Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why we play games.

Sorry, sorry, it's been a long busy weekend but I've finally managed to catch up on my sleep. Work is a sad few hours away though so it will be the same thing again next week I'm afraid with hopefully more energy and time available towards the end of the week. Today I will be exploring a little the reasons why people game in the first place. We've all heard what I think is stuff and nonsense about violent games breeding violence in society when the reverse could actually be true providing as they do an outlet for repressed emotions and instincts more suited to hunting Neolithic gazelles or outrunning sabre tooth tigers than modern life. There is a payoff for playing games; firstly during the game itself there is an adrenaline rush that replaces the thrill of the hunt and then when the game is won or a challenge overcome there's a lovely endorphin high that satisfies the latent killer in all so called modern humans. It's worth noting that during the eighties in my wannabe yuppie days the arcade centre near the office was full every lunchtime with suited minor executives playing the most frantic games they could lay their hands on in the name of stress relief. It worked and while I couldn't compete with the fit of the suit, the size of the salary or the car that was being driven I could more than hold my own when it came to the arcade lunch break, a fact that was no end of satisfaction to me despite the shortfalls in the other areas. Socially I was at the higher end of the pecking order as a result of my games playing skills, thus negating the need to fight to establish my place in the hierarchy as I would have had to several thousand years ago. This is amongst grown men, the social building skills are vastly different to those used by our ancestors but the instincts that go behind it are the same, often replaced by banter in modern society. Those instincts are also satisfied within a gaming community based on skill and talent rather than physical or intellectual prowess. It really is a great leveler the trick being to play to your strengths and to strengthen areas you are weaker in - just as our ancestors would have had to do when competing with other predators for food in the wild. Teamwork is not neglected either with many many games requiring a team effort in order to achieve an effect advantageous to the group involved. Thus are clans and communities embarked on major hunting or foraging expeditions of yore. Games have it all when it comes to simulating things we no longer use and I believe it was a myth to claim that any human society is non-violent in the first place. The large scale lawlessness that was recently observed in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina surely shows what a thin veneer we paint over the cracks we hide behind. Society has always been violent but games may be able to help to reduce that violence by answering basic instinctive triggers that become frustrated and confused if left unchecked.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ouch.

Just a short word to let you know I aint suffering from any blogging woes - not got writer's block or anything, even got a folder full of articles I'm half way through but my brain and body are in shutdown after the shock to the system of returning to full-time very physical employment. I ache. I've got blisters where I used to have callouses and with long shifts am in the work, eat, sleep mode until the weekend (unless they offer me overtime at the weekends). I reckon it will take about a fortnight for my body to adjust fully which should make it possible for me to get back into some kind of schedule with my blogging responsibilities. Right now I'm not getting a chance to play any games let alone write about them, come up with imaginative fiction, administrate a forum or design a new template (LOTS wrong with this one - PLEASE offer me your suggestions). Don't worry though, I'll be as right as rain and playing and writing with the best of them shortly. For the moment the best I can offer is to quote a line from something that has been close to my heart for many a year ... ""It's time for bed," said Zebedee.".

Nytol.

Showing off now (because I can :D)
Ok, just a quick show off then. Remember this? Here's another one of my old houses.

Must be true what they say about an Englishman and his home. :D

Sunday, September 18, 2005

FuzzBuck's Buttons.

Some of you may have noticed that the buttons turning up to replace the links to the "Blogs I visit" section have nothing to do with the software I blogged about earlier. It's true - nothing at all. I'm designing my own in Photoshop as part of a reorganisation of my links as nothing else is ideal for the job. Some of them I'm rather proud of and I can't resist blogging about the whole process even though it could only be said to be a game because it's fun to do, which it is (for me at least). That moment when all the elements fit into place and it starts to look like a finished professional product and I can look back at it and say "I made that." fills me with a great sense of achievement, especially when I see other people using the links I designed so if anyone wants me to create a button for them simply drop me a line in any of the usual fashions (email, comments in a blog, etc., etc.) and I'll be happy to see what I can come up with. I had thought that because of the size of the things involved (standard sizes ranging between 80x15 and 88x34) it would be incredibly difficult to sort the images and things like that and it is a skill no doubt about it. The same basics apply though - if something looks good it looks good and should transfer fine to a smaller medium. Here's the one I came up with for this blog if anyone wants to use it to link here ;).

