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Christian. (That means that I know that Jesus is Lord!) Programmer. Gamer. Weak 3D artist. Geek.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Metal Gear Online Reward Shop - Hong Kong Edition

My good friend Carolyn (who I must remember to e-mail..) kindly bought me a copy of 'Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots' (in fact it was the sweeet limited edition version) for my PS3.

Because this is the Hong Kong version, I've had some problems getting to the website to spend my Metal Gear Online reward points.

Tonight, I've finally found it:

Just posting it here in case anyone else has the same bother I've had. Enjoy.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Mirrors Edge - First Impressions

It isn't often that I decide that a game is great enough that it warrants a post on my blog.

I was initially disappointed by the Mirrors Edge demo, that I downloaded from PlayStation Network, decidedly disliking the hand-holding that the demo forced upon me, rather than giving me the option to just get into the action.

Declaring to my housemate that it was rubbish (to my shame I used worse language, I admit) - I found myself returning to it later again that night - drawn to it by it's compelling visual style.

I played the demo a good 4 or 5 times more over the coming fortnight and finally purchased it in GAME's pre-Christmas sale, deal-of-the-week at £25 using some in-store credit I was saving.

Vowing not to play the game until I completed Metal Gear Solid 4, I finally caved in today (Boxing Day) - and whilst my girlfriend slept on the sofa for the afternoon, I was running, jumping and clambering across rooftops.

I wasn't disappointed. To my glee, Mirrors Edge strikes me as a short game - I count that as a great positive, in that too many games are too long these days and I never get a chance to finish them - but in a matter of hours I'd finished the first couple of chapters of the game. (There are eight in total.)

At midnight, I sent my now shattered girlfriend to bed and told her I was returning to Mirrors Edge. It's 3am now and all I did was finish another chapter.

The rest of the time was spent trying to beat time trial scores across the rooftops. I love time trials, especially when a game records your ghosts. I find it so compelling and addictive - judging by the clock as I now head to bed, this was no exception.

It became clear to me that in order to achieve a good time in an area, I needed to execute wall runs, rolls from high jumps and heavily consider the best route.

Finding Mirrors Edge to be an excellent and rewarding game (trophy support added a little something too), I rushed upstairs (when my poor back had had enough of sitting in a wooden dining room chair, hunching my shoulders to play the game) to write this blog entry where it pleases me immensely to heavily recommend Mirrors Edge.

I love it. It's genius - and I can already tell you that once I've completed it, I'll be adding a sequel to my most-wanted list.

Fantastic. Simply fantastic.

(Impressions are based on the Playstation 3 version of Mirrors Edge. Played in SD. No patches were applied.)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Mother 3 translated to English!

I know it's been a while since I've last updated (shrug) - I've been busy :-)

ANYWAY today is an amazing day - the Mother 3 English patch has finally been released and is now available here: http://mother3.fobby.net/.

All you need to play it is a Gameboy Advance emulator and a copy of the Japanese Mother 3 ROM. Personally, I own the Japanese cartridge. I've been waiting a long time for this day.

I can't wait to finish work and get home and get crackin' :-)

Have fun :-)

Friday, 20 June 2008

Tales of Vesperia - Demo Review

When I got home from work this evening about three hours ago - I opened my laptop to catch up on today's gaming news, to read on Kotaku that a wonderful surprise had occurred - Namco-Bandai had released a 'Tales of Vesperia' demo on Japan's Xbox Live Marketplace!

So off I scurried onto the Marketplace to check out what was going on over there - and I found a whole tonne of content that hasn't yet made it to British English shores.

Content such as:
Armored Core: For Answer Demo
Raiden Fighters Aces Demo
Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation Troy Trailer

As well as some nice free 'Puyo Pop Fever' dashboard themes and gamer pics.

Obviously I grabbed the aforementioned 'Vesperia' demo too.

I've been wiping the drool away from my mouth for a little while now, anticipating a 'Tales of..' game for the Xbox 360 - but to be honest this demo has made me take 'Vesperia' off my wanted games list.

Don't get me wrong, it's an astonishing game. It's gorgeous. It looks like a Studio Ghibli animation in a videogame - with some beautiful Nintendo-esque introduction sequences and trails into and out of new areas.

However, it's got to be said - the voice acting was just plain awful. Awful.

Where do they find these people who do the voice acting is these games?!

The voices all sound like they're coming from a little American girl - and perhaps it might even be the same American girl that Namco have been exploiting in all their RPGs of late?

I seem to remember that 'Eternal Sonata' had equally bad voice acting - but that won me over (though not enough to actually purchase the game) by it's frankly brilliant battle system.

'Tales of Vesperia' however didn't manage such a feat - though I do bear in mind that this is merely an early demo - the battles seemed frantic and flailing, I was unsure of which enemy I needed to hit and when, there was no order to the battle at all as if it couldn't quite make it's mind up whether to try to rival Final Fantasy's gameplay or Ninja Gaiden's!

All in all, from the frankly lack-lustre introduction to the story - which just dragged from the start, not engaging me even slightly - to the repetitive, button mashing gameplay - I remain distinctly unimpressed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping for a UK release of 'Tales of Vesperia' even now.
I'm also hoping that they include the Japanese voice actors on the DVD as well as the English ones - and that they can tighten that gameplay mechanic too.

Perhaps the battles are more complex than I could see.
Perhaps theres some hidden depth that I failed to uncover.
Namco, if that's so - for goodness sake - let the player know about it with a battle system tutorial - that quickly and briefly informs the player of what's going on without being a laboured lecture as so many RPGs seem to manage.

Returning to the topic of the voice acting - I don't think it would be that bad really if the developers tightened up the transition between characters speaking.

