Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rob and Rose

Okay first of all, a few introductions…. Meet Bob, my pet roboraptor gifted to me by Roz and my parents in law.

Rather gimmicky I know, but still great fun to play about with :)

Elliot on the other hand, doesn’t seem quite so taken by him.

Been looking after Elliot this weekend whilst Roz is shopping in Southampton. This has largely been nice and Elliot has been overall a very good boy. However, last night it seemed as if he was coming down with a cold and as such woke up 10-12 times in the night. The funny thing is he has seemed fine most of today – will have to see how he is tonight (fingers crossed).

Films watched:
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
An interesting film which avoids the obvious pitfall of retreading the exorcist and instead opts for a largely court based affair.

It’s a shame that it felt necessary to use so many CGI effect at certain parts of the film. The thing about CGI is that it doesn’t look real, therefore negating any scare factor. Other scares in the movie, namely the strange and slightly disturbing body contortion, were a lot more effective.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stress, theft and bad movies

Well, it’s been an interesting week so far. What with sickness, stress, headaches and far too much work for my liking. On the plus side, Roz and Roz’s parents brought me a gift the other day to say “thanks” for looking after Elliot this coming weekend. This gift, or pet of sorts, will probably get a further mention on my blog as soon as I have gotten to grips with this.

On a stressful note, the people who were looking to let our flat have now pulled out and we no longer have anyone interested. The advert is now also no longer in the press, so for the moment, we shouldn’t expect anymore phone calls… We have a plan B and C up our sleeves which we will start to execute soon, I just pray that we find a tenant soonish, I don’t think my head could take the stress :(

Games playing:
Grand Theft Auto : Liberty City Stories
Still ploughing through this game at the moment. It’s starting to get really tough now, with some serious planning needed for some of the missions, however I shall persevere.

Playing this made me want to take a second look at San Andreas. Just been playing this for 30 minutes doing absolutely nothing but driving around. It’s easy to forget just how huge the map is in this game. It would take you forever to explore every last inch of the place, time that I simply do not have.

Oh also taken a look at a couple of game to film trailers, namely for Dead or Alive and Bloodrayne. Hmm, well Dead or Alive looks like a poor imitation of Charlie’s Angels (that’s right a poor imitation). While Bloodrayne looks like a “Z” grade fantasy flick. Why oh why make a film out of a game that nobody bought and nobody liked?

Oh well, until next time…

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Advent Children

Films watched:
Final Fantasy VII : Advent Children
I think that I first should comment about Final Fantasy : The Spirits Within. This to me, was a Final Fantasy film in name only. Okay yes, it was CGI and yes it was created by Square, but it had no elements whatsoever which identified it to the Final Fantasy series. Almost all the Final Fantasy games are set in different worlds, but they each share similar themes, creatures (chocobos, moogles etc), spells and numerous other elements which identify them to the Final Fantasy series. Spirits Within had none of this.

Advent Children is a true Final Fantasy film and follows on 2 years following the end of Final Fantasy VII, and boy is it good. However, saying that, for anyone who hasn’t actually played Final Fantasy VII, the film is totally wasted on them. They likely wouldn’t have a clue what was going on and to be fair, even I found it hard to follow at times. It was great to see familiar characters back on the screen, even if some of the minor characters like Yuffie and Barrat, had less screen time.

My only complaint would be that the film barely stops for a breath. It’s far more action packed than I had anticipated, so much so that beautiful CGI characters and backgrounds flash by at an alarming rate. Also, I said above, even for a Final Fantasy veteran, it was difficult to follow the story, which to be fair, is quite common with Japanese animation, be it anime or CGI.


Watching Final Fantasy brought home again how long it’s been since I played a decent RPG on any system. The last great Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy IX for the PS1. The Final Fantasy games for the PS2, while okay, just don’t cut the mustard when compared to the older games in the series.

