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.