Monday, 30 March 2009

A free game with a sense of humour

Who's that guy?
He is of no importance...

But you're reading this, right, so you've got an interne
t connection, and, I hope, a sense of humour.

What's going on?
Are we not all always looking for manners in which to waste our time whilst upon the Internet. Well, here's one.

That chap pictured above is a character from The Kingdom of Loathing. A free online game of immense loveliness. It's pretty insane, but perhaps saner than reality anyway.

Here's my character:
She's a Spaghetti Sage at the moment. She makes magic happen using her awesome ways with pasta. Her favourite drink is whiskey (at the moment).

What kind of game is this?
A crazy one, but a good one. It's turn based, and you have so many turns you can make each day. You can increase your number of turns by either consuming food, or by drinking alcohol.

At least have a look at the web site: The Kingdom of Loathing.

Stuff has happened and you, adventurer, needs to step in and sort it out.

I don't want to tell you too much. I'd rather you went and found out for yourself. But you'll notice a slight parody of D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) type storylines, kinda going on.

How do you play it?
Over the Internet, in your Internet browser program.

If you do sign up, just don't abuse it, OK? They want to remain free to users. They also have some very interesting looking merchandise.

At least check their page. And remember, the game is a beta version at the moment.

Related link
The Kingdom of Loathing website

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

"Liars, and Predators, and Sickos! Oh, My!"

Please click on above image to view larger version
Thanks to the people over at Dueling Analogs we now have a webcomic strip to add to the banter on the Animal Crossing debate.

See original page from their site here.

The whole thing has caused me to have some interesting reactions...
I bought Animal Crossing: Let's Go To the City (in the UK, elsewhere, Animal Crossing: City Folk) for the Nintendo Wii as a result of last week's news, and have begun to become an addict to Animal Crossing: Wild World, for the Nintendo DS, again.

I think I can cope for now, but it could get worrying if I start getting up at 3am to try and catch fish and shark species that only turn up at that time of day. That is addiction. No game is worth being up at 3am.

Related links
Official Animal Crossing website
Dueling Analogs the website
My previous blog entry on the "issue"

Monday, 23 March 2009

New Moon

More from the TWILIGHT series
So I finished reading the second book, on Friday I think it was.

Compared to the first one
It was perhaps more long winded than it needed to be, but it had a good representation of a broken heart going on. I think the ending was not as dramatic as it needed to be, it didn't exactly compel you to go on to read the third book Eclipse.

I heard the term 'erotic abstinence' used to describe the series. Stepehnie Meyer is also a Mormon, so the lack of even groping outside the marital bed is explained a lot by her religious standpoint. To be honest... I'm beginning to think that the whole series would have been
better written by a non-devout, British woman, (or at least someone who isn't afraid to express what teens get up to, but wouldn't glorify it, and deal with the consequences as well).

Then again the tameness of the series in this respect perhaps reflects the greater prudishness of the American public these days.

Anyway... ECLIPSE?
Third book in the series. Reading it now.

Anything you liked?

The introduction of more monstrous creatures from folklore was pretty good. It's pretty funny how Bella, the main character, ends up falling in with two bad crowds (as it were). Vampires and werewolves in the same world, yeah.

Related links
Official Twilight series website
New Moon Wiki entry

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Adults shouldn't play Animal Crossing

Mayor Tortimer accused of being a pervert!

Excuse me?
I was made aware of this article at GoNintendo by my boyfriend.

Watch the horror
Click on this link to read the article put up by GoNintendo and the video with the original news feature.

Today the American station responsible for the article apologised, link. Though I'm sure they could have edited out the inaccurate comments before broadcast.

According to the cop interviewed in the original broadcast, Tortimer, the mayor of Animal Crossing, a non-playable character, was in fact a pervert. I do hope his superiors bother to give him an IQ test after all this.

After all, just how can a human sized tortoise be a pervert? One that isn't even controlled by humans?

Sure the game allows you to speak and interact with other players, but you have to exchange Friend Codes before that can happen. If parents are worried, they should make sure their children don't give that code out to strangers.

And why can adults not play this?
I don't know what the advertising campaign for Animal Crossing: City Folk, for the Nintendo Wii, in the US has been, but over here in the UK Nintendo have been aiming the game at women and men aged 16 years and above. So forget the kids.

