Friday, December 30, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Charlie Brooker: Supposing ... Video games taught me something useful

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Charlie Brooker: Supposing ... Video games taught me something useful

Uh... oh.... nah...
(Thanks Toll)

Sorry about no updates - was in bootiful snowy Derbyshireville with no mobile phone or internet access. Huzzah!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cute Overload! ;)

Cute Overload! ;)

What can you say? Probably the cutest site on the internet, postiively vomitworthy.

SNB BNS Banknotes: New banknotes project

SNB BNS Banknotes: New banknotes project

From Boing Boing - a virus, a skull, the human nervous system and the AIDs virus all feature on the new Swiss banknotes.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf: CRISWELL PREDICTS | mae west

The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf: CRISWELL PREDICTS | mae west

Following up on Kong! I've been listening to the rest of Dr Mysterian's archive and reading his potted histories of the genesis of each of these truly weird and morbid songs. The first of them is a nutsoid Mae West singing about a psychic she once knew; why not start from here?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Life Update (for those who care.)

Ah, the stench of that dark cloud hung over us yesterday as we all trudged home from work, feeling like we were fleeing the Martians (H.G. Wells' original Martians that is, not whatever spitworthy mass media Martians were conjured up for the movie.) My trudge had a little more bounce in it, despite the miasmic inhalations, because I'd had a damn fine weekend. I'd seen my dad against the wishes of my step-mum apparently and we'd had a great time, then met up with some other friends for a 360 LAN (Perfect Dark Zero multiplayer proving a surprise hit), then got drunk with Toller, Penny and the delightful Elly in Putney and finally got lost in Camberwell... Sunday I saw John Stewart (an unfortunately expensive and tedious reading of the Daily Show book), wrote a review of Condemned for Metal Hammer and didn't have to go to the office. For the first time in weeks. How could it get better?

Well, I interviewed Graham Linehan yesterday, the writer (with Arthur Matthews) of Father Ted, in his studio where he's cutting his new sitcom The I.T. Crowd. Meeting one of your life's heroes and finding that he's exactly as down-to-earth and pensive as you hoped he would be (and also a gamer, hence the interview). (His wife was also surprisingly gorgeous.) Pity Ted himself is no longer around, though the IT crowd manages to maintain that "weird-leading-the-weird" sense of humour of Big Train, Black Books and Ted.

I also managed to complete Condemned last night; possibly the most brutal and nasty game I've ever had the fortune to come across, it's also tightly plotted, challenging and addictive, with one of the best end sequences to a game since Monkey Island 2. It makes me want to go back and play it again, even though I know it would be boring as hell, just to unlock the other elements of the plot.


Oh, yes, before I forget Chris Warr, a man of unparalled esteem, came up with a wonderful neologism; Kroney, for a lady who from behind looks 16 but from the front looks 64. (Kronenberg 1664 being the link to Crone.)


Absolutely excellent Kong song from The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf. Worth a download just to hear the inexplicable shouts of Kemo Sabe Kong!

(Via Boing Boing)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lock Out

Yes, I got locked out again. I got back to my flat at 11p.m. after working late and explicitly refusing to go to the pub cos I wanted an early night, to find that my landlord, bless his ozzie socks, had been in to show the flat to a surveyor for remortgaging and locked the door with a key I didn't have. Rob had the key, but he was in Qatar. So I yelled and cried for a bit, then rang the landlord, let's call him Owen (cos that's his name) and found out he was in Paddington but very drunk, so I got back on the bus to ealing broadway, picked up some dinner at the chippy, got on a train back to paddington, and by only 12.30 I was picking up the keys from sozzled Owen, and refusing a drink for the tenth time. Then the last train back to Broadway got delayed and delayed, then when I got back to Ealing the buses didn't turn up, so I started walking at which point three (really three!) drove past me, then I got into the flat, sat down for a second, put my head against the pillow, saw the time, and thought about getting ready for work...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Grill of Babylon

Woo! I'm doing Metal Hammer's game reviews section jointly with young MasterGillen (no not that one), for this month anyway. We need to come up with a name for ourselves though - they rejected Gril N' Gil for sounding fay. Which is fair for a metal magazine...

Anyway, I've been forced to put a bit of blog up elsewhere, for the magazine. It's rough but it's up on However, you'll notice (having immediately clicked on that link in your frenzied hunger to consume more of my ouevre - which I think means egg) that you need a log-in code for that link. If you're really all that interested, mail me and I'll try and find you one...

Oh, and a friend of a friend died suddenly in the gym about a week ago - 27 I think he was. He'd never looked healthy, but he was actually fit enough he must have just pushed himself too far. No more exercise for me then!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Game X

I’d just like to point out I *HATE* Franchise X. Really, really it’s the Pits. It’s the epitome of unthinking franchises, designed to eke yet more money out of us, without risking anything, appealing to our basest instincts, sex and conservatism (it’s been around for a long time). The games companies do *so* well with this OUTRAGEOUS MEDIOCRITY that they have no need to panic until their profits sink an iota below their spectacular projections. At which point they’re normally bought out by someone even more mediocre (lowest common denominator games being oddly attractive to investment bankers.)

The ethics of this are convoluted. I have a moral obligation to bring my concerns about this pile of twaddle to our readers, however I also have a moral obligation to give this the benefit of the doubt (inherited from some diseased Romano-Christian mentality), assuming it may improve between now and release (which I know it won't, seeing such failure of imagination that can only indicate poor, broken developers working for money rather passion, driven by the financial whips of gravy-chinned higher-ups.)

Rather than giving it the pre-emptive kicking that it deserves, which an alternative morality says thickens and hardens it, making it a stronger, more resilient game as it responds to the criticism (inherited from the Judeo-Arabic morality, perhaps) I have to grin like a fox eating shit off a wire brush and dissemble to myself that it might show promise. Also, if I kicked it, it's likely that they'd pay no attention anyhow, as they've their deadlines to hit and my comments are too far down the production cycle to matter (let alone being insignificant to them) *and* it's likely my magazine would never be allowed near it when it came to review, so there's an element of selfishness here. Ah, the good ol' days on Format, where no-one cared what you wrote...

Phew. Hope that’s out of my system. Now to writing the big positive preview… (yes, on my weekend - don't you just love working on four separate issues in the same month? No, me neither.)