Tag Archives: Blogs

I’m on Twitter

I’ll admit to poo-pooing the service back when I first heard of it through the constant gushing on TWiT, the recent situation at 1UP and my desire to keep up with some of my favourite departing writers has forced me onto Twitter.

Twitter Logo

It actually makes a nice complement to a full-scale blog, and I’ve been using it from my phone to update with occasional thoughts and talk about what’s going on in my life. I can also post pictures directly to it much faster than I can on here considering the limited state of the official iPhone WordPress app, so if I see something interesting on my travels and I can talk about it without violating an NDA it might pop up on there.

So follow me if you’re on there, have a look at some of the interesting ones that I’m following, and join me in enjoying the latest social network du jour until something more interesting comes along.

When Worlds (at War) Collide

It wouldn’t be the first time that it’s been suggested that some people at Infinity Ward may not be too keen on other developers messing up working with their colossally successful Call of Duty franchise in the name of annual updates, Activision becoming the new EA and all that, but this is hilarious.

The Infinity Ward community manager, Robert Bowling, made a post on his blog criticising the tendency of one of the Activision producers on World at War for making unflattering comparisons between the new game and the IW games. Here are the choice quotes:

First of all, you didn’t work on “previous Call of Dutys”, so don’t talk as if you’re down with how / why things were designed the way they were. Second, you’re completely fucking wrong.


A rule of thumb I like to use is…. when promoting your game. Promote YOUR game. Don’t compare it to another game, or reference what OTHER games did in the past, pitch YOUR game. I mean, you have lots of cool things you could talk about… like Nazi Zombies….

Can you guys please stop interviewing this guy, talk to someone who actually works on the Dev Team at Treyarch and knows what the fuck they’re talking about. Not Senior Super Douche Noah Heller from Activision – who apparently has never played the game and doesn’t even work at the developer.

That is awesome.

You have to love the dig at the Nazi zombies – for those who don’t know, there is literally a mode where you must defend your position against waves of undead German soldiers (video) – because I couldn’t believe that when I saw it. In a game that’s already treading a fine line with its depiction, however accurate, of Japanese soldiers in WWII, I can’t help but feel like that mode was pushing a boundaries of taste just a bit.

This is hardly Wolfenstein with its BJ Blazkowicz and Mecha-Hitler; the Call of Duty series was originally about being a more realistic gaming depiction of World War II by having the player not be the lone, Rambo-like hero but be one of many. So much for that idea, then…

Mario & Sonic at the Wii Flat

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

I think I’m with most gamers when I say that my biggest question regarding this unusual collaboration is what exactly Mario is doping to enable him to match Sonic in a foot race. After having spent an afternoon with the game at the Wii Flat in London, I’m even more confused. Mario was pretty brisk if you held the run button, but when Bowser, Wario, and Eggman can keep up…well…it’s madness!

Once I was over my apoplectic fit and could put aside my inner fanboy, however, I couldn’t stay angry with it. I was too exhausted to…

Continue reading Mario & Sonic at the Wii Flat

A Day with Sega Rally

Sega Europe HQ

I spent today up at Sega’s headquarters in London at a bloggers’ event to check out the new Sega Rally (aka Sega Rally Revo) which is due next month. Free stuff and the opportunity to play a new game is the only thing that will get me up in time to catch the 6:56am train.

However, when the last time that Sega attempted to bring a classic series into the next generation with its original title we got that Sonic abomination, so you could be forgiven for approaching this one with trepidation. Particularly so when Sega Rally had already had its equivalent of Sonic Adventure 2 – the warning that all was not well, if you will – but now that I’ve stretched that metaphor as far as it will go I can safely say that this won’t be another disaster. Far from it, in my opinion.

