Random Quote Generator - Cos every site needs one

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Shortest Post Ever

[EDIT]  Happy belated new year!


Oh and check this out:  BEST FORUM EVER

Total Topics: 1093   -   Total Posts: 2270

Total Members: 1

Yes, you read that right.  ONE MEMBER.  *MIND-PLOSION*

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Meniscus Film - Anticipation

It’s been about a month since my last post (btw: STFU and stop emailing me about it) and I have a perfectly legitimate reason for that. Originally I was waiting for Meniscus to upload our film up onto Youtube. Yes, it’s taken about a month for it to get onto Youtube. But they didn’t upload it, I did.

I had to copy our exported movie from the college computers (it was over 1 GB!) and take it home. I then had to import it into Movie Maker and render it into a smaller file size (got it down to 46 MB) since it would’ve been impossible to get a 1GB video up onto YT. Even if it was possible, it’d take way too long.

Ahem, I digress. Here’s the film:


Oh if you’ve noticed any of the (numerous) continuity errors, don’t sweat it. We probably know about it. We just didn’t have time (or could be asked) to storyboard or anything so it we pretty much filmed most of these without thinking. XD

And if you’re confused about what the hell is happening… don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s not really meant to make any sense, it’s just slapstick (or slap-pan, HAR HAR) humour really.

Normally, a normal person would go on about the pre-production and post-production process etc. and the hardships faced. But I’m no normal person, so I’m just gonna say: It was fun. Yes, I did the camera-work, editing and part of the scripting but it was undeniably fun. I would definitely love to make another film, preferably after my exams though. XD

Friday, 14 November 2008

Meniscus Film Festival TOMORROW

Yes yes, I know.  Ages since the last post YADA YADA BLARGH BLAH BLAH!

The biggest news this week is the upcoming film festival which is tomorrow (if you haven’t noticed already by the title).  So I hope you guys wish us luck and that we can bring home the cash prize so I, er… I mean: we can share it.  Hopefully it’ll be a awesome night overall even if we don’t win (but seriously, we have a baguette in our film, how can we lose?).

On other news, Brad (creator of Fancy Pants, his blog is here) recently showed off his latest game.  As an avid fan of his works I jumped upon the chance of playing it.  And I’m proud to say he’s lifted Flash games to new heights!  Turns out the super secret project he was working on was a collaboration with EA (Yes, that EA) in creating a Flash version of Mirrors Edge.  Much like the Flash Portal game that came out a while ago, it’s ditches the original game’s first person perspective and is in a 2D plane.  It runs of the same engine that powered the infamous fancy pants games – so you’ll most doubt notice some similarities.  Anyone I’ve rambled on a bit.  Here is Brad’s post about it.

Or, if you want here’s the link to the BETA demo.


Oh, and here’s my speed-run of the demo level.  :D


There’s not much more to add except…



It’s a left hand of the dead with FOUR fingers!  Get it?


[EDIT]Turns out I got accepted to try out the NXE.  I’ll be able to download it 2PM PST – which turns out to be 10PM GMT…  From the videos and pictures I’ve seen it looks good, but being able to try it out first-hand would be awesome.

The NXE is coming out in about 5 days anyway (19th November) though, so everyone (who has a 360 connected to the internet) could try it then.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Mentoring and Choices! ~UPDATE

As I’ve been rambling on about it quite a few times, I’m sure you’re aware I want to do some mentoring of some kind at my college.  Well, looks like I’m officially in.  Times and such haven’t been set but I’m sure we’ll work that out.  It’s all formal-looking as I received an email stating the code of conducts and rules and regulations etc.  Should be good stuff.  The ‘interviewing’ process that happened today was something I had never experienced before.  It was a group interview type thing (which I only found out about the day before) and it was pretty unusual.  For one thing, we started playing 20 Questions halfway through.  I can’t remember exactly what led to those circumstances though.  Anyway, the point is that 6 of us applied and we all got the job.  Except, we’re still being tested as up until the half-term we’re in, what I like to call, the “trial period.”  Where we have to keep an active log of who we deal with, where and when.  Sort of a pain in the ass if you ask me, but I’m being paid.  And if I’ve learned anything over the past 17 years of my life it’s that as long as your being paid the right amount, anything’s worth it.  And wow, that was a double entendre if I ever did see one.

Anywayz, moving swiftly on, I also had my first Career’s interview today.  It went pretty good actually, the woman there did a good job in helping decide what I wanted to do for the next few years.  She also showed me how much I’ve narrowed it down already without me consciously knowing so.  I’ve got a few courses in mind already, and also some universities that I think would be suitable.  The hardest part is deciding which one I like best.  Wish me luck, eh?

In other random news, the film for the Meniscus Film Festival – titled: “ANTICIPATION” – has been submitted… at least I think so.  I’m still unsure on whether it has or not, last week Jamie and I walked all the way there to that guy’s house to hand him the DVD.  We had to because it was the last day for submissions.  We slid it nonchalantly through his letterbox before we noticed that we only made one copy of the damn film and freaked out.  We spent the next few minutes double checking the house number and street sign to make sure we had the right place.  And it was… we think.  I told Jamie to check up on it, but he still hasn’t so I’m doubtful whether he has received it or not.  Meh, I guess it’s just me being paranoid since we worked quite hard on it.  And I’ve got to say, I’m quite proud of the little beast (little beast being a very bad metaphor for the film) and there are some genuine aspects where I think it looks damn professional.  And the other parts… well, let’s not talk about those shall we?  When, or if, they put the damn thing on YT I’ll be sure to link to it right away.  But until then, you’ll have to wait.  Sorry.

There’s also news about the 5-a-side league that we were thinking of joining, but so far have been unable to do so.  Ash got a call that we can replace a team that has dropped out mid-season.  Which means we’re joining half way through the season so the points (if we get any) are worth shit but oh well.  I’ll be playing for fun anyway.  It just means less pressure for us.

Oh and I’ve also been trying the new Messenger BETA and it’s quite good.  Everything looks, well, bigger.  As well as cleaner and more minimalistic which is always a pro in my book.  And frankly, the tiled mood thing is awesome.  I suggest you check it out as well.

If you think I’m gonna provide the link than you’d be wrong.  I seriously CBA at the mo, so you’re going to have to google-it-you-moron.  I mean, how hard can it be?


Wow, that looks beyond suckage.


[UPDATE] I just completed my analysis section for my Computing project.  And it was actually quicker than I thought.  It was still a pain in the proverbial ass, but at least it’s done now.  Just the other sections to go… Well, when we get to it.  The Analysis was in for tomorrow and I had hardly done anything!  Thank god I’m quick at typing since it clocked in just under 2000 words and 8 pages.  All that in about 2/3 hours.  Insane.

Anywayz, I still need to decide on my 5 choices and I’ve broadened my search so that it incorporates London as well and some other cities and towns.  ‘Cos originally I wanted to go to a Uni near a large~ish city but not London because of the insane costs.  But now, thinking about it… London wouldn’t be all that bad I reckon.  It’ll certainly be more lively than where I’m living now; hell Humdrum’s more lively than this place.*  So far I’ve marked a few prospective Uni’s that look promising.  Leeds U, Manchester U and possibly even Aston.  Problem is, I have to decide which is my first choice now.  And since it will affect my next 3/4 years, and possibly the rest of my life, I’m going to pick wisely.  Which is a first for me.  :P

*Not true

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Mario Kart and Brawl and Movies! Oh my! – UPDATE

Well, the thing is after hardly touching Mario Kart Wii for months after I got so frustrated by 150cc it’s having a resurgence.  It happened when Gavin and Daisy decided to add me into a little game of Mario Kart they were having.  Then it just spiraled out of control.  I think we’ve played it everyday online (well, except yesterday) since.  It’s just immensely fun with friends.  Especially when using Skype to trash-talk.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Oh and just for the record, I win most the vast majority of the races.

