Sunday, 27 October 2013

Terrible quality A-Z part 2!

This material is so feeble I can't wait for it to be over! So let's just grit our teeth and continue.

J is for Jail: Usually, jails are portrayed as a place where baddies go to comfortably continue running their criminal empires. A place where tough guys respectfully nod at each other as they lift massive weights, surrounded by their 'crew'.

The reality of jail? You are trapped inside a small room with a scumbag, despised by every normal member of society. And to put the cherry on top, you have to regularly take a shower whilst a violent gentleman with minimal teeth appraises your buttocks. Not good, neighbour.

K is for...Karate? I don't even like beat 'em ups, so I'll ignore this letter just in case I can't think of anything else.

L is for Life: Yes, I know life in video games has all the good/bad bits exaggerated and amplified, as the reality of it is a bit tedious. Nobody wants to eat/go to the toilet/get a haircut and all that drudge in a video game, at least not as often as real life requires.

In real life you have to grow up, go to school, get a job...everybody has to. Nobody is exempt from this miserable progression, nobody gets to skip a part and go off shouting at dragons. Games need to put a few more unavoidable, repetitive chores into the mix. Like hoovering the stairs or changing the bedding, say. That sort of thing. And filling in forms.

M is for Mummies: I don't mean the proud parent of a newborn baby, silly! I mean the bandaged-up, musty old super-aggro chav that is the stereotypical Egyptian-style mummy!

In games, mummies have supernatural strength, tend to have some sort of magical ability and are able to still be as enraged and unreasonable as a spilled-pint steroid enthusiast in a packed beer garden! Even after thousands of years sealed inside a stone coffin! Amazing.

Imagine my surprise, then, as I visited my first mummy exhibit in a museum somewhere. All I saw was some stupid eyes painted onto what looked like a shop-window mannequin covered in dirty old wallpaper. Rubbish! And despite how blasphemous and loud my taunts were, I wasn't even cursed or covered in a swarm of beetles!

All that happened was an old security chap politely inquired if I was a mental...which was MORE THAN PHARAOH given the circumstances! You like that? Yeah, you do.

N is for Night: Night time in gaming usually means stealth missions, vampires or a little bit of light necromancy in a local cave. So in general some pretty dark & exciting stuff.

Night in real life? Moths/Daddy-long-legs occasionally scaring the wife, having to sometimes get up and visit the toilet, and the odd weirdo mucking about in the back street near a skip. Boring.

O was going to be for Originality, but that's a subject for a better writer than me, someone with an actual articulate opinion on the topic, and a better understanding of the subject. Not me, then.

P is for Punch-ups: I've never been in a fist-fight, thankfully, but I've witnessed a couple. And in games punch-ups tend to be very tidy. Almost turn-based, even. All very choreographed and that.

The real-life brawls which I have seen have started with some shoving, one or two wild swings and then they descended into a grunting, hate-filled cuddle that rolled about in all the little bits of glass and tab-ends which littered the filthy pub carpet. Strictly Come Scrapping it wasn't, Son.

Q is for Quests: Right, I am going to give you a quest right now. I want you to find a hidden cave in Devon, but the only way you can gain entry is by using a unique key which is at the bottom of Lake Windermere, inside a half-buried casket. Go. Go on, fetch. What are you waiting for?

What's that? You want a MAP?? And a quest marker on the map?? And quick-travel?? And the necessary training to scour the bottom of a freezing cold lake for the treasure??

And you don't know which way Devon is??...

See? Quests in games are always too easy. All on a plate. Outrageous, even. They are so stupidly easy that even the local nutter arrested for yelling at the mummies in the museum could do them.

R is for Robots: Robots in games are usually awesome. Robots in real life are crap. They don't look like hot women, they don't have combat skills and you will be hard pressed to form a brotherly bond with one.

All they do is weld Nissans together, man. Call me when you can at least threaten me.

(OK, I know if I went down a Nissan production line I'd be killed by the robots.)

S is for Soldiers: Soldiers in games are always elite one-man-army types, capable of carrying huge amounts of equipment over huge distances, and murdering huge numbers of enemies with their huge guns and huge hugeness.

Where is the unwilling coward? The chap who would prefer to be a chef? The woman that would rather not drive into a minefield, if there is a longer but safer route available? The pilot that wants to leave some incompetent fool behind so he can go home to his husband? Shame on you, games.

T is for Throwing: Throwing things in real life is hard. It makes you tired. You don't get a handy visual thingy appear before your eyes in real life, helping you judge elevation, power etc. No.

You just sort of chuck things hoping for the best, either too hard so it goes sailing over your target, or too weak,shallow and wristy so it lands about two metres away from you. LIKE A GIRL THROW.

U is for...Oh I don't know, I tried. Udders? Umbrellas? Underwear? Ugandans?

V is for Voice Acting: Despite what wordy people desperate for games to be seen as art will tell you, the standard of most acting in gaming is shockingly bad. Really, really awful.

Although it has led to some properly funny stuff, actually. Here, watch the following video for...

Thirty five minutes! Good grief. I'd edit it but as you know by now, I'm too thick. So here:




Did you watch it all? Nah, didn't think so. Maybe watch it in instalments? Oh, do what you want.

W is for Women: Games hate and under-represent women. They are either bouncy-breasted combat whores or...bouncy breasted combat whores. The end.

Oh, or they are weakling kids needing protection from a masculine figure. BIG MAN are we?

X is for X-ray vision: What else!

Look, if you really had X-ray vision, wouldn't you just see through the entire planet all the time, thus rendering it useless & a massive hindrance? You wouldn't be able to pick to which degree your vision penetrates objects, would you? Any physicists reading this care to shed some light?

Y is for something beginning with Y that I haven't thought of: Something something something! And something, something something Y something something something. Something? Y? Something!

Something something something Y something. Something. Y.

Z is for Zoo: I remember how very cooperative and lovely the inmates where when I used to play Zoo Tycoon. They did predictable things at predictable times, and bred when I commanded them to. All was simple and well regimented. Real zoos? Pff.

Real zoos are junk, man. All the animals stink, and they hide most of the time. What's the point of taking a pocket full of small change to pelt the heads of the gorillas with if they insist on hiding in their not-even-got-SkyTV rubbish little sheds? I had to buy a Mars bar at the motorway services to get that change you c***.

Well, we've reached the end. And thank Dog, it couldn't come soon enough.

I hated every moment of this, I will never do it ever again. It was like being blind in one eye for four hours! Just kidding, it was worse than that. Thanks for enduring it with me, honey.

Next weekend: Something else of diminishing quality!

GL & HF!





Sunday, 20 October 2013

A-Z part 1!

Hello beautiful yet manly friends!

This weekends post shall consist entirely of an alphabetised list! And as such, from this day forth, Sunday the 20th of October shall be known to all as...

ALPHABETISED LIST SUNDAY PART 1 DAY

Thy mind shalt be blowneth!


So, let's get started.

Here is an alphabetised list of things that video games have never done properly!

A is for Archaeology: Games have always made archaeology appear too damn sexy, from Lara croft and her sprayed-on cave-diving hotpants to Skyrim and its long-haired, tanned and rippling Nordic gym-boy protein guzzlers. According to gaming, archaeology is about giving several undead warrior Kings a good kicking, then stealing their massive pile of unmarked, untraceable and morally neutral cash, and then finally reanimating a gorgeous ghostly stripper Queen to take as your wife.

Have you ever seen 'Time Team'? A factual TV programme about real archaeology? It's a load of scruffy old weird blokes with inch-long, soil-encrusted finger nails scratching about under a dug-up car -park in Leeds for some pieces of an old toilet seat. No.

B is for Booze: Games would have you believe that booze is the portal to awesome experiences, the consumption of which results in a few minutes of comedy staggering and a bit of slurred chatter. The truth is booze makes irritating people 9000% more irritating and it rapidly converts your hard-earned cash into a headache, a medium-sized puddle of vomit and a few gallons of brown urine.

