Afraid of the Dark – Paranormal Activity 2

•October 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you weren’t scared by the first Paranormal Activity, then the second movie really isn’t going to do anything for you. If, like me, the things that go bump in the night make your stomach tie up in knots faster than you can say “late night kebab on the tiles”, then you might get a thrill out of Paranormal Activity 2.

Paranormal Activity 2 is a prequel to the original movie, taking up the tale of Katie’s sister: Kristi, mother to newborn baby Hunter. Shortly after Hunter’s arrival, the home is ransacked; nothing has been taken apart from a necklace that was gifted to Kristi by Katie, but furniture has been overturned, drawers opened, and there is no sign how the vandals got in. Similar to Micah’s solution of setting up his video camera to capture the strange nightly occurences happening to Katie, husband Dan hires a security company to install a number of hidden cameras around their home to capture future vandals in the act.

This review contains really minor spoilers, but assumes you’ve seen the first movie.
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Anecdoting – Tripod, Elana, and Dragons

•October 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tripod are cool. Hanging with Tripod makes me cool by extension. Right? Maybe? A little bit?

I don’t know whether I should split this into three separate posts or not. I mean, I’m clearly gloating, but I want to be not-a-total-arse about it, yeah? But this post is huge. I mean, you might need a canteen, and some energy snacks.

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More to Umbrella Than Zombies – Resident Evil:Afterlife

•October 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’d been warned about the new Resident Evil movie; apparently it was pretty “bad”, but there are generally four kinds of bad movie. There are movies that are just bad – boring offerings that fail to really make an impression one way or the other. There are movies that are so bad they’re good – flicks that embrace their b-grade bargain bin nature and refuse to take themselves too seriously. There are movies that are so bad they’re bad – disasters of celluloid that leave you wishing you could set your eyeballs on fire to purge the pain. And there are movies that are so bad they’re funny – films that try a little bit too hard and being plastic-spoon-at-the-screen laughable.

Resident Evil: Afterlife wavers between all of these types of bad, never quite settling on how it wants to portray itself to the viewer. Thrilling action rubs shoulders with ridiculous throaty, poker-faced antagonists while awkward exposition counterpoints groan-worthy humour.

I tend to define things by how they feel when they are over. If at the end of a night out I am tired, grumpy, and want to stab everyone in the face with a fork; I call that a bad night, no matter how well it started, nor how much I want to do that kind of event again. If I come out of something feeling good, then I’m happy to call it a success. So, your Resident Evil: Afterlife may vary, depending on how much crap you’re willing to sit through to get to the good bits.

This review is spoiler-free! Huzzah!
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BrainHex Backwards

•October 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I thought I might try something – describing games in terms of the BrainHex classes that the game appeals to. I doubt it’s a new idea, and I’m not too sure how it’s going to work, but let’s have a go. If you aren’t familiar with the BrainHex model, please go here and read up about the BrainHex model of gaming types.

Seek <> Small World
Survive <> Never Fear
Risk <> Don’t Stress
Think <> Solutions Given
Defeat <> Even Odds
Connect <> Going Solo
Collect <> Checklist Free

The classes are pretty self-explanatory – seekers seek, survivors survive, daredevils risk, masterminds think, conquerors defeat, socialisers connect, and achievers collect.

The exceptions were a little harder, and not just in coming up with names that represented the ideas behind them. For example, a game with the “small world” exception might actively discourage exploration, or it may be a single shade of muddy brown from end to end that isn’t all too pretty to look at, or it may even refer to games that don’t have game worlds – like Tetris or Peggle. Exceptions shouldn’t necessarily be thought of as shortcomings within a game, but perhaps rather as games that won’t appeal to people who enjoy the opposing class – a seeker might be disappointed in a game with the Small World exception, but it probably wont bother someone with the No Wonder preference. Going Solo just refers to games that don’t include multiplayer options, as opposed to games with the Connect class, which are driven by multiplayer.

