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It’s not a new game and it’s now available on PS3 and XBLA, but I’m hooked on the PSP version at the moment, I love getting all the stars and bouncing around the track to find the best speed and to grab the bonuses. I’ve only really completed the beginner stages so far but from what I’ve played it’s dam good.

If you haven’t seen it before; the courses are a little like Monkeyball courses but you’re driving a car and there are 4 main objectives on each course: Finish, get all stars, get the bonus token and get a gold qualifying speed, you don’t have to do them all on the same run either. The challenge is what makes it great, working out which way to go to complete each objective and then trying it out and losing vast chunks of your day 😀

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Posted 14/7/2009 Views 199  

Yes that is a NES controller made from soap! The great folks at Digital Soaps have made variety of fantastic gaming soaps for those that like to include their favourite console in their everyday life. Imagine getting a shower with your Xbox 360 controller. I can only imagine it may become a little confusing when you sit down at your friend’s house for a quick game of Halo and he’s wondering why you’re rubbing his controller all over yourself.

There are many different styles but my favourites are the Tetris soap pack, which you can create your own Tetris scene with. The SNES controller, which holds so many fond memories and of course the Xbox 360 controller, confuse your friends and yourself with these fantastic soaps. 😀


I’m thinking of ordering some myself, though the price tag is a little steep for some of them, it may be worth it to complete that geeky look you’ve been cultivating for all these years.

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Posted 8/7/2009 Views 813  

I’ve been playing a lot more GTA IV, but mainly online and mainly just messing around in the city flying helicopters around. There’s something therapeutic about driving boats and helicopters around a city that seems so big and interactive. The main problem I’ve had with GTA IV is the lack of co-op missions, the game would have been twice as good if you could play the boring singleplayer experience with friends. But the real tragedy is that GTA IV is such a waste, the graphics engine, the world design and detail are all completely wasted on the stupid “Grand Theft Auto” theme.

Let me elaborate; you have this whole world where you could basically do anything and the game wants you to take virtual people to go bowling. The missions are so linear it makes the whole fantastic world they have created superfluous. Not only that but they’re generally “go here, shoot that” etc, or mundane things like smash a brick through some guys window. The main character is also terrible and hard to identify with, he has no real substance to him.

You take all this into account and you think “How could GTA IV be better?” well for a start it shouldn’t have been GTA IV, it should have been a different franchise, one which makes use of the power of new hardware and one which is as dynamic as the surroundings.

For example, my friend and I find it fun to dream up scenarios… This is going to sound like role-playing but it’s not, we simply think up situations which would be fun to defend or attack certain points or people. Like making roadblocks with stolen buses and holding out against the police for as long as we can, comically ended by the helicopter that I just shot down landing on my team-mates head.

Imagine this in a game scenario though, imagine you have to rob a high value bank… While your comrades are inside getting the money and shooting up the place, you’re outside holding out against the police with your ramshackle roadblock until you all get in your getaway vehicle spraying the pursuing police cars with automatic weapons fire. Best of all you can plan your own getaway route. It makes use of the open world and it makes use of your own ingenuity within that world, it’s fun and challenging. You can rob banks in GTA IV, but it’s just a linear scenario, anything you try to set up before the mission will be reset by the mission mechanics basically dumping you in a pre-set chain of events.

I hope that one day Rockstar will drop this GTA 4 crap and utilize the resources they have better. As I said I cannot fault the team for making a fantastic looking game with the lovely detailed city, but I can fault them for making such a limited game out of it.

