Thursday 20 December 2007

PS3 Kicks Ass, or just kick the PS3's Ass...

Okay, so Max finally got himself a PS3, and in usual pose-o-matic style, brought it round on Tuesday night for my expert opinion. Against all odds, I... ... ... liked it. Admittedly, I still would not fork out the money Sony are asking for one, but it was not the testicle sized iron maiden experience I expected it to be. Before trying out the game(s) that Max had also procured, I set about finding out how it could be abused. I must admit, I did like the ability to remotely access it from my PSP. It gave me the same feeling that I get when I have to remotely access computers as part of my regularly paid employment, that sort of 'hacker, but a friendly one' type of feeling. Then we put in Virtua Fighter 5. And the PSP could not handle it. Considering how Sony seem to go out of their way to prove that they are different and better than Microsoft, they still succumb into the same pitfalls.

So, PS3. Yes, but no.

Virtua Fighter 5 on the other hand... Oh yes. Yes indeed. Max brought round a handful of games, but we did not progress any further than this one. What a sublime gaming experience! I have been a fan of VF since it's inception, and apart from the most recent title obviously, I have every incarnation of this epoch making series. I even have all of it's bastard offspring, like VF Kids, Fighting Vipers, Last Bronx and Fighters Megamix. These are all good games - but really Virtua Fighter has always been up and above anything else. It is one of those few games where each sequel spawned is a whole world of improvement over the last. Even Tekken pales in comparison. Tekken has always been okay, but nothing has ever made me want to stick with it. After years of Streetfighter, and thinking 'Where on earth can they go from here?' Almost the very next day, I clapped my peepers on Virtua Fighter arcade. Real martial arts on screen in front of me! And not just stuffy boring moves, spin kicks and suplexes! I desperately went about learning all of the moves - on the controller as well as physically. As a budding martial artist, I saw a whole new way to add to my fighting skills. As a result, I am Jacky Bryant!

No other game has had the same effect on me, and with every new version, that feeling of excitement and ability returns. The Graphics, the moves, the backgrounds, characters, fighting styles, personalities, effects... there is no part of the game I am not completely bowled over with. And they don't have to rely on cheap tricks like big tits in the way that certain other titles have resorted to.

Only one thing ruined the whole experience. That was when the wireless controller started to run out of charge. And there was not a spare USB cable. Something I was expecting from the PS3. Way to fuck up an excellent winning streak!

Speaking of fucking up something excellent - come on Sony, get the Playstation Store sorted out guys, I want Gran Turismo 2!

Friday 14 December 2007

SNK vs. the world

I'll be the first to admit that I am sometimes a little slow on the uptake, but the last few weeks a revalation has hit me between the eyes.

I have always quite liked SNK's fighting games but have always been leaning heavily towards Capcom's Strret fighter games for preference. I have found that they are more accessible and easier to master and that SNK had fidly controls and odd characters (Choi Bounge, Earthquake, etc).

Fatal fury I liked a lot because it felt a bit like street fighter, but the king of fighters never quite did it for me.

But now ten years on, and with street fighter 4 more than a year away (more on that later), I have been snapping up King of fighters games for 4 and 5 quid.
This time I have been practicing hard and have come to the conclusion that they might actually be better than Streetfighter!

Before Galford vomits blood at this sacriligious statement, let me explain...

I will always love Street fighter perhaps more than any other games out there but even as a loyal Capcom fanboy, I have to admit that some of their releases have been lazy remixes of previous games with little to distinguish them apart.
I will always buy each and every fighter they release but I know that they will never push me out of comfort zone and make me earn my skills.

SNK however reinvent the wheel with almost every KOF title buy changing the moves and the rules. It's also interesting to see how so many of their ideas made their way into the capcom vs. series.

So does that mean that KOF is better than SF?

Perhaps not but its a very close call, besides I for one am very glad to have rediscovered the joys of KOF and maybe I should spend a little more time with Samurai showdown and Guilty Gear.

Of course, the best damn fighting game in existance is Capcom vs. SNK 2 so that says it all really.

With Street Fighter 4 heading into psuedo 3d territory, I wonder if one day we can look forward to SF vs Tekken, Capcom vs Virtua fighter or Dead or alive vs Bloody roar.

OK, thats enough rambling for now.

Tuesday 11 December 2007

And About Time Too!

Okay, so I have always been annoyed that Gran Turismo Mobile never surfaced for the PSP. Despite some of the games I own, like all other Sony Products I have come into contact with I thought that the PSP was really failing to hit the mark when it came to gaming satisfaction. I also think that it is the least portable of all the extensive handheld gaming technology that I own. I had heard rumblings from the 'underground movement' that it was very possible to play PS1 games on the PSP. This excited me, as I always believed that the very limited collection of original Playstation titles I own would go very well on a PSP, as games like Tenchu completely outshine their portable counterparts.

