Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Multiplatform Game Site Actually Likes PC

Now I don't usually make a habit about talking about Gaming Lists that spring up on game sites, but this one is particularly good. It's the "9 (why 9?) Scariest Games Of All Time", and with the exception of the last on the list it's absolutely spot-on in my opinion.

This is mostly because all the games on there are (with two exceptions) are PC games, and mostly aren't even available on consoles. I found this so refreshing I had to post a Blog about it. Normally a list like this (on GamesRadar or wherever) would throw up Resident Evil, Project Zero, Siren and all the other third-person fixed-camera crap-controlling console survival horrors.

System Shock 2 might make it in to one of those lists, but would the Haunted Hotel level in Vampire: Bloodlines? Dark Seed? Clive Barker's Undying?! Did I actually write this list and forget about it, or something?

(On a happy note, this is the first post on this Blog to mention Clive Barker's Undying, System Shock 2, and Vampire. I'm proud!)

EDIT: It's been noted that they missed out the Thief games and Condemned. Oh well, kick off Dead Space and stick in either Thief 1 (Return To The Cathedral) or Thief 3 (The Cradle) then we'll be happy.

- Chris Capel

Saturday, 28 March 2009

How To Put People Off Going To See Your Top Three Summer Movies, by Paramount

Paramount- screwing up franchises since 2008!
(Yes, still non-gaming, but at least we're back in the comfortable realm of Geeks now after Dave's terrifying descent into something vaguely approaching cool)

Regardless of whether you give a shit about them, three really big movies of this Summer all belong to Paramount. They are:

Star Trek (the JJ Abrams reboot of the franchise that went so far up its own arse it's long since circuled back around to Prequel territory)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (the Michael Bay toy robot-stroke-vehicles blowing things up movie, 2)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (as close as we're going to get to Team America: World Police 2, except with less convincing performances)

Now, I'm not going to say whether I'm looking forward to any of them or not, but I'm sure we can agree that these are going to make a lot of money, provided Paramount doesn't really screw up their advertising.


I went to the cinema today. Hoping for some entertaining trailers to relieve the pain from the eyeball-gougingly terrible advertising, there was one of Paramount's. Now films only come with a limited amount of trailers, but Paramount had three major movies coming soon to show off. Instead of doing them separately, making a decent job of it and running the risk that one could be pushed off, they decided to advertise them all at once.

They condensed all three trailers into one very confusing, fast-paced and downright stupid reel, then had a cheesy voiceover person say the titles as quickly and dumbly as possible. There was a lot of sniggering in the audience.

I've seen the full trailers for these films. GI Joe still looks rubbish, but at least Star Trek and Transformers 2 looked entertaining in trailer form. But rushed through and with a pointless voiceover narration that stopped being cool some time in the 70s, I was embarrassed.

Still, at least Paramount weren't the only ones. While there are plenty of dark and ominous Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailers to choose from Warner Bros decided to make the film like some campy teen comedy. Just without the comedy... which I suppose is normal for most teen comedies.

- Chris Capel

Thursday, 26 March 2009

No games here.

You know, this blog isn't just about games. Even if it was, I'd post this anyway. I'm just a FUCKING REBEL! YEAH! Although perhaps more in the theoretical sense than in any Zapatero-esque way.

The reason I'm posting this now can be split into two: first of all, I wanted to tell you how lovely the "crushing, monumental doom" of My Dying Bride's new album is. 9 tracks guaranteed to make you start hacking at your limbs with whatever sharp objects lie nearby? Remember that Pig Destroyer album cover? The one with the guy sitting there, his limbs scattered about him, his one free hand gripping a saw, his face a mask of Devilish pleasure? That's what you'll be doing when you listen to this, only it will be a metaphorical crescendo of leg-severing and you'll probably be crying while you do it.

Secondly, I'm posting this because I haven't done anything on here for a while and listening to mournful violins playing across the bleak, poetic savagery of MDB's newest release reminded me of all you cheerful little snuggle-bunnies...

...wrapped in barbed-wire and being electrocuted by evil Metropolitan police officers with tazers.

