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Title: In which our hero battles the forces of evil, and wins through after a colossal struggle.
Posted: April 12, 2006 (06:10 AM)
The XBox 360 is a gorgeous piece of kit. No question. However, it is also quite possibly the single most frustratingest machine ever invented.
When mankind finally destroys itself, the reason will be because Microsoft made us do it, I swear.
So, I went to reclaim my old gamertag, CheekyLee. Turns out I needed certain information that no longer exists. Like, the last 4 digits of a card that expired a year ago, which was attached to a bank account I closed 2 years ago. In order to get this information, I had to set up the old machine, and ... too much effort. I called customer support. They told me I had to call billing. CALL billing, he couldn't put me through directly.
Billing told me that you only get a 60 day grace period after an account has been deactivated to reactivate it. And, furthermore, because the account was once attached to a credit card, it would remain deactivated forever.
So far, so shite.
So, I go to set up my new account. I decide to do it on the Vaio, since it would be quicker. And besides, the woman wanted to play Tomb Raider Legend. Sadly, I needed the serial number from the 360. Which is on the back of the console, underneath the wireless adaptor. Oh, and the console can't be moved with a disc in it!
So far, so even shiter.
So, I go to set it up on the console, deciding to go with CheekyLeeth instead of the now retired CheekyLee. Here, I am informed that this ID is already in use. Of course it is, I was just trying to make it! So, I try to reclaim.
"The passport ID is not associated with this gamertag."
So, back to the website, to tie things up there. Now .... trying to sign up for Live anywhere but via the console itself is simply not possible. Seriously, I can make a gamertag and manage friends via the web, but can only enter payment details on the console itself.
By now, I was ready to kill someone. ANYONE.
I guess I must have typed my username or password wrong the first time, or perhaps the system is just so fucking slow that it hadn't cuaght up yet, because this time it allowed me to connect the account to my passport. So, FINALLY, I got signed on to Live!
(Twice. There are 2 CheekyLeeth's on the machine now. The one with Live, and one from .... the ether or some shit.)
My friend Sarah tried to live chat with me, but for whatever reason it wouldn't let me talk. Not a problem, because by now I was resigned to not having anything go smoothly.
Wnet online to find some old friends to re-add, and arranged a game of Outrun 2 with one of them. However, when I downloaded the patch to play old games, I find that the one game I most wanted to play wasn't backwards compatible yet! No Outrun 2 on Live for me, I'm afraid. And, of course, Halo 2 had no profile or anything connected to it yet.
All in all, a hell of a fucked-up night.
Still, at least I downloaded the Geometry Wars demo. So, the night was not a complete waste. Also, I have, like, 40 whole gamerpoints thanks to something I did in Burnout Revenge, and some random stuff in my one game of Hexic HD!
So, my XBox Live adventures begin somewhere after here. Hopefully by the time I get to play anyone Microsoft won't hate me anymore!
Posted: April 07, 2006 (08:02 AM)
Now that I have a GeForce 6 in my spanky new PC (3.2GHz P4, 512mb RAM, 160mb HD), I finally was able to play the Darwinia demo I donwloaded via Steam. (Yeah, yeah, I know, Steam am the Devil's bidniss! Oh well, it was there, I was bored ...) Well, I could already play the demo, provided I was happy with 2 frames per second. Suffice it to say I was not.
The game itself is quite an interesting affair. Or rather, not so interesting, being far too long-winded to get into. I am sure it will pick up later, but the demo itself hasn't really done anything more than show me a pretty game, with nothing to really make it stand out from an already over-saturated genre. Particularly on the PC, RTS games are ten-a-penny. Now, you may have played further in Darwinia, and may be able to tell me "It's not just a simple RTS, it's really cool and OMFGHSJGHJHASGDJHGBISH!" However, it starts out like an RTS, with the annoying addition of nerdy science guy's head telling me exactly what to do and nattering on about how great his Darwinian's are, because they are curious and they learned to mine the ocean floor, and map the internet, and OMFGHSJGHJHASGDJHGBISH!
Seriously, it's not so much a tutorial as a device to NOT LET YOU PLAY THE FUCKING GAME IN THE SLIGHTEST. I know they have made a very pretty game, and they are proud of all the AI routines, and stuff. But, to not let me explore it? Seems like Professor John Frink not letting the kids play with his cool toy because "You won't enjoy it on as many levels as I can!"
Posted: April 07, 2006 (07:35 AM)
The XBox 360 is on it's way to my house! Along with Burnout Revenge, Ghost Recon 3 : Advanced Warfighter, and Tomb Raider Legend. (The latter is not my choice, I gave up on Lara long ago, but the woman still has a soft spot for her, I'm afraid.)
