Frivolous/Arduous

Tuesday December 28th : Whilst trying to get my digital copy of Inception onto my PSP I realised something. I had an old PSP (1001). It’s not a ground shaking development nor something that would change my outlook on life, but I just hadn’t realised it. A short bout of research later, and feeling somewhat spurred on by a mixture of post-Xmas blues, no holiday between Xmas and New Year, and the knowledge that I was in for an unseasonably excessive workload, I decided to give myself an expensive treat.

Wednesday December 29th : I popped into Croydon in my lunch break hoping to pick up my new toy. Game was a total bust, the sales and upcoming VAT hike meant that the queue literally went out of the door. I almost had success in HMV, but the only one they had in stock was a returned, broken one. I decide to just order it online. “If order it from Game I can get myself some reward points and with free express delivery have it by the New Year”, I thought. A few moments on their website and the deed was done. All I had to do now was sit back and wait…

Thursday/Friday December 30th/31st : I knew I was being a little optimistic. I figured that they were still recovering from the Xmas rush of online ordering, besides it was between Xmas and New Year, and like where I worked, a lot of people were either on holiday or off sick.

New Year : HURRAY! Everyone drank and was merry. No need for treats or stuff like that, I was having fun and people weren’t working. We all need a break sometimes.

Tuesday January 4th : After a hard day at work I was hopeful that I might have a package waiting for me. I phoned Michelle before I left and did ask, but there was nothing waiting for me. Not even a “we tried to deliver your package when you were out” slip.

When I got in, I went online to check my orders status. “Oh it’s been shipped” I initially cooed. “It was being shipped today” I said a bit more puzzled. A few clicks more and I was on the Parcelforce website checking my delivery’s status. It was dispatched today. It had also, according to their website, been successfully delivered.

And signed for.

BY ME.

OK. Maybe a little bit of a mistake, it can happen. But their website helpfully has a way of looking at the signature of the signee. Maybe I was starting to get a little annoyed by now, but did that signature look like someone had tried to just write my name?

I went door to door with all the nearest neighbours. No-one had taken any deliveries. Everyone wished me “good luck in finding out what had happened to it”. When no-one had taken delivery of it, I went from puzzled to full-on rage. I went on both Parcelforce’s and Game’s websites and made complaints, noting down a few useful phone numbers to give a few angry phone calls to.

(OK, at this point I started writing things down. Names of people – replaced with initials in this post to protect the “innocent” and to prevent any potential for legal gubbins – and dates and times and what was said. I’ll try to keep it brief.)

Wednesday January 5th : Wasted some time navigating around the confusing Parcelforce automated menus and then 15 minutes listening to a loop of Coldplay. Eventually I spoke to a nice woman (didn’t get her name!) who was helpful and apologetic. She gave me the phone number for the depot my parcel had shipped from.

I then spoke to W. W wasn’t rude, just disinterested. He told me that he would phone the driver to find out what had happened. This was 10:10. At 14:40 I phoned back. Was cut off once, but eventually got W again. He told me that the manager was dealing with it and would be speaking to the driver the next morning and that he, W, would give me a call.

“Good, the manager’s involved, this might shake things up.” I thought. I was wrong.

Thursday January 6th : Didn’t hear anything all morning so called W back at 11:50. He tells me he needs to get some paper work from the manager and would call me back in 5 minutes. At 12:30, N (the manager) calls me back but directly from his mobile. He was very nice but had failed to speak to the driver that morning. The driver was apparently ignoring his mobile and any texts so he was unable to find anything more out. N asked me exactly what I had lost and I tell him. He tells me that they will either find out where the item is, or just tell Game it’s lost and I can get a redelivery or a refund. N promises to speak to the driver the following morning.

Friday January 7th : Again no call back, so at 12:30 I call N myself.

“Oh I was just about to call you”, N tells me. ūüė°

N tells me that the driver “swears blind” he did deliver the package but must have just not updated the console properly. N then tells me that the driver would be in the area of my home again at about 13:00 and was going to try to jog his memory about what had happened. (?) Michelle was in, so I tell the manager this, thinking that it might help.

At 14:25 I get a voicemail from N. He hasn’t heard anything from the driver. I end up managing to get to speak to N again at 16:40. N tells me that he doubts he will be hearing back from the driver that day. I say, “OK, I’ll call Game”. N says, “I’m sure they will send you another one.”

