Friday, 15 July 2011

Audiosurf - Near infinite fun for music lovers

What is this neon blur? Read on to find out.

In short, if you have a reasonable sized music collection, a PC and £2.99 and you don't have this game you're doing yourself a diservice. In the most basic terms Audiosurf is the greatest music visualisation ever created, but to leave it at that makes it sound like nothing when in fact this game offers up not only a whole load of value for next to nothing but might actually get you to listen to and think about your music differently.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Games on the way, plans for a couple of future posts.

Hello there who ever you may be. This blog has fallen by the wayside for some time due to lack of time, inspiration, effort...heck you pick a reason and I'll bet I could attribute it to me not working on this. Whilst I'm not about to ramp up what I'm doing to weekly or even bi-weekly blogs I am intending to see if I can find a niche to write about and possibly podcast and vlog as well.

What might that topic be you ask? Cheap, unsung games. I'm jaded as all hell with the A grade games that are being churned out and really long for something a little more unique in some way shape or form, be it gameplay, plot or otherwise. As a result I'm scouring review sites and forums for unsung gems, games that were passed up by the mainstream for one reason or another, indie games and mods for classic games. Basically I want to focus on stuff poor gamers such as myself might be able to buy for pocket change and get some serious value and entertainment out of.

Winging their way to me as of tonight are Alpha Protocol and Deadly Premonition, two games praised for their boundry pushing in some respects but marred by technical issues to the point that they reviewed quite badly with many of the biggest gaming media outlets. Now, with months passed since release, any and all patches ready to go and the price dropped to an incredibly reasonable £10 a piece I want to try them out to see if they're worth even that and report back on what I make of them from my entirely critical standpoint.

As Alpha Protocol is an Obsidian game, a favorite company of mine and my brother, I'm hoping to get him over at some point to take some footage and record our thoughts for a video review of sorts. Whether I have the technology to do this at a reasonable level of quality is questionable, taking footage from an Xbox 360 not being the easiest thing in the world without specific equipment, but at least I intend to get a podcast on the subject recorded.

So, a more focused direction for this blog from now on is on the horizon and with any luck it'll make it easier to get inspired to write. And hopefully the games will be the flawed classics they appear to be. Let you know soon.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Upcoming podcast and a realisation

Hello there you handful of readers,
Announcement time!
Coming soon, a new games focused podcast featuring myself and my brother Owain. We’ve sat down and made a pilot for a series of opinion pieces regarding our take on gaming, the companies, culture and progress of the medium. We’re highly critical but unlike a majority of loud mouthed gamers we justify our stances and take time to explain so hopefully we’re offering something unique that will provoke discussion.
The topic at hand for the first episode is the decline of Square-Enix over the last ten years, right up to the most recent news that with the combined hit of Final Fantasy 14 failing and the Japanese earthquake the company is in dire straits. Why did we like them? What went wrong? Can the company survive a 10 billion projected loss this year? All of this and more will be on there, watch this space!

And my realisation is that there was already someone under the title Jaded Geek around before me so I really need to rename this blog. On that note, suggestions people? This is likely to become something of a defacto home for the new podcast so perhaps a joint name for the podcast andblog would be a good idea? Hit me up if you're feeling inspired.

Friday, 29 April 2011

A word on some more recent gaming news

Welcome back to the pit of pissy company bashing that this blog appears to have become. Given my habits this ought to come as no surprise to those who know me personally. So, what's been going on in the world of gaming this week?

First up, the successor to the Wii has been announced. It's due to be shown at this years E3 in June and obviously at this point further details are scarce. There's a lot of rumor and suggestions flying around about it being more visually capable than even the PS3 or that it will feature touch screen technology (already officially called into doubt) but my only question is will there be anything released that I'm all that fussed about. Allegedly the likes of Rockstar are on board to develop so with any luck there will be enough games to get me interested. Alas the Wii sits in its corner, neglected bar the occasional bout of Smash Bros. Nintendo's going to have to come up with something special to get me to gamble on them again.

Soul Calibur 5 has been announced and that's good news to me. I'm a big fan of the series so knowing that the next entry is on the horizon is exciting. I'm expecting even more lush graphics and the return of the entire cast plus a few new faces. Now if they just throw in a Soul Blade quest mode I might have some sort of fan pandering related breakdown.

Sony wont take responsibility for their lax security. Those of you who own PS3s will know well enough by now what's going on with the PSN being down and that your personal details have been stolen. Well, Sony has gone some way to respond to claims that credit card details might be at risk with the following Q&A on the subject so it seems there's not so much of a reason to worry provided they're being honest.
As I don't own a PS3 I'm left to look on from the sidelines but all I can think about off the back of this situation is that we all need to think more about who has our personal info and how much their claims of high security can be trusted, especially given Sony refuses to take responsibility for the details you give them. I suspect other such major multinational companies would do the same given a similar circumstance and it's down to us as consumers to make sure we're all fighting for our rights through offical chanels and well directed complaints.

And in other news, there's some piss poor Dragon Age dlc out this week featuring two packs of weapons and armor at 400ms. Hmm, weapons and armor that add nothing to the game but visual flair or a 400ms fully featured arcade game, let me take a moment to think about that choice. In fact, I wont, that's crap DLC from Bioware on a par with the game breaking Feast Day gifts doled out for cash for the original Dragon Age. Missions and characters for that kind of money, not textures, models and stats thanks!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Thoughts on recent gaming news

Hello there you handful of wonderful people you. It's been a while since I posted that big wall of text rambling on about not having time to write this blog as I want to but lo and behold today I have a free hour or so and there are some news storys I feel like commenting (aka ranting) about.

