They knew how to make them back then! Its strange looking at how they're trying several means of advertising this strange new form of dynamic media...
Apparantly, there is still a huge volume of video gaming adverts on Japanese televison. I really wonder why there's so little on ours despite the very widespread consumption of video gaming? I mean, there are some DS and Wii ads now and then but.. it still feels very rare that I do see one. To be fair, I don't watch that much televison these days so I'm not in any position to say really.
It might just be the sharp presentation but something has gotten me excited about the upcoming addition to the Wild Arms series, 'Wild Arms XF'.
My first impression of the gameplay is that it is a strategy game similar to FF Tactics but one which uses a hexagonal grid rather than isometric squares. Of course, for all I know the original wild arms predated the first tactics so... anyway thats not my point; its merely how I'm finding something familiar in unknown territory.
Apart from the suprisingly atmospheric music (which can be heard by going here and just listening) I've been bowled over by some of the beautiful concept art as well as some of the (possibly alpha/beta stage) screen grabs so grab an eyeful for yourself here and make up your own mind.
Head over to the multimedia section of the site for a full moving footage trailer of the game. I would directly link the video to here from there but... I couldn't get mozilla to show me the html code for the video x.x
I just added beNippon, the japanese item importers, Gamers With Jobs, game site for gamers with jobs and Gamer girls, a site with girls what who play games.
Also note that Gamer girls are on the look out for writing talent so if anyone comes acroper of this blog and wants to stretch their writing muscle over some game reviews, you should definatly check it out. I would do and still might but I don't know if they want a man's opinion on anything ;P.
I have been getting the odd bit of work done but its been mostly blogging research and calendar planning really. Anyway, on with what I've been mostly playing
On the DS:
New Super Mario Brothers (disapointing! :( The way Mario moved about felt so awkward compared to the more solid and agile feel from the older games. And whats with the near useless blue shell 'power-up'? It got me killed so many times! >:( )
Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How old is your brain? (Got all my family and a couple of friends pretty much addicted to the brain excercises from this little beauty. To be honest, it's kind of a kick in your morale's balls when the device doesn't recognise your voice through a thick geordie accent or my broken hand writing style but if you concentrate, it gets easier to avoid these problems. Now to find some way to undermind my smart arse dad and his 28 year olds brain age..)
Front Mission (Quite technical and taxing strategy with Mechs. Its alot like FF Tactics but with 10 more tins of kick ass in the golden syrupy form of Missile Launchers and a need for actual tactical strategy :P)
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (Again, really feels like FF Tactics, but is a less technical version. Gone are the grids and the many many laws to abide by and in are your squad of 6, each with a couple of monsters to control like supporting units. And then you more or less mince around the screen beating the poopy out of whatever is silly enough to saunter into your path. I do really like this game, I promise :) In fact, the moving system and faux isometric view style of the game is one that I think Owen and myself should consider for the Zombie video game we are developing
Geometry Wars: Galaxies (Asteroids + the opening scene in Blade = Geometry Wars. Its an gradually more and more intensive plethora of electrik musik and commadore 64 style line shapes to represent shootable enemies. Cannot be played well when drunk, you need your reflexes about you)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (A not so gradual curve of puzzles and adventure, but thats not such a bad thing if you're into the logical thinking lark)
And of course, TETRIS DS. (Old puzzle gameplay with additional playing options chucked in and a graphics theme from the NES games like super mario bros. and metroid. Nuff said)
There are many others that I've been dabbling with but I havn't really spent enough time with them to be honest to be able to give an experienced opinion of them, although my initial impression of Planet Puzzle League when I tried that out was a really good one; seems like an addictive puzzler with a lot of brain stretching potential although I would also say the same for the even simpler Polarium in which you're essentially just matching white to white and black to black with a sweep of the stylus.
One of the things apart from a real return to simplicity with the DS, is a renewed appreciation for the Puzzle game audience and the console has really renewed my interest in the genre.
Anyway moving on.
On the 360:
Dead or Alive 4 (HI-OCTANE ASS KICKING ACTION! Bouncing boobs aside, the thing I love most about the DOA series is the counter attack system which, although very frustrating initially to time correctly, will tear the fight out of your opponent's bemused grasp and then allow you to batter them to death with their own mistakes. Bwahahhaa! Also, the game is really really fast which makes it much better than the slow as a sloth Tekken series)
Tom Clancey's Rainbow six: Vegas 2 (I've not played an FPS in a good long while ((not since Battlefield 2142 started to go really buggy)) and Vegas 2 is a brilliant example of why I should never have a gap in time that I'm not playing an fps again. Really heavy, very intense. There is this reassuring weight with the game when you move about and how you can hide throw yourself about realistically gives me the impression that I've found an FPS finally which is better than CS.