But the PSP is a very expensive piece of kit, and the only way I knew of playing such games involved custom firmware, downgrading, upgrading, the chance of bricking the fucker, downloading pirated games, a certain amount of incompatibility, etc, etc... Basically, I did not want to run the risk of ruining what is undeniably a great piece of kit by experimentation and inexact sciences. But then, I heard about the Playstation Store.

Initially, this (like so many other aspects of Sony) was shaping up to be a total let-down. For starters, it was only accessible through the PS3. A games console I really, really don't want to own. This was going to make it a store for total loyalists. Secondly, I thought that knowing Sony, games weren't going to be cheap. Therefore, imagine my excitement when recently I discovered that someone with half a brain in the huge conglomerate decided to put it out for the general public via the Sony site. Then, imagine my glee when after signing up and boosting my PSP to a frankly dizzying firmware version I found that classics like Wipeout and Destruction Derby only cost about £3.50 each for a direct download to my PSP, with the added bonus of free demos and trailers! This is the sort of thing I like to expect from big gaming companies. I had always liked the idea of Virtual Console on the Wii, and hoped that others would jump on what seemed to be a very sensible bandwagon. The online store itself has only been running for 2 months, and it does seem that the classic games have undergone a little modification to improve compatibility with the PSP. Therefore, at present there only seem to be a handful of titles available. But hopefully soon, the back-catalogue will broaden and I will have the chance to have games like Gran Turismo 2, Streetfighter EX Plus Alpha, and Tenchu 2 on a system that I can finally carry around with me without having to lug bagfuls of very fragile UMDs too.

Congratulations Sony, you finally did something right. Hats off to you! (Now back on again. It's fucking COLD here!)

- Galford

Thursday 6 December 2007

Passion reborn....or the rebirth of HADOUKEN!!!!

We here at are proud and sometimes smug faced fanboys of streetfighter and a load of other fighty-jumpy-bitchslapathonic-biff'em ups.
Recently though I have found I have drifted away from the genre I have always loved so dearly. I have continued to buy most fighting games that come out but have generally been uninspired by them.

SVC chaos, Mortal Kombat deception, Tekken dark resurection and Neo geo collosium have all graced the gaming shelf in the last year or so but having played each for about half an hour there they have stayed.

Then a few things happened....

I recently visited Galford and got beaten more thoroughly than he has any right to expect on Street fighter Alpha 3, Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Street fighter 3. This caused shame upon my face on quiverrings of the lip (not really I'm a badass really...but anyway).

Street fighter 4 was anounced and the promo video doing the rounds for it has me very very very very very very excited indeed. I will use it as an excuse to buy a xbox 360 (I hope and pray it isn't a PS3 exclusive or I will be very upset but probably fork out the cash anyway.

Then insomnia and illness hit me and I was feeling pretty pissed off with noisy neighbours and bloody giunea bloody pigs bloody chewing bloody their bloody bars bloody bloody bloody!!!!!
I needed to lose the agression in a hurry and Street fighter 3 jumped from the shelf with a triple salto split legged moonsault into my xbox (ok thats a lie)

I began badly with a vague memory of the newer characters I resorted to Ryu and Ken.
I lost and lost and lsot and lost again, and then I began to get my touch back. Before an hour was up I was stringing together mindblowing combos and cursing like a blue-arsed sailor who has just lost a Mr. Blue arse competition.

The love was back.
I was a happy man.
I was king of the world.
And then Gill appears!

Anyway, having finally beat him using a frankly embarrising ammount of continues, I felt it was time for a change.

Surely SVC chaos couldn't be as bad as I remember it.
Lets give it another try.
Hmm, this is one ugly game.....although the pyrotechnics are pretty sweet.
Didn't do to well, the timing is screwed up.
One more go....
A bit better that time.
Maybe just one more try.
Lost again.
I wonder.....
(picks up instruction book for the first time)
Oooh you can play as Violent Ken and Zero from Megaman, and the reason the moves aren't working is....
Got it, yayayayayaya I'm doing great.

Hang on Aren't I supposed to hate this game?

Well, I will be reviewing SVC chaos at some point in the future but I will leave you with this thought...

Practice really does make perfect and the thing I had forgotten in this age of instant thrills and take-your-hand tutorials is that in the days of the megadrive, games were harder and the more you played them the better they got.
You don't have to be able to finish every game and flashy graphics can hide a dog but sometimes the ugly games do have a wonderful personallity if you learn to look deeper.

Signing off for now
The phenomonal Zigganoid Bonkneck

Thursday 22 November 2007

Live soft, Die with a Hard...

