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  1. I, personally, don't write a huge amount for a number of reasons. Since february family stuff has taken priority - and a side-effect of such guff has been a half-assed attitude to playing games, let alone writing crap about them. I'm also graduating in the summer, so have to do the odd bit of work here and there. Further reasons revolve around watching Neighbours and Hollyoaks (primarily to try and spot the non-character that is Wayne who appears every month or so and doesn't say anything, who spends his days at a local pub), trying to figure out what went wrong with Jonathan Creek after the first two series, copious amounts of lounge wrestling, going to the pub a fair li'l bit, listening to Busted's A Present for Everyone, heading to Church on Sunday mornings and evenings, and generally being lazy. So there you go. I don't write that much. Maybe I'll become prolific one day. Or, more likely given my nature, I won't. But you know what they say about quantity and quality, don't you? That's right, they're both rubbish. -Matt
  2. While I may get shot down for pimping (Eighthours has already received a little dig) I hope this article raises a smile or two: clickety, homies Of course it may well be ripped to shreds, whatever. As for the site in general? The design is a little naff, but we might have forgiven it if the obscure choice of using 'street' talk hadn't been taken. As it is, it's embarassing.
  3. And that, Gabe, is fair comment - and I genuinely appreciate your thoughts. As a feeble defence: I'm not going to suggest the theme is uber-strong; and I'm not going to say it's connected with anything, whatever that means; I just don't think the piece should be taken as anything but a jokey, light-hearted stab at a gaming figure - with a few parallels along the way. Funny? Perhaps not that. But it was never meant to be this deep, serious piece to be analytically nitpicked over. Still, thanks again.
  4. To be honest I'm quite enjoying the response from people who don't pussyfoot around. Sometimes things have to be told as people see them, and although I think some of the criticism we've taken is somewhat unwarranted, much of it's been really helpful.
  5. That's fair enough. And I did understand that there would be people who wouldn't get it, as such. I just thought it would be an interesting take on the Phil Harrison talks a whole of crap topic. Which I had hoped a couple of people would read, smile and move on with. Also: the description given before about the toipic is a little way off. It's not about the absurdity of console wars and stuff. It's about Phil. And how he chats crap. Maybe not that funny. But whatever.
  6. Wow, seems that the piece I wrote (A Letter) hasn't gone down too well, with the best thing anybody having to say about it (bar other PS writers) is "not too bad." It was never meant to be an attempt to mimmick Biffo, although I was a huge digi fan back in the day, and drop by his forum from time to time so I probably unconsciously come across as some sub-standard, cack-handed Biffowannabe. Anyhoo, thanks for the feedback anyway. It's a departure from the kind of stuff I've written before - some of which is lurking on the pages of this forums Review folder - and I'll make sure that future output isn't so comprehensively awful. Love you x
  7. Wow, thanks for that. It took about 45mins, an hour at most though. Just something I do when I'm bored if you will. Anything slightly more constructive appreciated.
  8. E3 came along, threw in the air a few appetising details about forthcoming game guff and proceeded to leave. The pools of sweat, as well as those tiny puddles of drool – so helpfully left by overexcited Zelda-entranced attendees – have long been mopped up, yet the consequences of what went on behind the hallowed LA doors remain. Do you know what the experience – and the subsequent happenings – reminded me of? That’s right little Bobby: Pinocchio. It’s a well known tale, the intricacies of which escape me momentarily, yet the basics go a little like this: Pinocchio, a little puppet chap crafted by Gepetto, wants to become a real boy. He trots around having exciting li’l escapades with a character known as Mr Cricket, doing all sorts of, what he was led to believe were, “cool” things – such as skipping school – in order to fit in. Some stuff happens, his nose grows long through lying too much, yadda yadda yadda, he becomes a boy and becomes accepted. Or something. Gah, the link’s as tenuous as could be as it stood, without that rubbish explanation. Anyhoo, back to e3, as well as the following months. At e3 lots of exciting stuff was shown from all parties. Do you know what I loved the mostest though? ‘Twas the Nintendo:DS, my friend. The PSP also excited me, but not in the