Monday, March 26, 2007

What do PS3 and Soylent Green have in common?

The answer, predictably, is that they're made of people. And not in an interesting way, either, just in the ramblings of a demented Sony Executive. Now, this time it's not Jack Tretton, who has said some fairly 'interesting' things. This time it's Ray Maguire, or as I like to call him, 'Commander Batshit'.

"If you take what's considered to be the most expensive and the least expensive - consider the US with its massive land and cheap people. Then you look at the UK - a little island where rent and rates are at an absolute premium, and the cost of people is a lot more. "

Please, someone tell me. What does that even mean? That's meant to be an explanation as to why the PS3 costs more in the UK than almost everywhere else. He's managing director of Sony America, so it seeems that the further up the chain you go, the higher the class of lunatic you encounter. Presumably, if you get promoted far enough in Sony America, you get made President of the USA.

In other news, the PS3 has launched in the UK. I know this because I was in town getting software for virtually every other console - part of the joys of trade in. Found some genuine crap in local stores, but crap that's worth money. Took it into town and turned it into Japanese madness. The system works. I saw four people carrying PS3's on my way into town. Extrapolating, I guess that means they sold more of them than they've produced. I'll look into that. I may have miscalculated.

Apparently not many people have been buying software with the machines. Not entirely suprising, given the quality of the launch titles, but it really seems that a lot of people are buying it as a Blu-Ray player, just as people bought the original PS2 as a DVD player. Makes sense if you want one, it's very cheap compared to all other Blu-Ray players on the market.

In other news, I just made the best burger of all time. Seriously, it was truly the greatest. Just thought folk would want to know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gentlemen, activate the retardamopod!

Brief update:

Saw Casino Royale. Apart from the scene of the woman riding up the beach on a white horse, it was much less camp than most Bond movies. That scene, however, was as camp as all the rest put together. I digress. I liked it. It was gritty, had a pretty decent plot. Looked nice, all the rest. The last 20 minutes were flaccid, right up until the point where it becomes clear that Bond likes nothing better than to put on a spiffy suit and torture someone for fun. That he is, in the literal sense of the term, mad as a sackful of stoats. And suddenly, all the other Bond films make sense.

Venezuelans are also insane: A group of Venezuelan religious leaders are trying to block the sale of Mercenaries 2, a game that, if past performance is anything to go by, precisely seven people will buy, on these grounds:

"Our concern is that this game will only deepen an already antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments".

That's right, the game will cause the U.S. government to reassess it's stance on Venezuela. I'll just let that sink in for a moment.

Did I mention that quote was from a letter to Bono? Because it was. And so, the prosecution rests. Ladies, gentlemen of the jury. Venezuelans are insane.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ta Da

Apparently, playing racing games will make you a bad driver. Most of the report here is common sense, but the thing I find troubling is the part where it states that drivers who play games are likely to have slower reaction times.

This goes against virtually every other study in the field (there are some particularly convincing reports on the benefits of gaming in boosting the skill of surgeons). I wonder if the study group used one of the Need For Speed games? They bear about as much resemblance to driving as they do to clay pigeon shooting.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Vomit Leprechauns

St. Patricks day, and Cambridge's take on festivities for the day has left me with one thought:

Everything is covered in diabolical fluids.

Possibly the least pleasant trip up Mill Road I have ever had.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Water on Mars?

Uh...yeah. Quite a bit, as it turns out. So, that's that then.

In about a years time, the 'life on Mars' question will be settled when sattelites discover a mile-thick layer of elephants.

Warren Ellis gets subtle

Every single thing Warren Ellis has had published by Avatar Press, up until this point, has been an absolute piece of crap. No exceptions. Avatar seems to exist purely to publish Warren Ellis concepts that no-one else will touch.

This one could be a little different. It's typical Ellis high-concept stuff. But it might just not suck. And I only say that because it should be familiar territory for him from Planetary and half a dozen other things he's written. He usually seems more energised when he's riffing on pulp classics.


...ain't it sweet? Little Mii wedding cake toppers. It'd almost be worth going through all the rigmarole of a wedding just to get the chance to repeatedly and insistently explain to friends and relatives why your cake looks 'a bit crappy'. Almost.

In other news, I have just seen Tara Palmer-Tompkinson and Claudia Winkleman side-by-side (thankfully muted) on some Comic Relief thing. I am struck by this thought: could British television get any less glamorous? Unless Lenny Henry drops his kecks and craps on the stage, I'm guessing no.

