A decade decayed

Whilst reports of my death may not have been exaggerated, I do concede that koffdrop.com has largely been in a state of suspended animation for 10 years. 10 years to the day, in fact.

The last decade has been eventful – both for me personally and, it seems, in countless areas of the world, videogames, culture and technology. So, let’s catch up on some of the key milestones. What fun!

The Internet

My casual disinterest in social media platforms has transformed to a commitment of non-engagement.

I flirted briefly with Twitter some years ago under the handle of @HideousKojima (a name conjured up by my phone’s over-zealous auto-correct). My intent was to follow certain people and to contribute a “!” to express Metal Gear-themed alarm now and again. I did that for a bit, but found the algorithm pushing undesirable content my way, urging me to follow certain people, waving ‘current interest’ stories it felt I should know about. As limited and disciplined as my engagement was, I quickly found myself returning to see what was new at multiple points in the day. A platform with so much traffic and, in particular, so many spectacular traffic-accidents, the compulsion to repeatedly gawp at the carnage was difficult to resist.

Whilst I enjoy witnessing Darwin Award behaviour and schadenfreude as much as the next person, I didn’t want an incessant feed of it, or to grow hooked on it. So I uninstalled.

Since then I have felt no compulsion to re-evaluate my disdain for social media or its influence. Watching documentaries like The Social Dilemma further cement my current views.

Gaming forums have certainly transformed in the last decade. Even those that proclaim old-school sensibilities, or those that declare themselves to be committed to non-partisanship quickly stumble and fail basic sniff-tests when such claims are put to the test.

In my time – as some former readers of this site may recall – I helped set up one such gaming forum. Over time I frequently found myself dog-piled when I habitually persisted my practice of expressing opinions that, whilst informed, ran contrary to those of the group. However, once off-topic conversations started veering into legitimising violence I opted to leave and made it clear why.

I’ve witnessed a continual shift towards forms of radicalisation, ‘us-or-them’ tribalism and a pushing of dogma (be it games-topics or others) that tell me it’s time to log-out and walk away.

To that end my engagement with the internet has become increasingly ‘read only’. It seems to work well for me.

It’s a good job there’s lots to see and do on the Internet, then. Stuff that doesn’t require engagement.

YouTube content often tickles me. I particularly enjoy content that confirms my biases, features cats, compiles memes, or covers quirky topics about games. Anything that combines two of more from that list is a prime candidate to add to my list of favourites.

I still make use of RSS feeds and favour the free version of the Inoreader site/app as my way to consume all that lovely content.

For real-world and current affairs topics I visit NewsNow regularly. The site collates headlines from multiple news sources for each topic that it offers. I find this is useful to mitigate echo-chamber practices that may occur when using a single source.


Entertainment, for me, has mostly meant playing games, watching TV and movies and arguing with people on the internet.

I used to be an avid cinema-goer, seeing new releases each week and paying extortionate prices for popped corn. Having become rather fed up with the lowering standards of that experience, I now favour the home-cinema approach. My best friend introduced me to Plex and I’ve never looked back. Whilst I may now have to wait a couple of months for a spanking new release to become available digitally, the benefits of this ‘DIY Netflix’ approach are so good – and my backlog so great – that this delay is inconsequential. It also means I am not paying for monthly subscriptions to streaming services, so works out to be cost-effective too.

This is not to say money hasn’t been spent. I host all of my own media content and multi-terabyte drives and drive enclosures are not exactly cheap. But I feel its an economy that suits my preferences better than a monthly cost.

Broadcast / terrestrial TV holds absolutely not interest to me any more. When I might glance at a listings guide, or have done some idle channel-surfing I find it all seems terribly insipid. My wife is more forgiving than I am and enjoys nature programs and some other items. Even so, it makes more sense to us to view them on a catch-up service like BBC iPlayer than attempt to fit our lives around a broadcaster’s schedule.

Instead we tend to watch a season of a particular drama via Plex. Or, increasingly frequently, surf YouTube the way one might have surfed satellite channels.


I still adore videogames.

I have never regretted leaving the videogame industry when I did. I learned that I was unable to simply play a game without finding myself analysing it on a variety of levels. Becoming a mere consumer again allows me to enjoy them on the more superficial level they are meant to be enjoyed.

I realise this compromised-enjoyment issue must be true of anyone that has a passion as their profession. If you are an author you may not be able to simply read a book like a regular person does. If you write music, you may not be able to listen to music simply for its pleasure.