C is for Crime/Criminals: Baddies usually get an easy ride from games. They are painted up as either misunderstood heart-of-gold diamonds-in-the-rough, or glorious social rebels 'sticking it to the man' as we all wish we could in a radical and unrestrained manner. No.

Criminals, be it big or small, are scumbags. They are free-loading vermin wilfully ignorant to how society should function, hitching a ride on the backs of decent folks with a tattooed shrug and a sneer. Somebody needs to make a game that casts you as a genuine dull-witted burglar, where everybody hates you and people can tell you're a human poo just from one glance at your rustling sportswear. 

D is for Desks: I love my desk. It has drawers and a cupboard, is just the right height for me and does everything I need it to do. I wish everyone could experience the joys of the perfect desk.

Therefore I suggest someone develops 'Desk Simulator 2014', an awesome game wherein you shop for a desk, assemble it then see if you can fit your chair into that gap for your legs. You could have QTEs involving hinges, or perilous perma-death scenarios if you misplace one of those small screws.

Back on topic, I've never seen desks get the credit they deserve in games. I've seen them chucked about in Half-life, seen them used as barriers in Resident Evil and even seen them floating about in space thanks to Mass Effect. No respect, see? Never used properly.

E is for Easter: Why has Easter never featured in gaming? Christmas features all the time! Bloody Halloween is always being shoved down our eyes and valentines day has had a few dodgy Japanese porn games dedicated to it. So what's the beef with Easter? I like chocolate.

F is for Forests: Forests are NOT full of treasure, hidden ruins, men with the legs of a goat, portals to other dimensions or anything exciting whatsoever. They are rubbish and full of trees and litter.

G is for Ghosts: Ghosts are not real. They can't exist. Just stop it. So why can't we (for once) have a game that has a supposed haunting unmasked as some dodgy plumbing, or a particularly ill-fitted hinge causing a door to swing open with a creeeeak? Ghosts in games are always a cop-out, used to fill a hole in which the writers could come up with nothing better. I spit on you, Pac-man!

H is for Horses: Horses in games tend to be willing accomplices, always ready to offer their services as a grass-fuelled taxi when in need of convenient A to Z shenanigans. They are friendly, obedient and loyal. They seem as if they would die for you! Nothing would make them happier!

The truth? Horses are dangerous, vicious carnivores with no morals whatsoever. And they can sting. They aren't helpful, they are stupid and they are lazy, lazy beasts. Eat them instead.

I is for Invisibility: In games, being invisible is used exclusively for killing things without alerting anybody. In reality, being invisible is rubbish & useless.

You can't steal anything, because people will see you carrying it off. You can't do anything especially dangerous, as you're still just a person. You can't even move about in your own home, as being unable to see your hands, legs or feet would make it impossible at first. Think about it, Son.

So the only thing I can come up with that invisibility is really good for? I'm afraid standing silently in the corner of changing rooms is the best I can do for you. Pervert. Wash your hands.

And that brings to an end the first part of this ordeal suffered by your eyes, and yes, I understand that I'm not exactly halfway through the alphabet. If you care so much, YOU write it.

Exactly.

And any suggestions for the letters X and Z will be gratefully received and rehashed without any form of credit given. Plagiarism is how I roll, yo. It's gotten me this far!

GL & HF!


.





Sunday, 13 October 2013

Press Start.

Take a minute, and let me tell you something about myself.

Let me tell you, fellow traveller, of the things I have seen. The things I have done. The many things I have witnessed.

Let me try to illuminate the things that shaped me, formed me, moulded me into the man you are connected to this very instant. The moments that sculpted the bare, formless rock of my existence into the character you see before you. For better or worse.

See, I have been to so many places that it is impossible for me to list them for you. I've been to all four corners of our globe, I've been to the deepest depths of the oceans and I've stood and admired the desert blending seamlessly with the horizon as the sun washes over me.

I've journeyed into the very heart of our planet, gazed awestruck into the blazing core of our mother. I've also admired her endless beauty unfold beneath me from the highest heights as I swept overhead, upwards and upwards until the utter silence of space quietly surrounded me, cold and empty yet with dignified beauty, like a flower in a grave. As I hung there I was scrutinized by the stars, masses of pure light turning their faces toward me, nameless and distant. So many, so far.

My travels have not only been in terms of distance, friend. I've strode through history, witnessing cultures rise and tyrants fall, civilisations flourish and decadent empires drown in the waves of their sins. I've been to the dawn of man, stood and watched as our ancestors made their laborious climb to the peak of the food chain, and I've been flung forward to our glorious future, scattered among the stars and isolated in distant systems, yet still connected to each other as only we can be.

Time and space have not yet restrained me. I have been its master since the beginning. It bends to my will and yields before me. I can travel to and fro with impunity, flicking through the pages of our lives and pausing as I please.

It is a freedom that comes with immense possibilities, a gift beyond value.

It will change you. Again, for better or worse. I know which applies to me, brother.

Now, along the way I have met people. Characters. Souls. Brilliant flares of existence that drift into your path, like leaves on the wind, dipping and swirling with their destinies unknown.

Once contact is made, as in life, you end up absorbing something. Something stays with you, gets imprinted onto you. Memories are forged, and tempered with proud recollections years down the line. Some of the briefest encounters have lived on in my mind, treasured and maintained like the rarest and most fragile of portraits. Names and faces may fade, but the impact remains. Always.

And what an impact some made. Some of these characters have started out as strangers, unproven and doubted. Some have caused unease from their very arrival, setting the senses on edge with the threat of betrayal. Or worse. Much worse.

Some have committed acts of such evil that the mere thought of them is a curse, some have shown that cruelty and malice are as constant and elemental as mercy and hope. They are truly the stuff of nightmares, completely devoid of redeeming traits. They have hearts of the deepest black.

But the role they play was as important, potentially even more so, than the glorious allies I have made along the way. Strangers became friends, friends became brothers, then those brothers parted ways as the great story demanded, leaving behind indelible memories, an essence which influences you as much as their departure saddens.

I've known great Generals, capable of shouldering the burden of war without complaint. I've known great scientists, bending the very fabric of the universe with their genius, and making weapons of mighty forces such as gravity itself. I've known Kings, Princes, faithful servants and noble thieves.

I've stood on battlefields, shoulder to shoulder with brothers, knowing the task ahead will claim our lives many times over. But there was no sadness, no melancholy. Only wonder. Would the plans we made result in total victory, sweeping aside our enemy? Or would the slightest mistake from one of us lead to panic, uncertainty and loss? I've tasted both hundreds of thousands of times.

That is to say, I have celebrated the honoured company I keep. I am honoured whichever way the fates fall, defeats and victories never diminishing the pride I feel to be alongside them.

To be with them at the end, as it returned to the beginning, was everything to me.

I don't only have tales of conflict from my travels. I have not lived for battle at the cost of everything else. Please, don't misunderstand. There is not only war in my soul.

I have loved, too. But the wounds suffered by the heart are the most painful to recollect.

However, not all loves are destined to be lost.

I have seen my faith repaid countless times. I have shared lives enriched by the certainty of destiny, knowing she would never forsake me as I struggled to find her. Knowing she wanted to be found.

It has always been, and will always be, a matter of when.

The prize? A kiss, a ceremony, a family? Or the fates of millions, held and bound inside something as deceptively delicate as her? It has always been different. The only constant was the wish to find her.

Not all endings are happy, friend. I've seen time stand still as she was cut down before my very eyes by the hungry steel of a bitter enemy, the pearls and ribbons falling silently from her hair, leaving me with nothing but impotent rage and fathomless despair.

I've seen her turn her back on me, manipulated by the poison of lies.

