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The pixellated world
20 most recent entries

Date:2007-07-17 10:06
Subject:To buy or not to buy?
Mood: excited

I'm enjoying my Saturn immensely; expect reviews of the excellent Dark Savior and Panzer Dragoon soon. Speaking of the latter, I am very chuffed about the wonderful orchestral music that goes along with it (ooh, pre-mp3 era as well). And so, imagine my delight when an Irish eBay seller offers a musical score book for all the Panzer games....starting bid £50.

Do I buy it, and inflict beautiful game music (probably at least a grade above my capabilities) on my housemates? Or do I buy Panzer Dragoon Zwei for less money, to go with Clockwork Knight and the soon-to-be-bidded-on NiGHTS?

Plz decide, interwebs!

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Date:2007-06-13 12:01
Subject:Retro console joy!
Mood: relaxed

I appear to have purchased a Saturn. This is good, because there are a fair few sought-after classic games for it. Trouble is, they're Not Cheap.

It's a funny console, the Saturn. It had so much potential, but the complicated motherboard and Sega's lack of enthusiasm finally killed it off back in '98. I have been searching for it, though, for several very good reasons:

1) Clockwork Knight

2) Panzer Dragoon

3) Shining The Holy Ark

4) Riven

5) Dark Savior

1) is a batty Japanese platform game of prettiness, 2) is a classic fly onna dragon and shoot things job, and the other three are classic RPGs, the latter being the spiritual successor to the excellent Landstalker on the Megadrive. Am looking forward immensely to playing these. Does anyone have any other suggestions for Saturn games to pick up? Or should I try hunting the super hi-tech Video CD add-on? ;)

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Date:2007-01-06 17:33
Subject:My Kingdom Hearts for a Wii....
Mood: rushed

Nintendo really need to sort themselves out; it's now the 6th January and I still can't get my paws on a Wii! ;_;

I was reading the latest entry here and it got me thinking about how we consume games:

Videogames, however, are typically seen as fodder for the unprepared living room - competing for sensory attention against the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and in our particular case, the vicious timing of the kitchen toaster. Not that the casual environment isn't fine, or even ideal for many types of games, but in the case of Shadow of the Colossus, it was clearly demanding something more like the focused grandeur of the cinema, and our clapped-out, second-hand TV on the other side of the room couldn't do it justice.

If we all had to go to a special place to play games, wouldn't that surely defeat the purpose of gaming? The demise of the arcade gaming business is pretty much wholly down to home consoles appearing, so moving back to that wouldn't be popular, and I suspect places would charge the earth for the privilege. It's certainly true that people treat games like fast-food, playing games without truly appreciating the finer things like cutscenes, then moving onto the next game. Rather, games are to be savoured like a fine meal, but alas we don't all have the swishy TV cinema equipment to do them justice. Thoughts? Should we go back to the arcade days? Do games need a better environment than someone's living room? Do you have a Wii? I'll saw off both my legs for one...

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Date:2006-10-16 19:17
Subject:Pink? PINK? o_O
Mood: confused

Interesting story of the week: they've developed a version of Space Invaders that can be controlled by the mind. For instance, thinking about moving right will make your ship move right. How fascinating!

Grumble of the week: Sony have brought out a pink PS2 and have the cheek to charge £35 extra for this. Why on earth would I want a pink anything? Hello, Sony? Not all girls like pink and fluff. Nintendo would do well to learn this too, as I nearly laughed out loud when I saw pink DS's on display.

I suppose it's symptomatic of games companies attempting to compartmentalise games into user groups. For instance, Nintendo had the laudable idea of pitching memory and puzzle games at the older generation, and games such as Nintendogs, Animal Crossing and The Sims at girls. But, but I play shoot-em-ups too! I don't think you can really say anything as sweeping as 'only boys play Grand Theft Auto' or 'only younger players will like Yoshi's Story'. (Yeah, OK, Super Happy Fun Tree, fair enough, but this game is a bugger to complete. Trust me.)

