“im in the middle of buying all of bonton with that platinum card i lifted from your desk….”
It’s clearly a joke between lovers. She isn’t really a thief, and all she wants to do is buy some wine for a romantic meal later that evening. The affection is obvious – these two clearly mean a lot to each other.
The words are underlined.
“Cassandra Watergate – stole a credit card from Josef Langley”.
I dutifully copy the information into my target’s profile.
“Good job,” says Symes, my handler. “That information can be used to put a freeze on his card.”
I feel sick to my stomach. On their own, robbed of context, the words are indeed a confession of guilt. Without the rest of the conversation, they mean nothing. Nothing, except an illegal act. The card will now be cancelled by the government, and put this couple’s romantic evening in jeopardy – and likely worse. Because of my actions.
I know one of you is behind this. One of you caused this to happen. He who smelt it, dealt it – and we are dealing with an awfully smelly shit-cloud here.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, one of the best games of a generation, and winner of a number of awards, should not be coming to the Nintendo Switch.
But before I tell you why, let me get just one thing straight. I don’t hate Skyrim. On the contrary, I’ve enjoyed it as much as any other mortal. Steam shows almost 200 hours of adventure, dragon-slaying, and house-making – and that’s a lot for me. I’ve spent days and days locked in the frozen wasteland of the north. I’ve written articles and made videos about the mods I’ve enjoyed. I’ve loved and treasured almost every minute I’ve spent in Skyrim.
And it’s for that reason that I implore you to not buy The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch. It’s time to let it die.
Finally, the other boot has dropped. The UK’s snap General Election is over. Thanks to Theresa May’s alliance with the far-right DUP group, it’s highly likely that the boot that dropped will be dropping on the throats of millions of the under-paid and under-privileged in the country.
What? You weren’t expecting talk about the UK’s general election? Tough – this IS a co.uk site after all (.com was too expensive).
The big surprise of the night was the exit poll, that predicted the Conservatives (Tories), being the largest party – but also falling short of an overall majority. Since the Tories were the political party that called the election, losing their majority counts as a pretty major loss for them. The Labour party also surged back, with an increased vote from younger, disenfranchised voters that secured them many previously Tory seats.
So while the Labour party has seen a resurgence of popularity, they still remain a minority party within the UK parliament. And while the dust hasn’t fully settled on what form the UK government will take – I’m still hankering for some true socialism. What better time to start playing Tropico 5?
A couple of weeks ago, the news broke that a Netflix app was in the works for the Nintendo Switch. News sites eagerly piled in, with some proclaiming that access to the ubiquitous streaming service should be standard issue in this day and age on all games consoles.
But really, is this the case? Does the Nintendo Switch even need Netflix?
These days, I only seem to post if I’m angry about something. My “buggery of the highest regard” tag is getting one hell of a workout of late, and mostly because there’s a lot to get angry about.
Nintendo staffer Alison Rapp has under a sustained smear campaign ever since she was accused of being behind the supposed censorship of Nintendo’s games. And because this is the Internet, this led to a bunch of fuckwits digging into her past, her university papers – and most shockingly of all – her Amazon wishlist in search of dirt to tarnish her name. And unfortunately, they succeeded. On Wednesday, Rapp announced her dismissal from Nintendo via Twitter.
A week or so ago, I wrote a piece on James “2GD” Harding being fired from the Dota 2 tournament, the Shanghai Major, and I was at as much of a loss as everyone else to explain why it happened. GabeN knew, but obviously wasn’t telling anyone, choosing to limit his explaination to “James is an ass”. James himself wrote a rather lengthy post speculating everything from the last few years involvement with Valve, from a rogue Valve employee, to his demeanour on the show, to alien involvement.
Alright, he didn’t really blame aliens. But he might as well have done, because there were no real answers to be had. James’ hosting had been tamer than some of his past performances, and seemed well within the acceptable lines for e-sports presenters – so what gives, man?
According to Redditor /u/BalboaBaggins, it may have less to do with a salty Valve employee, and more to do with the fact that the Shanghai Major is – somewhat obviously – based in China.
This week, I bought a flightstick because I was so enthralled with Elite Dangerous.
Elite is every space nerds wet dream. If, like me, you spent your childhood watching Star Wars on repeat, built X-Wing cockpits out of boxes, and get tingles looking at a clear night sky, then you’ll be familiar with the feeling I got from playing Elite. From the moment you step into your cockpit, you’re immersed in a living, breathing universe. Comparisons to Eve Online are understandable with a similarly steep learning curve, focus on galactic economics, and player-driven events. But where Eve is not a simulation game – the ship perspective, skill system, and other elements mark it firmly as a third-person MMO – Elite puts you right in the cockpit. You are that pilot, sweating in dogfights, and watching stars zip past. Look down and you can gaze at your own space-thighs, happily space-clad in space-lycra. From the moment you step into the game, your ship is your own; from the preflight checks, to planning warp jumps to other systems. You even need to refuel your ship, which means you need to take regular pit stops, either by popping into a station, or by flying close to a star with a fuel scoop.
