Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

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LA Noire

In Digital,Friends,Video Games on May 31, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Disclaimer: My friend Craig worked on this game and I know some people at Rockstar Games.

Disclaimer two: I love the bite sized mission chunks in this game.

Disclaimer three: As much as I love my XBox I suggest you play this on the PS3 because it uses a blu-ray disc rather than 3 DVDs.

If we travel back, way back, to the time of my youth there was a game that fascinated me. This was pre-world-wide-web and completing a game meant that you had to use every part of your brain and if that failed you may have to wait months for a magazine to come out that would help you out with the bit you were stuck at.

I was stuck at a section in Police Quest (made by Sierra who also made the amazing Kings Quest and Space Quest) for months. I’ll never forget the game for as long as I live.

I was a rookie cop trying to make my way in the police world and I was involved in an incident with a perp and I had to arrest him. Police Quest was a text based game where you moved the character around with a mouse. Point and click adventures we called them back in our day.

“Arrest him” – didn’t work

“Cuff him” – didn’t work.

Months went by until a friend told me he had cracked it by hearing from a friend about something called the Miranda Rights. You know the old ‘you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney etc etc’. But I was young and not from the US. I’d never heard of these Miranda Rights.

“Use Miranda Rights” – worked. The game moved on.I finally completed it a lot later and also the follow-up games.

LA Noire makes me think of Police Quest but with some CSI and GTA thrown in for good measure. You play as a detective in a world not too dis-similar to LA Confidential. You start as a street cop and have to work your way through different cases solving crimes…fraud cases, robbery all the way to vice and homicide.

What makes this game different though is the character modeling has been done using an amazing new technique. The technology is so good that this is the first game that my deaf friend Jono has been able to actually really the lips of the game characters. You have to question characters and watch their expressions, try to read their body launguage and aim to trip them up in your questioning.

This is the next evolution in gaming in my eyes.

It has sub-missions you can do as you drive around the city. You can ask for help through using intuition points and although the main character is a tad bi-polar it’s a great game that you can drop in and out of when you feel like taxing your brain.

It’s not a first-person shooter. That’s a game where you switch your brain off. It’s a thinking game that will have you watching people’s expressions and trying to suss out whodunnit.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I’ll take this one with two sugars and a dash of milk please!

Articles

Neuromancer and Tron

In Digital,Lessons,Life,Social Media,Technology,Video Games on May 31, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , ,

My dad took me to see Tron when I was very young. We went to the local fleapit cinema in Dennistoun near Glasgow City Centre. I watched the movie in total awe at this strange world inside a computer.

The grid.

This place where information zipped and zapped itself around while people shared information and collaborated. It amazed me. Battles happened with the world and my life was forever changed.

Then in high school i was involved in the first year of teaching computing at my school. We had BBC Micro’s and I remember learning some basic but never felt the teacher knew what he was doing that much so nobody really learned much. I knew that computers would forge a future I just didn’t know how it would forge mine. 10 Print etc πŸ˜‰

Around this same time I was told about a book called Neuromancer. I went and picked up a copy and sat down to read it. I stayed up all night and finished the book in one go.

I was mesmerised by the world created by William Gibson. The word cyberspace has stuck firmly in my brain every since.

It’s where I live today.

It’s where I work.

We may not be IN the Grid.

We may not be jacked into Cyberspace.

But we are there. Digitally connecting. Information sharing. Conversing and communicating.

For my talk in fourth year in English we had to do a talk about something and I chose Neuromancer.

I talked about how the world would be smaller. We would all be connected no matter where we were in the world. I told them about Cyberspace – this ethereal world where our other lives are led.

My teacher said she didn’t understand much about what I was talking about but that I seemed so genuinely passionate about it that it must be interesting. She gave me a high mark and that was the end of that.

I always wonder if she is on Facebook now. I wouldn’t mind just dropping her a line and saying…see told you it would work out πŸ˜‰

The world as we knew it then has changed so much. Not always for the better. But it’s nice to see the future come to fruition.

Articles

Sucker Punch

In Digital,Movies,Video Games on April 10, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

Over the years I have kept a list of the three worst movies I have ever seen, always updated them when I watched something that was bad enough to go into the list and I feel like I should explain them to you.

The third worst movie I have ever seen is called the Cell. It’s an art-wank-fest of a movie starring Jennifer Lopez. I’ll never forget walking out of the cinema feeling stunned that so much money could be injected into something so worthless.

