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With much checking of the time on smart phones.


Well dear friends I have taken part in one of the big deals of gaming culture, the midnight launch, and it was an interesting to experience. I left home at about 10 pm and drove the forty-five minutes to the store through steady rain. I should have known that this was an omen but I’m not superstitious and heck I was very keen to get my hands on the very long anticipated landmark game. anyway I got to the store at about 10.30 so I went in to the counter and traded in half a dozen old games and paid my my copy. Then it was time to wait for the official release at pumpkin hour.

While we waited there were free sodas and the attractive shop girl handed out some posters (yep I got a couple)

At first I just listened to my fellow gamers in waiting but eventually I chatted with a couple of them about the torture of waiting and the things we were most looking forward to doing in Los Santos. The guy I spoke with the most was really hyped about the prospect of “blowing shit up” and customising cars. As we waited the crowd grew steadily and although most were rather bleary eyed the vibe was one of quiet anticipation. with much checking of the time on smart phones. Which of course lead to talk about the varying times indicated.

EB Games were very  slick with their system for collection, you paid and then on the stroke of midnight you presented your receipt at a table at the front of the store where you were presented with your game. We had to wait until the Gaming big spenders had theirs though. I was quite surprised to get the opportunity to get my copy very soon after that  and By 12.03 I was strapping on my seat belt and heading home, through the rain once again. By 20 minutes to one I was home and tearing the cover of the box.  The game itself is a file of about 8 gigs which takes some time to load so as I settled down to wait with a small indulgent ration of chocolate the gaming gods decided to remind me of their power by blacking out our electricity!

As as I am writing this post the game is still loading and once I get back from putting the last of my children on to his bus I am going to settle down to doing some serious exploration of Los Santos and Blaine County because as I see it with such a big open world to discover I owe it to the very dedicated creators of the game to explore and take in the shear beauty of its vistas before I do any of the missions.

Cheers Comrades


“Grand Theft Auto 5 – new trailers revel in chaos, humour and a pitch-perfect soundtrack”

I well realise that some of my readers do not like computer games, heck I even thought like that just a few short years ago but now they are one the things that keep me sane, keeps my   mind active and allows me to enjoy the chaotic catharsis of the game worlds. My favourite games have all been open world sandbox games like GTAIV and Red Dead Redemption and like a lot of people I have been waiting for GTAV the above trailers give some nice insights to the three playable characters  of the new game as it comes out on September 17 getting the game will be a nice present to myself after the election. After all it would be a good way to avoid too much schadenfreude directed at our friends from the left.

Cheers Comrades


Thursday morning ramble

Having spent yesterday fixing our car, I am rather sore today while I am pleased that my efforts have saved us a few hundred bucks that it would have cost to have had the part fitted it was as is so often the case more complicated than I expected, I had to make a spring compressor and two other special tools  just to fit a new drivers side strut top now that its done I will have to spend the day today recuperating so that I have enough endurance to do the shopping on Friday. That’s OK because I got the new game that I have been waiting for and I have been sampling its game play which is pretty good. I think that I am beginning to get a feel for its control dynamic which is rather different to Need for speed the Run. further I am trying to get more of a feel for the map which is essential in in an open world game and I am just loving the graphics which are quite stunning.

Which brings me to the just released trailer for Grand Theft Auto V one thing you have to give to Rocksatar games is that they know how to build up the anticipation and to make sure that their games  are well subscribed and Pre-ordered before they released. Check this out:

If the Game-play is anywhere near as good as Red Dead Redemption  or GTA 4 it should be a stunning game.

Cheers Comrades

Max Payne 3 on its way….

click for source

When I’m feeling a little blue as I have been lately my wife usually suggests that its time that I went and blow something up and kill people. Not in real life mind you, in the virtual world courtesy of the PS3 because there is no doubt that it is very cathartic to do in the imagination that which you will never be able to do in real life. It is also a little more engaging than DVDs and a great deal better than day time TV. I have however felt a rather uninterested in playing the games that I have at present and a couple of “cheapies ” that I bought have been disappointing so I am pinning my hopes upon this new game form Rockstar to give me the distraction that I sort of need at present. It promises to have the realism that I really enjoy in Rockstar games with gorgeously rendered environments and realistic character movement.

Any way counting down the days until the 18th when my copy will arrive from the UK…

Cheers Comrades

Grand Theft Auto V Oh Yeah, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!

click for source

Oh Yeah baby! This is right to the top of my must have games list, The graphics look stunning, as you would expect from a new generation game and it looks like the story line will not just be a re-hash of the small time crook works his way up through the ranks that worked so well for the earlier incarnations of the franchise.  Rockstar games have taken on board all of the feed back from their previous games and distilled it into a (potentially) great sandbox game bathed in the LA sunshine. Even though I have never played GTA San Andreas* I am well aware of its status as a much loved game and it makes perfect sense to revive and update the location for this new game because it will mobilise fans to want to play this one. For me GTA4 was the game that opened up the world of gaming so naturally I look forward to more Rockstar goodness…

I also note that the music  in the trailer is not the usual Rap rubbish, instead it seems to be going for a more cinematic feel which can only bode well for the future.

With sweaty palms Comrades

Is this the way that ardent gamers are going to have their fate decided?

