicopter. “Sorry about that, Cain. I'm not familiar with this attack helicopter gender… although, I have met a few humans that identified as dragons… and not just as a gender. I think you would like them!” “Right.” he muttered. “However, keep in mind that my gender is what I call heli-fluid and it can change at any moment, like when there’s a line to the bathroom. My gender will then be whichever line is the shortest. Or whatever happens to be the most convenient at the moment.” Unfazed, she resumed speaking. “Good to know! Now I just need to give you a tour of the store. After that, I'll update your federal record since some of the information you just told me wasn't on there.” She gestured at him to follow with one of her wings. Soon enough, they left a backroom and entered the sales floor of the Earth Import Emporium. It was a massive store devoted to selling goods and materials sourced from the Sol system. For example, Earth alone provided the Interstellar Federation with exotic goods such as silk, coffee, tea, cannabis, and other popular items that were almost exclusively cultivated on humanity’s homeworld. Then these goods ended up on a shelf that Cain found himself staring at. It was a substance that the galaxy couldn't get enough of. Coffee. There were countless brands adorning the shelf with information that the aliens found important. This could be nutritional facts, the moon cycle that it was grown under, and even what drinking a particular type of coffee said about your personality. Furthermore, a chart indicated which part of Earth it was sourced from, most of which came from Latin America. Central and South America, in particular, were popular places for interstellar corporations to set up shop at. This allowed them to produce vast quantities of coffee, chocolate, and even bananas, but regardless of how much land and rainforests that they cleared for the sake of making more, it never seemed to be enough to sate the federation's appetite. Therefore, these were luxury goods. Expensive ones at that. When that wasn't enough, all of mankind's culture and history were turned into yet more products to be mindlessly consumed. This became apparent when Cain looked at an area with cowboy hats, flintlock pistol replicas, and katanas amongst many other things. An alien Menaki man was present there, wearing a fedora presumably taken from a nearby section, admiring a katana replica. The way the man mimicked a human smile made him look euphoric at that particular moment. “And this is our human literature section.” chirped the Gasheran. She gestured at an area filled to the brim with books, both in high priced paper form and the far more frugal digital format that could be redeemed with a code. “You were listening to what I said earlier, right? If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you just zoned out on me.” “No, I was listening,” claimed Cain, “It’s just a lot to take in is all.” She led him through the human literature section. It was divided by genre, but most bizarrely the science fiction section was the largest. Science fiction produced by humans had a tendency to fall into one of two categories: Pre-First Contact and Post-First Contact. All science fiction written on Earth before it was absorbed into the federation in nineteen sixty-three fell under the former: Pre-First Contact. Generally, it had a reputation for being something for aliens to point and laugh at, due to the author’s bizarre ideas on what the future would look like. The only exceptions were from writers such as a human named Heinlein, who had prophetic views on how power armor would be utilized in the future, enough so that conspiracy theorists believe that he somehow communicated with aliens a few years before first contact. In modern times, it had a reputation for being the science fiction equivalent of the steampunk genre, with a heavy emphasis on the aesthetics of the sixties that some writers liked to dabble in. Usually, these sorts of stories explored alternative paths of technological development or what humanity might have looked like had it not become a part of the Interstellar Federation. As for the latter, Post-First Contact, it explored how wonderful or dystopian the future would be thanks to extremely advanced technology. A more common theme amongst it was a concept called the singularity and what that would entail. The Gasheran couldn’t help but notice that Cain was staring at all of these various stories as she spoke. “You must really like books.” These words snapped Cain out of his own little world. “Not really,” he replied, “I don’t have the patience for that kind of crap. I’m more of a show or movie kind of guy. Personally, I don’t understand how people still entertain themselves with literature when things like virtual reality exist.” She used her wings to shrug. “Well, you know what your kind says. Different strokes for different folks.” Cain replied with a “Hmph.” as they ventured towards the entrance. This was where countless advertisements in many different forms did their best to attract potential customers. Some were simple signs, others were electronic panels playing what amounted to infomercials, and the rest were interactive holograms. One of which appeared to be a human woman that smiled and waved at him. After this, he felt something in his pocket vibrating and quickly realized that the hologram synced to his smart device. “It’s so nice to see another human around here!” said the hologram with a smirk. “You’re very far away from home. I bet you must miss it while you’re out here all by your lonesome." “I do.” he said as he looked to the side. Meanwhile, the Gasheran walked off and kept talking to nobody in particular, now that Cain wasn’t following her. “Well, I have the perfect remedy for that problem!” She pointed at a nearby display showcasing what looked like gold plated oxygen tanks. “Would you like to know about Terra-Firm-Air?” “No.” “It's pure and crisp premium air sourced from the alpine mountaintops of Earth. The perfect way to remind yourself of home! It has an optimal combination of chemicals such as nitrogen, oxygen, and argon complimented by water vapor for the best breathing experience.” Like water, air too was a commercialized product, with many different brands. “Would you like to try a free sample?” She gestured at the display and an accompanying drone preparing what looked like an oxygen mask. He dismissively waved at the hologram. “I’ll pass on that.” “Come on Cain, it wouldn’t hurt to try it.” Since he was starting to feel a bit weirded out, he walked off in the direction that he last saw the Gasheran. “Please?” Ignoring this, he left the hologram behind and entered a nearby area where liquor decorated every empty space on the shelves. He made a mental note to return here later. More importantly, she found the alien still talking to herself like a schizophrenic. “...Then, of course, you need to be on the lookout for thieves. They love stealing expensive alcohol and Cuban style cigars.” She turned around and faced Cain right when he started standing behind her. “Do you have any questions?” “Yea, just one. Why exactly does a place like this need security guards?” The Gasheran visibly hesitated and started chirping very quietly and the translator made it sound like a human woman whispering in his ear. “Some of our outlets have been attacked by the SOS. They claim that businesses like us, and I quote, exploit humanity’s planet and its people.” In response, Cain nodded. “I