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5:51 PM on 02.02.2009

10 Things You Never Knew About Junglistgamer

1.I love Guardian Heroes and have a story about it. When I was about 13 years old I got a new pair of rollerblades and my mum took me to a local rink. Whilst skating around I slipped and broke my wrist. My mum didn't believe me and made me skate around for another half hour, still refusing to believe that i had broken a bone for the rest of the day. The next morning when my wrist had swollen and i was in agony, she took me to A&E and lo and behold it was broken. Out of sheer guilt she bought me a new game, that game was Guardian Heroes.

2. I don't just listen to Jungle.

3. I'm a socialist, vegetarian, feminist pacifist. In short I am the liberal agenda made flesh.

4. I've been playing games since the age of 3. My earliest memories are of a port of Dig Dug for the IBM 186.

5. I play Starcraft at least once a year against my dad. It is my favourite game and the game we played most together when I was little.

6. I have bought and played Half Life 2 on two separate occasions and on different formats. At neither point have I enjoyed myself.

7. I once went into a used bookstore that also sold hardcore porn. I'm such a geek that rather than buying anything with a naked woman in it, i picked up a rare copy of Judge Dredd: The Pit. Judge Dredd is my favourite comic book character.

8. I have a recurring nightmare in which myself, my dad and my sister are chased through the Arndale centre in Manchester by Daleks. The nightmare always ends with us being pushed into a giant meat grinder.

9. I have a degree in Philosophy and my favourite philosophical text is 'Anti-Semite and Jew' by Jean-Paul Sartre. It explores the way that prejudice stems from a desire to simplify the world and absolves individuals of the responsibility to make judgments about the people around them.

10. Junglistgamer doesn't agree with anything you say but would defend to the death your right to say it.   read

1:34 PM on 11.09.2008

Penny-Arcade Childsplay Charity - Alder Hey Children's Hospital

Thought i'd put up a C-Blog just in case anyone isn't aware that you can donate a game to Alder Hey (The Uk's biggest children's hospital), clicking the link on takes you directly to an amazon page with the children's wishlists. You can see how many copies of a game are outstanding and can buy them a new or used copy of any item where a used version is available

I figured since SingSterling/Extra Life did so well, the gaming community might like to donate to their local hospital as well, and if you didn't get round to donating to SingSterling, heres a chance to set your karma straight ;)   read

5:18 PM on 11.04.2008

A Time To Build: When Homeworld met Star Wars

As someone who's gaming roots lie in PC gaming, there are any number of classic strategy franchises that i'll remember fondly for time immemorial. Star/Warcraft, C&C, Age of Empires, Total War, Civilization, all stand as titans of the genre that still receive praise and new installments to this day. For the purposes of this article, i'll be discussing perhaps a lesser known entry in the strategy pantheon - Homeworld.

For the uninitiated, Homeworld, Homeworld: Cataclysm and Homeworld 2 are a series of fully 3D, space based RTS games. You control a mothership housing the frozen bodies of your entire race and are tasked with negotiating through deep space to bring your civilisation back to it's roots on the other side of the galaxy. The game was fantastic, combining then cutting edge graphics with deep but intuitive gameplay and a slick control system which handled the fully 3D environment incredibly well. Of course, it wasn't long before the modding community saw an opportunity to re-enact any space-opera that sprung to mind. Babylon 5 was the first mod i tried but it was only when someone hit upon the glaringly obvious but nevertheless genius idea of laying the Star Wars universe on top of Homeworld's stunning gameplay and graphics engine that nerdvana was attained.

This was geek heaven, to be able to take on a Super Star-Destroyer from an Admiral's perspective, or conversely to cleanse the galaxy of those rebel scum on such a grand scale was utterly delectable. Not only could i send whole squadron's of Millennium Falcons on bombing runs against gigantic capital ships, the Homeworld engine allowed you to zoom in on a single unit, following it as it swoops and dives over the enemy. Never before or since have i seen the modding community so perfectly combine an incredibly versatile game engine with such an iconic setting.

It wasn't perfect, mods rarely are. There were glitches here and there, the unit model for super star/star destroyers were basically the same but scaled up in size and I never got to control an actual Death Star but what gripped me was the sense of a franchise being ripped away from those who would traditionally control it and placed in the hands of the people who loved it most. The lore and background of Star Wars provided the modders with endless templates to place over the Homeworld tech-tree. Harvesters became corellian frigates, corvette's became the aforementioned millennium falcons and of course the fighters on either side were transformed into X-Wings and TIE-Fighters that could duke it out in epic swarms, bobbing and weaving in formation around one another. If the story of Star Wars is a space-opera, this was a sci-fi ballet choreographed by the player's imagination.

