Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No, Really. Horribly Wrong

It's like joy, wrapped in more joy, dipped in chocolate, and given a dusting of yet more joy. No, actually, it's extremely fucking daft.

If the scriptures are turning out to be too hard to understand, I'm willing to lend elements of my own, admittedly controversial, philosophy to these needy pastors. It goes something like this:

Don't be a cunt.

You'll probably find it works better than sermons on ancient Middle-Eastern tax law.

How Much Cretin does $11 Million Buy?

You've got to feel sorry for Fred Phelps. Just because he and his followers gatecrash hundreds of funerals every year to spread their vile, idiotic, hate-filled message, they've left themselves open to a little spot of litigation.

No, hang on a second, you don't have to feel sorry for him at all. He's one of the worst human beings on the face of the planet, and every second he's not on fire is a second we're not correctly using all this oxygen we have knocking about the place.

Glad that's cleared up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Correct Use of Astrophysics.

This is totally unfair. I've killed several large ruminants this year, and no-one thinks I'm that valuable. Some people seem to actively disapprove.


I have always said that if I was presented with convincing evidence for some sort of higher power, I would recant my naughty atheism.

That day is here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Web 2.Ohforfuckssakepeoplearecretins

The IMDB is a tremendous resource. For the nerd who simply must know every little tiny bit of movie trivia, it is indispensable. It recently added a new user-generated feature, however, that is hurting me in the soul and a few other places.

You can now nominate plot keywords for movies, so that people can browse for things they like to see in movies. Here's an example:

1990s / Vomit Scene / Civil War / Border Crossing / Jeep.

Wow. Because I'm betting the guy who searched for '1990's' and 'Vomit Scene' was of course looking for Three Kings, a fairly harrowing black comedy about the first Gulf War, and definitely not looking for really weird porn.

Let's try another:

Mustache / Corpse / Limousine / Split Personality / Fashion

Give up? It is, of course, Batman Begins. Those are the five words that most adequately sum up that film.

So here it is folks. Audience participation time again. I want you to look the single most preposterous set of keywords for any movie on the IMDB. A pat on the back for the winner. Not an actual one, but an internet one. Which is better.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Hard to Overstate My Satisfaction.

I have spent a genuinely terrifying amount of time with the various components of The Orange Box, and it's been great fun. I want to go into Portal in greater depth at some point soon. I haven't even touched Team Fortress yet, as I've been plowing through the four singleplayer components. They're all pretty great. The Source engine doesn't really look too great these days, but it features wonderful physics, and must be forgiven.

The mention of this brings me onto a soon-to-be-released game Bionic Commando. A sequel to/remake of the original arcade/NES game of the same name, it looks to be running heavily with the Havok physics as well. Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to have to watch me playing videogames, or listen to me talk about them, or really spend any time near me at all, will know that I am obsessed with physics in games. Utterly obsessed. I've been playing the things for over 20 years, and I'm pretty tired of shooting things and jumping on their heads. What I'm about these days is crushing them with bits of the environment, throwing them into walls, and generally being cruel and unusual.

What you probably didn't know is the original Bionic Commando is responsible for this. It was the first game I ever played that featured interesting physics. You shot out your bionic arm like a grappling hook, grabbed a platform, and swung across. To my 6-year-old self, this was like crack. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I could never get past the second level of the damn thing, but it didn't matter, because I just loved making the little guy swing around shooting bigger guys with beards.

I knew that this was in development, but it wasn't until I saw the video, and more importantly, heard an orchestral version of the them song I know so well as a four-channel midi, that my inner child had a joy-seizure (I blame the sherbet dib-dabs myself), and I felt compelled to get this all out.

I think a worrying amount of my psyche may be hinged around this game. If this remake blows, I think the whole house of cards may come tumbling down. Woe betide those in my way.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spam On!

Today's spam entry is a different format to those previous. It's not the subject bar, but the body text I shall be detailing. I hope I don't lose anyone with this radical overhaul. With that fully in mind, cautiously onwards we go:

If you are looking for information concerning in which manner you are able tospan some more mass for your reproduction organ, get what's gonna help.

blind olaf grimm birgit ahead wattle vat ! we're we'll.

A work of astonishing power and insight, I'm sure you'll agree.

Inappropriate Touching.

This made me laugh harder than anything in the last few days, and I watched a guy kicking a puppy.

You've got to admire his dedication to the job, but when your company has to issue a statement explaining how he "handled the truffles innapropriately", you know you've taken it too far.

The Shame of it All.

