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11:46 AM on 07.06.2010

King James Approves VIDEO Games

July 6th, 1612

There was a surprise turn of events for England’s suffering recreation industry today, as monarch King James, overruled the century old ‘Entertainment Corruption act’ as proposed by Henry VIII, therefore allowing VIDEO (Vastly Interactive Dissertations for Entertainment Only) games to be bought and sold legally on today’s markets. King James declared “We need to stop living in the dark Middle ages, this is the 17th century after all, now everyone will have the opportunity to embrace this technological marvel!”.

King James

The original act was commissioned during the Tudor period, as part of the nations conversion to the highly superior Church of England. VIDEO games were Condemned for their heretical value, as well as their then seen derogatory affect on labour efficiency. But his Royal Highness contested this ‘ancient’ view, by saying that “VIDEO games should be a past time for modern day England”.

VIDEO games work in numerous ways and can be purchased on two different platforms, Hard Back or Paper Back, with both ‘consoles’ having their advantages. Hard Back puts claims that it produces a higher quality and more intense experience for committed gamers, while the cheapness and flexibility of the Paper back, could be more attractive to Peasant families.

The first game to be released commercially, has been named as Call of Duty: Medieval Warfare, which is based during the Norman conquest of England over half a millennium ago. This VIDEO game offers players an unparalleled experience of the times fighting, by giving gamers a set of written scenarios, which must then be overcome by several different routes of actions. During my hands on preview for example, I was thrown into the exhilarating Battle of Hastings mission and became faced with this scene:

You become separated from the rest of your unit when an enemy horse mounted Calvary storms towards your direction, Do you:

A) Attempt to guard against this charge; the horse will surely be no match against your wooden shield.

B) Flee from the situation; you have trained in this heavy chain mail for weeks and have faith in your ability to outrun an inferior creature.

C) Switch to your claymore and in the name of almighty God, endeavor to dramatically evade the horse attack, decapitating its heard as it gallops past.

Using the advanced ‘Index Engine’, competitors must then turn to the back of their chosen console, where the many scenarios and their consequences are listed, before checking whether their chosen option was successful. If so users are allowed to carry on with the enthralling text experience by moving on to the next exciting scenario page. However if they failed they must revert back to a previous ‘Book Mark’ and repeat the section again.

Screen Shot from Call of Duty: Medieval Warfare

A number of wealthy aristocrats have already hailed this new technology. Entrepreneur Hamilton Swordgape, who owns seven Blacksmiths, four cows and a Brothel, talked about his experience with the upcoming Marco Party, the astounding new title which allows people to actually compete against others in over three different miniature games: “I was given a demo of the miniature game cleverly named ‘Quick line draw activity sport’. Me and my two sons, Edward and Rockwell, were asked by this VIDEO game to quickly and accurately follow a series of page long lines with a quill, Rockwell was judged to be the winner as he finished his line the fastest, these games were wonderful fun but maybe a bit too complex for me!”

Another Miniature game from Marco Party, called 'Don't Dot till you get enough'.

Popular play write William Shakespeare has also taken time out from his busy schedule of stealing other peoples stories and inventing his own bullshit language, by producing his own VIDEO game entitled Fantasy Finale. He showered his work with praise, describing Fantasy Finale as like “Thast blooming flower which thou my heart hast ever yearned for” which was later translated as “A pretty good adventure game”. However previews of the game have not been overly impressive, having been accused for its ‘confusing and too linear story line’, ‘repetitiveness’ and ‘total lack of interactivity’. This has not hindered support for Shakespeare’s production however, with fanatics of the wanker flocking to ‘previously order’ the VIDEO game, with seventeen of these ‘orders’ coming from London alone; Fantasy Finale is expected to be the years best seller.