Rather belatedly, I actually sat down to watch Die Hard 4.0 last night. It's one of those sorts of films where I plan to watch it in the Cinema, then having missed that, I plan to rent it. Then it gets put out on general release, so I make a note to get a copy. Then it makes budget, and I think to myself 'Yes, I really, really will get it now.' Then, finally my brother in law lends it to me and after it collects around 2 months of dust on my shelf, I finally get round to watching it.

This happens to a lot of DVDs in my household.

Now I am typical Hollywood fodder. I love the occasional action no-brainer, of which this fits squarely into a very large peg. However, this film is exactly like every other Internet-computer-hacker film out there.

Sooner or later, every action hero film star has to be in a film about computer hackers taking over the world. But I can't help but think that this is totally surreal. Computers and Internet connections were super-fast, the OS (obviously not Windows and thankfully not OSX) Gave no errors, or dialog boxes of any kind... and it seems that the mouse has been completely dispensed with. The whole of the US monetary network seems to be hackable from a Palm Tungsten E with a rubber keyboard, and everything went completely smoothly. Naah.

In reality, the script would've contained lines like:

'Virus is now uploading sir. His computer will be completely useless in... 3 hours... providing he doesn't turn his computer off and reboots when we have finished.'

'Patch me though to the Main Street Camera.'
'I can't sir. We have the wrong graphics driver.'

'Has the money been transferred to my account?'
'Don't know sir, I have forgotten the Internet Banking password.'

I can't help but think that the director has obviously got consultants there to help with the 'lingo' and the technical detail, but then he keeps overruling them saying things like 'But that's not fast enough.' or 'That's just too boring.' Or my personal favourite - 'I don't like that. But then, I don't know anything about all this computer crap.'

I just love it when people refer to my field of expertise as crap. You know who you are, you fuckers.

Next week, I plan to review a children's classic film, where Rupert the Bear learns how to download porn.

- Galford.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Look, Just Belt Up!

Okay, so I'm going to start with a bit of personal indulgence. At the weekend, more specifically Sunday afternoon, my social status upgraded quite significantly. After spending nearly 4 hours in a Birmingham sports centre, I attained a frankly dizzyingly high qualification in my other main chosen sport and past-time. I became a 3rd Dan Black belt in Karate. There are not many things in life that I can honestly say I have stuck with over the years of my existence. But I have been into Martial Arts for a very long time. Somewhere in the realms of 22 years. I love it as a sport and method of fitness - and to be quite honest, if I didn't partake in Karate, I would be completely obese, I'm sure of it. I'm also fairly sure that if it wasn't for games such as Streetfighter 2, Final Fight, Virtua Fighter and Double Dragon to name but a few, I would not be where I am today.

Anyway, on with today's post. I think I'll try doing it in a fighting pose.

Max and Baz came over Tuesday night. This is my allocated games night. My significant other works in the evening, so once I have put the kids to bed, the night is my own. This week, it hailed the return of the Dreamcast.

Now, I play practically nothing but fighting games when Zig graces my humble front room, but when party no. 2 come to visit, there is really only one game that will do. Toy Commander. Now I know that there are many games out there that would wipe the floor with this little DC title, but as I'm sure most gamers will agree - sometimes a game just fits the bill perfectly. And more times than not, it's one that you least expect. Between us, we have really clocked up the man-hours on Toy Commander. It's a wonderful game. You can choose between ground-based vehicles such as tanks and Jeeps, helicopters and aeroplane themed vehicles. Ground vehicles are a little boring, unless you like being strafed to death. Helicopters tend to be sitting ducks, so we spend most of the time in aeroplanes. The fantastic thing about Toy Commander though, and the thing that constantly brings us back is the fact that the game is played from a child's perspective. Planes don't stall, you don't blackout pulling a 9G dive. If someone is chasing you down, you simply nose-dive the ground and turn on a dime to face them. Try doing any of that in Ace Combat! Ammo comes in the form of pencils, erasers, drawing pins and firecrackers. Wonderfully harmless - and the whole game gives you the feeling you had when you were a child, running round with a matchbox aeroplane making engine noises with your lips. While at the same time, it is one of the most engaging games when it comes to dogfights. But best of all, this game has no online function. Which means it is played with people in the same room as you.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against online play. I do think that it leads to total social deprivation though. If I shoot someone in Toy Commander, there's something quite fulfilling about having them swear at me from a distance usually not more than 2 yards away...

HIYAAAH!! (Crick) Ow.

- Galford.

Friday 9 November 2007

Just when you thought it was safe...

...They released the iPhone in the UK. Great. Excuse me while I rush out and not buy one.

Just when I thought people bragging about their wonderful white frontal lobe replacement in the discomfort of our homes and offices was just about within the realms of my pain threshold, now people can do it in the street too. It was bad enough that these Macophiles spent the entire time pissing all over PCs like they are personally allergic to them, now they are going to start doing it with phones as well.

