"Pretty sure I'm not the first person in the universe to come up with this idea, but I've yet to see another connect-the-dots tattoo." Beautiful.
"It’s somewhat embarrassing, but that’s how I got into economics: I wanted to be a psychohistorian when I grew up, and economics was as close as I could get." Paul Krugman, you are the best.
"The Theory of Interstellar Trade is a paper written in 1978 by economist Paul Krugman…. Krugman analyzed the question of 'how should interest rates on goods in transit be computed when the goods travel at close to the speed of light? This is a problem because the time taken in transit will appear less to an observer traveling with the goods than to a stationary observer.'" Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics, is officially awesome.
"The New York Times Magazine food issue had plenty of fun this weekend; Looks like photo editor Kathy Ryan gave photographer Martin Klimas a 22-caliber rifle and told him to embrace his anger. He decimated an ear of corn, an apple and a pumpkin so thoroughly that the editors could not decide on a favorite." Beautiful.
Strategy game that requires you to work within the boundaries of limited – but potentially powerful – AI, and act as a guiding "real intelligence" for your ships.
"Brownjohn had never worked with live action before, nor had his animation assistant Trevor Bond. Using techniques taught by László Moholy-Nagy, Brownjohn's team beamed light over three separate models; a belly dancer, a snake dancer and a model for close-ups." Short blogpost – with archive behind-the-scenes images – on creating the title sequence for Goldfinger.
"LittleBigPlanet lets [players] run wild, with unprecedented results, but it locks the majority out of the creative process, because it's time-consuming and simply not very enjoyable. We hoped it could do both those things. That it doesn't isn't the let-down it might have been, thanks to the untamed community of brilliant nutjobs that's already out there, appending their DIY masterpieces to this beautiful, mildly flawed, magnificently multiplayer platform game. We salute them, we salute Media Molecule for making it possible for them, and we salute Sony for its total commitment to this brave, hare-brained project. But mostly, we're just happy to see a flagship game for a modern system that's about running from left to right and jumping over things."
Great gaming moments of 2007 #3: Okami
14 February 2007
All of it.
Seriously. I’m seven hours in, and it’s just magical. Not just the vellum-drawn graphics – which are sumptuous – but the whole thing. Charming, challenging, well-paced, epic-but-never-overfacing, it’s the best Zelda Nintendo never wrote.
It barely dented the charts, but it’s one of the finest games the PS2 will see. Hell, it’s better than most next-gen titles right now. Criminally, Clover Studios, who only release Okami, God Hand, and Killer7, have now been closed. In their memory, and in the sake of all that is good and true, shun Little Britain: the Game (number two in the charts last week, for goodness’ sake!), and buy this. It’s stunning.
There’s nothing else to say, really.
Book Review: David Black’s Ruby for Rails
04 August 2006
Didn’t notice this when it happened (because it didn’t necessarily appear on the frontpage) but… my review of David Black’s Ruby for Rails has now gone live over at Vitamin.
My first piece of technical writing. It’s a good book, too – clarified an awful lot about the hierachy of classes within the language, and explained the nuances of Ruby dynamism very well; strongly recommended to anyone coming to Ruby (through Rails) afresh, whether you’re an experienced programmer or not. I hope I conveyed that in the review.
17 April 2006
So I’ve been playing a lot of Guitar Hero recently. It’s good. It’s very, very good. I wrote a review for Pixelsurgeon, which you can read here. Do read it – it’s one of my favourite bits of writing about games I’ve done, and one of my favourite games I’ve ever played. It’s remarkable; it’s all about music, all about tactile control, and it leaves you with the biggest buzz. If you own a PS2 and even vaguely like music, it’s absoutely worth your time and money.
And if you’re still not sure about that… you could always, as I said, read the review. It’s a review that is mainly about music and love, and has relatively little to do with the mechanics of gaming. I enjoyed writing it hugely.
02 April 2006
In which I review Black. Another games review, up over at Pixelsurgeon. I didn’t like it much. Technically wonderful, entirely soulless. And I really tried hard to like it, too. Ah well. I traded it for Advance Wars DS before the California trip. Now that was a good idea.
21 March 2006
“Uh, well everything manifests itself in processes of three. Proton, neutron, electron. Sun, earth, moon. Masculine, feminine… child.” The Channel 4 website reviews the DVD of Revolver by listening to the commentary. Funny.
Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land
16 January 2006
“Seven years. That’s how long it’s been since Tony Hawk Pro Skater first rolled onto the PlayStation. Like it or not, Hawk is now a part of the gaming canon, committed to rolling out yearly updates. Indeed, Activision has exclusive rights to the Hawk brand until 2015 – we’re not even halfway through the series’ life.”
A new game review up over at Pixelsurgeon, this time of Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land on the Nintendo DS. Very impressed with this – an amazingly good online implementation, which, in terms of how it links up with the internet almost puts Mario Kart to shame; lovely cel-shaded visuals; none of the nonsense that the Underground games brought in. As the review says, it’s essentially Pro Skater 5.
A system of the world
19 December 2005
“It’s a hard life, being a games reviewer. You’d think it would all be peaches and cream – playing games for ages and then being allowed to write about them (and if you’re really lucky, being paid for the privilege).
But it’s a lot harder than that.”
Another game review up on Pixelsurgeon. This time, a review of the Xbox port of Half-Life 2. It’s possibly a bit too “heavy” (you’ll see what I mean when you read it), but it was fun to break away from convention for a while. There’s a horrific typo/crap sentence based around a pun that doesn’t quite work and I’m a bit embarassed about that. Other than that, though, one of the better things I’ve written in a while.
Burnout: Revenge review
27 November 2005
Another game review from yours truly over at Pixelsurgeon: Burnout Revenge.
“… it’s worth forgiving for the stories you’ll take away from it: tales of near-misses, spectacular crashes, and the time you did a power-slide between two oncoming buses, and as was so excited as a result that you crashed into a wall. Give it a chance, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best arcade racing in a while. It’s good stuff, but it’s not quite – DINGDINGDING – awesome, gold, or perfect.”
The quote will make sense if you’ve played the game – or read the review.
Castlevania: DoS review
27 October 2005
Self-promotion again: over at Pixelsurgeon, a review of the latest Castlevania game, Dawn of Sorrow. This time round, the series moves onto the Nintendo DS. It comes with a huge recommendation for me – the review will explain more, but basically, it’s invariably fun to play, has lots of longevity (and some killer bonuses I didn’t have space to write about), and harks back to a slightly bygone era. Fun to write, too. I’m really looking forward to having the chance to write more about games. Up until now, I’ve mainly been biting people’s ears off about them, so this new outlet will no doubt please those unfortunate enough to have listened to me droning on.