Gaming in 2017

I don’t play many ‘new’ games as time and money are things. These, however are a couple of lists of my favourite games I played in 2017 – some new, some not so new – although they were new to me in 2017

2017 Favourite Games

  • Persona 5 – My favourite PS4 game and one of my favourite games ever.  Picked it up a bit later – in June and was seemingly only playing this until Christmas. The world just envelopes you and you can think of little else. Am happily going to sink another 100 hours into my next playthrough.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn – This game is near perfect. I loved everything about it!
  • What Remains of Edith Finch? – I have only gotten into ‘Walking Sims’ last couple of years as they have come over to consoles (PC’s are for emails and Championship Manager 01/02) but this was one of the best single sitting games I have ever played. It seemed to break up the walking better than simialr games with little mini-games that differed from each other. Brilliant.
  • Undertale – not new for 2017, but new for Vita for 2017. This game is brilliant. Don’t want to give anything away so I would just play it. Play it!
  • Prey – Actually not Prey. With its Skyrim-esq loading screens that you spend most of last hour watching as you just run between points (why no fast travel) and game killing bugs and stupid ending and pointless threads throughout game due to stupid ending.

Non 2017 Favourite Games (played in 2017)

  • Freedom Wars – A game I briefly played when it first came on playstation plus. Perfect for my regular commute. I didn’t finish, I hit a level of difficulty I couldn’t surpass so stopped. Which I am OK with.
  • Dear Esther – A lovely, if very sad walking sim. A few years old now. All I would say  is that if it had been a long cut scene it wouldn’t have felt much different.
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – Another walking sim that I really enjoyed.
  • Killzone: Mercanaries – Another Vita game I had barely touched until 2017 as i found it much better with a trigger grip for my fat hands. I am bad at first person shooters and it showed with this but I still enjoyed it.
  • Darkest Dungeon – This was one of my favourite games I had ever played until I got over-confident and lost my main crew on a dungeon crawl and the perma-death system left me basically back at level 1. So i rage quit and even uninstalled it on the vita (without cloud save enabled). Big regret.
  • Rise of the Tombraider – This game was great, but I made a mistake as I played it between replaying Arkham Aslyum and playing Horizon: Zero Dawn so in my mind it pales in comparison when in fact it was a wonderful game to play (if a little long)

2017 Games I hope to get to:

  • Danganropa 3
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Mafia 3
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Nier: Automata
  • Nioh
  • Resident Evil 7
  • Stardew Valley (if it comes to vita)
  • Steamworld Dig 2
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy




Learning Log 84 – Coaching: the start

Number: 84

Significant Experience: My first meeting (proper) with my Coach

What Happened?:  I’m not going to discuss the actual content of what was said (as that feels quite self-reductive at this stage although I reserve the right to change my mind!) but more about how I and why I’ve started this journey. I’ve been thinking about coaching for a while, mainly based on the positive reflections and experiences of people who use coaching. I have been informally coached before – my Chartership mentor (and mentor generally) Gil used/uses coaching techniques. I had gone as far to sign up for my organisational coaching scheme, but I didn’t feel any of the  potential candidates were appropriate so I cooled on it. Then a mutually beneficial opportunity  (though I suspect weighted in my favour) came up which felt a much more suitable fit.

So What?: I feel this is an important step in my professional development as it makes more explicit  the commitment to develop from within, to challenge my self-perceptions and self limiting beliefs, to choose a course of action and to follow it. This feels more subtle than identifying a learning or developmental need and doing a course/reading etc.

Also it is a continuation of the departure from the mean for me that began with the Leadership Course and continued with the #fellowshipfive in that it is an approach that is focused upon the individual and is intense, at times emotive and discusses feelings and stuff like that…

Now What?: Get cracking.

When & Where?: January 9th 2018, Home.


Everybody Lies – my thoughts

This is my first book in my #52in52 attempt (to try and read a book a week for a whole year). This is going to be reading for pleasure, so whilst this title was non-fiction, future books will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction and not necessarily professional development focused (though I would argue increased reading for one’s own self will have non-direct professional benefits)

I should say outright that I really enjoyed ‘Everybody Lies’ by Seth Stevens-Davidowitz and would recommend it to anyone interested in this area – and who wouldn’t be!

I have some very basic experience I  this field – having in the past used market segmentation tools (ACORN from CACI) to focus offers but this didnt dampen my enjoyment and I don’t think you need any prior experience/knowledge as it’s written in the informal academic style that is informative but not exclusionary.

The basic premise is one of introducing and espousing the concept of big data without the need for a background in data science and that of a ‘digital truth’. 

The author uses (intentionally?) attention grabbing topics and examples especially earlier in the book such as racial prejudice and voting patterns and po*nhub  preferences (I’m not one for censorship but I suspect there would be some spamming involved)

It may be my public health background but I was most interested in the randomised trials and A/B testing section.  It was fascinating to see how big data and especially big data organisations have adapted certain scientific principles to improve their offer or services.

The book gives examples of how big data is most effective where strong systems are not in place and gives a fantastic example in linking health searching to poorer cancer outcomes (pancreatic I think…) and how big data can be used to highlight a particular population. Again, with my Public Health background, it would be interesting to see a full cycle of big data problem solving – not just the issue/population highlighting but an intervention at said group and evaluation of it’s effectiveness. I am sure this has already been done/in process though.

As the book drew to a close, it did look at the potential pitfalls of big data usage on both commercial and public sectors. Issues such as ‘correlation not equalling causation, generalisation and the curse of dimensionality. Don’t trust your lucky coin…

It’s always nice to reach same conclusions as the author (and the sign of a good read) so the discussion about how big data is underused and wonderful, yet not *the answer* rather an undervalued part of the wider answer wasn’t unexpected and the point about data science moving from social to ‘proper’ science was strongly made.