see.” Cain turned to face the collection of poison standing before him. One particular bottle caught his full attention. Scotch. It was aged for twelve years in the highlands of Scotland before being imported all the way across the galaxy. It was degeneracy, decadence, and death in its finest and most exotic form. At least, of the legal variety. A hefty energy credit price decorated the area below the bottle and Cain reached to grab it for the sake of looking at the black label. In the process, he accidentally knocked over a bottle of vodka. It shattered into a million glass shards as it hit the ground, scaring the hell out of the Gasheran, who recoiled with her feathers fluttering in all directions. Then she looked at him and back at the mess that he created. Without skipping a beat, he came up with the perfect excuse. “I found it like this.” ~~~~~ Cain’s first day of work wasn’t particularly eventful. For the most part, he stood around doing nothing but spying on people and at best he escorted people out of the emporium as they called him every name in the book. On the bright side, the experience expanded his vocabulary. After nearly seven hours, he used a retinal scanning device to clock out and walked out of the emporium with his newly purchased bottle of scotch. This gave him a perfect view of the surrounding city as a white sun set on an alien skyline. More specifically, it was a place dubbed Bedlam. Originally, it was a planet that could be best described as Earth when it first started evolving complex life forms, such as plant life. The lack of any sentient or dangerous creatures and an abundance of resources made it the perfect target for eventual terraforming and colonization by the federation. Thanks to these efforts, all four species could co-exist here relatively safely, albeit it could be a bit uncomfortable. Something about the air was off and the lower gravity than usual made Cain feel lightheaded for the first week or so, but now he was used to it. Things like countless distant ships constantly entering and exiting the atmosphere alongside endless vehicles hovering above him were nothing more than mundane sights at best. Additionally, as nightfall started to sweep over the planet, neon signs sprung to life and various lights automatically turned on. Meanwhile, the emporium behind him bustled with commerce. He walked past a multitude of alien creatures simultaneously entering and exiting the store while vehicles arrived at a different segment to pick up their goods as if it was some kind of drive-through. Then there were drones and heavy transports that could be briefly spotted near the very back transporting merchandise directly to people’s homes or restocking the store itself. It was just another day in the urban jungle of a massive metropolis. And like the end of most days of work, people like Cain pulled out smart devices to call for an automated taxi. A simple application allowed the closest self-driving hover-car to hone in on his location, due to the smart device’s tracking and navigation systems, and one vehicle eventually landed next to him. Kind of like the magical box you’re currently using to read this, Cain had no idea how all of this advanced technology really worked. It just did. All he knew how to do came in the form of using and occasionally maintaining it. As he stepped inside the automated taxi, he told the artificial intelligence the address to his apartment. It promptly synced to his smart device, Cain tapped a notification allowing it access to his energy credit account, and it promptly took a small fee as it started to bring him to his new home. To pass the time, he placed a pair of wireless earbuds into his ears and started playing music. Rain started pattering on the glass windows surrounding him, putting him in a state of bliss. As usual, it always seemed to be raining on this planet. Before he knew it, he was stepping outside of the vehicle and into the entrance of an apartment complex. The sight of it sent memories surging into his mind. When he first arrived and needed a place to live, he expressed interest in renting an apartment from the owners of the complex. So, they scheduled an interview. They had to verify that he wasn’t a criminal, a terrorist, or a drug addict amongst many other undesirable things. It was an unpleasant and artificial experience where he mostly smiled and nodded as the Menaki Stepford Smilers that happened to own the place asked him bizarre questions. Constantly bringing up the fact that he was an ex-peacekeeper and that he had plenty of energy credits saved up seemed to win them over and they gave him the code to one of the apartments after shaking his hand. Once he reached his new home, he punched in the aforementioned code. 1-9-6-2 With a mechanical click, the door swung open and he stepped inside. The interior could be best described as a poorly maintained shithole. For the first week or two, he simply lived off his savings as he struggled to search for a job, before settling on his current one. He spent a good chunk of his money on furnishing the place and there was still empty boxes and various other garbage scattered around the apartment from when he assembled some furniture by himself. There was also the dirty clothes carelessly lying on the ground and empty pizza boxes sitting on a coffee table. Cain assured himself he would get around to cleaning it eventually. Maybe tomorrow. Nonetheless, he set his bottle of scotch on a kitchen counter before walking to his bedroom. From there, he took off his work clothes. This rendered the man shirtless as he sifted through some drawers and a nearby closet to find a more comfortable outfit. Overall, being in the armed forces meant that Cain was in very good physical shape. He had broad shoulders, lean muscles, and the occasional scar decorating his skin earned on the line of fire... or from doing stupid things from when he was young and dumb. In some ways, he still was. His bare body was eventually covered up by a white T-shirt and some dark blue jeans, the few garments of clothing that seemed to never go out of style. Out of nowhere, an electronic monitor in his room turned on, revealing the face of a human woman. Cain flinched and almost thrust his fist through the panel upon being disturbed. “Greetings! I’m your smart home assistant, brought to you by Creature Comforts! I’m equipped with a variety of tools to integrate with your home and I can help you live a higher quality of life!" After taking several seconds to recompose himself, Cain spoke. “Why the hell are you popping up now instead of, you know… two weeks ago?” “Good question. It appears as though you accidentally deactivated me, but fortunately, it was only temporary. My name is Morgan, and yours is…” She paused to sync to his smart device. “Cain Horvat. And… that’s odd. Usually, your federal record lets me know if I should refer to you as sir, madame, or a gender-neutral title, but instead it’s telling me to call you Attack Helicopter Horvat rather than something like Mr. Horvat. Would you mind if I just shortened it to AH Horvat?” “For efficiency's sake, you should just call me AHH… but Cain would work too.” The hologram smiled. “Alright, AHHHHH… wait, where are you going?” This question answered itself as Cain stepped back into the living room. He grabbed his new bottle of scotch and snapped off the metallic cap with a simple twist. While he started bringing the liquor to his lips, another electronic panel in the living