Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas haul.

So that time of the year has come and gone again. Christmas. What a wonderful time of year, even more so if you have an mp3 player. I say this because while I do enjoy Christmas songs. When your uncle has only 12 of them on repeat blaring through some top quality speakers that "make sure you are really hearing the song" it can drive you up the wall.

But enough of that lets get down to some capitalism. Of course for our christian (and some very liberal Jewish) friends Christmas is the time of year when we are to come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and all the goodness that came of that. But for the rest of us its just another day to try and break even on the value of gifts sent to gifts received. So as the title suggests here is some of the stuff I got for christmas and a small tale of afterward.

  • Sennheiser HD218i headphones (very top quality when you've had to endure the torment of ipod headphones for a very long time)
  • A $50 AUD giftcard to Dick Smith Electronics
  • A $50 AUD Visa giftcard (Which funnily enough in the many places that Visa is accepted Dick Smith Electronics is not one of them)
Now for the little tale. So on Monday I went shopping so that I might take advantage of the post-Christmas sales (there's that capitalism rearing its head again!) and use my giftcards. There were a pair of headphones that my sister really wanted at Dick Smith. She had a Visa giftcard and when she presented it to purchase the headphones the guy over the counter told her that they don't take Visa. So the morale of that story is Dick Smith don't take Visa. I however with my Dick Smith giftcard walked away with a shiny new MP3 player. I felt bad for my sister and if I'd had known what was happening at the time I would have swapped her my giftcard for for hers. It would have been win win, She gets the headphones and I get $100 AUD in giftcards wherever Visa is accepted. Now I REALLY feel bad for her.However not all is lost for my sister. My Mother has agreed to exchange the giftcard for real money so those headphones will be hers.

But enough about my sister and back to me. On top of the MP3 player I also got a copy of Mass Effect 2 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. The latter of the two I picked up for $9 AUD! A complete steal!

Well that's my wrap up of Christmas. Next up its new years.Till next week my loyal readers Happy new Year and Peace out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I think of Fallout 3

I was going to have a full Fallout 3 review ready for today but I've been to busy playing the game to write about it. So yes this one will be shorter than the other review I did.

Fallout 3 was released in 2008 by Bethesda Softworks. It was a real game changer to the series being the first game in the series to use real time combat and not turn based. The story overall is relatively simple, wander the wasteland and survive as best you can. However each individual quest is quite detailed and really immerse. I think its best to think of the game as a collection of short games put together rather than one big game. The game takes place in the Washington D.C area in 2277, 200 years after the great war (Which is a war that lasted for 2 hours in which time America, China and Russia fired their nuclear missiles at each other) and 36 years after the events of Fallout 2. You play as either a boy or a girl (the game lets you choose at the very start in a rather interesting manner) whom is born in vault 101, a nuclear fallout shelter.

The gameplay is fantastic. It is easy to pick up and play, which is what I like in games if it has a pain in the arse learning curve just to figure out which button does what I won't play it. All though unlike previous games in the series which were turn based which gave you time to think and plan your next move, Fallout 3 is real time and you have to think on your feet. However if you want to pause and think V.A.T.S (Vault-tec Advanced Targeting System) will pause the game and focus on your target and you can plan your shots. This method will suit many different playstyles.

I'm playing it on the Xbox 360 (purely because that is the copy my friend lent me) I have seen the PC version and gameplay in that regard really depends on if you are a PC person or a console person. The one (and I reckon only) disadvantage to the console version is no mods. If you want to mod your game (to which there is no disadvantage because there is no multiplayer aspect to the game and in fact modding is encouraged by Bethesda with them releasing a free editor which can be found here) buy it on the PC. Otherwise if you don't really care get it on the 360.

The graphics great. You really see the contrast of post-apocalyptic wasteland and the sterile conditions of the Vault you first start the game in. While at the same time you can see the remnants of the superpower that America was. Real philosophical art-house stuff. All the NPC's in the wasteland are dirty and really give you the sense that it is hard living in a post-apocalyptic world.

Not much to say on sound. The sound track is fantastic and I highly recommend you get it if you can. But the other sounds are ok. Guns sound as they should but you can tell that there are like four voice actors for all the NPC's not related to the main story. Otherwise can't complain.

I'm disappointed that there is a lack of a multiplayer aspect to this game because there is a lot of fun to be had taking the game online but I hear there is a Fallout MMORPG in the works so stay tuned for that.

