Posts from 16th October 2003

16
Oct 03

The fight is so big this weekend some players have bundled in already

Do You SeePost a comment • 197 views

The fight is so big this weekend some players have bundled in already. Most shops have jumped the gun on Pro-Evolution Soccer 3’s intended launch date ‘ if you haven’t found it by now, its only because you haven’t looked properly. De-merged from the ISS brand ‘ and don’t buy any of the sub-FIFA mediocrities that are currently belittling that name ‘ Japan’s Winning Eleven series has been Euro-converted into another reviewer-rattling barnstormer of pace and subtlety. Its one for those who know the sport though, and not only for the creative gameplay ‘ with many licences sewn up elsewhere, the league and player line-ups still are a little Spartan, and could lead to the under-informed making laughable mistakes in the pub. I’d imagine. Ahem.

Why is it out a day early? Sometimes one outlet needs the cash or makes a mistake ‘ word quickly spreads throughout what remains of the retailer’s cabal who the rush replace pre-order dummies with the real thing. It can happen while you watch.

Or perhaps it burst its gate because on Friday it will be competing with another PS2 big leaguer, Jak II. At least, it’s supposedly out this week, but suddenly the release schedules are in two minds ‘ we shall see. In any case, this is an infamously embittered reconstruction of the bouncy collect-em-up ‘ since the original received a sound thrashing at the hands of Grand Theft Auto, the franchise seems to have cynically adopted its rival’s character. But the reviews are cheerful enough, so maybe it’s a mistake to attach too much sentiment to the light-weight prettiness it has discarded ‘ no doubt there was a binder-full of market research supporting the first title’s aesthetic decisions as much as the sequel.

Also in the fray, and there’s a theme arising here, is the amoral, carjacking, mission-based driver Mafia. Two years ago the PC version coincided with rather than copied Grand Theft Auto III, but they have more than a little in common nonetheless. With no new GTA title this Christmas ‘ although Microsoft’s console is getting fresh conversions ‘ the road is clear for rivals to take on the city driver genre, and Mafia delivers. The prohibition era period design is splendid, the characterisation fun, and the adventure no more tram-lined than the eternally postponed Driver series.

Multi-format comic license Dredd vs Death may or may not be flawed ‘ arguments that the versions reviewed were un-debugged betas sound a little like pleas for clemency ‘ but it’s certainly uninspired. Omens were good when accomplished developer Rebellion bought the comic 2000AD along with all of its intellectual property ‘ at last a decent game treatment seemed assured, and early screenshots promised much. Sadly, development was swallowed by technical compromises and a linear storyline. If ever a title did need the GTA treatment, it’s this one, but instead what we’ve got is a grimy looking shooter, albeit with those classic icons throughout.

If you’re feeling alternative this weekend, horse management sim Gallop Racer is in a genre of one, in the UK at least. Developed with the blessing of attheraces.com, it’s reached the shelves before the reviewer’s desks and should be admired for the publisher’s cavalier attitude to the demographics of the PS2’s installed user base. And although Voodoo Vince is competent exploration fare, it has a refreshingly absurdist spin on the characters ‘ you’re a voodoo doll trying to return to your master in New Orleans. It’s reminiscent of the old eight-bit days, when a trivial business model indulged any old excuse for a plot.

I think the boffins may have pranged a kite here

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 450 views

I think the boffins may have pranged a kite here.

In an attempt to define a unit of fame (the “Warhol” perhaps?) they seem to have neglected its overriding property – that fame is comparative. The fame of each participant affects that of the rest of them. In an n-body world of mutually orbiting celebrity, the behaviour of the fame indices would seem a perfect candidate for not a linear or exponential relationship, but a chaotic one.

A kindred spirit to a lot of people who read this

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,006 views

A kindred spirit to a lot of people who read this apart from maybe the Blur album

WINIFRED ATTWELL – “The Poor People Of Paris”

Popular18 comments • 4,726 views

#45, 13th April 1956

Winifred attacks the piano with her usual demented glee, this time with a bit of quasi-operatic humming to liven things up further (or is it a Theremin? I’d put nothing past her.) A bit of research tells me that this is an instrumental version of a big ’56 musical hit, fair enough though a little disappointing, I had a vision of Winifred hammering out another one of her party tunes and dedicating it to the French homeless. Because it’s just one song this wears out faster than Attwell’s medley hits, too, but it’s hard to be harsh on tireless jollity like this. This sounds far older than its 47 years – rickety and treblesome, you half suspect it lacks lyrics because talkies haven’t been invented yet.

Mmmm, potato kugel

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,202 views

Mmmm, potato kugel

After reading about this “potato, egg, salt, grease” concoction, I obviously needed to make some. I used the recipe at the end of this piece, and it worked quite well. Grating all those potatos took forever, mind you. And can someone tell me a good way to grate onion that won’t make my eyes burn? At the suggestion of another cookbook, I added some grated cheese to the mix. I also heated some oil in the baking dish for a few minutes and then added the mixture (similar to when making yorkshire pudding). It adds more crunch to the edges, while the inside stays soft and savory. It took me only two meals to eat it all.

The perfect cheese sandwich, proven by science

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 425 views

The perfect cheese sandwich, proven by science

And it’s 0.225b+0.196f+0.181e + 0.136p +0.134c + 0.127s.

But margarine on a cheese sandwich? Ew.

I Hate(d) Music

FTPost a comment • 910 views

This is a highly personal story. I’m writing it because I wanted to write something. Because it gives me a way to give myself a purpose outside from merely working again. Because it makes me understand myself better. Because I love music, and probably always will.

End ridiculously emotional tone and get on with it.

