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The Gaming Rant 7

April 27, 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. It actually represents the views of Infinity Ward’s lawyers.

Strangely, I didn’t really feel like ranting this week. I think I’m all ranted out, but I’ll give it a go, just to humour you, like. I think I got burned out from all the iPad, DRM, OtherOS, consumer rights, abusive DLC, FirstPlay and ModNation Racers ranting I did the last few days. My nurse did warn me I should only skip my pills on Thursdays to make sure I could rant effectively ready for Friday, but did I listen?

April was supposed to be quiet

I had assured my girlfriend whore that things would calm down after God of War 3 and Just Cause 2, that there were only two compelling releases for me in April (Nier and FIFA 2010 World Cup) and that I would have more time to waste on MSN giving her meaningless and unfulfilling cybersex.

Yeah, right.

It all started one day when I logged into my bank account to see if I had enough money to pay for both food and my web server this month, only to find a 4-figure medical refund had been deposited from the lovely Norwegian government. That same day I opened my mail and found my first sick pay cheque – a sum of money so ridiculously large that you could buy a small Pacific island with it. I already have my own island though, so clearly a trip to GameStop was in order instead. I bolted to town immediately.

I picked up a few pre-owned games (it was so much money I couldn’t afford to buy them new): GTA IV, Saints Row 2, DiRT 2, Sacred 2, X-Men: Wolverine, Lord of The Rings Conquest and Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena. Then I thought out of the goodness of my heart I better write a review of Dead To Rights: Retribution for TSA, along the lines of “well, someone’s got to do it”, so I picked that up. I may have inadvertently pre-ordered Red Dead Redemption at the same time.

As I perused the store I was checking reviews on my normalPhone (who would’ve imagined that you didn’t need an iPhone to get a quality mobile web browsing experience eh?) and thinking, God what a cock I would look like if I was doing this on an iPantyliner right now. James May-style. I thanked the gods that iPads cost more than the £100,000 welfare subsidy I’d been given so that I couldn’t cave into the purchase. I will, of course, because I’m hopeless.

I rushed home and didn’t play any of them because FIFA obviously took priority (I epic failed to qualify Norway, of course, because I suck). But, before that, a top-up of my 3 regional PSN wallets was a necessity, naturally. I won’t bother listing all the purchases as it may make you want to stab me repeatedly in the face over the internets, suffice to say that I probably don’t ever need to buy a video game ever again. I will, of course, because I’m hopeless.

I’m trying really hard to find a way to rant about having acquired a lot of great games at no personal expense, but I’m failing. IT’S ANNOYING! There, I said it. Still, at least I didn’t buy the Stimulus Pack – I’m not made of money, sheesh! I will, of course, because I’m hopeless.

Which brings us conveniently to the first of several conundrums.

Conundrum 1: eBay PSN codes

Those motherf… When I moved to Norway I sold pretty much the entire contents of my house on eBay, however I still consider myself to be an eBay n00b. It continually amazes me that some people can buy stuff on eBay and they actually managed to get it delivered, that it matches the product description and actually works and isn’t damaged. How do you guys do that?!

I’m naturally suspicious of eBay. It is like a combination of Poundland prices and Iceland quality. I love how sellers are rated “A++++++++”. Why only 8 plusses? Why not 9? Or 15? The number of plusses is key to my purchasing decision you know. When a buyer rates with too many plusses, I think, it’s an insider deal. They’re banging each other, it must be a hoax.

ShopTo.net decided that my Norwegian credit card had to be registered for 30 days before they would deliver instant UK PSN codes to me, and the other online stores seemed overpriced, so with great reticence I resorted to trying to find a code on eBay.

Don’t do this. Ever.

I was lucky. It only cost me a pound. Though saying that I could’ve bought 1/30th of a pizza with that money in Norway. Damn those bastards.

So I get my code. Which is actually not a PSN code, it’s a promo code for some web site that you enter to get a discount to buy some other code that you enter into another web site to get a PSN code. Or something like that. However you cut it, it was bollocks. Ultimately, not only did the store in question only send codes in the postal mail, but they would also only send them to the UK, and the eBay promo code didn’t work anyway without a minimum purchase of £60. I felt betrayed by mankind.

Just as a final kick in the teeth to my misguided use of a full one hundred British pennies, the very next day somebody sent me the very same code in a PSN mail. Cheers for that.

Conundrum 2: Disk space

I have an original 40GB PS3 which I promptly upgraded to 250GB shortly after purchase when I realised that 40GB really means 36GB minus firmware updates minus game installs minus downloaded trailers minus downloaded demos minus patches. Minus 10GB for Linux – but, let’s not talk about that *crushes her ceramic coffee cup in her hand* Whoops, where was I.

When I upgraded, I had one PSN game: Echochrome. I backed up, restored, and lo and behold the game crashed with an error and I had to re-download it. It still gives a weird error but it loads and plays ok now. Today I have, oh I don’t know, a billion PSN downloads, say, just as an approximation. It has reached a point where I deleted all trailers, music, demos, Qore and FirstPlay episodes, game data for games I traded in and now can’t install anything unless I delete game data for games I’m still actually playing. This is bad. The fact the SingStar beta uses 23GB doesn’t help.

I’ll admit, I was naïve. When I got the machine I thought, what on Earth does anyone need 40GB in a console for? And sure, 2 USB ports? Well who needs 4 anyway? Glory days my friends. Little did I know that PS3 games load like old ZX Spectrum tape games the first time you run them. Who knew that in the days of 50GB Bluray disks that you would for some bizarre reason have to install the game? Why did I stop playing PC games again? Oh yes, that’s right, it’s because I didn’t want to faff around setting them up.

I remember not-so-fondly the day I carried my bloody heavy as f*ck PS3 home from the post office. A 10 minute walk took me 45 minutes and a hernia that day. It was the GT5 Prologue bundle. I slammed that sucker into the Bluray drive and proceeded to wait over an hour as it installed 6GB of data then downloaded a series of patches so enormous that it made a Windows Vista install feel as fast and satisfying as a teenage boy jerking off. Satisfying for the boy I mean, not me. Jesus you people, control yourselves.

So, what’s a geek girl to do? The obvious answer lay in the form of a 640GB drive on Amazon. Unfortunately, I have nothing large enough to back up on that also has a USB cable coming out of it, and well, do I really want to download 250GB of games, patches, add-ons, themes, demos, 400 SingStar songs and all the other gunk on 3 accounts all over again? Do I? Really? Thought not.

So I’m struggling on, regularly beating down unnecessarily used disk space like a Turkish wife-beater. Except for that 10GB I used for Linux of course, which can’t be recovered without reformatting – but, let’s not talk about that *stubs her cigarette out in the eye of a random passer by*

Conundrum 3: What is the iPad actually for?

I alluded earlier to the imaginary twat-like appearance that would arise were I found sitting on the floor in GameStop using an iPad. In reality, I have purple and orange hair so I look like a twat anyway, but this is besides the point. A silver iPad wouldn’t help, I’m pretty sure of that. Especially if I put it in my underwear (as I have become accustomed to doing with pads) and waddled around like Donald Duck with a severe case of constipation going “Quaaack!”.

The iPad hype is really getting on my tits. Not literally, fortunately, or I’d have to burn them off without anesthetic as part of a soul-cleansing ritual. Partly it’s getting on my tits because like all gadget freaks, I want one. Moreso, it’s getting on my tits because the world now thinks Apple is God’s gift to tablet PCs. Next they’ll tell us their company is named after the fact that it was actually Steve Jobs who discovered gravity, then improved it to make it more convenient and a better user experience (the iFall).

Do you feel tired in the mornings? Don’t worry – there’s an app for that.

Do you have problems getting laid? Well, there’s an app for that too. I always thought it was the bogs behind the train station, but apparently I was mistaken.

I have some questions though. Is there an app that lets me run Flash applets? I believe there was, it was called Adobe Creative Suite 5, and Apple banned it due to fear of sub-standard applications. Well, if you want to talk about sub-standard Steve-o, let’s talk about an $800 slate that doesn’t multi-task, can’t take photos and has no USB ports. There’s really only one reason to own an iPad: compensation for having an exceedingly small nob. I’m excluding nofi of course, his nob is huge obviously – trust me, I of all people should know – and just has one to be smug. You could do with cleaning it a bit more often though nofi or it gets nasty flecks on it. The iPad I mean. Obviously.

“But it looks so cool!” – yeah, so does clamydia, on paper. It has no symptoms except making me infertile. A win-win situation surely. Still don’t think I’d want to acquire it though.

Also, the tablet PC I have now has this futuristic thing called buttons. Which turn out to be pretty important.

Overall, I think The Sun summed it up best (perhaps the first time they have ever summed up anything accurately) in this classic commercial:

FirstPlay: Epilogue

After receiving an almost unanimous bashing from the readers of this esteemed organ for my derisory 5/10 rating of FirstPlay, I did as promised give it a fair chance. I’ve now seen 7 episodes. What do I think of it?