I found that by pressing the A button when I think that currently vocal character has finished their sentence - causing the next person to start speaking immediately - made the conversation seem far more natural and fluid..

Because. To. Be. Honest. Natural. And. Real. Conversations. Don't. Generally. Have. Lots. Of. Pauses. In. Between. Sentences. And. Between. Participants.

In closing. This game is a landmark title for the 360 - the 'Tales of' series has a huge following and I'm really glad that a JRPG as big as this one has made it's way to my big white friend. I'm especially, just, blown away, by the fantastic graphics on display - but then equally brought back to reality by the shocking voice acting and lack of gameplay definition.

And that's without even mentioning the music.

'Tales of Vesperia' is available in demo form from the Japanese Xbox Live Marketplace today. The demo is also available in many other Asian countries.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Geek Note: Syntax checking in GCC

This is a note for myself: a little tidbit that I learnt today..

In order to check the syntax of C/C++ files but not compile, assemble or link those files use the following flag:



Thursday, 3 April 2008

Christ Church Liverpool Xbox Live Leaderboard - UPDATED!

I've added all the new GamerTags for people from Christ Church Liverpool to the CCL leaderboard.

If you attend CCL and haven't passed me your GamerTag - then why not?!
Just drop me an email or post a comment and I'll rectify it straight away..

Friday, 28 March 2008

Music Review: Counting Crows - Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings


That was how I described this album to a friend last night - and whilst rushing to work this morning that was the best description I could come up with.

I've loved Counting Crows since a friend introduced them to me about ten years ago - and I've bought every record - bar their cash-in greatest hits - following their evolution as a group, growth in maturity and musical complexity.

This record however makes me consider, has Adam Duritz run out of steam?

The band's original drummer and bassist have left - I think noticing that the dream of making good, original rock music is over.

There are couple of things that really ache me about this record:
1) Musically - there's nothing new and 'good' about the style and sound of this record. A stylistic rehash of the previous album with an occasional jarring bridge of weird, faster, harder strumming and unconvincing pseudo-Spanish-knock-off riffs.

2) Lyrics? Don't make me laugh. Duritz quotes his own previous work during a few of the songs on this record - some that he's already quoted before on other albums! Has the well of originality dried up??

Perhaps I'd be more forgiving if this record had come at a better time.
If there was nothing else for me to listen to then I might have been a little more understanding and perhaps even grateful - but when compared to such great as albums as Linkin Park's 'Minutes to Midnight', Jetplane Landing's 'Backlash Cop' or Fighting With Wire's 'Man Vs. Monster', to be honest I can't justify the time wasted on listening to this record.

Limping, walking slowly, crumbling. Arthritic I feel is a good description for a record from a band who perhaps are long past their peak.

I won't be buying the next Counting Crows record - there's just too much better music to listen to.

Sorry Adam.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

New Games - December 07 / January 08

These are the games added to my collection since Christmas.. some achieved via online trading - a new venture for me!

Xbox 360 and Xbox
Blue Dragon
The Orange Box
Wartech: Senko No Rondo
Fable: The Lost Chapters
Panzer Dragoon Orta

Wii and Gamecube

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Super Paper Mario
Metroid Prime
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Link's Crossbow Training (and Wii Zapper)
1080 Snowboarding
Resident Evil 4

DS and Gameboy Advance

Advance Wars: Dark Conflict
Pokemon Diamond
A.S.H (Ordered - not yet arrived)
Fire Emblem (Ordered - not yet arrived)

Seriously. That is ridiculous.

My aim for February is to buy ONLY 'No More Heroes' for Wii, Ninja Gaiden Black on Xbox if a version happens to show up somewhere and Jet Set Radio Future.

That's certainly a downsizing on January!!

Friday, 11 January 2008

Touch! Made in Wario (DS) - Review

The other night Laura asked me why I was blowing on my DS.
I told her "To inflate this balloon - I only have three seconds to do it.."
She seemed a little perplexed but slightly interested..

And now this evening, I finished, to my satisfaction at least, 'Touch! Made in Wario' for Nintendo DS.

I bought this game originally, when I bought a 'phat' DS a few months before the DS's European release.

I loved 'Touch! Wario..' thinking it to be such a hilarious and ridiculous game - it really was an absolute joy to play.
I eventually finished it as best I could and sold it on ebay.

Like a fool..

You see, games like WarioWare (as its more commonly known in Europe) are the kind of silly mindless games that you can come back to at any time at all. It doesn't matter that you've finished it - it's that the game is just fun, pure unadulterated fun.

Wario Ware is a serious of about 200 mini-games that each last about 3/4 seconds each. I presume in the European version that you're given some kind of a clue of what to do and you have a very short amount of time to figure out what to do and actually do it.

The fact that I played the Japanese version and therefore had no clue as to what to do - I see that as a bonus! It's the lack of information, the frantic worry and investigation forced upon the player that really does make me love this game all the more!

It was remembering this fact that meant that when I saw this game second-hand, the Japanese edition, on a recent trip to London I couldn't resist buying it.

All in all, I heartily recommend this game to any casual player or hardcore gamer. It's just brilliant.

The music is catchy and enjoyable, the graphics hilarious and detailed - well, as detailed as they need to be, the art style lends itself to the game, it somehow matches it's play-style beautifully.

My only annoyance is that some of the mini-games require you to blow on the microphone - which isn't really ideal when you're playing in a public place - but the Wario-team get bonus kudos for being thoughtful and at least bundling most of these mini-games into a particular section.

200 mini-games plus the unlockable 'arcade' games = a great bargain of a package.

If you own a DS, buy WarioWare now. It's genius. Seriously, it is. Buy it.