Finally, the violent video-game argument rages on as normal. As I said before, the last high-school shooting chap had been playing 'violent videogames', which translated to an online Flash game based on Columbine. Of course, the old Daily Mail generation being as it is, the console developers will be punished, and we'll all see bloody violent scenes being censored. Before you know it, Link will have to see of monsters with a foam sword, and Samus will have a water pistol in space. @_@ I think I'll go and destroy some zombies in a big gory mess now. ^__^

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Date:2006-09-19 16:27
Mood: frustrated

Twilight Princess has been put back to October! ;_; Nintendo is just being mean. However, £115 for a Wii before Christmas = win.

In other news, the bloke that shot those people in a Montreal school had- surprise surprise!- a penchant for violent video games. Although what they don't say in the Daily Tory is that he played an online game based on the Columbine massacre. Not a console game. XOMG BAN ALL COMPUTERS EVAR. *sigh* I think I might be violent tonight and fire up Goldeneye. O hell yeah.

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Date:2006-09-07 20:11
Subject:LOL Sony
Mood: cheerful

So the PS3 has been delayed until March 07. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Certainly, it's going to be an excellent chance for the XBox360 and *cringe* Wii to establish themselves. But Sony must know that it was silly to delay it. Perhaps, like the mouth-watering Twilight Princess, the PS3 will be worth the wait.

Or maybe I'll keep saving so you can all come play on my Wii come Crimbo. :P

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Date:2006-08-26 14:29
Mood: satisfied

Metal Slug is quite possibly one of my favourite evar shoot-em-ups. This Flash version is bloody tricky (and all in Japanese o.O) but omg, I have found a new way to waste time.

I seriously need to invest in Rez. I wonder if that alone is worth tracking down a cheap PS2 for once teh wages come in. I especially loved how everything revolved around the music (the vibration and the game visuals) and how it was like one big trippy dream.

I also covet a Wii. *sigh* I wonder who came up with that name...'I say, fancy playing with my Wii?' >.< But first I'd like a DS and I have a massive list of games to invest in, including the excellent Wario Ware- games for people with short attention spans. :P

I hope games suddenly drop in price, because I can't see my wages lasting very long....

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Date:2006-07-02 22:55
Mood: flirty

I've found some fantastic links to game music projects. First off, this is brilliantly thought out- a full piano rendition of Megadrive Sonic! On the Sonic theme, I really like The Sonic 2 Remix Project. Some of the tracks, like the 2P Results screen music, have been changed beyond recognition; I especially like 'Emerald Nights' and 'Chemical Reaction'. Next up, I found these which cover a few games (loving the Final Fantasy music and OOT's Kakariko theme ^.^). Then there's this chap, who is immensely talented, and his medley from Ocarina is fantastic (Zelda's Lullaby is one of my favourite tunes evar). And, for you rock fans out there, I present Megadriver, everyone's favourite Brazilian 'game metal' outfit who play, er, videogame tunes! o.O 'Hedgehog Metal' is rawk-tastic! \m/ I recommend getting busy downloading all the mp3s from these sites...:P

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Date:2006-06-10 01:00
Subject:My life is officially complete.
Mood: excited

Climax are remaking Landstalker for the PSP. Oh frabjous day! Is this reason enough to buy a PSP, even though I hate Sony generally? If you only knew how much this game was a part of my formative geeky gaming years! It's absolutely stunning; when it first came out it was quite dear- £60 IIRC- and my cousin gave me it for free because he never played it, bizarrely.

What makes the game so great?Collapse )

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Date:2006-05-13 16:33
Subject:Ghods I'm missing gaming.
Mood: creative

I am missing gaming so much I am playing really poor-quality online Scrabble-alikes in order to get my hit. I think a blast on the Gamecube is in order later.

In other news, Twilight Princess comes out in November and I will personally saw off my left leg for a copy. Oh, and what in the hell is the new Nintendo console called? I do hope it isn't Wii as the rumour says. This would distress me; there's innovation, and there's being plain silly.

