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The Gaming Rant 14

October 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored version of a previously unpublished article originally written for another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Weekly Rants are banned. Like an angry pit bull terrier, I have been muzzled and chained, my freedom to viciously attack whoever I want repealed (Bob and I actually play golf together now; his Bugatti Veyron is awesome too). I hate my job. My boss is made of evuls. WHERE ARE MY BISCUITS?

So how do we do a weekly rant in a journalisticly acceptable way when my keyboard has the freedom of speech potency equivalent to a Blackberry in Dubai? First, we have to rant about things rather than people. Luckily, Killzone 2 Psychologist Cocaine Guy can probably be classified as a thing due to his sub-human observational capacity. Then we throw in a comment like, “but otherwise, he’s a top bloke and we love him to bits”. Future Publishing taught me everything I know (this is a lie; we love Future Publishing to bits).

The second thing we’re going to do is change the title from ‘Weekly’ to ‘Whenever’. This is because my TV-watching requirements are vastly more important than my desire to entertain you with cutting-edge prose.

Finally, we are not going to actually rant anymore. Instead, we are going to muse. This is the same as ranting, but with some anti-depressants thrown in, plus it sounds politically correct.

Let’s get serious for just a moment, though. The facts are that TSA is maturing, the industry is watching us more closely, so we have to try and be a bit professional. We haven’t set our sights too high though: our editorial policy is now to compare each article against the day’s headline story in the Daily Mail, and if our article contains less inaccuracies, prejudice and misleading statements, it’s good to go. Unfortunately, in an ironic double-lie, the Daily Mail also taught me everything I know, so maintaining journalistic integrity can be trying at times.

A word of thanks: I had an unbelievable amount of PSN mails from strangers and colleagues alike asking me where the Weekly Rant had gone and when it was coming back. I was going to come up with a triple lie (after all, the Conservative Party taught me everything I know), but the truth of the matter is I have actually been rather sick. In my head, not my body. I’m not proud of it, but Peter was kind enough to give me some time off. Changing ‘Weekly’ to ‘Whenever’ is really a contingency in case I get sick again. I shall soldier on and do my best. I really appreciate all the kind messages you all sent and it inspired me to continue, and I do mean that: thank you all very much. I’m also glad you all realise that when I slag you off, what I really mean is you’re top blokes and lasses and I love you to bits.

Now, moving onto business, I trust you all thought of me when Germany plastered England that weekend. Oh how I laughed. It was, of course, as predictable as a 2011 Call of Duty subscription, but there we go. It was a well-deserved defeat naturally. How much money did I make betting on Germany all those matches instead of England? Enough to get a rather tasty HTC Desire, which, if you are for some strange reason considering an iPhone 4, I can strongly recommend as a proper phone.

Move It

You can’t spell muse without Move. I reckon. You may remember I spent some months bashing everyone’s favourite vibrating wand earlier in the year. I declared many times I was totally uninterested in it and would likely never buy one. So it was a certain amount of looking suspiciously over my shoulder that I went to collect my pre-order when it arrived. “Too big” for the postbox said the note from the postman. Okay – is it too big to fit through my front door? No, it isn’t. Don’t make me walk for 7 minutes when you could make me walk for 0. There’s a reason gamers use motion controllers rather than actual motion.

So did it perform ‘the desired function’? It’s a toss up (see what I did there?) between the Move and the HTC. Dildroid certainly has comedy value, but it is somewhat reminiscent of the Apollo 13 mission: how do you fit a square plug into a round hole? Kids, I’m talking about USB-to-mini adapters *looks around* (pretty sure they had those in the 60s)

But I digress. I wrote 20 pages of stuff about the Move just now, but for those of you with real lives to attend to, I can sum it up in one sentence. It’s as I expected: a couple of decent games in a whole lot of dross. Who’s with me?

I should imagine anyone who isn’t interested in Move or EyeToy, sorry, Kinect, must be absolutely sick and tired of all the coverage by now. I know I am. What I want is for the press to inform me when there are some good Move games actually out with high scoring reviews, and in the meantime just please, PLEASE be quiet.

Scenes From Around The Web

1. PlayStation Hacking: Breaking News

Good news everybody. The PSJailbreak has now been officially ported to a ham and cheese sandwich, and here is a in-no-way fake video to prove it:

2. Gold PlayStation 3

For just a snip at £587.44 plus presumably an extortionate amount of shipping and insurance, you can now snag your very own gold PS3, phat, 40GB – so hopefully it comes with something lower than firmware 3.41, eh, eh? 😛

http://www.goldgenie.com/gold-playstaion-p-79.html

Check it out. For an even lower bargain price, you can get your existing PS3 or 360 gold-plated. Oh how the people who pre-ordered Gran Turismo 5 Signature Edition are going to regret that when they see what they could have had for only slightly less money instead.

3. Failure

I did a Google search on “PlayStation Move A&E admissions” but sadly nothing yet. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you guys on this one. Thank God Sony didn’t put a hamster in the orb.

The Summer Drought

You knew I had to mention this. Anyone here remember when a drought used to refer to a water shortage? This year the studios have been paranoically obsessed with preventing us from playing any games whatsoever in the months of July and August. My goodness, we live on a rotating, erm, orb, which is tilted just enough to produce seasons, big deal – but it is exactly this irritating 22.5 degree tilt that I hold directly responsible for manipulating the behaviour of the studios.

Obviously, we need to come up with a plan. I get all my ideas from video games so I reckon I have some sensible solutions at hand already. We could move everyone underwater, or destroy the Sun. Covering the sky with an opaque black dome could work – no wait, we’ll use a massive projection of some kids pretending to be dogs, Kinect does need all the help it can get after all.

OR… we could actually vote with our wallets, buy more games in the summer and less in the winter to make a point. That is pretty tricky I realise when all you’ve got to choose from is a flight simulator, an inferior 50s clone of GTA IV and a shooter which looks like it’s streaming on YouTube (can you figure out all three?!), but I think we really need to do something about this. What did I have to play over the summer? Green Day Rock Band. And there is really only so much inane spouting of random political messages I can take in my video games. Just kidding – we love Green Day to bits.

Medal of Honor Tali-banned

First let me re-assure everyone that I strung colossalblue up with nipple tongs in a public dungeon and paraded him until he promised never to write a gag line like that again (he has no chest hair, it was really humiliating for both of us).

Now. Call of Duty yada yada same old same old. We’re on the same page right? Good. So, what was the one thing I was looking forward to in Spack Ops?

The ability to play the Taliban. Be the bad guy. Why? Am I a secret terrorist extremist with an IED in my cleavage? No, it’s because, and Daily Mail readers do take careful note here: It lets me do something I would never do in real life.

Jesus Christ. In Killzone 2 I killed thousands of Helghast. How do we know they weren’t the good guys and that we were victims of anti-Helghast propaganda? In EndWar I played the Russians, and let’s note that over half of the Europeans online also chose the Russians (amusingly, nearly all US players choose to play the US, so pathetically patriotic – can you tell they’ve been brainwashed by the media much?). And in SingStar, I played Devil’s advocate. Hell, I can call my EyePet Pope Benedict if I want, and God only knows what kind of game he’d be in (I’m thinking a blend of Dante’s Inferno and Milo). No, just kidding, we love Pope Benedict to bits. Sometimes he loves Milo to bits as well. And yet, I can’t play the Taliban in a war game set in Afghanistan? If that happened in a film, everyone would turn round and say, hang on a minute, aren’t we sort of missing one of the core elements of the war in Afghanistan here? Dismal EA, dismal.

1 million free TSA points and a smooth banhammer to the person who writes “FIRST!” before anyone else. Have a good weekend 🙂

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The Gaming Rant 13

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language, drug references and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself.

Bit of a mixed bag this week, mostly because I’ve spent most of the week staring at odds, spreadsheets and guys running around on grass. In the case of England, they were literally on grass, it is the only reasonable explanation why they moved around like snails in a vat of treacle. So here is a random assortment of stuff that piqued my interest this week.

Bob Kotick wants Call of Duty subscriptions. My initial reaction to this was “Oh really asshole?” But not so fast! For once in his life, the man has actually come up with an idea that has some merit, because this could go one of two ways:

  1. Those bloody 12-year old American ADD kids with headsets will finally be dissipated to the delight of people who can actually string sentences together without using the word ‘gay’ or ‘n00b’, or:
  2. Lots of stupid American ADD parents who are too loaded on Ritalin to notice they have children will blindly shell out their hard-earned welfare money to keep those kids subdued so they can continue feeding their pill-popping Dr. Phil-watching habit. The kids will then be further locked into Modern Warfare 2, reducing the risk of a random encounter with one of them in a proper video game.

As it happens, both these results are actually pretty good for us, so logic dictates we have to support the subscription model Bobby has proposed.

You’ve got to love the logic. Lots of people bought our game therefore everyone likes our game therefore everyone will pay for it again. Everyone uses Google too, but imagine the fallout if Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all suddenly decided to start charging subscriptions. Pretty much instantly, the internet would become a desolate wasteland of neglected services as everyone goes back to doing meaningful things instead.

There is, however, a certain creep of irony to all this. We all know that Activision only makes money on Modern Warfare 2 because millions of underage kids are playing it. If MW2 could only be played by real people, it would have been a total flop because we’re all smart enough to play Battlefield instead. If it had been up to Activision, the game would’ve been rated PG, but they weren’t too worried: they know parents are stupid and easy to exploit, and they capitalised on it. The upside here is, if we cleverly get millions of parents to buy Call of Duty subscriptions, we will have concrete paper trail evidence that they are mentally retarded to wave at The Daily Mail, then we can lock them up in psychiatric facilities for life as a form of passive eugenics, and hopefully save our asses from the current hell that is online play by the time OnLive 3 is out. Stupid gay n00bs.

