14 December 2013


Guys.  Four years.  FOUR FUCKING YEARS.  Can you fucking believe it?  It's fucking MADNESS!

I'm still trying to fucking absorb it. And we're so fucking close to actually being in the same fucking place too.  I have the fucking Medical Docs ($555 fucking dollars later) and the fucking Police Certificate is in the fucking mail.  Then there's sending down the fucking documents and fuckingprinting everything in fucking triplicate to prepare for the fucking interview.

It's fucking blowing my mind that we're so FUCKING CLOSE!

I'm sick of this fucking waiting game, but I'm fucking waiting some fucking more because for fuck sake it's fucking worth it.

I'm working my fucking arse off, and fucking enjoying it because being a Glassy is fun as fuck. Fucking simple, easy and since I started in June I've lost about 10 fucking kilos.  It's all water weight, but fuck it, that's 10 kgs that have fucked off!

Fucking Great!  I fucking love you Jennifer.  Here's to another four fucking years.

03 December 2013

Little Grey Men AND ZOOT SUITS?!

"Stop talking with your mouth full, Frank."
Okay, that may be a little bit of false advertising.  Xcom Enemy Within doesn't actually have Zoot Suits, but frankly I don't see why the head of an organisation like EXALT couldn't look like Dick Tracy.  Amirite?

Sadly, that wasn't the case.

I've been playing Xcom: Enemy Within for the past week and it's been a revitalising experience, not to mention fucking hectic.

I began play again on Normal mode, because the dampness of my shorts indicated my sheer intimidation of the concept of difficulty, and just so I could get a feel for the game again since I have a plan for Classic Mode.

But I dove right in with both tutorials On because although I specifically turned them off, I wasn't paying attention and simply dove in without reading the prompt saying "This is your first time playing since we don't recognise your saves from you owning the previous game. You really should play these Tutorials. Press A to continue with the Tutorials." (Note, I play it on my Xbox 360)

I ran through and ended up with my Argentinean Heavy, as is the Norm, and learnt about Meld the way they wanted you to, by putting one close and the other on the opposite side of the map.  Fair enough, kill a few Sectoids and move on.

Things were pretty usual to start, until I finally did the Meld Recombination Research.  It gave me a good little boost and set me up nicely to get a MEC Trooper within the first month.  So I did.

I found myself a soldier, an Australian Male Heavy who I renamed to my own (along with the callsign "Nepotism") and suited him up.  Even gave him a helmet that came as close to looking like Robocop as possible since he had the voice, but sadly I couldn't quite get the Silver paint job.  So I made him more Tactical and went with Black.

After that, I just went fuggin nuts.  I had quickly gotten myself a Railgun as well, and laughed at the definitive sound of "Fuuuuuck YOU" every time it was fired at everything that moved within line of sight.  Then the Jump Jet boots, and the Kinetic Strike Module (Giant Fuck Off Robot Claws, for the uninitiated), and the Grenade Launcher that I wish had that "thoomp" sound I enjoyed so much while watching Scotty play run rampant in Battlefield 4.

Had I the resources, I would turn all of them into MEC Troopers.  But I stuck with my team of Six with each different class, and my very own ED-209, the Alloy SHIV. (Sadly, I can't rename him from Goliath-1)
I can't really talk about the Gene Mods.  I was having FAR TOO MUCH FUN with my RoboTroop to care, though I did deck out one of my Snipers with some beneficial ones.  Like the Mimetic Skin, which allowed him to run around with an effective Cloak on him because he used every bit of that short stack of warehouse pallets to his advantage and made sure nobody could see him as he ran ring about every EXALT Terrorist he could see.

That was fun, actually.  EXALT, random terrorists who just work at the bank during the day, then get an SMS, find their scarf to mask their identity and come take us on.  Which is funny since I still had my MEC Trooper standing atop a building and telling them what he thinks of their iddy biddy organisation. (Would have a link to a montage of a MEC Trooper using a Railgun over and over again, but I can't find one and I can't record one cos Xbox360 Y'see)

So with my Robotic God Amongst His Merry Band of Men, the games balance had tipped a bit.  Which is fair enough.  If I can throw two shots into one of their new enemies which is supposed to be a similar counter, then there's a power struggle going on.

You are illegally parked on private property.
You have 20 seconds to move your Skyranger.
Then I encountered the Sectopod again.  I started shooting him and missing him, fair enough, but suddenly I was dealing a significantly less amount of damage.  Against a 30 HP enemy, that's important.  What happened was they added a damage reduction of 50%.  Yeah, you feel that when you expect to be able to drop it in one turn when ALL your troops hit it with ranged weapons. (Mind, he wasn't feeling well, but that's not the point here)

That's balance for you, though.  Having something you actually have to put effort into just so you can kick arse while you're taking names.

Now, I haven't finished Normal yet.  I'm just waiting to see what other shenanigans the game throws at me while I go ahead and finish off research projects and throw someone into the Gollop Chamber.  But crikey it's fun.

Just a word to the Wise?  Go fuggin nuts with your MEC Soldiers.  They're fuggin hilarious.  And be sure to name an American Male "Alex Murphy".  You know.  Just because:

22 November 2013

"You MUST play this game."

Not a line I hear very often from the overloaded of gamers, Scotty, famous for his ever growing pile of untouched video games.

It has been suggested he look for a partner on Craigslist with the suggestion that she help him with said pile.

But it was the line I was provided when his copy of "The Last of Us" was placed in my hands.

I hadn't paid much attention to the reviews aside from "this is game of the year" and etc etc etc. But I hate that kind of hype. As soon as I see that sort of thing, I shrug my shoulders and walk away. There's no real base for that kind of reaction, but it's just the way I act.

But when Scott handed me this game, not explaining anything about the game and simply repeating that line, I just had to obey.

I got home, sat down and decided I was going to live tweet this as much as I possibly can. This is what I experienced in the first twenty minutes of the game. Parents should brace themselves.

I thought it was really nice from the moment the main menu music loaded, but Holy Fucking Shit. The game gets better from then on, showing massive struggles and innocence of both characters and give the player a very real connection with them. As a game, it's very familiar to a well refined Splinter Cell, but as a story... well, I put it down as the best TV show that's actually a Video Game that I have had the pleasure of experiencing.

