I’m not one for frivolity or purchasing something without at least consulting a retinue of assets and conducting intricate analysis to determine the legitimacy of the product or the quality. So I’m taking a little bit of a risk with this particular purchase. When I identified the “pxp3” on eBay I presumed it was some kind of derivative of the PSP, perhaps a renovated version with added utilities. Apparently it is in fact an unbranded portable emulator, a system compartmentalised with a compilation of over 100 classic 16 bit games. Boasting such classic games as Super Mario, Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets Of Rage etc. A portable device that can also be connected to you’re television to project what you are playing on screen. All this simulated exultation comes a modest £10 price and it’s fair to say that my curiosity, as well as my suspicions were aroused. You have no sovereignty over the colour of the appliance which doesn’t really matter considering that they all look like a PSP has been refurbished by the manufacturers of skittles. The fact that I had never heard of this implement is also a little concerning. Also, having conducted some minor research has precluded that my pessimistic approach isn’t entirely without merit. So if the feedback is any indication then this particular device will be cheap looking and will need a replacement after roughly 60 mins. But the economical price does somewhat placate the danger of a faulty or even false product. If it doesn’t work or even if it doesn’t arrive, my balance–moderate as it is–won’t be massively overwhelmed.
Is it any good? Probably not. But I take the risks mere mortals would regularly avoid, so you don’t have to. Or even want to.
These are the unpublished (completely fabricated) accounts recorded by Lara Croft, if written by a rather juvenile 20 something who should have grown up by now. Here “Lara” chronicles the events surrounding Tomb Raider 2. This is in no way intended to offend the legacy of the Tomb Raider franchise, but to make affectionate observation of the series rather overt exploitation of the female form. Lara Croft, to the best of my knowledge has never engaged in amorous activities, orally or anally with anyone ever. And does not own or condone the use of an S&M dungeon. If you are offended by smutty innuendos, especially the second paragraph then I suggest you leave immediately. Seriously, go.
China, as in “not for all the tea in” was my destination. Travelling via “Bangkok”, a city founded in the 15th century after two rather endowed samurai’s accidentally used the same urinals, hence the name “Bangkok” was a distant memory, as I headed to a non-specific part of a great Wall more commonly referred to as “The Great Wall”! Concealed along its far reaching infrastructure lies a vaguely tomb ish like secretion ripe for plundering and the extermination of any rare creatures that could inhabit such a largely unmolested environment. Having slid down into a huge, un-scalable cavern I had no way of knowing I could actually get out of, I was immediately greeted by an adorable little kitten I’ve dubbed “anal raider” due to its penchant for excavating my voluptuous booty. Judging by the juddering vague dispersal of pixels I believe it’s meant to be a Bengal Tiger. You know those exotic cats native to Bangladesh and India that often frequent hidden catacombs at the base of the Great Wall of China? “Curious” I mused. “What an important discovery it is to have exotic animals of this nature inhabiting a country it isn’t indigenous too”? Once I’d dealt with these beautifully majestic endangered species by shooting it in its rectum repeatedly I made my ascent to a fortification high above the alcove that housed a rather large indoor swimming pool. Once inside I began leaping like a beautifully sexy and well endowed gazelle, reaching a ledge with a large lever like device, possibly a lever, enabling access to more dilapidated ruins. Grunting sensuously as I went to ward off any pursuers or potential suitors. Because no one would be curious of a duel gun slinging archaeologist with pointy breasts, tight tank top, lips that look like a slowly decomposing vagina, painted on shorts and sounding like a slowly climaxing corpse, I noticed the partial collapse of the wall and proceeded to slide down the rubble plunging into a fortuitous lagoon below.