Saturday January 8th : Speak to Game. S tells me that one of her colleagues (A) had sent Parcelforce an email that morning in response to my online complaint from the 4th. Unfortunately, as it was a Saturday, I would have to wait until then before any more could be done about it. She tells me that A would call me back on Monday. I confirm my mobile number with S.

Monday January 10th : 16:00 and no call from Game. I call them back. I speak to N who was very helpful. She actually phones up Parcelforce whilst I’m on hold to find out what’s been going on. After 5 minutes she’s back talking to me. Apparently Parcelforce were telling her that the driver said he knocked on the door, but there was no answer, as he was walking away someone came to the door and signed for it. The driver couldn’t remember what the person that signed for it looked like. Parcelforce then added that it was upto Game to decide what this meant. (?)

N then tells me that sounds like it’s lost to her. She says “we’ve been having a lot of trouble with Parcelforce” and we exchange ancedotes about the problems we’ve had. (At last a kindred spirit!) She offers redelivery or refund. I decide for redelivery, thinking it will be the least amount of effort for me, but ask if I can have it delivered to work instead. She says thats ok and asks me to confirm my work address over the phone. She tells me that she will organise a redelivery and call me back the next day with an order number.

Wednesday January 12th : I give them the benefit of the doubt again and let Tuesday slide, figuring that they are probably still a little snowed under. I call them back at 14:30 and speak to A2 who says she will ask N about what’s happening. She then comes back and tells me that their website order team is very short-staffed so it was a bit held up. She then tells me that she will send them an email to make my order a priority. She tells me that I should receive an email with the order number in it that evening. (I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should just give and get a refund now.)

When I get home I find I was sent this email at 15:50 and not only that but my order was now preparing for packing.

Thursday January 13th : It finally gets shipped again using a 24 hour business delivery. I then just check the delivery address. DISASTER. It’s being sent to my home address again! I fear the worst.

Friday January 14th : I spend the morning checking the Parcelforce delivery tracking service every 15 minutes or so. I stop doing this at 11:00. I then check again at 13:00 and find that it’s been delivered. The signee this time is what I think is a neighbour, although i didn’t really recognise the name.

That evening I got home. Again no failed delivery attempt note through the door, but I had guessed the neighbour right and hip hip hooray I finally got it. (It’s a very lovely PSP 3003, MUCH lighter, smaller, slick-looking, with a beautiful new display and faster loading times.)

If there was a moral, or a lesson to be learned, I cannot help but feel it’s this.

DON’T TRUST PARCELFORCE. Even when they did manage to get the package to near my house they left me to work out where it was!

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Published in: on 15/01/2011 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Quality vs. Quantity

I have no idea how many new XBox games get released every week, but it must be a lot.¬† Just have a quick look around CEX and you’ll discover hundreds of games you’d never even heard of.¬† A lot of them are rubbish, some of them are good and a few are really great.¬† One thing that always seems to be constant though is the price.¬† Every time I look at buying a new games it is listed as R.R.P ¬£49.99 , but reduced to somewhere between ¬£37 and ¬£40.¬† But not all games are equal, so why is the cost of buying them the same?

I was thinking about this whilst driving home today and a thought occurred to me: Why not price games based on the amount of gameplay they have in them?¬† Surely no-one would object to paying more for a game that lasted¬†twice as long?¬† As an example, let’s look at¬†my two most recent purchases.¬†¬†First off is¬†“Bioshock¬†2”, a game that I thoroughly enjoyed despite what several other WWRSers¬†have said.¬† I found it engaging, immersive and very beautiful to look at.¬† However, it was over all too quickly.¬† In fact I finished it within a week over the course of a few sessions and probably only racked up about¬†10 hours of play.¬† In comparison the game I am currently playing is “Fallout: New Vegas”, the follow up¬†to my favourite game of 2009.¬† In terms of gameplay it is almost identical to its predecessor and they’ve even recycled some of the areas wholesale despite it being set several thousands of miles away.¬† But it has sill completely sucked me in and I’m fast approaching the 50 hour mark with no end in sight.