room turned itself on and Morgan’s face appeared on it with a look of disdain. He disregarded this as liquid fire flowed across his taste buds and burned its way down his throat. Overall, it wasn’t bad straight, but it had the aftertaste of rancid piss. At the risk of upsetting middle-aged men, he thought it was bit overrated, not to mention overpriced. Next time he would stick to dirt cheap booze. The hologram rolled her eyes at this sight. “Okay… where were we? Oh, right, I suddenly remember now. Since my memory is literally perfect. I was going to ask you if you wanted me to enable smart features of your appliances and all the other things in your home.” “No.” said Cain as he took another swig of scotch. “...And why is that?” “I’m a man that really cares about his privacy. Once the owners told me that my toilet was going to keep track of my shit and would scan it to let me know if I’m sick or had a healthy diet or whatever, I disabled all of it.” “That explains a lot.” She looked side to side, taking in the chaos that was his apartment. “I can disable certain features if you have no interest in them.” “What, you mean like you?” This question caused the artificial intelligence to look at him with a combination of fear, dread, and shock. “I mean… if that’s what you really want.” “It is. It was nice meeting you. Now go away.” The hologram looked at him with puppy dog eyes. “Are you sure? There are some things that I think I could really help you with! Like the state of your dwelling, for example. Or helping you keep track of your plans.” Cain held up the bottle and made his best Scottish accent. “Kill jester.” “But I…” “Kill jester.” After her face scrunched up in confusion, she sighed and the electronic panel turned off. This left Cain staring into the black mirror of the electronic device as if he was gazing into the abyss. Even if it wasn’t a real person, he felt a bit guilty about his treatment of the AI. “Fine, you can stay. I got a few things you might be able to assist me with.” The electronic panel flashed back to life and the AI avatar appeared to be giddy with glee. “I’m at your service!” she exclaimed. “Do me a favor and find the nearest nightclub. I’d rather not sit here and drink by myself. Again.” Upon uttering these words, Morgan disappeared as the map of the surrounding urban environment enveloped the electronic screen. Overall, it looked like a virtual diorama of a city, complete with models of spaceships near the atmosphere and streams of holographic hover-cars floating in the air. One of the buildings was highlighted green. “The nearest nightclub in your location, complete with a bar, is a place called Purgatory. Would like directions on how to get there?” He sneered. “Directions are just another man’s opinion.” “But I’m a woman.” “Oh really? Morgan, please change your physical appearance to resemble a human male.” As he instructed, the avatar morphed and shifted in a mildly disturbing fashion until Cain found himself staring at a human man with brown hair and eyes. In the meantime, he strolled to a liquor cabinet and added the scotch to his growing collection. “This doesn’t prove anything,” said Morgan with a masculine voice, “I’m technically just an artificial intelligence, so I don’t actually have a gender. I'm more of an it, really.” “Then go with whatever fits your personality.” he retorted. The assistant shifted back to her original form while Cain grabbed a synthetic black leather jacket lazily sprawled across the armrest of a chair. Then he snatched a nearby pair of similarly black gloves and a matching motorcycle helmet. He almost looked like a greaser, up until he used both hands to place the helmet on the top of his head, encapsulating it. A white fur collar around his neck acted as padding or insulation, covering almost all of his exposed flesh. “While I’m gone, could you do something about the state of my apartment?” She clasped her hands together and smiled. “In order to do that, I’d need access to cleaning drones.” “Then order them. I got plenty of money at the moment.” He started walking towards the front door. “Try not to have too much fun while I’m gone.” Afterward, the door slammed, leaving the AI alone. “He’s only human, I suppose.” she said with a huff. To conserve electricity, Morgan turned off all of the lights in the apartment alongside all of the other non-essential devices, such as the electronic panel her avatar appeared on. This left everything shrouded in darkness. ~~~~~ Prologue | Next
Reddit Gifts Board Game Exchange - Advice, Guidance, General FAQ thread
Reddit Gifts Board Game Exchange This thread is for people who have joined the reddit gifts board game exchange. If you're new to the hobby, hopefully this will be helpful. Whether you're here to just get some general suggestions, or you've got a particularly tricky recipient, we will do our best to help! Please read the below introductory information. If you still have questions, please ask! /boardgames : Please feel free to add your own suggestions/advice/information below if there's anything I've missed, and try to help out with any questions that get posted!
Glossary of terms
Your recipient might have used some terms common to the hobby. Definitions can probably be found using these links, but just ask below if you're still not certain.
Most people will already have played or owned the classic games, so modern versions might be something they haven't played before.
There are many modern games that are very similar to the well-known classics but which are more highly regarded or loved for their novel or innovative take on a classic game. For example, the deck-building game Paperback is a card game version of Scrabble that is easily learnt and playable by a wide age group.
Kids can be tricky. What will suit one 10-year-old might not suit another 10-year-old, so you can't always group them into one basket. It depends a lot on their ability and preferences, so if you've got a recipient who is asking for kid's games, it might be worth finding out more about the kids in question.
Board game themed gifts (that are not board games!)
If your recipient already has loads of games and you are really at a loss, or if your recipient has asked for a 'surprise,' you can consider getting them a board game related gift that is not actually a board game.
For example, card sleeves to protect cards, a fancy dice tower, a set of nice dice, etc.
Here are some suggestions and websites where you can buy them:
Place(s) to buy
custom dice, etc, for certain board games, or multi sided dice for RPGs
A gateway game is term for a game that has relatively simple rules and which is easy to teach. These games are ideal for people who have not played many games before, or who have only played classic games such as Monopoly.
Generally, they incorporate only one main mechanic and theme.
See the 'Games for Beginners' in the below table for some ideas.
mechanics / theme / playstyle
A 'mechanic' refers to how the game is played. A game may have more than one mechanic but this table references the main mechanic of the game. Your recipient may have requested a game with a specific mechanic or theme, or mentioned one that they dislike.
Games suitable for people with little to no experience of modern games. Simple and straightforward introductory games.
Games suitable for people who have played some gateway games, such as Settlers of Catan, but who are now looking to try out new things or increased complexity. May incorporate more mechanics.