*I have actaully acquired a PC version of the game but I have yet to play it , mainly because the control interface on PC games is just too lame

It’s not killing people, it’s reading them

Like a lot of people of my generation I have been rather reticent about electronic technology, while my friends got excited about early PCs I was a bit more concerned about what they actually did, rather than the exaggerated promise that excited those early adopters. Twelve  years ago I made a big show of referring to computers as “Instruments of the Devil” and I was dismissive of the information available on the World Wide Web. Then I got my first computer, a second hand 486 and it allowed me to discuss self-sufficiency with others of a like mind. Over the years I have upgraded and replaced the home PC a few times  and now I think that I have a pretty good handle on computers and  this internet thingy. The information potential of the web is still over rated, mainly because there is no quality control or veracity testing of the ever burgeoning content, but it can certainly be a boon to those of us who want more interaction with people than their personal circumstances would otherwise allow.  I see a similar parallel when it comes to Gaming, I was dismissive at first, even hostile, and I could see that what exited people was the potential for the medium. All I could see was unconvincing graphics and very shallow narratives, the character avatars were crude, lacking convincing expression or a realistic presence.   Since we joined the gaming set at Christmas I have played a quite a few different games and not just the ones that have been bought for the children. I spoke earlier about Heavy Rain and Grand Theft Auto I have waxed lyrical about Red Dead Redemption to friends and family and I have suggested that I am excited about the upcoming release of L A Noire at the Sandpit, well now as the release of the game is only thirteen days away its almost like it waiting for Christmas to come when I was a child. I seem to  have caught that same enthusiasm for the potential of the medium that I have so resisted up until now.

I had this sort of grand resolve to keep this enthusiasm too myself but when I saw the piece in today’s Age beating the patriotic drum about the fact that LA Noire  has been made by Team Bondi and they are an Australian crew:

Best of all, it was built right here in Australia.

Two police detectives burst into a filthy apartment. A woman is cowering on the floor amid upturned furniture as a group of hired thugs search every drawer and cupboard. A fist fight ensues, the heavies are dispatched and the officers are left to question the traumatised victim.

How do they start questioning her? How will they know if she’s telling the truth? Well, that’s your problem. You are the cop and this is a whole new type of video game.

LA Noire is the latest offering from Rockstar Games, the notorious publisher of Grand Theft Auto and last year’s brilliant western shooter, Red Dead Redemption. The action takes place in the seamy, crime-sodden LA of the late 40s; the familiar hunting ground of Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy and Dashiell Hammett – all huge influences on the game’s director, Brendan McNamara. The player takes on the role of rookie detective Cole Phelps as he investigates a series of kidnaps and murders, studying crime scenes, talking to witnesses and interrogating suspects. Gamers are able to choose the tone of each Q& A session, playing nice and going in gently, or challenging every word the subject utters. Vitally, progress is made by watching characters as they stutter and squirm, judging whether they’re lying or terrified; it’s not killing people, it’s reading them.

The realism of these virtual humans is incredible. In one scene the gamer has to question an actor who has been drugged, shoved in the back of a car and wheeled down an embankment in a thwarted murder attempt. Her eyes dart about, she shifts uncomfortably, her brows furrow in agitation – she’s hiding something. These aren’t the gross caricatures of facial expressions we’re used to in video games, they are subtle and natural. Later, the gamer talks to a weasely prop house owner who has been caught running a seedy casting coach. He snarls his way through the session, but after a few threats he wilts, his expression droops. At times, it is almost photographic.

What LA Noire represents is a new era for interactive entertainment. Over the past 30 years, games have been based around challenging the player’s hand-eye co-ordination – the ability to react quickly with a controller. But in LA Noire, the main skill is emotional perception, being able to judge body language and facial “tells” – the little nervous tics that betray liars. These are the same skills we use in real life and that allow us to engage with characters in TV and movie dramas. Suddenly then, games are a universal medium.

If you have managed to see the TV series “Lie to me”  you may be a bit more aware of just how facial expressions can be read to test the veracity of witnesses and suspects when crimes are being investigated. The fact that the technology now makes it possible to integrate this into a game is very promising for the future of games  and I really hope that it will mean that we will see more games like this rather than just  the endless shoot em ups (which I admit can be strangely satisfying ) I also hope that the narrative of L A Noire is a bit more open ended than the one in Red Dead Redemption.(I’m already thinking that a sequel to La Noire would be good   😉  ) As much as I love RDR I was a little disappointed about the rather strange decision to kill off John Marsden for no apparent reason that I could detect, unless it was just  to suggest that the US government is innately corrupt. The last part of the game where you play as Jack Marsden is just not up to the standard of the first two thirds of the game.  Sorry that is a small digression, lets get back to LA Noire shall we? Check out how they have managed to capture those all important facial expressions:
That surely has to be the future for game design which will enable deeper and more satisfying story telling that the audience can participate in. Frankly I think that this game may well be the “Jazz Singer” of the medium which will mark the moment when gaming takes a step up from something has been truly limited to something that is as revolutionary as adding sound to the silent films was.
Well here’s hoping anyway…
That is the inspiration for me doing something that I once thought I would never do; I have actually pre-ordered the game and can’t wait till the 20th of May…
Cheers Comrades
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