My final thought would be I hope the author enjoyed his beer (if you read to the end you’ll know what I mean)

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this! Now onto my next book…

Learning Log 84 – #Fellowship5 Meeting 8

Date:  21st December 2017

Number: 84

Significant Experience: The 8th meeting of the #fellowship5 collective

What Happened?: As usual, the details not included, but followed standard pattern of previous actions followed up, next fellowship steps, Action Learning Set. But as ever – it was the conversation and reflection the was most useful. We also went for a cracking end of year celebration meal at Bundobust Manchester.

So What?: This was excellent as ever – and for the first time (as the 2nd member is on the group of submitting) we discussed the evolution of the group. I suspect others in the group may have got to this conclusion earlier but the group isn’t really and has never been about fellowship, rather it is a (library leaders) peer assist and support group which has had a fellowship focus for its first cycle. We have decided on a finish point (July 18th) that is the fellowship cut off and we will officially move from the mentor>5 candidates approach into a more natural peer support group

Now What?: I shall be focusing on getting the fellowship handed in by March 2018 as that is my self-prescribed hand in date.  Wealso need to think of a new hashtag…

When & Where?: Manchester, 16th December 2017

Learning Log 83 – #FakeNews Quiz at Regional Away Day

Date:  15th December 2017

Number: 83

Significant Experience: Presenting at my organisations North West Away Day

What Happened?: My colleague (Rachel) and I were asked represent at the away day as part of the market place session (5 tables with 5 presenters having 15 minutes on each). While a great opportunity, it also had some challenging circumstances:

  • Time – only 15 minutes to introduce, solidify and sell a concept or service
  • IT – no technology of any sort which limits what we could demonstrate 
  • Audience – wide range of audience from admin  to directors and all in between. Difficult to pitch correctly
  • Size – 120ish over 5 groups in same room

So we had to find something suitable around our core service offers that met needs of organisation, that was achievable and interesting but could fit into 15 minutes and work within the setting…

Pub quiz! Critical appraisal fundamentals around a current theme! Hence the #fakenews quiz was born (and only took a couple of hours thanks to some smart googling and NHS Behind the Headlines). The quiz was a success  – enjoyed on the whole and raised the profile of both the service and of Rachel and I. We’ve received new work from it already!

So What?: This was important as presenting is not something I have confidence in and I was very pleased with how it went. It was interesting and relevant to the participants and was an example of me both challenging myself personally in an area of weaknesd but also supporting the organisation by increasing user knowledge 

Now What?: This has given me great confidence in my presenting style and how I deliver them. Going forward I am going to use this confidence and belief in my style to help deliver better training to ensure higher understanding and more effective learning with the participants.

When & Where?: Liverpool, 12th December 2017

Fellowship Questions, Answered.

At the last #Fellowship5 meeting, Yvette – the group mentor and spirit animal -challenged those of us mid journey with some searching questions about Fellowship attitude:

  • Will you achieve add-in during 2018? When?
  • Is it meaningful to me?
  • Are you committed to it?
  • Can i produce a plan?

This is my response… Yes x4.

But in longer form: 

I shall complete and hand-in during 2018, in fact I am going to say early March 2018. It is important to me personally to go on this journey although not overly confident of a successful outcome I am committed to it. 

I don’t see the fact that I may not be successful as a negative. It’s an acknowledgement that perhaps I’ve not done enough out of my bubble, but throughout the fellowship journey (c/o Jo Walley) I have reflected on this and it has given me the impetus to challenge this and the personal blockages to overcoming it.

It is important to me that I reflect on my professional and personal development of the last couple of years to shown how I have grown. I will be a more well rounded person for undertaking this and it challenges my default ‘looking forward’ approach.

I recognised in the last meeting that I am unable to commit the requisite time required to show the respect to the process and to myself in the current set-up. Work and family commitments do not allow for effective fellowshiping (also Persona 5 won’t play itself!). So between now and March I am committing 2 days annual leave per month to focus on fellowship – as well as our monthly group catch ups. 

And finally the plan!

Learning Log 80 – Fellowship Meeting 7 #Fellowship5

Number: 80

Significant Experience: The 7th meeting of the Fellowship Group

What Happened?:  As normal, I’m not going to discuss the contents of the session or the action learning set (that’s not my story to tell) but we followed the similar structure:- catch-up/report back, actions, ALS, future actions, laughs and coffee.

So What?: I find these sessions so, so useful – not just from a professional problem solving and fellowship progression (or lack of in my case) but emotionally as well. It’s good to be able to be alongside -with no underlying or passive work/networking pressures – like minded colleagues and work though issues enable self-led problem solving, and learn from others experience of issues to help us solve our own problems. I discussed my lack of progression as part of a wider reflection on the whole process and have resolved to ask myself some questions (below) as part of my action plan for the next meet-up. We also discussed authenticity, why ‘should’ is a four letter word demanding too much of ourselves, fellowship ‘blockers,’ the importance of these meet-ups, and a bit of running chat of course!

Now What?: I have set, achievable goals for the next meeting:

  • Ask myself:
    • Am I going to achieve Fellowship (hand-in) in 2018
    • If it is achievable, is it meaningful to me?
    • Am I committed to it AKA can I be arsed?
    • If yes to those – can I produce a (rough) plan for finishing?
  • Keep catching up on reflections
  • Read CV feedback, wipe away tears, and look at perhaps starting afresh with initial bullet points
  • Speak about a coaching opportunity to work through an issue I face
  • Look at ways to create time within working week as struggling to get time in the evening/weekends due to family pressures.

When & Where?: 21st November 2017, Manchester