Gamer for a Laugh

All the links take you to the URL of the image in this post so you can easily save them. To visit the sites in question simply check out the side bar.
Particular favorites of mine are
Simply Not Edible2,Yoda2 & Glitch Art 2

My favorite is Simply Not Edible's button, it has that certain something that brings it to life; at any moment I expect the little Final Fantasy figure to go wandering off around the screen. It's the first one I did inspired by the fact that his name is too long to fit into any of the standard button generators but I found that I couldn't stop there and methodically went through all the blogs I link to. Don't worry if I haven't got round to you yet, you're probably next. Speaking of that, Yoda's button makes it into my self-chosen top three because, well, it speaks for itself really and Glitch Art has that 1970's feel and a depth to the art of the image I pinched from them for the background that gives it an understated appeal. In a Frank Zappa type moment I feel the need to show you all the one's I've done so far and welcome any criticism (maybe even praise - LOL) and requests for buttons for yourselves.

...couldn't decide on the right colour scheme for Michele's...
Michele 1 (black red) & the best one I reckon but doesn't work with the background colour on my sidebar,Michele 2 (red red),Michele 3 (black black) or Michele 4 (red black)

A couple for The Guvnor Times where I will be a columnist in the weeks and months to come.
TGT5.TGT5a

This next series is nice because it shows the creative process and when I started thinking "outside of the box".
From jpm4 to jpm5 & jpm8 then jpm10 until jpm11 & final

The Void Zero presented unique challenges that I "creatively" solved but can't decide which way round the spiral should go.
TVZ 1 or TVZ 2

1 or 2 pixels for a border for Jean-Luc Picard?
Picard 1,Picard 2

More for Yoda, Glitch Art & Simply Not Edible.
Yoda1,GA1,SNE1

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wouldn't it be nice...?

Freelancer. Eagle inside dome.First a word about a change in schedules. It's been increasingly difficult for me to post every day (busy life, irons in fires and all that) so I'll be posting regularly on a "when I can" basis that I'll attempt to make every day or at least every other day. It kind of depends on the weather as well as recently my internet connection got taken out by rain in the external box but I'll try. Can't say fairer than that. On with the blog.

There's been a few discussions recently along the lines of the wish-list of the ultimatGTA for free roaming FPS.e game. Personally right now I think that the market is ideal for the next big space simulation. Freelancer has become old - hat and Eve online is so much yesterday. My question is why stop there? Why not set it up so that each time you land on a planet or station you exit your ship and enter an open Grand Theft Auto style First Person Shooting game? When you have enough to afford armies why not then go into a Real Time Strategy game like the Total War series, or buy a house and live a normal life, or build your own space station, start your own colonies or empires in a building, resource - grabbing style RTS like Empire Earth, Age of Empires or Civilisations? Have a realistic flight simulator that can switch between flying in and out of atmosphere's if you're ship can manage it or eveTotal War for stunning RTS battles.n have entire battle fleets at your disposal after hiring mercenaries, taking over a major government or building your own? The possibilities seem endless if you really decide that the effect you want to pull off is the ultimate cross-genre game. Racing on land and in air using a choice of technologies available with both "clean" races where you don't try to kill your opponents and other, "dirty" races where anything goes including fixing the race. A gambling style based on different card games could be handled in casinos or the race tracks that could range from vehicle to animal including human and alien races that would be another huge hook for the available player market. Before I go any further ©: this idea FuzzBuck Fuzz 2005 ;). AoE3 for resource grabbing building type RTS.Seriously folks there's not been many producers that attempt cross-genre games but realistically this could be a huge market. Potentially you could please every type of gameplayer in a single player environment and even do a multiplayer version that you could open up to the community. The more I think about it the better and better this idea seems and there also seems many ways I reckon it could be pulled off effectively. If there are any major (or minor, talented and keen) games producers out there feel free to contact me and we can discuss the idea of the Game. If anyone else has any thoughts on this feel free to comment away. :D

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ashes victory but America's Army loses.

