Friday, 17 July 2009

Calling all gaming enthusiasts!

I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but there's currently a computer games exhibition on in Manchester. The event is currently taking place in the Urbis building near next to Victoria station if any of you want to check it out. I went along yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find what was essentially an arcade filled with games both old and new.

There was a good selection of different consoles available to play, but unsurprisingly Microsoft and Sony had payed for a lot of the space. I did notice a couple of absenties including the vectrex, the sega saturn, the Atari 2000, 2600 and 3200. To make up for that though there was a Jaguar on show, although true to form it wasn't actually working. One of the highlights of the exhibition for me was seeing some of the original artwork for the broken sword series on display, reminded me how long it had been since I'd played through the first two.

The show was thoroughly enjoyable with a decent set of games there for you to play, a set of interesting if somewhat shallow descriptions of gaming culture and a couple of sections where visitors could leave their own input. If you live in or around the Manchester area I strongly suggest that you check it out because it is for the most part, pretty kick ass. What I would say is that it's probably not worth travelling along distance to see it unless you were already headed to Manchester anyway. It costs £3 to get in and it's on the second floor of the Urbis building through till September... be sure to check it out if you can!

That is all.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The SCUMMy man

Just a quick post today. I downloaded the demo for Monkey Island: SE off of live earlier and wanted to share my thoughts. I'd like to preface this by saying that I love the Monkey Island series, or indeed anything with Tim Schafer's name attached to it. However I must say that this demo is a bit disappointing, not least because it doesn't really contain any game play at all. If I were a newcomer to the franchise, I would be left with very little to deduct whether or not Monkey Island is actually a good game.

The trial version contains two scenes, one of which isn't even interactive. It begins with a scripted conversation between Threepwood and an old man atop a hill, which concerns Threepwood's desire to become a pirate. After this scene finishes you make your way to the Scum bar where you can take part in four different converstaions... then you leave the bar and the demo ends. How was this ever ordained to be a passable sample of the experience? Just one puzzle would have justified the trials existence, but no... nothing. To be honest the demo probably was tacked on as a sort of afterthought, but even so, they really should have done a better job. That being said, the humour in the game is still as funny as ever and the art has been remastered quite nicely. I couldn't help but feel that the animations were a little lackluster, but this is just a minor quibble.

The Secret of Monkey Island is definitely a classic title, so if you haven't tried it previously you should probably give it a shot (especially over the gaming drought known as Summer). If you have played it before and are looking for some nostalgia, again it's probably worth your buck but I'll let you justify the purchase to yourself. Anyway that's it for today. Toodle oo.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Sorry, it's been a while again. Unfortunately I've been very busy job hunting recently so haven't found time to blog about any new releases. However, what I shall be doing in the near future is blogging about some old releases instead. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to be reviewing yet, but I'll think of something.

In the mean time I thought I'd make a quick mention of the 1 vs 100 beta that's currently available for play on xbox live. while I haven't played any of the live shows yet, what I can say is that the extended version is a great deal of fun. If you weren't already aware, 1 vs 100 pits you and your wits against thousands of other contestants (slightly misnamed... 1 vs lots isn't quite as catchy though) through a course of 37 trivia questions. As you progress through each stage the difficulty of the questions ramps up dramatically often leaving you feeling like a trivia weasel, a quiz amoeba or the fabled knowledge slug. Unfortunately the game experience is tarnished somewhat by the considerably large amount of jerks who are clearly using google to find answers to questions (I've never seen more than 40% of players getting an answer wrong... I immediately smelt a rat when I remembered that more than 40% of people are idiots). Maybe I'm taking it too seriously, but I can't help but feel that it really is against the spirit of the game to be indulging in such devious practices. Cheaters aside, this is still a fantastic title that works seamlessly and is presented fantastically throughout. I'm not sure whether it's going to be free or not when it exits beta, but while it still is you really can't complain.

I shall hopefully return with more dubious insights shortly. In the intervening time I would like to announce that I hope you are all enjoying your Summers, and are indulging ventures more fruitful than playing video games and masturbating (I can dream can't I).