Today though, me and Gav tried our hand at SSBB online.  We didn’t play it before because Daisy didn’t have it (FAIL).  But after a few prelim games, Gavin (who was hosting) decided to set a 60 MINUTE GAME.  Not only that but he set it up so that it was really easy to die.  Which obviously meant one thing.  Yep.  Lots and lots of dying.  It was practically one-hit kill for everyone.  I was Fox; Gav was Pit; Bowser and someone else was CPU.  The game was suitably EPIC.  I’m not going to talk about the awesomeness of the game since it was a you-had-to-be-there thing but the scores ended up with me kicking ass with +175 and Gav with –33.  The 2 CPU got even worse (one got –155).  That was enough Brawl for us that day.

But as I type, we’re starting up Mario Kart again.  :D

This is what it’s like to be an addict…


Oh and about the Meniscus Film movie thing.  We’re pretty much done editing, except there’s some issues with the allocated time (under 5 mins).  Basically, our film is too long.  DAMN.  So we’re going to have to cut some scenes out.  :(

I’ll update you later on.

[UPDATE] So, today we pretty much wrapped up editing for our film.  It was funny too as we had to get the film under 5 minutes (including credits and such) so we spent most of today just speeding clips up and trimming clips to ensure we were under 5 minutes.  In the end we got it to 4 minutes and 59 seconds!  There’s only a few minor things we need to add on Monday (Tuesday’s the deadline!)  and we also need to export it into an .avi file.  The film production is nearing it’s end and I’m actually kinda sad; yea it was more work but it was most definitely fun.  Too bad I won’t be doing something like that for a while.  Oh well, at least I have the actual festival to look forward to.  And since the audience votes on who wins, we may just have a shot at this…

I just need a megaphone so we shout the loudest.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

SPORE Review

Sorry for the 3 week absence; life has been busy-  ah screw it.  You know that I don't give a damn and I know that you don't give a damn; the reason why you're reading this is because your either at work and bored out of your bloody mind or you've got some serious mental issues.

Now that we've got that over and done with, it's a game review!  Yay!  When was the last time I've had one of these?*

*Answer:  Last one was the Mario Kart Wii Review in April.

For those who have lived under a frickin' boulder for the last 5/6 years, SPORE is Will Wright's next game after the cash-cow that the Sims have become.  First shown a while ago (a long while ago) at GDC it quickly become one of my own (and plenty others) most look-forward to game.  The whole concept seems mind-blowing, it could've been five different games but no.  Its all packaged in one single game.  A damn good one at that.

It didn't really provide the seamless evolutionary advancing that Will Wright was boasting but it does a damn good job.  Splitting it into stages makes it more casual-friendly and is much easier to have a favourite stage that you can jump into easily.  The 5 stages are: Cell, Creature, Tribe, Civilisation and Space.  Here's a little summary of each and what I thought of them:


Cell:  What I thought was going to be the most boring stage but it turned out quite well.  Things just worked as you ate more and more things.  And payback was literally a bitch in this one as it was amazingly gratifying when you devour a creature that was larger than you previously.  I found numerous times where I was playing through this stage and was shouting:  "HOW'D YOU LIKE THAT, HUH?"  and "SUCK IT, BITCH!" or something along those lines.  All in the name of good fun...

Cell is quite fun.  Nothing to complicated, which is good to start the game with.

Creature:  This is arguably one of my favourite stages.  It's a step up from cell definitely.  You have more things to consider and you finally get a 3D space to roam around in.  Changing your creature is seamless; all you have to find is a mate.  Which is much easier in SPORE than in real life, mind.  It consists of just clicking a "Mating Call" button and heading towards your nest.  Simple.  At first, the other creatures that are close to your nest are pretty weak (probably that way deliberating to ease players into this stage).  But about halfway through the stage, it requires you to move nests.  I'm still not sure why, since the one we were using next to the sea was fine I reckon.  Maybe we had defiled that nest so much with the "making babies eggs" and other things.  Oh and if you explore around, this should be the first stage where you'll get to meet an epic creature.  Named appropriately as it's basically a giant version of a creature.  And it can be any creature on that current planet, which means there can be some crazy results.  Another thing I liked about this stage -and that Will Wright boasted about several several several times- was the community features.  It uses other creatures made by some other players (or your own sometimes) to populate your world.  Which means the game has an endless amount of creatures to use so you'll hardly ever meet the same one twice.

Yes, upside-down creatures are possible.  As well as penis creatures it seems...

Tribe:  This is when things started getting a bit... iffy.  It basically plays like something like Age of Empires but stripped down to it's basic elements.  You can gather food, fight, hunt, fish(if you have the tools) etc.  The purpose of this stage is to either conquer the other villages or ally them.  And I've found that allying them is much easier whereas conquering takes a heavy toll on your numbers (which starts at 6 and eventually maxes out at 12).  Although it seems to drive you towards conquering as it seems much to easy to make them angry at you.  Then it requires an offering of food to allow you to even begin allying them, oh and you do that by equipping the members of your tribe with instruments and playing a note-hitting mini-game for their pleasure.  But that's not what bugs me most, it's just that they always come at the most awkward times to raid your village (when I'm trying to ally another village, or attacking one - basically when most of my tribe is out).  Now, I'm unsure if this is clever AI seeing as they can tell when your village is unoccupied or if it's just a way to rack up the difficulty artificially.  But it doesn't become such a big problem as the game gives a notice when the raiding party sets off from the enemy village.  The only potential problem I can see is if you have the slowest creature in the world and it'll take you forever to get back.  Overall, this stage has it's ups and downs and certainly plays well.  Although it seems dumbed down a bit so most people (people who don't normally play games, or people who tried to play this after playing the Sims) can get through it.

A music mini-game.  Yes, that's how you get people to like you.

Civilisation:  This is the stage that I'm more meh on.  It does the job well, but I feel it's pretty similar to Tribe phase just with some new mechanics.  Your village becomes your city, your tribe members become your vehicles etc.  Now though, food is no-longer the currency.  It's Spice.  Yes, the thing you sometimes place on your food is coveted by Sporians from all over the galaxy.  And you obtain this from Spice geysers that are on your planet by using your vehicles to click on them.  At first your limited to land vehicles, then sea vehicles and then finally air.  Obviously, you'd need to be next to the sea to make sea vehicles.  At first, this stage is a real pain in the ass.  Then after you obtain 4 cities, you get air vehicles.  It's just a matter of building a fuckton of them now and rushing every city one at a time.  Yes, my eventual strategy was just forcefully obtaining cities by building the most air units I can and blitzing each city one at a time.  It's a shame really, as this stage had quite a lot of promise.

This could be your city!  Or you could have a city of penis buildings... the possibilities are endless!

Space:  The final frontier phase.  The stage where most people would be spending their time, it brings an absolutely boundless longevity to the game.  This is where the game comes into it's own.  You can literally do anything after the tutorial (which you can skip), provided you had the tools that is.  I haven't unlocked every tool yet, but what I have does look promising.  You can sculpt planets, carve out canyons, raise mountains, create oceans.  Additionally, you can change the colour of the land, sea or sky.  And finally you can change the temperature and density of the atmosphere of the planet.  This is the most important factor, as it's the one that decides whether creatures and plants can reside on that particularly planet.  There are different tools to do all these things, and seeing as you'll be unlocking them only occasionally, so you're not overwhelmed by them.  You'll obviously encounter alien races (notably one race that seems to act as the galaxy super-power and occupy the centre of the galaxy), and you can choose to be friends or enemies.  If you become friends, you can open trade routes or form alliances (doing so will grant you one of their ships to join you as a side-kick of sorts - meaning you'll eventually have a whole spaceship posse to wreck havoc on planets on).  And if you become enemies... well, you blow the crap out of each other.  Simple, really.  BUT WAIT.  This stage also boasts the most annoying thing ever to grace this game.  Remember the thing in tribe where they would attack you while your out, well the space stage takes it to a whole new level.  It seems every five minutes, there's a call of help from a colony or ally where their are pirates, that superior race I mentioned earlier or an enemy species are attacking.  And it becomes a real pain.  I've found sometimes that I was attacking the final planet of one species and I get a notice that the same species was attacking one of mine.  Now, wouldn't it be much more intelligent to pull all your ships back and have a last stand on your final planet?  Apparently no, as I take out the few ships on the planet and destroy their civilisation.  If anyone wants a comparison, just think of it as the blue shell from Mario Kart Wii.

