Archive for March, 2009

Non-English Metal; We Salute You!

For your daily fix of everyone’s favourite President of the Union…

GO COMRADE! Brought to your ears and eyes by ANJ

For more of these visionaries work see below. You want 3:12 for the goods, but watch the rest for the pathos.

Incidentally ANJ are apparently on the soundtrack for Stalin vs. Martians, a new RTS featuring cutesy aliens and a giant controllable Stalin. Win.

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Monday, March 30th, 2009 Neil No Comments

Why Marie Curie Could Kick your Ass

Marie Curie once famously uttered the following quote…

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Although I don’t know when Curie gave this wonderful quote to us it was some time before her untimely death in 1934. I don’t think this quote has ever been more relevant than it is now. Maybe it’s just me getting older, but old fearmongering and block headed obstinateness seem to be reasserting themselves in the public consciousness. Unfounded fear of autism is leaving children unvaccinated against MMR, based on hearsay still repeated now.

Marie Curie was awarded two Nobel prizes (one of them shared with her husband and Heni Becquerel) for her research into the phenomena of radioactivity, and she and Pierre Curie discovered two new elements; polonium and radium. Curie also began work on using radiation to prevent the growth of cancerous cells.

In many ways Marie Curie seems to reflect the attitude of geeks today. Her and her husband were responsible for overturning existing scientific conventions, she was unafraid of working with the unknown and even refused to patent radium to allow fellow scientist to work with the element.

Marie Curie was independent, intelligent, grounded and courageous. She is worthy of your respect.

This post is part of Ada Lovelace Day, a day of blogging celebrating the role of women in technology. I have chosen Marie Curie as she effectively gave her life for science and I admire her a great deal. Whilst I have chosen a historical subject for my post, there are lots of women working today worthy of accolade. Take a look at other posts celebrating these women.

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Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 Neil 3 Comments

Resident Evil 5 is Rubbish

Go controversial title, go! You’ll never overstay your welcome and add lacklustre additions to your fine franchise, yet still neglect to bring your core attractions up to date!

Resident Evil 5 outsold No Line on the Horizon (U2′s new crapfest album). Not only did it outsell it over the release weekend, but in two days it sold more than U2′s effort since release. Now, since an album costs less than a tenner, and Resi is the best part of £40 I can see how the figures pan out, but I still can’t figure why it’s selling so well.

Resi has a fine pedigree. For me it was the first scary game I played. Silent Hill came along and knocked the atmospheric survival horror ball out of the park, but Resi was there first. Hammy storyline, awful-yet-inspired dialogue, cack-handed controls and zombie dogs enamoured any who played it. The first sequel was more of the same but sans mansion. Then we had more of the same but with a big persistent bad guy. Then there were some remakes, some light gun games, a prequel and some terrible movies.

The Resident Evil franchise was gradually eating itself. Subsequent games added little in terms of gameplay whilst maintaining the hammy story and sparseness of ammo. Then Capcom blew us all away with Resident Evil 4. Abandoned villages, chainsaws wielding unkillable maniacs, over-the-shoulder viewpoints and a strange man who followed you around just in case you fancied buying some guns. Just about every man and his zombie dog loved it.

Now we have Resident Evil 5. It’s basically Resi 4 in Africa but without the atmosphere and with more of a focus on multiplayer. When you die in Resi 5 you go to a screen here you can buy equipment, you also manage the equipment of your AI partner who both supports and confounds your efforts. Many times Sheva has sprayed green healy herb into my face, whereas she has also managed to get torn apart by a girl with a tentacle for a head and become lacerated by a mounted machine gun.

I guess Resi 5 doesn’t feel like a Resi game to me. Admittedly I’ve not finished it but I had no urge to after being killed by the same crocodile six or seven times. The game is not tense like it’s brethren, it’s more run and gun. Unfortunately the game feels so static. The position of the camera and your inability to move whilst aiming might have added to the dramatic tension if there was any, but it’s sadly missing. Resi 4 somehow maintained a feel of hopelessness, of being in a hostile lien land. Resi 5 fells more like you’re on holiday ad I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because any attempt to get into the feel of the game is destroyed by the little concessions made to the co-op.

I just didn’t like Resi 5. There are better action games and better horror games. If this game didn’t bear the Resident Evil name would it have sold? I don’t think so. There have been big advances in video games since the seminal Resi 4, but Capcom seems to have ignored them. We were hoping for the same kind of revolution 4 provided, instead this feels more like a mission pack rather than a valid new addition to the core games.

Rant ends!

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Monday, March 23rd, 2009 Neil 2 Comments

World of Subways

As you may be aware, the chums here at Stuporcollider love us some survival horror and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Resident Evil 5 with great antici…
pation. To tide us through until Friday (WHEEE!) here’s a trailer for World of Subways Vol.2:

Well, that’s going on my to-buy list!
Also, while I was watching the trailer for Resi 5 I noticed that they’re remaking Last House on the Left. STOP IT!

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Monday, March 9th, 2009 Neil 2 Comments

Why hit a Corgi?

Yes I know YouTube’s rife with stuff like this but I feel the need to push this on the world just cos it made me chuckle, also somebody’s got to continue supporting the Mon-stars of rock.

Also while you’re there check out the Saturday morning Watchmen video posted up by the same guy.  A tribute I feel more in tune with Alan Moore’s original intention for the material than the lackluster movie.

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Sunday, March 8th, 2009 Ralph 1 Comment

Wrestle Jam

A couple of weeks ago I managed to spend every night of the week at the cinema catching up with the Oscar nominations. While I didn’t get to see the Oscars, as subscribing to Sky movies is daylight robbery, I did manage to see some excellent films such as Frost/Nixon (my movie of the year) and Darren Aronofsky,‘s The Wrestler, otherwise known as Mickey Rourke Strikes Back.

For those not into watching excellent pieces of cinema; The Wrestler is the story of a washed up 1980′s wrestling superstar. Now destitute, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson is living life the only way he knows, and how that affects the relationship with his daughter and would-be squeeze. A major part of the film is Randy’s ties to his past fame, with one particular scene showing him and a young boy playing Wrestle Jam ’88, a fictional NES game from The Ram’s heyday. Kotaku ran a great article about the making of this piece of game art, I suggest you read it and be enlightened. I also suggest you see The Wrestler, it is not bobbins.

Apparently Aronofsky demanded a playable game, which was provided by brother and sister team Kristyn Hume and Randall Furino. All in all the game was a lightly featured clone of Wrestlemania, and even had it’s own 8-bit theme song (linked below). I adore this kind of commitment to building a film’s versimilitude, sure you could have run a video of any old game, or cobbled together some footage but here the production team seem to have gone one step further and made a work of homage from something many would consider no more than set dressing. Bravo!

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Neil No Comments

Serenity: Back in Space

Gentlegeeks, but a few times in our lives can we indellibly stamp our mark upon this world dominated by those with fine motor control and the ability to supress excitement at 80′s arcade machines. This is our Waterloo!

Do your duty now, and vote for the name of the new node of the International Space Station. Your choices are Earthrise (pish), Legacy (ohmigodno), Venture (is this Star Trek?) and Serenity. Yes true believer, using the power of the internet we can once again launch Serenity into the black (kinda).

In other Serenity related news I watched Sands of Oblivion this weekend, featuring Adam Baldwin and Morena Baccarin. Don’t bother, even though it has Homer Simpson as the legendary Cecil B. DeMille it still be tripe.

Also, speaking of Waterloo.

Muchos danke to Cinematical

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Monday, March 2nd, 2009 Neil No Comments

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The QR code. Pretty, no?