I've even seen her rise up to meet her fate head-on, sacrificing herself without thought, slipping out of my reach regardless of my selfish cries and reasons. Her bravery outweighing my own.

Enough of these stories of war and dreams of connections lost. There have been so many things I need you to know about.

I have had my body of flesh replaced with metal, and my heart hardened into an engine as I battled wheel-to-wheel with racers from across our planet. I have struggled joyfully against the most talented of drivers, all of us laying claim to fractions of seconds and inches of tarmac, but with a noble respect and a fierce friendship. A true spirit of competition with fairness to the fore. Always.

I've visited the historic circuits which have echoed throughout our lives to the sound of legends being made, and tested myself against the wheeled heroes from all eras. I've been side by side with my own racing idols at speeds that the eye can barely follow.

Yes, I've looked into their very souls and been staggered by their unquenchable will to win. And as the harsh metallic cry of their engines dissolved into the distance, I would close my eyes and wish for the start line once again. Just one more race. Just one more. Next time I will match them.

I have armed myself with swords, shields and spell-books, and rode mighty steeds across lands filled with mythical wonders and breathtaking vistas. I have stood atop snow-capped mountains, as the sun rose regally into the broad azure sky, giving me the clarity to gaze out onto the endless lands below.

I have lost myself in sprawling forests, green oceans of ancient trees standing sentinel as I journeyed amongst them. Within I have discovered long lost ruins, crumbled brick and stone as taciturn and lonely as a forgotten secret. What did I find inside? Sometimes treasure beyond my wildest dreams, sometimes horrors above my rawest nightmares, but the anticipation ahead of their exposure was the greatest prize. The bolt of expectation as the key turns in the lock was all that mattered.

I have spoken with necromancers, wizards and warlocks of all creeds. I have aided or disrupted the plans of eternal beings, creatures that have forced their way into our dimension uninvited have either been allowed to roam free, or banished back from whence they came.

I have even reasoned with dragons, scaled Gods of fire and greed, and been rewarded with the lavish gift of their very tongue, words of such potency they could be wielded as a devastating weapon.

What else is left to desire after a communion with such boundless power?

What about true tests of the reflexes, where the eyes and the hands must work as one like nowhere else? What of the unblinking duel of the arena?

What of the thrill of leader-board dominance, the chase for that match-winning kill in battles of high-speed skill and balletic movement? The knowledge that every kill was being matched by your rivals, the climb to the top of the table a neck-and-neck dead heat of focused intensity?

Frantic, breathless competition played out almost at the speed of light. The awareness that your aim had to be true, and the cold ache that the shot may have gone astray. I often prayed they would hit. Please, let them hit. They must. Because my rivals did. Somebody pulled clear. Somebody, and in rare instances I was that somebody, always pulled clear. It is another of the constants I have found.

But if it wasn't you? You were running out of time. Falling behind was unthinkable. Only the numbers mattered. The clock never looks over its shoulder at the ones to be left behind. It rushes to acclaim the gifted, leaving the failed resentful and forgotten, as scorned as the unfavoured son erased from the family tree.

Yes, I have proved myself against the best the world could offer, and found myself capable of great things. Things I will never forget. Things I feel a genuine pride at the reminiscing of.

How have I achieved all this?

How have I dethroned corrupt Kings, and crowned righteous Princes?

How have I slain horrors and cradled dreams?

How have I seen every corner of our world and thousands of others?

How have I sailed among the stars, travelled so far for so long?

How have I wrote myself into myth, and enjoyed the company of legend?

How have I worn so many faces, shared so many lives and chose the course of so many futures?

How have I died such a multitude of times, yet been reborn with ambition shining from my heart?

The exact same way you have, fellow traveller.

The games. Our games. The alternate lives we love.

Sometimes, you'll forget what brought you here. We all will. But there will be moments when the wonder returns, and you'll remember exactly why this is what you love. All the dark clouds of cynicism will clear, the sour taste of change will fade in your mouth as you are transported back to when you could wish for nothing else but just one more life. Just one more go.

Your passion will be renewed.

You will be back at the start.

Press Start.

Now, tell me what you've seen.


































Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hello on Sunday!

Hello.

How are you?

Yeah, I'm alright mate.

So this week I'm going to experiment with the 'magazine' format, which means a few paragraphs on a few different topics. Because it seems like less work.

Before we begin, I'd like to put a FUNNY PAINTING OF A MONKEY here:


The cat...it's smoking a cigarette...I need this on my wall. Make it happen, internet.

 

Item #1: Oh dear, console people!


It appears that HD gaming is once again about to elude our primitive console brethren, as this clickable bit of text confirms. Some impressive, important EA suit has confirmed that AAA-rated, massively-marketed hype-fest shooting/murdering game Battlefield 4 will run at a distinctly last-gen 720p! Not too great considering this title will be a 'system seller'!

And this isn't just afflicting the laughably inferior Xbox One, DICE (the Swedish girls responsible for BF4) have claimed the title will have the same resolution and framerate on both systems! So if you're feeling smug about pre-ordering a PlayStation 4...don't. This is undoubtedly going to be a common occurrence. You're going to be buying deliberately weakened titles, as the publishers can't possibly allow massive (and developers are already muttering about the gulf in performance between the two systems) variances between the two console versions! Still, there's always those system exclusives to cling to...hurray for £400 + of backwards! But NEW!

My quotable view: The men twiddling with two little rubber sticks don't care about quality anyway, they just want NEW NEW NEW, IS IT NEW? I LOVE NEW! So nevermind, gentlemen.


 

Item #2: Auto-aim versus CS:GO.


Only two days ago a bloke tried to tell me that being good at Call Of Duty was the same as being good at CounterStrike: Global Offensive. Can you imagine how my brain convulsed? I tried to explain that all console titles feature a degree of auto-aim. They have to. They have to. The control interface requires tons of smoothing, to control the inherent problems of aiming using analogue sticks. In other words, the inherent rubbishness and clumsy insanity of using two sticks to control what is essentially a cursor has to be controlled via software. No question. It is known.

It's a bit like trying to butter a delicious piece of fresh toast, but with the knife attached to the end of a twelve-feet long pole. Probably using Sellotape. Not Blu-Tack. No, I'd say Sellotape for sure. Yes. And the aim assist would be a hand steadying the pole, perhaps even holding the knife a bit. See?

So I explained that CS:GO does not have health regeneration, it does not have AI controlled prizes for linking kills together, it does not have a bottomless amount of ammo per weapon, it DOES HAVE a truly challenging level of recoil to contend with, it does not have an enormous radius of splash damage for grenades...but most importantly for this chatter, it does not have any form of aim assist. None.

You're on your own, man. Like Bear Grylls minus his camera crew, sound team and make-up artists.

Maybe this is why it's recognised as the benchmark for competitive shooters. Not just by me, but by the competition organisers, the hardware manufacturers, the professional players, the serious gaming journalists...probably even the old lady that lives next door knows it. And her budgie, Clive.

Hmm. I've lost the point here. Ah, that's right! So this chap said it's all about awareness, movement and timing, which to a point is true. But when you have an arsenal of hidden helpers with you, it makes it all that much easier.

My quotable view: Being decent at CS:GO gives you the moral high-ground to widdle from a great height onto players of ANY other shooter. Especially thumb-swingers.

 

Item #3: Grand Theft Auto 5 or 'V' if you love Roman numerals and the mock importance they somehow signify.


I can't play GTA5 yet, because I'm a PC gamer. So instead I reinstalled GTA4, in order to satisfy the urge I had to revisit one of the best franchises in gaming history. And it worked, actually.

So much so that I probably won't bother with GTA5 when/if it eventually gets a terrible, buggy port over to the one true platform. Unless I fall victim to the tsunami of hype generated by this game.

Which I probably will. It's that font they use. It's hypnotic and alluring, like YouTube videos of cats in shoe-boxes.