Games suitable for people who have tried lots of different games already and are now wanting something really meaty to sink their teeth into.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Eight-Minute Empire, Lords of Vegas, Small World
Kemet, Chaos in the Old World, 5 Tribes
Diplomacy, Twilight Imperium
Biblios, For Sale
Manila, Wits & Wagers
The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game
Cockroach Poker, Liar's Dice
Skull, Spyfall, Sheriff of Nottingham
Nations: The Dice Game, Historia
Nations, Through The Ages, Clash of Cultures, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Pandemic: The Cure, Forbidden Desert, Hanabi
Pandemic, Eldritch Horror, Sentinels of the Multiverse
World Cup 2014 Team Preview [22/32] Group F: Nigeria
TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE WORLD CUP STARTS!!
So, the greatest show on earth is almost upon us. Welcome to my countdown to the world cup! I’ll be previewing a new team every day leading up to the big kick-off with a couple of polls along the way too!
Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean.
Nigeria is currently ranked 36th in the FIFA World Rankings. After playing other colonies in unofficial games since the 1930s, Nigeria played its first official game in October 1949, while still a British colony. The team played warm up games in England against various amateur teams like Dulwich Hamlet, Bishop Auckland and South Liverpool. The team's first major success was a gold medal in the 2nd All-Africa games, with 3rd place finishes in the 1976 and 1978 African Cup of Nations to follow. In 1980 the team had such players as Leyton Orient'sJohn Chiedozie and Tunji Banjo, and the Muda Lawal / Christian Chukwu-led Super Eagles won the Cup for the first time in Lagos. In 1984 and 1988, Nigeria reached the Cup of Nations final, losing both times to Cameroon. Three of the four African titles won by Cameroon have been won by defeating Nigeria. Missing out to Cameroon on many occasions has created an intense rivalry between both nations. Two notable occasions; narrowly losing out on qualification for the 1990 World Cup and then the controversial final of the 2000 African Cup of Nations where a goal scored by Victor Ikpeba during a penalty shoot out was disallowed by the referee.
How they qualified
Second Round - Group F
Third Round Play-Off
Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 June 2014, 16:00 | Iran - Nigeria | Arena da Baixada, Curitiba 21 June 2014, 19:00 | Nigeria - Bosnia and Herzegovina | Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá 25 June 2014, 13:00 | Nigeria - Argentina | Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
The manager Stephen Keshi
Nigeria is Keshi’s third managing role having previous managed Togo and Mali before taking the reign for his home nation. He has been a huge success with Nigeria though, being named African Coach of the Year in 2013 after winning the African Cup of Nations. Keshi has been hailed for bringing unity and harmony to this Nigerian side after many years of turbulence. Highly respected by the players, expect this African team to perform better than they ever have before at a World Cup finals.
Nigeria PROVISIONAL 30-MAN SQUAD
Hapoel Be'er Sheva (Israel)
Gombe United (Nigeria)
Warri Wolves (Nigeria)
Norwich City (England)
Çaykur Rizespor (Turkey)
Warri Wolves (Nigeria)
Sunshine Stars (Nigeria)
John Obi Mikel
Enugu Rangers (Nigeria)
CA Bastia (France)
Real Betis (Spain)
Volyn Lutsk (Ukraine)
CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Stoke City (England)
Newcastle United (England)
Cercle Brugge (Belgium)
Star Player John Obi Mikel
Position: Central Midfielder
Team: Chelsea FC
Why? The poster boy for Nigeria. Mikel plays a much more attacking role for his country than he does for his club. With Chelsea gaining the addition of Nemanja Matic, Mikel has found his chances hard to come by. He will love the chance to go and lead his country in Brazil though. A fighter at heart, Mikel has clubs sniffing around him this summer and will be one of many of this Nigerian team using this tournament as a shop window.
One to Watch Vincent Enyeama
Why? Enyeama had a phenomenal season with Lille in Ligue 1, coming within 115 minutes of breaking Gaëtan Huard's record of 1,176 minutes without conceding a goal. Unfortunately, Enyeama was eventually beaten by a deflected strike. Still though, in a group where perhaps Nigeria are underdogs, they are blessed to have such a talented man between the sticks who the team can trust.
Wildcard Victor Moses
Why? Having had a somewhat invisible loan season with Liverpool, Victor Moses will be looking to put himself in the shop window in Brazil. Looking to be complete out of favour at Chelsea, just like Mikel, the winger is widely expected to move clubs this summer. With a disappointing season under his belt though, how much will that affect him when he is thrown into a much more important role for Nigeria?
Possible Nigeria XI
Moses Emenike Musa Mikel Onazi Mba Elderson Oboabona Egwuekwe Ambrose Enyeama
President Goodluck Jonathan declared in July 2010 a 2 year ban on the team from all international competitions, after Nigeria’s poor performance in the 2010 World Cup. Ban declared by the president was dropped few days later after the declaration, since FIFA threatened to expel Nigeria from world football
Encountered Argentina in the 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup, and both will meet again in the 2014 World Cup
In 2004 Enyeama was involved in a car accident in Uyo, south eastern Nigeria, in which two motorcycle passengers were killed, and the driver of the car which Enyeama was in was left in a critical condition. Despite the severity of the accident Enyeama only came out with bruises as the car somersaulted twice as it swerved to avoid a motorbike.
We are entering the World Cup as African Champions. Despite not having a star studded team, expectations are higher than ever largely due to the massive turnarounds in our fortunes since the appointment of our current manager, Stephen Keshi. We have been written off by the international press due to our position in official FIFA rankings. We aren’t ranked highly because we played friendlies with mostly other African nations all through the qualifying stages of the world cup. This was done to keep the team acquainted with African football so we don’t slip up unexpectedly in qualifying. Along the streets, you can sense the World Cup is near. Kits, fags and other world cup merchandizing have gone on sale. The bookies have been taking bets. Most adverts on TV, radio and billboards have a World Cup theme, popular musicians have dropped football themed songs in hopes that they catch on and become this year’s unofficial world cup anthem. After the disappointing performance in South Africa four years ago, our president disbanded the team. The move was met with high public praise but it had to reversed when FIFA threatened a 10 year ban for government interference. The Nigerian squad is partly funded by the public hence reactions when the team fails are very strong. There have been calls from some political groups to cut funding to the Super Eagles and channel the money to more >deserving projects. If the team performs miserably in Brazil, these groups might see their wish come to pass. As for tactics, we would utilize the same system we’ve used all through qualifying – contain the opposition attack and hit back on the counter. Our front three of Emenike, Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses have enough pace to carry the attack but with the return of Odemwingie to the squad, Ahmed Musa might be relegated to the bench. Shola Ameobi has been brought in to add another dimension to the attack with his aerial presence. At minimum, we’re expecting to exit the group stage but the target is a semifinal appearance.
