Lost - There's No Place Like Home: It will all probably end very badly...

Bad meaning good of course.

So,

The last episode of the season is being shown tonight in the US. Which sucks for us guys in the UK because we now have to spend the following 3 days in total Internet seclusion.


I managed to ruin it for my self last season. I kind ‘a stumbled across the ending…which took away the bang of the last scene, you now the one. That fantastic bit when bearded Jack babbles in Kate’s face about getting back to the island. So I’m going to have to be bloody careful this time so I can squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of the last show.

Me Iain and Paul have all decided that we will be watching the show together, so no sneaky previews / spoilers. So the excited gibberish that you will be hearing on the podcast will probably be genuine.

I have heard that a few people haven’t been getting the whole “Jim Robinson” thing. The reason we all joke on the podcast about Alan Dale/Charles Widmore being Jim Robinson is because when we were younger he was a character on an Australian soap called Neighbours. Pretty much everyone in the UK grew up watching it, well me Iain and Paul obviously did, hence why we find it so amusing.

So to the people that think we have absolutely no idea what we are talking about, I say this: Half that time you are correct, but I’m afraid on this occasion we are just messing around. We know that he’s really called Charles Widmore, bloody hell, I never thought I would have to explain this one. lol

Look, here is a link to Wikipedi which will explain all of this, thanks Wikipedia

Jim Robinson

I'm hoping I won’t have to come back here and explain Frank Lapenis

Anyway catch ya Monday for the silliness.

Haze, GTA IV. Next Gen games worth the wait? part 2

So here is the second part of the two part, sort of three part post, you'll see why shortly but first I must explain the other reason for me not posting for a bit and risking the wrath of The Geek, seriously when he gets going he's like a Yorkshire terrier on pcp.








Ok, I told a white lie, Haze did not actually stop me posting because it only took me part of a day to finish. A wasted day if you ask me. I'm wary of being to negative in these things but I think there's a certain level of craftsmanship you should expect from modern games, and Haze was found wanting. Shit, it was found selling the Big Issue outside McDonalds.

This is another example of far too much hype, yet again, once more. However, everything that was hyped, the nectar system and then the rebels using the nectar against the soldiers, all that actually works quite nicely. Problem is when you produce that much hype for an FPS with a new unique aspect it's kind of important to remember the basics.

I'm going to list a few, agree/disagree/suggest more whatever:

  1. Decent, interesting, balanced weapons
  2. well designed levels that both challenge and entertain
  3. an A.I. that doesn't have to be Einstein but at least doesn't make you feel like you walked onto a suicide ward
  4. a story that doesn't get in the way of good gaming
I'll leave it there.

So weapons? Unbelievably boring. There are two sets, one for the soldiers and the other for the rebels. I could barely differentiate between the two but why should I need to when you basically just end up using the assault rifle.

I can tell that the levels were probably designed by the work experience boy because I'm sitting here trying to actually remember one and I just can't. Not mention that when looking for images to accompany this post I was stuck as they all looked the same.

A.I. yes it is long film with that annoying child in it. Not much to do with Haze though, when you consider at one point there's was an annoying repetitive sound of someone being hurt. I soon discovered it was a team mate standing on a fire, thats it, just standing, while he burned. Perhaps they came up with an amazing new system of a sliding scale A.I. were intelligence varies and some characters are really freaking stupid, a new attempt at realism?

Oh boy the story, well actually thats not too bad; I'd say your typical FPS narrative with a nice twist that you switch sides a one point. So would someone like to explain to me why I had to sit through the lengthy verbose bollocks speeches? Every time you finished a level all you did was sit and listen to someone natter at you for god knows how bloody long. Gee thanks mate, now I feel you have develop the story sufficiently that my character is fleshed out. OR you found new ways to destroy my remaining brain cells with you pointless drivel.

At this point I was going to discuss the glitches but I can't be arsed to complain any more. So I'll will just say - yup every game has them but the shit that was happening here is just not on for a game of this size.

Needless to say I was very disappointed, not as much as my friend who had spent his hard earned cash on it, fool.

