Friday, February 24, 2006

YouTube link!

SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS

YEAH!

It's fucking BRILLIANT and really helps me to express myself. A lot of people use all caps too much in that they don't really speak all loud and shouty all the time, BUT I DO! ALL THE FUCKING TIME!

So it's ok for me to use it. But don't let my excessive use detract from the emphasis I'm trying to make when I say -

BOSS NONNU YOU FUCKING CUNT, YOU DIDN'T EVEN PUT A HEADER ON THAT LAST POST. Jesus, how are we supposed to sell this site for £600 million if you can't even get the fucking headers working. Ok, so I fucked up the image for Jeffry before and couldn't get it to work, but you did that DS code H/\xx0R thing yesterday so you've got no excuses.

Also, those brainless chumps over at NetDevil, the makers of the FUCKING AMAZING Auto Assault (please contact for permission to quote me on the box), have had the audacity to beat my Geometry Wars high score. I played for a whole twenty minutes last night and couldn't beat them so they must be better than me. Definitely not as good looking though - I've met them.

Some real gaming stuff, I suppose, beyond the shouting -

Guild Wars is officially Back. On.
And by that I mean my foray back into WoW has died. Again. It's a love/hate thing, I'll be back on WoW like Boss Nonnu on crack within a month, no doubt, but for the moment it's most definitely skill over grind. Don't get me wrong, the grind is good - I'm playing Bejewelled Endless for crying out loud - but its place is very specific: when your brain is too tired to do anything else. And my energy is BACK and it's BAD. So I need something a little more demanding than pressing the same three keys over and over again and Guild Wars gives me that. It doesn't give me crafting and living, breathing world, which is a shame, but you can't have everything. With a bit of luck someone will combine the combat code from Guild Wars with the world of WoW and the looks of Lineage II and create The Best MMO Ever and then we all win. Until then, only some of us win. And that's everyone in Japan who has access to the VF5 playtesting sessions. Cunts.

STOP PRESS

I have just been offered a whole tube of Pringles if I go to a friend's house and watch him play Devil May Cry 3. He hasn't said what flavour though. I mean, I'm not doing it for salt and vinegar, that's for sure.
Starforce is hideous.

There's no getting away from that. Despite the geek-baiting 'illegal' installation of drivers, the punitive disk-checking before being able to run anything and the fact that uninstalling the game leaves behind unwanted copy-protection drivers, there's one critical fault in the system that annoys me far more than any of the commonly-discussed issues with it.

It's the fact that it relies on the game disk being in the drive when you run it.

I absolutely fucking despise that. I've had over a decade of absolutely unneccesary disk-swapping with PC Games and I could cope with it until now. It was fine as long as I could scoot off to everyone's favourite crack repository and download a no-cd patch.

Bliss.

Whenever I surveyed my PC's desktop to pick a game to play, I knew I could just run it without having to find the game box, take out the CD, put it in the drive, wait for it to spin up and then close the autostart menu, with its inevitable explosion of obtrusive and obligatory menu music.

But good old Starforce and its contemporaries defy that simple, elegant solution in what is admittedly a triumph for anti-piracy software technology, but a massive pain in the arse for legitimate users. This latest generation seems impossible to circumvent without some hideously technical bluffing exercise, so the delight of disk-swapping, checking and autorunning has returned.

The fact that the only reason the disk has to be in the drive is for validation is actually horrific. I'm not sure why PC gamers put up with it.

Imagine if whenever you wanted to listen to an album on an Ipod or whatnot, you had to plug the unit into a CD player, find the CD you want to listen to and then put it in the drive and wait for it to validate before you could listen to a song.

It would fucking suck.

That's what systems like Starforce are forcing legitimate PC owners to do. They're perpetuating a draconian, aging method of validation that inconveniences the good guys.

It's a fucking disgrace.