Mass Effect (Alot like the Knights of the Old Republic games, mostly because Mass Effect is developed by Bioware who made those games as well. The game is very immersive and very detailed with its own deep context but I find the combat is a bit repetitive and yet sparse. The space exploration parts when you are in a kind of buggy roaming an unchartered planet's surface also have a tendancy to last too long and feel kind of awkward. And yet, I think this game is still very playable and for the concept and art work alone that make up every inch of this beautifully visual piece, it is definatly something you should at least watch a few preview videos of)
I still want to try out the new Turok and see if it's as good as the original from when I was plugging away at dinosaurs with a bow on the N64 and I need to have a proper go of the Orangee Box's 'Portal'. I've only played the flash version of it, watched a mess of videos and had all possible plot twists spoiled for me but I'm still really up for the real game and to mess about with the physics that come from having a gun that can fire tears in the dimension and back into itself.
So yeah, if I don't get alot of work done and fail, you now know why. What I mean of course is that these games are all excellent examples of the kinds of projects I want to be working on in the very near future. m
I harrass my beautiful friend CatJess for something to do and skidaddle to her house to catch a lift to the Durham Art Gallery for the Chapman Brothers exhibit there. I've seen the Chapman brothers work before in Liverpool Tate but, you know I can't get enough of kids with penises for noses so I'm well up for it.
These two images sum up the car Jess took us in pretty well.
We get there and I'm suprised to see that the museum is in a little forest, very secluded stuff! Pay £2.70, waltz upstairs and have a poke about.
We then found maybe the place was TOO secluded beacause.. no one else was walking about. I got into this because it meant I could pretty much run about swinging my arms and even touching pieces of art if I'd wanted to. But I didn't. But seriously! Not even any guards! I know!
Border Crossing showcases the work of young Polish artists from Bielsko-Biala and Cieszyn in south-west Poland. The exhibition explores the theme of crossing borders presented through a rich range of different media including painting, photography and sculpture.
So, the accompanying exhibit to the chapman one was a collection of works by various Polish artists. There was a broad range of work from splattery simple illustration to experimental photography from Karolina Tyrna with her brussel sprout headed people. These pieces were paticularly imposing and had a strong presence in the room, ominous even, due to I feel their solid thudding composition and the lack of human empathy from the headless subjects. Brr... Spooky.
Apart from that, Polish people make art just like the rest of us and I was eager to revisit the Chapmans so I toddled off to the next room.
and AGAIN! NO ONE! :D!!!!
A series of prints created by the original and controversial young British Artists Jake and Dinos Chapman.
The majority of the images on show are based loosely on join-the-dots drawings from children's picture books which were copied through photo-etching onto copper plates. These have triggered surrealistc interventions, improvised monstrous creatures, fantastic landscapes and macabre incidents, deviating wildly from the prescribed dot-to-dot formation. The works are rich in art - historical references, from medieval images of hell and damnation to Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism and offer a brilliant introduction to the imaginations of two of Britain's most inventive and subversive artists.
Although I've seen them all before, I love these horrible little drawings because they have a deep level of detail to them without somehow going over the top.
Inspired, me and Jess felt compelled to make contributions to the exhibit using the provided colouring in pictures and pencils. I drew a one eyed meat rocket ;). Literally, its a rocket with an eye made of meat, and nothing else..
We then took pictures of us holding our drawings next to the exhibit work cause we didn't have anything to stick them up with :( thus my plans of gallery art graffiti were dashed.
Then I had a mess about on some old WW2 guns! Ho HO! Very fun!
Buddda budda budad budda buda budada budaa budaaa ubddaa! and my arse.
Then I had some coffee and the table was wobbly in the cafe. All in all, nice!
Anyway, we have a fox...
... A bunny..
...and a squirrel!
They've got this David Shrigley feel to them that I didn't really intend for. I just wanted some handdrawn marionettes in there to give a natural feel although looking at them, they all look kind of hostile. I think its the sharp jagged lines all over their bodies that causes this. Or maybe I have a deeply buried fear of paper-cut-out animals... Brr....
I should probably upload some gifs of these marionettes and others I make so that you can get a bit of an idea as to how they can strut their stuff.
Heres some more of the more finished concept sketches from the end of the character brief project. I'll post the earlier stuff up in a bit which actually seems kind of odd, but it should really be up here too.
Basically, these other sketches are attempts to show other sides of the character's personality or how she was as a child and they all feature, alongside many other sketches, on the boards we've sent for d&ad judging (finger's crossed). These are basically just some of my personal favourites.
I how poorly I've scanned these in but I digress. We've got her love for sitting quietly and drawing here..
... and her absolute disgust for manufactured foodstuffs here as she rolls out her tongue. Yack! Maybe i need to emphasize that tongue more and have her recoiling from the greasy greasy burger.
Here's the finished concept anyway; the model which we used in the animation we've sent to the lovely D&AD folks for judging. Oooh she's a moody one!