Serious games are big these days. Whether it’s training firefighters, soldiers, plant operators or surgeons, the benefits of a simulated environment in which people can hone their real-world skills is widely recognised. Now, with the impending release of Left 4 Dead, we have the necessary training environment to prepare ourselves for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You’ll be thanking those foresighted chaps at Valve in due time, mark my words. I just picked up the demo today - on PC, because if there’s one thing that’s going to increase the likelihood of the recently dead opening your skull and spreading your grey matter on water biscuits, it’s being limited to a fixed turning speed.

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This is kind of interesting, because I’ve certainly noticed the noise that Fable 2’s data streaming causes: I only have a regular old-skool 20GB HDD in my 360, but I seem to constantly have around 12GB free anyway so I’d be willing to burn 6.8GB on this kind of noise reduction.

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Based on the demo, Mirror’s Edge is one of those games that I really want to love, but in the end just end up respecting from a discrete distance. As a milestone in the game industry’s development, it’s a great game. The visuals are refreshing, and the premise of a first-person game where the aim is not to have to shoot people is a welcome change. Technically, the impression of embodying a character who leaps and jumps and rebounds from every feasible urban surface is well realised, to the extent that when you’re hanging from a ledge and want to look around, you can see yourself let go with one hand in order to do so.

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User generated content is currently something of a media darling in the game industry. Of course, it’s actually nothing new - gamers on open platforms like PC and the home computers before it have been creating mods and new content for their games for a couple of decades now. What’s different now with the advent of yet another acronym to remember (UGC) is that the concept has finally come to the home consoles, those friendly ‘turn on and play’ devices.

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I’m about 8 hours into Fable 2 now, and I feel I have at least some ability to give an impression of the game, although due to it’s nature, I do have to put a big warning sticker on this saying ‘work in progress’ - because one of the main things about Fable 2 is that it’s a slow burner. You really, really need to spend a number of hours with it before you really start to settle in.

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Some of the Rock Band full-album DLC I’ve been really looking forward to is finally getting released next week; The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters. Finally I can play Monkey Wrench again (it was in Guitar Hero 2 - although only in cover form), plus the bonus of classics like My Hero, Hey! Johnny Park and - well, there really aren’t any bad tracks on this album. The only shame is that I have the remastered & extended version of the album, which includes an extra 6 tracks, but none of those have made it in, it’s strictly the original version of the album.

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I generally don’t stay up late into the night to watch things live, such as Formula 1 or the Oscars. However, I did stay up until almost 3am this morning watching the US election results come in, only going to bed when Ohio declared for Obama, pretty much guaranteeing he was going to win (it’s a crucial swing state) - at the same time unofficial predictions were that Florida and New Mexico were going his way too, making it pretty much unassailable.

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Note: I’m going to pick the way I discuss this carefully, since I have a good friend on the LINQ to SQL team (yes, we Guernseymen do get around) and I feel bad to criticise too much in this area; nevertheless I think there are lessons to be learned and I have a definite angle on this, being an ex-business coder and open source enthusiast. My thoughts here reflect pretty much what I’ve already suggested on his blog, but in more detail, so hopefully this won’t offend him!

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Please don’t inflict another 4 years of clueless right-wing government on yourselves and the rest of the world. McCain might seem like a change from Bush, but have you noticed how much his previously independent rhethoric has changed since becoming the republican nominee? He’s towing the establishment line more and more, and becoming more of a negative compaigner by the day. And anyone who picks Sarah Palin as a running mate needs their head examined.

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I’m still of the opinion that Harmonix make the most fun music software, and a lot of veteran players agree with me (except Eurogamer, who said GH3 was ‘better in every way’ than GH2, which IMO is total nonsense). However, Red Octane tend to make good hardware - personally although I own both I much prefer the Rock Band Strat to the GH3 Les Paul, but I know I’m in a minority there even among RB fans.

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