Strangest choice is GRAW, since I have long since held a dislike for stealth combat games. However, playing it at a friend's house over the weekend convinced me to give it a go. The graphics are quite simply astonishing. Putting myself into the mindset to step, look around, step, look around, lather, rinse, repeat is going to be a challenge, but I'm sure I'll be able to step up to it.
Oh, and you know that Geometry Wars : Retro Evolved will be my first download!
Title: Oh, to be a games programmer!
Posted: April 06, 2006 (03:05 AM)
Honest Gamers is not exactly a HUGE site, as these things go. It's a great site, and I would love for it to get bigger, but at the same time I do enjoy the small community aspect we have here.
Anyway, to my point. This small community has put four of its' collective heads together, and come up with a blueprint for the most fantastic MMO I have ever heard of!
Of course, I am open to the idea that maybe BECAUSE we are such a small community, and because we are all clearly people of a similar mindset, then perhaps that is why we are agreeing on ideas so quickly. A bigger community may well have extra ideas, but also have extra negativity.
Maybe it's time I stopped wishing for such things, and actually learned to do something about them.
Title: Abstract shooty blobby stuff!
Posted: March 18, 2006 (03:55 PM)
Kudos due to Pup for the find. I downloaded DUO from Underdogs, and just spent the last 34 minutes playing it. I now have a mild dizziness of the eyes, and a thumping tune pumping through my head. I shall be seeing balls all night long.
I downloaded it because I was told it looked like Geometry Wars, which in screenshot terms alone it does. However, it's not really anything like Geometry Wars, except for maybe one level. It's not really like anything you ever played, to be honest. It's a bit like playing two copies of 1942 at the same time, I guess, and I strongly reccomend you having a go. Assuming you are a fan of shmups, of course. And if you're not, just give it a go anyway. It may convert you!
The question I have to ask is - WHY do all these indie games have to be so bloody abstract? Has Kenta Cho warped THAT many brains?
Title: Geometry Wars DEvolved!
Posted: March 02, 2006 (10:47 AM)
Talking about Geometry Wars Retro Evolved on the forums, goat asked if there was a downloadable PC version. There isn't, but I got to thinking that since the game is fairly simple, surely someone somewhere made a homebrew version?
Well, turns out they did. And, turns out I found it! AND, TURNS OUT I UPLOADED IT! Get it HERE, and see for yourself just what the fuss is about. It's not perfect, but it's a very good feel of what Geometry Wars is about, only with a bit less of the extreme difficulty. Plus, it can be played with keys.
The amount of articles I have read on various gaming blogs devoted to Geometry Wars really does make me proud. No plot, no FMV, no licenced music, EXTREMELY basic graphics, and several million enemies. We are talking serious retro, old school gameplay to DIE FOR. (Repeatedly.) And yet, more people seem to be talking about this game than anything else on XBox 360. The whole Live Arcade is apparently the console's killer app! This is GOOD news for those of us who actually enjoy PLAYING games as opposed to watching them or working through them.
I heartily endorse this event or product. And, I IMPLORE you to give it a shot. Just remember, good as this game is, the original is even better!
Title: Reviewing my reviewing.
Posted: February 07, 2006 (05:08 AM)
I'm not sure how to react to this one. My Meteos review is basically the most disciplined and 'professional' review I ever wrote. Professional in this instance meaning that I tailored it to what I thought the site wanted. After all, if one is ever to make a living at this sort of thing, then one must be prepared to succumb to editorial changes. It was with this in mind that I reeled in my instincts to litter the review with gags and flowery superlatives, and instead make sure I covered the game as completely as possible.
The result is that for possibly the first time since I have known it existed, I am not only not in the top three for Review of the week, but not even honourably mentioned! (This may have happened before, but I didn't know about it at the time. Ergo, that time doesn't count. If it indeed exists.)
Whilst it is not exactly negative criticism, it is a lack of positive reinforcement. Do I just need to be told "Good boy" every time I do anything? I have read the top 3 reviews, and I have to say that the winner is justified. 2nd and 3rd place aren't bad, either. Maybe last week I would have placed higher. But then, why do I NEED to place? I don't get paid for this, I shouldn't care about the lack of reward. It has always been about seeing something of mine up there, never about anything else.
The irony comes when I recall my one review that did win ROTW, for N2O, the old Playstation shmup. In this one, I just let fly with my own style. I shot for ROTW, and hit it on my own terms. (I was being featured with every review I posted about this time.) Personally, I preferred my Outrun 2 review, which I thought was the best I had ever done. Having re-read them both today, I think Venter was right.
