Saturday, 10 July 2010

Moving...

Model version 2 of Badinage has now begun its life over at the blogging platform, Posterous.


I have merged ALL the posts from here, over to the new platform. All there is for you to do is bookmark the new URL & add yourself to the new subscription feed link:

URL - http://davidmosbon.posterous.com/

Feed - feed://davidmosbon.posterous.com/rss.xml

Am hoping that the new platform will be a better environment to blog in; as it includes quick email posting and a better social media integration.

Signing off from Blogger in 5,4,3,2,1...

Friday, 9 July 2010

Bright Falls all cut-up

Have used words here from the Alan Wake game manual in a cut-up style to form a summary of the game as I currently see it during my play through. Just a bit of fun that I may make into a regular feature...


Alice?

If view limited, when on roads, use lanterns.

Will of revolver and shroud are with you...

Friday, 2 July 2010

Social gaming utility poll result

Votes have been counted - thanks to those who took the time to click a button or two and expect more polls in the future.

In total there were 9 votes cast on:

WHAT IS CURRENTLY YOUR FAVOURITE/BEST SOCIAL GAMING UTILITY IN BETA OR FULL RELEASE?

6 votes for Raptr

1 vote for Playfire

2 votes for other

I did kinda guess this would be the case, based on my small readership. I had expected a few more votes(as I linked the poll to my Twitter account) but for a first effort, it's not too shabby.

The results did throw up a few further questions that I have begun to consider:

  • 0 votes for GamerDNA - Am I not alone in the opinion that this isn't as accessible as Raptr?
  • Do we as gamers think that, 'social gaming utilities' have any real benefits to our enjoyment of videogaming?
  • How can these utilities be improved?

Anything to add?

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Ask Palpatine




As a child growing up in the '80s, I loved TV puppets. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Spitting Image were some of my favs.

If you want a modern day fix of puppet madness then click over to Hoggworks Studios - Ask Palpatine is just one of their creations.

[Thanks to Brain Needed Space]

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Poetry Retrospective #3

England on the plane back to the UK next Thursday...let's fucking hope not.


Sun Downer*

It's bloody,
whole generation.

This generation
is vain,
sun drown.

When everything burns
against you,
society blankets
and begs...
hold onto the feeling
of the time.

This generation
is vain.
Orange shower
sun drown.

*first published 1995 in a limited edition collection, 'Polarise'.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Week 22 in subspace-urbia

Can a post-season get any worse?

Benitez had been manager at Liverpool FC for nearly as long as I had been married but after a very poor EPL campaign('09-'10) the pressure was on for something to give. Shamefully, the cancers(as one blogger nicely puts it) are still there as owners of the club. I can only hope that Mr Dalglish picks very wisely in the coming weeks/months!

I've reached a point in the main storyline of Red Dead Redemption where I feel a break from the game is needed - I do this often with games that have an open-world setting and while some have not been revisited yet, I did crave a return to an unfinished ACII. I'm making some nice progress there and only have the last upgrade to the off-hand hidden blade to go - the pistol. Leonardo hasn't requested any MMO style hunt & gather type quests, so I take it he's come to the conclusion that the proposed Sforza horse project is just never going to happen - shame that. I'd have loved to have seen a giant bronze horse placed within the grounds of Ezio's villa.

My first ever game for my MacBook Pro has now been downloaded from Steam. Impressed by the trailers and by some of my peer's experiences of the game, I took a stab in the dusk and installed Torchlight. Although I have yet to give it a run for its money, it has spurred me to go back and look at Raptr - not entirely sure why it did but am glad all the same. I had been less than impressed by it when I first gave Raptr a look over but I didn't remove myself from the beta and it has been collecting my gaming data ever since 2008. Looking at Raptr now, there's a very clear and easy to use interface with some nice touches and I'm hopeful for it's future. Include to that that a iPod app. is due to released very shortly, and I may just stick with Raptr.

On that final note, I am curious to know what my gaming readership think is the currently the best or their favourite system of recording their gaming achievements etc. I have added a poll to the sidebar for you to cast your votes.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Rockstar and the Sforza horse


I have never been on horseback - riding around in games like Red Dead Redemption are no way a substitute, but I can appreciate the love that these animals give to people and how different the world can look from the saddle.

