Star Trek Deep Space 9 – Looking Back Part 2

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Back on with my thoughts on Deep Space 9 now that I’ve finished it. In Part 1 I talked about my thoughts on Captain Sisko, Major Kira and Odo. Time to finish off the cast!

Commander Worf, originally a major character in The Next Generation as one of the senior officers on the USS Enterprise, makes a return in Deep Space 9.

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The quintessential grumpy Klingon, Worf begins to mellow throughout the later series of Deep Space 9.

Mostly, thanks to Jadzia Dax that is, who he eventually marries. We see some conclusions to some plots from back in the Next Generation, such as Worf’s son Alexander grown up and coming to terms with his outsider status amongst the Klingons, which is a nice touch weaving the series together.

Overall, though, Worf moved on from being an interesting character in TNG to one of my favourites in DS9. His grumpiness becomes amusing even to himself, and the inter-play between his character and Jadzia’s is well done. *Plot spoiler – its just such a shame that they killed Jadzia off so abruptly, it seemed an unjust end to the Worf mellowing story arch*.

Chief O’Brien is the second character to make a return from TNG. The Enterprise’s transporter whizz takes on the job of Chief Engineer on DS9 – and that’s one heck of a major project to get the Cardassian relic in working order.

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Chief does an admirable job of keeping the station together, whilst being the endlessly loveable character he’s famous for being.

Particularly, he starts off really not getting along with the somewhat cocky new doctor – Julian Bashir. Over the series though they eventually grow into one of the best bro-mances of TV history.

Chief is the ever practical and grounded family man whilst Dr Bashir is the charming genetically enhanced genius. Opposites who end up getting on incredibly well.  I particularly enjoyed the running theme of their weekly holosuite sessions where they would fight a famous battle from history.

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Last but not least of the major characters there’s also Quark & Garak. Quark – the Ferengi bar owner on DS9 on a never ending quest to gain ever more profit. Garak – the Cardassian outcast who owns a tailor shop on DS9 and maintains a network of contacts from his days in the shadowy Obsidian Order of the Cardassian Empire.

Both very different businessmen who make up the vibrant patchwork of civilian life on the space frontier. They’re both quite different characters for Star Trek up to this point, previous focused on the quasi-military inner workings of Star Fleet ships. DS9 is a place of commerce and all the rest of civilian life, not just the front line in the war against the dominion. Quark especially is a good reminder of that.

While Quark is perhaps the more universally adored of the two characters, for me Garak is probably one of my favourite characters, and ultimately I think my favourite of DS9. He’s the outsider, akin to Odo, yet with a fantastic dark whit and very dry sarcasm.

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Here’s to all the Deep Space 9 characters. They were all memorable and I enjoyed my time with them. Some were bigger favourites than others, but ultimately they altogether made Deep Space 9; well, Deep Space 9.

I’m not going to give DS9 a rating, but I would recommend it. It’s the ‘hipster’ of all Star Trek series. It has a small hardcore of fans who will swear blind to the last that it’s the best series when you get to know it, but it’s probably the least known series in retrospect. DS9 is different, but fits in to the broader universe well. Maybe it isn’t my favourite, but I’m very glad I watched it.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Star Trek Deep Space 9 – Looking Back Part 1

I mentioned recently that I’d been watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9. I’ve always been a fan of Star Trek, mainly through a childhood of watching re-runs of The Next Generation with Captain Picard.

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Whilst the Next Generation has been a big influence in my childhood, I’d never watched more than an episode or two of Deep Space Nine; the series which followed on from the Next Generation.

I decided it was time to see how I got on with Captain Sisko and his crew aboard their space station above the deeply religious world of Bajor.

Deep Space Nine is the name of the space station the series is based on. Taken over by the Bajorans after they gained independence from the Cardassian Empire; Captain Sisko is brought in as commander of the station after the Bajorans invited Star Fleet to administer it.giphy

The seven series of Deep Space Nine follow the wide and varied cast of inhabitants on the space station. Here’s part one of the breakdown of what I made of them, looking back over the long journey of all the series:

There’s Odo. Chief of Station Security under the Cardassians, and now for the Bajorans. Odo is known as ‘changeling’ in the Alpha quadrant. A few series in to Deep Space 9, a worm hole opens up in the space around the station which makes travel all the way to the Gamma quadrant as if it was a walk round the corner. It turns out that the Dominion which rules most of the Gamma quadrant is all masterminded by a race of Odo’s.

Odo is an outsider. People distrust him because he’s a liquid based form – which to be fair is pretty weird. But, it certainly doesn’t help that his race are the masterminds of the Dominion, which ends up hell-bent on taking over the entire Alpha quadrant by any means necessary. I guess people also don’t trust Chiefs of Station Security, it’s a lonely job.

Odo’s in the same vein as Data and Spock, the outsiders with the rigid sense of morals and rules. They’re the ISTJs of Star Trek. I’ve always loved the characters of Data and Spock from the previous series, and resonated with them on a personal level. I instinctively really like Odo as a result.

