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I Have Written Some Things

October 23, 2010

It's a new feature I'm doing in here, called "updating every now and then". I expect it'll drop off quite immediately.

In my other life over on Oxygen, where I actually bother to write stuff more often than not, I have written an am0unt of words about various things. Here is an uninteresting collection of links and previews.

A review of Singularity. It looked like this, confusingly.

Anyway, Singularity posits that the Russians had yet another brilliant scheme way back in the mid-20th Century, involving a newly discovered element called E99, with strange time-bending properties. These properties mean it’s a problem for 2010’s Ubersoldier, who is in this production played by you, and his commanding officer, distractingly portrayed by Nathan Drake. Not that it really matters, because the story is rubbish, and you’ll stop paying attention after about half an hour anyway.

And a look back at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which I’d been meaning to do on here for approximately eight years.

This meant that Sands of Time benefited from Mechner’s remarkably intelligent approach to desigining electronic gamular entertainment modules. Observe, for instance, this guide to game design he casually lobbed on to his online journal about a year ago. Notice how it at no point advises that you solve all your design, budget, and marketability problems by making the lead character a sweary bad boy with grungy hair and anger management issues who spends his time arguing stabbingly with some vacuous women in their ridiculous underwear.

And then a look at that games latest mutant offspring, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.

Pity the Ubisoft employee tasked with imagining another effortfully contrived reason for the Prince of Persia to have continued access to the fabled Sands of Time (which are, I’ve just noticed, strangely absent from this instalment in all but function. The bad skeleton men don’t drop any, and aren’t infected with the sands, and Princey never collects any. Hmm. Odd.) Having returned the Dagger of Time to its rightful owner at the end of Sands of Time, and not yet owning the amulet he wears in Warrior Within since this is an in-betweequel to those games, yet another way of turning back the hands of time was needed. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands‘ answer to the foxing conundrum: some lady says he can turn back time. And then do other stuff.

And! A brief playthrough of the demo of Lost Horizon, for I am rubbish and cheap.

Lost Horizon might as well be called N.D. Anna Jonesand the European Adventure GameBased on a Quite Famous Series of Movies but Not Using the License and Look! Some Red Lines on a Map Representing Distance Travelled So It’s Authentic. But Lost Horizon is both snappier, and less likely to attract the litigious eyes of vengeful Lucasarts trademark lawyers. Coming from the European developer Animation Arts, it’s a bit of point and click heroism set in the good ol’ days of Nazi plots, Exotic Dames and Dashing Leads with brown airforce jackets and alcoholism issues.

I investigated whether The Force Unleashed 2‘s demo was better than The Force Unleashed 1′s demo. (A SPOILER: it was.)

The game seems to take a lot of sadistic joy from reminding you exactly how powerful you are thanks to your Force powers: you’ll find yourself soccer kicking an enemy a couple dozen miles, or, in an almost incongruously dark moment, using a mind trick to convince a stormtrooper to commit suicide by jumping out of a window. This is not your father’s Star Wars.

A fond look at the soft-hued world of NxyQuest: Kindred Spirits.

But where World of Goo was an exquisitely crafted puzzler (and yes, the proper spiritual successor to wonderful early-90s suicide-prevention-em-up, Lemmings), NxyQuest is a nifty little platformer, following in the nimble footsteps of Kid Icarus and Prince of Persia. If I were a man of cheap jokes, I could call it a pretender to the Prince’s throne. And, as devoted readers will no doubt be aware, I am (shamelessly so), so I shall: it’s a pretender to the Prince’s throne.

I engaged my cynicism module as I listened unhappily to Kings Of Leon’s Come Around Sundown.

But wait! I’m not being entirely fair, and now I’m breaking out in hives because of it, so I should set the record straight. They’ve put in exactly “a little bit of effort”. Just enough effort to make Come Around Sundown a servicable album, with precisely one stand-out track, and two or three rather nice highlights, and then a lot of what seems to be “Generic Kings of Leon Song 37” these years, and without spending a single second longer than absolutely necessary on it.

I was slightly confused about Ham Sammich’s White Fox.

Right, well. Ham Sandwich, proclaimed by the intelligent several as the most important Irish band around right now, are finally ushering their much-anticipated sophomore album, White Fox, out the wide-open Release Window. The results are rather fine, with some minor foibles.

And I slavered excitedly about the Corin Tucker Band’s 1,000 Years. Mmm. Love me some Corin Tucker.

No, it doesn’t matter that you don’t know who Sleater-Kinney are (although if you did recognise them as an extraordinarily great 90s-and-early-00s rock band, have this enthusiastic handshake). What does matter is that Corin Tucker, the incredi-voiced leader of the erstwhile power trio, is back from a four year exile with her first solo album, 1000 Years. And it is this thing: excellent.

And that’s about your lot, really. Not a bad first month, if I do say so myself. Except I don’t, because in my downtime I’ve been practicing ventriloquism, and this post has been made by a distressingly lifelike dummy of Craig Charles.

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