*Yawn*

Yes, it’s good for casual gamers who won’t spend 99p on something they know nothing about anyway and probably don’t check the store often. Yes, it’s good to sit and watch it on the sofa as you wait an hour for it to download and wonder why you’re using 2.5% of your disk space for the pleasure when it would have been much more plausible as a streaming service. Yes, it’s wonderful to pay for ads. I certainly have had a huge amount of enjoyment watching ads for Final Fantasy XIII, Just Cause 2 and Sky for 7 weeks in a row. Final Fantasy XIII is coming in March by the way, just in case you missed it – not long to wait now!

So, everything is peachy for casual gamers then. But what about the more hobbyist-oriented souls among us?

Well, I’m pleased to report that as of now the content is bang up-to date. There is tons of exclusive footage, no repetition and the featured downloads are updated regularly. Luckily the issues with the FIFA goals only using up 25% of the screen so you can’t actually see the ball, and similar problems with PSP reviews have been fixed, and the presenter has been changed to one without an annoying voice. Also the script-writing has improved dramatically. So as we can see, Future has taken all the user feedback on-board and made sweeping changes where needed.

Sorry, wait. Scratch that last paragraph, I was thinking of GameSpot. FirstPlay is still a space-guzzling abyss of mediocrity. Which at least makes it marginally better than Edge – although to be fair Edge does have an excellent pen touch interface built-in. I’m looking forward to FirstPlay’s relaunch as FirstPr0n, because let’s face it, only porn can save it now. Hence, Lucy Porter should be visible on-screen at all times.

Marc Whitten – Natal Supports Your (Football) Team

Whichever one that is. Well thank goodness for that, the world is saved.

For those of you who missed it, Microsoft VP of Genius Unfounded Speculation – Marc Whitten – announced that Natal can now sit on your sofa, analyse your t-shirt and know from that which football team you support.

Awesomesauce. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s talking bollocks. As you know I do love a good session of mocking the PlayStation Move, but I will have even less compunction in slamming down baseless claims about a piece of vapourware coming out for an unfinished product. So I’m sitting watching porn from my amazing lesbian porn server, wearing my customary white nurse’s uniform. In the voice of Stephen Hawking, Natal informs me that I’m watching a Plymouth Argyle away match and that the pitch condition is poor, with a lot of sand cover and mud in patches. I try to turn it off but it has become a sentient being hooked up to SkyNet. It jeers at me knowing full well that if I had bought a Move I could’ve used it as an integral part of my educational viewing.

Yes, Natal team support: just what I always wanted.

Enjoy your weekend my chickens; if you don’t hear from me again, it’s because by the time you read this the Conservatives have won and I’ve hung myself with piano wire.

The Gaming Rant 6

April 23, 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. Only Kazunori Yamauchi knows the real truth.

So who here has played Airline Manager on Facebook? No, me neither, but man what a fun gaming week it would be to work in NATS ATC now (the national air traffic control centre). OMGZ there’s been a volcano eruption, the world is coming to an end! No problem, if you can’t handle the traffic, bring in some hardcore gamers, they will have the routes sorted out in no time.

Seriously whatever happened to me being able to choose for myself whether to take a life-threatening risk or not? Remember when we were kids and you didn’t have to wear bike helmets or seatbelts or wear 100 pieces of padding to do the vaguest of sport-related activities? Or when video games didn’t have stupid epilepsy warnings, and when BBC news presenters didn’t start each clip with “please be aware this footage contains flash photography”. I have epilepsy; I don’t need to be reminded every five minutes that a game can make me have a seizure, it comes with the territory. If you are that forgetful, you should be culled by natural selection.

I was supposed to be in Germany on Monday. If I want to risk crashing in an ash storm and the pilot and crew are ok with that, why the hell shouldn’t I be able to? Health & Safety is way overrated *puffs on her cigarette*.

What? It’s delayed? Are you joking, cos it’s not funny

Of course, by far the most annoying thing about this whole ash business is that my video games are delayed. Seriously, how dare they. And how come Dead To Rights Retribution is delayed but FIFA 10 World Cup is on time? How does that work then? FIFA is so important that EA has labradors swimming across the English channel with Bluray pallets strapped on their backs, but those of us who are gagging to play another average 3rd person shooter that brings nothing new to the genre have to put up with being treated like second class citizens? Unacceptable.

Belgium bans violent video games

Or maybe it was Switzerland, I forgot. Anyway a couple of weeks ago some random European country thought it would be a good idea to further limit consumer freedom by taking away the option of buying Dead Space, while strangely leaving the Aliens movie box set on sale.

Seriously, which is more disturbing: Modern Warfare 2’s No Russian scene, or Saw 4? I rest my case.

Are you a parent who thinks this is a good idea? Then I have one word for you: China. There’s nothing like government censorship to make me feel all warm and cosy inside, and as you know, the people of China are way better off with censored media; wouldn’t you like to live in a country like that Mr and Mrs. Ignorant Parent? In the free world, I believe we call it an “oppressive regime”.

Parents aren’t stupid, they’re naïve

I have some minors on my PSN friends list (I know, I’m a predator – deal with it). Two of them I happen to know are 16 years old each, local friends, and guess what they have both been playing online together? Modern Warfare 2, and Bioshock 2.

Now, at least in the case of the girl, her parents aren’t dumb. I’ve chatted with them on Skype, and I concluded they were in fact massively over-protective. That has nothing to do with the fact her mom wouldn’t let me shag her daughter, of course – obviously. No, they are over-protective to the point where I feel sorry for her; she has no freedom and won’t have a clue how to look after herself when she gets carted off to University in 2 years, because they barely let her outside without an electronic tag around her ankle.

This girl has also been regularly sexually harassed on PSN – a situation I dealt with maturely by chatting the offending gentleman up, getting him to give his address and phone number out on chat then calling him up and threatening to slit his throat if he wrote to the girl again, while it was recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

What does all this mean, other than the fact I’m a jerk? It means her over-protective parents don’t have one iota of a clue what she is getting up to, or being exposed to, online. Yet, for some reason, her over-protective parents allow her to play 18-rated video games which I know for a fact she has no money to purchase of her own accord.

Seriously, I mean what the f*ck… you shield your children from talking to any stranger in the real world, or watching violent movies, or talking on MSN unless she sneaks her laptop into bed, yet you let her play 18-rated games and chat on PSN all day long? If you are one of these types of parents and you’re whining about video games, here is a kind appeal to your sensibilities: shut the fuck up until you can read a rating label.

Drinking games

While we’re on the subject of video games screwing up teenage girls, let me ask you this: how many victims of gunshot wounds do you hear about in A&E every Saturday night? Now tell me how many drunk people who got into a fist fight you hear about in the same place.

Last I checked, there is an unfortunate dearth of drinking games, and since these drunken tosspots obviously weren’t affected by video games, I propose a new controversial genre: FPDs, or First Person Drinkers.

The aim is simple: it is the near future, in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. Your only chance for escape is to drink yourself into oblivion. Zombies can be intoxed to death with increasingly high level liquors, and drop loot in the form of wheat and yeast extract which can be crafted in log barrels to make higher potencies. You start at level 1 with Baileys, and proceed through Jeigermeister, Perno and eventually culminating at level 50 with Tequila triple-shots and moonshine.

Given the current A&E stats, I can see no possible negative consequences of such a genre. Everyone is drunk already, so even if it does affect children, you’re never gonna notice anyway. ESRB will rate it E for everyone of course, because it has no violent content. They’re smart like that.

Crytek: Crysis 2 has “no port”

Crytek has apparently reported to Edge – in one of the most laughable pieces of technical bollocks I’ve heard lately – that their game Crysis 2 has “no port”, that it will have the best graphics ever, and as the icing on the cake, CEO Cevat Yeril claimed that free demos will become a thing of the past and we should expect to stump up $10-15 for an extended demo.

Pretty impressive stuff coming from a company with no proven track record in the console market, eh?

First off, let’s debunk the “no port” stupidity. PCs, 360s and PS3s run on different hardware architectures, different operating systems and different SDKs. It is not possible, I repeat, not possible to develop a product that runs on all three machine without porting. If you want to do that, you have to create a virtual machine (VM) to run the code on top of it. Then you can write the game code without porting, but the VM itself has to be ported. It also adds an extra layer to the game code which slows down execution.

I realise an analogy may be required. Consider it like this: you want to clean the walls of your house. You could stand at each wall of the living room, wipe it with a sponge, then move onto the next wall. But when you go to the next room, the walls are in a different arrangement – perhaps an L-shaped bathroom for example – and you have to move around in a different fashion to do the washing. Here, the living room is an Xbox 360, and the bathroom is a PS3.

