Tuesday, February 27, 2007

World of Postcraft Part 2

Bored of the GH2 songs yet?

Lemmie suggest to you Freezepop - Less talk more Rok. It's one of the bonus tracks, and it kick ass. buy it, play it, master it, love it

World of Postcraft Part 1

Hey kids!

Its been a while, but I'm currently working on a wee journalism project of which i hope to fill you all in on in the next few days.

In the mean time i would like to dispell some of the rumours that have been flying about Richie Possibly taking up playing World of Warcarft. I can place all your minds at ease an tell you that i did not sucumb to the temptations of the burning cursade, and i have not started World of Warcarft.

UPDATE: Richie has been playing WoW for ages now. Alas! He is dead to us now. Gone. It's a tragic end to the second greatest videogame blog writing duo of all time. I was invited to his funeral. Here was his eulogy given by me Cunzy1 1 last week.

"Never the most attractive woman, he was good at clicking a mouse button. Well I say good. SOmetimes he would miss it but he would try really really hard. He was never that good at most other games. Except, no. No I just remembered he was pretty shit at that too. But ummm. Yeah. If you have any ideas about what he was good at then post them on the Second Greatest Videogame Blog of All Time In the World, That Guy's A Maniac at www.thatguys.co.uk. So I've got to have dinner now so I'm going AFK. Divide up his loot between you and always cherish Robbie's memory. Thank you."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Book reading is turning all our kids into obese, gay, terrorists

Hi, my name is Cunzy1 1 and I have an axe to grind. I'm going to spout my point of view as fact and back it up with misinformation and uninformed hearsay. Today, I've got an issue with kids reading books, especially homoerotic books about wizards and dragons and the such.

Gone are the days when children would come home from school, play a few rounds of Quake 2 with their friends and then sit and talk to each other over a nice dinner between friends and families. These days kids are obsessed with reading books about 'wizards' who use 'majicks' to 'save the day'. They are becoming mindless zombies sat tranfixed with words on a page barely moving save to turn a page or to 'shoot up' some heroin which they learned from another book about drug abuse. People in bookshops don't care, they rarely check ID when the lazy slob children come in to buy the next installment of Manly McMan's book about shooting and killing real people from nearly real countries. The parents don't care either. They don't sit down and read books with their children they just keep buying them books so that the children don't notice when 'Uncle' Jenny comes round when Daddy is away.

Yet they maintain all the knowledge they get from reading books and what use is it? Dragons and terrorists don't exist in real life. This knowledge is useless. Also, it's affecting education. We all know that evolution, earth history and phylogeny isn't taught at school anymore but children just aren't playing dinosaur and other prehistoric animal games anymore they are obsessed with reading filthy books like Jurassic Park or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Disgusting. It's no wonder all our children are obese terrorists. My parent's generation certainly didn't read books and my generation dabbled in the written word behind the school sheds but just once to try it.

SAVE OUR CHILDREN! BURN THEM OR BOOKS

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Big UK Con!

And not "Con" as in Convention, "Con" as in the UK is being fucked over.

I'm Privy to a little information, and it is information that i feel should be more common knowledge. Have you ever wondered why consoles cost so much more over here? Well, its all to do with Tax. The consoles get taxed much more here than in places like Japan and the US. Why is this? Well its all to do with how consoles are classified, to this day consoles are classified as VCRs, and the reason VCR's are taxed so heavily is because of their ability to record television. In this day and age this is archaic, hell even at the time it was stupid! As if your fucking NES could record TV. Stupid, Just Stupid. And you know that the government won't change this, nor will they make it common knowledge because they are getting our money! Think about that when you go out to buy your PS3, don't think that it's just Sony Shafting you Mr Blair is too. That's right a Governmental-Corporate-Double-Penetration-Conspiracy.

I'll get back to you when I work out a way to... um... Take down the government from the inside or something.

Richie Signing out.

P.S. Big shout out to Fiona on Bugs Blog. Happy Birthday.

