Friday, November 30, 2007

Clockwork Orange

I’ve just watched my recently purchased copy of A Clockwork Orange on Blu-ray and… Oh my does it look sweet in HD.

What amuses me is that the first time that I watched A Clockwork Orange, in the days when it was still banned in the UK, it was a less than official copy of somewhat terrible quality. So much so that you could only just see the film through high level of static. All the same, it quickly became one of my favourite films. It’s comparing my initial viewing, to now seeing the film in HD that strikes a cord with me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Assassin vs. Drake, MP3 and Playstation Eye

I was recently in a quandary as to which game to ask as a Chrimbo present from my parents. This was between either Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (Roz should hopefully be getting me Super Mario Galaxy, which without needing to be said, holds priority over just about everything else in the universe at present). Both games look like they have heaps of potential, but after reading various reviews and preview for both games (as well as read personal opinions on forums), the decision was made for me… It’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

The most striking impression that I get after reading reviews and personal opinions of Unchartered, is that the game is just pure unadulterated fun. Assassin’s Creed seems to be somewhat of a flawed gem of game, whilst Uncharted is just pure entertainment. I must confess that it is reading the personal opinions on forums that has most sold the game to me. Anyway, Uncharted it is. I’ll look forward to playing this come Christmas.

Metroid Prime 3 is hard – damn hard. Then again, I shouldn’t have expected anything less after both Metroid Prime 1 and 2. The final 3 bosses of the original Metroid Prime had me ripping my hair out. Also the final 2 bosses of Metroid Prime 2 were also swear inducing hard. Unfortunately, by my estimate, I’m only approximately a third of the way through Metroid Prime 3 and already the bosses have given me some difficulties. The last boss encounter took me 5 attempts (the last of which took me approximately 30 minutes to eventually kill it and only then by the skin of my teeth). I dread to think how hard it’s going to be near the end. I think the thing that adds to the difficulty is that in order to defeat some bosses you need to purposefully corrupt your PED suit, which in turn drains an energy tank. As such, it s a careful balancing act between burning your health to deal heavy damage, ensuring that the corruption doesn’t overload and staying alive!

I got my Playstation Eye through the post yesterday. I purchased it mainly for the advanced mic attached to it, because I got sick and tired of always having to recharge my Bluetooth headset. Also, I often play games with headphones on (so as not to wake Elliot), and wearing my Bluetooth headset under my headphones was less than comfortable. So now I can listen to conversations through my headphones and use my Playstation Eye as my mic.

I have managed to have a quick go of Trials of Topaq with the Eye and must confess that it was actually quite fun. It’s a bit like marble madness, but the ground on which the ball rolls is the image shown by the eye and any moving elements in that image raises the tiles on the ground. As such, you need to move your arms and body around to push the ball along its path. It’s certainly an inventive use of the Eye and I look forward to showing it to Elliot to see what he thinks :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The picture below is fromthe upcoming issue of Empire magazine.

It has to be said that Heath Ledger is looking pretty damn awesume as the Joker. I can't wait for the first tue trailer for The Dark Knight, which is due to hit sometime in December.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I think that Microsoft have taken a long hard look at Sony’s general arrogance and have said we can do better than that… you call that arrogance, this is arrogance.

I’m referring to the comments made by Robbie Bach of Microsoft who has recently stated the following in regard to Xbox Live and the PSN:

"It's fair to say that Xbox Live is clearly head and shoulders above anything anyone else has tried to do. We don't have competition."

He goes on to say what Sony offers shouldn't even be called a service.


Now, I’ll be the first to admit that XBL does offer a better service than the PSN, but to state that XBL has no competition is frankly ridiculous. Especially when you take the following into account:

* XBL has been out approximately 5 years and the PSN only 1 year. Both are evolving over time and initially XBL was a pretty stripped down version of what it is today.

* PSN is free! I cannot state this enough. If I had a Xbox I would resent having to pay to have the privilege to play online – hell I never needed to pay on my PC. What’s more, the cost mounts up over the course of a consoles life. The RRP for 1 years Live membership is £39.99, over the course of say 5 years of a consoles lifespan, this comes to £199.95. Hell you could buy yourself a whole second console with this much (a Wii of course). There is no way in hell that I would pay this to play online.

* Home is due to launch early next year and if you’re into the community aspects of online services, this does so much more than what is currently on offer on XBL.

* So far as I understand it, the majority of the PSN games run on dedicated servers, while to play XBL games, the Xbox is used as the server. The result of this is that if you are playing against someone over long distances, the game experience can suffer from lag

Anyway… rant over.

Talking of the PSN, I was pleased to not that the first DLC offering for Rock band are due to go online on the US store this Thursday. They are as follows:

Band add-on content

Metallica pack 1 ($5.49)
"...And Justice For All" ($1.99)
"Blackened" ($1.99)
"Ride The Lightning" ($1.99)

Queen's of the Stone Age pack 1 ($5.49)
"3's & 7's" ($1.99)
"Little Sister" ($1.99)
"Sick, Sick, Sick" ($1.99)

The Police pack ($5.49)
"Can't Stand Losing You" ($1.99)
"Roxanne" ($1.99)
"Synchronicity II" ($1.99)

"Bang a Gong" - T. Rex cover ($1.99)
"Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways cover ($1.99)
"Fortunate Son" - Creedance Clearwater Revival cover ($1.99)
"Joker and the Thief" - Wolfmother ($1.99)
"Juke Box Hero" - Foreigner cover ($1.99)
"My Sharona" - The Knack cover ($1.99)

This seems like a good initial selection and only hope that this continues and is similar when the game is launched next year in Europe.

Also on a side note, I completed the single player game on Call of Duty 4 last night. It may have been a short game (6-7 hours), but it was a very intense experience and I’m looking forward to playing through again on a higher difficultly level. This is always a good indicator for a good game in my opinion. Also, I’m sure that online multiplayer will keep me busy for some time…

Now I just need to get past that damn hard boss on Metroid Prime 3!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Inland Empire and Kiki

Film watched:
Inland Empire

Breathtaking. Lynch at his best – but… what the hell happened?


Elliot sat down with me today and watch Kiki’s Delivery Service, a fantastic anime film from Hayao MIYAZAKI (Spirited Away, Princess Mononke etc). What made it special was that Elliot almost never watches films, and seeing as it is one of my passions, it was really nice to sit along side him as we watched it.

Roz and I have tried to limit Elliot’s contact with TV (and definitely the cinema), but I hope in future as he grows older that we can share some more fantastic films

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Playstation R&D with the Eye.

I stumbled across this blog entry on the US Playstation Blog which shows what there R&D department are currently doing with the Playstation Eye.

I must admit I'm pretty impressed - they could seriously use some of these elements to make fantastic games that could be user designed by players, in a similiar fashion to Little Big Planet, but with very limited work on the part of the user.

I especially like the last video. The game reminds me of the Wiiplay tank game, but the program seems to effortlessly scan just about anything to be used as a tank - and also the level is user designed. Very impressive.

Anyway, link HERE.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Games, games and games

I’ve got tons of stuff to blog about and should have written earlier, but haven’t had the inclination…

Anyway, this is the brief abridged version…

New games

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Metroid Prime 3

Got both of these for my birthday a few days ago. They are both brilliant examples of how a perfect control scheme can help to make a perfect game. Metroid nails FPS controls for Wii effortlessly and as such, adds to the emersion of an already excellent sequel. This is still very much a Metroid game, and as such, it is very similar to the first 2 games, but this is by no means a bad thing, as the first 2 were also amazing games. Zelda on the other hand, perfectly adapts Zelda games for the DS. It uses a control scheme which is similar in some way to Animal Crossing on the DS to control Link and this works perfectly. At first I found it a little odd that you didn’t use any buttons on the DS at all, but have since got used to it. I’m not too far into the game, but have just got the boomerang and I have to say, that this put a huge smile on my face. I have always loved the boomerang in Zelda games, but being able to draw the path of the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass is simply sublime :)

Call of Duty 4

I also picked this up for the PS3 as a little present to myself a couple of days after my birthday. It has to be said that this is by far the most graphically stunning game I have seen on any system to date. On a technical level it is pretty impressive, but it is the sense of immersion which really drives this game. It has the most impressive opening level I have ever seen in a game, it really is pretty staggering.

Online is also great fun, not an arcade shooter like Resistance, but a more realistic FPS experience, and probably better for it. I also love the way that as you level up online, you can create your own classes, assign perks and improve your weapons, a definite incentive to keep on playing.

Overall, during the last few days I’ve been in gaming nirvana, which of course, is a very good thing.

What’s more, only 5 more days until Super Mario Galaxy is out! Of course, I’ll have to wait until Christmas to play it, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait and I have plenty to keep my occupied in the meanwhile.

Also, I thought I’d post this picture.

Elliot did this using pins and wooden pieces on a board, it is meant to be a picture of me… I was rather impressed by it :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween, Heroes and stuff

Well it was Halloween last night, and as is traditional for me, I settled down to watch a horror film last night. My film of choice this year was Night of the Living Dead, as classis a horror film as you could possibly find. I had intended to make a Dead marathon out of it and also watch Dawn of the Dead, but I have been feeling a little run down of late, so instead headed to bed with Cell to read.

I asked Elliot yesterday whether they did anything at school to do with Halloween to which he replied “no”. Not a thing, nada. Now, as a kid (and also as a grownup) I loved Halloween and yet it seems that everyone these days seem to be trying to suppress the celebration. Whilst I can understand that unsupervised trick-or-treating these days is probably a bad idea, this however, does not mean that Halloween shouldn’t be celebrated in other ways. Roz pointed out that she thought that other parents of children might disapprove. Well, sod them. I don’t particularly approve of celebrating the torture and brutal execution of heretics, but that has never stopped Easter! (Okay maybe this also celebrates the “resurrection” as well, but as I think that’s bullsh*t, I choose to ignore that).

I have to say that I’m very disappointed that the terrestrial TV channels available to us here in the UK, don’t make a special effort to celebrate Halloween. You would think that it would be the perfect opportunity to screen classic films during the evening and into the early hours of the morning, but instead we just get the normal old crap.

Of course, an exception to “the normal old crap” on TV last night was Heroes. This was the episode “Company Man” and in my humble opinion has been the best episode so far. My only complaint with Heroes in that they have too many main characters and as a result most episodes loose any focus by flitting back and forth between these characters. It could be said that Lost is similar in that it has a large cast of characters, but with Lost, each episode is firmly focused on a particular character – so escapes the pitfalls of Heroes. This episode of Heroes was different, it focused on the Bennett family throughout and was extremely effective and touching. It’s just a shame that it looks like Mr Bennett will be effectively leaving the show following this, as he was one of my favourite characters.

Other news:

It looks like a demo for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune will be upon the PSN next Thursday – I’m looking forward to trying this out as it looks very promising from all that I’ve seen of it so far.

Joss Wheadon (Buffy/Angel/Firefly) will be returning to TV with a new project called Dollshouse. What’s more, it’s due to star and be produced by Eliza Dushku. There is more info on this on the Empire website here, but it sounds very promising.

Plus, they have a hot picture of Eliza on the site, which I couldn’t resist but post here: