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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I was really saddened to hear of the death last week of Oliver Postgate, one of the most legendary figures in British animation. For anybody who grew up in this country in the seventies or eighties, the classic show that Postgate co-created with collaborator and friend Peter Firmin are likely one of their most treasured memories. They made just thirteen episodes of Bagpuss (old saggy cloth cat-puss) back in the seventies, yet they seemed to be permanently on TV at least into the late Eighties when I would have got the chance to see it. Years later it is regularly voted the most loved Children's programme in polls, and is still available on DVD and showing on satellite TV. If you don't know Postgate's work, or even if you do, you can see some of his finest moments here or here

Bagpuss has a really personal resonance with me, even to this day. Lovingly hand-made in a shed only a few miles form where I live, I even got a visit from the real Bagpuss at my primary school (sadly I can't remember if it was Postgate or Firmin who visited with him, seeing as I was just a nipper at the time). Today the original old Cloth cat has a permanent home at the local museum in my hometown. However the loss was felt all over the country by many different people, and I've heard tributes from as different sources as animator Nick Park and Screenwipe host Charlie Brooker. Rest in Piece Mr Postgate, you'll be sorely missed.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Wii is 2.

This week marks the second anniversary of the Nintendo Wii launching in Europe, and what a couple of years the little white box has had. Even the most hardened Nintendo fanboy would have to admit it hasn't all been plain sailing. The console boasts a modest library of classic titles but there aren't enough, and at times it can seem that the majority of games for it are shoddy, badly presented mini-game cash-ins. However I've had more fun with my Wii than with any other system I can remember. It's worth baring in mind that the reason there's so much crap on it is because it's been such as success at expanding the audience.I'm sick of so-called hardcore gamers who criticise the Wii and DS as being for 'girls, kids and grannies', when that's just part of the audience- they are trying to appeal to everybody. Anybody who likes to call themselves a 'true gamer' should be pleased that the audience is expanding and that more people are playing games. Maybe the games they enjoy are not the same as what you do, but why begrudge them that? There's enough games for everybody. And who knows, having played Brain Training and Wii Sports, maybe they'll graduate to more 'gamey' games later. Personally I don't care whether games are casual or 'proper' games- as long as they're fun. The Wii's future looks bright- it looks likely to sell out again this Christmas, (the third in a row) and all without ever having a price cut. Not so long ago Ninty's stratergy was seen by many as crazy, now here we are with them outselling the competition (Put together!) and with Microsoft desperately trying to grab a bit of the casual market. What a difference two years can make.