There is much truth to the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” when those that enjoy something wish they could do it as a career.

The industry also appears to have changed – being rampantly infested with ideology that brings nothing of value to the product or experience. I am not so backward or narcissistic that I need to see myself represented in my escapism. The off-screen sex-lives of NPCs whose only purpose for existence is to remind me they are in a same-sex relationship with another NPC is spectacularly unimportant to me. I would be more interested to know if they are right-handed or left-handed.

The games media has shown that I wholly underestimated them in previous rantings – and somehow managed to get even worse.

Games, for the most part, just keep getting better and better. The embarrassment of riches in this hobby is, well, embarrassing. I never forget that it’s up to me whether I buy a game or not – and if I don’t like a game for any reason then I’m not obligated to spend my money on it.

Should I feel the urge, I may dedicate a future koffdrop.com post to some of my gaming highlights from the last decade. Yes, I still play Lego games to 100%. Yes, I still play God of War games. I’ve had enormous fun being introduced to automation/factory games courtesy of Shapez.io and Autonauts.

The outstanding Hades had to be uninstalled because it’s dangerously convenient 30-min playtime was preventing me from dipping into any other game. And I’ve spent literally multiple hundreds of hours in the Xenoblade Chronicles games across Wii, Gamecube and Switch.

My perceived hate-boner for all things Nintendo meant that I didn’t enjoy a single second of the hundred+ hours I spent on Zelda: Breath of the Wild, nor its sequel that is waiting for me to start it.


Given that I love playing videogames I did wonder how much of my time I invested in playing them. At times it has felt this was eclipsed by talking about games, arguing about games, witnessing others talking / arguing about games, watching others play games – either to enjoy a comprehensive walkthrough or to admire the skill of someone speedrunning a game. All these gaming-related distractions eating into my precious games-playing time.

Out of curiosity I decided to track how much time I spent playing videogames. I had intended for this to be a little fuzzy – simply noting my start and end time for a gaming session and then adding it up in a spreadsheet.

I was recommended Clockify, a time-tracking application. It is clearly intended for use in more professional environments but turned out to be fantastic for this exercise. Now I could easily compartmentalise time across games and platforms and get automated charts and stats provided for me.

After a couple of calendar years – the latter reporting a total of over 1,250 hours spent gaming – I felt my curiosity had been appropriately satisfied and have since stopped tracking my time.

Is 1,250+ hours too much time spent gaming? Not enough? It’s none of your fucking business.


Sadly, it is not yet time for me to retire so until I become independently wealthy I need to be employed and earn money.

At the time of writing I’m in the 4th year of my current position and consider myself very fortunate that I am surrounded by great people who are dedicated, talented and more than agreeable. The company leaders are also a pleasure to be with and take great care to find the right people when recruiting. That many of the staff have tenures approaching a decade or more is testament to all this.

The work is largely internet-based which meant that when the topic of COVID lockdowns and working-from-home came about, we were able to adapt very swiftly and with negligible compromise.

As such, whilst I can typically find something to complain about on any given subject, when it comes to my current work-life I can only count my blessings and appreciate what I have and thank those that make it possible.

I also feel fortunate for having achieved my ambition of working in the games industry.

Increasingly I feel fortunate for leaving it when I did. Before the advent of pressure groups, social-media death-threats, and movements and campaigns that make a lot of noise yet provide not a single speck of quantifiable merit to anything.


Marriage. It’s not a word, it’s a sentence.”

Whilst I appreciate the truth of commitment in that statement, my personal experience is that it is far from a life of suffering and penance. In my case it’s the best thing I’ve ever done and meeting my wife is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I wish for everyone to have the good fortune I’ve had. But hands off – she’s my wife, get your own!

And if there’s been trials and tribulations to deal with, they have been challenges that have been met together – never left to one or the other, or caused by one or the other.

And life has certainly thrown a number of curveballs. Whether it’s enduring COVID together, one or the other of us going into hospital or unavoidable family drama – we have successfully come out the other side richer for the experience and appreciative of the partnership we enjoy.

On matters of health we’re both still here. Getting older one day at a time. I’ve embraced the increasingly pervasive amount of white in my whiskers. I’ve never been a practitioner of good health and I can only blame myself when I wake up in the morning, move into a vertical position and feel a new ache or discomfort that I swear wasn’t there the day before.

