Friday, 29 July 2016

Tau Plays Discworld Part 20

Monday, 25 July 2016

Euro Truck Marathon Roundup and Resident Evil Marathon!

Well it happened and this time it was much more successful!  I actually made it through the entire 24 hour period, with a spot of drunk driving and there was even some other fun stuff like a blindfolded drive which I plan to upload as soon as I have the energy to scour my way through the footage for the section on twitch.

Anyway this is just a quick post to tell you that roughly £282 was raised for the Alzheimer's Society.  About £50 of that money was donated in cash in Japanese Yen so I'm just waiting for my credit card month to tick over before putting that into the charity but that should get done in about a week or so if all things go to plan.

I'd just like to give huge thank yous to all of those to dropped into the stream and watched and to the people who donated during the marathon!  You guys are awesome!


A few days ago the incentive for the Resident Evil marathon was met!  This means I'll be playing Resident Evils 1,2,3 and 4 back to back on Stream.  I'm also planning on adding a sort of stretch donation incentive to add 5, 6 and 0 to the mix so if those get met I'll be playing those too!

I've not got a date ready for that yet so watch this space but as of right now I'm hoping I can shoot for October and make it some kind of Halloween event.  Keep an eye on the blog for more info and the incentives page to see those stretch goals!

Thursday, 21 July 2016


According to Wikipedia Pong was released in 1972.  BIT. TRIP. BEAT. was released in 2009 and it just goes to show how far along even a simple concept such as pong can go in such a short time.

BIT. TRIP. BEAT. is a sort of Pong/Rhythm game where you play as a pong paddle drifting through space knocking back dots that fly across the screen in time with the music.  There's not much of a story to speak of and that's essentially all of the game play but thanks to a decent amount of challenge and a good soundtrack it's weirdly compelling.

The game throws all manner of dots at you ranging from normal ones that just fly straight across the screen to ones that will try and juke you out and even dots that have invisible connections to other dots creating a weird sense of panic when they fly at you and it doesn't initially look like you can send them back.  As you play you have 2 life meters, one which builds up when you miss and one that builds up when you successfully hit a dot back.  Hit enough dots back and you go into "Hyper" mode where the visual effects get all crazy and the music becomes more "normal" sounding as opposed to the retro feel of the regular mode.  Miss enough dots and you will level back down from hyper mode, miss even more and you enter null where the music cuts out and the graphics look like the original pong game.  Miss even more dots from there and it's game over and there are no checkpoints in the games lengthy levels so you have to start all over again.

The game is played mostly for score so if you aren't into that then maybe you wont get much excitement from BIT. TRIP. BEAT. after an initial play through but if you're a perfectionist who just needs to top those online leader boards then this game is for you.  It's cheap on Steam at £7 so even if you're just mildly into music games or Pong then it's worth checking out.  The BIT. TRIP. series is sort of long running and well known for a reason so do yourself a favor and kill a lazy weekend with this trippy pong-like.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Using Games as a Scapegoat

For as long as there have been people on this earth, there have been people doing shitty things to each other.  For as long as I can remember, there are a lot of shitty things that people have done where video games and gamers have had to carry a portion of the blame.  It's a trend that is complete bullshit and needs to die because not only is it needlessly damaging to the image of people who enjoy video games as their main, or one of their main hobbies, but it's damaging to the people who have shitty things done to them.

From the pre-video game days of Dungeons and Dragons being accused of raising little Satan worshippers to school shootings being blamed on the likes of Doom, for the longest people have tried to use video games as the reason for shitty things happening.  Now, people have even added racism and sexism to the mix of things video games have caused so firing up gaming news can get a little depressing.  

Even with the most recent mass shooting tragedy in America, Orlando, there were articles trying to paint gaming as the reason for these things happening.  That horrible event happened around the time of E3 so there were a lot of people quick to point the finger and say it's their fault for "glorifying gun violence".  Take to a site like Twitter or Facebook and the number of idiots repeating these stupid ideas is ten fold.  

Here's the thing, using gaming or anything else as a sort of scape goat for the ills of the world is not only incredibly stupid, but it distracts from the real cause of the issue and basically guarantees that it will happen again.  It's a lot easier to attack games for gun violence rather than discuss things like gun control or the sorry state of mental care in America.  Whenever you read stories about violence at LAN cafes it's much easier to blame the game rather than examine the probably tragic lives of the victim and offenders.  It's much easier to blame games for sexism than actually have the balls to stand up for women in countries where you can be killed for that kind of thing.  It's spineless and shows that you care more about shifting blame rather than trying to solve the issue.  

Gaming is a huge hobby, a huge industry enjoyed by millions of people.  It's also still a fairly young industry that a lot of people either can't or don't want to try to get their head round.  When you have a hobby this large there are OBVIOUSLY going to be shitty people around and they are going to do shitty things regardless of their pasttimes. 

Using games to scapegoat real world issues is damaging, distracting and cowardly and any writer that's ever taken part in that shit should be ashamed.  

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Motion Controls Were A Mistake

We are now moving into an age where VR is all the rage.  With the release of things like the Occulus Rift and the HTC Vive, when people talk about novel ways to control games that's at the forefront of the conversation.  But not so long ago motion controls were all the rage with things like the Playstation Move, Nintendo Wii and the Kinect.  It was a terrible time but it seems to have been a fad that is mostly dead now.

It all started with the Wii, when it was announced that instead of having a traditional controller it would have this remote type thing.  People were understandably excited because imagine playing something like Zelda where you could manipulate the sword freely, it was a cool concept.  What the controller for the Wii turned out to be is an awkward piece of shit that didn't quite work correctly and a lot of the best games for that system don't make all that much use of the motion part of the controller.  Hell, I remember buying Monster Hunter Tri for the fucking thing and having to drop extra money on a "proper" controller so that I could play that thing.