Are you a fan?
I suffered addiction issues with the previous game Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. Due to fears of bringing on addiction again, I have yet to purchase this incarnation.

Related links
First GoNintendo article
Second GoNintendo article
Official Animal Crossing: City Folk website

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

An unfortunate title

So I was mooching around on Apple Trailers, when I came across this:
Am I the only one with a dirty mind here?
If Disney have never made a film with a title that sounds like a porno before, they have now.

I know that g-force is also a measure of gravitational pull (or something like that), but yeah with this logo it looks too much like a porno. And I don't care if the film is about guinea pigs, it just shouldn't have this title.

Sounds like

I'm pretty sure of what part of the female anatomy this sounds like, and it sounds like a porno about that part and it's set in space, and the logo would mean high production values as well. In fact as a porno title, it probably exists.

I just hope they change the name for the UK release...

Related links

Apple trailers page for film
Official Disney site

The Departed

Don't think I've watched such a good reworking of a film before
I always get a bit edgy when I hear that Hollywood is remaking an Asian film, but this worked fine. The Departed is based on the concept that was used in the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.

Organised crime gang places mole in police. Police place mole in organised crime gang. And things get very, very complicated and dangerous from there on.

Good film
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching this. Previously I had watched Infernal Affairs, which I found difficult to watch, not because of the language issues, but because of how the story had been organised. The Departed was a lot easier to understand.

There are interesting levels of suspense and intrigue, which is just what a good crime thriller needs. It's also very brutal in places, but there is loads of really good character development.

This film also has a great deal of 'star power', starring are Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen... the list goes on. It was directed by Martin Scorsese.

If you haven't seen it
The film was released in 2006, and so is easily available on DVD. I watched it when it was premièred on Channel 4 on Sunday. I definitely feel that it's worth watching at least once. The Departed is a long film, so make sure you've got your favourite film watching snacks and drinks available, or at least a pause button and a toilet.

Related links
Official website
IMDB entry for The Departed
Wiki entry for The Departed, plus links to Infernal Affairs

Monday, 16 March 2009

Resident Evil 5

Well, some of my story ideas were right
Without spoiling too much, I did see this situation coming. Not that I'm proud that I guessed the story outline before I started playing the game. Though there were some surprises for me in terms of motivation for the main antagonist.

In essence: Counter bio-terrorism agent Chris Redfield is sent to a province in Africa to look into reports of potential bio-terrorist attacks in this unstable region. Chris is teamed with Sheva Alomar to help though the tasks ahead. Soon it's pretty obvious that the shit has hit the fan.

How did it play?
As of yet I have only played this with another person. The two player co-op mode, offline, is lovely, but I have no idea as to how good the computer player is. I'll probably find out sometime in the next few weeks, though it is definitely awesome to play with another human being right beside you.

In comparison to RE4?
It's a different game to Resident Evil 4, due to having two playable characters through out the entire game, and it has tonnes more extras. I believe it may be a longer game as well, however there's no overall completion time given whenever you complete an entire play through.

Are you addicted to it yet?
I have, in the past, suffered major addiction issues with Resident Evil 4, (I just couldn't get enough of Leon), but as of yet I haven't felt hugely compelled to go back to it during every waking moment. I am typing this after all.

The game does have tonnes of replay value though. You can't just play it through once, due to all the extras.

Related links
Official web site for Resident Evil 5

Friday, 13 March 2009

Forget the first game for the moment...

Beside me on the sofa ('couch' for my US readers)
Is my newly bought 360 copy of Resident Evil 5, in a nice collector's box. I haven't started playing it yet.

But I still need to finish playing RESIDENT EVIL
True, but there's no way I can stop myself or my boyfriend from playing this game together tonight. Yes I am actually holding out on playing this.

What about the racism issues?
I'm not a black African, so I can't make any real judgement on this game, its setting and the minor antagonists portrayed in regards to this issue. However, in terms of Resident Evil's story arcs, the game had to end up in Africa at some point. Parts in the earlier games, and Wesker's Report, hinted that the original virus used components from Ebola samples that had been taken from hosts in Africa. In a way, then, it's the big evil coming home to roost.

Plot speculation - spoilers warning
From what I know of the story in the franchise I think it's quite possible that Albert Wesker, who originally helped Umbrella at some level in the development of the various viruses that have featured in the games, who has for some time appeared to be trying to dominate the world from the shadows, has cross infected the Las Plagas parasite from Resident Evil 4 with one of the original, or an altered version, of the viruses featured in the original games and Resident Evil Degeneration. Wesker has taken this BOW (biological weapon) to Africa to give it a test drive as to how effective a tool it could be.