That's all, I'm off to bask in my Santuario Di Sangue. Look it up (Marco, you won't have to, I suspect).

Dave B

Sunday, 22 March 2009

omg stop calling me

One of GTA IV's most fundamental failings was the story's emphasis on people I didn't like. Whether it was Rockstar's intention or not, the "friends" you acquire and often work for throughout the game, were quite realistic...primarily in the sense that I ended up dreading their calls and wishing they would all fuck off and leave me alone so that I could enjoy my car-crashing frivolity. Just like real life.

Of course also like real life, if I started to feel bad about neglecting these friends and agreed to go bowling with them yet again, they would find some way to make the entire process horribly difficult and would manage to be the other side of the city from me, despite not living there nor having any reason whatsoever for being there.
And then they'd have the cheek to bitch about me not reaching them in under an hour.

Playing through the game again, I find myself hunting down all those random encounters you have with strangers throughout the city...and enjoying them a hell of a lot more than my dealings with the "main cast".
Not only are these little encounters short, but the stories are diverse and the characters are well-written. And, a rare thing these days, I couldn't always predict what was going to happen in these mini-stories...a far cry from the main plot's "drive here, engage in inevitable shootout, escape" mission formula.

And so that's my thought for the day; GTA IV should have ditched its main story, and had all the missions emerge from the city itself in that trendy "emergent gameplay" manner that seems to be all the rage at the moment.

Oh, and on an unrelated note...Lady Isolla of Suno, from Mount and Blade, came to me with a most unsettling problem recently.

I think she may have been stoned.

- Nick Brakespear

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness

I have a problem. I am a PC elitist. Despite the fact I’ve owned a PSP, DS, Xbox 360, PS2, PS1 and Mega Drive, the majority of my gaming has taken place on that big box of nerdy goodness, the PC. Where else can you learn Chinese at the age of eight to play the Heroes of Might and Magic II that your parents brought back from their holidays in the oriental?

For thirteen years I’ve gamed on the PC and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve been writing professionally for a variety of online publications for around two years. Marco Fiori’s the name and if you search hard enough you’ll find my musings on the video games industry. David’s promised me a cookie if I write for his blog so here I am, planning on taking you on a magical journey to a time when games were good.

I find it difficult to pinpoint the very moment I realised I was playing a game. It could have been watching Doom on MS DOS at a friend’s or playing an unnamed tank battle game on the Game Boy. What I do know is that the below games provided me with the basis for my passion. They shouldn’t be avoided or forgotten.


Arguably the first game that I ever owned. Bundled with our first DAN family PC, this racing game will still give modern titles a run for their money. Following an epic CG intro sequence, you’re tasked with working your way through a variety of races across barren canyons, abandoned cities and crumbling factories. Surprisingly responsive and sharp 3D graphics, POD blew me away. Add to that the inclusion of an AI driver by the name of Marco, it had me sold. Supposedly PC Zone gave it a 90% back in the day. Fear the 120 MHz system requirements.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri:

While Civilization I, II, III, and IV have all attempted to eat away my sanity, I still remember AC as the definitive experience. Where else could you pit mind-worms against religious fanatics? The red planet had everything you could want from a strategy title. Diplomacy, technology, customizable units, conflict and human transcendence. If mankind left earth, this is what it’d be like.

Baldur’s Gate:

You can’t be a PC elitist without quoting one of Black Isle’s games. Thankfully BioWare are still (generally) going strong. While BGII and Icewind Dale garnered more attention, Baldur’s Gate was what started my love affair with RPGs. It was so influential, at the age of ten, I wrote a collection of stories with Lotif, a mirror image of Baldur’s Gate’s narrative. From the moment Candlekeep was revealed, there was no going back. It’s a vital part of gaming heritage and it’s still playable today. Arguably, Baldur’s Gate II is superior in every respect, but nothing could take away the fear of Sarevok’s murderous rampage. Epic in every sense.

Theme Park:

Coffee shops. Need I say more?