There was one other game that had me well involved as a good TV show was Remember Me, though it was more of a Film than a TV Show, where it had the Quality but not the Volume in comparison.

It was another big budget game that was fun and had two different feels, from playing a modern Streets of Rage, to watching a French Science Fiction film, and it was a genuine sort of feeling because very little of it looked familiar. Those that did were simply the smooth and mechanical features of an artists future, which come across in other Sci-fi games.

Given a couple of months later, though, and I was given another game from Scotty. He said it was a good TV Show, which Piqued my interest until that second voice in my head said "What does he mean it's a good TV Show? It's a Video Game."

"Yeah, it is. But as a game..." and with a shaking of his open hand, he told me exactly what he meant. And he was right.

The game as a game is pretty piss poor. The most impressive function of it is how you change your Ellen Pa- Sorry, Jodie Holmes. The rest of it? Well it's Action Prompts. Yes, Action Prompts. Where a slow motion section appears and you press buttons or move sticks, or you find a dot that you can mess around with to make life a little easier. Or to scare a bunch of rude bastard children.

That was the redeeming part of the game, the TV show itself. That particular chapter, the main character interacts with kids of her own age and is invited to a party. She's a young teen and is somewhat happy to join the experience.

Personally, it was super awkward making this fictional character make out with a guy on the dance floor. I'm not a young girl, but here I was making a young girl fling herself at a guy who was interested in her. Why? I don't know. I just imagined myself being eager to please these people, and taking every opportunity available.

I imagined myself. She was honest about herself when asked questions. And took up opportunities that cropped up.

Then the awkward settled in, whereby I realised I was roleplaying a teenage girl, something very unfamiliar to me. I was a teenage girl kissing a guy I'd just met.

Then the anger settled in as Jodie was abused, ridiculed, humiliated, and forcibly thrown into a closet. These bastards had to pay. I don't like Bullies. And frankly, a gaggle of them in an enclosed room and the ability to just go mad at them with my Entity? It's the perfect opportunity.

I didn't go too far. I knocked out a couple of kids before returning to a crying girl who felt she went too far, even if they are bastards, then seeing Willem Dafoe come and pick her up.
Just a note: I said me in place of Jodie there before amending it.
While this game is a good example of fantastic concept and writing, not to mention some good use of art and depiction, it's still supposed to be a game. And frankly, it lacks as a game. They've left a blatant note tacked on the end of the show stating "We're going to milk this for at least a sequel, maybe a trilogy" so it'll be interesting to see if they'll do more with their good writers and concepts to make an actual game system that will challenge players more than figuring out the most elaborate way to steal government papers.

21 November 2013

Dear Xbox Avatar

I have been good to you. Made you look any range of dapper, to cool, to just plain nerdy. However I have spent too much money on you. Too much for a pretty little guy who just doesn't do much except represent me in the Xbox-verse, with features that aren't appreciated enough.

Quite frankly, it's a tad disappointing. Knowing that you're wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog hoodie and discovering that Sonic once came in a cartridge almost as big as a DS. Or wearing an Orc mask and a Warcraft Horde shirt while riding a Dire Wolf and throwing a Spear. Or wearing a Nanosuit and shooting across cover with an SMG and pistol. Or wearing your own incorporation of your ex-military corporations uniform, and driving around in a Bandit Truck.

I've spent far too much to have these features, all for no purpose but my own entertainment.The one outfit Im happy to have gotten, and without having to pay, was the Doomguy suit. And I received that by finishing a chapter in Doom II. And it was a Fkn hard chapter too. When faced with a horde (yes, a horde) of Imps you tend to freak out. And then finish shitting your pants when you see the Cyberdemon turn the corner.That's what I call an outfit to be proud of. It means something. You wear it with the pride of a soldier wearing a medal.

Cos frankly, Doom is a game that shows it's age, but nobody gives a Fuck. It's still relevant. I still have a hard time trying to sleep when i hear that patient Imp noise, something akin to a hungry truffle pig.

But having something to wear to show that I overcame those Imps by spamming my BFG, and dodging the Cyberdemon Rockets while making it catch my own?  It gives me a gleam in my heart.

So why don't games do that more? If you complete a game that offers an Xbox Avatar costume for you to purchase in the marketplace, why not reward the player with it?  Finish Xcom: Enemy Unknown on Easy, you get Xcom basic armour and a Pistol, Normal you also get Carapace Armour and a Laser Rifle, Hard you also get Titan Armour and a Heavy Plasma Cannon, and Impossible you get Psi Armour with an Animation of them casting Psionic Rift.  Heck, eliminate Exalt and you receive their operative outfit and weapon.

That's another thing.  I want to use my Avatar in game.  I've seen a handful of games that do use them, such as World for Keflings where you're a Giant and order your diminuitive minions around and build a Medieval Town for them to reside and work in, but could I find something a bit more... standard?  No.  I couldn't join in an MMO of Xbox Avatars to find myself shooting my way through a series of waves of Xbox Exclusive All star bad guys, could I.

No, he just sits there with little potential taken up by third party developers.  Microsoft couldn't just make an MMO using these Avatars, something they automatically subscribe to with their Xbox Live Subscription, could they.  Where a group of friends in contact with each other, with nothing to do on a Saturday night because they're bored with Halo or Borderlands, but still want to put in the effort of playing a game together.  No.  Those poor sods will have to make do with what they've got.

One day though.  One day.  Xbox All-Stars MMO, using your very own Avatar.  Recreate extreme demo scenes in games like Gears of War or Fable or whatever racing game they have an exclusive on.  Things like that.  Maybe not those specifically, but you get the idea.
It's an idea though, and that may be all it'll ever be.  But damnit, I want to see my Orc mask get some face time in a game, not just when I flick between screens on the dashboard.

10 September 2013

Shock to the Bio-logics

"Five bucks a ride, bub."
Im a bit behind on the times on this, I am WELL aware, but would you kindly bear with me as I have a little monologue about Bioshock.

See what i did there?

Ahh, you'll get it.

So Bioshock Infinite came out this year, if some of you hadn't already heard, and it had parades going up and down the street about how fantastic it was.

I hadn't touched Bioshock for no reason, it just never caught my attention until I saw that it's third rendition had graced Kotakus blogroll.

