Has Nick Fury Been Preparing for the Events of Avengers 4 All Along?

So let me preface this post by mentioning that I do not read comic books. I love comic book movies, I love the animated TV shows, and I even love the games, but I have probably read about 4 comics in my life and only one of them was about superheroes. The reason I mention this is because my theory may or may not be explained within comics and similarly, it may be completely contradicted by comics. Anyway, this theory is going to revolve primarily around Nick Fury and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie and Avengers 4. You don’t need to worry about spoilers because everything I will be discussing has either been mentioned in previous movies or was in the Captain Marvel trailer.

Let me just also mention the intention of this post. I’m not simply implying that Nick Fury has been preparing for ‘a’ threat but rather a specific threat. My concerns with Captain Marvel (given that we’ve had 10 years worth of movies) is that it takes place in the past and yet she hasn’t been directly mentioned at all, only hinted at during the post-credits scene of Infinity War. My theory (or observation) is that Captain Marvel will still make complete sense in relation to the events and characters that we’ve already seen within the MCU (which will take place in the future in relation to Captain Marvel).

Background

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia

It’s probably also worth mentioning that I was slightly under the influence of marijuana when this idea popped into my head. I was watching Avengers: Assemble (which I believe is just called Avengers outside of the UK) and it took me about an hour to get through the first 15 minutes because I created about four separate word documents covering random shit. I created character profiles and discussed the motivations of certain Avengers, and I started compiling evidence of how Iron Man is a hypocrite in every single movie he is in. Maybe these will float to the surface at a later date but today I’m going to focus on a theory that took up less than 2 lines of one of the word documents.

So what is the theory? In order to understand that, I want to discuss a very clear problem with the Captain Marvel movie: it takes place in the 1990s, so why have the events of the movie never been mentioned within the MCU? We know that Nick Fury was there, we know that Phil Coulson was there, and we know that Project Pegasus (the name of the base that gets blown up at the start of the first Avengers movie) was also a part of it. These could be inconsistencies but there is also a larger issue at stake which leads us to question the motivations of Nick Fury, but before I discuss that, I need to explain what Captain Marvel is ultimately going to be about.

The Skrulls

Nick Fury MCU

image via Screen Rant

So just to reiterate, I don’t read comic books. So if my information in this part is wildly off, I do apologise. As far as we can tell, Captain Marvel will cover the invasion of the Skrulls who are essentially an alien species that can shapeshift (or something similar) in order to look like anyone. Outside of the MCU in Agents of SHIELD (which is still the same universe but just isn’t “cinematic”) the Skrulls are mentioned during a storyline involving the Kree. Just in case you need a reminder, the Kree are the big blue fucks e.g. Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy (a character also listed as appearing in Captain Marvel). Anyway, the Kree and the Skrulls were at war which is why the Kree begin creating Inhumans on Earth as part of an army that will fight the Skrull.

Arguably, this is a storyline that has been running for almost as long as the Thanos one. I think the Kree and the idea of Inhumans started back in season 2 of Agents of SHIELD, so about 4 years ago. This raises another problem with Captain Marvel because Inhumans haven’t so much as been mentioned in the movies and yet it seems like they play an important role in both the Kree and Skrull storylines. It’s somewhat annoying because there is no way that the Agents of SHIELD characters (such as Daisy Johnson) will ever make an appearance in the MCU.

Anyway, I don’t want to delve too deep into the MCU lore. I just wanted to cover the basics here of who the Skrull are and what their motivations might be within Captain Marvel. If these creatures can take on the shape of any person, you can understand why they pose such a major threat. I’m pretty sure I read something somewhere that one of the main characters in the comics turned out to be Skrull. It might even have been a few of them but I can’t fully remember. Anyway, that’s all you really need to know about the Skrull in order for my theory to make sense.

Phase 02

Nick Fury MCU

image via The Film Geek Blog

As I mentioned already, this theory popped into my head while watching the first Avengers movie. There were two moments that made me stop the movie so I could type some notes.

  1. Why would Nick Fury (and SHIELD) be hoarding Hydra weapons with the intentions of making weapons of mass destruction?
  2. Why would Nick Fury go along with Project Insight?

I want to discuss each of these questions because when you begin to explore them, they actually make sense when you consider the Captain Marvel movie…and only when you consider it, otherwise they are completely illogical.

So why would Fury and SHIELD by hoarding the Hydra weapons from Captain America: The First Avenger? I know he gives an explanation (he essentially blames Thor and the events in New Mexico) but it seems a little weak, especially when you consider that Fury has been through the events of the Captain Marvel film, whatever they may be. We know from Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Fury has a history of ignoring commands in favour of what he deems to be the right decision. Even in the Avengers movie he goes against the wishes of the Council at literally opportunity.

Secondly, why would Nick Fury, a man completely against widespread destruction and unnecessary death, be in support of Project Insight? He knew how deadly they would be, he knew that in the wrong hands they would be devastating, and yet he took the risk. Why?

Project Insight

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel-Movie Wikia

Project Insight is one of the more important aspects of my theory. I know that Project Insight isn’t a major story arc until The Winter Soldier but it’s actually mentioned in the first Avengers movie…at least that is my understanding of the scene. When Phase 2 is discovered and Cap, Tony, Thor and Bruce confront Nick Fury, Natasha mentions something. She says that SHIELD has a watch-list that includes the people in the room. Bruce asks her “And Captain America is on that list?” clearly questioning why SHIELD would have the most moral person on the carrier on a watch-list. Natasha replies with “We all are!”

It would seem like a pretty huge coincidence if the same watch-list that is in SHIELD’s possession in Avengers just also happens to be the list used by Hydra when commencing Project Insight. I mean as far back as the post-credits scene of the first Iron-Man movie, Nick Fury asks Tony “you think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it.”

Arguably, Fury and SHIELD could have that list entirely for the purposes of recruiting certain heroes to the Avengers and keeping an eye on the others…or, alternatively, this list could exist in order to monitor the largest threats. If the Skrull can impersonate anyone, certain individuals are going to pose a larger threat than others. How do you deal with an invasion that is taking place right under your nose? You build helicarriers that scan the DNA of the population of the world in order to determine whether they are human or Skrull…unfortunately, Hydra derailed this plan.

The Theory

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I propose (and I’m not saying that this was purposefully done by Marvel, don’t believe they had this level of foresight) that Nick Fury has been preparing for the bigger threat all along. During the invasion of New York why wouldn’t he have paged Captain Marvel? The world wasn’t at risk, just New York and perhaps he had faith that the Avengers could fix things. When Ultron hijacks the internet, intent on eradicating humanity, why doesn’t he page Captain Marvel? Again, perhaps he thought the Avengers could handle it. These are just excuses though and don’t actually relate to my point.

So why would Nick Fury risk hoarding Hydra weapons and creating mass-murder helicarriers with certain individuals being kept on a watch-list? Could it be that he was preparing for the Skrull invasion? Could it be that during the events of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury witnesses first-hand how insane the universe really is and so he takes it upon himself to try and prepare for another incident of that level? We can only assume that since her movie, Captain Marvel has been away fighting Skrull in the same way that the Avengers were still wiping out Hydra cells in Age of Ultron.

Avengers 4

Nick Fury MCU

image via the Shittest New-Outlet in the Universe

So why wouldn’t Nick Fury tell any of the Avengers this? There is a scene in The Winter Soldier that answers this question. Early in the movie, Cap confronts Fury about not sharing the details of the operation. Fury says “the last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” which happens to be something that will take place in Captain Marvel (given that he has both eyes in the trailer). A coincidence? I think not! I think that the events of Captain Marvel give Fury enough reason to assume that potentially everyone is a threat, that potentially everyone is a Skrull.

We know that in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he expresses several times that he couldn’t risk certain key details being discovered by the enemy. Sure, he was probably referencing Hydra but if his character is consistent then we could assume it would apply to a larger threat as well.

However, an important scene takes place in the lift. Nick Fury tells the story of his grandfather who used to carry a gun in his bag and how he would simply show it to anyone who tried to rob him. Is this the purpose of Fury’s actions? Is he trying to give the world a gun to show the universe?

Of course there is one character who we can assume Fury did confide in: Hawkeye. We know that Fury and Hawkeye have been working closely together ever since the latter was recruited to SHIELD. In Age of Ultron we get that super boring family story and we learn that Fury helped him keep it all off the grid. We also know that Hawkeye has been aware of Fury’s plan on more than one occasion, including in Age of Ultron. So where was he during Infinity War? I think it is highly likely that he was fighting Skrull invaders. Apparently his storyline in Avengers 4 is related to fighting the Yakuza, an organised crime syndicate in Japan. Of course this would seem like a bizarre priority given that half of the universe has just been snapped out of existence. Therefore it seems more likely that his mission is related to carrying on where Captain Marvel left off.

In Summary

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I believe that Captain Marvel will set up Nick Fury’s motivations for the rest of his timeline i.e. the MCU movies we’ve already seen. Thor and the events in New Mexico won’t have hugely threatened Nick Fury because he knows there is a larger and more pressing matter at hand. The same goes for Loki’s invasion of New York, the same goes for the fall of SHIELD and Hydra, and the same goes for the rise of Ultron. To quote Tony Stark’s opinion of Nick Fury: “He’s a spy. Captain. He’s THE spy. His secrets have secrets.”

That’s why I think Hawkeye is on a secret Skrull-killing mission. Not only that, it’s why SHIELD were so insistent on making weapons based around those used by Hydra, the Destroyer, the Chitauri, Ultron, and more. It’s also why Nick Fury was willing to risk an idea as dangerous as Project Insight become a reality. Provided the Captain Marvel movie doesn’t generate any major plot holes, everything else within the MCU in relation to Nick Fury’s plan still makes sense.


Thanks for reading! Does my Nick Fury theory make sense or is my inner-fanboy clouding my vision? Let me know down below! 

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

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The Franchise Problem: My Sequel Escalation Theory!

The Franchise Problem: Even before you read this article, you probably have a rough idea about what I’m going to say. We’re all very much aware of the fact that Hollywood, as a representative of the movie industry, has churned out some absolute monstrosities over the years. This is particularly true of movie sequels and in many cases it leads to disappointed fans, a decrease in profits, and the plummeting of a franchise into the dirt. Unfortunately, this is rarely the end as usually such a dive simply leads to a reboot, prequel, or something else entirely indicative of the money-hungry ghouls working behind the scenes to push garbage down our throats for £15 a ticket!

The Problem

Sequel

image via YouTube

So let’s not waste time! The problem is quite clear and we can see examples of it literally everywhere! What is that problem? The drive for money calling shotgun instead of creativity or storytelling. Not sure what I mean? Allow me to list some examples and see if you can spot the connection between them all:

  • Paranormal Activity
  • Mission Impossible
  • James Bond (exclusively Daniel Craig’s Bond)
  • Fast and Furious
  • The Purge
  • Alien and Predator (specifically related to Prometheus)
  • Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick
  • Transformers
  • Terminator

Notice anything similar between all of these franchises? No? They all fell into one of two franchise traps: Trap 1: This is where one movie succeeds and so they make another one, then another one, and then another one. It’s sort of like making a TV series but episode by episode instead of with some overarching storyline. Trap 2: This is where a company commits to far too many movies without having a chance to see whether the audiences like them or not. Think Marvel but less successful. Marvel has the next 20 or so movies already planned out. Don’t believe me? OK…let’s take a look at some of the examples.

Before we do, let me share with you a revelation I had with TV shows. I used to love shows like The Flash, Elementary, and The Mentalist (just to name a couple of examples). What did all of these shows have in common? Despite having an overarching story they all followed the same pattern. Say an episode was 50 minutes long with 20 episodes per season. The first episode would reel you in with some compelling storyline. Episodes 2-18/19 would contain 45 minutes of almost the exact same thing every single episode. Some characters would change, there would be different lessons, and sometimes we’d learn something new about the main characters. Then in the last 5 minutes would reveal some shocking detail that added to the overall story. Sound familiar?

Paranormal Activity

Sequel

image via Ranker

By the 5th movie, the scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity movies was the fact that they were still being made. I can’t claim to have any insight into the overall plan for the franchise. Maybe they set out to make as many as they did. I’d be inclined to believe that they didn’t. The first movie was pretty freaky, it was original, and it did a good job of scaring moviegoers. Then they did the same thing again with the sequel but people were still entertained, then they did it again, and again…

What changed? Well, the characters changed but ultimately the goings on stayed almost exactly the same from one movie to the next. Yet at the end of every single movie, some “Earth-shattering” detail is revealed. “Oh my God, it’s the same family” or “Oh my God, that’s the creepy cult discussed in the previous movie” or “Oh my God, those are the sisters we saw in the first couple of movies and this dude has travelled through some wormhole…or some shit”. I sort of lost interest in the movies and I can’t really remember all the details. I just remember some magical door that led to a creepy cult house.

With each new movie they had to up the ante though something that I’ll dub “sequel escalation theory”. Each ending became more intense, the stakes became more “real”, and new details are revealed which are supposed to lure us in and make us crave another sequel. There are 6 of these movies in total…6! After the first one, nothing new is added…at all. This could be an example of a Trap 1 movie but I think it’s more likely that they just enjoyed the success of the first movie and rode it for another 5.

Mission Impossible and James Bond

Sequel

image via Screen Rant

Mission Impossible is, without a shadow of a doubt, an example of a Trap 1 movie series and finely details sequel escalation theory. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mission Impossible franchise (or at least I did until Fallout). With Mission Impossible, the stakes were already incredibly high by the 2nd movie whereby the mission is stopping a biological weapon. The third involves stopping the mysterious “rabbits foot” from falling into the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. Number four involves nuclear bombs. Five relates to an underground terrorist organisation made up of ex-agency personnel. You get the idea.

Ultimately, these movies (similarly to Bond) largely work because there doesn’t need to be any storyline from one movie to the next. That’s the point! That’s exactly why it works. There may be the occasional nod, there may be characters the stay constant throughout the series (particularly the central characters), but that’s it! We don’t need huge intricate storylines connecting one movie to the next. This is where both these franchises fall and why I’d label them Trap 1 movies (although in a slightly different sense to the rest of my examples.

If we look at Spectre or Mission Impossible: Fallout, we see the exact same problems popping up. Villains from previous movies whose stories have already been told reappear to suggest that the new movie and a previous movie (or movies) are connected. In both cases the writers failed miserably. I was so excited to see Christoph Waltz as a villain and yet the actor was wasted on connecting the imaginary dots of a convoluted story. Similarly, Sean Harris was excellent as Solomon Lane…but he’d been defeated and we didn’t need some absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable (even by Mission Impossible standards) plot about his continued role as the villain.

Fast and Furious and Transformers

Sequel

image via YouTube

Once again, we can see examples of Trap 1 movies. Do you remember when the Fast and Furious movies were about illegal street races? I know that seems unbelievable now when you see where the movies have ended up these days. It’s only a matter of time before they are in space! Each movie had to be an escalation of the previous one. We went from street racing to bank robberies to weird revenge stories tied up in huge government conspiracies…again, I lost interest by maybe the 7th one…the one with the 7,000 mile long airport runway. You eventually reach a point where the escalation has just become too much and then the movies manage to lose everything that people once enjoyed about them while also offering nothing interesting to fill in the gap. Then they turn to either a prequel or a spin-off (Hobbs and Shaw).