In this day and age, with something spastic like 90% of PCs having access to the internet, why can't we have online validation systems for ALL PC games? Sure, keep the traditional copy protection for the poor, deprived motherfuckers who haven't got internet access, but for those of us living in the modern world, let me prove my game's genuine in a modern, non-intrusive way.

Let me install my bought game and then put the disk away, so it doesn't add extra clutter to my already apocaplyptic hell-hole of a room.

As I mentioned in my rambling and near-incoherent Splinter Cell 3 review, Starforce was the only reason I didn't buy Chaos Theory for the PC. I didn't download Trackmania nations because it had Starforce - and that fucker is free!

I'm not going to buy any more games that have disk-checking copy protection that I can't get rid of with a simple no-cd. What's more, you can tell the copy protection companies from me that they're all a bunch of fucking cun[message truncated for length]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Expert Level 7 = 50%

Playing the DS version has made me realise just how fucking AWESOME Super Monkey Ball was on the Game Cube. Then it made me remember what they did to Super Monkey Ball 2. Then it made me think about sequels and how so many of them totally fuck up what was brilliant about the first game. THEN I thought about something a friend said to me about the 50% rule, which I've not seen anywhere else so I'm going to steal it and take full credit for it by being the first to publish it. Even if you've seen it somewhere else first it doesn't mean I can't take the credit for it, because I'm going to write the header in ALL CAPS.

THE 50 PER CENT RULE

Obviously 50% is a totally made up number. Like all marketing numbers bar the actual sales figure. The rule can be best illustrated with Prince of Persia. The first PoP was awesome and had the second best ending ever. It didn't sell very well. Then, Ubisoft darked up the sequel (that is, made it more gothic, not made the prince African or some other ethnicity with dark skin) and it sold bucketloads. Their maths was simple -

First game = some sales
Second game = first game + changes = good sales
Therefore, changes = more sales

IDIOTS. Dont' they know about MY 50% rule that I definitely didn't steal from someone else?

So, it goes like this -

First game = some sales + loads of good rep
Second game = good rep + changes = good sales and less rep
Therefore, more sales = rep from previous game

I checked with Oxford about my algebraic notation and they said "it's fucking ACE."

The reason it's called the 50% rule is because, despite it not appearing in the equations anywhere, approximately 50% of the sequel's sales can be attributed to the rep of the first game. This is a made up figure, like Famitsu scores.

I can't think of a solution because it might change the way marketing works, which is basically to make up numbers and as far as I can tell, that's a pretty sweet job. I don't want to be responsible for depriving people of that.

Card Fighters Clash DS will be brilliant, by the way.

Have at least some idea what you're doing when designing characters

The purpose of Akira is to provide an obscenely technical character than can reward studious players with hugely damaging combos that can only be accessed by the most elite of players.

The purpose of Aoi is to mentally attack the other player's confidence, rendering them motionless through fear of counter. Even her attacking game is filled with feints to confuse and paralyse the opponent.

The purpose Lau is to provide an accessible moveset that anyone can pick up and immediately feel like they're achieving something, though in the long term his limited options leave him at a disadvantage.

The aim of any DoA 4 character is, as far as I can see, to provide the 90% of moves that every other character shares (in terms of application) and offer a very pretty cosmetic variation.

WHY CAN'T ANY OTHER GAME BE AS GOOD AS VIRTUA FIGHTER 4?

*cries*

Seriously, I really really really really want to play another good fighting game. I'm sick of waiting for the next VF. Can't at least one other team put together a fighting game that doesn't make me want to pour lemon juice in my eyes? Surely some of them must play VF. Just copy it for fuck's sake! I'll play a copy! I will! Stick some big explosion effects in, add some Whacky! and Zany! characters (a big panda!) and then just basically steal VF's system. Nobody will mind. It won't be as good as VF, sure, but at least it won't be made for fucking morons. Even Sonic Fighters is better than Soul Calibur 3. Kind of. Oh ok, maybe not, but they're about on a par. But only because Ivy is so hot.

Actually, Amy is pretty hot. I mean, she's not a human or anything but I'm not racist. I'm quite a modern guy. I won't judge or discriminate.