I’ve long been a sufferer of gout – the crystallisation of uric acid in the blood. The popular notion of it being some ‘old man’ ailment should be dispelled, as I acquired the condition in my 30s. I remain convinced that this was life providing me with a lesson in karma as, shortly before I was diagnosed with it, I had been mocking a close friend suffering from it. We at least became closer thanks to gout. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s seriously not fun when it flares up.

I’ve also had minor surgery recently to address some lazy veins in my leg that seem to be indifferent to pumping blood back up to the heart. It wasn’t a big deal, but the support stockings I had to wear for a few weeks were very unattractive – that shade of green is so not my style.

Getting a bout of COVID sucked. Fortunately my suffering was shared with my wife and we mooched around, zombie-like, for a week or so. Afterwards it was interesting to learn that we’d both felt so exceptionally ill that we’d had quite similar morbid thoughts, doubting a recovery at all.

This year marks my half-century. Do I feel grown-up and mature? Sometimes. But that perspective of adults seeming to be so assured, having robust plans, knowing what to do etc. that I had as a child has turned into the realisation that most of us are winging it. Just wanting to get through each day with as little drama as possible.

Turning 50, one of my revelations is that I can say “I remember when..” with far more integrity. The world has changed since I was a lad. We only need to see what videogames were like back then to what we have today. Or that we’ve seen breakthroughs in technology become standard and then obsolete. Compact Disc, anyone?

These are far from the only epoch-level changes I could remark upon, but I’ve also learned a few lessons about diplomacy and discretion in the last 50 years.


I am not wise.

But, by and large, I am happy and content.

In bringing this lengthy post to its conclusion I thought I’d wrap up with one or two of the things I believe have meaning and value.

Learn to laugh at yourself. The most tiresome, inflexible and downright boring people I’ve encountered in life are almost always the ones that take themselves incredibly seriously. I’m not suggesting that people must always be trying to undermine themselves, or go out of their way to act in some infantile way. But if you can’t laugh at yourself then the only people that do will be other people.

Count your blessings. It’s human nature to be acutely aware of what we yearn for, or when we feel we’ve been wronged. These shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed outright. But I do feel it’s worthwhile to get some balance and take a moment, now and again, to take stock of the things that you do have. Good health. Supportive family. A fancy schmancy GPU. Knowing you have food to eat for your next meal and so on. It doesn’t have to be a sexy list, but some of those things we take for granted would drastically impact on us if we lost them.

Pick your battles. Fighting takes effort and I’m a lazy person. I don’t think I can challenge every perceived injustice that’s been committed against me. And if I did, what would I gain? Would it be worth that effort? What could I be doing in that time instead? (playing videogames, duh!)

Talk is cheap. I love to complain. We all do at times. “My work sucks” and so on. Talking is easy. What’s hard is to act. To do something to address those things we complain about. OK, so work sucks. Then why not change your job? I’ve learned that when people genuinely care about a grievance they keep raising they will turn words into meaningful action. Not action that expects other people to make changes – but action they enact themselves. Lots of people claim to want change – but very few are prepared to change.

And, for today, this is where I leave you. Thank you for making it this far – and for any support or feedback you’ve given me. Perhaps I’ll get back into the habit of posting a little more frequently.. ..but then, I do have a new Zelda game that I should get around to starting..

Off on my jollies

Vous êtes une pomme de terre avec le visage d'un cochon d'inde
Vous êtes une pomme de terre avec le visage d’un cochon d’inde

Well, just one more day of work to go before a fortnight of Not Doing Very Much can begin. Some may argue that I’ve spent much of my life performing that particular activity. I would respond at length to those sort of people but, frankly, it sounds like too much effort.

I will be away from Dante, my self-built PC/Media Server (or ‘rig’ if you prefer that term). Dexter, our cat, will somehow have to cope with not pestering anyone for attention at 4am but will have the run of the place to himself. I expect he’ll have seen all the Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women he can stand by the time we return.

I’m travelling light, with most of my holiday gear being transported in shopping bags. I’m confident this will be good practice should I pursue a career as a hobo. I hear it’s a very equal opportunities workplace with as much holiday time as you want but the options for advancement don’t seem to be very, well, advanced.

I’ll miss our glorious opening of the Oylmpics, where the weather will be perfect, Boris won’t act like some spoon-fed buffoon and G4S will have made good – having checked the sofa and found a few thousand security staff they’d forgotten all about.

What could possibly go wrong?

Something something dark side

Well, it seems that many others are watching this, so you may as well see it too. I can certainly vouch for its authenticity but I haven’t a clue how a full console build gets out into the wild.


Now that’s what I call an unfinished game.