So, is it fair that these games both cost the same amount to buy when they came out?¬† If I hired a tennis court for an afternoon I would expect to play twice as much to play for¬†twice as long, so why is this any different?¬† Would it not be possible for an independent body (I’ll volunteer mine) to play all games before they’re released and then assign a price based on the time it took them?¬†

Of course, this only works for relatively linear or mission based games like the ones above.¬† A game like Fifa¬†11 couldn’t be categorised¬†in this way so a different method would be needed for them.¬† There would also need to be some sort of max and minimum limit as otherwise Oblivion would have priced itself outside of anyone’s range.¬† Finally, it could have some interesting effects on XBox Arcade games.¬† After all, you can pick up “Defence Grid” from about 800 MS points and I’ve spent more time playing that than Bioshock 1 and 2 combined!¬† I guess the argument there would be the different¬†amounts of time and effort that went into creating those games.

So clearly it’s not a perfect system but I reckon it might work.¬† Anyone got any other measures they think would also work?

Si

Published in: on 04/11/2010 at 7:51 pm  Comments (4)  
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[Edited version of a long email i sent.¬† Trying to make it less current tense while talking about last year! I’ve also put Demon’s Souls in a proper position. It’s a lot higher than it was! Now i know it got a bit of a anti-hardcore backlash from a few dissenters on the internet, but i geniunely enjoyed it. You know you are really deeply into a game when the clock strikes 3am and you’re still gripping the controller with palms sweaty from the tension!]

Last year was a pretty good year for gaming, in spite of the “run away” mentality of almost every publisher at the end of the year, as the assumed omnipotence of Modern Warfare 2 loomed greatly over what could have been a fantastic final few months. ¬†Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, Bayonetta, God Of War 3, Split/Second, and many more all turned their tails and bravely run away into 2010. ¬†It means we’ve had a great beginning to this year, but it meant the pickings were a bit thin at the end of last year. ¬†Not that this has stopped lots of great games coming out anyway, just only from the brave, the niche, or those that just knew that they already had a strong enough fan base.

Aside from this, it’s been a year of my gaining two pretty sweet new consoles. ¬†
Nintendo’s DSi came out in April and was a day one purchase for me. ¬†Although some of the new features are pretty easy to ignore, it’s new feel, better ergonomics, and improved online capabilities made it quite desirable to me, in spite of it not really being a massive technological jump. ¬†More dramatic than this was my succumbing to Sony’s charms once more and finally getting a PS3. ¬†When the much smaller slim was announced with a very appealing price drop, the lure of Little Big Planet, God of War 3, and DC Online Universe overwhelmed me, i could resist no longer and i had to get one. ¬†Although i’m still keeping to my “exclusives only” rule, i’m finding that there are plenty of absolutely great games available on it, show casing a greater power when it comes to processing and graphics in some games, as well as an often more enjoyable, and free, online experience. ¬†It is often a fairly lonely one, with very little in the way of comms, but people are generally friendlier and less annoying.

10) Disgaea DS (DS) РA fun, involving, and practically bottom-lessly deep strategy JRPG.  Great, if insane, characters and a fun and easy to use combat system.  The difficult necessitates a lot of grinding, which can get a little dull, but the levelling options are neatly incorporated in the strategy elements.

9)   Battlefield 1943 (XBLA) РA much anticipated download that just had a lot of well thought out ideas to make it as fun as possible.  A mixture of vehicles, a basic and easily changed set of classes, and simple combat made this a real blast to play and at very little cost.

8 ) Mario and Luigi in Bowser’s Inside Story (DS) – A curious mixture of Mario platforming and RPG type combat, but a lot of fun with a good story and likeable and often funny characters. ¬†Completely bonkers but absorbing.

7) ¬†Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox360) – Such a massive improvement over what was a rather dissappointing first game. ¬†A wealth of new features, much more likeable characters, and a fun world in which to explore.

6) ¬†Batman Arkham Asylum (Xbox360) – Rare is the game that does the right thing with a superhero franchise. ¬†Most just mess it right up with either bad story, improperly used characters, terrible controls, or just rubbish ideas. ¬†Batman Arkham Asylum avoids so many of these problems, creating a likeable Batman voiced by proper voice actors who’ve made the characters their own, a decent story, and a simple but exciting combat system.

5)  Borderlands (Xbox360) РA fun, breezy shooter with absurd weapons, bizarre characters, a well judged difficulty curve, and a unique graphics style.  Nice online co-op as well, if the local co-op is spoilt by a cluttered display.