Part 3 (sort of)

After playing these two new Next Gen titles; GTA IV I highly recommend though it is flawed, and Haze...I have enough coasters thank you; I got to thinking is Next Gen worth it?

We have all these titles coming out extolling the virtues of Next Gen technology and when they arrive it seems more often than not their a bit naff. Why?

Too much hype? A focus on gimics rather than solid gaming?

I feel we have lost our way, as I said yesterday we're all hungry for the next fix, the latest innovation. Game designers are spending so much time trying to make games look prettier or give you some amazing new way to play something you've been playing for years they forgot the basics. We forgot the basics.

Take Resistance: Fall of Man, this was the first Next Gen title I played, yup it looked amazing so a good start and then everything else about it was a fairly standard FPS. You know what though, don't think I've played any Next Gen game as much. No they didn't break new ground, but they stomped all over the old ground in big shiny ass-kicking boots. And when the sequel comes out I may have to book that day off work.

I say shove your "exciting new gameplay" up your arse and give me a decent game. You polish a turd it's still a turd, remember that.

Next up is MGS:4 holiday smackdown, yup I'm taking holiday to play a game, some people sleep in a mobile shed. Don't feel I have to worry here Kojima isn't stupid, he knows what works, he owns this.

Sweet.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Holiday has been booked off

That’s right, I fucking love this game, its got so bad that I have booked 2 days off work to go up to Sheffield and play the fuck out of it on the 12th June.

The love affair started back when I first played Metal Gear on the Playstation 1. I think it was the moment you had to unplug you controller and plug it in to port 2 – that being the only way you could defeat one of the bosses, genius.

We were next destined to meet in my first year of university. One gigantic all night session later and we have pretty much completed it. I was always remember the part when the game starts telling you "you have played far too long and you need to have a rest". It caused a few a few tired gasps, and some laughter…and I think everyone pretty much agreed with what the game was telling us.





I felt sorry for the guy that bought the game...he let us all borrow it for the evening and we handed it back to him completed...lol

The last time we all met Snake...well, Snakes Dad was in my last year of University. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, was a more subdued affair. Less booze and drugs, more intellectual conversation about the plot and how much this game was like a James Bond Movie. The game took us longer to complete as well, nearly 2 days. Maybe we are loosing our touch.

Now its 2008, and its Snakes final mission.

Apparently we are going to get all those questions answered and we might just find out what the fuck is going on. Inbetween breaking some necks and shooting some crotches.

AND apparently we may, just may...see...Snake...die!!!!!





Also there are rumours of a 90 minute cut scene...I’m hoping it’s the ending, because Snake definitely needs to go out in a Gigantic blaze of glory.

Anyway I texted the team this morning and got these responses, which made me smile.

It’s already pre-ordered, can’t bloody wait – Owen
I’ll shave my balls and moisturised my ass, I’ve got it off too – Crabs


Right, I’m off to listen to this piece of music again and again...BECAUSE I BLOODY LOVE IT.





You should listen to this everyday!

I love you Snake.

Haze, GTA IV. Next Gen games worth the wait? part 1

This is an entry of two parts, well three technically but who's counting besides me and the OCD readers. I haven't posted for a bit for a very good reason, I've been far too busy playing games. Then I felt a little guilty, and slightly worried that The Geek would start texting nasty things about my manhood if I didn't post.

So what have I been playing? Stupid question as it's in the title. More importantly, was it worth my time?

Considering how precious and under demand my time is (quiet Tom, it is and you know it) I have mixed feelings about how to answer this. Lets begin with GTA IV.






The subject of much controversy the folks at Rockstar have yet again excelled themselves with another fantastic game. Having set themselves up with what has become a long line of great games it was inevitable, though I must warn you that in a short while there is a "but". Just, you know, to soften the blow and make it clear I don't have some teenage crush on this game (I can get a little excited at times yes).

