You thought you were free online?

6 11 2006

The crazy anti-immigration party UKIP have set up a virtual home in second life.

For those not in the know UKIP are really not keen on any type of immigration. They’re probably best known for recruiting Robert Kilroy-Silk as their MEP candidate, and as a choice for all homophobic, anti-semitic, racist English person. Even their leader (Nigel Farage MEP) was said to have spawned the following epithet:

“We will never win the nigger vote. The nig-nogs will never vote for us.”

Hmm. Admittedly the outgoing leader quoted him as saying such so don’t take it as read, but watching him on TV really makes you wonder. I realise all this is a bit one sided, but I really don’t like these guys.
I sincerely hope all Second Life residents will just sit and laugh at their pathetic attempts to curry favor with the interweb. Have a look at their website, if their presence in SL is half as garish it’ll be easy to see, and therefore avoid.





Horror in games

3 11 2006

The Guardian Unlimited Gamesblog posted this great piece about the current state of horror in games. It’s an interesting read and brings up some genuine questions about the state of scary games.

I must admit that the 4th installment of Silent Hill really left me flat. I liked the idea of the incarceration in your haunted flat, but where was the constant oppressive horror of the first two? I still rate Silent Hill 2 as one of the greatest last-gen video games. That first walk through the woods, the radio, and the great (if thoroughly confusing) storyline really sold it for me. The excellent pacing of the game added beautifully to the verisimilitude of the experience, at times nerve-shreddingly slow with very little action, but enough non-combat action to create a real horror atmosphere.

The only game that really captured that same feeling was F.E.A.R. Admittedly I’ve not played through to the end of it, but what parts I have played are tense and have some great scary moments. It is still true that there is very little in gaming that really echoes the true duck-out-of-water recipe of real horror.

The only exception I can think of is the Clock Tower series. I’ve only played the third installment, but it really does hark back to classic horror movies and brings to mind the John Carpenter movie Halloween. More recently Haunting Ground has tried to tread the same ground, but somehow felt too cutesy to really pull it off.

A series worth noting is Project Zero (née Fatal Frame), a game which made both me and my friend jump about a foot in the air even though only one of us was playing. These scares are great, but what they’re all really missing is the hopeless and oppressing environment for them to work in. Capture the mood of The Descent and put it in a videogame, free of zombies and vampires and you’re on to a winner with me.





Future Cheese

2 11 2006

A friend sent me this link after seeing something about it on TV. I think it’s just about the best thing ever, I can finally make use of all that old mouldy cheese languishing in the fridge.

Apparently Tyromancy is “the art and practice of divination by cheese and by the patterns formed by the coagulation of cheese.” In order to read the future using this method one apparently writes the names of prospective lovers on pieces of cheese, whichever molds first is your best suited lover. It’s probably not worth trying this with Stilton though.

Check out the somewhat sparse Wikipedia entry.





Behind the Wave

2 11 2006

Since I’ve missed all the new stuff today, I’m going to link to the best stuff from today…

Social Engineering is a knack, and can be quite elegant to behold. I think reading about social engineering attacks is a big aid in spotting them for yourself. In this case the victim turns the tables on the attacker, albeit a 13 year old. I’ve been playing games online for a long time, and I’m constantly amazed how many younger gamers fit into the stereotype painted by the kid in this story. Yes it’s  a sweeping generalisation, but what you gonna do?

David Byrne (a la ‘Look Into the Eyeball’) posted a nice article about ignorance and happiness. Read and be enlightened.

Apparently eMusic are cutting their download limits. I’m a bit peeved since I subscribe to eMusic. They offer non-DRM infected tracks of some great stuff I’ve never heard of before. For example the ‘ol jukebox is playing some Lostep (caution: myspace,) which I found on their site. There doesn’t seem to be any news about the UK version of the site, nor have I received any emails informing me of the change. The change is supposed to go into effect in the US on Novemebr 17th, and I’m sure it’s safe to say the UK site will be following it shortly.

VGCats have posted their Halloween comic. It’s nice to see Alan Moore‘s work becoming more popular, even if it is due to some awful film adaptations.





Getting Into the Swing

1 11 2006

I think everybody must have a post like this right at the start of their blog. You know, the one where they don’t really know what to say but feel like they should write something? Well that’s this post.

Just to set the record straight, I’m a 25 year old IT professional working in the tangled mess that is the UK’s local government. I was forced to pass the MCDST this year, but now all that’s over with I’m working towards A+ certification. I also have a degree in Games Computing specializing in Software Development, so I’m not entirely un-technical.

Basically I just want a place to blather on about stuff hat interests me. Hopefully some other guys out there in the blogosphere might find it useful. Here’s to hoping!

I’ll keep adding links to the blogroll as I can. The thought of sitting and typing in links for an hour is a little bewildering. If you have any sites you think I might enjoy, feel free to let me know!