Transformers works even better as an example because we can use the plot to highlight just how poorly planned the franchise is. So Transformer was pretty awesome: I loved the show as a kid and Shia LaBeouf is entertaining to watch. The story was pretty open and closed so there was no real reason for a sequel (of course we all knew one would be on its way). After all, the villain was dead, the hero got the girl, and the government learned to work with the machines.

Yet Rise of the Fallen opens with a new backstory that reveals new information. Suddenly, the machines had been on Earth long before originally suggested. They didn’t come searching for the cube (which we were led to believe had landed on Earth by chance) but rather because our sun needed to be harvested. The pyramids hide crazy sun-eating machines and Sam literally dies…what? The third movie once again rewrites history by telling us that a special ship escaped Cybertron and just so happened to land on the moon. Now the overall plan wasn’t related to the all-powerful cube or the sun-eating machines but magical cylinders that teleport planets!

I did watch the fourth one but for the life of me I cannot remember the plot. I think it had something to do with cosmic hitmen or bounty hunters? I remember dinosaurs appeared as some stage but that sums about all of my Transformers 4 knowledge. I literally just discovered there was also a 5th one that involved Transformers being on Earth during the Middle Ages whereby they give Merlin a magical staff? Fuck knows…

Suffice to say that Transformers is also an example of how thirsty the Ghouls are. There is a Bumblebee spin-off movie coming out next year (I believe) with the entire franchise being rebooted in the not so distant future. What’s the lesson here? If you lack consistency and forward-thinking then you can just scrap all the previous movies and start over. This takes us nicely to Terminator…sigh…

Terminator

Sequel

image via Hollywood Reporter

Now before you get ahead of yourself, the first three Terminator movies are perfectly fine (in terms of story consistency) in my opinion. I mean we can clearly see the gears turning as far as the plan to churn out more movies but hey ho…the point being that we then got Terminator Salvation which was absolutely dreadful. This was followed by the equally as disastrous (actually, it was definitely much, much worse) Terminator: Genisis…Genysis? Genisys. James Cameron wants to make a whole new trilogy, for some fucked up reason and it will be entirely female-led (with the exception of Arnold, of course)…because that worked really well for Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8!

It seems that ultimately, no idea stays original for long. Undoubtedly the franchise is going to continue screwing with the timeline in order to try and make up some nonsensical story. It didn’t work with Genisys and I doubt it’s going to work for any future movies. The truth is that they’ve taken a turn in the wrong direction. AI and crazy ass robots are practically nearing Terminator levels and yet the movies barely touch on that. They could really send a message regarding the future of AI research instead of making stupid-ass upgrades to time traveling robots!

Honestly, I feel like this is another example of a franchise that is already dead. I don’t know a single person who is interested in seeing the series continue. They must have Schwarzenegger’s nuts in a vice to be convincing him time and time again to return for these shit movies!

The Purge and Riddick

Sequel

image via UpRoxx

I’m not going to spend too much time discussing these movies as I feel like if you’ve ever watched them then you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Let’s start with The Purge. I have to admit that his franchise was original…at least the idea was. The first movie became exactly the same as any other home invasion movie that has ever been made. However, the sequel was excellent. They managed to create this deeper layer for the movie that touched on the political side of the purge itself. We got to see this idea unfold that the purge benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

However, the third movie took this too far and became incredibly boring. We again found ourselves faced with new characters whose backstories need a prologue just to make them seem relevant, with previous characters being dragged back into the mix for no real reason. Of course they realised that going forward wasn’t going to work anymore and so The First Purge was born. They stuck to their guns with the political aspect of the movie and once again failed. Can people not be content with having one successful movie?

This takes us to Riddick. Pitch Black introduced us to the character and told a rather self-contained story that didn’t need a sequel by any means. There was a time in my life when I actually enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick (although that time has long since passed). However, a movie I enjoyed much less was Riddick, the third movie in the series that seemingly brushes off the previous movies by literally giving us the exact same story as Pitch Black. I mean the similarities were beyond ridiculous and they STILL managed to make me hate the character. Of course what do you do when the franchise begins to decline? You do a spin-off…or in this case, a reboot!

Alien, Predator and Prometheus

Sequel

image via Inverse

This example is arguably the most frustrating as there was real potential to create some great movies. However, it also demonstrated my escalation theory (and it’s following “solution” perfectly). Alien was once a truly intriguing movie franchise: a grizzly combination of horror and sci-fi. Then you had Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection…we also had Predator and Predator 2. By the time we got to Alien vs Predator (which also had a sequel: Alien vs Predator Requiem) we had seen every possible combination of what had ultimately become a played out, repetitive and tedious franchise.

Here we can see a fine example of the escalation I was referring to earlier: They have to add more and more content that they believe to be compelling and intriguing. Alien was about an alien on a ship. That was practically it! Predator was about a Predator. These movies were simple in their idea but worked well. Now what are we doing? The aliens got bigger and apparently, according to the trailer for this year’s new ‘The Predator’ movie: they are evolving into some sort of stupid-ass ultra-predator. C’mon Ridley Scott, where is your imagination and creativity?

Eventually, in rolls Prometheus…and I am literally shaking my head as I write this! Prometheus was exciting (or could have been), it offered new ideas (or could have) and explored concepts of human creation that are deeply rooted in some of the oldest mythologies (or at least it briefly touched upon them). Instead, Prometheus turned into a fucking Alien prequel! Not only that, but it turned into a whole “why would our creators care about us?” lesson. I mean it doesn’t shock me. I love Damon Lindelof as a writer but he needs to mix things up a bit. I kept waiting on a well scene like Lost and The Leftovers.

Still…Prometheus set itself up for a sequel and it ended on an intriguing note: a woman and her robotic travel companion are heading to the home world of their creators. Wrong! What should have been Prometheus 2 ultimately became Alien: Covenant. A movie that repeats the exact same story we had literally just watched in Prometheus but with new characters. As far as I’m concerned, the franchise is dead. I already wrote about Alien: Covenant before so I won’t go into another rant about it here. Suffice to say that we see the escalation: more evolved creatures doing the exact same thing as the other creatures, and the solution to the decline: prequels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Sequel

image via New York Sight Seeing

This is sort of a bonus section (as are the two that follow) that popped into my head a couple of days after writing this post. I realised that while I’ve discussed some pretty popular franchises here, but not the most popular. I mean Harry Potter is a franchise, right? I thought to myself: there aren’t really any flaws with the Harry Potter franchise because it’s following books and so the storyline is there to follow. From the first film, they’ve known the direction the films were headed in. Does this world put an end to my escalation theory? Actually no, quite the opposite. The Harry Potter universe is the icing on the cake.

How come? Well, while the Harry Potter movies themselves work as examples of how to make a franchise, what follows them is the undoubtedly a trap 2 mistake. We know this because there are already 5 movies planned. In my opinion, 1 movie would have been bad enough. Granted, the movie was slightly more enjoyable than I imagined but that really isn’t saying much. These movies are nothing but a soulless cash grab. Just like the Harry Potter mobile game.

I mean maybe I’m wrong…maybe they have an incredibly coherent story that needs 5 movies…but considering that it’s already been announced that the final film will take place in 1945 and end with Albus Dumbledore defeating Grindelwald in a duel, resulting in him becoming the possessor of the Elder Wand, I don’t see how they can stretch the content that far. Especially when you consider that Grindelwald will be a major player in the 2nd movie and that they are limited by Voldemort being known (in the future) as the most evil wizard to have ever lived, and one of the most powerful.

I mean, we can already see the escalation theory at work: Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off and they will, through one form or another, need to escalate the storyline from where it’s already set e.g. Harry Potter level and that of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Just look at that crazy-ass creature that existed in the first film. What the fuck was that?

DCEU

Sequel

image via Geeks.Media

I’m not going to badmouth Marvel in this article for two reasons: 1) I’m a marvel fanboy and I think they are great movies and 2) I think Marvel is what all these other franchises look to. They see the success of this massive, decade long, 20+ movie universe and they want to get a piece of it for themselves…all unsuccessfully. DC would be a prime example.

I’m purposefully referring to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) because the movies before that were great. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy nailed it! I mean I don’t think anyone can criticise those movies with any objective flaw. So the DCEU starts (and potentially ends) with Superman in Man of Steel. I could write a whole article about that movie because it should have and could have been awesome, certainly the trailer made it look that way.

I’m going to list and rate each movie from the DCEU so far: Man of Steel (6.5/10), Batman V Superman (5/10), Suicide Squad (4/10), Wonder Woman (I haven’t watched) and Justice League (3/10). DC was so thirsty to copy the success of Marvel that they jeopardized the story and characters in the process. I’ve never met a single person who enjoyed either Batman V Superman or Justice League. Yet DC manages to fall into the trap 2 category as this is the line-up of their upcoming movies: Aquaman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman 1984, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, Birds of Prey, The Batman, Black Adam, and a number of other movies including not one but two Joker movies (played by different actors).

This is all made dramatically worse when we learn that the recently resurrected Superman will likely be killed off as the actor, Henry Cavil, is stepping down. This is largely related to DC moving its Super-person focus to the opposite sex in the form of a Supergirl movie (although I wonder if her name will end up being changed to Superwoman). This is probably due in large A) The success of Wonder Woman (particularly in comparison to the other DCEU movies), B) The success of the Supergirl TV series, and C) The strive for more diversity within the movie industry, particularly the superhero franchise.

Star Wars

Sequel

image via StarWars

Now, I’ve discussed the various failings of Star Wars before but as far as I can recall, I’ve stayed relatively quiet on the subject since the disaster known only as The Last Jedi. I love the Star Wars universe (in the sense that it’s a cool idea and some of the characters are awesome) but the movies are somewhat “meh”. I can always watch the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy appears on more rare occasions, this current trilogy can get to fuck, and the Anthology series has been somewhat hit or miss.

Here’s what we know so far about the future of Star Wars: Of course we will get episode 9 which will have to try and clean up the mess episode 8 made, this will be followed by another Anthology movie (I’m hoping Obi-Wan but it could be Boba Fett). We are then getting a trilogy from Rian Johnson and another from the writers of the Game of Thrones TV show. So at least 9 more movies.

Yet again, we encounter a trap 2 franchise. Even before they have a story or a sense of direction, Disney (who own Star Wars now) are commissioning many movies. It is possible to nail these upcoming films. I mean if the Obi-Wan movie tied into the end of Solo, that too could link into a Boba Fett film. Will it? Probably not. The only way the other two trilogies will succeed, in my opinion, is if they are completely, 100% disconnected from the previous movies. Go back 500 years or go forward 500 years but escape all these fucking characters! Please!

Final Thoughts

Sequel

image via Deviant Art

I’ve touched on a lot of these issues in the past. I’ve mentioned Star Wars at least once or twice, I’ve talked about the Fantastic 4, I’ve talked about Avengers, Ghostbusters, Ocean’s 8, Happy Feet, The Maze Runner trilogy, Annihilation, and more…I can hold my hand up and admit that many of these posts are me basically saying that the story could have been better. However, I’m not claiming to have better ideas than the writers. These people are paid (very well) to write and direct these movies and the movies themselves make millions. So my critique is just my own opinion as I have neither the real-world experience nor the professional status to claim to know better.

However, I can’t be alone in thinking that many of these examples do show the downfall of various franchises, usually due to the Ghouls craving money and caring little about the storyline. I mean take Transformers. Michael Bay is all about his explosions and special effects. There are 5 movies and every single one of them the army try to fight Transformers despite the fact that their weapons are useless every single time. Why? Explosions…that’s why!

In this post I’ve proposed my ‘Franchise Escalation Theory’. This is the idea that movies, in an effort to continue making big bucks, will escalate each sequel to a point of ridiculous proportions and will ultimately fall into one of two traps. I went off on a few tangents (to say the least) but hopefully I still explained myself properly.


Thanks for reading! Am I being unreasonable? Do you have any other franchises that you feel went down the same route? Let me know down below! 

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Finding Happiness in Work and Avoiding Deceit!

With the population of the planet nearing 8 billion people, it makes sense that finding a job you’re truly passionate about is going to become more and more challenging. After all, the more people who roam the world, the more competition there is for any given job. Working a job you hate can make your life feel truly miserable: what’s the point of working if you aren’t happy? One thing I’ve found recently, while meandering my way through the job jungle, is that most jobs suck because you’re required to behave in a manner that is ultimately not entirely moral. This post also gives me an opportunity to rant about my most recent job and warn people of its entirely sketchy nature!

The Psychic Company

image via Clyde Fitch Report

So I’m going to start off with the best example of what I’m referring to. This section will serve as a rant but also as a warning as I feel that those who take part in such activities should be made aware of the deceitful nature of these companies. So let me start off by explaining the job: I was hired by a company called “The 7th Circle” and yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds. My job was to connect calls between people wishing to receive psychic readings and the psychics giving said readings. The job title was often referred to as a “psychic’s assistant”.

I took this job because desperate times call for desperate measures. The premise initially sounded fair. People call up and make appointments. I wouldn’t be selling anything, simply connecting calls. If they had so much as mentioned sales I would have been straight out the door. However, I soon learned that there is a sales aspect to the job (although my 4 days of employment prior to quitting didn’t give me enough time to reach that stage). However, there were some truly grizzly details that began to tear away at my very soul.

My Stance

image via Daily Express

I don’t believe in horoscopes, psychics, astrology, or anything that can be associated with magic crystals. However, I have no problem with connecting people to psychics if that is what they want to spend their money on. I mean it isn’t really any different to religion. One thing I realised early on was that this company knew they were being sketchy. For example, when signing up new clients one question you have to ask is “Do you receive disability payments from your government?” About half of the callers’ answer “yes” which leads to the follow-up question of “Are you financially independent?” So provided that person isn’t using someone else’s money, their disability checks can go straight into the hands of this company.

As I said already, I was only there for 4 days and within those 4 days each and every call grated away more and more of my very being. I won’t go into specifics but one call was from a woman who had just given birth a couple of months earlier and wanted a psychic to tell her whether she should break up with her current partner to be with someone she’d been chatting to online. Another call, which was truly heart-breaking, was someone who had spent all their money and had been forced to borrow money from friends just to hear what a psychic had to say about their life. The desperation was apparent even over the phone.

Calls like this were incredibly common and I started trying to find roundabout ways to basically explain that they shouldn’t use this service. My calls were still being monitored by the “higher ups” but I wasn’t far from just telling every client to use the last of their money on something more substantial than nonsensical calls, particularly when there are children involved.

The Truth about the Company!

image via The Ness

So the name of the company is “The Psychic Company” but their website is something like good-psychic.com (I’ve struggled to find the exact link). Suffice to say that it’s an incredibly popular website with an equally as popular call centre. People have spent 10s and even 100s of thousands of dollars through the service and the weight that they put on these psychics is more faith than I’ve ever witnessed anyone place on anything. As I said earlier, that’s completely fine…provided it’s only their life that they are putting in jeopardy.

The thing is (and I don’t say this lightly), it’s all a scam. As in beyond so much as a shadow of a doubt, it’s a scam. I’m not saying this as someone who doesn’t believe in the practices, I’m saying this as someone who had dealt first-hand with the so-called “psychics” and their money hungry desires. Let me explain exactly what I mean.

The way that we get new clients is via the website. People sign up for a free online reading. This involves giving the website your e-mail address and via this address you receive a “reading”. However, not long after you receive an ominous e-mail along the lines of “someone in your life is jealous of you” or “the love of your life is about to slip away” or “someone in your life is in danger”. All of these e-mails end with something like “call us immediately  to speak to Jenny”.