So it comes as no surprise when artists, like Leonardo da Vinci, spend a great proportion of their lives trying to replicate a larger-than-life impression of such an elegant beast. The ill-fated Sforza horse project, that Leonardo undertook to honour Ludovico's father, took many years of his life to realise and due to the restrictions in technology and the lack of resources, it was never completed in his lifetime but that never stopped him from dreaming his dream.

Thinking in more modern terms, where would fantasy movie-making or gaming be without the love of the horse? Riding horseback is an essential ingredient to the whole fantasy world experience without it we'd be stuck with fast-travel and waypoints - goodbye exploration!

It's also good to see Rockstar making the horse a seriously proposition with the open-world of Red Dead Redemption, as they developed the game. To a different degree than compared to Leonardo da Vinci, Rockstar have obsessed over the idea of the horse in an artistic form and it rightly shows. There maybe a few things that Rockstar could have added into the mix(i.e naming your horse, branding, stabling etc) but we don't know to what detriment to other areas of gameplay these would have caused. Let's not forget that Assassin's Creed also gave us a better feeling for horseback riding than any of the MMOs on the market at that time and I would still argue that it still does today.

I wonder what Leonardo would have made of these digital representations of his beloved beast? More importantly, will he be making me run errands to collect bronze for his Sforza horse project in Assassin's Creed II?!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ezio and Leonardo


He(Leonardo da Vinci) maintained his repugnance for weapons used treacherously or for assassinations, such as poisoned arrows, but designed many ingenious and deadly devices himself, offering them to the warlords who were his patrons.(Vezzosi, 1997, p.63-66)

Currently, I am studying through the OU short course, A178 Perspectives on Leonardo da Vinci. It's a very well designed course that gives the student a fuller and more rounded appreciation of the works of Leonardo and the time that he lived in.

When I initially began playing Assassin's Creed II, I was dubious over the use of Leonardo da Vinci as an outlet for your character(Ezio) to procure weapons and assassination devices. I began to think that Ubisoft had created a darker side to Leonardo to suit the game's background and storyline. But as I have progressed through the said OU course, I can see that Ubisoft have been clever and utilised a side of da Vinci's character that many may not have realised he possessed.

I have yet to complete the main storyline in ACII but have acquired a few items for Leonardo, who has in turn helped Ezio with weaponry etc. Not sure if the following guide is correct, maybe you can confirm this if you've finished the game, but I'll be interested to see how other items are incorporated into the game world of Assassin's Creed II(especially the infamous flying machine):


Hidden BladeEnables Assassination TechniqueSequence 02, Memory 03
Hidden Blade Armor PlateDeflect weapons with the Weapon HandSequence 03, Memory 02
Double BladeHidden Blades in both hands – EnablesDouble Assassination TechniqueSequence 04, Memory 01
Poison BladeSecond blade for the Empty Hand – Enables Assassination by PoisonSequence 05, Memory 07
PistolFirearm added to the Empty HandSequence 09, Memory 01


Bibliography
A.Vezzosi (1997) Leonardo da Vinci - Renaissance Man, London, Thames & Hudson.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Honor to the Red, Dead and least, the Lost


In a light-hearted spin on how past and present game characters would fit into a future wild west game setting, on the back of the recent success of Red Dead Redemption, the Examiner has put together a collection of images. My favourite is Donkey Kong, looking good as a stereotypical bar piano player(see above).

The Examiner also have a nice send-up on the topic of 'what the cast of Lost can do now that they are out of work' - here's the link.

[wipes tear from eye]

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Waiting for a resolution



I'm more 'cowboy' than 'gangster', more 'western' than 'modern-day suburbs'.

The 'western' has been with me as my favourite great escape, just as long as the sci-fi adventure(which is more or less, a retelling of the western in the far reaches of space) has been. No surprises considering Star Wars was released in 1977 and A Fistful of Dollars released circa 1967. Both these films shaped my early pre-teen imagination and I believe I have yet to be shaken those strong initial archetypes. But then again why would I? I feel lucky to be a child of the '70s for that very reason.

So Rockstar have made me rather happy with the release of Red Dead Redemption. Not only for bringing back the western genre to video gaming again but by doing so trying to raise the profile of, what I consider, an under-appreciated genre that deserves better.

