Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back to buttons for a quick post (& I don't mean Panto)

You may have noticed that the Pac-Man in the header seems to have gained a life of his own. FBF has been learning how to animate, so if you open the tag called "Blogs I Visit" over there in the right you'll see me practicing with this new skill. It's ok, I'm not going to go on about it right now, but I will, of course be including links to them in the post especially created for that purpose here. You can also find a link to that post in the "Web-Fu" series under "Previous Posts of Note" for quick and easy access. I'll be publishing both animated and static versions of each button without the background used in my sidebar menu. Really, then this is just to let you know that I have been beavering away behind the scenes and not giving myself any time to post... until now that is. Have fun looking at the pretty lights ;)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Christmas.

First off, as promised, a big, red


to all my readers.
Sober Santa 2
To retain the Christmas theme from yesterday I discovered a rather playable drunken Santa game over at Addicting Games (no popups, but beware annoying voice saying "Hello." ). Keep him off the electrified rails and find your way to the alcohol & treats. Of course the moJingle he drinks, the harder he is to control. They call it Sober Santa 2 (flash) & it's well worth a look after your xmas dinner. Speaking of which, mine is calling me so I've only time to mention Jingle Ballistics (flash) at the same site which is an excellent fighting game with even a character to unlock (be sure to read the controls though ;) ) and no Christmas would be complete without that old classicSimon Says., Simon Says (flash) which i found at Kontraband (beware ads in both popups & popunders). Who remembers that?

Have fun this Christmas.

By the way, if you've not been here for a while, be sure to scroll down and catch some of the great articles you may have missed. Time Travel I'm proud of and Lag Kills is the part 2 in my Web-Fu for beginners series, an essential read.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Games and working morals.

Remember this from several months ago?
Well I too have been thinking long and hard about it (two months of long and hard, in fact). I have consulted impartial professionals. I have asked my employers. I have discussed the issue over and over again. I have lost nights of sleep. I think on Christmas eve it's about the right time to set the record straight on my stand on this matter enabling me to put it to bed once and for all. I too work in areas which are very sensitive. I work with the elderly, the homeless, the drug dependent, members of the general public, the disabled, mental care patients, the list goes on and on. I can assure my readers, my clients and my employers that I will never publish anything at all about my work that may involve any of these vulnerable (oops, sorry, not a politically correct word anymore)... any of these people, my workmates or my employers themselves in any way, despite the incredibly good reading it would make. It's not right. There is an unspoken understanding of trust that I feel would be a betrayal if I were to behave in any other way than above reproach at all times because of the highly sensitive areas in which I work. That includes posting any information about them in any public area of the web, whatever the law might say on the matter. I cannot apply my moral understanding to another person however, that being ultimately their choice. I can choose to be offended by it, at the time it made me very uncomfortable to say nothing of the soul - searching. I considered withdrawing from the blogosphere altogether over it. I'm very glad that Yaeli has considered this matter to the degree she has and I feel that it's appropriate to finally discuss it here. It may seem an over-reaction to some, but to me it's a massive issue. How in the world can I work in this area if I feel that I can't be trusted? How therefore can I read another's writing about it and fail to comment? How do I react when that comment goes awry? Well, I've been privileged to learn the answers to these questions, despite how slow I've been to announce it. So, no hard feelings, but in best Bill & Ted styley a most excellent Christmas wish going out a little early to Yaeli and all my readers.
Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees
Right, now that that's out of the way, let's see what I can find to interest you for a few minutes in a roundup of ChristmAdventure Elfas games. First up on the Google list is (beware pop-up ads) who offer us a wide selection of Christmas themed games including Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees (shockwave) which is another one where you shoot the trees that rise from boxes and avoid hitting the elves. It's a nice example of it's kind and is well done. Another wSpank The Frankell done one they have is Adventure Elf (shockwave) which is a platform game in the best traditions of manic minor. Extremely addictive and easily playable. Remember, don't step on yellow snow. I found these two games and more though at (beware popups, popunders and LOUD jingley bells) where there is alsPengapopo the hilarious Spank The Frank (shockwave) and the brilliantly frenetic Pengapop (shockwave)which brings a whole new idea to the old breakout games. I urge you to play it - it's great. Right, that's enough for now. Hopefully, I'll be posting tomorrow at some point to wish you all a more timely season's greeting,, but right now I should go and get all those presents I've been too busy to buy. Have a good Christmas, all, and enjoy the games.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Knife City.

