Saturday, 26 December 2009


Some surprises this year but first and formost, I recieved the LOST season 5 box set (from Mrs Osbon) that I asked for. Season 4 started slowly but built into a very good season, I hope the 5th season surpasses the story/action/character-driven plot of the previous four seasons.

The surprises came in with a copy of Metal Gear Solid 4 and The Hangover DVD(the funnest film I've seen at the cinema this year). I may keep MGS4 under wraps until the possiblity of a trophy supporting patch is confirmed or not - Kojima have been very quiet about the possibility of a patch since August this year. All I will say about The Hangover, as you may not have seen it yet, is watch the end credits - they are not to be missed! OK so the movie, Very Bad Things (hello CD) had covered the same ground back in 1998 but I say The Hangover is very worthy of being produced.

Have you finished unwrapping anything 'grand' over Christmas?

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Goodbye BlackBerry, hello iPhone

Traded in my 'uptight' BlackBerry and got myself a 3GS white iPhone. Never knew touch-screen could work so well on a hand-held device but Apple have, after owning a BB for 26 months, made me a present, possibly future, customer of theirs. And no, I don't own a iPod

I'm even enjoying hand-held gaming for the first time(both the PSP & DS have yet to impress me) and Bejeweled 2 is an early favorite.

I'd be interested to hear from other iPhone owners that wish to share any tips or good apps with me.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

All I want for Christmas...

I once new a girl that played in a band. I don't recall her name now but I do remember that she had a moment of sexual bliss with Kurt Cobain, the lead singer/guitarist with Nirvana.

This kinda brings me onto a topic of dreaming of sleeping with a celebrity/star. Last night I dreamt one such dream and it's the first of its kind that I have a memory of, the morning after. The star/celebrity in question was Cameron Diaz(uncredited in one of my favorite movies of all time) and we were outside. During the whole experience, Miss Diaz had that crazed smile that she wore so well in Vanilla Sky.

Now if only I could dream a sequence of Cameron and Evangeline on a spooky desert island! Sadly, I may just have to make do with a new box set...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Reclaim the charts: A better reality?

I don't care much for 'reality TV' with all its factors of X and overweight brothers, give me an episode of LIFE - now that's a reality worth watching. So the prospect of yet another newly-born 'reality star' being top of the charts, here in the UK, for Christmas is fairly sickening. But wait. Could there be a sniff of debunk to the no.1 spot this Christmas?!

Unlikely as it may seem, Killing In The Name released 17 years ago by Rage Against The Machine has an outside chance of taking the number one spot - all thanks to a Facebook group. I've made my purchase on iTunes(ready for delivery of my iPhone tomorrow) as I believe it's the public right to tip the apple cart and upset bland corporate marketing.

Interesting, the 'Killing In The Name' single reached the Top 40 back in 1993 in the UK - peeking at #25. At the time of typing this, the majority of download charts have it at #2, this without Rage Against The Machine having any connection with the Facebook campaign.

Lordy knows if they've picked up on it yet - better they don't.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Be kind, rewind

Braid is the videogame title I missed when it launched but the innovation in that title alone, has been a staple sorely missed from my recent gaming experiences. I will be writing a deeper account of my impressions of Braid very soon - look out for my own 'videogames of the decade' list to be posted before the year end.

Whilst I'm on the subject of innovation and Braid, these are the times when I feel I was born in the wrong country.

Friday, 4 December 2009


Two bloggers I've missed since they became MIA:

Foton - last seen April 1st 2008 @ AFK Gamer

Was the blog I read to balance out all the dry, ridge posts made by other MMO bloggers back around the time I played WoW. Although I don't play MMOs now, I still keep AFK Gamer in my feed reader in the hope new posts will arrive.

Foton's self-indulgent introduction post from 2004.

Dave Yeager - last seen July 31st 2009 @ Soul Kerfuffle

The post that hooked me into Soul Kerfuffle? Take a read through The View From The Top - it gave me time to pause and consider my own thoughts on the time I spent, trapped in the MMO grind. Still in my reader, Soul Kerfuffle was one of the blogs that inspired me to write online. Not a gaming blog or an MMO blog - Just one man doing his part to add more background noise to the internet.