4) ¬†Killzone 2 (PS3) – When i first booted this up, the graphics blew me away. ¬†It does just look gorgeous, unfortunately the single player campaign is like Gears of Wars’ spoilt idiot son, but don’t let that put you off, the online mutliplayer is excellent. ¬†Huge, gorgeous, interesting matches, and plenty of levelling up to do that’s not just handed to you. ¬†A lot of fun and well worth putting the effort into.

3) ¬†Uncharted 2 (PS3) – I managed to get through the brilliant prequel before this came out and already had a big soft spot for Nathan Drake. ¬†As Bourne is to Bond, Nathan is to Indy. ¬†Aside from a likeable lead, this has a great cast, female characters that approach Alyx Vance in terms of strength and doing good for computer generated Woman-kind, beautiful and exciting set pieces, and a lovely control scheme. ¬†It’s also got a wealth of online modes, with a tonne of free DLC available. ¬†Absolutely awe inspiring and exhilirating.

2) Demon’s Souls (PS3) – This is a curiousity. It’s a game that, well, i really shouldn’t have played when i did. You see, i bought it for myself as a Christmas present. It’s only available on import from the US from what is likely to be a limited run, but the word of mouth and reviews were seriously glowing. Most of it’s praise however, was due to it’s unashamed hardcore nature. Never being one to shy away from some sort of elitist niche ūüėČ , or at least give it a go, i got it on import. While i was off sick, i was naughty, and in a fit of illness induced self-pity i started playing it. My thinking being, what if it’s just too hardcore for me. What a frustrating dissappointment that would be. I owed it to myself to give it a go. ūüėČ

Well, it is pretty hardcore, but it is definitely fair. In fact, it takes most of the quite unrealistic things from RPGs that help you get by, and gets rid of them. No wolves dropping spoons for you to sell, all monsters are a threat to the unready, carelessness costs you lives, in fact, this is a game that embraces your characters death. At the end of the tutorial there’s boss which is supposed to kill you. Really. (It will kill you on your first playthrough at least.) It will scare you when you see this enormous beast swining a huge axe at you. Then you get to start playing.

You spend most of the game, in soul form, with a depleted health bar, fighting things that can easily kill you with a few well placed blows. There’s a lot to be said about this game, mainly because it’s got a wealth of refreshing and original ideas all packaged up in the unassuming guise of a standard dungeon crawling RPG. For me, it’s the fantastic combat that allows you to be graceful if you can master it, and the fact that every move you make, every step, every retread is filled with intrepidation and fear. Thrilling but demanding and destined to be a classic.

1) ¬†Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox360) – Bit of a no-brainer. ¬†Very much the social online game as far as i’m concerned the new version adds so much to the game and is definitely much more than just a collection of add-ons to an already excellent game. ¬†With so much done to fix the original, not that it really needed much fixing, this is a game that deserves praise for taking it’s own ideas in exciting new directions. ¬†Also, hurray for Valve, DLC is already planned for next spring, bringing back Zoe, Bill, Francis and Louis for a zombie packed meeting (including a new Campaign for Coop and Versus, Scavenge and Survival) and extra weaponry!

Published in: on 29/03/2010 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bob’s 2009 gaming wishlist – Revisited

A while back i posted a list of hopes and dreams of games to come.¬† As time has passed five of them i’ve picked up (Batman Arkham Asylum, Prototype, Scribblenauts, Moving Notepad, and Sacred 2), one of them i became a lot less¬†interested in when i had a chance to play (Ghostbusters)¬†and¬†one of them is due out in a few weeks time (Modern Warfare 2).¬† The remaining five have all slipped back to next year.

I’m pretty sure that two of these have made the move because of Modern Warfare 2 (Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption).¬† DC Universe Online and Final Fantasy XIII are more likely to have been the victim of over-expectant development schedules, and Infinite Space is most likely fallen foul of the difficulty with which niche JRPG’s have in finding Western publishers.¬† (Something which is annoyingly keeping Demon’s Souls from having a European release although it’s reviews and demand is exceptional.)

Unusually for this time of year, the actual crop of games due for your release has diminished, with many blaming the assumed might of Modern Warfare 2 causing many publishers to shy away to the start of next year.¬† To be honest, i’m not too bothered by this.¬† Yes it gives me the task of avoiding buying some games so that there’s something to want for Christmas, but there’s still one or two gems to come.

