Things I've Loved Lately #2

Awkward television, cli-fi, and lots of lovely games

Things I've Loved Lately #2

June is my birthday month, and I have just turned 35. I feel good about this. The first half of my thirties has been a bit chaotic but things are calming down now.

(Just going to touch every bit of wood in my house just in case)

Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve been enjoying recently:


I’ve been playing a lot of EarthBound for a feature I want to write and honestly? It’s excellent. Funny, quirky, and non-stop entertaining.

Realising that a few games I’ve loved recently are so heavily influenced by EarthBound that I can’t figure out how I’ve never played it before.

I’ve also started playing Dordogne which I would also love to write about. It is absolutely gorgeous. Like, stunning. Stunning!

It’s a gorgeous, slow-paced game in which you play Mimi, a young woman exploring her deceased grandmother’s house in order to unlock memories. It’s super tactile; reminds me a bit of Another Code in that respect. You have to do everything yourself (clicking and dragging to strike a match, unlock a door, etc). That, along with the excellent sound design, make it feel kind of ‘real’, which is nice because the art style is kind of abstract. It reminds me of when I was little and I used to play with paper dolls.

Dordogne is on Game Pass, and I’d absolutely recommend giving it a go.

Chris and I have been playing Night Call on the Switch, which is interesting. You play a taxi driver recovering from a near-fatal attack. There’s a serial killer on the loose in Paris, and as the only survivor, your task is to figure out the identity of the killer before they strike again. You can do this by picking up passengers and striking up conversations with them.

It has an incredible art style, all moody black-and-white, and the story is really interesting. A nice game to cuddle up with in bed on a rainy night.

I also started playing Eastward, an adventure game heavily influenced by both EarthBound and Zelda. Firstly, the pixel art is incredible. Absolutely gorgeous and full of life. You switch between silent, stoic father-figure John and his bouncy, spirited adopted child, Sam. Wielding a frying pan (and some useful magic powers), the two are quickly swept into an epic adventure.

I love this game. It’s so much fun smashing through enemies with a frying pan, and the puzzles are great. I put it on hold because I want to finish EarthBound first, but I’m really excited to get back into it.


I’ve started reading for uni, which immediately put me off reading altogether. I think it’s just dawned on me that I have to finish this bloody degree at some point. I’ve started reading The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. Proper classic sci-fi, dystopian (when it was good, before we hit the Hunger Games dystopia saturation point). A physicist, Shevek, visits the planet Urras seeking freedom, only to find a world very different from his own. Haven’t finished it yet, but it’s good so far.

To break things up a bit, I’ve been reading Bunny by Mona Awad. In this book, elite university student Sam is fascinated by a group of socialites in her class, known as the Bunnies. When they invite her to spend the evening with them, she gets swept up into something strange and sinister. It’s - it’s just really strange. And compelling. Kind of Heathers-esque. It was a nice break from the strangeness of Urras, anyway.

I’m on a books-about-videogames roll at the moment, thanks to Monster Kids by Daniel Dockery, the story of the phenomenal rise of Pokemon in the ‘90s. After that I picked up Ask Iwata: Words of Wisdom from Satoru Iwata, which so far contains a lot of leadership tips, and after that I’ll be looking for more, so send me some recommendations if you have them, please.

I’ve also started reading The Overstory by Richard Powers which is the story of a collection of humans united by the fact that trees have been deeply significant to their lives. It’s stunning so far. Apparently this emerging genre of fiction is called climate fiction or ‘cli-fi’ which sounds slightly wrong to me somehow.


  • I Think You Should Leave, Season 3 - Back away, banana breath! What the hell did you just eat, a banana?
  • Black Mirror, Season 6 - only two episodes into this season. It’s not grabbing me as much as the others. Would happily watch an entire movie starring Annie Murphy and Salma Hayek though.
  • Jury Duty, Season 1 - the premise of this one didn’t appeal to me to start with. It’s kind of like a reality show, in which a regular guy is called in for jury duty, but it’s all fake: everyone else, from the judge to the other jury members, are actors. I thought this would make me cringe too much, but it didn’t, mostly because a) the actors are superb, and b) the unwitting non-actor, Ronald, is the loveliest guy imaginable, and he manages to be both kind and funny as chaos erupts around him.


  • Surrender by Maggie Rogers -in an interview Rogers said that she wanted to create a song that would fit into the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack and the resulting track That’s Where I Am is absolutely perfect in that respect. I also love Horses, Shatter, and Be Cool.
  • Hands Go Up by Jack Garratt - just the most optimistic, positive song imaginable.
  • Memory Man by Aqualung - we (as in me and my husband) have a personal connection to Aqualung for romantical reasons. We’ve never seen him perform live, so when he announced tour dates in Bristol, I snapped them up instantly, which made my bank balance feel sad. Memory Man is an album packed with memories for me, to the point where it’s almost a bit too much. I need to take it in small doses, in the same way that I can’t listen to One Day Like This by Elbow without bursting into tears. Anyway, it’s a sweet album and makes me think about falling in love. Good old Aqualung.
  • Alas I Cannot Swim by Laura Marling - listening to a lot of early noughties indie rock for a story I’m writing and accidentally found Marling. She’s an incredible songwriter and makes me doubly determined to actually learn the acoustic guitar so that Yousician stops sending me shaming emails about how little practice I’ve been doing.
  • Messy by Olivia Dean - finally! Been waiting for this album for ages. I love Olivia Dean. Her songs are sharp and vulnerable and beautiful. The Hardest Part is an iconic song but I also love Everybody’s Crazy. Dive is also the perfect summer-breeze-whipping-through-your-hair-on-a-long-drive kind of song.
  • Shy Boy by Carly Rae Jepsen - stop! Stop what you’re doing! Go and listen to this song immediately. Absolute bop. Contemplating turning my Twitter into a CRJ stan account.

I mean it. Look, I’m even going to leave it here for your convenience.

Right, I think that’s it! If you like my book-and-game waffles you can follow me on Instagram too.

Take care, love you, bye!