It's just a bunch of fetch quests anyway, man. Like Skyrim, but with more angular, jagged strippers.

Drive here, drive there, shoot this, pick up that. All of it easy. No real enemy AI to speak of.

Don't get me wrong, the sandbox element is amusing enough, but the actual progression through the story is kinda repetitive.

And that intrusive 'like-o-meter' thing? No, I don't want to play pool with you,  just-out-of-prison man I've only known for two minutes. Let's just see how the night goes first, slow down Romeo.

My quotable view: When games are as generally good as the Grand Theft Auto series, one can usually cure the hype-lust for the new version. At least for a while.

 

Item #4: The Battlefield 4 open beta. Or demo. Or whichever it is.


I have played the beta for about 15 minutes. It looks and sounds identical to BF3, to me anyway.

I was pleased to see my ageing system will run it at a decent level (decent for PC, it will smash the console version. Are you kidding me?).

Will I use the beta as intended? Will I provide feedback? Will I look out for bugs and report them? Will I study the UI and offer any suggestions for improvement? Will I assess weapon balance and outline any unintentional flaws in the programming?

No. I'll let people who know better worry about all that. I'll just run about, glancing at the mini-map with despair, wondering where the hell I'm supposed to be going, trying to make sense of all the glowing icons littering my screen until I finally succumb and stash myself away in the back of an empty shop, peering over the counter at nothing.

My quotable view: BF4 looks like BF3. Which is fine I suppose. For mainstream, combined arms style games (that's infantry and vehicular squabbling) what choices are there, really? I honestly found Planetside 2 impenetrably dull, and ARMA 3 is intended for nutters that want to own REAL guns in REAL life. No I don't want to join your survivalist Steam group, cheers anyway...*gulp*

To conclude this weekends offering, I'd like to direct your attention to this:


....

Many thanks for holding your bloated, swaying heads steady for long enough to shovel these words into your brains! No, I really mean that. I am as sincere as a policeman.

GL & HF!



















*Yes.








Sunday, 29 September 2013

Negativity makes a comeback!

Hello!

I haven't written anything lately because...well, I have no excuse except good, old fashioned laziness.

So, allow me to compensate you with some of the most moving, brilliant, inspired and creative writing you will ever see in a gaming blog read by about forty people! I guarantee delight!

This week I want your thoughts on something quite unusual. I want you to help me decide if I have inadvertently become something terrible. I want you to consider the scant evidence I am about to place limply before you, like exhibits in a particularly tedious fly-tipping court case, and promptly form an opinion which will either condemn or exonerate me. Yes, I am at your mercy, Sir.

The accusation that has been levelled at me is...am I a negatively-minded gamer?

A negatively-minded gamer. I know right now you're thinking 'What the hell? I was expecting something serious, something with some intellectual content to sink my metaphorical teeth into, and instead I get THIS?!?', but being branded with this filth has wounded me, friend.

Right, into it. A few nights ago I was enjoying some CS:GO with a pal of mine, and as we played we discussed general blah blah about various. If you have read this electronic leaflet before, you will be aware that I despise people discussing cauliflowers, ladders, foreheads etc. over the in-game voice chat while the game is 'in play', as you cannot hear a bloody thing as their reedy, faux-jaded voices mask every single useful audible clue to the enemies whereabouts.

These voices belong to either high-pitched squeakers boasting of their hip-hop sexual prowess, or morose students claiming everything is boring in a flat, monotone drone regularly punctuated with derisive snorts. Both types are unaware of how agonisingly, crushingly generic they are. Scum!

As my chum and I continued, obviously we encountered lots of these types and I moaned and bitched accordingly, like one of those guests in the audience of 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' that sits there gently shaking their head and pulling a face, as if they are faaaaaar too good to even be there.

Then we set about discussing the upcoming releases, was I interested or intrigued by any, to which I responded with an assortment of huffs, puffs and blowing his optimistic house down.

Or, in actual language, I said no, not really, as the same irritating kids will infest all the upcoming titles with their rubbish attitude to team objectives and their gleeful on-mic revelations about how they noisily pleasured my Mother the night before 'Ya get me bruv innit batty boi sick'.

I recounted my mixed experiences with the Battlefield franchise, how I was constantly driven insane with disbelief as one of my 'team' sprinted to the armoured personnel carrier and drove away at speed, leaving several out-of-breath comrades chasing breathlessly after him like a gang of obese cheetahs pursuing an athletic wildebeest. Or something.

And if you did manage to get to the drivers seat first, and if you did manage to stealthily trundle unnoticed along one of the few flanking routes, your cover would be blown as one of the cocks in your squad would decide to 'test the guns' mounted on the vehicle, thus instantly revealing you to every RPG-toting/C4 explosive wielding baddie in the area.

Then he quizzed me on my views of the Steam OS and the Steam PC/console hybrid thingies that are en route, and again, I blew out my cheeks and released a sigh. Nah, not bothered about them. Early adopters can give the feedback and publicise the bugs, I'll ignore it all until then I grumped.

I think this the point where I was labelled a negative gamer. Me!?

I instantly mute everyone, I always think the worst of other players, I refuse to diversify with my gaming tastes, I only trust Valve...these are a few of the things he accused me of, but the most cutting of them was how I am rigid in my prejudices of games and gamers. I choose something, then discard and mentally discredit the rest, like some sort of entertainment butcher, herding other people and their preferences into the slaughterhouse to be anally electrocuted and turned into a sandwich. Yum!*

To him, at that particular point in the evening, the following image is me:

"Consoles? You mean those devices they use to distract poor children from their hunger?"

So there you have it. In my defence, I have been playing games for a long time, and in that time I have made lots of virtual friends within one game or another.

But of late...I don't know if it's just because I'm at the upper end of gaming demographics or what, but I tend to apply the standards I expect from other gamers to my own behaviour. I don't subject other players to a deafening commentary whilst I do my thing, I don't feel I have to spam the chatbox with bait to get some kind of furious I-want-to-find-you-and-stab-you reaction from the person that just killed me, and I usually attempt to put a bit of effort into teamwork using the in-game communication tools provided. Credit to team, no?

Or am I missing out on some hidden fun? Should I throw my babble onto the enormous pile found in online gaming? Should I try to organise a knife fight in a pub car-park with the next gentleman that beheads me with an AWP? All these things are easily achievable!

So do I seem negative? Or am I exactly where I should be with my attitude?

Your verdict matters. Or not. You can decide. Or not! I could do this forever.

Anyway, many thanks for reading as usual, and apologies to the people that have been visiting only to find I have been absent. I am a horrible person and you deserve better. Ridiculous!

Come to think of it , there's enough stuff in the archive for you to read if you're that bothered, don't pretend you already have, the NUMBERS DON'T LIE. I know you haven't. You think I enjoy this?

Next Sunday: Something shocking, a true exclusive! Honest!

GL & HF! (unless you're negative like me)






*'Yum' for the sandwich, not the.....oh, you got it. Good.















Sunday, 1 September 2013

The only genre guide you'll ever need!

Have a nice Sunday!

Hello, it's me. This week I'd like to explain to you what a genre is!

This information will help you select games that are to your liking, and will hopefully assist you in steering clear of titles that will make you weep like a Victorian-era war widow! And that.

So, a genre (pronounced jjawn-ruh) is basically a category into which video games are slotted, like a biscuit being inserted lovingly into a fat man's mouth. These categories often contain some wholly unnecessary sub-categories, but as I'm not the type of bloke that gets a kick out of making people feel confused and inferior we'll just ignore all that crap, friend!
  
And, as you've read this far, I'm going to assume you're not one of those impatient angries that tears people to pieces (with words) for some sort of minor factual inaccuracy, so we're good to go!

The following is an exhaustive list of video game genres assembled through my many years of gaming experience. Examples of each genre will also be provided. I am too kind, I know.

Genre #1: First Person Shooters.


