2009 Blog Archive

Borderlands

It's coming up on Christmas, when we shuffle off to the shops to buy a fun game or two for the holidays. So why is Borderlands the only fun PC game that's available? Assassin's Creed 2 won't be out for PC until January, Bioshock 2 not until the month after that...

Well, at least there are a lot of hours of gaming in Borderlands. It plays a lot like STALKER, but... better. The ecosystem is less contrived, the enemies more varied. You can drive! Good fun.

Unfortunately, for those of us in Australia, Take 2 is doing their best to encourage piracy by charging criminal prices for the game. A practice I expect to continue until the current crop of industry executives die out and a new generation with half a clue come along. Kind of like the music industry, though in that case I think financial collapse will be necessary.

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Cataract Gorge in Flood

Winter has arranged for some serious rain over the last few days, and Launceston's Cataract Gorge has been busy pouring it through into the Tamar River.

You can find a fresh pic of it in the Gallery. Taken with my shiny new Lumix LX3, which is much more difficult to drive than the old faithful Canon Powershot G3. But wow is it fast! I'll post more pics once I learn to properly drive it. I also mean to upgrade this web site with a decent content management system... Notepad isn't quite up to the job these days. Too much HTML!

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Who watches the Watchmen?

Plenty of people, according to the box office figures. Interesting how people will happily go to the movies to watch a computer-rendered naked blue man with superpowers, while simultaneously condemning the same thing in an animation or comic book as too unrealistic or just writing it off as kid stuff. Admittedly, a lot of the animation out there is rubbish. But is daytime television really any better?

But I digress. If you have any interest in comics or the Watchmen comic/graphic novel/movie in particular, go check out Andrew Rilstone's blog. He's written a very entertaining (and rather long) fanzine-style analysis that makes a great read.

(The article is a PDF. Click the grey Who sent the Sentinels? pic on his site to view it)

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Thief 4

Hot on the heels of the demise of 3D Realms comes the confirmation that there will be a Thief 4. Called THI4F at this stage, which legitimises bad spelling trends a bit too much for my taste, but there you go.

My hope is that Garrett won't play a visible part. Let's face it, he's earned a rest. I'd like to see a game set a generation later, where the new Keepers are run by the girl Garret caught trying to pick his pocket. Higher technology in the city, new forces at play. New story arc, with the same open design to the levels. Keep the on-rails linear stuff to the likes of Splinter Cell, thank you very much!

Apparently, the same studio will also be making Deus Ex 3. Eidos created Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2 in the same studio, and managed to screw them both up really well. Thief 3 was fun despite the problems, thanks to the intense story and some heroic level design work. But the engine held it back. Deus Ex 2 had no redeeming features... Hopefully they'll learn from the mistakes, but only time will tell.

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RIP 3D Realms

Wow, It's been a long time between updates! My fault, I've been writing a fantasy novel.

The news item that made my break the drought is unfortunately not a good one. 3D Realms, one of the few remaining game developers not at the mercy of marketing insanity, has gone belly-up. Lack of funds, apparently.

This is disappointing, but to a cynical old fellow like me it's no great shock. One can restart development of a game only so many times before you have to publish something or go bust.

Duke Nukem Forever, the huge title 3D Realms were working on, will therefore never meet its potential. I'm sure something will eventually appear on shelves with the name Duke Nukem Forever, but it will be a different creature. That said, it might still manage to be fun. We can only hope.

In the meantime, where's Bioshock 2? I've finished Tomb Raider Underworld and need another good single player game!

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