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I was never a mahousive football supporter as a youth

TMFDPost a comment • 279 views

I was never a mahousive football supporter as a youth. Sure, I supported Manchester City, but that was only out of a complete and utter hatred for Manchester United, and being a fan of G. Kinkladze and the lovely blue shirts. Sure I supported Preston North End over Blackpool, but you’d never see me down Sir Albert Finney way singing P-N P-N P-N-EEEE ect ect.

But a little while back, I made the decision to support a rather unexpected little football team. They don’t even call themselves a football team, they go by the monkier of a “soccer team”. Their supporters are “The Bridge and Tunnel Firm” and their ultimate enemies are DC United. Can you see where I’m going here? I started supporting NYC’s MetroStars.

What drew me to a bunch of American chancers then, you may as well ask, you come from a country with a wide variety of homegrown chancers you stand a chance of seeing without breaking the bank on a transatlantic flight who probably play a much better game of football*, surely this is LOONYISM!

One of the things is that you get such a different sense of the game with a US team. Stories from NYC based supporters (actually I know only one so that should read mere ‘supporter’) tell of games attended by a crowd small enough to know each other and tales of enough underdoggism to make a British person fall in love instantly. But that’s still not quite it. You get a feeling like you’re at the beginning of something, before it gets taken over by ’40quid football strips and Sky Sports commentators. It seems about the fans, which you can see from the Empire Supporters Club. The chants section uses a lot of terrace standards, but also makes clear a different cultural context by the amount of Spanish words dropped in here and there.

(I think my fave chant is this)
Adin Brown?s a heretic, heretic, heretic,
Adin Brown?s a heretic,
He loves Satan!

Is this a unique yet absolutely baffling one or a standard? At least he doesn’t love Hitler.

Another cultural gap one:

There?s a million SUV?s
in your parking lot,
There?s a million SUV?s
in your parking lot,
There?s a million SUV?s
in your parking lot,
?Cause New England?s a suburban club!

Although I’d be surprised if a MLS game drew a MILLION to a match, eh?

Just one more:

MetroBhoyz ain’t nuthin ta fuck wit!
Strait from da muthafucking swamp dats busted
MetroBhoyz ain’t nuthin ta fuck wit!
(Wu-Tang Clan)

Do we get to do chants to er… Dizzee Rascal? (pi-pi-pi-KA-chu).

The Metros also come readymade with a club to HATE. Actively supporting one team has never really drawn me, but vociferously OPPOSING another team has always worked. If I can oppose DC then I’m on the side of the Metros. In my time opposing Man U, I’ve supported Southampton (my da’s team), Arsenal, Newcastle and AJAX – actually I’ll usually support Ajax if they are against England because they remind me of a not so popular cleaning brand. Supporting football suddenly seems exciting again even as I write this.

Other UK teams that can do this seem few and far between, Mr Boyle of this parish has managed to inspire a few similiar enthusiams re: AFC Wimbledon, but at least with the Metros I don’t have to get up off my fat arse on a Saturday to go to a match when I should be lying in bed. Marvellous. I don’t see why enthusiasm for a team should be derided just because you don’t go to their matches (in here factor in that in going to a Metros match, it would feel so culturally different that I wouldn’t feel pressures xyz that I would feel in attending a match round here).

Yours faithfully,
TMFD’s armchair supporting branch. (Quite possibly my first post – hello everyone. I prefer Scrabble to football. It shows, don’t it?)

* What actually makes a good game of fitba is something for another post – most U&K thing = it’s not about the number of goals!!

Video Game criticism should be better.

Do You SeePost a comment • 395 views

Video Game criticism should be better. An interesting if currently futile piece criticising video-game criticism as being about games as purely functional economic objects. It is true that much commercial criticism does seem obsessed with the newness and the playability of a games features, however I think it is unfair to say this argument is not being had at all. The most obvious example is Nintendo ideals versus the rest of the industry.

If you look at the questing varitey of games, your Mario’s and Zelda’s, there is a strong theme of overthrowing evil empires and rescuing colourful lands under the jackboot of, well whatever cartoon villain is chosen. The older the age group aimed at, the more transgressive games seem to get however. First person shooters after all are all about shooting and killing, be it a military opposition or zombies (undead are evil obv). Tomb Raider, even before she got ludicrously trigger happy, Lara Croft was basically plundering tombs, a digitised thief. And plenty has been written about your role as ganster in Grand Theft Auto and The Getaway.

But what about games which try and moralise whilst giving you these thrills. Driver placed you as an undercover cop, hence allowing you to kill, maim but feel it was in a good cause (whether this is the case is highly questionable). Comand And Conquer, the origianl edition, was even mor einteresting – predicting an Al Quaida like international terrorist army. And allowing you to play both sides.

The kind of cultural criticism that should be leveled at games is unclear, how much about structure, ploit and ideology can be discussed without completing the game. But there is a charge to be leveled at computer magazines, a compelling plot and scenario should be becoming more important than sheer game mechanics.

If I get one thing out of the Rugby World Cup

TMFDPost a comment • 274 views

If I get one thing out of the Rugby World Cup (and quite possibly I will only get one thing since my love of watching Rugby Union knows some bounds) it was watching Scotland struggle against Japan on Sunday. Not due to any dislike of the Scot’s, or indeed any great love of the Japanese* – rather the venue. The game took place in Townsville.

I am sure the Australians who make their home in Townsville think it is a fine and rather utilitarian name for a conurbation, and i am sure it is a perfectly nice place to live. However the rest of the world were scouring the skies above the stadium to see if some pink, blue and green whooshes would lighten up the sky and save the day from Mojo Jojo or the Gangreene Gang. Well, they couldn’t do the latter cos South Africa weren’t playing.

*Though our discussion on how the Japanese invented Rugby when someone threw a ball into a Sumo ring at Eton School did endear me to them a touch.