All this sliding and animal cruelty had left me wet again, as I searched the water deeper and harder for any artefacts to pilfer. I squeezed my tight ass through a moist cavity extracting a well placed key as I emerged from the rippling water, my slender body completely drenched leaving me dripping…..with intrigue. Having leveraged myself from the pool, keen to remain abreast of the situation I was suddenly confronted by another vicious pussy…..cat. This hairy gingivitis leapt at me, trying to ravage my perfect physique, but ultimately succumbed to my throbbing twins. I holstered my guns and began my ascent back to the top. Back on top my search for a plot continued as I unlocked the sealed door with my newly acquired key, delving deeper into the hidden sanctum bereft of light, life and reflective surfaces to see how great my ass looks. Continuing on under the assumption that my booty was still tight enough to bounce a penny back to my London piggy bank I heard the unmistakable sound of scuttling that could only be emitted by giant tarantulas! I had little recourse but to fire round after round at their general direction until they were killed to death. With the help of my impeccable thighs that had smothered a man just the night before, I was able to dislodge a huge square boulder from my path and proceeded cautiously into the catacombs. But as quickly as I had entered I had to pull out with some haste as I evaded the two giant balls heading towards me, leaping over a chasm of rotary phallic, only to be confronted by a slowly advancing wall of spikes preparing to impale me like my college room-mate. Thrusting in my direction I leapt acrobatically picking up ammo relinquished by some skeletal adventurer, who judging by the lack of clothing died naked! Running over a wobbling volatile floor I fell through, landing safely below. A loud thud above signalling the end of any imminent danger.
Having safely negotiated the equivalent of my S&M dungeon above, I sought exploration from the gaping chasm below. Utilising my plumber like reflexes to guide my voluptuous figure swiftly between the cracks. But danger it seems was far from over as I was suddenly molested by a Tyrannosaurus! “Of course!” There is only one thing to do when confronted by prehistoric creature that has survived since the Cretaceous period; kill it to death! After dealing with Mr T-Rex, from a narrow passage far from its stunted claws another fearsome Tyrannosaurus emerged from the shadows anus. Once I’d dealt with pixelsaurus I decided I had lingered longer than the fart I just let out of my curvaceous cheeks, secured the artefact that the Olsen twins were guarding and finally emerged from the gloomy depths to the big red door that at no point during my quest did I clarify I was looking for. Endangering the population of Tigers further as I shot my way to my destination “sorry kitties, but these meat hams are not for sale!”, I was suddenly assaulted by a genital wart, which I swiftly flung over my shoulder. “Some fans just don’t get the hint”. Of course this grotesque growth poisoned himself once he released he wouldn’t be doing any “Poon Raiding” As I set myself on Venice and its many canals. “Looks as though I’m going to get wet again?”
Hypothetical question here; what what you do if I punched you right now? (Don’t look behind you!) Would you retaliate? Call the police? Cry? Anticipate such an assault and deliver a swift kick to my crotch?! Whatever you’re preferred response the act itself is very affecting, and not just in a physical way. Violence in any form attracts attention. It’s impartial, visceral and overall shocking. Have you ever wondered why games are so generously lavished with violence, profanities and more combustible inanimate environments than Jon Woos cheese induced wet dream? Because it’s awesome for one, but mainly because explosions are accessible and easily promoted. Violence is a resource utilised to advance the story, communicate to its audience the severity of the situation your involved with and demonstrate just how evil the villain is. Without the lead antagonist shooting one of his subordinates in the face with a kitten powered bazooka, how on earth would you understand just how fiendish you’re adversary is? Just as you couldn’t grasp just how heroic the protagonist is if you didn’t witness him/her killing identical goons indiscriminately that look as though they’ve been released from a cloning facility? Why is that heroic? Because you made some witty comment after throwing a guy off a building like “He never did have a head for heights.” There’s also an admirable consistency to violence.
If things are beginning to become meticulous, just introduce a new highly volatile bazooka that fires projectile piranhas, shooting laser beams out of their eyes! Such churlish behaviour is a valuable commodity, commended as an invaluable substitute for character development or even story. Explosions, grenades, guns, violence of any sort will always be as sought after as shawarma at the Avengers dinner party. It’s easy to market, there’s no real necessity to explain the use of augmented weaponry and developers love it. “Exposition? Puh! We’ve got more female nudity and breast exploitation than Michael Bay’s next directorial gang rape. Narrative fluency? Bah, we’ve got incendiaries strapped to the testicles of an albino T-Rex, practising calligraphy with a flame-thrower”. In fairness that does evoke some very compelling imagery? Explosions? Guha! We’ve got Satan’s detachable ballsacks that emit a seizure inducing explosion! Boom! Bang! Pop! Feeling fatigued now? Well tough, this is just the first stage so you’ll need to inflate those puny bean bags you call testicles if you want to proceed, wuss!” I can just hear the production team going “Uh oh, the audience is reacting to the plot point, they’re trying to figure out the narrative! Quick, blow up that shoe as a distraction before they figure out that the story makes no coherent sense!” Gamers don’t want “romantic liaison officers”, we want prostitutes with alluring assets the size of Turkey, armed to the teeth with enough fire-power to blow up an actual Nuclear explosion!