Apple are still of the belief that adding 'i' before otherwise very mundane words suddenly makes them very cool. Well, how about the iTrowel, or iFingernails, or iDysentery? No, they are not cool.

Well, how about this: I don't give an iFuck about your iCrappy alternative technology. I don't iFucking iNeed to iChange my phone, mp3 player or iFrigging iPC (I'll bet that hurt) because you iRetarded iTwats say that everything except Apple products are the iDevil's iShit!

I am quite happy with my Nokia n70, my Creative Zen, and my Dell Latitude D600. They do what I want. Just because they don't give me an iBlowjob whenever I'm using them doesn't mean that they are not up to the job. Shove it up your iAss! Go away and play with your iBalls! (eyeballs? No one gets me!)

Thank you. I'll get off my iSoapbox now.

- Galford.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

I hate to say I told you so...

..but I did. Sonic and Mario in a game together. I knew it was only a matter of time. The frankly gut wrenching site of the spiky blue hedgehog and the gay plumber playing table tennis together required more than just a double-take at our local Toys R Us.

I think I broke my neck.

Back in my much younger days, there was a time when a malicious rumour circulated that Sega and Nintendo were planning to make a console together. Now I knew that this would never happen, as a devoted Segaphile, I knew this would never happen. I also saw an entire flock of pigs in full flight the day Sega announced that they were disbanding their hardware division. Digression aside, it did set me thinking though. It would only be a matter of time before we saw the two flagship characters in an official game together. I wrote an email to the then almost completely unknown Teletext entity known as Digitiser on the subject. It provoked a substantial response, considering the incredibly limited following that it had. That was nearly eight years ago. An age in the great scale of computer games... Many disagreeing, many really disagreeing.

But don't get me wrong. I have nothing against games coming together. Some of my favourite games are amalgamations. Marvel Vs Capcom, Fighters Megamix, Kingdon Hearts, Capcom Vs SNK... hell, I even have Battletoads v Double Dragon on MegaDrive somewhere... but this allegiance, while inevitable, is just strange. It would like teaming up Lamborghini and Ferrari. Yes, they both make great cars. Yes, they have years and years of pedigree and design. But... Why? It would be a disaster for one or both factions!

I always thought Sega and Nintendo coming together would be like sleeping with the enemy, and while I wait with baited breath to see what will come of this unholy alliance, I also wonder what the bastard offspring of a mach 2 marsupial and a stunted comical rogue trader woudl look like...

- Galford.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Error - Title Too Short!

Okay, so I have finally found a reason to buy a next generation console. One game is coming out that nakes it all worthwhile. A game that I have been subconsciously waiting for for over twenty years now. Come on, if you know me, you know which game I am talking about.

Streetfigher 4.

Now, I am going to try to get through this post without making references to Hyper Mega Super Tournament 2.3 Level 3 Super Buggery 2 x Alpha 9. (Dammit, failed already) But this is a game that is a wild card in the gaming pack. This is because I take a very cynical view to games as of late. Quite often, I will not buy a game because I simply do not like the sound of it. There are many titles that fit into this category. There is no rhyme or reason, just a total psychological prejudice against some aspect of a game which may well only exist in the dark recesses of my warped mind. This is because I am a total tight-arse since the advent of my family. I simply can't afford to splash out on games like I did in my youth, therefore I don't like the thought of purchasing a game that I may not play very much, or at all, or complain about from start to finish. But Streetfighter games are different. I will like a Streetfighter game whether it's rubbish or epoch-making. It's like it is hard-coded into my DNA.

I have only seen the heavily stylised trailer. I do not know on which platform it's going to be released. I do not know anything of the game, specifications, characters, moves, controls... I do not know if it will be 2D, 3D or fucking 4D. But, it is a fairly safe bet that I will buy it anyway.

Therefore, assuming that SF4 comes out on the PS3, I will be forced to buy one, even though I am seriously not a fan of it. Ergo, SF4 could be the most expensive game I ever buy - weighing in at whatever a PS3 costs and the game... but probably no others.

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Games Reunited

Okay, so the weekend was somewhat of a time for me... Ziggy finally darkened my doorstep with his presence!

It's about time too. For all of you not in the know, we do not live together. We do not live in the same town. We do not even live in the same county! So as it is, almost all of our communications are done through the medium of technology. And we wanted to do something to make sure that we did not drift too far apart. Hence the reason BucketMonkey exists.

