It’s nearly Xmas time, and I’ve just realised that this year, for what seems like the first time in ages, there will be no Nintendo games on my Xmas list. I was really pro-Wii in 2006 - with Wii Sports and Wii Play, Nintendo seemed poised on the cusp of something quite wonderful and revolutionary for gaming. It all felt so fresh again. Twilight Princess was a good game, even though its use of the Wii controller was fairly limited.
I noticed that in the last few days, Firefox started crashing a lot, and it seemed to be related to viewing YouTube in a tab - something I’ve done regularly for a long time. It started to annoy me, so I looked into it, and it turns out that there’s some issue with some Flash ads YouTube started running recently. So, if you get YouTube crashing when you close or open a YouTube tab, just add this filter to AdBlock:
I haven’t been able to get Journey’s ‘Any Way You Want It’ out of my head for 2 days now. That’s one of the more nefarious results of picking up Rock Band 2 this week. It’s had to fight tooth and nail with Left 4 Dead for play time, especially since it’s another primarily co-op game (and the other major one, Gears 2, has already been relegated to the Xmas list), but we’ve squeezed a few hours in so far.
I just saw that Valve are doing some fun merchandise for Left 4 Dead now. The ‘movie posters’ are nice if you’re still in that phase where you like to stick posters on the wall (I’m not), but the T-Shirts are of pretty universal appeal. Francis seems to be pretty well represented here, or particularly his predeliction for saying how much he hates everything all the time (hospitals, airport terminals, woods, vans, you name it), so I’m guessing he’s turning into a fan favourite.
The only trouble with the whole international, interwoven, inter-everything internet is that it frequently throws me a cultural curve-ball (or, to localise it in the spirit of this post, an ‘off spin ball’). One such case is the inexplicable deluge of emails and news feeds I’m getting telling me about the run up to ‘Black Friday’. I don’t know about anywhere else, but here associating the colour black with a day usually suggests something pretty bad, so having the likes of Amazon mailing you about it, suggesting that in honour of this event they’re doing special offers, is initially bewildering.
So, my back has been getting slowly better over the last month since my hospitalisation experience; I occasionally have a small relapse, like just after I picked up my new guitar - you wouldn’t think that shifting a small practice amp would be a big deal, but I certainly felt it for the next few days - but overall steady improvement. Part of my rehab is to take more regular gentle exercise, and to mix up my routine a bit so I’m not hunched at the desk in ‘work posture’ for such long periods of time, which means, among other things, daily walks of a few miles, daily guitar practice and plenty more gaming time (hence more game-related posts on this blog).
This has bugged me on and off for a while - very, very occasionally I’d be working away in Visual Studio and suddenly my @ symbols would start coming out as double-quotes, a symptom of the condition known as ‘crazy Yankee keyboard syndrome’. I hadn’t figured out what triggered this, especially as all other applications were unaffected, and it happened little enough, and when I was busy enough, that I didn’t take time to find the cause and just lived with it until I restarted VS.
I just happened to see some PSN DLC track prices for both Rock Band and GHWT on a Kotaku article, and they left me rather puzzled. You would have thought that these prices would be fairly homogenised by now, but bizarrely enough I found no fewer than 3 different prices, depending on what system and game you were looking at. Here we go: “Police Truck” by the Dead Kennedys (Rock Band)
Short answer: I really like the new dash for the 360. The old ‘blades’ system was efficient (excluding Marketplace, which got hugely unwieldy due to the amount of content) but about as attractive as the back-end of a donkey, and pretty confusing for a newcomer. The new, clearly coverflow-inspired aproach is infinitely more attractive and welcoming. Navigation is in essence the same as the XMB on the PS3, only transposed - i.
I’ve said for a while that I don’t think individual game review scores are particularly useful, on account of the fact that an individual’s taste varies. It’s always important to read the detail of a review rather than to take the score on face value, where (hopefully) a decent reviewer will explain the reasoning behind the aspects he/she did and did not like, so you can judge how much they apply to you.