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Tales of a Drunk: Halloween In Uni

Halloween, like many holidays in the United Kingdom is a fantastic opportunity for people to dress as their favourite characters and drink until they can no longer see. So during my first year at University, I did just that.

I was invited to a house party by some people I barely knew. I decided to dress as Bane from the summer blockbuster; The Dark Knight Rises. It was an alright costume made on a small university student budget, but I received many compliments that I can’t remember. This story is why I cannot remember.

My friends and I had some drinks at our little student flat before stumbling through the bustling city and down the dodgy streets of Monks Road before reaching the house party. We walked through the door, introduced ourselves and our costumes to the other party goers before heading to kitchen to have a few more drinks.

A few hours into the party, I was starting to feel my vodka consumption once again hit me like an 18-wheeler. I was rather drunk, I stumbled around the party, danced with some strangers and partook in many cringeworthy Halloween selfies.

Suddenly two party goers come out of the kitchen carrying a 4-litre bottle, they claim they have created the most vile cocktail known to man, containing numerous spirits and beverages that no sane individual should ever consume together. I decided to have a few glasses and state to all around me that it was not as bad as everyone thought.

The next thing I know, I wake in my room the following afternoon with no recollection of what happened for the rest of that night. Apparently, I was dragged home by a friend, said hello to everyone who crossed our paths and tackled my friend into a puddle. There is a video of these events, I pray to God that the video is never shown to anybody ever.

 

Tales of a Drunk: My First Night Out

I had recently turned 18, and that meant it was finally time for me to put my age to use, by heading out into my town of Aberystwyth to drink as much as I could, knowing I could do so completely legally.

My friends and I sauntered down to a pub called Rummers to indulge in a weekly event called Vodka Tuesday, where for some bizarre reason, the entirety of Aberystwyth decides to cut the price of Vodka to the price of a packet of Wotsits.

We started drinking, continued drinking and then carried on drinking. Completely unaware to the unique quirk of Vokda, that it tends to take effect on the drinker all at once. At this point I had already consumed roughly 20 shots of it, completely amazed at my ability to drink this amount yet not feel the adverse effects. That is, until a friend of mine suggested we move on elsewhere.

We took a step out of the pub and felt the breeze of the fresh air. Tt was at this moment I had realised that those 20 shots, were a large amount alcohol to consume. My legs felt like jelly and my voice slurred more than a modern-era Sylvester Stallone impersonator. I decided to do the responsible thing and walk home, at least I thought I did.

In reality. My recent indulgence into the Russian red label caused me to pass out on a grassy knoll located next to the local pet shop. The next thing I know I am up on my feet talking to the local police. They claim I am drunk, I disagree, they claim I have sick down my shirt, I also disagree. They take me home. My mother was not pleased.

Video Game Review: Haunting Ground

Yes I’m reblogging things now.
I recommend you all to read this fantastic review of the PS2 survival horror game; Haunting Ground. A very under appreciated game that really stands out against the norm of the survival horror genre.

Too Much Free Time

The survival horror genre seems to have subtly crept back into the mainstream. Recent releases like The Evil Within,Alien: Isolation and the frankly evil P.T. have proven to be top quality games that really deliver in the fear department. Two of the three make you defenceless and forever vulnerable to the dangers around you. Removing a safety net that gamers are used to is sure to provoke a reaction, usually one that involves the bowels and fresh trousers. We’re seeing less guns and more broom closets and this is a good thing. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that any game in which I find ammo round every corner isn’t very scary. I’m not going to fear a scary monster if I’m able to unload an entire clip of ammo into it’s face with little-to-no consequence, but I digress. With this new (if…

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E3 Predictions

E3 is literally a few days away and already we are hearing announcements for games and some brand new trailers. Like any gamer; I have a few things I want to see from this year’s E3, both things I know will be appearing and some speculation for what I hope will show up.