Most people, when they find themselves in a position to stare bleary-eyed around a room upon waking and think "What did I do last night?" will be looking at discarded tequila bottles, a cowboy hat, maybe a dead hooker or two. Not me. I look at my DVD shelf, and spy both The Fantastic 4 and Casshern.

In the depths of the foulest mood yet to come upon me this year, which is really saying something, I decided I needed to watch some fairly trashy movies. Now, Blockbuster's 2 DVD's for £10 has previously supplied me with some fairly decent movies (also the Nicolas Cage version of The Wicker Man, but that's for a bet). Last night it provided me with those two.

The Fantastic 4 is nowhere near as bad as people make out. It's a kid's film, based on a comic book that has never really gone for any particular depth, and working purely on those terms it succceeds. It's fun, no-one really lets themselves down too badly (except Julian McMahon, who is the least threatening villain ever, although his previous ouevre has been so shit that I don't really think this represents a significant drop for him). It's also remarkably smutty in places, which I always get a laugh out of in a kids flick.

Casshern is a movie I've seen before, and I have no particular idea why I bought it. It's a bizzarre CG/live-action blend from Japan. It's about a guy who gets reanimated (also, superpowers) shoved in a spiffy white suit of armour, and heads off to kick the shit out of giant robots. The bits in which he does this are some of the most inventive and outright fun fight scenes in any film. Unfortunately, they are bookended by two hours of torturous and nonsensical exposition. You can really get more fun by watching the trailer over and over for a couple of hours. Still, it is full of giant robots. And I does love me some giant robots.

In other news, I seem to spend most of my gaming time not getting called 'a gaywad' by American teeenagers on Halo 3, but instead playing Probotector 2: a 20 year-old NES game. Peculiar behaviour, even by my standards, but the game holds a special place in my heart. For one thing, it was one of the games on an old Playchoice 10 cabinet in my local leisure centre, and the story of it's release in the west amuses me. Originally the series was called Contra. A couple of things got changed in translation. The human main characters and enemies all got changed into robots, so our sensitive European tastes would not be offended by all the violence. Also, and more obviously, the name got changed from Contra to something that sounds like a sci-fi themed sex aid, presumably so no parent would have to endure a conversation along the lines of:

"Mummy, what's a Contra?"

"Why, they're South American guerrilla fighters, Jeremy. The US government funds them to fight communists with money they illegally gained by selling weapons to Iran, a sworn enemy of the state. Don't trust whitey, Jeremy, whatever you do, don't trust whitey."

Or so I imagine. Thanks, Konami, for your enduring sensitivity.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I Have a Hard Time Finding the Dignity in This.

This wasn't going to be my next post. I had a lovely post lined up, about truth, and beauty, and art. But of course, religion had to go and rear it's ugly head.

This whole thing, which most people found amusing for a while, ceased to be even that a while back. But now, seemingly purely for publicity's sake, the Dean of Manchester Cathedral is once more shaking off the binding chains of clear and rational thought, is digging out his soapbox, and he's yelling to the three people that will listen. And yes, I've lapped it up. And yes, I'm transmitting it (albeit to a very small number of people). But really? "Sacred digital rights"?

How daft do we have to be here? We are talking about a game that depicts a war between man and alien in an alternative 1950's in which WW2 never ended. If you were exceptionally sensitive, and I guess some folks are, I can see this causing a problem. But, if you are that sensitive, you have bigger problems, such as the acquisition of truly epic amounts of rubber sheeting.

Sacred. Digital. Rights. You heard it here first. Pesky freedom of expression pales next to 'em.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Truly harrowing.

Who could do such a thing to a book? Sacrilege.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Meanwhile, in Videogames...

Been a while since I wrote about games. Good for those of you who skip these, bad for me, because it means I've been doing things like socialising, reading, even smiling. In short, all the things I do when I'm between meds.

First things first: Halo 3 is really quite good indeed. It would be a churlish man who decided it to be less than splendid.

Now my main point. Xbox Live Arcade has been up and running for two years, but has somehow only this week managed to get a version of Tetris. I even have Tetris on my phone, for Ben & Jerry's sake. I like Tetris. Two years should be plenty of time to put together a game that bears some passing resemblance to Tetris.

Oh God. It's so profoundly horrible. The one thing I genuinely do not need, absolutely have no use for, is a tutorial in how to play Tetris. But this seems to start itself whenever you load the game. This, to my mind, is villainy. No less. I could also do without the breathy voice of a day-release mental patient panting 'single' and 'double' when you clear lines. It doesn't help.

Here's the thing. It's Tetris. Anything you try to add inevitably detracts. Please stop fucking about. It was fine in 1987, it would still be fine now if you didn't need a handheld the size of a small family saloon to play it on.