Id seen things over the years, about Big Daddies and such, sprawled about like some serial litter bug had gone on a rubbish spree, and took note that it was a massive craze. I was always one to shy away from the coolest meme of the time, and frankly this was my time to catch up and shine.

I borrowed it from a friend and dove in to a cinematic experience of a first person shooter. Wading through sea and fire, the great opposers, surrounding me and guiding me to the divine intervention that is... The Elevator.

Traditionally, an elevator symbolises the direct route to Hell. That day was no different as i descended into Rapture, circa 1962.

It's been a long time since I've had to worry about my ammunition. For so many years it's been like every metaphorical bullet is like a child alone in the Milk Bar. He'll be surrounded by Lollys, and he'll eat lackadaisically because he knows more will be there for him to gobble up later.

The last time i had to ration out my lollies was Doom. I remember feeling confident one day, walking along and solving puzzles, taking care to use as little shotgun ammo as possible when taking down Imps and Zombie Troops, when i walked out to a menagerie of demons walking towards the alcove i was in. I turned around and more were there, marching and shooting, catching each other.

Looking back on it now, i probably should have left it at the infighting and culled the remainder. But i didn't. I went balls deep into those pussies and penetrated them hard, turkey slapping everything with what little I had until i was flaccid and shooting blanks.

It was all for nothing. Reload after reload, I ran out of ammo and was slaughtered again and again. Looking back on it now, I'm sure there is loads of infighting as they come out, and they could just cull themselves down to something manageable. But that was a fortnight ago.

Now I'm back to small clips and tough enemies, madly running around and collecting what I can to keep myself alive and armed, utilising alternative ammunition to burn, electrocute and generally blow away every splicer that came charging me, between making calculated attacks on Big Daddies so I can save the little girls they protect.

Yes that sounds much creepier than it actually is.

But between all that, it was a good listen. You pick up tape recordings all over, detailing the political motivation, the scientific process, and the individual stories of Rapture. On top of that, you have the few sane people helping you through the dank and ruined city, or warning you of impending doom, or generally enjoying themselves and their ulterior motives. It was fantasticly well detailed.

And eventually, I got to that point where everyone's mind was blown all those years ago, where the writing gave the fourth wall a massive prod. With the simple phrase of "Would you kindly".

1962 is a time where gentlemen should be gentlemen (At least, I assume). They have please and thank you drilled into them from a young age, so hearing someone ask me to perform simple tasks with complete courtesy isn't notable.

But when they point it out that it was actually a method of deeply programmed Hypnotism, that whenever you're asked to do something with those words, you're compelled to do it without a second thought, you think back to the rest of the game and just have your Mind Blown.

How often do you go on and do what the game asks you without questioning it? "Pull that lever"; "zap that switch"; "turn that faucet". That disembodied voice calling in from a communication device with simple requests and you trundle on, keeping note of what it is that you needed to do and waiting for your next command, regardless of the seeming inanity of it.

Since then, I've been looking at the games I've played from that second perspective, stepping back and reviewing everything I'm doing, questioning the cause of what I'm doing.

And because of that, I tip my hat off to the writers. It's a bloody clever game they've played.

14 July 2013

Remember Me is a good French Film

It's not actually a French film, mind you. It's a video game set in Neo-Paris, and I felt compelled to change the language to French with English Subtitles. And it really makes a difference with the feel of the game.
Voice acting is pretty important and in a genre that I find is commonly employed with North American voice actors, it's nice to hear something from the region of its setting, like a game coming out soon based on a classic set of films, Mad Max, where word got around that they weren't going to have any Australian voice actors in the game. 
That's changed since, as one of the higher ups of the development team piped up and said "Alright, we'll bring in the strine", and on that thought it makes me wonder how many people will need subtitles. Jenny has a hard time understanding shows from Aus, which makes me laugh.
Getting back on track, Remember Me is fun. There's naturally a few problems, the controls and combat is a bit clunky, but the impact of combat is very interesting. You end up having four fight combinations, and with that you can organise what buttons use what trigger, whether its a power strike or a health boost, and that'll figure out how you handle your fights between dodging every other part of the mob surrounding you and the occasional bit of ranged fire.
Between fights you're doing a beginners course of Circe Du Soleil Wall Climbing through slums and futuristic apartments with, what I assume, a taste of old French Architecture. And from that, i swear her fingers must be able to crack walnuts.
Now the story is the best part of the game. Set in 2084 Neo-Paris, the worlds big thing is memories. Sharing, Trading, Storing. The game starts with an Interview Advertisement about people's experiences with it: an elderly lady who can re-experience her life without the fear of forgetting it all; a girl feeling everything her partner feels about her in an instant; and a third guy I've forgotten about.
But with the good comes the bad, which is where our main character comes in, being drained of her own memories in a white cell before being led down a long hallway of other cells and staff to the next part of her "Treatment".
That is when a voice in her head, a friend from the outside, contacts her and helps her escape to the outside world to help a cause she was helping before she was sent to these "Doctors". And during her escape we find that she's a memory hunter, who tracks, steals, and even Remixes Memories.
That's one of the coolest parts of the game. You run through a memory of your target and change subtle things about it which change the outcome of that memory. There may only be a handful of these mini games, but they're still really cool.
One of my favourite parts is the visual implementation of technology. There aren't really any more signs on your door stop, it's a digital drop down that appears as you get close. Restaurant menus, special offers, even government decrees stating the shop is closed pop up. Others include local dangers like fire hazards, acidic waste, and live wires.
But my favourite is the Zorn, a robot that has an aesthetic of an Evangelion, and rather than have a proper humanoid head with facial features like a mouth and nose built into its head, it roars at the player with a terrifying projection of digital teeth larger than its torso.
I fucking loved it.
It's a game that, while I finished it in a day, it was worth the fun. I can't wait to play it with Jenny.