Expand your empire!

Overall, the game is good.  No, scratch that.  It's great.  And out of the 5 stages, you're bound to love one of them.  Personally I love the Space stage since it gives you boundless freedom.  But I've found some people that prefer the creature stage since it's not as complicated.  Each stage gives you something different to think about.

The creators though are brilliant.  They work amazingly and I would probably pay for a game just with the creators in.  They're easy to use and really efficient.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone with some good creativity, they're remarkably easy to get a hang of.  Even if you have 5 minutes with the game, try out the creators.  It's a pro tip.

Anything that I liked is the scope of the game.  The opening cinematic is nicely done and sets you in the mood for the cell stage.  And after each stage, the camera pulls out a little.  From the tide-pool, you pull out to see a small part of the continent.  Then you pull out a bit more to see the whole continent in the tribe phase.  The camera then pulls out to the entire planet.  And finally you reach space.  There you can choose to scroll and focus on a tiny part of any planet or alternatively, you can scroll all the way out to view the whole frickin galaxy.  And you'll be wowed when you first do this.

The game also seems complete to me and not rushed.  I haven't encountered any slow down at all or frame rate problems and I'm running it on my laptop!  I've only had it crash on me twice, the first time it was my fault and the second time it was one of my friend's fault.  The first case was I wasn't running it as administrator (I'm using Vista) and after the cell phase, the first time I get into creature is freaks out on me.  For some reason I can play the cell phase without being an administrator.  The second time was an online friend (that I won't name) who decided to make many large conversations while I was playing.  I didn't know at the time since I was playing fullscreen, but when the game finally crashed the first thing I see is my taskbar filled to the brim with 50-odd conversations.  That probably overloaded my laptop and it ran out of CPU resources when loading things.

To be honest, I haven't properly finished the game.  The object of the Space phase is to reach the centre of the galaxy.  And judging by the looks of it, it'd take forever unless I decided to blitz there and ignore everything else.  Oh and apparently our solar system is in the game as well, although I have yet to find it myself.

The game also applies an achievement system, much like the achievements in 360 games.  There are the run-of-the-mill achievements for completing the phases and also some crazy ones like finding Earth or losing 5 planets.  All in all, I won't give this game a score.  As to different people, it'd have different scores.  For creative people, you'll have endless opportunities to unleash your creativity in the creators.  Whereas some less-creative people can just take some content from the creative people, if that floats your boat.  In the end, it's one of those: "You've got to try it!" games.


[EDIT]  I forgot to give you an update on what’s been going on in my life.  And I’m too lazy to make another post, so here’s an update.  Let’s get this done with quickly shall we?

  • The film we’re doing for the Meniscus Film Festival is in the editing stages.  We just got it onto the computer today in fact and was going to start editing when we were distracted by a game sale at Morrisons (my friend picked up Brawl for £15 and Guitar Hero: On Tour for £12!).
  • For anyone wondering, FUCKTARD hasn’t had an update.  It stopped at Gavin but he went on holiday and now I’m not even sure what’s going on.
  • I’m thinking of dropping Computing because I can’t be asked anymore and I’ve got enough to deal with already.  Although I may still continue for a bit just to see where it goes.  I haven’t done the project either… *sigh*  I’ll have to make something up tonight…
  • Wow, I just noticed that Twitter gadget on my blog’s sidebar.  It’s been 110 days since I’ve updated it…  Looks like it’s going to stay that way too.  :P

That about runs down my life right now.  Hectic, to say the least.  So much to do, so little time…

Thursday, 14 August 2008

A Level Results Day 2008

I had been meaning to post for a while now.  But I've been putting it off repeatedly because... well... I'm lazy.

"Hard work pays off over-time.  But procrastination pays off NOW."  - A wise man

Ok, enough talk.  Let me cut to the chase (in this case: the results).




Subject Award


Unit Grade

COMPUTING   221 B    
  Computer Sys, Prog & Netwk Concepts (105)     70 C
  Princ of Hardware, Software & Applic (105)     74 B
  Practical Systems Development     77 A
  Conflict (100)     100 A
  Power (100)     58 D
  Space (100)     83 A
  Reading the Media (90)*     62 C
  Textual Topics in Contemporary Media (90)     47 D
  Practical Production (120)     114 A


*If you recall this post.  They lost the results for Reading the Media, so it's an average of my other grades.  Damn, I think I would've got quite a lot in Reading the Media too.


Well, there are the results.  It looks about right, although the D in Textual Topics in Contemporary Media totally blind-sided me.  I was expecting much better.  I'll most likely resit that one.


Maths?  Where is the maths?

Well that came on a different piece of paper:




Advanced Sub. GCE    
Mathematics A 273/300
Advanced GCE Unit    
Core Mathematics 1 A 96/100
Core Mathematics 3 B 79/100
Core Mathematics 4 C 67/100
Decision Mathematics 1 A 87/100


Well, there are all my results.  Overall most of it was expected and some were not.  I think the only resits I'm going to do are for C4 (Maths module) and the Textual Topics in Media one.  Good thing I did good in D1, that was the one thing I didn't want to resit.

In other news, I partook in a badminton tournament the other day (Tuesday, I believe).  And if you remember this post from about a year ago, I placed 5th last time.  This time, I skipped the singles and just played doubles.  And came... wait for it... wait for it... SECOND.  Yes, runner-up in Mens Doubles.  Sweet.  Frankly we pretty much had no chance at winning the final since we up against the two best guys there.  The trophy is now stored at the now-infamous trophy cabinet.  Not much to report after that, except the final was phenomenal and you should have been there.  Despite being the definite under-dogs we got perilously close to winning it.

Here's just a quick update on two projects I'm working on.  First the media project for the Meniscus Film Festival that I may or may not have mentioned before.  We're pretty far into the project, the script is 80/90% done and all that's left is really the filming and preparation for filming.  I'm not going to spoil it since it's actually rather good, despite the whole plot line being conceived on a drowsy Thursday afternoon at Starbucks with Jamie.


Another little project I have going is an appropriately-named: FUCKTARD.  Which is the current codename it seems.  This idea was conceived in a more crazy way, which consists of me, Gavin and Ashley just randomly coming up with storyline's one day and this one came up.  And Ashley decided to start a script.  So now we're passing it along and adding things to it.  Here's the latest iteration(that I have) of it (I thought might as well seeing as the chance of it being made into film is severely slim).


NOTE:  It's work in progress.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

I have a good reason for my absence of late... (and bonus E3 Big 3 round-up!)

It's called:  CBA-sickness.

It's a very rare form of cancer that affects the cerebral lobes of my inner-most brain that controls my proactive activity of posting on my blog; according to the doctor I'm seeing (who, I assure you, isn't a drunken hobo that likes to dance the Irish Jig for money) I am currently the only diagnosed patient of CBA-sickness on the planet.  Wow.  Amazing isn't it.*

wjuk smashAnyway, let's continue to more pressing matters.  Since my last post from about a month ago (Toothpaste fixes all) a lot of wild s%*& has happened.  And I'm not  just talking about the new Hulk film (which is several levels of awesomeness btw).  I've had my fair share of action lately; even though college finished almost a week ago I'm still finding myself waking up rather early for the last few days.  Hopefully tomorrow will change all that.