“Jenny” doesn’t even exist. When these people phone in (many of whom have received the exact same e-mail, word for word) we tell them that Jenny isn’t available right now but that her colleagues are.

The Psychics

Psychics

image via Christian Courier

This brings me back to the purpose of this post: the deceit. As of day 3, I was thinking of quitting. On day 4 I almost walked out halfway through the day. By the end of day 4 my mind was pretty much made up. I can’t play a role in allowing people to believe that these psychics are the real deal. When I was being shown the ropes, one of the “tricks of the trade” was to ask clients whether they are interested in speaking to a psychic about love and relationships or careers and finances. Their answer does not matter! They are connected to the first available psychic who is then informed beforehand that this client wishes to focus on one topic or another.

The psychics themselves are miserable. I don’t mean “oh, they deal with a lot of negative energy that messes with the functionality of the heart chakra leading to energy blockages and a messed up feng shui energy”…no, I mean that these people know that they are lying to vulnerable people. They know as well as I do that everything that comes out of their mouth is absolute bullshit! Each call ends with the assistant telling the client “Grace would love to speak to you again; she even has a date in mind just for you”.

For people who claim to believe in karma and spirituality, it seems surprising that they are so happy taking up to $7.50 per minute from people who are claiming benefits from their government. Now, not to sound judgemental here, but none of these people are working on the cure for cancer. They aren’t reading books or trying to better the world. They don’t care about global warming, the bombings in Syria, space exploration, the abortion debate, sweat shops, tensions in North Korea…you get the idea. They are content living their lives week to week because psychics tell them that better things are coming. Hope is great…but remaining financially stable (particularly when you have children) is more important.

The Rat Race

Psychics

image via YouTube

This job (and other like it) is all about deception. It’s not about providing a service, it’s about convincing people that they need the service, even when it doesn’t better their lives in any way. It’s one of the reasons I find advertising to be such a shitty thing to exist. It rarely benefits us. It’s almost entirely about convincing us that we need something that we don’t.

Now, if these psychics genuinely believed in what they were doing and didn’t use sketchy tactics to lure people in, I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it. Like I said earlier, people can believe what they want and spend their money on what they want.

Yet this is a pattern that emerges throughout the job industry. I recently moved to Barcelona and upon arriving I took a job as a Segway Tour salesperson. I loved the sound of it! My job was to drive around on a Segway to find people interested in paying for a tour. The tours involved a group of people riding from landmark to landmark on Segways, stopping at each to learn a little something about it. Sounds good in theory, right?

Not really. Given the size of Barcelona and all the truly remarkable sights you can visit, the tour locations are by far the least amazing areas one could think of. Not only that, those giving the tour typically didn’t speak very good English (despite there being native English speakers such as myself working there) and generally speaking they didn’t offer any great insight into the tour destinations. This job was made worse by the crazy hours in the sun (keep in mind that I’m a pale-white ginger man from Scotland: I’m used to 15 degree summers with 3 days of sun a year) and the fact that we’re only paid commission. I don’t mind selling something that is worth people’s money but selling half-assed tours to boring-ass locations…no thanks.

Hard Work and Dedication

Psychics

image via Inspired 2 Go

By this point, I’m sure some of you think I’m just recoiling at the thought of working hard. I want to take a moment to discuss the job I had prior to moving to Spain: Costco. At the time, I didn’t hugely appreciate my job there. I always felt like I was meant to do more than stock shelves…but in hindsight, I realise that the job was building up to something bigger. I worked hard in that role and I enjoyed doing so. I’d take on extra hours, I’d volunteer for training in new areas, I’d help coach the newbies, and I even went to London and Paris to help set up their stores. Had I always dreamed of working there? No…but it was honest work.

I think the problem stems from the idea that we’ve been raised to believe that jobs like that are beneath us. I know that’s how I viewed it when I worked there. I now realise that’s far from the truth. I rarely felt absolutely defeated after work (unlike with the call centre and Segway jobs) despite Costco involving heavy lifting, dragging huge weights of stock out to the floor, and dealing with customers on a near-constant basis. Leaving work I’d actually feel more accomplished than anything, even if I didn’t realise it back then. If a Costco opens up in Barcelona (which I believe it will sometime in the future) then I’d happily work there.

Whether the work itself is tiring or not isn’t actually what leaves you feeling exhausted. It’s closer related to whether you feel like you’ve A) Exploited people in order to earn a very small amount of money (I was getting less than 5€ an hour for the call centre job) and B) Do you feel like what you’re doing has benefited your life in any way? At Costco I was constantly learning new things. Would I use these things in day to day life? Probably not…but I was also being very physically active and communicating with customers face to face. If you’re doing a job that relates to point B, it will probably work perfectly fine in the short term.

Does this Apply to Freelance Work?

Psychics

image via Hub Pages

So I’m circling back around to the job that I currently do: freelance writing. You may be thinking to yourself that as a freelancer I have more scope for choosing the sort of work I do. The answer is yes and no. When starting out, I had no option but to take shitty, deceptive jobs. This would include making up reviews for Amazon products (such as violins or headphones) or copywriting the work of other people. Are these moral jobs? No, of course not…but when you start out these are the only employers who will hire you.

As I’ve improved my profile, my ratings and my presence on the site (and off it), I’ve been able to choose work that closer aligns with my core values. Currently, I’m writing the audio guide content for a app that covers cities such as Rome and Bruges. It probably works out that I’m paid less than minimum wage but I feel proud of what I’m doing and I know that people are going to benefit from my work. It also improves me portfolio as a writer.

I was about to ask if this was the choice we have to make: a job that pays well but destroys your soul or a job that offers a feel-good factor while paying your pennies? But then I realised that Costco was pretty well paid, certainly one of the higher paid jobs in the retail industry. Also, the call centre and Segway sales jobs paid nothing (which is true for both examples as I literally made no money from either venture).

Final Thoughts

Psychics

image via Deviant Art

This post doesn’t really have any major point. It doesn’t propose a ground-breaking theory or discuss a hugely relevant topic. However, I think it does offer the opportunity to consider whether this is the world we live in. Does chasing your dreams mean that you’ll struggle to pay bills each month? Do we have to abandon our preconceived notions of success and instead focus on jobs that don’t make us lose all our faith in humanity?


Thanks for reading! Are you working towards your dream job or do you believe that life involves working less than ideal jobs in order to enjoy our time outside of it? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Assassin’s Creed: Ranking All 11 Games!

If you’ve ever found yourself on my blog before then you’ve probably stumbled across at least one of my Assassin’s Creed posts. I’ve written about Rogue and how it marked the complete and utter downfall for the series but I’ve also written about Origins (and how I thought it was signalling a much needed reboot) and Odyssey (which quite quickly crushed that hope). In this post I’m going to take a slightly different approach and rate the Assassin’s Creed series. I’ll count down the 11 games, including Odyssey, and I’ll include details such as whether the game is essential for the overall storyline of the series and a 1-10 rating of each game. I’ll covers some pros, some cons and give you an overall idea of what I liked or disliked about the game.

11. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Ubisoft

image via Digital Spy

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is the worst game of the series…by far! It’s a shame really because exploring Paris is actually awesome and there were so many things that were almost great about the game. They brought in certain RPG features allowing you to level up abilities and change more aspects of the character. However, everything in this game was awful. I played this game years (like literally years) after it was released and the game was still buggy!

The story of this game is the weakest in the series: both the past and present day storylines were clearly written by a child. This game added absolutely nothing to the series and in all honesty, I can barely remember anything about it. For those familiar with the games, the only memorable moment was the appearance of the same symbols Desmond sees at the end of the first game…the only problem being that they never really explain why they are there. The gameplay was pretty sloppy, the characters were all unlikable, the piece of Eden may as well have never existed and ultimately it was just a standalone game that should have been scrapped during the brainstorming session.

Rating: 1/10
Pros: Paris was fun to explore…kind of.
Cons: Everything else in the game sucked ass! The entire game was a con…at least it conned over 10 million fans out of their money!
Necessary for understanding series: Absolutely not!

10. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

Ubisoft

image via HDQ Walls

Syndicate was the next game to follow Unity and while it is a slight improvement, it falls into the exact same traps. Ubisoft are money-crazed: that was true back then and it is still true now. So pushing out shitty games that they know people will buy essentially became their company motto. What did Syndicate offer players? Well, the characters were slightly more likeable…slightly. Their storyline however was boring and irrelevant to the overall storyline of the series.

However, improving the ability trees of the characters was a step that I definitely approved of but the weird Batman-style grapple hook and all the other bizarre and out of place gadgets ruined any progress Ubisoft were making. Syndicate did deal with the gun problem in the series by limiting all combat to melee in the forms of gang fights. However, the storyline (which is the biggest factor for me) was slow and boring. Even though the characters were more interesting than Unity, they still sucked! Another problem was the repetitive missions. To conquer an area, you had to just repeat the exact same missions over and over again and I stopped playing this game several times because I saw no point in finishing it.

Rating: 3/10
Pros: Fun gameplay (sort of), interesting development of ability tree.
Cons: Very repetitive missions, pointless POE (piece of Eden) storyline, and pointless and stupid storyline overall.
Necessary for understanding the series: Absolutely not!

9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Ubisoft

image via Dual Shockers

I originally had this in 7th place but after careful consideration, I’ve bumped it down to number 9. I know what you’re thinking: how can I rank the game before I’ve played it. Trust me, I can tell. I’m not denying that Odyssey might be incredibly fun to play and explore but it’s not going to be an Assassin’s Creed game…at all. I let this go slightly in Black Flag but at this stage, especially after Origins, Ubisoft should have got their shit together!

If you want a more in-depth view of why Odyssey will be a major disappointment, you can read about it here but to sum it up: it takes place hundreds of years before Origins, won’t explore any of the lore, will likely have little to no modern day storyline (or at least not one that is going to be compelling). It’s also ruined many of the principles set out in previous games such as letting you choose your character’s sex and alter history.

Rating: 4/10
Pros: The gameplay will probably be great, Spartans will be fun to play as, Ancient Greece is an interesting time period to explore.
Cons: There’s no reason that this is an Assassin’s Creed game. This may as well not exist and the attempts to connect this to Origins are going to fail. If not, I will donate £100 to charity. You have my word!
Necessary for understanding the series: I highly doubt it. I think this game could exist without any knowledge of previous games at all. I also don’t think it will add anything to the series.

8. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

Ubisoft

image via Comunidad Xbox

The more I think about Rogue, the more I realise it’s deserving of number 8 on this list. Annoyingly, Rogue could have been number 1 on this list without much change. Ultimately, the storyline of Rogue is illogical, the character’s change of allegiance makes no sense and when you include the ridiculous number of collectables, side missions, ETC…it’s just unbearable. Rogue SHOULD have been about an assassin who goes Rogue: not to join the Templars but rather to carry out a similar goal: keeping the POE away from the Assassin’s AND the Templars. That would have made sense and have been more fun to play.

Instead, we got this ridiculous storyline about someone who is against killing innocents…but then proceeds to be the only character who can kill innocents. I’ve made this point before but it’s really such an annoying detail. Rather than letting players use Templar tech, they should have just followed Shay on his stand-alone mission whereby he highlights the violent war between the two groups and attempts to limit their impact on the world.

Rating: 5/10
Pros: It was fun to play, Shay was a semi-interesting character.
Cons: Way too many collectibles and side missions, the storyline was poorly written, the POE were completely ridiculous and illogical, the present day storyline was just silly…I could go on.
Necessary for understanding the series: Hell no!

7.  Assassin’s Creed III

Ubisoft

image via Game Pressure

I was struggling to choose the number 9 game for this list. I struggled to choose between 3, Rogue and Odyssey. I initially placed this game at number 9 but after starting to write about Rogue, I switched this one to number 8…and then 7.

Why? Well, for me this game just wasn’t that great but it also wasn’t the worst. This may be due to the fact that the American Revolution just isn’t that interesting to me. I hated that Assassin’s Creed became this very obvious good vs bad concept whereby you had the evil British against the good Americans. They simplified the colonies simply to support the Templar idea and ultimately it didn’t really work.

Assassin’s Creed III wasn’t the worst game in the series and it offered a very interesting insight into the precursor civilisation through holograms found within the precursor temple. However, Connor was not interesting as a character (although his father’s storyline was interesting). His family and essentially the “revenge” storyline actually worked quite well and I did feel like I was involved in the drama. I also enjoyed building the Assassin’s back up from an “unknown fall” which we learn about in Rogue.

Rating: 5/10
Pros: Offered a lot more insight into the precursor civilisation, cool twists.
Cons: Unlikable character, guns made gameplay frustrating and boring, many story elements were left open and never concluded.
Necessary for understanding the series: Yes, unfortunately.

6. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Ubisoft

image via Nintendo

Appearing at number 6 on our countdown is none other than Black Flag. I gave up at this point in the series and only bought it years after its release because I was bored and it was cheap. Was it good as an Assassin’s Creed game? Not hugely, but it did offer some new, compelling ideas (which have never been explored further) and without a doubt the gameplay was a lot of fun. This was essentially the Pirates of the Caribbean game that everyone wanted as a child.

This game, similar to Rogue and others, suffered from having way too many side quests and collectibles. You could say that Black Flag marked the start of this trend actually. Yet the “boss” ship fights, a likeable and fun main character, awesome side characters (Adéwalé was a beast!) and the new take on the modern storyline were all refreshing and exciting. It just wasn’t an Assassin’s Creed game though and I feel like they tried too hard to form weird and convoluted connections to previous story archs (another theme that would continue after this game).

Rating: 5/10
Pros: Fun characters, fun gameplay, being a pirate is awesome.
Cons: Very little development of overarching storylines, started storylines that were never continued, just wasn’t an Assassin’s Creed game.
Necessary for understanding the series: Barely!

5. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Ubisoft

image via Pivi Games

As far as I’m concerned all the games from this point onwards are incredible. If I could give them all first place I would. Sadly, that would defeat the purpose of doing a countdown and so Revelations falls into 5th place. It’s important to state that this game blew my mind. I loved replaying Altair memories: it provided players with closure from the previous games. The same can be said with Ezio as we felt like his story had reached its conclusion.

However, the game itself was flawed. The tower defence shit was OK to begin with but became dull quickly, the guns were already becoming a problem by this stage, the weird Animus island shit (particularly exploring Desmond’s memories) wasn’t as interesting as Ubisoft probably believed it to be, and while I loved the concept of returning to Masyaf, the reasoning felt a bit…dry.

Rating: 7/10
Pros: Playing as both Ezio and Altair was incredible, especially the missions involving the development of Altair’s skills and knowledge. I felt like players got closure on their favourite characters.
Cons: I feel like returning to Masyaf could have felt more deliberate and purposeful, a lot that happened within the storyline of the game felt forced and unnecessary, the Desmond story was just idiotic (although the Clay parts were more interesting).
Necessary for understanding the series: Yes but only in terms of understanding the conclusion of the first few games.

4. Assassin’s Creed II

Ubisoft

image via Game Pressure

Assassin’s Creed II marked our introduction to Ezio and it was an incredible game, one that I have played through at least 4 or 5 times. I mean there are very few flaws: the character was likeable, the story was compelling, we felt empathetic towards Ezio’s situation and the story actually added something to the series.

This was also the first game to properly introduce the idea of “those who came before” through a vault scene in Rome between Ezio and the precursor message for Desmond. That shit blew my mind and I can remember the moment where I completed it and realised I’d have to wait years to find out more. Of course I can’t forget the glyphs and all the crazy hidden messages WITHIN the hidden messages! *cue explosion* ‘The Truth’ video was chilling!

