No blog entry this week…

Posted in Uncategorized on 08/11/2009 by xthemusic

Apologies. Hopefully will be back to normal next Monday.

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The 2009 guide to being a xmas temp.

Posted in Advice on 03/11/2009 by xthemusic

So, it’s reaching that point of the year again (yep…i’m that fucking original. Watch as I now copy the next three words as well, before going into this weeks topic). That point where (see!) retail goes round hiring temp staff to cover the busy period of the retail calendar – Christmas. These new members of staff could be in it just for some extra cash to buy presents. They could be looking for the experience. Sometimes, they use it as a way into getting a long-term part-time job with the company. If you fit into the latter category, then this week I can help!

You see, it’s all about how you sell yourself over the next couple of months. Think of it as a really long interview process – the manager just wants to make sure he/she hires someone who can handle the concept of money. I’m going to be dealing with game retail in particular, mainly because that’s my only experience with hiring. Follow these guidelines, and the job in January is YOURS!

In the interview:

  1. Laugh at EVERYTHING the manager says. Manager – “I don’t really play games myself…and I’M THE MANAGER OF A GAME STORE!” You – “HAHAHAHA”. Practice this in front of a mirror.
  2. When asked what type of games you like playing, say “the same as you”. The manager will look puzzled, but only because of how brilliant a response that is.
  3. At the end of the interview, the manager will ask “Any other questions?” You respond with “Nope. Just give me the job as i’m obviously the best candidate.”

On your first day:

  1. DON’T let your first words to the current staff be “Be careful of me. I might end up with your job.” Everyone will think you’re a cock.
  2. Seem really interested with the training, especially the video about how to lift heavy boxes. Remember: bend your knees, not your back.
  3. If you get stuck with how to do something, it’s best not to let anyone know. You don’t want to look a noob……. or do you?

General tips:

  1. Don’t give customers hardware to hold in the queue. They might just FUCKING RUN AWAY WITH IT, YOU PLEB!
  2. Think of the normal members of staff as your superiors.
  3. It’s probably for the best that you turn up to your shifts. Call me old-fashioned…
  4. If someone asks your opinion on a game you’ve never played before, just lie. Seriously. Don’t pass them off to someone else – that might annoy them. Just make it up. The customer will leave quicker that way.
  5. Spend all the money you earn in the place you work. This will impress management.
  6. More than likely, you will have competition among your fellow temps. Get rid of them as quickly as possible. TAKE THEM DOWN.
  7. Don’t steal. Stealing is bad.

At the end:

  1. Tell the manager how brilliant you were over the period. They will hopefully agree.
  2. Buy them a gift. Anything over £20.

…and BINGO!  Follow the above steps and you WILL* have that job you wanted. (*might)

ALSO THIS WEEK!

Forget the stuff you might have read. Forget the name. Forget the publishers. Forget any videos you might have seen. DJ Hero MUST been tried out. Almost as fun as Rock Band, and certainly offers more in terms of single player. The mixes are of top quality as well. That’s about all the gaming this week for me. Oh…and Wii Fit Plus has some good new games. Not played enough yet to fully judge it. Can’t complain for £20 though.

WORLD EXCLUSIVE REVIEWS!

Posted in Microsoft, Nintendo, Reviews, Sony on 26/10/2009 by xthemusic

So, it’s reaching that point of the year again. That point where the major gaming releases hit. I’m sure many of them will be in line for an ‘Ant Award’ (one of the most prestigious awards out there – more details later). It’s also one of the most frantic times for reviewers as they try to become the first place to get their score for Modern Warfare 2 out there, or whatever. Reviews apparently matter that fucking much, that it’s a battle to get the WORLD EXCLUSIVE REVIEW stamp and fill up their stamp book.

This year, i’m going to embarrass them all. The great thing about writing a shit blog, is that publishers ignore you (or, more likely, never find you). So I have no embargoes to follow. Nobody to answer to. I present to you the WORLD EXCLUSIVE REVIEWS of some of the biggest games this xmas. Not that these reviews will mean anything, or change your opinion. You’ve already made your mind up if you’re going to get them. Reviews are just there to tell you that you’re right/wrong to be looking forward to it.