The OED, a late entry



1. Accessory or item of dress for one who is a wanker.

2. Item of clothing used as an outwards sign of aggression, wealth, and imagined art-school kudos.


"Did you see the wankoutrements on that guy? He had the afghan scarf, low-ride trousers, rimless sunglasses and the ironic belt buckle. He nearly had the full set!

Ok mankind... get to stay.

Something that cool has postponed my scouring of the Earth for at least six months.

I've been told

I've in fact been ordered to blog the fact that Commodore is back. The person who did this is fairly secure in his knowledge that the Amiga 500 was my primary means of playing games for about 7 years. I try not to wallow in nostalgia, but I can safely say, having seen those images, that should I ever buy a PC, it'll be one with a huge 'C' sign cut into the side.

Doesn't hurt that they're ridiculously high-spec gaming PC's either. I know that it's a fairly cynical, Atari-style manipulation of a much-beloved and tragically defunct brand, but damn. Anything that has Ghost Recon and the Commodore logo on the case is essentially the Alpha and the Omega of my gamesplaying existence.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A brief update

I'm very poor at writing consistently here. Not good for someone whose plans have nebulously been to earn money from his foul rantings for quite some time now.

Here's what's happened to me since I last posted:

I got an espresso machine. Directly linked to this, I now own a milk thermometer. Following logically from that, despite relative poverty and an absence of offspring, I am now the most middle-class person I know. Sorry about that, one and all.

I got a PSP. For those not in 'the know' this is a gaming machine that can be crammed full of media of all kinds. Anyone have widescreen vid files of Heroes? I want to watch it on my lunch break. Because I can. Apart from it's ability to store video, it's also full of Japanese madness. LocoRoco is a game made of pure joy. Actually crafted from the stuff. WipeOut Pure is not so bad either.

Almost nothing else. I got a year older, had a charming extended birthday weekend that involved considerably less cheap Australian beer and vomiting than last year, and generally relaxed. Tomorrrow I have to go back to work. I can see myself being considerably less relaxed after that.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Horribly, horribly wrong

Surely a sign of the end times.

I would not be surprised if they start hunting the most dangerous prey of all.

I was right all along...

Larping leads to crime and transvestitism.

I warned them, but would they listen? Now look where we are - transvestite elves all over Carrickfergus. Anyone could see it coming.

Hecker... Come Out To Play...

I've held off blogging this, simply because, what's the point? It's everywhere online at this point. But then, I am contrary.

The only reason I can see for him to do this is if he has a bet with other people at Maxis to get more than 5 million legitimate hits for the terms 'Hecker' and 'goddamn weasel from beyond all time and space'.

In other, non-ranty news, my friends David and Alison got married earlier today. Here's wishing them all the best.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Son of E3

Apart from a lack of imagination or any mathematical or programming ability, I could easily be a game designer. Which brings me around to thinking, when did GDC get hijacked?

A few years ago, the only news stories out of GDC would be about people getting drunk and being overheard badmouthing Sony at the bar. Now it seems to be a major launching point for new franchises. Why publishers have chosen what is meant to be a symposium on the curent nature of game development as a forum for large, elaborate press junkets I do not know, but I imagine if I was a developer, I wouldn't really want these people within 100 yards of the building, let alone swaggering around with their mighty marketing balls dragging on the floor.

I digress. The PS3 finally has an exclusive that I would actually want. Up until now, PS3 exclusives have taken the form of 'look at the dragon' or 'look, it's a first person shooter! Are you excited yet?'. But LittleBigPlanet is the first game I've seen for the PS3 that's actually interesting.

From what I can see in the trailers, you play one of a series of little felt dolls (including one in an Evil Knievel outfit!), and you build the world you occupy out of household items. You can then decorate it with any of the images on your hard drive. It's all controlled with the pad, can be shared online, looks amazing, and it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

Once you've built you world, you can tear around it with other players. It's not clear whether or not you can put goals into your level or not, but I'm not really sure that matters.

On the other side of the coin, there's Playstation Home. This is the sort of 'lifestyle' nonsense that I truly hate. You get a virtual house in which to store trophies from your in-game achievements (which of course Sony said they were not going to have), fill with Sony branded virtual TV's and all the rest. A persistent online world full of glossy, dead-eyed avatars showing off imaginary consumer products? And I get to look at plenty of dynamic advertising for the privelage? No thanks.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oh Eastern Europe...