Rating: 8/10
Pros: Great character, excellent storyline, the game itself felt purposeful.
Cons: I died MANY times because the game would make me jump away from the building instead of up. Other than that, I have no real complaints.
Necessary for understanding the series: Definitely!

3. Assassin’s Creed

Ubisoft

image via Game Pressure

So we’ve reached the final 3 and in 3rd place we have the very first game. Many fans of the franchise look down on the original game but for me, it was one of the greats. Was the gameplay a little sketchy? Yes. Were the missions incredibly repetitive? Yes. Were you extremely limited both in terms of how you assassinated and with the weapon you used? 100%…but the storyline was original and drew me in instantly.

We also have to remember that this game set things in motion that would shape the entire series. The Templars and Abstergo were still largely mysterious by the end, the POE were only set up within the last sequence or two, and this came out in 2007! The MCU hadn’t even started yet! Yes, the game mechanics may feel a little basic when re-playing this game and the annoying beggars or repetitive dialogue may get incredibly irritating but this game will never stop being entertaining to me.

Rating: 8/10
Pros: Things were simple, storyline was intriguing, the ending was Earth-shattering!
Cons: The voices used for the NPC’s were the worst and most annoying voices to ever exist (excluding the female love interest in Unity), the missions were somewhat limiting and the combat was about as basic as you can get.
Necessary for understanding the series: Without a doubt!

2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Ubisoft

image via G2A

What can I say? Brotherhood marks one of the highlights of the series. I mean Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world (historically speaking). The game really vamped up the precursor interaction, I actually felt like we were experiencing Ezio grow and learn, and the Glyphs returned and were fun to solve. I mean there were certainly downsides, sure, but both the modern day storyline and the Ezio storyline were still great to play.

I think my highlight from this game was the ability to explore all the incredible Roman structures. The first game didn’t really offer anything like that and while the 2nd game touched on it slightly it is only really in Brotherhood that you can find places like the Colosseum or the Roman Forum and look at these buildings in the game and then go and see the remains in real life (something that I actually did). The ability to call assassin’s seemed crazy to me at the time and I didn’t approve at first (out of stubbornness I refused to use the Brotherhood through almost all of my first play through) but ultimately it became one of the great aspects of the game…along with Leonardo da Vinci!

Rating: 9/10
Pros: Great ending, great character (and character development), amazing city to explore, new weapons and abilities that weren’t quite as ridiculous as some of the later additions.
Cons: Was still a bit glitchy, even years after its release.
Necessary for understanding the series: Definitely!

1. Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Ubisoft

image via Screen Rant

As I said before, the top 5 or so games were all incredible and it’s taken some serious thought to rank them but I have to give first place to Origins, I just have to. If there is a period in time that interests me more than any other (including renaissance Italy) it is Ancient Egypt. So Origins starts out with an advantage. Throw in some refreshing gameplay, new abilities, a return to the old style for the modern day storyline and a bunch of other shit and you get this…and I was very pleased with the final product.

I’ve already played this game through twice and while there were aspects that annoyed the life out of me (you can read more here) it was a very fun and interesting game to play. I really felt like I was in this world and I connected with the characters and their drives. Being able to explore the pyramids or interact with the INSANE precursor temples was truly an awesome experience.

Rating: 10/10
Pros: Fucking EGYPT! Great characters, fun gameplay, side missions rarely got boring.
Cons: Set up false expectations for future games!!
Necessary for understanding the series: Apparently not!


Thanks for reading! Do you agree with my list? Do you have hopes for the future of the series? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Free Speech: Is it a thing of the past?

I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on the UK and why it’s spiralling towards chaos. I’ve discussed the impact of limiting free speech on comedy (and the larger impact this would have), the Royal Family and why they should be given the boot, the incredibly negative effect of alcohol on society (and why marijuana legalisation would fix this), and why Scottish Independence would have been the better move 4 years ago! Some of these posts will apply to everybody, some won’t…but today’s certainly does. I’m going to walk you through the problem with free speech and why fear of being considered a troll, racist or a free-thinker could land you in the hot seat, ultimately leading to the collapse of our society. Sound a little dramatic?

Gregory Alan Elliott: Background

Censorship
If you follow my blog then you’ll be fully aware that I’m not a fan of social media. I’ve written about Facebook before and I only have Twitter as a landing page for my various followers from different sites. So it frustrates me when I hear on the news that people are being charged with crimes because of behaviour on these platforms. Before we look at the UK, I want to discuss Canada (as I feel like it’s somewhat responsible for allowing these nonsensical cases to be brought forward).

So, with that in mind I want to discuss the Gregory Alan Elliott story. This is an important turning point because it was the first prosecution for “harassment” solely through twitter. Way back in 2012, Gregory was arrested on allegations that he harassed several women via Twitter. These women had blocked Gregory but accused him of using hashtags to ridicule them and include others in his mocking of them. Such a technique has been coined “weaponized hashtagging”.

All of this stems from an entirely different issue that I don’t want to discuss in too much depth here. To cut a long story short: Anita Sarkeesian began a kickstarter campaign to raise awareness of female character tropes within the industry. Bendilin Spurr created a game whereby you can punch a photograph of someone’s face (including Anita and Jack Thomson). Stephanie Guthrie then started to contact employers and news organisations in an attempt to derail Spurr’s life. At this point, in steps Gregory Alan Elliot who highlighted that these actions carried more real world implications that the silly game that Spurr had created.

Gregory Alan Elliot: Outcome

Censorship
So this is where the GAE (Gregory Alan Elliott) case really begins. After sending a tweet to Stephanie Guthrie, herself and others blocked GAE and reported his account to Twitter. He hadn’t violated any of the terms of service and so no action followed. GAE continued to tweet about Guthrie and others until they eventually held a meeting to discuss how to handle the situation. This led to the police being notified, leading to the trial.

It’s important to note that this was not a one-sided debate. GAE wasn’t simply going online and harassing people, he had simply shared an opinion on an issue he felt strongly about and in response he got into a debate (something the judge would ultimately agree on). The women claimed that GAE was being homophobic,  inciting violence but also personally threatening them with violence (including that of a sexual nature).

Throughout the 3 year trial which cost GAE his job, his life, about $100,000 in legal fees and a ban from the internet smartphones during that time, the media largely misrepresented the case, often siding with Guthrie and her friends. As of 2016, all accusations have been dismissed by the judge. He found no evidence of threatening tweets (sexual or otherwise), no calls to violence against the women and the only tweet which was homophobic in nature has since been revealed to have been fake.

Back to the UK

Censorship
So that may have felt like a bit of a detour but I promise that it is relevant. We have to keep in mind that this case started in 2012 and ended in 2016. So how have things changed since then both in the world and specifically in the UK? Well, people being arrested for online activity wouldn’t be something new to the UK. This is largely due to Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 (we’ll touch on that in more detail in a moment).

Consider that in 2010 Paul Chambers (25) was arrested under this act for stating that he would blow an airport “sky high” after his flight was cancelled because of snowy weather. Chambers would go on to win his appeal against the court two years later but only after losing two jobs. We can also look at Matthew Woods (19) who was sentenced to 3 months in prison for making a joke about a missing girl. I don’t think that what they said was clever or should be encouraged but are either of these individuals really deserving of long legal battles and prison? I’d have to say no!

The problem that we have (that we always fucking have with shit like this) is that what is deemed “offensive” is entirely subjective. What offends you might not offend me. I think we always need to consider the context which brings me onto a more recent example: Count Dankula.

Count Dankula and the Nazi Dog

Censorship
If you haven’t heard the case of Mark Meechan (a.k.a Count Dankula) then allow me to summarise it for you: Mark is a comedian and to annoy his girlfriend, he taught her dog (a pug) to do a Nazi salute. His reasoning was that his girlfriend always talked about how cute the dog was and so he wanted to turn it into the “least cute thing in the world… a Nazi”. Outside the court he reiterated the point by saying it was comical because of the “juxtaposition of having an adorable animal react to something vulgar”. Once again the 2003 Communications Act comes into play here. In the video Mark says things like “Sieg heil” and “do you want to gas the Jews?” to which the ugly dog responds with a Nazi salute or an excited look on its face.

A GoFundMe was started in order to cover the trial costs that Mark had to pay. The goal was £100,000 and as I type this post it currently sits at £193,545. The worrying aspect of this case actually goes beyond the charge of “inciting racial hatred” and the accompanying £800 fine (plus legal fees). The real concern comes from the fact that the judge sided with the prosecution, agreeing that “context and intent are irrelevant”. Isn’t context pretty much all that matters? As far as I’m concerned anything can be said within the context of a joke.

One hilarious moment ensued following the trial whereby Mark discusses the importance of context with a reporter. The reporter disagrees with him, saying that context isn’t important as Mark was ultimately found guilty of the crime. He goes on to say “You said the phrase gas the Jews 23 times, what’s funny about that?” and Mark responds that it’s entirely about the context. So if context isn’t important, why can the reporter say “gas the Jews” but Count Dankula can’t?

Frankie Boyle and the Importance of Context

Censorship
Frankie Boyle (another Scottish comedian) would be a great example of this. If you’ve never watched Frankie Boyle then let me summarise his approach to comedy: he doesn’t care about your comfort zone. He says offensive things and his fans love it. Frankie Boyle sued the Daily Mirror “newspaper” for labelling him a racist and said himself that context is vitally important as the instance the Mirror referred to was Boyle pretending to be a person with racist views.

This claim by the Mirror ultimately led the comedian to quit the TV show ‘Mock the Week’ and as such, the payout from them was even larger (£50,400 + £4,250). Boyle has always stated very clearly both in his comedy and outside it that context is essential! During his trial with the Daily Mirror, he stated that he uses racial points of view and opinions to highlight the fact that such views exist. He isn’t approving of them and certainly isn’t supporting those who hold such views, but rather he wishes to ostracise them.

I’m not going to discuss comedians too much within this article as I’ve written a little about this before but I think it’s important to highlight one point: comedians are only considered funny if people laugh at their jokes. When you watch a comedian, you understand that whatever they say is purely to make you laugh. Sure, they may include some societal issues in there but ultimately their goal is to have you leave their show with positive things to say. Otherwise, they would fail as comedians and wouldn’t make it in the industry.

Section 127 of the 2003 Communications Act

Censorship
Considering that in 2017, it was reported that an average of 9 people are being arrested per day in the UK for “posting allegedly offensive messages online” and with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, starting a £1.7m (over two years) crime hub for online activities, despite knife crime in the capital being at a 4-year high and with Theresa May slashing police budget left, right and centre, you have to wonder: are internet trolls really a priority?

Ultimately, this brings us back to the dreaded 2003 Communications Act. I’m not going to bore you to death (unless I have already) by copy and pasting the entire document. Instead, let me just highlight some of the important phrases used within Section 127 of this Act. What makes a person guilty of this offense? Well, if they: “by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

What does that even mean? Grossly offensive…Grossly offensive to who? I’m grossly offended by the fact that the UK government wanted to go on holiday a week early despite Brexit being as far from being organised as it was 2 years ago. I’m grossly offended by the final verse of the “British” national anthem containing the line “Rebellious Scots to crush”. So who defines what is offensive? At the end of the day, we are leaning more towards some sort of system of social justice whereby we’re supposed to essentially cave into mob demands. Thanks…but not thanks!

Double Standards

Censorship
The thing that is perhaps most concerning about all of this is that there exists a very noticeable double standard. It’s perfectly acceptable for these same individuals who complain that being offended should result in arrests to do the exact same thing to other people. This in part is my problem with social justice. If you don’t agree with the mob then whatever you’re doing is essentially wrong…but if you agree with the mob then you can basically do whatever you want. Why is it acceptable to phone somebody’s work to try and get somebody fired but it’s unacceptable to send a tweet saying that that is unacceptable? Why can a reporter say that context is irrelevant while also saying “gas the Jews” in the same sentence?

In order to understand this further, I want to draw upon some real-world examples of terms like “bigot”, “racist” and more being used solely because an individual shared a point of view or comment that went against the mob.

Terry Gilliam: The Black Lesbian

Censorship
Take Gerry Gilliam for example. The legendary comedian, famous for his involvement in Monty Python, was subject to many disapproving tweets after he stated “I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian”. Out of context this may seem a little strange but it was after a comment was made against the lack of diversity within Monty Python where Shane Allen (BBC comedy chief) described them as “six Oxbridge white blokes” under the assumption of that being a bad thing. I have views on this but perhaps they are better saved for another post.

Ultimately, while Gilliam’s comment may seem offensive to some, what is he saying is a reflection of our current society. People are defining gender irrespective of their biological sex, are they not? There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s the truth. On top of that he’s simply commenting that a lack of diversity in today’s society is only ever an issue with white men. If it was a group of white women then there wouldn’t be a complaint, if it was a group of only black men there would be no complaint. He’s simply highlighting this issue and relating it to the fact that today, anyone can be anything so why is diversity within a group that hasn’t worked together (properly) for decades such a major issue?

In one sense, it’s a witch hunt (interestingly something the Monty Python have covered before) since people are simply searching for issues to get offended by. Why does the race or sex of Monty Python members matter in today’s world? I’m shocked that Gilliam hasn’t been chased from Twitter yet, which brings me to Richard Dawkins.

Richard Dawkins Doesn’t Give a Fuck!

Censorship
I think this example will work perfectly for highlighting exactly what I’ve been talking about: offense is entirely subjective. Let’s look at a recent Tweet by the famous atheist Richard Dawkins. While outside a church he stated:

“Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great medieval cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding Allahu Akbar. Or is that just my cultural upbringing?”

Now…is it possible to be offended by this comment? Sure…but should you be? No. Here’s what I see why I read such a tweet: someone has an opinion…that’s it!

First of all, we all have individual preferences. I don’t like EDM and I think it sounds absolutely moronic. Do people have the right to be offended by that just because they enjoy the music? Nope. What if I say that the Bible is a violent book, should that offend people? No. What if I move on to the Qu’ran? Tensions would certainly begin to rise but any idea should be able to be criticized. Right?

What I’m trying to get at is that certain people have a right to be offended more than others (apparently). So if Richard Dawkins can’t share his preferences for church bells over yelling, then what can we share opinions on? Dawkins was instantly slammed as a bigot and a racist but why? He even mentions within the Tweet that it could be his cultural upbringing. I’m quite surprised that Twitter didn’t remove the tweet.

Noticing the Double Standard

Censorship
The double standards, particularly in relation to Twitter, do not come few and far between. Just at the end of last year Ben Shapiro called Twitter out on the double standard by reporting Rosie O’Donnell for targeted and abusive Tweets. Only after Shapiro repeatedly called out Twitter for the double standard, claiming that “Everyone knows if Rosie were conservative, Twitter would suspend her in a hot second.” did Twitter remove O’Donnell’s tweet.

Twitter is the prime suspect in many of these cases. Why? Put simply, they have an allegiance to one side and not the other. Just recently, Candace Owens, a famous (or infamous) conservative recently demonstrated the hypocrisy of Twitter. Sarah Jeong (editor of the NY Times) tweeted the following:

“White people are only fit to live underground like grovelling goblins. They have stopped breeding and will all go extinct soon. I enjoy being cruel to old white women.”

Twitter took zero action against this Tweet. Yet when Candace Owens retweeted the exact same thing but swapped the word ‘white’ for ‘black’ she was banned from Twitter, leading to the company issuing an apology for the oversight. Varying theories surround this event with some believing that Twitter doesn’t agree that you can be racist towards white people, and other suggesting that it was Candace Owen’s status as a conservative that led to her ban.