And there's also E3.  I managed to catch all of the Big 3's conferences despite my busy schedule.  And it was slightly... disappointing; to say the least.  Out of the three, I seemed to enjoy Microsoft's conference the most for some reason; it certainly started off well with the demos (Fable 2 and Fallout 3 piqued my interest especially), then proceeded to drop off a little - but at least a new PORTAL game was announced!.  The Square-Enix trailers helped lift moods a little, then it went out with a bang when FFXIII was announced for the 360.  Wow.  Who saw that coming?  I certainly didn't...  well, not until that guy returned to the stage and said: "I have one more big announcement."  This is a big blow for Sony in turns of exclusives (somehow I just think that FFXIII would just have moved quite a few units of the PS3 if it stayed exclusive, or maybe that's just me).  And despite all that, the new Bungie game wasn't announced!  It was allegedly pulled at the last minute!  Shame on you Microsoft!

Nintendo's conference fell into second place for me.  It started off -in one word- crap.  I don't want to hear the "Cammienator" (if that is her real name - you won't get that joke unless you know Nintendo pretty well) talk about her sucky snowboarding skills.  I'm watching this for only one reason: -take a guess- games.  Finally, it started picking up when Animal Crossing: City Folk was announced.  Yes, City Folk.  Now, I'm sure I'll get use to that (hell, I got use to Wild World and Wii didn't I?) but the name is a bit... well... funny-sounding now that I think about it.  Yes yes, we're talking about Nintendo here and their crazy naming techniques (well DS makes sense at least...).  *ahem* I'm babbling, I digress.  Anyway, AC Wii looks like it's more of the same from Nintendo.  Which isn't a bad thing in these terms, if it still has the surprisingly addictive gameplay of the previous two games then you know that I'll be glued to my couch for days (or weeks).  When I go to the toilet, all you'll see is a sweat-stained WJUK-sized patch in the middle of the sofa...  Nah, not really.  I don't sweat horrendously while playing games (as far as you know anyway); the worse it's ever gotten was during the Wii Sports marathon - oh boy, was that a night to remember.  Ok, I'm babbling again so I'll cut it to you straight.  GTA DS was announced although nothing else was provided (not even a screenshot or a pre-rendered trailer) which means that the game is pretty early on in development me thinks.  Wii Motion Plus demoed, will be bundled with Wii Sports: Resort (yes, RESORT -  the funny naming trend continues) and it looks pretty damn good.  But this being Nintendo it'll cost a small fortune (especially in PAL regions) which may end up making it not worth it.  Wii Music also shown, and playing the Mario Bros song is possible with it.  Somewhat.


And finally, the Sony conference.  For some reason I found this the least enjoyable.  Maybe because I was doing something else at the time, but it doesn't mean it was bad.  Resistance 2 showed off a big-ass boss.  Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty (can I get a:  BOO-TAA!) announced for PSN.  But arguably the best part of the whole presentation was when Sack Boy helped out with the sales figures.

As you can obviously see, Little Big Planet is shaping up to be quite a game.  Oh and Infamous looks good too.


Anyway, I think I should be wrapping this post up soon.  I don't want to continue typing this into the wee hours of the morning.  Although I will leave you this:

why so serious

*If you believe any of that:  You're an idiot.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Toothpaste fixes all!

Ok, so I haven't exactly been active lately here.  But hell, there's probably 3 people reading this, so whatever.

Anyway, I picked up Brawl yesterday (Friday) and I was like: "Sweet!  FIN-FRICKIN-LY"*  After about 5 months, we finally get one of the Wii's greatest games and I'm loving every minute of it.  I've already unlocked Sonic, Captain Falcon, Luigi and some other dudes; but I've hardly played Subspace Emissary because there have been 4 people playing all the time.  Oh well, I'm looking forward to getting R.O.B. too.

So, all was well.  Until my sister knocked the Wii over accidentally.  It wasn't her fault really, it was just a particularly heated battle and the Game Cube controller wires were particularly short.  Damn controller wires.  But, long story short, the disc was scratched.  Some things didn't work and it just said "Disc cannot be read."  Anyone who hasn't been living under a secluded rock under the lost City of Atlantis should understand my pain and frustration here.  The scratch was minimal!  And yet it's managed to make me unable to play like 4 stages and so many characters.  Understandably, I raged.  And I mean full-fledged psychotic LCD-inducing rage.  Yea... it was pretty bad.

After a while of general sulking and tantrums; I remembered something from my young days.  Toothpaste.

No no no, I wasn't trying to remember whether or not I had brush my teeth this morning (which I had, mind you).  I was going to put toothpaste on the disc to clear out the scratch marks.  Ludicrous, some of you might say (particularly the portion of people who haven't tried this before).  But I tempted fate and kicked it's ass!

After about 10 minutes of general rubbing and scrubbing; it was practically as good as new.  After a quick rinse under the tap (yes, I used water on the CD).  It worked beautifully.  Immaculately even.

WJUK: 1.  Er... Scratched disc: 0.

Well, my sisters are still playing Brawl upstairs while I'm grabbing a bite to eat.  It seems they've become quite addicted to the game, and rightly so.  Kicking someone's ass while trash-talking to them is totally what SSBB is about.  It's the core essence of it, and I think I do both parts really well.  And there's always the annoyance factor, I was getting my ass handed to me while playing Yoshi (random selection FTL) in a 5-stock match.  When the smash ball came, I just kept shouting: "YOSHI'S TURN!"  In as weird a voice as possible, and the tactic seems to have worked.  I turned the match on it's head as I KO'ed everyone twice without taking a single hit (the smash ball helped too).  And I actually managed to win... with YOSHI (and frankly, I suck ass as Yoshi).

*ahem*  Anyway, I think I've babbled on for quite some time now.  And I live you with this:



*More swearing may have been involved.

**Doesn't apply to anyone who has Brawl.

Cast your eyes on the awesomeness:

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Rock Band? Not today. ~ UPDATE

So, wassup?

Let's just get this over with:  My life has been hectic yada yada yada etc.

Anyway, I'm currently about half way in of the week off I get from College.  Whoop!  But I have 2 exams the first day I go back.  Damn.  It sucks that I still have 3 exams left; I can't believe I have two in a row the second College starts again.  And to top it all off, it's a Maths Module first; followed by a Media exam directly afterwards.  Which I'm still not fully prepared for.  Sometimes, I hate college...


Moving onto some slightly better news.  I got Rock Band on Saturday... well, the disc anyway.  Since the game is split into the Solus edition and Instruments in a Box version.  The Solus (game disc) has come and we've mainly been messing about using the headset but we're still waiting for the instruments because of stupid Parcel Force.  It came Friday... at 7:50 in the morning.  Then it was meant to be redelivered on Tuesday (today) and I woke up at 7:30 to wait for it.  It came at 7:05 apparently.  F*CK.

So, we made them redeliver it tomorrow.  Hopefully we can actually receive it this time.  Damn Parcel Force, maybe they could have given us an estimate time of arrival or maybe, you know, ring us to open the door.  Since we're in anyway but just upstairs.


Oh and I've been playing on GTA IV online via XBL and I've gotta say.  I'm lovin' it.

The online service is just so well made and voice chat seems to be a great addition that helps a lot during actual gameplay.  I've only really played GTA IV online (haven't really tried any other games online yet) and it's really really really fun.  It's just the way the game is made, the whole sandbox theme that enables for such unpredictability when playing alone.  But when playing online against other people, the unpredictability factor is multiplied ten-fold as the human opponents employ strategies the in-game AI wouldn't use even if I drew it out on the floor for them.