Now if only someone can do this for Thatcher...


I've been quite good about nicking other people's images, but this one had to go up. It's from the Perry Bible Fellowship, the bleakest webcomic since Red Meat.

And since I'm nicking the image from Kotaku, who in fact nicked it first, I don't have to feel too bad.

There will be no punching of the face in the uncanny valley

South Korea has established a charter laying out what is and isn't acceptable in human/robot interations.

Crucially, they haven't missed the fact that certain people will want to have sex with their robots, and deemed this unacceptable. Watch this space for news of the first pro-robot lovin' pressure group. It can't be far away.

Well splendid

There's been a small explosion of zombie-related news recently, and here's the latest.

I've got to wonder why he thought he needed an ambulance to move a corpse. Practical, sure, but it's not really going to help. Maybe he thought it was more dignified than wrapping dear ol' dad up in a carpet and popping him on the back seat. But if he was the sort of person who thought like that, he probably wouldn't have tried to reamnimate the two years-dead corpse of his father.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The danger of a damaged 'S' key.

Working with an unfamiliar and eccentric keyboard, I mis-typed my URL, and so wound up with this site of wonders.

For a moment, I was worried that He had found me, and in a wrath at all those things I said about him, had set about my blog with his flaming sword of appalling grammar.

It was not to be. The 's' key is stiff, and I can sleep safe from reprisals from G-d.

A retort

I had this comment left on a previous post:

"Superman on the brain? Or is the sickness making you see super special dreams?"

Ravings of a diseased mind this may have been, no doubt the single lucid image he could snatch from hours of his syphilitic hallucinations, but I feel compelled to answer my critic.

This is what happens when you have "Superman on the brain". And it is not pretty.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Les morts vivant

I need a new language to talk about the undead in...

Dead Rising Co-op? Yes, yes, and yes again. Co-op was the only thing missing from this title. Some things I imagine this might be used for:

Killing zombies with sports gear - hockey sticks and golf clubs, a side by side comparison.
Trolley dashes.
Synchronised lawnmower sprees.
Pie fights.

It'll jus' be some plain ol' zombie twattin' fun.

I'm now wondering what the secondary characters will look like...

Spiced ham

Found on my continued trek through the spamosphere:

Her expelled a catkin

Possibly my favourite yet. It sounds like a Deep South accusation of withcraft.

It has been brought to my attention...

...that the BBC have cut down the article linked in the previous post. It was not brought to my attention nicely.

Rest assured, buoyed by my unimpeachable integrity, that a BBC journalist did in fact throw a little sulky fit that the guy dressed as Superman in the aforementioned video did very little to help.

In other news, I have had all my hair cut off. I no longer resemble a resplendent viking. The current effect is more like an aging, disheveled punk trying to look respectable. Which is, I would say, appropriate.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Faster than a...

From the BBC, this delightful little story.

On top of the story itself, which is pure gold, I also enjoyed the affronted tone of the BBC article. It seems to be saying that, really the guy dressed as Superman should have done more to help.

This might just be common sense reaching out here, but a guy who hangs around driving schools dressed as Superman would be the absolute last person I would want to help me with anything.

For science!

A sociologist in America is making a controversial claim. According to this researcher, and bearing mind that this is only a theory, not everything bad in the world can be blamed on videogames. Let that sink in for a moment.

According to this paper, other factors such as a lack of parental involvement, social anxiety and alienation may, if anything, be more likely to contribute to violence than Sonic the Hedgehog.

What a strange and terrifying world.

Les Revenants

For the last couple of days I have been unwell. To be more accurate, I've been unwell for a few weeks now, but the last few days have seen me robbed of speech and balance. This is a problem. Those who know me I'm sure will have noticed that I'm a fan of both standing up and saying stuff.

Now, however, I am full of drugs. I put off going to the Co-op to get more ibuprofen until my voice was upgraded from 'barely audible' to 'Metallica roadie', for fear that they wouldn't hear me saying please and thankyou, and therefore think I was a rude little bastard.

And there is news that helps me shake offf my sickness. The news that Left 4 Dead is coming to Xbox 360. It's an online survival horror, with four humans against a horde of zombies. You can even play as the zombies.

It is chock fucking full of zombies.