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Date:2006-04-20 17:20
Mood: pleased

I just went on a random shopping trip, and by pure chance stumbled upon a fine audio CD in a charity shop. It's 'Legend of Zelda: Melodies of Time', and I have been hunting high and low for it! You can't get game soundtracks for love nor money over here, and this has music from every Zelda game since the 8-bit days. But, most importantly, I now am the proud owner of the Hyrule Field Theme from Ocarina of Time, and the Great Sea Theme from Wind Waker.

I am a happy pixie. ^_________^

< /Zeldagasm>

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Date:2005-08-06 12:29
Subject:Another potential MK stinker.
Mood: rejuvenated

I just read a preview of yet another Mortal Kombat game, 'Shaolin Monks'. As its name suggests, it follows the adventures of Liu Kang and Kung Lao after the events in the first game. I just lost 10 minutes of my life downloading the 45MB trailer. The most hilarious part of the trailer is when it says 'this title not yet rated'. Bweh? Chopping people in half, pulling their guts out, decapitating folk with a sharp cowboy hat? Nah, can't see the certificate for that one.

As for the game; well, it brings back bitter memories of that horrible Sub-Zero spinoff they did where they tried to make MK into an RPG. It seems to be a sort of action-adventure affair, but with the usual specials and fatalities you know and love. I was pleased to see that Liu Kang's fabby Bicycle Kick has been kept, and the fatalities are suitably gory. But I see that they're already shamelessly pilfering from the flavour of the month, Prince of Persia, as I see that Kung Lao has magically gained the ability to do that flashy Matrix-y walking along a vertical wall thing. Pah, next thing you know they'll be doing that 'bullet time' thing from Max Payne.

Now, the Mortal Kombat games are dear to my heart. I spent a lot of loose change in arcades on the original game as a game-mad teen. I owned MK 2 and 3, and knew every single move and fatality off by heart. I could whoop anyone's ass at school on the game- probably still could if I practised. Yes, even you at the back- I could 'ave you. Played the original game on emulator the other day, and got 3 double flawless victories in a row. And now, Midway are trying to tell me that it's more fun to unlock the other crucial characters by wandering round the Outworld duffing up a selection of baddies? I remain sceptical.

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Date:2005-08-03 20:07
Subject:Violence again
Mood: busy

As you may have heard, GTA has been pulled in Australia because there is an unlockable porn scene. Whoa there, Nelly. Here I am thinking that leaving a game on sale that contains violence, racism, swearing and murder would mess up the yoof of today. But add some porn, and you have instant breakdown of society as we know it!

I tend to agree with this article, in that I think inherently aggressive people may be drawn to violent games, but that's not true of every single person that plays them. As usual, I predict that sales of GTA will soar because of this.

I feel a review brewing, so watch this space.

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Date:2005-07-12 21:48
Mood: indifferent

I see the Gizmondo is being trumpeted as the next amazing handheld. I seem to remember there were many problems getting this one off the ground, but now Gamestation is plastered with posters for the damn thing. A quick visit to their website reveals that you will be coughing up as much as £229 for it. Sure, it has many natty features like GPRS, digital camera and Windows Media Player (ack!), and I was fairly impressed with the visual quality of some of the games. But a quick peek at the corporate section reveals that the Smart Adds feature, for which you pay a subscription, is not quite the 'feature rich' experience they make it out to be. It is, alas, nothing more than a chance to send you spam. And if you put up with them, the Gizmondo will only cost you £129. Scandalous! As if that wasn't bad enough, check out this release game. Vegetation-based fuel? Eh?

This, combined with the equally-unlikely entrants such as the Zodiac and Phantom, is making my head spin. Do you think that the new upstarts will make much of a dent in the side of the mighty Sony and Nintendo? Is an adverts-for-cheap-consoles plan unethical? And why the hell did they call it Gizmondo? Answers on the back of a used N-Gage.