A First Person Shooter (or FPS) is a game in which you invariably play some sort of soldier, and you are only able to see your weapon, or the hands that hold your weapon. Hence 'First Person'.

I think that's right. Yeah, we'll run with that.

These games are all about coldly murdering whoever you encounter for the flimsiest of reasons, but you'll be given some kind of persuasive blah by your duplicitous commanders in an attempt to numb the distaste you feel as you stab a poor, unaware character in the neck with a piece of jagged metal for a reason that you're not exactly clear about. Yuck and ouch, brother. Ironically, the other guy will be trying to do the same thing to YOU for the same unknown reasons. War is a tragedy :(

You will shoot, then shoot some more. You will have a score. You will have lots of numbers to record your senseless extinguishing of life with, and you will feel an intense emptiness as you realise it is all meaningless. You may even drop to the floor in your room, curled into a ball weeping!

Here is a picture of an FPS game in action:


n00bs enjoying a frantic pWn, yesterday.

Examples of FPS titles are Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, Battlefield, Call Of Duty....there are literally too many for me to list here. Absolutely loads.

Are they all pointedly different? No, not really. The players will all rabidly defend/promote their FPS franchise of choice, whilst at the same time rubbishing others, but it's all nonsense. Some of the titles above are chasing the same huge audience, so it's sort of obvious they will overlap in some areas, no?

ATTENTION: FPS players tend to be a bit aggressive when it comes to discussing games.


Genre #2: Role Playing Games.


A Role Playing Game (or RPG) is a title in which you are always the sole living heir to something, or an unknowing chosen one, or some historically important reincarnation of someone that emerges at exactly the right time to avert an oncoming disaster. Always. Always you. Sigh.

These games are story-driven epics, involving you beginning as a dirt-eating simpleton, rotting your monochrome life away in a urine-stained village in the back of nowhere, and then progressing on to become a golden-haired body-builder possessing several NVQs in killing baddies and rescuing toffs and their various pets etc.

You will be required to 'level up', which means get better at hitting things, stealing things, threatening people etc. Levelling up is a bit like having a can of strong cider, the more you have the better you get at certain tasks, like kicking over your neighbours bin or shouting at a bus, for example.

The majority of your time spent in an RPG, however, will be spent doing things that have nothing to do with the main plot. You will be told, right at the start, that the Earth is about to implode unless you (and ONLY you) find & unite the eleven shattered pieces of the mythical mirror of Izgrathankmuth or whatever the hell it is in that particular instance.

Sounds serious, yeah? Pretty urgent, no? Maybe a priority? Nah.

Inexplicably, people that live in this world and are very, very aware that they are about to have their lungs burnt off and their faces flung into the freezing depths of space (if you don't get your skates on) will mither you with the most unbelievable requests!

"Hail hero, I have misplaced my antique chair in yonder no quick-travel woodland!"

"Would you help an old man gather 25 leaves from the other side of the enormous map?"

"I can train you to ride fish in return for your assistance in combing my back"

Amazing. You'd think they'd be desperate for you to get on with it, wouldn't you? Gah!

Have a look through the window of an RPG:


...THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID! *canned laughter*


Some RPG's of note are The Elder Scrolls series, the Final Fantasy series and the Dragon Age games.

Do they all differ? Yeah, the stories are pretty diverse, but the methods used in completing the tasks are kinda usual in most of them, really. So it's sort of like buying a book. Pick the story you want to be involved in, Son, the gaming element will take care of itself.

NOTICE: RPG players tend to produce lots of horrible 'fan-fiction' which clutters up Google when you're trying to get a walk-through guide or some such.

Genre #3: Racing games.


A racing game is....a game in which you race. Cars, usually. These games don't tend to have anything meaningful in terms of characters, just lots of images of cars. So if you like cars, you'll like these.

Customisation is the hot thing in racing games these days. Physics, track design and race options are becoming secondary concerns next to games featuring the ability to draw naughty things on the side of your virtual car!

A survey of twelve year old boys was conducted globally via Xbox Live recently, the point of which was to establish what users thought the top three most desirable & offensive images are to feature in any in-game emblem design. The results were:
  1. A swastika
  2. A penis
  3. A swastika made from penises.
Pretty conclusive stuff, many thanks to Microsoft for this invaluable data!

Anyway, look at this picture of a racing game:


Man, I used to love this!

Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are both racing game franchises. There are lots of others, but most of them are either bad or far too hardcore for the less.....committed gamer, shall we say?

SOMETHING ELSE: The 'Need For Speed' series used to be great, but nowadays it is aimed at twelve year old gangster rappers desperate to escape the oppression of the po-leese. Hmph.

Genre #4: Beat 'em ups.


No. Go to the archive if you need reminding why.


Genre #5: Massively Multiplayer Online games.


A Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) is a game wherein....you know, I have never actually played one of these. I know a bloke that plays absolutely nothing but Star Wars: The Old Republic on his swanky new PC, which seems a criminal waste to me, but there you go. He's a clan leader and all that, active in the community for that particular game and he generally speaks well of it.

I gave it a bash when it was featured as a free weekend title on Steam a while ago, and I hated it. I'm ashamed to say I was just confused. These titles seem so complex on the surface, impenetrable to an ignorant reactionary like me. I just couldn't get psyched to learn, man.

These games generate massive cash for their respective publishers though, as all the players have a subscription thing going on, or if it's a free to play title they'll cough up for items and the like. Seems like a lot of money gets whizzed about in the world of MMO, sister. But the experience is probably the better for it, with all that guaranteed cash flowing in and being spent on new content, various stuff like updates and improvements and all that. Maybe I'd like it if I gave it a go? Dunno, really.

Here is a photo of what I think an MMO looks like:


The cheapest of shots is always so tempting to the weakest of writers :(

As the mildly offensive image above suggests, these games usually overlap into RPG territory, so they have the strengths and weaknesses of that genre also. Pretty factual stuff this, eh?

World Of Warcraft and the aforementioned Star Wars title are the only ones I know of, so feel free to shout any others at your screens...NOW. GO. SHOUT THEM. SHOUT THEM NOW. Thanks.

 Genre# 6: Real-Time Strategy.


Real-Time Strategy (RTS). In the dominant military RTS world, you basically order things to kill other things, without actually getting your hands dirty yourself. Think of it as a bit of a military command simulator, with yourself cast as the man safely tucked up at home as you send scores of scared, nervous recruits blinking tears from their eyes to their graves at the click of a button. So real!

Yeah, so you command things. And manage resources. And balance budgets. And develop tactics.

I know that doesn't seem very inspiring as a gaming concept but it's actually rather good. There's something super satisfying about squeezing a victory from limited resources, or turning a losing fight into a throat-stomping win. Overcoming the odds is the name of the game! Or not!

The better mobile games are all RTS, too. The touch-screen interface was made for RTS games.

Have a sly look, and notice the monkey enjoying my post this week:

A cutting-edge ripped-off RTS in action

As you can see, RTS doesn't just encompass war. You can RTS in the world of business, you can RTS in the world of football, hairdressing, supermarkets...endless stuff. Although I am eager to hear of an RTS based on chavs, wherein you plot tactics for scrapping with policemen, manage your resources in order to purchase another tattoo on your lower leg, and successfully upgrade your wardrobe to the top of the chav wardrobe tech tree (100% replica football shirts). Come on developers, deliver!

Examples of RTS games are Football Manager, Dawn Of War and the Total War series. Unique thing about RTS is they are usually all very different from each other, so that's a big plus point.

Genre#7: Platform games.


Why are they called platform games? Well, you run about and jump from platform to platform. Too complex for you? Then how are you here reading this?

Platformers are retro. Old school. Archaic. See, at the time technology dictated what you could and couldn't do as a game developer. But nowadays the world is their oyster, and they can pretty much do everything they imagine. So run-jump-run-duck-jump has been left behind a little.