When we started playing GTA what hits you first is how damn pretty it looks, the detailing in this latest installment is awesome and the often dodgy draw distance has been greatly improved. This is made even more effective when the superb weather effects reduce this such as in storms or fog, and can I say it's some of the most realistic storm effects I've ever seen.


Woah that was geeky. Anyway on with the important hoopla, the killing. There definitely seems to be a focus on more realism than in previous versions and you are now able to use cover. Something which is rather important on missions such as the "Heat"-esque bank robbery were every copper and his mum is shooting at you. A mission which is made all the more satisfying by the beautifully rendered car explosions.


Another fine detail is the animation in just getting to the afore mentioned cover, the character Nikko uses many methods to rush and slide into position which is always fun to watch as well being as very well executed.

Two main center pieces in the game are your mobile phone and the Internet, new to the game they provide you with missions as well as other interesting extras. Its such an ingenious update on the old method of gameplay and I felt really refreshed the experience. It does have it's drawbacks however when your girlfriends and other friends constantly call asking for dates, perchance a little extreme on the realism here.

Another feature of the mobile is access to the multiplayer, the biggest addition to the franchise and in my opinion the best. This is pure and simple genius. Simple because what else have we wanted from GTA but the ability to do drive-bys with a group of friends. Though there are a number of different game types I must say I've focused on the Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. It truly is the most fun you can have with your pants on, or even off, some nights when I'm feeling a little crazy, whose going to know. Rockstar have not over done the multiplayer which can often be a problem, here it's simple and accessible.


Right now I bet you thinking, where's his but? Well, maybe not that exactly.

Lets forget about the multiplayer, that rocks, nuff said. And before I say anything else I think you should buy this game but (there it is, I know your relieved, me too) I must ask this of the single player - what's the point?

Odd question I know but it is an issue I had, there is no point. Now you could have a philosophical argument about the the "point" of any game so I'll make myself clear. Beyond completing the story line and the pedantic no lifer 100% completion there's not much else. There's no challenge.

You don't really need to do anything other than the story because there's not really much to achieve, and the only place were there are perks you have to suffer the inane drivel that is GTA dating. All your houses are given to you, there's a limited wardrobe and you soon have enough money to cover the cost of the epic amounts of weaponry you need, money well spent of course. Thus doing extra jobs to earn money becomes pointless because you don't need it.

Gone is the moment of satisfaction as you buy a bigger safe house, or that great moment when you realise you don't have to drive halfway across town to save your hours of gameplay(something which is no longer a problem as there's an autosave, woot I just love having everything handed to me on a plate). There's certainly no saving up to buy that new business to earn you extra cash for a bigger, better safe house that whole aspect has gone.

As I ponder this I stumble in my own meandering fashion upon another factor, out of all the GTA the plot of this one feels most like the orginal GTA, 2D. You bounce around the islands being everyones errand boy, never getting bigger jobs, higher rank, anything really. Your just a lackey. I remember Vice City, the great way you started out with nothing and by the end your in the "Scarface" mansion and your the boss. What do you get here? Some guy dropped off at the airport, woot.

What went wrong?

I think it's the glamour of Next Gen. Rockstar seem to have spent so much time engrossed with the "new", with the Next Gen, they forgot what made these games great and then they left it out, shivering in a corner like those dogs in charity adverts. We're to blame too, always clamouring for the next hit, for the newest gimic, because this isn't just a GTA problem, oh no it's much bigger. Can't be arsed telling you about that now though got myself all worked up, piss off.

See you in part 2.

Sweet.

Avatar: The Last Air bender, I’m a big fan

Ok bare with me on this one.

I’ve been a fan of kids TV for a while now. They are some really great shows out there if you can find them. They appeal to not only the younger viewer but to everyone that has the time to sit down and watch them.

Luckily I do have the time at the moment, and finally after a year of trying. I have been able to watch pretty much all of Avatar: The Last Air Bender, and let me tell you that it was a very enjoyable experience.

It’s an American Take on a Japanese Anime. which should be rubbish, but its really quite good.