Chuff_72 Speaks: THE BIG ONE

Richie and I have been dealing with a big court case at the moment because of this post so we haven't been able to blog about Fifa 07 or the latest fake WoW :( .
However, you may remember that Chuff_72 was doing an important mission, as a maniac, but on behalf of all gamerkind (That's you readers). Have you tried to buy a game in real life recently? I'm not talking about the brand newest games I'm talking about old games that have been out for a fortnight or something? Impossible! Mr.Game only sells 5 types of EA game so where do we go to buy the underated classics like Tomb Raider 3 or Resident Evil Code Veronica X? We go to the Indie stores, at least in theory we do. I would argue that if game developers want to sell their games they should make sure their games stay in fucking stores for longer than a week. Chuff_72 went to scope out the game shops in Europe's capital city, London. London must sell some ace games right? Right?
Here are his findings in one big chunk, Chuff_72 That Guy's Salutes You, working to save gamerkind....

Ok, so Cunzy has told you what my mission was but here are the rules;
1. Only stores that appear on Yell.com when the words “Computer Games” are entered
2. Only stores with an underground station within easy walking range
3. Only stores that are actually stores and not firkin internet cafes – I’m looking at you Digital Underworld

So, off on the journey, 7.30 am out of the flat and down to the Post Office to pick up a bundle of PS1 stuff, I was to carry these for the rest of the day as a form of good luck charm – fat lot of good that was.

First stop was Lewisham, initially to get a train but hey, the Flagship GameStation is parked here, and while it has never let me down in the past today was a different matter, nothing of interest, this was a sign of things to come.

From overland to underground and to Holloway Road in The North, Zone 2, on the way to my first port of call I spied a Cash Converter, I once bought a Master System and 20 games all boxed for £30 from one of these places so I cruised inside – Guys, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, if you put em behind the guitars, in a glass cabinet with a bunch of DVDs in front NOBODY IS GONNA BE ARSED TO LOOK, if we can’t see the games, we’re not gonna buy the games. From here I found myself outside a Blockbuster, with a co-joined GameStation, now, I like these style stores, I have fond memories of picking up SOS for £3 in a similar store in Chatham. Seriously though, two guys in a GLASS BOX with an Xbox on the wall and two racks of games does not constitute a Computer Game shop. Needless to say there was fuck all in there, though they did have a copy of Fifa…

On the way back to Holloway Road I happened to pass a market, now I gotta say, I’m not the sort who frequents markets, the cries of “awwwww shit Champ Man 8 awwwwww” from all the addidas wearing chavs tends to keep me away but for some reason I decided to cruise through. I found myself in a dirty tent with a woman, clearly tripping off her tits, with a baby crawling over her, “nice” I thought to myself, however I spotted an unboxed copy of Lylat Wars (a game I personally despise) and never one to walk away in the face of a bargain and not wanting to be seen leaving empty handed for fear of insulting the locals and thus ending up in a giant man made of straw on fire, I purchased said game. It was marked for £5, here’s a tip – always haggle with the druggies, they always give in, so I got it for £3 and that was the first bargain of the day, not that it’ll EVER get played mind you. There was also a NES in reasonable condition, but it goes against my personal religion to purchase hardware from a market… and it had no wires or pads…

On to Wood Green, the home of Tim and Daisy, where you can allegedly rent a two bed flat for £90 a week… It is also in Zone 4 and therefore officially off the map (my A-Z) here my friends, there be monsters. But this place had FOUR Computer Game stores, it is Mecca for all the Computer Games Pilgrims. This was gonna be intense, I could tell, my main worry was how was I gonna resist all the bargains and rare treats…

So first up was Shekhana World of Games, seriously they should just call it Shit World of Shit, infact drop the “World of.” How best to describe Shit Shit… There’s a piece of ripped brown corrugated card ON THE FLOOR the proudly states, LOOK, PSX GAMES, NEW, written in a shaky hand with black marker pen. Import games? Specialising in Gamecube, or PS1? Any other retro crap? No. There is nothing for sale in this store that Game or Gamestation don’t sell. The only reason I can see to buy anything from this store would be out of some kind of misplaced urge to give to charity, seriously, save it, sponsor a dolphin or something, at least that’ll send you one of those I Love You letters.