Bob Kotick is concerned about the price of PlayStation Move and Kinect. You’ve really got to laugh, otherwise you’d cry. So let’s just get this straight Bob: a company that has set RRPs of £54.99 for Modern Warfare 2, £10 for a map pack with 2 old maps in, £109 for a single DJ Hero game and turntable, and some obscene amount for a pro skateboard cleverly disguised as a cheap tacky piece of plastic is concerned about the price of a peripheral that will be usable by the vast majority of games released in the next couple of years? Are we, like, on the same planet here? You can’t even use the DJ Hero turntable as a sex toy for goodness’ sake, although it does make a good tomato slicer if you glue a kitchen knife to it then spin it round really really fast. Get a grip! (haw haw)

Bob Kotick doesn’t like the way the interwebs talks about him. I can sympathise with Bob here actually; after all, my weekly job at TSA is to write a bunch of worthless shit that slowly decreases my street cred and ability to get hired in the industry. Don’t underestimate the impact of talking shit on the internet: I opened a German newspaper a couple of months ago (don’t ask) and somewhere a few pages in there was an article “TheSixthAxis criticises Polyphony Digital” with a link to my Gran Turismo 5 rant. Then I go onto Metacritic and they have quoted me slagging off Guitar Hero Van Halen. So, if the smear campaigns of a gay n00b writer like me get erm, smeared, all over the internet, imagine the impact of Bobby’s words.

None of this will prevent me from slagging him off of course. What a cry baby. If you’re gonna talk out of your ass, expect to be slammed by an anonymous group of pricks who would never dare talk to you that way in a bar for fear of having a bottle of Smirnoff Ice smashed over their heads. Yes, I’m afraid you’re just an anonymous group of pricks. When I slag off something you like in my column, I expect you to tell me I’m a dick in the comments. It’s part of the entertainment value. I enjoy seeing how easily some people get so provoked and wound up over nothing.

There are two big differences between Bobby and myself. First of all, Bobby is making an inordinate amount of cash out of his endeavours, whereas I just love to be hated. Secondly, I have this thing Bob could learn about: charisma. I know these are unfamiliar words for him, having learned everything he knows about PR from his tutor Gordon Brown. If Richard Branson was in charge of Modern Virgin and announced there would be a subscription model, people would cheer him and say good on you, hope it funds your next balloon flight. If Michael O’Leary of RyanAir did the same thing, they’d say, well he’s Irish, so he’s a c*ck anyway.

It’s all about conduct. When Bob goes to Asda – no wait it must be Waitrose, slaves dressed in rags lay out blocks of solid marble in front of him so he doesn’t have to get dirt on his Adidas Solid Gold shoes. His butlers wipe his ass with freshly minted £100 notes. While Richard Branson at least gives the impression of being the good guy who wants to please his customers, and made his empire through legitimate business practices, Bob’s approach is more to just mow over his entire customer base with unwanted pap with no regard for what they actually need or want, or whether it benefits them or not.

Don’t like what I said Bob? Then stop acting like a greedy petulant temper tantrum child of the 90s and start acting with some genuine consideration for your fellow human beings.

Piercings. Why do teenage girls get their belly buttons, tongues, lips and other more personal body parts pierced? Is it because they’re dirty whores? Or is it because they’re just dirty whores? The question arose when a teenage family member informed me that she wants to have her belly button pierced.

There are worse places a woman can get a piercing, though. One of my bisexual colleagues has a piercing in that most painful of places that only a true masochist would dare to do. I asked her what possessed her to do that, she said it made the bedroom activities better. Yes, I can just imagine it: what I really want when I’m getting some is to hear clank, clank, clank like a bloody cowbell every half second. That’s just one more thing for your boyfriend to drag you into the kitchen by the next morning when he wants you to cook him a fry-up.

Oil spills. As we all know, BP are taking the Katamari Forever approach to cleaning up oil in the Gulf of Mechhicho: roll up a ton of trash and hope that the resulting katamari soaks up all the oil. Guys, it works well in a video game, but you really shouldn’t let your behaviour be affected by our malicious evil industry. Actually, that sounds kind of like the oil industry, but I digress: real life is a little different, and I believe this excellent summary of how BP deals with spilled coffee explains it best:

Motion Controllers. What is it called now, KiNatal or something? I ‘kin’ ‘ate it. Am I the only one on the planet who doesn’t give a rats ass about Move and Kinect? If I wanted motion control I would buy Wii Sports Plus. What I want is to sit on my ass expending as little energy as possible pushing buttons shooting shit up. Proper old-school like. And we’re all lazy b*stards so I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement here. As the media has correctly told us, the very purpose of video games is to dumb our minds and bodies, become unhealthily unfit and get fat. And that is exactly why I bought my PS3 and exactly what I want to do. Why would a coach potato want to do anything else? I don’t even go the 5 minute walk to the store unless there happens to be a taxi outside.

A much better peripheral would have eliminated that troubling physical effort of moving analog sticks and pushing buttons by simply allowing us mind control over what our character does. Then we wouldn’t have to Move at all, and if Microsoft’s E3 presentation is to be believed, they could’ve easily put mind control in Kinect, they just cut it out to save $10 on the manufacturing cost as they felt it was an unnecessary over-complication.

I am getting really worried now. Heavy Rain Move, Gran Turismo Move, SOCOM Move, SingStar Dance (using the Move). Move games DO NOT WANT. Please, I beg you Gods of game development, do not deny me my DualShock 3 gaming pleasures.

FirstPlay. Hehe no I’m just kidding, the less said the better.

PlayStation Plus. I really didn’t want to rant about this, but let’s face it, background patching? It should’ve been free, and besides, who doesn’t have a 100Mbit internet connection these days? I mean, apart from everyone in England, but their football team is so God damn awful they all deserve to be on dial-up anyway. Beating Slovenia by only one goal? *golf clap* Wow you must’ve really exerted yourselves on that one. Watch me laugh to death on Sunday when Germany slaps you losers into eternal oblivion.

Sorry, got sidetracked there. Oh yes, PlayStation Plus. No cross-game voice chat? Such a shame. Definitely when I’m playing games, all those messages I get from people asking me for beta keys and if I want to play LittleBigPlanet would certainly have been less intrusive if they had been allowed to bellow out of my speakers while I’m enjoying a nice quiet game of Aliens vs Predator, or Frogger Returns.

What about the first 2 months’ games and discounts? Surely something decent there, right? Hmmz. LBP, Wipeout HD, Field Runners, Age of Zombies, Shatter, Savage Moon, Gravity Crash, Fat Princess DLC, Killzone 2 Steel & Titanium DLC, ModNation Racers, Heavy Rain, Zen Pinball, Blast-Off, Alien Zombie Death, Mushroom Wars, Super Stardust HD, WipeOut Fury, MotorStorm Adrenaline Pack, Flower, PixelJunk Shooter. Now I’m going to concede, for anyone who is new to PSN, that is a damn fine list of games and a spectacularly excellent start to PlayStation+. But what about those of us who have more money than sense?

You know when you were a kid and you collected football cards in the playground, and you looked through your friend’s cards and were like “got, got, got, need, got, need, got, got, need, need, got”? Well this was more like “got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got… bollocks”. Then you look through the list and realise you haven’t even played 80% of them anyway and think what a dork you are for wasting so much money on games you never get time to play. Must remember to pop to the store tomorrow and pick up Naughty Bear, Singularity and Transformers: War For Cybertron so I can stare at their shiny cases and not play those either.

Germany. Sorry if you’re not following the World Cup, but do expect me to rant about football until approximately July 11th. I bet £70 that Germany would beat Serbia. You may begin laughing, now.

As soon as that red card came in the first half, I knew financial doom was imminent. What followed was what I can only describe as 65 minutes of screaming at my TV at a decibel level that would put a vuvuzela band to shame. After missing the penalty, and his performance in general, Podolski is now Kill-on-Sight to me. And well, Özil, nice goal on Wednesday night, but man is he butt ugly. There were genetically mutated babies in Alien Resurrection with more charm. It was pretty disturbing though to be watching matches as a staunch lesbian and occasionally feel compelled to say “hm, wow, he has a nice ass”. Stupid men. I refuse to be corrupted by your fine asses.

Gran Turismo 5 has Stunt Arenas, Karting and Track Creation. So Yamauchi Kazinori saw ModNation Racers and thought “OMG WE MUST HAVE THAT FEATURE!”. OCD is a beautiful thing. Unless it’s compulsive Xbox 360 gaming, then you’re royally screwed. For anyone who is suffering from that, I sympathise: it is more than understandable why you’d want to wash your hands 50 times a day.

I could write a book full of jokes about this announcement – sorry, “leak”. Stunt Arenas particularly tickled me though. Have you ever been able to roll a car in Gran Turismo? Have you ever been able to damage one (and don’t say the new game has damage modelling, we all know it basically consists of the occasional door falling off and that’s it)? What about jumping more than 10cm off the track? No, you can’t do any of those things, because Gran Turismo’s uber-physics model is so realistic that the cars stick to the tracks like lycra to a footballer’s ass. *zones out for a minute* Anyway.

Imagine if you will, the excitement of stunt racing in Gran Turismo. After precisely executing a 3-point turn to get lined up to the massive 10 degree incline jump ramp – being careful not to skid out on the grass – you rev up and about 10 seconds later when you reach 40mph the tension is really mounting as the jump approaches. Gritting your teeth, you reach the apex, only to find that apart from a slight upward shift in your suspension, the car doesn’t lift-off at all. You would go back and try at a higher speed, but the run-up is only 2km long and it will take a good 5 minutes in your Volkswagen Cappuccino to get back there, so you give up. Marvelous.

Kazinori has spent about 20 years raving about how Gran Turismo 5 is all about the realism and nothing to do with being a fun game. So, seriously, go-karting? What is going on here? That’s a bit of a U-turn isn’t it (haw haw again!). Last I checked, go-karting and the Nurburgring don’t mix. Much more disturbingly, last I checked go-karting is usually quite entertaining – surely going against every core principle of what the guys at Polyphony have got planned for us. When I get to the first corner, will a minor deflection of the left analog stick send me careering at a 90 degree angle into the barrier?

The only explanation I can see for these things is that Polyphony Digital looked at ModNation and said, “well that game isn’t fun either, so we better incorporate it into ours”. They are however planning to improve on the loading times, shooting for a full 5 minutes between menus, which will be awesome.

Pre-owned games wars. My God don’t get me started. Online pass premium content access key bonus DLC one-time use code BOLLOCKS TO YOU.

This really is despicable behaviour. It’s out of control and it’s going to make a mockery of our hobby. Even I buy pre-owned games, sometimes in Norway it is the only way to acquire them at all once they’re not new releases anymore, because our game stores don’t exactly have mountains of shelf space. Are you going to punish me for the fact you’ve pushed out too many good games too fast and I can’t afford to buy them all at once?