Minor point, but i’ve never played any of these games. I’ll simply be using video clips i’ve seen, and stuff i’ve read on other sites. You’ll also notice that i’ve given every game the same score – 101%. This is so that when (not if, NOT IF) it gets picked up by Metacritic, i’ll be at the top when you scroll down. Free advertising. I’M NOT STUPID!

Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC)

The big one then. The first game sold fucking loads, so this should do pretty well. My mate, Dan, says that the graphics have been improved as well. He says that there’s more to do, and he’s looking forward to it. I wouldn’t trust everything he says though, as he’s got a bit of a reputation of lying. I liked the online in the first one, so if the second has something similar to that, I should like that too. It all depends how good at the game I am. It’s true that if you win more, you have more fun. It’s good to see the guns making a comeback in this game as well. I’m not sure how good the game would have been had they taken that feature out. 101%

New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii…I think)

I believe the general idea for this one is the same as other Mario games. You go left to right and reach the end. Why change a winning formula. This time though, you can play with three friends. Don’t have three friends? Then you can’t. Even if you did, i’m not sure why they’d want to as they’re forced to be shit characters like Luigi and Toad…and not even the real fucking Toad! Lame. The bits i’ve seen have had Mario type music. Still nothing licenced, which is a shame. I reckon the series has now become big enough to get some proper music in there. I suggest muting your television, and turning the CD Player on. Has it become uncool to still use CDs? All this downloading stuff…it’s hard keeping up. 101%

Assassins Creed (360, PS3, PC)

The first game got boring. This looks a little more fun. That’s about it. Might pad this out with key words so the review gets found on Google or something. Nick Griffin. Jan Moir. X-Factor. Google. Strictly Come Dancing. Twitter. YouTube. Yahoo. Manchester United. John Leslie. 101%

ALSO THIS WEEK!

Uncharted 2  then. Now THAT’S something i’ve actually played! Brilliant stuff. Has managed to fix a lot of the issues I had with the first one, mainly the gun combat. It’s still not great, but it frustrates you far less. If you own a PS3, you owe it to yourself to play both of them.

Also, a ton of great content hit Rock Band this week. For Rock Band 2, you were given 10 classic Queen songs. On The Beatles: Rock Band, the rest of Abbey Road was put up. Played through the entire album, and the medley is perhaps my new favourite thing on the game. I loved it anyway, but playing it adds something more.

The bad news of the week came in the form of my 360 getting the 3 RED LIGHTS OF DOOM! Ended up getting the 250Gb Forza 3 pack and it seems (*touching lots and lots and lots of wood*) to be working great. Forza 3 isn’t too bad either…

What the hell is this? (Title written after blog entry)

Posted in Stuff that isn't games on 19/10/2009 by xthemusic

This entry replaces the one that was originally scheduled for today. At the 11th hour, I decided it simply wasn’t any good. The subject matter was a decent one, but the more I read it back, the more I fell out of love with it. So instead, you have an entry crapped out in much less time. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell.

It’s tricky trying to come up with a blog entry out of nowhere. I’m currently looking around my room, trying to find something, ANYTHING, that will stick out at me. I can currently see an empty mug, which at one stage had contained coffee. Is it possible to get 1000 words out of the mug….or indeed the pleasure I experienced as I drank it?. Would people really give a fuck about my sore throat? I was actually ill for a good part of last week. Some people would shout “MAN FLU” at that, and run away giggling. To them, I say “FUCK OFF”. I only get ill a couple of times a year, but when I get it…I really get it. I’m alright now, thanks for asking. Just a dry cough as what remains of an otherwise meh week.

Not really getting anywhere at the moment, am I. Let’s look for something else. I’ve got my iPod on as i’m writing this, listening to Pearl Jam – Vs. I actually really got into them through Rock Band. Everyone went on about how brilliant Ten was, so I just went for it. My conclusion is everyone is right. I had heard a few of the songs, and knew a couple of them very well. As an album, it’s almost perfect. Alive is perhaps one of my favourite songs of all time. I might though be one of the only people in the world that would consider their most recent two albums (Pearl Jam and Backspacer) their next best two. People have mentioned to me ‘Vs.’ among others, but no. Backspacer is fantastic. Pearl Jam is nearly as good. Vs. has Rearviewmirror.

