Lack of tissues led to embarrassing incident.

I'm on the Underground, travelling home from university. I got a bit of a cold, I'm sniffling quite a bit. It's a long journey home and about half way through I'm thinking, "I really could use a tissue", but instead of doing anything I stayed reading my book and figured I'd keep sniffling. 
 
Then some twat decides to commit suicide that day, on my train line no less, so it's taking 10 minutes between stops instead of 5. I get overground and that's when it happens - I leave sniffling for that bit longer than I should. Fortunately I'm onto this and my hand is up like a shot. I'm thinking about what to do next when I realise the girl sitting next to me is reading my book, she's right there at my shoulder.  
 
I'm out of options, so I just end up wiping myself on my top. She sees all this, gets grossed the fuck out (it was gross) and changes seat. The guy next to me who was too busy on his Blackberry turns in his chair. Quite embarrassing. Everyone should keep tissues handy at all times at this time of year.

6 Comments

No Party Chat is No Good.

I was a little undecided on the matter, when it came to fruition that Party Chat would be disabled on my mainstay playlists. Now, after sinking a good few hours into the multiplayer, I have decided that this decision is by large a bad thing.
 
Why?
 
I don't like chatting crap to people.
I don't trash talk that much, if at all. Unless provoked I'd sooner keep my mouth shut than tell a person on my team that they suck or how livid I am that some guy knifed me two times in a row. However, if there is someone I could talk to, a party of friends, then I feel free and comfortable to vent as much as I like. And venting is good, when in the right direction.
 
Another thing is that there are people on my friend's list who I've actually gotten to know. To the point where I'll be asking how their work is going etc. I don't like having conversations that include a bunch of strangers (or rather exclude) and I can't stand it when people start chatting about the mundane when I don't know them, what they're talking about and really couldn't care less.
 
On a side note: "couldn't care less" is the right way. "could care less" is the direct opposite. My brain facepalms every time I see it.
 
There are a number of things about the handling of MP in MW2 that get my back up but this is certainly one of them that does it most.

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Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm Impressions

Twitter
 
A quite useless addition. One key reason being that you can't follow links of any kind - no surprise there, the 360 doesn't have browser support, but I hadn't fully realised how crippling that could be until I opened my account on my 360. Almost everyone I follow links to one thing or another, the exception being where one wants to tell me how good the sandwich they just had was and even then if they want to show me a photo of how well they stacked it - they can't. the other main point is that Twitter, for most users I would suspect and certainly for myself, is not something you do exclusively. By that I mean you Tweet and read Tweets while doing something else, whether that be browsing Giant Bomb or on your commute to work. When you use Twitter on the 360, Twitter is all you can do.
 
Facebook
 
It's nice going through photos on the large screen. It's a shame the resolution is so low. Other than this Facebook on the 360 fails because it doesn't have a wall. It's been stripped down, as far as I can see, to being a photo and status feed browser. Even the status feeds are a pain: you know how going through Live friends is a pain in the ass unless you do it via the Guide Button? Well it's the same thing here and browsing status updates shoehorned onto the NXE design is just bad. It's really bad. You can't send people messages, you can't view video, you can't use Facebook chat. The one good thing is that there aren't any ads, nor should there be for this bare-bones piece of uselessness.
 
Last.fm
 
Last.fm is probably the most useful and functional out of the three. Having a jukebox in the living room could prove useful and the sound quality is pretty ok - I'd suspect 128kbps as it is over the last.fm website. Twitter and Facebook are about what I expected, Last.fm on the other hand has ads; something I was not expecting at all. As a user of Last.fm for some time, I've enjoyed listening to my recommendations and other people's radio stations ad free on my PC with no subscription. Spotify has ads, and I'm ok with that (although less so these days as the ads seem to be getting longer and more frequent) because it functions more like a media player with a massive library than a radio station. Last.fm shares the same problem with Twitter in that using Last.fm is all you can do, I don't normally sit down and just listen to music and there isn't an option here to play your stations while in-game.
 
All in all I'm quite indifferent if a little disappointed. Perhaps I will find further use and hopefully there is added functionality and an overhaul in design where needed coming in the future. Is there anything I've missed?
9 Comments

Call of F*ck 4

People use the word inspire too freely. But... a certain GB member inspired me to play CoD4 and record my face.

That's about it and unfortunately I don't have such outbursts; I just tend to mutter and puff a lot and rub my eyes; in order to get something really entertaining I'd need to film for a week.

  

Shot over just 2 rounds of Free-For-All, one of which crashed. I get like that every time I play, if you catch me right after a round I can't say much it's like I'm having a come-down or something. If I do this again I'll stick another camera on the screen.

Would be cool if some moar GB users do the same thing, I'm sure we'd see very different and interesting things!

I know End-Boss was up for it.

Track of the Week #8 & 9


I've just realised I missed one from my last blog so here are 2:

I heard this on As Heard On Radio Soulwas Pt. 2 a long time ago and had to get a hold of it.

Hanayo - Joe le Taxi
  


This song just kicks ass with it's buildup.

Freeland -  Under Control (Alex Metric Remix)
  

15 Comments

Film of 2010 confirmed

Back in 2007 when I posted at Gamespot on The Virtual Underground board I had an idea:

"On another note I have a vision of putting Steven Segal, Dolph Lundgren, Van Damme and Stallone in one film - only this time have it win 6 Oscars and best film at Cannes. Actually it's all working out nicely in my head....Schwarzenegger should be in it too"

After another GS user Tequila-Zaire came up with the title "Hard Death" I came up with this image:



Now it seems a film much like it IS indeed being made. You may have heard of this already, but for those that don't know Silvester Stallone is directing a movie. And not just any movie this is going to be something special. It's called The Expendables and the cast contains 3 out of the 5 I depicted plus a larger, star-studded cast of the B-list. This is the greatest action star ensemble ever.

The Plot



The Expendibles have been hired to overthrow a dictator in South America. That's all you need to know.

The Cast



Silvester Stallone (Rambo, Rocky), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator, Conan)


Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe, Universal Soldier), Jet Li (Once Upon a Time in China, Lethal Weapon 4)


Danny Trejo (Desperado, Con Air), Jason Statham (The Transporter, Crank)


Stone Cold Steve Austin (The Condemned, ...WWE..), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight, Dead or Alive)


Micky Rourke (Sin City, The Wrestler), Terry Crews (Terminator: Salvation, Balls of Fury)


Randy Couture (the only five-time champion in UFC history), Rumour: Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction)


With screen names like Lee Christmas, Tool, Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren), The Brit and Hale Caesar we know exactly what kind of film we are dealing with. Something very self-aware and I don't see how it could possibly fail.

People that turned down roles or were unavailable include Kurt Russel, Jean Claude Van-Damme, Forest Whitaker and our beloved 50 Cent.

Filming started in March and we should see an early 2010 release. Click here for set photos.


Stallone's hat reads "Live Simply"... Statham's Badge reads "Global Wildlife Conservancy". This could be the greatest film of all time.

"Boys will walk into the theatre. They will leave men. Women will also leave as men"
28 Comments

Yes, but not as we know it.

It will be another game built from the ground up years from now. It might not be called "Forever" although if I got hold of the licence that would be the name I would use.

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I bought a Fightstick and I still suck.


.
I've wanted to be good at Street Fighter IV for a while. For once here is a game where a large number of my friends who do not normally play games have taken an interest and made a purchase. The problem is that I am really no good at the game. This is even worse for someone like me as I'm pretty damn good when it comes to my main-stay shooter titles, I'm not used to losing so badly. After a while of waiting the SE Fightstick became available and since I have bought one, only to have my ass handed to me once again by a friend of mine online. This may be something I will just have to accept and move on from, but for some reason I feel compelled to persevere for a little while longer.

Customising my Fightstick and sorting out some artwork was always something I was going to do regardless. Just something about making something your own really appeals to me. For those in the UK reading this, there are two sites I have come across to get your Sanwa pushbuttons and joysticks and that's http://www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk/ and http://www.arcadeshop.de the latter has some colours not available on Lizard Lick, such as white, green, red, yellow and blue buttons with black rims. I'm almost getting these purely on an aesthetic basis and I have a question for those of you that do play SFIV and have installed Sanwa parts: do these things actually make a difference to your game? One thing I find hard to do is pull off super moves under duress, I just keep fucking it up. Does an 8-way joystick help at all? Also, how does a Sanwa compare to the standard joystick?

I may well do a video guide for this easy mod process so watch this space. Any excuse to use my DV camera, or in this case, Wacom tablet that hardly sees any action.

I must say the Fightstick has lead to an improvement, especially for someone using a 360 pad. Even if my being devoid of Street Fighter skills continues and I give up, I remember being pretty good at Tekken and we have a sequel round the corner, so this stick won't go to waste. Speaking of other fighters I have always preferred the Dead or Alive series over any other for it's countering system. That was a game where I could hand out an asskicking or two. All said, the fighting genre is not my forte, maybe I should stick to headshots and kill-streaks.

Anyone else out there buy Street Fighter IV on the back of the hype train only to find a game you weren't any good at?

And a noob question: what does the Turbo function do?

Change of subject:


I'm going to New York next month, is there anything in particular one could recommend? I like art, drinking, clubbing, live music and I'm 21. I hear the Sullivan Room is supposed to be good? I have a passion for strawberry milkshakes... if that helps.

Track of the Week #7


I'm not blogging that frequently so it's not like this is going week by week. And I'm not wasting my time blogging about a single track that you probably won't like.

I really do like CSS, their lead singer Lovefoxxx (what a cool name [no it's not her real name silly]) can't sing to save her life, but they've been a great deal of fun the two times I've seen them (and she's kinda hot). Just yesterday I stumbled upon a cover they did of Blondie's One Way or Another versus The Undertone's Teenage Kicks.

  

There are a number of tracks I have in my head right now but I'll keep it to one per blog post.


A few things I noticed:


These are just a few things I noticed while writing this -

Consoles and console accessories should be included in the Wiki (imo), not because they might be in a game like Katamari, but because it's information people like to know and it has everything to do with videogames. A page on the SE Fightstick would save me asking about Turbo.

If you are embedding video the real-time editor doesn't show you what the embed will actually look like. Say for example you are embedding a Youtube vid and you have the code configured for it to play in HD and at a particular size, it would be nice to just get a regular preview option to see what the post will really look like. It would also be handy for just testing out some code without having to post it and go back to edit or delete if it isn't right.

Also when you delete a blog post, it remains on your wall and simply links to a 404.

At the moment there is no option to remove a caption from an image.

It would be nice if there were a way so that if you stray from the page on which you've written a whole paragraph, you can hit back and the text will still be there.

The option to retroactively attach a blog post to the forums within a time limit of say a day would be nice.

Other things:

The password manager in Firefox doesn't seem to work with logging in (3.5b4)

The abbreviations for some games should be enough to find them in searches. For example cod=call of duty, graw=ghost recon advanced warfighter, dmc, mgs, doa etc. etc. etc.

It would be nice to be able to pause the download of the Bombcast in iTunes.

Bombcast page archiving was a good idea I read.

When someone sends you a friend request it would be nice to accept that request straight from the PM rather than having to click one step further to the requests page.
18 Comments

What I think I see: Modern Warfare 2 teaser.

If you head over to modernwarfare2.com you will see the trailer exactly as intended - that is with the ability to pause and then zoom at any point to try and get as much info out of the trailer as humanly possible. And with CoD4 being my favourite game I did just that.

The trailer shows 3 Russian terrorists wearing suits posing as Americans, they enter an elevator at an international airport - maybe Russian as there are Russian signs, there is an English speaking woman over the speaker. They load up with guns you see one pistol and one automatic. One terrorist reminds the others to not speak Russian, they get to airport security. Here above the security check you see a sign in russian and to the right a set of symbols. One of which is without doubt the "stopping power" perk. So the assumption is that the others are new perks or kill streak rewards. (apart from the one at the end right)



Then they start shooting. Then a shit load of stuff starts flashing on screen, which is where the pause and frame-by-frame feature comes in where you see fighter jets, what looks like the front of a train/tram/bus, US spec ops leaning out of a chopper with guns, a snowy envornment with mountain ranges, some dude parachuting, on-board a plane, a guy swimming underwater...

   

a crane which suggests a construction site, a submarine that is docked. Someone tell me what this is:



Looks like a dude on the ground or something?

There's a guy wearing body armour holding an AK-47 (1:23.02), you see Black Hawks, tanks



You actually see this twice, once earlier and I though it was something else. It's more clear here and looks just like the Cristo Redentor in Brazil. (1:24.08)

You see a vehicle being airlifted, more dudes diving, another blackhawk.

A teddy



An airfield or an air carrier, a spy drone, an unmistakable oil rig, a village on the side of a mountain, another crane and what looks like a castle type building. So what can this all mean...?

- there will be a mission where you are underwater with a team?
- you will fight in Brazil which means a totally new environment?
- you'll fight on an oil rig?
- in a castle?
- in a submarine?
- in an airport?
- you will fight as US delta force? (There were some choppers in there that delta force use)
- you will fight Russians?
- the story will be about Russian terrorists infiltrating friendly territory?
- what are those new perks?

I didn't see any sign of the SAS - and by damn I want the SAS back, I want Price to be back also. Now I'll head into uni and do some work.

What did other people see? Has Gametrailers already put up a fram-by-frame analysis which will make my blog redundant? That is the question...

Track of the Week #6


This is by MSTRKRFT. Called Easy Love - just like me. :D

  

39 Comments

Saw Watchmen - didn't like it.

I'll start with I never read the comic. At first I came out piecing together the absolute shambolic, fragmented 2 hours and 43 minutes (yeah that long) of supposed film I sat through, then once I had, I not only realised it was directed by someone unable to deal with a story so multi-stranded, but whatever supposed depth there was to the original just wasn't there.

It wasn't that the acting was bad - I didn't feel anyone did a terrible job, the tone of the film was good and the world created didn't make the Watchmen look silly in their outfits - quite the opposite.

The film is what it is, the guy who directed 300 - a bonehead movie that was very enjoyable for it's style over substance thanks to the ever so simplistic plot, got hold of something that he clearly loved to bits but then wasn't able to deal with anything well other than the super-stylised. You have action sequences that are good - only not as good as 300 - and then parts that you are supposed to take seriously when instead you're thinking "what the bloody hell is going on?". And that question isn't really as a result of not understanding the plot- it's a case of not understanding how some otaku thought he would be able to translate the content into a coherent film at almost 3 hours in length that I'm supposed to care about.

The best character, by a mile, was Rorschach. And I say that after looking up the name, I was exiting the building referring only to "blue man" and that "bad guy". You could have had a full-length film with only his story and it would have been better. Instead you get a shitstorm of stuff that while in parts is genuinely entertaining and occasionally thought provoking is also too much to take in at once.

The ending was about as good as you could have hoped but the overall result is something that thinks it's telling you something profound when it just isn't while taking forever to do it.

This movie is a big fail/10


Other things to note:
- The soundtrack is all sorts of badass, and I could actually listen to it - yet a lot of the time felt completely out of context.

[perhaps minor spoilers]

- There is a sex scene where dude uses more hands than two - while working on a project
- There is a sex scene where dude can't get an erection
- There is a sex scene where dude can get an erection because he's wearing all rubber
- There is an almost rape scene that is treated so flippantly it's annoying

Track of the Week #5

  

Ah the French and their electro magic. This is Kavinsky - Testarossa (SebastiAn Remix)
5 Comments

Why Call of Duty 4 is the greatest game ever made.




After some consideration...

and thinking back over all the games I have ever played, there is one that stands out as be-all and end-all. And that is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

While the intro section which saw you getting executed was impressive and certainly tone-setting, it was the opening to Crew Expendable that made my jaw drop. As the lightning flashes across the Blackhawk's interior, the cigar Price is smoking illuminates his face and then the moment you pull your gas mask over your face and decent via rope onto the ship... you know it's on. The way the SAS then proceed to clear out the ship, killing sleeping enemies, flashing and clearing rooms with brilliant animation just had me on the edge of my seat. Then there were the bad guys themselves, each point and set piece carefully constructed to the fullest effect.

And then of course the ship is hit by missiles and you have to haul it out of there while the ship is sinking before diving for the chopper and making the most awesome escape in a game I have ever seen.

That was just one event and here are a few others I'll care to mention -
-You get nuked in first person
-You take targets out from a gunship hundreds of feet in the air while hapless enemies get blown to bits below
-You sneak past enemies that are a foot from you in a guille suit
-You snipe so far you need to take into account the curvature of the Earth
-You absail out of a building as it blows up
-You hold a position against a battalion single handedly using explosives and a sniper rifle
-You break dogs necks

And then there was the Mile High Club.

  


Yes that was me in the vid, a chance for me to blow my Call of Duty trumpet and for anyone still trying to do it, this is the way. Tried and tested.

While the single player was short it was the sweetest gaming experience ever, the characters were great, the voice acting spot on, the graphics were very good and the lighting impressive all the while maintaining an eye-bleeding 60fps. Somehow the game managed to make you feel like you were there, the camera movement when you reloaded, the AI that would move so convincingly. So on and so forth.

I don't have a particular desire to play through the single player again, I felt it was more like a one-time deal. But I'm fine with that thanks to the multiplayer.

Quite simply the most finely crafted online shooter this side of Counter Strike. Impeccable. The perk system was something new and served to create situations that never happened before. The idea of sneaking into an enemy area using a UAV jammer and causing all sorts of trouble is one example. Setting up a sniping position and covering it with claymores is another. The weapons are well balanced, the modes offer up enough variation and the kill-streak actions including an air-strike and helicopter are strokes of genius. The speed at which you can load up a game and start matchmaking allows you to easily jump into a game and get shooting, and the matchmaking system itself is pretty damn good taking after Halo 3. For a gamer like myself, I want instant gratification - I don't want to grind for the sake of grinding, I don't want to wait days on end to TRAIN A SKILL (tried the EVE Online trial) and yet MW introduces RPG elements with gun upgrades and levelling in a way that doesn't make you feel inadequate early on. It's a level playing field pretty much all the way.


Modern Warfare 2



It's coming out toward the end of the year and there are a number of things I would like to see improved.

- More multiplayer maps out of the box. I don't mind the single player being as short so long as there are more maps for the multiplayer.
- REPLAY FEATURE, just like Halo 3. This is something I felt was sorely missed from 4.
- When matchmaking, give a warning before auto-joining a round in progress. I'd like to see what map is going to be played before I play it.
- Coop mode?
- Hardcore Free-for-all. And get rid of Old-School, Quake Live Beta is open now.
- Another "Mile High Club" style mission at the end of the game.
- I would like to say silenced sniper rifles, but that might pose a serious balancing issue
- Increased weapon customisation
- An actual reward for maxing out on prestige like a new gun (even a joke gun) rather than just some stupid emblem.
- A snow map might be an idea. Also a night map.
- More than just one map pack after release, and no lazy rehashes of old classics.
- In Hardcore Mode a longer waiting period for team killing. Like a whole minute so you really are going to watch who you're shooting.
- In 4, while Hardcore has no Killcam the camera still turns in the direction of the kill shot. That shouldn't happen.
-It should be even faster to get into a game. Have the option to turn off the intro screens so I don't even have to skip them after the single player has been completed or something.

I could go on about more things that only people quite into the game would appreciate but I'll leave it there. Needless to say I'm very excited about the true Call of Duty sequel. World at War feels mediocre and a step backward next to CoD4.

Keeping with CoD4

It's a Double XP weekend starting Friday until Monday. Hardcore HQ mode and Map Pack Only playlists will be available.

And by the by, I still play a lot of this game so if there are people out there in the same boat and can do UK times, feel free to add me:



Track of the Week #4





I was never a big Ramones fan, I just hadn't given them the time of day (not for any particular reason). But since getting hold of their first album there is one track I've been enjoying this week among others and that is I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

  


19 Comments
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