The movie Unforgiven(1992) and to a lesser extent, The Quick and the Dead(1995 - which has a town of Redemption, at its centre) did much to breath life back into the genre in the '90s. And I have yet to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Henry Ford(2007) but it could be that the genre is dying due to a lack of real interest within the movie industry. Sometimes it takes another medium to bring it around, so I'm thanking Rockstar for not giving up and also taking a gamble on a genre that should be held in higher regard.

Friday, 14 May 2010

...the UK sounds more and more foreign all the time.

Politics!

There. I said it...pleugh...

Exit left, the chancellor that became the PM that didn't win a general election.

I once read that we 'get the leaders we deserve' which is a fair observation, as we are all products of our time. Is it the party or the image portrayed by a party leader, that floating voters(like me*) decided on?

An American friend of mine(see Aaron's comment - 3rd down) is perturbed by what he's read and seen regarding the recent general election. I can see why he would feel that the UK is a foreign land to him. The political system in the UK is very out of date and steeped in rhetoric and doesn't feel generic to the land or people.

Maybe this coalition government can, if nothing else, make politics in the UK relevant to the general populous and stir them from a coma-like existence.

*yes, I did vote.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

So long and thanks...for nothing

After my first trip to Anfield, to watch a preseason friendly against Spanish side Atletico Madrid, back in August 2009, I had an unnerving feeling that the forthcoming 09-10 season was going to be a poor one for Liverpool FC. Don't ask me why, as the previous season had been one of Liverpool's best placed finishes in the Premier League. I just felt Mr Alonso would be missed and surely enough, he was.

Normally at the end of another season, I'd have something positive to say about what I had seen in the last 10 months of football. This year I have nothing worth commenting on, as the woeful position of 7th in the PL speaks volumes.

These are the seasons that test your loyalty and reserve.

2010-2011 season can't get any worse?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

DAVID as a movie rating

I wish I had thought of it but am glad a fellow blogger, and movie/comic book buff, has had the imagination to spring forth such an excellent review rating system.

OK, so I'm a little biased. I'm a DAVID. And I do remember saying to a friend once, how weird it was that DVD was DAVID without the vowels. I got some odd looks but it suited my agenda...

David from Clandestine Critic is the blogger in question. His is an entertaining blog and I'd be more than happy to adopt his movie rating system if I had Badinage set out that way. As it is, I don't plan to review things in quite the same way but I'm still jealous that I hadn't thought of it!

If you like your movies and comic books then Clandestine Critic needs to be in your reader. With over 750 posts in its 5 year history, DAVID is nothing if not dedicated.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

District 9 owes plenty to Bad Taste




I admit, I wasn't a fan of District 9 but I have been a fan of the films of Peter Jackson ever since Bad Taste(one of Jackson's first features) was released back in 1987. Forgetting that District 9 was produced by Jackson, I feel it's styling and some of its feel are a homage to the 23 year old comedic sci-fi.

I wouldn't have given life to this way of thinking though, until a recent friends tweet triggered me to reassess why I didn't enjoy District 9 in the way I thought I would. I can remember seeing the trailers and had an impression of a taunt and dramatic sci-fi thriller but the movie, or at least my impression of it , was darkly comic. I didn't connect with the main character, Wikus van de Merwe and found him irritating rather than endearing.

My lasting impression is that I was misled, to a degree, what to expect from District 9 by its trailers. I watched the movie feeling almost cheated and wondering aimlessly if this was honest film making, which I admit is rather harsh. But where Bad Taste showed it's honesty of intention from the outset, District 9 had its potential clouded by some PR smoke and mirrors.

Now that I know what to expect from District 9, a second viewing would be worth taking in to try and get an untainted experience and maybe appreciate other parts of the film that I may have been distracted from.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Can't stop the A-Train


The Boys - The Name Of The Game collects issues #1-6


Kick-Ass - Book One collects issues #1-8(9 with Director's cut issue)

    Both Kick-Ass and The Boys have renewed my belief in comic books as a unique medium that can still be a rewarding to read. I picked both up without prior knowledge of what to expect, although I had seen Darick Robertson's artwork in Transmetropolitan, but am so glad I did.