Now let’s say you don’t want to go to the effort of moving around or working out the wall orientation in each room. So, you construct an automation layer. You fill your house with about 4 feet of treacle, then install a moving platform which wades through the treacle, tracking against each wall automatically. It moves up and down in a continuous fashion so you can reach the ceiling, but you have no control over it. Now all you have to do is stand on the platform and scrub, paying no attention to where you are or where you’re going. The treacle and the platform here is the VM. It will still get the job done, but will it go as smoothly or efficiently?

Want proof? Well, lucky for you, there is a product that already works just like this. It’s called Java. The Java VM is ported to various platforms, then you write the code in the Java language and it runs on any machine with a Java VM available.

So, theoretically, this can also be done for consoles. Does it make for the future of development? Well, obviously it does. I mean, look at the Java applications available today. Clearly some of the finest games run on Java, and all the fastest, smoothest running applications also run on Java. Oh wait, that’s right, they don’t, they’re all platform-specific. Because Java is slow, bloated and generally shit.

Trying to write a game to run on a VM across PC, 360 and PS3 is a terrible, terrible idea, and will lead to only one thing: complete slop. Probably with the consistency of treacle.

Crytek: Paid Demos are the Future

Orly? I proposed this idea to a casual gamer friend of mine – he laughed in my face.

Now I don’t care if they want to charge $10 or 1 cent, paying for an advert is wrong, and an advert is what it is (wow, that sounds kind of like FirstPlay eh). Having a look at my shelf, here are some games I bought that I had never heard of (because I wasn’t reading gaming sites every day at the time), that I bought only because they had a free demo, that would have otherwise passed me by: Bioshock, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Resistance 2, Overlord, FEAR 2, Killzone 2. And that’s just from the end of 2008 to March 2009. If you’re not reading gaming news, you’re certainly not going to pay for a demo of a game you’ve never heard of.

My friend said “whatever happened to the concept of spending money to make money?”. Indeed, it’s called an advertising budget last I checked. Anyone who says making a demo is time-consuming should be shot on sight. A demo is a source code fork of a game with some text changed and some code chopped out and replaced with purchase screens. If it takes you more than a week to make that, do us a favour and resign now. Oh and by the way I’ve made demos; by far the longest part of the process is the publisher’s QA approval, so you can spare me the lecture on justifying why your demo is so special.

What about the expense of making a demo? A few dozen man hours. This is literally the cheapest and most effective form of advertising of any media. Making a movie trailer involves tons of editing, new voicing, new sound sequencing. Making a demo doesn’t, because a discrete, sequential portion of a game that has nothing in it that isn’t in the full game, or out of order. Not only that, but every single person who goes onto XBL or PSN will see it, as opposed to a movie trailer which you will only happen to see if you switch on your TV at the right moment.

Last year Sony published figures stating that games with demos sold 33% more copies on average. Just think about that – that’s hundreds of millions of dollars of extra revenue for the sake of spending the effort to make something considerably cheaper and more directly targeted than a movie trailer. You would be crazy to sacrifice a revenue stream like that.

Let’s face it. Games cost a ton of money. When I bought my HDTV, the shop let me screw around with the settings on all their TVs, check reviews on the internet, hook up my own hardware, try Blurays and DVDs, SD and HD broadcasts, all in the shop, for several hours. I sat on the floor reading the manuals and tuning the TVs to see which gave a picture that was most like the way I wanted it. Why did they let me do this? Because it takes them 5 or 10 minutes to reset after the shop is closed, and they’re going to make a barrel load of cash out of me. It’s called customer service.

There is only one good reason not to release a free demo of your game: if it sucks, and you know it.

FIFA 10 is good

And here comes a perfect case in point. I hate football games. I dislike football in general, although I can be found watching the Euro, World Cup and occasionally Champions League closing stage matches. I don’t know anything about the teams or players and I don’t follow the schedules. I am still struggling with the off-side rule. England is captained by some bloke called Fabio Capello. I think. That is the extent of my knowledge of football (doesn’t make me a very good lesbian I know, sorry about that).

I had decided to watch the World Cup this summer, so with some reticence I downloaded the FIFA 10 World Cup demo. It was brilliant. I went to the shop and bought the original FIFA 10.

But what have they really sold to me here? Well they’ve sold FIFA 10, FIFA 10 World Cup, FIFA 11 and a premier league Live Season access subscription at the least. Would I have paid 50p for a demo? No I would not.

Moving on though – why the hell do I like a football game? I can tell you I got some pretty amusing “FIFA 10? Damn I wasn’t expecting that!” messages over the few days that followed. Yet strangely, playing against my ex’s favourite team Arsenal – which I regularly rag on him about – and losing, led to the greatest frequency of cussing at my PS3 in a 5 minute period ever seen since the purchase of the machine.

I was left shocked, dismayed and bitter at how enjoyable the game was. Fellow females, I hang my head in shame. I have let you all down. Well, the pretty ones anyway.

Modern Warfare 2: The Bitchslap Chronicles

What’s the best thing about Modern Warfare 2? Spec Ops or Multi-player? Neither. It’s the classic soap opera currently unraveling between our ex-Infinity Ward friends West and Zampella, Activision and all the other walkouts. Lawsuits are being loaded into stinger missiles even as we speak. W&Z – now apparently known as the ‘Modern Warfare Two’ – have Respawned into a new company that will no doubt spend the rest of its days failing to emulate the success of the brand.

Paragraph 68 of Activision’s counter-suit struck me with particular amusement. It states:

“As alleged above, West and Zampella have breached the MOU by interfering with Activision’s ability to publish and market Modern Warfare 2 by, among other things, failing to include the Activision logo in the game and refusing Activision’s request to remedy that failure. West and Zampella have further breached the MOU by openly criticizing Activision which interfered with Activision’s ability to market Modern Warfare 2.”

I don’t know about you, but 1. I’ve never seen a Memorandum of Understanding which prevents a studio from criticising a publisher – it’s called freedom of speech and it’s the law – and 2. Last I checked they didn’t criticise Activision until after the game was out and they failed to get paid for their work (so they say).

Of course, you have to wonder – not including the Activision logo impeded their ability to publish the game? Why? Imagine the customers’ incense! “Oh my God I rushed home, ripped the shrinkwrap off Modern Warfare 2, put it in the console and holy shit there was no Activision logo – I took it straight back to the store in disgust!” Yes, I’m sure you lost loads of sales from that Greek tragedy.

Who’s doing the marketing? Infinity Ward or Activision? Exactly. Slap your logo on the TV ads then. How does it make the game harder to market when nobody sees the contents of the disk til they’ve bought it? Talk about a flawed argument.

The logo issue was of course, just one item “among other things”. Oops-a-daisy though, because you forgot to state in the affidavit what the other things were. One can therefore only assume they were even more petty than a stupid logo.

Of course, there are few things funnier than an arrogant boss deliberately making controversial remarks for a year then getting publicly owned. That applies to me too, so I better shut up now.

Top Ten: Women In Video Games

April 21, 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.

Warning: Over 18s only. Contains strong sexual references. So now we know you’ll read it anyway, just don’t tell your parents ok? Our evil industry has been a bad enough influence on you already.

BBC News reported on Tuesday that an Iranian Islamic cleric gave a speech stating that women dressed in revealing clothes cause earthquakes.

After I finished choking on my coffee in simultaneous amusement and disgust, I realised that some of you are disappointed because I haven’t mentioned my uber lesbian porn media server for a few weeks, and that with a subtle modification to the meaning of the word ‘earthquakes’, he was actually dead right.

Apparently women specialise in natural disasters, as when I brought this issue up with my work colleague, he said “oh, women can be volcanoes too – I’ve seen the videos!”. I momentarily pitied him, realising he was a loser who – lacking the skills to actually trigger volcanoes himself – would only ever be able to watch active eruptions from behind the doldrums of an LCD matrix. In the same conversation he taught me the meaning of frotting – takes all sorts to make a world I guess.

So, without further ado, let’s review my top ten favourite earthquake generators in video games.

Soozibags – you probably don’t know her, but she is SingStar’s most well-known player, came 2nd in the Glastonbury contest in 2008, won Crystal Mics last year and has a superb singing voice. She is one of those.. ehm… ‘mature’ women that everyone loves to love. And I love her too. Her antics have brightened up the SingStar community for a long time, in our little world she’s a total star. Not to mention, hot, of course.

Any teenage girl on SingStar Online – spreading my legs, I mean my wings, out a bit, most teenage girls on SingStar are worth a momentary wistful drool before you realise you’re a pervert. On Jimmy Carr’s latest DVD, a man in the audience asked “got any tips on grooming?”. Jimmy replied “Yeah it’s illegal, don’t do it.”. If however you are a wannabe pedophile, just do what I did and move to Mexico. The age of consent there is 12. You will of course have to make sure the girl is over 12 though which I guess could be a problem – “hey, I swear she was 12!” – and I’m gonna wager that actually getting onto SingStar Online from Mexico is gonna be a real bitch.