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Date:2005-07-04 22:05
Mood: contemplative

Take a look at this blog. It just goes to show you you should never believe what you see on TV, especially in a supposedly non-biased games debate. >.<

You might also like this article on gender and games. Shaky in some places, though. I'll dismantle it at a later date.

this is a rather nice series of performances of game music with a full orchestra, choir, video screens with game clips and live-action reenactments. Anyone want to join me in starting a petition to bring it over here?

And, on a soapy note, see here for a rather funny recent Eastenders storyline, in which our hero Ian 'the Squeal' Beale condemns Peter for deciding to take up karate after playing a violent computer game. If you go forward a few pages, we find he eventually gets hooked on the game himself. Could this be a positive move in terms of media representation? Or will young Peter end up nutting Alfie Moon and burning dahn the Queen Vic? Time will tell.

And finally, the the first modding conviction in the UK. Does this mean they'll move on to people who own mass amounts of emulators and ISOs? Anyone know of any last-minute flights to Uruguay?

Been busy with many other computery things, and haven't really been in the mood for gaming rants today of all days. :( But I've been playing a spot of classic Sonic to take my mind off things. I hope all is well with Londoners and their loved ones.

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Date:2005-06-24 23:35
Mood: scared

Fatality? Or, why we should censor the censors.Collapse )

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Date:2005-06-12 22:40
Subject:Games + Cartoon spinoffs + big-budget film = gamers armed with sporks.
Mood: crappy

Lara Croft never had it so good; or, why games as films are on a greased pole.Collapse )

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Date:2005-06-10 22:21
Mood: cheerful

I'm very pleased that I've acquired an ISO of Earthworm Jim: Special Edition for the MegaCD, and what's more, I got it working on Kega Fusion. It's quite possibly THE definitive EWJ game out there, with extra levels, souped-up music and more madness than you can shake an angry Peter the Puppy at. In other ISO news, I have Sonic CD up and running, one of the more controversial additions to the Sonic canon, but one with some promising ideas. I'll add these to my 'to review' list.

In other news, a right stramash has started over a journal alleged to be written by a spouse of an EA worker, imaginatively named ea_spouse. There is also another rumoured EA blog here. Genuine or not (and if you skip over the trolls and spam), if such allegations about working conditions are true, legal action should surely be taken. I know I'd never want to work for EA, who churn out piles of trash and have the cheek to call them games, but while I acknowledge that long hours are part of the job, I didn't think it would get to the state that certain friends of mine allege go on in large City banks (working 90 hour weeks, often sleeping in the office etc). We must salute the code-monkeys that are the nuts and bolts of the game-making process!

What are your thoughts on the big companies, and how they treat their employees? Should programmers accept that long hours and crappy pay may be part and parcel of their chosen career, or should we be channeling money from the fat cat execs into making decent games, and making games more accessible to people other than the age 15-30 male market?

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Date:2005-06-08 19:08
Subject:Shiny things a-plenty.
Mood: cynical

All style and no substance? Or, why we are surrounded by gaming casuals.Collapse )

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Date:2005-06-03 18:08
Mood: busy

Just found a photo of Miyamoto at E3 doing a Link. The man's a nutter, but a genius. And I want a 1-Up T-shirt too. I recall Virgin or HMV sold retro Nintendo shirts at one point. Methinks I'll hunt online.

In other news, I found these articles interesting. I say 'interesting', but there are several obvious flaws in the arguments as I see them. I think another article is due from yours truly tonight...

I leave you with a few thoughts, gacked from the Nintendo conference where the lovely DS and the new Zelda were unveiled. What should a new machine do? Something no other machine has ever delivered before, was Nintendo's answer. Yet they refused to reveal specs on the Revolution, making the valid point that beefing up graphics is not the right way to woo gamers. 'We remain all about the game, all about the gamer', crowed Satoru Iwata. But, with the huge glut of superficial graphically stunning games out there, with very little substance, poor AI and minimal fun value other than as 'extended films', we have to ask the question: are the big companies listening to what the gamers want?

More on that later...

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