Posts Tagged ‘Video game’

Tetris Revisited: Bells & Whistles 1

June 3, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a follow-up from the 8-hour Tetris prototype article.

Now we have a working game prototype, I shall walk you through how to make a series of basic improvements. The full source code is available below (see the original article for other dependencies you need to install to compile the code; the game is based on my Simple2D graphics library).

Download: Source code (.cpp) | Source code (.h) | Executable

Time spent: 2.5 hours. Read more…


Coding Challenge Postmortem And Analysis: Tetris in 8 Hours

May 23, 2012 3 comments

You may have seen that yesterday I coded Tetris from scratch in 8 hours in C++ (source code and EXE links on that page). Today I shall reflect on the whys, the good and bad points and lessons learned. Read more…

Complete Gaming Journalism archive now available

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Hi everyone!

The complete archive of articles from my time writing for TheSixthAxis is now online. This includes previously unpublished articles, and uncensored/unedited versions of existing articles.

In the Reviews and First Impressions sections you can find serious and professionally-written reviews and early impressions of various video games that I was tasked to investigate.

In Blog & Opinion and State of The Industry you can find serious commentary on issues that were prevelant on the games industry at the time of writing.

Finally, in Inappropriate Gaming Satire you can find all the humour articles. Please note that some of these articles contain topics that some readers will find extremely offensive, including strong language, adult themes, drug and sexual references and so on. Please do not read these articles if you are easily offended or shocked.

I hope you enjoy the posts!


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.


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:

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 ( 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*


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.


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


  • 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!




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 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!

Do Video Games Corrupt Children? – A Scientific Treatise

March 20, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that the blog is a complete repository of my written work. The article is reproduced without pagination, formatting, images or editorial changes made on the original site prior to original publication.

First, this article does not contain any humour and is in fact quite dry. Secondly, like it or not, nobody can accurately answer this question yet, but here I am going to present a scientific basis for getting closer to a definitive result.

My aim with this article is to point out the accuracies and flaws of current thinking and explain why these thoughts are accurate or flawed. To do this, one needs some qualification in the subject. I have experience with creating scientific tests and survey material, I am qualified in statistics and although I do not have a human sciences degree, I am somewhat self-taught in psychology including behavioral psychology – however I am in no sense an expert on that subject. I will try to keep this scientific and objective with personal opinion removed, and let you decide for yourselves. Read more…

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