Knife City logo.Something worth a mention is Knife City. The London Metropolitan Police has turned to an extremely well-produced video in order to try to combat the knife culture that is becoming more and more prominent in our large communities. It's an obvious pastiche of a certain title mentioned here at least once, Vice City by rockstar games which portrays with an impressive cut series between "gaming" scenes and reality the brutal effects of this culture. It's been called anti-gaming , but I sense this is not the case. They are merely using the medium to grab attention and relay the message. It may fall down on several other levels, however as it may not reach the target audience, despitKnife City.e many free copies being freely distributed. More so than our own generation, the youngsters of today are immune to advertising, even to the point of labeling this particular piece of it propaganda (check out the comments at Alice's blog, Wonderland here), which in itself is a sad state of affairs, but I feel more thought could be put into the site as a whole to make it actually harder - hitting. More attention grabbing. A good start though, and a clever idea to use a medium that virtually all UK teenagers respond to. A violent video game. So, far from being anti-gaming, I see it as an experiment in using a popular pastime as method to spread the word. Good luck, but fighting against that infamous teenage rebelliousness and indifference is a mountain to climb.

Monday, December 19, 2005


The storms raged. The winds cracked the mountains and howled into the endless night. The echoes crashed across the valleys and crags demanding that they rise from their foundations and join the maelstrom. Then the rains beat the mountains with the force of a bomb and rise they did. Huge and powerful they rose into the storm, joining it, feeding it and creating a force to shatter a continent. Pandora was awake.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ask about Games.

Some of you may remember this article from a while ago and I found myself in a position where I had to repeat some research on children's games for a friend while configuring a pc for his young brood. Synchronicity stepped in when I discovered a particularly apt site had gone live this week. At you'll find the answers to all the questions that parents want to ask about games, their ratings, the ratings themselves and penatlies attached to them. It's a very useful site for parents of kids of any age who want to allow them to play games of any kind and includes some very nice touches including a page that explains genres, an advice centre that tackles some serious issues like game piracy and the possible health risks attached to gaming and a facts and figures section that is fascinating if that's your thing (if your reading this, it probably is ;) ) that contains much information about gaming in the UK that I didn't know despite being heavily involved in the gaming industry for most of my life and in the computer gaming industry for a number of years. "25.1% of British women play games regularly."? There might be some hope for me yet, then :D. I have no idea if there is an american equivalent for those reading this from the other side of the puddle and would welcome the link if anyone knows of it, but there is a great deal that's universal on this well put together website. I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending it to anyone, whether you're just curious or have little ones to consider.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New navigation thingy and SBHoF.

