Monday, December 25, 2006

They went and did it...

This makes me so happy I could cry.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oh, and...

I should point out that one of the things I saw at Game On was the PS3. Probably one of the very first units in the country. It was running motorstorm, and for the entire time I was in that part of the hall, was played purely by two teenagers, who I think were Japanese. I mention this only because they seemed to be amused by our quaint and antiquated technology. In Japan they already have the PS4, which wires directly into the brain and into the testicles, for reasons they just will not explain.

For my part, I didn't get on. There was a queue for the whole 'next-gen' area, and I couldn't be fussed. Motorstorm looked OK, but had a pretty choppy framerate. I'm assuming that this was the downloadable demo made available for the North American launch of the machine, as the full release version is only out in Japan at the moment, and this was clearly in English. It looked like it could be fun, but it had some fairly poor graphics, and the framerate was unforgivably poor. I'm not leaping on the whole 30fps/60fps thing, but it looked plain ropey.

The Wii had a large crowd of young and old (literally, it seemed to be entirely kids playing with their parents), all of whom seemed to be enjoying it. It was only demonstrating Tennis from the Wii sports range, but it just kept people interested. It was strange and heartening to see people shunning the big mysterious PS3, which isn't out for at least three months, for the Wii, which is a commercially available machine. I guess it's still pretty new, but I'm going to be as flippant as I can.

On a similar note, how good is this?


Wandering around our nation's capital today, as I so often do, I popped into the Science Museum and checked out the Game On Exhibition. I'd meant to go when it was first exhibited in the Barbican about five years back, and could probably have better justified it at that age. Ah well. It was a lovely blast of nostalgia, seeing some old arcade favourites for the first time in ages . Plenty of home machines too, and some that never really made it over here, like the PC engine, and the Virtual Boy (sadly not operational).

The tone was a bit peculiar. Admirably, the curators have chosen not to focus on the nostalgia element, setting it up as a serious history of the form. Whilst this was probably a sensible approach, it would have been nice to have a little more space dedicated to the true greats. You would have thought that NEC did as much for the industry as Nintendo, Sega and Sony, going on floor space alone.

Most of the machines were in pretty decent condition, surprising, given how much of the bad touch they must get from the hordes of kids. There were a few points during my time there where I was thinking "Oh God, don't do that!" as a small child drooled onto delicate circuitry. What they really need, instead of the army of stewards that currently patrol the floor, is Archer Maclean. Just him, on his own, tearing around the floor wailing like a banshee whenever someone manhandles the controls on Galaga a little bit too hard.

Another thing that surprised me was just how little there was in terms of non-games content. There was Jon Burgerman's Timeline, which is fantastic. Very reminiscent of Pete Fowler's artwork, this covers a huge wall as you enter the exhibition. It's pretty detailed, but I'm sure any serious gamer could pick holes in it. They usually can, for almost anything. There was a small exhibition on game sound, which wasn't working, and some little bits of game memoribilia, like the history of Nintendo gashapon that appeared a year or so back, all of which were worth a quick look, but were fairly insubstansial.

There are some nice bits of concept art, and a wall donated by Rockstar giving a rough layout of how they set about designing Grand Theft Auto 3. My favourite thing though, by a staggeringly long way, was this:

Max Payne's clothes. His actual clothes. They were scanned for the textures in the game. Max Fucking Payne's actual fucking clothes. It's fair to say, I was excited.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The noise of dolphins gagging

Just too good.


Even with the search terms ann+coulter+satan+slash+sociopath+farmers+market, I couldn't make it into the top ten on google. Just for emphasis: farmers market. How many fucking farmers markets does she go to?

The beast

Ann Coulter: Agent of Satan. If she was in any way honest, she'd be passing out business cards with that on. Having taken a look at her latest book came across two main points.

A: God is real, and believing in him gives you absolute moral authority to do whatever you want, because you're right, and therefore, no wait, who cares, I'm right because I love God.

B: People who believe in evolution should be burnt. The theory's had 150 years, and in all that time we haven't found the missing link. Why don't they just give up and believe in Jesus. Disregard the fact that Evolution is demonstrably occurring constantly, of course. My momma didn't raise no damn monkey!

She genuinely is the true face of evil. Somehow, the ramblings of an obvious sociopath have become required reading for a large portion of the American public. In the spirit of this, I decided the only thing to do was to find the most hideous Ann Coulter slash fiction the internet could vomit upon me. What surprised me was that there's so little of it. I would have expected at least a little Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh fiction. Nada. Zip.

The only thing I found was this, and it's the most brilliant spoof of all time. My personal favourite moment:

"But Ann Coulter is the only celebrity I’ve ever spotted at Farmer’s Market that I wound up fucking in the ass, hard."

A close second:

"I was a little hurt and, recognizing this, she softened just a shade as she reached for her purse to leave.
‘Yes?’ I asked.
‘Thanks for not staring at my adam’s apple.’
‘No problem.’

A very close second.

Oh those wags...

So, Sony got busted for their shitty marketing campaign. Apparently it's immoral to use viral marketing. I don't entirely agree with that, stuff like ilovebees is fun. However, when it just inept, as Sony's is (hey kids, we just made this suspiciously high-quality advert-like thing for the PSP because we're just big fans) it's a problem. So it's being legislated.