You know I really understand what people mean when they say they have that "Fallout feeling". Espically when your friends tell you to "shut up about Fallout already!" I can see why it got game of the year in 2008, I'm completely addicted to it.

9 out of 10

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No I have not abandoned you

Yes readers I'm still here. It's been an epic weekend and I've only just recovered. I think I'll start doing a weekly post instead of a daily posy. I simply don't have enough to talk about. So come next Wednesday there will be another post.

Till then peace!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The weather

"Ah what a wonderful day, the birds are cowering in their nests, and its hailing. Yup, IT MUST BE SUMMER" As quoted by my good friend Epic Beard Guy on his blog which you can find here. So as promised yesterday here I am talking about the weather.

I suppose in many cities across the world the weather would be quite boring. But you see here in Melbourne it is a real and ever-present challenge. Across the country summer has finally hit and with it is the expected heat. In Melbourne summer is welcomed with some heat followed by hail. It is a common phrase in my fair city "Melbourne - four seasons in one day" and one that is rightfully so.

To my local readers this comes as no surprise. Many of you live here or have moved away for that reason. But to my international readers here are some things that you may find handy next time you find yourself in the cultural capital of Australia.  you may notice that on a scorching hot day people with umbrellas walking about or in their cars. This is because at any moment the heavens will open and it will pour like the middle of winter. Which may seem odd given that Melbourne is in the middle of a drought but you never know when it will rain. and when it rains, it pours. I think this year one person was killed and millions of dollars in property damage was caused from one particularly nasty storm this year.

On the flip side though the heat can get really bad as well. It can be like the middle of the desert it is so dry and hot or the Amazon jungle it's so humid. Victoria has some beautiful rain forest but when it gets hot enough it can blaze like the center of hell. It was a few months before the bad storm that the Black Saturday bush fires hit resulting in the deaths of around 200 people and the destruction of many towns.

Well there you go I have talked about the weather. I am now out of things to say. That does not mean that I'm abandoning the blog. But I think I may make it a weekly one and not a daily one. Again please comment below if you have things you want me to rant about.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I hate Mondays

To my loyal readers both here in Australia and abroad. Today is Monday and while I would usually be posting something of importance, I can't be arsed. It is Monday. Bugger it.

Also please comment below on things for me to talk about because I'm running out of stuff to rant about. Seriously tomorrow I'm gonna talk about the weather. 

So instead here is a silly clip that originally surfaced on 4chan but has now made its way to the more civilized section of the Internet, ah the Japanese know how to make weird ads:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Predators rant

I have just watched Predators and I thought it was really good until the last 2 minutes of the film. The whole Idea of the film was really good and all the characters were believable. Fantastic casting and a brilliant plot twist but what was the bloody point? If you have not seen the film, don't bother.

I don't know any more. It seems that these days Hollywood has forgotten how to end a film. I know that they want to leave films open for sequels and I really wouldn't mind if they actually made them! So what you end up with is a half-arsed movie with no ending. That really annoys me.

I think Avatar is the only film this year that was actually any good because it had an ending and is still open for a sequel. Since when did movie stop being art and start being sources of revenue? I really hope movie piracy changes this. Because the movie company's will have less money they'll be forced to make films with less special effects and better narratives.

Look Predators ticks all the boxes for me as a good film. Not one that will be remembered in history as a classic. But good enough that you can watch it and not ask for your money back. All it needed is an ending, But if that's all I can complain about the film it can't be that bad. Don't watch it at the cinema because it's not worth the money. But as something to rent from your local video shop it is absolutely worth a look.

Again no more posts over the weekend. You will all have to find something else to entertain your selves for the next 48 hours.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I think of Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was one of those games that got banned in Australia. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about so I downloaded a copy and set it up on my PC.

Straight off the bat the game takes ages to load. This is especially bad at the beginning when there is a loading screen between each cutscene and the very short tutorial levels. I found what worked is while the game loaded I fired up my psp and played Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and played that till it was finished loading. Once the game starts it is actually really good.

The short tutorials are very detailed and really help you pick up the game quick. But each level is actually quite big. The game is linear by design but each level is very open and allows you do do and go as you please for the most part. It still pushes you through the level but how you do that is up to you. You can run through them really quick if you want or you can take your time and do the side missions. Side missions will unlock things like concept art and a fight club feature which works more or less like street fighter but without the insane combos and super moves.