Freddy Flintoff...and I thought last week was bad. VERY sorry to anyone who's been waiting in vain for me to post over the last couple of days but things in the land of the Fuzzmeister have been just a little trying of late so posting on my weblog about games has sort of taken a back seat I'm afraid. No UK gaming blog would be complete without a mention of the recent cricket score at the moment though so a big congratulations to our lads who brought home the ashes victory (for those that don't know its a competition between England and Australia, the current "best" team in the world, over the 100 or so year old ashes of a pair of cricket bales that was burnt to signify the death of English cricket after being soundly thrashed by them all those years ago). The quality of play from both sides was remarkable as was the sense of fair play and good old fashioned gentlemanly conduct. Well done guys, the first time in 16 years that we can hold the coveted trophy aloft. Now that just IS cricket. As a side note I can't resist name dropping that a couple of my friends recently formed the children's entertainment at the birthday party of one of Andrew Flintoff's kids (a.k.a. Freddy Flintstone, England all-rounder, accomplished batsman and mean bowler). Well done to them too.

Now that that is oSpectating (as usual)ut of the way today's missive takes a look at the much hyped America's Army. It's a first but I fear I must give a negative review to a completely free game. As first person shooter's go it's not that bad but there is an awful lot I feel that has been done badly in this game. The tutorials first of all do little to actually teach you the basics of the game but insist you must complete them in order to play. I found these to be buggy to be honest and never learnt how to correctly use grenades as that was the bit that kept failing when I tried to do it, no matter, it allowed me to continue on into the carnage anyway. Then I had to go about choosing a server. Being as green as they come I figured one calling itself N00bs Playground looked appropriate. Predictably it was full of experienced players and it was only a matter of time until I bit the dust Camping outfirst every time. Not to be deterred I attempted again and again to take the bridge (the point of the battle) to be blasted by snipers time afer time. An exercise in frustration really as every time I or my team member's tried the same trick we were accused of the heinous crime of "camping". I think that it's a bad choice of scenario for a newcomer's server that was badly policed and seemed to cater for the experienced player anyway. Try another server then, was my thought which I did to be greeted by the impatience that is usually accompanied by a player unfamiliar with a game and struggling with it. Perhaps the whole thing would have gone more smoothly had there been somethiBridge of deathng in the tutorials to actually show me an awful lot more that I needed to know. Either way it's not a winner in my book as without massive first person shooter experience you will find this very difficult. If you do have the neccesary experience you will no doubt have much more up to date games to play with better, smoother graphics and on the whole more playability. Ah well, it can't be sweetness and light every time. Of course you may disagree with me and absolutely love this game. If so, please let me know where I have been going wrong and why I find it very difficult to appreciate this highly popular title.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Just a few more Shockwave free games.

Giant ArtIt's hard being Fuzzy sometimes. I have all these great games and ideas to bring to you that I just don't know sometimes which to blog about first. No clues right now about what is coming up but there is some fantastic stuff I've been working on. Speaking of which my full-time work starts again on Monday so I'll endeavor to get as much done before then as possible as it involves long hours. With that in mind for now I want to add a few more Shockwave games to the list of links. No sense in not giving myself more work to dGPS Navigationo when I come to re-organise them. One for the kids is Kids Domain where you'll find a great selection of educational games that it's safe to let your kids loose on. There's an older kids section too where they link to the most excellent (nod to Bill & Ted) Make Giant Art (shockwave) which hits a particular note with this ex-binman. How do you like this piece I knocked up earlier - would it make it into the Tate or what? They've also got links to thingGo Snoopys like GPS: The New Navigation (shockwave) which is at Nova, a fascinating site for any age from 10 to 100. There's also a way from Kids Domain to Snoopy.com the home of a particularly well known beagle that finds him pitted against Charlie Brown in what else other than Baseball? Top game. With that I must blog you and leave you I'm afraid as there's a game that's screaming at me that it wants me to play it right now. I'll tell you all about it later ;)