The premise is pretty decent. The world is split in to 4 different tribes, earth, fire, wind and water. Each tribe controls its respective element, and lording over all of them is the Avatar. The Avatar can control all of the elements and is super duper powerful and brings balance to the world by policing the different nations. The problem is that the current one has disappeared resulting in the fire nation trying to take over the world. So when the Avatar is found in a block of ice, he must learn all of the different element based fighting styles, so he can defeat the fire national and restore balance to the world...oh and he’s a 10 year old boy.

So the best way of getting across my love for the show is definitely in the bullet point format:


  • The crazy animals that inhabit the world:
    Badger Moles
    Wolf Bats
    Platypus Bears
    Sky Bison

    Every animal seems to be mixed with another, which is an interesting twist.


  • Sokka:
    He actually makes me laugh out loud, brilliant. Remember kids, don’t do drugs






  • Snogging

  • I have never seen so much full blown snogging in a cartoon. It’s brilliant.

  • The fighting

  • Each of the different fighting styles have been really thought through. They mimic the different element that they are using. The action is fast pasted and really well choreographed. It makes me happy.

  • The cabbage guy

  • This is Avatar's "running gag". This guy is trying to sell his cabbages but his stall is always getting destroyed, resulting in him shouting "MY CABBAGES"...comic genius


    *excuse the stupid intro, this is the only video I could find*


    There’s going to a proper film about it. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan...which scares me. After the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable he hasn’t really done anything that hasn’t been utter cack.

    However as this isn’t something he has written, it might be ok...MIGHT

    City of Ember: A Geeky Tom's wet dream.

    The Geek is going to love this, I'm going to love this, you will love this.

    Gil Kenan has new film, the guy that brought us monster house, a film which I must say I was surprised I liked so much and was far darker than I expected. The source of the houses haunting is just evil genius.

    The new project is called City of Ember, in an attempt to save humanity after some calamity or other (I love my detailing here) an underground city is built, namely Ember, duh. The catch is this city is only built to last 200 years, after that the people of the city are to open a box that tells them how to get out. The box his handed down generation after generation till it gets forgotten about and lost. dum dum duuuhh.

    The look of this film, it has a real manga feel to it, the whole mish mash of industrial, archaic and sort of futuristic...erm stuff (I rule at the language today) just rocks my world. Gives me a real sense of wonder, makes the world seem alive. Anyway here is the trailer.




    Sweet.

    Mirror's Edge: Through the looking glass.

    Not really sure about that title there, bit pretentious you think?

    Anyway, something odd happened the other day, I'm on the Playstation store and I come across a game trailer for a game I'd never heard of, I know, shocking.

    Said game is called Mirror's Edge and is a FPS from DICE the creators of the Battlefield series. You take the role of a lady named a Faith who is a futuristic delivery girl called a runner (aren't they the poor sods that get tea for everyone in the entertainments industry) trying to clear her name of a murder charge, so the experience as a runner comes in handy then.

    The game uses parkour, something which is becoming more and more popular in games design (and subsequently more and more boring), however it has until now been the realm of third person games. Something about this looks different though, everything does in fact, it stands out. And then I realized what it was, its so bright, and I still don't really understand why but it just made me want to play.

    I'm always looking at new game trailers and recently I can't say anything has got me tingly, till I saw this.

    video

    Sweet.

    CACK!! You diminutive popinjay!

    I should have that little weasel for libel besmirching my good name, I taught him everything he knows and this is how he repays me.

    Though I will admit my Lost theories are few, they all are solid, I just couldn't be arsed sitting through the studios attempt at eking out every dirty, sweaty dollar they possibly could. Meanwhile I died a little inside every filler episode.

    Glad to see this season has changed. I also like the fashion in which we are receiving answers, each episode the characters reiterate the questions and then answer them. Its almost like the writers are having a dig at the studio, I hope so, I would.

    Craig Sellers: Sci-Fi Art Extravaganza

    I was stumbling blindly around the web the other day in a fevered mess and I came across this.

    It’s Craig Sellers website.

    He’s a concept artist and illustrator. He’s currently working in the games industry. I really like his work as it really reminds me of Syd Mead's concept work for blade runner - hehe, sounds like I know what I'm talking about lol. I bloody loved that film and you can tell that Craig must have seen that film at least once, maybe twice.

    I tell you what I would love to know what games he’s working on at the moment because I would definitely check it out. The only game I could think of that would have this kind of style would be Deadspace.

    Here are some of my favourite pieces.







    There are loads more on his site as well as contact details in case you want to commission some work off him.

    Just for the record

    I was rather ill last week. Hence why I couldn’t do the Podcast. It was just pure co-incidence that I had received my brand spanking new Xbox 360 with a freshly sealed copy of GTA 4 that week. Of course I spent the week playing the fore mentioned game, it called to me. It’s very good by the way, a perfectly realised New Yor..I mean Liberty City.

    The previous week I was in Sheffield with the man we all call Crabs. I was playing the Metal Gear online Beta while eating a bacon sandwich and drinking tea as you probably heard. I’m sorry but the promise of bacon sandwiches and Metal Gear was too strong a pull. I was going to get him to chat down the phone, but then I realised that all his theories on Lost are Cack.

    =)

    The Avengers: I just did a huge geeky sex wee!!!

    Sssooo Iron-man rocks hard tasty abs. We all know that there's no way in hell they wouldn't be making a sequel, and everyone plus their mates (and some random people in the street in my case) knows that their making The Avengers movie.

    But then I get hit with this bomb shell!!!

    Iron-man 2 Apr 30 2010




    What are we going to see here? They've done such a nice job setting up the characters in the first film, there's a lot to work with. We've seen the scene stealing, fame loving stark but throughout that film his driven side also shines through.

    One of the things that I really loved about the first film was a possible set up for his alcoholism, too heavy for a comic book film? Not i think with the tone of the last film, and who else could pull it off but Downey jr.

    And the other big question is what suits will we see, abnd who will be wearing them?















    Thor June 4 2010




    With the Avengers movie on the way you knew it was going to happen but it great to see it confirmed. I love Thor, he's a bit more out there than the other Avengers, you know what with being the Norse god of thunder, son of Odin. That kind sets you apart from the usual billionaire playboys and super soldiers, plus he's got that long blonde hair.

    Be interesting to see if they go the traditional route or use the Ultimates version of Thor, the eco-warrior/ex-psycho ward patient. I certainly think the latter is far more fun.


















    The First Avenger: Captain America may 6 2011



    OH SWEET CHRIST ON A PEDALO!

    Ok know I just said "With the Avengers movie on the way you knew it was going to happen" etc but this really gets me excited. To me Captain America is for Marvel what Superman is for DC, he's the first, a beacon, an example.

    When I first heard about The Avengers movie I got excited because I knew it was coming and I thought wouldn't it be cool if they did a prequel/Captain America movie were we see Cap fighting the Nazis before he gets frozen in ice to later be found by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.

    Boy would that ever.

    I have a small hope that with this title that may be there angle, I live in hope, everyone would love to see Cap kicking Nazi arse. Am I right. of course.

    My other thoughts are someone like Micheal Bay for director, you definitely need those over the top set pieces with powerful, stirring music forcing you to throw a fist in the air and shout" YEAH GO CAPTAIN AMERICA!".

    As for the music its got to be the one pure genius when it comes to appropriately military style music, Harry Gregson Williams. This guy is a god to me and the Tom, he does the music for the metal gear solid series and that music kicks arse.





    The Avengers July 2011



    Finally the big one. The absolute genius of doing a cross-over movie makes we wonder why everyone isn't doing this. After all the studies love franchise, but the run out of steam, so spice it up with a cross-over, it's almost like someone thought if this before. hmmm.

    So the line-up so far in no particular order is Iron-man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Ant- an (Edgar Wright) so we may be seeing his wife Wasp. All the original line-up.

    Whatever happens this movie is going to have to be big, the whole inspiration behind The Avengers was they fight enemies that are to much for one hero. We are talking global here, I got one word for you,

    SWEET.