Twitter Isn’t Alone!

Censorship
Interestingly, Twitter isn’t actually the worst example of this form of censorship (although it’s certainly the most common). Just the other day, both YouTube and Facebook banned Alex Jones and InfoWars, deleting much of their content as they did so. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey stated that the reason Twitter didn’t delete Jones is because he didn’t violate any of the terms of service. He went on to say that others started to “succumb and simply react to outside pressure”. Considering Twitter’s blatant overview of other similar matters, it’s hard to give them any brownie points for being in the right just once.

Another issue that we’re frequently seeing, particularly with YouTube is the use of the word “extremism”. To an average person “extremism” would be flying planes into buildings or blowing up buses…but in today’s political climate pretty much anything can get stuck with the label. Just look at the example of Lauren Southern being banned from the UK for that very reason. Again, as much as I’d prefer to avoid generalising, it seems that people on the left are able to label people on the right “extremists” and ultimately have them denied entry to a country. Southern is just one of many such examples.

Considering that the Theresa May (the old, dry bat corpse) is putting pressure on major companies to speed up the rate that they remove extremist content, I’m a little concerned as to what this means. Are we nearing a society where any opinion could potentially be extremist? We only need to look as far as the Lauren Southern examples to see that criticizing a belief system is enough to have you labelled a “racist” and banned from entering the UK.

The Next Step

Censorship
Of course we need to consider where such a path leads. If comedians have to consult a censorship panel before going on tour or sending a simple Tweet can land you a prison sentence, what comes next? Will private communications with friends suddenly be used as evidence of racist thoughts? Would calling your brother “gay” for showing affection become grounds for prosecution?

I want to share another quote from Frankie Boyle:

“We don’t live in a shared reality, we each live in a reality of our own, and causing upset is often the price of trying to reach each other. It’s always easier to dismiss other people than to go through the awkward and time consuming process of understanding them. We have given taking offence a social status it doesn’t deserve: it’s not much more than a way of avoiding difficult conversations.”

Personally, I think he hits the nail on the head. He also stated that often the reason people get offended is simply because what is being said hits truth in one way or another. People are too quick to ignore the fact that a commentary on society holds some truth.

Does Hate Speech Exist?

Censorship
Through writing this post I’ve stumbled across the term “hate speech” on several occasions and it has led me to question whether there really is such a thing. Couldn’t you consider any speech to be hate speech? Where do we draw the line on free speech and hate speech or does free speech include hate speech? If we can’t clearly define an idea then what use is having a label for it? Just to clarify, I’m not implying that hateful things aren’t said but rather I’m suggesting that anything can be deemed hateful and simply because one person labels an opinion as “hate speech” doesn’t entitle them stop others hearing that opinion.

Not that this applies to everyone but it certainly seems that in many cases the term “hate speech” is used simply to shut down opinions: People like Milo Yiannopolous, Ben Shapiro, ETC whose events are being shut down by violent protestors. Having an opinion is now less acceptable than violence! We’re essentially the same as the parents who give in to their child as soon as it throws a tantrum. If somebody is saying something that you don’t want to hear then don’t listen! You do not have the right to decide what other people listen to or what other people say!

This fear of saying something that might offend somebody in itself has consequences. Just look at the case of the Rotherham grooming gangs. Here we have a span of 12 years whereby police and local governments were aware of Pakistani grooming gangs and yet did nothing. Why? Because “police forces lean over backwards to avoid the accusation of racism” and keeping the peace within different parts of a community were viewed as more important than potentially disrupting the community through investigation. The founder of the British Muslim Youth, Muhbeen Hussain said “The fact these guys were predominantly Pakistani heritage men should not be a reason for providing a cloak of invisibility.”

Conclusion

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Ultimately, I think it’s important to remember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Considering we live in a society where you can literally block people from contacting you, I don’t understand why people take such offense to certain Tweets (or other platforms). It offends my intelligence that people can believe that the Earth is flat. Do I think that their opinions should be shut down? Absolutely not!

I think we need to all take a step back and ask whether something is really worth being offended over. Even when you are offended, so what? Why does being offended give you power over the voice and opinions of others? Do you really want to live in a world where opinions have to be filtered before being shared? If somebody wants their country to close its borders to migrants (for example) shouldn’t they be able to express that opinion without being called a racist or a fascist? Particularly when such labels don’t even apply to the situation!

I think that everything should be challenged, everything should be criticised and everyone should be able to say whatever they want without being arrested over bizarre and irrational “online troll” charges. If the UK is insistent on heading down this path of speech control then I don’t want to be a part of it.


Thanks for reading! What do you think? Is online censorship becoming a problem and is free speech on its way out in the UK?  Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Freelancer: How to Avoid Scams and Find Solid Work!

So if you’ve read any of my posts before, you’ll be fully aware that I tend to rant about stuff (hence the hugely unimaginative name for my blog) and perhaps you’ve even read my previous Freelancer post which details by almost entirely negative experience when taking the initial steps towards becoming a freelance writer. Today, I’m going to try and summarise some of the main points that can help you to not only find solid work but avoid all the dipshits who will try and take your time, money or both. I’ll throw in a few personal experiences here and there but ultimately I’m going to try and keep this as concise as possible…something I inevitably failed to do!

What is Freelancer?

Freelancer

image via CareerLancer

So Freelancer is a hub, of sorts, whereby freelance workers can find employment (and vice versa). I hate many, many, MANY aspects of it because the site, it’s rules and it’s charges are absolutely criminal…but once you start finding work, you can’t help but look beyond these downsides. It should be noted that if you can find work ANYWHERE else, I’d recommend doing so. I tried UpWork but even once my profile was approved I couldn’t find a single job. So this post will focus solely on Freelancer but I’m sure much of what I’m going to say here can be applied to other similar sites.

Main Freelancer Scams

Freelancer

image via Get the Gloss

Again, if you want to see the negative side of Freelancer (which is the side that greets you upon joining) then you only have to head over to my previous post on the topic. I’m sure you’ll be able to feel my rage through the screen. Freelancer is not a friendly place! Not only are many, many people looking to rip you off (one way or the other) but the staff and their “rules” are not going to help you out in the slightest. Sure, if you report someone then they will deal with it…but if you lose money or don’t get paid then they pretty much just leave you to struggle with it on your own. As such, I’m going to take you through some of the common problems you will likely encounter, how you can avoid them and some of the tell-tale signs of a scammer.

Stealing your Time

One problem you are almost guaranteed to encounter is people who don’t pay you. I know, I know, you’re wondering why I’ve titled this section “stealing your time” rather than “stealing your money”…trust me, all will be explained! So when you accept work from anybody, you essentially enter into a contract with them: in exchange for you completing the tasked job, they will pay you the agreed upon amount of money. In an ideal world, that is exactly how it would work. Freelancer is far from ideal.

Any time you start off with a new employer, you run the risk that you’ll work your ass off and then they’ll simply take the work and vanish. When I first started out this happened to me a lot! There are of course some simple steps to take in order to avoid this from happening. We’ll take a look at these in a moment.

Stealing your Money

Of course Freelancer is in many ways an investment…an investment that will not pay off if you can’t avoid the scammers. As I mentioned before, Freelancer will do NOTHING in relation to your money. Here’s why this is a problem for you: Every single time you accept a new project, you get charged a fee. This fee varies but is usually an absolute minimum of 3 pounds, dollars, Euros or whatever else. Long story short, you have to pay to work for an employer. You’re essentially betting that they will pay you. We’ll touch on this in more detail during the next section but one thing to keep in mind is don’t hastily accept projects without discussing details with employer first.

Also keep in mind that people can be dicks…and so you might accept a project that sounds great and then the person just leaves. Sure, you don’t lose any time because you haven’t done any work yet…but you do lose money. I was spending more money than I was making when I first started out and the staff at Freelancer refuse to do anything to help because freelancers being ripped off benefits them. The system isn’t broken; it works exactly how they planned it.

These are basically the two main issues you’re going to encounter. So how can you avoid these? In all honesty, I’m not sure you can completely. When you first join the site you have no reputation at all. Nobody paying a decent amount of money is going to want to employ you and so you need to dive into the murky waters and just hope that the greedy river goblins don’t drag you down under!

Avoiding the Scammers

Freelancer

image via R Capital Associates

Let’s take a look at the simplest methods for staying away from these scummy pieces of shit! I’ll write this based on the assumption that you’re completely new to Freelancer and therefore have no reputation, no reviews and often no choice but to aim low.

1. No Reputation or Information

The first red flag is a pretty standard one. If the profile contacting you is brand new (especially if it was made within the last week) and is blank, then they probably have no long term plans for the site. Sometimes, when you click on a profile, it will take you to the employee page instead of the employer page. This means that even a reputable employer may appear to have no reviews. You can always ask the employer if they’ve work on the site before and you can ask for a direct link to their employer page if you’re having any problems.

Similarly, if the profile has a small number of reviews but ultimately still appears largely blank, this can be a red flag. You don’t want to rely entirely on the reviews as many profiles will work with other profiles to give fake reviews. Obviously if they have an incredibly large sample then you have less to worry about. A blank profile alone isn’t enough to ditch a potential employer but its the first red flag out of what could be many.

2. Taking Work Off-Site

This is something that the Freelancer site will reiterate to you over and over again…of course, the reason they do it is because they don’t want their site to be used for networking and then to lose out on off-site financial transactions. They also claim that it relates to their ability to help site users but that’s absolute bullshit. Not once have they helped me in any way and they won’t ever, ever, EVER give you any money back.

However, not a single person who wanted to move the conversation off-site was fully trustworthy. One of them even paid me for half the work and then just disappeared from the face of the world. Bearing in mind that half the work was about 12 articles! I keep using free versions of copyscape to try and track down the work that I did for them! Other examples include transcribing jobs that involved working over a long period of time before being able to “claim” money. Sketchy projects like these should be avoided where possible.

3. Always, Always, ALWAYS Use the Milestone System

When you first start out, you’re going to come across a lot of incredible sounding jobs. These jobs will often state straight away that payment is every Tuesday or every two weeks or even every month. I even had someone try to hire me for 6 months of work, claiming that I’d get paid at the end. Even if the project sounds like your dream job, keep your expectations low and remain level-headed.

The simplest way to root out a scammer is to demand that you’re paid for each piece of work. You don’t have to be aggressive or rude about it. For example, whenever I bid for a project I always mention that I work strictly through the milestone system. To clarify this point, I’ll confirm with any potential employer BEFORE accepting the project that payment will be for each portion/piece of work. Any respectable employer will agree to that. After all, you know nothing about this person. Are you just supposed to take it on faith that they’ll keep their word?

Once you start to build a professional relationship with someone and you know that payment won’t be an issue, you can begin to cut back on the use of the milestone system. For example, my current employer started off by paying me per article, then every two articles. Once I started getting regular work, this spread to once a week and now I tend to just wait until I’ve completed the project in its entirety before asking for payment. So my advice would be to set up any sort of milestone just to find out if a potential employer is actually willing to pay or not.

4. Get ALL the Details before Accepting a Project

Again, this may seem like common sense but once you start finding projects that sound interesting, it can be a natural reaction to jump the gun a little bit. No matter how compelling and detailed a project description was when you bid for it, establish everything you can about the project within the chat function on the site. The more details you can compile within this window, the better. Ask questions such as: When is the deadline? What sort of work is it? How long does everything need to be? What is the total payment? How will the milestone payments be divided up? What style of writing will it be?

You’re probably wondering why this is so important prior to accepting any project. It actually serves three functions. For starters, it helps root out scammers from the get go. They tend to reveal details that simply sound sketchy or they will try to keep certain details from you. Secondly, it will stop you from accepting a project that will be hell to complete. I’ve made the mistake of accepting a project with very few details and while they only took a few hours to complete, it was painfully dull. The problem is that as soon as you accept the project you’re financially invested and so to just breakeven, you have to complete the work. Failure to do so not only results in loss of money but also in a negative review. This brings me to my third point.

In the event that your employer tries to dupe you into doing more work and you’re worried that failing to do so will result in negative reviews, you NEED to have all the information at hand. Freelancer staff can remove negative reviews if (and only if) you can provide evidence that the employer was being dishonest or manipulative in some way. So have everything detailed in the chat is a great back-up option.

5. If It Sounds Too Good to be True, It Usually Is

Another worrying scam that I’ve only recently encountered on the site is people trying to steal your identity. Freelancer isn’t the only freelance site but as far as I’ve found, it’s actually one of the easier ones to get work from. Upwork, for example, requires you to be approved. As such, people will steal your identity (sometimes through promising payment for doing so) and will use your face and qualifications on other sites. My encounter with this was a guy offering me a project involving writing film reviews. The pay was good (too good) and he claimed he needed proof of my qualifications and UK residency.

I don’t actually live in the UK but according to my driver’s license, I do. So I sent this scumbag my scanned copy of my university degree and a photo of me holding my driver’s license. I purposefully hid my full address as I was aware that the whole ordeal seemed off. The piece of shit then came up with some excuse like “my marketing manager has just informed me that we need your full address to send you information that can’t be sent online”. On that note I reported him and his account was deleted.

The first red flag should have been the payment though. That’s not to say that you won’t find great offers on Freelancer. I get paid more now in two weeks than I would in a month at my previous job…but you have to weigh up everything about the employer, the work and all the other aspects I’ve mentioned so far.

6. Use Freelancer as Intended

The final point I’m going to mention is related to other project types that you may come across on Freelancer. As I mentioned in the last point, people may try and employ you to set up profiles in your name and with your experience on other sites. This will typically involve uploading confirmation photos, forms of ID, etc. Don’t…just don’t! These are never, ever, ever going to end well and you’re just allowing yourself to be noticed in a negative light on these other sites. When I first started on Freelancer, I fell for one of these scams because it sounded simple.

For over a month, this person used a profile that was in my name and with my photo and information. I refused to give up complete control of the account and when they refused to pay me (the account had already been blocked by this stage) I simply messaged the staff at UpWork and explained the situation in full. All I wanted was to have my information removed.

Another example is people trying to buy bitcoins. I almost fell for this one and it is only through complete luck that I didn’t. Some guy was looking to buy bitcoins for more than they are worth. I had some spare and thought, why not? What you have to remember is that transactions can be reversed. So this guy sent me like $200 which appeared on my Freelancer account. I was just about to send him the bitcoins, I had everything set up and just need to click “done”…when I thought I’d double check the money…and it was gone. This guy had essentially reported himself to Freelancer who reversed the transaction because it broke terms and conditions and had I sent him the bitcoins, I’d have been down over $100. Just use Freelancer for the jobs it allows. I mean the staff aren’t going to help you with anything anyway but they certainly won’t help you if you break their rules.

7. Freelancer is NOT Your Friend

This point might sound a little ridiculous but it’s something that I’ve mentioned a bit throughout this post. However, after posting this article I decided that I should come back and make this lesson/warning a point of its own: Freelancer is NOT your friend. The staff are not there to help you, they aren’t there to help you earn money, they aren’t there to make sure that you get a fair deal, they aren’t there to stop you getting ripped off. No…their sole function is to earn money for the site and avoid people taking business off-site.

Am I paranoid? Possibly…but not in regards to this. I recently completed a project and in doing so one of my milestones had to be updated to a higher amount. To do this, the employer has to send the employee (me) a milestone removal request. When you receive this request, it comes with the following message:

Once you approve the request, the milestone will be removed from the project. If you decline, the milestone will remain unchanged. However, it’s likely your employer will initiate a dispute process and may leave a negative review.”

