Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Autumnal Beauty


Bradgate Park was really beautiful.  After spending so much time surrounded by grey and noise, it’s quite inspiring to breathe fresh air and be surrounded by nature. 


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Games Journalism

What the hell was ‘Boomboxdan’ thinking when he wrote his Project Gotham review?

“When i have been playing on it I have been thinking,why is this game so good” You can actually imagine how Boomboxdan would look by this sentence… I’m guessing he is a skinny boy racer with neon lights on his Nova.


But hey, I guess it keeps him off the streets. You have to be pretty passionate about a game to have taken the time out of your boom boxing schedule to sit and write a review. He thinks the game is ace, good for him. I have found most racing games pretty dull and repetitive… Review writing is subjective.

I have never understood the idea behind ranking in any form of creative reviews. How can you rate a book? Or a piece of music? ‘Boomboxdan’ gives glowing praise to Project Gotham Racing 3 - “Everything is so perfect with it there is not one bad comment I can say about it” but then gave the game a modest 8/10… Not so perfect after all.

So do 10/10 games exist? Not really, no game is 100% perfect in every area, which is what that rank suggests. I take rankings and reviews with a pinch of salt, listen to my friends opinions and make my own mind up on what I will spend my pocket money on. I guess this is why I think NGJ is a good idea. When attention is focused on the journalists experience of playing the game, reviews become more relaxed and easier to read.

Some reviews are just plain funny:

Reading games journalism normally just makes me aggravated. The games I am most fond of tend to be ones you get emotionally attached to (Shadow of the colossus, Ico, FFVII) and my soul aches a little when journalists tell me how lame I am for loving such girly drivel. These reviews tend to be written by men who think their manhood will be taken away if they show an ounce of emotion in public. They sit in dark rooms manoeuvring around various recreations of WWII blowing the heads off anything that moves.

This description applies to anyone who tells you they felt no remorse after killing the first colossus, or when Sephiroth sliced Aeris in half.

Buffy and Edward


Ok so I am a bit of a sucker for teenage angst books, and I have read the Twilight series. I’m not going to lie, they were really addictive books, but I have always loved the romance behind vampires (Anne Rice is one of my favourite authors). Stephanie Meyer has an incredible skill, much like JK Rowling, she wraps you up in an intricate fantasy world that you struggle to get out of. Her characters are believable and dare I say, loveable.

But I hated Bella as soon as I read the first chapter. She is the lamest character I have had the misery of reading about. Pathetic, soppy, weak and talentless. Buffy however….


Ha, this video is just brilliant.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Resistance

Muse have always held a special place in my heart. The album  Absolution echoed my pubescent feelings of rebellion at a time when music labelled who you were. When going to see Muse for the first time (the black holes tour last year) I felt a deep feeling of dread and apprehension. I can’t stand bands that I love being cruddy live, it ruins the magic of it all. I speak from experience, I had been (and still am) an avid fan of The Strokes, but when I heard them live in 2006 I lost half of my respect.  It wasn’t that they were pants, it’s just… they were a little pants. Julian Casablancas mumbles a lot on the albums, and through head phones that really works with the music. But on stage, he looks drunk and sounds a  little pathetic.

When I first heard Matt Bellamy’s vocals live I was blown away. The music sounds better blasted through massive amps than on a CD which is something that bands usually struggle with, and Bellamy’s voice is something to die for... I could marry that voice.  The band did not let me down - Muse have one ass kicking live show.

And The Resistance tour was just as good.  Muse really suit the bigger arenas, so the mahoosive NIA Birmingham complimented the bands powerful style. The stage set interacted with the audience, big balloons bounce out through the crowd and when they eventually burst, confetti is released in clouds. It makes the crowd feel included and gives more reason to jump and join in with the sea of fans.


Bellamy’s interaction with the crowd just added that extra sparkle to the night. We managed to get standing tickets in the end, and we ended up so close you could see his face….


Shame about the nose. Bless him. But yeah the show was just… Epic.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Fangirl? Gaming hits the 2oth century.


And so it’s arrived… The games industry as it stands today, in all it’s glory. But do we stand together united in geek pride? Alas! no! We are divided in a big pathetic brand loyalty war. But who really cares?

Then there were three. Though I don’t really count the Wii. To me, the Wii (ha ha I'll quit the rhyme now) is aimed toward geriatrics and children. The majority of games provided are relaxing, but fun for about 10 minutes… and then you get bored. Is the chunky stick-majig  a step towards virtual reality or is it just a wireless version of shooters you get in arcades?  I get what Nintendo are trying to pull here, making it accessible for all the family, but I’m not convinced. So then there were two.


Each to their own. I personally love my PS3, but I’ll admit any day that Halo is a great game. The only reason I have not yet succumbed to Microsoft is my devotion to the good old FF series. Maybe I’ll cross the divide when I have money to throw away. Or when Square Enix start bringing games out on the Xbox… Oh, wait.

It seems too little too late for competitors trying to edge in the market now. There's too much money to be lost, the market is too cut throat and cruel for any fresh blood.

Pressures for the future? I’m thinking political correctness could become an issue… There was a big hoo-har about the scene in Resistance shot in Manchester Cathedral.


Bah! The Church of England tried to make Sony remove the game from the shelves, and give donations toward easing gun crime in Manchester city. That just seems ridiculous. It had nothing to do with religion, the cathedral was just a pretty place to shoot aliens. Luckily it just boosted sales. Take that COE!

My dream for games of the future? Storylines that draw you headfirst in to the game, that make you want to play in story mode again and again. I guess I just want another ffvii.

But more grown up..

and minus the blonde spikes.

The Growth of Gaming

The growth of gaming in the 1980s seems exponential. The graphics went from this:

Donkey_Kong_Screen_3   (Donkey Kong 1981)

To this! :

MGS_screen_psx (MGS 1998)

Games began to become more like the blood bathes we witness today.  Mortal Kombat’s (1992) commercial as described by The Register - "It features a boardroom scene in which a Mr Linn, the mysterious trouble-shooter at a sales meeting, instructs two men to fight. Punches lead to a pen being stabbed into an arm; then a water jug is smashed over an executive's head – before his heart is ripped from his chest. Mr Linn concludes proceedings by decapitating another executive with his hat."

In 1994 ratings systems were introduced. Wonder why…

Nintendo released the Game Boy - the first and best handheld console I have owned – and Nokia gave us the pleasure of Snake on its phones. We now have gaming in our pockets! Back in the comfort of  home, I have fond memories of  Golden Eye on the Nintendo 64. I remember playing multiplayer for hours on end, and had always believed that the 3D graphics were breath taking. I played it again a couple of months back, and couldn’t help feeling disappointed at how broad Natalya’s shoulders were.


Oh how we have grown!

After Tetris, I managed to get my grubby little hands on a Game Boy. This yellow brick lit the fires of my gaming passion. Really. I had only two games, Mario and... Mario. One was an early version, they had yet to develop the technology to stain Mario red, he was a basic shape and the music was rather simple. That music gave me years of joy. The second edition (Golden Coins) gave Mario his crimson hues, and the monsters smiled while they killed you. I much preferred the first edition, it was a simple game but the levels were trickier. When Golden Coins came out, he had grown plump and commercialised, too many mushrooms perhaps.