We did not have a fat lot of time, due to parental constraints, friends and relations... but we managed to squeeze about 4-5 hours in on Saturday afternoon. Flavour of the day? As usual, good old StreetFighter games. I think it is fair to say that we have spent more time playing StreetFighter in some form or another since our first MegaDrive graced out bedrooms. We may not be able to give players like Daigo any sort of competition, but I think it's fair to say that in our times playing SF games at amateur level, no-one else has ever beaten us. Not only that, I have never really cared about winning or losing, just the fight. We have played against each other so much, that we are of fairly equal ability. So neither of us is ever completely owning the other. Nearly every battle is a down to the last pixel of energy, final round, edge-of-the-seat chomping on the controller affair. The lineup was - Alpha 3, Third Strike, Marvel vs Capcom 2. That's it. That's literally all we played. Four hours went by in what seemed to be 45 minutes!

Back in the days of high school - a depressing 17 years (and more) ago, Zig and I would be together almost every night, playing games. We had a grand collection, but hardly a day would go by when we hadn't spent a good few hours on StreetFighter 2. I think the only other game we played with such ferocity was Myst, in a totally single-minded effort to complete such an epic title. Nowadays, as with so many aspects of my life, time is very, very short. We could play online, but it just doesn't have the same appeal.

Anyway, Ziggy belives that he will be able to make it here more often, so hopefully we will start getting somewhere with... everything...

- Galford.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

The Secret DS Lite

Well, Max returned from Japan on Friday, and I have not been furnished with the missing link. I now have a DS Lite! Hooray! ...sort of.

I love the DS Lite. I love the screen(s), they are so much of an improvement over the Advance SP. The controls feel so much more positive, and less clicky. It is lovely... apart from one small detail... the colour.

Now, according to official Literature from the Nin, the colour of my DS is 'Ice Blue'. Now that conjures up images of a wonderful, cool light blue. A fresh, Colgate inspired blue. The sort of blue that even after 6 hours of non-stop play, leaves you feeling like you have just swum in the sea just off a Bahamas beach. But No. It's not blue at all. It's green. And not just green. It's fucking cyan! A sort of minty green. Unfashionable green. A Barbie accessories type green. A totally, utterly Gay green! Apparently, this is quite chic in Japan, and colours like black and white are just too boring.

This is my quandary. Because as far as I am concerned, this DS does as much for my masculinity as wearing overly tight leather trousers, a white muscle-vest, and talking just a little too high with a lisp. But it is a DS, and colour shouldn't matter that much. Think of it this way - if someone gave you a Lamborghini Gallardo, no strings attached, but it was bright powder-puff pink. Would you drive it in public? (assuming you are male, of course) That is a difficult one. Because it is still a Lambo, arguably the best car out of Italy (or Germany, I suppose) ...but everyone thinks you are either gay, or bought it cheap from a rich chick with a pink obsession. I suppose that I will use it, but just not shout too loud about it. I don't think I'll be playing multiplayer on it that much, because that means that someone else will be able to see it.

This brings me on to my second 'interesting but useless' gadget of the day. I recently bought a cradle for my PSP. it was only £4.99 from Gamestation. Your PSP sits quite neatly on your desk or table, charging away. It is primarily used for watching PSP movies on, but I have already decided that this is an activity I am never going to partake in. I don't see the point of buying my favourite movies for the third time in yet another format, one that is a lot less versatile or widely received than a DVD so that I can sit and watch them in squint-o-vision where I could at the very least have a laptop...

So what was the point? I guess that it's nice to have my PSP charging somewhere where the kids cannot pull it onto the floor, and I can sync to the computer while being able to see the screen easily. I can find good in anything...!

I have a love of things that look good, seem to have a purpose, but cost so little that I can make the purchase without having to worry that the wife is going to kill be over it. However, I am starting to see little holes appearing in this obsession...

- Galford.

Tuesday 9 October 2007


……or so the classic Melbourne house test based adventure The Hobbit (c64) would have us believe.
In reality of course, time passes and the world spins off its axis. Everything you thought you knew turns out to be wrong, your head spins and dizziness and nausea set in……….and then comes the calm.
Slightly disconcerting isn’t it?
Anyway, I am back at last. The maw of madness yawned but failed to take me. Every significant part of my life has changed, and I’m still standing and still finding ways to love life and take its best shots.
Since I last posted anything here, the site has changed format to relieve my partner’s workload and I would like to thank him for keeping the dream alive in my absence.

Anyway, enough of this self indulgent clap-trap, I was getting to a point with my opening title and statement….
Test based adventures and point and click adventures.
I miss them sooo much.
I used to spend many pointless and happy hours trying to work out how to get the fish off the hook, or how best to persuade Mr Cabbage to part with his treasured ear muffs, as part of a convoluted plot to save some daft cow who’s got her self kidnapped or defeat the evil Mouse Lord.
And then there was Myst, which even now is one of the most beautiful and satisfying game experiences ever.

But somewhere along the line, Broken sword went 3d, Lucas-arts lost their sense of humour and after Douglas Adam’s awesome Starship Titanic was the last great hurrah for Text based games, the genre shuddered and died.