The one thing that all the other industries have in common where the games market differs, is that only gaming retailers sell new and pre-owned product side by side, and that is where the problem lies; not with the consumer. When Toyota recalled all those cars last year, they didn’t turn round and say, ooh we’re losing a packet, better slap on what basically amounts to an additional tax on the end user. Why? Because it’s totally unreasonable.

When I buy a book, does it have a 1-time use code to access the last 3 chapters that subsequent readers can’t access? When I buy a movie (lol, ok, I have BitTorrent so this is a highly theoretical scenario I admit), is there a 1-time use code to access the extra features on the disk? When I buy a CD, is there a one-time use code to access the unreleased singles?

When I buy a car, is there a 1-time use code that allows the original owner to have a funky digital dashboard, whereas the poor sod I sell it to has to put up with a horizontal analogue speedometer?

When I buy a house, do I have to pay royalties to the builders who put the bricks and mortar there when it was originally built? No I fucking don’t, so stop screwing up the games market.

That is all.


The Gaming Rant 12

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language, drug references and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. Death to vuvuzelas and all who own one.

Now, I know you’re probably expecting me to rant about E3 this week. As a professional gaming guru, it is of course my job to sit up at 1am watching boring presentations and taking notes over copious amounts of coffee. UN-fortunately, my expert attention has sort of been, ehm, a bit shall we say ‘diverted to other purposes’ this week. That’s a euphemism for saying pretty girls are more important than real work. Although, maintaining Norwegian girls is probably a full-time job in itself – not that I’m complaining, but I wouldn’t know anyway because I’m rubbish at things like that. As a result, I have completely missed almost everything at E3 for the first time in about 12 years.

I have to admit, it’s been a struggle to be grumpy on demand lately. This week has been exceptionally difficult: it’s hard to be angry when you’ve got an interesting new friend constantly casting mood buffs on you. But if we leave aside DJ Hero 2 and Microsoft’s utterly shambolic E3 performance (which I was unlucky enough to have to sit through), there are a few matters of personal bane to attend to.

Vuvuzelas

I know, it’s not video game-related, but it is topical, and although I like to pretend I don’t know the offside rule and have never heard of the World Cup, let’s cut through the smoke and mirrors: I own FIFA 10 World Cup and I’ve watched most of the matches. Please don’t tell anyone, I’ll be the butt of their jokes for months and years to come.

I was rather glad EA didn’t patch vuvuzelas into FIFA 10 World Cup for “added realism”, because right now I would like to ram these devices created purely for the irritation of non-paying TV viewers like myself right down their owners’ throats.

I have heard American comedians who are actually less irritating than vuvuzelas. Every time I settle down with a frosty beer to watch a nice bit of football, my ears are assaulted with the sound of hundreds of angry beehives all stuffed into my living room and peppered in tobasco sauce, then released. It is bloody HIDEOUS. If Satan took a dump out of my speakers, I suspect this is what it might sound like.

So FIFA had a meeting on Monday and announced that vuvuzelas are part of South African culture and will not be banned during the championship. Let’s not worry about the fact the players can’t hear their instructions properly, that the commentators can’t hear themselves and that millions of TV viewers are getting a freaking headache for 4.5 hours per day. I read in the newspaper this morning that the volume of the vuvuzelas in the first match with South Africa was 140dB – that’s 20dB louder than a jumbo jet plane taking off – and were right next to the commentators’ box, constantly, for 90 minutes. Why are we not seeing blood spattering on the camera lens as these poor guys’ ears explode into pieces?

You can’t even get away from it when you turn the TV off. Some shitfaced bunch of c*cks decided they would start blowing vuvuzelas in the street outside my house today. It went on for an hour, and that’s a sound I can’t turn off. It really is amazingly loud. I wanted to walk outside, go up to one of them and shove a tennis ball into the end of it with maximum force, hopefully smashing the little shit’s teeth in at the same time.

For God’s sake TV sound engineer people, please filter that bloody sound out before I lose my mind and have to be sectioned. Psychiatric wards around the world are currently filling up with people who have spun into uncontrolled rage and smashed anything nearby that looks like a horn or musical instrument over the head of the nearest human being.

Replace it with singing from Euro 2008. Replace it with drums. Hell, play Samba de Janeiro when someone scores a goal if you really must, but for Christ’s sake, please filter out those f*cking vuvuzelas.

Sony Ericsson’s Retard Testing Button

So who here has a W995 or other SE phone with threaded SMS? Am I the only person who goes back over an SMS they just wrote to re-read it? Can someone please tell me why the hell ‘View’ and ‘Cancel’ are on the same button on these stupid phones?

I’ll admit I’m a Nokia smartphone fangirl. The phones are as slow as a ZX81 with its tape drive stuffed full of marijuana – taking a photo can take a full 10 minutes if you have the audacity to try and use the pre-focus – but the interface is good.

There are few things I regret in my rather colourful life history, but oh how I wish I could turn back time to the fateful day I ordered that W995 and order an iPhone instead… sorry *slap* What was I thinking.. I meant I wish I had ordered an Android phone instead. Slip of the tongue.

So, about 1 in 3 SMSs, you go back to read it and hit Cancel before it’s sent. Then, in true technological fashion, resending fails repeatedly until you finally coax it into behaving itself with threatening looks. The phone has a freaking cancel button, how about using it to, oh I don’t know, cancel the SMS? I know, it’s radical creative thinking to assign a button function to be the same as the icon painted on it, but I like to think outside the box.

Anyway, Mr. Sony Ericsson Fanboi, my friend Thomas – who owns a Nokia N73 that I bought him 3 years ago and not a Sony Ericsson phone – says the View/Cancel button is a test of your level of retardedness, and I apparently fail that test. Yes, that’s like saying I can’t operate a phone with a gay user interface, so I must be heterosexual. I’m guessing the people who programmed the interface on the Sony Ericsson were the same criminal masterminds who came up with the Xbox 360 NXE, another utterly useless and unnecessarily cluttered interface that reminds you of that time you had to wade through a field of cow pat while drunk to get were you were going.

The Wii is Cool

Such heinous words, when uttered in my house, usually constitute a crime worthy of the most inhumane forms of capital punishment. We’re talking bear traps on timers screwed into your face and set to snap open when the timer runs out. Real Saw 1 stuff. Not video game stuff I might add, because no video games are actually that violent. Funny thing that.

Apart from putting Wii Sports boxing down and actually getting into a physical fight with my ex, Super Mario Galaxy was easily the most fun I ever had on my now extremely dusty Wii, which until recently was functioning as an excellent doorstop. There are sawmills with less dust flying around than the awesome collection of dead skin, insects and bacteria I’ve collected on my Wii.

Imagine then, if you will, the feelings of self-loathing that pervaded my body as I played through the first couple of hours of Super Mario Galaxy 2 over the weekend, shook my head with resignation and said “Man, this game is epic.”

And then I remembered: the Wii is actually really fun. Most of the games are fun, not just Mario. The problem is, you just have to actually be bothered to turn the thing on. And change the batteries in the Wiimote of course, because they have a life span somewhat resembling that of plankton. The only problem with it is that although you can wave your Wiimote around as much as you like, you can’t wave your d*ck around with all the trophies and achievements you collected, because there aren’t any. And there’s no online. And there’s no hard disk. And there’s no streaming media. And it doesn’t play DVDs or Blurays. And it only outputs at 480p. Oh who are we kidding, the Wii is a piece of shit.

World’s Deadliest Catch

(If you aren’t familiar with World of Warcraft lingo, I suggest Google Translate – not that that’ll be any help)

Last week I wrote about some fairly high level questing in the Norwegian grocery store Kiwi – let’s call it the Kiwi Auction House or AH for short. For the sake of creative license, let’s stay the story’s protagonist is called Kat and the pick-up group (PUG) member is called Kirsty-Ann. *looks around* Ahem, yeah.

So, Kat picked up Kirsty-Ann in the Kiwi AH last week by doing a recruitment spam in trade chat. In the days that followed, Kirsty-Ann and Kat slowly turned in reputation points for each other and she quickly became a trialist. Many of you know the reputation branch goes neutral, liked, honored, revered, exalted. They are past neutral already, but as it takes weeks of grinding, delivering reputation points and doing daily quests to reach exalted level, they are currently only somewhere between liked and honored.

As a trialist for Kat’s new guild, Kat and Kirsty-Ann did a few quests together – mostly simple gathering and farming quests for low-grade coffee and high-grade cigarettes interspersed with large amounts of cut scene dialogue. Kirsty-Ann was pleased with the Taunt Box of Variation (TV) and Boxes of Ultimate Sound Emission in Kat’s dungeon.

The Green Tabard Kirsty-Ann is forced to wear as part of the Kiwi AH’s dress code is highly misleading. In reality, Kirsty-Ann’s avatar is extremely well-designed – especially her smile which causes an instant area-of-effect resistance debuff on Kat every time she casts that spell. It’s an extremely potent high-level spell with a very low re-use timer, giving Kat a +10 happiness buff within a 40 yard range, unless there are line-of-sight issues of course. It’s clearly imbalanced, but hopefully the scheduled patch and downtime won’t fix the issue or it will create massive lag and ruin the entire gameplay experience.

Kat was also happy to see that Kirsty-Ann had spec’d her personality as well as her avatar, with little to disagree about. Kat was thrilled to learn that Kirsty-Ann is also a geek, but to speak out of character for a moment, no Kirsty-Ann, the Xbox 360 controller is NOT better than the PS3 controller. For fuck’s sake get a grip on reality woman. Apart from that near deal-breaker, the trialist seemed like everything Kat could want in a guild officer.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Kirsty-Ann was already in another guild: a newly appointed officer of <Platekompaniet>, one of the highest ranking guilds on the server and headed by none other than the feared Bluray loot king GM Sargent Disc. Kat was particularly dismayed to learn that Kirsty-Ann had been guildless on their first encounter in the Kiwi AH trade chat two months prior.

Kat asked the new trialist about her existing guild and, although not a judgmental character, felt some slight unease about the way the guild is run, based on her own past guild experiences. Their guild hasn’t been formed for that long but it seems like they haven’t set up a Teamspeak or Ventrilo server yet, which occasionally makes officer meetings (where important things are discussed) difficult. Also, while the GM is not very good at doing courier quests between the Kiwi AH and Kirsty-Ann’s dungeon, he also frowns upon his officer being couriered by others, especially Kat. Confused by this, Kat consulted with a couple of wise old mages in long-standing guilds about appropriate guild etiquette, and they confirmed that 3rd party courier quests are not usually problematic if the guild is running smoothly to start with.