The second worst movie was American Cyborg: Steel Warrior. How do I explain it? Surely the name says it all. I was around 14 when I watched it. Myself and two of my mates Dougie and Tommy headed to the video store to pick up some movies. We all grabbed one and promised to watch each others movies…Dougie picked this one. Dougie I still hate the fact you made me watch this film. An immortal killer robot is trying to kill the only fertile woman on the planet…says it all really!

The worst movie I have ever seen is called Return of The Roller Blade Seven. It’s about a roller blading dude with a sword who fights evil ninjas and punks. Seriously. Can you believe that.Have a watch of the trailer and you will understand:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYkEeFUEqe4&feature=related
Today I move all of these movies into the fourth, fifth and sixth slots and offer up Sucker Punch onto the podium for first, second and third spots.

I have never in all of my years of watching movies seen such a waste of money and time thrown on to the screen.

It was a diabolical mess.

A turgid piece of digital scrap.

How the fuckbuckets this movie got approved I will never fucking know. I hope this films dies a death of a thousand cuts in the cinema and that this man never makes another movie again.

Fuck you Zack Snyder.

Your movie has no direction, no pace and a script that feels like it was shat out of an elephant that was suffering from chronic constipation,

No matter how the bad the film I have usually been able to at least sympathise or empathise with one character. Not with this piece of shit. I was sitting in the movie trying to balance my bank account in my head just to stop me from falling asleep.

I don’t know if you know the script so I’ll sum it up quickly:
Girl ends up in an asylum
The entire set changes because she imagines herself in a brothel
Whenever she dances in the brothel she ends up in some CGI war-fest

Imagine Inception meets Killzone 3 meets Chicago meets The Return of the Roller Blade Seven and you may be on your way to understanding it. What is even scary is that people on IMDB are actually rating this film up claiming, and I shit you not, that ‘Think of it as stylized parable about repression, personal will and sacrifice. Because sooner or later after all the negative backlash and reviews blow by those emotional messages will be all that will be left.’

Now the reviewer there is obviously clinically insane because the movie was not about any of those things. It was just about one man who without good source material created a vacuous piece of pure and utter rubbish.

This film is not engaging.

This film is not entertaining.

Please do not spend any money on this film as it will only make him make more movies – AND WE DON’T WANT THAT!!!

And this man is now working on pre-production of the new Superman movie…Hollywood is now dead to me.

Articles

Video Gaming

In Digital,Life,Video Games on April 4, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

Had a very interesting night tonight on Twitter. I noticed a woman say she had bought her kids Bulletstorm (a really fun but uber-violent First-Person Shooter).

I asked what age her children were and she said 10 and 13 years old. This made me take a step back. I was actually stunned. A 10-year old playing Bulletstorm!! Madness. I have a massive list of games that I wouldn’t let a 10 year old play and that is one of them…there is a blurry line as to what age I would let kids play that game but 10 just seems to be a tad too young.

I’m not judging the mother here. Maybe she believes that her kids are sensible and stable and can handle playing that kind of game. She probably knows them better than anyone and she even said she knows her kids ‘know it’s only a game’ but what happens when they go to school and tell their friends.

Those other kids will want to play it. They will want to get their hands on it. Or they will want to head to their mates house to play it.

And this is where i have the problem I guess. We have ratings for a reason. Many of us in Australia have been fighting for an R18 rating to ensure that certain games are seen by certain audiences. It’s for a reason. Across the globe there are a lot of games that have an 18 rating because the content is deemed unacceptable to 10 year olds in the eyes of most gamers.

I have grown up playing games. I play Pong back in the 70s and I have played every single GTA game. I played Modern Warfare for hours and hours (not Black Ops though that was a bit shit). Hell I even played Leisure Suit Larry when I was 16 and was baffled as to what a profalactic was but I believe that we have rating systems for a reason.

Yes they are a guideline

Yes they are an option.

But if a storeowner sells a 10 year a copy of an 18 game in Britain or an NC-17 game in the US (I think that’s the rating) then they can be fined a damn lot of money because it is illegal.

In Australia there are some people who don’t believe an R18 should be introduced and who are doing their damned best to stop it ever happening.

I could go on but the amazingly talented writer Mark Serrels who writes for Kotaku in Australia says it so much better than I:
http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/04/r18-rationality-is-dead/

Ultimately it is the choice of a parent to choose what film their kids watch, what content they see on the internet and what games they play.

I have no doubt the mother I spoke to is a good woman who knows her kids and I hope she sits with them while they play. But for the handful of fantastic mothers and fathers out there there are also a whole bunch who just want their kids out of their hair and will buy them any game just to keep them away…and that’s where the problems arise.

We need games ratings in this country.

We need parents to adhere to the ratings to ensure that those trying to stop the R18 don’t get any more fodder for their battle against us.