My favourite bug during development were the overscaled Ewoks on Endor. You may think Ewoks are cute. Just you wait until you run into one that’s 10 feet tall.

I read it on the Internet..

..so it must be true!

Worse yet, the increasingly break-neck pace of internet news reporting – and the feedback loop it often turns into – has turned even some of the more wacky conspiracies into an odd kind of accepted wisdom. Monday’s left-of-field interpretation of an event becomes Tuesday’s “well, obviously!” comment on a thousand blogs (each just parroting the last, but none willing to admit it), and by Wednesday it’s enshrined on Wikipedia as historical fact.

A moment of clarity provided by GamesIndustry.biz in an article covering the Resident Evil: Mercenaries single-save ‘fiasco’.

Hacked off

The headlines both on and offline seem to be increasingly littered with the doings of hackers. These digital rapscallions dashing to and fro, performing acts of daring like some cyberpunk Zorro. It’s all so gosh darn romantic.

Certain readers may have spotted that koffdrop.com itself was hacked recently. Apparently the site was targetted and labelled as an enemy of Pakistan. Now, there’s a good reason why I’ve not declared my views on Pakistan very prominently on my site. That would be because I don’t have any. Since the incident, however, I’m of the opinion that Pakistan has some pretty shoddy and misguided hackers.

Elsewhere, various databases are hacked by more proficient (though equally misguided) hackers and wodges of private data and spilled onto torrent sites. Here and there various hacking groups claim responsibility for such acts. I think that’s a behaviour worth making a mental note of. Can you think of other types of activists who claim responsibility for their incendiary activities? I can.

In gaming circles there is much emotive talk about Geohot and PlayStation 3. The media, fawning buffoons that they are, simply can’t resist the salicious David-versus-Goliath spin on all of this and adding more melodrama to a topic that too many folk are using personal feelings rather than concrete data to draw conclusions from.

Now, amongst the feedback of all of this there are a few principles being hammered out:

  • I bought the PS3. It’s mine. I can do what I like with it
  • The PS3 was targetted due to the removal of the “Other OS” functionality
  • Hackers, GeoHot specifically, do not endorse piracy
  • Hacking does not equal piracy

Let’s review these in a little more detail

I bought the PS3. It’s mine. I can do what I like with it

No, that’s incorrect. Like nearly every single argument where someone starts by saying “I bought X so…” the understanding of ownership is flawed. Arguments based on that flawed understanding are going to be increasingly flawed.

What you bought is a device that provides access to a manufacturer’s technology and services. You own the device, you do not own the technology or service. Furthermore, that access is given to you under specific terms and conditions that you agree to before the device allows you to use it and, further to that, usage of the device typically declares your consent to the terms.

It’s crucial to appreciate the distinction between the device and the technology inside it and the service(s) it provides.

Similar principles are true of software. When you buy a game you have not purchased the software. You have purchased a copy of someone else’s software and a licence to use that copy under specific terms. The software is still owned by the software publisher. The shiny disc is yours, the data on it is not.

Back to hardware. As far as the device is concerned, you can do what you like. Smash it with a hammer and put a video of it on YouTube. Paint it bright pink. The hardware people don’t care. Start fucking about with the technology though, well, that’s a different story. Modifying the technology to work in a way that is not sanctioned by the terms under which you agreed to use it – you’d be the one in the wrong buster, not the guys who own the technology and who sold you the device.

On top of this, consumers get bent out of shape really quickly the moment a company doesn’t maintain their side of an agreement. When consumers decide to break that agreement? Well shee-it, that’s their God-given right dammit! And just because they don’t keep their word doesn’t mean they should lose any perks or benefits. Convenient double-standards at play in that mentality, don’t you think?

The PS3 was targeted due to the removal of the “Other OS” functionality

There’s a number of fallacies at play in this statement. Let’s start with the most glaring by asking what prompted the removal of that functionality in the first place?

Oh, hang about, that would be because it was abused by hackers. It’s funny how they keep that side of things rather quiet when justifying their crusade isn’t it? You hacked it and so it got removed. Now you’re acting like the removal was unfair so you’re hacking things even more. The concepts of cause and effect appear to be lost on these people. Which is a bit odd because hackers are, broadly speaking, pretty smart guys.