For a start Borderlands is out on Friday.¬† With it’s local co-op splitscreen and absurd, and supposedly neatly distinct and varied, range of weapons counting the “Bazillions”.¬† I’ve been keen on this for a while, and the unique selling point of “Bazillions” of weapons seems to be holding out quite well.¬† I would have liked to have been able to customise them to my liking rather than having the random, RPG-esque loot drops, yet i’m still pretty psyched about it’s arrival.

Then there’s the almighty L4D2, with a whole host of new special infected, weapons,¬†additional gameplay modes, alledgedly more dynamic AI director, and stronger – although that might just mean existent – story line.¬† This was shamefully missing from my original 2009 wishlist – possibly not announced at that point – but has been the cause of much excitement and expectation.¬† Roll on the demo! ūüôā

Published in: on 22/10/2009 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Going cross-platform

Not long ago…¬† (Ok, quite long ago judging by the apparent death of this blog in recent months.)

I’ll start again…

A while back Giles raised the point of fanboyism. I responded to this post with the story of my resisting the PS3 and how i went from being a Sony fanboy to a hater.

My resistance to the PS3 was pretty much one part feeling of betrayal and two parts baulking at the price tag, with the second definitely contributing to the first. This meant that when the PS3 Slim came along, what was once stubborn refusal soon gave way to a nerdish desire. I had always coveted Little Big Planet and have been a big fan of the Sony exclusive God of War series, so having an opportunity to acquire these, or at least the console that would let me play them, and at a more palatable price, got me down to Game and putting down a preorder.

In the time after getting it, i’ve restricted myself to PS3 exclusives, favouring the Xbox for the cross-platform games due to having more Xbox owning friends. I’ve not done the maths but it strikes me that there aren’t that many must have PS3 exclusives. I picked up Little Big Planet and Killzone 2 immediately, and have regretted neither. Shortly after i also got Uncharted : Drakes Fortune, Infamous and Ratchet and Clank : Tools of Destruction. Uncharted and Ratchet and Clank have had¬†considerable play time, Infamous considerably less (due mostly to the outstanding quality of the other games when compared to it!)

It didn’t take me long to get reacquainted with the PS3 controller, very familiar, light and a good rumble pack, but let down by stubby lower shoulder buttons – i guess i’m spoilt by the great big triggers of the Xbox 360 controllers.¬† I did find that for ¬£3¬† handy plastic extenders could be bought¬†that made them a lot more user friendly.

Getting online was pretty easy and completely free, and the online store uses real money, so no guessing how much you’re actually spending when using it. The web interface is usable and allows access to both iPlayer and Youtube, which is nice.

It’s also practically whisper quiet which means little to no distracting whirring when playing a stealthy part of a game – i always find that a bit of a mood breaker on the Xbox, even when i think i’ve got used to it.

All this said, i’m quite aware that it doesn’t appear to be an essential purchase. If you’ve got an Xbox and are focussed on the games available for it, then you can happily live in ignorance. However, if, like me, you’ve looked at the world of games and seen several gems that will always be out of your reach and find it hard to live with that, then i would say go for it. There’s very little comparable to Little Big Planet and the upcoming Uncharted 2 on the Xbox. It’s also free to go online, but with sparse to non-existent party and comms support. (Surprisingly a mixed blessing as i’m also yet to experience the pain of an annoying 12 year old screeching abuse at me when playing online.)

(Note : It’s yet to be seen whether Playstations other big steps towards game types outside of the Xbox’s scope (MAG and DC Universe) will be additions to the list of must-haves, but the potential i’ve seen and the lack of lag i’ve experienced in other games bodes well for both of them.¬† That and i’m a massive DC comics fan. ūüėČ )

Published in: on 07/10/2009 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Game Naming Fail

Now I’m the Faction leader,¬†so what name would I give to my favourite Grandson?¬† That’s right, Arses:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2681571&l=458517471c&id=619635123

Supposedly it’s a random name, but I can’t help thinking the computer is mocking me.

Published in: on 21/07/2009 at 12:15 am  Comments (2)  
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Diary Of A Dead XBox Owner * (Updated)

(* It’s the XBox that is dead, not the owner!)

