videogames and stuff


So last night I installed Call of Duty World at War on my new u-beaut epic mofo PC I recently got at work. I played the first couple of single player levels (up to the first Russian section). Jesus it is pretty and well made and well put together. I never hated Treyarch’s Call of Duty 3 like so many others (I thought the SP was OK but the multi was excellent) but I had my doubts about the most recent entry to the franchise being as good as CoD4.

My doubts (in the Single Player) so far have been assuaged. However I cannot give any impressions of the online Multiplayer since a charming bug means I can’t make an online profile. Even the Day 1 patch hasn’t helped. I was hoping I wouldn’t need to get this game twice (on PC and 360, as I had with CoD2 and CoD4) but I want to play the multiplayer sooooo badly. I could go and get the 360 or PS3 version for Multi, but I only want to level up once, not 5 times, like I did with CoD4 (I only got as high as level 50 on 360 and 35 ish on PC).

I am one of the few people on the planet who still loves WWII as a setting for games though only CoD and MoH (with RtCW and BF1942 in the past) being the games I ever played much of. I did however despise EA’s two Pacific Theatre set episodes (Pacific Assault and Rising Sun). They were the epitomy of crap games. So when Treyarch, so characterised as being hacks, pulled this one out of the hat, I can’t help but be impressed. A pity the Quantum of Solace game isn’t getting as good review scores as this one.

The other game I started just as I wrote this were the first few levels of Little Big Planet. So far its a complicated version of Braid but I had a hard time putting it down. I can’t see myself making all that much in the way of levels myself but the child-like joy it evokes is great. Game of the Year? no. But a welcome change of pace in a year of shooters and music games.

Expect us to focus test LBP and CoD WaW  in the next few weeks. Hell, you can expect us to Focus Test anything you see with Now Playing a tag on the right side of the screen.


10 Ways To Look Like a Dick playing Guitar Hero/Rock Band

10. For guitarists, trying to emulate some performance histrionics of popular guitarists (you know, real ones), be careful. AC/DC fans may want to emulate Angus Young’s duckwalk (or Chuck Berry’s duck walk if you think about it). This is dangerous, especially if you’re playing with a wired controller. If you get too carried away, you’ll end up pulling your PS2 or 360 of its shelf and onto the floor (let’s get our stories straight- it ‘fell,’ right?)

9. Drummers. What’s the difference between a drummer and a drum machine? You only have to punch in the notes once on a drum machine. A favourite trick of music videos and stadium concerts in  the 80′s was to pour a little bit of water on a drum skin so that all these impressive droplets shoot up every time the drum is hit. Now think about this, Putting water on a GHWT Drum controller is not a bright idea.

8. Vocalists. Well to be honest, there’s no way to not look like a dick if you’ve drawn the short straw to handle the vocals. 9/10 Rock Band/ GHWT vocalists are too ashamed to actually perform properly (its the only bit of Rock Band/ GHWT that relies on talent rather than coordination. That’s why most singers look like they’d rather be somewhere else but someone had already called shotgun.

7. Smashing your instruments/ Setting them on fire. Now Jimi Hendrix famously set fire to a guitar at a  concert and Pete Townsend accidentally but the neck of his axe through a low ceiling which led to the destruction of the instruments being a major set piece in some band’s shows. Now think about this. You’ve already paid good money for these toys and smashing them on the floor means its really hard play them. NOTE: Smashing your instruments may invalidate your warranty.

6. Trashing you hotel room, throwing the TV into the pool. Now you need the frickin telly in order to play the damn game. ‘Nuff said.

5. Tieing a scarf to your mike stand. You are not Steve Tyler and chances are you haven’t sired a child with a Playboy Playmate. Also, statistically speaking, your mouth is not big enough to pull this off.

4.Trying to get wild feedback through the guitar amp. Sorry to break it to you, you don’t have a guitar amp.

3. Say to your friends in  poor attempt at a cockney accent, “Turn it up to 11.”

2. Telling people you don’t play covers. Although you can make your own tunes in GHWT, you can’t make good ones. If you could, you wouldn’t be trying to make songs in GHWT.

1. Busking in a crowded subway station. There tends not to be large screen TV’s and PS3 consoles available in train stations. When I see a busker in a street, I feel sorry for them and give them some coins. When I see guys playing guitar hero, I feel like giving them a smack on the head.

Care to add ways to look like a Dick playing Music games? Add a comment.

There’s also the following ways to look like a dick without playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band

1- playing Rock Revolution

2- going on about how if you want to play the game on hard, you might as well learn a real instrument.

3- Wanking on about how Konami created the genre with Guitar Freaks.