I had at last, begun to end the mourning and put the sweet memory of a beloved genre forever in the past when something truly wonderful occurred.
The DS brought back the love.
So far we’ve had Another code, Mystery detective, Lost in Blue 1+2 and the Pheonix Wright games, and more are promised.
But at a time when Classic Pc games like Sim City, Theme Park, Age of Empires and Settlers 2 are coming out for Nintendo’s hand held marvel, I wonder if maybe, just maybe I dare to dream of a day when I can play Monkey Island, Goblins, Day of the tentacle, Broken sword or most importantly Discworld in handheld form.

There is a massive opportunity to capitalize on the intelligent gamers Nintendo have attracted with Brain training and Lost in Blue. I hope and prey they do something about it.

Oh, yeah and Mr Lucas. Enough Star wars games already. We want Sam and Max and Monkey Island!

Back at last and returning again soon.
The Phenomenal Ziggy B.

Fair Game and Wrist Watch

First off, I would like to mention that my partner in thyme is not a lazy git. He has a lot on at the moment, getting himself, his (hopefully soon to be) significant other half and his shit together. He should be with us soon, when his creative juices really start to flow (although I really hope he manages to make it to a convenience before that happens...) and all of his wonderful, insightful, enlightened banter once again grace this humble blog. Hurry back to us soon Zigganoid, you fucking lazy git!

I live a life that is a total anomaly. I some ways, my life over the years since pre-puberty has changed beyond recognition. In other ways, it has not changed a bit. To outline the ways it has changed would take an age, my fingers would fall off, and I would be better off writing a book on it. Which I would, if I thought for one minute it was interesting enough for people to actually read it...

On the other hand, when I was a seven year old boy, I had two things that were completely part of my life... My first computer, the now (semi) legendary Sord M5, and two handheld games from the Nintendo of years gone by - Donkey Kong, and Mario Brothers Game and Watch. The M5 was of a semi-portable nature, having a form factor similar to that of a ZX Spectrum. It would occasionally follow me to friend's houses but, for the most part it would sit at home, acting as the base station while the two G & Ws would follow me wherever I went in a small canvas bag. Here we are, 23 years further on and I now have a collection of games consoles and a laptop which occasionally follow me to friend's houses, but for the most part stay at home, keeping my not exactly state-of-the-art desktop company. Yet wherever I go, I still carry a small canvas bag that contains a Nintendo DS, and a PSP amongst other things. So in essence I am still maintaining a gaming life that started before I had even left primary school - and I for one, would not have it any other way.

My two old Game and Watch games (one paid for, one 'acquired') have long since expired due to over use and experimentation which started long before and real technical knowledge lodged itself in my dome, and given my current level of technology I would really not consider buying more due to the fact that even though I am a retro-freak, I now carry so many games around with me that the one-trick-horse Game and Watch handhelds would not keep my attention longer than the 'Ladies Bras' song actually plays.

Therefore, imagine my excitement when I discovered that these windows into the past were available online! The only thing that has really changed in this department over the years is my skill with games, and my vastly improved hand-eye co-ordination. Therefore, when I used to struggle to get to the magical 300 points where the much coveted extra life was awarded, now I can clock the game by simply allocating The gameplay to a sub-cognitive brain process. Also, the notorious 'Game B' is now nowhere near as daunting.

I'm sure that when the same amount of time has passed again, I will still have the same setup of technology in some form... and a little canvas carry case to go with it. Possibly with the addition of a colostomy bag...
- Galford.

Thursday 4 October 2007

Exactwii What I Expected...

Well, I am waiting. I am waiting for pre-Christmas. Max Ryan is currently in Japan, where he has been for the last three weeks, and will be for the next two. Before he left, I gave him an order. 'Buy me stuff. Buy me technology. BUY ME GADGETS, GODDAMIT!! And a DS Lite." Or something to that effect. Therefore, when he returns week after next, I hope to have a haul of gimmicks and things that most of you will not even have heard of. I can't wait!

My brother-in-law owns a Wii. Now normally, if someone I know obtains something of my desire, like a new laptop, car, or of course - games console, I tent to get a little 'Yeah, very nice, but I never wanted one of those anyway...' but in the case of the Wii, I don't. Yes, it's very cool, and yes, it's revolutionary and so forth... but I predicted that it would only get used at gatherings such as new year parties and birthdays. So far at least, 6 months down the line - that prediction is 100% accurate.