same way as this quirky, gimmicky almost, li’l machine did. Shift on a bit and, in what seems to be a slight knee-jerk reaction to what some were saying, the design of the DS changed. Let me tell you something now; it’s something you know already, no doubt, yet some gumps still try and purport contrary, nonsensical, guff. You know that casual, throw away, remark that some people make: ‘The Playstation made gaming cool’ It’s cack, isn’t it? The Playstation never made gaming cool. The Playstation did make having a game of Fifa on returning from the pub an acceptable thing to do, perhaps. And yes, it is spearheading gaming into the hearts of the mainstream with a brand-name that’s becoming so familiar, that the term ‘Playstation’, like that of ‘Hoover’, is becoming synonymous with the actual product of a games console. Really though, is it cool to spend an afternoon playing Ico? Is it cool to subscribe to Edge? Does owning a GBA:SP earn the owner kudos anywhere beyond the confines of the playground? Of course not. Not that that really matters. I’m certainly not hung up about a hobby of mine not possessing that acclaimed status. After all, what does it actually mean? In terms of physical products all we can truly identify is a passiveness that goes hand in hand with the concept. Cool certainly isn’t permanent. The Walkman used to be, remember. But how long does cool last? 10 years? 20 years? What I’m saying, is that becoming cool should never have been, and should never be, an aim of gaming. Acceptance should be. Music isn’t cool. Nor are films; they are, however, acceptable. And I don’t mean acceptance through the acknowledgement that it exists and is widely practised. That would mean sharing the stand with other pleasantries, such as masturbation and closing the curtains in order to dance crazily to Abba's Greatest Hits– okay, maybe the latter’s just me then. What do I mean by acceptance, then? I mean when you’re in a pub quiz, hearing the question ‘What does the fat, moustachioed, dungaree clad, red man - star of the famous computer games series - do for a living?’ Acceptance is a whole bloody round dedicated to the topic, alongside the familiar rounds on music, film, curries and the ones paying undeserved respect to chuffing anagrams. This is why, then, a feeling of disappointment dwells within me: The DS, when first revealed, was this standard, flip topped, double screen affair, its physical appearance completely unremarkable. Great. No pretensions; just a standard gaming device. They felt the need to change it though. Fair enough, perhaps, if the change was a practical one, making the design more slim-line maybe, in order to fit it in the pocket with increased ease. Fair enough, perhaps, if it was a genuinely brilliant looking piece of kit that it was being transformed into. It’s neither though. Nintendo made a desperate attempt, instead, to make it look slightly more cool. The fact is, chums, Nintendo failed. It looks “pretend cool”, if you will. It looks like the odd kid from the playground who, on noticing that everyone was wearing Reebok bags, picked up a Ray-bok bag from the market place and tried in vain to adapt to the playground slang. Couldn’t Nintendo have been content with remaining the odd kid in the corner a li’l longer. After all, no matter how unbelievably lovely a machine might look, if anyone does take a quick peek over my shoulder while I’m playing, all they’ll see is this geek drawing clouds for baby Mario to fall upon and be guided to the ground below. Any pre-conceptions of cool have been diminished from that momentary glance – and the observer is left with two options: They will see it’s kinda fun and accept it, perhaps covet a go themselves. Or else they’ll dismiss it as childish nonsense. Either way, it simply isn’t cool. Okay, so they changed the design. No big deal perhaps. Only it hides something deeper. It obscures an insecurity on the part of Nintendo, one that made them consciously think “what we have isn’t quite enough, so lets try ‘specially hard”. It reminds me of that part in Cool Runnings when the coach chap said ‘If you aren’t enough without a gold medal, you’ll never be enough with it’. In the end though, the two groups who were going to be the owners after seeing the original design, will be the exact same people who are the eventual owners: the kids and the geeks. I’ll still be buying one, for sure – and yes, you guessed right, I’m certainly not a kid anymore, despite my love of all things Fireman Sam. It’s just a shame that, with a machine that so longs to cry out “Love me, please” all I can think of replying with is – in the cheesiest Hollywood voice imaginable – “I already did. Now you’ve gotta learn to love yourself”. Then, and only then, can the DS become the ‘real boy’ it so dearly longs to be.
  9. FCatCS