What the hell am I going on about!?! This isn’t NME! That reminds me…does anyone *actually* listen to NME Radio? Lots of people tuned in the hear the Ricky Gervais launch show, but since then? I see Claire Sturgess is doing weekend mornings. I remember her from the Gervais shows on XFM, when she would stand in for Karl. Apart from that, why does NME Radio exist? Why do we need hundreds and hundreds of these tiny stations. It’s the same with Music TV stations. HELL, it’s the same with TV stations in general. Some of them must get less than 200 viewers. Is it really worth the effort? It might even be the case that the only people watching are the parents of little Daniel, who has finally gotten his massive break on Ocean Finance TV.

DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED on Ocean Finance TV (which you can find on Sky channel 888). Who the hell is watching that?! I did a while ago, for about an hour. It actually tries and gets away with being a proper television channel. It has the standard “coming up later today on Ocean Finance TV…”. It also has proper adverts. It’s just that they all advertise Ocean Finance, making the thing even more mad. They’ve even brought back Cheryl Baker (her of Bucks Fizz fame) to try and work out what people *really* want from their Mortgages. That’s EXACTLY who I need to help me through my mortgage issues. Where’s Phil Tufnell to help me with getting a loan? It’s fascinating stuff. You want to turn over as a show ends, but you find yourself stuck on the channel as the next one begins. It makes you wonder how long it is until we see Greggs TV – Just how DO they make the yum yums so yummy?

I’m starting to run out of space, and i’ve mentioned fuck all about games! I could just delete this all and start again, but I don’t have the time left to write another 1000 words. Might just accept this as done. Before I go, is it me or has making flat pack furniture gotten easier? I remember in the past where holes would be cut wrong, you’d be short of a few pieces etc. Made a bed last night. No issues at all. All the pieces were there. It fitted together nicely. I sort of missed the lack of anger while making it. Might throw some pieces away before I start next time.

That really is it. In conclusion: prepare better. Oh, you want some game stuff? Will this do?…

ALSO THIS WEEK!

Started playing Uncharted 2 on the PS3. Improved pretty much every part of the original so far, and I consider the first to be one of the very best PS3 games. Also played a little bit on Wet for the 360. Has many flaws, but it’s biggest asset is that it’s really fun. That’s all you need from a game sometimes. Great to see Blur are being turned into Lego models for Lego Rock Band. That’s probably the news that’s sold it to me (sad as it sounds). Right, back to the adventures of Nathan Drake.

Right, where were we then?

Posted in Nintendo, Retro, Sony, Stuff that isn't games, xthemusic on 12/10/2009 by xthemusic

Ah! Hello blog! Havn’t seen you in a little while. Bet you thought that I had abandoned you and gone off with another website. Never. I’d never leave you. You’ve been too good to me. Give us a hug!

Oh! You’re here too, reader. How’s it going. You’re probably wondering ‘WHERE THE FUCK DID HE GO?’ You’re not? Ah, never mind then. This last month has been different. Brilliant, but different. I’ve got myself involved in new stuff, returned to things i’ve done before, and had changes in terms of work. It’s all been great though. As a result of this, i’ve not really had the chance to sit down for a couple of hours and get one of these done every week. I’ve had plenty of ideas, and there have been a couple of attempts, but nothing i’ve really been happy with. I’ve now got a little bit of time to try again. Where to begin?

The PSP Go has limped out the gate to no applause. Seriously, i’m still confused as to what the fuck they were thinking. It’s bad enough that you’re restricted to ONLY downloading games now. Once you’ve bought it, you own it. No trading in. No bringing it back if it turns out shit. You’re also stuck with whatever prices Sony throws at you. Not only that,  it’s £100 more than their other models…models which do everything the PSP Go does. Everything, and more. Do you already own a PSP? Go and just download the games now and put them on a stick – you’ll get the exact safe effect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice looking bit of kit. It’s not worth £224.99 though. Saw someone trade in their PSP Slim and Lite and a load of games, with the idea of just paying and downloading them all again. I almost cried.

Does anyone else miss gaming in the same room. I spent one day with a few mates, playing through the new Halo 3 ODST game on 4 player campaign. Took a few hours, but playing it in the same room seemed to feel even more fun than doing it online. There’s something about getting instant reactions, both vocal and visual, from who you’re playing with. Online, you sometimes miss what people say. I want to hear people calling me a Fucking Twat clearly. That’s what made Goldeneye on the N64 so brilliant at the time – you could laugh in the face of someone you had just killed. Actually, reminds me of putting cardboard on the screen so you could only see your segment. Good times.