Eventually, though, by the end of seven series, I hated to admit it, but Odo became a bit stale. In fact, I felt like Odo at the end of the story was a totally different character from the start. Sure, he’d had a lot of character development, but I felt a little like they used and abused Odo’s character a little too much and his character lost a bit of coherency along the way.

I remain a fan of Odo in the grand scheme of things. I suspect, ultimately, though he was up with the very strongest of competition against Spock and Data to be the most memorable and likeable ISTJ of Star Trek.

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Major Kira is Captain Sisko’s second in command and the most senior Bajoran on the space station. She’s deeply religious, like the majority of Bajorans, and has next to no tolerance for Cardassians.

For me, being brutally honest, Major Kira was the most boring character of the series. Her stubborn personality made sense, but was just too damn stubborn sometimes. I did enjoy when her hatred of the Cardassians was challenged, but ultimately there always seemed to be something that eventually proved her right. I really wished they hadn’t written that in, it was an interesting plot device to see someone who fought for freedom against an Empire learning to see people of that Empire as individuals, not faceless goons.

As much as Major Kira was a key character to the series, especially with grounding the somewhat surreal religious ‘Emissary’ aspects of Captain Sisko’s story arc. I didn’t really like the element of the whole story arc to do with the Bajoran religion, and how Captain Sisko gets wrapped up in it as their ‘Emissary’ of the gods. That’s all personal opinion, but I felt it would have been better off without it.

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Last but not least for part 1; Captain Sisko himself. He grew on me, from a shaky start beginning right in the first episode with a very contrived arguement with Captain Picard – essentially just to so how different he was going to be. Sisko isn’t one of the great Captains – the infamous argument of Kirk vs Picard really is true. I think Sisko is a pragmatist Captain, in the same vein as Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager.

Both Sisko and Janeway are thrown in to impossibly difficult situations and they have to make the best of it. There is no inspired fix like Kirk would find, or intelligent solution like Picard would – these are the Captains who have to keep slogging on in a world that will otherwise consume everything they hold dear.

Sisko’s good, but I’ll forever be in the Picard camp.

Part 2 to come soon!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Quick Update

I’ve been appallingly bad at blogging over the past couple of months. What can I say, life gets busy some times!

In the world of all things Digital Salad, I’ve been promoted at work. I’m now officially a Manager in charge of a team. Not bad at the tender age of 24, but now it’s the hard work of actually proving I can do it!

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Work hasn’t been the only thing I’ve been up to though. Although I’ve got the time to game, and even the money to put into it if I wanted to, I’ve been more and more of a ‘filthy’ casual gamer recently. I’m still in a bit of a transition with my gaming, but a quick run down of what’s been happening:

  1. I uninstalled GTA V pretty spontaneously back in August and haven’t looked back since. I took a hard look at whether I was actually having fun and decided it was far from it! Not to say it’s not a good game, I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I uninstalled it and haven’t looked back, I’ve not wanted to play it for even a second since – which is far less regrets that I thought I’d have about it.
  2. Guild Wars 2 has made a come back! I’ve reinstalled it and been playing it for the first time in two years. Not that much has changed and I’m really enjoying taking it easy and playing a little bit here and there. giphy (1)
  3. I’m also really looking forward to the full release of Prison Architect this Tuesday. I’ve been following the game in alpha for ages and it’s great to see it finally reach the finish line. I’m looking forward to setting up a new prison full of gangs and (most likely) a lot of chaos.
  4. We’ve also invested in a PS4. A little late to the party, but better late than never! We’ve been really enjoying getting back on to the console gaming train. In particular we’ve been enjoying Assassin’s Creed Unity, which although rightly ridiculed for being so buggy on release, is without a doubt the most fun Assassins Creed game to date if you ask me. I’m really enjoying powering through it, and the multiplayer is even quite fun!
  5. Now that we have a PS4 I’ve also been looking into the many games which are slated for release prior to christmas. I’m definitely interested in Assassins Creed Syndicate and Star Wars Battlefront, as well as some others, but I’m going to wait and see how they’re received on release. I’m a patient gamer these days! giphy (2)

That’s the run down of my gaming, but I’ve been up to far more besides! I’ve been reading Joe Abercrombie’s first book The Blade Itself. I originally discovered the series from the stand-alone sequel The Heroes – which is one of my favourite books ever. I thought it would be a good idea to read some more of Abercrombie’s stuff and I’ve not regretted it at all – I love Abercrombie’s fantasy worlds. I’m hoping to do a review once I’ve finished it.

I’ve also been watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 on DVD. I’ve blogged before about my love of Star Trek The Next Generation since childhood. Aside from TNG I’ve only watched the occasional episode of other series in the canon, so I’ve set to watching Deep Space 9. It’s no Next Generation, and Sisko is no Picard, but its been fun. I’m also hoping to do a blog post about my thoughts on Deep Space 9 once I’ve finished it as well! 
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Last but not least, Life As A Digital Salad has a new look which I’m excited about! Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

2015 Steam Summer Sale – What Happened?

The dust has settled and the 2015 Steam Summer Sale – one of the most lauded annual events in the PC gaming calendar – is officially over. Time to have a look at what happened.

