Let’s all ignore the fact I haven’t posted since April!

For some reason, these days I find I’m using my iPod Touch a lot more for gaming these days than my DS, despite the fact I actually went and bought a US DSi system in the not too distant past. Yet despite the embarrassingly large pile of DS games I’ve amassed since the system launched back in March of 2005 I don’t seem to be using it a whole lot.

On the other hand, I spent a number of hours playing a game named Isotope, which isn’t bad to say I only spent £1.79 on it. Don’t get me started on how much time I’ve pissed away on Flight Control, which set me back the monumental price of 59p. There are a number of other apps on there that have been on my iPod since the App Store launched, but I’m not going into those because I really can’t be bothered making this rambling diatribe into a list of games I’ve downloaded.

If I had to guess why this is – and I’m going to – maybe its down to the fact that dropping £2 on a bad game isn’t as bad as dropping £30 or £40 on one. I’m looking at you, Condemned 2. Not to say that I haven’t bought turkeys for DS, too… I actually bought Goldeneye Rogue Agent or whatever it was called on the off chance that it “couldn’t really be that bad, could it?” Well, it was. Naturally I lost out because god forbid a game store will give you a decent price on a game you’ve owned for a week, but I suppose they aren’t in the business of buying crap games. Just selling them.

Thinking about it though, I can’t really recall buying a bad game on the App Store. Whether this is down to crap games getting shoved down to the bottom of the category lists, or the somewhat useful review system (ignoring people that vote an app 1 star but then go on to sing its praises) I don’t know, but for the most part the good games get most exposure. I nearly shat myself with nostalgia when I noticed that a port of the Amiga classic Pinball Dreams was out. I most likely wouldn’t have bought it for DS, because most likely it would have been £30 or so and I’m not quite sure I like it that much to spend the cash for a donkeys-years old game. £2.99 on the other hand, why not? Thats about as much for 360 DLC, and I dare say there’s more game here than some of the tawdry offerings that get sprayed onto the Xbox Marketplace. Because you know, you can never have enough track packs for Rock Band and unlock keys for stuff already on your game disc, right?

A while ago I mentioned on Twitter that I hadn’t turned my Wii on for over 6 months. Considering the hype that surrounded the Wii prior to its launch – hype that I bought into – ordinarily this might seem a bit odd. Not so odd when you take into account the fact that there seems to have been a total dearth of decent games released for the Wii for some time. The second to last game I bought would have most likely been Smash Bros Brawl, or possibly something else around that time. The only reason I turned my Wii on again recently was for House of the Dead: Overkill.

I’m sure some readers (Ha! Readers.) will be insistent that the Wii has been blessed with a truly bountiful selection of the games in the past months, like Wii Music, Wii Fit, Smash Bros Brawl, Madworld, and uh, that one game that wasn’t just a collection of mini games or some licenced garbage. You know the one I mean right? No? Me neither.

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I’m going to go right ahead and blame the lack of posts on here on the fact that posting using 140 characters or less is easier than typing paragraphs upon paragraphs. Of course I shouldn’t forget video games, either. So many video games. 

Speaking of video games – what else do I speak of on here – I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time on a genre I would never touch with a bargepole. Dawn of War plus expansions have been eating up time recently as has RTS-that-actually-works-on-a-console Halo Wars. I’d probably have bought Dawn of War 2, but I don’t trust this laptop to run it for any length of time without it turning into a pool of molten slag. I’ll have to look into it once I actually get the cash together to buy a beefy enough desktop machine. For some reason Dawn of War is actually holding my interest. Whether its the fact you don’t have to grind for resources, or that rushing with a single unit isn’t as effective (hello Starcraft) I’m actually having fun with an RTS game. I’d assume this is also the reason I’m having such fun with Halo Wars. All that tedious resource harvesting has been replaced with building structures that serve no purpose other than to give you a steady stream of cash for you to destroy more Heretics/Covenant/Xenos with. 

Thinking about it, Dawn of War and Halo Wars actually seem fairly similar. Both of the games have all but eliminated grinding for resources, rushes of a single unit type rarely ever work, and I can actually stand to play both of them. Something else that I actually rather like is the relatively low unit population you’re allowed, if only because it means turtling doesn’t seem as effective and that you really do need to have an evenly balanced army to stand a chance. It’s all well and good having a dozen Scorpion tanks, but what good is that when the other guy can easily decimate them all with a sqaudron of Banshees? Replace Scorpion tanks and Banshees with Dawn of War units as applicable.

