almostwitty: (monkey)

So the news is out that Valve has released the third volume in their soundtrack to the best game of 2011, Portal 2.

But niftily, if you go to the music download page, there’s a hidden link there that takes you to a cool all-new comic set in the world of Aperture Laboratories…

Oh, and new levels to be released – for free – on Wednesday. *rubs hands in glee*

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

Our household currently has a Playstation 3 and a Wii – both game consoles acquired before the arrival of the baby. Oddly enough, aside from the odd spurt of gaming (mostly Portal 2, Wii Fit, Goldeneye and Crysis 2), the game consoles have mostly sat in the corner unplayed, due to the lack of time available. Who knew that dealing with a baby was a time-sucking vortex?

Now we have the opportunity to buy a brand-new XBox 360 with Kinect at a relatively cheap price. I’m severley tempted, mostly on the grounds that we could play Dance Central (my wife tends to prefer the active dancey-type games) and control the TV using our voice – something that would undoubtedly come in handy since the baby has taken to playing with the TV remote control at all times.

What other arguments can I deploy to persuade my wife that we simply must have all three game consoles? :)

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almostwitty: (evil)

Thanks to being a Playstation Network member, I seem to be able to choose two games for free, out of:

  1. LittleBigPlanet – which I find a little too twee for me
  2. InFamous
  3. WipEout HD/Fury – which I quite liked before
  4. Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty
  5. Dead Nation – a first-person shooter with zombies? I’ll be too scared for that!

So which games should I claim, in the unlikely event that I have time to play games with a four-month-old baby?

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It is often said that video games are a lonesome activity, played by geek kids alone in their bedroom.

Well, not the fantastically puzzling Portal 2. My copy was finally delivered just before the Royal Wedding, and I spent a fair bit of that four-day weekend (after the baby had been looked after) playing it while my darling wife offered backseat gamer help, support and an extra pair of eyes. Indeed, while holding the baby and not playing it, we’d be discussing potential solutions. For a couple of particularly tricky levels, she’d read the cheat guide and just offer me morsels of hints and tips until I saw the solution with my own eyes. Indeed, it inspired her to write a post about the gamer parent

Now that I’ve actually finished the game in just under 4 days – the only game I’ve ever finished to completion – and the buzz from the game has dropped down to acceptable levels, I’ve got a few observations and quibbles about the final part of the game…


And yes, I am somewhat overthinking the end of a COMPUTER GAME. Probably because I don’t get that buzz now from completing a test… Need more tests! More tests!

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almostwitty: (evil)

Weighted Companion Cube cake

There are various phrases that mean nothing to most of the population, but if you whisper it, some people’s eyes light up…

  • Weighted Companion Cube
  • Aperture Science
  • the cake is a lie

These all relate to a fantastic game called Portal, released in 2007. It’s a small physics-based 3D puzzler, but it really does suck you into its world and the sense of accomplishment you get after finishing one of its twenty puzzles is – well, I haven’t had that sense since my A-Level Maths homework. The game has risen and risen in cult popularity, to the point when poor wives of Portal addicts are reduced to four hours of work in baking a Weighted Companion Cube cake for their birthday.

So it was a bit of a shock to be walking through Westfield London – a shopping mall far better known for its unceasing range of dull fashion and beauty shops – and find a demo stand dedicated to showing off Portal 2, the sequel to this stunning game. Almost as much of a shock as it was for the poor tweenagers who saw a new game, but couldn’t figure out who they needed to shoot or run over to play.

So, there’s a new game that I want to play come mid-April. How am I going to grapple with turrets AND a four-month-old baby at the same time? I haven’t even picked up the controller since Alex oozed out – and the Wii and Goldeneye still sit forlornly in the corner… maybe this idea will help

But in the meantime, let’s hear that fab Portal finale song again:

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almostwitty: (evil)

HyperHam's Weighted Companion Cube cake

Like many people born around Christmas or New Year, I’m rather loathe to publically celebrate my birthday. Most people are usually far too busy shopping, or being drunk, or being hungover, or being poor, to even turn up for a pint, let alone anything else – so over the years, I’ve stopped grumbling and made no public acknowledgement of my birthday. Indeed, on my various social media profiles, I’ve put in fake birthdays just to ensure nobody actually knows when my birthday is.

Aside from my lovely wife HyperHam of course. In previous years, she’d organised a surprise birthday video and even a surprise pre-birthday dinner gathering, which turned into a bit of a social faux pas disaster. But this year (2010) would be the first time we’d actually be together for my birthday.

