Archive for June, 2011


Uncle Victor and the Overdose

Upon reading in the newspaper that a young woman had been rushed to hospital after taking over 30 paracetamol, my Uncle phoned himself an ambulance in a panic. Three hours later, the kindly paramedics returned Victor to us, explaining at length that it’s really only harmful if you ingest the pills in one sitting, and not over the course of several decades.


Saints Row: The Third gameplay trailer

I never played the original Saints Row game when it came out but when Saints Row 2 appeared in a Steam sale, I snapped it up. People had mentioned that it was a bit of a buggy mess (it kinda is) but beyond that, they assured me that it was great fun and paid homage to a lot of the gameplay elements of the old GTA 3 series that GTA 4 had sadly lost somewhere in development. And indeed, SR2 was a blast to play if you could look past the odd glitch.

The third game in the series was hinted at shortly after the second came out and with the recent screenshots and cinematic trailers doing the rounds, I’m getting quite keen to play the full game. Helping to stoke my interest is a new trailer focussing on gameplay. Here it is.

I think the thing that really pleased me about the gameplay video is the comments about driving. It looks like there will be a focus on the more arcade style of handling rather than the type championed by GTA 4 (those out-of-control canal barges they call cars).

I do wonder about the game itself though. Most games in the genre tend to focus on the kind of ground-up challenge that comes from empire building but the video seems quite keen to point out that the Saints are at the top of the pile. Where will the struggle come from this time round if you’ve got the whole toy chest at your disposal?


Skoardy GBC

Skoardy GBCI can’t believe I’ve never added a page to the site about the homebrew Gameboy Color ‘Skoardy’ rom I created. I goes a long way to explaining why the hell the site is called what it is! On top of that, it’d keep my lonely ‘About‘ page company in the Stuff section of the sidebar there.

Given I even posted an article about a Skoardy screenshot sighting in the wild back in 2008 on the site, I’m even more shocked.

Anyway, all that is rectified now with the addition of the Skoardy GBC page in the sidebar, where you’ll find all the explanations you never wanted, along with some more screenshots of my simplistic little game and even a GBC rom download if you’re one of those weird retro fetish freaks (or just plain, old nosey). Enjoy!


Just Cause 3 wishlist

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 (by Avalanche Studios) is one of the games I’ve gotten the most enjoyment out of in a long time. Enjoyment, both in terms of length (it provides a huge environment full of goals tapping into my near OCD desire for completing games) and quality (creative and often spectacularly random acts of destruction is fun, ‘yo!’). It’s just dripping in explosions, cannon-fodder and vehicular mayhem, all taking place in a wonderfully realised and expansive island setting. I’ve high hopes for a sequel and decided I’d just like to jot down some notes on what I’d consider a few improvements on an already great game. They might be minor, they might be a little specific at times and they might be completely unnecessary in your book but what the hey. It’s a bit of a ramble so I’ve put it after the break. Click through to read the full waffle.

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Uncle Victor vs. the Isle of Wight

Sometime during the late eighties, my Uncle developed a grudge against the Isle of Wight. He believed it was getting closer.

Obviously, he reasoned, it was readying for attack and it was simply a matter of time before the south of England was overrun by Wightian forces. He decided it fell to him to do something about it. Naming it ‘Operation Atlantis’, his plan was to take the ferry (he doesn’t believe in hovercrafts) over one afternoon and sink the island.

Having decided upon a plan, he’d come to the conclusion that once the island had sunk, his biggest obstacle would be the journey back to England as he’d never learnt how to swim. Not wanting to tip-off the enemy by paying for visits to the local pool, he began training in earnest in the back garden. Under the cover of darkness, he would pace from one end of the garden to the other, performing the breast-stroke. The actual trip would be much the same, he reasoned, except wetter and without the need to turn around once you reached the neighbour’s privet.

In June of 1987, Victor began ‘Operation Atlantis’. After reaching the island, he purchased a spade “on site”, made his way to one of the many small beaches that speckle the coastline and proceeded to dig a series of extremely large holes. These holes, he’d explained, would then fill with water once the tide came in and cause the island to submerge.

Unfortunately, the entire plan came to an abrupt end when Victor was arrested after a disagreement with a holidaying couple and their child about their placement of a sandcastle and its relation to the salvation of England. Although deported back to the mainline before completing his task, he still insists that his efforts with a spade on that sandy shore lowered the island by at least a centimetre and a half. He will proudly assert that the only thing holding back the Wightian invasion is the knowledge that every Englishman in the country holds the key to the nefarious island’s demise within his tool shed.


Dear Game Developers…

E3 - Electronic Entertainment ExpoSince E3 starts tomorrow, I thought now would be a good time to post a couple of helpful notes to the people crafting the wondrous nuggets of entertainment we so enjoy.

Dear Game Developers…

…’Depth of Field’ can create impressive and sometimes even quite realistic effects but the way you guys are overusing it, it makes everything look like bad Tilt-Shift photography where I’m playing the game in toy-town.

…why does every forgotten deity, evil genius or subterranean monster have a lair that features miles and miles of twisty tunnels/corridors/tombs full of traps and thugs to get to the area for the final encounter but the way back to the surface from that area is just down a short passage round the back?

…your up/down does not match my up/down. Get with the 90s and offer an invert-Y option for your game.

…no, foot-high impassable hedges blocking off the edge of maps are no less annoying or acceptable than the invisible walls they are meant to replace. If my character is supposed to have the physical skills of a circus acrobat during the rest of the game, such silly obstacles look all the more ridiculous. Worst still are foot-high impassable obstacles that the player has to run around. All characters who can’t clamber up tiny ledges, needing to use ramps, steps or excessively circuitous routes should be shot.

…I know you’re really pleased with all the shader effects you’ve crammed into the game but please, calm down. Not everything needs to look like it’s made of wet vinyl.

…unless your game is specifically all about stealth, please don’t tack an unskippable stealth section on to your third-person shoot-em-up. Likewise, if it isn’t a platform game, don’t force players to wrestle with your shoddy controls and unhelpful camera angles trying to pull off feats that’d make bloody Mario jealous.

…a pitch-black gaming environment isn’t scary. Spawning enemies right behind the player isn’t scary. Repeating the same tired shock tactics for an entire game isn’t scary. They’re all just lazy. Please try a little bit harder.

…if you’re going to cut costs employing drama school drop-outs for the voice-overs in your cut-scenes, don’t forget a subtitles option for those of us who’ll have trouble understanding the accents they’re busy murdering.

…not every much beloved classic game series needs to be turned into a first-person shoot-em-up. Just saying.

…can you stop with the ‘we realise now that our last game in the series was absolute shite, but the next one will fix (insert your particular concerns here) and be fucking amazing!’ type of promises. I know every slack-jawed idiot out there falls for this lie every time so there’s no real reason for you to stop producing sub-par games and then whipping out this line but please, just give it a rest.

Thank you.