Criticism of the Kings overruling have come to light from all corners of the country, however much of this objection was quickly suppressed by a series of hangings and beheadings. One survivor who wished to be kept anonymous, described himself as “bitterly disappointing” at the shear price of these VIDEO games, with even Paper Back prices thought to be starting off at a staggering three family members and a bag of silver. This and the fact that these games require the player to actually read (which according to a latest study, is thought to be less than 1% of the country), has brought up concerns that VIDEO games may have a very small market. However leading VIDEO game developer Jacob Cockson, quelled worries by suggesting that “Only the wealthy and noble deserve to be entertained in such an advanced and privileged way”, before later adding “The peasant scum which plague this land can choke on my excrement for all I care”, before discharging feces in a maid’s face.

Supporters of the Corruption act have also denounced the Kings decision, claiming that VIDEO games will “Make the walls of our civil society crumble!”. Referring to the controversial Effect of Church Mass, which puts into question the existence of god; “This kind of Blasphemy will only open a gateway to hell, before we know it we shall be overwhelmed by numerous demons and their forces of Darkness” alleged the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has now been reported as ‘missing’.

An artists impression of a demon tempting the Archbishop with a VIDEO GAME.

Other celebrities predict a bright future for the industry. Philosopher Francis Bacon forecasts that VIDEO games will one day; “Move and dazzle us before our very eyes, in beautiful flashes of colour and sound. They will allow us to manipulate fictional characters like puppets, with magical game handles. Kings will do battle with other kings from their own castles, while taunting them with a barrage of unpleasantries and eating a sack of meat flavoured potatoes”. Bacon was later charged with Heresy and practicing witch craft, before being burnt to the stake.

So Magical fun? Or apocalyptic portal to the underworld? Please share your thoughts on VIDEO games. Don’t forget to read next week on a report on Condoms, the mystical force which is stronger than Gods desire for humanity to spread.   read

8:53 AM on 07.02.2010

Would you like some Phone with that?

Did nobody ask Q to design this piece of crap?

Recently Apple released their latest edition of the ever popular iPhone, except there’s a catch. It’s not a phone.

Now let me be the first to say Apple are a brilliant company, their products (for the most part) are reliable and great to use. Lets be honest, anybody who has used an iPad, a MacBook or even one of their iCe cream makers, will tell you there is a certain ‘elitist’ feel you get out of using one of their machines, before handing it back to your richer and much more successful friend.

I have been a fan of the iPhone’s previous manifestations; it was the first multi function product I truly appreciated. Before the original iPhone’s launch I had no intention of carrying around a phone, which could also communicate to my Washing Machine via Bluetooth, or infrared, or Morse Code. But now I can’t hide my envy every time one is produced down the pub and we all gather around it, too watch a man comically get hit in the face with a dart, or to take photos of ourselves and see how we would look if we were 93.

But this time Apple has gone too far. Purchasers of the new iPhone 4 can expect to have their phone calls interrupted if they hold it comfortably in their hands. I’ve excepted their multipurpose gadget tomfoolery long enough but the moment a products main function ceases to work properly, it has failed. However one thing which frustrates me even more, is the fact that Apple have not even earned up to this major design error. ‘Tough Luck’ seems to be Steve Jobs attitude to our problems, before suggesting that we should be holding the phone differently, purchasing iPhone cases, or maybe sellotaping it to our hands with a brick working as some kind of separating body.

If you discount the theory that this was part of a grand scheme for apple, which would force consumers to invest in a case, or an apple branded brick, the only other logical explanation is this; Apple were so focused on trying to pump the hand held gizmo, with more pixels than the eye can interpret and more Cameras than Jessops could ever begin to comprehend, that they forgot that the iPhone is a phone. Just like my last hair dryer which came with an in built coffee dispensing option, the iPhone like so many other multipurpose toys, just went too far.

But I don’t think Apple is entirely to blame for this.

There is one person in my mind who should take the bulk of the blame for the iPhone 4, the shit ice dispensers on Freezers and the pens that for some reason have a microphone on the end. His name is Ian Fleming. You see from the first moment that Q gave James Bond Chelsea boots with 5 inch daggers in the toe cap, or a fishing rod rocket launcher; thousands of scientists and inventors from all parts of the globe got excited. “No longer does my Saucepan need to simply be a saucepan!” cried one Inspired designer. “Now I can grill Burgers as I drive to work!” declared a technician from Alabama.