I sent Dave Yeager a email question(as I also did with Foton) as, being a curious fella, I wanted to know what was keeping him away from blogging:

Since your last blog post, what have you replaced that time with and do you miss blogging?
Since my last post I have purchased my first home with my wife, but otherwise I don't think much has changed really. This is a good thing mind you, but I have filled the time with things like work, friends, some amusing community sports such as dodgeball, wiffle ball, and kickball, and plenty of video games to be sure. Neils Clark's book, Gaming Addiction, came out and really I wondered what I could possibly do for an encore in the realm of relevance in the gaming community lol.

There was a time when I looked to redefine the purpose of the blog as a source of good news, but really Happy News does that already and better than I ever could anyway. I actually intend to do some "Best of the Decade" posts with a couple of my friends, but even those take a back burner to other things. I do not particularly miss it, only because there is so much terrific content out there that I don't see that I can add much to the discussion anyway - and if I do wish to add something, I can always comment. ;-)
Of course, since Mr Yeager sent me his reply to my question, new posts are beginning to surface at Soul Kerfuffle! Sod's law..!

So, my readers, if you had the power to bring a retired/MIA blogger back to entertain you with their wise words, who would you pick?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Tibet brings out the beast in Nate

I've now played through both Uncharted games and I have to say that I'm truly impressed with the experience that both games gave me. Not even Assassins Creed II or MW2 could sway me from completing the single-player mode in Among Thieves - I'm now playing Drake's Fortune through for a second time but on the hard mode setting.

I've recently reviewed Uncharted 2 over at Caught in the Crossfire - close to perfect as a gaming experience can be and probably my game of the year. The excellently paced action-stained storyline has some stand-out moments but the one that engaged me the most was the Tibetan village 'down-time' of chapter 16.

I love videogames for moments like these when they are unexpected but fit in so well with the mood the game has set. The scene comes just after the cinematic chase over the outside of a moving train(chapters 14/15) and the video above highlights a few of the subtle moments that made it a highlight for me - the beast mode medal is something I initially missed. Playing ball with the children and discovering others hiding from you are very nicely scripted.

I do hope there's to be an Uncharted 3,4 and 5!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A gamer's gluttony

2009 has been a year where I've crowned my gaming with a big fat 'g'. Yes, I've felt overwhelmed by the wealth of videogame that has been played on my consoles - I also fear/giggle with glee that 2010 will see a sharp increase over the catch of 2009.

From the releases of 2009 that I rented, owned or borrowed, only 3 titles have I completed ☑ - none of which have been a favorite ♥ for single-player storyline experience. Of course, the very newest releases could well be the titles that I will yet complete - even if it's in the early part of 2010:

Assassin's Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum♥
Burnout Paradise The Ultimate Box
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin☑
FIFA 10♥
The Godfather II
Halo 3 ODST
Lord of the Rings Conquest
Left 4 Dead 2
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Resident Evil 5☑
SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
Section 8
Street Fighter IV
Terminator Salvation☑
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves♥

In 2010, and as early in as January, Bayonetta looks a very tempting 'first game purchase' of the New Year. It has all the ingredents to blow away, the final remaining cobwebs of 2009.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The World according to Snoopy

  • Snoopy must get at least one nap per play.
  • If Snoopy cries then your not paying the right attention to her.
  • Snoopy will hide in the most out-of-the-way places. Causing panic to all those around her.
  • Tails are to be chased and bitten.

Finally, after 12 years without a cat, an 8 week old female kitten has joined the Osbon clan. This is our first ever kitten(only previous cat was adopted at a few years old), so all is new to us. I spent most of the early morning sleeping with her on the living room sofa!

We decided on the name Snoopy because of her markings and her sometimes timid, sometimes understated character but all very cute.

And then there were three...

Sunday, 8 November 2009

'No' to NaNoWriMo

Two years ago I failed, somewhat miserably, at finishing a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November - aka NaNoWriMo. I didn't take part again in 2008 and again this year I'm stearing clear but my experience, back in 2007, was a good one of self-discovery. I still have the 10,000 or so words in a number of notebooks and even have an idea for a new novel which would suit the NaNoWriMo but not for this year.

