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? ...you 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 BucketMonkey.com.

- Galford.