Friday, September 29, 2006

Recent news!

As Suki has been in Tokyo, I've been actually playing games.

HERE'S THE ROUND-UP:

Samurai Warriors 2 (360)
Brilliant.

Test Drive Unlimited (360)
Fucking Brilliant

DEFCON (PC)
Might be brilliant. I'm not sure, as my PC died yesterday.


THE BEST of the lot is definitely Test Drive. Even with all its petty rubbishness, spazzed features and idiotic car selection rigmaroles, Test Drive Unlimited is one of the best car games ever released. Maybe even the very best, provided you're not an incredibly anal racing fanatic. TDU's exemplary brilliance is mostly due to four things:

1) Wicked cars
2) Brilliant engine noises
3) Fucking shitloads of roads
4) Easily exploited events that can be rinsed to generate large volumes of cash

You know what? Test Drive Unlimited 2 is going to blow everything else out of the water. The GT, PGR and Forza people will look like FUCKING IDIOTS.

TDU is going to be the king until someone else can come up with a driving game where you can freely cruise with mates for hours at a time, but in some combination pretend-land where there's windy mountains, vast deserts and proper big cities, like Paris. So we can ALL do our own re-creations of that Rendevous film, but all at the same time in a crazy race. There needs to be a stunt course and some kind of stunt rating system for jumps and shit.

I also want stats on EVERYTHING, including crashes and accidents. I want estimated repair costs and injury projections, along with times for recovery.


However, TDU has the following shits in the punchbowl:

1) Cunt police
2) Idiot AI traffic
3) Not enough races
4) No Lamborghini Countach (yet)
5) It might get a RUF Porsche soon.
6) Rubbish clothes
7) Rubbish avatar customisation
8) Token photo mode
9) No replays if there's AI traffic
10) No 4am-in-the-morning mode

Ugh. Still, none of the above make the game anything less than fucking ace. Hey, just think of the missing things as features for the sequel / update and everything becomes even more brilliant.

Best cars? Tune all of these and they rock:

Lamborghini Miura (ludicrously fast for its group)
Nissan Skyline
Jaguar XJ220 (I am not fucking with you)
Pagani Zonda
Saleen S7 (This is a fucking beast)

AVOID:

Ferrari Enzo (YAWN)
Maclaren F1 LM (Actually shit)
Koenigsegg (yeah it does 270 - after 30 mins of accelerating

FINUL SCOREZ:

TDU gets a solid 9.999999998 / 9.999999999999 from me.

It's about the joy of going fast in cars and as you can do that so much more in TDU than any other game ever ever ever, it means that TDU is the best best best.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disclaimer

I forgot to say - I obviously only spent three days in Tokyo, so take any conclusions I draw with a pinch of salt.

And though they both deserve their own post, I should say right now that Rhythm Tengoku and Dot Stream are fucking BRILLIANT, and if you don't buy them immediately you are a total cunt. Unless you don't have any way of playing GBA games, but I really can't believe you don't.

If I was Chewing Pixels I might have said that better, but fucking swearing will have to do, ok? Boing Boing had the audacity to recommend a book on how to blog recently, but I already know how to swear and be incoherent. I don't see how a book can improve that any (unless it has some really good swear words I don't know). I'm off to play more Rhythm Tengoku. Dot Stream times for the pwning of your sorry ass later.

Tokyo blog - day one

Touch down! Blam, I'm in Tokyo. 11am, fully refreshed and fully in Tokyo's time zone. No jet lag thanks to strategic use of sleep deprivation and Nytol. My first hint as to how the Japanese mindset operates happens as early as the baggage reclaim. Some markings on the floor around the revolving bag-o-returner ask people to keep a respectful distance to ensure more people can reach their luggage more easily. Amazingly, everyone does. Also amazingly, people keep all their gear behind them so as to take up as little space as possible as they crowd around this line. This amazes me (and I imagine would amaze anyone who frequently flies to and from Heathrow). It's as if everyone actually wants the world to be a better place. Then I go hire a phone, have a heart attack at the price, then realise how little money it is (this will be a recurring theme as I attempt to convert yen into pounds throughout the trip), get on the bus and I'm off to TGS.