4- Owning Guitar Freaks

5- Mentioning Frets on Fire in the comments



As I write this, I am close to the end of Gears so I won’t speak about it too much other than to say this is really a much better game (for me) than the first. The first wasn’t bad but it felt like a slog to get through the game (even on casual). Gears 2 has none of the crappy bits from the first game that I hated- Krillitane and those blind Brutes who charged you.
There are other diversions such as driving a tank, manning turrets and a reaver chase as well as boss battles that aren’t just shoot 50 mags into a big sonovabitch. But basically this is a third person shooter at its finest. The next Max Payne (and Uncharted 2, while I think of it) have some catching up to do. contributor Cameron held a little soiree last weekend and we cracked open the plastic toys and rocked out to Guitar Hero World Tour. We loved it and although we plan to focus test it soon enough, we all want to play it a bit more before we do so. As you see from this next podcast, we aren’t the most tuneful trio (well, better than The Police at least) so the eventual World Tour show will be epic in its disaster like qualities.

I’ve been attempting to play drums. I’m a sound guy in real life but drums have always been something that’s alluded me. I was hoping the drums with GHWT would help my rhythm a bit but the drums aren’t sensitive enough to make a decent MIDI controller.

The make your own song thing is rather crappy to use compared to Garage Band or Logic or Cubase, but then I find simplistic sequencers a pain to use. For many people, its great and I applaud this feature. But imagine a PC based program where you could import your own tracks if you have access to them (like you own indidual mulitrack ecordings with separate Bass, Guitar, Vocals and drums.

But then Activision would be out of business.

So I hope to play more GHWT before we focus test it and finish Gears 2 this weekend. Two more games have turned up- Little Big Planet for PS3 and Call of Duty World at War for PC.

I’m primarily a console gamer these days as I don’t have a gaming PC at home anymore but I now have a beast of a work machine that can run PC games at a decent clip so CoD WaW is getting a run on PC. If I end up wanting to play more multi at home, I will pick up a 360/PS3 version as well but for now I think the PC will soothe me. I have the Cod1 and its expansion, CoD2 (my all time favourite multiplayer game) and CoD4 on PC. I also have CoD 2, 3 and 4 on 360 and have also played some of the last-gen only cod titles on Xbox1.

So, yeah. I’m a CoD whore. Whether I become a CoD WaWhore, is another thing entirely.

Share Podcast #6 GEARS OF WAR 2

In episode six, Clint decides to hate on Gears of Wars 2 because it is Gears of War 2 (and he liked the first one) yet still looks, plays and sounds like Gears of Wars 1. George tries to get Clint to actually try and play the game before pronouncing judgement. Cam is the UN Negotiator.



Vaporware is an occasional column here on This week we look at three consoles announced but were only released in small markets or never released at all.

duper 24

Firstly the The “Duper24″ was advertised as the first gaming console to feature twin colour technology. When it was later revealed that the manufacturer considered Black to be one colour and White the other, the system was withdrawn from sale until all boxes were marked with the less deceitful but still not entirely relevant claim that the system boasted more computational power than all of North Korea. Oddly enough, exports of the Duper24 to North Korea are still subject to UN restrictions due to Pyonyangs Hot-Air Balloonistic Missile Program reportedly being controlled by an gray import Duper 24 running a Missile Command Clone packed in with with the system,  “I can’t believe its Not missile Command”

Duper 24 allegedly used its legal muscle to shut down the importer responsible for that sale, Sik-Lang.


“10 SHITLOADS” by Marcus Fenix presents excerpts from the autobiography of one Marcus Fenix.

Cover of "10 Shitloads" by Marcus Fenix


“I was 13 when I uttered by first curse word. It was a Tuesday. I remembered it very clearly since it was only a week after I got a bandanna for my birthday. I was fooling around in my Dad’s workshop when I accidentally hit my thumb with a hammer. “Shit!” I cried out as the thumb throbbed and pulsed, the pain indescribable. Out of that moment of sharp pain came a realization. I could swear.

At first I was sparing with my use of the word ‘shit.’ I’d stub my pinky toe on the door frame and inadvertently say ‘shit!’ I’d trip over on the street whilst practicing my roadie run and get my balls stuck on my Homemade Lancer. OK so it was a BB gun with mom’s carving knife stuck on with duct tape, but it still hurt. Pretty soon I was flinging the swear words around with careless abandon. “Shit this,” I’d say when I got bored with a TV show I was watching. “Screw that,” when I was told to get ready for church on Sunday mornings. Pretty soon I was swearing so much I was using curse words out of context so much that people could longer comprehend what I said.

