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9:59 AM on 03.07.2008

Petition for Mr Brown and his colleagues to actively engage the videogames industry in relation to the Byron review

sorry for the long title!

From: bitparade.co.uk

[quote]http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/byronclarity/

Videogame violence has been a major issue in British and indeed international politics recently, with a great deal of talk surrounding increased censorship for the artform.

However, all this talk has been unfortunately confined to Parliament and the tabloid newspapers.

As the PM, who ordered the Byron review, and other politicians have so far chosen not to talk directly to the games media, the debate has become one-sided and marred by misinformation, political agenda and emotional blackmail.

To that extent, this petition requests that politicians invloved with the debate on videogame censorship and the Byron review actively seek out dialogues with the games media on the subject, to help paint a better picture of what is happening to the millions of people who make up the British gaming community, to help clear up any factual inaccuracies or just missing information in arguments made, and to make the MPs more accountable for their comments and actions in Parliament.


Earlier this week, Keith Vaz complained about being "pilloried" by the games media, when in actuality, he's merely being called out by people who know more than him for talking nonsense.

Vaz' confusion on the matter could have been easily solved if only he, and his friends in parliament, would simply talk to the people calling him out, and would also serve to challenge those using the videogame violence issue to further their own political careers with the questions they're not being asked by the mainstream media.

As well as that, this will also bring the issue to a wider audience, and given that all signs are pointing to the government forcing greater censorship laws upon games regardless of the outcome of the Byron Review, the more support we can gather to support freedom of expression, the more likely it is that such an action will be politically contentious, and therefore less likely to occur.

200 signatures guarantee us a response from parliament- and given that the Manhunt 2 petition saw 3000 signatures- fifteen times the required amount- that shouldn't be too hard to do.

Sign the petition, pass it into your friends, and make a difference.[/quote]   read


7:16 AM on 02.22.2008

Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon!

Picked up Patapon on PSP today after taking a walk into town, and boy was I was starving by the time I was half way there, unfortunately had no cash to get food (had one of those GAME gift cards lying around from Christmas), but hell, getting home, after some cereal and playing the first handful missions of this made it well worth it.

The best thing I can think of describing it as is a 2D Rythym Action Real-Time Strategy game, and as mad as that sounds, it fits the game perfectly.

If you liked Locoroco, then you'll probably like this too!

You start the game by waking up a Patapon, and are given your first rythm, Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon ([], [], [], O on the PSP's face buttons) to move him forward and you eventually pick up 3 more recruits, so you have 1 carrying the flag of the Patapon and 3 with spears.

The strategy element comes into play when you eventually find more variants, such as axe-wielding Patapons or ones carryng bows etc and you find various stat improving items like more advanced weapons and armour.

The second level introduces your first attack rythym, Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon (O-O-[]-O) which enables you to fight back, slowly, against anything that may attack you as you progress along the 2D plane.

Only done the first 3 missions so far, but it comes across as highly enjoyable and I can see me enjoying this much more than I did Locoroco, which felt rather limited in my personal opinion.

Anyone else picked this up yet? Is it out in the US yet?   read


3:32 PM on 12.02.2007

Finally being understood...

My Dad and Step Mum visited today, with us living in different parts of the country, they try and visit 3 or 4 times a year, although this years its been more often, probably something to do with my Dad turning 60 next year and worrying he doesn't see me often enough or something.

Anyhow, I got talking to my Step Mum about videogames, and her opinion on them has changed drastically from when I first brought my PlayStation home from my Mums house where I spent the weekends to put in my room (I had a Super NES prior to that that was hooked up in the lounge, but weren't often aloud to play on it, and she was a believer in no TV's in bedrooms, although my Dad talked her round from that somehow). Around this time I was in year 10 at school, so was starting my studies for my GCSE's (this would be 14 years of age then) and she was probably concerned I'd neglect my studies for my games, admittedly, I didn't study half as much as maybe I should have, but I also got the grades at school I felt were probably what I was capable of (nothing stellar, pretty average in fact).

It always caused a bit of friction between the pair of us. You see, I respected that after my Mum and Dad had been seperated for a good few years (around 6 or 7 I think it was before my Dad met my step mum) that my Dad had found someone who made him happy, and some personal things aside, I was happy for him. But she always came across as very pushy when it came to studies, where as both of my parents always tried to give me the feeling that they believed I'd always manage my best and know what the best course of action was for myself. I suppose she was like that because I was the eldest of the four kids that now occupied the house she and my Dad shared (I have two older siblings, and one younger, my elder siblings had long left home though, whilst her daughter was the same age as my little sister and her sone was the youngest in the house).

