Header

Monthly Archives: April 2007

They think it’s all over… thank God it is now

I was going to have a go at the Cricket World Cup for dragging on for an unbearable amount of time and with as much tension in it as a Radox-filled bath, but luckily the BBC have really summed it up for me: farce.

Different

Ali used to mock me because I liked “different” things: I like my hair blue, I’m an unashamed geek and I profess a love for Scotch Eggs. This mocking hasn’t stopped over the years, and I doubt it ever will, but I think that she now realises that this liking for “different” things is merely because I want to try something out of the ordinary and, maybe in the process, expand my mind.

When it comes to my leisure time this has manifested itself in a few ways; back-in-the-day I would turn my nose up at MMOs and RPGs, not even giving them the time of day, but since Pirate Steve tempted me into WoW all those months ago I haven’t look back and I am now more open to these and other genres that have previously escaped me. This month alone I’ve tried Battlestations: Midway and the console version of Command & Conquer, two areas of gaming that, whilst I’m not the biggest fan, I thought were worth a dabble in if nothing else. More importantly, I would have never tried Munchkin if I hadn’t decided to expand my scope a little and that has been a roaring success.

“Different” is probably the number one reason why I was looking forward to the Wii last year. Whilst everyone else crammed more of everything into their next-gen consoles, Nintendo took a slightly a different approach, a turn towards a different way of experiencing games, and one that has paid dividends. Admitedly, after the first wave of titles the Wii has been slightly lacking in depth but it’s still an experience I enjoy every time the sleek, white box is turned on.

All in all, this is my long winded introduction to me saying: I like the look of Eye of Judgement because it’s a bit different. It sees a card game where the Eye Toy can pick up the identity of every card and render on top of it an animated representation of it. In this case it sees monsters battling against each other and instead of a straight out “you’ve got more X than I do so you win”, the avatars will duke it out on screen for you.

Up until now I’ve considered the PlayStation 3 just uninspiring with lukewarm games and an unimpressive online experience. What Dr Mark Richards’s and his team have seemingly created something isn’t revolutionary in terms of technology, but they have utilised it in a way that could augment existing games and genres to give them an extra twist: why just play a card game when you can have a card game with real monsters? After all, augmented reality games are supposed to be the next big step in gaming.

Whilst motion sensing controls are great, realism and immersion are key; what is more immersive than you actually being in your game world and the game’s entities being rendered around you? After all this is only a stretch on what Eye of Judgement is doing, but you replace the cards and the game-world takes the place of the card’s monsters. I doubt the PS3 will embrace this but even if the platform is responsible for the mainstream’s first tentative steps into this area it will be welcome… and different.

For my this use of the next-gen Eye Toy isn’t something that is going to make me nip down to Woolworths and relieve them of one of their PlayStations, but it is good to see that Sony have their quirky side. What would make me do that is a Munchkin version. Oh, the mere thought of it…

I think I’ve rambled enough for a Friday afternoon. BIGsheep, out.

Different

Ali used to mock me because I liked “different” things: I like my hair blue, I’m an unashamed geek and I profess a love for Scotch Eggs. This mocking hasn’t stopped over the years, and I doubt it ever will, but I think that she now realises that this liking for “different” things is merely because I want to try something out of the ordinary and, maybe in the process, expand my mind.

When it comes to my leisure time this has manifested itself in a few ways; back-in-the-day I would turn my nose up at MMOs and RPGs, not even giving them the time of day, but since Pirate Steve tempted me into WoW all those months ago I haven’t look back and I am now more open to these and other genres that have previously escaped me. This month alone I’ve tried Battlestations: Midway and the console version of Command & Conquer, two areas of gaming that, whilst I’m not the biggest fan, I thought were worth a dabble in if nothing else. More importantly, I would have never tried Munchkin if I hadn’t decided to expand my scope a little and that has been a roaring success.

“Different” is probably the number one reason why I was looking forward to the Wii last year. Whilst everyone else crammed more of everything into their next-gen consoles, Nintendo took a slightly a different approach, a turn towards a different way of experiencing games, and one that has paid dividends. Admitedly, after the first wave of titles the Wii has been slightly lacking in depth but it’s still an experience I enjoy every time the sleek, white box is turned on.

All in all, this is my long winded introduction to me saying: I like the look of Eye of Judgement because it’s a bit different. It sees a card game where the Eye Toy can pick up the identity of every card and render on top of it an animated representation of it. In this case it sees monsters battling against each other and instead of a straight out “you’ve got more X than I do so you win”, the avatars will duke it out on screen for you.