The production values could never match those of an officially licensed game. There was no canonical story to be pored over, no big-name voice actor attached and zero contribution from big GL himself. Just the sense of a community making it's own dreams for what could be done with the franchise come true. That's what made it special, and that's why i'll remember playing Homeworld and this wonderful mod for a long, long time.   read

2:32 PM on 10.28.2008

Red light, green light, stuck in a hole

Ok so quoting an old wildhearts song doesn't necessarily imply intellectual sophistication but after reading Jim's news post about the traffic light system soon to be inflicted on British gamers i felt this definitely deserves broader comment.

I'm not entirely opposed to ratings systems, despite certain issues around Manhunt i've been happy enough with the BBFC's policy towards games, in general i feel that when i play an 18 rated game i'm witnessing something similar to what i'd see in an 18 rated film. The reason why this new traffic light system will be problematic in comparison are twofold.

First, it reduces the accuracy of age ratings. The U/PG/12/15/18 system used by films and often by games allows several distinct levels of gradation. It allows us to tell between a sexual reference and sexually explicit material or between, for example, COD4 violence and Gears of War gore. My worry is that due to concerns about games falling into the hands of those supposedly too young to play them, the definition of what counts as a 'red' game could be much broader than what constitues an 18. The BBFC operate their own standards and act as an essentially independent agency, however the traffic light system's introduction as an aid to parents could result in a much more conservative attitude to game ratings. For example, the BBFC would rate Mass Effect as a 15. It contains mild sexual content and fantasy/sci-fi violence so perhaps isn't suitable for a young teen or child, but is probably on par with what a 15 year old could see in the cinema. If the game came under the kind of outside, interest-group-led scrutiny that Mass Effect suffered it could lead to pressure on whichever body controls this rating system to explicitly label it as 'red'. Thus reducing sales and harming the industry.

The second objection that i and i imagine many other gamers would have to this system is that it further fuels the argument that games are an inherently dangerous medium. By grouping games into even broader age ratings and labelling them with a provocative red tag we are treating them almost as if they are on a par with pornography. Since many games with deep and provocative storylines, bioshock or silent hill 2 for example, also contain adult content it would further ghettoise many of the most interesting examples of the medium and possibly even drag us further back to the perception of gaming as a 'kids' medium. No one talks about whether or not the newest Saw or Hostel film should have a special rating to protect it from kids. It's a horror film and an incredibly violent one, we all know it and we all know thats why it has a high age rating. By making a rating system entirely divorced from the one used for films the industry accepts the proposition that games are not only a corrupting influence on children but that they are also intended exclusively for children.

I'm not entirely opposed to the idea that the media, in it's entirety, is a powerful influence on not just young people but everyone in our society. Games as a part of that society have to accept their ability to influence people as part of a wider pop-culture and provide sufficient information for consumers to make informed choices. What the industry doesn't have to accept is that it is something distinct from other forms of entertainment, especially when the distinction they are expected to accept infantilises, insults and demeans the industry as a whole.

The traffic light system is more than just an annoyance, by attempting to mollify that area of the media which constantly attacks gaming (heres looking at you, Daily Mail!) the industry is feeding the objections, denigrating the medium as a whole and basically just shooting itself in the foot.

Opinions?   read

5:26 PM on 10.07.2008

Valve 're-evaluate' PS3 & Wii, let the gossip commence!

As part of the gaming media's ongoing attempt to chart all of Doug Lombardi's daily movements, both bowel and otherwise, 1up has brought us the news that Valve are 're-evaluating' the PS3 and possibly even the Wii. It seems that in light of the shocking development that Sony have managed to actually sell some consoles, it might be worth their sweet time releasing Left 4 Dead on the big black box after all.

This barely counts as news but, since every cloud has a silver lining, the ensuing fanboy flamewar may just rocket me to the top of destructoid's rankings and the world of hookers and cocaine i have NO DOUBT will be waiting for me at the top.

For further non-details, check out   read

4:06 PM on 08.20.2008

Sympathy for the Fanboys

We all know that fanboys are a hateful thing, a terrible nuisance that afflicts the internet. They spout their irrational views on any website that will let them sign up and denounce some of the greatest games of this generation whilst promoting the worst all in the name of defending their purchase. That being said, i wanted to post a bit of a personal experience, a 'coming of age' story if you will charting my own psychological transition to a more, if not mature, then at least open minded view of gaming .