So essentially, if you read between the lines here, Freelancer are telling you that failure to accept this change (regardless of what the change is) will likely result in the employer giving you negative feedback.

I subsequently ended up on another page and found this:

Please note, the only way to gain feedback and reputation is to be paid through Freelancer.com. The higher your reputation, the higher you will appear in the bid list for future projects. 
Freelancers with the highest reputation are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year!
Remember to communicate regularly with the employer. Lack of communication is the leading cause of problems.

Even when they are trying to sell you the idea of joining Freelancer, they are still trying to stop you from taking money or work off-site. I can understand this from a business perspective but shouldn’t customer support be the priority? This company is so focused on earning money that their moral compass spins Beyblade (90s reference).

Assume that Freelancer will not support you, no matter how right or wrong you may be, because chances are they won’t!

Finding Solid Work

Freelancer

image via Tech Juice

Obviously, the main goal of any freelancer is to find solid work. Going from project to project, achieving very little experience or money is not a great long-term plan. When you first join, you’re going to be slightly disadvantaged but everyone starts off in the same position. In this section I’m going to share some tips for finding solid work.

1. Flesh out Your Profile

This one should go without saying. If your profile is blank, you don’t have a picture, you haven’t uploaded any examples of your work into your portfolio and you haven’t worked a single project yet, then you’re unlikely to find any long-term work. Take some time to really sell yourself! If you don’t have examples of any work then write some. I simply used previously written blog posts or university essays as mine. Simply edit them, make them presentable, and then upload them. It’s really that simple.

2. Take Advantage of Freelancer Offers

On top of charging you fees per project, Freelancer also has the audacity to limit site functionality to those unwilling to pay for a membership. When you’re starting out on Freelancer, using the free membership is going to be extremely challenging. You only get 8 bids and it takes about 90 hours for just 1 bid to regenerate. However, they will often offer trial memberships for new members and if they do, take it! I got about 300 bids with my trial membership. Just remember to go on and deactivate the auto-renewal. I simply set a reminder on my calendar for the day before it would renew and then I cancelled it.

If there aren’t any trial memberships available, I would recommend paying for one month of membership. Starting out on Freelancer is all about building up a reputation and with 8 bids, that’s going to be nearly impossible. Look at it this way, you’ll likely use up all 8 bids on your first day and in order for you to regenerate all 8, you need to wait 30 days!!! Obviously the bids regenerate one at a time so you won’t be completely without bids but getting work with a blank profile is challenging and you really do need as many bids as possible.

3. Start from the Bottom

Step 3 is unfortunately not a fun one. When you’re new to Freelancer and have zero reviews, you’re going to have to do some boring-ass work. Not only is it boring but it pays practically nothing. You need to just look at it as an investment. As long as you’re making enough money to at least cover your membership (if you had to pay for one) and your fees, then do anything you can. Find work that is simple and quick!

My advice would be to go for small pieces of work that require little to no time. Even if you do them for free, most reviews are done per project so if you do 5 or 6 small projects that take maybe two or three hours then you’ll already be off to a great start. This is the only time I’d suggest working for the middle men (something we’ll touch on in a moment). Ideally, you want to get each small piece of work from a different employer but make sure that it is related to the work that you want to do. For example, if you want to write creatively, don’t do SEO or copywriting. Do creative writing! Only move to other areas if you’re struggling to find any work at all.

4. Demonstrate your Ability

Working through Freelancer is one way to demonstrate you writing ability (assuming that that is the area of work you’re doing) but you need sources from outside the website as well. The more ways that you can demonstrate your passion for your work, the more likely it is that people will hire you for more long-term projects. If you’re planning on doing blog writing, then start a blog.

I have three blogs on the go at the minute: this one, my mental health/travel blog and a random weed blog. So I cover a range of different topics. If you don’t have the time or energy to start your own blog then you need to at least contribute to an already existing blog. If you need a way to do this then follow this link and you can write a guest post on my travel blog. Then at least you can send evidence of your work.

Similarly, if you’re trying to enter a niche area of writing, you need to demonstrate a passion for it. I regularly contribute to a movie review site called Movie Babble, where I’ve written about Braveheart and Star Wars movies. Why? Because I love writing about movies and it’s the area I hope to one day work in. Even if you only write one guest post somewhere, it’s just another piece of evidence that demonstrates your ability and passion.

5. Avoid the Middle Men

Now, this one is going to seem a little strange and ultimately, you may choose to ignore this step depending on the sort of work you wish to be involved with. The “middle men” are employers who are part of an agency. Working for them is going to pay very little, involve incredibly dull work and rarely benefit your exposure (if at all). This is how the middle men work:

They bid on as many jobs as they can find (sometimes on other websites). They then hire people like you to do the work, paying you half (sometimes less) of what they are getting paid. Typically, they give you multiple pieces of work involving various types of writing and payment is usually delayed quite drastically. You then get one review for 6 or so pieces of work while their profile gets a positive review from you and from the original employer. This then boosts their profile and allows them to get more and more projects.

I suggest avoiding these people for two reasons. A) They are shady as fuck! That’s not really a reason but I felt like I should mention it. As I said a moment ago, payments are always delayed, you’re paid very little and they are awful at leaving reviews. When you’re starting out, it can be a handy place to start but once you’ve already received several reviews, you need to move away. You can get solid work from such people but you will not make much money doing so. B) Allowing these people to win more and more project bids means there is less and less work going directly to Freelancers. It just creates more of a long-term problem.

6. Build Relationships

When you’re starting out, you’ll find that you build relationships with people. If they only offer you pennies for work and they are nothing more than a stepping stone then just forget about it and move on…but if you’re writing frequently for them and you know they’ll need more work in the future then don’t be afraid to ask for more money. For example, if you had written for the same employer for a few months because the work was pleasant enough but the pay was a little less than what you needed. Wait until you’ve completed a project and when they offer you a new one, simply state that you can only do it for an increase in payment.

Similarly, if you work for someone and the work isn’t incredibly boring but the payment isn’t great, provided it isn’t taking up too much of your time, it can be useful to continue doing the work. To give you an example, when I first started out and had reached the stage of clawing my way out of the mud, I got work writing blog posts about Pompeii, Italy. My employer and I got on well, I did everything to his guidelines and met all expectations and as I enjoyed writing about the topic, I continued to do so. Was I getting rich? No…but I was still getting paid, still getting reviews and creating more examples of my work, ultimately creating a higher level of exposure.

Now, I’m working once again for the same employer but this time I’m writing information on Ancient Roman structures for a Rome guide app. I love learning about history and Rome is one of my favourite places in the world so the opportunity is excellent. Not only that, but once it’s completed and released, I can download the app and demonstrate it as my work.

7. Exposure

Exposure isn’t as big an issue when you’re first starting out. That being said, the more published work that you can get your name attached to, the better. This is usually a problem when you’re starting out as most of the work isn’t related to you. You might be doing someone’s psychology homework (true story) or gathering information on types of violins (also a true story). So in these instances you’re not going to be involved with the process beyond supplying your work.

However, if people are asking you to write blog posts or something similar, then getting your name somewhere on the website (or at least getting a link that you can send future potential employers) is a vital step. That adds to the previous point of developing relationships with your employers. If you can get to know them and ask for your name to be credited somewhere (even if it means you’re paid slightly less) then it’s worth doing.


Thanks for reading! Are there any other insights I can offer you about freelancer work (particularly on Freelancer) or do you have any questions? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

The Quarter Life Crisis!

As I near the age of 25, I’ve come to realise that there is an aspect of life that nobody warns you about. I don’t think any adult as I was growing up ever mentioned their 20s as being a time of horror or confusion. We always hear about the clichéd mid-life crisis where in the movies someone in their late 40s/early 50s randomly decides to dye their hair or buy a motorbike. But what about the quarter-life crisis…why is that never mentioned?

Perhaps you’re wondering what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve never heard the term before and you’re wondering how anyone could have a crisis at the age of 25. Surely I’m just being dramatic, right? Well, I wish (and perhaps even hope) that that is indeed the case. Sadly, there seems to be a growing body of evidence that I am moving across the border from “young adult” to “adult”. This isn’t a friendly border that greets you with flower necklaces (or Leis) and champagne. No, this is a hostile border with armed guards and vigorous, even invasive searches. It marks a change: one where you begin to realise that you’re not that young anymore. I mean if you compare yourself to others, you may seem young but you know in your heart that there are doors closing behind you that will never be open again…and it’s a little terrifying.

The Hair!

Mid Life Crisis

image via WordPress

So what is actually going on? Well, a receding hairline for one. That’s right, the male-pattern baldness gene which I always knew was inevitably coming my way has finally been activated: Similar to a Treadstone agent from the Bourne movies. One of the worst things about this is that once you become aware of it, you feel like it’s constantly getting worse. I’ve always had thick hair and after a few months of not getting it cut, I usually feel like I’m wearing a door-mat on my head. Yet as I near the 3-month mark I can run my hands through my hair and notice how unusually thin it is. It feels wispy and it serves to remind me of what my grandparent’s hair was like not long before their death.  Many people can go bald and own it but I have an abnormally large head and baldness would not suit me. I have the perfect comparison picture which I’m going to upload above. In fact, since you’re reading this, you’ve already seen it!

The Teeth

Mid Life Crisis

image via Luxtimes

My teeth have started to become a problem as well. I’ve always regretted not getting braces because my bottom teeth are all over the place but not quite erratic enough to create any medical issue…or at least they weren’t. When I first started writing this post (about a month ago) I had been suffering from wisdom tooth pain for 6 months. Not from one tooth or two teeth but three wisdom teeth. Luckily my dentist assures me that they’re just moving but aren’t creating any long-term damage. I still have this fear that my teeth are all moving like continents and that the removal of wisdom teeth (if it eventually happens) won’t change that without braces (which cost a small fortune and would look bizarre on a 25 year old balding man!

The Body

Mid life crisis

image via YouTube

I’ve also found that going to the gym has started to become more difficult. Where I used to be able to laze around for months, only moving off the sofa to eat, wash, use the bathroom, sleep and then return to the gym with a similar level of strength. I now find that even when I’m regularly going to the gym, my strength isn’t improving. This could be down to diet but if anything my diet has improved: I’ve cut out refined carbs as much as possible and I certainly eat less junk food. I’ve barely touched alcohol so far this year and my drug intake has also been drastically lower. By all accounts my gym game should be the best it has ever been! Yet even finding the motivation to go is a challenging endeavour!

This doesn’t even touch upon the sore feet and legs I get from going down the couple of flights of stairs from the flat to the street outside. I can run quite happily and my legs barely suffer (at least that was the case the last time I went for a run) but small walks seem to rip the energy right out of me.

Another thing is my metabolism. I’ve always had an incredibly high and efficient metabolism and my flatmate used to describe me as “carb-resistant” because I could live of carbohydrates and not put on any weight…but over the last 6 months or so, my metabolism has been starting to slow. In truth, this could be due to a number of things but part of my always knew this day would come. I’ve joked about it with people in the past: about how one day it will all just hit me and those chippies for lunch and bags of sweet and sugary drinks that I consumed over the course of two decades will suddenly take their toll.

The Mind

Mid life crisis

image via WakingTimes

A quarter-life crisis isn’t limited to just physical effects though. I find myself feeling mental side effects as well. These are most likely due to my sudden awareness of the physical aspects but it’s still all a bit bizarre. I’ve never really been a night owl by any means. I mean on nights out I can stay up as late as anyone but on a day-to-day basis I’ve always leaned more towards an early night (unless I’m binging a new game like Assassin’s Creed). Recently, this seems to be even more the case as I find myself waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. As of this morning, I was naturally awake at 6:58 and up working by 8.

Of course now that I’m living in Spain I should have adjusted to having siesta in the heat of the afternoon (which is a whole other topic on its own). Instead, I find myself feeling pretty awake until about 5 and then the rest of the evening I can barely function due to sheer tiredness.

That doesn’t even cover the other impacts that aging has brought on. Where I used to be able to binge TV shows and films, I find myself getting bored. In truth, this could perhaps be a positive change as I spend WAY too much of my time watching movies and TV shows…but when I’m going to be bored regardless, at least I could stick a film on that I’d seen a million times already and still enjoy it.

The Money

Mid life crisis

image via The Oklahoma Eagle

Now, before I start discussing money it is important to realise that some stereotypes are based on facts and as a Scottish person, yes, I tend to be quite tight with my money. I can think of many examples through my life where I chose not to buy something simply because I didn’t want to spend my own money. Granted, the opposite of this has also been true where impulse has led to me returning from work with a Playstation 4 (which I returned the next day).

Yet now, more than ever, I find myself thinking about everything I buy. My mind focuses on the work aspect i.e. how much work do I need to do in order to cover the cost of what I’m buying. Do you have data limits set on your phone? I have similar limits mentally set on my bank and when I reach a certain level of cash alarm bells ring. Again, this isn’t perhaps entirely a negative development but it does make me full super old. It’s important to realise that I’m not a mature person. I have a bag of googly eyes in my bag that will be getting attached to inanimate objects in the near future!

The Career

Mid life crisis

image via Everyday Author

An additional mental aspect that hits you around this age is your career. When you’re aged 15, 18, 21, even 23, you feel like you’ve “got time”. You’ve got time to go to university, you’ve got time to start a career from the bottom and work your way up, you’ve got time to decide where you want to be in life and put some sort of a plan into action. Time, time, time, time, time! As you near 25, you soon begin to realise that many people already have this plan: they’re working in a job that is taking them towards their chosen destination, they’ve built up a CV with managers who will give them references. Up until recently, one of my references on my CV was the shop where I did my paper round for 5 years!

This fact sort of sends you into an existential crisis of sorts where you start to realise that you aren’t that great at anything. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author (a dream I’ve since circled back to), then I wanted to be an entrepreneur (until I realised I have the charisma of a log!), then it was a clinical psychologist (until I realised that you needed to have a ton of experience before getting into an entry level psychology job) and so I settled on becoming a police officer (until I realised that I love drugs and strongly disagree with the drug laws in my country). So perhaps it is some form of regression that has me once again knocking on the doors of authorship in search of a career!

The End

Mid life crisis

image via Behance

Strangely, despite my life not nearing its end (not that any of us actually know that…but we can hope) I do find myself considering the mortality of others. I’ll see the parents of school friends and be shocked, even speechless, at how much older they look. When you grow up with people, you never look at them and think “wow, he’s aged drastically since those days when we used to use sticks as pretend lightsabres!” but when you see someone’s parent after some amount of time, it sort of hits you like a brick wall.

This of course then leads you to considering the mortality of other people: siblings, parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, friends, pets…pets especially! My dog is like 12 this year and my last dog died at the age of 13. It’s a little worrying! There is a moment every now and again where I genuinely worry that any day now I’m going to look in the mirror and be unable to recognise myself. What if I’m actually sitting in a home for the living dead right now and I’ve lost all my memories from the summer of 2018 onwards? I look around and don’t recognise a single person, where I am, my own possessions…myself. Do I feel angry? Upset? Cheated? If you lose all those memories and die without them…have you really lived?