Sunday 12th July РToday at midday my XBox died.  Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.  Spent a few hours on the internet trying to work out if I could fix it myself but then gave in and sent off e-mail to Microsoft support.  Watched 2 DVDs and played Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 on the PC for the rest of the day to keep myself occupied.  My roller coasters also broke. Typical.

Monday 13th July ‚Äď Got reply back from Microsoft while I was at work but decided to wait until I got home to read it as I‚Äôm not supposed to check web e-mail in the office. ¬†Spent extra long in the gym after work as no need to rush home. Tried to use the shoulder press machine but the seat broke when I sat on it. ¬†*Sigh*¬† Went home and read e-mail from Microsoft and discovered I needed a printer to print out a label, so decided I would have to do it work after all.¬† Played more Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Tuesday 14th July ‚Äď Got into work early and went onto the Xbox website to sort out the repair before other people got in and started asking questions. ¬†Discovered that the website is blocked by my company‚Äôs web filter. ¬†Arse. ¬†Decided to do some work instead but then had power cut which meant my computer didn‚Äôt work for the rest of the day even though everyone else in the office seemed to be okay. ¬†I‚Äôm starting to wonder if I‚Äôve enraged some gypsy women or something.¬† Back at home I managed to complete the Xbox registration and log my repair request, at which point I discovered that the thing I needed to print would be e-mailed me to, so I could have done that on the Monday night after all. ¬†Ho hum.¬† Went to football, scored 2 goals (both in the right goal) and didn‚Äôt break anything.

Wednesday 15th July ‚Äď Got into work and thankfully the UPS website isn‚Äôt blocked so I printed out my UPS label.¬† Discovered that Sam still had the box they sent his Xbox back in so went round after work and pinched that. ¬†When I got home I packaged everything up and then watched ‚ÄúVicky Christina Barcelona‚ÄĚ. ¬†The only thing that broke was my heart when I realised Scarlett Johansen will never go out with me.¬† Damn that Ryan Reynolds!

Thursday 16th July ‚Äď Took my packaged XBox to the UPS depot this morning to drop it off. ¬†Turns out that it was the wrong depot thanks to some dodgy directions from their website. ¬†Finally found the right one, the guy behind the desk took one look at me as I walked in and said ‚ÄúXBox?‚ÄĚ So much for Microsoft‚Äôs cunning plan of ensuring it remains unrecognisable during transit. ¬†Still, it‚Äôs on its way now.¬† Went to the gym after work again, burnt off another 1000 calories on the cardio machines and then worked the guns. ¬†Went home and watched ‚ÄúRedbelt‚ÄĚ which was excellent, thinking about signing up for Jui Jitsu lessons.

Friday 17th July ‚Äď Turns out it wasn‚Äôt on its way after all. ¬†Checked UPS tracking site this morning and it didn‚Äôt leave Crawley until 7.45pm last night, 11 hours after I dropped it off. ¬†An hour and a half later it arrived in Barking. ¬†My geography isn‚Äôt great, but isn‚Äôt that in the opposite direction to Frankfurt? ¬†It then left Barking at 7.26am this morning and is due to arrive in Frankfurt on, wait for it‚Ķ. ¬†Monday!!¬† I could go out right now and pinch a bike from the bike sheds and I‚Äôd be in Frankfurt before then!!! ¬†Rubbish.¬† Never mind, I had a very good night at The Glamorgan celebrating Mik’s pre-Stag Do Do.

Saturday 18th July – My head felt a little broken this morning but not enough to stop me from heading off to the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park to see “The Importance Of Being Earnest”.¬† It was a very good day, with upside down squirrels and rather spicy curries and nothing at all broken.¬† Result.