They didn’t understand that Bond needed Q and his ingenious ideas. Before the days of Desmond Llewelyn, James was walking into Terrorist funded cocktail evenings with a Toshiba Camera in one hand, an AK 47 in the other and wearing a belt of hand grenades. 007 needed ways to conceal his all but blatantly obvious special agent status and Q was his answer. Multi function tools meant that Bond could remain stealthy and ever deadly on the inside, while on the outside appear cool enough to make even a lesbian’s legs turn to putty. Bond needed an Aston Martin with live feeds to MI6; The South Western area manager of Tesco doesn’t.

Before long we had multipurpose objects filling supermarket shelves, all to supposedly enhance our lives. Sure there were a few practical items, like the pencil with a tiny rubber on the end, or two in one head and shoulders, but the majority are unnecessary and actually make our lives less convenient.

So that brings us to where we are today, with watches that can no longer tell the time, trainers with irrelevant lights in their soles and phones that can’t manage a decent conversation. Please designers and manufacturers of planet earth, you all have magnificent brains, but please stop putting spirit levels and Lightsaber emulating apps into our phones and just give me one which I can take too a festival without fear of breaking.

Oh and if you have time, can you make a Pez dispensing Xbox Controller?   read

8:40 AM on 06.24.2010

Bringing Hardcore to the Masses.

Following all the hype surrounding Microsoft’s new Kinect system, much of the xbox community has been concerned by the company’s new venture, worried by the fact that the Kinect is clearly aimed towards the famiy and casual gamer market. Many fans of the console believe that newer content will start a market trend, which will discourage the major publishers away from more ‘hardcore’ games for Microsofts new camera.

But fear no longer if you are one of those extreme, larger than life game combatants, you will still have the opportunity to raise your voices louder than Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon, while gazing at your feeble opponents’ ten year old crying faces. Bill Gate’s mob have assured the public that the Kinect will have a number of compatible hardcore games. Marketing executive Albert Penello (which it turns out is not a type of pasta) said recently:

“I don’t think we have any interest in sort of getting away from controllers and getting away from the core games that got us here. This box was a response, you know, from us to the people that have followed us along and really asked for features for the console. Kinect is about getting other people in the house.”

However when Penello was pressed regarding what games would be coming to the Kinect, he had no answer. Not very comforting considering he is the head of marketing. This got me thinking, in this situation Penello could have surely used his imagination slightly and astounded the devoted cult of Xboxtians, with dreams and visions of the future; he is a marketing executive after all, his job is scewing the truth.

So I thought I’d do his job for him. To those dependable, unwavering, resolute and patriotic Microsoft troupe, here is the Kinectcore range of games.

Half Life: Super Smash!

One of the gaming worlds most highly regarded titles returns with this exclusive Kinect original. 10 years have passed since the events of Half Life 2 and Gordon Freeman has moved on a great deal from the gun wielding doctor he once was. Settling down on the outskirts of tourist hot spot Ravenholm, Freeman now owns his own crate manufacturing factory: supplying quality wooden boxes to pharmaceutical companys and the arms industry, provides the simple and quiet life style that the once outgoing and extroverted doctor, has always craved.

However disaster strikes when a cluster of headcrabs escape from a nearby zoo and make The Orange Box Co. their new home. Gordon Freeman must now once again utilize his most reliable and effective weapon, in order to reclaim his beloved factory. In Half Life: Super Smash! players armed with the fabled Crowbar, must plough through 15 levels of crate smashing, Headcrab hammering fun.

The Kinects reliable motion sensing software, picks up even the most mundane of player movements and accurately plots swinging trajectory and power to precisely replicate real life physics, using Valve’s state of the art ‘trash’ engine, meaning only the most trained Crowbar commanders, could master the game. After you’ve beaten the main story, take your Crowbar blitzing skills online with a 64 player free for all, or team up with fellow Freeman’s in online Co op and see how long you can weather a relentless hoard of Zombie Headcrabs, with only your crowbar and the guy next to you, to survive.

