Category Archives: Games

Oh the pain..

Mario Kart Wii UK release date: 11 April

Date dispatched to me via Royal Mail: 9th April

Date delivered: 10th April

First day back at work after illness: 10th April

Time of Mario Karts delivery: 11.50am

Chances that my letterbox were big enough to recieve it with stupid Wii Wheel in: 0

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Gutted

On January 14, 2008, Perpetual Entertainment announced that it is no longer developing Star Trek Online. The license for the game and all of its assets except for the code have been transferred to an undisclosed Bay Area development studio. [2][3]. On January 18th, all STO developers were laid off by P2 Entertainment. [1] Without the code, whoever takes over Star Trek Online will be faced with a lot of work to complete the project, which means that fans may have longer to wait for a completed Star Trek Online.

from Wikipedia

Dammit, the one MMORPG I was actually excited about as well :(

Scrabulous@Facebook

I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to keep the Scrabulous application in Facebook.  Whilst a couple of weeks ago this was running fine in Firefox under Feisty it is definitely no longer the case for me.  I would like to say it was fine under Windows and OS X where at least it has been playable, but tonight I can’t even get my games to view no matter what I’m using (whilst I’m carefully avoiding the unnecessarily contrived Long Way Down on the BBC).  I would upgrade to Gutsy except for the fact my replacement machine is currently en route from Dell, and I can’t be bothered to reconfigure things which are probably going to end up cannibalised on behalf of Microbase in a weeks time ;)  I just want it fixed though!  I’ve never been a big Scrabble player and being schooled by colleagues and friends in actually playing the game (rather than my naive approach of just getting rid of the letters) is rather enjoyable.  Maybe a couple of physical boards would be a good addition to the offices ;)

Moments of fear

I’ve just had one of those experiences that you can directly relate to playing computer games far too much.  Whilst an hour of Mario Karts is enough to make me see red shells flying if I close my eyes, this experience was a lot more deeply grounded.

I’d just been shopping in Waterstones with a birthday book voucher (thanks Anna! – growing up is such a shame as no-one gives you book tokens anymore!) and was coming back through the RVI to the Medical School.  Linkin Park was on the stereo.  The route I take back through the RVI takes me through a construction area, and one corridor has stop/go lights that flank two giant (30′ high) automatic shutter doors for construction traffic to pass to the site.

The lights are often on red, and I just ignore them, safe in the knowledge that they are overly cautious.  However the noise of the shuttered doors opening over the strains of the music were just a little too much for my frayed nervous system and I can only say that my body went into ‘Doom mode’.  Yes, for a split second, I was expecting the shutters to reveal a hellish plain full of revenants and boy did I want a BFG.

Given that I haven’t played Doom in years, I find this rather disturbing.

00:42

Hmph

I don’t want to go to bed. I want to stay up all night playing Wii Sports.

Haven’t even put Zelda in the machine yet.

Must go to bed, otherwise I won’t be arsed to go into town tomorrow to grab another Wiimote and Nunchuck.

Oh my $DEITY – it really is so much fun.

Wireless setup was a breeze too!

Resignation

So, my MMORPG habit comes to an end. Last night I cancelled my subscription to EVE . It’s funny really – I love the game, it’s well thought out, well balanced, engaging and deep and suffers from relatively few gripes that I’ve had with other MMORPGs whilst also allowing me to fly fricken huge spaceships with fricken huge lasers and leave a trail of interplanetary destruction in my wake.

This should feel good – and generally it does.

Those who are unlucky enough to engage with me on a daily basis will know that EVE talk is a staple of lunchtime conversation with banter about trade routes, mission running, corporation politics and future plans for ‘assault frigate goodness’ which are so frequent that most of my colleagues must be aware of how to play EVE simply by osmosis. Jen, Neil, Matt, Phil, Harriet and myself have all played at one point or another, and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it.

So what is the problem?

There are multiple things that have brought me to this point. Firstly, the daily grind at the computer is getting to me. When I come home in the evening, I turn on the computer to do 3 things. Read Slashdot, read The Register and go on MSN for an hour. After that, my desire to stay online is inversely proportional to what is on TV, what is on DVD, how many back issues of Nature I have to read and how tired I am. I work at a PC all day. Coming home to one is no longer the experience it used to be. There are work emails, work colleagues online (although in fairness work boundaries are always maintained), and after a day troubleshooting what are effectively IT issues I can’t be bothered troubleshooting machines at home.