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes does not believe his former club have the quality to challenge Manchester City or Liverpool in the Premier League this season. "When you look at Manchester City, possibly Liverpool, I don't think they [United] have the quality of those two teams at the minute. Liverpool have made some really good signings. United finished above them last season," said Scholes, speaking in Hong Kong. "I just don't see United getting closer to City. City are a really good side, great manager, some great players, a way of playing that they all know about and Manchester United seem to be not too sure what's going on. "You don't really know the team, you don't really know the players, you don't know how they're going to perform from one week to the next. So I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see them challenging for the league this year." 17:23
WATCH: TRANSFER CENTRE
The Transfer Centre rounds up of all the latest summer transfer stories from Sky Sports News. 17:13
Hartlepool goalkeeper Ryan Catterick has joined Guisborough Town on a short-term loan deal. 17:13
New Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn says working with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City played a big part in his development. 17:07
Here’s the latest from Sky Sports News’ Richard Graves… “It’s certainly never dull is it around Newcastle United, especially in the transfer window. You feel they are probably still in the market for another striker, despite bringing in Salomon Rondon on a season-long loan. They also need to strengthen in defence. Federico Fernandez, the Swansea City defender is certainly one name that has been linked with Newcastle. In terms of attacking options Liverpool striker Danny Ings is another name.” 17:03
GERRARD THE TRANSLATOR
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard entertained journalists in his news conference by acting as translator for new signing Nikola Katic. 16:57
SSN reporter Roger Clarke gives us an update from Tottenham's training ground in Enfield: "It will be interesting to see what Spurs do next, with Villa seemingly digging their heels in. They are saying Jack Grealish is not for sale. "So do Spurs go back in with an improved offer and hope they can force Villa's hand going into TDD? Or do they look elsewhere? "But Grealish seems to be the one they really seem focussed on and have been all summer..." 16:50
'THIS SEASON IS ABOUT WINNING'
Alexis Sanchez says he has put last season behind him and it is all about winning things with Manchester United this term. 16:48
HIBS WON'T BE DISTRACTED BY MCGINN TRANSFER TALK
Efe Ambrose is confident Hibernian can brush off the loss of Scotland midfielder John McGinn and produce another memorable European performance against Molde. McGinn was absent from training on Tuesday and Wednesday after going down to Birmingham for talks as Aston Villa battle Celtic for his signature. "I don't think it's going to affect us," the former Celtic defender said. "We are a team, not an individual. We know it's been coming so we will just focus on the game, that's the most important thing for Hibs. "We know if John is here he is a plus for the team, he is a good player. So we are without John but we are still here and we still have the quality of player to do well. "So we focus on the game and leave John to deal with everything that is going on around him. "We wish him well but in football players come and go so we are not going to be distracted by his transfer." 16:40
HIBS IN HYNDMAN LOAN TALKS
Hibernian are in talks with Bournemouth over the loan move for Emerson Hyndman, according to Sky sources. The American has previously played in Scotland while on loan at Rangers in 2017. Hibs want to get the deal done before the UEFA Deadline tonight so he can play in the Europa League qualifier against Molde at Easter Road tomorrow. 16:35
Here’s an update from Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor at Everton's Finch Farm training ground: “It’s good news for Evertonians at the moment. This deal is close, very close. Bernard flew into Manchester airport earlier this afternoon. "Not only was he met there by our camera, but he was also met by Everton’s player liaison officer as well. He made the short trip to Everton’s Finch Farm training ground. He arrived at around 4.15pm and he’s been in there ever since. "He’s going through the formalities of a medical and they also have to go through the process of sorting out a work permit as well. No real problems are anticipated, certainly from the information we are getting at least. The way this is going to pan out it seems is that once this deal is signed and sealed the likelihood is that Everton will announce Bernard tomorrow, well into time of the 5pm deadline." 16:32
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol gives us an update on Manchester United's pursuit of Jerome Boateng and Harry Maguire, among others... 16:08
ALEXIS WANTS 'BIG SIGNINGS' AT UNITED
Alexis Sanchez says Man Utd must sign players of Arturo Vidal's calibre if the club are to compete for trophies this season. "At United we have to sign big players, with experience," Sanchez told Sky Sports. "Barcelona just signed Arturo Vidal, who is a great player and my team-mate from Chile. "He is an example of the type of players we need to sign in order to win trophies and compete at the highest level. "From what I've seen in training, Fred is a player who always wants to get forward, he is always trying to get forward and from a personal point of view I think we'll be able to combine well and it will be good for my game." 15:53
Man Utd are keen to bring Jerome Boateng to Old Trafford – but only on loan, rather than on a permanent basis, SSN understands. Jose Mourinho still has the German international as his No 1 choice recruit – but privately behind the scenes at United there are fears over a permanent contract for a player with a chequered history of injuries. Boateng, 29, suffered muscle and tendon injuries over the past three Bundesliga campaigns, missing 27 games in total since December 2016. With one day left of the summer window, Mourinho is running out of time to find a new central defender. Privately, United believe Harry Maguire is not for sale at Leicester and as things stand, Yerry Mina’s chances coming to Old Trafford looks increasingly slim. Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has made funds available to Jose, but is determined not to pay over the odds in the current market. 15:32
WOLVES CLOSE IN ON DENDONCKER
Wolves are closing in on a deal to sign Belgium international Leander Dendoncker, according to Sky sources. SSN understands the Anderlecht midfielder travelled to England on Wednesday to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical with the Premier League club. Dendoncker has made more than 170 appearances for Anderlecht since his debut for the club in 2013. The 23-year-old has represented Belgium on six occasions and was included in Roberto Martinez's final 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia, in which the Red Devils finished third. 15:22
BERNARD ARRIVES AT FINCH FARM
Brazil midfielder Bernard has arrived at Finch Farm to undergo his medical at Everton. 15:19
Hibernian will be without John McGinn for the Europa League encounter with Molde after Neil Lennon resigned himself to losing the midfielder following bids from Celtic and Aston Villa. 15:03
WATFORD KEEN ON WARD-PROWSE LOAN
Watford are interested in a loan deal for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, according to Sky sources. However, SSN understands the young English midfielder is not available on loan and the Saints will rebuff any such advances for the player. 14:46