Maybe I'm just not cut out to review professionally and objectively. My best reviews are of games that I fall in love with, and that are written for myself. Nearly all the reviews I have written for any reason other than spreading the word have been lacking in something. And if this means that the site is top-heavy, then that is not really my problem. I am not staff, I have avoided becoming staff so that I can retain this free spirit. I first started contributing to this site in the form of articles/editorials, which is the kind of thing I feel I excel at. (Actually, Venter first made me contribute by stealing my Dreamcast Quake 3 guide, which is still online here, but that's another story!) Yes, perhaps that's it. Write for ME, and me alone.
Right, time to go write that Snake Eater slam, then!
(I have only chosen the mood I have done in order to highlight the spelling mistake therein, incidentally. NARCISSISTIC!)
Title: Jan 25th
Posted: January 25, 2006 (06:34 AM)
HAPPY WINTER-EEN-MAS, ONE AND ALL!
Title: I hate this guy.
Posted: January 17, 2006 (07:41 AM)
I actually watched most of this before I realised just what was so impressive about it.
A really good Ikaruga movie.
Gameplay movies are getting seriously easy to find. One day I hope to be good enough at something to upload some of my own.
Title: Time (trial) is not on my side.
Posted: January 11, 2006 (08:18 AM)
I think I don't like the fact that I have grown up. Well, if not exactly grown up, at least that I have become more mature. More adult, and more responsible.
There just never seems to be enough time to play at the moment. What was once an all-encompassing obsession has been constantly relegated and demoted in importance. It currently sits as an 'occasional pastime', something I only do when I have nothing else to do instead.
A massive reason for this is of course my partner. Now, she does play games herself. But, this does not have the effect one would think it would. No, instead of encouraging me to play more, I instead find myself at the other side of the looking-glass I used to be in.
When I played in the past, I ALWAYS had an audience. Be it my wife, the kids, or friends. I used to wait until gone midnight before playing anything I was determined to finish, simply because that was the only way I could actually fully immerse myself. With no-one there to question my every move, no-one to make suggestions, and most importantly no-one to question my responses.
See, I am an adrenaline player. Billy Mitchell may not believe in 'the zone', but I sure as hell do. It happens, no question about it. For me, it generally happens after a while of trying. If it isn't happening, then I start looking for it.
I'll shout. I'll accuse the AI of cheating. I'll swear. I'll call myself and the console all sorts of things. I make John McEnroe look like a baby. I am really nasty, and possibly even petulant. But, I don't care, it gets me to where I need to be. I work best from a position of anger. From a position of blood-flowing faster.
I need that pressure. "I am NOT going to bed until I beat this motherfucker!" If there's no potential price, then I can switch off, lose interest, just drift.
Jeni does not understand this mentality. She hears me re-start the same track on Mario Kart a dozen times before I get a start I am happy with. And then I'll race a dozen of these before I did well enough on the first lap to justify continuing. In all, I'll probably finish about one out of every 50 time-trials I start, possibly even fewer. I know she thinks I can't possibly be having fun. And she is right, I am not having fun. I am working!
Sadly, I am not good enough to do this for a living. Or rather, I don't have the time to get good enough. Work, shopping, the dog, families - all these things continue to make demands of my time. I could at one time spend the entire day playing a game. Today I am lucky if I get more than an hour on one. And, ever more frequently I find myself just not playing so that she can play.
I have within the past month found myself watching Jeni play Spyro : A Hero's Tail! Why in the hell would I ever want to do something like that? It's odd, too, because I frequently have to fight back the urge to tell her what to do. Now, bear in mind that I have never picked up the pad on this game. It's just an instinct, I can see where she needs to go. I know exactly how annoying it is when people instruct you in games, so I never tell her. I do make suggestions when she gets frustrated, but only if I am invited.
It's handy, because the two styles of play are almost entirely incompatible. I have long since given up on games that require weeks of play just to see it all. Whereas Jeni likes games where there is plenty to collect. It would be Nirvana if we had more than the one TV. (Also, being female, she does like to make sure I am paying her the required amount of attention at all times.) So, I will just sit there biting my tongue whilst failing to improve at the latest hand-held game, and she'll shout at the green snot things in Ratchet and Clank 3.
All this, and sex too! What a life I am currently leading.
Title: Ahead of schedule!
Posted: January 09, 2006 (08:04 AM)
It took some time, but I'm finally completed breaking the back of my Cyberscore submissions. 329 records, to be exact, which is everything I can submit a score for in Mario Kart DS and Wario Ware Inc. Well, not everything, since there are still more Mario Kart DS possibilities, but these are all the ones I can do right now. This has me in 381st position, which is somewhat nice! Higher than I expected, to tell the truth. I was expecting top 500, and I got there sooner than I thought I would.
