Archive for the 'my weekend in gaming' Category


My weekend in Burma

So I collected my copy of Killzone 2 from JB. My attempt at scoring the game early fell through when the Game Traders store manager I’d sweet talked into handing over a copy once stocked arrived took the day off, so I waited until Thursday like the rest of us. Hey, I saved $20 (apparently JB’s retail price is lower than GT’s cost price) and also picked up Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Awesome Collection. That was probably a mistake, as I had planned to use this space to give my impressions of Killzone. What happened next surprised us all.

I more or less shunted both games for a book.

The book in question is Shadow Warrior, the autobiographical tale of Dangerous Dave Everett. His story starts the same as a lot of people’s – leave school and join the Army as a trade, a mechanic in Dave’s case. Dave’s story steps up tempo when he is accepted into the SAS, but the real meat is in how he puts his newly acquired skills to use.

When I applied for SAS selection back in the early 1980s, I was a skinny young apprentice mechanic who nobody thought had a hope of getting through the gruelling course. Not only did I get through, I managed to achieve an above-average score to boot. Life in the Regiment was great for a young digger, but I quickly became frustrated with the lack of action. While on leave investigating an SAS mate’s suspicious death in Burma, I became caught up in the plight of the ethnic Karen of Burma, and joined their fight against a totalitarian military regime. In the unforgiving jungles of eastern Burma, I experienced the harsh realities and horror confronting the Karen people. On my return to Australia, I went outside of the law to raise money to help the Karen cause.

It’s really amazing stuff and I’m surprised how much it’s affected me. The book plays out similar to a gritty, realistic Burn Notice (without the beaches and bikini clad babes), and it’s exciting to have something real-world to contrast Hollywood’s interpretation of special forces and what happens in the shadows.

Shadow Warrior is certainly a compelling read. I’m unsure if I related because I’m aussie, because my dad has a military background, because a lot of places visited in the book are familiar, or because I see authority in the same transparent way, but I highly recommend this book to anyone; especially those not convinced – Dave is likable, funny and very human. He doesn’t break the law, he disregards it; but his motives are so clear and innocent you’ll accept his actions rather than judge them.

For those looking for a taste, a chapter omitted from the book is available to read here.

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My weekend in gaming – LittleBigPlanet impressions

On my girlfriends recommendation, nigh, insistence, I picked up LittleBigPlanet.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hesitate to comply, the game had simply dropped while I was on holiday and at the rate we’re moving forward even the most remarkable titles can get left behind. Shortly after the title’s release I had played a couple of levels at a friends house, and enjoyed my brief exposure. But I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, was this game really as good as they’d said it would be?

The answer is yes. And no. Well at least, not yet. I was honestly amazed by what MM where capable of achieving with some of their levels. Prior to purchasing the game I read a comment on Kotaku in reply to a your favourite gaming moment of 2008 type post which read “LBP… Hands down” and I couldn’t comprehend it. I do now. But unfortunately it’s this all encompassing understanding that Media Molecule have over their game and mechanics that threatens to defeat LBP’s other selling point. Simply put, I can’t beat them at their own game. If I try to make something simple or derivatory, I can’t present it as well as MM. If it try to make something outside the box.. well MM have crafted a pretty big fucking box. Alas, my attempts so far have been enlightening learning tools and observing what MM have done in their levels is a great way to expand my own ideas. I will create an awesome level, and you will love it. It may just take a while.

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My weekend in gaming – cooperative is king


Well I didn’t expect Resistance 2 to hook me as deep as it has, and I certainly didn’t expect Cooperative to be the reason why.

I’m (usually) a social being, and quiet often have friends over. Sometimes we play Playstation, which explains my initial infatuation with Warhawk – four players online equals instant awesome. But even that has its limitations. The issue has mostly resolved itself now, but apparently playing competitive online when you don’t own the game, or even the console isn’t real fun; It’s not fun to listen to your friends bitch about being owned either.

Okay, I can see your pessimistic internet mind ticking, I know what your thinking; but my friends aren’t noobs, they’re all skilled enough to enjoy their gametime.

 Well that’s valid; but what usually happens when friends come around? Drinking and other activities that may slow your reaction times, skew your perception and basically fuck up your form. 

It’s not da vinci code shit, but R2 and it’s cooperative mode is an elegant solution to this, I’m sure, widespread problem.

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My Weekend in Gaming – Resistance 2 Impressions


Lets not waste anymore time, I’m already late to the party – Resistance 2 has been released for almost a month in the US, but European and Australian gamers have only managed to get their copies a handful of days ago.

Resistance 2 isn’t a single player game with online multiplayer tacked on, nor a multiplayer game with a single player campaign added for good measure. I wont make the distinction, because Insomniac haven’t either – Resistance 2 is a game; and in this day and age a game consists of both online and offline content. We’ve past the point where online functionality is an offshoot hidden in it’s own menu, it’s just taken Resistance to tell everyone. In fact, launching R2 initially displays three menu options; Campaign, Cooperative and Competitive – with only the campaign confined to a single player experience.

I was with a friend when I made my purchase and took it home, we decided to cut our teeth in co-op; we’d get a grip on the game before taking it online. While our time in co-op lasted longer than initially planned, our time offline did not – hitting that ‘Play’ button had us kicking ass as part of an eight man team. It doesn’t sound that exciting when put in words, but it was pretty amazing to be thrown online without even realising.

I had to force myself to stop the addictive multiplayer to play the single player campaign, it was the fact that I would be writing this that motivated me to do it. I’m glad I did.

As the campaign starts, a quick intro about Hale and his involvement in Fall of Man runs and as the screen fades the cliché text this is his story is displayed. It took me a moment, but I understand why Insomniac put that there – everything from Campaign, Cooperative and to a lesser extent Competitive is part of the Resistance narrative; cooperative tells the story of Specter Team, and the campaign tells the story of a single individual, Nathan Hale.

I wasn’t expecting any real ‘wow’ moments from Resistance 2 – I’ve seen the trailers, I know to expect some big enemies. In that regard, I haven’t been disappointed. But it was my introduction and first encounter with the Chameleon that really blew me away.

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My Weekend In Gaming – I Can Has Laptop?

I generally don’t play the latest PC games, because I generally do my PC gaming on my girlfriend’s laptop. This hasn’t always been the case mind you, but as consoles have become more capable I have significantly less motivation to purchase a gaming rig. That isn’t to say I don’t manage my fair share of PC play, I’m just two or three years behind the curb – but there is plenty of quality content available that plays well and looks good. It’s actually a pleasant feeling not to be tied to the whims and trends of a market and industry.

Which brings me back to GalCiv2, a game I purchased not because it was the good game coming out this month, not because it’s the latest first party FPS and not because of trophies – I purchased it just because it appealed to me. So why is it that making a PC purchase has awakened a dormant desire within Julia to discover the Sims 2 mod community and spend stupid amounts of time downloading and playing with new content – you’ve owned the game for years and play it periodically, why now, when I purchase a PC game that I really want to put time into, do you bounce into action? Don’t worry, the question is rhetorical.

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Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.


March 2019
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