Friday, September 09, 2005

-Pandora-

The Great Mind is infinite in it's thoughts.
Infinity is the expression of these thoughts.



And on the edges of these thoughts .... on the edges of the almost - on the edges of infinity itself where human understanding pales into nonsense there are beings that exist as a result of thoughts that last for a fraction of a fraction of a nanosecond. Every thought real or imagined exists somewhere in the infinite All. Imagination is a dangerous thing. For there be demons.


-Pandora-
Coming soon to a blog near you




(ps. Sorry it's late today. You know how it goes sometimes.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Final Fantasy

FF7 CoverWell, what a few days it's been for me, but I won't bore you all with my problems I'll just get straight on with my latest offering which is again a short one (sorry) in which I'll introduce a game series I'm sure many of you are already familiar with. Final Fantasy is one of my great loves in gaming. The seventh episode is the reason I bought a Playstation and started getting back into computer games all those years ago. Back then I was a biCloud, FFVII Herot more of a serious games head having run, managed and been referee at several Live Fantasy Role Playing Games companies where grown men hit each other with swords. Computer games were for kids. Then I saw FFVII and changed my opinioSephiroth, FFVII tortured Villiann. It was incredible and at least as much thought had been put into the rich land and plot of this game as I had myself into the lands, plots and political intrigues that I had created. Someone else had done all the work and they had done it better than me. Ok, I was constrained to an image on a screen and not in a castle, cave or forest with a sword in my hand ready to hack and slaRed, FFVII Herosh at all opponent's but it pulled me back to the world of video games in no uncertain terms. For days, weeks and months I locked myself away until I reached the end. Then I bought a walkthrough and saw just how much I had missed. There's no doubt that this series just went from strength to strength with every new release and thoroughly deserves it's place in the hall of gaming greats. From flying universities to Chocobo breeding and space ships these games had it all and is another one of those I will look at more closely to see just which buttons were pushed for me and the rest of the worlds gamers to make it such a relentless winner. Fight scene from FFVII

The big five - oh but apologies for no post yesterday

50th post but BIG apologies to all the regular reader's out there. Had one of those absolutely awful days where everything goes wrong and didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. I hope you can forgive the first time this has happened and will try to give warnings if it's likely to happen again. Occasionally real life intrudes upon my little corner of the blogosphere. As it's gone 5:00 here this morning this can only be a short apology to assuage my conscience and allow me to sleep. Will be posting properly later today. Catch you guys & gals later :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Newsground revisited.

SoldierI'm a bit pushed for time today so sorry if this is a bit short but Newsground is so good I just have to base today's article on it as well. I'll be concentrating on their games section (all flash) where as well as some standard often seen games they have many originals like Soldier which is a decent First Person Shooting game that sees you rSkull Kidunning around avoiding enemy fire whilst trying to shoot your opponents. Skull Kid is a bloodthirsty riotous look at office life and guaranteed to de-stress even the most jaded of office workers while Barbarian Bob has the clean lines of an instant hit. Stick RPG is extremely well dBarbarian Bobone with a whole town to explore (but don't step off the map) including a bar where you will find mini-games and beer. The shot is of a stick - fight (can't help myself after a few beers) but my favorite was the drunken darts whStick-fightich is too close to playing darts after a few beverages for it's own good. The one tip I'll give is to stay on the path. I'll round it off with a game indicated for 17-year olds and over (so don't play it if you're too young!) that saw me guffaw with laughter. I'll let their own description do it justice. I couldn't make this stuff up: "What happens when you cross a cow with chocolate, vodka and a dodgy winter Olympic sport?"

Cow Curling for your gaming enjoyment.

Cow Curling

"Moo!"

Monday, September 05, 2005

All your base are belong to us.

All your base ae belong to us.Set the Wayback Generator, we're going back, way back to 1989 and a game called Zero Wing for the Sega Genesis by Toaplan. It was never a class game with poor graphics and playability and was almost completely unremarkable. Just one thing separated it from the rest of the games that were out then (or have been since) and that has endeared it to the hearts of a generation. The language. It was just about the worst translation that has been produced in a game (from the original Japanese) and is the origin of the now iconic phrase "All your base are belong to us." There hPlay that thangave been many spoofs of it since and there are a couple I've come across that I just have to share with you. You'll need Flash to play these videos (useful for much more than just playing games) and I found this little lot at Newsgrounds (thanks GW) where you will find much more than just these videos. More about that later, first the original video spoof that set off all the others by Bad_CRC, you may get advertising popunders as you navigate around the site but I found thWAZZUP!!at just allowing the first one and then minimising it stops all the others from opening. There are a couple of jewels on the Newsgrounds page that lists other spoofs but the cream of the crop is definitely the first one, TMST's Zero Wing Rhapsody an absolute work of genius in my humble opinion. It had me rolling in the aisles. Another good one is All your Wazzup which combines this and an advert for a popular beer (yes, I know all beer is popular).
Worms Video
I can't go without mentioning another area worthy of your consideration at their site. Remember Worms (I'll be hunting that one out properly later)? Well they have a whole Worms section with playable games and videos, all very very funny.

Oh yeah, they have a games section too ;)

A great site to share with you then and I just can't resist leaving you with this banner.





Have fun.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

South Park games beat the countdown...

South Park disclaimerRemember this ...

"Footnote: ... hmmm, just noticed this ... "Your life of crime begins on foot in Liberty City, in an area called South Park. " ... South Park ... I wonder..."

from an earlier post? Well, I went off to look for any information to back it up. Couldn't find anything to say that the makers of South Park were all GTA players who named their show after it but you know I want it to be true if only for the sense of wholeness of it, particularly as it's gone full circle now with South Park games being freely available at South Park Studios. A show that was named after a game that now spawns games based on itself. Yes, I like the completeness of it all. The games like the show should be considered for adults only with profanity and adult themes so DO NOT visit if you are easily offended or under age. Yes, that means you. Don't go telling your father orWild Animal Thumb Jam mother that FuzzBuck said it was ok to play these games because I haven't, ok? Read the disclaimer.

If you're old enough and like South Park though these games are a must. All their games require the Flash plug in which is available through the link on my sidebar (under Flash games). First I tried was the hilarious Wild Animal Thumb Jam. You play Eric Cartman and must survive the wild animals by jamming your thumb ... well, I'm sure you can guess. I have to admit I was laughing so hard I never survived very long at all. Top game.
Next up was Cartman vs Evil Cartman (can you see a thCartman vs Evil Cartmaneme developing here?) which sees the evil nemesis being beaten to a pulp by the victorious hero of our tale. Ok, when I played it I lost but just a little more practice...

What is nice about them all is the true to show graphics with proper comic sCartman's Boomboxtyle flashes when the blows go in. To try and stay away from Eric (oh no, I can feel my mouse sliding towards Cartman's Boombox which is hilarious ... Cough ... ) ... To try and stay away from Eric for a moment Create your own South Park Character does exactly what it says on the tin allowing you to change head, body, legs and a vast amount of extras. Here's one I made earlier. Create your own South Park Character

And I didn't use any sticky-back plastic.

:D

Enjoy.



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