As I've been so focused on it previously, I have to make mention of the recently announced Sonic Generations, releasing this year to mark Sonics 20th anniversary. A gameplay trailer has just been released that highlights what fans ought to be fussed about - classic Sonic is back.
I'll admit, watching the Sonic I grew up with in fully realised 3d did get a momentary blip of excitement out of me but then I kept in mind the track record for the series and immediately put that anticipation to rest. There's not much footage to go on, but once more it's clear that the way Sonic handles isn't true to the older games. The writer of the article I linked argues that different doesn't mean bad but when I want to play a Sonic game I want to play a Sonic game, not a platformer featuring Sonic. The same writer also linked to this far more interesting fan remake preview -
I see staggering work like this put next to what Sega puts out, the dedicated time and effort of two or three people over shadowing an entire company, and it makes me wonder what is causing such a dearth of creative output at Sega. The easy and obvious answer is interference from the bunsiness side of things using demographics and other assorted tools to deminish whatever might make a game unique so that it appeal to the lowest common denominator. Guess it's a good thing I'll be sticking to fan made projects when it comes to Sonic for the foreseeable future.

Next up it's my old friends over at Capcom. They've finally admitted that Super Street Fighter 4, the game they said was the definitive edition, will now be updated through a large DLC bundle. The package, titled Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition, will be released with four new characters complete with animated intros and endings, character balancing and changes to the replay channel allowing a player to view matches between high level players. There will also be a stand alone retail version of the game released at full price a couple of weeks later than the DLC.
My first issue is with the idea of charging for improvements that ought to be given for free. Character balancing seems like a very poor choice to be doled out as DLC as I have to wonder what will happen to those who dont download it but then play online against someone who has. Will they not be able to connect? Will the changes be given out freely behind our backs without a fuss in an effort to enhance the supposed value of the package?
The second thing on my mind is the cost. It's being released as DLC at £14.99, the same cost as half of the original costume packs. Certainly this is a step in the right direction but then I think about Marvel vs Capcom 3 and how one character costs a third of that price. I can only hope that this is a sign of Capcom realising that they're over charging on useless content, I somewhat doubt it though because...

Capcom are charging for the shadow battle mode for Marvel vs Capcom 3! It's nice to be vindicted and all, having already seen this coming, but it's a real shame to see content like this sold given it's limited use.
One last word on Marvel vs Capcom 3, Capcom have gone on record saying there's no more DLC planned for it. Ever. No more characters, or costumes (even if they are terrible), nothing. My prediction, expect Super Marvel vs Capcom 3 sometime early next year.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Podcast crisis averted!
I and the guys have sat down and figured out what needed to be done to keep us going so The Mighty Beards Podcast lives! Timing was getting to be a big problem for the others so we've made a change to the way we're recording from here on out.

From now on we'll be recording one podcast per month featuring the three of us. We're going to be aiming to make this our flagship episode given the amount of extra time we'll have to work on the content. The next triple trouble podcast is going to be about Quantum Leap so expect some serious geekery!
The other three weeks out of the month will be dedicated to the new concept, two-man podcasts. What we've got in mind right now is rotating the setup so each week it'll be a different pair putting something out. We're not setting subjects so we expect to be a little loose and unfocused to start with until we find out particular niches. It's looking like we might be doing everything from current affairs through to more focused movie news and reviews, but who knows. If you've got a suggestion give me a shout.

The projects I've previously mentioned are still ongoing so there will be more news from me soon enough. Till then, spread the word about the podcast and help us build an audience. I want to get to the point where we can get a forum going!

Friday, 8 April 2011


Well it's looking more and more like the podcast I've been working on is about to implode this weekend so I'm left wondering how to move on, take what I've learned and use it to progress further.

Right now, what I've got in mind is to start up another podcast with my brother focused more around computer games. I've already got plans for a look at Mass Effect 1 & 2 in the lead up to part three as well as a discussion about Square Enix but beyond that I'm not quite sure where to focus.
I mean, there are a hell of a lot of game related podcasts from people with direct connections to the industry so what would be the hook to get people interested? I've considered putting focus on the notion that the presents of the show will be brothers but to make something of it I'd really have to be drawing attention to the most famous gaming brotherhood, the Mario Bros. I like Mario and all, my brother less so, but to tell the truth I wouldn't want the idea that we're in any way Nintendo focused or massive Mario fans to mislead potential listeners.
Another idea would be to make it very British centric but that again limits the audience greatly. Sure, it'll get some international attention from the types of people who like to look outside their own culture but will it be helpful in the long run?

Another notion I've played with, and a very different one from the typical game centric stuff, would be getting the news papers in the morning after work and doing a five or ten minute breakdown. I'm kind of known for my vitriol and reading the papers really brings that out of me. Whether I can be funny by myself on a daily basis doing that remains to be seen so it'd be a gamble.
Another similar alternative would be to get other people in on a weekly basis for a chat about the week. My problem here is that the number of people I know who pay attention to current affairs is small. The number who are willing to chat, publicly about it is smaller. And the ones left who can make that kind of thing entertaining smaller still.

It's a dilemma for sure. Try to carry a show by myself or try to find some reliable people who want to practice their banter and debate skills? I don't know right now.