The first big conference from E3 will be from Microsoft. We will probably end up seeing new footage from Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain, a long running series that I’ve actually never played but always intended to get into. Last year’s look at Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain seemed very interesting and impressive so any new footage for that will be more than welcome. Apart from that; Microsoft don’t seem to be offering much in terms of new and exciting exclusives. Except Halo, but Halo isn’t really an interest of mine anymore.

Strangely enough the conference I look forward to the most is Nintendo’s digital conference, as the Wii U is only just picking itself up after the release of a new Mario Kart title, Nintendo need to keep releasing new games and features to ensure fans and consumers that the console isn’t as dead as the end of year sales figures suggested. We already know we are going to see more from the new Smash Bros title and also a bit more of Hyrule Warriors. I am hoping that this E3 will finally reveal a new Zelda title for the Wii U because as much as I enjoyed Wind Waker HD, it doesn’t fill the void of not having a new Zelda adventure in my life.

Next we have Sony’s conference, as exclusives go; Sony seem to have a good selection. I hope to see more from Naughty Dog especially now I know the directors for The Last of Us will be taking the helm for the new Uncharted title; and a change in director means a new change in direction whether it’s artistically or in terms of narrative which means it will be really interesting to see how this new title turns out. Also we’ll hopefully see some footage for The Last of Us Remastered and see how different it looks from the original title on the Playstation 3.

Now that the main 3 are out of the way, we still have conferences from the two major publishers: EA and Ubisoft.

Ubisoft doesn’t seem to have much interest from me. After how disappointing Watch Dogs was; I don’t trust the publisher unless it’s a new 2D side scrolling Rayman title. Though The Division has my attention, I’m not overly hyped about it. Still, it’s early days which means Ubisoft could still end up knocking my socks off.

Lastly is EA, I’m interested in the new Battlefield title; as long as they don’t screw it up like they did with Battlefield 4 and try something new and interesting like they did with the Bad Company series. Also of course is any new footage for the Star Wars Battlefront title. After how good the previous two games were; the promise of a new one is very exciting.

Though these are the titles we gather will be at E3, there can always be a nice surprise, a company can release some new IP’s and titles that will make the decision for which next generation console to buy even more difficult. Personally I’m hoping for a new title from Retro Studios. Everything they have released has been brilliant whether it’s the Metroid Prime series or the new Donkey Kong Country Returns, they have essentially made themselves the new Rare studios of the new generation so a new title from them would be the icing on the cake for E3 this year.

Also if we want to dream big; I hope to hear that Naughty Dog have bought back the rights to Crash Bandicoot and will be developing a new title, still that’s if we’re dreaming big and I like to dream big when it comes to E3.

The conferences start in a few days and I can’t wait.

Question time: What do you guys/gals hope to see from E3 this year or what do you want to see more from?

Community’s Cancellation and Internet Reaction and Chance of Renewal

After 5 years of being a show on the bubble of cancellation; the bubble finally burst when NBC announced today that Community would not be coming back for the sixth season its fans dearly wanted.

Has the internet reacted well to this news? No, and in a big way.

All over the social networks, people have been voicing their anger towards NBC for making a silly decision. Sites like reddit and imgur have filled with animated gifs from the show to voice their sadness; the people of Twitter have been tweeting their anger directly towards NBC and praying that Sony or Netflix do something to fix what they consider to be a television travesty.
Even here in the United Kingdom; a nation where Community doesn’t actually air on any major channels (it airs on Sony Entertainment Television; a channel that not a large percentage of the UK television audience watches) the hashtag ‘TheDarkestTimeline’ has been trending across the nation and also in the United States.

Community’s strong fanbase is making their voices heard and hopefully the show can pull a ‘Firefly’ and end up being picked up elsewhere either for another season or a movie finale.

Is there any chance of it coming back elsewhere? Actually yes. Sony Television have speculated the possibility of Community’s cancellation and have spoken about making the sixth season and placing it on one of the various on-demand services that are on the internet (most likely Hulu; as it currently has the rights in the US whilst Netflix has it in Canada).