The story (which is written by Marc Ecko) revolves around a graffiti artist who calls himself Trane. Trane lives in the city of New Radius which is really Orwellian type city with cameras at every street corner along with a violent and oppressive Police force. It is up to Trane to bring down this oppressive regime and restore order to New Radius by means of graffiti on every available surface. I mean the story is really cheap but it is better than some FPS games out on the market *cough* Black Ops *cough*  and does have a plot that you can follow. The language in it is all graffiti slang but is not that hard to pick up and a quick google search will fill you in on anything you don't understand.

The gameplay is unique but that's because it has a real graffiti focus. Yeah Jet Set Radio had it too but that was really more of a sports game like Tony Hawk on roller-blades. Marc Ecko's Getting up allows you to organize your blackbook (the sketchbook a graffiti artist uses to practice in) and decide which of a set of up to four 'Pieces' (The artwork a graffiti artist paints on the wall) you wish to use in that level. There is very little ability to customize, all you can do is change the color of them from a set of preset colors. An ability to make custom pieces would be nice but I can see why it is not in it. What I like is how you apply these pieces. It is a minigame and you have to move your characters hand over the surface and spray your paint and fill in the predetermined area. All the while looking out for security cameras, police, rival gang members and normal people who will call the cops if they catch you in the act. Although at first I thought it would be really repetitive the game challenges you in other ways.In order to even do the minigame you first have to reach the bit of wall you want to spray and this means you have to climb buildings, fight rival gang members and avoid being detected by police just to get there. Spraying your piece is a reward for getting there and I it keeps what is a repetitive task fresh and different.

If you are a fan of hip-hop then you're gonna love the soundtrack. Before each level you can fiddle with the music ad just listen to it if you want but I have not discovered a way to do this in game nor have I bothered the gameplay is that good. However not all the tracks are unlocked. In order to get all the tracks you have to find ipods in the game and each one you collect will unlock another song. This really annoys me because it has nothing to do with the game itself. Its just busywork to increase the games playtime. If you can't be bothered you will then miss out on two thirds of the games music. Then again if you a real full on hip-hop fan you will have most of it in your music collection so don't bother.

Given that the game was made in 2006 the graphics are quite good. I've found a few glitches but nothing major, mostly problems with the collision engine where stuff will go through other stuff. The levels feel lived in and the graffiti doesn't look like it was painted ten seconds ago. Some looks like it has been there for years while some of it looks new showing that the graffiti culture in New Radius is alive and kicking.

All in all the game is really good and worth getting you're hands on. I can see why it was banned in Australia what with the whole glorification of graffiti theme but honestly I've seen games which have made classification that are far worse.

I'd give it a 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another small post because my modem sucks

I was going to have a really cool game review up today but because my modem is a little whiny bitch I couldn't. So instead heres a funny picture from the 2010 Asian games I found in the newspaper.

This is the Singapore swimming team. Yes the team designed the uniform themselves and Asian games rules say that a team can't change the design of their uniform midway through the games so they're stuck with them for however long the games go for. The coach of the team apparently had no idea that this is how the design would look when the players were wearing them. Do you not try things on in Singapore before you buy them?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To my international readers

I have been looking at my stats to see how many people are reading my blog and I have just gotten my first international page views. So to the three people in Malaysia and one American G'day from me and I hope you like what you see.

I also noticed that besides my facebook page as a referring site another has popped up so here's a quick plug to them. Check out I have just had a look and they are way more full on than me. I'm just an Australian kid in my room ranting. They have ads, colour schemes, fancy formats and a live feed that shows where people are viewing from which is super cool, I want one of those. Worth checking out.

So yeah just a quick one today because I have been out all weekend and I've only just sobered up enough to use the keyboard.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Real life achievements list

I posted this as a note on my facebook some time ago and it was popular so I thought I'd put it out there for everyone else on the internet to take a look at. 

I find that sometimes life can be really boring, which is why I usually escape into video games. But even these can lose flavour after finishing the game many times (the exception to this being Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I can play that over and over again). Which is why the people at Microsoft searched the world and stole or bought the idea for achievements and in turn Sony stole from Microsoft and thus trophies are born.

Achievements are challenges that bring some life back into a game that either was losing its appeal or had none to begin with. They serve no other purpose than to provide bragging rights to those who for the most part don't care. Even Microsoft had a hard time selling achievements to the gaming public in a video that can be freely viewed on Xbox live. However should you find yourself in a real spot of boredom chasing achievements of 'Achievement hunting' can be a good time killer.