Compliance with a reputable story or the integrity of the characters portrayed becomes an adequate accessory. When it all comes down to it it’s about appealing to our most primitive behaviour. To facilitate the acquisition of childish whimsy, to engage players without the restraint of morality. Games have never been constrained by the ideologies of reality, and that’s the beauty. It’s a great excuse to go all Lindsey Lohan for a couple of hours without having to attend court at the end of it, presumably to sue RockStar for defamation of character. Let’s not concern ourselves with moralistic repercussions of our actions, but revel in the irreverence of shooting unnamed assailants in the ball sacs. Explosions will always out-gun story, always. It doesn’t matter how it’s represented, violence is violent. Just ask Tarantino? He utilises gratuitous scenes with explicit poise, introducing surreal scenes of unhinged derangement that almost appear sophisticated. Yet one of my favourite moments comes courtesy of “Inglorious Basterds”. Not my favourite Tarantino movie, however it does a great job of building tension gradually. It doesn’t need dramatic music or intimidating stares that linger too long, it’s just a intimidating discussion between a dairy farmer and a high ranking officer in the SS that precipitously descends into an intense interrogation. Waltz is so disarming in his approach, coming across a deceptively charming and courteous integrator with a discernible graciousness to his enquires. But his demeanour is one of quite deception, like a benign volcano. I loved how alluringly gripping that scene was even though fundamentally it was two guys having a conversation, interjected with brief glimpses of the concealed fugitives. And you can’t apply the same logic to a game. You just can’t. Because that’s not the way games are designed. They have to be pervasive, purposeful and blindingly apparent. They have to be as obvious as the comparative symbolism between Superman and Jesus! And above all else, fun. You couldn’t be this violent in real life, nor would any vaguely sane human being want to. So go nuts! Have fun, because simulated violence is far less damaging than anything you’ll see on the news at 10.
I’ve been patient. Very patient as it happens. Applying a rigorous discipline to my naturally agitated mindset. Enduring years of resigned vacuity, two delays and possessing enough games in my library to play so I wouldn’t be thinking about so much until finally, FINALLY, Uncharted 4 was mine! But I’ll admit that’s it’s release coincides with my own self doubt about its credentials. I’ve been complacent with my quality control before when it comes to purchasing new games, estimating something great and getting Destiny. Anticipating a unique new IP and getting Watchdog’s, taking a metaphorical dump in my PS4. There are multiple considerations that go into concluding whether or not to purchase a game. Stylistically does it meet you’re specific requirements? Is it a genre you’d feel comfortable participating in? Does the developer have a good track record of producing exciting, compelling games? Is it developed by EA or Ubisoft? In which case let’s mock and jape their squandered self respect. But from a consumer perspective you don’t want to have to research every conceivable facet. Posturing the distinguishing characteristics, calculating the differentiating variables that roughly determine the ratio of good and bad. If we did that then buying games would become more convoluted than the previous sentence! It’s difficult to evaluate a games quality without diminishing the mystique of an unreleased game. The unknown variables that determine whether or not a game is a good, surely that’s part of being a gamer?
Uncharted 4 is a game I would’ve purchased regardless of general critical consensus. It could’ve been lambasted to the seven circles of Hell and it still would have received my financial backing. It’s a pretty ignorant (and hypocritical) philosophy to have I realise, to buy something regardless of it quality. It’s the one issue I believe consolidates all of the acrimony distributed by major developers, who fail to produce worthwhile content because people such as myself will routinely buy it despite everything to the contrary advising you not too. This kind of preferential prejudice is indicative of people who just want to play something good, something they hope a developer has dedicated time an effort to coordinate a game of substance. And you can’t blame gamers for being passionate and wanting a game to be good. But developers ignorance is a discussion for another time, this is about my fears for Uncharted.