04 June 2013


The other day I had a chat with a mutual friend of mine and Jenny's. he messages me out of the blue to say how he gets a warm fuzzy feeling from the deeply buried hopeless romantic in him when he sees the two of us on Facebook.
He said that though all the fugly news in the world makes him question those certain choices he made, he looks at the two of us and feels a difference in his world, how our existence together from all the miles and across our different cultures is a tribute to the fragile sweetness of a human existence.
I was stunned. And I really didn't know what to say, but I bumbled out some sort of conversation with him. But it really hit my own romantic side. Thinking about how Jenny and I met, what adventures we've had, the adventures to be.
I'm going to move there this year. It's taking longer than expected, and technically there is a chance I won't be accepted into the country as a resident, but I remain hopelessly optimistic. Because I want more adventures with Jenny.
It's been three and a half years since I took a risk on meeting new people, oblivious to the idea of finding the woman I would be spending my life with, and spending the rest of my Christmas talking to a beautiful foreign girl not only for our six weeks of holiday, but every day since.
Telling stories, mixing cultures, learning new things about each other and our day to day lives. Something we still do to this day.
Its been a little less than three years since we first actually met. Stepping out and seeing her across the rotunda, smiling and waiting for me. That slight awkwardness of not knowing what to do. Then trying our best not to run to her car, and speed down the highway to her apartment.
So I could sleep, that is. It's a bitch of a flight.
It's been less than two years since I visited again. Celebrating her birthday. Spending time with her and her family and friends. Keeping our time together simple, but meaningful.
It's been almost a year since I last saw Jenny. She came to Australia and we packed in as much as possible into the two weeks she was here. Australia zoo; movie world and sea world; trying new foods she never had before; seeing her friends and mine, and my family.
Today marks a year since I proposed to Jenny. The love of my life. My soulmate. My fiancé. My soon to be wife.
I love you Jennifer. Forever and always.

23 May 2013

Getting it right

So, now that the Xbox One has been revealed (No, not the mother ship) it's time for me to compare between this generation of leading consoles.
So what am I expecting? 
Frankly, just an improvement on the same guff, with a new skin and a few new gadgets and features to keep up to date. Call me what you will, but I don't like too much change.
Touch screens have become an every day thing. And I like that. You can get a touch screen on just about anything, from your phone, to your car, to your keyboard. So I expect some reasonable touch screen implements on the controller. Makes sense to me.
Then there's The Digital Distribution (Pretty sure someone I know hates when people say that). Yes, it's moving into that time of history when you may never have to leave your home for games again, and shelves of game cases and boxes and manuals are coming to an end. And I'll accept that. Though I hope that they come through for the customer and make games cheaper because of it.
And a lastly, Backwards Compatibility. The first person I think of is Scott, a boy who has had his Xbox 360 for a Bajillion years (may or may not be exaggerated), has amassed a Library of games that could potentially be covered by insurance, and not to mention a considerable investment into his Xbox Live Account. So, like myself back in the previous generation where PS3 couldn't play PS2 games, I would hope they don't go to waste on him. Or myself, for that matter. I have these too, you know.
These are my basic expectations. That is all I want. That's all I ever need. Whether its a simple evolution, or to satiate my Hoarding Instincts, these are my standard requests for these consoles.
So what am I getting? Let's begin with the controller. 
Wii U was first in the ring, eager to prove its mettle and show that it's a system that constantly evolving, a reputation that its stuck to for over a decade of consoles now, whether its having ergonomically designed controllers which threaten to cramp your fingers, or making you get off your bedsores and doing jumping jacks in front of your Tv, they continue to do something different.
This time with a large touch screen the size of a tablet, and all the buttons you need to play whatever game you're heart desires. It can be used as a Gm screen for certain games, or it can be used to just keep playing your games on your lonesome by streaming it to the tablet instead of the telly. Like having a handheld console. Or a tablet with buttons and sticks.
Score 1 for Nintendo.
Playstation were up next, ready to show off the muscle power they had for their new Controller and... It was a bit disappointing. They had the touch screen. But, as I was hoping it wouldn't be, it was the same shape controller but the centre bridge was given some touchy bits, and Bob's your Mums Brother, they were done.
Oh, sorry, they added a couple other buttons. Not game play buttons, but an Options Button (I assume is the new PSButton) and a Share button, a feature of your online Profile, which I'll get into later.
So half point, Playstation. I would give you less, but you came through with something.
Xbox, the last into the ring, the big contender, the console with the most-ole... Changed very little.  It looks nice. Sleek and curvy like a sexy lady. But... It looks a bit like a third party piece at the moment. That's probably just me, of course.
It does have a unique Rumble setup. Rather than just shaking madly in the palm of your hands, it actually has a regional thing. Like if you fire a rifle, you feel it in the trigger you use, rather than the entire thing. That's cute, I'll grant.
But where is the touch screen? It should come standard! What?
Zero points, Xbox. No, you can't cheat by making me say your name, Durango.
Okay, so what about this Online Distribution business?
This I cannot really answer. The price for online games will be something we look at long off in the future once they're released. I'm not optimistic at first, since I imagine Game discs won't go extinct any time soon, and each company have made it pretty clear they aren't fully integrating into Pure Online Distribution.
So what else is there to being Online with your console?
Well It's not just a distributor now, it's a Social Network. Like Facebook. Only for games. Originally, it was simple. You pick a name and profile pic, put in a couple of details if you want, and you look up your friends. When you're signed in, you know when your friends are online, how long they've been offline, and what games and notable event tokens they've got (aka Achivements, Trophies, etc).
Playstation and Xbox are working with that. That share button i mentioned before? Well you can upload your events to your profile. Whether you're running through an entire level, or just showing off how stylishly you picked up an achievement. That's fun.
Nintendo... I don't think they're doing anything like that. It's a games console, and it focuses on that. They have an online store and that's pretty much it. You can connect with friends online and stuff, but that's about it. Nothing really Social Network about it.
I can't really give any points, because they're not on my list of Expectations. But if I could, I would give it to Xbox and Playstation for putting in an effort.
However, I would take it away from Xbox again because of their new setup for games. There are no Used Games any more. If you buy an Xbox One game, you register it to your account, you install the game, and that's it. If your friends borrow the disc, they get a prompt asking them to purchase it. That is, if the game doesn't allow you to play a demo of it before asking. That'd be a nice way to handle it.
Xbox did say that there will be a trading option though. Your game is traded for another across accounts. Reasonable. Not too shabby an idea, but what's to stop Xbox from making you pay $5 to make the trade? I have borrowed a few games from Scott over the years. I would probably owe him close to $50 by now, based on that. We'll have to wait and see with that though.
Alright, last thing: Backwards Compatibility. What's the go with that?
In Case you didn't know, Backwards Compatibility is important to me. I've been burnt once before, with the Playstation 3. I'm still hurt. My Playstation 2 is still here, and I have the games hidden away in a box... But I don't want them there. My Playstation 2 should be gone, recycled to make something else. And my games should be out with all the others.
But they're not. They're in a box. With a collection of DVDs that I don't want getting lost with Mums. And my current games would have to join them if I decide to pick up either the PS4 or the Xbox One.
A couple of years ago, about four now I think, when I succumbed and actually got my PS3, one of the higher ups from Playstation said "There's no profit in backwards compatibility". Yep. Fair point. Mind you, there are still hundreds of games for the Playstation 2 that were still being purchased because of the PS2 they continued to distribute until the beginning of 2013.
Since then you can get a select collection of Playstation One and HD remastered Playstation 2 games. Games I already own, funny enough. Games I don't want to fork out more money for just so I can play them. But a half point to them for trying. Most of the HD remasters that I've played though haven't exactly been... Pleasant.
Apparently there is also the mention of Streaming PS3 games. You buy it again, of course, but rather than having to download it and install it, you just play it from a remote server across the globe. Too bad if you don't have a good bandwidth, hey.
Xbox have made a similar statement. "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards." Now that hurt. That's a right run up and kick in the fucking goolies. And I love my goolies. They're good to me. They had reason not to do it, coming down to operating system and such technical jargon, so there wasn't any need for a comment that you know would spark up reactions that would include two words. "Fuck" and "Off".
The other thing is the Online Profile aspect. There are plenty of games on there. And it's all going to be chucked down the drain. All those investments, all those purchases, all those games. Gone. You can't play them if you've replaced your console. Which is the point of buying the new console, you replace it because its a system that does the same thing as its predecessor, but better.
WiiU have at least had the decency to just say "No, it won't be supporting GameCube games." Nintendo: Gamings Evolutionary Experimenter. Gets a point for still supporting its predecessors games. Fully supporting them too. Just because there's a new controller doesn't mean that you can't hook up a WiiMote and threaten to shatter your tv screen. So a half point for being sportsmanlike when you've taken something away.
So where does that leave the three in standing?
WiiU: 1.5 points.
Playstation 2: 1.5 points.
Xbox One: 0 points.
So in the NHCC has declared that the Xbox is the biggest disappointment of this generation, whereas its competitors are considerably more preferable for long time faithful players. I'm appalled, but facing the future and dealing with the fact that companies don't actually have any consideration for faithful customers. If that changes in the future, I would be pleasantly surprised.