Next on the list and inside the awesomely named Shopping City, was Awesome Games… frankly you’ve got to be fucking kidding, Awesome Games? Not to over use the theme but lets call it Shit Games, in fact lets lose the Games. So, Shit then, in side Shit they have a copy of Gran Tourismo on Playstation, it looks quite new, nice and shiny, it costs £25, that’s right readers, £25 whole English Pounds. This sums up Shit. Anything else? Any games that I can’t walk into any number of other stores and buy, you know stores like WHSmith or Woolworths? No? Ok here’s an idea for the owners of this tragic waste of space (we all know you’re reading this), try selling games that are harder to come by, you know the games that Game and Gamestation have refused to stock, Gradius V, DS games, Rez? Just think of the flock of gamers frustrated by the elevated eBay prices flooding to the store. Oh yeah, they had a copy of Abe’s Odysee too, it was also £25, I don’t want to talk about it.

Downstairs in Shopping City (gotta love that name, it reeks of a Zombie infestation) was the tyrant of the Computer Game retail world, the Pink Master, and lets face it, we all know what’s gonna be in a Game, yet we always wander in. It’s got something to do with brand recognition or some bollocks. But how does this Gaming Giant handle the Gamecube faithful, here’s a picture…

Awesome isn’t it, 14 games, and 4 of them are Zelda – which are only labelled Coming Soon, Bratz, Sims, Sims 2, Ice Age and Fifa, I’m so glad the Wii is GC compatible.

So off to my second choice for all game purchases (Game Focus, you have nothing to worry about) GameStation in Wood Green, disappointingly not in the Shopping City, but a little ways down the road, it’s one of those small GameStations, you know there’s not gonna be a lot to choose from, but always the possibility that there’s fried gold somewhere on the shelves – or in one of their legendary glass cabinets. And low and behold, Chuff_72 picks up Shenmue, still in it’s card sleeve, and Nightmare Creatures for the combined price of £7.99 SIIIICCCKKKKK. Not to mention the the Turok 2 / Dinomaster Party combo that could have been someone’s for only a fiver, but someone wasn’t answering their phone that day. Ok I’ll admit, I mark out to GameStation on a regular basis, it’s somehow managed to get a chain of over 11 stores with Zone 1-6 alone, and yet still manages to hold on to that indie store appeal, there’s always the hope that something will slip through and you’ll be the one to get THE bargain, Point Blank 3 for £5 anyone? SIICCKKKKK.

By now I was pretty depressed by the state of the indie scene, the work FUCKED, springs to mind. It was in this state of mind I checked my “to do” list and saw there was one final store in this part of London, a little further up the track, right on the edge of Zone 4, Southgate, M R Games. I knew it was close to the station because I had checked the day before, but once again I was map less. The power of TGAM propelled me down a random road and through a Blockbuster, only to be greeted with the site of fake boobies. Not just any fake boobies, these were Anime boobies, some might say, the best kind of boobies, but these people all live in capsules and have robot dogs.

The boobies were part of some Anime display in a glass cabinet – at TGAM the glass cabinet is king – any store with a glass cabinet with cool shit in it scores big, and this cabinet had everything from Gundam to Streetfighter, no games but who cares. Inside the place was tiny to the point of being silly, a double sided shelf in the middle of the floor ensuring only single file movement and moving round the store in any other direct than clockwise was impossible. The tight confines were exacerbated by the insufferable twat hanging off the owners cock cooing about Metroid Pinball (which I have just found out was never released over here, another reason to delay my DS purchase – Cunz, still not used my Jag).

Ok so this place is small but somehow all the bases are covered and everyone is represented, yes even the Gamecube, but amongst the sparse collection were a few gems, I picked up Crypt Killer (a game I’ve never see in any other store) for £3, a bargain, well it’s got to be really since it’s shit and isn’t compatible with the G-Con (so it’ll never get played) but that’s not the point! Rare games are represented here, in this tiny haven for the true game fan (and don’t forget the boobies). Bestest thing in the store? Gotta be the twin joystick arcade style setup for the PS1, “for you sir, £30” to which I went hmmmmm DrWo would cream himself if he saw this… And not wanting to be covered in the good Dr’s man juice I left it for some other lucky game hunter.