Sunday 19th July – Checked the UPS website this morning and they said that my XBox had been delivered to Frankfurt yesterday, 2 days ahead of schedule.¬† Excellent!¬† Went onto the Microsoft site and got really excited for a brief moment until I realised that where it said “Your XBox has been fixed and shipped back to you” was just an explanation of the different stages of the process and not the status of mine.¬† In fact they were still saying that mine hadn’t arrived yet so I’m not sure where UPS have delivered it to.¬† Decided to play on my PC for a bit only to discover that my DVD ROM drive had, you guessed it, broken!¬† What is going on in my flat?!?¬† So I decided to take the opportunity to have a bit of a clean and tidy up and even put up a mirror which I’ve had sitting around for 6 months.¬† Went round to my Dad’s for lunch and then watched “Get Smart” with Sam and Georgie in the afternoon, which was really nice.¬† On a tip-off from Sam I sent a text to Colin to see if he had a spare DVD drive lying about which I could buy but sadly he said he hadn’t.¬† However, later on that day he contacted me again to say that he’d been round to his Dad’s in the afternoon and learnt that he was throwing out his old computer which had a fully functioning DVD re-writer that I could have.¬† Woo hoo!¬† Picked it up on my way home and then spent an hour trying to fit it due to a series of mishaps.¬† First of all the screw holding the old one in sheared off so I couldn’t take it out, so instead I decided to put the new one in a different slot.¬† Then it turned out that as well as the plastic shielding there was a metal plate across each slot which I had to poke out and for some bizarre reason they had been screwed to the frame in such a way that you couldn’t get to the screws without taking apart the whole case!¬† Eventually I got there, put it all back together, turned it on and realised I had plugged the old one back in.¬† D’oh!¬† At about 10.30pm I finally got there and it seems to be working fine, huzzah.¬† I wonder what treats the next week will hold.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Published in: on 17/07/2009 at 10:49 am  Comments (7)  
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1 vs 100

ok so it’s still technically games-based but it is at least based on a TV show.¬† I’m going to see Harry Potter this weekend so maybe I’ll branch out into film then.

Anyway, has anyone else played 1 vs 100 yet?¬† I logged on for about an hour and friday and thought it was really fun.¬† I’m always up for trivia but the promise of real prizes does add a certain je m’appelle beouf.¬† Also,¬†I’m sure it will lose it’s dazzle factor pretty quickly but the idea you are all (I think around 60,000 of us) hooked into the same live game was pretty cool.¬† I’ve seen the future and it’s geeky.

It would be good to get a few of us playing together though – nothing like a bit of friendly competition.

Any thoughts?

Published in: on 13/07/2009 at 10:16 pm  Comments (5)  
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8 Bit Pwny Club

I may not be able to play any games but at least I can watch silly cartoons about them:

http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/8+Bit+Pwny+Club+ep.1/

Published in: on 12/07/2009 at 4:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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It finally happened!

So there I was this morning, happily playing¬†on¬†my XBox¬†whilst nursing a bit of a hangover (4 different kinds of ale, lager and tequila don’t mix!) when it finally happened.¬† I had been playing Magic: The Gathering for about 2 hours when I decided I fancied a bit of a change and thought I would switch to Battlefield 1943 for a bit of online shoot-em-up fun.¬† So I turned on my router and then exited out¬†back to the dashboard.¬† The XBox automatically signed into Live (as it is¬†prone to doing) and suddenly the graphics all went a bit funny.¬† There were strange lines in seemingly random places and some of the text was unreadable.¬† Still, I didn’t immediately worry as computers do have the occasional funny¬†turns and so I went¬†for the¬†trusty old “turn it off and on again” fix.¬† Unfortunately this did not fix it at all.¬† Quite the opposite in fact.¬† Rather than the dashboard re-appearing I was faced instead¬†with a black screen¬†containing “Please contact XBox Customer Support” in about 12 languages and a big “E74” at the bottom.¬†¬†Hesitantly,¬†and with a sense of dread slowly filling my body, I glanced down¬†at the console where my worst fears were confirmed… a flashing red ring!!!¬† Just before I dropped to my knees, arms aloft, screaming Bill Gates’ name, I remembered that some people had managed to fix their consoles when experiencing a single ring.¬† I’d never heard of this “E74” before so I didn’t know exactly what the problem was but figured I could probably find out online.¬† Sure enough there are hundreds of thousands of websites devoted to it and all but the official Microsft one claimed it was something that could be fixed without sending¬†the console off for repair.¬† So I tried all the little tricks, unplugging all my cables, using a different video cable, removing the hard drive, all¬†to no avail.¬† So back I went to the web¬†again but it turned out that those sites which claimed I’d be able¬†to¬†fix it myself assume that you have your own workbench, soldering irons, heat guns and an electronic engineering degree.¬† So it looks like it’s going to be a Microsoft repair job after all.¬† Poo!

Published in: on 12/07/2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (1)  
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