Bayonetta – god damn she is nigh on perfect. Women like Bayonetta in video games are sort of like Photoshopped pictures of Drew Barrymore’s boobs: they are kind of depressing because you know nothing like them actually exists in the real world. Bayonetta is sexy, sassy, good with guns and by God she knows how to suck a lollipop. If I was a clownfish, I’d have a sex change. And what about her hair? You could tow an Airbus A380 with that thing – which will come in very handy when you need help installing that new 3D TV.

Vanille in Final Fantasy XIII – I know, I know, she’s a teenager. But it’s not real life so it’s ok. Besides, who wouldn’t want to spread vanilla on Vanille? Some of you may be thinking you prefer Lightning, but in true natural disaster style, lightning rarely electrifies the same person twice.

Veronica Belmont – alright, a matter of taste I guess, but I have come to.. “appreciate” the Qore presenter over time. Much like a fine Cognac or the roasted tobacco taste of Lucky Strike, Veronica is an acquired taste. And similarly addictive. I don’t like the way she charges me for her services though. Love should be free.

That anime girl wotsherface from wotsitcalled – you know exactly what I mean. All anime girls look the same, and all anime girls are cute. I’m a fan of Reimi in Star Ocean at the moment, subject to change and availability. It doesn’t matter what anime you watch or which JRPG you play, cute anime girls are as inevitable as a wheel clamp in Norwich.

Nariko in Heavenly Sword – another girl with class, she’s got the mad sword skillz and you don’t want to screw with her. Oh, wait, that’s wrong.

Ms Pacman – no, I don’t want to screw with Ms Pacman. Makes a change doesn’t it? Ms Pacman is nothing less than the legend of women in gaming. And a great role model for young girls: all she does is eat power pills all day, plus the occasional live animal. Why hasn’t she married Mr Pacman yet? Nobody knows. Clearly they’ve left it wide open for a long-awaited sequel.

Leliana in Dragon Age Origins – to the best of my knowledge, the only female in a video game with a lesbian relationship trophy in her honour. Finally, some recognition for the hard work we do with other girls! She is my champion.

All the women who sit and play video games all day – if you’re fat, you’re excluded, sorry (only because this is satire and I’m incredibly shallow, in reality I like a girl with a bit of meat on her bones, makes you more cuddly), but otherwise you girls are my No. 1 heroines of all time. You have changed my role in society from being a geek to being normal. Well, ok that’s pushing the boat out – but you are making gaming socially acceptable to both genders. I don’t see anything gender-specific about video games at all and I see no reason why it should be a male-dominated hobby. Ironically, most of the women on my PSN list play shooters, so we really do need to talk to the advertising people about pushing LittleBigPlanet and SingStar on us like we can’t play “proper” video games, cos I do find that rather patronising personally.

Some women who narrowly missed out were Lilith from Borderlands, Lara Croft (too high maintenance), Chloe Frazer in Uncharted 2 (God what a bitch) and Lucy Porter from FirstPlay (lovely voice, shame we can’t see your lovely face as well).

Enjoy your weekend – especially if you’re a woman planning to sit down and bust up some guys on Battlefield Bad Company 2. I salute you.

 

Top Ten: When The Game Beats You

April 12, 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.

Thanks to TSA reader deadpixel for inspiring me with this idea a few weeks ago.

Hardcore gamers can be spotted from miles away by the way they react when they get stuck on a video game. Like the honey badger – known for its testicle-eating abilities – gamers give off signals to the rest of their species, and over time they develop a fixed set of responses to cope with any tricky gaming situation that may arise. Let’s take a look at what happens when a gamer is defeated in battle.

Cuss wildly – usually the first port of call for the disgruntled gamer, stringing together a succession of the worst words you can conjure up is a natural stress reliever. A few deep breaths later and you’re prepared for the next bout. Swearing quantity and volume increases proportionally to the number of defeats, and if there are too many of these said defeats, may be accompanied by a short break and the lighting of a cigarette by the less health-conscious player.

Assault your peripherals – stage two of your rage can be fulfilled by the swift ejection of the controller from your hand in a quick downward thrusting motion. Often combined with cussing wildly for added effect, we have all come to expect that controllers are basically indestructible – my main controller alone has been thrown onto the floor at least 17 million times. And that was just in my last four or five FIFA 10 matches.

Have… just one more go – you know the syndrome. This time I’m gonna nail that little b*stard. I’ve learned from my mistakes, I’ve memorized the route, the map, the timing, the button pushes. This time it’s gonna be perfect! Repeat a dozen times. Two dozen if it’s that bloody Astro Tripper game.

Enter Focus Mode – focus mode is what separates the hardcore from the casual. In Focus Mode, you sit at the edge of your seat, lean forwards, sit right in the center view of the TV, re-position the controller slightly in your hands, stare in tunnel vision at the screen and put your mind in “extra-hard concentration mode”, hoping that reducing your screen distance by 2 inches and the reduced viewing angle will make all the difference. It doesn’t, of course. Yet we never learn.

Google “Name of game + walkthrough” – face it, we’ve all done it: “Mirror’s Edge mall level walkthrough”. We wouldn’t tell anyone though. Personally I’m a n00b – I’m interested in the journey, I have no interest in repeating the same section over and over, so when trouble arises, I will have no compunction to sheepishly resort to gamefaqs.com and find the walkthrough. Besides, if I didn’t, I’d never complete anything.

Change the difficulty level – one for the real pussies, and it raises that awful dilemma: what about those elusive gold and platinum trophies? If I drop down to Only Slightly Hardcore difficulty, I’m screwed for XP. Wimps like me have these days resigned to starting on Easy anyway and begrudgingly sacrificing the silverware, but I certainly don’t expect that kind of slack behaviour from readers of this esteemed publication. Only beta testers and reviewers can be that lazy.

Bust up some n00bs in another game – getting your ass handed to you on a plate in COD: World At War? Try Peggle instead. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of making it personal: some revenge payback at innocent bystanders in another game will refresh you, restore your confidence and give you that impetus you need to go back and wipe the floor with them.

Lie – an excellent way to look good, if you’ve almost finished the game but can’t nail that last boss, just say you completed it anyway. Hell, what are they gonna know? I did 48 of the 51 events in GRID and couldn’t be bothered with the last three. I said I completed it anyway. “Couldn’t be bothered” is a good PR spin too: instead of saying “I sucked too much to finish it”, you’re saying “I’m so good I don’t need to prove my worth; I have more important fish to fry”.

Cheat – SingStar has a trophy for scoring over 90% on hard on 5 songs. Screw that. If I wanted to witness my ex-boyfriend’s balls shrinking to the size of shriveled little peanuts as he squeals out Leona Lewis’s cover of Run I would just fondle him with some ice cubes. Instead, I took the professional approach and let someone else log into my account to do it for me. I still get PSN mails to this day asking “wow, how did you get that trophy?”. Changing the date and time is good for cheating too.

Never admit defeat – last but not least, this is in fact the very First Commandment in true gaming. Never, never, EVER admit you couldn’t do something. Always have excuses ready for why you only got the bronze trophies. Say you’ll come back to it when you have time. Say your console broke, or the dog ate the controller. Say anything, just whatever you do, don’t admit failure or weakness of any kind. Your street cred will be destroyed instantly – more specifically, you’ll become a gay n00b.

Have a great weekend everybody!


Top Ten: Obsolete Devices

April 9, 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.

Good news! I’ve been fired from writing Top Tens. Or at least, I will be soon. Just three more weeks of torture after this and Peter will be back with the old format. Fans of controlled rage can read my new column ‘The Rant’ on Fridays instead.

The three weeks after this will have my usual top ten style before normality returns, but this week sees a temporary return to normality as I forgot to write something up and it’s now 4am on Friday morning. So without further ado, here are my top ten favourite owned obsolete devices:

Palm m500 – where would I have been without it, especially the 3-way folding full-size keyboard that let you clip the tiny screen on. We were extremely impressed with its crisp monochrome display and the fact you could read offline web pages on it!

Sky analogue box – a set top box for real men. You could move your satellite dish round and pick up free Hungarian TV. Ah, glory days *shakes her head slowly*

MP3 CD player – oh yeah, these were gonna change the future. I had the very first model released, it was incredible how much music you could get on it – unfortunately the interface was as awkward as trying to wallpaper your living room with beans on toast.

Dot matrix printer – ah my beloved Panasonic; there’s nothing quite like 4 minutes of screeching noise late at night when you’re trying to print out a 1-page letter. Followed by the 4 minutes of noise I made when the paper inevitably got jammed and you spent eternity trying to fix it, carefully balancing and uncreasing each sheet with infuriating futility.

5.25in disk drive – for my beloved BBC Micro. EEE EEE!! Click, click, click, click, click. EE EE!! What was really cool about this was you could tell how many kilobytes the game was from how many times the drive clicked as it was loading. 4 clicks? A pretty small game. 8 clicks – that’s an AAA title. 10 clicks – woah, they have totally MAXED the machine out here. It was rare to get a 10-click game, those were awesome.