Don't get me wrong, i've never said another console is worthless, at the most the occasional good humoured poke at a friend who owned the 'rival' system to mine, all in a spirit of fun. I have however noticed a definite shift in my own perspective after acquiring a second system.

The best example i can give, would be the respective online services of each console. When i was strictly an XBOX360 gamer, it came across as such a superior service. The speed and ease of setting up a game versus the widespread criticism of Sony's online service seemed obvious. I even, for my sins, chuckled when GTA4 launched and Sony's servers went haywire.

I recently picked up a PS3, mainly for MGS4 but i have a couple of other titles for it as well and suddenly, despite it's flaws, the online service became so much more appealing. My live subscription ran out a few weeks ago, an event that would normally have me stopping by Blockbuster on the way home from work to pick up another 3-month card but now that i have access to free-to-play online multiplayer, I've just not been motivated to spend that extra money. What once seemed like a tiny burden, a negligible expense now seems almost ridiculously over priced. I find myself tempted to buy the PS3 edition of a multiplayer game, rather than the 360 version simply to avoid that added expense.

In summary, for all that i've mocked the fanboys in the past. Claimed to be an even handed observer of the 'console wars' i have to admit that only posessing one system warped my viewpoint WITHOUT EVEN REALISING. That's why i wanted to post this. I'm not defending the fanboys. They are still immature children that waste my time and yours but in many ways, it's not their fault. The fanboys don't know thats what they are because when you can only afford one console, or the purchase of a second or third seems too far off to be tangible, your choice has to be rationalised. Simply saying, 'this is mine and that is yours, we can all get along' doesn't work. If you're a kid who only gets one opportunity every generation to acquire a console, or an adult who's toiled away in the rat race to pick up a system - it hurts to think that time was wasted or to know you'll have to wait 4 or 5 years to simply have a chance to correct your error. Much the same as a jilted lover will claim it was they that did the dumping, a failed console owner can feel much the same.

This post probably seems obvious to most, but i wanted to get this off my chest. Call it a fanboy equivalent of alchoholics anonymous. It's a habit i've broken, but if my 360 dies or the PS3's library doesn't pick up, i might just fall off the wagon again.

My names Junglistgamer, and i'm a fanboy. It's been 2 months now since my last irrational anti-PS3 comment, but i'm still just taking it one day at a time.   read

3:43 PM on 08.18.2008

UK Bank Holiday imminent, good opportunity to game or PERFECT opportunity to game?

So as we're all aware it's t-minus 7 days and counting til a huge swathe of the british population gets a governmentally sanctioned day off work. Since we can reliably predict the weather and our own geeky predilections will keep us inside, what games will you be trying out, revisiting or taking online with your free time?

Personally i'm torn between a replay of MGS4 and finally giving Dead Rising some attention, anyone else got gaming plans for the bank holiday, indeed if your reindeer games are taking you online this could be an opportunity to set up a 'bank holiday monday daytime fight' so anyone with an interest in that could speak up as well.

Take it away folks.   read

7:50 AM on 07.26.2008

Why there will be no mainstream controversy around RE5 and Fat Princess

I've some people commenting, particularly some editors on podtoid, about the controversy around these games and i believe, although i may be wrong, that Jim Sterling said that he believes the backlash against the above games will be even more severe when the mainstream press gets hold of them. I would like to refute that argument.

Video Game controversies and the media outlets which perpetuate them do so because they push certain buttons, specifically ones relating to the sexualisation of children (hot coffee) or encouraging violence amongst children (manhunt). They use these 'hot button' issues because they are near-universal in their shock value. Maintaining the innocence of children towards sex and violence are values shared by such a huge segment of society to such a high degree, even though they are so hypocritically touted by the same people who do NOTHING to stem the tide of imbuing consumerism in children and sexualising them from an increasingly early age, that the GTA/Manhunt scandals were bound to get extensive coverage.

Racism and sexism however, are not hot button issues in the truest sense. The readership of the Daily Mail, Telegraph and other conservative media sources will inevitably respond to any accusation of racism or sexism whatever the medium in which it is contained with,

"Political correctness has GONE MAD"

It is well within the realm of possibility that organisations with little or no sympathy towards anti-racist or anti-sexist viewpoints will make a huge hypocritical leap from denouncing 'murder simulators' to giving zero coverage to these issues.

Don't get me wrong, i definitely do not think that any serious malice lies behind the design of resident evil 5 and fat princess. Even though i'm willing to accept that some black people might feel uncomfortable with the imagery of RE5, i doubt any serious person would call it outright racist although it may be a little insensitive.

