Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Over The Distance

It's pretty obvious to anyone who's played Ouendan that Over The Distance is the most beautiful song ever. It still makes me cry at the end. Even the bit at the beginning is lovely, where the guy goes "ou-en-daan... daan... daan...". Then the piano starts and it's off. Thing is, the level itself is wonderfully uplifting and relaxing, a serene thing to complete, leaving the player in an ideal situation to attempt the game's toughest challenges.

Suki finished Ready Steady Go on normal today, after a long campaign in which he overcame the evil of the off-beat bit of the chorus, a chicane so devious that it scuppers everybody who comes across it. Under control, this section fell into place as Suki passed one of the game's well-earned and most significant milestones.

We put this victory down to him S-ranking and perfecting Over The Distance as his warm-up. It did the job perfectly, it seems. Brilliantly, I unlocked it on the Cheerleader/Insane difficulty moments later and finished it on my first go. However, I don't put this down to me witnessing Suki's immense triumph. I got a perfect for Over The Distance ages ago. On Hard, as it goes.

I put this down to meeting Michael Barrymore last night. He was lovely.

Here's to you, Michael! OSSU!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why I might stop playing...

Animal Crossing DS.

I might stop playing this completely. It's a tragedy, I know, but the weirdly empty and ultimately soul-less nature of the game is starting to leave me cold.

The game itself, once past the honeymoon period of cooing at cute animals and the consumerist lust of acquiring new items, boils down to nothing more than a series of hideous chores.

From the horrific monotony of the fruit growing/harvest cycle to those plodding treks around the commercial landmarks on the lookout for cool things to steal or buy, the day-to-day grind is capped off with a round of disturbingly insincere letter writing, the primary purpose of which is to cynically offload unwanted items onto other villagers, in the hope of getting something slightly more interesting back. This grind is why I find myself wondering why the hell I'm wasting my commutes on such appallingly dull activities.

Today was the first day since I started playing Animal Crossing that I didn't do my usual dog-walk around the holy trinity of item-finding in Animal Crossing: the shops, lost 'n found and the recycle bin. Admittedly, I haven't bothered to do a fruit harvest for about two weeks now, but to not even bother checking out if there's anything new and easily available is something of a nadir in my Animal Crossing life.

The bottom line is that when I've got Ouendan's cheerleaders to direct, why should I be fucked with a game that ultimately rewards mindless chores with conspicuously capitalist rewards and nothing else? There's no skill here, nothing to test myself against aside my own lust to amass as much inconsequential shit as possible versus the chores I'm prepared to perform to get that stuff - unlike Ouendan's challenges beyond completing each difficulty level, namely the perfects and the S ranks, which will take me several months of relentless play to fulfill and provide plenty of genuine pride, drama, excitement and entertainment in a volume that Animal Crossing can only provide on a surprisingly rare basis.

I'm not paying Tom Nook a fucking penny for the last extension on my house. He can fuck off. Crazy Redd, with his fucking shit tent and his three-items-per-week that are total piss can fuck off too. In fact, everyone except the lovely Aurora and the cute astronomy owl can fuck off. I've had it with this pissy town.

But, I've not had it with this game just yet.

My compatriot ELS is going to get it soon, so I can set her up nicely with a fat 35k in bells and a shitload of WICKED items - if she wants them, that is. Mind you, the prospect of that shows me that in Animal Crossing world, giving really is better than receiving! HOO FUCKING RAY.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Perfect Dark Zero

It's shit, obviously. I mean, what were they thinking? Red with a white flash? And flick-ups at shoulder height? What is this, 1995? Nobody wears their hair like that anymore, let alone a government agent who's trained to ROLL AROUND A LOT.

That cover thing is quite good. Shame about the everything else.

In single player, I mean. Multiplayer is brilliant. And by brilliant I mean good.

970,360 in Geometry Wars though.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I must have missed something along the way

A friend of mine recently said that one of the main "problems" with PGR3 was that there was no sense of achievement. He said he'd played all afternoon but felt like he'd achieved nothing. At first that puzzled me. Then, it angered me, which I didn't really understand, and now I've gone back to being puzzled.

As far as I can tell, one of the things PGR3 does really well is let you do whatever you want, however you want. I think that's brilliant. I love that I can take the Mclaren F1 out almost immediately. I love that when I get bored of it I can switch to a slower car. I love that I'm not forced to play American Muscle. Most of all, though, I just love the process of playing PGR3. It feels AMAZING. Now almost every car is as exciting as the F40. It's prettier, sure, but if it wasn't that would still be fine. New cars and new tracks, that's all I wanted. I'm not fussy, not every game has to redefine the landscape, though to me, PGR3 does just that when it gave the player as much freedom as it has.