15 April 2013

+8d10 and he's knocked prone

One day this year I'm going to move to America.  I'll be living the dream of actually living with my partner, doing the dirty all the time between fun things.

But I'm going to want to continue playing games with my friends from Home.  And naturally that's going to be difficult.  I can't really fly over just to roll some dice every weekend.  I won't be earning that much money, and I won't be spending upwards of 30 hours of planeflight every week. I'm getting a headache just thinking about that.

We've been working on an online setup for a long time now, ever since Richard moved to Townsville actually, and it's just been us placing our laminated grid sheet down in front of a webcam and clarifying anything Richard has been unclear about.

It has been very hit and miss.  Either Richard drops out, or we drop out, or, as has happened, Scotts main computer will not detect that he has a USB Webcam attached and refuse to work.

And it's gotten worse with the new addition of Casey, one of Richard's workmates, whom Aaron has accepted with open arms.

Now we have to make two connections.  Any setup we had became immediately negated because it doesn't allow any of those shenanigans.  Three way conversations are for people with money.

So we began searching for alternatives.  Do we have a cheap and easy source for three way conversations?  Turned out we did, but that died in the arse enough times to finally move on to our eventual choice for Online D&D: Roll20.net.

It's still being worked on, so we excuse it on many accounts, but we still had software complications.  We logged in, we had a faff around, but we could hardly hear anyone.  The Audio/Video chat was terrible.

The website had prepared for that, and it uses the Google+ Hangout. Easy to implement so long as we all register with Google+.

It works. It works well. And we're doing well. Until I get capped.

Mum has a very good deal with Telstra. $10 for her 2gb allowance. The problem with that is how quickly it's chewed through. Mum won't change what she's got, which is fair enough. She'll lose the discount if she does change it, and i won't be here forever so she won't pay more for Excess Internet she won't be using.

Fair enough. So in the mean time if I am to keep connected to DnD, I have to find another computer. So who better than Scotty? He lives across the suburb, he's doing the same thing (at least when he's not playing The Old Republic), so easy peasy!

And now, since we've levelled up and improved our gear, I'm doing anywhere between 51 and 169 damage on a critical hit. And knocking them on their arse. Now to make Aaron threaten me. Cos I'm not worried about anything Aaron throws at me. Even slightly.

23 February 2013

Deus Ex Halo 3 vs Predator

Crysis 3 came out yesterday, and I've already completed it.  Not to say that's a bad thing, it's to say that I haven't got much of a life.

I had the Xbox loaded up out in the loungeroom to enjoy the beautiful Vista's of the game.  That was a bad idea, because I'm a little jaded since those few times I went to the Imax to watch awesome movies from the third row on the idea that "if your vision is not filled to more than 120 degrees, you're not experiencing the full movie."

So watching the 48" LCD TV from about 2-3 metres away doesn't give that effect.  My 21" LCD monitor however from about 2 feet away makes all the difference.  If only I could get it through the DVI with Sound, then I'd be cooking with Lard.

But I threw myself into the game, and for a little indulgence I started with the Tutorial and my first thought was "I'm in the new Tron."  That wasn't really the case, but it was a pretty cool simulation run, showing all the basics of what you can and can't do.

Then the game really began, showing the cinematic of a small group of insurgents sneaking onto a dock and releasing Prophet, the main character and your role in Crysis 3.  You begin running between containers, sneaking and waiting for someone to come around a corner and start shooting at you, but they've well prepared you for that with your old buddy, Psycho, who leads you to your first bit of retraining, where you sneak around and practice how far you can spin someone's head around.