Total Annihilation:

The fact that 12 years on I’m still loading this up at LAN parties and playing with mates shows its strength. Sure, Supreme Commander increased the scale and graphics engine, but there was something missing. I was always a bit of an Arm fanboy. Surprisingly, I never really delved into the campaign, instead choosing to role-play as the commander and living out the life of a military genius. With an awards list as long as my arm, TA makes Halo Wars look pitiful. Let’s forget TA:Kingdoms. May you R.I.P. Cavedog.

Half Life:

It started it all. You don’t need me to bang on about it.

Whether or not you believe that gaming is what it used to be, you can’t help but accept that without the above titles there would be no Mass Effect, Killzone 2 or Beauty Salon.

Marco ‘Snoozer’ Fiori

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Saga of Download Manager

Please find below my account of the dreadful battle I waged recently. I swore I would never utter a bad word against EA since they saved The Tale of the Brutal Legend, but I never said I wouldn't complain about the programs they force on us.

My quest began searching for a fun new game
Which for legal reasons I cannot name
Suffice to say it’s one of which you’re all aware
And might (or might not) feature Ric Flair.

I had a code to get the game for free
(Which I like as I’m a tight bugger me)
My first problem was where to input this phrase
My searching put me in quite an angry daze

I searched and searched high and low
And at last the box for the code did show
I found it by clicking on a slightly different button
(When it comes to punishment it seems I am a glutton)

The code put in, the price was nought
Then on the next screen I had a thought
Why is my credit card number needed?
Very quickly some doubt was seeded

Out of trust I went with the flow
I got to the final billing page, and lo
The price was still completely nil
And so would not trouble my credit card bill

The game was received, my download near,
But be warned my tale becomes worse from here
I was wary of the company’s Download Manager
As I’d heard it behaved like a repellent teenager

I soon discovered it was actually worse
Than the most devilish and insulting curse
Spewed from Satan’s foul-mouthed tongue
And spoken by a French taunting one.

Upon trying to run the program desired,
I soon discovered a Flash plug-in was required.
“Fair enough”, said I, proceeding to the site,
Where I was soon to battle a painful fight.

For Windows of the Vista clan
Did block my access with a ban
Delivering this terrible message as my install was locked,
“For safety reasons this ActiveX control is blocked”

No choice was I given about whether to proceed
My consultation was something Vista didn’t need.
Clicking on the ActiveX bar just yielded More Information,
And left me mired in deep depression.

Internet Explorer wouldn’t let this plug-in be installed
My whole endeavour seemed to have stalled.
“Fuck you then” I to Internet Explorer said,
“I’m going to go install Firefox instead.”

Mozilla’s baby was quickly downloaded,
As the Flash plug-in installed my fears were eroded.
Returning once more to Download Manager’s den
I cursed in anger as that message came up again.

The Manager wouldn’t accept Firefox as base
I seemed to becoming a real hopeless case.
Lowered IE’s security settings did I,
“Not gonna happen” decreed IE with pride.

Flash’s help site a dodgy program recommended
Messing with my registry should not be commended
In desperation one last course of action I tried
Download Manager’s directory files I spied

Opening up a totally random file
(While praying to myself silently all the while)
It saw that Flash was not fully installed
“Would you like me do it?” it cheerfully called.

I clicked on “OK” thinking I’d give it a bash
But lo and behold, the plug-in arrived in a flash.
Download Manager now worked perfectly fine
And within a few hours EA’s game was mine.

Now we come to the end of my tale
Of Manager, Explorer, Vista and Fail
Curse me again I’m sure they will dare
But for now excuse me, I must wrestle a bear.

- Chris Capel

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Look out, he's not got a shooter!

Just a short post about a new article of mine on Gamezine before I transcribe my recent epic battle with EA Download Manager.

Where Have All The First Person Shooters Gone takes a look at the upcoming games this year in the FPS genre, and wonders where the hell they've all gone. We've got a few impressive titles, but hardly the overwhelming flood we get most years.

P.S. I've been reliably informed that I've missed out Call of Juarez: World At War (or whatever it's called). Meh.

- Chris Capel

Monday, 9 March 2009

What I'd Like to See?

Other than the entire female cast of Red Alert 3 naked, covered in honey and crawling towards me with feverish looks of lust in their eyes?