Don't get me wrong, I love feeling a strong sense of achievement from a game. That's one of the reasons why I play World of Warcraft and Animal Crossing. But I also love just playing. If I was in the park with some friends playing football, I wouldn't complain that after half a day I was still in the same t-shirt, or the ball was the same colour and size, and the rules hadn't changed, and we were still in the same park. It's fine. I'm enjoying playing football. Though obviously I never actually play football because it's fucking GAY. And I don't mean gay in the homo sense where boys touch each other, I mean GAY in the OMG YOU SO WANT IT IN YOUR BUM BUT YOU JUST WON'T SAY IT TO ANYONE INCASE YOUR FRIENDS STOP SPEAKING TO YOU kind of way.

So anyway, it's just games. A sense of reward is one thing, but forcing a player to work when there's simply no need is not the only way to instill a sense of achievement. I own five TVR Sagarises. Sagarisi. Whatever. I have five - one in each colour. The have them arranged in a semi-circle in my garage in Japan. I OWN those cars. I also own the Mclaren F1 in the background, and the Ferarri F50 GT. I feel a sense of achievement. Quite what my friend was doing with his earned credits I don't understand. Like his viewpoint.

I like playing games. I hope you do too. If not, don't play them. It would be silly if you did. It would be silly if you simply kept plugging away at a game you weren't enjoying just to unlock a feature which would just mean playing the same game some more. Nobody is winning there. Also, if you're enjoying what you're playing, carry on playing. Who cares what gets unlocked if you're having fun anyway?

Playing seems to have become something else entirely in videogames. When did that happen?

Thursday, January 05, 2006


We can now post as ourselves, and not as Affectionate Diary.

This is for those of you who can't understand our normal signing off system, which involves us writing our names at the end of our posts. Now, Blogger does it for us!

I hope.

15 minutes a day

Every time I read a review of Animal Crossing I see something along the lines of "geared for 15 minutes of play a day."

Are we even playing the same game? 15 minutes is barely enough to talk to each resident in my town once, let alone hunt for fossils or fish. How about checking the lost and found for new items? And the recycle bin fills up fast (Goose throws away everything I send him. I don't know why, his house is a shit hole). Or at least it does when you're sending eight letters a day. Some times more. Hell, just one letter can take me 15 minutes to write. And fruit picking. And shell collecting. And looking at my collections in the museum. And shaking trees. I mean, 15 minutes? Fuck off. It's at least an hour a day. Obviously none of these reviews are concise enough to give you a clear picture of this game's merits and faults, so allow me to provide:

The Definitive Animal Crossing: Wild World Review.

I give this game - 109/10

Aurora the penguin. I loved her. I visited her (nearly) every day. I taught her new greetings. I sent her new clothes. We laughed, we cried. Well, we laughed. Anyway, the point is, I got really mashed over Hogmanay and then when I turned my DS back on, the stupid fucking penguin bitch had gone! Not even a warning! At least Static warned me. I wooed him with presents till he stayed, even though he was always rude to me. But this stupid fucking penguin bitch left me, just like all the other women in my life. I fucking hate her.

Goose the, er, chicken. Possibly a goose. Anyway, he's all about the muscles, right, and I can dig that. Really big fucking muscles, working out every day, doing press-ups, I love it. I sent him a t-shirt and then he put it in the recycling bin. What a total cunt. I sent him that shirt especially, because he said to me "I sweat a lot, so I need a lot of clothes." Then he throws it away. What a fucking cunt.

Static the blue thing with a lightening strike on his head. Probably not even an animal. Always rude, always saying "what the HELL do you want anyway?" I mean, what kind of language is that to use? I could be 12! 12-year-olds don't know how to swear. Jesus. Anyway, he's a total cunt.

Brewster the, er, actually, I've not even looked at him. He's always hassling me. Won't let me take my time with my coffee. It's always "drink it! Drink it now! While it's fresh!" Yeah? Well don't brew it so fucking hot then, you dick. Another total cunt.

Tom Nook the raccoon. He is a raccoon, right? Anyway, his shop was a small rickety hut when I met him and now, thanks to all the stuff I've bought from him, including my house which has the worst bedroom ever, he's got a fucking super market. And you know what? He hasn't ever given me a discount. Not even some flower seeds, which are only 80 bells. Despite me making him the man (raccoon) he is today. Cunt.

Kula the koala. Just goes "tsk tsk" at me all the time. FUCK OFF YOU BINT. You're not getting my chic furniture for your bullshit house.

In fact, you know what? Everyone in this game is a total cunt. They're always asking me for stuff, or making me run errands, or telling me my house isn't cool enough. Don't play this game if you're a weak self-pitying fool. By the time you're done you'll have killed yourself.