I usually play "Cops 'N Crooks".  Which is basically two teams take it in turns to be crooks or cops.  Makes sense, right?  The crooks have to get to their getaway vehicle (which is either a boat or helicopter) and the cops have to stop them (by killing them).  There are two modes:  "All for One" and "One for All".  I usually enjoy playing One for All since everyone gets only one respawn which means most people are a lot more cautious.  But All for One seems to put Teamwork as more of a focus as the crooks have to protect a boss, these games seem to go much faster though as the cops spawn in police cars while crooks spawn out in the open.  Meaning it's really hard to get a vehicle.

I've seen all sort of tactics employed during this mode.  Everyone just rushing to the waypoint in two cars, everyone splitting up into different cars, everyone staying back and arming themselves to take out cops.  There's just so many ways the whole thing could pan out.

Like, for example, when playing I was riding shotgun with my friend who was driving a car while we were chasing the crooks who were in a helicopter.  I manage to hit the petrol tank or something with my sub-machine gun when I was leaning out the window and BOOM!  The helicopter explodes into pieces.  They all die.  My friend and I promptly exchange virtual high-fives and "woots!" are heard on the headset.  Until I find that we were still travelling pretty fast into the direction of the giant burning ball of flame that is now the helicopter.

"OH SH*T!  U-TURN!  NOW!"  I shout down the head set.  But to no avail.  It's too late.  The helicopter lands right on top of us.  Oh my god.  It was a bit depressing when we died, but it didn't stop it being any bit the least awesome.

Another time was when their were two crooks left and about 5 cops.  One crook had managed to get into the helicopter while the other crook was on the roof of this museum place.  I was on the ground with a rocket launcher.  The helicopter tried to pick up the crook on the roof before and I shot a few rockets at it and now it was in a bad condition.  It wouldn't be able to take many more hits.  It flew atop this high sky-scraper where I couldn't touch it and everyone was playing the waiting game.  The others panned out in search of rocket launchers and helicopters to try and take it down.  So I was left, alone.  Against a helicopter and a guy sporting a assault rifle atop a building with only ONE rocket launcher ammo left.  I get into a fast car and make it look like I'm off searching for more RPG ammo and the helicopter takes the bait.  It starts flying down to pick up the final crook, I execute a perfect 180 and head back the other way.  They didn't see me coming and BOOM!  I take out the helicopter is taken out by my rocket launcher.  I also managed to take out the other crook.  Now that is how you play GTA IV.  It was truly one of the most intense and great games I have played online.


It's about time I got back to working on revising (I'm meant to be revising now actually...) so I'm cutting this post short.  Until next time.


UPDATE #1:  Godammit!  The kick-pedal's broken!  It came off in a particularly heated play of "Run for the Hills".  :(

Made me only get 4 stars (I continued with a broken kick-pedal!).

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Not mauled by land-sharks (pst~ new banner)

Contrary to popular belief.  I am not dead.  And, possibly more importantly, I haven't been mauled by land-sharks.  No matter how much you will it so.

Anyway, long time no see.  It's been... what?  11 days?  According to my memory it has, since my last post was the anniversary post.  In that time not too much has happened.  Things got even more hectic than before (is that even possible)?  As now I'm plagued by the ominous  presence of exams every waking moment, and it just makes me stop and wonder:  Why the hell am I doing all these exams?

For a sheet of shiny, colourful piece of paper?  A letter from the alphabet?  Or for numbers to contribute to this total that could affect if I go to university or not?

It's not just me though, for the last week or so, the whole nation has been gripped by exam fever.  SATs, GCSEs, you name it.  I'm just reluctant to believe the whole: "These are the most important exams of your life and will stay with you FOREVER!" after it's been used THREE F*CKING TIMES already on me.  First, Year 6 SATs, our teacher tells us that.  We work hard and we're all like: "Yay!  Good grades!"  Get to secondary school and we're told:  "Pft.  The SATs you did in Year 6 mean nothing!  Now do these SATs for Year 9!  It's just like the ones you have already done before BUT HARDER.  Oh, and did I add that these exams are the most important exams you will ever take?"  So, yet again, we're fooled into thinking that doing bad in this will ultimately mean you end up living in a dumpster, eating rats for a living (professional rat eater FTL).  After obtaining damn good grades in that (Daisy still bugs me about the bloody 8 she got in maths, damn woman) we're told:  "Screw the SATs!  Here come your GCSEs!  We decided to mix it up a little so it doesn't seem like your just doing slightly harder exams over and over again!  Oh and these are definitely the MOST IMPORTANTEST EXAMS THAT YOU WILL EVER EVER TAKE."

By now, we're all a bit skeptical about the whole educational system and life in general.  It's like older people deliberately throw exams in our faces just to see how we thrash about and flail our arms wildly because of all the pressure.  Maybe they derive pleasure watching us suffer, who knows what goes through the minds of the people who make the exams.  Oh, and while we're on the subject of the 'Exam makers' (what the hell are they called anyway?) I've got a question for them:  Why are your questions so awkward?!  Let me throw in a similar question that might show up on our exams:

Bill and Ackmed are in a field.  They notice a lighthouse 200 metres away.  From Ackmed's eye level of 1 metre of the floor, he calculates that the angle from his eye level looking up to the top of the light-house is 56 degrees.  Work out the height of the light-house.

Wait, what?  Apart from the obvious question of why the hell Bill and Ackmed aren't playing like normal children and are instead doing maths outside, not to mention how the hell they can perfectly pinpoint who far away the lighthouse is and work out the angle that they are looking at to see the lighthouse!  If they're so smart why don't they work out the height themselves?!  It's not like it'll be difficult to their super-genius brains.  You've also got to notice the inclusion of "Ackmed" in a blatant way to introduce an ethnic minority.  It's like the people who write these exams deliberately attempt to make the stupidest questions just for kicks.

Where was I now?  Oh yea, we finish our GCSEs (some with flying colours) the teaches are like:  "Oh good.  Yippee.  Now go to college."  And so repeats the never-ending vicious cycle of work, exam, repeat.  Don't think it you break out of this ruthless cycle when you go to work, since there will be exams there.  Only they will be cleverly disguised as obstacles and other things.  So, in the end most of us live in this monotonous world doing the same things over and over again.  Doomed to repeat ourselves.

Gee, the future looks bleak.


That being said, I have 7 bloody exams this week.  *sigh*  At least I can look forward to the Summer holidays which are tantalizingly close.  So close... yet so far away...


Anywayz, let me get out of miserable-emo-like-exam-hating mode.  In other news, I made my way through GTA IV and utterly loved it.  It's just that Liberty City feels so... so... ALIVE.  I'm continually awed by little touches Rockstar has put in for guys like me to notice (like the beating heart in the Statue of Happiness), and making it more realistic has really improved how this game immerses us into feeling part of that world.  It doesn't mean that the game is not fun anymore as it's too realistic, far from that actually.  It's not all realistic like, as I found that in GTA IV travelling quickly in a car and hitting something impossibly tiny and insignificant (like a traffic cone or the odd person) results in a jaw-dropping, eye-melting, five minute long saga of flips, rotations and explosions.  Well, what can I say?  It's a great way to show off the physics in the game.

The game just never fails to amaze me, while you're driving along there are people who have broke down on the side of the road and are fixing their engines.  Other people have hit each other and have decided to settle their quarrels in a contest of who-shouts-the-loudest.  Then there's also how you can turn off your radio and have a gander at what others are listening to.  And it's a perfect fit.  Gangster-types are listening to the rap radio station, while OAPs tend to like listening to Classical music.  And piloting helicopters without tails is always fun.

Oh and Rock Band comes out here on May 23rd apparently.  After some long discussion, I think we're getting it.  Hooray!  For quite the hefty price though.  £140 from PLAY.com (with both versions), and that's the cheapest I can find them.  Man, why is Europe rip-off central?  But you can't deny that the game looks fun, especially played in a group of people.  As the following picture shows:

Above.  How to look like fools when playing Rock Band.

