Wednesday, 29 September 2010

2nd Hand Book Shopping

We went down to Canberra over the weekend to visit some friends who live down there.

While we were there, we had a chance to check out a big 2nd hand book fair. It was fun to go through the sci-fi/fantasy section and see a bunch of things I'd read over the years as well as things that I'd been planning on reading some time in the future. I nearly picked up Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard, but after simply not being able to make it through one of his books years ago, I decided that Mr Scientology can stay unread :P

I did find the third book of the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, which was an amazing series that I read while I was in high school. The only annoying thing about picking up the 3rd in a series is that now I'm going to have to hunt down the first two books before I can read this.

I have so many books to read and so little time. I'm on the second book of  Neal Stephenson's System of the World trilogy at the moment, and I've got Anathem (that I also picked up on the cheap somewhere) waiting.

A friend of mine also just gave me George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones . . . I'm scared of starting it because it's such a massive epic saga that I'll be locking myself into . . .

As usual, I can find a million wonderful things to do, but just don't have the time to do them all . . .

Monday, 27 September 2010

My Playstation has a lollipop!

Some would say Lollipop, others would simply ask: "Does that thing vibrate?"

The Playstation Move controller is a pretty nice idea. You have an accelerometer/gyroscope system in your hand, which also has a glowing ball attached. The glowing ball is tracked by a camera at your screen and the combination of the systems gives you a pretty decent and accurate tracking system for a single position and angle in 3D space. It's close to a 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) system.

A lot of the demos and games that are out so far are basically technology demos . . . minigame compilations that make a bit of use of the motion controls.

However, I've installed the patch for my copy of Heavy Rain and played that a little with the move controller. I can say without a doubt that it's vastly improved compared to the old controller version of the game . . . instead of feeling like you're pressing an arbitrary button (and also sometimes having to think twice about which button is which in order to make something happen) you make movements that are reasonably correct in relation to what's happening in the scene. I'm looking forward to sitting down and actually playing this game through now.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Lord of the Rings Online has gone Free to Play

It's an interesting model for an online game and seems to be working really well for Turbine's other MMO, Dungeons and Dragons Online.

A few of us have been playing it over the weekend and probably gotten a significant number of hours out of it for free. Of course, it's an MMO and the first hit's free :P We'll see if we end up spending money on it after we reach the end of the free sections of the game . . . personally, I'm enjoying it and don't mind throwing a little cash their way for the privilege of having played a few hour's worth of fun with some mates.

It'll be interesting to see how many other games go for this kind of model . . . try it for free, but if you really want to get into the meat of it, it costs . . .

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

An Update on Gaming

I realised that there have been a lot of games I've been playing recently that I haven't posted anything about . . . and I don't really have time to review each one individually, so I thought I'd skim over them al quickly in one post:

God of War 3
I mentioned this in another post a while back . . . it's a lot of fun, over the top violence. We liked to call it "A thinking man's game" every time a puzzle came up because it's really not a puzzle or a thinking game . . . it's all about the ultra violence :)

Transformers War for Cybertron
Yeah, I know, we all wanted it to be the best game ever made because it was the transformers and we all get bigger hard ons for them than girls. It was ok. I even finished it even though there are much better games out there. But all it was was ok.

Red Dead Redemption

Take everything from the Grand Theft Auto series and refine it. Set it somewhere completely different . . . instead of a bustling city, it's sparse, mostly arid landscape. Give it a nice strong storyline and addictive side quests and you've got a hit.

The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom
I love the theme . . . it's like a black and white film with a dastardly villain who steals pies :P Also an intriguing puzzle game.

Alien Swarm
This one got its own post before just before it was released. It's several flavours of awesome, especially after they patched it and added stupidly hard friendly fire, AI director and brutal difficulty . . . it's also free, so it's a no brainer.

Metal Gear Solid 4
WTB Cutscenes? Some of the extended cutscenes in this game go for over half an hour. Still . . . the gameplay is great and the story is engaging . . . if you like crazy Japanese over complicated narrative with people named "Big Boss" and "Big Mama" etc etc.

Enjoying this a lot. You're an electrically powered super hero running around an island filled with bad guys. On top of that, most of the story exposition is very graphic novel based. What's not to like?

Starcraft 2
It had to get a mention. I ran a LAN and a small tournament (the prize was the privilege of wearing a KFC bucket on your head). The multiplayer is awesome . . . although it's a super stressful experience and I really can't take that much more of it. The campaign is also a blast . . . so much more variation than you usually get in a RTS.

Fat Princess
Four players sitting around one playstation chasing princesses and forcing cake down them. It's chaotic and fun.

Castle Crashers
Four players sitting around one playstation (wait, where have I heard that before) playing old school beat em up action in an awesome setting dreamt up by a crazy comic artist. Add cute little animals, unlockable characters and weapons and you've got a game that you can't put down . . . you'll finish it probably 4 or 5 times before you start to get bored.