Rumble Roses.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A few words about Ridge Racer 6.

There's something stunningly captivating about a game that fundamentally understands its central, most enjoyably delightful gameplay mechanic and then serves it to you as an enormous mass to consume like some giant, barely viscous milkshake flavoured with some amazing adaptive taste that immensely satisfies the owner that's drinking it.

Yeah, that's Ridge Racer 6, okay?

Apart from the amazing front end, which is beautifully done, and the beautiful car designs, RR6 stands out in the way it expresses that joyously entertaining cornering technique, drifting.

I fucking love it. Drifting is ace. Nailing the fine drift-points on each corner is a marvelous pursuit. It's not quite as rewarding as chaining entire Ikaruga levels, but it is a lot more immediate.

The best bit is that there's fucking shitloads of drifting to do. I mean loads. The sheer wealth of races means that there's constant room to improve your line, as there is with any brilliant racing game. The fact that in Ridge Racer, it's uncomplicated fun that you're maximising means that there's a near-endless sea of delight to be had, provided you can free yourself from the oddly claustrophobic atmosphere of PGR3, with the distinctly different loading of player tension that game contains. The wildness is there huge volumes, but the demands to constrain it are much tighter. Ridge Racer 6 feels a lot more free and unbridled, like a satifying and cheap buffet as opposed to a richer, much more formidable dish served in an expensive restaurant.

The colossal roster of events means that sadly, the n00b area has been somewhat extended. The opening classes feel relentlessly dull at first, but racing through the grades in a blitzkrieg soon brings as good a reward as Moscow once classes three and four are opened.

Too me, that is the only downside to the game. Seeing as you get that out of the way early on, only a DOLT would complain about it. The nitrous system is fine, but I would have preferred to see the purists catered for with an option to make races non-nitrous for all and a special prize, or rather millions of special prizes, for those that complete the game using no nitrous at all.

If I lived in a perfect world, Burnout would just be Crash Junction mode and Road Rage mode. I'd ditch the races but expand Road Rage to be a bit like the Crashbreaker races, but with a takedown limit that has to be passed as well as coming first (you explode just before the finish line or something). Anyhow, I'd leave the racing to Ridge Racer.

It does it so much better.

SCORES:

Racing - 10/10 "Really addictive!"
Cars - 10/10 "Amazing car designs that you wish were real!"
Sound - 0/10 "The engine note is too quiet!"
Tracks - 0/10 "They're brilliant, but where are the originals?"
Drifting - 10/10 "The original and best! I don't give a fuck if it's not real."
PGR3? - 5/10 "PGR is still the king, but comparisons are totally unfair, really."

Overall - 9/10. "Amazing graphics and spot FX with a bouncy title tune."

To be honest, I've left out the bit about how fucking exciting and tense RR6 is in the later classes. It got my pulse racing plenty, which PGR3 rarely did. AND THAT SURPRISES ME.

GP2X in E-F-F-E-C-T, otherwise known as EFFECT boyee

It's not mine, but I've got one on loan. It's much, much better than the gp32, but managing it is pretty much the same - a whole lot easier with a card reader. Build quality is pretty hideous, with some horrifically cheap design choices.

The screen and speakers are fine. Boot-up is slow. Annoyingly so.

The emulators are pretty sweet, especially the Megadrive one. Everything runs smooth as fuck and the controls aren't too bad. I just got through two levels of Gunstar Heroes with no problems.

This is a bit unfortunate, as it reminds me that Gunstar Superheroes is actually a tragic pastiche of the orginal. Like Chantelle is to Paris Hilton is to Princess Di is to Princess Grace of Monaco is to Marilyn Monroe.

ANYHOW,

The PC Engine emulator is obviously brilliant, but still crawls with Parasol Stars. I cried. This would have been a massive DEALBREAKER if it wasn't for the optional CPU overclock, which got it running 100% perfect at 250 MHz. WICKED, apart from the fact it ate the batteries in under an hour.