I have visited my brother-in-law a good few times in his out-of-the-way country-ish home 30 minutes drive from my dwelling, and every time we sit, drink (tea in my case) and talk. Even trying to hint that I wouldn't mind a quick go on the Wii generally fell on either deaf or disapproving ears. I have only played on the Wii 3 times; Once at a fancy dress party, once after a big get-together meal, and once during a birthday party. I know that the idea of the Wii is primarily playing games socially, but I derived no pleasure at all from absolutely and unequivicably owning everyone else in the place. This is because they were all drunk, and hardly even able to stand up, let alone box, play tennis, bowl or make the ol' blue hedgehog so much as move. Most of the ...players (in the loosest sense of the word) would fling the controller around in what I would call a very dangerous manner, probably reducing the life of the Nunchuk's cable drastically as well as that of my face, laughing wildly and continuing to do so long after they had lost. Not realising this fact, of course. After this it was viewed as a total waste of time and returned to it's cupboard, replaced by that most hated of inventions... the Karaoke.

Yet when I invite friends round to my house - gamers and normal people, we can engage on the Xbox for hours, completely sober and have a great deal of fun.

I'm not saying that the Wii is not a good console. My total play-time is only around the 4-6 hour mark, which is not enough time to make an unbiased judgement. I also feel that if I ever did own one, the people who play on it would also be more choice. However, I am a gamer. And looking in on a non-gamer's perception of the Wii has made me realise that I don't think I am missing anything at this point in time.

- Galford.

Monday 1 October 2007

Recognition - Of Sorts...

I would just like to start today by mentioning that my real-world counterpart got his name mentioned in a Penny-Arcade comic strip this week. I would also like to point out that this has nothing whatsoever to do with me, they just happened to pick the right forename. Therefore, there are quite possibly hundreds of thousands of other people out there with the same name all thinking the same thing. Plus, the guys over at PA have never heard of me, and are quite possibly never likely to either. Unless BucketMonkey really starts making a name for itself, of course. I am but a very very small speck in the great leak and quail soup that is our universe, but as long as I think it's special, then it is.

Every once in a while, a game from the past reincarnates itself, and completely passes me by... until such time as it makes me notice it by slapping me in the face with a wet haddock whereby I start to take notice. This time around, it is Power Stone Collection on the PSP.

Now I have played Power Stone to death in days gone by, as I own both of these epoch-making games on the Dreamcast. Short of collecting every last item available, by which time I had moved onto other titles that had been brought to my attention. They have remained at the back of my games cupboard to be revisited every once in a while for a 5 minute bout of nostalgia. Therefore, when the Collection came out for the PSP, I was sort of tempted. Sort of like when you see an old Raleigh Chopper outside a second-hand shop. You have owned one in the past, and you own a state-of-the-art mountain bike now. But for the price they are asking, you feel like revisiting the feeling of owning one, even though you'll look like a total dick on it in this day and age. But I didn't feel that it would cut it against most other PSP titles I own. Power Stone that is, not the Raleigh Chopper...

But then My good friend Max decided that he wanted to play it multiplayer, and furnished me with a copy. (This seems to happen to me quite a lot.) I have since found that it has taken up more of my time than almost anything else in my life. New elements such as the little LCD-alike games, and the few extra specials have not done much to spice up this classic, but that just doesn't seem to matter. Playing through the game, and collecting all of the items again has become like a new hobby. I really get a kick out of playing a game on a handheld that once used to reside on a console that was tied to the wall by a power cable. This was first the case with Final Fight One on the GBA. From huge arcade cabinet, to Mega CD, to GBA. Yet the game is enhanced by the fact I can play whenever I want, wherever I want, without needing a constant supply of 50p pieces, or an excuse to go and spend 2 hours in an arcade. I know handhelds are nothing new, but old games are something that will always make me love mobile devices. I even carry Sonic the Hedgehog around on my mobile phone... Mobile is the new old!

- Galford.

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Of Mice and Macs

There are two products in this world that have more than a passing similarity. Apple and BMW. And before anyone starts pointing out the lack of obvious parallels, ie. Macs don't have wheels - I am looking further afield than that. It goes like this: I respect both Apple and BMW as companies. They both produce better than average products. their quality and engineering are exceptional. Their customer service is probably fantastic, and they both have worked hard to earn their place in their respective markets.

However, I have never, and will never own any of their products. Why? Because I hate and despise them.

There is one thing that lets both Apple and BMW down. One thing that slurrs their otherwise good reputation. One thing that has the power and potential to competely destroy any credibility. The owners.

Let's take BMW first. Mostly because, I have hated them since I could think. If I have been cut up, mowed down, burned off, undertaken, inconvenienced or just generally abused behind the wheel of my car, almost guaranteed it's been a BMW driver. It's almost like you have to have your personality setting changed to 'Basically Obnoxious Psychotic Bastard' before the dealer will hand over the keys. I half expect to see one day... a BMW pulled over by the police, the officer in question writing out the speeding or wreckless driving ticket, while the BMW driver stands there gesturing to his car saying thing like 'I don't think you understand... that's a BMW. Therefore, I own the road!'