Even if Community doesn’t get the sixth season it truly deserves; it didn’t do bad. For a show to be on the edge of cancellation pretty much since its premiere back in 2009; 5 seasons isn’t bad, and hats off to NBC for sticking with the show for as long as it did because most networks would have cancelled Community a long time ago with the viewing figures it produced.

NBC took a chance on Community in the hopes that it would get higher viewing figures from its strong and loyal fanbase; sadly the majority of Community’s fanbase were the audience that don’t tend to watch scheduled television, they watch it online, whenever they want to. Even as a hardcore Community fan, I can honestly say I’ve never watched an episode as it was broadcast.

Sadly for now; so long Community. You were possibly the best sitcom to come to American television since Scrubs, and for that I’ll miss you dearly.

Downloadable Content – The Good, The Bad, The Horse Armour

Back in the days of yore, if video game developers wanted to add more to their title, it would be released in the form of an expansion pack. It would contain nearly an entire game’s worth of content and cost half the price of the standard game.

As with most aspects of the video game industry, it changed. As internet speeds increased, companies decided to sell smaller add-ons online. Something we call DLC.

DLC comes in all shapes and sizes and can vary from map packs, storyline expansions and even something as simple as cosmetic changes and skins.
As DLC can be very different, it also means that the public opinion of DLC varies as well.

We have the good DLC; Downloadable content which is priced fairly and offers you enough content that you feel like your money is well spent. Then there’s the bad; which is a bit harder to explain.

Bad DLC can be thought of in many different ways, there’s the fact that the content may be decent but the price you pay for it just isn’t worth it e.g. some portions of Fable 2 & 3 DLC. Though some could consider any DLC as bad depending on your views on downloadable content.

Lastly there’s what I’m simply calling ‘The Horse Armour’ or ‘The Ugly’ which is basically DLC that you pay for despite the fact it could have simply been unlockable content e.g. some forms of cosmetics (alternative costumes) or something that doesn’t actually add anything to the game.

As most DLC is made of bad and horse armour, this means the good DLC stands out like a beacon of hope on the video game industry. We have shining examples such as The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC which added another 6 hours of single player story onto an already lengthy campaign, though it felt like story that should have been kept in with the main campaign; the addition of more The Last of Us was very welcome.

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Another example is The Prepare to Die content on Dark Souls. Dark Souls is already a very lengthy game (I’ve clocked in over 50 hours on one character and still haven’t finished the main story arc) but the DLC gives you a new story that explains a bit more of the story behind Artorias; a great warrior whose name was thrown about a lot in the main story of Dark Souls.

Both of these DLC packs cost roughly £10 each and gave you as much content as some full retail titles, it offered you more of a game you had explored enough and that’s a great thing.

Note: I know you’ve gotten the jist of what I consider good Downloadable Content but another I wanted to mention was Dragon Age: Awakening which actually felt like an old PC expansion pack. It added new weapons, armour a whole new storyline which introduced an array of new characters and brought back some old. It was a fantastic piece of DLC at a modest price of £15.

Now I’ve talked about what makes good DLC, I’ll head on to what I consider as bad DLC.
Bad DLC is a bit more difficult to explain as what I consider to be bad DLC could be what others find as fantastic DLC; it’s funny how opinions work.

One thing I have considered as bad DLC is map packs; only in certain conditions and circumstances. Basically map packs that cost near the same amount as a storyline expansion and if the map packs don’t offer anything more than a new playground to shoot your peers. Some map packs offer a few new game modes which is fine, it feels like you get some actual new content from the purchase.

I’m a bit biased to the map pack ideas due to being a Battlefield man up until the release of Battlefield 3 as during the times of Bad Company 2, Dice claimed that they wouldn’t charge people for the map packs, this mean everyone could use them so the new content isn’t limited to a few people. Sadly this is no longer the case as Battlefield premium now exists.