Talking of ‘good times’, i’ve still ‘got it’ on Super Mario Bros 3. Been a while since I played it for more than 5 minutes. Still a fantastic game, and made even better when played co-op. Do you see this Super Mario Galaxy? THIS is how you do 2 player on a Mario game. None of this ‘player 2 feels a twat as they take the role of a gem hoover’ nonsense. Interested in this new Wii one which is due out soon. 4 player co-op on that one. This is seriously in danger of turning into a pleasant blog post. Let’s turn the anger back on.

When did customers decide that it was their RIGHT to trade in games at stores. Last time I checked, it was just something that was offered.

“How much can I trade in this game for”

“At the moment…£5. It’s come down a bit recently.”

“That’s a bit shit. I’m offended! I paid £20 for that a week ago.”

I honestly don’t give a shit. Don’t fucking trade it in then. It’s not as if you’re forced to get rid of it after a week. Sell it on eBay. Give it to a tramp. Use it as part of a funky mirror (I’ve been watching Adam and Joe recently). Just stop moaning about how much people will offer to take your game off you. Look at my face. Look here…at my face. See this expression? LOOK AT ME! See this expression? It’s the expression I give when i’m looking at a twat. Fuck off!

On a lighter note, I watched some show called Gameswipe. Good stuff. I think you can find it on YouTube somewhere.

Well…that was a bit all over the place. Let’s make this a weekly thing.

ALSO THIS MONTH!

Where to start?! Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is pretty much the same as the first one. No bad thing though. Halo ODST is decent. I enjoyed the campaign (played, as mentioned above, on co-op), but the open world parts were a bit dull. Could have done without that. Fifa 10 is great. I’m not sure if they can actually improve sports games any more this generation. It’s almost reached that point where the differences are less and less. Still playing The Beatles. Still awesome. New album dlc starts in just over a week (20th) with Abbey Road. LOVE that album. The game will not be coming out of my machine.

Collecting things is fun.

Posted in Collector, xthemusic on 14/09/2009 by xthemusic

Believe it or not, I used to be EVEN MORE into gaming than I am now. There was a time a couple of years or so ago, that money was no object. I had a full-time job which I was doing well in and after the usual expenses were taken away, I was left with a bit of spending money. A large portion of this would go towards my first love – gaming. This meant that I was in a position to spend it on all sorts of junk. “I fancy a 360 wireless headset. I already have 2 wired ones that do the job just as well, but I fancy a wireless one as it costs money.” This would be my usual routine. It didn’t help that my full-time management job took place inside a gaming store. Delivery would arrive and while looking through and processing it, I would get tempted just because I didn’t have it.

The one area that proved my strongest weakness, was collectors editions of games. In a past entry, I moaned about people being taken in by these. I also mentioned that I used to be one of these people. To list the items which I now regret buying would take longer than the 1000 words I give myself each week. Instead, i’ll just mention the biggest mistakes. Watch as I use this blog as some sort of therapy. You can be my psychologist.

Assassins Collector

First off, Assassins Creed. I bought into the hype that was generated by the gaming press. The idea itself was a solid one and the push that Ubisoft had given it prior to launch suggested that they were expecting big things. The game itself launched at the usual price of about £40…or for about £30 more you could get that same game, and a 12″ statue. Have a guess which one I went for. The thing still haunts me to this day, staring at me as I write this. FUCK OFF YOU…YOU…MISTAKE!! Not sure what I was going to do with the thing. Show it off? No, I would get laughed out of the building. So it just sits there…reminding me every day. I didn’t even finish the game itself. I got bored of it.

gta

Next up is Grand Theft Auto 4. I believe the price points were roughly the same as above. This time, for your extra £30 you got an art book, a music CD, a safety deposit box and a duffel bag. I might have looked through the book once, i’ve never listened to the CD, the box has never been used. Same with the duffel bag (though I might now look into using it, thinking about it). Why did I get it? It was GTA4. It was the biggest game of the year and the hype was off the scale. I bought into it, same as Assassins Creed. Also similar to Assassins Creed, i’ve never finished the main game. Must get back to that at some point. It’s just that some other games came out and I got distracted. I GOT DISTRACTED! THERE’S NO LAW AGAINST GETTING DISTRACTED, IS THERE!? NO!…

