Tuesday, March 31, 2009


[I have a feeling I've made a post similar to this before... never mind]

Some games walk a fine line between joy and frustration. Platformers practically live off this balance, with the hardest sections relying on perfectly timed jumps, leading to endless repetition. I have managed, however, to find the most frustrating piece of gaming I have encountered in a long time.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, is a first person shooter set in an alternate modern day, where Russia has been split by civil war, and there are many people taking advantage. It tries to get a feeling of realism, in that any enemy can easily kill you with a few bullets, especially on advanced, the difficulty I played on. It balances this by regenerating health, so if you get hit by a stray bullet, you can take cover and recover as if it never happened. While this is somewhat unrealistic, you feel agreeably mortal, and the effect is to force you to keep your head down at certain parts of the game. COD also includes checkpoints, points where you will reload from if you die. These can be... far apart.

So theres a mission in which you and your captain, both members of the SAS, attempt to assassinate someone, and then when it goes wrong, you have to run for it. Making it to the extraction point, with the captain injured and unable to move (but still able to fight), you then need to hold off the enemy while waiting for a helicopter to arrive.

Heres the thing. There are two of you, and dozens of them. If you fight honestly, as if you were really in that situation, you will die. The ONLY way to survive is to take advantage of the AI, so moving to a position where they will not attack you... although they still should. Even this doesn't help that much, because once the helicopter has arrived you need to get back to the captain (who thankfully is invincible), and get to the helicopter. No easy task, I can assure you.

The entire section is about 5 minutes long, with no checkpoints. I finally completed it yesterday, after having spent approximately 3 HOURS doing it.... ARGH.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

dumbeldore's plan

This is quite brilliant

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heroes plot failings

Heroes has too many plot failings to list, probably from the writers not planning beyond a couple of episodes. A lot of people point our Peter's girlfriend trapped in the future forever... but it occured to me recently.. what the hell happened to Molly?

The 11 year old girl being look after by Matt Parkman... has vanished? HARSH...


Sunday, March 22, 2009


I recently picked up the graphic novel of Wanted, which inspired the film (which I have not seen). I was... not impressed. The basic premise is our "lovable" loser, Wesley, discovers he is heir to the greatest supervillain who ever lived, in a world full of super villains. For the most part this is just a mary sue tale about how awesome our protagonist is. Whenever he encounters adversity, he shoots it in the face, and while he has a couple of moral qualms, those are quickly brushed under the table.

It just feels like wasted potential- the idea of super villains without super heroes being bored is discussed, but mostly ignored, focusing on the main plot. Sadly Wesley is easily the most boring character in this book, so this is not terribly rewarding. It feels like the author came up with a cool concept, but had no real idea what to do with it.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Frances hates left 4 dead

Frances, a character from left 4 dead, sure hates a lot

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

This has always bothered me

This post contains spoilers for the plot of Halo, if that bothers you.

In Halo, our super-soldier lead stumbles across an ancient device called "Halo". It is a giant artificial ring, with the power to destroy a galaxy. It was built to contain the flood, a species of creature which infect and take over other sentient life, and stop them from spreading. If they were to break free, the option was there to destroy the entire galaxy.

So why not just blow up all the halos? As far as we know, the only place the flood exist is on the halos, and considering the forerunners are willing to obliterate a galaxy to destroy them, they don't seem to worry about extinction. What makes the galaxy destruction worse is that the flood are sentient when in large enough numbers. Galaxy destruction is a TERRIBLE solution. It won't save your species because, you know, you've BLOWN UP THE GALAXY and it will wipe out the sentient force that would have replaced it....

Maybe there are answers to all these things- they were not apparent in the games.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This is the story they're telling.

Sometimes weird co-incidences or instance of stupidity in story are frowned upon. For example, in the film Cloverfield, one of the characters only very rarely drops his video camera. Shouldn't he, one might think, put it down and start helping the others? Well yes, but if he had, we wouldn't be following his story. In the film there are literally thousands of people (hundreds of thousands!) trying to escape the city, and many of them may well be filming it, but probably didn't do a good job. We are following the story where the filming was surprisingly good.

While I am fairly intolerant of story stupidity, I will excuse a one off tale like this. Similarly, if the hero just happens to survive the scourge of evil, this is because following those who very predictably DIDNT survive the scourge of evil would be thoroughly dull!

Having said that, while one might get away with it a film, if you follow characters who keep improbably escaping again and again, this excuse no longer works. Dr who no longer has this excuse- being the last timelord his escapes have to make sense, as there are no other stories to be following instead.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Dear university students,

I understand that you get lazy during homework. You have a lot to do, and it doesn't really matter- it hardly counts towards your grade, and your first year mark doesn't actually matter. So you think that it'd be easier just to copy your friends work. Of course, universities look down on plagiarism, as we are here to assess you, not your friends work, so it's best to avoid being that noticeable when doing it.

In particular, when submitting some work done on a mathematical program, don't, for example, have EXACTLY the same wording when writing the short report at the end. I may not pay that much attention while marking scripts, but I really will notice that!

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Indescribably awesome

So the laugh you lose thread on xkcd finally got me with this comic...


There are some songs that really make me regress. I have in my music collection, various, rather angsty music. While I never succumbed to the allure of nu-metal (thank the lord), I do have Weezer's album Pinkerton. On some level, I suspect it's not very good, but it brings back so many wonderful memories to listen to someone about who can't be bothered to try to find love anymore... (it was an emotionally healthy time for me) This blog's original title was conceived in a lonelier time, I came up with the name life is funnier when you're lonely much, much earlier, but then life changed somewhat. It would seem somewhat disingenuous to keep that title, with the whole getting married in 3 (eek) months an' all. As a result, I may move urls, especially because I still get most of my hits from people searching for "lonely funny life", or something along those lines. It's a little embarrasing.

Of course it's kind of worse the number of hits I got for beastality.... Misspell a sexual act and apparently the internet is your oyster... unfortunately.