Around this time, particularly after walking through a couple of vents, my thought was "I'm playing Deus Ex."  I had a pistol with a Laser Sight and a Silencer, I'm sneaking around behind people and either Stealth Killing them or popping them in the head.  It felt a LOT like Deus Ex. The only difference is that hugging walls isn't the same and you don't get a small cinematic as you execute them.  And there's definitely no non-lethal option.

Moving on, you move on to you next part of training: Archery.

The Predator Bow is specifically designed for your Steath Hunters, because you get limited ammo including specialised ammo such as the Electro Arrow, the Super-Thermite Arrow, and the Airburst Fragmentation Arrow, all on top of your standard Carbon Impact Arrow.  They're all limited, 3 each of the specialised and 9 of the Impact arrows, but you can reclaim your Impact arrows from dead corpses and walls you've hit.
Sidenote: I was playing for a bit the other day, and I was using as many of the Specialised Arrows as possible.  Got a really good spot with five or six guys gathered together.  Got one guy in the arm with a Super Thermite arrow, and while it was counting down all you could hear was "OHGODGETITOFFGETITOFFGETITO-" Boom.  Had to pause the game to laugh.

Then you get three choices of Draw Weights, the Light Draw which is quick but won't guarantee a kill (Though I never had a problem with it against Cell goons), your mid range, and your Heavy Draw, which can pin people to walls.  You can even get an Achievement for retrieving your arrow 10 times from a pinned goon.

Eventually after going through a few waves of enemies, and a helicoptor, you reach inside the Dome of New York 2.0, the mainstay location of many various end of the world scenarios.  In this edition, the entire city of New York has turned into a Biodome, where the ruins of homes and businesses are overgrown and rusted away from time.  Water flows, creatures prace, and Cell maintains a strong guard around their main complexes.

And these levels are fucking GORGEOUS.  And when I was running through the fields of high grass, it gave me a throwback to when I was a kid wandering through empty overgrown lots and fields, all abandoned and unkempt.  It was great.

Then I was thrown back into the situation where I had to avoid the Line of Sight of a defence tower that had the gall to point me out and make sure I had my dose of High Velocity Rockets for the day.  That or having to deal with Ceph Stalkers, who LOVE the tall grass and love running around before coming up to you and giving you a loving hug from a fan of Edward Scissorhands.

Eventually Psycho and Prophet caught up with the Rebel HQ, only to start layering on the subject of being Inhuman due to Technology, because Prophet has gone from being dead due to shooting himself in the head in the previous game, to being the proud protagonist of this current game.  But the subject begins to layer on like a vegemite enthusiest, and keeps going throughout the game.

Then we lead into the Demonstration level of the game.  Probably the prettiest and most comprehensive level of the whole game.  It's a Dam, set right in the middle of the city, and it's powering the complex down the road that is providing a large section of the world with Power, and giving Cell their dominance against the world, because they first provided it for Free, eliminating competition, and then start jacking up the prices to con people into becoming their slaves by making it too expensive for them.

And this level is probably the most gorgeous level in the game.  It's large, it makes you think about where you're going and what you're doing.  It almost seems a shame to see it get destroyed.  Because that's what protagonists do, they destroy shit.

The rest of the game has it's highs and it's lows.  While it's fun to be like Predator, what with going invisible and turning on Nanovision (very similar to thermal imaging) and trying my best to kill them without anybody picking up on it, it does get a tad tedious.  Especially when the levels begin to lose a bit of imagination which I found in the last few levels.  Sure, it may be considered a well designed level, what with well placed cover for both you and your opponents, but if I wanted to go through a paintball arena, I can go to Skirmish out at Samford.

On top of that, the story was so obvious that the directions it was going could be spotted by a teenager.  I could hear the plot twists straining against the potential of something actually awesome.  Instead, the game felt like it lost traction, dropping the scenic vista's that it began with to focus on scenarios that weren't difficult and were designed to layer on more of this morality of digitizing the human condition, then leading on to an inevitable boss fight that lacked threat, let alone imagination.

But that's what you get when you walk into a new game expecting something different.  Instead I got Deus Ex crossed with Halo, set in abandoned and unkempt train stations.  Cos, lets face it, I'll probably play those levels again.  I've already finished it twice now just to make sure.  And my statement still stands.

12 February 2013

Next Gen Consoles

I sit here drinking a Roy Rogers from the limited edition Batman Cup that I got from the Dark Knight Disappoints, and I think about the next generation of Consoles. Because it pisses me off.

Now mostly it’s rumours going around. Only a few days from now will there be an announcement/presentation on the Playstation 4 and will eliminate any misconceptions for it, so that we know what the hell we’re getting out of it.

The biggest pain I still find is that reporters who are cogitating on the upcoming systems seem rather obligated to state immediately that there likely won’t be any backwards compatibility. That still pisses me off. I’ve said to myself again and again “Why is it not standard practice?”

“It’s not a selling point” has been stated before. Sure, that’s true. I wouldn’t base my purchase on whether my library of games from previous generations of consoles would be usable on a new console. It wouldn’t have been a thought at all.

But now it’s one thing I have to ask when I look at a new console. Because I have a collection of games for my PS3 and my Xbox360, all games that I have gone over again and again, that I would like to have not go to waste. But I would rather not continue to have more and more consoles connected to my TV because I have no reason to simply replace my old consoles.

That’s another thing I’m worried about with this DRM feature that’s been heavily rumoured and speculated. The DRM Restriction is like buying a game from Steam. Once you buy it, you own that copy of it for as long as that account exists. The Rumour is that Consoles will be going along a similar line. Once you’ve played a game on a particular account or console, you can’t trade in that game or loan it out. It is restricted to that account.

The reasoning behind it is that it will potentially eliminate the Used Game market, which is apparently making a significant impact on the developer market. How big an impact, I have no idea. I know through a friend that as a technical writer, he has a massive worry about it since there are many who require his books and a large portion of that market are simply finding the torrents and downloading them for free.

So I’ve got mixed feelings about it. While I would like to buy a game and then trade it in to get a discount on a new game (especially if I don’t like the game I’m trading in), it’s unfair to the developers because they’re not getting anything out of that game being resold. But then the brick and mortar shops are losing a rather large market because they are getting all profit from those games.

These two things tie in largely, and that worries me. I have games on my Playstation and Xbox accounts, all of which I can re-download if I have to replace my consoles.