House of The Kinect

We’ve all been there; stood in the middle of the video game arcade, our pockets full of shrapnel currency, pondering what too spend our precious change on. We could turn to Sega Rally and begrudgingly look on as the counter slowly counts down from sixty to zero, seeing as we are too shit to get to the checkpoint on time. But then we are attracted by something quiet different, a machine with an over eccentric Gothic theme, a machine which wonders us with it’s poorly moulded pistols and most importantly it’s grunting of a hundred seeping zombies, makes this choice irresistible. You approach the machine, choosing single player of course, no fucker is going to steal your glory in split screen, as you slowly progress through this barbaric adventure. Coin after coin is thrown into the slot of terror, the addiction of shooting leather dressed obese mutants in the sternum has become overwhelming. You’ve spent so much money you could have bought the whole arcade, but finally you are on the last glorious level, your once filled pockets now as empty as the governments Christmas party funds, you feel the end is near, the adrenaline gets pumping, an audience of sad onlookers have gathered, you are the king of the Arcade! Before a poorly rendered zombie piranha bites your cheek off, something it turns out, which is more fatal than a chainsaw to the face. You collapse to the floor in distress, you’ll never see the mighty climax, the only victor in this game are the zombies (and the Nazi arcade owner).

Now with new House of the Kinect, you ARE the zombies. Using the Kinects latest camera technology, players take the lead in this drama of love, death and flesh eating. By simply enacting the generic undead actions, your deformed characters will slowly stutter their ways to agents Rogan and G, who will stand no chance as they have no understanding what “RELOAD! SHOOT OUTSIDE OF THE SCREEN” actually means.

Decapitate the hopeless agents with twenty seven different phantoms, including Andy the anorexic axe throwing skeleton and Pablo, a lovable limb tearing immigrant. A griping story line and stunning voice acting will make this a game not to be missed.

Halo: Reach (Out to God) or Halo: Preach

It’s the 26th century and as well as England still looking to claim their first World Cup since 2010, the United Stations Space Command are in the middle of a long winded battle with a collaboration of quirky extra terrestrials known as the Covenant, after a dispute over an unpaid docking fine was blown out of proportion. The future of humanity is looking bleak, the covenant are strong in numbers, human soldiers seem more interested in rolling Warthogs and the Master Chief has been incarcerated after tea bagging and old age pensioner he terminated, after discharging several rounds from something he was asked to experiment called a ‘needler’.

You as humanity’s last hope, take the role of Pope Teddy VII. The covenant are understood to be greatly devout to their religion, their soldiers have been promised that this crusade against humanity will lead to their salvation, as well as a free two week stay in Vegas. As the Pope, the United Stations Something or another, have requested that you exploit this strong belief in faith that the team Covenant possess and attempt to turn them against their leaders, in the name of Nu Catholicism of course.

Using the Kinect, players can physically preach to the Covenant. Cause an alien revolt with Singstaresque game play, follow on screen scripts in an attempt to inspire change. Face recognition takes Reach (Out To God) to a different level, players must done their poker face to appear sincere or face the consequences of a long and painful stoning. Unlock special talents such as the ability to turn water to wine and amass your army. Increase your confidence and charisma skills until the final showdown with the Covenant prophets: an exciting debate in their council chambers.

The Xbox Marketing Department are requesting any new ideas. It seems as though they are short of a few.   read

10:03 AM on 06.21.2010

Hate your PSP and want to protect the environment? A career at BP awaits.

The PSP is dead. This is by no means a groundbreaking statement, it’s been on the way out for some time now, overpowered by the family friendly Nintendo DS and even recently, superseded by the success of the iPhone. Gamers where amazed by the power of Sony’s glossy hand held machine when it was first released many years ago. We were over excited by the prospect of a card based Metal Gear Solid and fooled into believing, that UMDs would soon replace CDs and DVDs as a mainstream media, only for them to be in turn, pushed aside by the success of Blue Rays, downloads and TV streaming.

I remember buying one when it was first released in England, searching high and low around the streets of North London for one value pack of joy. I eventually found one in a HMV and splashed out a couple of hundred pound on the console itself, as well as a crap international Football game and Ape Academy, which was about as fun as having your eye balls barbecued, while they were still in their sockets.