Or has it? The glorious PC (the only gaming platform that matters) enjoys a wealth of extremely high quality platform games at the moment, with more added regularly. Games like Mark Of The Ninja will blow your monocle out with the quality of the experience on offer, old-school sideways action built upon contemporary design standards and incredible depth of play. Delicious!

And the consoles have contributed too, with LittleBigPlanet teaming basic, charming gameplay with a brilliantly simple 'create your own content' interface. All good stuff, let's be honest.

Let's look at a fantastic platformer here:


Two monkeys in this weeks post, nice.

Hmm famous platform games....hmm. Let me think. Give me a minute. Er...

...

...

No, no it's gone. Can't think of any. Sorry. Was on the tip of my tongue.

Genre#8: There is no #8.


And that concludes this weeks effort from me. I hope you now understand the subtle differences between the genres, and can now select your next game purchase with confidence, instead of sitting with a few games in your basket on Amazon with a faceache born from indecision.

Also, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I hated writing it. It was horrible! Nah it was OK.

Thanks for coming and I'll see you soon.

GL & HF!








Sunday, 25 August 2013

Two newish bad things?

Hello there, beautiful reader! May I say you're looking feisty today?

Last week I posted NOTHING, because I went out the night before. And, as I'm about as tolerant to alcohol as a newborn baby, the four drinks I had wreaked a terrible, terrible havoc on my existence. I just can't function with booze in the pipes, son. I am alcoholic half-man.

This, of course, is in direct contradiction to when I used to adore becoming senseless through drink, loudly slur-shouting affectionate remarks along with my pals, thusly:

"We don't do this enough"
"You're a top guy you"
"We should do this more"
"I love you man"
"This has been the best night of my life"
"Let's pretend you're a woman"

All these remarks are punctuated with clumsy embraces, breathing heavily through noses and pairs of rolling, uncontrollable eyes. And all these remarks will be repeated forever and ever, by fresh groups of tanked-up brothers, because that's what you do when you're out with your mates.

Having a willingness to spend most of the next day silently sulking like a teenage girl, occasionally dashing to gush frothy spew into the throne helps, also. But you get the picture!

But then, gradually, you become less and less arsed about the whole thing, as you notice you just can't muster the mental strength required to stand in some dimly lit bunker at 2am anymore, screaming a conversation to your best bud as he falls asleep on his feet beside you.

You change, man.

But these changes happen over such a period of time that you don't really notice, until one evening you suddenly realise 'Wow, I'm not really enjoying this like I did. I'm not gonna get smashed tonight'.

And then, from that  moment, everything is different. Sigh.

You might be wondering why the hairy hell I'm trying to induce a fit of melancholy onto you?

Well, I was thinking of a couple of things I've noticed lately about gaming that never used to exist but now they do. See? See the connection to all that crapola above? Do you see?

These two things have crept up mostly unnoticed by me, but I'm sure they are new. And they are very unwelcome, Sir. They are changes that have happened invisibly around me, and dash it all I don't like it! Just like my weakness and fear of alcoholic drinks!

(Just ramming home the connection to the opening material, kids.)

OK, let us begin.

1. People constantly talking all the time about nothing at all but all the time forever and ever always.

 

Firstly, I'm all for communication in gaming. I comprehend and accept the value of players working together, sharing information and developing a plan of action. I love that stuff, really.
I used to play Left4Dead a lot with three chaps. A bloke I actually worked with, a nice German man and a mostly silent Finnish teenager. We played versus mode a lot, and became very good at it.

Obviously, key to this success was communication. We would chat away about the everyday stuff between rounds (except the Finnish guy), or after the game had been won (except the Finnish guy), but during the rounds the only talk was of an informative nature (particularly the Finnish guy). It may sound daft, but it added to the immersion endlessly, and increased the intensity by a lot of percents. Because we weren't filling the air with nonsense we could hear all the various audio cues available in the game (the Boomer spawn, the Smoker mucking about behind a fence and all that).

So we gave ourselves an advantage, Miss. And we caused biblical amounts of rage-quittery! Yeah!

Now contrast this with my Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experience of late. Dear Dog...

Why do people feel they have to be speaking all the time? I want to try to hear footsteps, I want to try to locate weapons fire. I bought some fancy headphones to do this, not to hear your opinions on weapons balance, or map rotation, or your review of other players in the game. Just shut it, Son!

But most of the time the waffle isn't even connected to the game! I don't care what you had for lunch, I have no interest in what you're doing next Tuesday, I don't care which YouTube videos you claim to be watching as you wait to spawn. Just shut up and let me play! Shut up!

It's not just CS:GO. All games have been infested with ignorant, rambling fools chattering away just  because they can. That's all it is. They don't even want to, but they feel compelled to. And then the  responding voices start nagging on about something completely unrelated. So it's blah blah blah as I try to quickly mute everybody as fast as I can. Then I get killed as a result. A direct result of their sickening unwanted talk! Gah! Shut your head!

I yearn with all my heart for a 'mute all' button in every game. In fact, everybody should be muted by default, requiring you to choose if you wish to hear their reedy, faux-jaded student voices repeating whatever rehashed meme they have 'discovered' that day. Just shut up! Shut your mouth!


HAHAHA! I'M TALKING! ISN'T THIS GREAT, I'M TALKING! TALK TALK TALK! LET'S ALL TALK ALL THE TIME!

2. What is a YouTube commentator and why?


What is it? Honestly, I need a clear explanation. To me, it looks like someone playing a game and doing loads of annoying talking over the top of the footage. Like going into an art gallery, and the tour guide starts writing notes all over the paintings with a bingo marker. Am I not getting it?

Why don't people just play the games? They need the experience validating by a chattering person?
I have honestly never watched someone else play a game I own at length. Never. Why would I?

I had a brief look at some of the 'celebrity' YouTube people before I started writing this, and it seems to be lots of stating the obvious, lots of 80's sitcom-standard forced laughter at not very funny things, and massive, conspicuous amounts of self-promotion. Honestly, I watched a seven minute video and the guy must have said the words 'follow' and 'subscribe' at least fifty times! I must be out of touch.

The comments from 'fans' on these videos seem to indicate that the audience for this stuff is very young, yet on certain forums I've witnessed grown men bickering over some of these guys. It seems that the opinion of these guys matters just because they have one? What? Help me understand! Is it simply odd men-children wanting the admiration and adulation of kids, like this:

Major YouTube commentator meets his subscribers, yesterday.

Or am I too thick to understand the value of watching someone else play a game I could be playing?
Or is it all about wringing cash out of parents wallets, and these guys are like two-faced, greasy old  burglars helping the big companies do it? I honestly have not even a hint of an idea. Help?

I should add that I thought the videos I tried were crap. I laughed at none at them, I wasn't educated in any way. Much, much worse than my writing. I'm clearly better. Why am I not more famous??*

Anyway, thanks for reading. Your viewing figures are very important to me & my huge ego.

More words next week!

GL & HF!






*I have more readers than I ever expected! Thanks to all, and I promise I'll never sell out :)








Sunday, 18 August 2013

PLACEHOLDER #1

Hi, I am really busy. So instead of abandoning you completely, I decided I'd throw up a few videos that I watch on a weekly basis, so that you can hope to be like me:


















Thanks for watching someone elses work, now I'm going back to Skyrim.

GL & HF!



*Next post will make you cry, then laugh, then punch the air in delight. Or your money back.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

MOAR Y U NO PC!

Good day, mates!

Last week I outlined in stunning clarity the reasons why you should consider a PC as your next gaming purchase, instead of a new console. If you didn't read it, then I simply must pity you, and inform you that your ignorance will be the source of society mocking you for the rest of your days. You will be forced out of your community, destined to live in the wilderness eating chunks of wet mud until you slip away unhappily one freezing night, grateful for the sweet release of death...Not really! I was being silly again.