It’s such a real experience that I screamed out loud the first time I dropped out of hyperspace into a close orbit with a star. Watching the inside of a station as it rotates around you left me in awe. An interdiction bubble pulling me out of supercruise left me shaken and confused, and the all-too-brief battle with the pirate responsible led to swearing and anger as I watched my ship explode around me. On a normal PC monitor, Elite is one of the most amazing immersive experiences that I’ve ever taken part in.
So really, Elite should be the poster child for VR headsets. People should be rushing out to drop £500 on an Oculus Rift. Steam VR should have them foaming at the mouth. Even Google Cardboard’s limited functionality should be celebrated.
But it’s not. But it did highlight a flaw that everyone should have seen coming a mile off. And it’s nothing to do with the usual technological, or even ethical problems that VR throws up. It’s actually tied into Elite‘s very genre. Despite the fact that it’s based in outer space, Elite is best described as a simulation game. Think about other simulators; Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Train Simulator 2016, even Euro Truck Simulator 2 – what do each of these titles share?
If you said “buttloads of controls”, you’re right. Simulations aim to simulate real life (big surprise there) and so, generally have re-bindable controls for everything and anything – Euro Truck Simulator 2 has six different controls just for lights. Each of those controls has a button bound to it, and God help you if you forget to use the right one. This “controller complexity” has generally been the reason that you don’t see many simulators on consoles – the average gamepad simply doesn’t enough controls available. My T-Flight Hotas X has a whole bunch of controls available for binding, but they’re still not enough to completely eliminate the need to have the keyboard nearby and ready for action.
But it’s not really about that at all. The problem involves having so many controls, often with niche uses. You might not use many very often, and so you might not be able to instantly recall where it is, without looking. Hell, I currently have 500+ hours in Dota 2, and sometimes still look at the keyboard to be sure of which key I’m pressing. VR headsets give you an amazing all round view of the simulated world, but they also block off all sight into the real world. If I’m wearing a bulky VR headset, how can I look down and be sure what I’m pressing?
Sure, with time and patience, you’ll be able to learn these keypresses off by heart – but does that mean that VR technology should be avoided by anyone without a photographic memory and/or 200+ hours in the game?
The worst part is that this doesn’t really put me off. The allure is just too strong. But… I can see my ardour being dampened if I constantly have to lift the headset to peek at my keyboard. Or worse, find my keyboard, since I’ll be primarily using a joystick. And since Elite Dangerous can’t be paused, I’ll probably fly into a star while I’m doing it.
I’ll be honest. I know this is a small complaint. And it’s one based in ignorance one too. I have no real experience of VR headsets, and I have no idea if this truly will be an issue. But you see a lot of VR users using controllers – the Oculus even ships with one – and that makes me think that these limitations have already been realised. But why has no-one highlighted this as a real issue in the simulation genre? That’s where VR will have the biggest impact, but is also the genre where controllers are of limited use. So, will the inherent complexity of simulators like Elite Dangerous make using a VR headset with them just too damn hard?
If you haven’t heard of Rocket League, let me ask you one question: do you like football?
If no; you’ll like Rocket League.
If yes; you’ll like Rocket League.
Take all the whiny teenagers out of football and replace them with rocket-propelled cars (because you would if you could), that have little regard for gravity, cosmetic damage, and the fundamental laws of physics, and you have Rocket League. It’s a frantic, five minute long, bonkers-fest with exploding cars, rocket flips, and goals that cause smoky explosions. It’s tense, exhilarating, and it rarely stops being fun.
It’s easiest to understand it by watching. And I’m not just saying that because I made a video of it.
But I reckon I’d enjoy watching Rocket League even more than I enjoy playing it.
I was thinking about making some sort of “Top Ten 2015” list – after all, everyoneelseisdoingone. All I needed to do was get a bunch of games from 2015, rank them, talk about them, and post it online. Easy.
I started with the usual suspects, and… I realised that outside of Fallout 4, I couldn’t name another game from last year. This troubled me, so I booted up my Steam, and trawled through my recent game list to find out how many games from 2015 I’d actually played this year.
Five. That’s five games including Fallout 4. Two of them I’d played for a collective timespan of three minutes. My top ten was now a top five, and I didn’t have much say what went in it. Yay.