    I wouldn't hesitate in recommending both these titles to anyone that has grown tired of the standard fare that has come from Marvel & DC of late. But I'd also feel that these wonderful titles have something to offer anyone that likes their drama mixed with a wicked sense of humour. I laughed at Wee Hughie's predicament within the first few pages of The Boys first chapter, 'The Name of the Game' and I dare you not to find it absurdly funny and a very good hook into the story.

    Although both Kick-Ass & The Boys have their own pace and style, they do share a very rare commodity in comic book titles of late - there is a sense of care and warmth shown to the characters in each title and the sense of uncertainty to what will happen next is magnified by the great writing and artwork in each title. There maybe some throw-away deaths or jibs & blunt language but the stories allow the characters a breath of emotion that draws you slowly into their world and understanding of their condition.

    I will be reading the second collection of The Boys, 'Get Some' next. I suggest you get reading...

    Monday, 12 April 2010

    Week 16 in subspace-urbia

    What with a PC outage, 6 days in a cellular black spot and looking after a kitten(post-op), my last few weeks have been tough on my gaming time. I have only played We Rule on my iPhone these past few weeks, along with some recent Words with friends. The break from console gaming(and cellular blackout) has allowed me to start and finish a book and catch a so-so movie.

    I'm hoping to see the Kick-Ass movie very soon and will aim to post something about the comic book & movie then. What I will say about the graphic novel, that collects the first book, is that it has restored my faith in the comic book as a interesting medium. It has been a very long time since a comic book has drawn me in so quickly, as Kick-Ass did. Even if your not a fan of Mark Millars, I would still suggest you put those doubts aside and pick up the graphic novel - even if it's a borrow.

    To my regular readers, a quick apology for the lack of activity here of late. But until I am in receipt of my MacBook Pro, hopefully later this week or early next, I have very little access to a stable platform to blog from. Normal service will resume, soon enough.

    Sunday, 28 March 2010

    PC closure

    Back in December last year, I jettisoned my Blackberry mobile phone for an IPhone(my first ever Apple product). In very different circumstances, I now have a window(sorry couldn't resist) of opportunity to move away from PCs and buy my second Apple product, a Macbook Pro.

    My primaries for choosing a Mac aren't based in the need to have a gaming machine. I want a break from PC and Microsoft based OS, need portability and from what I have read and seen, the Macbook Pro will suit my needs.

    That's not to say that gaming on a Mac is totally out of the question as there maybe a few titles that come out on PC/Mac only format that I may like to try...maybe even the odd MMO...


    *Youtube video note: This is not I but gives you an idea of possible gaming on a Macbook Pro, even if this is running on Vista OS

    Tuesday, 23 March 2010

    Narrative is not a dirty word

    Give me a good story, well told, and you'll hook me each and every time. Give me all this but add the illusion that I can change the outcome of that story, and I'll show you an excellent videogame experience.

    Sure, if I was to raise the debate over whether videogames are just an excercise in button-pushing reactions and can't be classed as narrative, in the classic sense - then I'd be sure to be stirring up a hornet's nest of opinions. I know my view on what videogames could and can be and also what 9 out of 10 times they are, so let's not go there. I also know that gamers want the thrill of action and multiplayer over most other things in a new videogame title release. And that's fine, as there's a place for everything and variety in videogaming is always needed.

    My personal hopes are that developers in the future don't neglect the balance of a well crafted story that dances side by side with action and adventure. With any luck, developers will listen to the likes of videogame design consultants like N'Gai Croal.

    N'Gai made an insightful reference to the opening sequence to Bioshock 2(see EDGE issue 213 pg 156), wishing that the three minute cutscene was longer but also, that it were interactive. This example of possible gameplay would motivate the player to see out the full extent of a storyline, and their effect on it, rather than rushing on through, to blaze-a-trail onto the next combatic encounter. This was put into practice in Mass Effect 2, with cutscenes that allowed Shepherd to perform an action while an NPC was in dialogue mode. But I would like it to be put into far greater effect by developers and would mean that they wouldn't feel the need to rush a story or time limit a cutscene for fear of player boredom.

    I, like N'Gai, maybe in a minority of gamers that want better involving storylines in our videogame titles, rather than a multiplayer element or destructible environments in the next Call of Duty clone. But I hope developers feel that there's much to be rewarded in developing new and better ways to tell and share a story with current and future gamers.

    Saturday, 20 March 2010

    HDMI saves my PS3 from indifference

    A while back I had my PS3 infused with infectious and much needed joy by the release of Uncharted 2(winner of 4 Baftas). But I have learnt that I'd only been giving the Sony system only half the chance needed to impress me. Unfairly, I had been running it through a 32" 7 year old Sony CRT. With this overight now corrected, I have to say, what a difference a slight change of setting makes!

    Moving my PS3 upstairs and hooking it up to a 24" HDMI monitor ala my current 360, has opened my eyes to the beauty of the PS3 and it's media. This has obiviously been helped by playing the recently released God of War III.

    With the two gaming systems sitting side-by-side, using the same outputs, I will have a much better view of how system exclusives match up to each other in the future.

    Thursday, 11 March 2010

    I am ##error##

    I've had a fairly quiet week with little time to commit to anything other than my 9-5.

    I did catch some of the 82nd Oscars, on the back of which I made a few Blu-ray purchases - The Hurt Locker and Watchmen. Neither of which I have watched but the amusing time-travel observations of the former, made me grin - product placement over the historical sound? Why not...

    Assassin's Creed II is back in my 360 drive, as I try to finish a growing number of 360 titles that I own or have been sent to review, now that I have completed Heavy Rain. Playing Ezio also ties in nicely with the prep. study I am making towards my 12 week course, Perspectives on Leonardo da Vinci, that begins in May. LdV is one of those characters from history that have fascinated me for a long time now. I still feel I know very little about him when you consider that the way his life's ambition seem to rest on trying so many different aspects. It'll be interesting to see how Leonardo the videogame character matches up with Leonardo the historical figure.

    Later in the month I'll be attending the 'What Are Games Really Teaching Us?' event at the Dana center. I'll no doubt be taking notes/photos for a later post but if you intend on going yourself, I may just see you there.

    Sunday, 7 March 2010

    formspring.me

    So you want to get to know me better? Or know what makes me tick, even?

    Maybe you question doesn't fit with what I have been posting about? OK that's fine...drop me a question(which can be anonymous, if your feeling scared) over at my formspring.me account and I'll do my best to give you a pack over lies honest answer. For the time being I have placed a widget in the sidebar for ease of use and will review the use ever now and again.

    You never know, I may just make a post about one of your, hopefully, entertaining questions.

    Saturday, 6 March 2010

    Origami in the rain

    If we head back to 1982 a certain sci-fi noir movie, namely Blade Runner, had an oppressive dark and wet environment. I have been reminded of this movie, a number of times, as I have been 'playing' my way through the rain sodden chapters of Heavy Rain. But it's not just the rain theme that both these entertainment vessels swell with. The way Origami is used as a form of character-taunting and also character-defining moments in both Heavy Rain and Blade Runner, lead me to believe that David Cage must be a fan of the '80s movie.

    In Blade Runner, the unicorn is the last of a series of origami figures that Gaff uses to taunt Deckard.




      Ethan Mars is tested with the aid of a number of origami figures created by the serial killer holding his son.

    I've been trying hard to think of other movies or even videogames that uses the theme of Origami throughout but I just can't think of one - any thoughts?

    Tuesday, 2 March 2010

    Noticings, Blu-ray and ApocalyPS3

    Yesterday was a bad day for the 'fat' PS3. But as the old saying goes, 'all PR is good PR' or is that just silly? Should I ask Ashley Cole or John Terry?

    Now I own one of these PS3 models and have Heavy Rain waiting to be revisited. I'd also just decided to make the move into building a Blu-ray collection of my choice movies - I currently only own The Dark Knight & Dark City - and so ordered Blade Runner(Director's Cut) and Watchmen(Director's Cut) plus preordered Minority Report. To add to that, I have just been sent the Halo Legends and Dante's Inferno animated movies on Blu-ray to review. I was happily gearing this year towards being my first Blu-ray year proper when Sony decide to throw a small CPU bug into the mix. Luckily I didn't try logging into PSN or even turning on my PS3 yesterday but it does make one wonder what else Sony have overlooked. It's also made me consider buying a stand-alone Blu-ray player when I hadn't considered it before. Hmm.