It had been a long day, I had seen a lot of shit, but there was some ray of hope in the chavtasticly named icon3games (changed from M R Games), my feet were killing me and its surprising how heavy and spiky eight PS1 games can get when you’ve been carrying them all frikin day, but that’s what it’s all about readers, that’s the dedication expected of a TGAM Man In The Field. And so one last store beckoned, calling me to it, after all it was only one stop from London Bridge, ten minutes tops…

From Bermondsey station it was about a twenty minute flat footed walk, under a couple of bridges, down a couple more roads and then, in the distance a row of shops, a couple paper shops a Co-op and a butchers. No, it wasn’t a butchers, it was infact Tower Games, it was the Blue neon in the window that confused me… and the complete lack of games… and the bongs in the window. After walking all that I there was no way I wasn’t going in, even if all I came away with was another hash pipe.

I was greeted by three fat sweaty fucks, greased up to the max, bathed in the blue glow, playing CoD3 on PS2 (Next-Gen has yet to arrive in Bermondsey), the store itself was sparse to say the least, I think they had a copy of Fifa, but can’t guarantee it was ’07. Needless to say I don’t recommend anybody wasting their time visiting this store (that’s what TGAM’s for!).

And then I went home… to crack one out over my copy of Shenmue. On the strength of the above Indie Computer Game stores can go fuck themselves, except for Game Focus, we love the GF – hopefully it won’t start erasing our collective memories about how we were all once in an orphanage together.

Join me sometime in the near future when I will be reporting on the other side of London, until then C_72 out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

WORLD EXCLUSIVE WEATHER THEMED REVIEW EXCLUSIVE OF LOST pLANET EXCLUSIVELY BY Chuff_72

Here in the good old U of K it is snowing. In England (Scotland can handle snow and no-one has heard from Wales for years) when it snows everything breaks. Trains, cars, airplanes, TV reception, Everything. However, Lady and Gentlemens even though we are currently all snowed in, with only a couple of cans of Heinz Beanz for sustinence until Spring, wonder-commentor and Honorary Hardcore Maniac, Chuff_72 has written the world's first review of Lost Planet to coincide with more than a little bit of snow in England's capital. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IT HAS HAPPENED PEOPLE, you saw it here first*

Take it away Chuffter:

"Is it cool to tell yourself, "I told you so"? I watched all the video's, downloaded all the demos and masturbated over my copy of EDGE, yet at the back of my mind there was a feeling that there was something wrong with this slice of arcade pie...
To begin with I followed the crowd, the Dr
(
Dr Wo 69, also a stalwart Maniac and long term gamer. He also does Dr Wo's surgery for this site) and I managed to convince ourselves that yes, we really did enjoy the two steps, then explode multiplayer and the repetitive single player demo, the finished game would have loads more to it, right? Right?
At TGAM we have a couple of tests for all our Next-Gen purchases, one of the most important is this; Can you shoot the glass out of the windows? I hate to bring up Timesplitters (actually I don't, I like to bring up the TGAM Game of the Year 2006 as much as possible) but in that game you can shoot out frikin stained glass windows and there's even a level devoted solely to smashing glass with a brick, so any Next-Gen product best be able to match that... Enter the 360 and CoD2, I don't want to talk about the disappointment suffered here. In Lost Planet you can blow up a car with three rounds from your shotgun, but can you smash the glass in the background? Can you fuck.
So this small detail has put me on the defensive, I start noticing other things, like how the snow, the main element in the game doesn't react in any way to the game, foot prints don't stay, furrows vanish, when you walk forward big white lumps fly around but no trail is left, if Motorstorm can do it, then why can't Lost Planet? Massive explosions don't make holes, RED FACTION ANYBODY? The auto aim removes the need for precision, the levels are basically linear tracks, the grapple hook is completely under used, why follow the Tenchu model? Why not make it so we can Spiderman our way through the levels, especially as Wayne runs like a fuckin Joey!
And what happened to the Capcom factor? Where's the little hidden quirks, the dashes of humour, where's Megaman (just for the record most TGAM posters and commenter's hate fucking Megaman, just so you know), why can't I unlock a Tyrant to play as or some stupid hidden weapon? I know this being a Capcom game I run the risk of being branded a Gayer, but honestly, this game could have come out of any number of studios.
So what did they get right? While there is no story and the graphics are decidedly underwhelming they nail the atmosphere right to the wall, and when played purely as a dumb arcade run and gun from one end to the other it IS good fun. The multiplayer is also good for a laugh, but I can't see it holding anyone attention past a couple weeks, the lobby system is as much to blame for this as anything, which must have been designed by a donkey on crack. The levels are far too large, even with a full complement of 16 players (quite rare, and will get rarer... how Resistance is gonna fill up with 40 remains a mystery to me), but there are a few smaller levels that means you can get up close and personal, but don't use the melee cos it's about as effective as furiously masturbating in the face of a charging gorilla. So, like the single player, it's good fun in short bursts, but becomes flaccid over time.
Final thoughts? I look forward to the inevitable sequel in the hope that they fix some of the above and maybe add a co-op mode, but for right now, I can get £30 on trade in at Gamestation to put towards Crackdown..."


