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Can I haz Recon?

Looking back at the events of last week, they drew a range of reactions from people. Some, like myself and Hey Ernie, instantly knew the impact of what had happened. Others, Robot Minion I’m looking at you, simply stared at me as if I was speaking in tongues.

How would you react if I said “I have Recon.”

During the week, mixed in with a variety of other VP community duties, I received a note from my colleague Hey Ernie wondering whether we could sort his friends at Bungie out with a couple of piñatas. I’m not likely to turn a request like that down, but rather than stop there I decided to show them my appreciation and put together some bespoke Pinata Vision cards. Thus was born scannable versions of a Hooty Fruity Master Chief, a Bonboon Cortana and a Walrusk Sgt Johnson.

They appear to have liked them.

From the moment I unravelled XO Sancho’s message (“What’s that on your head?”) I became a gibbering fanboy, sitting on Halo’s settings screen staring at my shiny new armour. Previously I had often thought “well, it’s just another toggle, nothing much”, never expecting to get it in my lifetime, but the sense of surprise and elation when I realised what had happened took me aback. Being handed such a gesture by Bungie is a huge deal to my Halo-loving self and completely unexpected.

Shiny helment

Interestingly enough, the suit does seem to attract teabagging. People hunt you down and take great pleasure in repeatedly crouching over you in a suggestive manner. That said, it’s a small price to pay as I can happily look up from my prone, broken body, towards that bobbing Spartan rear, safe in the knowledge that they are only jealous.

Extended Leave

I’m still holidaying, sorry, so no proper updates just yet. I’ve popped briefly back into work but most of my time has either been spent laying laminate or playing Trouble in Paradise.

There is a part of my that is part amazed-part chuffed that after spending the best part of five years on those papery gits that I still love playing the game, clocking up about 80 hours so far and I’ve not even gotten my Fizzlybear yet. I guess not being directly involved in gameplay has helped but my workmates still think I’m mad.

Anyway, I’m off to Halopalooza this weekend so as you can imagine I’m very exciteable. I’ll leave you with another video; no where near as exciting as the others but this is a Public Service Announcement for those VP players who can’t figure out Pinata Vision.

How to make a Believa

My Dare write up is still going slowly, so today I’d like to share with you this.

Chris, Andy and I would like to thank everyone who helped put the covert Believa project together. Special thanks to Will, Adam, Justin, Ryan, Louise, Simona, Jamie, Alan and Stephen, plus the hordes that helped us cut out all those blasted papercraft. Yes, Ali, that means you, too.

Are you a Believa?

Over the weekend, my good friend Jimmcq dropped me a link to a video that basically glues together my two favourite things in gaming: Halo and Viva Piñata. What more could a man want for?

The toys that Burger King released some time ago now have been thrust into a world of darkness and war where Pester stands tall at the end, paying tribute to the UNSC-Covenenant war.

For those of you unfamiliar with Believe, here is the 60 second version of the original that accompanied Halo 3’s launch and it seems to be going for a shot for shot remake.

If only I could get my hands on that layout, it would make a great Halo Clix map.

“All you other games might as well give up now.”

I’ve always liked Eurogamer:

“Microsoft has announced that Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise will be released for Xbox 360 on 5th September. All you other games might as well give up now.

Trouble in Paradise is the sequel to the Gears of War-smashing Viva Piñata, where you built up a pretty garden and tried to coax animals to come and live in it. Which sounds more sinister than it actually was.”

Just two months to go until I see our baby on the shelves.


I thought it was only fair I say good bye… for now.

Thanks to the events of last week, namely the announcement of the project I am currently working on and its imminent release date, crunch has now officially hit and it’s no use hiding any more. For the next couple of months I’m not going to have as much time on my hands to update this blog, I’m going to be bashing big bugs and putting polish on pinatas.

Hopefully I’ll still be popping up every now and again when I’ve got some thing to say but it’s likely to be infrequent at best. Which is a shame, to be honest, I really wanted to write a long article why GTA is definitely not a 10, more an 8.

And on that bombshell…

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

It’s been a crazy day. In the end I think there were so many leaks that it was hard to tell when the final embargo was lifted as there was very little to choose between what wasn’t public knowledge before 5pm and what was after.

Either way I’m very happy to be able to actually say what I’m working on, especially to those who think I’m joking when I say I can’t tell them. It’s more papery critters with a followup to VP in the shape of Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. You can tell it’s a sequel by the colon.

Since five o’clock I’ve been running around the net trying to scoop up as many early impressions and hands-on as possible. A lot of site are naturally concentrating on Banjo – go have a look, I think you’ll like it – but we are slipping in just behind it to some nice press, including from my chums at 1UP and IGN.

Call the plumber

It appears we have a leak. And it’s not just us.

P-p-p-pick up a penguin. Or two.

What is most disappointing about this, for me and my friends on both VP and Banjo, is the fact our thunder has been stolen. Whilst this asset leak may provide coverage, it isn’t anywhere near as satisfying as the fanfared unveiling that was planned.

Furthermore, a lot of images can be taken out of context or just blatantly misinterpretted, as alluded to by George earlier on today, which is frustrating when you’re sitting on this side of the fence unable to do anything other than grit your teeth.

In an odd twist, this may actually get more column inches because of its subversive nature, but I can’t help feel slightly deflated by it all. The thing to take from it, however, is that most of the comments relating to Viva Pinata’s reappearance are actually really positive, which is reassuring.

Very Proud

I know Viva Pinata has brought me a lot of heart warming moments over the years, both on a personal and gaming level, but last night Ali gave me another. She made me a very proud man as she managed to fully complete the game, earning every single award and finishing all possible challenges.

For those in the know, she’s joined the Level 108 club.

Have a Chippo in a pirate hat to celebrate.

This is something that transcends Achievements as only the most dedicated gardeners have managed to obtain this level, and literally only a handful have done so since release. Ali has maxed out her level, attracted every single pinata of every single colour, shape or style, and has sunk nearly 80 hours into this garden sim.

It’s not been a swift process and she’s only played it in stints, with large holidays in between to save her from beating a Roario to death with a shovel beacause he refused to become resident, but she’s been armed with the guide, ticking everything off as she went along. Last to be done were the variant Horstachios and Reddhots.

To add some drama to proceedings, we almost didn’t make it. Twice, when she was on the cusp, the game froze trying to load her profile, but a quick clean of the disk and we were away again.

Anyway, I just wanted to boast about her achievement. I’m so very proud of her green fingers.