Belle and Sebastian tickets

So I got tickets for Belle and Sebastian‘s Perth gig. Not great seats, but decent.

I’m not sure if anyone reading this listens to them, but they’re… um… popular with hippies, don’t shy from sexual innuendo, and can mix styles like crazy (provided said styles are all fairly similar).

Note: Most links above are to videos on YouTube. The sexual innuendo one is kinda funny… the others are probably for fans only.

PGR3 impressions

I saw Project Gotham Racing 3 for XBOX 360 at GameTraders on the weekend. Here are my thoughts. (This will be much shorter than my Fight Night Round 3 impressions).

“What’s with the load time? What’s with the jaggies? Is that sky a low colour depth texture? What’s with the choppy framerate when the GUI pops up?”

Maybe they should have spent less time on crowd simulation and more time on just getting the overall look right. PGR3 looks good in some small details. In contrast, Gran Turismo 4 looks great in the big picture.

Note: Why all this talk on graphics and no word on gameplay? The graphics are used as the key selling point, and realistic racing games don’t really appeal to me gameplay-wise.

Fight Night Round 3 impressions

I saw Fight Night Round 3 for XBOX 360 at JB-HIFI after lunch today. Here are my thoughts.

Firstly, the graphics are very good. They look similar to the Playstation 3 demo shown at E3 last year. The skin rendering is top notch and the animation is realistic (but not always smooth). As with most games that involve close contact between characters, the biggest visual problems have to do with surfaces passing through each other. This is clearly a physical simulation issue, but it does severely affect the graphics. Especially since the general awesomeness makes these mistakes that much more glaring. Every time one boxer’s arm passed through the other’s boxing glove stood out like a… well, an arm going through a glove.

The things that struck me (more so than the graphics) about Fight Night Round 3 were the control scheme and gameplay. The oustanding bit about the control scheme is that you use the right analog stick for “total punch control”. In terms of gameplay nuances, you play the role of the coach between rounds and have to “patch up” your boxer by rubbing ice on his swollen face. Another thing I saw was that when you are knocked out, instead of just mashing the buttons to get back up, the camera changes to first person and you have to use the two analog sticks to line up circles to pull yourself back into consciousness. Neato!

How to wrap things up? I expected the graphics, but was surprised by the gamplay. I noticed that most people crowded around were keen to look, but not really keen to play. I wonder if this says something about promoting graphics above all the neat gameplay features. Will consumers take a look, but ultimately pass it by without even trying it out?

Note: All the gameplay is also in the Playstation2 and XBOX versions of the game.

Hair from PurePwnage selling for $4,300 (US)

That’s over $6000 (AU)! There’s still one day left, so get your bids in… or not… because you have better things to spend your money on.

It’s interesting that in the bid history there are a number of rejected bids for less than the current amount with “Please contact seller with evidence demonstrating the bid is serious” as the reason for cancellation. I guess they never expected it to get this high!

The in joke

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, this item is a reference to the latest episode of gaming mockumentary PurePwnage in which the main character decides to sell his hair on Ebay to make some money. I think he said something like “That’s a great idea! I grow my hair back for free!”

Another reference to that episode is this notice on the Ebay listing: “Jeremy has not balled-rubbed the bandana, but will do so upon request for no additional fee.”

Game Developers Conference summary

Just a quick overview of the news from GDC’06. There is a good roundup on Next Generation and you can find more detailed information on the usual sites.

General news:

  • It looks like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all hoping to break the retail model with the introducion of their download services.
  • PS3 doesn’t live up to the “target renders” from last year’s E3. (Gasp!)
  • Shadow of the Colossus gets almost half of the Game Developers’ Choice Awards.

Nintendo news (from Iwata’s keynote; see the press release):

  • There will be Sega Genesis and TurboGraphix games on the Revolution’s Virtual Console Service.
  • Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was announced for Nintendo DS! See the video.

What happened to the announcement of the official name for the Nintendo Revolution?

Freeline skates

I found these while browsing gizmag (an Australian site BTW), and they are infinately cooler than The Wave.

You have one skate under each foot and use a snaking motion to move sideways. These look perfect as something that you can just throw in your bag when you’re not using them (much better than inline skates or a skate board in this regard).

Check out the promo video on the manufacturer website. There’s also an instructional video on YouTube.

Nation States

I posted this to the PIGMI mailing list and thought to mirror it here. Nation States is a great game and Max Barry is an intellectual and amusing author. Check it out!

Have many people seen (or played) Nation States?

It’s a non-traditional online game that is technically very simple, but can become fairly involving. It’s also the work of an Australian author.

The gameplay involves making political decision for a small nation state (up to 2 a day). These decisions are summarised by exaggerated status reports and reflected in the nation’s economy, and civil and political freedoms.

Aside from slowly watching your nation grow, players can also get involved in the virtual United Nations and the discussion forums. There are currently 150 UN resolutions reflecting the composition of the gaming community with topics ranging from slavery to DVD region encoding.

I think that Nation States is an excellent example of a game that challenges common conceptions of games and gamers, and I found it fairly inspirational in this regard.

– Nick

The Wave

“The Wave” is a bit like a skateboard, but it only has two wheels and is meant to feel more like surfing or snowboarding. There’s a brief review on and a bunch of action videos on the manufacturer homepage.

It’s a stupid name, obviously coined so that they could use the phrase “Learn to ride The Wave” (groan). It was previously called the “X-board”. Regardless, I think that I want one.

I recall seeing them for sale locally for around $100 (although I could be wrong about the price).

Update: I found an image on the Amazon product page

Update: I found another review here. It looks like it is called the essboard in Korea and the ex-board in the UK

Update: It’s called the vigorboard here and they sell for $199 (although it’s billed as $50 off the RRP of $249). They are apparantly conducting market testing in Bunbury.

V for Vandetta

The movie based on Alan Moore‘s comic book of the same name is coming out next Thursday (30 March). It stars Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman.

I’m keen to see it on the following Monday (2 April). It should be less crowded than “tight-arse” Tuesday and around the same price when using student tickets or cinema cash. Anyone else interested?

Image from the Alan Moore Fansite