This brings me back to my first point, life can get boring. So why not have achievements (or trophies I'm not Sony-ist, but I'm going to call them achievements because I can) for life! Each one has a gamerscore that gives at a glance how difficult each achievement is. If you want to show them off you can post your scores on your facebook page or on your Bio on xbox live and wherever the hell Sony lets you do that you can post it there too. Coming soon will be a facebook page where you can post your achievements, organize meetings for the multiplayer achievements and to discuss ways and means of getting achievements. Below are the list of achievements for your daily life that you can do when life gets boring.

30G    Reach out and touch someone
  • Hold or participate in a Halo Reach LAN party (minimum of four xbox's)
50G    I think I saw a 2!
  • Write an essay in binary (minimum of 300 words)
10G    Look ma, no eyes
  • Spell a difficult surname correctly without looking at it (surname must have a minimum of 11 letters)
10G    I wish to engage in sexual relations with your spouse
  • Translate the title of this achievement into another language and say it
50G    Did he just run in there?
  • Announce your presence in a room by shouting "Leeroy Jenkins" for a day
5G    Don't eat the dinosaur Daddy!
  • Consume a Milo Godzilla
20G    Never gonna give you up
  • Publicly Rick Roll a stranger
100G    Rollin' Rickey
  • Rick Roll Rick Astley
20G    All your flags are belong to us
  • Dress up as a character from either Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 or the Halo series and play capture the flag outside with at least 3 other players present
50G    I just did the world a favour
  • Publicly burn a Twilight book (any)
5G    At least I got some chicken
  • Walk out of a KFC shop without purchasing anything
10G    Geek pride
  • Wear a game related T-shirt outdoors
5G    Follow the yellow brick road
  • Hold hands with another player and sing "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonder Wizard of Oz!" while skipping
30G    Cake Call
  • Get a persons number by saying a video game related pickup line
40G    Look ma, too much free time!
  • Spell a difficult surname correctly backwards without looking at it (surname must have a minimum of 11 letters)
10G    I'm singing in the rain
  • Go outside and sing when it is raining with at least two other players present

Well thats the list so far. This list will be updated with more achievements as I and my comrades come up with them. But these 16 should tide you over for a while.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunglasses the new guitar?

Last Friday I went to my mates 18th birthday party, It was awesome. Although it was a masquerade party I decided not to travel through my hometown of Springvale wearing it. For the sheer fact that I knew someone was going to mistake me for a gay robber and stab me. So I did what everyone else does on a sunny evening and wore sunglasses.

Of course when I arrived at the party off came the sunglasses and on went the mask but I kept getting people walking up to me and commenting on my sunglasses. Remember these are just a cheap pair that another mate of mine gave to me. People would ask to try them on and no matter who wore them they would look good in them and it wasn't just me who thought so. I'll give you an example.

At this same party one of my mates masks broke (it was some stupid slipknot mask, cool as it may be is completely impractical if you want to talk or eat) So he asked if he could wear my sunglasses. I had no problem with it and said yeah and handed them over. Later on that night this photo was taken.

The guy in the middle wearing the glasses is my mate and the dude in a suit with a silver tie in the right corner is me. A short time after this photo was taken he comes up to me and asks me how much I love him. I was trying to contemplate where this line of inquiry was going when another of my mates walks up and says that the glasses were lost. Now I know where the questions were leading. So we went on a search for the lost sunglasses. it was about thirty seconds into the search that I found them. They where sitting on the head of a girl about three meters away from me. Should have seen that one. They were all raving about how much they liked the glasses.

Which is how I come to my question are sunglasses the new guitar. It seems that wearing sunglasses has superseded pretending to be a rockstar and wearing a guitar. That's not a bad thing. It means you don't need to go out and spend a thousand bucks to look sexy. Its a more economic way of achieving sexy status.

No more posts are going up till after the weekend because me and my sunglasses have a few parties to attend so tune in on Monday for more of my insanity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ads, the vicious cycle

Ads drive me up the wall and I'm positive that I'm not the only one. Which is why so many people download movies and television shows illegally or buy them on DVD. Of course the TV channels are designed to generate ratings so that companies will buy ad space on those channels, but by doing this it drives people away because they don't want to see ads. It is a vicious cycle.

What happens is that there is only so much time in a day. There is a balance of shows to ads. As the ratings drop the channels get desperate. They sell off more ad space at lower prices to keep up the cash flow. However that ad space has to come from somewhere. It is not procured from thin air. It has to come out of the time there is for shows. Which then drives even more people away. If this cycle continues eventually TV will only just show ads. It will be a billboard in your lounge room.