I remember presenting an oral report in my senior year of high school. It was meant to cover causes of the Civil War but all that came out was ‘Jism cock turd overflow ass tits shitburger fuckerfacials.’ OK, so I got extra credit as well as detention but I knew I had a problem”

Other tidbits:

1) Mr and Mrs Fenix originally wanted a daughter and so they named their only son Marcy. Sgt Fenix was dressed in gingham dresses up till age three.

2) Dom loves singing Englebert Humperdinck songs in the Karaoke Bar. Word is that he’ s not very good at ‘Quando’ but his ‘Please Release Me,’ brings tears to your eyes.

3) Marcus Fenix has never taken steroids. He just looks like Ben Grimm’s stepson purely by chance.

Share podcast #5 Mirror’s Edge

So this week, Clint surprises us all by buying Mirror’s Edge on Day 1.



Developed by Lionhead. Published by Microsoft. presents a review of Fable II, the highly hyped sequel to one of the most hyped games ever to not suck.

Yes, Fable part 1 had a lot of hype, a lot of promises that didn’t make the final game and a lot of people annoyed at Peter Molyneux. Fable 1 (if you avoided the hyperbole before its release) was actually a pretty good game. My only criticism was that by the end you were overpowered by the time you reached the final battle. Fable II fixes a lot of minor irritations with the first game.

You start off as a young boy or a girl (you choose), who eventually grows up to be a hero in the world of Albion, the same world as the first game but hundreds of years later- a place where belief in magic has disappeared. Your family has been shattered by a villain up to no good for reasons best understood by himself and the people at Lionhead. So, just like any RPG, you play a character and level them up the Lionhead way. You have a main story whereby you become a hero and have to search for a number of other heroes to help you defeat the Big Bad at the heart of the main quest. Along the way you have many, many side quests and have all of the distractions Fable was so good at. I.e- trading, buying property and becoming a landlord, having relationships and families. Most of which doesn’t impact too much on the main quest. Its really a game where the Main Quest can be a very small part of your play experience. Just like going to school. You don’t have to study, you just get through it faster if you do.

There’s never any sense that you aren’t levelled up enough to face any challenge, though the more money you earn, the better weapons you will be able to afford. For an RPG, armour is strangely absent so you can have your character run around in their underwear and not incur any extra damage. You can hold a lot of stuff in your inventory but can only have one ranged and one melee weapon assigned at anyone time. Melee is on one button, ranged is on another, Magic (called Will) on another. So while you have flourishes and can charge up your Will attacks, its not overly complex. Its not bad, its just not that deep. Combat is button mashing but generally enjoyable because when you die you just get knocked out for a but and if you don’t have a revive potion, you just lose XP when you run out of health. You are instantly revived with a lower XP rating but otherwise you can just continue.

The main quest itself is interesting but what sets Fable apart from most RPG’s is the depth of is normally the other bullshit RPG makers throw in to make it longer. You can do odd jobs which are mostly repetitive timing-based minigames such as pulling pints or chopping wood, you can go looking for the various methods to opening demon doors, hunt gargoyles, go on bounty hunter missions, save slave, etc. Mostly for gold (and of course gathering XP along the way), but also for Reknown.

Reknown is Fable’s currency for making sure you do side missions before continuing on the main quest. Which means side quests are partly integrated into the main quest, which is nice. And of course, you have choices whether you behave or act like an asshole (as in Mass Effect and KotOR). Your character’s body will evolve as you play the game. If you get stronger, your character gets bigger. If you eat junk food and drink beer, your character gets fat. If you are pure and eat well, you can lose weight. I chose to eat celery and my character still ended yo looking like a candidate for the Biggest Loser.

fable ii- my character hanging out at the docks

You can make people like you by expressions that you find and earn throughout the game. You can scowl, fart, flirt, seduce, scare, offer gifts, dance etc in order to intimidate people, make them like you, etc. A far more evolved version of that in GTA IV, though really in the end they don’t influence the main quest all that much. I got married in Fable I just to see what it was like. I have since gotten married in real life so the attraction to do it in game just wasn’t there but I did manage to have lesbian sex with Carol the Whore and then when I wouldn’t marry her, she started shooting a gun at me and following me wherever I went. I killed her because she was annoying me and felt utterly horrible. So I reloaded my last save. She may have been a Whore (She was Carol the Whore), but she was a human whore.

And then there’s the dog. The Dog is your companion and you can have specific expressions for your dog such as heal, play with, punish, etc. Your dog will bark when treasure is nearby or growl when enemies are around. If you’re a cat person, then you’re shit out of luck.

So how about those more technical aspects of the game. There are some basic online co-op options but I didn’t test any of them since they didn’t add much. If any one from your friends list is playing the same location as you, you will see their avatar and you can join the other’s game (but not as your character). Overall, the game’s presentation is mostly good with a few rough edges at transitions (ie when you beat a mission and the next bit loads or saves, people you were talking with will suddenly disappear).

Graphics are nice and the game manages to keep a decent frame rate though particle effects tend to make the game chug somewhat. Sounds is vbery good and while many American players find the rural English accents forced, they are better than every village hag sounding like Dame Judi Wench. Sound Effects are nice, and musically the game hits the right notes.

Fable II is a very good game and its initial sales success are definitely well deserved. This is a good Zelda style adventure for those not into the grit of Oblivion, Fallout or Mass Effect (or MMO’s). Its got so much that if you didn’t want to play the main quest you’d easily get your money’s worth with the reast of the package. The story is definitely worth playing. It goes into some very dark places later in the game, much darker than the rest of the package and you have to do some heartbreaking things in order to progress. rating 3/3. This game does so much right, and unique that you really should find the 15 or so hours you need to play through it. The only downside is I now have to go into Fallout 3 having just played a longish game.



Here’s a question I think alot of 360 owners with 20GB Hard drives will be pondering with the NXE coming up. Now that you can install a 6.8GB disc to your drive with at best 13 GB available, do you upgrade the HDD, buy a new 360 or try to live with 13GB (nee 20 GB)?

Here’s my situation. I have an early 2006 Australian launch 360 Pro/Premium whatever you want to call it. I don’t have shedloads of DLC, just a number of XBLA games and demoes and some map packs for the MP games I play most such as Halo 3, CoD, etc. And some Guitar Hero Songs. And I download a couple of demoes a month. So at the moment, I have about 5 gig to play with, which isn’t enough to install a single DVD game.

My 360, covered for the RROD til March 2009, has so far twice RRODed, but the last time was over a year ago (touch wood). It also doesn’t have HDMI. I am happy with the picture on my Full HD set using the VGA but it would make things easier if I was able to use a HDMI switcher unit.

I see my options as being:

1- Buy a standalone 60GB or 120GB drive and keep the old 360.

2- Buy a new Premium or Elite and keep the old 360 as a backup.

3- Do nothing and just re-install games everytime I wanna swap. Demoes are for suckers and XBLA is worthless.

Option 3 is rather mean. What the hell did I do to deserve that Option 3, you heartless bastard? Option 3 is a cunt.

Cheapest is just buy a new HDD, but considering the price of a 60GB HDD in Australia is only a third less than an arcade unit. This is from the MS press release announcing the price cut.

Xbox 360 Range New RRP Previous RRP Saving on previous RRP
Xbox 360 Arcade $299 $349 $50
Xbox 360 $399 $499 $100
Xbox 360 Elite $549 $649 $100

The cost of the HDD’s are$149 for the 60GB starter pack (also has three months XBLive Gold access, ethernet and wired headset) and $199 for the 120GB. The Aussie dollar has devalued 30% against the US dollar in the last 3 months (it was AU$1= US98c, now that’s AU$1 = US68c) so I’m guessing MS aren’t going to cut the accessories.

An arcade and a 60GB starter pack are going to cost $449 whereas a Premium is $399. I wouldn’t get the 3 months live with the premium but I would be missing the component cables (yes, I already have them from the first xbox 360 and I currently use the VGA and yes I would probably end up using the HDMI but play along with me). So the premium 60GB looks a good deal. It currenly comes with Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indy (I already have Lego Indy on 360). There are other deals where Halo 3 and Mass Effect are thrown in as well at one store (games I already have). Another store throws in Assassin’s Creed (already bought, played, gotten fed up with and traded).

So a premium would allow maybe 4-6 games installed in full as well as have room for DLC and a few demoes at any one time. I think I could live with that over the 120GB since I rarely cycle through more than 2 or three 360 games at a time.

So what would you do?

What would Jean-Luc Picard do? He would just say “Make it so”

What would Han Solo do? He’d shoot first

What would Peter Moore do? He’d get a temporary tatoo

What would Solid Snake do? Did you play MGS2 on XBox? He’d run at 20 FPS.

What would Miyamoto do? He’d do something different but ultimately disappointing

What would Obama do? Not sure, but I’m sure it would involve a speech.

What would you do?

Share podcast #4 PODCATS UNITE!

This week, we are mostly been playing: Strategy

Tom Clancy’s End War and Sid Meier’s Civilisation Revolution

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