Achievement whoring is another issue. For example, while the GM would like to obtain the Marriage Achievement and Children Achievement, neither Kirsty-Ann nor Kat are particularly excited about that grinding path right now. The Children Achievement would turn Kirsty-Ann from a druid into a hunter, with a pet that constantly needs attention, making costly mistakes, wiping raids and making any normal raiding schedule impossible; whereas the Marriage Achievement ties you down to only participate in guild raids, disallowing PUG-ing.

Kat of course feels that Kirsty-Ann’s current guild should be disbanded and that she should sign a charter with Kat to create a new guild, <Wiitard Button>. It is possible that Kirsty-Ann could form this guild with Kat using an alt and stay in her current one with her main, but that would of course be frowned upon by her existing GM as it is against guild etiquette, and Kat wouldn’t recommend that. When preparing for the guild spec’ing Kat will start doing some daily cleaning and cooking quests to get her kitchen rep up, then ensure she is regularly farming materials for food buffs.

Of course, reputation gain with one faction sometimes leads to reputation loss with at least one other faction, but Kat got lucky at the Kiwi AH. On Monday she completed a simple coffee gathering quest and delivered it to the AH at closing time. This low-level quest awarded more reputation points than expected, and several group members cast Smile when Kat arrived, triumphantly held up the inventory and proclaimed “I BRING COFFEE!” across the entire AH. However, she now dreads the weekly PvP quest: gathering “game reagents” in the Platekompaniet Arena Stage, as she has surely gone to hated there and doesn’t particularly want to spend gold on a PvP re-spec to deal with Sargent Disc.

Kat was fortunate to get unexpected loot from the world server (tax office) this week, although to be honest they had hacked her account then decided to just give her the gold back. As this gold refund came in Kat saw the opportunity to invite Kirsty-Ann to two scheduled raids: the first a 2-man instance taking place in Restaurant, followed up by the fearsome 300-man strong Cinema instance – a PUG-able encounter where you buy in with “tickets” to enter a long cut scene. This might seem like a waste of time but it gives a good intelligence buff and builds reputation points. Unfortunately their raiding schedules have thus far proved incompatible.

Kirsty-Ann – being a geek – is in fact a TSA reader and believe me, the amount of back-pedalling Kat did over last week’s article significantly dented her agility index, although amazingly it also raised her charisma. Readers are therefore strongly urged to provide Kirsty-Ann with feedback on the best choice of guild in the comments below. Because you guys aren’t biased at all!

Epilogue

A thought for Steve Pope. Kirsty-Ann has an 18 year brother, of whom she said the following in passing: “It’s funny, my brother has been playing FPSs for years, but he’d never pick up a gun in real life.”. How odd.

I wish you all a good weekend. Get your barbecues out.

The Gaming Rant 11

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. Video games make children violent – I should know, I’ve had to kill a few already just in self-defence.

If I’m honest, apart from my nurse kindly asking me to remove her from being set as my mum on Facebook, nothing really stands out as getting on my tits this week. Sure, my wisdom tooth is still being a bitch, but finishing Prince of Persia was like pulling teeth so it kind of balanced itself out. Hot girls I can’t shag are still cruising around in their bikinis on the street, and the reflective glare of the Sun’s rays bouncing off their perfectly formed breasts and into my living room is still rendering my extraordinarily expensive TV completely useless for playing video games during daylight hours. Which is becoming a bit of a problem, because it never really gets dark at the moment in Norway.

Lesbians are still chatting me up on Facebook, and they still fall into the same tedious categories: ugly, psychopathic, sporty, on the other side of the planet or in a relationship. Usually all five. Not a single Scandinavian woman has answered my plea for attenshunz. Oh well, my PS3 loves me and he’ll never leave me *glances nervously over to check it didn’t YLoD as I said that*

My friends are all still broke and never want to go clubbing or even for dinner. My office is still as hot as Cameron from House being dipped in an acid cauldron and then dowsed off with boiling water. My ability to acquire new games is still based on short selling Credit Default Swaps.

Yes, all in all it’s a pretty standard summer, with one exception: Federer got knocked out of a grand slam. Oh how I laughed.

DJ Hero 2

Sub-ordinate 1: *pointing at map of Germany on the table* “Hip-hop and rap DJs are appearing on PlayStations in several locations. We have tried to make an advance of trance and house music but Activision are blocking us. At the current rate we estimate that no teenager will have heard of trance music by 2011.”

Me: *waving finger in the air* “Not a problem, DJ Hero 2 will fix that.”

*long pause*

Sub-ordinate 1: *sweating* “Mein Führer… DJ Hero 2…”

Sub-ordinate 2: “DJ Hero 2 will feature Metallica, Rihanna, Dr. Dre, The Chemical Brothers and the sultry sounds of Lady Gaga. There is no trance music.”

Me: *takes off glasses, my hand shaking* “All of you who do not owned Clubland Smashed, please leave the room.”

WHAT THE F*CK! In January Bob Kotick specifically came out and said, and I directly misquote: “We made a mistake with DJ Hero …. the next instalment will be more Europe-centric.” Of course, rather than hiring actual Europeans with cultural knowledge to help them with that, they just left it to their bunch of retarded American in-bred cousins to do the research, and we all know how good Americans are with European culture.

“Ow I love Europe!”

“Really, so what do you know about it?”

Yeah, fuck all, that’s what I thought.

“Ow I really want to go to Europe!”

“Really, which part? There are 39 countries in Europe last I checked”

Yeah, you really have no effing idea as long as you’re on the continent. Go to Belarus – our last remaining dictatorship – that’s in Europe, let us know if you still love it then. Or if you’re from Alabama, come to Norway and let us know your views on homosexuality, see how well that goes down (it’s safe to say that because Alabama only has dial-up internet at the moment). Actually don’t, I don’t want your fat ugly ass spoiling the view from my balcony when you’re standing at the other end of town. Next you’re going to tell us English people have bad teeth and that you loved the latest episode of Fawlty Towers in a vain attempt to be socially relevant.

So with such a geographically competence-challenged population, it’s not really any wonder that Activision thought I would appreciate Metallica. I mean, they already have it licensed so it’s cheap, right? Because I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to a nightclub with the guys at Whatstheirface Studio who developed DJ Hero, the first thing we always do is look at each other while the beats are pounding and say, “Hey, you know what would liven things up a bit? A nice bit of Metallica.” The funny thing is, they are never actually playing Metallica when we arrive. I wonder if there’s a reason for that? Perhaps Europeans, say, don’t want to fucking listen to Metallica when they’re expecting to hear dance music.

You useless bunch of cocks. Oh and BTW, thanks for not bothering to put the free DJ Hero 2 mix on the European PSN store yesterday. Assholes.

PSN Maintenance Timing

Speaking of blazé ineptitude, whose bright idea was it to take the PSN down for 12 hours on exactly the same day it was updated with a ton of new stuff? I mean, I don’t know if you’ve checked your calendars lately Sony, but there are 7 days in the week. Maybe 5 in yours because you’re lazy sods, but that still leaves – I think – 4 days where you can do an update that won’t interfere with my impulse buying addiction. I got the shakes on Wednesday when I couldn’t log on to buy pointless crap I don’t want or need. What were you thinking?

SCE really are the masters of timing aren’t they? So we’re bringing out God of War 3 on 16th March, let’s be sure to engineer a massive world-wide stock shortage to hit the same week.

Christmas is coming! Make sure the factories are closed by November.

Microsoft cut the price of the 360 two years ago and got a huge market share lead. Maybe we should cut the price of ours soon?

Apple just came out with the iPhone 3GS! Let’s release a portable device with no touch screen that also can’t make phone calls, but costs disproportionately more and has far less applications, which also cost more. Just to throw in some further insults, let’s make sure it only supports wireless b and not g, won’t work with WPA2-PSK and doesn’t have predictive texting. The PSPgo does have some things in common with the iPad though: no USB ports, no camera and no Flash support; so it’s not all bad news.

Then they cut off PSN on the same day that IGN’s highest ever rated PSN game is released (Joe Danger). Seriously, you’d think Sony wants to lose money sometimes.

Please release some rubbish games

The summer dry spell. Orly? Yes, June is a dry spell alright: with only Soldner-X 2, Joe Danger, SBK X, Green Day Rock Band, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Naughty Bear, Singularity, Demon’s Souls and Transformers: Cybertron and probably Quantum Theory shortly afterwards to tide us over, how on Earth are we going to manage?!

Now I don’t know about you, but I still haven’t got round to Super Stardust HD yet, which got me thinking. The game studios must surely be losing money by not developing more slowly and staggering the releases, and I’m sure I’m not the only one getting frustrated with the sheer volume of high quality games being released in the last year or so. When there are more blockbuster games being released than blockbuster movies, you know we’ve got a problem. The solution, of course, is to adopt the movie industry’s approach: produce more shit.

If we can’t slow down these developers, we need to tweak them to produce worse games instead. That way, we won’t have to spend so much money, and we’ll have more time to play the good titles. On top of that, the studios producing the slop will go bankrupt and we’ll prune down the number of people working on new titles as a bonus. And I just happen to have some ideas!

Modern Warfare 3: it will be set in 14th century Italy and you will control a guy called Ezio. There will be no guns, only fists and sword play. That should hopefully kill this stupid franchise dead once and for all.

Damnation 2: get all of Infinity Ward, sorry, I meant Respawn of course, working on it. There is no need to inform them that it needs to be as bad as possible; with half of the IP missing they don’t have a hope in hell of making it any good anyway; a self-solving problem.

DJ Hero 2: for this we just need to pick some incredibly inappropriate artists for the game. I’m thinking Dr. Dre, The Chemical Brothers, Rihanna, the sultry sounds of Lady Gaga and ooh, of course.. Metallica! …. *person puts a note on my desk which I read* … *looks up* You are joking, right? … Oh.

Girl-pulling Skillz: I Haz Dem

Hm, perhaps I’ve been reading too much “Please May I Have A Cheeseburger Dot Com?” lately. But anyway, at the risk of turning my weekly rant into a personal blog, those of you who were amused by my weak escapades in GameStop and Platekompaniet the other week will deeply relish the personal hell I suffered through today. I have thinly veiled it below as in some way being vaguely relevant to video games, but really it isn’t.

