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.