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Posted 7/7/2009 Views 200  

I was looking for some cheap Sony Memory Sticks for my PSP as I’m in need of a lot more space for music, video etc… However, the state of the flash memory market hasn’t changed and PRO DUO cards are still much more expensive than Micro SD cards. An 8GB PRO duo costs around £25 whereas 8GB Micro SD can range from £8-£15. So I was thrilled when I spied this:

Dual Micro SD PRO DUO Adapter

And was salivating at the prosepct of paying £18 for 16GB of PRO DUO storage instead of £55. That’s right, you can pop in 2 Micro SD cards up to 16GB and use them both as one drive in PRO DUO devices. It seems too good to be true, but it works and apparently there are no drawbacks. The only problem was that these £8 8GB Micro SD cards were only Class 2, meaning I may have to shell out more making it less of a bargain, there was lots of information available on the “minimum” write speeds of SD cards and the “maximum” write speeds of PRO DUO cards but I couldn’t find any concrete data on how fast cards should actually be.

So as usual I went crazy and I decided to benchmark a few cards to see if I would be losing out by using 2 Micro SD cards instead of a normal PRO DUO and to see if I was going to be sitting around checking my watch while this “Class 2” SD card loaded stuff. Read on for graphs etc. Read more…

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Posted 3/7/2009 Views 1,403  

I’ve been an on and off fan of the PSP for some time, I was one of the first people in the UK to get one from Lik-Sang (check it out I still have the photo from when it came), a company now shut down for doing exactly that, selling Japanese PSPs to the rest of the world. Originally though there were very few games out for the system and I lost interest for a while and sold it. I’ve had another two after that and I love the improvements in the Slim & Lite version.

Anyway, Sony are now launching their PSP Go which is a nice little slimmed down version of the console, buttons have been moved to a slide down panel and the UMD drive has been removed completely, meaning that all of your PSP Go games will come from the Playstation Store.

This causes problems for more than one reason, firstly the Playstation Store carries only a small selection of PSP games, there are many fantastic games that people will want to play that may even never be on the Playstation Store. Secondly, it cuts retailers out of the loop, once games stores have sold you your PSP Go you’ll never pop in for a game and if people take up the PSP Go en masse then less and less people will be buying UMDs, shops will stock less and UMDs will be harder to come by.

PSP Go
The PSP “Go get a loan”

The other major problem with the PSP Go is it’s price tag here in the UK it will ship at £230. The price alone makes the PSP Go stand out as another testament to how badly Sony is judging the market these days. For the price of a PSP GO you could buy 2 PSP 2000/3000, hell I could buy 2 Xbox 360s for that price.

As an aside on the price us tea drinkers get shafted yet again by Sony, a PSP 2003 in the UK is about £100, in the US it’s around $160, which is bang on exchange rate wise. Yet the PSP Go clocks in at £229 in the UK which would equate to a whopping $380 yet the PSP Go is only $249, go figure, sucks to be us right?

So the PSP GO makes you pay a massive premium by taking out the UMD drive, adding bluetooth support and 16GB of flash memory. Thanks Sony, but no thanks. Chips and Grainger Games, two “indie” franchise chains in the UK have already said they have taken zero pre-orders for the PSP Go and are considering not stocking it at all, mainly due to the lack of software.

I’m sure people will buy it, more likely in the US than the UK though, i feel maybe though that it’s kind of a death spiral for the PSP and Sony’s game department in general. Due to weak sales of the PS3 they are getting less and less exclusives, Activision have already said that if something doesn’t change at Sony they may no longer be developing games for the PS3 or PSP. They have the highest prices consoles in the handheld and home console market, they seem to be sorely misjudging the competition lately and it’s killing them.

Sony even had a poor show at E3 this year, watching SCEA CEO Jack Tretton reel off numbers, spit out hyperbole and play excruciatingly long promo videos. The icing on the cake was Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid creator), who earlier on had spoken English for the Microsoft conference needed a translator for his needlessly long speech.

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Posted 30/6/2009 Views 1,133  

Well I managed to get my hands on a smaller Torx screwdriver, got it all to pieces and god rid of those dreaded X-Clamp mofos, now I’ve put it all back together and it’s working fine. The only problem is that the xbox seems to think that it’s getting too warm as the fans are constantly stuck on “shuttle launch” mode so although the xbox now works it’s not exactly playable… So I’ve ordered myself some thermal paste from ebay to see if that improves the heat dissipation. Although I can’t really feel too much heat in the xbox to warrant the fans being on full blast so much.