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For the uninitiated into the cult of the steam sale – have a read of my blog from this time last year.

Watching the deals pass me by this year, I started thinking. This year felt different, and at first I thought it was just me, but then I saw posts popping up on the likes of Reddit’s r/gaming as well as a post by The Ancient Gaming Noob.

Something has felt different this year – and that’s how uninspired I was by the whole thing.

A big part of this for me on a personal level is that I’ve been spoilt by the likes of Humble Bundle massively discounting games every so often. I’ve gotten used to very occasionally paying a tiny price for a game – the trade off being how long I have to wait for a deal that might never turn up!

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TAGN’s blog got me wondering more though. Maybe I just have so many games sitting there unfinished that I’m not so drawn to these shiny offers anymore?

Seeing as the sale seems to have been a bit of a downer from most reports I’ve seen so far, there has to be an element of this alongside the not-so-special pricing discounts. TAGN has something like 1780 continuous hours of gaming left if he wanted to complete his entire game collection. Mine isn’t far behind at 1551 hours – which I’m reliably informed is the time it would take to watch every single episode of Star Trek, plus every movie, twice over.

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These days I wonder whether I’d rather watch Star Trek twice over (or maybe something else more productive with my time). That’s probably just a sign of me growing old and grumpy, but there’s also a deeper theme in there. There’s such a glutton of cheap games, pretty much every gamer I know has well over 1000 hours worth of games to churn through; and some even have vastly more hours than that. I think we’ve maybe all reached the point where we’re a bit pickier about the games that we play because we already have so many.

I find myself less likely to buy a new game these days, even if I could afford it. A game’s got to wow me a lot for me to spend even £20 (less than half the release day RRP of big name game). That’s both because I’ve been spoilt by so many cheap deals out there all the time, but also because I already have an impossibly large amount of games to churn through.

I don’t really know what can be done about it, but I can see it hurting the sales of the gaming companies and of Steam if this really is a trend.

Let me know what you think by commenting.

 Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Digital Salad: Star Trek

Its a bank holiday here in the UK, so its time to relax and enjoy a free day off from work. My thoughts definitely go out to those working today, especially those involved in the election counting and reporting. Its a big time for elections here right now, but I’ll blog about that another time – bank holidays are meant for relaxing! What I want to blog about today is Star Trek.

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Star Trek is one of those things with the Marmite effect. It divides people, even amongst geekier circles. I’ll say it now though, I have always been something of a trekkie from childhood.

I used the opening credits from the latest Star Trek movies from J J Abrams as the first picture for this blog on purpose. Star Trek is back as a franchise, with a massive movie reboot that looks set to continue for years to come. Not bad for a franchise that looked in real trouble after the pretty universally despised Star Trek: Enterprise prequel TV series in the early 2000s.

Star Trek is now cool. Well, thats probably an overstatement too far. It’s at least not something you hide any longer. Simon Pegg, adored British comedian and the actor who plays Scotty in the latest film reboots is a self confessed Trekkie. Thats the kind of statement no public figure could make and still remain popular a decade ago.

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Scotty being Scotty in the latest films

If you’re not a Star Trek fan I apologise.

I was a trekkie from my childhood when I would happily watch episodes of The Next Generation on the television. Something about that series in particular captivated me as child, and continues to do so. I think its the exploration. Picard’s Enterprise is a ship of exploration quite literally “going boldly where no one has gone before”.

Picard is also a special Captain. The Shakespearian background of Sir Patrick Stewart shines brightly through in Picard’s character – more a scientist and philosopher than a military commander. Honestly, as a kid, I wanted to be Picard, or at least a member of his crew.

Thats the joy of Star Trek to me, its the kind of aspirational television and film we need a little more of. Aspirational media is often seen as something hollow. Charlie Brooker sums it up far better than I:

Star Trek offers up a positive image of the future. Picard tells a trio of cryogenically frozen 21st Century relics in an episode of the Next Generation’s first series that in the 24th Century there is no material possession, that hunger no longer exists and that there is no such thing as substance abuse.

We have a world suffering with all those things, a world falling apart in many ways. Star Trek reminds us that we are able to find a way through it, and reminds you that humans have the capacity to be uniquely ingenious – we have just been incredibly lazy with using our talents to good purposes.

This bank holiday I have been watching episodes from my box set of the Next Generation and really enjoying them. I enjoy the world of Star Trek, and I’m glad that the film reboots are having such success.

I think Star Trek, whether you love or hate it, promotes such an enticingly positive message that maybe we should all want to be a little bit more like Captain Picard. After all, no one will ever surpass the fantastic reaction gif he spawned. Stand up and be proud of being a trekkie!

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 Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com