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2:00 AM on 12.06.2008

Lara Croft is a Bitch

I used to think Lara was cool. She had a can-do, can't-die attitude did stuff that looked like fun. Just hours in to her new adventure it dawned on me that Lara isn't a heroine at all. She's an egocentric bitch. She is, at best, a completely self-centred anti-hero, and the good results of her actions (saving the world, etc) are completely secondary to her own selfish goals.

She is not an archaeologist. She's a destroyer. When she comes across an ancient temple, she doesn't revere it or study it with a dedicated team who love what they do for the sake of science and history, no, she tears it down single handedly because she wants to get to the loot inside before anyone else. Not so she can put it in a museum, but because she wants it because it is somehow tied to her family and her family alone because her dad was an archaeologist and her mum died myteriously so everyone else is secondary and anything she destroys in her way is completely understandable because she's rich and can afford to stuff around.

That's without mentioning the complete disregard she holds for life. The creature she comes across in the first level of Underworld is a magnificent beast. Kind of cranky, sure, but you would be too in those circumstances. Without a thought she kills it fucking dead, a priceless creature not seen in hundreds of years, noble and long lived, and she kills it dead because it's blocking a bloody doorway.

Lara Croft is a bitch.   read

6:24 AM on 09.19.2008

Australian, New Zealand WAR release = FAIL

The ship that brought Warhammer: Age of Reckoning to Australia and New Zealand.

I don't want to make a big thing out of this, but here:

Basically, once you install WAR using the discs available from Australian and New Zealand retail stores you still can't play it, because it fails to install an .exe.

That's right, there's no way to actually launch the game once it is installed.

There is a fix available (basically downloading an .exe from someone who has it) but goddamn, this is just pathetic.

There is no excuse for this. EA is crap. That is all.   read

8:32 AM on 09.05.2008

Sins of a Solar Empire makes money. Lots of money.

So there's this company called Stardock that are mostly known for producing programs that make Windows pretty. They invested in a team called Ironclad Games who were working on the title Sins of a Solar Empire, and all up it cost about a million dollars. They released this game, at retail and online, with no DRM. There is an authentication key, however, that lets you download patches and updates that includes new content for the game.

Today, Stardock announced they have sold 500,000 copies. 400,000 through retail, another 100,000 through publisher Stardock's online platform to rival Steam. Essentially, this means that a title that cost 1 million to make, market and distribute, has gone on to earn (assuming that all sales were on the low-end US dollar [PAL region sales bump up the figure considerably] and assuming all sales are for the $39.99 price listed on GameStop and you've got...)


That's a hell of a turnover. It's well over $20 million, counting PAL sales, but hot damn, that is a lot of money.

So here's a big round of applause for Stardock, one of the few companies getting PC gaming right. They produce for the audience they have, for a wide range of hardware (read: old hardware), they release without DRM and they have plenty of support and content to add long after the game has shipped.


10:08 PM on 08.25.2008

YYZ x Rush / 11yrold + organ = awesome

I just found this on Reddit. It's kinda VGR, on account of the song being in Guitar Hero and because, well, who didn't listen to some Rush when playing NES way back when? Also, the "all Rush mixtape" from Futurama's Nintendo 64 episode kind of counts too.

Anyway, behold.


Just found out she also has a cover of Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas as well. Holy shit.

[embed]101170:14059[/embed]   read

10:02 PM on 08.19.2008

PC Gaming Officially Undead

PC gaming gets all the hot vampire bitches

I don't know if you've seen this on Kotaku. I hadn't, until I found it on Reddit.

A choice quote: “Our analysis clearly shows incredible growth in online PC gaming, proof that this industry is far stronger than anyone has reported,” said Stude. “Today’s consumers shop where they live - online.”

Now we can argue back and forth about all sorts of crap, about whether PC gaming is dead because MS is focusing on the Xbox where it can make royalties out the wazoo, or about how EA focuses on console titles or how Epic thinks PC gaming is dead because PC gamers didn't give a shit about their year old Gears of War port and the version of Unreal Tournament III no one wanted. You know, the one without the goddamned Assault Mode.

Truth is, PC gaming is doing damn fine with retail accounting for only half of the total sales. So yeah, if you saw PC gaming had only $5 billion dollar profits, you could say that it was a problem (and you'd still be wrong), but combined with the first real solid numbers for digital distribution, like Steam (which Capcom hates for some reason), we see that PC gamers are, once again, leading the trend, and the next big trend is DD.

The last time I bought a retail game was when EB had a sale and I could get the Diablo Battlechest for 50% off, the same price I could get it online, without the wait. Other than that, it's been Steam all the way (until Capcom get their hands out of their ass and make the Capcom Store available to Australians so I can play Bionic Commando Rearmed FFS!).