I’m hoping that Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII are as good as they appear upon their release (in 2006 hopefully). It feels like an age since I’ve played

Continuing on a gaming note, it is only 3 days now until the release of Mario Kart DS. I’m not getting this on the release date, instead it is at the very top of my Christmas list. Although it pains me not to play such a great game on its release, it just means that I have something really special to look forward to for Christmas Day.

Eurogamer have a great review of Mario Kart on their site (look here). I’m really quite fund on Eurogamer as a gaming site, if only because they tend to add a little humour into their reviews.

Also since getting hooked on the comic strips on Penny Arcade and also CTRL +ALT+DEL as linked on my friends blog,, I have also found another highly amusing online gaming comic strip. This is at The latest Mario Kart comic amused me…


Monday, November 21, 2005


Okay - last night wasn't too good.

I seem to have picked up a stomach bug and as a result my night was filled with the splendor of a mix of vomiting and diariah... All very pleasant. To make matters worse Roz also seems to have been hit by the same bug and joined me in a resounding corus of vomiting. It really is surprising that Elliot didn't wake up.

Roz always is very good to me when I'm sick, knowing how much I hate it... So a big thank you to her, even though she was sick herself.

Okay, hope tonight goes better.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's back!

Yep that’s right, it’s back… What you may ask? The damn mouse!

Just as I thought it had gone away, following reports from the flat downstairs that they had seen a mouse, it appears that it has decided to return to our portion of the property. So once again, the traps have gone down (almost taking off my fingers in the process) and so has the poison.

I cannot explain how much I want to see a dead mouse caught in one of those traps… Does that make me sick? Well at this stage I don’t care…

In other matters the advert for our flat to be went in the paper yesterday and we have a couple of people coming to view it this afternoon. I can only pray that we get a tenant agreed and signed soon. The main stress that I’m suffering with at the moment is that we will struggle to get a tenants.

I’m sure that the rash on my arms is stress related, what with the property, work and other family issues as of late, I’m surprised that I haven’t ripped my arms from my sockets…

Just realised that this blog entry has turned into a little rant, but what the hell. It’s early in the morning and if I want to rant I will rant.

I guess I could talk about films and games. After all I have just recently watch The Gift and Final Fantasy VII : Advent Children, but I think I may save that for another day.

I will say on a film related note that the teaser trailer for Superman Returns was posted on the net yesterday and it sure does look very promising. I was a little dubious about the choice of actor for Superman. Not because he was an unknown, just that he didn’t look as if he had the charisma for the role (can anyone replace Christopher Reeve after all)? But watching the trailer, rather than just looking a still set photo’s, I can see that he has potential in the role.

I think that’s me for now.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Birthday films and games

Well I haven’t written on my blog for a while, so I thought I’d add something.

It was my birthday the other day (Monday) and I received (amongst other things), Batman Begins and Star Wars Episode 3 on DVD and GUN and GTA:Liberty City Stories.

Unfortunately following a couple of days off around my birthday I returned to work to find that my one up-to-date and tidy desk had become a war zone. Things seem to have gone from bad to worse at work and I must admit that I’m dreading slugging through the crap that has piled up when I return back to work on Monday. Not only is it all rather complex work, it’s also all very urgent work… This is the most behind I have been behind since I started my current position and it bugs me somewhat!

I have also been remembering my dreams a lot recently. This normally happens when I’m feeling under the weather, but at present, fingers crossed, I’ve been feeling fine. I always find it remarkable how REAL dreams seem when you’re asleep, even if they are completely bizarre. Then when you awake, it takes a moment or two for you to reconcile the difference between reality and your dreams.

Anyway… back to games and films…

Films Watched:
(in brief)

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
This like Episodes 1 and 2 also has a lot wrong with it when compared to the original trilogy. However, it also does a lot right and is a much more satisfying film overall.