I'll definitely tell you how awesome it is when I get it.

I think that about wraps things up... oh and Super Smash Brothers Brawl is coming out June 27rd!  Hooray!  FIN-FRICKINALLY.

EDIT#1:  New banner.  Hooray!  I decided to go for a simple design this time, clean and minimalist.  That and also because I'm short of time.  Enjoy.  Here's the banner for future reference:

Friday, 2 May 2008


I'm not sure if blogiversary is even a word, but hey.  This is the internet so meh; who carez bout spelingz aniwayz?

Anyway, as the title suggests today (or rather yesterday - as it's pass midnight here) was the blog's one year anniversary!  Yay!  Hooray!  Break out the champagne!  Yea, so it's a big day for us all, especially it seems as the exam gods felt like they would like to mock me by making me have a full day of maths with two maths exams.  Argh.  Anyway, nevermind the worse is over now and it's clear blue sky until next Tuesday!

Sorry, I digress I've gone off-topic again.  It's the one year anniversary for the blog.  Yes, it's been one whole year since I first started this devil spawn of a blog and I'm rather impressed.  Let's see now...  22613 hits since it started.  That's just under 62 visits a day; not bad for a relatively new blog.  And let's look at the all important post that started this all off:

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

First Blog

Ok, so after being encouraged by my friends to start a blog - names not included, you know who you are *cough* Gavin & Ashley *end cough* - heres the blog...
Ok, so it needs a little work but geez give me a break; I've only just started blogging.
Right, firstly... erm.... *attempts to think of something funny* heres one - A rabbi, a priest and a monk... ok, actually thats not that funny. Hm... dammit Gavin & Ashley, what was the point of this blog?
Anyway, a little about me:

  • I'm currently 15, birthday soon (mental note - yea!)
  • GCSEs are around the corner (mental note - boo)
  • Drama exam is in two days time (damn... we haven't even finished yet - I blame this on Daisy with her holiday; don't worry if you don't know who she is. Just count yourself lucky)
Well, I have a Wii (yea, Wii FTWZOMGMOO - thats for you Ashley) and if yours is connected online then you can add me:

8879 6062 9250 0429

Currently I have one added Wii (Lewis ☺) but should be getting two more online soon. It's also funny because I originally had two people in the Mii Plaza - Lewis & Gavin - but I... kinda... accidentally deleted Gavin... so Lewis is walking all alone in the Mii Plaza, almost makes me pity him, almost.
So, anyway, thats about it for my first blog. Not much to say, send in your comments and ideas of what I should talk about in my next one and I'll try to oblige.

Ok... woah.  Did I really post that?  If I did, I'd take some of what I took back then, it's pretty messed up.  I gotta say.  During this year, a lot of things happened.  Gavin joined in on the fun (and we even started this little story - good luck finding that btw) and Kate did later on.  But soon, they found other things to do and I'm the lone surviving author for this blog (not that their dead though).  It's funny looking back at some of the posts I did; it reminds me of what I was thinking of the time and I can generally look back at it from a different angle and see how things could have turned out.  It's all very confusing stuff to the hebetudinous.

Funnily enough, I'd actually been playing this post for quite a while now and thought about what to write in it quite a bit (most of the ideas come from when I'm in the shower, har har har!) but now that it's time to write it, I've gone blank.  There's some much I'd like to say but if I told you some of the stuff I knew I'd probably have to kill you.

Ok, let's move on to more recent events in my not-so-but-still-quite eventful life.  There was Daisy's birthday bash; which somehow trickled down to a more somber controlled event - most noticeably the loss of a bouncy castle - but it was still fun.  It had been a long time since a group of us had been together like that and just chilled for a while (for me anyway as I missed Matthew's party).  Not much to talk about really, except I jumped off a roof and we played "Irish Snap" and got my hand cut by someone with long nails; I have yet to figure out who the culprit was.

All in all, we had a laugh.


In other news, I got GTA IV and have been playing for a good few days now.  And all I've got to say is: Wow.  The game looks awesome and plays well (much better than previous versions) and I'm glad to say that it lives up the the enormous amount of hype it's been generating.  And the city just feels so alive, no joke.  I was driving along one day when I noticed an over-turned truck which had nothing to do to me and police were coming to the scene and everything; there was also another time where I was walking down the street when a person accidentally rams the car in front at the traffic lights.  The person in front doesn't like it and they start an argument, this soon descends into a fist fight and they're duking it out while police sirens get closer.  One of them gets arrested while the other runs off, but is shot.  I found this hilarious as this was the first time I've seen the police arrest someone other than Niko (the main protagonist).

There's also many chances for hilarious moments, especially with the physics as good as they are.  I think the best moment I've had yet was when crashing my car with the car in front and flying out the windscreen I roll over the car in front (it's all in slow-mo and black and white) and into the junction, then BOOM!  A truck comes careering into Niko as he's in the air and I've got to say I was cracking up seeing that as it was a one off thing and I doubt I could pull it off again.


Anyway, it's about time I wrap this up.  It's getting late and I've got an early start tomorrow.  See you in the (hopefully) forseeable future.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Ashley's Gathering among other trivial things

Ok, things have been hectic (to say the least) lately.  So, posting time has effectively tended towards zero.  Homework has increased exponentially in the last few weeks, and the much-needed half term break offered an equally packed schedule of things to do; including a gathering at Ashley's house (which I'll talk about later).  Not to mention the exams that are drawing ever closer, like a pack of savage bloodhounds.  As you may know, I'm not exactly the type that likes exams.

Ok, so I may as well start off on a more positive note.  I've finished Oblivion's main quest and the final battle is... well... epic.  That's the only way I could possibly hope to describe it.  I won't spoil it for you, just in case you haven't played it yet, but A GIANT-ASS DRAGON (CALLED AKATOSH, WHO IS SUBSEQUENTLY ALSO A GOD) TOTALLY THROWS THE BEAT DOWN ON THIS DEMON LORD/PRINCE (CALLED MEHRUNES DAGON) WHO WAS UNLEASHED FROM THE PLANES OF OBLIVION AND WAS OWNING ASS UNTIL THE DRAGON CAME ALONG.  Yea, that's about it.  It's totally kick-ass, here's a video of it:

Moving swiftly on.  Ashley's "gathering", of sorts.  Things started out well... kinda.  I got there before the others and Ashley was watching the match (Man U vs  Blackburn) and was thoroughly frustrated as Man U was losing by a goal to nil.  I found this funny.  The others arrived not long after (the others include: Gavin, Matthew and Daisy).  It seems they came in the same car, I'm not sure how that works out but meh.  Soon after Man U score a goal (well, Tevez does) and Ashley roars triumphantly, despite his team (which is leading the Premiership for others that are not familiar with this) drawing.  Gavin makes a passing inquisition to Ashley about who scored the goal followed by: "Torres?"  And Ashley practically exploded and continued to say "Bah.  Torres?!  Scum."  It was quite hysterical to watch (Torres is another football player... from some team).

If you're wondering about the picture to the left, it has nothing to do with this but I thought it was funny.

Things were moved into the living room after the match finished and GH3 was put on.  We were playing co-op mode on medium as Ashley wanted to unlock some songs on it, I should point out now that we were using Gavin and Daisy's two Wiitars, since Ashley lent his out to a friend.  Things were proceeding as they normally do.  We play GH and chat around for a bit.  This continues to about 8PM.  Daisy and Matthew went out and got some kebabs while we kept on playing.  Soon Gavin and I went out to the shops for some stuff to eat, I ended up spending £5 on sweets (many of which weren't eaten by me in the end...)!  Daisy joined us some time later in the shop and since she was so slow, we considered leaving her there.  But no, she made us wait.  While we were waiting Gavin managed to state that all Snicker Bars should have Mr. T on and misread a label (he read "METAL ENERGY" instead of "MENTAL ENERGY" - oddly enough, he didn't see what he got wrong until I pointed it out to him).

