Month: March 2007 (page 2 of 3)

Let’s Fight

It’s the eve of the PS3 launch in the UK but there’s been two cracking games launched recently on the 360 that are highly recommended.

Firstly is GRAW2 (thats Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter….2). This plays like any other first/third person shooter and at first is dissapointingly familiar. Especially compared to GRAW. However the multiplayer options are far more comprehensive than the previous version. The online graphics have also been improved. By adding better shadows and lighting the depth and difficulty has also increased. Environments are far more realistic and it can be really difficult to spot enemies now. Clan support has been added along wth more maps, more gameplay types and allegedly a great single player game although I have to depend on friends opinions for that one as I’ve yet to strike a blow in the offline game. Still – a great game and this is the best in the series so far.

The achievements also deserve special mention. Small rewards that are drip fed the more you play although one that stood out is the one hour defend. Defend a base against infinite enemies for one hour. With no ammo drops. It was tough but when six of us completed it last night…well…there was a great sense of achievement which is what it’s all about.

After a tense game of GRAW what better way to relax than a game of Worms. The classic game surfaced a couple of weeks ago on Xbox Live Arcade and it’s just…perfect. It first came out in 1994 and for those not in the know it’s a turn-based strategy/arcade game. You take command of a team of four worms and the aim is to destroy the other worms. Simple. Up to four players over Live can take part over an almost infinite set of levels.

The beauty of this game is it’s simplicity. Controls are easy and the physics all pretty realistic but it’s the variety of weapons and ways of killing your enemies that lift the game. Standard weapons are bazooka’s, grenades, air strikes. However there are super punches, jet packs, ninja ropes and exploding sheep that make killing other players an absolute joy.

On Live you can name your team and individual worms and also select a voice pack for your worms. Online games are so unpredictable. Even when ahead the other three teams can easily team up to knock you out. It’s also easy to kill yourself in the most unpredictable way but it’s a great laugh. Single player is frustrating though as the computer AI is far more accurate than fallible human opponents. Get three mates and you could spend hours on this – a bargain for only 800 gamer points.

Packaging and other rambles

I’ve always had a thing for nice packaging. The Apple packaging is hard to beat and gives you a great impression of the product you’ve bought before you’ve even switched it on. Likewise a great CD case (Thom Yorke, Lemon Jelly) has always given the CD a greater worth. All in the head as it doesn’t change the music, but there you go. My first Blu-Ray movies have now arrived and again the packaging is interesting. The cases are smaller than DVD, nicely rounded, slightly transparent and just feel better quality than a DVD. Which ties in with the fact it should be of better quality. All in the head but I like it.

Thats why I’ve always liked Japanese game packaging. Far smaller than western equivalents and to be honest far better. I look at my DVD collection – it could take up a quarter of the room that it currently does. Nevermind.

Speaking of room, I’m still tempted to ditch all my cd’s as I have them all digitally available. I would probably re-encode some of the disks at a higher rate but apart from that I have no need for the physical disks. Apart from the nice packaging that in my head adds value. Doh. So do I dump the disks and save room or not?

Finally, a quick bit on the Blu-Ray disks. I imported them from the states using DVDWorldUSA. They delivered within 7 days and there was no import duties to pay. They also guarantee to pay import duties if you do have the misfortune to get caught. It’s a long time since I imported and I was a bit worried about region playback issues. However this site lists the region free or restricted titles released so far. Very handy. Just need the player now.

Blu-Ray

Shaggy Blog Stories

Shaggy Dog Stories

Press release….

Bloggers publish book for Comic Relief.

100 bloggers have published a book to raise funds of the BBC’s Comic Relief appeal on Friday 16th March.

‘Shaggy Blog Stories’ features hilarious contributions from Richard Herring of ‘Fist of Fun’ fame, BBC 6Music presenter Andrew Collins, comedian Emma Kennedy, and James Henry, scriptwriter from Channel Four’s ‘The Green Wing’.

Authors Abby Lee, David Belbin, Catherine Sanderson and The Guardian’s Anna Pickard have also contributed pieces to the book.

The vast majority of contributions, however, are the work of many of the lesser known and unfamiliar heroes of British blogging; going under pen names such as Diamond Geezer, Scaryduck, Pandemian and Unreliable Witness.

Also contributing to ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’, and hoping to raise funds for the Comic Relief Appeal is local writer INSERT YOUR NAME, LOCALITY AND BLOG DETAILS HERE.

The book is the idea of blogger Mike Atkinson who writes the ‘Troubled Diva’ weblog. ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’ features comic writing from not only the cream of British blogging, but also the best up-and-coming and undiscovered writers publishing their work on their own websites.

Giving himself a “ridiculously short” seven days from idea to finished product, Atkinson admitted that he was overwhelmed with the response, which gleaned over 300 submissions for publication.

With a pool of talented writers, and the latest publishing-on-demand technology, Shaggy Blog Stories bypasses the usual snail-paced publishing industry, and offers a mail order service to customers who will receive their finished copy within days of placing their order, and only a couple of weeks after the original idea.

“Blogging creates complex, worldwide networks of friendship and contacts on the internet”, says journalist Alistair Coleman, one of Shaggy Blog Stories’ contributors. “By creating a buzz about this book, we can reach out to hundreds, thousands of readers who’d be willing to part with a few quid for this very good cause. Mike’s got some excellent writers on board here whose work deserves a wider audience. Everybody wins.”

For details of how to order the book, visit www.shaggyblogstories.co.uk.

For the background story on the creation of Shaggy Blog Stories, take a look at www.troubled-diva.com.

Buy it here.

Shopping

Just back from Braehead – what a miserable day it is out there. Amongst the Mothers Day shopping I couldn’t help notice that the PS3 isn’t sold out. Anywhere. HMV and Game are still taking pre-orders. In fact HMV were sure that you could stroll in next Friday and pick up a PS3 without pre-ordering as demand is pretty slow. Coupled with the Game announcement that only 2/3’s of their pre-order allocation has been bought should hopefully put a stop to any hopes of the eBay sellers hoping to ‘double their money’. Makes you wonder how many will actually sell as no doubt there are many that have bought two or more just to sell one on eBay.

In preparation for the PS3 I’ve ordered a couple of Blu-Ray titles – MI3 and The Departed. Both films have reportedly excellent video quality and I’m looking forward to watching them on the PS3. Thats as long as they work as they are American imports. I’ve also picked up a Bluetooth headset for the PS3 as it doesn’t come with one as standard and I don’t want a wired one plugged into the PS3.

Final bit of shopping news is regarding my Edge subscription. With all the money hassle recently there was a direct debit problem. One phone call later and it was all sorted…or so I thought. This months hasn’t appeared and on calling the subscription team the next direct debit isn’t until May. SO no issues this month or next month. Doh! They could have at least explained that at the time. I’ve now had to make do with a shop soiled copy. Nevermind…only one week until PS3 arrives.

Orb Hunter

Crackdown turns out to have more depth than I gave credit for. It’s great for short bursts of play which is what I do more of now. One challenge I’ll never complete is the Orb Hunter – finding all the hidden orbs dotted around the islands. Thanks to Herman Gatevold though this has become slightly easier. He’s posted a map(hi-res version) of where they are hidden and a screenshot for each orb. All 300 of them.I’d hate to think how long it took to do this.

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