Anyhow, she pretty much saw my hobby as a big waste of time and money, despite the fact she had an old spectrum tucked away in a cupboard that eventually got chucked out after I discovered it would no longer work.

In hindsight, I can see her point, I was at an important time in my academic life and could of wasted it, but I never felt that I wasn't doing enough work in that sense. Besides, despite her experiments (probably) with the old Speccy (which I think may have been her ex-husbands or even her brothers) she didn't really understand, or know, for that matter how compelling some of the games I was playing were. They allowed me to explore worlds in visual details that could have been in some book I picked up in the library, bringing to life worlds that before I could only imagine. They allowed me to act out action scenes from my favourite action movies, or replay that weeks football matches during the World Cup or whatever other tournament was happening at the time, and besides, it wasn't as if it was all I did, I'd visit friends, play football in the local park, read, listen to music, all the things any healthy teenager does, well, aside from the vandalism side of things.

Anyhow, enough of the history lesson, and back to their visit today. I got talking to her about games, and started talking, rather in depth probably, about some of the worlds I'd visited most recently. The fascination with Rapture's demise, the awestruck feeling as I made my way through the abandoned streets and fields of Pripyat, Ukraine in Call of Duty 4 then holding down a position next to the famous fairground in that area. A real life location that I am absolutely fascinated with. It brought me back to something I told her about previously, something called Urbex, or Urban Exploring, and how videogames are providing so many amazing locations that are so strikingly similar to pictures I've seen taken by people who partake in the aforementioned past-time. It also brought back the old memories of me trying to explain to her my fascination with games, and how, with today's technology, those worlds are so much better realised, more solid and believable and in a way, probably stronger aestetichally than any location I could of imagined reading a book.

I think today, whilst talking to her about this, she finally understood my hobby.   read


4:36 PM on 11.26.2007

Proud to be a gamer!

With gaming now become much more mainstream, its suprising that as dedicated gamers, we're still seen as geeks, nerds or generally uncool. Why is this? Personally I have no idea, but I do know one thing. We're never going to be taken seriously if we shy away from our culture whilst out in public. Every other "way of life" so to speak, shoves itselfs in our faces whilst we're out and about, let alone on the internet. Hip hop culture is huge, the current "Emo" phase today's teenagers appear to be going through (or has that moved on yet?) is up and in our faces when out shopping. So why don't we, as gamers, stand proud and decalre that we wont be ignored, laughed out, or generally treated as people that "need to grow up".

I';ve rambled enough, and I've kind of forgotten my point here for one reason or another. But, I think, its about time we stopped disguising ourselves as "normal members of society", worried that we may be labled as some psychopath thats ready to go on a gun rampage. How do I intend on doing this on a personal level? I have no idea, but surely, wearing say, a gaming T-Shirt wouldn't harm matters. After all, its culturally acceptible to wear a band t-shirt, why not show off your favourite game by doing the same? So I say to you, members of Destructoid, get out there and declare your passion for videogames in whatever way you can (within your countries/states laws obviously) and declare "I'm a gamer, respect me".


Be warned though, you may get thrown into the looney bin if you actually stand on something high and shout that, although don't let me stop you if you really want to!   read


5:01 AM on 11.09.2007

Combine invade Georgia

No, not the US State, I mean the country in Eastern Europe which shares its borders with Turkey, Armenia and Russia.

Anyhow, those cretins, the Combine from Half Life 2 seem to have invaded the country



In all seriousness though, this isn't actually true (no shit sherlock!). Basically, the President of Georgia has declared a State of Emergency, and this is how the armed forces and Police are dressed. The above is a photoshop.

I'm not gonna go into the politics of all of this, because I really don't pay attention to that kind of stuff really. But its uncanny how much their uniforms resemble those of the combine soldiers, albeit these guys are wearing white masks.

Anyhow, if your interested in this subject, heres the BBC report.   read


8:47 AM on 10.28.2007

New "skate" compilation

Heres my second "Skate" video, this time just featuring myself.

Music is "Tangerine" by Brit-Rock group Feeder taken from their "Polythene" album.

[embed]51411:4029[/embed]

For some reason I'm most proud of the bail where I smack my head on the handrail!   read


8:43 AM on 10.28.2007

Halloween gaming

So Halloween is this Wednesday. I already did the whole dress up shit yesterday when my fiance and I took our 3 year old daughter to the local kids theme park. So now I'm moving on to something else, I'm starting a new survival horror game.

When I say new however, I mean one I haven't played yet.

I just got back from Town with a cheap copy of Silent Hill 3, a game I've been after for a while now, so this evening, once the littl'un's in bed, I intend to make a start on it as my game for the week (alongside The Orange Box on PC, but Ravenholme aside, that can hardly be classed as a Halloween game).

Any plans from you guys to do something similar?   read


4:27 PM on 10.09.2007

Team Now Loading "Skate" vid#1

The first of my "Team Now Loading" skate video projects.

This was thrown together in a couple of minutes today just as a tester, hence why its not edited to the music.

Anyhow, this video is introducing (in order of appearance, each still image introduces a new person)

Crayman Edge
RivaOni (myself obviously)
Wh0lewh0le
PapaBlingo

[embed]48299:3159[/embed]   read


3:55 PM on 09.17.2007

GAME OVER YEAAAAAAAH!

Just came back online after playing the new SEGA Rally demo, and have to say, while its not perfect, its great fun.

First off, if you like either of the SEGA Rally's, then you'll at least get some enjoyment out of this, its got your staple SEGA Rally stuff:

Big stupid slides
Jumps
Crowd being far too close to the circuit taking photos
and last but not least, but sort of innappropriate considering the demise of Colin McRae and how he died... Low Flying Helicopters.

Right, onto the rest of the game, The car's don't quite look like their on the circuit if you get my meaning, they don't quite look placed right, the rear view mirror feels squashed and the handlings incredibly light.

Now that last point is only a criticsm for a fair while, its a problem for the first race you have on the demo, at least it was for me. But you soon get the hang of it and start throwing either the Impreza or Lancer Evo into corners just like the game seems to want you to, which even to this day, some 12 years after the original games release, is still incredibly good fun.

The whole circuit grooving adds to the gameplay in a way I wouldn't of thought of, I'm not sure how to explain it, but I tend to try and hang back behind a lead car while he chews up the circuit for the first lap, then use his grooves to help me slide the car round the corners for the remainder of the race. Kind of how in road races (circuit races I mean, like Formula One or whatever) theres a "Clean" side of the circuit that has rubber down from previous races that helps cars grip better, and a dirty side where they have less traction. Simply put, I found the game easier to handle by sticking to the smooth parts of a circuit (but not too far off of the racing line) on straights then using the chewed up parts to corner, this more or less nullified any sort of handling issues, although I've not perfected any technique yet as I've only given the first circuit 3 runs round (not even touched the second circuit on the demo yet).


To be honest, a handful of games aside, I'd begun to lose faith in SEGA in-house titles, and while this hasn't restored my faith in them (being a former SEGA fanboy) it was highly enjoyable, if flawed, but is definetly on my "To Buy List" albeit its not at the top of that list.   read


6:06 PM on 09.04.2007

ARGH Nintendo Wi-fi takes the piss!

I've had enough of this now!

I've spent the entire evening trying to get my DS to connect to my Wireless router so I can play Worms: Open Warfare 2 online!

I'm very close to saying fuck it and returning the game back to the store and getting something else instead, or I would if GAME didn't have that stupid fucking "broken sticker" policy in place now for fucks sakes.

The DS is a family friendly console, but its hardly family friendly to get it online... not unless you pay an extortionate fee for Nintendo's USB adaptor, why should I have to buy that when I have a wireless router? Answer? I shouldn't! My fiance's laptop connects to it fine, and I'm sure if I bought the wireless hub for the 360 that wouldn't have any issues (thats wired instead). The PSP auto detected the connection and got me actually browsing the web within minutes. Yet Nintendo's family friendly "Play Animal Crossing instead of going out and getting drunk and raped" handheld is near on impossible to get working.

So whats the issue? You tell me, first off I got a Error Code 52000, so I set a static IP and manually inputted the gateway and DNS, thats fine, I had to do that with the 360 too. Then I get a Error Code 52100, which is supposedly firewall related. Now I'd not long been playing a spot of Guild Wars and the firewalls on my PC conflict terribly with it for some reason (even though I know people with the same setup who have no issues whatsoever)so they were all turned off, so that error shouldn't be happening. But to be safe I added the DS' new static IP to my DMZ list, which should bypass any firewalls, it worked for the 360 when I had that issue.

But does the DS want to play ball? does it fuck, so I've barely touched the handheld in months, the only action its seen is the odd occassion that my missus has fancied playing Pokemon Diamond, but thats been on the rare occassion as she's fed up of them all being exactly the same game give or take a few measly options and a couple of hundred Pokemon that she feels are inferior to those featured in Red and Blue. So I get a new game to play on it, and the main reason I got it (I love a bit of online Wormage, but haven't always got access to means to play it on XBLA) I can't bloody well use!   read


4:51 AM on 09.02.2007

What makes a “Greatest Ever” videogame?

This is something I’ve been wondering for a while. Videogame publications and communities are always doing “Your Top 10 Games Ever” or “The 100 best videogames ever made” type things. EDGE recently (well a couple of months back) published a magazine with their top 100 games ever created in, here’s a link to a list of its contents.