*It's this kind of service you can expect from the World's Second Greatest Videogame Blog. Harvind1 we're coming for you

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When Games Go Wrong (again?)

We've all been playing a game when suddenly the phone rings or the smoke from the kitchen reaches your nose and you have to run out of the room to deal with the situation. With the fire abated you return to your unpaused game to find, nothing much has happened......

You still finished the race and you weren't in last, the gaggle of Stormtroopers failed to even take you down to half life. That's right kids! I'm talking about lazy game design.

It must have happened to you, when you realise that if you play a particular game by running through trying to pull off awesome combos you will die once or twice but if you walk slowly just using kick you still reach the end with full health. For me, this really ruins a game, destroying the illusions that a) You were any good at the game in the first place and b) That the virtual world you are is one full of unique characters not mindless robots programmed to run up to you and try to kill you. How many set pieces do you know that on the first time round seem mind blowing but on the second and third times round it seems all a bit procedural. Good examples are the beach landing in Medal of Honor somedy somedy, the Pearl Harbour attack in Medal of Honor Rising Sun and the "destroy the bridge with the big tank on it" bit in the original Red Faction. I know I've had fun breaking set pieces by moving on to the next section too fast for the game or getting into a position behind where the enemy spawns in. What, at first, you thought was a really difficult section is actually showed to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. Worse are the set pieces in which, you actually don't have an effect. In FPS these are normally bits involving spacecraft or airplanes. Every time you play a level you shoot at the aircraft eventually bringing it down in a spiral of smoke. The one time you don't fire at it you realise that it's scripted to always go down in a spiral of smoke.

More classic examples are Dynasty Warriors and Timesplitters. In Dynasty Warriors hundreds of guys surround your hero, you panic, flailing weapons wildy; 100 dead, 200 dead, 300 dead. The noise of war deafening to your ears. However, if you just put the pad down you'll see that although there are hundreds of guys surrounding you, they very lethargically try to hit you , each warrior politely waiting for someone else to hit you before having a go. In Timesplitters, depsite the fact it was made Game of the Year 2006 by the World's Second Greatest Videogames Blog, COM players will run up to you, stop, then take three paces back before firing at you. If you are playing the game as frantically as you think it should be, you don't notice. Take a step back and you'll see that it's all over-engineered for you to win.

Command and Conquer is a good one too. You knew that if you could just defend your base for an hour, you could then just walk into the enemy base that'll be guarded by two dogs and a jeep. The enemy aren't programmed to fight an ongoing war or battle which is why playing RTS against someone is so much more fun.

Driving games can be guilty of it too. Especially, those ones that use an invisible tractor beam to auto-right your vehicle when you are deliberately trying to turn around and drive the wrong way. If you are playing a driving game and can't manage to face the right way perhaps you should practice a bit more or get some professional advice.

Lazy game design makes you feel like you are good at a game but essentially it's all a bit easy. But how would it be otherwise? It seems almost peverse that enemy AI has to be toned down or that you fare worse in a game because you are trying too hard. If the AI was programmed to just find you and kill you, most games would be way too hard. Instead they are programmed to take cover as well, run away for a bit, rarely use grenades etc.

Some games try to cunningly mask how easy they are by introducing a massive difficulty spike that makes you think, wow this bit is hard. In fact the rest of the game was very easy and by comparison the spiked section is hard. Or they use the multiple re-spawn get out, step up Kingdom Hearts 2, to make the game seem difficult or harder just because of the sheer numbers of enemies to defeat.