Up until now I’ve considered the PlayStation 3 just uninspiring with lukewarm games and an unimpressive online experience. What Dr Mark Richards’s and his team have seemingly created something isn’t revolutionary in terms of technology, but they have utilised it in a way that could augment existing games and genres to give them an extra twist: why just play a card game when you can have a card game with real monsters? After all, augmented reality games are supposed to be the next big step in gaming.

Whilst motion sensing controls are great, realism and immersion are key; what is more immersive than you actually being in your game world and the game’s entities being rendered around you? After all this is only a stretch on what Eye of Judgement is doing, but you replace the cards and the game-world takes the place of the card’s monsters. I doubt the PS3 will embrace this but even if the platform is responsible for the mainstream’s first tentative steps into this area it will be welcome… and different.

For my this use of the next-gen Eye Toy isn’t something that is going to make me nip down to Woolworths and relieve them of one of their PlayStations, but it is good to see that Sony have their quirky side. What would make me do that is a Munchkin version. Oh, the mere thought of it…

I think I’ve rambled enough for a Friday afternoon. BIGsheep, out.

Pinata Hero

For those of you with Guitar Hero, did you ever think that the guitar peripheral was missing a certain something?

I did. I started sticking and just forgot to stop.

Pinata Hero

For those of you with Guitar Hero, did you ever think that the guitar peripheral was missing a certain something?

I did. I started sticking and just forgot to stop.

Token effort

Nothing much exciting is going on at the moment: good friends from back home have got engaged; Guitar Hero is as amazing as ever; Ali’s Irish best friend is having a baby as I type; I’m getting back into WoW; our house move is slowly but surely going through. All noteworthy events, true, but nothing that really warrants a post on its own.

To make up for the silence, though, I’ve found the following. If you watch one video from the internet this year, watch Master Chief verses Samus. Take two gaming icons, add a touch of the Matrix and let it simmer.

I have one complaint, though, which can be seen during the last quarter of this creation: Master Chief’s name is John. John! Where is the scope of ambiguity in that?

Crowd control

It’s a shame to write about Spurs in circumstances such as these, not so much the admirable performance on the pitch last night but more the behaviour of the travelling support off it. I am angry not only at the behaviour of those who travelled to see the game but also towards those who were there to police it.

Watching the pictures on TV last night I couldn’t help but feel totally ashamed that supporters of the same club as my own were capable of such acts; police were being taunted, chairs were thrown and generally it was an ugly scene in the away section of the ground. Especially after Manchester United’s foray into Italy the night before, I’m sure Spurs’ fans weren’t alone in shaking their heads at a culture that they thought had been quashed during the nineties.

As the match wore on, though, reports started drifting back through both the radio and TV coverage. Fans had called in, tapes were analysed and a picture began to emerge that there was absolutely no fan-on-fan violence, not one Spurs fan had acted aggressively towards a single Sevilla supporter: so what had sparked those violence scenes?

Everything stemmed from the highly contentious* penalty decision the referee had awarded 17 minutes into the first half. Tottenham’s fans reacted in a way that any fans would have reacted, barracking the ref from afar and jeering the officials. At this point, the club’s own travelling stewards tried to calm the situation as they would on any Saturday afternoon, but instead of letting them handle the situation the Seville riot police waded in over these stewards and tried to calm things in their own special way.

Now I really can’t condone the way the Spurs’ fans reacted to the overly aggressive measures that the police chose to employ on them, but it seems that continental policing of football matches is absolute light-years behind that of Britain. Crowd trouble is now a relic of a bygone age in this country and a lot of it is down to the way that our own police force know who to handle crowds without aggravating a situation. From the incidents we’ve seen in this and past season, and not just involving British clubs, I hasten to add, the Spanish and Italian police just do not have a clue at times about successfully managing football crowds. The ongoing troubles in Italian football highlight this dramatically.

I think to emphasise this point yet further, as soon as the police left the away section in the second half then there were no further troubles. Even though there was then no segregation between fans and the two sets were able to stand side-by-side.

Spurs have travelled throughout Europe this season, having played well over a dozen games with absolute no sign of crowd trouble. The behaviour has been impeccable during trips to Germany, Portugal, Romania and even to the cauldrons of Turkey. I have no doubt in my mind that over half-a-dozen Spurs fans were taken to hospital and our wheelchair-bound supporters beaten because of something that started due to mismanaged security and overreaction by the authorities.

At the end of the day, though, and I want to finish on this point, I cannot excuse the reaction of Tottenham supporters in any way shape of form but from what I understand they should not have been put in that position. Here’s hoping that UEFA and/or the Foreign Office step in because this cannot continue.

 

*just plain wrong, but that’s another post altogether.

Ok, now the next-gen can begin: Part II

Well, the second week isn’t quite as promising. Cue Sony statements involving the words “marathon”, “not” and “sprint”.