So what makes a greatest ever videogame? Lets just take a quick look at their top 10.
1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
2. Resident Evil 4
3. Super Mario 64
4. Half Life 2
5. Super Mario World
6. Zelda: A Link to the Past
7. Halo: Combat Evolved
8. Final Fantasy XII
9. Tetris
10. Super Metroid

Pretty much a standard Top Ten List there, although there will always be arguments for and against certain games. But why? Are the games ommited genuinely the best examples of videogames, or are is it normally opinions based on nostalgia?

Will the likes of Resident Evil 4, Half Life 2 or Final Fantasy XII be even in the top 100 in 5 years time? How about 10 years? Does Super Mario 64 really still stand up to more modern games with more fluid controls such as Jak and Daxter on the PS2 (Which Miyamoto even admits is a better game)? Does this all really matter? Surely this is just a list of games that EDGE think are worth playing?

In that respect, why is Ocarina of Time number 1? Story aside, which wasn’t all that fantastic to be honest, the core gameplay elements have been the same in every single 3D Zelda made since it was released 10 years ago. Twilight Princess has tightened the controls immensly on Gamecube, resulting in you accidently running off of less lledges than you would of done using the N64 controller in Ocarina of Time. Don’t believe theres no real difference between all four 3D Zelda’s? Pick up a Gamecube and get Wind Waker, Zelda Collectors Disc and Twilight Princess for it and you can sample all four games.

It’s all based on opinion really, and alot of games that feature in these lists may have been great games in their time, but just don’t cut the mustard in this day and age. Take two N64 games, placed 17th and and 28th on the list, Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark respectively.

Now for the record, I’ve never been a fan of these games, the controls have always just felt completely wrong to me. But Goldeneye, as a console game, was revolutionary for its time. It was the first time a developer had made an FPS game work properly in terms of controls, atmosphere, story telling and multiplayer. But the console FPS has moved on in a huge way, possibly reflected by Halo: Combat Evolved’s placement in the number seven spot (although that could also be EDGE justifying their 10/10 for it).

So, what makes a great videogame? Surely with how fast our industry moves, only a game that plays incredibly well still years later (see Super Mario World and Super Metroid, the only games there of an age that I can’t make any complaints about), doesn’t lose any of its appeal and stands up well alongside more modern games? In this respect, nearly every game on that list has been bettered in one way or another.   read


4:50 PM on 08.29.2007

GTM Forza 2 League RD1 Mugello report

A couple of days ago, I wrote this. Basically I'd organised a Forza 2 league for myself and 7 others on the community boards for the British gaming magazine GamesTM.

The first round took place tonight, it consisted of 8 laps around the full version of the Mugello circuit.

A good time was had by all.

Anyway, for the record heres who was driving what:

Dread :- #0 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The Penultimate Ninja :- #5 Audi TT Quattro
Richman :- #6 Lancia Delta
Jay :- #10 Mini Cooper
AC-AA-1806 :- #12 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR
Smurph :- #77 Lancia Delta
Sly Reflex :- #82 Volkswagon Golf R32
Snake :- #99 Subaru Imprezza 22B

Unfortunately Dread (#0 Mitsubishi Eclipse) wasn't able to attend, we weren't aware till the last minute so we'll decide what to do about points for him to keep things interesting.

Everybody was limited to having their own modified car that was not allowed over or under a Class B, Snake had the lowest PI of B699.

Anyway, lots of photos here (14 in all).

And the Championship gets underway:



First corner see's Richman try to take the lead on the outside, but Smurph gets it back, with Snake and Sly following close behind:



AC outbreaks Sly Reflex, but a slight coming together puts Sly's lighter Golf into the gravel, resulting in Sly moving down to 7th and AC upto 4th:



Jay tries to take fourth, but cuts in too close to AC's nose:



Penultimate Ninja runs slightly wide:



Letting Sly Reflex back into fifth, before making another mistake:



A few corners later, AC follows suit and lets Sly Reflex into fourth:



And Ninja makes yet another mistake, moving him down to seventh:



The Delta's of Smurph (first) and Richman (second) set the pace:



While Sly begins to eat away at the gap between himself and Snake:



Snake skims the grass, making the gap ever smaller:



And a few corners later, Sly takes third, by forcing his way through Snakes racing line:



Final Corner and both Smurph and Richman who have had otherwise perfect races make a mistake while trying to psyche each other out:



But Smurph still takes the win, with Richman a close second:



Results as follows:

1. Smurph
2. Richman
3. Sly Reflex
4. Snake
5. AC-AA-1806
6. Jay
7. The Penultimate Ninja   read





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