    Onto Flickr. I've been yearning to find a use for my account for a few years now and finally I think Noticings could end the yearning and also put my iPhone's camera to better use.

    Noticings is a game based around your own photography posted to your Flickr account with uploaded photos being public and geotagged. The rules and scoring for Noticings can be viewed here and my first submission is here.

    Monday, 1 March 2010

    Poetry retrospective #2

    Happy St. David's Day!

    Cut Along The Punk Line*

    It was what was incomplete
    It was your hate and nothing I could recommend
    It was time to draw blood from teeth
    It was the height of time suspended
    It was time to lose those sheep
    Just to follow me
    It was me recommended.

    *written between 1994 - 1996, unpublished.

    Saturday, 27 February 2010

    The lights go out during Darksiders

     
    Recieved my copy of Darksiders today and although this title has had a patch since release, I happened on a bug(see the screenshot above). It reminded me of the times I'd be playing World of Warcraft, or any recent MMO, and I enter a location only to find my character spinning around in a virtual 'dark room'. On this occassion I had just lept from a ledge in the Library section of the Prologue, when the ground beneath War's feet fell away into darkness. The building was also torn away, revealing a 360 degree skyline.

    So the patch to rectify the screen tearing problems on the 360 look to have removed the problem by eliminating the in-game environments themselves?! 

    Kinda unique way of solving a problem!

    Wednesday, 24 February 2010

    Chomp! Chomp! OK, Heavy Rain it is then...

    I had been working on a nice long post, cataloging my reasons behind why I will no longer occupy space in either multiplayer or MMO landscapes, when my PC/Blogger decided to rip the words from my screen and munch happily away. Left with an auto-saved 'blank page', I just didn't have the heart to re-write the post from my notes. Call me lazy but I knew I'd luck-out trying to contain the same feeling and purpose in a re-written post. And so after completing the original Bioshock(contender for my best gaming experience of the last decade), I decided I'd spin out the Heavy Rain yarn which has kept me well away from posting.

    I hope that game developers don't forgo the importance of storytelling in videogames for the throwaway importance of multiplayer. You only have to look at the number of recent game servers that are being closed down by EA to see that the multiplayer option is becoming an overused and often weak, commercial ploy. I'd rather see more games developed with the soloist in mind, like Heavy Rain, Bioshock and Uncharted Drake's Fortune(as my recent gaming examples show)than another CoD multiplayer clone.

    Saturday, 13 February 2010

    Poetry retrospective #1

    If, dear reader, your a hater of poetry then I would suggest avoiding these retrospectives. Otherwise please bear in mind that most of the following poetry was written over 15 years ago.

    A Dabble Will Do You*

    I fall
    I've felt so cold
    I fall for everyone
    but there's nothing here
    to hold.

    My eyes
    will only reflect
    and I wish
    to see.


    *first published 1995 in a limited edition collection, 'Polarise'.

    Wednesday, 10 February 2010

    Bayonetta review live in the Crossfire

     
    Bayonetta is part pleasure and part pain, it is there to simultaneously reminded you how videogame combat can be fun without being ultra-realistic but also how cheesy story-lines and make-shift characterisation can combine to make a total and utter mess of things.
    My first review of 2010 is for SEGA's Bayonetta title that was released in January - you can read the full review over at Caught in the Crossfire.

    I expect my next two reviews will be for Dante's Inferno and Mass Effect 2 with Bioshock 2 and Heavy Rain to follow, unless I get any surprises along the way.

    Monday, 8 February 2010

    Poetic license

    OK so I know poetry is not the new 'in-thing' and probably never will be again. I also know that I run the risk of alienating my readers by publishing my own poetry here, most of which is almost 20 years old, without a little warning and explanation first.

    So I had believed that the case holding my poetry, all from a period of years during the early to mid 90's, had been lost. I had searched for it on a number of occasions since I last moved, back in 2002. But it would seem that luck was on my side this weekend. A big cleansing of my house loft lead me to a reunion of poetry with poet.

    To celebrate my find, I plan to publish the best of these poems over the coming weeks.