And here’s a little close up shot of those dreaded X-Clamps you’ve been hearing so much about:

Any way, here’s some more Xbox innards: Read more…

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Posted 25/6/2009 Views 286  

To fill you in on the Xbox situation the towel trick only fixed the red ring for about 5 minutes and I ordered the parts to fix it from ebay for about £3. I set about dismantling the box but apparently my Torx screwdriver set does not go small enough (need a T8). So my Xbox currently looks like this:

So until I see if I can grab one tomorrow from town it’s sat half naked on a table and I decided to take a few photos, prepare to get to know your xbox a lot more intimitley. Read more…

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Posted 24/6/2009 Views 214  

I’ve put it off for a while but my laptop was getting extremely sluggish on wakeup and I needed a good reinstall as I’ve installed so much crap it’s unreal. So I figured it’s the perfect chance to try out the evaluation version of Windows 7 that I got some time ago but have not got round to trying. I’ve had a good play with it now so I thought I’d put up a post :)

There are a lot of improvements with windows 7 but there are a few things that you will notice more than others and I’ll basically give a run-down of the things that look and feel different in Windows 7.

The first thing you will notice is the task bar, now sports a completely different more compact look and feel, it’s a kind of all in one task bar, system tray & quick launch:

From left to right, the Firefox icon is highlighted, this shows that the program is running. Second along is the Windows explorer icon, this is highlighted but also shows two other boxes behind it, this shows that there are 2 other Windows explorer windows open to make 3 in total. The Windows Media Player icon is there but is not highlighted this is merely “pinned” to the task bar and not running, running it would merely highlight it as the others are. The MSN icon also has 3 boxes indicating it has 3 (or more) windows open.
Read more…

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Posted 19/6/2009 Views 159  

I remember a few years ago when I had my Sony Clie Palm device that the only game worth playing with the lovely touch screen was Bejeweled. I’m sure everyone reading has played it at least once (or maybe zoo keeper or many other names), maybe you liked it maybe you didn’t but for most people it’s addictive and enjoyable.

My girlfriend and I must have spend hours playing that little bugger to death and that was only the trial version, anyway I digress… There is a version of Bejeweled out for Android but the graphics are basically the same as that Palm version I played in 2003 and there’s not much new in the way of features, unlike the PC version which just keep getting better. In comes Jewerlust: Read more…

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Posted 18/6/2009 Views 777  

I’ve been using my G1 quite a bit to browse the web lately and as you know I have an extensive image gallery which I like to use in posts on forums etc. Well now I can both directly upload to that gallery by using a handy ftp program on Android and browse the gallery in a specially designed environment. I sat up for a little while last night making a compatible and dinky gallery that reduces bandwidth and increases the amount of images I can view on the screen at once.

Before: 105Kb
After: 32Kb
Mobile Blog:

As you can see in the first screenshot 2 images can barely even fit on the screen, after streamlining and making the thumbnails quite minuscule 32 images can easily fit on screen at once, I also upped the amount of images shown per page so there’s less clicking of links. I also streamlined the image page so that images fit easier and it is easier to get a link to the image to post elsewhere. Of course it still retains (and utilises) the ability for me to resize the images however I need to and to do a bunch of other image manipulation too.

I can’t leave without mentioning the last screnshot, which is of the mobile version of this blog, it’s clean, neat and fast. I used to use a more flashy version but I think it was a little cumbersome. This version just puts the posts ups there with no superfluous crap.

As usual it’s unlikely anyone will even visit the site on a mobile device except me, and as usual it’s mainly an exercise to teach myself more. But of course I will be using it all the time to continue the tradition of posting random images.

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Posted 17/6/2009 Views 198