ZX Spectrum – come on then who remembers it? Loading a game: J, Symbol Shift + P, Symbol Shift + P, Enter. Usability in its truest incarnation. Like the disk drive it also made a great sound, I just loved those yellow and blue jiggly bars when the game was loading. You know what I’m talking about.

RS-232 cables – seriously, how cool were those? You could hook up two computers and send tiny amounts of data to each other! Who needs the internet when you’ve got RS-232 – with RS-232 you’ve got no spam mail, no advertising and most importantly of all, no Twitter.

Channel 36 – not a device as such, but you’ve got to love channel 36. It is the backbone of modern communications. If you want to watch your VHS, play on your computer or watch Sky, channel 36 was the place to be. Until Channel 5 pissed all over it, of course.

Texas TX-82 calculators – if you’re old enough to be a parent, then face it, you owned one and you loved it. You could code in BASIC on it for goodness’ sake! If you were one of those rich upper class types you bought a TX-85 and could do assembler as well. I was well jealous of you guys.

DJ Hero turntables – sorry, it had to be said. They weren’t even that good to start with. Therefore, please overlook my ironic signature below.

Have a good weekend everybody!

The Gaming Rant 5

April 2, 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.

Note: Contains strong language and drug references, but strangely no sexual references this week. This article is satire and does not reflect the opinion of TheSixthAxis or myself. The truth is, I’m deeply in love with all the people mentioned below.

Choosing between Labour and the Conservatives is like having to choose between Tetris and a hooker. Tetris is familiar, but eventually spirals out of control and you get bored of it. The hooker is exciting and initially pleasurable, but can have deadly consequences. Overall, they’re both risky choices, and all things considered, you’d probably rather be playing Modern Warfare 2 instead – and that’s where Lib Dem comes in. No I’m just kidding, they’re more like Noby Noby Boy: mildly amusing for a short period, but unlikely to ever gain significant market share. They’d probably ban violent video games too.

So on that tenuously constructed link, let’s proceed with some common all garden controlled rage.

DJ Hero pricing

This week Activision briefly remembered they had a DJing game out a few months ago and released some DLC. £6.29 for 3 songs, not available singly. What kind of music? A little dance, house, trance, techno or drum & bass you say? No. It was Jay-Z and Eminem.

Again.

If I wanted to shake yo ass, I’d put you in a washing machine and set the spin cycle. If I wanted to bust a cap in yo ass, I would take the aforementioned garment, roughly insert it into the aforementioned orifice, then proceed to cut the protruding section in half with a knife (I’ll wipe my hands on a copy of Guitar Hero Van Halen afterwards).

When I am spinning ch00ns, that’s exactly what I want to do: spin CH00NS. Phat beats. Driving basslines. A woman high on ecstasy singing about how beautiful the world is. I do not want to hear how bootylicious you think you are in the rhythm of a drunken cow with one prosthetic leg walking down a staircase.

I also don’t want to pay over £2 per song. The makers of DJ Hero did explain some months ago that the reason it costs more is because their in-house team of super-expert DJs who we’ve never heard of making “teh master mixez” makes it take longer and cost more. Perhaps if you licensed songs people wanted to actually play rather than spending a fortune on licenses for crap, they would be cheaper?

SingStar … the saga continues

Wow. The arrogance is staggering.

The SingStore update was finally released – 12 days late – on 6th April. I’ll say that again: twelve days late. When it did go up a couple of songs were in the wrong place or misnamed, and all songs were locked against purchase for some hours that evening – the classic SingStar QA process in full effect.

On 28th March I wrote on the totalmusicgaming.com forum:

“Who wants to wager a bet that if this update doesn’t get pushed by Tuesday that they won’t be ****ed to release anything on 8th? I’ll start the bidding at $100.”

Well, somebody at London Studio owes me 100 bucks, because on 6th April, SingStar Team wrote on Facebook:

“Okay sorry guys but the April 8th update will now be released on the 22nd of April. We are still not quite meeting your expectations I’m afraid. :(“

Gotta love that euphemism, quite. Saying you’re not quite meeting the customers’ expectations is a bit like giving North Korea a nuclear warhead with the uranium removed and saying, meh, you can have the payload later. When we can be bothered. Only in business hours. Not over Easter, we’re on break then. Then, when they get the uranium, it turns out that it’s old and stale and they just use it to grit the roads instead.

Content Manager Nina Scherer said she couldn’t comment on the delays but “let’s just say things have been at a standstill over the last few weeks”. Nina, how many times have I told you not to give the staff weed during work hours. Try Speed instead, maybe they’ll get something done then.

It was, however, their response to the subsequent complaints that was truly awe-inspiring:

“We didn’t like to give you too much good stuff in one week :)”

I shit you not. They actually had the audacity to say that. For those of you not in the know, the 25th March delayed update included such classics as Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio and Kisschasy – Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night. Yeah, I know, I haven’t heard of them either. That is some seriously depleted uranium right there.

8th April was supposed to see the release of – among other things – a Lady Gaga song pack, announced over a month ago, and would have put them on par with Rock Band which, as a testament to how bad the SingStar licensing team are, already has more Lady Gaga tracks than SingStar.

At the same time, they told us there would be an “exciting announcement” on 8th, which turned out to be the online battle beta. Nina no doubt wasn’t too impressed when I said the only announcement that would excite me right now would be some involuntary redundancies. Pretty strong coming from a staunch SingStar lover.

A lot of people are excited about the beta. Hold your horses. Do any of you remember a time when SingStar Team released a feature that worked properly? Think hard… no, that’s right, you can’t. That’s because they never have.

Voice control made you turn it on or off every time you went to sing, which wasn’t fixed for 6+ months, and ultimately the best use for it was to swear into the mic and see what song it selected. The video editor crashed people’s machines, wouldn’t save, corrupted people’s videos or wouldn’t upload for a further 8 months. SingStar Clubs is missing most of the features that would make a guild feature useful. The PS2 disk compatibility patch didn’t actually make all the PS2 disks compatible – that one took a year to fix. The 4.3 patch, billed as the answer to all our problems, locked people out of singing portions of their DLC for several weeks, with a “no access rights”-type error when selecting a song.

Imagine how happy I was to load SingStar and find that I couldn’t sing 140 of my paid downloads, then multiply that by a couple of million users. That’s a lot of uncontrolled rage my friends.

If you really think they are going to do a good job of this new feature, well, let’s just say I admire your optimism.

Beta buffoonery

What is going on with the beta scene this week? First of all Future gives me a FirstPlay beta after I ravaged them on TSA last month, then says I can’t have it because I live in Norway even though I had the previous one. Then Ubisoft has the gall to tell me I have to download the R.U.S.E. beta from Steam.

Steam? STEAM?! Do I look like I have a PC that can play video games to you? I spent all the upgrade money on Ubisoft games for my PS3, so now I have a P4 3.2GHz, which is a technical way of saying I have at my disposal the processing power of a small calculator that can also fry eggs as a bonus.

The last time I upgraded my PC to play video games was in 2005 when EverQuest 2 came out. I know, I know, I should’ve bought Warcraft. I knew VHS was gonna win, but I had to support Betamax anyway. Bygones. Eventually I realised it was much better to sit on a sofa which a huge f*ck off TV and home cinema sound, and bought my consoles instead.

And besides, there’s something sort of pride-damaging about being told to go get the beta from where all the other plebs get it. I feel demeaned. This must be what it’s like to be a ‘normal’ user. *cries* Yes, I know, QQ Katy.

Blur beta only on 360, and not really a beta

The real kicker this week though was the Blur beta not being released on PC or PS3. Here it is the use of the word beta itself that bothers me, since Activision were kind enough (ie. they made an administrative error) to send me 2 beta codes for the 360 version.

The purpose of a beta is to test a game for bugs and get user feedback. The Blur developers stated that their purpose with the Blur beta was to profile player activity. Well, not really a beta then is it? There was no channel to give them feedback on the game itself or report bugs.

I also took exception to the fact they stated they used the 360 because it was the biggest platform. So there are more 360 gamers than PC gamers? Excuse me while I go back to primary school, I obviously need to learn to count again.

The really annoying statement though was lead designer Gareth Wilson’s: “Really because when we were doing the beta it’s hard enough to try and get a beta out that doesn’t crash every five minutes while trying to finish a full game. Trying to do that on multiple platforms at once, so trying to do a PS3, Xbox and PC beta release at the same time, it just isn’t possible.” – “It was enough of a distraction doing it for one platform,”.

Orly? Cry me a river Gareth, no offence intended of course. I know it is such a hassle to prepare something for three platforms for simultaneous release, it really does make you wonder how Assassin’s Creed 2, Borderlands, Modern Warfare 2, Aliens vs Predator, Dragon Age Origins, Bioshock 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 to name just a few recent releases managed to get published on the same day for all platforms. They must be miracle workers! Or, maybe their lead designers are just better at giving interviews.

