Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Five things to look out for when hiring a community manager

At Quirk, we are always hiring, so I have scoured over a 100 CV's in the last few months and have come across some ridiculous shit (some of which is documented below). Here are some points to consider (red flags) when hiring a social media community manager :

1) Pinterest boards dedicated to pictures of roadkill

2) Spamming 'Celebrities' with tweets, hoping for a retweet, mention or a block (A community manager actually told me that she gets a kick out of trolling celebs in the hopes of getting blocked - why would you tell a potential employer this?) 

3) Has the words 'social media guru' in their bio 

4) Their Twitter avatar is an egg

5) They have their own fan page on Facebook (Usually with less than 5 likes from non-family members and colleagues who were guilted into liking their page) 

What are some of the red-flags you picked up? Spelling, death threats, twirettes, No idea what a hashtag is? Leave a comment and let me know.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MJ Reviews | Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D


    2D platformers are one of my favourite genres (perhaps only being ousted by first person shooters and 3D Action adventure titles) so you could imagine my excitement when I picked up Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for my freshly owned 3DS. I have always been a fan of Rare (since the N64 days) and while this title is not published by the Goldeneye Gods (monster games did the 3DS port of Retro Games wii original), it does build on their groundwork.

The plot itself is fairly perfunctory, with a group of aliens called tikis swooping in and invading your habitat and stealing all your bananas. A story about an invading nation taking your natural resources…hmm, where did I see this before? As you can tell, it doesn’t’ matter who really took ‘my’ bananas – it could have been crocodiles, aliens, heck - even the monkey from the coco pops adverts. 

I guess the mark of a good platformer is that the story will take a backseat. (I don’t remember needing a detailed plot for sonic the hedgehog – it was just run, collect rings, destroy rotund academic or medical practitioner).  Donkey Kong has a great mix of traditional platforming mechanics peppered with jet propulsion areas, rhino bulldozers and an extended on-rails section. Worlds’ are split between jungles, a volcano, mines and even a cool silhouette level that reminded me of Limbo( Although – the Original Donkey Kong Country returns came out first for the wii) 

The visuals stand out as the best I’ve seen on the handheld, with a vivid palette that drew the eye of anyone around me while I was playing at a social media conference or at the local Wimpy. 

Doing my bit for Rhinos

This brings me to the game’s double-edged sword – difficulty. Donkey Kong Country Returns is 'riDonkeylisly' difficult (nope, doesn’t work). I’ve been gaming for over 25 years (having bested a variety of Super Mario Brothers, Rayman games, Sonic titles etc) but I found the challenge to be borderline crazy at times. I don’t mind admit to giving up when games get too tough, or are difficult for difficult’s sake (dark souls). Luckily, DK has a get out of jail card in the form of super kong (an optional character who will complete a level for you (provided you have died at least five times I think). I admit to using Super Kong to defeat a ridiculously difficult boss (the caterpillar type chap who weaves around the various wheels).

Donkey Kong took me around 15 hours to complete, with the extras (KONG letters, Orbs and puzzle pieces) probably adding an extra 10 hours or so to the length. 

In an age of mobile gaming, saturated with quick fixes and repetitive mechanics, its refreshing that handheld games are getting a second breath. Donkey Kong Country is an essential 3DS purchase, but more than that, It is a must have for anyone who enjoys 2D platformers.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Donkey Kong Country Returns is available from all decent retailers. 
Thanks to Princess Peach (give her a follow on Twitter) and the team at Nintendo South Africa for all their support and for the Nintendo 3DS XL. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Top 10 video games that use Africa as a setting

Following a trend in movies, Africa does not feature heavily as video game locations. This could be due to multiple factors including cost, infrastructure and the positing of Africa as this undiscovered savage land. However, there are a few games that have an African setting (or a level based in Africa) and even though some depict Africa poorly, at least we get some screen time. This list is in no particular order of importance.
Cabela’s African safari
This one makes sense as I would imagine Cabela’s UK safari to be quite boring (unless hunting rabbits is your thing)
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 is a lot like Cabela in that you can go on safari if you like, but you will have much more fun trying to overthrow ‘The Jackal’. If only my car didn’t break down so often.
Fifa World Cup 2010
Capturing the fever of the World Cup, this game had everything – great venues, wonderfully African soundtrack and best of all, Vuvuzelas!
Resident Evil 5
RE 5 received a lot of flak when it released for portraying African’s as being savage barbaric beasts. It’s weird that RE 4 did not face the same backlash (Eastern European savages are less controversial). Did Capcom learn its lesson? Nope. That’s why Resident Evil 6 was based in China!
GTC Africa
One of my favourite games to feature Africa, GTC Africa let you race across various African locales including Cape Town. I have fond memories of dragging my dad to the tv just so that he could watch me drive past Table Mountain.
Rainbow six Lockdown
First mission is in Pretoria where you have to rescue President Mbelu. Mbelu, that sounds a lot like a certain pipe smoking philosophical leader. Nice one Ubisoft.
The Lion King
Didn’t expect it to be set anywhere else did ya? Fun game, that remains one of my favourite Mega drive titles.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Is it just me or do most of the games based in Africa revolve around killing people? The team goes to Zambia and Nigeria for some cloak and dagger action.
Modern warfare 3
Sierra Leone plays host to Unit 141 as they travel the world, killing perps and tangos and all manner of evil doers. Hundreds of them. I can’t imagine Makorov taking out health insurance for all these guys. I don’t think we are supposed to think about stuff like that. Just aim and kill I guess.
Tiger Woods 09
One of the courses (The Gary Player Country Club) is located at Sun City. And while there are a few sports titles which use Africa as a setting (Ashes, Rugby World Cup etc) the copies I saw in retail outlets had a gold sticker proudly proclaiming the course. That elevates it and gives it a spot on my list.
So that concludes my list - any titles that I have left out?


Saturday, November 09, 2013

MJ Reviews... Adega Express | Sandton City

adega express sandton city
Looks like the chap from Robin Hood
Schlotsky's (however the hell you spell it) has always held a special place in my thoughts - mostly because it was the first place that Kareema and I ate together. I was therefore surprised when I discovered that it had been replaced with an Adega Express (Just another example in a long line of food places trying to dilute a restaurant experience into a low commitment, quick turnaround fast food place - I'm looking at you Primi)

It ticked all the boxes (halaal, curiosity, proximity) so we gave it a go. The place was a little cramped - too many tables and chairs in a small space.

Now I don't like to stereotype but us brown people do have a penchant for economies of scale. Dineo was our waitress, and while she did not know the names of some of the menu items (in her defence, they have only been open for a week) her warm personality made up for it.

The food:

I ordered the Bitoque ( Grilled rump topped with an egg and served with chips) while Karee went for the safer 'Chicken Prego' option. My steak was tougher than trying to lip-read a purdah chick, while the chips had the texture of a frozen gherkin rolled in sand. I can't say that I'm a fan of re-fried chips. How do you mess up chips? That's like messing up a toasted cheese. Karee's prego roll was a touch  more impressive (the roll itself was the star, which was quite telling).

The one thing that really stood out (apart from the lousy food) was the salt and pepper shaker - Adega has a decent brand equity and they charge top dollar - why then do you have boring old table condiments. That's cool at KFC, but if you're going to charge me, then I want something I can grind in a therapeutic and flavorful way. I know its a small niggle but it just re-enforced that you can dilute a brand with little executions like this.

Do let me know what you think of the food - the menu is rather limited (they haven't installed their pizza oven, or microwave for the cynical among you).  I will give them a second chance, but in a few months, once the teething issues have dissolved.