On the highways there is practically no traffic. This will also be a recurring theme as I travel around Tokyo, making crossing streets very easy and making breathing MUCH easier than is reported.

As we travel along I keep an eye out for a sprawling metropolis in the distance. I envisage a solid wall of concrete and glass marking the boundary of Tokyo, though I'm not sure if I'll see the city yet, since Tokyo Game Show is not in fact in Tokyo. Of course.

I get to TGS, it's very small, and there are no queues for anything bar Devil May Cry 4. Well, there are queues but we're talking three or four deep. In three hours I've played everything I care about and seen everything else. Several things surprised me -

There were a LOT of US-developed games on show which quite clearly will never sell in Japan.
Microsoft's games were everywhere simply because they had the biggest bags and therefore were clearly on show on people's shoulders at all times.
There was NO COOL TAT on offer anywhere (wtf?!).
There were loads of mobile phone games.
Everyone was taking pictures of the J-hot girls, but nobody wanted to be in the pictures with them. It was a strange sort of voyeurism, with some guys being overheard saying things like "you were a Capcom girl in 2004, why the change?"
There really wasn't any cool tat.

Then I meet up with Adrian, a friend of a friend who is fluent in Japanese and French, but alas not really English. He takes me into Tokyo on a train, when he tells me he is a drag-performer at his night, Tokyo decadence. As we travel along, I stare out the window as much as possible. We're mostly over ground, and I'm hyper-excited about seeing Tokyo in the distance. We start to enter suburb type areas clearly defined by large areas of grassland and forest. No skyscrapers, no flying cars, no robots. No city. Soon we get off to change to another line. I ask how long before we're in Tokyo. Adrian replies, "we are 'ere."

We're clearly NOT in the largest and most technologically advanced city on the planet, but I don't say anything. I put it down to his poor English and my non-existent French and Japanese. We change, I see some school girls who don't look like as hot as I'd hoped (in fact, they look like, well, school girls, but more on pedophilia later), and then we arrive at my stop. I thank Adrian, get out, get confused at the barriers (which start open but shut on you cruelly if you have the wrong ticket, which I did) and then I'm outside. Outside into fresh air, wide open space, and what looks like the outskirts of a city. I think there must be some mistake so I drag my near-empty suitcase back inside and check the name of the stop, which is still Yotsuya. I am in the centre of Tokyo. I go back outside and take careful stock. The roads are HUGE. There is space everywhere. There is loads of green, very little traffic, and every person I ask for directions from speaks English (a statistical anomaly, perhaps). Later on I find out that most of Tokyo is like this - expansive, clean and really quite green. There is next to no pollution, no litter (and no bins either, which doesn't quite add up), and transport and food are both very, very cheap. In fact, it's possible to live in Tokyo for only a few pounds a day. Unless you play Virtua Fighter, that is.

In fact, at this stage I realise that everything I think I know about Tokyo is wrong. Very obviously wrong. Later on, Adrian tells me that the stories of Tokyo being massively over-populated and expensive and difficult to navigate are all propaganda spread by Japanese to keep out foreigners. I can easily believe it.

I check in to what is the biggest hotel I have ever seen. To get from the reception desk to my room takes nearly 10 minutes. There is a shopping mall on the first two floors of the hotel as well as countless restaurants. My room has slippers I can take home and a rubbish hairdryer. I chuck everything on the floor and race out to meet Daniel, who will ensure that over my three day stay I see and do everything in Tokyo that I want to.

We go to a restaurant with Adrian and his friend and a dancer called CoCo. CoCo tells me (via Daniel as she speaks no English) that next week she is having a catfight on stage at Adrian's fetish night. I laugh and ask if it will be a real fight and she tells me it will. She makes clawing gestures and snarls. She asks me if I think she is cool (she is). We then grill our own meat on the mini-BBQ in the middle of the table and get drunk on sweet cocktails made from things I haven't heard of. Then Daniel takes me to meet his friend David, who takes us to a Belgium-themed bar where beer is SUPER expensive and there are no J-hot girls to look at, so I retire to my hotel.