So you're going to play it before you replay the other games?
Yes. I want to play on the two player mode, quite a bit.

Related links
Official Resident Evil web site
Wesker's Report II
Wiki entry on viruses in the Resident Evil series
Wiki entry on Resident Evil game series
Wiki entry looking at the racism debate over Resident Evil 5

Monday, 9 March 2009

In which are heroine gets bitten on the neck, again and again...

When survival horror is f*****g scary
I have started playing through Resident Evil, the remake version that was released for the Nintendo Game Cube. And seriously, I have never been so scared whilst playing a computer game.

Things I've noticed
Your weapons are pathetic against the undead horde in this game. There's tonnes of puzzles. The undead are pretty fast for rotting corpses, and all you can really do is just try and dodge them.

I have an inkling of the things that are awaiting me once I get further into the game. Things are just going to get worse.

I'm going to try and finish it
I will try to finish this game, but don't expect to see a review on it in the next week. Plus Resident Evil 5 is out on Friday, and I've been saving my GAME card points to spend on it, all £22.50 worth of points. So I kind of know what I'll be playing Friday night.

Related links
Current incarnation of the Resident Evil website, with attention paid to 5
Wiki entry on Resident Evil, the first game
Blog explaining what I'm up to

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Resident Evil 0

Yes, survival horror computer games...
I'm amazed that I got the two main characters, Billy and Rebecca, through this game. Zombies and mutated freaks, plus lots of confusing puzzles, can make for a deadly combination for any computer game avatar.

What's the game about?
You play as Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen. Rebecca is a member of S.T.A.R.S., acting as a medic, S.T.A.R.S. is a tactical unit with police and military aspects in its operations. Billy Coen was a Lieutenant in the US Marines, but no longer is by the start of the game.

The two main characters are thrust together as a series of bizarre and horrifying events threaten their lives. They flee from one location to another, trying to escape a biological nightmare that has been cooked up under the folds of Umbrella (a great big global corporation with interests in bio tech).

It's not the original first game in the series
The aim for this game was to provide more back story to the Resident Evil franchise. In this game you learn more about the origins of the T virus, and its creators, and just how
the events in the original game, Resident Evil, were able to take place.

What system do you play it on?
Resident Evil 0 is a game by Capcom made for the Nintendo Game Cube, but can be played on a Nintendo Wii as well, with either a Game Cube controller or a Classic Controller.

Why play the game?
Apart from the adrenaline that gets pumping as you dodge zombies, mutated apes, leeches, dogs, frogs, spiders, etc., and all the puzzles that are satisfying (if not maddening) to solve... The story is a good reason to play: it adds to the other games in the series, and has a nice bit of mystery and character development as well. The story in this game also makes it easier to understand why Resident Evil 5 is set in Africa.

I certainly enjoyed playing this.

Related links
Official Resident Evil website
Wiki entry for Resident Evil 0
My 'Rezzing it up' blog post

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Watchmen (the movie)

It's here, and I've seen it
I have just come home from watching Watchmen at my local cinema. I am still dazzled by its awesomeness, even though the reel I've watched is now two miles away and no longer turning for the day.

It's just sooooo awesome
Everyone and everything in this film, everyone who worked behind the scenes on this film, are incredible.

Working as an adaptation
I have read the graphic novel, and I know there are some parts from it that were not in the film, but I'm not having a fit over that. The film is perfect as it is.

One thing I've learnt as I've gradually been tutored in scriptwriting, is that adaptations are tricky things. For instance, a novel can describe things that cannot really be done artfully in a film, such as the interior workings of a character's mind.

Or there are just things in the original, which are just there because the author/writer can get away with it in the original medium. These artefacts, quite often, will not add to a film, once the story has been properly refined for this visual medium. The pirate sub-story in the original comics/graphic novel of Watchmen is an example of this, as well as the squid.

Or the original source material is just far too long and overly complicated in places, if not all of it. Lord of the Rings anyone?

So the film works?
Damn right it does. I thought The Dark Knight last year was brilliant, and it still is, but Watchmen has upped the game in comic book adaptations even more. The bar has been raised, along with people's expectations.