I don't want a backlash against these games, they both look fantastic, but i would rather see a nation up in arms over bigotry and hatred than mindless rabble rousing in the name of 'the children' and i think it's worth commenting that although these issues will be covered extensively in the gaming press, where they can generate alot of interest and probably fuel game sales, the impact on the wider media will probably be minimal.

How does everyone else feel, do you honestly believe Fat Princess and Resident Evil 5 will have repercussions in the mainstream press or will these controversies sink beneath the surface whilst no ones watching? Also, do you agree with my analysis that racism and sexism wouldn't be considered equal to the protection of children from sexual and violent imagery in terms of their emotional weight and media response?   read

5:42 AM on 07.06.2008

A Cast Of Thousands: Master Chief x 4

Ok, so i'm not going to go into graphic detail about why i enjoyed the first Halo game, it's a huge title and no more needs to be said. What i want to talk about is the way this game introduced me to some people who became close friends and basically helped to make the 3 years i spent at university the best time of my life.

I moved into student halls relatively late on, replacing someone who moved out of a flat and had already made alot of friends. I could have felt ostracised and not bonded with my new room mates and their circle of friends until i found out that our next door neighbour had an xbox, with 4 controllers. Soon we were sat around, a group of 5 or 6 taking turns to play and it was incredible

On a gaming level, it convinced me that an FPS could be pulled off on a console - socially it was much much more. It was a common bond between people who perhaps didn't have alot else in common, we came from different parts of the country, had different tastes in music, different backgrounds and different personalities but in Halo we were all equal. No one really dominated Halo, we just had fun with it for endless hours at a time. It resolved all disputes when you could turn to the person who'd left all their washing up in the sink or if you hadn't pitched in you could always just say...

"Halo, mate?"

I don't really care about the naysayers, those who say it's a flawed game. I will forever be loyal to this franchise because of the endless fond memories i have about it. Sharing with the same circle of friends our disappointment with the ending of Halo 2 and now that time has passed and i'm at a different stage in my life, i'm using Halo 3 to get my oldest friend into a genre of video games he has always been intimidated by. He's not a gamer, and used to refuse to play any games because 'it all looks a bit intense for me' but now he's hooked!

God bless you Master Chief, for all the disappointments you've been there for a while now, bringing people together with mindless violence and i'm eternally grateful.   read

1:57 PM on 06.24.2008

Schroedinger's Game

I've come to the conclusion that only theoretical physics can explain the douchebaggery of modern gaming culture. For those who aren't familiar, my ignorant take on schroedinger's cat is the metaphor of a cat in a box, you don't know if the cat is alive or dead until you open the box and create a reality in which that cat is either dead or alive.

How does this relate to gaming? Well, just think of the fanboy rivalry that rages between gamers who have signed up to the MS, Nintendo and Sony armies. They are in the same situation as shroedinger was with his cat. Before they purchase the console or game, they inhabit a reality in which preference between games depends on personal experience. A world in which the FPS fan buys an xbox and the MGS obsessive goes for the PS3 for example. Once that fat wad of cash has been slapped down on the counter however, [i]space and time warp in ways mere man can barely comprehend.
Indeed, after the purchase is made a WHOLE NEW REALITY is formed in which taste and opinion no longer exist and the lump of plastic and metal they purchased becomes the objective winner of the 'console war'. Halo is no longer an accessible shooter with a mediocre campaign but excellent multiplayer mode, it is now either the finest example of the genre or worthless piece of shit. Moderation, and all concepts relating to it as regards attitudes to gaming are sucked into a MIND WARPING DOOM VOID.

Ladies and gentleman, you know it's the truth. Because otherwise we have to accept a different reality, one in which the world of computer and video games is dominated by whining, insecure little fanboy bitches.

Peace out dawg.   read

2:10 PM on 06.23.2008


Ok, i realise i may be breaking some unwritten rule by focusing on two games but i just felt i HAD to speak their names out loud and sing their praises to the masses!

As a child, my father felt that rather than some silly toy like a mega drive or super nintendo i should have an Amiga 500+ as my games console. I resented it at the time, i heard tales of Zelda, Sonic and Mario (rare treats to sample at the houses of my friends) and my mind soared at the action and adventure they represented and there i was, with this hulking 3.5" disk based grey box sat under my television. I calmed down, i accepted there were still excellent games to be had and determined that i must uncover them and so my father and i set off on a quest, a mission greater than any had undertaken before.....