    Another piece (kinda review/article mishmash almost) I wrote a li'l while ago - hope you enjoy: “Good day to you, Mr Sweeper” I nod at the game. A begrudging respect hides the feelings of frustration and anger he builds inside of me. “I’m going to play you”, I say “and by the time I’ve finished, I’m not only going to beat you. I’m going to humiliate you. I’m going to own you” So it started. The premise of Minesweeper is simple; you have three sets of grids: easy, intermediate and expert. The easy setting lays out 64 squares, the expert 480. There are 10 mines in easy; there are 99 in expert. Intermediate throws you somewhere in-between on both counts. What do you do then? You simply click on squares within the grid, while trying to avoid clicking on the mines, see? Every grid you click on which is mine-less will tell you, via handy li’l numbers, how many mines are in the single box vicinity, side-wards, upwards or diagonally. The aim, Sir, is to click on every square, having avoided all the explosive nasties. So I step up. I’ve only played the game a few times before – and those few attempts were a while back. I turn to beginner then. No point throwing myself in at the deep end in the world of minesweeping. Wouldn’t want to get overwhelmed now. I perform the obligatory first few random clicks and move through safely, opening up a couple of precious ‘open areas’, areas which open themselves up, due to there being no mines around the squares I clicked on. “Piece of cheesecake”, I proclaim, before wrapping up the level, un-bloodied, in 39 seconds. I chuckle to myself; that really was easy. My hand moves the curser, then, towards the intermediate setting. I’m stopped though. The game looks me in the eye and sees that I’ve scoffed at his first showing. “That wasn’t hard, was it?” he whispers. “Not really”, I reply. “Then why try intermediate?”…”Why not move on to expert?” It’s his turn to scoff now. I stare back. “Sure thing”, I say. “Let’s play”. I begin on expert then. After numerous early deaths through random clicking I find a rhythm in one of the games, having successfully persevered through the early period. I flag around half the mines; I’m in cruise control, then…..crap; an error of judgement on my part. A simple one to make, no doubt, but it sent me right back to step one. No problem. I’ll try again. I won’t let this git beat me. So I play again – same mistake. The following time, he just leaves me with nowhere to go. I try employing some mathematical guesswork - but, uncompromising as he so often is, he lands me on a mine. Damn him. The pattern continues. I fall to my death, often agonisingly close to completion, through slips of the finger, mind and having nowhere to go. I start to sweat a little. On the face of things this shouldn’t be that tricky. It’s just 480 squares; it’s not that big. I’ve stopped playing him though. He’s playing me. Like a classically trained pianist almost. Slowly but surely he’s breaking me down, mentally. I look up. There's a small yellow face above the grid, smiling at me. Not with me. He can sense my pain, damn him. He can see I’ve got nowhere to go, again. That face is him, the game: Mr Sweeper, as I know him. “You’re gonna have to take that 50:50 on aren’t you?” he says, whispering once more. “I know” I mutter. “And ya know what? You’re gonna hit a mine, again” “I know” My head sinks as the prophecy rings true. Damn this game. Damn that yellow face - who now frowns. He’s not sad though. He’s mocking me still. Sarcastic twat. Sometimes you can use simple logic and, sometimes, even if it seems you have nowhere to go, you somehow work something out in your head and it all goes back on track. Sometimes, though, the game’s just a chuffer, forcing you to rely on guesswork – before proceeding to kick you. It wouldn’t be so bad, if it wasn’t square in the nads every time. I pick myself up again. No more petty mistakes. I’m taking control now. The only way the game is going to possibly beat me now, is if he leaves me in a position where I have to guess. I’ll face that challenge when it comes though. Again, I plod my way through the somehow graphically satisfying grid of grey. It comes alive with blue 1’s, green 2’s and red 3’s. Occasionally 4’s and 5’s, 6’s and 7’s crop up as well - and I start to recognise patterns. I quicken, concentrating harder than I had been before however. I look at the timer. 534 seconds, it says. I glance then towards the number of mines left to locate. 14 – and I’m stuck. The timer moves onwards, the face continuing to mock me. I’m calm though, and go on to dig myself out of this mess. Then I stand there. There’s just two squares left, and it’s guess time again. I look at the face. “I’m gonna pick the top one" I say. It’s mind games now. “Oh” he replies “Well go on then” I click. I win. I called his bluff. Up flashes the high score, ‘enter name’ panel. 889 seconds. The yellow face has put on some shades now, keeping his smug grin. I laugh. He can’t look me in the eye anymore, I tell myself. I’ve beaten him. Halo on Legendary? Pah. Nothing compared to the mental torture brought about by Mr Sweeper. The whisper returns though. “You do know there’s a custom option, don’t you? – As many mines as you wish, and a possibility of up to 720 squares on the grid. You’re not hardcore at all, yet” “Shut up” I reply “I came here to beat you. I’ve done that. From now on, you’re mine, Sweeper”
  10. FCatCS