Future comic book films beware.

Go see it
Now if you haven't seen the film, go and see it. The film has been rated 18 by the BBFC in the UK. It deserves this rating. This film is not suitable for those younger than 18 years. I'm glad that things have not been censored and cut, so that Snyder's (the director's) vision of the graphic novel is intact.

Forget about the fact that Alan Moore doesn't really support it. He doesn't support any adaptations of his work anymore (ok, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wasn't that good, but it's not the worst film in existence, and not the worst adaptation either).

Related links
Official Watchmen film website
Wiki entry on Watchmen film
My review of Watchmen graphic novel

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Ex (or Fast Track)

I'm a victim of cheap DVDs
OK, maybe not a victim. I chose to buy it, yes, there was a conscious decision involved somewhere down the line.

The film?
Right. This is a comedy that came out a few years ago. It follows a couple as they come to terms with their roles in life after they have a baby, well at least I'm sure that would have been the pitch on a proposal form somewhere down the line.

Is it funny?
Yes and no. It's not the most impressive American comedy to ever be produced, and most of the humour seems to come at the expense of one particular character, rather than an assortment of the cast.

The Ex is also incredibly short: 78 minutes.

Not recommended
You can go and watch it if you want, but I'd rather watch Garden State if I want to see Zach Braff in a film. Seriously.

Related links
Official site for The Ex
Fast Track entry on IMDB
Wiki entry for The Ex

Thursday, 5 March 2009

A surprisingly good read

TWILIGHT, and hitting the right notes
I finished reading Twilight, the first novel in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, last night. It certainly has made me want to read the next novel in the series New Moon.

When I say it hits the right notes, I mean it. Likeable characters, with plenty of flaws, sexual tension, mystery and romance. Stuff that makes a teen novel good.

So, you're going to read the rest of the series?
Yes, I'm pressing on with reading New Moon. The Twilight series may not be high literature, but it's entertaining stuff to read. I can quite honestly see how it's become so popular with teenage girls, and thinking of books that deal in the realms of the supernatural, Meyer's books seem to deal with teenage emotions and worries better than the Harry Potter series ever did.

What about the film?
I will watch the film some day, but I have this awful feeling that it's probably not a very good adaptation. Again, I won't outright criticise or praise it unless I've watched it.

Related links
Stephenie Meyer's website
Wiki entry on Twilight series

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The anticipation is killing me?

Tickets are booked
That's right, my tickets have been booked for the late screening this Saturday at my local cinema. Managed to get my favourite seats in the largest screen. And no, I didn't have to bribe anyone to do this.

But my guy and I were the first ones to book seats for that screening. We would have gone on Friday, however we do the weekly shop on Friday evenings, and even though the choice between Watchmen and food was a difficult one to make, food won that round. Food only just won, though.

Not long now
Thank goodness I've got loads of good books and games to keep me distracted until Saturday. Oh, and Dexter is on tomorrow night, so watching my favourite sociopath should help me sleep better, I'm sure.

Though I do have a driving lesson Saturday afternoon. Maybe if I try really hard, I can imagine the car as the thing Night Owl in Watchmen drives/hovers/flies around in.

Related links
Official Watchmen film website
Wiki entry on the film
Previous blog entry on Watchmen graphic novel, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Death Note (live action film)

This doesn't happen very often
Somehow, I managed to watch a film on Film4 on Saturday, and it was this. I don't tend to have much luck watching stuff on Film4, because, well, my digital TV reception is really bad.

What is it?
This was a live action Japanese film based on a popular manga of the same name. It follows a law student, Light Yagami, as he discovers the Death Note, a book with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it. Light uses the book, it seems at first, to kill those who have murdered others, but soon not everyone is grateful for what he is doing...

Parts I liked
I liked the CGI animation that they did for the death god Ryuk was really good. Some have said that it looked out of place, or wasn't well done, but I think he looked really good, for a god of death.

Having not read the manga or seen the anime TV series, I don't know what the characters were originally enviosned as. However, I think that L, the main character that sets out to chase down Light (whom the media and police dub Kira), is pretty funky. L appears to be addicted to junk food.

Going to watch the next one
I'm hoping that I'll be able to at least record the next one, which is being shown on Film4 this coming Saturday. There was an interesting story strand developing at the end of the first one.

Related links
Wiki entry on Death Note the film
Official American Death Note release website