One gripe about Halo Wars though, it’s all well and good playing through as the UNSC but a Covenant campaign wouldn’t be unwelcome either.

In retrospect, maybe two separate posts about both games would have been a better choice. But maybe I can save that for the next update! There’s going to be another update after this. Seriously!

don’t bet on it

Unfortunately my income as a retail wage slave isn’t enough to buy a car – not even a shit one – so I’m stuck getting the bus to and from work whenever I can’t cadge a lift from somebody. More often than not its just an hour of quietly smouldering rage while some pond life or other is blasting shitty techno over tinny mobile phone speakers, or blasting shitty techno over tinny earphones, or an extremely fat man leans into me as the bus rounds a corner. It should be noted at this point I’m not sure if there is any other kind of techno than “shitty”.

Today was different in that apart from the underclass and their mobile phones that just refuse to run out of battery power, I managed to eavesdrop on a few conversations more than I usually would, but these were worth remembering because they were a lot more ridiculous than usual.

First of all, the granny in her 70′s talking to an equally decrepit friend:

“If I was going to kill myself, I’d use pills. I couldn’t hang myself. Think of the mess some other poor bugger would have to clean up!”

I think there needs to be a change of staff down at the Day Centre.

Secondly we have a cluster of underclass discussing the finer points of sex education, by shouting it across the bus:

“My mate tells us that if’n yer don’t wanna get pregernant (not a typo), just go fer a big fuckin’ piss afterwards like and yer won’t get pregernant because it washes yer out, like.”

“‘Ey really? I’m gonna haveter try that when I see my Tezza tonight, he can’t be doin’ usin’ a rubber fuckin’ johhny.” 

Neither of these two girls looked over 15. The part that worries me most is that these two will eventually be adults and will be free to roam around in public, presumably once their probation period ends. Both were also playing shitty techno at the same time, although I don’t know if that counts for anything. I think I need to invest in a pair of iPod speakers so I can drown out everybody else with Iron Maiden, or something equally loud.

A few days back I got hold of Spore – after minimal wrangling with the EA store, which was strange considering the faffing I had with the Creature Creator – and apart from the time I spent on this post I haven’t been able to tear myself away from the game. The only reason I stopped is because my laptop overheated and made my graphics go all glitchy, which was nice. I’m posting this from my iPod while watching Dragon’s Den, which I guess makes me some sort of Web 2.0 multitasking machine! Well, drafting it. I’m still Web 2.0. The only thing I’m missing is a hipster haircut.

When Spore was in development I really wasn’t too interested in it, mostly because I never thought it would be able to live up to the hype a game like this would inevitably generate. I ignored the development for a while, also for the reason that I wouldn’t have even thought it would even run on my rapidly aging PC. Then my computer imploded in on itself, I got a laptop more powerful than a wristwatch, and Spore got interesting again after watching a few gameplay videos and some lots of tinkering with the Creature Creator. 

So September 5th comes, my Spore preload gets decrypted, and before you know it I’ve pissed away several hours. I had to break off the game for the night because I managed to wake up the entire house after pissing myself laughing at befriending a Portal turret during the Creature stage, who then went on to lead a full and happy life destroying the enemies my creature couldn’t charm the pants off of. Speaking of my creature:

This guy later went on to convert the entire planet with an international jihad.

This guy later went on to convert the entire planet with an international jihad.

One charm offensive later – with help from my best buddy the Portal turret, a Fatty O, and a Crunkle friend – my guys harnessed the power of fire, and before I knew it we had a full blown Tribe going. Not being one to change my ways, we later went on to convert the nearby tribes with a set Broadway musicals. But, because not every tribe can appreciate the finer points of a 12 piece band complete with maracas, didgeridoos and wooden flute things, we had to use spears instead to convert them. Convert them to corpses, I mean. After that, the tribe celebrated with a dance party:

What better way to celebrate your superior charm with a dance party?

What better way to celebrate your superior charm than with a dance party?