So how can it be fixed? I have absolutely no idea. The Internet was supposed to be this ad free utopia for watching shows and movies but instead of getting ads intermittently throughout the show you get one long one at the start which you cant skip or you get them popping up on the bottom of the screen. Honestly I don't know which one is worse.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GOTY 2010 rant (more like a Black Ops rant)

I was asked last night what I thought my game of the year is. If someone had asked me this question two months ago it would have been easy, I would have said it will be Call Of Duty: Black Ops. After playing the game (both singleplayer and multiplayer) I must say that it isn't.

Why? Because it was the biggest disappointment of a COD game since Modern Warfare 2, the previous game in the series! I am always willing to forgive game companies and let them try and make a better game. This is because most of the staff at many game companies are fired and others are brought in to replace them. Treyarch have had plenty of time to get themselves sorted out and make a really good game. What the hell were they doing the entire time they should have been making Black Ops (or COD Blops as my friend Bradly calls it), taking holidays and chucking sickies!

The entire game feels like its been rushed and while the multiplayer is good (because it's core mechanic hasn't changed since COD 4, all they have done is add pretty additions to it that don't effect gameplay too much) The singleplayer is crap. The plot is set in the first few levels along with some character establishment then nothing happens for most of the game then the Scriptwriters remember that there is a plot (I'm positive that the same guys that wrote the Resident evil movies wrote Black Ops) and mash it in in the last three or four levels. Its not like Treyarch couldn't think of a story. The game is set during the sixties through to the eighties, and a lot of characters and events are based on real people and events. So right there is half of the story done for them. So there is no excuse to make up a good story because that time was a very interesting period in America's and the worlds history. It was the height of the Cold War, the Vietnam war is raging and J.F.K is assassinated. I'll admit it had a good twist, but that was all it had. Once I had discovered the twist I wasn't intrigued nor did it peak my interest in the game at all. It was one of those meh moments. I didn't care.

Zombie mode was nice though. Basically it has everything wrong with Nazi zombies from COD World at War fixed. Although the cutscene for the start of the pentagon zombie level was (while amusing) a complete fail. It was better than nothing. Still zombie mode is impossible to complete without friends, unless you are one of those people with no life and all you do is read blogs and play COD in your mothers basement in which case have a Twinkie and get back to it.

As I mentioned earlier the multiplayer is essentially the same as previous titles in the series with a few tweaks. You don't unlock weapons when you reach certain levels, you buy them with in game "COD Dollars" you earn while playing. The setback is that you cant really customize your gun with all the cool stuff advertised on TV like your clan tag on weapons and custom emblems and reticules until about level 25. Which completely sucks. I can understand the custom reticule being one to unlock but the clan tag should be available right off the bat. Seriously how does your clan tag engraved into your gun make any difference to gameplay? It doesn't it is purely to pretty up your gun. So why not have it! Also (and this is what really pisses me off) I want the ability to have golden guns. But it is only unlocked when you reach the maximum level in the game. I don't have the Patience to dedicate six-odd months of my life to a game just for that one little thing. Totally not worth my time. Still I'll hand it to them that having everything unlocked in LAN and splitscreen games is a great idea.

This game was my number one contender for Game Of The Year 2010. But due to it being so rubbish and no other game catching my interest I'm giving it to DJ Hero 2. Even thought there was next to no storyline it had enough to keep you morbidly interested. The gameplay and the soundtrack is what makes the game so fantastic. The DJ Hero developers had decided to do what they do best and it shows. Black Ops had no direction both online and offline. Also DJ Hero 2 is just more fun to play. Don't get me wrong I'm an FPS fan boy but I want to play good FPS games, and if there is none I'll play something else. Treyarch really shot themselves in the foot with this one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I have started this blog.

I've never been much of a blogging type of person. I could never think of what to say really. But as of recently I have been wanting to say more and more and all of it ends up on my facebook. However because there is a 400 character limit on facebook I am restricted in what I say. Usually what I do is leave the rest of what I want to say as the first comment but it is just annoying. So if Mark Zuckerberg or anyone who works for facebook ever reads this, please do something about it. So until that gets sorted out I'm gonna rant here, and I mean rant. When I have something to say I will say it. If you're not into reading or simply don't care what some Australian bloke sitting in his room on facebook all day has to say then this blog is not for you.