I deliberately initiated a separation between myself and any commercial endorsements, trailer’s, previews, reviews, fan speculation or coverage of any kind as much as I possibly could. Not easy when so many people are discussing it. I’ve had exposure to very non specific sequences that really only clarify how exhilarating the games excerpts are, the overall structure of the narrative and the tension the game is looking to evoke. At the same time I’ve derived my own conjectural theories, constructing inaccurate hypothesis concerning the recipient of the suggestive “Thief’s End” title for one (I’m hoping its still a reference to Drakes ancestor, Sir Francis. But now that I’ve played it, or at least a portion of it I can say with absolute certainty that my fears were completely baseless. From the diverse environments, the rich engaging dialogue, the self referential nostalgia, characterisations and even a very unexpected, inception like reference to Crash Bandicoot, or “Drakeception” if you will–that had me cackling like my drunk mother at a family barbecue, Uncharted 4 is everything I could’ve wanted. The game is a little more mature than previous instalments, yet retaining much of the levity and gratuitous cinematic fluency that has made it so endearing to fans. The thing is is that I’m invested, I’m concerned and I truly care about these characters. I’m always concerned for their welfare. The anxiety I felt was so potent though that it prevented me from playing it for a whole 5 hours after obtaining it! Which really is a credit to the creators for constructing a game series of such immeasurable pleasure, that I genuinely feared that I was going to lose some of my best friends. I’m only about half way through, currently pillaging a Scottish cemetery but can already tell this is going to be one emotional journey, one that I know I’ll finish and go right back to the start to play all over again.
Sleep, it’s such a valuable commodity. A human resource frequently mismanaged by a society intent on utilising every sliver of available time at the expense of necessary slumber. Boy do I miss it. Never underestimate the rejuvenating properties of extended convalescence. It’s like concealing yourself behind conveniently situated crates and barrels for a short period in an FPS after a gunshot wound, in an attempt to heal yourself. The screen stops flashing, you’re vision is no longer impaired by a blood splatter that looks as though someone has thrown a used sanitary towel at you’re face and you can proceed to inflict severe retaliation on you’re aggressors. Sleep deprivation is a naturally occurring malady for most gamers who don’t know when to quite, with the immediate task taking precedence over any deteriorating concentration and mental fragility, both considerations being an affliction reserved for the morning stupor. Trouble is that same adolescent fervour that drives you to succeed dictates you’re actions, with the inhibiting fatigue very much a regrettable afterthought that you’re repeat again. There’s a conflicted sense of reasoning that goes into ignoring bedtime. Rationally I know that if I go to bed at a reasonable hour I’ll get a good nights sleep and feel fresh and invigorated, prepared for the complexities the day may bring. But on the other hand why waste valuable free time not doing anything when I could be finishing Ratchet and clank? (Which is ironically developed by Insomniac. Coincidence?)
I can’t condone or even rationalise such a detrimental ideology, but for me not sleeping for the recommended amount of time is an appropriate sacrifice, certainly a congenial one that affords special dispensation to the extension of time. Sleep merely detracts from the marginal interim I get to play games, allowing the following work day to recur that much more imminently. By the time I arrive home from work I’m obligated to perform further labour intensive jobs in a domestic setting. Cutting the grass, washing up, changing the baby, cooking on occasion, perhaps driving around at 3 am in an attempt to coerce my 1 month old daughter to sleep. If I don’t take the time to relax, even for an hour I’m liable to drive through next doors living room naked, going “cluck cluck, I’m a chicken” and defecate a brown egg their new carpet. I associate sleep as a negative contribution, negating the spurious time I have and would rather resent it’s absence in the morning. You anticipate just how tired you’ll feel come morning, but you’re living in the moment, fixated on getting to the next stage, with rest becoming the annoying sibling that persists in kicking you in the back.
This flagrant regard for sleep has endured for a number of years, from a time when I’d reach 2 am playing my PS1 and think “I’ll just do that next little bit, then stop” but don’t. Nowadays I have little control over my interspersed gaming, where time to do so is subject to availability. It’s not until around 10 pm that I’m finally able to gain a redeeming, solitary hour to play games. And if the sacrifice is irritable lethargy in the morning then game on!
Does gaming prevent you from sleeping? What’s the longest night you’ve gone playing a game? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
I’m sorry, I didn’t want to become “that guy” but I just can’t help but be a doting, loving father. I said I’d never be the annoying guy that clogs up your timeline with excessive number of pictures of my newborn sleeping, yet here I am. The hypocrisy! The one observant individual who’d ridicule anyone that felt compelled to post 84 consecutive images of their child’s sick with the caption “arr” has become every he as ever hated. Caring, considerate and referring to himself in third person. The shame! Well perhaps it’s time for me to repent my past sins and give in to community pressure and cherish the little bundle of joy that me and my girlfriend share. Oh what the heck, here is our beautiful girl: