17 Dec 2012

Inthespringshewrites

Kelsey is my girlfriend, and blogs about things that have nothing to do with games. Not even a little bit. If you get the time, take a look at her blog, and see what the 2 of us get up to when I'm not glued to my Xbox.

Inthespringshewrites





16 Dec 2012

Miracle

A miracle hath befallen me. Let me take you back many moons ago...

I've just finished university for the summer, so its time to appreciate my laptop and use it for more than just Microsoft Word. I've got a selection of games to play that I can't get rid of because they're classics, but I instead opt for The Sims 3. I thought I probably wouldn't be able to experience it as fully as I'd want to, but it just looked too good to pass up. I load it up while in bed, after watching some TV, Kelsey beside me now deeply sleeping the night away. Okay, this is looking awesome; graphics are insane, building houses is so much more fun (after inputting money cheats, naturally), you can even put sofas and TVs on diagonals instead of on a 90 degree angle. Sweet! Okay, off to get a job in the cinema, then maybe come home and take a dip in the swimming pool. Oh dear. My laptop has crashed. It may as well have been screaming "I'm on fire!!! What is wrong you?!" as it whirred angrily, until falling into a deafly silence. Clearly, my nearly 3 year-old laptop didn't enjoy overheating, especially when its air vent was being smothered by a duvet. Yeah, my bad, shouldn't have done that, and in hindsight, I probably should've left it there, let it cool down, and play some more the next day. Of course not, I wanted to go swimming.

5 minutes later, its cooled down sufficiently enough for me to think it'll be alright, so I put The Sims 3 back on. The laptop then turns off again. Now I'm thinking, ....Oh. Shit. So, I try and turn it on again, and it just looks at me, starts whirring, and flicks off again. Several tries later, my laptop is reduced to the equivalent of that feeling you get when you're stuffed full of food; it literally hasn't got the strength to move. The sound of it whirring is like listening to a drunk person trying their hardest to talk; it just isn't happening. Ever the optimist, I'm thinking, It'll be alright tomorrow, let it cool down, it'll be fine. Hmm.

So, over the next 12 months, I periodically attempt to get it started again, but with limited luck. I think it worked for about 30 minutes once, but then it was back to its broken state. After the 7 month mark, I finally take it in for a free check-up in PC World/Currys to see whats wrong with the chap. "It's the motherboard," he says, "and it isn't receiving any power." Fantastic, I think. "How much will it cost to get fixed?", I ask, with a figure of about £50 maximum floating around in my head. "Between £150 and £200, which will take about 4-6 weeks to sort out," he says. Long story short, I didn't get it fixed.

So, present day. Only a handleful of moons ago, my friend Mark comes round; he needs a computer with a connection to the internet because his internet isn't too fast. I said, "Well we can use Kelsey's, although I'd let you use mine, but it's broken," laughing, I continue, "I'll show you, it's completely broken." So I fish my laptop out from beside the sofa - its home for a year - plug it in, and turn it on. At this point, I haven't tried turning it on for a good 5-6 months. After it initially starts whirring, I'm looking at Mark thinking, Ha! Look at how ridiculous this is, until I realise that it hasn't stopped whirring yet. Oh yes. It decides to start up completely; no problems, no files have gone missing, absolutely nothing has changed. I looked at it like my child had just won sports day; I was proud, but ultimately, astounded. I'm not sure whether it just wanted to be in hibernation for a bit, it couldn't take the constant use, or it lost trust in me for letting it overheat and hadn't forgiven me yet, but for whatever reason, it's working again. And, actually, working faster than it had previously as well.

There are a few reasons why I've decided to detail my technological-saga: one, because I really love this laptop and love having a working laptop in my possession again; and two, because it just goes to show that you can't trust technology or technology experts - it'll never work when you want it to, so you can at least trust me on that.




Now, where's The Sims 3?....

14 Dec 2012

Retro-spective [Part 4]

The finale. Obviously, there are a ton of games that I can think of to end this little nostalgic saga that I've done, but I'm going to select a couple that mean something in particular, both for me personally, and the gaming world as a whole.



Tekken 4 / Playstation 2



Staying with the PS2 for a little while longer, let's talk about Tekken 4, which is, in my opinion, the best of the more recent Tekken games to be released. The originals are just too good to compare with, so I basically mean it's better than Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament by a country mile. Anyway, the reason this is one of my favourites is because it properly got me into the attitude that practice makes perfect. To skillfully perform combos that destroyed your opponent, and counter anything that came your way thereafter, required timing, knowledge of your character, and practice.

Lost Odyssey / Xbox 360

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / Xbox 360



These all hold something special to me; a memory, a moment, a time in my life. A lot of these games are as equally nostalgic as the music I grew up listening to, and in this sense, they're irreplaceable.

So what's your favourite game? Or games, if you're like me and can't decide on just one. Why do they mean something to you? Send me a tweet or a comment, I've always got time to have a chat about games!

13 Dec 2012

Guitar

I think I've only mentioned briefly that I play guitar, but I've been trying to expand that part of my life over the last 9 months or so, writing and recording songs that, largely, only have guitar playing in them. I've been trying to write lyrics to go with the stuff I've made, while also trying to perfect the sound quality by completely re-recording, occasionally rewriting bits of them that I didn't like, or just generally updating them by recording older versions again with my new guitar.


My new guitar is called Jeff. Or maybe Clint. Haven't really decided yet.
Needless to say, it's only been for my own benefit; to pass the time on lazy days, or to show my mate Mark who always says how amazing they are - I show him everything I record for that exact reason. I think I have an ego. But anyway, as a way of really pushing myself into doing something with the plethora of songs I've written, I've opened a MySpace music account to see if people who don't know me (a.k.a: people who don't have to be nice if something's shit) enjoy what I've made. But from there, who knows? It's quite hard to make something proper when all you have is an iPhone and its voice recorder, but if my ego gets lifted by enough strangers, I might curb the spending on new games and invest in some real equipment.

12 Dec 2012

Retro-spective [Part 3]

The Modern Era

Final Fantasy VII / Playstation 1



Where to begin? As the first proper RPG I ever got my teeth into, it remains as one of my favourite games ever, and probably the best Final Fantasy game ever made. I don't even know how to describe how playing this made me feel, but what I do know is that I remember every location, piece of music, weapon, boss fight etc etc like it was just yesterday that I started playing it. The most memorable thing though, is the fact that I was terrified of going underwater.



Now, I'm not exaggerating, but finding this picture was a struggle; it actually terrifies me. Some people may have found clowns scary as children, but this was (and clearly still is) my kryptonite. For those who don't know, that massive clump of green polygons floating above the crater is Emerald Weapon. In retrospect, it was a relatively easy Weapon compared to some of the others, but going underwater to get the pink materia, and eventually travelling across the sea bed to fight it, was worse than the fight itself. I really don't know the root of this terror; I'm not hydrophobic (aquaphobic? H20phobic? I'm sure one of them is bound to be right), to my knowledge I'm not scared of giant, violent underwater creatures that want to kill you, and it is, after all, only a game. But this still scares the living hell out of me, and the last time I played FFVII, I went underwater and immediately resurfaced. I suppose it'll never go away, but it gives me more time to hang out in Gold Saucer, and fight enemies that are too weak to handle my Level 99 Master Materia'd out party. Like the saying, "Power annihilates, absolute power annihilates absolutely everything." - Novaprotocol.


Ronaldo V-Football / Playstation 1


Considering all my other choices, you might be thinking, "Really?! Ronaldo V-Football?! In the same list as FFVII?! Are you mental?!" Well, yes, yes, I know, and no I'm not, to answer those questions. This game is - by a long shot - the least influential and least respected game in my list, but it brings back so many memories, I couldn't possibly forget to mention it. And, to be quite honest, I don't even remember what the game was like (well, all football games are exactly the same at the best times).



It just reminds me of a time when playing video games wasn't about achievements/trophies, or topping the leaderboards through hacking because you have too much time on your hands. It was for the enjoyment of it, the laughter that came from it, the "let's stay up really late and play the game on mute so my parent's don't wake up" mentality that kept me and my friends coming back for just one more match. And then another. And another. Until the sounds of furious tapping on the controllers was enough to make my mum wake up and stop us playing. For this reason, and clearly no other reason as I don't remember the game whatsoever, it will always remain as a game that fuelled my healthy addiction to gaming.



The Bouncer / Playstation 2


Anyone remember this gem? I believe it was one of the opening PS2 titles, alongside Gran Turismo, and frankly, I think Squaresoft should pull their fingers out and remake/update/sequel it for next-gen consoles. It has everything; action, beating people up, proper RPG levelling of characters stats and abilities, a plethora of characters, and a story worthy of Squaresoft. Before I started writing this little segment, I'd actually forgotten how much I love this game. Although the progression of difficulty did put me off, I think this was actually down to personal error in levelling up my characters. But nevertheless, it was damn fun.


I can still remember snippets of it, but running through this high-security place was where I remember the most. Largely because it was the part where I messed up the most. As you can imagine, if you get trapped behind the large ominous door, you're stuck, and have to start again. In a time before rage quitting, there was a period of time called "soft resetting"; by holding the shoulder buttons and Start and Select, you could reset the game without having to get up - I suppose it was an early version of the Xbox Guide button and PS3's equivalent. But anyway, I digress. It was a truly epic game, kind of a 3D Streets of Rage mixed with it's crazy-haired Final Fantasy influences derived from Squaresoft. If I got the chance to play this right now, I would spend hours on it. Suffice to say, this is definitely one of those games that I wish was still around, because I'd be lapping it up.


Part 4 (the final part) coming soon! Follow me to keep up to date! @Novaprotocol