Soon, I'll submit a score for every game I possibly can do based on what I already own. Mario Kart : Double Dash!! comes straight to mind, and also Amplitude. (In which I will have a 2nd place, W00T!) Then, I'll either head one of two ways. Either to submit more scores by getting more games, or concentrate on improving at the games I have already submitted on. To work harder, or to work smarter?
The big problem is that I just don't get the time I used to get. Admittedly, I used to be unemployed. This was a double-edged sword. First, I had more time to play games. Second, I had less money to spend, and thus had less games to play. Those were the days when I could really have gone to town with some scores.
Also, I am now 35. Reflexes slow down, this is inevitable. I am honestly not as good as I once was, for reasons of pure physiology. I literally can not react the way I used to, as was shown in the Every Extend competition. A 25 year old Lee might have done more, the 2006 vintage is past it's peak somewhat.
In amongst my quest to be better, I somehow need to find the time to play Star Wars Battlefront 1 & 2. Since, I have a bloody good idea for my review, and I would hate to base it on an incomplete game. And this site does need at least one of those reviews.
I was looking at gamerankings.com, and saw that HG is now listed as a ranking site. Well done! HG was the ONLY site with a Metal Gear Ac!d 2 review, which is surely worth some MASSIVE kudos, let alone some impressive hits.
Finally, I WILL be updating this blog fairly regularly. So, for those of you who have added me as a good (or even evil) blog, rest assured you'll have something to read every so often. I am known to write exceedingly long posts at times, so I will forewarn each and every one of you now - expect scroll bar shrinkage.
Title: Why more blogging?
Posted: January 06, 2006 (09:22 AM)
It was once summised that "You are never more than 17 clicks away from everything on the internet." I have a new take on it - You are never more than 5 clicks away from yet ANOTHER FREAKING BLOG! What do people do, wake up and instantly click for their fix at canadianangstymotherfuckerwhoisalsoalittlebitcocky.com? Or, does the webmaster at canadianangstymotherfuckerwhoisalsoalittlebitcocky.com simply believe these people need their fix? It's quite an amazing explosion, and possibly even a little disturbing.
And, with that all being said, I'm more or less joining them here. Why? Because Jason removed all my editorials! Some of my best work has now disappeared into the annals of history, with possibly only a google cache to say they ever existed at all. And since Jason seems to never want to feature editorials again, I am left with this tool to get my voice across. And, just like the webmaster at canadianangstymotherfuckerwhoisalsoalittlebitcocky.com, I guess I believe I say something that other people don't. Or at least say it in a different way.
Lately I have been playing an arseload of Mario Kart DS. It's truly the best Mario Kart game to date, but some people just can't stop complaining about things. It seems some people are upset about 'snaking'. Snaking is the wrong name for it, it is the Straight Stretch Mini Turbo that has been around since MK64. Of course, the DS version being online has shown some people this technique for the first time.
Are they just being whiny bitches? Nobody likes to find out they are THAT bad at something they thought they ruled at, this is true. And, I guess some people can't take losing by a whole lap, especially if they have been beating their friends for the last few years.
Or, should Nintendo have done their level best to ensure that this advanced technique couldn't be used online, thus giving people more of a chance?
I am split on this issue. On the one had, I have 'snaked' in Mario Kart games for years already. Sure, I'm no Azen, but I'm still fairly good. I'll beat anyone who isn't one of those hardcore fools who is happy to endure possibly permanent thumb damage. And, playing online has always been about competition against the best.
But then, I have also argued against fighter fans who use top-tier characters only, because of exploits and glitches. Whilst understanding their reasoning for using such techniques, I have been content to be a scrub. One of the best scrubs, but still a scrub.
Since I can't play online on Mario Kart DS yet, I guess I'll only find out my final opinion on it when I finally do get to battle someone. For now I will admit to trying to learn to snake better so I can compete in time trials via Cyberscore.
Cyberscore bugs me. It is such a great idea, and it has the right URL. I love the idea of competing. I just hate finding out I'm pretty ..... average isn't the word, but it sure as hell feels like ... I guess that I hate finding out I'm nothing special. There is currently NO chart on that site I can top. And even if there was, I honestly don't think I would top it anyway. I lack the killer instinct required to be the best. I'll always settle for "Good enough." This is probably to my detriment, but I honestly don't know how I can change.
My plan for now is to first enter as many scores as I can on the site, and then to work towards certain goals. You know, be in the country's top 500, then the world's, then work towards top 100 status. I think that's do-able, and I think that won't cause me to push beyond anything that I clearly can't really be that bothered with.
I used to think I was a lot better than I do now. I wonder if I'll soon think I am better than I was?