After that, Sony tried to imitate the Wii because despite the awkwardness of the controls, it did sort of work and the system was selling well.  The PlayStation Move came out and was largely ignored.  I've never met a single person who owned a move and now that I think about it the only game I can think that actually used it was that Time Crisis spinoff thing.  Microsoft was the company that really came along and ruined it thought with the Kinect.  A terrible, barely functional camera type thing that had 0 compatible games of any quality.  It's legacy can be boiled down to a Star Wars game where they made a bunch of corny Star Wars versions of pop songs that you had to dance to for points.

Motion controls were a thorn in the side of the industry and we are better off now that they are mostly gone.  They still exist in some capacity, for example you can tilt the WiiU controller in certain games for certain effects and that feature also extends to things like the Vita but it's not so bad since the movements are slight and the applications limited.  When a game does feature that sort of movement control as a main feature it's usually not very good.

Like I said before, we are moving into an age of VR now, so it'll be interesting to see if this is another "innovation" that will cause a slew of shit titles for years to come or a quality innovation we will stick with in the distant future.  VR is sort of a cool idea so I'm hoping that it's something we stick with but as of right now, this very second, things aren't looking so hot.  Give it time though, I have faith.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Games Done Quick and Identity Gaming

I've talked about Games Done Quick multiple times on this blog but Summer Games Done Quick is currently running I'm going to talk about them yet again.  The reason I like to harp on about these guys so much is that they were so important in the creation of Identity Gaming that it's important that people don't forget to support them.

Before I get into my little story, fire up this link in a tab so that you can go watch them the second you've finished reading.

Right now they are doing a marathon for Doctors Without Borders by speed running an insane number of games over the course of 5 days.  If you read this article after it's finished then don't worry because they do another marathon around January for the Prevent Cancer Foundation called Awesome Games Done Quick.  These are fantastic events and you should show your support.

But just how did an event like Games Done Quick help inspire Identity Gaming?

Well a handful of years ago, around the winter time, I wake up super early one morning to find a text on my phone from my mother telling me that my father had passed away.  It was a sad time as you would expect, he suffered from Alzheimer's disease so understandably I became interested in Alzheimer's charities and how these organizations help sufferers and their families.  Just after that passing of my father, Awesome Games Done Quick started.  It was an event that I had watched in previous years and having something like that to enjoy after such a sad period was nice.

When it finished they had raised over a million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and that had me thinking that maybe I could try to emulate some of the work that they do.  Of course, I'm just one guy, a nobody with a blogger site, a stream and a YouTube channel so I knew going in I could never reach that kind of money if I only attempted something like this for 5 or so days.  So with that in mind, Identity Gaming was born as a sort of long term project.

Things were shaky at first, as you can see if you watch my early playthroughs and see videos of my early streams but thanks to the help of a number of friends and the people who donate to the Alzheimer's Society keeping me motivated I'm here today, still writing and improving in order to raise money for a charity that's rather close to my heart.

Sure, I'm not raising the million dollars in 5 days like the GDQ guys are but thanks to all the support £3000+ has been raised in a few years and that's fantastic.  I really owe it to the GDQ guys for inspiring me like that.  I get the feeling I'll be doing this for a long time going forward and it's all thanks to them.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Sadako Vs Kayako

So recently I saw the recently released Sadako Vs Kayako, a Japanese movie that's been getting a lot of hype behind it.  Remember way back in 2003 when we got Freddy Vs Jason?  Well this is like the Japanese version of that only Freddy Vs Jason was kind of crap and Sadako Vs Kayako is fucking AWESOME.  Just in case you aren't familiar with these names, Sadako is the ghost from the very well known "Ring" movie and Kayako is the big nasty from "Ju-On" or "The Grudge"

The hype campaign for this movie has been pretty big in Japan.  There's been posters, leaflets, the obvious things like trailers and other content but some of the publicity stuff has been a little strange.  For example, there's an instagram account called Kayako With Toshio which pictures the evil duo from The Grudge in rather mundane settings such as seeing Toshio off to school or having noodles.

Even stranger than that was a TV segment during a baseball game where the two characters were put on the field to face off in a spot of batting and pitching.

Strange hype aside though, the movie is actually fucking incredible which is something I didn't think I'd be saying about it going in.  I expected yet another shitty, cliche Japanese horror movie in the same vein as something like Gekijourei but banking on the popularity of the two evil ghost characters.  But instead I got a fantastically fucking stupid yet awesome beyond words cross over movie ever with some genuinely unsettling moments in between.

One thing you have to understand about Japanese horror movies, especially of this kind, are very formulaic.  Usually they are stories about a curse or some kind of rumor going around, then the hero gets cursed and some fucked up shit happens.  Following that, they find someone who is super knowledgeable about said curse and they proceed to enact some insane plan in order to remove the evil ghost from the persons life.  It's not a bad formula but it's so played out at this point that when a new movie does it the only thing you can really gamble on is if its going to be a happy ending or an everyone dies ending and everything before that you could predict like the worlds best clairvoyant.

However, while Sadako Vs Kayako does this for it's first half, once it gets it's boring shit out of the way it flies completely off the rails into insanity.  Luckily, the stupid shit that goes down after the movies half way mark isn't the kind of stupid shit that makes you sigh and rolls your eyes but it's the sort of awesome stupid shit that has you holding back cheers of joy, sort of similar to the reaction you have when watching an Expendables movie.  I can't do it justice without heavy spoilers but please, do yourself a favor and go watch this movie, you won't regret it for one second.

I think most people, like me, weren't expecting a lot from this movie so it ends up being a pleasant surprise.  Don't take it too seriously and just sit back and enjoy the roller coaster of retardation that is Sadako Vs Kayako.