Secondly we’re on a new phase of EVE – the phase which is about to require Vista for the ‘ultimate’ experience. I cannot get into another round of expensive PC upgrades for limited entertainment returns. Hence the decision to purchase the Nintendo Wii. My gaming can now be done from my couch, online or otherwise, and without the need to worry about forking out for a new motherboard/cpu/gfx card or whatever else may be required to play the latest thing. The only PC game I care about is episodic releases of Half Life 2. I spend more time gaming with my GBA (mainly Pokemon I admit) than with anything. EVE and HL2 are the only titles that approach this.

Finally.. the big problem, that was hit on by Neil (not in the pub in the afternoon, oh no). You cannot win at EVE. You cannot become the best at EVE, ever. There is always someone with a bigger, faster ship, bigger guns, more skill points, more time to invest in it than you etc. Neil pointed out that it’s relatively easy to master an FPS – a couple of months at most is what is needed to ‘pwn the n00bs’, but it’s only after 6 months of EVE playing that I feel remotely competent at what I do, and suspect that it would be another 6 months before I could fly the ships I’m flying the way I want to fly them. It’s easy to play EVE incrementally if you like, but when you accept a mission that you have no hope of finishing in an hour – that’s not good. 30 minutes or an hour a night I can take. 3 hours, I cannot. The Wii will let me dip into gaming, the way I like to do, not make it a bloody lifestyle choice. And I can finish HL2, Zelda and Pokemon. I might sink 20 to 40 hours into a title, but there’s a defined end point, and that’s more important to me than I’ve previously wanted to (or been able to) admit.

EVE is great. Try it. If you’re of a certain age, and you liked Elite. You’ll love it. My reasons for quitting are my own and not a reflection on the game.

The next post will likely be my impressions of my new Wii :)

PS: Star Trek Online is coming next year. Who will be playing EVE then hmm? Not I ;)

Prey

Allyson recently alerted me to Prey from 3D-Realms due to our mutual interest in the FPS genre. I had a look at the E3 gameplay trailers and thought it kind of looked like fun. The demo was released this week, and I’ve just finished playing through it.

It’s hard to know where to start with this game, I guess I wanted to like it, but I don’t think I will be purchasing it. The good side is that it runs pretty well on my hardware (which is nice seeing as it has struggled with other games based on the Doom3 engine (notably Quake4)) and has some definitely original concepts and content for a FPS. The bad side? It’s hard to sympathise with the protagonist – an native American called Tommy as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend from the hands of aliens which seem to be hell bent on sucking up humans for nourishment. Anyone wishing to look at how character building and interaction should be done in a FPS should just look at how well it is done in HL2:EP1. I could not have cared less when Tommy’s grandfather was eviscerated by the alien machine. The native American slant is hokey and whilst adding an interesting twist to the puzzles (Tommy can ‘spirit walk’ – stepping outside his corporeal form to achieve things he couldn’t otherwise do) doesn’t really sit well – the laughably short training in the spirit world could have been done so much better. Maybe I read too much Carlos Casteneda as a young hippy, but there is a hint that this mythology is merely added to layer on gameplay mechanics. There are elements of the game mechanics that are interesting – the wall walking is kind of fun – at first. Watching characters for the first time moving in orthoganal planes to yourself is slightly head bending, however it is in the later stages that this moves from being head bending, to nausea inducing. Some sections have a definite Escheresque nature that have made me feel physically sick (interestingly in-game your character vomits copiously in one early section, acknowledging this). Now, I don’t like being sick at the best of times, nor do I want to have a game make me feel sick. I know some people suffer from a form of travel sickness when playing FPS games (often said to be caused by the ‘head bob’ of the character) but I am not one of them, and I’m buggered if I’m going to fork out for a game that I have to take breaks from in order to stop me from spattering my keyboard with the remains of last nights espresso martini..

Feel free to play the demo and disagree, but I don’t think this is a great game – the weapons are clearly inspired by the organic ‘guns’ in the original Half-Life and whilst the game engine chucks things around at a reasonable rate it is not nearly as revoultionary a game as the publishers would like you to think it is.