Thus ends my first day in Tokyo.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm back

I don't even know where to start. A proper thing later, but some random thoughts for now -

  • Chibita is basically the coolest guy on the planet, even though he likes trace music.
  • VF5 and the way the arcades and the scene work over there blew my mind.
  • Everyone in Tokyo is SUPER FUCKING STYLISH x infinity.
  • Taxis and transport and food in Tokyo are really, really cheap.
  • Drinking in nice bars is about as expensive as it is here.
  • Their super cool trainer shops stock our regular trainers and their regular shops stock the trainers we can't buy for love nor money.
  • Clothes are really expensive. Well, nice clothes. Uniqlo is cheap, and much better than the version they've given us.
  • VF5 is amazing, though only Chibita used the new evade move on me.
  • Hentai does actually get so bad you feel physically sick just looking at it, and it's not even remotely hard to get.
  • Tokyo girls are HOT but apparently shit in bed (they have a term there - mackeral - because they lie there like a dead fish).
  • People fall asleep on the tube within seconds of sitting down.
  • Their mobile phones also double as their oyster cards, but I didn't see one person use it.
  • There seems to be no excitement for the PS3 at all.
  • Asking for DS Lite carrying cases in a hardcore gaming shop will get you laughed at, because the DS Lite is too new to be cool amongst the 'real' gamers.
  • The fascist political party openly drives around in vans with loudspeakers, broadcasting "foreigners get out" messages.
  • I take a size large when buying clothes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tokyo tube map

The Road to Chibita

I am now officially really nervous about this. A trip to his arcade on Sunday is planned (does he own it? Run it? Is he the champ there?) and I know nothing about Japanese arcade etiquette. If I do Lion's up+P+K and shout SHO RYU KEN! will he laugh or be offended? What if he gives me a round, am I allowed any jubilation at all? What if he doesn't like me? What if we've got EXACTLY the same hair styles? What if he doesn't like VF anymore? WHAT IF I WIN A ROUND?

No chance of that happening really.

Things I don't know about Japan -
Do they have a seven-day week? If I say "Friday" will they translate that into their equivalent day of their seven-day week or do they just work non-stop until they die?
If you win in the arcades, do you rejoice? Do you keep your head bowed? If the other person wins, do you congratulate them, or will that embarrass them because then they are rejoicing? Is it like at a karate competition, only the other guy isn't broken and bleeding at the end?
Do the girls have sideways fannies?
How tall are they? I mean, Chinese guys are tiny, but most Koreans I've met are huge. Like the dude in Lost. Will I be of normal size over there or what? I'm not planning on sleeping with the chicks cos I love my girlfriend very, very much, but I at least want the chicks to think "he's probably got a big one." If only because it won't ever happen anywhere else (I'm half-Chinese).
Do they drive on the left or right (those that don't have spaceships)?
Are they really that good at games? I mean, Chibita is going to trash me, but maybe I'll get some wins against the henchmen.

Things I do know about Japan -
They are all really racist, even by my comedy standards.
Everyone can do karate really well.
They see things in widescreen.
They don't have cheese.
They don't like the PSP (and who can blame them?)
They go red when they drink (SCORE!)
They have a slight biological advantage at games over white guys because their eyes and brain can assimilate information over a larger area faster than the average honky - I don't know how it works for black guys but Ryan Hart is pretty fucking sick. Let's assume that means all black guys are good at games, because they always chose Guile back in the day and beat pretty much everyone.
The KFC is made from actual chicken.
Even if they can speak English, they won't, so fuck off.
Not everyone is like Hard Gay.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Japan

Japan is the ultimate destination for all gamers. No matter the market is shrinking, or that famous Japanese doctors were slamming games until they starred in one, or that everyone plays shitty traditional RPGs and nothing else over there. No matter they don't play FPSs and they sleep with children legally. No matter that even though it's ok to draw a girl being fucked by seven demons who have penises that are a hundred foot long but if you film a prostitute you have to blur the screen so nobody sees any genitals. The fact is - if you're a gamer, you want to go to Japan.