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Mid life crisis

image via Genius

I was going on that but it seemed a little dark and gloomy. Allow me to clarify that I’m not regularly fearing the great abyss and the general aging process isn’t what scares me…rather it’s our inability to focus on the present that causes time to appear to whizz by. Time is merciless, it’s ruthless, and it doesn’t waver or flutter for anyone. You can’t tame time: it’s like a winding, powerful, flooded river which froths over sharp rocks and cascades down giant waterfalls. You’re riding along on an inflatable ring, watching as each sight goes by, wishing that you could get a few moments longer to admire the view…but each moment you waste struggling against the power of the river only causes you to miss more!


Thanks for reading! Have any of you hit the dreaded quarter-life crisis? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey…The Final Nail in the Coffin?

Summary: Gameplay will be amazing and as far as RPG’s go it will probably be awesome. In terms of the storyline and the franchise as a whole, it will be a failure, alienating any remaining fans who will ultimately feel that Ubisoft has finally given up on them!

With the release of Assassin’s Creed: Origins still fresh in our minds (along with the many failed yearly-releases prior to it), 2018 marks the release year for the next game in the franchise: Odyssey. It’s worth noting that when I started writing this post, I was incredibly excited by the prospects of this game. I’d seen only bits of the trailer and heard rumours but perhaps still feeling the after-glow from Origins, I was in a positive mind-set. Unfortunately, after only a miniscule amount of research, my opinion has shifted rather drastically! So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the next game and why all my contempt for Ubisoft has come flooding back!

Origins After-Glow

Odyssey
I’ll keep this short as I’ve already delved deep into my views on Origins but let’s briefly cover some of the points that will be relevant to the rest of this post. For starters, let’s explore the gameplay. Origins changed and improved the combat system of AC quite drastically. After all, Assassin’s Creed used to be more heavily focussed on…well…assassinating. But I’m happy to say that the gameplay in general is without a doubt number 1 as far as the franchise goes. However, there were some issues with the story.

For starters, there’s now this switch from Desmond being “the chosen one” to Layla which from a logical standpoint alone just doesn’t make a great deal of sense. I understand why they need a new main character but I actually quite enjoyed the idea that you were the person joining Abstergo or helping the assassins. We’ve had previous-civilisation being communicate with Desmond using their technology and now they’ve simply scrapped that and now have different being (from after the cataclysm) doing the same thing with Layla. Why couldn’t the previous beings see Layla as being of value? We’ll stop there because if we start picking apart the story elements then there will be nothing left!

Why Origins and Odyssey Aren’t Compatible!

Odyssey
Before I explore Odyssey in depth, I’m going to touch upon why Ubisoft has fucked up (for lack of a better phrase). You see, Origins touched upon what I, and I’m sure others, wanted from the franchise: The Origins of the Assassins. The game ended in such a way that the path was set for future games to explore the early days of the Brotherhood. The story of Bayek and Aya may be over (although I’m still unsure how they both ended up in the same tomb given that they parted ways) but the ground was set for advancing the Brotherhood.

This idea was undermined in two ways: 1) Upon completing the main storyline, the brotherhood just magically seems to form. There are suddenly Assassin Bureaus within Egypt which are marked with the same symbol we see in Assassins Creed 1 and have the familiar dude standing behind a desk. These come out of nowhere! And 2) There is a DLC which appears to allow the player to explore the training of recruits and the formation of the new Brotherhood. I think this was a horrible idea. This isn’t something that should have just been glossed over but rather the focus of the next game!

This is where Odyssey also fucks up! Origins takes place around 50BCE and essentially introduces us to all the main game ideas: the hidden blade, the leap of faith, the formation of the Brotherhood, ETC. Yet Odyssey takes place nearly 400 years earlier in 431BCE! I’m going to touch on this in more detail momentarily but I’m sure you can understand where the problems are going to arise.

Exploring the Potential Issues of Odyssey!

Odyssey
Odyssey does have a number of potential problems, many of which are likely going to rip the heart and soul out of the series (or at least what little heart and soul is left from all the games post AC: Revelations). That’s not to say that I can’t see the benefits of these changes but it seems that Ubisoft needs to make decision on whether they want to keep current fans happy or reel in new ones.

The Power of Choice

Assassin's Creed
Choice isn’t a major aspect of the previous AC games as the entire premise is that you’re reliving memories. You can’t change the past, only experience it. This idea becomes a little fuzzy from AC: Black Flag onwards as the games are sort of games within games i.e. Abstergo has turned memories accessed through the Animus into games accessed through the Helix system. Only the later versions (designed for gameplay by Abstergo industries) allow for this. Even then, your choices are limited to whether or not you wish to explore an area or hunt animals, etc. These choice don’t impact the storyline in any way and nor should they.

Odyssey hopes to change this entirely! Not only can you choose your sex but also who you enter into dialogue (or even romantic relationships) with. This goes a step further as you can change history through fighting for different factions/sides and ultimately the outcome of the game is set to vary depending on your decisions. How? How is this possible?

As far as I’ve read, Ubisoft have explained that Layla’s Animus allows for access to corrupted files and therefore more information…or some bullshit like that. So the choices only appear as choices to the player but are in fact just the deciphering of previously unknown data. It seems that if this turns out to be the case then Ubisoft missed a trick. All the precursor temples seemed to hint at the idea that Layla could potentially travel through time via the Animus and actually alter events. Many speculated that this would allow for the return of Desmond while others figured it was just a way to introduce choice to the games in a similar manner as Bioshock or Mass Effect.

While the whole time travel idea would have been completely ridiculous, I wouldn’t object to it entirely…IF it was used properly. So the game would have to explain how it becomes possible, why the precursor civilisations never used it, the limitations of such technology, etc. They can’t just snap their fingers and wave the “Layla’s Animus is special” wand across the storyline.

Assassin’s Creed or Soldier’s Creed?

Assassin's Creed
This next aspect has me more worried than any other aspect of the game. Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was a great game. It was refreshing, it had interesting characters, it introduced entirely new gameplay…but it wasn’t an Assassin’s Creed game, it was a pirate game. Odyssey looks to essentially do the same. Since Origins set up everything and marks the start of the Brotherhood, the only logical step was forwards (or so far back that we explore precursor memories).

So far there hasn’t been a hidden blade mentioned or shown within the trailers or walkthroughs, something that the game would be lost without. Sure, Origins sprung a hidden blade out of nowhere but we don’t need a game solely to explore the origins of the hidden blade. Similarly, all other tricks that Bayek learned through being a Medjay don’t need explained. There’s a worrying shot where an inventory items reads the phrase “Everything is permitted” which I imagine will serve absolutely no story element whatsoever and is simply there as a reminder to players that they are in fact playing as Assassin’s Creed game. Pointless additions such as this are what infuriate me! Who thought that was a good idea? I’d imagine someone who has NEVER played an Assassin’s Creed game!

Odyssey looks set up to become a war game and nothing more. Sure, Ubisoft will throw in some nonsensical and ultimately undermining objects or characters but I get the feeling that this is the end of the franchise for me. Ubisoft are simply trying to create a game that appeals to more people while not starting a fresh franchise. Essentially they want to keep the Assassin’s Creed fans while bringing in more by removing many of the base Assassin’s Creed elements.

Piece of Eden

Piece of Eden
One of my biggest issues with Unity and Syndicate (and Rogue and Black Flag to a lesser extent) was that the pieces of Eden weren’t used to serve any real function. They were added simply to give the game something to revolve around. In Assassin’s Creed 1, the POE idea was a twist which introduced itself gradually into both the present and past storylines. In AC II, they were further explored and in Brotherhood and Revelations they acted as vital story components. The same could be said for 3, Black Flag and Rogue but by Unity and Syndicate they were nothing more than objectives.

Odyssey seems to be throwing the same tactics into play by giving us the Spear of Leonidis, which was mentioned briefly in Origins. What function will this serve? I’m willing to wager absolutely none whatsoever. It will be a fancy toy for the character to play with and by the looks of things, it will simply introduce the familiar game elements that shouldn’t exist in that time such as the leap of faith or perhaps it replaces the hidden blade for assassinations. It’s not going to play a role in the modern day storyline, it’s not going to create a larger, overarching storyline, and it’s not going to be of any historical significance beyond this game.

Potential Positive Aspects of Odyssey

Piece of Eden
It wouldn’t be fair of me to say that Odyssey is without flare. I think there are some incredibly interesting aspects to the game and if it wasn’t part of a franchise that I love and wish to see explored further then it would be getting two thumbs up from me. Let’s take a look at what stands out:

The RPG Element

RPG
Since about Assassin’s Creed III or Black Flag I’ve been saying that the series needs to do two things: 1) It needs to explore the Origins of the Assassin’s and 2)  it needs to introduce a skill system. Now that Origins has successfully implemented both of these, only the latter needs to continue. Odyssey certainly seems to take the RPG element further with much deeper customization options which allow players to make the character appear however they like. They can develop relationships with NPCs and even turn these into romantic relationships. These sorts of aspects will allow for different story elements and for different directions to be taken.

It does look like they’ve somewhat simplified the skill tree though and this does have me a little worried. When they tested the idea out in Unity and Syndicate, they added stupid abilities and often there were only a few to choose from. They should exist simply for the sake of it, they should give player a tactical advantage based on their style of play.

The War

War
Odyssey also appears to be introducing drastically larger warfare to that of previous games. Once again, I highlight that this is exactly how Ubisoft does things: they introduce an idea briefly in one game (in Origins we had the war part which was mostly glossed over but allowed for momentary participation) and then use that as a focus for the next game. I’d be lying if I said that the game doesn’t just look like a human version of Shadow of Mordor.

That being said, it still looks highly entertaining. I mean even in Skyrim and the like, we only get very minimal wars and even invasions of settlements ultimately only involve like 20 soldiers. If Odyssey manages to keep the warfare interesting then they could have a great fighting game on their hands.

The ISU and Juno

Piece of Eden
One issue that the franchise keeps running into over and over again is consistency. In Assassin’s Creed we are introduced to the Pieces of Eden and the notion that these objects were from an intelligence civilisation. It isn’t until AC 2 that we are introduced to “those who came before”. This idea is developed further in Brotherhood, Revelations, 3 and even to Black Flag, which seems to mark the end of this chapter. Juno, a being that has just escaped into the world is literally never heard from again in the games.

All the precursor stuff is essentially ignored and rebooted with Origins where we now have new messages directly to Layla. I’m going to discuss this idea in a moment but I think we can agree that the story needs to develop one way or another. Ubisoft can’t just start using the ISU in the same manner they use the Pieces of Eden: Only bringing them into the story as a way of adding excitement or creating mystery. It appears that Juno’s storyline has been moved to comics and so it seems like Layla and her interactions with new ISU members will be the focus. There needs to be some genuine traction. They can’t just keep sending messages! Ubisoft have been teasing us with Precursor DNA use since Black Flag (although Shaun mentions a similar premise in AC III) and yet we’ve still had nothing.

I think that if Odyssey doesn’t involve almost entirely around the ISU then that aspect of the games needs to just be forgotten about. Was it fun finding the temples in Origins? Hell yeah! I thought it was fucking amazing! But ONLY if it actually serves some sort of purpose. Finding these cool but otherwise insignificant items isn’t fun if they are only there to give us something cool to look at. Adding aspect like that to a game simply for the sake of it is moroic!

Ubisoft Hates Fans!

Assassin's Creed
A bold statement, I know. Why would a company hate its fans? Well, it’s because once they have fans they still crave more. By the time Assassin’s Creed 3 came out, many fans had lost interest and new fans couldn’t be bothered playing through all the games to catch up. So we get Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, Syndicate and even Origins which are all entirely self-contained storylines. You don’t need to have played a single game for most of the storylines to make sense and as such, each game doesn’t feel connected to the next beyond its name. I mean sure, they throw in a reference or two: a piece of armour, a sword, random trinkets or actual messages, but in terms of content with substance? No!

Ubisoft needs to decide what they want to do: do they want to create a fan base or do they want each game to be playable by anyone, despite them never having played an AC game before? I get the feeling that it’s the latter. I had such high hopes with Origins and I hoped so badly that it would continue and would allow for the development of genuinely interesting storylines. I mean they had everything from 50BCE onwards to explore! We could have had an Aya based game that starts off with the assassination of Cleopatra! The possibilities were endless! Sadly it seems that Ubisoft cares very little about the lore and even less about the dedicated fans.

All Ubisoft does is take the base points of a game and copy it to the next. What did people like in Origins? They liked using Senu to spot targets, they liked the RPG element, they like the more basic navy battles…OK, let’s throw all that into our next game. I said it in my Origins review and I’ll say it again: using a bird doesn’t make sense in every context and sure as shit doesn’t in Odyssey.


Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Odyssey? Do you think it will destroy what’s left of the franchise? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Wattpad Story: The Weight of a Heart

In order to practice creative writing before tackling the gigantic task of writing a full-blown book, I’ve decided to work on some short stories every once in a while to keep the creative juices flowing. So I’ve joined Wattpad and have uploaded my first story to it: a sort of thriller/horror that mixes Ancient Egyptian mythology with modern day life (in a manner of speaking). As this will be my first completed short story to be published on Wattpad, I figured I may as wells share it here as well. If you’re already a Wattpad user, you can follow this link to go straight to the story! Here is the opening chapter:

 

Chapter 1: A Day to Remember

The somewhat slow and staggered manner in which I am walking may lead some to believe that I’m drunk, perhaps returning from happy hour during a lunch break. While this may not miss the mark by much, in truth my head is simply lost in the clouds or away with the fairies…perhaps away with the fairies in the clouds. Long story short: I’m lost in a day dream or at least what feels like a day dream. Was I remembering something? Perhaps something I was supposed to do today…well, whatever it was it’s gone: Hardly surprising given the circumstances. I can practically still taste and smell last night’s alcohol and the pounding sensation in my brain was the familiar signal from my body to say that drinking too much alcohol has consequences, the thumping headache being just one of many. Me and my significant other, Riley had attended our friend Nick’s birthday party and had agreed that neither of us would drink. Evidently her willpower trumps mine…which is hardly surprising. My own 28th birthday had only been a few weeks earlier but due to our current financial situation (especially with my pay being cut for my job at the bank) we decided to skip throwing a big bash and simply relax a little. We spent most of the time walking our dog, Sam. She was still young and was my birthday present to myself only three years earlier. The uniqueness of having one blue eye and one brown eye had immediately ruled out the possibility of me choosing any other puppy from the litter of Border Collies, all of whom were black and white…apart from one brown oddball.

The path I’m following begins to gently slope down towards the dock which just so happens to be the destination I’m heading to. I’m walking next to what appears to be a recently cobbled road. Each brick seems perfectly situated and I can’t begin to imagine how long it must have taken to complete.  The midday sun is blaring down with incredible heat and the scene would be one of complete and utter beauty, were it not for the distant wails of an ambulance siren…perhaps more than one, screeching away in the distance. Moments like this always have to have at least one flaw. A faint but cold wind blows and despite being so weak that even the lightest leaves don’t budge, I can hear the distant sounds of someone talking. I can’t make out the words but it doesn’t really matter anyway. I take a moment to stand still and appreciate just how beautiful this place is.  As I look around at all the open land by the side of the lake, I can’t help but feel like I’m experiencing something completely new, almost as if I’d never seen this sight in my entire life. I take a moment to try and recall why I’m going to the docks in the first place…what I do know is that there will be a boat leaving soon and that I should be on it. I hadn’t even been sure where to get the boat from but the voice of the man who gave me directions is still ringing loudly in my mind. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was alone, I’d swear he was standing right beside me.