When we did get back, we got tired of GH and switched to watching TV.  This included, but was not limited to:

1) Britain's Got Talen

2) Family Guy

3) Some other crap...

We also saw the new Pepsi Ad (I'm too lazy to find a video).  And Ashley liked it for one reason that he liked pointed out to me.  Apparently during the commercial, one woman who narrates when Thierry Henry is on screen calls him a "she" which I can actually confirm.  For some reason, we all found this extremely funny.  Some more time was spent watching TV and finally I left at roughly 10PM.  I got home and thought it was a good way to spend that night, but then BHAM!  It hit me.  Not a traffic cone, or a sign of any sort.  But I just remembered that I left the delicious delicacies back at Ashley's house.  Later on, through messenger, Ashley tells me they "finished up" the stuff I left behind.  Damn...  I spent £5 on cookies/fingers etc. and I hardly get to eat them... damn them all!  I'm getting my fair share back next week though, I saw Matthew today and gave him a right grilling.  His female friend thought it was hilarious, which I'm sure it was - especially since I was talking about him stealing my cookies.


I also received my exam timetable for the coming Summer, I have... wait for it... wait for it...


(from 12th May to 12th June)

That's insane... I know a guy in my tutorial that only has like 2 exams.  The exams break down like this:

  • 3 Computing Exams
  • 1 Media Studies Exam
  • 3 General Studies Exams
  • 4 Maths Exams

Yes, OMFG.  Yet again, maths has to be the outstanding one with 4.  Sure, one of them is a resit but that's not the point here.  I'm talking about the principle of over-complication of the abundance of catechisms within our pedagogical societies, I mean come on!  11 exams!

I also retrieved a Mock Exam Week timetable (from SID - Student Information Desk).  If I'm lucky, I may be able to get the whole Tuesday off (which is also, coincidentally) the day GTA IV comes out.  SCORE.  This is looking increasingly likely, as the class in the morning is for Tutorial, but who cares about Tutorial?  Right?


If you're wondering about the picture again, it has no relevance whatsoever.  Again, funny.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Mario Kart Wii: Review

This review is totally my opinion.  And no one elses.

If you have a different opinion, feel free to comment.

This is my first review in a while, the last one being Endless Ocean (Wii) back in November '07; which was a long time ago.  So cut me some slack if I'm a bit rusty on some stuff.


Having played pretty much every Mario Kart before this (except the SNES one) I was quite hyped about MKWii.  Not only would it feature 12 players online but also a selection of new (and old) tracks and more characters and vehicles than ever before!  There's also the addition of tricks, which I'm not sure how it would affect gameplay - more on this later.  And there are now 4 different methods to play!  There's also the controversial removal of the ability to snake, which levels the playing field a lot.  But the trick system is a good way to make sure the whole thing doesn't rely completely on luck.

As I've said, I've played most of the previous Mario Karts in existence.  And I loved them (most of them anyway); and Mario Kart DS only made me love the series more.  The DS game was literally one of the high-points of the whole series.  And I'm glad to say that Mario Kart Wii improves upon the DS game and adds some interesting tracks to boot.  One of the first things I did was jump in and play 4 player split-screen.  Which, I'm proud to announce, is as amazing as ever.  The lack of voice chat online (which may be a good thing, mind) means that local is generally more fun especially when it involves as much trash talk as my play session did.  After some fun few hours of throwing shells at each other, and generally having a riot, I decided I better get down to unlocking some dudes and tracks.  From the get go, you have access to half of the available tracks (4 cups out of the 8) and even then I found that these 4 cups (meaning 16 tracks) were enough to quench my first playing multiplayer.

Now, onto the tracks.  There are obviously some inclusions of tracks of yore, harking as far back as the SNES games.  It literally takes some tracks from every Mario Kart game before it and revamps it, and they do look spectacular.  And the new tracks are equally as enjoyable, and sometimes more so I found.  Especially "Bowser's castle" track where one part near the beginning wobbles like your inside Bowser's belly.  Until you notice Bowser is right beside you, vying for first place with you.  Then it just begins to get a bit disturbing.  Nah, only joking.  All the new tracks are fun to play, but on the first try some can be downright frustrating.  I found Wario's Gold Mine to be one of the main culprits, maybe it was because I was playing with only a 1/4 of the screen's real estate available, but my first race there looked like I was purposefully jumping off the sides.  After a few more attempts there (on singleplayer) I've gotten much better and enjoyable.  You can easily tell new and old tracks apart because of the lack of jumps in the older ones.  Occasionally the developers add some occasional half-pipe boost things that you can trick off in the old ones, but they remain largely unchanged.  Whereas the newer tracks have quite a lot of jumps and mess around with those half-pipe boost things a lot more.  One of my favourite tracks right now is "Coconut Mall" where there are so many ways to travel around the track.  The map itself is misleading, as there are ways underneath and over parts, it's truly enjoyable.  Sometimes you think you're way out in front with no one outside you, until you get back onto the singular track and everyone's beside you jostling for position!  The track design is brilliant for these new tracks, and they provide more interactivity than ever.  There are carts going along rail track's in Wario's Gold Mine, escalators in Coconut Mall (that affect your speed), giant press-stamps in Toad's factory etc.  You'll also notice, quite early on, that the tracks are wider.  At first, I didn't like the idea of wide tracks, but it grows on you.  Especially if you play online against twelve other people, it's simple exhilarating  when everyone is trying to get first place when your moments away from the finish line.

Moving on.  Characters and vehicles are now rearranged into Light, Medium and Heavy classes.  With pretty obvious results.

  Acceleration Top Speed Off-road
Light *** * ***
Medium ** ** **
Heavy * *** *

That's what the booklet says anyway.

The character classes are quite obvious, Toad is light.  Mario is medium, Bowser is Heavy.  The character selection screen is set so that the light-weights are at the top and the heavies are at the bottom.  With the medium-class in the middle, respectively.  There's not much else to it, choose your kart (which each have their own specifications) and choose your track and off you go!  There's also the option to choose whether or not to have AI opponents (in multiplayer) etc.  As you progress in the game, you will eventually unlock the mode where you can use the Mii as a racer.  I haven't unlocked that yet, but getting close.

Now, power-ups.  Arguably one of the Mario Kart's most defining features.  Everyone knows the mushroom that speeds you up, many DS power-ups also made the jump.  The golden mushroom, bullet bill etc.  Although Bullet Bill is computer-controlled, so you've got to be on your toes just in case it drops you close to a bend and you forget to turn.  Some interesting ones added this time, like the POW block which "After a small shake and an on-screen warning, the screen will shudder violently and any vehicle in front of you that is travelling on the ground will be lifted into the air and spun around."  You should remember the POW block from the Super Mario Bros series.  Then there's the Mega mushroom that makes the recipient large and you go about owning everyone in your way.  And one of my personal favourites now is the ThunderCloud which follows you, but will strike you with lightning after a while.  Unless, of course, you can hit a opponent and pass on the cloud.  Which makes for some hilarious situations where the person with the cloud tries desperately to hit someone but everyone swerves out of the way to avoid them.  The power-ups all in all are really fun, and level the playing field a lot.

The battle mode in this is fun too.  Well, it is online anyway.  Which seems true for most modes.  Offline battle mode is filled with other AI controlled players (even when you're playing with 4 people) simply because the sizes of the maps are so big.  It would've been nice to have just some smaller 4 - 6 player maps in there somewhere.  Offline singleplayer also gets a bit troublesome since when your first (which you usually are; especially for the 50cc and 100cc) there seems to be an unwavering amount of blue shells and other various power-ups aimed at you.