    another article

    I agree to a certain extent; they aren't well used in the piece and, on occasion, they are cheesy. If used sparingly though, I think they can be used well - I'm sure many will be familiar with this piece bow, nigger - where they're used effectively. When I used 'em they were rubbish though. Nice to see you here anywayz Foolish.
  11. FCatCS

    another article

    Cheers jim, for the comments on both pieces. The term 'chuff' is perhaps overused by myself, but is handy as an alternative to what would be swear words. Thus: for chuffs sake fan-chuffing-tastic chuff off etc
  12. FCatCS

    another article

    While I do read redeye on occasion, I can honestly say I haven't deliberately taken anything in either content or style from him. Is there any way you could point me towards where he's written anything similar? Cheers.
  13. Another article I wrote not long back - not as good as the other article I've posted up, but I kinda like it. The world watched. The world waited. The world murmured, scrutinised and uttered a few muffled words in anticipation. It's strange though. There are certain times in life where you know what to expect. If Hugh Grant is going to play a role in a film, you expect him to play a quaint British fop; loveable, but at the same time a bit goofy. That's all he really does, so it can be expected. If Man Utd play a home game (or any game come to think of it) you expect the referee to turn a blind eye to the odd penalty shout from the opposition. You expect Christine Hamilton to be on every other tv show in existence. You expect Boris Johnson to be hilariously funny at whatever he chooses to do next. You expect Aero's to be bubbly and, you expect cheese to be a yellowy-orange colour. These expectations aren't always met. Aero's melt - losing their bubbly goodness and cheese, on occasion, is of the blue variety. By and large though, we pretty much know what's coming with all of them. So to Mario Kart. What did I expect? Well, I expected to get around 16 (perhaps 20) tracks. I expected a few extra characters here and there. I expected the graphics to be tarted up to make use of this generations hardware. I expected a few shortcuts dotted around on some of the tracks. I expected a few unlockables - a mirror mode being one of those. I expected a battle mode for multiplayer havoc and, I expected an array of weaponry to be situated in multi coloured, question marked boxes, spaced evenly around each track. Guess what I got people? Aren't I the Nostra-chuffing-damus of the gaming world? What did I get on top of those things mentioned? Not much. Admittedly I never expected the two players per kart thing (until the first screens emerged obviously). That didn't materialise as anything major though. Nice? Yes. Integral? No. So I was left with everything I was expecting, the exact same experience as I was expecting. It was the exact same experience you were expecting as well wasn't it? A good cartoon flavoured racer, with the ability to induce unparalleled pent up rage and result in damage to both wavebird and living room window alike. So what did the press have to say? Two of Britain's biggest selling publications came to two completely different conclusions. One proclaims it 'the bestest thing ever' and promptly hands it 95%. The other determines it 'the most average thing in the world' and dishes out a 5/10. Strange no? Well no, actually. Okay the scores are largely irrelevant. I don't even agree with the dishing out of numbers in all honesty but having read both reviews, I can, quite happily, proclaim both to be utter pap. Damn it one even spends a quarter of the review berating the fact that if you come in fifth you can't retry the race. I mean for chuffs sake. It's as if all sense of balance and proportion is somehow lost in amongst the all-consuming familiarity machine. It was Antoine Rivarol who said "Familiarity is the root of the closest of friendships, as well as the intensest of hatreds." - I've come to understand what he meant. It's so very true. The reaction from gamers in general was a parallel of the reaction of the press. Arguments flared up and, at times, it seemed you had to throw yourself into one of two camps; 'lovin' it' or 'bitterly disappointed'. There was little room for camp 'enjoying it but hardly a life changing experience' - the only honest place to pitch the tent in my opinion. The situation doesn't really bother me though - I think about it, shrug, and say to myself, come on - their reaction? It's exactly what you expected. Wasn't it FC? I nod to myself, before going to play the game with some friends over the road, expecting to enjoy myself. Nothing more.
  14. I've written a few, none as good as this one though (a couple really crap tbh) - I'll post some of the others up sometime.
  15. It's an article I wrote for a site that isn't actually running at the moment www.darkdesigns.doctorevil.co.uk - Don't bother clicking the link, as there isn't anything there at the mo. I know what you mean though; the older I get, the more I don't really give a damn what people think. There is still a stigma attached to it though in my eyes, at least by certain people.
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