We are of course talking about the girl behind the counter in Kiwi (a Norwegian grocery store chain). Who else? This girl has teased me with her cute smiles, grins and giggles ever since the innocuous little words “you’re pretty, by the way” may have inadvertently slipped out of my mouth as I was walking off with my shopping 2 months ago.

Ever since that day, going into that shop has been like playing Far Cry 2. First, reconnaissance. Patrol the area. Determine if she is on the counter while retaining the maximum possible distance from the store entrance. If so, enter Bioshock mode: turn your head in the other direction and pretend to scratch your ear when entering to avoid detection – this is like avoiding the video cameras in Rapture. I have tried hacking them before to disable them but I got arrested, so I had to knock that on the head.

I tend not to use the Uncharted 2 cover system while I’m in the grocery store because it can lead to some funny looks, especially when you vault over cover from one aisle to the next, shopping cart in tow. Who said video games affected my behaviour eh? So instead, I take the Modern Warfare 2 approach: go prone and crawl to the counter.

Today though, I didn’t have my game head on, and broke all ranks. Instead, I chatted her up with five people behind me in the queue and a bunch of people to my side, which she seemed to take well. Like all good stalkers who use video games for their training, I stood in the longer queue so I was served by the girl in question (also called “the currently selected target”, she was highlighted in pretty on my HUD, and trust me, if I had an “objective marker” it would have been pointing straight at her; as it happened I only had an extremely small spray can). I went home kicking myself as usual.

And then something different happened. An unexpected plot twist. I said, you know what? Fuck it.

So I put my boots back on and walked back to the store – I returned to the last checkpoint to retry a failed mission. Unfortunately the target had levelled up to her lunch break and I had to engage in a side quest of asking the manager for “the girl who was on the counter an hour ago”. This went down about as well as giving a dozen roses to the Helghast, so before I got mowed down with an incendiary device I meleed my way the hell out of there and looted a coffee and some cigarettes from some NPC shopkeepers to regen my stamina. The target’s lunch break was 45 minutes and let me tell you, those minutes in the park and the coffee house passed like days. It was at this point when I wished real life took as long to load each area as ModNation Racers, but unfortunately real life has been designed with background streaming, an idea blatantly stolen from Asheron’s Call. I sat re-assigning my gadgets (cellphone and PSPgo), thinking the mission was perhaps too high level for me, but after the regen and freshly buffed from coffee, I went back and re-acquired the target.

The boss fight was, to be honest, much easier than anticipated, all I had to do was hand her a low-level Slightly Chewed Pen, then endure four hours of Alpha Protocol-style SMS dialogue to which there are no right or wrong answers, only reputation points and three choices of answer: Suave, Professional or Cocky. Fortunately I worked up my reputation enough to unlock a higher level mission – coffee at about the time this will be published on some web site the name of which I’ve temporarily forgotten.

Wish me luck. It’s been four years since I unlocked a quest of this difficulty level. And no, I do not want to form a pick-up group with you to help me complete it. This one I’m doing solo.

The Gaming Rant 10

June 3, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language, drug references and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. If there are too many big words you don’t understand, consider trading in your 360 for a PS3.

Those with timepieces may notice my rant is a tad late today. To be honest it’s only sheer bad luck that I’m still alive at all. Allow me to explain.

Wednesday

I have a home office full of servers and a work PC that I do my writing on. Wednesday morning started much like any other day. No, actually it didn’t, because for a start I got up before 4pm. I waddled into my office around 8am only to hear a disturbing silence. No jet engine-level fan noise = no PCs running. The automatic fusebox had triggered athough the rest of the house was still happily burning fossil fuels on folding@home and keeping my beers frosty.

I reset the fusebox and turned on my servers without incident. When I came to turn on my work PC, it literally caught fire the instant I turned it on. It’s under a wooden desk surrounded by some thousands of pounds-worth of equipment and project work, plus I’m not used to my house setting on fire, so that kind of scared the shit out of me. One epic sprint to the kitchen and back with a wet towel later and the problem was luckily quelled. The schedule for the day was packed to the rafters so I didn’t have much time to really think about what happened or inspect the damage, and I bolted out of the door for my therapist meeting.

Let me set the scene for you: I was hungry to the point of severe nausea due to not having time for breakfast; my wisdom tooth is being a bit of a bitch lately so that was giving me grief; I was desperate for a smoke in my continuing effort to quit and grumpy from that; finally I made the mistake of trying to look “pretty” by putting on some cute new boots I got, which proceeded to destroy my feet much like a hungry boa constrictor would, squeezing the life out of them. It reminded me why I rarely bother with make-up or classy clothes or hairdos: being pretty costs too much in time and discomfort. I’d rather be spanking n00bs in MAG. Girl gamers, are you with me or are you with me?!

Now, my therapist isn’t particularly good at analysing me. I am on the face of it just too complicated for her feeble little brain, and she is more like a playback device than a psychoanalyst, sort of repeating everything I say just in case I didn’t hear my own words. She’s mostly just good for the sex. So generally I waste taxpayer money toying with her and trying to get her to slip up, but nevertheless I am usually pretty polite. I mean, if I had to face me in a therapeutic context I wouldn’t want to get into a conflict either. This morning though, the combination of her uninformed retorts and my general tooth tummy cigarette foot exploding PC anxiety pushed me over the edge. I described a problem I was having to her and she came up with this absolutely genial response:

“So, what are you going to do about it?”

I’m sorry, what? I’m not having trouble buttoning my blouse up or deciding what kind of frozen pizza I want to eat tonight, I think I can handle those issues myself. If I knew what to do about it, I wouldn’t be asking my bloody therapist for advice would I? The whole point of a therapist is so you can offload responsibility for all the serious stuff to someone else, avoiding the need to think through complex problems yourself, and then blame the consequences on the therapist when you follow her advice, it all backfires and the shit this the fan. All pathological narcissists know this.

So I gave the only reasonable reply:

“What are they paying you for again? If I knew how to solve my problems I wouldn’t be sitting in this fucking room would I? I don’t know what to do about it. What the fuck do you want me to do about it?”

The first time I ever swore at her in anger. I know you’ll find that hard to believe but I do have a politeness ethos in real life.

So the day started badly and continued downhill. I went to pick up SBK X for review and it had been delayed for a week. I went to get some groceries and ran out of money. At this point my stomach was murder so I trudged with my shopping to Subway to get some breakfast – and they had closed down. I limped home, amputated my feet, stuffed myself with cookies, popped some painkillers for my tooth and consoled myself with some cigarettes (whoops), then spent the rest of the day screwing around trying to get my PC to work again. I finished my work that day at 1am – ie. 17 hours after I had started. Do not want.

How TSA Should Review Video Games

Now for an anti-rant. There’s been a lot of talk about review scores, how games are reviewed on TSA and what a review actually means. Well, forget everything you’ve read, because this is how we should be reviewing games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHA8nCM4DCc

That review was so good on so many levels I think I watched it half a dozen times. We seriously need to get Miss Hungary doing reviews at TSA – we could learn a lot from her.

If you think we’ve gotten a bad rap the last week though, check out my no. 1 reviewer Ryan Clements over at IGN. He has written prose that has literally made me puke out of my eyeballs. Ryan is the master of glib, poorly-researched reviews that somehow consume 2 pages but tell you nothing about the game. This is the man who said White Knight Chronicles sucked because you had to wait for the re-use timer to fill before you could execute your next spell. So you’re a big follower of RPGs then Ryan?

He also gave Red Baron Arcade a 2, and while I would never be so audacious as to suggest Red Baron Arcade is a good game, 2 is a little harsh on a game that is basically functional with no particular flaws; it just isn’t particularly entertaining either. Ryan’s fanbase actually consists entirely of people who just read his reviews so they can criticise them in the comments, and rightly so; I suspect he would be more at home in a doll’s house.

Steve Pope

For those of you not following along, Steve-o is a world class psychologist (http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2010/05/25/2-hrs-of-killzone-1-line-of-cocaine) who suggested last week that playing Killzone 2 for two hours is equivalent to shooting a line of cocaine. He didn’t mention how many grams of cocaine I needed to test this theory out and I think I might have used a bit too much because that was one hell of a trip during my last Noby Noby Boy session. You could actually eat cows on Mars and fart them out – surely you’d have to be tripping out on something to believe that could actually feature in a video game.

Last week I may have made an, ahem, “analysis”, which caused my remarks on Mr. Pope to be edited out, so I’ll rephrase. I had intimated that Steve was named after shall we say a certain religious pastime, with the subsequent personality disorders the adolescents develop being blamed by Steve on video game addiction as a water-tight cover story.

So without further ado, let us slam Steve down into the gutter where he belongs with a finely-crafted piece of visceral. Steve doesn’t understand the meaning of satire so when he reads this he will psycho-analyze me as having my attitude molded by video games. So Steve, do me a favour, don’t attempt to assess my personality based on one piece of creative writing, you ignoramus twat.

Two hours of Killzone 2 = one line of cocaine. Well, let’s say Popey Boy is right. How is that a bad thing? Speaking personally, this insight really helped me and my kids get off cocaine and onto something cheaper, which can only be a good thing when your habit is expensive to maintain.

We can extend this analysis to help other addicts. Consider the following equation:

2 joints + 2 hits of rohypnol = 1 loading screen on ModNation Racers

Not only will the effects last longer on ModNation Racers due to the sheer longevity of the loading screen, but we’re going to be saving a lot of English sluts from having a bad night as a perk. (a perk is something you get for killing people Steve, I know, it’s awful; I’m just letting you know because I had trouble understanding your lingo – game station wasn’t in the dictionary – so I figure you might have trouble understanding mine).

1 dose of Speed = 478 levels on Katamari Forever

I’m well known for my superhuman cleaning abilities when I’m relaxing at the weekend as a Speed junkie, so you can only imagine the tremendous dopamine release in my brain from rolling up trash into giant balls and then turning them into stars to re-populate the galaxy for 48 hours straight. Here we are combining the best of Speed-induced productivity and ambitious vision into future technology developments all in one.

10 pints of alcohol = 1 online match of FIFA 10 – 6 minutes per half

It seems to have escaped Steve’s attention that while nobody generally turns up in A&E and says “AMGZ plz help me I’m going crazy for my Killzone 2 fix but my game station has YloD’ed!! Got any cocaine?”, there is quite a bit of alcohol-related activity in said locations.