Batman Begins
The best Batman film so far (probably even better than Mask of the Phantasm). It gets almost everything spot on. The cast is excellent (could you possibly find a better cast for the film? I think not). Warner Bros also was wise to choose an excellent director and this pays off no end.
My only complaints would be that the costume is STILL too bulky and reminiscent of the previous 4 Batman movies… They should have gone with something more lightweight and similar too the comics. Also at times that action is not directed very well, choose fast MTV style editing making everything while fast, a little difficult to follow. This is especially evident towards the end of the film.
Otherwise… Absolutely great.

Games played:
GTA: Liberty City Stories
At first I felt a little disappointed with the game – after all the initial impressions are exactly the same as GTA3. However, as I’ve progressed I’m enjoying it more and more. A worthy (if slightly unoriginal) addition to the GTA series.
One point worth mentioning, is that that this game really highlights the slow response rate of the PSP screen. A blurring of the screen is very evident though out the game. I have never noticed any problems of this kind with the DS, but then again this could be because the PSP screen is that bit larger than the DS!

Have only just got this today… Seems very good so far. A good mixture of missions and objectives. Very much like a western GTA, but that’s no bad thing.
I have read reviews which have complained about the length of the game (i.e. that it’s too short), but then again ICO was a very short game, and that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most critically acclaimed games on the PS2!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dark Tower, Mouse Wars and 480p

Marvel have just recently announced that they will be producing a series of comics based on the Dark Tower books written by Stephen King. This will be a six part story about the origin of Roland, the gunslinger from the stories. This is great news. I’m a huge fan of the Dark Tower novels and any additional material which may add to this saga would be most welcome.

Also the artwork looks stunning:

It’s been several days now since my last sighting of the mouse. I now have traps (both lethal and non-lethal) and poison in which to try and deal with the problem. However, the last time I saw the little blighter, he casually scuttered out from beneath the fridge, took a brief look at the poison and the traps, promptly ignored them, and then scuttered happily behind the oven. I have now laced the poison with scrapings of chocolate in order to tempt it further, but have seen no sign that this has been touched at all! What does it expect? Cooked meals?

Now Roz has informed me that our fridgefreezer seems to have stopped working. I know that mice are prone to chewing electricity cables and if I find out that it’s mice related I’ll be less than pleased (we really don’t need the expense right now).

The other day I happened to read on a Gamecube forum that the UK Gamecube is capable of outputting progressive scan (480p). Now it was prior belief that only US Gamecubes were capable of this, but if you own freeloader and a US version of a progressive scan game, then you can still activate progressive scan mode by holding down the B button as this loads up.

I tried this on the 2 US games which I own which support progressive scan, namely Animal Crossing and Mario Golf. The effect really was quite stunning. The picture was sharper, the effect of any blurring on a LCD was significantly reduced (very noticeable on Animal Crossing) and overall the picture quality was improved considerably. This makes me wonder why on earth a progressive scan mode isn’t included in PAL games? After all, the Gamecube is capable of this, and the same can be applied to the PS2, where US copies of games support progressive scan (and even HD is some cases) and the PAL games only support standard 480i. It really is no wonder why people import consoles. I can only assume that this is because High Definition sets have been out for some time in the US and have only recently started coming out in Europe, but still if this is incorporated in a US version of a game, surely it isn’t too difficult to retain this for the PAL version.

I think I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if The Legend of Zelda : Twiglight Princess supports progressive scan. If so, I may import rather than buying a PAL copy. The only down side of this, is that it’s highly unlikely that freeloader will work with the Revolution idc, so I’ll have several US games that I will be able to play on the Revolution, however, I’ll still keep my Gamecube, so I’ll always still have this to play them on if needs be. It also occurs to me that I’ll have to keep an eye out to see whether the Revolution supports progressive scan, and if so, whether this is the same for all regions.

The PS2 version of GUN should be supporting 480p, which I should hopefully be getting a few days after my birthday. It’ll be interesting to see how this looks on my LCD.