Snes emulation is pretty horrific. I imagine some overclocking is required to get anything decent if you want sound at the same time.

Both the PC-Engine and Snes emus share a problem that's more a living-nightmare - you can't change options once you've loaded a game. You have to power-off to play another game. The horror of early emulator builds will never go away.

The firmware on this one is 1.00, so upgrading it might be a good idea. I haven't tried MAME yet as you have to process the roms to play anything.

If the firmware makes batteries last longer, I'll probably do it

All in all, a baby step towards the emulation utopia with a disturbingly 80s sticker on a recessed lip that runs along the bottom of the console. A sticker that frames some disturbingly 80s LEDs. What I mean is it's a charming portable emulation station that's as annoying to set-up as the rest of them.

Mind you, I'm talking rubbish cos I don't know shit about PSP emulation.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bejewelled 2

When it says Endless, it's really not fucking kidding. It's impossible to die. You just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ON.

The list of people on your friends list who have scored high on it reads like a sort of a lonely hearts column - hi! I really have nothing better to do than play this never-ending, pattern spotting, crystal-clearing, time-killing "game".

The only use for it I can think of is as something to do while you chat over Live for free.

It reminds me of World of Warcraft. I expect to be playing again soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Communication

More and more these days, I notice that many games simply don't want to tell me what's going on.

Take Splinter Cell 3 for instance. Every Wednesday, like clockwork, I meet with my friends from Glasgow on Live and play the versus mode. Two on two. It's quite brilliant, and if you haven't played it, or the vs. mode from Splinter Cell 2, then you're missing out.

I love hiding in the shadows, hanging from a ledge as my friend walks by. A quick jump down, run up behind and grab him around the neck followed by a throttle. I always whisper the same thing in their ear before I kill them - "I'm a tidy mother fucker".

Can't explain why I do that. I also can't explain why sometimes I can grab him around the neck and sometimes I can't. I've had long distance grabs succeed and close grabs fail. I've had off-centre grabs work and bang on behind grabs miss. I've even varied the speed at which I run in, but the results still seem pretty random. The game is working to a logic I can't seem to comprehend. Which, actually, would be manageable, but my grab attempt will inevitably end up as smack if missed, which alerts the merc to my presence. Even if the game doesn't want to follow a consistent set of rules, at least let me know beforehand if I'm in the right position. A small exclamation mark would do the trick, though a more elegant solution would be for my character's arms to change position. Anything really, just tell me what the fuck is going on with my guy. Even a small audio cue would suffice.

I can forgive Splinter Cell because it's just so amazing in multiplayer. I can also forgive Mario Kart DS for not really helping me make my corner boosting activate faster (was it my smoothness that time? My speed? The late start in the turn?) Other games can't quite be forgiven - Dead or Alive, for instance. I just did a slow kick! Is it going to hit you yet? I can't tell. Oh! I've been hit. Your move was quite fast, but how can I tell how much I can get away with when using this move? How long before it goes from start-up to striking? Tell me, please. Don't forgo all forms of communication just for the sake of a pretty animation. This isn't the movies - I'm supposed to be in control.

That’s why I love Virtua Fighter so much. I know where I am with that game. At any time there are any number of cues, aural or visual, that help me know exactly what is going on, so that I can make a well-informed decision at any time I like, which is always more fun than simply opting for what seems to be the right thing to do.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Credit where it's due

RIGHT. My boss, who is not only fucking RUBBISH at games but also a known GIRL, is in about a million games' credits. She doesn't even know how to turn her PC on.

Meanwhile, *I*, the UK's 30th most influential person under the age of 30, am not in any.

NOT IN ANY.

Even fucking Boss Nonnu is in three. THREE! He can't even get fruit trees to grow (he seems to think watering plants is a waste of time).