So long as someone slips in a rider clause that stops Nintendo ever releasing another "Willst though get the girl, or fight like one?", I can get behind that.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I call it a killamajig

This is just ravening insanity. Germany has long had an excessive culture of censorship (I can still remember getting Carmageddon and seeing the green blood. It didn't take a whole lot of research to find that this was the fault of German censorship), but this is really going too far. Imagine how easy it would be for a judge, probably never having played a game, to pass a sentence for some minor infraction of this law, and set a dangerous precedent.

I'm not sure whether this will ever make it into German law, or whether it will ever be enforced, but it's pretty terrifying. Crytek have made it clear that they will leave the country, should this law be passed. Probably wise, as it would essentially make every member of their staff a criminal, simply for manufacturing a piece of entertainment that any right thinking adult has the right to purchase and use.

I recognise that this is a response to two genuine tragedies, but it should be clear to even the most frothing of right-wing fanatics that it is an ill-thought, knee-jerk response. If someone is mentally unstable to the point that they could really even consider killing another human being, they will almost certainly find a trigger anywhere. I've been playing games since I was five years old, and I still don't know how to fire a gun. It's not analogous. Hopefully this will all blow over, as it has in the past. Given the nature of the current German government, though, I find this unlikely.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm a liberal...

...and I read this. To be honest, it's here so I can find it in the morning.

I hope it's still there. I've had a drink.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sweet Criminy

My 360 died again. This is the second time I've had to have a courier whisk it from my hands and return it to Microsoft. I suspect the fault lies in the fact that the tortured soul of an orphan was not correctly bound to the motherboard during manufacture. I'd have thought Microsoft would have the finer points of infant sacrifice down pat by now. A shame. I'm not really sure what to do if it screws up again. I guess I can only hope that what they send me back is one of the apparently more reliable, more recently manufactured base units.

It couldn't really have come at a worse time, as of course the Wii launches today. I didn't have any spare cash, and so don't have one of these spifffing little devices. I quite enjoy midnight launches, apart from the constant fear of mugging. The fact that I haven't got the hardware rankles slightly. The fact that there's a new Zelda game available that I don't have the capacity to play - that's heartbreaking. I only really have my Gamecube to play at the moment, though at least this means I might actually finish Chibi Robo.

If anyone's in the market for some relatively healthy human body parts (I'm looking at you, Microsoft), then I can carve up my housemate. I need about £300 for a decent Wii setup. Anyone for a liver?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not to labour the point...

I gave Call of Duty 3 another go. In one ten minute play session, I watched half my squad walk through a wall, and was seemingly assasinated by a sentient packing crate (I assume that this was an enemy clipping through a crate, but all I saw was a wooden box with a muzzle flash). You can no longer jump from crouching (which makes precisely absolutely zero practical fucking sense) and, sin of all sins, none of the cutscenes can be skipped - and the one from the start of the level plays every time you load.

Also, you can no longer perform the screw jump attack, and Mother Brain is no longer the bad guy. She has been replaced by a new character called Hitler.

But isn't that where Batman lives?

Today I tried to play Project Gotham 3. This is the third time I've tried to play it.

Every 6 months or so, I decide that I can't be as bad as I remember, and give the latest version of Project Gotham a go. If you include MSR, I've been doing this for about five years now. Every time I boot it up I have the same seriously misplaced optimism that I will one day finish a single race. This has yet to happen. If anyone were to see me play this, they would assume that not only had I never played a video game, but also that I had no thumbs.

This is the last time, I swear.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A step back

So I finally got to play Call of Duty 3 today. I'm a little annoyed by the whole affair. It looks better, but only just. There are some major improvements, such as facial detail and animation, and texture quality is a fair bit higher. But there are also some things that have been poorly implemented. The depth of field effect you get when you aim is good, but can be pretty damn annoying when the game decides you're focusing on something other than the mean ol' man in front of you. It's chaotic enough without unfinished graphical effects making life harder for you.

There are more cut scenes. A lot more. There a lot of very clumsily scripted parts, to be honest. Least favourite so far: spotting targets for a tank. Just clumsy, and fairly pointless.

I knew things weren't going to go well when I had to restart the very first checkpoint because of a game-breaking bug (couldn't use melee attack, and so couldn't complete the tutorial). In the hour or so that I've played, I've repeatedly been stuck on the scenery, and had to restart.

There's a lot to like in the game, and I think it will be a very good game, when it's finished. But we're a few updates away from that yet. Let PC gamers play broken games. For a console, how about just waiting until it works?

Doing it right

The new Halo 3 trailer is available now, from the internet. It's also on Marketplace, which allows you to watch it on your television, through your Xbox. Ah hah. I can be wry.

It's pretty good. It's all CG, but does a pretty good job of getting the adrenalin going. Still, it doesn't match up to the sheer, ridiculous majesty of the halo 2 trailer.

The Halo music alone can reduce me to a quivering wreck of excitement and shame.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making with the happy

I watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang again this evening, probably the 10th time since it came out on DVD. It has become my dependable warm 'n' fuzzy film for background noise. What does it say about me that my background noise is blisteringly post-modern? Probably that I'm like, deep, man.

I keep noticing little bits and pieces about the movie. I can't believe that I didn't notice before tonight that Perry's phone is playing 'I Will Survive' as it's ringtone. I chuckled to myself. Not heartily, but I chuckled. Brilliant little nod to the ending.

I love that movie.