All I want for New Years’ is to be…

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Please.

(I wish I could grow a fucking beard)

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Posted in Bi-polar, Dreams, Facebook, London, Music, photo, Photography, portrait, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year Resolutions for YOU, LONDON

I have a list of New Years’ resolutions for Londoners developed over the last week of Christmassy hell:

1. stand on the fucking right

2. walk on the fucking left

3. do not look up/down/left/righ/backwards/at your iPhone when walking FORWARDS

4. Stop kicking the back of my heels. I’ve checked and they definitely don’t have a bullseye target painted on them.

5. Weirdo people that seemingly have no nerve endings, PLEASE stop doing that weird thing in a queue where you’re technically stood ‘behind’ me but actually it’s more like you’re IN me. I don’t like feeling your boobs/beer belly/cameltoe/cock pushing against me. And fat people, this is mainly about you.

6. No more shuffling/meandering/stumbling as if you’d just emerged from the sanctuary of the womb and have NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT THE FUCK you are in my way for.

7. Stop running like a spastic on acid to get into the tube as the doors shut. You always get stuck and there’s another train in 1 minute.

8. Please do not obstruct the lift doors please do not obstruct the lift doors please do not obstruct the lift doors. Those words, they accompany that dull feeling of metal bumping repeatedly against you whilst you dream of a totally zomg fucking amazing Covent Garden ‘performer’ who stood still but GOOD near you earlier.

9. Stop asking me if I’ve ‘got twenty peee’

10. When in a queue and you’re at the front be aware that YOU are FUCKING NEXT instead of staring at the toes of your Clarks shoes and wondering what that annoyingly repetitive ‘next please’ drone is in the background of your ‘life’

11. Complaining about the transport system is all sort of repetitive and boring so shall we stop being all surprised when something doesn’t work?!

12. Try to no longer forget you fall over if not holding anything when the tube moves out of the station

13. Brixton is the final southbound stop. You need to leave the train dudes. Where did you think you were headed?

14. When you’re saying goodbye to someone, in the street, don’t back away from them and into me, especially if you’re then going to turn around at pace and lunge into me and act as if it is my fault.

So, yeah. I’m a grumpy cunt at the moment.

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What a day

I’ve not ‘done’ anything as such unless lying down counts as as active.

BUT!

The news tells me a dog is being suckled by a pig, a man is flying through the air with a jet pack, the world’s smallest cow is REALLY SMALL and the world’s largest snake is REALLY LARGE!

On top of this I’m reliving what I can remember of a lovely night with much surprise rapping. I’m also mentally preparing myself for a house party tonight where I probably know NOBODY.

On top of it all I’m still trying to meet one of the world’s prettiest girls. She’s very evasive but I’m not going to let that, or my face, stop it from eventually HAPPENING! Mind you, if (WHEN!) I do finally get to see her I’ll probably just do this face 0.O and whatever noise accompanies the act of ‘GAWPING’.

Sigh!

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Space peanut

Space peanut.

What a fucking great thing to say. Try it. SPACE PEANUT.

We had a party. I am fucked. There are leaves everywhere. Dan stood up and headbutted the TV. It was cool.

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Old toy, New power

So. I fell out of love with computer games a few months ago. It’s all a bit weird really. I’ve gone from a gaming obsessive that wanted to make games a year ago, that raced home from work in time to do things like ‘grind mats’ and ‘enchant capes’ before a ‘Tier 9 25 man raid’, to a relatively un-gamey chap. I don’t really read EDGE Magazine anymore, I rarely can be bothered to hear what (the excellent) Eurogamer.net has to say about the industry and I watch Gametrailers.com reviews once in a blue moon. I most certainly don’t play WoW. Yet here I am, looking at my Playstation 2. Thinking what a masterpiece it is, thinking how it wouldn’t be caught dead in a bar with his younger, uglier brother, the PS3.

I’ve not been sleeping. 3 days now and so gaming in the bedroom it is, and that’s why the PS2 is out in all its angular, low resolution glory. I’ve only been playing one game, Final Fantasy XII. I dabbled when it first came out. In fact, I pirated a Japanese version and used an online translator to play it because I simply couldn’t wait. Naturally, that didn’t last past an hour. I owned it when it got its eventual PAL release but something stopped me playing it. I don’t remember what. Probably involved panic attacks at uni (later identified as a caffeine allergy!). Well, I’m playing it now and that’s no lie. It’s utterly epic. Mesmeric and, oddly for something from the stoic old fellas at Squaresoft, it’s entirely refreshing!

This isn’t a review so I’ll stop my rambling soon but I have to say – the combat system is beautiful. So deep and rewarding, so forward thinking and, like the PS2 to the PS3, so much better than its newer relative. That being said there’s no denying Final Fantasy XIII is beautiful to look at, but it’s a hollow beauty, like fancying a shag but not falling in love. Sexy but not pretty. Final Fantasy XII on the other hand is a pinup girl you’d also take home for Sunday Lunch with your Mum. You can feel the effort in every pixel, polygon and texture. Every sound effect, every camera angle, every bloody EVERYTHING. I actually find it hard to think of another game that can do this, my closest bet is The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask which has oh so very much in common with what makes this Final Fantasy the most beautiful of all time.

It’s also got a banging story. Again, a breath of fresh air. This time you’re not the star of the show. You’re just an extra. If I could remember what you call the people in a theatre production that are in charge of pulling the curtains I’d say your character was analogous to that. Anyway, enough. The game’s old, you know what it’s about I should think. Excellent political intrigue, back-stabbings and war. Not angsty feelings or bloody Gaia Theory.