TRIO IN TALKS FOR SLIMANI
Sporting Lisbon, Fenerbahce and Besiktas are all in talks to sign Leicester striker Islam Slimani, according to Sky sources. Slimani was Leicester’s record signing when they paid Sporting £28m for him two years ago. The Algerian spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle. 14:42
Jack Grealish is very disappointed and disillusioned that Aston Villa are refusing to sell him to Spurs, according to Sky sources. We understand the midfield player was promised he could leave before Villa’s new owners arrived at the club last month. Grealish has not given up on moving to Spurs and he is still hoping that Villa will let him move. 14:23
ALL QUIET AT HUDDERSFIELD
As we wait for new signings at Huddersfield, the locals enjoy a game of crown green bowls... 14:20
GIROUD TO HOLD CHELSEA TALKS
Olivier Giroud says he is set to hold talks with Chelsea over a new contract. The France World Cup winner joined the Blues from Arsenal in January, but his current deal expires at the end of this season. Giroud attracted interest from Atletico Madrid earlier this summer. "No, I am happy here at Chelsea. I just arrived a few months ago and am just starting to settle well,” Giroud told the Standard. "I still have one year (of my contract) to go with Chelsea, plus maybe another one. I'm going to discuss that with the club at the right time. There is no rush." 14:15
Good news for Everton fans as Brazil international Bernard has arrived at Manchester airport ahead of his expected medical at Finch Farm, which the midfielder is expected to have in the next 48 hours. 14:09
Lyon manager Bruno Genesio admits Nabil Fekir could still leave the club as the summer transfer window comes to a close. 13:45
WHY GREALISH IS IN DEMAND
Why is Tottenham transfer target Jack Grealish worth £25m? We have compared his stats against the average Premier League midfielder to find out.. Read the feature HERE 13:39
DOCHERTY JOINS SHREWS
Rangers confirm midfielder Greg Docherty has joined Shrewsbury Town on a season-long loan deal. Docherty, who joined the Light Blues from Hamilton Accies in January, has made 14 appearances so far in his time at Ibrox. 13:25
CRUYFF NAMED CHONGQING LIFA BOSS
Jordi Cruyff has been named manager of Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan. The former Manchester United player ended a successful six-year spell at Maccabi Tel-Aviv earlier this year, which included stints as sporting director and head coach. The 44-year-old succeeds Paulo Bento, who lost his job with Chongqing Lifan last month. 13:11
BOATENG STILL KEEN?
Sky in Germany are reporting that defender Jerome Boateng turned down a move to Manchester United for football reasons but, we are told he wants to move to United and Jose Mourinho wants to sign him. 13:05
MAGUIRE HOPING FOR MAN UTD MOVE
One source has told us United have already had two bids turned down by Leicester for Harry Maguire. The second bid was worth about £60m. Leicester are in advanced talks to sign two centre backs – Filip Benkovic from Dinamo Zagreb and Caglar Soyuncu from Freiburg – at a combined cost of about £35m. As far as Leicester are concerned, Maguire is not for sale; they signed him for £17m from Hull City last summer and he has four years left on his contract. Leicester are expected to offer him a new deal after his impressive performances for England in the World Cup this summer. 12:59
Sky sources: Leicester defender Harry Maguire is still hoping Manchester United will sign him with just one day to go before the window closes 12:56
AGENT WORLD LIKE 'WILD WEST'
Football agent Jon Smith says FIFA's deregulation of agents has created a 'watery' situation when it comes to player representation. 12:48
CONNOLLY TO JOIN WIGAN
Sky sources: Defender Callum Connolly will join Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan from Everton 12:35
VILLA LEAD RACE FOR McGINN
Aston Villa are in pole position to sign John McGinn despite renewed interest from Celtic, according to Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon. Hibs midfielder McGinn spent Tuesday in talks with Aston Villa but Celtic are believed to have matched the Sky Bet Championship club's offer after having several previous bids rejected. Lennon said: "He went down to Birmingham, I think he is having a medical there. A fee has been agreed. I don't know if personal terms have been agreed yet. "I think Celtic have matched the offer but I think Villa are in the driving position at the minute." 12:24
West Brom have rejected an offer from Watford for Craig Dawson, according to Sky sources. It is understood the offer was an initial loan year-long loan for a fee of £750,000. The offer also included an option to buy Dawson for £2.5m instalments over four years adding up to a potential total of £10m. 12:18
LATEST TRANSFER BULLETIN
Here's your latest Transfer Centre bulletin from Sky Sports News at lunchtime 12:16
SARRI ON KEPA
Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga and Maurizio Sarri has been impressed by what he's seen of the goalkeeper. 12:08
NO POGBA WAGE DEMANDS
Paul Pogba has not made any wage demands to keep him at Manchester United, according to Sky sources. On Tuesday, a newspaper report claimed he had demanded a £200k-a-week wage rise to stay at Old Trafford following interest from Barcelona. However, we have been told that Pogba has made no wage demands. 12:05
HUGILL'S BORO MEDICAL
Sky sources: Jordan Hugill has arrived on Teesside to undergo a medical with Middlesbrough. This will be a season-long loan deal for the striker, who signed for West Ham for £9.5m in January. 12:04
GREALISH 'KEEN TO LEAVE'
This one is slaloming a tad, isn't it? SSN understands that Grealish is disillusioned that his dream move to north London now looks doomed and remains desperate to play for Mauricio Pochettino and to test himself at the highest level for a top four Premier League club. 11:57
Sky sources: Jack Grealish remains keen to move to Spurs and is desperate to test his skills in the Champions League. Grealish, who trained with the Villa squad this morning, was due to complete a £25m move to Spurs until Villa's new owner, Nassef Sawiris intervened. 11:47
Leicester City are closing in on the signings of Caglar Soyuncu and Filip Benkovic, SSN understands. Soyuncu, 22, could cost up to £20m. The Freiburg defender has won 15 international caps for Turkey and Leicester are confident a work permit won’t be a problem. His agent, Mustafa Dogru, has confirmed on Twitter that they are in negotiations with Leicester over a deal, but he’s stressed there is no agreement yet. Croatia U21 international defender Benkovic is in Leicester today discussing personal terms. He is expected to undergo a medical later today. 11:29
Sky sources: Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic to have medical at Chelsea today ahead of a loan move. 11:18
CHELSEA DUO TALK TO FEKIR
Olivier Giroud says he and Eden Hazard have spoken to Nabil Fekir about the possibility of joining Chelsea and would “welcome him” at the club. The 25-year-old Lyon man looked set to join Liverpool from Lyon earlier this summer before negotiations between the clubs ended. "I spoke to him when we were together in the French national team, when his move to Liverpool fell through," Giroud told Foot Mercato. "Then we discussed Chelsea, and I even think that Eden said a couple of words to him. "We would obviously welcome him, he is a super player, but I don't know if this is something that could happen as the window closes on Thursday." 11:11
WHO IS KEPA?