The Nazi Sony regime even bought out the Volkswagen of games consoles, a PSP for the people, in the form of the PSP Go, as an attempt to resuscitate it’s car crash victim of a console. The bastards at Sony thought they could cash in with the PSP Go’s “unique” download store, where customers could purchase their games, coincidentally the only place where customers could purchase their games. Thankfully, consumers saw through this Sonopoly of a trap and the Japanese corporation are now offering Ten free game downloads with every new PSP Go bought.

So with Sony all but abandoning the PSP ship (before boarding a glitzy PSP 2 vessel), is there anything they can do with this tired device, to restore their reputation points with the public? I have the answer.

If you have been able to divert your eyes from the glitz and glamour of E3 and England, playing like eleven dead cows, at the world cup for 5 minutes, you will have probably heard reports that BP are in a bit of predicament. A rig in the gulf of Mexico has exploded and now around 60,000 barrels of oil are leaking from a pipe into the ocean per day; thats roughly the same amount of oil that is needed to power Zac Efron’s hair straighteners per week, probably. As well as the shear amount of oil being wasted, local wildlife is in serious danger. Birds native to the New Orleans area, are being hunted by George Bush for their crude oil soaked feathers and used as a cheaper alternative to petrol, for his millions of Pick-Up trucks found in the southern states.

In an attempt to rectify the situation BP have chosen to plug up this hole, with everything from tyres, to golf balls, to Russell Brand’s pubic hair, with this doing nothing but assuring that next years PGA tour, will be played with Kinder Eggs. But this is where you and Sony could get involved. The PSP would be perfect for fixing a problem of this magnitude, with its jagged edges and grease absorbing surface. Albeit many millions will be needed, but their is certainly no shortage of the docile console. First of all Sony will need to encourage this new movement, by withdrawing their consoles from all stores from Argos to Best Buy as a gesture of good will and to get accumulation of the mark. Next Sony must set up an appeal, an appeal the size and spectacle of Live 8 in order to gather more support for this humanitarian operation. They could have Muse headlining in New York, the band could finish with ‘Hysteria’; the lyrics “I want you now, I want you now” will be more than enough to encourage people to jump on the Sony wagon. Bono can come on stage in Berlin and say something completely uninspiring, like “We need each and every one of you, to give generously and save our delicate planet, yeah, yeah yeah”. Prick

Temporary collection points in every major city from Paris to Tokyo will be needed in the next stage of the operation. The masses of inspired gamers will come forth with their planet saving consoles, with celebrities such as Johny Depp and Megan Fox, donating hundreds of PSPs, that they have salvaged from scrap heaps around the world. UMDs could also be accepted: their fragile plastic casings will be ideal in filling the minute gaps in the worlds most technological cement mix, when they inevitably shatter as they are forced into the well.

After months of hard work and resource gathering, the great Sony sealant will be ready. D-Day arrives and the world will watch on as this mass media broadcast event comes to it’s climax. Sony Chairman Howard Stringer, will stand side by side with Bono, as together they watch millions of Earth protecting PSPs, dropped down the Oil Tunnel of doom. After a few minutes of anticipation, a massive LED screen behind these two saviours of the planet will illuminate simply with the word “SUCCESS”. The whole world population will explode into cheers and salutations, as our salvation is secured and Bono will declare something completely uninspiring, like “Together we have sealed our planets future, yeah”. Prick.

So the decision is yours, conserve our globes destiny, or alternatively trade in your old PSP, buy Red Dead Redemption and travel around punching Elks in the throat for days on end.   read

5:09 PM on 06.20.2010

Kinect with me

Let’s face it, E3 was generally unremarkable. The Extravagant Los Angeles games expo failed to reveal many surprises; with Nintendo the only one of the three giants of the gaming industry, to present anything truly inspiring. The new Nintendo 3DS looks fantastic and many journalists claim that it actually works, works well in fact. As well as this the big N show boated a brand new Zelda title, which looks as brilliant as 2003′s Wind Waker upon first impressions; while a new Donkey Kong game brings back memories of the joys I had playing DK: Country as a 5 year old.