I also love the idea that their code was crashing every 5 minutes, therefore they only felt it necessary to make a beta for one platform. No need to test the PC or PS3 versions – we’re sure all the bugs will be found in the 360 beta and that there are no platform-specific issues with the other two. Mhm. Anyone remember the 360 release of Need For Speed Shift? That tried to sign into PlayStation Network to download content. I rest my case.

Gareth will come back on this and say that the purpose of the beta wasn’t to test bugs. So, don’t call it a beta then. Thanks.

LG5Tool sucks

If you don’t know what LG5Tool is, I’m not going to tell you – although Google probably will. Suffice to say it was clearly put together by a script kiddie still in nappies because it doesn’t work for more than 5 minutes at a time and fails 100% of the time when you change PSN account. And it runs on circa-1995 Visual Basic DLLs. A genius h4x0r, this guy is not.

As luck would have it, my personality is based on being evil and having no moral compass, so I made my own solution. Being evil is, of course, a pre-requisite to getting the original features from a device that you paid for, because obviously no good person would ever take steps to prevent a corporation from illegally removing functionality from a device they paid good money for.

Cable Management

Speaking of Sony insulting me, today I just learned that I have less than 64 USB ports on the PS3. I had to resort to an 8-port USB hub and it’s woefully insufficient. Consider what you’re asking me to do here: keyboard, mouse, EyeToy, steering wheel, charger, Buzz dongle, SingStar dongle, DJ Hero dongle, GH3 dongle, GHWT dongle, drumkit dongle, headset charger, PSP data cable, external hard drive. These are all basic human rights and you deny them. 2 USB ports is like saying you can only have half a shandy when you’re out on the razz, or you can only eat one frozen pizza per week. Shambolic.

And why wasn’t all this stuff built into the PS3 in the first place? Everyone knew we’d be spinning on our plastic turntables 4 years ago, I don’t believe for a second that DJ Hero has been in development for less than 4 years – especially given its superiority compared to games like Uncharted 2, God of War 3 and so on. This is nothing but a conspiracy to make me spend money on accessories. If you wanted me to do that, maybe you should’ve thought about that and released the hairdressing game before I went to the salon eh?

The PSP should come with the PS3 and be built into a little flap next to the Bluray tray that pops out. The guitars and drum kit should be inflatable, and the headset should be like an ear piercing: staple that sucker in once and forget about it. Finally the plastic skateboard should rise up through the living room floor when you want to use it. In fact it should be on a CD-style changer along with my Wii Fit and dancemat, and all this should come free with the console. We all know how poor value for money the PS3 is after all.

Also, why do some things work in the USB hub but others have to be plugged directly into the console? What is the point of a USB hub that only works with 75% of the devices? That’s like giving me a kebab from one of those dodgy downtown shops that’s just a front for immigrant cocaine dealers and saying ooh well, I wouldn’t eat that last 25% if I were you. Also, why aren’t all the dongles a standardized shape? Terry’s Chocolate Orange wedges, lollipops and the SingStar wireless one, well, it’s curvy, it doesn’t stand up straight, and it’s a huge empty box with a tiny chip inside. Very badly executed, much like the SingStore updates. At least they’re consistent.

So, with more cables on my floor than in the Large Hadron Collider, and more flashing dongle lights than a Las Vegas wedding chapel, I decided to clean up. Why the hell aren’t there any USB ports on the back of the PS3, or on the side? Imagine if my TV and home cinema amp only had inputs at the front. Getting to the sofa would be like trying to walk through the Amazon basin in flip-flops. People would mistake my amp for a heart and lung machine. Step 2: Range. I press blue, red, blue, orange, orange. Rock Band says: blue, orange. Now I will admit, there’s a lot of RF noise in my living room, but 10 feet? Come on people. When I come to power, my law will be that if a wireless device has a range less than the distance a drunk man can piss, it shall be deemed illegal.

The Sadness of Finishing A Game

Some games – like Echochrome – you finish triumphantly, throw your controller down and proclaim: “I am NEVER playing that <long string of expletives> game again!”. Other games, you kinda feel sad when it’s over.

I went back through a few of my older games this week to finish them off – in particular Mirror’s Edge and EndWar. EndWar is an under-rated game by the way, if you haven’t played it before and you’ve got a microphone it’s a fun little purchase (it’s a voice-controlled RTS). Of course I spent 75% of my playing time cussing out those damn near-impossible wall-run jumps and the fact I could win 4 matches in a row on EndWar and still only be controlling the same amount of territory. Yet, when each game was over, I took out the disk and a little part of me died inside as I put it back on the shelf knowing I would probably never take it out of its box again because I’d seen all there was to see. Fortunately I have a lot of parts so I probably won’t run out until next year at least. I’m keeping my boobs til last, they’re too much fun.

So, will I trade them in? Hell no, don’t be ridiculous. That would be blasphemy. A true gamer never trades in her games no matter how broke she is. It’s a status symbol thing. I even still have all my Wii games and that went obsolete 20 years ago – just on the off chance I ever want to play them. Which I won’t, obviously.

Finishing off all your old games also raises new dilemmas. Now you have to start a new one from scratch. But when you have every major Bluray and PSN release between the release dates of Dead Space and God of War 3 to mull over, that’s an agonizing decision. Do I slap in Oblivion for a quick fix, to look cool on my friends list with the latest games and know that it’ll be over in half an hour or so? Or do I try to catch up by finishing my oldest games first that I paid £50 for and are now worth £5 so I feel like I got value for money? Or do I get my teeth stuck into something really long and involved like God of War 3, knowing it has at least 100 hours of gameplay and this will delay my ability to finish some other games? Or, do I just give up and play Uno?

So I did what all the most intelligent people do: nothing. I procrastinated, didn’t select a game then realised it was after midnight and I couldn’t play my drums either.

Some days later: In the end the choice was made for me, much like in the case of Goza The Destructor. The merciless slave-drivers at TSA Towers ordered me to review Resonance of Fate; hopefully it will taste as good as a marsh-mellow man. I can’t refuse free games of course – when a TSA editor asks if you’re a God, you say YES!

Categories: Satire (Mature Content) Tags:

Top Ten: April Fools Jokes (Previously Unpublished)

April 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a previous 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.

IMPORTANT: Do not attempt the technical tricks described in this article unless you are sure you know what you are doing. Neither TheSixthAxis nor myself accepts any responsibility for hardware or software you break or brick, whether you followed the instructions properly or not. Some of the items below are quite irresponsible and should be handled with extreme caution.

As we all know, there’s nothing funnier than annoying another person and wasting their time, so here are some quick April Fool’s Day tips for you:

System Failure: The PG Version

Make a file called index.html and upload it to a web server with the following content:

<html><head><title>PlayStation 3 System Failure</title></head><body style=”background-color: red”><div style=”font-size: 72pt; font-weight: bold; color: black”>WARNING: A fatal system error has occurred. Please contact your nearest Sony representative for assistance. Error code 4PR17-F001.</div></body></html>

Open your friend’s PS3 web browser to the site you’ve uploaded to then turn the TV off. Enjoy the look on their face as they come home for some nice gaming and switch on to see the failure message.

System Failure: The Hardcore Unrated Version

Install Linux on your friend’s PS3. Set Firefox or Opera to start by default and set the homepage to the same page as above. Set the OS to auto-login. Remove your friend’s keyboard.

Result: every time he turns on his PS3 he’ll be greeted with the failure message with no way to start any games or other applications. To put the machine back to normal, type “boot-game-os” at the prompt when it is turned on.

Screw up PSN connectivity

Add a entry in your friend’s router or firewall to block “*.playstation.net”. Or you can just go into your friend’s PS3’s network settings and change the static IP to something random. However the first method works best as he will check all his PS3 network settings and be unable to find the problem.

Result: all the other machines on your friend’s LAN will work but his PS3 won’t be able to log in.

The Modern Warfare 2 variant

This is a classic if your friend is a Call of Duty whore. Simply block port 3074 on his router. His PS3 will go online and all the games will work but he won’t be able to find any matches in Modern Warfare 2.

Force firmware update on every boot

Make a series of directories in the root of your web site (usually httpdocs) as follows: /update/ps3/list/eu. Replace ‘eu’ with ‘us’ if you’re in the US. In this folder, make a file called ps3-updatelist.txt (case-sensitive) with the following text:

# EU

Dest=85;CompatibleSystemSoftwareVersion=3.1500-;

Dest=85;ImageVersion=0000948f;SystemSoftwareVersion=13.3370;CDN=http://deu01.ps3.update.playstation.net/update/ps3/image/eu/2009_1210_54ee80e14e479f8351a988eb9a472072/PS3UPDAT.PUP;CDN_Timeout=30;

Replace the number 13.3370 with any number that amuses you.

This file tells the PS3 what the latest firmware version is and where to download it from. Now you need to trick the PS3 into checking this file instead of the official one. For that, install ettercap on a Linux box or use a program like PS3.Proxy.GUI for Windows.