As I begin to continue my walk down the path, I admire the massive lake and it’s deep blue glow which despite being a darker blue than the sky, also seems to give off a hint of green. The sheer size of the lake was in itself remarkable and was it not for the stone lighthouse signalling the existence of land on the horizon you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that this was actually the sea. The one giveaway was the lack of tides. Although, there did appear to be a gradual flow of the water which moved much slower yet more erratically than any river I’d seen. Perhaps the inflow of water from further along the bank is the cause of this effect. The somewhat empty field to my left is suddenly home to a large stone slab. The yellowish colour of what appears to be sandstone bared the burden of what is a larger, thinner stone slab with chiselled writing. The untarnished and perfectly intact stone suggests that this was a recent addition to the otherwise empty field and where it not for the sand which appears to have found its way this far up the hill, I would perhaps guess that it was put here only yesterday.  I used my hand like a brush in order to sweep the travelled sand off the text as if uncovering a buried artefact.

“O people of the earth, men and women born and made of the elements, but with the spirit of the Divine within you, rise from your sleep of ignorance! Be sober and thoughtful. Realize that your home is not on the earth but in the Light. Why have you delivered yourselves unto death, having power to partake of immortality?”

Various symbols and pictures (none of which seem to represent a larger meaning, at least not as far as I can tell) surround the text itself. Riley was always the brains of our pairing, if she was here now I’m sure she’d be able to come up with some deeper understanding of this random nonsense. I can’t help but imagine that some pompous rich man perhaps believed they were more intelligent and insightful that they actually were and simply paid money to have this slab put here. Regardless, the day is getting on and there are surely bigger fish to fry than reading slabs.

As I approach the docks, I see a queue of people lining up near a small wooden boat. It wasn’t quite as small as a rowing boat but certainly wasn’t much bigger. Even the smallest rippled in the water made it rock like nothing more than a piece of rotting driftwood. I glance around with the strong assumption that there must be a larger boat nearby or perhaps coming into dock…with nothing else in sight, I can only conclude that this must be the one I need to get…but where does it go? When did I randomly decide to get on mystery vessels with strangers? Thoughts come and go but none seem to answer any of my self-reflective questioning. Curiosity leads me to join the queue with the others as I watch them get on the boat one by one. Most of them appear to be middle aged apart from a younger woman who is sitting at the very front of the boat. She’s wearing what I could only describe as rags with her baby wrapped up in much of the same. I begin to walk around the queue of people in order to take a closer look, to see what sort of person would raise a child in such poor conditions. The bobbing up and down of the boat (if you can call it that) gave the pair an appearance that was almost statuesque, as if they were frozen eternally in the very position they were currently sitting. Without making my actions too obvious, I manage to catch a glimpse of what appears to be a blonde haired boy, perhaps only a few weeks old but still looking frail and fragile.

“Wait in the line in order to board the boat” a deep and intimidating voice bellowed from behind me…or maybe to the side of me. I could feel chills spread through my entire body and suddenly I begin to feel like the frozen one. Is my heart even beating? Am I shaking? These feelings vanish as suddenly as they appeared as if a veil is ripped off me and so I decide that in order to keep the peace I better head to the back of the line. As I walk past the other passengers, I notice that they all look miserable. Some of them even look pale. Are they scared? They seem to have enlarged pupils and the iris is barely visible at all…if it’s even still there. What sort of boat ride is this? Doubts begin to run through my mind and as I reach my spot in the queue, I notice an elderly woman is standing there. She isn’t like the rest…I mean she isn’t happy but she is the only one that has made eye contact with me thus far and her pupils appear to be of a fairly normal size. Now that I think about it, her eyes are somewhat fixed on me. Should I look away? Should I talk to her? Maybe she knows me and I’ve simply forgotten her face. Her eyes are squinting a little now and her body seems to be trembling slightly. The more I stare into her dark, beady eyes, the more I convince myself that I can see bloodshot forming across the greyish tones of what would usually be the whites of the eyes. Her trembling hand slowly lifts into the air revealing a glistening wedding ring which seems to be the only colour on her that isn’t monochromatic. As one finger points in my direction I take a quick look behind me in the hopes that there was something else she may be pointing at.

As the stark reality that this small, elderly and insanely intimidating woman was pointing at me and me alone, I decided that I did indeed recognise her from somewhere. I had a moment where I lost myself in thought as I try desperately to place her when she opens her mouth to speak. What comes out are not words, but rather a bizarre and terrifying screech. The noise is how you would imagine someone who had lost their voice attempting to scream: that harsh noise that you can only imagine is tearing flesh off the inside of the person’s throat and is painful to even attempt. It wasn’t the volume that was sending my heart into overdrive and my brain into panic mode…it was the attempt to speak and the anger and shock on her face at the realisation that she was unable to do so. Her other hand was grasping tightly around her throat as if she were trying to patch a hole or puncture. Just as the initial shock was beginning to leave my body, words begin to form from the rough and animalistic noise that was leaving her mouth. This mumbling turned into slightly coherent words until with one final attempt she manages to form the sentence: “there is no escaping a heavy heart…and yours will be heavy indeed!” A rather strange message but the desperation she had to share it with me was alarming enough.

If I had still been considering getting on that boat, this would have been enough to sway the decision. I turned around to walk away which is when I noticed that all the people in the queue had also turned around and were now staring at me. I don’t think it is remotely possible for their blank, emotionless faces to be any more chilling. How can faces appear so featureless? It was as if they were all wearing masks with their true emotions hidden away underneath. Part of me wanted to run, another was fixated on these strange characters and why they were behaving in such a peculiar manner…another, smaller part of me wanted to dive into water in the hopes that these strange occurrences were nothing more than a nightmare. I turn around and walk away, not daring to look back to see if I was still the subject of their attention or not…although I got the feeling that their unblinking eyes were fixed on me still. I quicken my pace just in the off chance that they decided to follow me. My destination was unclear but what was clear was that voice in my mind that is seemingly repeating its message about the boat and the queue.

 

If you enjoyed the first chapter and would like to see where the story goes, just follow this link to find the full story on Wattpad!


Thanks for reading! Do you have any feedback on either chapter 1 or the story as a whole?  Let me know down below! 

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Peace!

The Truth about the Garden of Eden!

When it comes to stories contained within the Bible, it’s not a stretch to assume they are half-truths. Bible stories are as close to truth as Inglorious Basterds is to the events of WW2. One story in particular is worth focusing on more than others: The Garden of Eden. We have to cover a number of aspects in order to paint a full picture of the misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

First Writings

Enki

image via UFO the Truth is Out There

So when we look at the Garden of Eden which is contained within Genesis (the first book of the Bible) we have to explore the earliest versions. So when was it written? Well, if you take the Bible version and ignore other mythologies, then the most recent estimates put the Yahwist (the first 6 books of the Bible/Torah) at the 6th century BCE (600-500BCE). So it’s interesting that the book which apparently reflects “God’s message” was written much, much later than earlier versions of what is essentially the same story. Ancient Sumerian tablets written around 2800BCE contain varying references (at least 12 references) to the Garden of Eden and to Adam and Eve.

Misunderstandings

Enki

image via YouTube

When it comes to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and mistranslations, the Bible would be the best example of all three. There isn’t another book on this planet which has strayed so far from the story’s original meaning. So let’s take a look at what exactly the Bible gets wrong. For starters, we need to understand a bit more about Ancient Sumer. The ancient Sumerians are known for creating one of the earliest forms of writing known as Cuneiform. These arrow or wedge shapes are very distinct from later written languages.

This is important as Assyrians and Babylonians whose civilisations rose to prominence within the same areas as the Sumerians valued everything the Sumerians did, said, built, etc. These new societies would write in Akkadian, their own form of the Sumerian cuneiform. This in turn would be used to create Eblaite and Amorite, two of the earliest forms of Semitic languages. Eventually (around the 10th century BCE) we get Proto-Sinaitic Script, followed by the Phoenician alphabet (the first alphabet) which in turn became the Aramaic alphabet and eventually the paleo-Hebrew alphabet. Of course the more modern Semitic languages today are Arabic and Hebrew (among others).

Originally, when the Sumerian Cuneiform clay tablets were discovered, there was a worry it would be impossible to decipher them. The language is entirely original and unique. It was initially only due to an understanding of these later written languages that translations could be attempted. However, it wasn’t until the discovery of a lexicon that Anton Parks (Sumero-Akkadian researcher and translator) could fully understand the original clay tablets. He has since gathered evidence which suggests that in fact for hundreds of years, we have been mistranslating the Sumerian tablets.

Exploring the Inaccuracies

Enlil

image via vorpalgazebo

One problem many religious groups face today is translations. Many speak only English and don’t understand that some words simply don’t translate into other languages in the same way. Take, for example, the word paradise. The Garden of Eden is often referred to as ‘paradise’. The word itself comes from the Greek word: paradeisos. The definition of which is simply “enclosed park” often used to refer to an enclosed park housing wild animals (1). It wasn’t until the Hellenistic Period that the term transcribed as meaning “garden”.

You may be familiar with Genesis 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” So it may also surprise you to hear the correct translations from these ancient clay tablets which reads: “The men who serve the gods work for them in the garden and are treated like animals.” This is a recurring theme within these clay tablets which points to only one realisation: The Garden was simply an area where the elite groups/Gods live in luxury while slaves carry out the more menial tasks. The original texts refer to ‘Kharsag’ which translates roughly as ‘the city of the Gods’.

We also need to look at some of the individual words used. For example Eden is comprised of two main components ‘E’ which means ‘home’ and ‘Den’ (pronounced ‘Din’ or ‘Tin’) meaning ‘life’. We also have to look at one of the main characters in the Biblical creation story: Adam. Interestingly, you may suspect that the name/word ‘Adam’ has Hebrew roots but actually, it’s a Sumerian word. A-DAM actually translates as meaning ‘animals’. This is due not to Adam actually being an animal but rather the word ADAM referring to the lower class or level of the human species as viewed by the Gods.

Another important word we need to explore is SATAM (perhaps better known to you as Satan). The word SATAM in ancient Sumerian actually translates as ‘administrator’. There is nothing inherently evil or foul-natured about this word or being other than from what we know of later religious texts (such as Judeo-Christian texts). This word will be of particular importance when we explore the earliest Garden of Eden story. Finally, we have to explore the word which would later be mistranslated as “apple”: GNEESH. This Sumerian word doesn’t mean apple but rather tool or tree.

The True Story

Enlil

image via Ancient-Origins

The stories which come from these tablets of ancient Sumer tell not of one God but several. This council or assembly of Gods with several higher up members: Enki and Enlil. Each of these is quite apparent very early into the tablets. Enlil is referred to as ‘The Great SATAM’ (meaning the great administrator) but is similar to a dictator (eerily similar to the Judeo-Christian God): He is angry, domineering and controlling. This God doesn’t view humanity as anything more than animals or slaves whose sole purpose is to serve him and his kind. This was in comparison to Enki (also known as ‘the serpent’ due to his scale-like complexion) who is sometimes referred to as the Trickster God but was also known as the God of Wisdom. Enki (in comparison to Enlil) cares deeply for humanity and would often intervene with them in order to offer warning or insight (an example of this can be seen in the flood story which is almost identical to the Noah story but with different characters).

These Gods, while being humanoid in shape have different skin. The tablets refer to early forms of genetics which suggest that these Gods took already existing humans (perhaps an earlier species) and created what we would know as homo sapiens. While Enki was primarily responsible for this task, it was Enki who decided the specifications i.e. this new species of humans was designed for one purpose: to serve. These humans were naturally subservient to these Gods and didn’t question orders or even have free will by all accounts.

The tablets differ quite drastically from the Genesis story in that a God was sacrificed in order to combine their blood (the literal translation) with these new humans, along with elements of the Earth. This genetic change sounds crazy (particularly to myself, someone who doesn’t believe in Gods) but there is evidence of a drastic change in human DNA. I personally don’t think it is evidence of God-interaction but it’s interesting to note. To look at this evidence, we have to focus on chromosome number 2 which is not only the 2nd largest chromosome but also makes about 8% of the DNA in any cell. The interesting change is a fusion of pre-existing chromosomes that would actually have been found in primates. It’s responsible (among other things) for the formation of the cortex. This gives us mental abilities such as logic, empathy, sympathy and compassion. You could arguably say it is responsible for our sense of morality.

Enki secretly altered some of the genes within certain groups of humanity. This is viewed as a change that would allow enlightenment to take place within these humans. The other Gods even turn against him, particularly Enlil. As time goes on, these humans become independent and discover the ability to disobey the Gods and choose not to be subservient. Enki, as such, wishes to treat the humans as if they were the same as the Gods. Enlil asks Enki to go fourth and talk to the humans on behalf of the Gods, something that Enki had been doing anyway. It’s important to remember that Enki is frequently described as having reptilian features. He is also the only God that the humans come into direct contact with (at least at this time).

Enki approaches a woman in the “Garden” and provides them with GNEESH (a tool). He explains that humanity can use either side of this tool. On the one side, they can use it for building or fixing…or they can use it for fighting, defending and conquering. Due to their oppression at the hands of the Gods and the realisation that they now have the means to revolt, the humans do just that. They launch an attack against the Gods which ultimately fails and the surviving humans (of which there are now few) are put back to work. So what did Enki give mankind? A choice! You may even say that the serpent presented humanity with the ability to defy the Gods which ultimately led to the fall of man.

Welcome in the Judeo-Christian Views

Enki

image via Ask Gramps

So this leads us to the point in time where the varying books of the Old Testament were being compiled. It’s undeniably obvious that the Garden of Eden story existed in written form in ancient Sumer long before it was ever written for the purposes of the Torah or Bible. What idea benefits a religion more: Pushing humanity to rise up against oppressors (Gods or otherwise) OR making humanity feel guilty and subservient with only one purpose: to serve God? One relates to Enki and the other to Enlil. The latter is exactly the same as the Judeo-Christian God and so the choice that was made is obvious. Giving knowledge and power to humanity was the work of an evil character, a snake, a deceiver and yet forcing humanity to serve is somehow the act of an all-loving God?

The interesting thing is that this duality and symbolism still exists very much today. Not worshipping God, not believing in God, not obeying God is how one follows the path of the devil (of the snake from the Garden). Yet Enki’s message is still found within Christianity today, despite being erased from the stories himself.  For example, the most famous depiction of Enki shows him holding a pinecone in one hand. The pinecone (which obviously comes from a tree) is used to symbolise consciousness. Pinecones were symbolic within later religious beliefs and a giant statue of a Pinecone can be found in Vatican City (although it predates the Catholic ownership of the land).

Conclusion

Enki

image via MichaelLeeHIll

So you have to ask yourself: Does Christianity have the wrong end of the stick? Has the Bible or Torah being teaching the side of the story that goes against the interests of humanity? Is the Devil actually just a God who tried to help us and the one God these faiths worship is simply a dictator? How would anyone know differently?

I don’t personally believe either story to be based on history. However, that being said, I find the Sumerian tale to be far more conceivable and possible. I mean we could easily have mistaken aliens as Gods due to our sheer lack of knowledge and understanding of the world at the time. It’s completely possible that this alien race decided to create subservient humans through genetic splicing and editing. I also find it completely possible (if not likely) that during the compilation of Bible stories there was either an error or an intentional editing in terms of translations.

It’s also worth noting that this story CLEARLY played a role in the formation of the Assassin’s Creed story line. I actually find the Assassin’s Creed version more likely that the Bible version. So I’m definitely going to write an article looking at some of the inspirations for the Assassin’s Creed games and how it ties in with real history and mythology.


Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the Sumerian tale of Enki and Enlil?  Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!