But as a 360 owner, I could only look on as an interested bystander at this. Microsoft still had their moments though; a brand new Xbox 260 250gb (a slimmer version on the original, which they are carefully not branding as ‘slim’) was unveiled to the world, making retailers slash prices on all Premiums and Elites. As well as this Microsoft manifested a gore fest of a video, featuring Call of Duty: Black ops, Gears of War 3, Halo Reach and Metal Gear Solid Rising; four titles which will make any hardcore gaming fan drool like Ashley Cole at a swimsuit contest.

But Microsoft’s main party piece this year, was their new add on to their console, the Kinect. In the ultimate show of flattery to their Japanese rivals, Microsoft looks to open up the 360 to casual gamers with their motion sensing peripheral. The Kinect works by tracking the players movements by using three different cameras and using these actions to influence the game play. What makes the Kinect different from the Wii’s and Sony’s upcoming motion control systems, is the fact that their is no need for a physical controller, something that the corporate giants are hoping will make their Xbox more appealing to family’s and new gamers.

This new controller free technology originally came under scrutiny last year, when it was tested by several black Americans; the Kinect failed to recognise their skin colour and thus, everyone thought Bill Gates was the world’s biggest racist. However, the Xbox headquarters were undeterred by these set backs and this year returned to E3 with a system which works. During their preview, Microsoft showcased a few fairly unoriginal titles, including a sports collection and a dance game; but also gave gathering journalists a sneak peak at the intriguing Kinect Adventures! which I can only describe as an interactive platformer, as well as a brand new Star Wars title, which was well received by the Los Angeles audience.

Now the thing which surprises me, is the fact that I seem to be very excited by Microsoft’s new venture, despite my poor experience with the Wii. Christmas two years ago I was given Nintendo’s tiny entertainment system and for a while I loved it. The Wii was something intriguing and genuinely fun to play. I remember battling against friends on Wii Bowling. I recall immersing myself into Resident Evil 4 (which coincidentally, I found to be the scariest Resident Evil title). But within 2 months, the honeymoon period was over and I was back on my Xbox. I just wanted to sit down and play after a day at college, not faff about with bringing my physical age down on Wii fit.

So this brings me back to the Kinect and my dilemma with it. There’s no doubting it will be an exciting release, but will it like the Wii, be no more than a fad. Part of me hopes not, part of me wants it to succeed. The part of my body which has been infected by Microsoft and their promises of revolutionary gaming. I can imagine me and my parents, booting up the Kinect for the first time on December 25th, marveling at the sheer power of the camera, the holy grail of gaming. “This is the future!” we’ll all shout, as we hold our arms out like extras from the Thriller video and pretend to drive around our fairly representative avatars on screen. Like the holodeck from Star Trek, we’ll spend all our free time with the Kinect (hopefully it won’t entrap us like so many Next Generation episodes resulted in), we’ll beef up with it’s new fitness game and it will make the whole family, a better group of people. I’ll invite all my friends over and we could have a Kinect party (possibly a little more exciting then a Windows 7 party) where I’d challenge my friends to a show down in Kinect Boxing, we’ll all end up taking it too far, start pummeling each other and then tell it at future Kinect partys, as a great anecdote.

But then after 2 months, the honeymoon will be over and the Kinect will sit their neglected, like an old Chinchilla that once brought so much joy, but now sits there and does fuck all but stare into the abyss in it’s docile little world. I’ll hate the fact that the motion capture on the Star Wars game, makes me fight like Obi Wan Kenobi after 3 spliths, I’ll get frustrated that I keep loosing to my mum on Kinect Sports, I’ll lose friends because of my unsuccessful Kinect partys (TM), but most of all I’ll be bitter at the fact that vast amounts of money has been wasted on something that now collects dust, next to my 360. The Xbox however will remain as active and jolly as ever (until I get my second red ring of death at least), because I have the magical powers of a wireless controller and I’ll be just as happy as I was before this whole thing started.   read

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