Control schemes now.  And the thing everyone is talking about: The Wii Wheel.  My input into the matter is that I don't mind it.  In fact, it's the main thing I play with simply because I like to.  Sure it may not be as precise as an analog stick (although it is actually fairly good) it provides a decent experience.  And plus, you get this wheel icon to show that you're playing with it.  And it's always awesome when you own someone with the wheel since it's meant to be one of the worst control schemes.  I have yet to try the Wiimote/Nunchuk combo so I can't say much about that.  I prefer the Classic controller to the Gamecube controller because of the d-pad which is used to pull tricks, but the Z buttons on the classic controller kinda suck.  Oh and while we're talking about tricks, the easiest way to pull tricks is probably with the Wii Wheel since it only takes a flick while the other ones require you to hit the d-pad (the Wiimote/Nunchuk combo is flicking too I think).  There's only one minor flaw with the Wii Wheel, it's about the flicking.  I've found after a few hours of play, my triceps are killing me!  They seriously hurt like hell.  But there's no denying that gold Wii Wheel after playing for a while.

Finally, online.  And I've got to admit, this game is a perfect fit for the online service Nintendo have created.  12 players online is a blessing, and is amazing.  All the tracks are playable, but you can only use characters and vehicles that you've unlocked already which can mean some players who have unlocked better vehicles have an edge in online play.  Which means it pays off to play through the singleplayer Grand Prix's to unlock stuff, it doesn't mean it's easy though.  It'll take some time to unlock all the characters, I think I've got about 6 left to unlock and I've been playing quite a lot since I got it.  Battle mode online is extremely fun as I said before and racing is also fun.  And with the added option of going splitscreen online adds to the fun when you can take a guest online with you, it doesn't affect their record but it's still fun.  Oh and the game allows four people to make licenses and it's pretty easy to see what they've done.  There are records for how far you've virtually travelled, how many times you've placed first etc. which is kinda fun to know actually.  There's also downloadable ghost data, so it's entirely possible to download the best lap in the world to see how you can improve your own driving line, it's a really good idea and you can also see where you stack up on each individual race against other people.  Although there have been outcries of cheating where I've heard that some first place person only does two laps and stops, but I downloaded the fastest recorded time for Luigi Circuit today and it was fine.  Well, better than fine!  It was awesome!  Showed me a lot of things that I could do to improve my time.

There's also the Mario Kart Channel, which you can boot up without the need of putting the game disc in which I find is a great idea.  You can see if any friends are online or just check out your rankings and how your time trial times compare to others around the world.  When you see that your friends are online, you can jump straight in to play with them (but you need to place the game disc in).  There's also the option to send messages to your Wii friends telling you to add them so you can play together.  Which is good.

All in all, the game looks good and plays even better.  Definitely one of the best games on the Wii to play with friends, and probably the best online-equipped game on the Wii currently.  If you buy this game, which I highly recommend you do, get it online.  The 4 different ways to play should give everyone what they want with the Wii Wheel being a really simple and easy ways to get newer players into the game.

Feel free to test my skills online:


Sunday, 6 April 2008

Where do I start?

Well well well, I'm back.

So many things have happened since my last post.  Which turns out to be exactly two weeks ago, it's insane.  Sorry about not posting but I've been unbelievably busy lately; exams are closing in at college, my social life has gone haywire and my foot is killing me (figuratively speaking).  I can only type this because I have a little break in my hectic schedule because of the holidays.  There's also the 360 and a little game called Oblivion.  I've currently poured about 20 hours into it (a rough guesstimate - I don't have it on so I can't check); and I've hardly touched the main quest.  I'm making my way up the various factions and I'm a grand champion of the arena - but still fighting mountain lions and the sort.

And I also picked up Rainbow Six Vegas 2.  Which means the only 360 game I've completed is Assassin's Creed (and that's just the main story - I haven't done all the generic missions and I'm not even going to attempt the crappy flag collecting).  So many games to play, so little time.

Oh and you may be wondering what the "foot is killing me" bit is about.  Well I stood on a nail... with my bare foot.  This happened two days ago.  I played badminton today.  You do the math.  I can still see the point where it impaled my (fortunately) thick-skinned sole, it's mostly healed over but I can still make it out.  I think that's enough about my nail-impaled foot - hey that rhymes.


While I was on hiatus due to *cough* problems; stated above.  April Fools came and went.  I had planned to do something but I just gave up after trying to think up something.  My original idea was something along the lines of "shutting down the blog" etc. but that was way to generic.  Although when used properly it can have a devastating effect just look at what happened when Little Kuriboh and his army of devious minions posted that Yu-gi-oh: TAS was ending.  All hell broke loose as many people forgot that it was the day of fooling.

Talking about awesome April Fools jokes, IGN takes the proverbial cake this year.  Oh and, just for the record, the cake is indeed a lie.  You can check out IGN's April Fools here:

There's a Halo movie coming out soon and talks of a Gears Of War movie, why not a Zelda movie?  Ok, sure Link not talking may be quite an obstacle but I'm sure those Hollywood writers can think something up.  If not, they fail at their jobs.  Hell, the portly plumber and his lanky brother had a movie!  It may have sucked but that's not the point.  I didn't think Mario would make a good movie anyway (we all know how it's going to turn out).  But Link stars in ADVENTURE GAMES, namely games that are about the adventure.  The story.  The awesome journey.  Mario games are about... well... destroying Bowser and jumping on Goomba's heads.  They could throw in a twist or two into the film, something big which means it doesn't end with the whole: "fight Ganondorf and save princess. Done."  thing.  And think of the possibilities of cameos!  Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a plumber in the movie that looks like Mario?  Or maybe Link stops off at a town called Animal Crossing?

Enough talk about that though.  Moving swiftly on.


Games for April that I'm hoping to get (in Chronological Order):

  1. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo Wii) - April 11th
  2. Wii Fit (Nintendo Wii) - April 25th
  3. GTA IV (Xbox 360) - April 29th

This isn't good.  My exams are coming soon :(

It means I'll have 14 days to play Mario Kart (hopefully the online doesn't suck).  Wii Fit wouldn't be too bad, since I'm thinking of sticking to a half an hour routine for as long as possible with Wii Fit.  Then I'm bringing GTA IV home and playing for as long as humanly possible.  Maybe I should arrange a gaming marathon for GTA IV...

Anyway, seems like I'll be busy for the foreseeable future.  Don't keep your fingers cross for updates... cos, you know, eventually you'll stop the blood-flow to your fingers completely and they might drop off.


EDIT#1:  Thought I'd share this little achievement with you lot.  I played GH3 last night, the first time I've picked up the affectionately named "Wiitar" since, well, forever.  If forever means "about a month".  I played a few songs, messed around a bit.  Then tried a little song called: 'Through the Fires and Flames' by a certain band called Dragonforce.  You may have heard it before.  I could never do it on hard difficulty, even though I can play half the songs on expert.  I think the highest percentage I've ever got on hard was 6%.  That changed last night.

First try: 6%

Second try: 7%

I was improving 1% at a time!  At this rate, 93 more times and I'll be able to complete it!

Third try:  Wait for it... 71%


I aced the first section, got close to the red a few times, but held out.  Then I lucked out at 71%.  Damn, I was doing so well as well.

Many of you out there may be able to do this already (XD, all 5 of you) but it's sort of an achievement for me.  Maybe next time I'll be able to actually play the full song.  Who knows?




*Yes, your eyes don't deceive you.  Rock Band is coming out May 23rd for Europe.  On the XBox 360 anyway.  But not only that though!  Oh no.  EA decided to screw us Europeans over for the game.  £180 for the whole bundle?!  That's ludicrous!

Well, EA here's my response:  You can take that price and stick it up your- <THE FOLLOWING IS CENSORED DUE TO CERTAIN LAWS THAT PERTAIN TO- BLAH BLAH BLARGH!>


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