The answer is simple: remove alcohol from pubs and install a rack of game stations running FIFA 10 instead. We’ll instantly wipe out one of the biggest causes of death in the UK. Which is strange when you consider alcohol barely features at all in any video game. Analyse THAT Steve.

In conclusion, we have to wonder whether Steve has tried either cocaine or Killzone 2. At the least, we can conclude he hasn’t played the latter due to his expert use of video game terminology, demonstrating his years of vast knowledge dealing with clients who regularly refer to their demonic game stations. Has he tried cocaine? Well, it would certainly explain his impaired judgment. I wonder if Killzone 2 would have the same effect on one’s brain cells. But I’m gonna go with… no.

I hear voices that other people don’t hear. Right now, they are telling me that Steve is Kill on Sight. I can’t kill him with my priest though because that’d be kinda ironic. Steve: my views won’t kill you – it would after all be absurd to presume that uttering words can kill a person. So instead, I’m going to use a gun. Watch your back, you just pissed off the wrong video game addict, now I’m gonna turn violent.

ModNation Racers: Part Deux

How can I put this politely? Oh yes, like this: the online is shit. That’s the polite version.

  • On the European release date, the servers weren’t switched on
  • Most of the time your friends list doesn’t actually show your friends, making inviting impossible
  • Max limit of 16 people per ModSpot means most of the time you can’t join another friend in their ModSpot, although the menu never actually tells you why
  • You can’t invite friends to XP races
  • Searching for an XP race invariably creates one instead of joining an existing one
  • Since that happens to everyone else too, it’s almost impossible to get a full room and get a race going
  • The maintenance window is when everyone in Europe is awake and the main target demographic of the game – students, unemployed people and desperate housewives – will want to play (1pm-3pm Monday-Friday).
  • The online is region locked to provide.. ehm… “better performance”, according to the developers

An impressive list of features I’m sure you’ll agree. However don’t worry, we’re still going to give it a review score of 10: Sony have told us it would be good for the last year so they must be right.

Personally, I’m loving the region locking. Face it, there are few things more annoying than foreigners, especially the ones who start every conversation with “Parlez-vous francais?”. Yo, is the game in French? Are all the people around you talking French? No, they’re not, so shut the fuck up and speak English, or keep your mouth shut.

My other favourite foreigners are the yanks, though fortunately they only crawl out of their holes in the late European evening time, so with a bit of deft time management they can be swiftly avoided. The problem with Americans on PSN is that they are all 12-year old kids who have been provided with a stock of 18-rated games, headsets and Ritalin by their responsible American parents. Did you know that 80% of American children now have ADD? And in an unrelated statistic, 80% of American parents are now irresponsible and lazy? Food for thought is it not? What I find suspicious about that is that these same kids have no problem focusing and concentrating on Modern Warfare 2 for several hours at a time, pulling off huge killstreak after huge killstreak; yet they can’t concentrate on 10 minutes of homework? Uh-huh.

But I digress. The list of moral transgressions ModNation Racers has made in its online mode are obviously too numerous for me to pick apart individually, so instead I thought we would draw comparisons with some incomparable games.

The Big Racing Game Comparison

New releases: Split/Second, Blur, ModNation Racers, Anarchy: Rush Hour. I’ve played them all and they are all 3 out of 10 games. But how good are they?

ModNation Racers Split/Second Blur Anarchy: Rush Hour
Does it suck? Yes No No In offline only
Steering wheel support No No pedals No pedals No pedals
Time from XMB to game main menu 2 minutes 39 seconds 46 seconds 39 seconds 41 seconds
Fool who reviewed it nofi cc_star Tuffclub Yours truly
Score 9 10 7 7
Was score correct? No No No Yes
Graphics No, not really Yes but due to a bug only 70s colours (orange and brown) are visible Yes but cars look like cheese wedges Meh, no not really
Game of chance? Yes No No No
Fun to play? No Yes Yes In online only

So what can we coclude? Nofi likes poorly presented boring games of chance, so in future should be consigned to reviewing products such as Puzzlegeddon and Thexder Neo. cc_star hasn’t played any video games for the last 5 years or he’d know Split/Second wasn’t worth a 10, so we need to bring him up to speed with some classics like Burnout Paradise, MotorStorm Pacific Rift and ModNation Racers before we can trust his scores. Tuffclub seems to have got the right idea except for not being able to spell his own name correctly, and obviously my analysis was perfect because obviously Anarchy: Rush Hour is as good as Blur *looks around conspicuously*

Epilogue

TSA reader tonycawley told me a couple of weeks ago that he was such a Sony fanboi that if they manufactured boys he would turn gay. I had promised to quote him on that so make of that what you will.

Pros:

  • Steve Pope section was quite funny
  • Content less likely to get censored than last week

Cons:

  • Written in a rush so lacks some humorous finesse
  • Not enough gay jokes

Overall, this article was ok but I feel it didn’t exploit its full potential. Hopefully the sequel will be better. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a stupidlol amount of articles to write. Have a good weekend!

7/10

 

 

The Gaming Rant 9

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language, drug references and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. Actually this week they pretty much are my views. Sue me, bitches.

I thought we’d start this week by summarising what we’ve accomplished in the first couple of months of this column. So far, we’ve slagged off most of the major games developers and publishers (a quick skim reveals Sony, Microsoft, Activision, Sega, Polyphony Digital, Square Enix, London Studio, Infinity Ward, Future Publishing, EA and Crytek so I think we’ve covered most of the bases there), PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Brent Gocke the FPQA lead for Sony in the North America region, most people who play video games with a special emphasis on the TSA staff and Modern Warfare 2 players (they are both scum so it is safe to lump them into the same category), DRM advocates, OtherOS naysayers (also known as people who aren’t interested in personal freedom), European air traffic control, Germans, Belgium, most parents in the western world (notice how I’m assuming most parents are stupid there? Well they are), everyone who uses eBay, the iPhone and iPad, Natal and the PlayStation Move vibrator. We have also proposed the introduction of FPDs (first person drinkers) and I compared myself to Hitler.

All of which made me realise that these articles have been pretty weak and don’t contain nearly enough inappropriate content. Last week it was suggested in the comments that we throw in some Madeline McCann jokes, and I thought to myself, yeah, I just wish whoever kidnapped that annoying little brat had gagged up the parents as well so we didn’t have to listen to them whining every 5 minutes. Of course, that was never gonna happen, because we all know it was the parents who did it anyway.

Can you imagine the fallout if, instead of them raping and killing her, that they had just waited a few years then bought their teenage daughter a copy of Call of Duty? You can bet they would be on TV saying it was like buying her her first shot of whisky and calling for all video games to be banned. Throw in some crying and a highly charged emotional appeal to the public for good measure. Then a few months later The News of The World exclusively reveals that the parents were actually West & Zampella’s bastard love children and were in a clandestine pact to put CoD in the hands of as many underage kids as possible to get round the age rating laws. Yeah, that sounds like typical parents these days alright. Assholes.

An Unlucky Strike

Right, let’s get this out of the way first. I WANT A FUCKING CIGARETTE. CAPS INTENDED.

On Sunday afternoon, I had smoked 13 cigarettes by 3pm and decided enough was enough, threw my ashtrays, lighters and last smoke on a hidden corner of the window sill and decided to be done with it.

Let’s not be under any illusions here though: I love smoking and would recommend it to anyone as a great way to relax, relieve boredom, socialize with like-minded smokers on the street*. Quitting is like losing a dear friend, or your favourite hobby. I quit for one reason and one reason alone: money. Smoking a pack a day in Norway costs approximately £240 per month, and money has gotten tight lately after I bought that island I mentioned a few weeks ago, so I had a choice: feed my smoking habit that has given only pleasure, reduced my daily stress level, had no side effects on my health and much like alcohol actually led me to making new friends; or feed my video game addiction that has ruined my life, drained my wallet, kept me socially isolated, increased my violent tendencies and is a perfect example of why my parents should have monitored how long I was playing for. Quitting smoking was therefore the obvious choice: for £240 I can buy, well, erm, a lot of video games every month, which as a general rule of thumb I’ll play once then never touch again.

Smokers, I call you to arms. We aren’t supposed to admit this, but come on, cigarettes taste good don’t they? Just picture yourself now, ingesting the smooth, rich, well-rounded full-bodied finely roasted taste of a Lucky Strike, puffing it out and surrounding yourself in a beautiful haze of fog. You sit back in satisfaction and say, ahh yes, this truly is a great day to be a smoker!

So, I realise of course, that I have disappointed all of you out there who indulge in my hobby too. I can assure you that as soon as my financial situation improves I will be right back on those fags faster than a cheetah on Speed. Keep the faith in me gentlemen and ladies, I will return to form as soon as my personal global economic crisis permits. Consider my temporary abstinence as emergency austerity measures.

What was it like to quit? Fucking horrible. By the time you’ve read this I’ll have been clean for 5 days (or, realistically speaking, I’ll have gone down to Shell at 1am to get some fags like normal). I knew it would be hard, but for anyone considering starting smoking let me just say that getting 4,000 chemicals out of your body including ammonia, formaldehyde, arsenic, butane, hydrogen cyanide, lead, mercury, vinyl chloride, methane, carbon monoxide and not least nicotine – all of which are present in every puff – is something that had me crawling the walls, going to bed, getting up, pacing around, hitting my desk, binge eating, taking tranquilizers to cheat and eventually a quite nasty bout of depression and some crying on day 3 that got me quite worried. The craving is almost insatiable and it’s almost impossible to re-focus your mind on anything else. Just now on my 5th day I am starting to feel comfortable writing about it without too much temptation to light up. Trust me, you don’t want to go through this unless you have to.

So for most of the last few days, my conversation with everyone has been pretty much the same:

“Hey Katy how’s it going?”

“I want a cigarette, fuck off”

Succinct and to the point I feel.