    I do have a word of warning - if your expecting some flowery, agnst ridden diatribes then you will be very dissappointed. As you'll come to discover, Charles Burkowski was a good friend of mine.

    Saturday, 6 February 2010

    Blame it on the weather - thoughts on the Heavy Rain demo

     
    Early access to a demo? Then expect some long waits and site crashes - exactly what we got when the news broke that there would be early access to the Heavy Rain demo.

    So I didn't try figuring things out to get the code, to get the demo, to then wait an eon for the download. Instead I just waited an eon for the download...but now that I have played the Heavy Rain demo, here are my thoughts:

    [Reading the following may SPOIL the HEAVY RAIN DEMO experience, if you have yet to play]

    What you get is an introduction to the basics(alley scene), followed by the 'sleazy scene' and a 'crime scene'. Each is fairly short but all give you time to move around each location and try out the movement/view options. I like that you can move your characters head via the left analogue stick while either remaining still or on the move. Animations and incidental sound add greatly to the setting and atmosphere, lighting also looks good and detail is clear enough even with a CRT TV - although the 'thought' text can become a little lost.

    The 'sleazy scene' allows an informal chat with a parent of a victim of the Origami Killer by one of the playable characters in the game, Scott Shelby(PI). Of the two scenes, this is my favorite - we learn that Scott suffers from asthma but can handle himself in a fist fight. Little else is given away other than some great interaction between Shelby and the victim's parent. Facial animations are spot on and voice work has the empathsis on gritty noir. I hope the story holds out to be something just as special.

    The forensic side of the game is highlighted in the second scene, 'crime scene' by FBI profiler Norman Jayden - the second of four playable characters that have been confirmed. Examination of a body that is found early one morning, allows the player to experience the unique(and fictional) forensic equipment at the disposal of Agent Jayden. Interesting as this looks, I do hope it is put to some good and isn't just in-game candyfloss.

    20 days and counting...

    Friday, 5 February 2010

    Week 5 in subspace-urbia

    One month into what is my 40th year and the game review code is already flowing. Being a late bloomer, the promise I gave to myself was to be on the right track, career-wise, by the time the big 4-0 arrived.

    Happily this will not be broken entirely.

    So after 5 weeks...
    • New apps on my iPhone = 3
    • Times I have lost my place in bed to a kitten = 2
    • No. of annual magazine subscriptions = 2
    • Completed 2 videogame titles in January, I only managed 7 in the whole of last year.
    • Review code received = 4
    Did you know there was to be an animated movie of the videogame release of Dante's Inferno? No I missed that too but I will be examing them both closely over the course of February.

    Before I close out this post, I'd like to mention a little sporting final that is taking place across the pond, this Sunday. American football hasn't entertained my thoughts since I was a wee nipper - when the Washington Redskins were in the ascendancy. But the headline, 'Liara* to watch Superbowl final from the Playboy mansion' did however get my mental juices flowing!

    *for those of you that aren't Mass Effect players, here's her bio.

    Sunday, 31 January 2010

    Inter-breeding with the ancient astronaunt

    So here I am playing through a game that came out in 2007. I said previously that I'd be concentrating my gaming towards titles that I had yet to finish but I hadn't expected to pick-up on my status in Mass Effect. I'm truly glad I did, as the characters and storytelling are superb.

    Now that I have completed the majority of ME and the romanctic subplot has now run its course, with the Paramour achievement gained, I'm happy with how I played my Shepard. I wanted an alien-human romance to develop and that's what I got. My worry is that this devloping relationship will not be furthered in ME2 or that Liara will play out a minor role. But I suppose there is always the 3rd installment that could change everything!

    To tie in nicely with the theme of alien-relations here are my top 3, if I am reincarnated as a human with a Shepard like choice:

    Third place
     Padmé Amidala


    Homeworld - Naboo
    Spieces - Human

    The one-time democratically elected Queen of Naboo, who dies in childbirth. OK not an alien spieces par-se but included because she fits in with my own futristic persona.

    Hold on! Critical mistake!!

    The Star Wars universe is set in the past...time machine please!

    Second place 
    T'Pol
     

    Homeworld - Vulcan
    Spieces - Vulcan

    Born 2088/2089 I'd have to live until I was 118 to see her birth...hmm makes it all sound a bit flat. But a future generation may yet see her like.