Don't they KNOW how tech I am? I eat shoulder ram>DLCs for breakfast. I am, frankly, outraged.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just The (F)Axe Man

Hard mode on Guitar Hero is exactly that. I'm up to the Queens of the Stone Age song, I forget the name. I don't know any of the song's names, I only know their patterns of finger death. I swear, Harmonix are trying to break my hands via the power of games. They're working in tandem with the governments of the world in secret, executing their latest plan to stop video games from ruling the world. The plan is simple - break gamers' hands so they can't play anymore.

But what they don't know is - the more I play, the stronger I become. My fingers are now so strong that my girlfriend has forbidden all fingering activities, in her body or otherwise. Soon, my fingers will be so strong I'll be able to create diamonds from coal. Scientists will ask me to help them with experiments, compacting matter so tightly that particle acclerators become a thing of the past. SOON - I'll be able to do expert mode.

In the meantime, being banned from masturbating is killing me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Affectionate Diary Awards 2006

The Best Use Of Sound In A DS Game Award

And the winner is - Animal Crossing.

When you're in the inventory, dropping an item into the left hand side of your pockets will make a sound in your left ear and vice versa! This is called Stereo Sound.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The best thing I've read today

"I just do my own thing trying to get the most out of the ever decreasing handful of games that come along which aren't designed for complete fuckwits."

S calls it.

Oh dear god, I just paid £50 for a game.

But then, I did just take delivery of a 360 premium pack, so I kinda had to.

I haven't paid that much for a game ever. In fact, my deeply-set and inexplicably long-lasting hatred of corporate Nintendo comes from when Street Fighter 2 was £60 and they were charging over £100 for games that had a SHIT 3D chip in them that threw about four triangles around the screen at 8 fps.

SCUM.

Still, I love them now because they gave me Ouendan. Now all my hatred is reserved for Suki.

Suki, please don't use AWFUL puns for titles. Yes, I mean the Art/Fart one.

You cunt.

You're worse than Nintendo were in 1992.

Suki?

PUKI more like! LOL! U MAKE ME PUKE! LOL!

The (f)art of blogging

The thing about blogging, as I'm fast realising, is that it's hard to know what to blog about. Or, to put it another way, it's hard to know which of the hundred inane thoughts I've had today are worthy of writing about. My process of cherry-picking only the best of a bad bunch has resulted in only occasional posting and a massive folder full of partially drafted entries that will never see the light of day. And quite right too, I've read over some of them and they're awful. A guide for developers who are considering using user-defined difficulties levels in their games? A hypothesis for why people lose the power of rational thought when asked "what is your favourite console?" These are best left in the dirt. Rubbish ideas that should never be allowed to develop into more than a cursory sentence.

But things are changing! Because let's face it, one post a fortnight is not frequent enough to justify a blog. But occasional short rants of only a few sentences every couple of days is the perfect way to pull in the hits! And seeing as how at least 30 fucking per cent of all words should be cunting swear words (until my dad starts reading anyway, which is when I'll fucking up it to 60%.

So, a few starting inanities -

Ouendan - the worst difficulty curve ever created. Ready Steady Go, the final level on Medium, is stupid hard. But I cry everytime I perfect Over The Distance so it's OK.

I am still the best at Geometry Wars.

Luke Albiges - I salute your rhythm action skills. Make some videos or something. Guitar Hero on Expert, perfected.

People who say that Tekken's evade is of any use whatsoever in close range fighting - have you *ever* played a human opponent? It's a flair for people to use in the long-range dashing range and nothing more. You can disagree but every tournament video ever made backs me up. It's not fanboy-ism, it's simple, illustrated, unarguable fact.

People who say VF4 isn't accessible - you have seen the TRAINING option in the menu, right? That clearly explains every aspect of the game in a clear, precise manner. If you don't like, that's another thing, sure, but that merely leads me to my next point -

Your mum.

Seriously, mutants are gay lol.

More posts of a similar quality to follow. Though I see Boss Nonnu has been on the case for some time. L0Lz!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Auto Assault

MUTANTS IS GAY LOL

imba imo