Can we stop with the "PC gaming is dead, piracy is killing everyone" bullshit now please? PC gaming isn't dead but sales for your game are. Because it's crap.   read

8:12 AM on 08.06.2008

Things that make me go LOL!

So my PC is playing up due to an install that went bad, and due to the fact I didn't have enough room on the HDD to have 8GB sitting there that couldn't be removed, I now need to format.

So out comes the external HDD so I can copy my Steam folder over and not have to download all that crap again (No, I don't have a separate HDD for My Documents and Games. I am buying it next week, having given the old IDE I was using away and relying solely on the shiny new SATA-II until).

While copying that crap over (takes forever mind you, lousy USB transfer speeds) I get a virus warning. Here, let me show you it:

It made me LOL! Especially having just read this article on front page.

I'm not ragging on Luc, but it's still pretty hilarious. I'm pretty sure it's a false alarm. I hope to fuck it is. Maybe he's getting revenge for people pissing on his baby.

Well that baby should have drowned by now, because there were quite a few bladders emptying on to it.

Another thing that made me LOL! recently is my shiny new monitor: An ASUS VW222U. 22" black inches of TF2 Demoman fun.

Now, as you may or may not know, stuck pixels are a pain in the ass. You might not also know that ASUS has a three pixel policy when it comes to stuck and dead pixels.

My new monitor had a nasty red one, just up and right of the centre. I spent hours trying to fix that damn thing the day I got it. First I tried the animated GIFs that can shock the pixel in to changing due to rapid fire flashes of bright colour. Failing that I tried poking it, or massaging it. Failing that I tried holding the pixel in while turning the monitor on and off.

Nothing worked.

The following day, while news came in of a storm raging in New Zealand (I live on the southern coast of New South Wales) and having contacted ASUS and being heartbroken with a retarded, disabled baby, I bit my lip and dried my eyes and kept on playing TF2, picking blue when possible so that shooting at the red team would make it less noticeable.

9:45PM. 2145 hours.


22" of sticky bomb fun!

The wind storm hits Wollongong with a fury. Power goes out over several suburbs.

There is not back up power in my flat. No surge protector on my PC wall socket.

Silence, save for the roaring 100km+ winds, tearing sheet metal from roofs nearby and the crackling of distant trees shedding unwanted limbs.

I put it from my mind as best I can. My DS is still charged, so I play FFIV for a while. Three hours later, the power comes back on.

To the PC I rush, hoping everything is Oll Korrekt.

I turn on the's working! The PC checks her hard drives out, making sure no files were damaged and I sit there as the black wallpaper with the little white circle I put there to surround the dead pixel on my screen mocks me.

Except it isn't.

The circle is empty.

Let this be a lesson to you: If you have a stuck pixel, try a power surge or a black out. Maybe both!

If it doesn't fix the problem, it might make it worse, which means you could qualify for ASUS damned three pixel policy.

Mother Nature nurtured my baby and healed my monitor. She makes me LOL!

Update: Just got this in an email.

Speaking of FFIV, I'm also a word nerd who has signed up for a 'word of the day' email from Today's word is Spoony.

[i]spoony \SPOO-nee\, adjective:

1. Foolish; silly; excessively sentimental.
2. Foolishly or sentimentally in love.[/i]

Now you know what Tellah meant when he called Edward a spoony bard. I always thought it was a silly translation because the Japanese had a swear word in there. This word made me LOL!   read

9:15 AM on 08.02.2008

PC Game Review Policies, or: How to Piss and Moan

Obviously this is a current hot topic, and it is just as obvious that some people don't get it. I figured I'd wade in with my thoughts on the matter of PC game reviews.

Firstly, it is my most adamant belief that you can only review what you get in the box. This means no patches, no mods. As far as digital distribution is concerned, with stuff like Steam and Eternity's Child, you should only be reviewing the initial release, not any subsequent revision.

Obviously this makes things difficult, because in some cases v1.0 (original release) won't always be available. In the case of Eternity's Child, Reverend Anthony and Conrad Zimmerman both reviewed the initial release, which is what people, myself included, paid money for.

The fact that the game has since been patched does not count.

The initial release that involved an actual purchase was unplayable. This is not hyperbole, this is fact: the jump button did not work more than half the time.

In a platform game.

This is not a small error. The game was UNPLAYABLE.

No gameplay = no game = no score worth a damn.

While criticisms of the art may have been a factor (it looks great in stills but animates terribly) and the actual physics in game were atrocious (jumping and movement felt like a flash game or a cheap NES mascot platformer), the core problem (as you no doubt noticed, they repeated themselves enough) was that the game was fundamentally broken.

"It has been patched!" you say. "Change your mind! And you review score!"