Spoof fus01.ps3.update.playstation.net to point to the IP address of your web site. Tutorial here (just replace ps3news.com’s IP with your own, the rest of the instructions are the same):

http://www.ps3news.com/forums/ps3-guides-tutorials/ps3-firmware-version-check-bypassed-thread-55789.html

Result: every single time your friend turns on his PS3 he’ll be made to download a firmware update (the file above will just cause firmware 3.15 to be re-downloaded) – which will no doubt drive him crazy.

The AV Scrambler

Does your friend have a TV with multiple inputs, or an amp? Re-arrange every video and audio cable arbitrarily. I have 8 inputs on my TV and 11 on my amp, and they’re all used. That would drive me absolutely crazy. For added effect, make sure to mismatch the audio and video cables for different devices so that when he changes input he gets the video for one device and the sound for another. When he detects the ruse, tell him his girlfriend was trying to get the Wiimote to connect.

Parental lock

Set the parental lock to its highest restriction level with a random PIN code. A quick solution to preventing many of his games from working.

Change background

Another easy classic, change your friend’s XMB background to porn or something equally offensive for when he switches it on in front of someone else.

Set system language to Japanese

Speaks for itself.

The Disk Scrambler

My personal favourite. My initial thoughts here were to use the grouping options to completely mess up the location of your friend’s PSN games. But then I had a better idea. It only works if your friend has a lot of Bluray games, say more than 40.

Assuming they are arranged horizontally on the shelf, take each disk out of the Bluray case and place it in the Bluray case 4 items to the left. Put the left-most 4 in the right-most 4 cases. In other words, all of the game boxes should remain in the same place, but all of the disks inside should be rotated left by 4 places.

See how long it takes your friend to figure out the “code”. The best part about this is, if he has as many games as me, it may be months of amusement for you before he bothers to put them all back in order again. Enjoy as he decides to play a game, goes to his shelf and you see his finger count 4 places to the left to find the actual game he wants to play.

Delete the Game Data

Ok first a word of warning. Do not delete the game data for LittleBigPlanet or any music game as it contains user-created level data and downloaded songs. Do not delete the game data for other such games, and definitely do not delete the save data as that is really cruel and not recoverable.

Result: every single game he tries to play will need to re-install and re-patch.

User account chenanigans

Make a new user account with an almost identical nick to your friend’s. Set it to auto-login. When he turns on his PS3, he will think he has lost all his settings, friends list and trophies. It will take him a moment to realise it is not his account. Priceless.

Remove the hard disk

Simple enough. Get a small watch screwdriver, unclip the panel, remove the HDD, hide it somewhere and re-attach the panel. His PS3 will epic fail to start every time. Replacing the HDD will put everything back to normal with no ill consequences. Just be careful not to ruin the heads on the screws as they are very soft.

Happy April 1st!

Top Ten: Best PlayStation 3 Games

March 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.

Greetings citizens of April 20-10. I am speaking to you directly from the past; to be precise, March 2000 and 10.

The past is crazy. Bluray is still the accepted movie format, and God of War 3 hasn’t been released yet, even though I played it for several hours after it was released and probably complained in last week’s top ten that I haven’t written yet how short it was (one for you parallel timeline fans there – why are you reading this when you could be writing equations?)

This week I’d like to draw your attention to the ten best PlayStation 3 games of all time. Unfortunately, with only Dante’s Inferno, Bioshock 2, Aliens vs Predator, White Knight Chronicles, Heavy Rain, Star Ocean, Sega & Sonic All-Stars Racing, Demon’s Souls, Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and God of War 3 in my pile of games from February and March, I haven’t really had the opportunity to play any decent games lately so I’ve had to use some creative license from Metacritic – which is to say I surveyed the reviews, then concocted a series of dangerous and probably libelous assumptions based on games I haven’t played in a plausible-looking manner. Because if I had played them, I certainly wouldn’t admit it in public.

I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing any of these games and I strongly urge you to do the same. No serious gamer’s collection is complete without these titles. Did I mention I was lying? I know I’ve missed out some absolute classics like Frogger Returns and Guitar Hero Van Halen, but this list is strictly reserved for the absolute cream of the crap, I mean crop.

10. Avatar

“Hello, my name is James Cameron, you may remember me from making – in my opinion – all the best movies of all-time. Now as you can see I’m being interviewed on PlayStation Network and I’m making it very clear that I am God’s Gift to Gaming.”

No Jimbo, you are not God’s gift to gaming. God’s gift to gaming was Ken Kuturagi (Satan retaliated by dual-wielding Steve Ballmer and Bob Kotick, and more or less won). What you are is a man who is ok-to-reasonable at playing a guitar, think you’re the greatest guitarist who ever lived and arrogantly believed your first musical composition would also be great. You’re a man who copied all the Avatar assets onto a (very large) USB stick, gave it to Ubisoft and thought that a great game would come automatically.

First tip: to make a great game, you need great source material to start with. High resolution, 3D and shiny does not equal great – refer to Gran Turismo 5 for further details (alright easy, calm down, I’m just being controversial remember). It does equal expensive and over-hyped, however – something we thought you would’ve learned from Titanic by now. Second tip: don’t embarrass yourself giving Avatar video game interviews until you’ve actually played the game and checked whether it’s shit or not. And if you have played it and can’t tell it’s shit, maybe you should just stick to your Wii eh?

9. Damnation

IGN: “Damnation is very bad. You can come over to my desk right now, randomly choose a level for me to show you, and you will see exactly what I’m talking about. The framerate crawls, the textures are hideous, the voice acting is terrible, the animations are robotic, the vehicles cut through the ground, there’s no voicechat in multiplayer, the story is poorly laid out, the gunplay is no fun, there are load screens in the middle of nowhere — I can go like this all day, but I think you get the point.” – 2.5

To be honest I’m wondering if they got the game mixed up with Avatar because I guess this is sort of what James Cameron was aiming at with his title, although compared to Damnation he fell considerably short of the mark.

I would first say I am genuinely sad that the studio responsible for Damnation was closed, because I don’t believe for a minute the developers would deliberately produce a bad game – so if you’re reading this guys, you do have my sympathies and I hope you’re not forced to watch Dave for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

Turning the brutal satire back on, though…. what an epic masterpiece of engineering!! If you wanna talk about 5 guns, grey pasty levels with textures more suited to a wireframe 3D game and the most awesomesauce controls ever, you’ve come to the right place my friends. My particular favourite is that you reload by pressing in the left stick. Ah yes, that’s much more comfortable than that really awkward square button. Give the guy who thought that one up a platinum trophy, because he is going to go on to redefine the future of gaming. Hopefully he’s not involved with the Move’s ergonomics team though.

8. .detuned

A man sits in a chair, or occasionally walks around it, and bends his face in a mildly-entertaining-for-2-minutes manner. So, here we’ve got all the makings of a classic: variety, longevity, addictiveness and solid gameplay.

I know, .detuned is not a game. I actually used to be in the demo scene so I have great respect for the authors of Linger In Shadows and .detuned and have followed a lot of their previous work. It would be one thing if the £3 actually showed us something that pushes the PS3. It doesn’t – and no demo team will ever be able to do that for another 20 years, just like how they are showing off 3D demos these days on the Commodore 64. Stick to your PCs gentlemen – it’s what you do best.

7. PAIN

The clue is in the name. I actually got a free copy of this, and 5 minutes into the tutorial I was on the phone demanding my money back. And don’t even get me started on having to actually pay for add-ons to this shallow, weak, incomplete, hard-to-control and repetitive excuse for a gaming experience. It is embarrassing they are still releasing packs for this in all honesty.

If you take pleasure in your life from flinging a rag doll around a static area trying to hit as many targets as possible, over and over again, with no scoring or progression, then I guess you’ve got deeper psychological issues than which PSN games you buy.

6. Tony Hawk: RIDE

Ah…. this is one of my all-time favourites! A true classic. Hold on a minute while I just stop laughing at the very thought of this game.

The only thing that would have made this game funnier is if it had been published by Activision. Oh, wait.. *starts giggling again* No wait, there is one thing that would be even funnier than that: if they had confirmed a sequel. OMG they did! *bursts out laughing* Oh, the humanity.

You know, there are some things that you just can’t say about people in print because they’d result in an instant lawsuit. Come on Tony don’t be shy, you know what I’m talking about. Take James Cameron’s arrogance, put it on crack and you’ve got Tony’s attitude towards this game right there. And of course, from a business perspective he’s totally right to stand up for this steaming pile of shit, he can’t exactly admit how bad it really smells can he?

I saw an interview with Bill Gates many years ago when DOS was replaced with Windows 95. He was asked if he thought DOS was bad, and he freely admitted it was, then followed up with this gem: “You have to sell what you’ve got”. And this is exactly what Tony’s thinking about when he goes to bed at night. How does he sleep? Hopefully Activision gave him a free prescription of Zopiclone, cos if he’s got any conscience whatsoever, he’s gonna need it.