So it became apparent (following feedback some chavs had scratched onto my car with a rusty AA battery) that I missed a couple of minor points that needed to be shouted into the internet. So why on Earth not, eh?

Missed minor point number one: 


Opting for a gaming PC at this crucial time for gaming will result in a slight mental health issue known amongst experts as 'Feeling-irrelevant-osis'. Every website you visit will be rabidly promoting new console games, every newspaper you pick up will feature whole-page adverts for new console games, all your friends & colleagues will be talking about new console games.

The gaming world will be aflame with relentless promoting of console console console. Don't forget that major gaming websites are given....incentives in order to secure themselves early access to games for review purposes. Yes, I mean a metaphorical bag of cash.

These websites then give favourable, often puzzlingly positive reviews in order to secure themselves early access to the next title out of the factory and so on and on and on. You see how it works, Son? You don't get it? What??

OK, here. Imagine there are two monkeys that review bananas (monkey A and monkey B), and a third monkey that supplies bananas (monkey C).

Banana-supply monkey C says to banana-review monkey A "Oo oo if you say me 'nana best, me give you more 'nana to say is good".

Banana-review monkey A then tells the rest of the monkeys "Banana supply monkey gives best 'nana', you brainless, inbred macaque if you not agree. 9/10".

Banana-review monkey B, meanwhile, says "Banana supply monkey C 'nanas not all that, girlfriend, you should wait before you rush whooping out of your tree to get his 'nanas".

However, the gibbering pack of excitable, impatient monkeys want bananas NOW NOW NOW and therefore discredit banana-review monkey B due to his negative review material arriving weeeeeeeks later.

....

9/10 MINDBLOWING MUST-BUY!!!!!!

Yeah, I know. Horrible, horrible writing. Here, forgive me with these points:

The point is you will need mental strength to be a PC gamer at the launch of new consoles.

You will be hurting to feel included in all the everything that is going on everywhere.

You will feel like you are on the outside of gaming for a while, but it will pass in roughly 3 months.

OK, that was the first missed point. The second concerns what 'next-gen' actually means in relation to PC gaming. So let's get going, shall we?


Missed minor point number two:


The upcoming consoles will roughly be the equivalent, in terms of what you will see on your screens, of a current mid-range gaming PC. When I say mid-range, I mean about £700-800 worth.

Scary numbers, eh? No, no, no. Let me adjust my elasticated waistband and explain.

The consoles will be a match for mid-range gaming PCs for a few months. Bur, if you have the urge and the cash, you can simply upgrade yourself into the distance. Consoles are stuck at the same performance point forever. Forever. At the very least, eight years.

The point is current mid-range gaming PCs are more than a match for the new wow amaaaaaazing consoles.

PC gamers have had those graphics for years. And better!

Mid-range PC will be comfortably ahead, in graphics power terms, of the consoles within 6 months. 

The phrase 'next-gen' relates only to consoles catching up with the arse-end of PC gaming.

Hmm, I'm a bit too pro-PC today. I'm feeling a bit snarky, to be honest. I watched 'Forrest Gump' last night, and it's left me rather emotional. That poor, sweet retard. Why did that movie not get a video game tie-in? You could have a Track & Field style button-masher for the running bits, a decent FPS for the Vietnam war part (featuring trendy gaming must-haves like EMOTIONALLY RESCUING your wounded squad mates), and even a 'Katawa Shoujo' style disabled romance sim for the bits with Lieutenant Dan (after he's had his legs shot off).

A missed opportunity, my friends, I'm sure you'll agree.

So yeah, there. Done. Why trap your future gaming in one of these made-up 'gen' things, when you can break free of it all and express yourself on PC? Build it your way, improve it your way.

You can even make them look like this (your reasons are your own!):


THEREISNOTHINGWRONGWITHMETHEREISNOTHINGWRONGWITHMETHEREISNOTHINGWRONGWITHME


I feel I must restate, in the interests of balance, that consoles are fine in the short term. For that initial six month period they are impressive, given their price and all that. The next batch will show folks exactly what has been available on PC for the last 5 years or so, and will hopefully encourage them to take the plunge. Like a defrosted caveman entering a nightclub!

After all, I won't be buying one, not at launch anyway, so what better reason than that? You can claim a serious gaming journalist advised you against buying, and all your friends will be impressed. You know, over TWO THOUSAND* people read this fascinating, magnificent writing? Incredible.

Anyway, have a nice Sunday, look after yourselves. It's a tough world for us nerds!

GL & HF!








*No, they don't.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Y U NO PC?

Happy Sunday!

This week I want to encourage people to try something different. Something initially frightening and intimidating. Something uncool, potentially costly and a bit awkward in places.

And no, I'm not talking about wandering into a biker bar dressed as a lady. I'm on about PC gaming!

I admit I have had my games delivered to my face via consoles for the majority of my life so far, and that's fine. I'm not here to rubbish consoles or throw damp bricks at the chaps that play on them, nor am I going to claim that PC users are genetic supermen, intellectually superior with six-packs like cobbled streets, gleaming white teeth and strong hairlines. No.

I'm going to explain why PC gaming is something you should consider as the next-gen of consoles appear on the horizon, like two hunched tramps wafting their buttocks at you suggestively.

As you read this garbage I DEMAND you remember that I am as far from technically adept as a human being can possibly be (whilst still alive and in possession of all default limbs & senses). I am a bumbling fool, barely able to mash together the words needed for this electronic newspaper you are reading. Honestly, I am the mental equivalent of a brain-damaged chimp.

And even I have successfully built a few PC systems! Stick that in your pipe and eat it!

So I'm going to have a quick look at the things that used to turn me away from PC, and the actual reality of it all. I won't lie, dress-up anything or conceal any pitfalls from you, Sir. It'll be a genuine casuals view of making the lurch to PC gaming. Go!

1: It all costs so much, man!

Yes, at first it does. No denying it. Don't lie. You're looking at an initial outlay of about £600, and the more you spend the better. Type into Google 'gaming PC for £600' and you'll get loads of results, so many in fact that your head will ache with boredom. And you'll start to feel overwhelmed with all the jargon being spurted all over your blazer. But worry not!

See, the thing is lots of PC types actually want the world of PC to be intimidating and impenetrable, to make themselves feel better about choosing the 'uncool' gaming platform. There's lots of silly, silly posturing involved, and lots of 'what, you can't afford it? LOL' style things, but ignore it man!

For every one of those self-congratulating, rude, boastful tools there are ten genuine guys that will steer you in the right direction. Good guys live in every major forum, so go get 'em!*

And, importantly, the games for the next wave of consoles are expected to be £50 a throw. PC games are usually miles cheaper, so if you're the sort of cute gaming beauty that regularly buys lots of games then you'll quickly recover the loss you incur upon your initial PC buy! Massive sense, baby!

2: But I'm too thick to put it all together!!

No you're not, you fat oaf! This bit is easy to type up (thank Dog) and allows the use of a couple of pics to illustrate my point. Firstly, unfriendly PC angries want you to think assembling your own PC is like this:

WARNING: EXTREMELY COMPLEX INSTRUCTIONS REQUIRING YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AHEAD.


No. No. Just no. PC's are so widespread and popular nowadays that it would just not make an ounce of sense to have it so cripplingly difficult to assemble/upgrade/smash for a prank.

Once you've bought your components, assembling your own gaming PC is more like this:

VISUAL METAPHOR FOR SOMETHING REALLY SIMPLE.

It's so hand-holdingly easy that you'd have to deliberately misread or ignore some crystal clear instruction to get it wrong. Everything comes with simple assembly instructions, software and bits you leave in the box at first. It's easier than getting a UAV on Call Of Duty!

3: Ah there, look, you said it! 'Upgrade'. I'll have to upgrade every 7 minutes to stay equal! 