Since graphics are often the most salient feature in this generation, I’ll touch on those first. Sega Rally looks good, if only verging on great. The framerate could have done with some tweaking (bear in mind that the build wasn’t final and it was running on the PS3) and overall I didn’t feel like it had all the graphical bells and whistles of DiRT, the most obvious comparison to make. Even so, it certainly didn’t look unimpressive and importantly looked like Sega Rally, complete with the vivid primary colours and flamboyant touches that typified the old Sega arcade racers. Speedboats in the trackside water, gliders and helicopters popping up as you pass, etc. Alas no suicidal spectators like in Sega Rally 2, but you can’t have everything.

Sega Rally in action

The USP here is terrain deformation which, as they took great pains to point out to us, is the real thing here. Motorstorm’s wasn’t persistent, apparently, and other games don’t have it modelled in such intricate detail and with such great impact on the gameplay. It was definitely striking to watch cars carving grooves and divots into the track which were still there on the final lap, affecting racing lines and sending vehicles bouncing around as they negotiated turns and in turn affecting the lines taken by the AI, which in this relatively unbalanced build was monstrously hard. We played with the seriously impressive (and equally expensive) Logitech G25 wheel which went a long way towards completing the effect.

Most importantly, though, it still plays like Sega Rally. Despite the effort poured into the realistic track physics, it has no pretensions of being a sim which I find highly appealing. Racing against other cars rather than the clock, arcadey handling that realises that sliding around in the mud is fun and not something to be punished if you can’t do it perfectly, and proper online multiplayer (I’m looking at you, DiRT). Incidentally we were playing network games over the Internet with no discernible lag.

So for me Sega Rally has gone from a game that was barely on the radar – there’s some other 360 game out in late September, remember? – to a very probable purchase. I feel like I need something different in a Q4 that’s overflowing with shooters and a blast from the past like this could be just the thing.

Oh, and I can’t let this go without bringing up the little competition that they put on for us to compete for a huge trophy and a Sega racing jacket. They say a picture speaks a thousand words; this one speaks six. Out of a possible six :D

And they also may or may not have accidentally let slip what everyone knows but Sony won’t confirm: that a Sixaxis with force feedback is on the way. Someone mentioned supporting it in the PS3 version, at least.


Dissertation Word Count

After countless hours of research and wearing my typing fingers (little-known fact: I only type with three fingers) down to stumps, I’ve finished my dissertation. Not only does this mean that I’m mere weeks away from being kicked out into the big bad world, it also means that I can play some games and post on here again. It sucks when life gets in the way of the really important things, doesn’t it?

26 pages or 11,222 words was the final count, all in. That beats my previous biggest Word document by some 22 pages. I could be forgiven for being put off ever blogging again after writing that much about the things.

The current games of choice are both on their second wind with me: Halo 2 in anticipation of a little event in a couple of weeks, and alternately another futile attempt to master Counter-Strike Source and find out how much better at it most people are than me. Give me a week to get back in the swing of things and I’ll be on about the summer drought again.


Considering that I’m supposed to talk about games all the time, ostensibly at least, I haven’t been doing a lot of that recently. I haven’t even been playing them, much to my 360’s chagrin. No…I’ve been knee deep in the bane of any university student, my dissertation.

*sound of thunder*

Nobody likes essays, and they’re odious enough when you have to write 2,000 words on something that doesn’t really interest you. Quintuple that and it’s simply painful. I chose a journalism subject that was closer to my heart than most, blogging and citizen journalism, but writing is a lot less fun when you can’t slip an innuendo in there or joke about that time you swapped the picture on Ken Kutaragi’s Wikipedia page for one of Kim Jong-Il.

It’s due in 27 days and I’ve written a bit over 5,000 words, with the aim of getting at least another thousand down before the Easter break ends. This being the last couple of months of my last year at uni, things are complicated by assorted other projects and impending exams, which at the rate I’m going will necessarily be over-the-weekend jobbies. How I wish they’d stagger deadlines instead of encouraging us to put everything off until the week before. I could procrastinate for England.

I know what would make this better, though, and it involves Games for Windows Live. How about some achievements for Microsoft Word?

Achievement unlocked