If we start counting patches, when do we stop? Do we stop when the bugs in the initial release have been fixed? Do we stop when the bugs from the first patch have been fixed? Do we stop after the first round of mods that add extra content? Is there a grace period of, say, one year, for modders to add quality to our purchase?

No. None of the above. You can only review what everyone gets. Not everyone will download the patches and play the same mods. Imagine reviewing Oblivion if you counted patches and additional content, without even touching the mods. The game wouldn't have been reviewed for over a year!

Hold the review, Hamish! Little Johnny hasn't finished his Horse Cock mod yet...

Imagine reviewing Ninja Gaiden on X-Box even. Additional content is available to download, adding new weapons, costumes and missions. Should we go back and alter reviews accordingly, or keep the review only for the content on the game disc? Should we all go back and download all the latest mods and patches for games we long since stopped playing because they might have gotten better since?

Review policy conundrums aside, whether or not you agree with the idea of only reviewing the initial release and not counting patches or mods, there is one very simple thing to note here: By Luc's own admission, there was no QA done. They released a product without first checking to see if it worked.

That's your 1.0 right there. He has no one to blame but himself.   read

9:07 AM on 07.25.2008

Greatest Ninja Dog Ever

I was playing through Ninja Gaiden II for the first time today (that's the 360 #2, not Dark Sword of Chaos on NES) and I get to level 4 which takes place at the statue of liberty.

It was at this moment that I had a retro mind fuck as Shadow Dancer, in all it's 16-bit glory, came back to me. Specifically level 3, which takes place atop the Lime Lady of Liberty.

Was this an intentional homage by Itagaki, do you think? Or was he unintentionally paying tribute to the greatest Ninja game of all time? (On a small side note, is anyone else bummed that we won't get any extra NG2 content due to this disaster? No XBL tournaments, no remixed levels, certainly no NG2 Black...)

While I originally came here to moan about NG2, and lament the loss of the crater faced rock god of gaming ninjahood, I got sidetracked because Shadow Dancer is fucking awesome. And the dog! Man, that dog was awesome. The way he would attack on command, and turn in to a puppy when he took damage, and grow again when Hayate powered up.

An interesting observation: Joe Musashi is Hayate's father, and it was he who starred as the hero in the other Shinobi games. Both Ryu and Hayate have fathers named Joe!

Coincidence again?

I think not. Let's not forget that Hayate is also the name of Ryu's best friend in the DOA universe!

Of course, the fond memories of Shadow Dancer are driven even deeper by the realisation that NG2 just isn't as good as the original. Not only is the camera worse than I remember (also could have been fixed with the bonus content) but it dropped the ball when it came to being a fun challenge. Instead of rip-off-your-dick-painful-but-fair enemies and numbers, it's turned in to a ten ton weight that is lots-of-overpowered-enemies-with-many-cheap-shots.

Like those fucking ninja dogs.

Fuck them.

There's only one ninja dog I will ever love, and he is a white wolf looking thing.

This blog didn't start with any real point, other than I'm tired and wanted to talk about Ninja Gaiden 2 and Shadow Dancer but I want to leave you with a reminder that the dog in Shadow Dancer is awesome.

Shadow Dancer is awesome.

This thing that BatThink just posted it awesome, and I want one, because it has Shadow Dancer on it. (My copy is 500ks away. Moving out of home meant I had to leave a lot behind. My retro collection was most of that.)

I'll be back with a proper review when I've finished Ninja Gaiden 2, but at the moment It doesn't look like it's gonna be better than either the X-Box original or the NES original. Or Shadow Dancer.

Which is awesome by the way.

P.S. The dog's name is Yamato. I have been informed that it is an old name for Japan, roughly translating to "source of the sun", which makes some kind of sense since they are in the most eastern part of Asia. The more you know!

P.P.S. I know I'm late with the whole NG2 thing. But this is Australia. Have some compassion. We won't get Fallout 3 at all...   read

8:37 PM on 06.15.2008

Tecmo - Itagaki = Fail

This is getting interestinger and interestinger.

So Itagaki (aka GOD) has left Tecmo after they refused to pay his bonus. Now a good chunk of his former team are also leaving for the same reason.

As a result, Tecmo's stock price is taking a beating, since I can't think of another Tecmo game that is equal to the calibre of Ninja Gaiden, not to mention the whole “not telling the stockholders” thing in the article above, which, if I know finance, is VERY BAD.

So Itagaki is now a free spirit and, I would guess, in talks with Mircosoft? He seems to like them, they seem to like him. He could hire his 36 brothers from Team Ninja back and they could get back to work.

Meanwhile, Tecmo's price will tumble, and eventually they will get bought out, probably.