Wrong again, King of thumbs. The PC gamers with penis envy issues will tell you that you have to have the highest spec, most expensive parts at all times, or you will be subjected to withering abuse every time you fire-up Skyrim. Pigeon kidneys! Do not listen, my precious friend.

You will need to upgrade only when you wish to. If you are prone to the towering claims of wealth made by bored liars in gaming forums then you will feel pressure forever, until paranoia drives you into your psychosis-lined coffin. You don't need the best equipment to have a blast on PC. 

Plus, the cost of PC bits is constantly dropping due to the constant advancement. So biding your time and keeping your lipstick dry will yield awesome results. The top spec stuff is always overkill for the games available at the time anyway, you silly sausage! What's the point in worrying over nothing?

4: Right, that seems unconvincing. But what about the games? Exclusives man, exclusives.

Oh right, yeah, all those innovative exclusives like Racing Car Game 7 or Ghetto Marine 4?

PC has infinite amounts of exclusivity. Endless genres. Limitless diversity to be explored, Son.

But there is something about PC gaming that cannot be found on consoles. Communities.

Groups of gorgeous people gather around games and stay. They don't flock off as soon as a new title comes along, they stay around the games they invest in and make them....home. They add to their beloved games with mods, and brilliant user-made content that consoles have never and will never offer.

I'm not talking in-built level designers a la LittleBigPlanet. I'm talking creativity that, in some cases, often exceeds the developers! I'm tearing up right now!

PC gamers tend to stick around in my experience. It's ace to see petitions and protests going on when companies attempt to shut down servers for old games, and it's even more ace when people fork out their hard-earned to keep servers running for the games they adore so hard. The Beautiful PC!

5: Anything else then? I'm not convinced. I like my joypad and my couch & TV combo.

Keyboard & mouse is the interface of the Gods. Why do you think there is a desperation to get them onto the next gen consoles? Coincidence?! I think not, pal. You know joypads are clumsy things.

Couch & TV convenience? Heard of 'Big Picture' mode on Steam? Aware that the majority of newer PC games have Joypad support programmed in nowadays, just for yawners like you that can't be arsed learning something new? It's all true. As far as I know. Which isn't very far!

And as for parties and voice communication, the PC has loads of options, all free, all great!

6: Ok thanks, but I'll stick with my console. I'm bored and you're getting a bit aggressive.

Alright look, in the interests of balance I'll offer some of the downsides to PC:
  • If you plump for a desktop you'll need a dedicated area in your home, which is too much of a pain in the tail-bone for some people, particularly if they don't have a lot of room to begin with.
  • You may end up having to buy FURNITURE, which is about as far away from fun as it gets, unless you're my wife and you are obsessed beyond reason with lamps and chairs.
  • You might have to wait ages for that console port you're dying for, and it may be poorly done.
  • You will have to accept that virtually nobody plays beat 'em ups or 'illiterate overly-privileged anti-social millionaire potential sex-threat simulator '14' (Those FIFA games).
  • None of your friends will have one until you convince them otherwise.
  • You will starve to death as a result of you becoming addicted to Team Fortress 2.

Even I'm bored now. I should leave this sort of thing alone in future.

To conclude this biblical epic, I'd like to reiterate that consoles are fine. Honestly, they are. But if you want to really immerse yourself in the world of modern gaming then you really need to consider PC.

You'll meet some amazing people and live inside some hollowed-out games for years. You may even BUILD something for one of those games, thus cutting out an intimate part of yourself and smearing it publicly across something you love. Imagine that!

So yeah, don't buy a next gen console. Come and try something a bit new, a little bit challenging, but a huge amount of lovely. Come and find a community, meet people that are unashamed to say they love games just as much as you do. Get yourself on PC.

Even casuals like me can find a home here!

GL & HF!


Disclaimer: Sensible advice for first time buyers/builders can be found online. Do a wee bit of research, Son.


*Lots of PC build advice types are available on the internet, but there's a bloke called Chico that can be summoned via goat sacrifice here, and he's part of a knowledgeable gang of chaps in a place called MordorHQ, which is a community consisting of 50% nice guys and 50% angry nutcases. Jump in, Sir.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Moaning about Dead Space...

Good day! You're looking healthy today, Madam. Been for a run?

Last week I finished an old game called 'Dead Space'.

In this game I was cast as some kind of invincible soldier with an antique diving suit on, walking slowly around a big dark spaceship full of jerky monsters. Every now and then a 'jump scare' would happen, but I did not jump once because my mental health is pretty much in order, and that long, dark corridor with nothing at all to do in it is kind of a give-away. Pretty dull oranges.

The jerky, awfully animated baddies included a betentacled screaming baby, a tall skinny tree thing, and a topless shouting man attached to a wall by loads of kebabs. And some other things.

The big WOW in this game is the fact you have to dismember the brainless mutants using a sort of laser cutter, which works exactly like a gun for the most part. You just pump the trigger and they obligingly fly apart, like the endless extras in any 80's homoerotic action movie starring a man in a vest.

My character was enduring all this inconvenience to find some big statue that made everyone crazy, and eventually turned everybody into a mutant. I was supposed to locate it, and then drop it into a big hole on an alien world. But SURPRISE! Someone that was guiding me through the spaceship turned out to be a double agent! So that was disappointing. Anyway, she wanted to take the statue back to Earth for some mental reason or other, I wasn't really listening during the cut scene.

So then the final boss appeared, while this woman was laughing in my face at my gullibility. And this is what ruined the whole thing for me. Here, look at this and bemoan it:

Balls. Big, glowing, vulnerable balls.

Can you believe this?? So here is the stiffest test that this alien race can offer, the top of their evolutionary ladder, the biggest boy on their beach, their tour de France. And I'm expected to believe that evolution, the all-governing force in the universe, has allowed a creature with ALL ITS VITAL ORGANS HUNG ON YELLOW BALLS IN ITS FACE to ascend to the top of the food chain??




So, I did all that walking, spent all that time doing what that traitorous bitch wanted me to do, just to shoot some big piñatas poking out of some massive alien slug thing? And to make matters worse, it didn't seem to learn or adapt after the first time I popped one of its tender spheres. It just continued holding its waistcoat open for me to leisurely blast them to hell. Ludicrous. Stupid!

I literally sighed. Sometimes gaming is crap. And this was one of those sometimes. The game did display some artistry in places, but it all gets undermined when they bolt on such a stinky finale.

To be fair though, the awful final boss did kill the treacherous bint that got me into all this, so that's a partial result.

I'm currently trying to get through the sequel, looks to be more of the same so far. Except they've added the clichéd, dog-eared staple of every rubbish horror movie ever made: SCARY KIDS.

And my character appears to have an annoyingly optimistic voice, he sounds a little too secure for my liking given the situation he finds himself in. He's just too upbeat for an amnesiac, hallucinating man trapped in a shopping centre full of kamikaze monsters. And SCARY KIDS. Look at them:

Attacked for no reason by violent, unreasonable feral children. This could be any council estate in the UK.

 So I'm not overly enthusiastic to be honest, chief.

But I suppose I should be happy that I've actually finished a game for the first time since the mid nineties. Or something. I currently have a queue of titles that I intend to see out to the bitter end:

  • Dead Space 2
  • Mark Of The Ninja
  • Tomb Raider (The one from last year)
  • The Last Of Us
  •  Dishonored DLC
I wanted to have a bash at the Gran Turismo 6 academy thing too, but I'm just too lazy. You need to commit to that sort of jazz. I just wanna play Team Fortress 2, man. Don't judge me.

I tend to look around a lot when I'm playing campaigns. I like to admire & appreciate the artistry and work that has gone in, I like to examine the walls and ceilings, open all the doors and peek inside all the drawers. So as you can imagine, all this snooping about takes time. So the little list above should last me around a year!

Well, that's enough looking into the window of my soul for one post.

See you soon, non-existent reader!

GL & HF!