My therapist on Tuesday told me I was ‘deflecting from my true issues’ (it’s somewhat normal to have a therapist in Norway – if you’re a crazed psychopath bitch like me). No, really Sherlock? Fuck me did they pay you to tell me that? Maybe it’s because I WANT A FUCKING CIGARETTE! CAPS INTENDED! (cruise control for awesome)

Why do people always cite health as a reason to quit smoking? Chocolate is bad for you, alcohol is bad for you, coffee is bad for you, I don’t see people bitching at me to quit those. Yes, if you smoke a pack a day for life you have a 50% probability of cutting your lifespan by 14 years. What’s your point? Do I want to be sitting in an adult diaper in a pool of my own piss and excrement when I’m 90, unable to remember my name much less operate Gran Turismo 5 which will have just been released after some unexpected delays to support the new 3rd generation holographic displays and sex gloves? No, I don’t, I want to be in a blissful state of death before that happens. People are living too long anyway because we’ve artificially tricked out everyone’s average lifespan with drugs and other medical interventions. Cigarettes are just nature’s way of restoring the balance. And by nature, I mean Marlboro – who I believe co-invented nature in an alliance with Microsoft and Google. Patents pending.

Why would you want to quit something that both gives you pleasure and helps to ensure you won’t have to go through the Alzheimers years? Surely it’s a win-win situation?*

Mickey/Mouse: Postal Service

And so with the trauma of my week outlined above in mind, you can imagine the toll that the events which followed took on me.

It started when I went to pick up Split/Second: Randomly Appended Word Nobody Uses and Red Dead Redemption from two different stores in the mall.

Hitler: “Hi, I pre-ordered Split/Second: Last-Minute Word Added By Marketing To Sound Cool”

Man in GameStop: “Oh, we don’t have that in because there’s been a postal strike. We have Red Dead Redemption though.”

Hitler: “Hm… I pre-ordered that from Platekompaniet.”

I walk around the corner.

Hitler: “Hi, I pre-ordered Red Dead Redemption.”

Man in Platekompaniet: “Oh, we don’t have that because there’s been a postal strike.”

They didn’t have Split/Second: Unnecessary Word Which Just Makes The Title Longer either. So I walk to Spaceworld.

Hitler: “Let me guess, you don’t have Red Dead Redemption because of the postal strike.”

Man in Spaceworld: “Oh, yes we do – but only for the 360.”

Hitler doesn’t want it for the 360. Hitler wants it for PS3. Hitler knows that although the 360 version is vastly superior in every way because Rockstar are lazy gits who are too busy smoking cigarettes to do a proper port (can I have one?), Hitler (who for convenience is now a woman) likes to keep all her games on one platform. Usually, the one that sucks the least.

Hitler: “Do you have Split/Second: Something To Make It Sound Even Faster?”

Man in Spaceworld: “Yep!”

I stand there for a few moments assessing the predicament. These three shops are all within 90 seconds’ walk from each other. How in the name of Benson & Hedges can the postman deliver product A to store 1, product B and product A-360 to store 3, and nothing to store 2, when I’ve ordered product B from store 1 and product A from store 2 and nothing from store 3. Stephen Hawking didn’t answer his cellphone to help me decipher that, so only careful thought over a nice cigarette would allow me to unravel this problem as I put my Blue Toad detective skills to work! If I didn’t get these two games today, there was going to be…..a MUUUUUURRRRDAAHHHH!!

Long story short, I got it all sorted out, on the day, with some deft negotiating and a dollop of white lies. What? You know what addicts are like, they will lie to get their fix. This was an emergency situation, cut me some slack.

Split/Second: Something Something Something AWESOME! Steering wheel support

There was a time – again before I bought that island – when I had more money than sense. Now I have more video games than money, when counted in pennies. And a £400 steering seat and wheel. I love driving games, they are my favourite genre. My mouth watered at the prospect of Split/Second: Advertising Trollspeak, Blur, SBK X and ModNation Racers all in the same month – although we’ll come to that latter insult to the human race in a few moments.

So you might imagine then, that when I bust out £50 on a new racing game for a current-gen platform that presumably cost many millions of greenbacks to produce, that they might actually bother to support a pretty bog-standard Logitech steering wheel and pedal set. After all, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, GRID, Pure (which incidentally is produced by the same studio), Dirt 2, Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed ProStreet, Need For Speed Shift, hell even Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and MotorStorm Pacific Rift work fine on it, just to name some of the games I’ve played through with it – although I wouldn’t recommend using a sim wheel for those last two unless you also enjoy poking your eyes out with toothpicks. In this day and age, steering wheel support is a given, right?

Well, no, because it would appear our favourite prophylactic-eared friend has struck again by accidentally omitting this particular feature. Which for those of us with more gaming peripherals than furniture, makes it kinda useless.

What kind of moronic software developer comes up with a wicked driving game and then says, I know what will be a good idea, let’s leave out support for the most fundamental and natural control mechanism for the object the player is controlling. It’s like releasing Modern Warfare 2 on consoles without mouse support. Oh. Erm. Well ok, it’s like releasing EyePet without a motion sensor device. Hm. Ok hold on hold on I’ve got this: it’s like releasing ModNation Racers without a knife to practice slitting your wrists with while you’re waiting for the loading screens. There, nailed it (you only get the knife in the Special Edition).

With this epic failure, Split/Second: No Wheel Support gets exclusive access to the same elite league as just two other PS3 “classics”: Fuel and Anarchy: Rush Hour. Well done.

*golf clap for Black Rock*

ModNation Racers: Part 1

Phwoar. And I thought Damnation was bad.

I know 99% of the world does currently disagree with me on this somewhat sensitive point, but you may remain quiet now as I extoll the merits of my argument that ModNation Racers is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, as skill-based as satisfying a woman (hell, even I know that is based purely on the luck of which woman you pull), and as conducive to online play as an orchestra of Modern Warfare 2 players all singing YMCA by the Village People to their webcams in unison.

While United Front Games’ unfortunate pantie-shield accident – which has now been packaged and sold to unsuspecting casual gamers as entertainment – will no doubt be patched up over a period of months with many thicker towels and wings to keep it more stable, I don’t think less than exactly slightly over 95% of people who have had to disinfect their PS3s after trying this particular product would disagree that this is in fact one of the worst games ever to disgrace our shelves as gamers, with the worst online experience of any PS3 game, period (haha, get it? Period? Never mind)

Their first mistake was marketing this game as a kart racer. It’s not a kart racer. It is in fact a game of chance. It’s a game where you hold down R2, occasionally press left and right on the extraordinarily wide and nearly always gently curving roads, and hope that some rocket or other miscellaneous unavoidable weapon more potent than a Russian nuke peppered in chilis doesn’t send you spiralling to the back of the pack. If it does though, don’t worry, because if you’re in career mode – and believe me, you will be in career mode because the online is more broken than a BP clean-up operation – the rubber band AI is so harsh that it would be quicker to just go back to the main menu and toss a coin to determine the outcome of each race. Actually it wouldn’t, because going back to the main menu does actually take over an hour.

“Oh, we do some really clever things to keep the filesize down, and some pre-rendering bla bla”, to probably slightly misquote the developers. Alright, well let’s look at the facts shall we? The graphics in MNR are shit – sorry I meant “simple” – and I don’t see God of War 3 or Final Fantasy XIII taking 2 minutes to pre-load every scene, do you? Nor do they have the mandatory 4GB install that MNR has, in fact they have no install at all in both cases. So, I think, if that is the best you can do, you should pack up your PS3s, take them back to GAME and quit coding while you’re ahead.

Now I know some uninformed plebs are going to write in the comments that it’s all to do with keeping the filesize down when online. It’s not. The level file sizes are dead small because they just contain co-ordinates. The textures and 3D models are all stored on the hard disk, and due to low polygon count (that’s a euphemism for shite graphics) don’t take up much space as a 3D model is basically just a list of vertices and some diffuse and specular lighting information. The textures are also very small in this game. Some arguments about pre-compositing were thrown around, because of the uber customization available. Sorry, but since when did a machine with 7 usable SPE cores need to pre-composite textures that are probably no bigger than 256×256 each? It doesn’t. Plain and simple: this is poor programming by UFG.

So, what is it actually doing during those loading screens? And why does it love 40% and 85% so much? I think, that they didn’t figure out how to save tracks onto the disk, and also they didn’t know how to save them on their own servers. Instead they wrote all the track co-ordinates down on a piece of paper, and every time someone around the world starts a game, it connects to their server and an operator quickly types in all the co-ordinates and sends them to the player. Think about it, it makes sense: not only does it explain the loading times, but also why the online play is so screwed up. Their connections are overloaded from sending career mode tracks down the wire. The 40% and 85% parts are where they stop to pour a cup of tea or if another operator has to borrow the piece of paper with the track co-ordinates on for a different player.

Controlling this game is like trying to solve the Vulcan game of Kal-toh while skiing downhill blindfolded. On banana peels. This game doesn’t do subtle. It does left 90 degrees, right 90 degrees and forwards. If you’re very gentle with the controller you might be able to squeeze out the odd 45 degree trick. The karts feel like they are hovercrafts floating 6 inches above an ice rink with invisible curling players scrubbing the track constantly in front of you.

We’ve established then that the loading times are awful, the graphics are awful, the track design is awful, there is hardly any skill involved in winning and that the controls suck. The cut scenes are boring as hell too. Overall I’d have to say I’ve had more entertainment picking scabs at an autopsy (it was a weird day, don’t ask).

Unfortunately I’m running out of print space, so next week I’ll come to the diabolical sham that is ModNation Racers’ online play. Last week I said the game’s name rhymed with Castration Razors and now I know why: if I was a guy and I’d bought this, castration as a form of self-cleansing might be an option right now.

Epilogue

Steve Pope (http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2010/05/25/2-hrs-of-killzone-1-line-of-cocaine) – the psychologist named after his penchant for touching little children then blaming the subsequent personality disorders they develop on video game addiction – was a lucky sod this week because I didn’t have space to slam him down into the gutter where he belongs. Fear not, however, I know many of you out there are huge fans of his after this week, so rest assured that a finely-crafted piece of visceral about him will be forthcoming in next week’s column. Steve, you are now Kill on Sight. I can’t kill you with my priest though because that’d be a bit ironic. In the meantime, let me just say that I’m personally glad 2 hours of Killzone 2 substitutes for a line of cocaine because it really helped me and my kids get off cocaine and onto something cheaper. Secondly, please remember that my views won’t kill you, but I might if you piss me off enough.

* Smoking causes emphysema, lung cancer, makes your fingernails yellow, your house yellow, your clothes and breath stink, increases stress and anxiety, interferes with your daily routine, increases the chance your teeth will fallout by a factor of 2.5, makes you out of breath when walking far or exercising, increases your blood pressure, makes you cough constantly and costs a fortune. Do not begin to smoke. If you would like help to quit smoking, I found www.whyquit.com to be extremely motivational during my withdrawal period and a good distraction. It takes about 72 hours for the nicotine to be metabolized with a half-life of 2 hours.