Or something like that anyway. Along the way, my Amiga collection largely resembled my PC games in terms of genre and style. Sure the occasional scrolling shooter or platform game appeared but i was ALL about the strategy and the two games i want to talk about on this blog are Celtic Legends and Mega-Lo-Mania. Firstly, i believe (although would be happy to be corrected) that Celtic Legends never appeared on another system, whereas Mega-Lo-Mania possibly saw a mega drive release, so i accept that these aren't the most familiar titles to the Dtoid community but let me wax lyrical to all of no readers anyway.

Ahh mega lo mania, how i love thee - let me count the ways. To the uninitiated, this was the more action orientated of the two games i'll cover. You basically played the god of a particular group of people and guided them through various epochs in their history. Each epoch was reached after researching a certain amount of technology, possible after acquiring the requisite resources.

So far, so godfather of age of empires. Where the genius came in was the overall wackiness of the presentation. These were malicious gods, fighting like the gods of ancient greece or terry pratchett's discworld over who's tribe would succeed. To accomplish this, you ordered your people to do everything from mine, to breed, to fight, to build, to...well...that's about it Anyway, it was absolutely stunning, especially when you get to the end and after waging war with sticks and stones, catapults, bi planes and nuclear weapons you finally reach the point where OLYMPIAN GODS WAGE WAR WITH UFOs. Yes it's a super weapon that dwarfs the terran battlecruiser, the obelisk of light and those dragons from warcraft 2 because it's a roswell style flying saucer.

In summary, this game was just fantastic for it's time and still would stand up as perhaps a flash or XBLA game. The weirdly passive nature of giving your men orders but not being able to actually direct their actions and the incredible art design and dramatic, wagnerian score all combined to really make you feel like a God.

A god that killed people with the use of flying saucers.


Ok, now i'm done jizzing like a nuclear powered spunk cannon on international spunkday over Mega-Lo-Mania, it's time for a bit more of a european flavour to be added to the mix. Celtic Legends, another strategy game but this time hailing from Ubisoft and carrying a definite gallic tone was a little gem on the Amiga 500+ when i got hold of it. I took the old amiga out just the other day and played it with my dad, fond memories were stirred and in many ways it's what motivated me to post this blog.

This time, we're taking a more sedate approach with a turn-based strategy title. Tactically it's like a cross between warhammer and battlechess. Each unit was animated as it moved around a hexagonal board and carried different properties, some even with special abilities such as sucking the health of an enemy or poisioning them. It seemed so exotic at the time, with it's french unit names even in the english translation and it's almost total obscurity, not just compared to blockbuster SNES/MD games but even in comparison to other Amiga titles. but even beyond this fanboy infatuation, it was still a great game.

Firstly - anyone who thinks modern games are 'epic' needs to try some of these strategy games. I never came close to finishing this title as it was just too huge but that's fine and i don't think it disqualifies me from raving incoherently about how much fun i had with it. The storyline was pretty loose, you commanded an army of angelic creatures against it's mirror opposite demonic foe over marshes, plains, ruins and other generic celtic landscapes. The key to the game though was the tactical combinations.

Anyone who currently enjoys advance wars or final fantasy tactics, would have loved this game back in the day. You could not produce units during a battle, or even during the overarching campaign. You were simply given 'armies' that depleted as you lost units in battle and told to capture certain areas of the overworld, any losses were permanent until you had completed the objective and this made the use of a spare floppy disk to save on ESSENTIAL. Each battle began with your men arranged much like the pieces of a chess board, ranked opposite one another except with perhaps different pathways or obstacles between them. You moved your pawn like 'soldat' units forward, perhaps with a wizard or the super powerful 'arcangel' unit following behind and casting spells. Huge creatures that resembled the big pink Imps from Doom would maul your puny men, only to receive a scorching blast from the wizard in the back row. This game was fantastic, exciting, thoughtful and bloody hard but most importantly bags of fun.

Sadly, it hasn't aged quite as well as mega lo mania. Whilst still looking nice and playing well, the interface of the Amiga and the way you needed to select symbols (i assume of gaelic origin) rather than choose spells from a list led to confusion when i re-played it. I got the hang of it eventually and soon i was challenging my dad to a game which we both enjoyed but i doubt it will appear again. No more erosion of such fond memories is needed, and i am left with the simple pleasures of fond memories.

God bless the Amiga 500+, despite it's shitty mouse and lack of a decent joystick/joypad it was a great machine and it helped spur on a love for strategy games that brough me to such titans of the field as command and conquer, warcraft, starcraft, homeworld, company of heroes and dawn of war.

Although i still really wish i got the chance to play Zelda when i was 10.

Anyone who found this enjoyable in the slightest, just send me one positive comment and i'll probably gush about the wonders of Cannon Fodder in another blog, bye!   read

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