So she baked me a cake. But not just any old cake. Nope.

A Weighted Companion Cube cake from one of my favourite games, Portal. (If you haven’t played it, play it – it’s the best physics puzzler you’ll get, with a sardonic sense of humour).

Of course, baking a cake isn’t easy – baking a cake that’s the size of a cube that requires three layers is even harder. After spending 5 hours making the cake – bearing in mind she was 8 months pregnant at the time – she literally presented me with a glorious cake, and then collapsed on the sofa and fell dead asleep. I had one slice, and the ensuing sugar rush also sent me to sleep. But it was delicious and looked gorgeous – and what more do you want from a cake?

Anyway, here’s Hyperham’s instructions on how to make a Weighted Companion Cube Cake.

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almostwitty: (evil)

It doesn’t happen very often these days but occasionally, I’ll be stuck for an evening inside some kind of video editing setup, trying to edit a series of rushes into a vaguely coherent video. Personally, the last thing I’d want to have are those rushes to start speaking back to me.

But that’s what used to happen on the set of Quentin Tarantino’s films – where the cast and crew would be encouraged to occasionally say “Hi Sally!” to Tarantino’s long-time editor Sally Menke, who sadly died this week. It’s creepy watching characters break off from a scene to essentially wave to the people behind the camera.

It’s bad enough when you leave alone a video game character you’re playing, and then he/she slowly turns to look at you as if to say “What now, dude?”. Personally, I find that highly spooky and it happened to me once on Enter The Matrix. I haven’t played the game since.

Or is that just me?

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almostwitty: (Default)

Ob. disclaimer – I went to the Old School Yard courtesy of Qype for a event

As soon as I walked in, I knew it was my kind of pub. Huge screens, games to be played, drinks to be consumed, and a feeling of space. The main problem was a distinct lack of chairs – but if you’re playing, why are you sitting down?

There’s even a tiny back garden with some faux grass if you need a sense of fresh air – or you can stand outside the pub itself, which has plenty of space. There’s even a wonderfully decorated basement with all sorts of nick nacks and decoration touches.

On the night we were there to look at Windows Mobile phones and gaming, there was even a very knowledgable cocktail meister serving some delicious cocktails (we counted watermelon and ginger amongst the ingredients) and some oh-so-juicy burgers. Nom om om.

I was handed a surprisingly svelte’n’sexy Windows phone to play with for five minutes. It had a very whizzy user interface that begged you to swipe and swipe away, and it’s certainly come on leaps and bounds since my last-thwarted attempt to get a Windows phone to work with me, back in 2008. The games looked fun, the screen looked bright and colourful, and the interface seemd incredibly responsive to my touches. Aside, that is, from the touch-screen keyboard which was responsive but just couldn’t quite cope with my drunken attempts at writing a text – but then again, I’ve never gotten on with touch-screen keyboards generally.

If only there was a way to actually try a phone in the real world for a while before you bought one – I’m in the market for a new phone, but have yet to find a cool phone with a physical keyboard – and touch-screen keyboards and I just don’t seem to get on yet. And yes, I’ve been told that I need to train touchscreen keyboards to respond to me – but quite frankly, if I have to train an input device, then something’s gone wrong straight away. I already know how to read and write – I don’t need to adjust my reading skills for a different book, do I?

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Seriously, run – don’t walk – and download Portal for free.

It’s the game that burns twice as bright but half as long as most games. It’s the game that gives a 3D shine to essentially a fiendishly clever mind-blowing puzzle game. It’s got more character than most Hollywood films, it brizzles with tension, and it’s more hilarious than Matrix: Revolutions.

Go. Download. It. Now.

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I spotted a BBC News article on Awomo, a new UK-based games company that was offering streaming downloads of games - and offering Tomb Raider: Legend for free during its beta period. So I thought I’d try it out.

It took me a while to download the required program, then six minutes to download the essential game files, and I thought I was ready to go. Unfortunately, trying to launch the game launched a flurry of pop-up warnings.

The laughingly-called support part of the website said that if there were any problems, you should try and visit the Awomo fourms, which is fair enough. But I couldn’t spot the answer to my problem on the forum, so I thought I ought to try and ask a seperate question.

Only to find that you can’t post on said forum without registering, and the administrators have disabled registration.

Thus, we have a new online games company which is so unkeen to hear from its customers that it won’t let them post to the forum in any way, shape or form. Odd, that.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.


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