The Gaming Rant 8

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Contains strong language, sexual references and politically incorrect commentary that some readers may find offensive. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. This article has not been endorsed or approved by the Third Reich. This disclaimer may be false, but it probably isn’t.

Last week my best friend told me that my rant didn’t have enough anger in it. Well, trust me my little bunch of anti-social loser gaming imbeciles, this week has no such anger shortage, I am literally oozing visceral at the moment. I’m so adjective I’m verbing nouns right now, for 3 excellent reasons.

Hard disk upgrade

Sub-ordinate 1: *pointing at map of Germany on the table* “Game Data and PSN games have sprung up in several locations. We have tried to slow their progress but they are using too much of our resources. At the current rate, we estimate full disk space consumption within 2 weeks.”

Me: *waving finger in the air* “Not a problem, a hard disk upgrade will solve that.”

*long pause*

Sub-ordinate 1: *sweating* “Mein Führer… The restore utility…”

Sub-ordinate 2: “The restore utility does not work properly. You will have to re-download and re-install everything, and lose all your game saves.”

Me: *takes off glasses, my hand shaking* “All of you who have successfully upgraded your PS3 hard disks, please leave the room.”

Yes, the week got off to a good gaming start as I got stuck in to Lost Planet 2’s online co-op. Then a man appeared at the front door with a new hard disk. My 250GB PS3 is rammed with data to the point where I had deleted all my demos, videos, FirstPlay episodes (no real loss there though) and had to resort to deleting Game Data files, and still had no space left. So I whipped out my cheque book and splashed out on a 640GB drive.

Remember the Indonesian tsunami of 2004? The Indonesians were running around on TV saying “God will protect us”. Some of us might think, orly? Who do you think sent the tsunami in the first place, asshole? That loss of 250,000 lives, however, was nothing compared to the shit God pulled on me this week*. What part of his Grand F*cking Plan says that I have to piss around for three whole days trying to get my stupid PS3 to backup and restore properly. Is this a character building exercise? Are you trying to make me a stronger person? Or are you just bored and trying to piss me off, in which case it’s working admirably.

So the little divine gremlins in my PS3 decided to test me like Job. Backups not working. Restores not working. Firmware refusing to install. Freezes. Crashes. Copyright validation errors. Activation errors. I won’t bore you with all the sordid details suffice to say on day 3 I got bored of it being hung at 70% restored and rebooted. The hard disk was blank, I took it out, put the old one in, deleted all my Game Data as advised on the forums (apparently some Game Data makes the restore fail, God knows why – but conveniently, the little bastard isn’t telling *shakes fist in air*), backed up, put the new hard disk back in, booted up and lo and behold approximately 70% of my games and Game Data were present. What the…. IT WAS BLANK FIVE MINUTES AGO! How annoyed was I.

This presented a dilemma. Do I keep my botched restore and re-install the remaining 30% but lose 30% of my game saves, or do I restore again and have all my game saves intact but have to re-download all the DLC? These game saves represent thousands of hours of hard labour on my part. Needless to say I’d callously deleted the old backup thinking it was broken and was suitably annoyed. Again.

Well, to cut a long story short I eventually got everything sorted out with no loss of any data. But, seriously, what the f*ck?! HOW HARD IS IT to make a simple backup utility:

  1. Compress and encrypt the files
  2. Copy to storage device

Restore:

  1. Copy to PS3
  2. Decrypt and decompress

So why does it freeze for 2 hours at a time at arbitrary percentages on the restore progress bar? Why does an estimate of 4 hours to restore suddenly turn into 12? And why is it so biblically slow (ah – God again, that explains everything, he just loves to screw with a winning formula). It is so slow that if I was Hitler, I could take over Europe in less time; and while I’d be pleased with my impressive victory in England, I’d be very unhappy when I got back and found the rest of the Gestapo was still screwing around waiting for the PS3. I’d be so unhappy I’d probably have to post a rant on YouTube about it, same as when I got banned from Xbox Live and when the iPad came out. And tell that Sony employee bitch in the corridor to stop crying.

The restore utility is an absolute sham. I had to delete and re-install / re-download 66GB of Game Data. My patience was tested to the limit, I had missed my Lost Planet 2 meets, the SingStar Beta night and the week’s PSN update. I have no TV except via my PS3 either, this was a recipe for absolute boredom.

Screw you Sony. And screw you God as well. Go Hitler, er I mean, Go Me!

Modern Warfare 2

Lost Planet 2: no idiots.

Battlefield Bad Company 2: no idiots.

MAG: no idiots (I’m lying I have no idea, never played it since the beta, but I was running out of options)

Modern Warfare 2: Penile-Challenged Knob-Face Monkey Twat Central.

I’m seriously considering trading in Modern Warfare 2 after my experience a couple of nights ago, where I realised I can no longer get any fun out of the online play on this tepid excuse for a shooter. I’ve completed the campaign twice so that leaves little left to enjoy.

It seems like every time I put this bloody game in I have to report someone. This latest episode was no exception as a “your shit” email appeared in my PSN mailbox. Really? Well f*cking done Einstein, I know I’m shit, I’m actually just here to socialise with my friends and have a laugh. Would you like a medal? Not a grammar medal obviously, though I did resist the urge to use the classic “it’s spelled you’re” response. Instead I took the mature approach: “FYI I work for Sony, keeping your mouth shut is advised”. It’s a good job he wasn’t messaging Hitler, you don’t want to rub that guy up the wrong way. Trust me, I was on the receiving end of his briefing on YouTube about the Gran Turismo 5 release date. That was some nasty shit.

The response was “haha fuk u gimp”. Good job I wasn’t a real Sony employee eh? Ps3reporting.com was quickly engaged. If you’d like to share your opinion feel free to drop a pm to crazycracked, I’m sure it will be met with a suitably whimsical grammatically incorrect response.

I wondered if the child would say that to my face in a bar, where he would promptly get his faced smashed in by my fist. Evidently his parents don’t mind him playing an 18-rated game – seems to be a running theme this – so he should obviously be able to go get drunk in bars as well and see how his Class A1 Wanker comments go down in a room full of burly drunk adults. Die in a fire crazycracked.

Anyway, I get this kind of abuse every single time I play MW2. It was the first time I’d played online for a while and it reminded me why I never go online with it. It is truly saddening, but, I also realised that the rest of us actually need MW2 because it’s a nice honeypot that attracts all the adolescent low-life scum and sort of keeps them segregated in one place so that the proper gaming community doesn’t have to concern themselves with being bothered by them. It’s like, we’re the superior race and MW2 is like Auschwitz. The only problem is, the gamers on MW2 don’t die from gas poisoning afterwards. There’s safety in numbers it seems; but as Jimmy Carr once said, try telling that to 6 million Jews.

Have you noticed the nicks of the people who play MW2? I proclaimed on my headset that “the list of nicks in the lobby really speaks volumes about the kind of people who play Call of Duty”. A slight sweeping stereotype I admit, but you’ve got to concede: SuperKilla87, Megal33t, Ikillj00_pwned354783. There’s a pattern there, no? If you missed it: they are all nicknames made by toss-pots.

Screw Modern Warfare 2. Long live World At War – although I don’t like the way the Germans are portrayed. They were just doing what I told them.

Chatting up girls

Oh my God.

Oh my F*CKING God.

A couple of weeks ago my gaydar went off in GameStop as a clearly geek gamer girl bought a ton of PS3 games and was asking astute questions to the staff – clearly she knew as much about release dates and gaming as any member of the TSA staff. Man I’m digging sweeping generalizations today! She’s a girl, she wins by default, shut up.

I was too shy to talk to her of course and kicked myself on the way home for it.

Today I was in a different game store (Platekompaniet), and as I perused the PS3 section looking for ModNation Racers I noticed two rather beautiful girls next to me discussing the merits of Oblivion. I was somewhat impressed they would be into long, drawn-out, slow, complex RPGs, but far be it from me to stifle the enthusiasm of newly-formed girl gamers.

After I’d paid there was one customer in the queue behind me before the girls. So I took the plunge and braced for impact.

“Are you gonna buy Oblivion?”

“Yeah”

I tried to be as helpful and non-patronising as possible, fearful they may not be happy with their purchase:

“You know it’s a really complicated, slow, old-style RPG game right?”

“Yeah”

The conversation shifted from Norwegian to English and they obviously loved my classic British accent.

“Have you played Fallout 3?”

“Yep, I heard this is the same but with less shooting”

“That’s exactly right.”

“Hm ok – well then you know what you’re getting into. Have fun!”

The reason I remember the conversation line by line so vividly is because, much like Gregory House who I aspire to be like, actual human contact with females is sort of a once-in-a-year occurrence, so any sort of interaction gets immediately committed to memory and over-analyzed for months.

I left the store feeling absolutely devastated and grumbled all the way home and for some time afterwards. We all know how awkward it is to strike up a conversation with a random stranger in a store, and I’m sure we’ve all had those moments where we see a nice-looking boy or girl and wish we had the stomach to approach them.

I was pleased I had the guts to even say anything, it took me a few minutes of silent procrastination next to them before I managed it, but why oh why oh why did I not just say “Listen I don’t mean to be rude but do you wanna play sometime?” Games, obviously. I got the feeling they would definitely have agreed and yet I still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Is it part of God’s plan to make me a pussy, rather than give me pussy? What’s your point God?

All I had to lose was two minutes of dignity, tops. *bangs head on desk*

So I thought to myself, What Would Hitler Do? I video conferenced with him on YouTube, and it turns out he would’ve first asked the bitch out, then forced her if she didn’t comply. So I think I’m gonna do that next time.

Screw dignity. Long live German efficiency.

Conclusions

Never upgrade your PS3 unless you want a burst blood vessel. Delete Modern Warfare 2, put the disk in the microwave, then shred it up with a chainsaw and frisbee it out of your window – sharp end first – at any passer-by who looks like they might be a MW2 player. Always sacrifice your dignity when the opportunity of a potential shag arises. I have learned these lessons the hard way so you don’t have to. Also, on reflection, I should probably stop watching so many Downfall parody videos.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just picked up a copy of my secret new project. I can’t tell you what it is, but, let’s just say it rhymes with Castration Razors.

Tschüss!

* I made a substantial donation to the Indonesia relief effort.

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