Another example is if the content deliver much for the price asked. This includes episode one of Bioshock Infinite’s Burial At Sea. Though added a nice amount, it was fairly short for the £11 price mark and only seemed worth it if you planned to buy episode 2, in that case I recommend the season pass.

Lastly is the ‘Horse Armours’ of DLC’s. Horse Armour being a DLC released for Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It cost roughly £4 and simply added armour for your Horse, the armour didn’t do anything; it just looked nice. The DLC became a bit of an in-joke for the gaming community.

Many DLC’s have come out since then, they’ve been completely cosmetic, they add nothing to the initial gameplay and are simply there to squeeze a bit more money out of the players. Examples being the Batman skin pack for both Arkham City and Origins, these things cost but they feel like an item you should be able to unlock through progress in the game; a feature developers seem to be using less in order to create more DLC.

 

So what did I miss? What’s your favourite or least favourite video game DLC?

The State of Backwards Compatibility

There has been some speculation and rumours lately about Sony’s plan to add PlayStation & PlayStation 2 emulation to the PS4, and I think (if true) is a fantastic idea for the console. As a person who worked in video game retail during the console launch period, I was often questioned about the backwards compatibility of the consoles. When informing customers that neither the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 had the capability to play the games of their predecessors, I was faced with some angry backlash (I don’t know why, I can’t exactly help; I just sold them to people), people weren’t fond of the idea to pay the ludicrous amounts of money for the new console when it couldn’t play the old one.

I understand why backwards compatibility is no longer a popular feature in consoles, and to be honest it never was a feature in the consoles of old and it’s always been for the same reason: Money.

The PlayStation 3 is probably the best example of why traditional backwards compatibility is no longer a feature. When the original ‘fat’ PlayStation 3’s hit the market back in 2006 it had the capability of playing over 10 years worth of PlayStation titles from the original PlayStation leading all the way up to the modern games of the PlayStation 3.
As the architecture of the PlayStation 3 was so drastically different to that of the PlayStation One & Two it meant that the PlayStation 3 was effectively built with elements of the One and Two’s hardware and used hardware emulation to play these games and this cost a lot of money for Sony to create (hence the reason towards PlayStation 3’s near £600 retail price during its release) but the problem with backwards compatibility was that it didn’t give much money back. People could sell their old consoles to retail stores for money off the old consoles as there was no reason to keep the predecessor console if the successor could play all of the titles.

This meant Sony would drop backwards compatibility from the future versions of the PlayStation 3 and would instead opt to create a library of PlayStation 2’s greatest games in the form of HD Remasters and games on the PlayStation store. This meant the consumer would have to re-buy the game in order to play it on the HD monolith.

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The Xbox 360 handled a different approach, they used software emulation rather than hardware. This meant playing original Xbox games on a 360 was cheap, but it also meant that not all games were supported and that Microsoft would have to constantly apply updates to allow people to play the original games (something they stopped doing after a few years).

The only previous generation console to effectively allow backwards compatibility was Nintendo’s Wii. The Wii could play any game from the Nintendo GameCube. This was simply because the console architecture of the Wii was so similar to the GameCube; that it had no problem playing the previous generation.

The new generation of consoles (Excluding the Wii U) use a console architecture similar to computers which is how the rumours of the PlayStation 4’s emulation began. As there are emulators on PC that allow users to play previous generation games, Sony have apparently taken an interest in this technology and have plans to add it to their new console.

If true, this would be great. Emulation has been a thing that has existed for years and many video game companies frown upon it (understandable, it is a form of piracy after all) as it means people are playing their old content for free. Sony on the other hand seem to be embracing this technology. They have seen what the people at Dolphin Emulator and PCSX2 can do and instead of wanting to shut it down; have decided that they can use this to their advantage to create a better gaming system for people.

 

Or the rumours aren’t true, I’m wrong and Sony actually hate us all.
It’s one or the other.

 MrGseff