halo

The most i’ve paid for a limited edition of a game (not including music games – i’m getting to that) was for Halo 3 Legendary Edition. It came out at about £90 and for your money you basically got the game, the usual making of DVD/art book, and a spartan helmet which stored the game. That was it. You ended up paying £30 for the helmet. It was very nicely done but, like the Assassins Creed figure, it’s just been sitting there the whole time. The game isn’t even in the helmet, it’s in the DVD rack. It makes the helmet USELESS AND A WASTE OF SPACE AND TIME AND MONEY! MY MONEY!! MY FUCKING MONEY!…At least i’ve finished the game…

So, that’s just some of them. There are examples as well of spending £5-10 more to get a DVD or a metal case. There are also examples of buying a game on more than one occasion. Resident Evil 4 then. Came out on GameCube and was brilliant. It still is. Fast forward 6 months and they re-release it on PS2 with added content. Being the massive Resi fan I am, I bought that as well. Fast forward a year or so, and it comes out again on Wii. This time, it promised the graphics of the GC and the content of the PS2 one AND new controls. Bought. So there I was, with 3 copies of the exact same game. I was working as a member of management at a game store so I HAD A BLOODY EXCUSE, YOU FUCKS! JUDGING ME!…ahem.

They were perhaps the ones I regret the most, but none of them can win the award of ‘most money spent on an edition’. That special prize goes to a recent release – The Beatles: Rock Band. The retail price of this is £180 and you get the game (you would fucking hope so for that price), a guitar, a set of drums and a mic and mic stand. The guitar itself is a replica Sir Macca bass, but apart from that it’s general Rock Band stuff. Why did I get it? Out of all the games that have come out in the last few years, I have not put as much time into any of them as I have Rock Band. It’s the perfect 30 min game, in that if you have a spare few minutes you can waste them doing a few songs. A lot of the time, with uni and work, I don’t get much time to sit down and spend 4 hours pushing through a game. Rock Band fills that time perfectly.

beat

Now to mix that with one of the greatest bands of all time, and with new DLC albums out every month…it was a no brainer. If one game deserved an investment, it was this. Having played it a little bit now, including with a group of friends, I can confirm that this is possibly the most fun you can have as a gaming group. Love The Beatles? Get it. You know what, I don’t see myself regretting this one…

ALSO THIS WEEK!

As well as The Beatles, this week also saw the release of Guitar Hero 5. What’s weird about this release is that the series now feels the opposite to how it was back with Guitar Hero 1. Back then, the main thing going for it was the tracklist. Everything else about it was plain and simple. Fast forward to now, and you have a game that offers everything. Want to all play the same instrument? That’s fine. Great presentation and graphics? Done. It just seems to throw everything at you…except a great tracklist. It’s far too varied to work. I can see why they did it. The series now has a massive following of different ages, so you need to appeal some songs to different people. However, it just feels all over the place. The fact you can import a few songs from World Tour and Greatest Hits does help though.

Oh, and Colin McRae Dirt 2 is awesome.

Taking the week off.

Posted in Stuff that isn't games, xthemusic on 07/09/2009 by xthemusic

No please…hold back the tears. You’re going to have to wait another week for your gaming fix. The little amount of time i’ve had for writing has been spent on articles for other sites, as i’m a SELFLESS BASTARD! You may well have checked them out already. If not, then you have some reading to do!

To start with, that NFL article regarding the New England Patriots at Wembley in October is now live. Have a read, and also check out the site as well. Well worth coming back to on a daily basis.

http://www.mactalksnfl.co.uk/team-news/hello-my-name-is-anthony-and-im-a-new-england-patriots-fan

Also, I spent a fair bit of time checking out Kevin Smith films for an article on The 405. Yes, I already know i’m in the minority when it comes to not getting on with Dogma. Great website as well, with a ton of content.

http://thefourohfive.com/articles/1891

Normal service will hopefully be resumed next week.

ALSO THIS WEEK!

Might as well shove some gaming related stuff here. The Beatles Rock Band is out this week and, from the limited amount of time i’ve spent playing on it, it’s brilliant. As good a tribute as they could have pulled off. Not only that, but Guitar Hero 5 is also out a couple of days later. Note to publishers – don’t bother releasing anything else for a couple of weeks. I won’t be interested.