Although Mac owners are on in a different league from the above, they are still annoying. It has been said before that their computing platform of choice is more like a religion than a purchase. Everyone I know how has bought a Mac has suddenly turned into an unofficial Apple marketing consultant. 'Oh, you must buy a Mac, so much faster, easier to use, better than a PC, we should all be using Macs in this office... blah, blah, yackety schmackety fatherly advice.'

This has all come about because I recently bought an Ipod for my wife. I know that almost totally contravines the entire preceeding monologue, but It's now in the possession of my significant other, so I don't own it. Ha! But, as it inevitably became my job to upload her music, I can at least compare it to my Nonpod. (Note - My Nonpod is one of those cheap Chinese Ipod lookalike knockoffs. I was not fooled into buying one instead of an Ipod, it's exactly what I wanted...) and I would still take my Nonpod over an Ipod anyday.

I think... I have just become the Apple AntiChrist! It's a nice feeling, Really...

- Galford.

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Entropia... Looks a bit like Mystaria!

Okay, so in my opinion, all games ever look a bit like Mystaria. Or if you come from the land of the Raisin Bun, Riglord Saga.

So, after much deliberation with no-one other than myself, I decided to finally give MMORPGs a try. I have scrupulously avoided them up until now, because I am a 5 minute wanderer. This kind of limits me to Driving, Fighting and the occasional puzzle games. Which is okay in my opinion. This does not mean that I have not tried my hand at bigger games than Chase HQ and Double Dragon. I have completed all GTAs apart from Vice City Stories, I have completed the afore-mentioned Mystaria, Myst and Riven, and I am still enjoying the chase in Test Drive Unlimited. I have put the time in to big games where I can.

But these days, time is a luxury I can seldom afford, usually apart from late at night after everyone else in the house has gone to bed. I can normally put by a few hours for bigger games where I don't have to feign serious stomach problems in order to spend a few hours on the throne with a PSP - But I look on Games like World of Warcraft like trying to build a skyscraper out of lint. So I thought I would start with something light and easy, that I don't need to invest half my life in. Something like... Entropia.

Talk about jumping in with both feet - I think I took a spare pair in with me too. The fact that they tote it as 'Not a game, but another universe' was less than compelling, but I thought it had to be worth at least 5 minutes of my time...

Well, after 6 hours of 5 minutes of my time, it dawned on me that perhaps it was getting just a little too easy to live 2 lives, but forgetting the real world one was going to be a tad easier than expected. It also dawned on me that like games such as Everquest, that my good friend Max Ryan has invested a large chunk of his life to that this was going to be like the old Laser Quest/Quasar games from last decade.

Stick with me, this will make sense.

I used to go down to the afore-mentioned arena with 80's day-glo spraypaint and a rancid smell of BO with many of my friends, and have a laugh hiding, running and blasting anything that moved. Then, one day, we were put in with another team. A bunch of dread-locked ex-gladiators who were well and truly on a mission.

(Aside) Now, I always thought I was pretty good at Quasar. I was a patient sniper who occasionally would go on strafing runs and tactical wipe-out missions. But these guys were off the scale. They wiped the floor with us - running through, getting every single one of us. While I waited, they blasted. While I hid, they blasted. While I ran, they friggin' well blasted. It dawned on me exactly how much they must play in order to turn my team into swearing, cussing, losing despondents. On average - 4 Hours a day, every day of the Year! I was a total amateur in comparison, coming down maybe once or twice a month. I never played Quasar again.

I felt the same way about Entropia. Hearing how there were people here who were running businesses, honing professions, and buying virtual real estate (is that not a contradiction in terms?) for hundreds of thousands of real dollars feels like I have been blown out of the water before I have even begun.

But, I plan to carry on at least for the time being, and despite not being able to put more than a couple of hours a week in, see how far I can get. I also plan to still notice my kids growing up.

- Galford.

Monday 17 September 2007

Fire the Removal Men!

Hello. Well, we have been evicted.

Okay, so that's not entirely true. I was just Lazy, that's all. Maintaining the original BucketMonkey site, and trying to look after kids, and satisfy a wife (I beg your pardon? filthy mongrel, thinking I meant that!) were just too much for the moment. Therefore, I opted to let someone else do the boring crap for me. It also means, that my creative, thoughtful, intelligent, witty and down-right lazy-arse partner, Zigganoid of Bonkneck can also update this site without giving me the old 'I don't know how to use Dreamweaver' excuse. Keep it here, I do plan to restart drawing comics again soon, but for that I need some creative ability. So, I guess that means I am a Lazy-arse too. But it takes a big lazy arse to admit that he is one... or... something like that...

So, for musings, ramblings and other complete and utter mis-communications on all things gaming, retro gaming, music, cars, manga, occasional martial arts and other general nothingness, visit us every Tuesday and Friday here at

- Galford.