After building a city, my guys took it upon themselves to charm their way across the planet using religion. Not content to stick to throwing impromptu musical skits, we soon decided that it would be much more efficient to use 200ft tall holograms to get the point across to these heretics:

The power of Crunkle compels you!

The power of Crunkle compels you!

A planetary scale jihad later and the planet was mine. 

I don’t have a lot to say about the Space segment, but only because I spent most of the time I played on it flying round the planet being awed at this fantastic game.

For the interested, I have a stash of things I’ve created on mootnet. I also go by “mootzilla” on the Sporepedia. Needless to say I doubt I’ll be uninstalling this game soon, and not because of that “Three installs and you’re out” bullshit either.

A few days back I got hold of the Spore Creature Creator trial – the leaked version, actually – and basically, I couldn’t peel myself away from it the entire time it was installed. I knew eventually that I would have to uninstall it, and in time I weaned myself off of it long enough to begin the process of uninstallation. Of course shortly after that I went and dropped £5 on the full Creature Creator but that’s beside the point.

Even though there’s no trace of the full version of Spore in it, this Creature Creator is one of the most fun things I’ve installed in long time. It’s not like you even have to pour in hours to make the perfect creature, I knocked up this little bastard in about 20 minutes or so:

He enjoys pottery, soft furnishings, and ripping his enemies to shreds.

His name is “Bitey”.

It really is ridiculously easy to make things like this. No matter how many legs, or heads, whatever you throw on it the game will animate it, texture it, and pull all sorts of technical trickery on it. I’ve made some quite literally terrifying things with this, and the game doesn’t bat an eyelid at rendering whatever eldritch horror you come up with. I don’t think you can make asymmetric creatures, but thats really a non-issue. What really gets me going – in a really geekish sort of way – is how the game stores your creature in a 30kb or so .png image. I’m curious how much of that is actually the image and what space is left for the actual creature data. Nigh on everything is procedurally generated so I’m going to assume its the bare bare minimum to recreate it.

I didn’t really give a damn about Spore previously, with everything that Maxis were promising I wouldn’t have thought they would have been able to ram everything they were hyping up into it. After spending some time with the Creature Creator though I’m really looking forward to Spore now. The system specs aren’t exactly demanding either, so you won’t even need a Crysis-spec computer to run it. I would imagine your CPU would need to be suitably beefy for all the procedural content, though.

My only issue is that once I get the full game, my in-game universe is going to be dominated by dancing genitalia. It really didn’t take long for people to start making crudely modelled penises, but what would you expect? It’s the internet.

“A man wearing a T-shirt depicting a cartoon character holding a gun was stopped from boarding a flight by the security at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.”

This country.

Every day, I am filled with wonder at how stupid people, organisations, and various other things and such can be.

Did I say “wonder”? What I really meant to say was “loathing”.

Figuratively, not literally.

However that may change when Beyond Good and Evil 2 comes out. if it’s anything like the last game, I will have to change my underwear several dozen times. I’m hoping more than twelve people will buy this game this time around, as I would love it if there was ever enough sales of this game to warrant a trilogy. Going on the first one, there is easily enough story in the game to keep the momentum going for a thrid game.

I did originally plan to put down a lot more about this game, but all I can think about this is “DO WANT DO WANT DO WANT DO WANT”.

Needless to say I’ll probably throw something more up on here whenever some more information about this is made available, right after I contain my inner fanboy and stop squawking about it like some overly excitable retard.

How many times have I posted “recent inactivity” updates now? I think the answer is a resounding too many.

I have an excuse, though! Nothing of any interest whatsoever has happened in the past five months, apart from the fact I got a Twitter account, and have continually surprised myself that I haven’t got bored and stopped using it yet. Maybe 140 characters or less is the right amount of text for me to spew out regularly enough for an update to be worth it. Or maybe I just lose interest after the first 140 characters, I don’t know.

I really should write more on here, because in some bizarre way I actually like writing shit here even though I’m pretty sure no bugger reads it but, who cares. Sometimes its nice to write stuff down for no reason. Coincidentally, thats also the exact reason I registered over on Twitter.

Guess who forgot to update!

Blame this on the fact that I have an Xbox 360, and the fact I don’t many exciting things to jabber on about for an hour.

And this update is no different. Enjoy your filler~

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