OtherOS, as its name suggests, allowed the installation of other operating systems onto the PS3. Notably linux. Now, if you’re looking for a platform to run linux on and you feel that your only choice is a $600 videogames console as opposed to, say, a $500 computer then you’re not going to get very far handling an operating system like linux. For a start, you won’t have a keyboard, let alone the appreciation of using the right tool for the right job. So let’s dispense with the notion that OtherOS provided a crucial service that simply could not be replicated to an equal standard in any other form.

Let’s also dispense with the idea that anybody gave a shit about OtherOS until it was revealed as means to exploit the PS3’s security and tempt greedy gamers with the prospect of pirating games instead of paying for them.

So, in response to the actions of hackers, Sony removed OtherOS with a firmware update. Internet crybabies screamed that their most beloved of PS3 features (that one that they never used but had recently become very interested in) was going to be taken away from them. Of course they did – because people bitch about having something taken away from them, even if they never intended to use it. “But it’s the principle!” they cry. Well, gee, if there’s one thing we know about gamers it’s that they’re people of principle. So long as that principle serves them, that is. Otherwise the rest of the world can fuck off for all they care. But, you know, principles. Principles!

Hackers, GeoHot specifically, do not endorse piracy

That’s so true. Hackers are digital freedom-fighters. Enabling free speech from the evil corrupt closed-nature of the cyber-confines that these monolithic and brooding corporations impose upon helpless citizens.

This is a hacker:

Brazil Article: Hacked Off http://www.koffdrop.com/?p=1070

Now, if I were a pacifist I might be against guns. So to prove my point, I’d hack guns so that ammunition of any sort can be made freely available to any gun-owner and I’d broadcast my methods to the world. No, I’m not endorsing unlicensed use of firearms, sir! I’m a pacifist! See, I wrote it on my blog so it must be true. What do you mean by saying my actions contradict my words. I wrote it down on the internet. The internet doesn’t lie!

Sarcasm aside, saying you don’t endorse piracy whilst indirectly yet knowingly enabling a tidal wave of piracy is what is commonly referred to as bullshit.

Once again, let’s remember that hackers are smart geezers. They understand things that would leave most of us baffled. So shrugging their shoulders and acting like they don’t know what they’re not aware of the impact of their actions is spectacularly unconvincing.

Hacking does not equal piracy

Preach on brother!

Yes, lets overlook a huge wave of historical evidence that sets the template for cause and effect and say that hacking doesn’t equal piracy. Of course it doesn’t. Why doesn’t it? Because hackers don’t endorse piracy, didn’t you hear?!

So, OtherOS was around for a few years. The PS3 was unhacked. Folk had the oppurtunity to use a powerful, open console to develop homebrew applications for the benefit of others. Did they? Not really, no.

PS3 gets hacked. Hacking doesn’t equal piracy though, does it? How long did it take for people to start using the hacks to enable pirate copies of software to run on the system? Days.

But that most be coincidence because, you know, hacking brings oppurtunity for betterment, not piracy. There’s no evidence to suggest that piracy follows a hacked system like the papparazzi follow Paris Hilton. Well, nothing aside from every hacked console there’s ever been in the last 25 years. But, you know, that’s not really relevant I guess. Real world facts have no place when you’re preaching a sermon, do they?

And the PS3 has been hacked. So what wondrous benefits to people has it brought other than piracy? Well, there’s been.. erm.. lots of cheating. Yes! See, cheaters can enjoy their games using less skill and ruin the experience for all the people that still play by the rules. Remember folks, gamers are all about principles! What else has hacking enabled other than mass cheating and piracy? Well… some emulators I guess. Whoop dee doo. What about PS2 backwards compatibility – lots of people are asking for that!.. er nah. I guess the hackers aren’t really into that.

Hey, what about reinstating OtherOS functionality? Tellingly.. no.

But, hey, principles!

So when you strip away all the worthless pantomime drama and the greed and the general ignorance at play in all of this you have a fairly transparent behaviour being dressed up as something more than it is. It’s just a script kiddie having a tantrum and wanting attention.

The hackers we have been reading so much about recently are not doing anyone any favours. They are not crusading for the greater good they are merely digital terrorists. When their particular beliefs are not being met they do not communicate like civil people, they hide behind $TuP1D NAME$ and exploit those that aren’t doing things in the manner they want, happily letting innocents get caught up in the crossfire of their narrow-minded antics.

What will happen as a result of this? Systems will become more closed and more secure as a response to this behaviour. Hackers will insist that things should be more open and free, persistently refusing to take their own actions into account and just giving everyone they lash out against good reason to make things more secure and more closed.

Hackers need to drop the pretence and learn how to resolve their issues like civil, mature human beings.