Well, not much, but one thing that comes close is a yearning for another Alexander-type add-on for the Total War games, perhaps an entire game of just such a thing. People have been saying Empire needed to reconnect more with the 'core values' of the original. I say hogwash to that... but there's no reason this couldn't be explore in, say, a spin-off series or specific expansion... is there?

No, there isn't.

- David 'stockpiling honey' Brown

Friday, 6 March 2009

Starved for Attention

Perhaps I'm an exhibitionist, but if I take all my clothes off, people should notice. If I throw a potted plant at someone's head, they should at least call me a twat. If I stare at a woman's breasts for ten minutes straight, there should be an application of knee to nuts, or at least a bit of a frown.

Put quite simply; if I'm acting like wanker, someone should call me a wanker. Is that so much to ask?

A few games have done this over the years, to a varying degree. But I can't help but feel that while the industry is focusing so much upon graphics and physics, they're letting the potentially gratifying "little details" slip away.
This modern trend for "achievements" is, perhaps, a step in the right direction; recognition for the quirks of player behaviour. But it's also a step in the wrong direction when it comes to singleplayer games. I don't want some ethereal message telling me that yes, I did in fact jump off a building for no apparent reason. I want an NPC to point at the bloody mess that once was me, laugh, and aptly observe, "what a tit!"

Portal had achievements, but who gives a flying fuck, really? Surely having that crazy AI inform you that "you're not a good person" after you exploit your way through a puzzle is infinitely more satisfying.

So yeah, I'm playing through Oblivion again. And this is how the game isn't:

"Dude, check it out! I'm nekkid!"

In spite of the supposedly advanced "radiant AI" system Oblivion uses, I could teabag the entire Imperial Legion, and Sean Bean would still be staring at me blankly, talking about Oblivion gates or somesuch. Oh, if I punch him in the nuts, he'll get angry and pull an angry face. But other than that; it's like there's a line of code somewhere in there that says, "just ignore him, and he'll get bored and go cover somebody else's bed with Daedra hearts."

All those times I've massacred the entire population of the Imperial City? It's just a cry for help, because none of the fuckers were paying attention to me.

I saved the world from demons. I fought the demons right in front of Sean Bean, all the while shouting, "LOOK DAD! LOOK! ARE YOU LOOKING!? YOU'RE NOT LOOKING! WATCH ME SMITE THE DEMON!"
And did he look? Did he fuck. Sean Bean's no father of mine.

So I opened up the TES Construction Kit and unticked his immortality box. Yeah bitch, how you gonna fall "unconscious" now?

Also, I hate Steam again. Why offer me the chance to play Unreal Tournament 3 for free, when the servers can't handle the inevitable locust-like swarm of cheapskate gamers? THE SWARM HUNGERS. GIEV FREE GAME NOW. Even if it probably is a bit naff, and an insult to the memory of the original.

- Nick Brakespear

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

How Sony Changed The Entire World, Ever, At Every Point Of History, Even Before Sony Were Actually Created

I just read this massive load of bollocks and felt the need to post about it.

The article is IGN speculating about what the games industry would be like if Sony had never decided to exploit the opportunities Nintendo and Sega's arrogance had given them and entered the console market. To sum it up, basically no exciting games were ever made and gamers were stuck with immature games cute furry animals collecting coins.

All this was written without mentioning one significant platform: the PC.

It asks if Resident Evil would've been made if Sony hadn't pushed Capcom to make it? Well, as RE was a rip-off of Alone In The Dark combined with loads of ideas Capcom had been having for a long time (check out GameTrailers' recent RE Retrospective for the proof), I suspect it would have.

Even more infuriatingly, IGN suggest that without Sony's push to make gaming more adult and mainstream, it would've meant that Mass Effect would not have been made. Excuse me?! Yes, it would have, and it would've been PC-only.

Without Sony though, the "consolisation" of gaming might never have happened. Without the casual gamers and the "mainstream" entering the market with lots of money, publishers would never consider dumbing their games down.

In short, despite it never appearing on a Sony console, according to IGN we have Sony to thank for Deus Ex: Invisible War.

- Chris Capel