Now we get to the reason for this post’s title. I couldn’t help but feel that the game’s designers wept when they got the game off their dev kits and onto crappy Standard Definition TVs and this feeling lead me to discover something magic on the internet that isn’t Emo Amy dressed up in a bunny outfit on Youporn.com. Nope, it’s PCSX2! As the name suggests it’s a PS2 PC emulator. Oft skeptical but always willing to try, I downloaded it and stuck FF12 in the PC drive (after unplugging my spare hard drive, swearing a lot and pulling the kitten out of the PC chassis twice). A bit of fiddling with settings and ‘click’ it loaded… Fuck me it works. It really works. 50 frames per second at 720p. Blimey.

Now THIS is how Final Fantasy XII should look. It’s startling what a good job the emulator makes of upscaling the graphics. I can only assume that it’s got a lot of nice textures to work with in the first place that were, as I had previously thought, buried under the fog of pixelly old TV resolutions. I mean, just look…

Final Fantasy XII on PCSX2 comparison

Click to view full resolution

Remarkable if you ask me (remarkable as in for an old PS2 game, not remarkable as in Lucy Liu’s face).

And so, now all I need is a PS2-to-USB adaptor so I can play with the DualShock controller and I’m away (although I need to get my save game across too if I want to play FF12 where I left off).

Encouraged by my geeky findings I booted up Metal Gear Solid 3 and Shadow of The Colossus too. Here are some more screen grabs for your delectation.

 

Final Fantasy 12 1080p

50fps @ 1080p

and here is a picture of Lucy Liu’s face for comparison also.

Lucy Liu's face

Yeah. Her face is better than computer games.

UPDATE: It turns out Eurogamer.net actually used the emulator for an ICO and Shadow of The Colossus comparison. See the videos here (or just keep looking at Lucy Liu, I don’t mind).

Posted in Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, photo, Shadow of the Colossus, TV, Uncategorized, Videogames | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halo: Reach, grasp, miss, fall.

I completely forgot I had started to write this. Bit late now but upping it anyway.

I’m going to keep this short. Other people will say it better, I hope.

Halo Reach was average. Really average.

Reach was meant to be the culmination of everything that has happened in the Halo Universe over 9 glorious years of games from the Bungie studios. It was meant to complete the loop and make the world feel whole but for me it failed.
From the offset it’s a disappointment. Investigating reports of an attack on what seems to be some Mexican farm you know what is coming but it’s as if the protagonists do as well. There’s such little fanfare when you discover the Covenant – ‘Sir, it’s the Covenant’ ‘I know’ –

It’s all too knowing. When one key character saying ‘when Reach falls, and it WILL fall’ you think ‘ah, sod it, I won’t bother then’. The members of noble Team, a band of elite Spartan warriors including yourself, get picked off one by inevitable one in the most mundane of fashions. One minute they’re there with full shields up with armor that can withstand the best part of an entire enemy clip, and the next – kaput, shot in the back with one bullet. And it’s this inevitability that leads to the tedium, especially as Noble Team are such a bunch of feckless metal that you couldn’t care less. They’re far less interesting than the brilliantly written members of ODST and the game really could have benefited from at least some kind of introduction to them. Also, as with most games involving indispensable AI friendlies, they are rendered utterly redundant on the field of battle as they can’t die. Anything gets close to killing them and ‘pow’ they suddenly have the shield lock power-up, an ability that renders you temporarily invulnerable. BORING.

The main trick that’s missed with Halo Reach though is in the cinematics. So seemingly aware of the impending destruction of the planet are all of the main characters that Bungie didn’t see cause to give us any form of invasion cutscene. Nope, you just emerge from the cabbage patch of level one to discover a mass invasion with alien ships all over the planet. Where are the slip space ruptures? Where are the orbital defense networks? How on Ear…Reach did the Covenant suddenly just ‘pop up’ on the home planet and why the Hell does nobody care?

Also, where the FUCK is Sarge? His boisterous voice acting bolstered the whole of the series and chronologically there’s absolutely no reason for his absence, in fact there’s the perfect excuse for his presence in the last mission.

In the frequent Bungie Videodocs we’re told of the return of the Elites but they sit on the back burner far more than in Halo 1, 2 or 3. They, as with the whole armada of Covenant ships turning Reach to glass, needed better introduction.

And, as for the ending, and by which I mean the final controllable aspect before the credits roll, who the hell’s idea was it to put you in a situation completely abstract from the usual Halo run and gun or vehicle race scene? Basically, without giving too much away, you play some rezzed up version of space duck hunt.

Since starting this article, the day after Reach was released, I have spent an entirely boring weekend minding my Mum’s spasticated dogs, and during that time I completed Reach on Legendary. It does certainly add a further dimension to the game with a large amount of the scenes turning into more of a puzzle game than a first person shooter. However, it also just magnifies the aforementioned problems. Being stuck for hours at one bottle neck, ducking and diving, chucking shield bubbles just to act as a deflection whilst you dive for a new weapon… awesome. Except, well, you don’t care about winning as much as in previous incarnations. The point is made utterly horrible when you see your Noble Team member fighting in the open against a tank, 5 Elites, a swathe of grunts and sniping Jackals… and not dying. EVER. In fact, I went and took the dogs for a 2 mile walk and left it running. Noble 2 (or whatever, I stopped caring) was still going, still had ammo, no sign of injury and also no sign of victim. Nope. EVERYONE was still alive.

Balance, beauty, immersion, magnificence? Bungie, you’ve utterly fucked up.

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