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Why Sunset Overdrive Can Go Suck A Lemon
By Kakulukia
Posted on 07/14/14
Yesterday, while cleaning up my media center, I found my copy of Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, which I bought sometime before Christmas last year. I had been pretty excited about this game pre-release, what with it being the first "traditional", albeit shorter than usual,...

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Hype: the benefits and pitfalls
Posted on Sunday, February 10 2008 @ 20:05:09 Eastern

Hype's a funny thing. We see it everywhere, at least everywhere there is a public interest. Books are hyped, music is hyped (I still remember the massive build up to the first Angels & Airwaves album; Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters and several other bands have also partook in use of the hype machine). Movies are obviously massively hyped and an example of this can be found in the recent Cloverfield film and obviously certain games have been hyped to the moon, but is this a good or bad thing?

As always the answer is not as clear as it should be. Bioshock was the subject of immense hype once the concept of an undersea city made its way to the surface dripping with information like a beached whale and many people were cautiously optimistic about it, would it fail or rise to its self imposed lofty challenge? If you stay even remotely abreast of gaming news you'll know it reached heights far above its hype and even though it's not perfect I don't think anyone can say hype damaged it. Having said that, there have been countless games that have fell victim to over hyping. Metal Gear Solid 2 is probably one of them, an amazing game but it failed to live up to its hype, the same goes for GRAW 2 and Halo 2 (and arguably 3).

So when does hype cross the line from major advertising to very real burden? I can say one thing for sure, it's before twelve years have elapsed between the previous game and the present day. I am of course talking about Duke Nukem Forever, the game that could have been on the shelves six times over had 3D Realms pulled their finger out and stuck to one of the dozens of release dates they've announced over the past decade. I was contemplating how I feel about this game now since it's been around ten years since I played the last Duke Nukem game and I realised I don't care anymore. The only reason I'm keeping abreast of the news is because I want to see if they'll stick to the rather soggy release date they've hesitantly put forward before revealing it's not a release date at all, it's a date they might be able to release the game on... at least they've learnt not to make promises they can't keep but Jesus, give us something a bit more solid than sponge to go on. So hype can severely backfire, I don't know if anyone else is actually interested in Forever now, a few years back and everyone who was alive back in Duke's prime was clamouring for more information, for another shot at the crude franchise but now I guess we're sick of being teased just as we got sick of waiting for Wile. E. Coyote to catch that blasted Road Runner.

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Voice of the people
Posted on Monday, January 28 2008 @ 20:47:23 Eastern

I thought I'd change it up for my latest blog and talk about blogs themselves. I'm sure almost every blogger here knows about the Vox Pop competition but do you all know what it means? Well it's short for Vox Populi and means 'voice of the people', the Vox Pop is GR's attempt at giving us lowly meatbags a creative outlet on our favourite website and Vox Pop, thanks to the GRandmaster's efforts, is a pretty good read. But what about Vox Pop's little brother, the lowly blog? I say lowly because anyone can make a blog, it's like scrawling on a wall without any possible legal repercussions. This accessibility is great; it's revolutionary in fact, it allows everyone to have their say and not only that but put it in a place where it's available to potentially millions of people! Who wouldn't want that‽ Well lots of people want their opinion to be heard, that's why in the days before the blog (and even today) a quick wander around a common youth hangout will reveal a plethora of graffiti. Granted this messy form of self expression usually goes no further than stating someone 'wuz ere 2k8', someone 'luvs' some other lucky son of a gun or the neighbouring village/town/city/country are 'belendz' or 'wankaz' but it goes a fair way to describing the mental faculties of the talented individuals who managed to pop the top off the can of spray paint and scrawl these sad excuses for English on the tunnel under the train tracks inbetween pregnancies and cans of Stella. There are so many other ways people demand to be heard from protests in the street, adverts in newspapers, posters, even music and indie films and of course, we have blogs. The internet has increased a person's audience immeasurably in many cases, especially with the advent of Web 2.0 which means you don't even need a website to write whatever you want so for anyone who wants to share their opinion, or read the opinion of someone else, happiness is just a click away.

Except it's not that simple. For every person who is willing to put time and effort into their blog for the sheer pleasure of writing there will be several more who write whatever random piece of crap floats between their ears. I must wonder whether it's worth these individuals making the clicks and pressing the keys to make a blog asking for cheats, requesting full games available on site or simply saying 'Dr. Lizard'. It seems too much effort to share their modicum of thought but they're just as entitled to share their opinions as anyone else, regardless of how irrelevant their opinions are to the world at large. Having said that, this is certainly a severe disadvantage of this new found way of expressing oneself. We now have access to the opinions and beliefs of millions; in some cases it can be interesting and intriguing, sometimes a view into the other side, whatever that 'other side' may be and sometimes it can be pretty much the same as your own style but maybe... better. But then there are insights into a worse place, into simple or degenerate thoughts you may have felt more comfortable not being privy to, that's the price of expanding ones horizons.

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The future of gaming
Posted on Saturday, January 19 2008 @ 17:53:29 Eastern

Not as catchy as my last title, huh? Ah well, hopefully it'll be worth a read even without the lack of apologies for not including boobs or hummingbirds. After covering one of the (unjustifiably) biggest stories at the moment with my Sex! blog I've decided (well, JCD decided) to take a look at what could happen in the future. Pretty broad topic, I know, so I'll limit it down to gaming I guess... what with this being a gaming site and all.

Gaming has come on leaps and bounds since Pong, we've shot up hollow blobs in Asteroid, jumped over alligator head infested ponds in Pitfall! and eventually leapt into the third dimension with games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom and since then things have been steadily improving not just in terms of graphics but with gameplay, sound and size of games, just take a look at modern titles such as the GTA titles, Halo series and stand alone tours de force like Bioshock, Mass Effect and Uncharted (and yes, that is the plural of 'tour de force'). Crap, this is fast becoming the past of gaming... ok let's cut this short, gaming has come a looooong way and given little factoids like this it promises to carry on for much longer. But where does that leave us? Is each subsequent console going to get better graphics, bigger worlds and not a fat lot else? I doubt it, we've already seen attempts at controller innovation in the ludicrously named Wii (seriously, Nintendo must be playing some trick on us here!) and the sixaxis PS3 controller, we've seen analogue buttons in the recent past and even attempts at controlling a game via a camera but really, when all's said and done the core gameplay principles are largely the same for most great games.

So what can we look forward to in the future? Well clearly graphics are going to get more and more lifelike and as storage solutions become larger the game worlds can become more complex but will there be anything else? Well I found this earlier today and almost cried with happiness. Geeky? You betcha. Exciting? Oh hell yes! The possibilities with this technology are mind boggling, from military applications such as providing a permanent HUD for soldiers featuring intelligent target selection to industrial safety implementations to flash up a warning in toxic areas all the way down to those stock guys who get all excited when their stocks go up and are reduced to tears when it craps out getting instant notifications when something important happens. But this blog is about games so let's start being selfish and think about what this amazing technology can do for us. Well my first thought is virtual reality, although I hate that term because it conjures up memories of Virtual Boy, not a good moment for Nintendo. Even though the concept of 'virtual' reality is tainted it doesn't mean it has to be ****. In fact, I reckon it holds a lot of promise, at least the idea of being 'inside' the game world does and if those lenses are used in conjunction with something like this or this it's actually a feasible idea and being able to actually be inside a game is an incredible idea to me... if it can be pulled off.

But what about the content of games? There's no denying that games today are so much deeper than the games of old simply because technology is more capable of supporting the visions of developers now so are we going to be able to explore larger and larger areas? How about whole countries? Or planets! Full size planets! See, Mass Effect built on the ideas of KOTOR and allowed us to explore lots of planets in lots of systems but even that didn't give us whole planets! With holographic discs just round the corner of production we can expect absolutely enormous storage in just a few console generations.

Even if my ambitious hopes aren't realised soon it's an exciting time to be a gamer, let's get away from the pessimism, stop focusing on the profiteering conglomerates like EA issuing rehash after rehash of done to death sports games and focus on the awesome smaller companies like BioWare and Havok releasing innovative, glorious titles, even larger companies like Rockstar are giving us hope. Even though the small number of massive companies are scared of taking even the smallest of risks there are hundreds of little guys just itching to get their amazing idea turned into an amazing game. In the words of my phone provider, "the future's bright, the future's orange"... except it's not orange really is it? The future can't technically have a colour.

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Sex!
Posted on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 21:33:05 Eastern

Yeah I knew that would get you in. Well I didn\'t lie with the title... kind of. You\'re not going to get any breasts, there won\'t be any ASCII porn or links to some of the more depraved sites of the intarweb (I\'ve asked JCD, he won\'t share) and, ...   read more...

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Advertising
Posted on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 08:49:41 Eastern

AOL, the infamous (and shitty) internet service provider has been going for a long time. Remember all those CDs you used to be swamped with every time you... well I don\'t actually know how we all came into possession of enough plastic to supplement ...   read more...

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Intelligence
Posted on Tuesday, January 8 2008 @ 23:39:50 Eastern

Intelligence is a funny thing. Logic, common sense, IQ, power of the mind. What is it? Who is intelligent? Is intelligence the same as common sense? I don't think it is, see many people think I'm intelligent, I'm not going to say I am or I'm not but ...   read more...

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Keep fit videos
Posted on Wednesday, January 2 2008 @ 16:32:46 Eastern

Wondering if it\'s the new year yet? Well aside from tripping over old Christmas decorations, standing on fallen pine needles or... checking a calendar, there\'s an easy way to find out, switch on the TV and if every other advert is some barely known...   read more...

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Set for a while
Posted on Monday, December 17 2007 @ 17:27:59 Eastern

So I just bought an HDTV. Samsung 22" with component, SCART, DVI, VGA and HDMI in, I know to many all that crap I just said probably won't mean a lot and in truth it's only the component and SCART that truly matter to me right now but HDMI could...   read more...

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Loyalty and credit cards
Posted on Sunday, December 2 2007 @ 01:11:23 Eastern

Loyalty cards, credit cards, I\'m sure you\'ve all heard of them. They\'re the little plastic things inside almost every wallet or purse on the planet, some of them have pictures on them, some have patterns, many have a chip and I\'m sure all have th...   read more...

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Why I won't be a PC gamer
Posted on Thursday, November 29 2007 @ 17:24:48 Eastern

People often ask me why I don't play games on PC... well, they don't, that was a lie but if I spent more time around PC gamers I'm sure they would ask me that. They would ask me that because I don't do it, don't get me wrong I've tried, I even played...   read more...

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