So what about these future consoles?  Digital Distribution is becoming a household feature, so assuming using the same account, but if the console isn’t backwards compatible, what about those games in your Library from your PS3/360 days? Will there be any point in downloading those games again? Because without backwards compatibility, you have games on your account that you can download just to use up the space on your Console.

Or you could do what is expected of you and make room for a new console and keep your old console sitting there to collect dust?  Cos fuck that for a PC that can still download and play COMMANDER FUCKING KEEN.

29 January 2013

Musings of being Bored

"Where'z da Any Key, Boss?"
Thinking is my biggest thing lately.  What with being unemployed and spending most of my time applying for jobs that don't have the decency to respond with an email saying I had been declined for an interview, I spend the rest of my time playing video games and considering my move to the 'zoo.

I've been making room for my video games for the big move by Min-maxing my stuff.  I'll be taking two consoles with me, my PSP and my Xbox, and working around taking them.  Like getting a CD Wallet and filling it with my Xbox games and favourite movies and TV shows. (Firefly was first in line)

When I chose my Xbox, I thought about how I wanted to continue interacting with my friends at home as The Boys all have Xbox's, so that was an easy choice.  But The Lads, they're a different kettle of fish.  They're mostly PC players, and the biggest game we have in common is Bloodbowl (though a few do stand out of that particular group).

I hope that'll be easy to sort out, because I have Blood Bowl on my PC and so do most of The Lads (I'm pretty sure).  So I would love to see the Blokenstein League start sometime not long after the move, but we'll see.

Though it brought me back to my Xbox because I remember when I was living with Richard, he had a copy of Blood Bowl for Xbox and then it went on to Cross-Platform compatibility, and while it does come down to nobody fighting fair, it's still a thought I indulge.

Playing Blood Bowl in the loungeroom, playing in a League with my friends in Australia, relaxing while I move my pieces around (only to get thwarted, naturally).  However that wouldn't be possible even the Cross-Platform compatibility was possible simply because the Xbox version is still behind by about 3 updates.  It has gone completely unsupported.  It would be easy to sort out, what with Downloadable Content being a large factor in the development of games today, but it comes down to what the developers can and can't do.

Downloading games is a massive thing now.  The availability, the range, the variety.  I just spent the Australia day long weekend downloading entire games for my nephew's Xbox because I promised them to him.  And conveniently, he had vouchers for a free copy of Skyrim and a Free month on Xbox Live.

I remember going through the Playstation Network Store months ago, just having a browse, and found that I could get the Monster World series.  I didn't purchase it, because I had it on my computer as part of an Emulator, but it still made me think how so many games from the past are still available.

Though I still resent the fact that I still have Playstation 2 games that I can't play on my Playstation 3, unless I want to buy them again.  Which I do not.  Backwards compatibility, in my opinion, still remains to be a standard feature.  But I would also like to see the option for the same game on multiple systems.

Playstation have that, with the PS Mini's, games that are playable on both their portable and home systems.  The games aren't complicated, they aren't fit to max the system of the Playstation 3, but they're there for the fun.  The way I look at it, PSP games are much the same.  They're not graphically able to max out the PS3, and they're really good fun.

So what's the harm in letting them play them on the Big Screen?  Heck, I would love to play Patapon on my TV.  I'd play while my nephews watch and order me around, or I could feel like i'm playing the original Final Fantasy Tactics like some of my friends have.

Same goes with other Companies, like Nintendo.  They offered Gameboy Advance games on your TV through an attachment on your Gamecube.  And they still offer many Gameboy games on the online store.  And with the release of the WII U, how difficult would it be to play a DS game through it?  If you can download it onto your system, you could easily play it without a hassle.

Though I wouldn't get myself a WII U, simply because I just don't have any inclination to, I do think about what I'm missing out on.  I have a Gameboy Advance emulator with a large set of games, and I've thought how nice it would be to play these on the big screen.  Especially Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, one of my favourite games, which I would like to see as a DLC for the PSP game.

But once again, I bring around the point that these are simply musings of a Gamer who wants the world.  If we ever see any of these in the future, I'll be happy.

Oh wait, the Steambox is coming.  It's a Console that allows you to play games from your Steam Library.

Close enough.

Heck, I may even be able to play World of Warcraft through it too.  Though I don't want to pay for it any more.  I think about when the game will actually die, and how much of a waste it will be to have a game like that closed up, and how cool it would be to have Blizzard make a stand alone RPG in it, covering all the significant events that cropped up, from clearing out the training grounds of enemies, to finding out what happened to Magni Bronzebeard after Arthur took Frostmorne, to the Cataclysm.

That or do a storyline on specific character combos.  Like the Orc Warrior, the Night Elf Hunter, the Human Mage, the Goblin Engineer, etc etc etc. But that'll have to wait for WoW to die out first.  I'm still waiting for Starcraft Ghost, regardless of it's Indefinite hold.

18 January 2013

Laughing over Dice

Next week is Cancon.  And I'm sad I won't be going for a few reasons, mainly that I like some of the guys who rock up down there, and I have a few friends down there that I would have liked to have seen before I rock on to the 'Zoo, but it's mostly because of the games I had tonight.

It was a practice night for the Lads going down, and Greg was happy to play some games out on his back deck.  So we gathered together and began rolling dice.

I was playing with Humph, and while I usually somewhat dread it because Gorton Grundback is a Stunty Bastard, but I was surprised how well I played out!  I ended up crippling a Grundback Blaster, a Ghordson Driller, and destroying another Blaster and a Ghordson Basher!

I was very pleased with myself.  Sure, I lost my Behemoth next turn to my mistake of leaving him out in the open, and I stuffed up a charge thinking 14" was actually 11, but I ended up coming out pretty well.  May have gotten the chance to take out Durgen Madhammer if I hadn't lost on Scenario.

The game though brought back a good feeling of fun.  It's been a while since I've played Warmachine and tonight brought back memories of some of the other tournaments I've attended and how much fun I had.  And it made me wish I had planned well enough to actually make it to CanCon.

I've had a lot of good experiences when I went to tournaments.  Heck, made Best Sportsman before, which made me laugh.  But I always came out with new friends in them, or caught up with interstate friends.