The blogger that lead me to be involved in the NaNoWriMo experience was Yeager from Soul Kerfuffle, who doesn't look to be involved this year. A blogger who has become fairly infrequent with his posts but to my history of blogging and motivation he's invaluable. My personal thanks to you, Dave.

A number of my fellow bloggers that are attempting to put aside their procrastination and are actively involved in this years NaNoWriMo are listed below - I congratulate them all for their bravery:

"If any of you reading this have danced around the idea of NaNoWriMo or generally around the idea of trying to write something, but have managed to slither out of it through a combination of apathy, procrastination and terror, then maybe my experiences can be of some help. I’m not trying to bully or cajole anyone into NaNo — for me, it’s helpful to have a deadline and a public commitment, but that’s all it is."
"Just for fun I thought I would be fun to take a screenshot of my novel written on my iPhone everyday. That and it is easy way to keep my blog active. So, check out today’s snapshot."
"I’ve done NaNoWriMo once before, in 2006. I spent every morning before work diligently typing away, and had one crazy weekend where I wrote 20,000 words over the space of two days, and ended up finishing around November 20th. The finished novel, tentatively titled “Reality”, then sat on my computer for years. Every so often I’d open up the Word file and cringe at how awful it was, have a go at editing a chapter or two into something resembling a real novel, and then give up again, but mostly it just sat around being ignored. I kept thinking that I really should do something with it, because it was a really really awesome idea – zombies in the Big Brother house! – and then Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set happened, and I finally acknowledged to myself that I never would work Reality up into a publishable novel and it would be forever consigned to the dusty recesses of my hard drive."
Good luck guys!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

My Eurogamer Expo 2009 roundup

 Early morning queues

Ah new games! Their smell is so inviting! And sure enough, this years Eurogamer Expo drew a merry bunch of bloggers, tweeters and more importantly, gamers to London town. After missing last years expo, I'm so glad I made the short trip into London.

Stand by your beds!

The organised meet-up came together well(although I did lose everyone near the end of the event) and in attendance was: shuttler, pragi_uk, jonshute and vanhemlock, teppotastic, xbevisx, tigerears, oueddy and copperbird. I also spent some time with DolphGB talking over such things as the missed oppurtunities of the PSPgo, why the hell is there no release scheduled for the God of War Collection in the EU and his great site, PS3 Attitude - which does great things for the GamesAid charity.

The expo posse, minus a few...

It can be a little daunting when you meet up with people you have only ever 'talked' to online, for the very first time. I'd like to thank all those I met on the day for being themselves and making the day a very enjoyable one.

Gamer's delight?

So let me first begin with what I thought had the best showing at the Eurogamer Expo.

God of War III

I loved God of War II on my PS2 but I never finished it. Thankfully there's the God of War Collection to come, even if I have to order it on import, where I'll be able to relive the game, remastered with Trophy support.

The proported last in the series, God of War III, looks jaw-droppingly good and the E3 playable demo shown at the Eurogamer Expo shows off some of the new gameplay mechanics. March is beginning to feel too far away.

Plain Sight

A surprise for me was to find an indie game I enjoyed and would consider buying. So step forward Plain Sight, 'a 3D multiplayer arcade game with robots, bombs, swords and messed-up physics'. Fun fighting as a robot with a sword in a multiplayer domain, sounds an unlikely mix but it works. I understand that it's to be released on multiple formats sometime in 2010.

Bonus time needed

The Saboteur looks like it should, given the recent gameplay videos I've seen. But I didn't really get enough time with this title, as there were only two booths for people to try - not sure why that was. For now, I'll be keeping my preorder placed.

While I'm on this subject, I can't for the life of me understand why Assassin's Creed II only had 4 booths when most other titles on display had at least eight. I did hear that the version playable was fairly old but as I couldn't get to try it myself, it's hard for me to comment on this one. It was that busy, I really had problems even seeing the monitors and they were not small by any accounts.

shuttler takes on Global Agenda

Star Trek Online was the first title we looked over at the expo and our playthrough left a fairly good impression, even if the demo was fairly short. It's hard to judge an MMO demo when so many features are not included and the 'Massive' is missing from the MMO. I did sign up for the closed beta - something I haven't done for any MMO this year. For the sake of my fellow gamers who are looking for a new MMO home, I hope STO lives up to its early promise. Check over Shuttler's more indepth appreciation of STO at the expo here.