I am a gamer, and I want to go to Japan. On Thursday, I *am* going to Japan. I will have the best three days I have ever had, and that includes the sex marathon I had in Ibiza when I lived there. I will probably not come back. Don't be jealous. I don't want you to be. Instead be happy, safe in the knowledge that there's not a single person on this planet who would smile as much as I'm going to, and that fact alone is enough to make it ok that if one of us has to go, it's me and not you. Though it would be better if we could both go.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I lay in bed thinking about having my own personal robot, and how nobody drives cars and uses their own jetpack, and how my friend told me to try the KFC out there, because it contained actual chicken. I probably shouldn't have played Samurai Warriors 2 till 1am but that was research. It's important I know as much about Japan as possible before I go, and now I know that if I attack a man and his wife is nearby, I'll get attacked in such a way that my body gets chucked up in the air and on the way down get hit four times in quick succession. So no attacking men unless they're alone, but that's pretty much common sense.

Oh, and because it's not quite clear in this post - I'm well up for demon rape and sleeping with children.


STOP PRESS

My man in Japan is confident he can arrange a meeting with Chibita in which I get TOTALLY raped in a game of VF by him. Man!

A wife's duty is to protect her husband

Samurai Warriors 2 on the 360 has the best voice acting I have ever heard.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Gradius Collection

Is here! And it's fucking excellent. So don't fuck about reading blogs about idiots who can't get laid or who still haven't clocked Bubble Bobble on the Amstrad CPC 464. Stick with us for REAL proper informative opinion (Boss Nonnu talking about Wii aside). So here, EXCLUSIVE to Affectionate Diary readers, is -

The Gradius Collection Definitive Review.

379200. That's the score I got when I clocked Gradius on one credit this morning. Default settings, but difficulty turned up to Normal. Let's not try to understand why Easy is considered default in the world of Gradius. The hit box on default is set to Small, which seems odd but after Gradius V, I'm happier this way. It makes it easier, aye, and it's not like Vic is particularly large anyway, but I consider this enough to make amends for the only thing I can find fault with - the PSP's dpad. It's HUGE. I've not really realised that before, strangely. It's taken the precision needed by a shmup to show me just how much travel that thing has. Maybe I'm spoiled by the DS's excellent dpad, but playing Gradius on the PSP has made me realise just how bad that dpad is. The analogue nub is more responsive but I'm not good enough with that, really. Also, it's in a fucking STOOPID place, so clearly nobody will touch it.

While we're on dpads, the 360 pad's attempt is quite amenable once you've got used to it. I have no problems in SF2 anymore. If you're complaining that you were amazing on a SNES pad but can't do any of the moves on the 360 version, go back and have a go on a SNES pad. You'll probably find that it's you who's useless, not the controller. You've aged more than a decade - that skill has left you. Not me, though, obviously. I'm brilliant.

Anyway, back to Gradius Collection.

Did I mention I'm going to Tokyo Game Show? No?

I ONLY FUCKING GOING TO TGS YOU CUNTS!

Gradius Collection.

I have mostly played only Gradius. I've not played the second one at all, and I rinsed three and four on the PS2 so I've only played four once, and that was just to check how similar it was to the (apparently) arcade-perfect PS2 version. It was exactly the same.

You have to save your settings for each game seperately, in case you use different controls for Gradius and Gradius IV. I really have no idea who would change their key config. from game to game, so I can only conclude that this is a SHIT way of doing it. Also, I am unlikely to want to autosave on Gradius II but not Gradius Gaiden.

Oh, and if it's even the tiniest bit sunny, forget being able to see bullets. Also, playing on the Victoria Line is impossible, also because the bullets are so small.

In summation - it's fucking Gradius, and therefore the best shmup ever. Far superior to any hideously ugly Cave shooter that scrolls vertically, obviously. Well worth the £25 I paid for it, and completely excellently playable on the small screen, even though the dpad on the PSP has been designed for someone with a 10cm-wide thumb.

Score - four options, missiles, lasers, one speed-up, shields and the bar hovering over another shield out of 10.

You'll notice I started with my score for Gradius (one) so far. That's because I want you to FUCKING BRING IT.

Friday, September 15, 2006

WARNING

The previous post is TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT.

One Hundred And Eighty Pounds

For a fancy Gamecube with a nifty remote?

No wonder they're making profit from the first sale LOL!

That remote costs $40 - £25 at the most. So Nintendo are flogging us a slightly better gamecube for £150. Double the price of a standard one. God they're a lovely company, aren't they?

Let's hope they issue another, slightly nicer Wii in 18 months so we can buy it again!

It's out two weeks before Christmas. That's a wise choice, considering most parents buy their kids' presents in November. Anyhow, all the games will be piss. (Hah! I'm so good!) I mean come on, what would you rather do: Pretend to play tennis by waving your arm or pretend you're driving a shit-hot sports car around Hawaii?

Seriously, all the games look shit. Even Zelda. It's been in development hell for like two decades longer than Duke Nukem forever, which proves it's total fucking rubbish. None of the Wii titles look anywhere near as good as NNN or Test Drive Unlimited, but some of them do look like they're almost as good as Dead Risible (HAH! I'm fucking brilliant!).

Nintendo = bankrupt within a year, bought out by the mammoth Sony/MS conglomerate, which formed after a series of court cases following the bizzarely accidental launch of Halo 4 on the PS3 in January 2007.

Ps: I don't really hate Dead Rising.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'M ONLY FUCKING GOING TO TGS!!!!!!!!!!!

FUCKING MOTHER FUCK FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate myself

I bought Scramble last night when I was drunk. I have inadvertently reinforced the belief that foisting bullshit like that on us is acceptable.

I'm not entirely sure I understand how to use the word 'foisting'. I might need an 'off'.

The most commonly asked questions

The questions I'm most commonly asked when I tell people I'm a PR in the games industry are proof that people are, generally speaking, idiots -

1. Does that mean you test them?
2. Does that mean you review them?
3. Do you just play games all day?

I also make the games from scratch using my own version of C++.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS STOP

We have added a new link. To Mr Driller's recently reactivated blog. To be fair, we only linked to him cos he linked to us, so it's mutual masturbation, but his blog is basically shit. Don't bother clicking on the link. I mean, he's linked to UK:R! Everyone knows that UK:R is not as good as Idiot Toys these days. Jesus. You might as well link to Kotaku.

You might have seen him in the comments but don't be fooled. He is definitely NOT funny.

Ape Academy 2

It's not the worst game I've ever played, but I'm really struggling to think what kind of person would have come up with such an over-simplified and slow, drawn-out game design. It just feels so sterile. They perhaps thought "we've got a load of minigames, depending on your definition of load, but it's not quite enough. Let's dress them up in a really slow overly-simple card game mechanic and hey presto! Two games for the price of one."

Or something. I mean, it should be amazing. Card battles with minigames underneath? Like a Mario Party vs Card Fighters Clash kind of thing. But the windows for action on each game are soooooo short, and the card sections are soooooo long in comparison, with almost zero scope for tactical play, and then the minigames are not really all that, and, and, and HOLY FUCK DON'T START ME ON THE VOICE ACTING. I can't wait to hear my actress girlfriend piss herself laughing at the worst selection of comedy British accents since Call of Duty 2's attempt at Scottish. I once had a dream where games localised for the UK would actually have British accents. Now that I see how that can turn out, the dream is crushed. I really DON'T want anyone from Birmingham in any game I play. Ever.

I really am struggling to figure out who Ape Academy is made for. Certainly not for gamers or by gamers (like the PS3 LOL). Certainly not by the magical lifestyle mindset that brought us Singstar, since it's so impenetrable from the moment it loads. But it doesn't scream incompetence. It's polished enough to make me think everything about it is deliberate, and carefully considered. I just can't work out by whom, and for whom.

I suppose I could have just said it was shit.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gangs of London is brilliant

I played it for most of Saturday night. With a friend. We played one game of pool and about a million games of light cycles, which isn't called light cycles. My friend tried to call it Snakes, but didn't even bother trying to work in a pun. Even Snakes on a PSP would have been borderline acceptable. What's the world coming to?

I didn't play the main game, obviously. I've seen too much advertising on the underground to believe it's any good. Good games don't get assigned marketing budget by Sony.

And I don't get Boss Nonnu's frustrations with Dead Rising. I love it. And I save regularly. I mean, they're everywhere. It only takes about 10 minutes max to get from one toilet to another. And that's a worst case scenario. And I don't go anywhere without at least two mini chainsaws and a book on blades.

The Definitive Dead Rising and Test Drive Unlimited review

Dead Rising: Brilliant, just not as brilliant as Test Drive Unlimited.

Test Drive Unlimited: Even more brilliant than Dead Rising, with much less stress and frustration.


10.10/10.10.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I have no shame

Ok, so this is the lazy way, and I'd bigger and better plans for this post, but I'll never get around to doing it (Dead Rising!) so fuck it. Here's a link to some pics from PR handsome man Leo Tan's recent 30th cosplay birthday party.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23408223@N00/219885398/

It's Ben Talbot's page, so credit to the man for hosting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins

I don't mind that it's really hard. I'm weaker now than I was 10 years ago, sure - I've been back to my old games and realised that I just don't have what it takes anymore. I remember the kind of precision jumping I used to do in Great Giana Sisters on the Atari ST, with an Atari 2600 joystick. No fucking way I'm pulling that shit off anymore. So of course Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins is hard - I expect it to be. I also expected the level design to annoy me, designed as it is to stop you in your tracks, as opposed to New Super Mario Bros, whose levels are designed to allow you to fly. But neither of those reasons are why I don't like Ultimate Ghost and Goblins. The fact is, it's ugly. It's one of the ugliest games I've ever played. I seem to be the only person in the world who thinks so, though. I've read review after review containing boundless enthusiasm for the "unashamedly old school graphics". They're not unashamedly old school - they're crap.

Geometry Wars Retro Evolved is unashamedly old school. Darwinia is unashamedly old school. Frogger and Time Pilot on Live Arcade are shamefully old school. Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins is ugly. That snake! That snake can fuck right off. Those ghost things that warp in. The GRASS. Everything about it is mismatched and hideous. It's like 100 different school kids independently puked on their PSPs and then someone collated all the puke and put it in the game. It makes Auto Assault look like Loco Roco. So it's out and Outrun is in, till Gradius arrives. Then I won't play any other game on my PSP ever again.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This is really out of date, I'm sorry

But COME ON. What the fuck is going on here?

IGN: "Would you consider VF5 to be more of a timing based fighter now, or is it more like what you were saying, where if you really know a character, you can pull off combos and know exactly when they'll hit?"

This was in an interview with someone in AM2, or something, I can't remember now, I've purged the memory from my system to preserve my sanity. Credit is due to the interviewee for not picking up a gun and shooting himself in the face after screaming "IT'S THE ONLY WAY OUT."

Game overload

OMFG I just got Dead Rising.

This is horrific.

I'm nowhere near finishing NNN! I've only got one character up to level 9 (Inphyy) and I haven't even cleared the secret level yet. FUCK.

FUCK!

Dead Rising has nothing to do with George Romero and Nintendo are based in Japan.

Monday, September 04, 2006

George Romero and Dead Rising

Dead Rising has absolutely no connection to any George Romero films. None whatsoever. The fact that it's about a shopping mall full of zombies is a complete coincidence. I'm really glad that they tell me that not only on the packaging of the game but also every time I turn it on (which is whenever I have a free moment at home, which is whenever I'm at home). Had they not put that disclaimer about not being connected to George Romero in any way I might have suspected them of taking their inspiration from George Romero, but they are definitely not connected to George Romero so they can't have. So don't even THINK George Romero's name, because you'll be thinking a WRONG name, such as George Romero. George Romero is definitely not involved with the game in ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

Just in case there was any confusion there.

Friday, September 01, 2006

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Playing Sweet Child O' Mine in Guitar Hero II is better than anything I've ever done anywhere, ever.