Below, I’ve selected five different types of games and applied Reverse-BrainHex classes and exceptions, to test out my method. If a certain class is a defining aspect of a game, or features strongly, it is listed as a Class; aspects that the game actively discourages, or does not include, are shown as exceptions.

Classes: Seek, Collect, Think
Exceptions: Going Solo, Never Fear

Scott Pilgrim
Classes: Defeat
Exceptions: Solutions Given

Mario Kart
Classes: Connect, Risk
Exceptions: Never Fear

World of Warcraft
Classes: Connect, Seek, Collect
Exceptions: none

Classes: Think, Defeat
Exceptions: Going Solo, Small World, Checklist Free

* * * * *

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What I’m Playing Like – the BrainHex Model

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There are a lot of quizzes out there that promise to define what kind of gamer you are, and I’ve taken a few of them here and there. But what if a survey looked at the personality types that drive the different goals of gaming, and matched you to a “class” based on how you enjoy playing?

The people at International Hobo Ltd have been studying gamers, game design, and game satisfaction for over a decade. To quote the BrainHex website:

“The goal of this research is to make better games for everyone, to investigate the barriers which stop some players from enjoying video games, and to appreciate the many different reasons why players enjoy some play experiences and hate others.”

This feels particularly relevant to me because I only recently upgraded to a PS3 console, and my friends have been all too happy to start recommending me games left and right. And while I appreciate their interest and their inputs, I find it so difficult to explain why so many of their suggestions just don’t suit me. But, having taken the BrainHex Survey, I finally have an excellent tool to evaluate different game suggestions and how they fit my “game personality”.

The BrainHex Model uses 7 core “goals” – drivers of behaviour that can be found across the gamut of games: seeking, escaping, thrills, puzzle solving, winning, relating, and collecting. By measuring your preference in certain areas over others, you can garner a solid picture of what kind of games will appeal best to the drives that satisfy you the best.

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What I’m Playing – God of War

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I want to talk about God of War. Not the new one, the original one. And the second one. And maybe the third one later; but not the new one, I don’t have a PSP. I’ve been wanting to talk God of War for a few weeks now, but I’m like five years late to party, I realise that, so it does feel a little bit weird.

I spoke about how I got a PS3 in my earlier post about Scott Pilgrim. With my birthday on the horizon, I scoped out some gaming stores to seek out the best deal. The release of the PS Move was proving to be a small hiccup in my plan: I didn’t want one (until they release games that I might actually play more than once, ever), the 320GB consoles were bundled with one – like it or not, and the 120GB consoles were sold out in favour of the release of the 160GB – due a week after my b’day.

But the light at the end of the tunnel was Game Traders, who were offering the 320GB console for a set price – as long as you bought a game. I made a deal with my parents, they would buy me the console, and I would pay them back for the game I chose. Not knowing what games on the PS3 I’d really like, I asked Twitter/Facebook for some advice. It took some back-and-forthing, but we landed on a suggestion that took my fancy: Sony Entertainment had produced HD versions of God of War and God of War II playable on the PS3. GoW looked like my kind of game, and I could start at the beginning – deal!

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What I’m Playing – Scott Pilgrim

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is a new idea I’ve come up with – talking about what games I’m playing at the moment. Not in the review sense, but rather in the conversational sense.

This all started with the movie Scott Pilgrim versus the World. As a tie-in they released an 8-bit style fighter game loosely based on the story line of the comics. It looked awesome. The Mana Bar got it in (as it supports up to 4 players, and thusly qualifies for screen time), and I played it with some of my Destructoid peeps. It was fun. And now that I was spending more time around the type of people that are all about console gaming, I was hearing about more and more games that I was interested in.

The solution was obvious: I needed a PS3, and it was almost my birthday. I pitched the idea to my parents, and being the loving and generous people they are, they agreed (on the proviso that I wasn’t getting anything for Christmas, but I’m good with that).

Sadly, what a disappointment.

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