IR2BT: Infrared Control for the PS3

The PS3’s lack of an IR port is a problem that I’ve moaned about before, and I’m certainly not the only one. When you have excellent universal remotes that cost anything up to and beyond £200 and control dozens of appliances, from the TV and DVD player to the 360 and the lighting system, it’s not that appealing to have to spend £20 on a hulking great Bluetooth remote that isn’t even backlit.

Enter the IR2BT.


This isn’t the first way around the problem that I’ve tried. I bought a Darklite, which works mostly but co-opts the PS3’s first controller port, which is problematic for some games that require the controller to be there, and can’t fast forward and rewind any movie with BD-Java, which is a significant number of modern releases. Any one that has a loading screen before the menus load, essentially.

The IR2BT is notable as a Bluetooth-enabled way around Sony’s oversight that provides all the functions of the official remote. It’s a smallish box (size comparison here) with an IR receiver and a Bluetooth transmitter. All it does is translate the old PS2 IR codes – which any universal remote should support in some form – into Bluetooth for the PS3, and it’s even already in the Logitech Harmony database. That’s all most of us universal remote owners want, and it’s an elegantly simple way around the omission. Continue reading IR2BT: Infrared Control for the PS3



Man, you wait ages for a good XBLA game and then two come along at once…

So how do you reconcile the fact that, at first glance, Braid looks like any other quick and dirty XBLA platformer with the frankly daunting 1,200 point (£10.20) price? Obviously the reviews help, as does the fact that this isn’t PSN and so a free demo is a given, but I still think it’s quite a big psychological barrier for people to overcome. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is.

If you’re finding yourself hovering over the download button, biting your lip, I implore you to take the plunge. This is one of the best indie games I’ve played in a while, and although it might still be on the pricey side, it’s a brilliant little game, full of neat touches and homages, as well as some great ideas of its own.

The influences that Braid carries most overtly is certainly Mario, and not just in the way that it’s ‘inspired’ every platform game ever. There are moments like this, which becomes an amusing running gag, a Donkey Kong sequence, and early enemies that are in no way Goombas, but the structure of the game allows it to switch from one idea to another at a moment’s notice, and it’s done in a way that allows you to skip a more challenging puzzle and come back to it when you want, never blocking your A-to-B progress. Continue reading Braid

Falling Off The Wagon

My initial flirtation with Azeroth was mercifully brief, lasting only the duration of a few blagged free trials and two months of actually paying, but intense, taking in over 60 hours in that time. Thankfully I hit a wall relatively early on and got bored by slow progress, and later managed to avoid temptation when patch 2.3 sped up levelling to get people to the new, high-level content. I was free, and I’ve been two years clean.

You can probably guess where this is going by now…

A couple of weeks ago it hadn’t even entered my mind to play Warcraft again, but a chance discovery that the Burning Crusade expansion was now only £6.99 was all it took. I feel like a drug addict who’s fallen back into the habit upon seeing that smack was on a 2-for-1 offer.

The current plan is to try it out for a month to see if I like what’s changed, and with any luck I’ll be sated after only dropping another £8.99 into Blizzard’s coffers, but you know how these things go. You find a new area with new quests, or manage to gain some new levels and cool items, and before you know it the new expansion is out and what can it hurt to give it a try because it’s only £25…

Oddly, I also got pulled into the Blizzard halo effect and reinstalled Warcraft III and its expansion. After being out for six years, Blizzard finally removed the requirement to play with the CD in the drive, taking away my biggest issue with playing it on a laptop and stripping out my most second-most hated form of copy protection. Why any game with such an online-focused community needs that, I’ll never know, and, at the risk of getting into that copy protection argument again, how about not making me hunt down a no-CD crack for a game that I own and legitimately want to play on my lap without forever ruining my chances of procreation?

Still, it remains a great game after all these years and is much more to my tastes than the epic-scale RTSs du jour like Supreme Commander. It’s even got me convinced to buy Starcraft II on release day so as to get in on the ground floor and only be lightly kicked in the posterior, as opposed to the prison shower scenario that starting on the first Starcraft at this point would bring. Ditto Diablo III.

Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo: please bring out something good so that I have no excuse. This enemy is far too powerful for Geometry Wars 2 and Uncharted with trophies to fight it alone.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2

The original Geometry Wars was fantastic back in 2005, ushering in a new age of the twin-stick shooter and really selling pretty much everyone who played it on the potential of Xbox Live Arcade, but it was easy to feel that the genre had already moved far beyond that initial blueprint. Super Stardust HD brought depth and next-gen graphics, and while I didn’t like it, Everyday Shooter proved popular as a bedroom-coded take on the concept.

I must admit that I was wrong about it, though. I downloaded Geometry Wars 2 last week, and while the basics and visual style are the same, this is still the king.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2

Taking notes from the little jaunt to the DS and Wii as a ‘proper’ standalone game, Geometry Wars 2 brings pretty much everything from the first game, adds five new modes, throws in some achievements that make ‘Pacifism’ – arguably the first creative ‘must-get’ achievement and, incidentally, expanded to a full mode in this game – look derivative, and then makes your eyes melt from the amazing. Continue reading Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2