I Don’t Get Metal Gear

Take it, Snake

I bought Metal Gear Solid 3 when it was released in the US after the unanimously good reviews and because it was the first hot import after I got my PS2 chipped but gave up a short way into it. It’s not that I thought it was a bad game…it’s just that the camera system was still in 1998, and while that worked in the angular environments of MGS and MGS2 it felt positively archaic in the organic Russian jungle.

Not only that, but as if the rampant surrealism wasn’t weird enough, the game crammed it into copious cut-scenes that I just couldn’t deal with, cinematic though they were. Some call it postmodern; I can’t remember what I called it because I fell asleep.

The first MGS was just a bit quirky which I could handle and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, but I don’t have to explain the controversy around the direction that MGS2 went with its story (angsty Teen Beat coverboy finds time to discuss King Kong with ex-girlfriend while on top secret infiltration mission) which led to a premature end to my time with that one.

Cut scenes are skippable though, so since MGS3: Subsistence adds a 3D camera I bought a used import copy a couple of days ago (£15 = bargain!) to see whether that puts it closer to my stealth action darling, Splinter Cell. It’s an improvement, but the gameplay still just seems so outdated. I really can’t tell…is it Metal Gear? Or is it me?

Democracy In Action

This made me laugh. The nominations for the 24th annual Golden Joystick awards are open and us gamers can show how democratic we are by voting for our favourite games of the year. The esteemed UK Resistance (militant Sega fanboys who still resent Sony – see here and here – for murdering the Dreamcast, for those who aren’t in the know) are calling for everyone to vote for 50 Cent: Bulletproof so that the developers have to go and collect their award and get publicly humiliated on TV.

Naturally this will also lead to nobody making any more stupid urban “gangsta” games, so we all win. Do it now.

World Cup 2006

FIFA World Cup Germany 2006

Hooray! The biggest sporting event in the world is underway and I now have at least 96 hours of football (the real one; not armoured rugby) to watch over the next month. I’m one of the 1.8 billion people watching Germany play Costa Rica at the moment (2-1 to Germany with 35 minutes played at the moment) and I’ll be switching over to Poland/Ecuador in a couple of hours. The real moment of truth for me will be tomorrow when England play Paraguay.

Either way don’t expect me to talk about too much else in the meantime. It’s not like there’s much to play at the moment, and even so I’d be dropping everything for this. Maybe I can hold a controller as I watch and pretend that it’s next-gen Pro Evo.

Anyway, in my experience it seems that even in countries where football is the meaning of life, gamers are generally one of the more apathetic groups towards it. So is anyone else out there planning on watching all that they can, just watching their team, or avoiding it like the plague? Being American is no excuse.

How Old Is Your Brain?

Brain Training/Brain Age is out here today and I bought a copy to see how it would cope with my sharly-honed intellect. I know that you can’t get rated below 20 so I couldn’t get a completely accurate judgement (I think of myself as a keen 18-year-old), but it seemed like a bit of harmless fun. So…my first attempt?

73. With the worst possible score being 80.

This game is obviously broken. How many septuagenarians can complete a Sudoku puzzle in six minutes?

Why I Hate The Summer

The summer isn’t all bad, of course. Girls wear fewer clothes (not a good thing in every case, admittedly) and from Friday we have the World Cup as an excuse to watch three football matches a day, but I can’t wait for autumn to roll around.

  1. Hayfever – I always know when summer’s here because I start uncontrollably sneezing and resisting the need to scratch my eyes out, and start to spend the next few months on pills. What’s more, the non-drowsy pills don’t really work on me anymore so I have to choose between being grumpy because I’m sneezing and my eyes are watering or grumpy because I’m drowsy. Great.
  2. No Games – Apparently during the summer some people like to go to this place called “outside” so we’re usually lucky to get one decent game every summer. I would have thought that no competition would have meant a great opening in the market to bring out at least a couple of big ones, but no…
  3. Too Damn Hot – Would you rather freeze to death or burn to death? I’d rather freeze, and hence I can’t handle it being 30-40 degrees every day. I don’t know how I’d survive somewhere where it was like that every day. More than likely I wouldn’t. Sunburn probably falls into this category as well.
  4. Kids – Children are like farts: you can’t stand anybody’s but your own. I get lulled into a false sense of security every summer since I finish in May and schools don’t kick out until the end of July, but until then I actually start to enjoy my time off. Then everyone decides to make my life as difficult as possible for a couple of months by – I’m sure – deliberately leaving their screaming and uncontrollable kids as close to me as possible.
  5. Holidaymakers – Around the same time that the kids start appearing my quiet little seaside town is invaded by caravans and holidaymakers who descend on the town centre with their usual asinine question (“why aren’t these drinks cold?”/”because you just watched me put them in the chiller ten seconds ago, retard”) shtick. Being right on the south coast, I’m also apparently required to speak every language in Europe so that tourists don’t act surprised when I don’t.

Rant over. When people say that global warming is going to cause another ice age I don’t see it as a bad thing. Humanity survived it more than once, right?