So what's the solution? Programming enemies to just hunt you out and shoot you or to drive consistent perfect laps makes games too hard. Programming enemies to be a bit retarded or programming in occasional errors can work but runs the risk of shattering the illusion of the virtual world.

Some games opt for a setting your own difficulty challenge. For example GTA or Final Fantasy. You can decide whether to go to Ammu-Nation, buy some hardware, and a body vest and then find a sturdy vehicle to go on a mission. Alternatively, you can go in with a handgun and rely on a bit of luck and skill. Final Fantasy gives you freedom to progress with the game however you want but you won't get far with all your guys on level 9. Similarly, you could punch above your weight with some clever ability and skill combinations. I don't particularly agree with level dependent MMORPGs i.e. "You can only attempt this at level 50". But this may be an effective way of crowd control rather than forcing 'the grind' to progress in a MMORPG.

Besides, breaking a game or finding it's faults is all part of the fun. It's gamers' nature to try things from all angles and report it or moan about it to the community, be it, to real life gaming friends or on message boards. If you don't believe me then look at all the FAQs, forums, speed runs, glitches, easter eggs and reviews on the internet criticising or acclaiming games.

What shouldn't happen in games is that it is easier to not die than to die or fail. We've all being playing a game, made a mistake and then left the character to get beaten to death by enemies in order to restart at the checkpoint. Then it takes a while. Then a bit more. Then too long. Then even longer. It should not be easier to succeed than it is to fail, unless of course you're playing one of those 'experimental games'. That doesn't have objectives or a life bar or noises when you collect 100 of things. You know, like Second Life, in which case, fuck off.

Cunzed

Monday, February 05, 2007

SICK

SICK indeed friendsSo this arrived in the post today!

Now all I need is a computer that can run it. Stupid PC gaming. Still, in the event of the end of the world I can travel from town to town scrounging tractor batteries to run top of the range PCs and I don't have to worry about finding the game. I'm going to put this game and all my other dinosaur games in a bullet proof CD case and carry them on me at all times just in case the end of the world happens.

On that note, I'm now cheating on That Guy's a Maniac with my new blog Cunzy11'sdinosaursingames blog. I'm going to be the world's leading expert on dinosaurs in games and co-author of the World's Second Greatest Videogame Blog! Just see if I ain't.......

In other, non-dinosaur related news, Chuff_72, long time commentor, member of Catch the Monkeys and other Games B69 and guest writer is on a mission to discover London's greatest game stores.
Here's a sneak preview of his antics on Saturday, tune in to catch the rest sometime this week:

I did it dude, I fully did it, and you know what? It was genuinely a bit depressing! I mean there's a reason we all buy coffee from Starbucks, it's cos it tastes the best and has a greater selection.
Holy shit, I have no idea how they survive! Awesome Games was selling a copy of Gran Tourismo 1 for £25 What The Fuck. I hit Shekhana World of Games, Awesome Games, M R Games, and Tower Games (also two Gamestations and one Game - my feet STILL fuckin hurt!) They were all sooo bad, except one M R Games, which has changed it's name to something I can't remember, which had some Streetfighter figures and a copy of Metroid Pinball (SIIICCCKK).


Anyways, I completely forgot to bring my notes with me, but I've got to write it up from home cos I took pics of all the shops (holy shit, Tower Games was fucked up, it had a load of bongs and blue neon in the window, and three fat greasy fucks at the till - and there were NO GAMES, I think they had some Fifa's). I walked bastard miles and saw some wacky shit, the GStation in Holloway Rd was these two dudes in a glass box, with two racks of games, in a Blockbuster - and I bought a copy Lylat Wars for £3 of some drugged up black woman in a tent (I shit you not). Definitely worth the effort though, you gotta come on the next one.
Catch you later (just remembered I tried to call cos I could have got you Turok 2 (boxed) and Dinomasters Party for £2.50 each).


Where was I that I didn't pick up my phone readers? WHERE THE FUCK WAS I? I could be two more games towards being the World's Leading Expert in Dinosaur games but I blew it. Turok 2 and Dinomasters. Next time gadget, next time......................


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