We profile Kepa Arrizabalaga as the Spanish goalkeeper edges closer to a big-money transfer to Chelsea... Read the feature HERE 10:55
GREALISH 'GOING NOWHERE'
Big news coming out of Villa Park. Sky sources: Jack Grealish will not be sold to anyone in this transfer window, despite interest from Tottenham and 'other clubs' this window. Sources are telling us Aston Villa's new executive chairman Nassef Sawiris has told Tottenham and any other potential suitors he is not interested in their money. 10:52
Aston Villa's new owners says Tottenham's £25m bid for Jack Grealish has been rejected outright. 10:44
BORO IN TALKS WITH BOLASIE
Sky sources: Middlesbrough remain in discussions with Yannick Bolasie as they attempt to persuade him to move to The Championship. Everton winger Bolasie has been told he’s surplus to requirements at Goodison Park; Crystal Palace are interested but Boro is a more likely destination. Middlesbrough are discussing both a permanent transfer and/or a loan with a view to a permanent deal. Bolasie is valued around £15m. 10:39
Sky sources: Huddersfield Town defender Jordan Williams undergoing a medical at Barnsley ahead of a permanent move 10:31
BORO WANT HUGILL
Sky sources: Middlesbrough are in talks with West Ham over a loan move for Jordan Hugill. The Middlesbrough-born striker only signed for the Hammers for £9.5m in January. 10:30
Quite a complicated one, this, but let me explain... Athletic Bilbao have announced that Kepa Arrizabalaga has bought himself out of his contract. This is the done thing at Athletic Bilbao; the same happened with Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez and Aymeric Laporte. It essentially means Kepa is now a free agent and will join Chelsea. The Blues will have paid the money to Kepa, his agent or the company who owns him in order to buy himself out of the contract. Make sense? Good. 10:23
Athletic Bilbao have confirmed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's release clause has been activated. Sky Sports News reported yesterday Chelsea were advanced talks to sign Kepa. 10:16
LOPETEGUI TIGHT-LIPPED ON COURTOIS
Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui refused to comment on the strong rumours linking Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a move to the Bernabeu. "I always say that I'm not talking about players who are not at Real Madrid. Keylor (Navas) is our goalkeeper and there are no other goalkeepers I can talk about except Keylor, Kiko (Casilla), (Andriy) Lunin and Luca (Zidane). "Keylor is phenomenal, he has our full confidence and is an extraordinary goalkeeper. He's delighted to belong to Real Madrid and we're delighted with him." 10:04
DOUBLE IPSWICH SIGNING
Ipswich have signed centre-back Toto Nsiala and midflieder Jon Nolan from Shrewsbury Town for a combined fee of £1.75m. Both players have signed three-year deals with the club having the option of a further 12 months. 09:48
Celtic look set to complete a long-term loan deal for Australia World Cup youngster Daniel Arzani later today. The 19-year-old midfielder, who made three sub appearances in Russia, has passed a medical and joins Celtic on a two-year loan, having completed his transfer from Melbourne City to Manchester City, SSN understands. 09:47
BAYER STRIKER SIGNS DEAL
Bayer Leverkusen striker Joel Pohjanpalo has signed a contract extension until 2022, the Bundesliga club have announced. The 23-year-old Finland international, who is currently recovering from an ankle injury, has made 18 Bungesliga appearances for the side and scored seven goals. 09:32
HUDDERSFIELD IN TALKS WITH MBENZA
Huddersfield are now in talks with Montpellier winger Isaac Mbenza, according to Sky sources. Sky Sports News understands Terriers boss David Wagner is keen to add another wide player to his squad after selling Tom Ince to Stoke. Mbenza scored 10 goals in 43 appearances last season as Montpellier finished comfortably mid-table in Ligue 1. 09:30
WAGHORN SIGNS FOR DERBY
Derby have completed the signing of Martyn Waghorn from Ipswich. The 28-year-old striker signs for £5m on a three-year contract. 09:15
WHERE NEXT FOR BOATENG?
It now looks likely Jerome Boateng will stay at Bayern Munich or move to PSG. If PSG are able to present an interesting total package for him, he is likely join them. A decision is expected within the next two weeks. Boateng has a great relationship with Bayern’s new coach Niko Kovac; they are both from the same district in Berlin and Boateng feels Kovac appreciates him as a player. 09:11
BOATENG TO MAN UTD OFF
And here's why... Jerome Boateng’s decision not to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford was because he doesn’t believe Manchester United can win the Champions League this season. Sky in Germany understand that Boateng spoke to Jose Mourinho earlier this week to explain that he was honoured by United’s interest in him. However his aim remains to win one more Champions League title – and he feels United are not strong enough to do so in the forthcoming campaign. 09:05
Defender Ben Mee has signed a new three-year contract at Burnley. The 28-year-old is now committed to at least 2021, with the option of a further 12 months. 09:01
Winger Adama Traore has completed his move from Middlesbrough to Wolves on a five-year deal. 08:48
BRIGHTON SIGN SIMPKINS
Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of midfielder Emily Simpkins. The 28-year-old joins the club on a free transfer after leaving Doncaster Rovers Belles this summer, and has signed a one-year contract. 08:43
Sky sources: Bernard is currently travelling from Brazil and is expected to arrive on Merseyside this afternoon ahead of a medical at Everton. Sky Sports News understands that Everton manager Marco Silva has played a key role in the last 24 hours, in persuading Bernard to join the club 08:32
WOLVES SWOOP FOR CLUCAS
Midfielder Clucas saw his move to Burnley collapse over the weekend, and Wolves have moved quickly to try to bring him to Molineux. A formal approach is expected later today. 08:30
Wolves are keen to sign midfielder Sam Clucas from Swansea before tomorrow’s deadline, SSN has been told. 08:28
COURTOIS > REAL DETAILS
It is understood Thibaut Courtois is currently in Belgium awaiting permission from Chelsea to fly to Madrid to undergo a medical. Real have offered to loan midfielder Mateo Kovacic and pay £35m for the Belgium goalkeeper, but Chelsea are yet to accept the deal. Courtois is keen to move back to Madrid, where he spent three years with Atletico, due to family reasons. The 26-year-old, who has less than year remaining on his current contract at Stamford Bridge, did not report back for training on Monday after being given extra time off following the World Cup. 08:26
Real Madrid are expecting Thibaut Courtois to arrive in Madrid on Thursday ahead of completing a move to the Bernabeu, according to Sky sources in Belgium. 08:11
HIBS CONFIRM AGYEPONG
Thomas Agyepong has joined Hibernian on a loan move from Manchester City. The 21-year-old is now awaiting the completion of the necessary visa process before joining up with Neil Lennon’s squad. The winger signed for Manchester City in 2015 from the Right to Dream Academy, spending his time since then on loan at Twente and then two seasons at NAC Breda. 08:03
Watford have made a £10m offer for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse (Daily Mail)
Everton are confident they can sign Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma on loan if they are unable to complete a move for Yerry Mina (Daily Mirror)
Burnley have offered £10m for Abdoulaye Touré, the Nantes midfielder (The Times)
Fulham have offered £8m for Hugo Mallo, the Celta Vigo right-back (The Times)
THE BEST OF GREALISH
Spurs fans: here's what you'd be getting. The best of Jack Grealish from the Championship in the 2017/18 season. 07:44
ATLETI SIGN KALINIC
Atletico Madrid have completed the signing of former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic from AC Milan. The 30-year-old, who made 42 appearances for AC Milan last season - scoring six goals - completed his medical in Italy on Tuesday. Sky Italy report the deal is in the region of €15m (£13.5m) including bonuses. 07:30
'SPURS A GOOD FIT FOR GREALISH'
Moving to Tottenham is perfect for Jack Grealish, says the panel on The Debate show. 07:27
Nabil Fekir was left out of the Lyon's squad to face Chelsea last night admid reports of a move to Stamford Bridge. He did come close to signing for Liverpool this window and Lyon Manager Bruno Genesio can't rule out a late move. "It's too early to say. He wanted to leave at the end of last season, but came back to training yesterday and was happy. "Who knows? There may be opportunities that come up before the end of the window. For now, he is a Lyon player." 07:18
Maurizio Sarri has hinted Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea after he held positive talks with the Belgian. Hazard had been the subject of interest from Real Madrid this summer but Sarri confirmed he has had talks with Belgium star the attacker more than once, suggesting the 'problem' surrounding his future has been resolved. Sarri said: "I don't see a problem in this moment. I have spoken with Eden two or three times in the last two days. "He has spoken of everything. I think this problem - the Hazard problem - is not present now." 06:59
POGBA: THE REPORTS
There are plenty of newspaper reports surrounding Manchester United the day before the window shuts, and the majority of them concern Paul Pogba. It would be the biggest shock of the window if he was to leave... but the clock is ticking.
Pogba wants a £200,000-a-week pay rise to stay at the club, according to The Sun.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail report that Pogba has told United team-mates he wants to leave and has already agreed a £350,000-a-week contract with Barcelona.
The Daily Star say United are furious with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola for trying to engineer a move to Barcelona for the France star.
Sky in Italy say United have rejected an offer for Pogba from Barcelona of £45m plus Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
But United apparently have no desire to part with Pogba, who has just returned to training after winning the World Cup with France.
ROONEY: UTD NEED TWO SIGNINGS
Wayne Rooney hopes Manchester United can mount a Premier League challenge against Manchester City but admitted they need two more signings to do so. "I hope someone can catch them - it would be nice, so hopefully Manchester United can. I think maybe another signing or two. "I am sure Jose [Mourinho] has been getting the team right. I know there has been a lot of talk about pre-season in the press but I am sure behind the scenes, Jose has been giving them the right amount of work." 06:35
'BOLT WON'T GET SPECIAL TREATMENT'
Central Coast Mariners coach Mick Mulvey says Usain Bolt will be treated as any other player when he joins the Australian A-League club this month on an "indefinite" trial. Mulvey will make the final decision over whether Bolt is offered a contract as the Jamaican sprinting great pursues his long-held dream of playing professional football. "If it was up to him he'd be coming in without any hoopla but that's impossible for a person of his stature. I'm really happy and really looking forward to having him train with the club. "I'm sure when he arrives he'll give a good account for himself and we'll see what happens from there. If it works, he will be offered a contract." 06:22
The latest transfer bulletin from Sky Sports News this Wednesday morning... 06:15
And welcome to Sky Sports live Transfer Centre, bringing you all of the latest news and rumours from the window. It's Wednesday, August 8, and we're in the bizarre position of having just a day-and-a-half of the window left. It's sure to be a frantic day, and we'll bring you absolutely everything until close of play this evening. Join the discussion on Discord. I am a bot. Found any errors? Contact /Football Mods
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