I still remember a night when a fella from the Warmachine forums messaged me out of the blue.  I pretty much didn't know he existed until that point.  He said he was a Polish fella backpacking across Australia and thought it wouldn't be any harm to send me a message and ask for a bed for a night or two.  He got lucky.

So did I, in hindsight.  Letting a stranger stay in my house?  I shouldn't be so easy to convince.

When he arrived, I found him outside Central Station and gave him an option.  We can go straight back home, or we can go out for a game.  He took the game option, and I obliged.  They had some models there after all for us to play with, and it's great way to get to know each other by laughing over dice.

It's how I met a lot of my gaming friends.  And when I move to the US, I hope I'll meet people the same way.

07 January 2013


The past few months, about six of them actually, my friends have been going ga-ga over the Xcom: Enemy Unknown, not only after the release but in the lead up to it they were swapping war stories from back in yester-year.

And I haven't had a clue what they were talking about, whether it was panicking from the sudden arrival of a Sectopod, or firing several green orbs straight into the boss from the beginning of the map after mind-control hopping Aliens.

That was until I borrowed Aaron's Xbox copy from him.

I began the game on Normal, and immediately Aaron began berating me for my laziness, for not beginning on Classic.  I reasoned with him that I had never actually played an Xcom game before, so I haven't the foggiest how the game actually worked.  Movement, accuracy, defensive positions, let alone what I would have available for this fight against aliens.

But there I was, leading four hapless souls into battle, following the rails that the games tutorial provided, and a small story of how one Soldier, Santiago Gonzalez, later to be "Crater" the Heavy, survived an attack from two little grey aliens.

Then the game really began.  Randomly chosen maps.  Strange alien encounters.  Terrible match ups.  And cliche'd voice acting (A charm, i find).  I had worked my way quickly through everything, and Aaron commended me on getting halfway through the game within about 3 months of the games timeline.

The biggest encounter I can think of, where I began laughing maniacally (only slightly) was when an Abductor class ship had landed.  The gaping maw of the rear bay doors lay open, with raised pieces of cover lay about, and I stayed there, as wave after wave of enemy came into range only to be shot down by Plasma Fire, again and again and again.
Sidenote: Just saying you shot down a Heavy Floater to your partner gets a really confused response.
But after Aaron's commendation, I had decided to take the time to finish my researches, upgrade all my weapons, and properly equip my squad.  Because I was falling behind, and quite badly.  Elite Mutons tend to shrug off Light Plasma and Laser fire.

Then, I became... bored.  I felt like I had to get an entire set of Psychic Soldiers, and spent my time searching for new Soldiers and making them Colonels, because god DAMN Colonels are better than Squaddies.

Sure, you can give them Titan Armour with Chitin Plating, which will give them a great health bonus, but what about the bonus 3 spaces for your Support guy so he can bolt up and Arc Thrower a Thin Man?

Or what about the Close Quarters skill for your Assault Soldiers who will sit about 5 spaces away from a Muton Berserker, Shoot them, triggering the Berserkers insatiable desire to get close to whomever damaged him, and then get shot again because of the skill?  Double Whammy of Alloy Cannon, bitches.  It's great.

Then you get MIND CONTROL.  Which can be really dangerous.  You can't Mind Control Hop as I mentioned before, but you do gain the Line of Sight of the target alien.  And that can fuck up your whole day.  I had a Muton trigger another Muton Trio, an Elite Muton trio, and a Sectopod.  All running around your god damn flanks and making you panic when your 23 health Assault Colonel is being shot at by the whole fucking lot of them.

I digress.

But that is the charm of the game. You get dropped off in a random map, with a random set of enemies.  You'll get given a heads up of what's there, and how many there are, and on the way in you'll get a clue as to what map you're getting dumped at, but then you have to find your targets, get a hold of them, and strangle their little mongrel necks.

Occasionally the Council will ask something of you, a simple request of "Can you disarm this bomb" or "can you escort this such-and-such" and you'll be amply rewarded with Scientists, Engineers, Money and/or a new soldier.  The only thing you have to worry about are the numerous thin men that may or may not hoard you.

Though they do drop about a half dozen on you after you deactivate bombs.  That's pretty funny.  Especially when most of your squad is on Overwatch and then EVERYONE shoots that one guy who turned up.

Haha, classic.

Now I want to focus on one thing, and that's the end of the game.  For those who haven't done it, this is a spoiler alert.  So I bid you adieu, because you've got a surprise coming your way.

The only other thing I would like to say is that if Xcom were made into a First Person Shooter, or a Third Person Shooter, Ala Gears of War, that would be very awesome.

So it's a bit shit.  It doesn't really explain anything, like why they're there or anything.  And yeah, sure, it's nice you're fighting a series of monsters that you've encountered over the course of your Xcom Career, and it's nice to be in a different map of an alien ship than that bloody stupid supply ship, but...

C'mon.  If I wanted to fight a rail shooter, I'd go play Gears of War.

But I effectively got that on the final run. "Oh look, Sectoids.  Oh look, Cyberdiscs.  Oh look, Floaters.  Oh look, Chryssalids.  Oh look, Mutons and a Berserker.  Oh look, three Ethereals and two Elite Mutons."

And I don't know what the fuck happened, but that last encounter didn't even finish?  I got two of the Ethereals down to 3 health in two turns.  They had a turn, and spent that dropping Jenny down by about 14 health and mind controlling my Sniper, but then it rolled on to the final cut scene where the Volunteer bravely sacrifices himself by taking the Alien Temple ship away from the planet as it turned itself into a black hole.

That was nice.  Yeah, totally nice.  Even let the rest of the squad get on the Skyranger first.  Very considerate of him.

But.  Yeah.  I would have liked to have fought more enemies.  What about a combo of enemies?  Enemies that match well when fighting me?  Hell, even hoard me with Thin Men if you want, just get me shaking in my boots more than when I first came across Chryssalids in that Terror Mission.

Chryssalids, which run around killing Civilians and START MURDERING EVERYONE INTO ZOMBIES.

But no.  I didn't get that.  It was... Dull.  And the most exciting it got was an unfinished fight with Three Ethereals and two Elite Mutons.

The fear in my boots.  I miss it.  Hence why I have begun again on Classic Mode.  And I will probably shit myself again when I see those Chryssalids again.

Yes, it certainly can.
Xcom 1994