    T'Pol with her striking looks and intelligent mind, was always fascinated by humans. Even taking up with one of the crew of Enterprise.

    Mind-meld could be a blessing or curse in a Vulcan/Human relationship.

    First place 
    Liara T'Soni
      

    Homeworld - Thessia
    Spieces - Asari

    Born in 2077 and now 106 years old, Liara is only a very young adult. She combines beauty, intellect and biotic power with a hint of a uncertainty in the future.
    Will my 'Shepard' cheat on her in Mass Effect 2? I can not yet devulge that or is that decide?! Knowing how I have played Mass Effect, I'll be as loyal as a puppy!

    Saturday, 23 January 2010

    7 lives played, used and abused

    I may not have dwelt on last years activities in a round-up post but instead here's something worth looking back on - my completed games list of 2009:

    Feb/March ¦ F.E.A.R 2(360)
    First shooter of the year complete and although I didn't review it, here's what I said about it at the time.

    March ¦ Call of Duty IV Modern Warfare(360)

    13th April ¦ Resident Evil 5(360)
    Reviewed for Caught in the Crossfire

    8th October ¦ Terminator Salvation(360)
    Blurg! 'nuff said.

    Nov/Dec ¦ Uncharted Drake's Fortune(PS3)
    Go Nathan!

    Nov/Dec ¦ Uncharted 2 Amoung Thieves(PS3)
    Single-handedly got me back playing my PS3 and I reviewed it for Caught in the Crossfire.

    27th Dec ¦ Halo 3 ODST(360)
    Not what I expected and the silent-hero approach just does nothing for my internal connection to the storyline.

    A pretty poor showing. But looking closer you can see a large chunk of the past year contained no real gaming(May through Sept) - nearly half the year.

    2010? Well I've completed 1 title already and I may need Backloggery to help me out this year.

    Tuesday, 12 January 2010

    App snap

    With my iPhone being just a month old, here's some of the apps that I have found the most fun/useful:

    Bejeweled 2(PopCap)
    http://www.popcap.com/games/iphone/bejeweled2




    Contagious fun that has me beating my finger weekly trying to win the weekly challenge, included in Blitz mode, that has a nice score sync to fb.

    BlogPress(Coollittlethings Studio)
    http://blogpress.coollittlethings.com/



    Nice to have the ability to blog on the fly, some features have yet to be added - notably adding an URL into text but overall a handy app for blogging away from home.

    Momento(d3i)
    http://www.momentoapp.com



    Diary app that ties in fb, Twitter, Flickr and Last.fm social feeds with your your own 'moments'. I can see more feed options being brought in during the course of future updates. Very nice way of bringing all your activities together into a modern version of a diary.

    These early impressions make my decision to get an iPhone rather than the newer model BlackBerry, a good call. I just hope multi-tasking is an add placed into iPhone's OS upon the release of 4.0.

    Thursday, 7 January 2010

    New seasons as the snow falls

    I was dissatisfied with last years TV. Grissom left CSI, the New York branch did very little and the Heroes-to-who only got going at the close.

    Within days, a number of new seasons will be airing here in the UK - Being Human, Heroes, CSI and NY, all get the chance to win me over. But it could well be that new show, Glee may hand over the most welcomed warmth.

    With more snow due here in the UK, to add to the gallon already fallen, I'm hoping for less of the same and more innovention from all of them.

    Wednesday, 6 January 2010

    38 big cats LOST

    Poundering why we have yet to see a variety of big cat in LOST?

    Maybe the 6th season will ease my brow but with 3 episodes in of the 5th watched, I don't feel like it's any more likely.

    Sunday, 3 January 2010

    3 days in...

    ...and a Happy New Decade to you all.

    Large parts of last year I truly would like to forget and so am not planning to do an end of year write up. Instead my focus has been on a post dedicated to what I consider the best that entertainment has had to offer from the '90s. The post should be up sometime this week.

    I expect 2010 to be a better year for my own focus - as you may know I lost a good few months during the summer of '09, to illness.

    I'd like to wish my readers all the best for 2010 and keep Badinage in your feedreaders!