I'll not be playing Dragon Age: Origins, on the strength of what I saw. I'm will sure it will sell well but it's not for me.

I'll be looking forward to next years Eurogamer Expo with the hope that I can meet up with the same guys and girls. But I wonder, can we expect next years batch of titles match the flood of great videogames over the last two years?

I'd like to think so.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

2 days to go...

...and I will be joining a motley crew of gamers, bloggers and tweeters at the Eurogamer Expo in London.

My nostrils will be full with the smells of videogamesness and I'll do my best to tweet what I find interesting(everything!) and follow it up with a roundup post, upon my return.

You can follow my #eurogamerexpo tweets here.

Monday, 26 October 2009

A history of writing

While I was contemplating moving my blogging activity from Wordpress to Blogger, old thoughts began to spiral back from the mid '80's. These years were not always the most fun for a shy, withdrawn teenage such as I. But it was in these solo moments, that some firm foundations were laid towards the emphasis writing has over my life today.

Looking back over my writing history, I have fond memories of a time when all I owned was a manual typewriter, producing home-made fanzines after school. The very first of these was my The Marvel Update back in December 1985 - I attempted a round-up of the current X-Men, Dare Devil, Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spiderman and Web of Spiderman comic book titles. I still remember picking up my comic books, at a local store, every friday and I had a cunning plan to produce my monthly marvel update fanzine for the store to sell. Being 15 years old at the time, this seemed a fool-proof plan and I planned world domination! Of course, the 15 years olds of today may not be such wild dreamers as I.

My other great love of the late '80s, early '90s was the new wave of hardcore punk music(see Ian Glasper's book, Trapped in a Scene) and again fanzines were my writing outlet. So SLAM was born, lasting all of two issues. Interviewing bands, writing gig reviews and very sloppy cut 'n' paste design, were the order of the day. By this time the writing bug had bitten hard and there was no escape - I was DOOM(ed).

Thinking back to the mid '90s, you can blame my first home PC and MMO gaming for the lack of anything similar to the DIY fanzines of the '80s. Of course I did write in note books, on scraps of paper but for reasons unknown, I was never a desktop publisher. I can only believe that the distracting power of PC gaming(and those naughty MMO time-sinks) got the better of me.

Blogging, and subsequently freelance writing, have only been a very recent activities for me. With gaming in the MMO, World of Warcraft prompting me to start my first blog, The Liber. This was probably back in 2005/6 and over those handful of years, my writing has become something which is part of my daily life and not something that I'd give up easily. But I do question how long blogging can survive in this fast-paced and ever-changing world? And where will my writing lead me over the next decade?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Uncharted 2 saves my PS3 from indifference

Wakey, Wakey!

I feel a secret slumber has slowly been lifted from my vision. I have new eyes for my PS3, no longer is it just a Blu-ray player with a gaming system tagged on. Instead, this second impression is of a good if not great, videogaming console that can compete with my 360, for gaming time.

And that is thanks solely to one videogaming title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Don't get me wrong, I have tried other PS3 exclusive titles; Killzone, Little Big Planet, Resistance 1 & 2 but these didn't impress upon me anything other than a feeling of meh.

So why Uncharted 2: Among Thieves? What makes the PS3 gaming experience so much different this time? Maybe it's the combination of timing, uniqueness, refined fun and polish that made me go out and track down Uncharted: Drake's Fortune at a local Argos store, for £9.99. I'm now running through both games storylines simultaneously and it has been nothing but fun and adventure since.

I worry that this maybe the only exclusive IP that I ever enjoy on the PS3 platform(what with Metal Gear heading to the 360) but I can only hope it isn't. If nothing else, discovering how good videogaming can be(thanks Naughty Dog) on the PS3 has given me the patience to try out more titles in the future - even if they're not exclusive to the platform.

And who said first impressions last?