You’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the hideous plastic skateboard, the broken controls, the stale gameplay or the price. That’s because this game has garnered such a reputation already, it requires no introduction. There is nothing I can say about the skateboard that hasn’t already been said. Which is a shame because I really could’ve written a lot on that topic.

5. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust

As hard as this may be to believe, there are worse games than Tony Hawk’s RIDE. IGN explains:

IGN: “The lowest rating numbers here at IGN are reserved for games with nearly no redeeming qualities or interesting ideas, with next to nothing enjoyable to offer players, and which under no circumstances should be purchased by anyone. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is, without a doubt, one of those games.” – 2.0

High praise indeed from a gaming site known for its tough review scores. Also don’t forget this game’s humour: it’s more sexual than Alyson Hannigan with a flute, yet at the same time manages to make David Letterman look like a comedy genius. Special praise must also be given for the high-quality character models, fluid camera and superlative collision detection.

4. Thexder Neo

“Oh my God she’s not gonna bash independent studios is she?” Yes she is. The more worrying thing is that Square Enix actually allowed Gust to have this published under their brand at all.

In the PS2/GameCube/Xbox 1 era, few things bugged me more than the trawling out of sequel after sequel each year. A situation arose which some of you may remember: the entire games market was controlled by a tiny amount of companies. As someone who used to write 8-bit games before half of you was splashed into your mommy, I have always bemoaned the way the market got polarised against the indie developer. Enter XBLA and PSN, a not complete but partial return to the good old days, where one man can code what he wants to code rather than what he’s told, then publish Riff: Everyday Shooter. So I am a huge fan of this turning point and I buy lots – and I mean lots – of PSN games from the indies, even the ones that are less than brilliant. These people are the future of our industry, so any nurturing is a good thing.

However. Everyday Shooter – especially for a one-man development team – is a pretty decent little game. Thexder Neo, is not a good game. It’s not even approaching a good game. And it had a lot more than one developer working on it. Suspiciously, unlike all the other games I’ve mentioned so far, you can actually check out the demo of this one.

You will delete it after you lose your first life. Which will occur about 5 seconds after you start playing.

I’ve got no problem with the graphics or sound – it’s meant to be retro – but who on Earth came up with that control scheme. It’s a ship! No wait it’s a man! No wait it’s a ship again! Shit I gotta turn aro.. oh look I’ve crashed. Again. Crap which button do I press to thrust. Then there’s the ahem, variety. Well when I say variety, I mean how everything looks exactly the same.

So, living proof (as if we needed any more) that Sony’s TPQA department is.. shall we say less than stellar.. on what it lets slip through the net. I think we should return this particular team to the checkouts of Lidl as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

3. Hannah Montana: The Movie

I love Hannah Montana, and I love Miley Cyrus, and that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I’m a lesbian and she has been 14 years old for approximately the last 5 years. Recently someone told me she was going to cut back on her acting to focus on her singing. I’m not sure if that’s true but I know what my response was: “but.. But.. BUT!! What am I gonna DO at 4pm every weekday afternoon if there’s no Hannah Montana to drool over, I mean watch? *cries*”. On the upside, Guitar Hero’s gonna get some mad skillz DLC! (which will make a change)

So, naturally you can understand, I was sooo desperate to buy this game and as the price plummeted on TheHut I had to resist more and more, and then they brought out those God damn packs on PSN with those icons of her smiling innocently that just make you go… “GOD I wanna .. play that game”.

To protect myself from financial ruin, I therefore had to resort to the 2nd Ultimate Source Of Truth After Wikipedia, ie. Metacritic. IGN put me in my place pretty quickly:

“Even if you’re a young girl that adores Hannah Montana, or you’re a parent looking for a good gift, do not purchase Hannah Montana: The Movie. It’s a cheap, awkward, embarrassing attempt to cash in on the hype of the movie without adhering to any of the standards of modern rhythm/music games” – 23%

“Impossible,” I thought to myself, “all movie tie-ins are fantastic! – they must be lying”. So, young girl, adores Hannah Montana – yep, I certainly checked all the boxes, and even after reading that I still wanted to buy it. But I didn’t – and thank God, cos it’s shite.

You know, I’ve just realised what I’ve done. I’ve admitted in public as a 30-year old woman that I watch Hannah Montana. Even my FRIENDS don’t know that. As far as dark secrets go that one’s pretty damn high up on the list. Cover blown – time to steal an Israeli passport.

2. Noby Noby Boy

I have to say I had great trouble ordering these last two. Noby Noby Boy is such a monumental achievement it’s hard to think that anything could top it, however I am tentatively placing it at No. 2.

Noby Noby Boy is nothing less than the ultimate social experiment. Space exploration, animal abuse, sex, toilet humour: this game’s got it all. And all for the price of a Starbucks coffee. The Facebook of PS3 at your disposal – what’s not to like?

It is amazing I must say how I can spend £60 on a game like Assassin’s Creed 2, play it for 3 hours, get busy with something else and never come back to it – a frequent occurrence in my household – yet be completely satisfied with the purchase. And yet, I can at the same time shell out a paltry £3 for Noby Noby Boy and feel regret and a pang of guilt at money wasted every time I go to bed at night.

The game’s premise, of course, is a win-win scenario: grow your Boy as big as possible then stick it in Girl. Eat cows along the way wherever possible, poop them out, then some months later after the developers have courteously thrown in an “arbitrary length multiplier”, go to a new planet which is more or less the same as the previous one. Arbitrary length multiplier is marketing speak for “damn we thought this was gonna be Facebook but it’s sort of going the way of MySpace now”. If you believe my mailbox, arbitrary length multiplier is also code for Viagra and all men would kill for it because all men have small Noby Noby Boys. I, of course, wouldn’t know. Actually now I think of it, that whole sticking Boy in Girl thing isn’t really my cup of tea to be honest, but I can see the appeal to others.

I love the music in this game. I remember when there was a 700MB patch and I thought… what the… the game is tiny compared to that. And it had new music. Unfortunately, everything else is, let’s say, less than perfect. For example, there’s no photo sharing. You can’t make a group called “lost my cellphone, join this group for new number”. You can’t even play FarmVille. Come to think of it, those are probably all plus points.

I would describe in detail my request for Noby Noby Boy: Girl-on-Girl Special Edition at this point, but I suspect it would get edited out. Perhaps a shorter name would be better: Nubby Nubby Girl.

1. PlayStation Home

Oh, don’t be fooled by the hype into believing this isn’t a game. It just wants you to think that to suck you in even more. Nothing less than the Ultimate MMORPG of All-Time, PlayStation Home smashes World of Warcraft in the face, cracks its skull open on the desk and grinds it to a pulp with a Slightly Tattered Axe. It even tops the dizzying heights of Second Life, and as anyone who has visited its porn-infested flat-shaded rectangular boxes that you have to pay to use knows, that is no small feat.

It wants you to think it’s a chat room. It’s tricking you. If you haven’t tried it, be warned, this is going to be the most addictive experience of your life, causing seconds of lost sleep, providing minutes of exploration in its deep, engaging environments, and taking years of hard-earned real cash to acquire the best of the uber-gear this incredible journey into entertainment offers.

Some may tell you Home is pointless, there is nothing to do and it has sucked since Xi finished. They should have talked to the NPCs. Although it is a bit heavy on “will you be my girlfriend” quests*, if you can navigate through these thousands of desperadoes you will find literally tens of avatars worth talking to. As an added layer of challenge you will be required to learn at least 4 new languages because many of the in-game characters can’t or simply refuse to speak English, and this is a really unique twist that increases the immersion and longevity of the game immensely.

You thought you’d seen the pinnacle of what PS3 currently has to offer when you played God of War 3. You’d be wrong. Introducing Icebreaker: the ultimate in-game game, exclusive to PS3. In fact, Home pretty much makes every game you own redundant. No more will you need to plug in your Wii for that spot of bowling (which let’s face it, is the only reason to own a Wii besides Super Mario Galaxy), for Home’s Bowling Alley is here! Game of chess? No problem, chess boards are placed strategically in the middle of a load of shops to tease those intellectual types into buying that irresistible Star Trek outfit.

And what about Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X and IL-2 Sturmovik? Forget about it, we’ve got Red Bull Air Race now. There’s just no contest.

I really can’t say enough positive things about Home. My best friend told me not to slag it off because it’s free. I pointed out to him that it actually comes at quite a price: 6GB of hard disk space minimum, more patches than a 30-year old pair of jeans, loading times so long you could go to the loft, get out your ZX Spectrum, hook it up, find the Manic Miner tape, load the game and complete the first 5 levels before Home has even re-downloaded the Home Square for the 5,000th time, but most importantly: hundreds if not thousands of developers wasting a shitload of time and money on a useless piece of junk that 12 million users have visited once each, then quickly dismissed as a useless piece of junk when they realise it does absolutely nothing of redeeming value whatsoever.

*takes a bow*

* Note: “Will You Be My Girlfriend” quests not available when using male avatars.

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