Well, after two nights hard work, I've finally managed to conjure a way to nail down my previous posts into an easily navigated format. Some of you might have noticed the "Previous posts of note" button that's appeared at the bottom of my sidebar (although I doubt it ;) until now). I've tried to pick out some of what I consider to be the more choice morsels along with links to all the games I've featured here in the past and series of articles will now be collected there under the "Series" section. I've also tried to link up the specific games articles for those who have found your way here looking for information on a specific game. It's a growing thing with more links and sections to be added. If you feel any articles have been missed out that should have been included, please feel free to shout out about it in any of the usual ways as well any suggestions you have for how it should be sectioned up and which posts or subjects rate a whole series about them. Please remember if mentioning specific games to look at that I really like to concentrate on the vast amount of free games out there with as little emphasis as possible on spending the old hard - earned cash. As you can see from my previous posts this is by no means exclusive and some games are well worth every penny.
Hope nobody minds a short post today but having finally cracked this particular nut and having to rise for work in a little over 6 hours I really must sleep,... but not without mentioning the latest community thing to be born (independently) out of Blog Explosion. The Shout Box Hall of Fame is a community blog made up of denizens of the Blog Explosion Shout Box. It's a little baby blog but has really got some tremendous talent of all kinds involved in it's conception. Good coders, writers, artists, comedians (& ennes :D), photographers, mommies, daddies, gamers... (oh yeah - yours truly has signed up to something else that'll eat into my time :P )... designers, a sleuth, a night club dj, the list goes on - this seems to have the lot. Even better is that I'm not organising it so it's not going to eat into my time TOO much... (ok, ok, I know I haven't posted there yet or created that button I said I was going to or that bit of text I said I'd sort or that banner I said I'd knock up OR... um... HA! - fooled you, there wasn't anything else! Or if there was I've not done that either. That horrible thing called having to work for a living has been getting in the way with 10+ hrs. a day, but enough of my troubles.)... and I think this is a certain winner. There's some great talent on display and after everything has calmed down after the first month-long rush of everyone posting in excitement I think we can expect some real top quality articles of all kinds there. One to watch.

Thursday, December 01, 2005



They said we couldn't play it. That it would warp the minds of a generation. TheDeath by plastic bag.y whispered that it might break down the fabric of society and cause riots in the streets. It was banned in the UK for being just too sick. They can't keep a good game down though and the creators of Manhunt have a great deal to be proud of. Rockstar Games now have a tradition of violence in games being behind the much maligned Grand Theft Auto series, but this is a fish of a different colour entirely. The opening scene sees the hero of the tale (played by you) legally liquidated for crimes committed, however all is not as it seems as the player quickly learns awaking to an insistent voice urging him to kill. The player has been co-optCrowd scene.ed to play the lead role in a snuff movie and he must butcher his way out to survive. That's all the plot you need to know, at least for the beginning of it as you are inspired to kill your victims in ever more bloodthirsty ways throughout this game. First weapon of convenience is a plastic bag which can be used in a sneak attack from behind to execute the patsies in impressive cut-scenes that concentrate on the gore and give a real undercurrent to the feel of this game. Points are awarded according to style of kill and time taken per level with some really quite challenging scenarios played out. Many of the imManhunt gameplayages shown here are from those cut scenes, but they should not be confused with the gameplay, which is smooth, detailed and reasonably interactive. The deeper you go the darker it gets and I feel the banning order has as much to do with the subject of this game which glorifies snuff movies, as it does with the gameplay. To be honest I have seen much bloodier scenes in games several times. There is something about this that sets it apart from the other bloodfests, some psychological thing within the darkness of it all. The cynical look it takes at the human condition is a haunting one that will leave a bad taste in many mouths if the violence doesn't make them physically sick. I love it though. Great game. If you don't see me for a while and nothing gets done on any of my sites (yes, I havGarrottede (actually) been working hard on them all in those moments I manage to snatch from my busy and active life and work... well, ok, all apart from the comics blog) then it's because I'm playing Manhunt. Cheerfully gutting hapless gang members in my starring role as the next psycho killer star. Any psychological damage was done years ago and is far beyond the scope of any mere game to affect. Please note that I've had special training in how to avoid such damage from these games however so I cannot recommend it for any not possessed of a similar detachment from the all-powerful screen. I doubt it'll take me very long to get bored with it, as good as it is. The likes of me appreciate a much more complex plot to go along with our needless slaughter and psychological tricks before we can replay a game again and again. A jolly good jape though so one you can go back to 6 months later and still enjoy without having to get too involved in it. Just make sure you're not easily shocked.