Probably by...Mircosoft.

Who will put Itagaki in charge of Ninja Gaiden and DOA again.

And all will be right with the world.

A guy can dream, can't he?

...I'm gonna miss Itagaki and his crazy ninja ways...   read

10:44 PM on 05.13.2008

GTA drinks the Guinness

This news article got me thinking.

Video games, and GTA as the current flagship video game franchise, blow other entertainment media out of the water.

As a gamer, I don't really like the GTA series. I think they're buggy pieces of sensationalist average-ness that, without hookers and swear words, would be just another sandbox style game where you do a lot of nothing to kill time just because.

I mean, if you played the same game, same engine, but replaced the gangster main character with a delivery boy who, instead of dealing drugs and working for syndicates, delivered pizzas in a large open city with lots of stuff to do in it, no one would care nearly as much.

My personal opinion on the franchise aside, the sales numbers speak for themselves, and should prove beyond any doubt to any reasonable person that video gaming is not a fad industry, but now the premiere money making entertainment medium in the world.

Consider this: Block buster game budgets (about $20 million) are still far below the budgets of major motion pictures. This season's big movies, Iron Man and Indiana Jones, both cost about $180 million each, not counting marketing budgets which, in Indy's case, is estimated to be almost the same as the production costs, at $150 million [Source: LA Times])

That means they need, in Indy's case, nearly $400 million just to break even.

Video games not only makes more money in net worth, but compared to the development costs, they require fewer sales to break even. Of course, the cost of each individual unit sold (US$60, AUS$120) is much greater than a movie ticket (US$8, AUS$12), and you only need one copy per household (as opposed to one movie ticket per person).

When it comes to numbers, it's pretty clear cut. Gaming makes more money for less, and its about time it was treated as a proper form of entertainment, for all ages, instead of having the issue degenerate in to whinging about kids playing games their parents should never have bought for them in the first place.

The whole video game issue will go away. Eventually. It's been said before, countless times, that such scapegoating happened with comic books and rock and roll music. Eventually, it went away. Not entirely, but it was not front page news when someone killed themselves listening to music, or one kid accidentally punched another kid in the face play-acting super heroes.

Believe it or not, books were considered unjust, back when the printing press was invented. People reading novels for fun was considered heinous when they could be reading the bible or working in the fields. Of course, the contrvoersy over Harry Potter leading kids to witchcraft by loud-mouthed whinging christians complain show just how far we haven't come (and it's also a good indication of who's to blame.)

So we just have to ride the whole storm in a tea-cup issue out, and GTA's sales is a pretty buoyant fact to cling to until we reach dry land.   read

9:17 AM on 04.23.2008

A visit to Activision

I went to Activision Australia's office on Monday. It was a good day, all up, aside from some trouble with my knee that kept me distracted. I've finally got my previews online, after some net downtime. Anyone else on the Eastern Coast of Australia get some nasty lag/DNS problems?

First, I was shown Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS, which, I must admit, looks far better than I would have thought, and then another title, which I can't yet speak about.

Suffice to say I enjoyed it, and I can't wait to tell you about it.

That game was followed by We Love Golf, in which I got to experience one of the most immediately puzzling (but in hindsight, one that made a lot of sense) control schemes yet seen for the Wii.

With the games out of the way, the journey to and from Activision was highlighted by the stabbing pains associated with knee joints when you're six and a half feet tall. Now I'm told I need to see a specialist, so he can stick a camera in my knee and then play with my cartilage.

How delightful.

P.S. Yes, I went to this thing writing part time for fun for a small Australian website, which is why I didn't get up them the way I did in my angry letter. This wasn't me the gamer, this was me the journalism student. They never replied to my letter. I doubt anyone at Activision read it.   read

4:56 AM on 01.21.2008

Classic Eidos Games on Steam?

I have just sent off an email to Eidos, asking them if they have any plans on releasing the classic Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver games on Steam.

If id can get away with re-releasing Wolfenstein 3D and Doom and Quake, then Eidos could do the same with some classic titles in their own library. All for a budget price of course.

The email is as follows:


Just writing to you as it's something I've been curious about for a while. I'm wondering if Eidos has any plans to release the classic (Core developed) Tomb Raider games, or the Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver series on Steam.

I'd really like to have every game from each series available in one place without the need for fiddling around with backwards compatibility.

If you could have packages available (All classic Tomb Raider games in one pack, the Soul Reaver series and Legacy of Kain in another) I would snap them up in a second, and I know I'm not the only one.

Are there any plans to release these games over Steam and if not, why not?

Thanks for your time.

P.S. Would it help if I started an online petition? :P

I'll update if there's any reply. I'm not holding my breath though, Activision never replied to me after my nasty letter.   read

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