Sunset in Khiva

I just returned from a two week trip to Uzbekistan – a country that I did not know much about before. Located in Central Asia, east of the Caspian sea, it is surrounded by some of the other Post-Soviet states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan – while it also shares a border with Afghanistan to the southeast. Since ancient times, the trade routes connecting East and West commonly known as “Silk Road” ran through here, and in a way still do. East Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, languages, and religions blended together with remnants of the Soviet era create a unique mix that I have not experienced anywhere else yet.

After the death of authoritarian president Karimov in 2016, the country is now gradually opening up under their new leadership. There are large investments being made in industry, housing, education, and infrastructure. Coupled with a much more lenient border policy, it’s now easier than ever for tourists to visit. However, these rapid changes also come with downsides – old parts of many towns are being demolished in favour of big hotels, and the cultural and architectural features that Uzbekistan is known for are slowly turned into a theme park.

Regardless, I can only recommend travelling there if you have the chance. If you want to have a look at more pictures, click the teaser above or here.

iOS Game Pick – Prune

Prune iconPrune is a game for iOS that was just released. I played it on iPad, so that’s the version I’m commenting on. The game was made by one Joel McDonald, who doesn’t have a track record as a game developer yet as far as I can tell. It’s well made, looks beautiful, and is my iOS Game Pick of the Week.

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A List of Upcoming Games

Update 15/08/06 – I’ve added a few more games to the list.

Between AAA publishers and small indie studios, it seems to me there are more games in the making out there than ever before. I’ve piled up so many links to interesting games over the past months, I’m starting to lose track. So here’s a list, in no particular order. Some of these are in concept stage, some in alpha, beta, and some in early access. I’ve not played any of these yet. Maybe I’ll come back and revise the list once in a while when stuff gets released, maybe not.

The Witness – the new game by Jonathan Blow, hopefully out soon. I’ve been looking forward to this mostly for the concept, even though it is also a very beautiful game. The gaming world desperately needs more exciting new gameplay concepts most of all, so I’m hopeful that Blow and his team deliver with this one.

Tom Clancy’s The Division – seems they are trying to do something very dynamic with Player vs. Player vs. Environment here. The concept looked pretty cool judging purely from this E3 gameplay presentation that I saw, I’m looking forward to this.

No Man’s Sky – obviously. Ever since the beautiful Edge magazine cover a while ago, I’m waiting for this one to get released.

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Ich war heute mal wieder in einem fast nicht mehr angesagten Hamburger Viertel um einen alten Freund aus der Schweiz zu treffen. Zwischen Bio-Stulle und Craft Beer wurde ich an diesen Artikel erinnert: A Tale of Two Hipsters, ein Essay von Dale Beran. Er bezieht sich in diesem Versuch der Definition des Hipster-Begriffs zwar auf die USA, speziell auf den New Yorker Stadtteil Brooklyn – ich finde seine Erkenntnisse aber auch hier in der deutschen Provinz anwendbar. Klare Leseempfehlung.