Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Where the world went AWOL

I understand that this may seem a strange title for a blog on a games page but stay with me on this. For anyone that regularly reads this page you will be well aware of the Faux Bots’ "sheer piss pants excitement" at Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Now I’m not going to try to rival that excitement or reciprocate what was said, but I feel I must make a comment that contradicts nearly every review of this game. No it’s not going to be that it is an amazing game, it is flawed heavily but still enjoyable, it will be that the lack of online co-op is not a bad thing.

I realise with that comment alone I have lost a lot of people, but here is my argument; when was the last time you sat down with a friend (or friends if you’re lucky enough to have more than one) to conquer a game side by side, or alternatively beat the living crap out of them for shits and giggles. My thoughts on this started when I was forced to complete Gears of War co-op in split screen due to my live not working (more because of my pig headed nature than a fault by anyone else). This was possibly my favourite experience of a co-op game, not because of the satisfaction of beating RAAM but because of the sheer manic nature of trying to spot any enemy from my tiny section of the screen, and a much more successful development of strategy with you brother in arms.

It’s a fair point to make that this may not be everyone’s preference, and ideally if I wasn’t forced to complete it in that way I doubt I would have initially chosen to do so, but by some force of nature I believe I had a more enjoyable experience playing it in this manner.

I know what you’re all thinking; "wow this one decent experience has been enough to scramble this poor lads brain" or "boy was he drunk or something" (that is quite possible), but I say hold up, I’m far from finished, so go put the kettle on and then come back to witness the coup de grace if you will.

This does deviate from the whole Kane and Lynch experience a bit but it is as valid as any other argument. Sports games! I hear some moans from the back row but this is a true behemoth in this discussion.

Now I realise that not everybody enjoys sports games, we get the whole it’s the same every year argument, but they are bigger than huge developments, they are the true buddy game. I’ve been playing these beasts for as long as I can remember, all the way back to Italia ’90, FIFA International and EA Hockey. That’s a long time ago! I can say with great certainty that there have been huge developments in graphics and game play but they have remained constant with one aspect…Multiplayer. The whole idea of these games is not really for a one man war on the newest AI, but a determination to prove that you are the best out of your mates. I mean who cares if you can beat Brazil on hard on Pro-Evo, it’s about what real people you can beat. Flesh and bones, occasionally with a brain cell; able to make a tactical change for a reason.

I know we now have the option of playing these matches online but what satisfaction do you get when you can’t see your opponents head sink when you pull off that flashy new move you’ve been working on for the last week. Sat side by side with a beer going warm, face construed with concentration, gloating at the prospect of the destruction about to take place or the rushing through the replays of the opponents’ goal/ touchdown/ homerun etc, while they can feel that sense of satisfaction in knowing that they have truly pissed you off.

There is one game that stands out as the greatest 1-on-1 game, and I know I’ll get berated for this but it has to go to the Madden series. That sheer enjoyment of watching your fourth quarter touchdown drive, watching the horror as you intercept a pass or force a fumble, and the overwhelming sense that you made the world better when you injure your opposing quarterback. No other game comes close to this for pure unforgivable bragging rights. You may beat me at Pro-Evo but it’s the gridiron that matters most.

So I say that the co-op mode of Kane and Lynch is not a recession but progression and I for one am now off to find a friend for the day to finish this game, then possibly beat them on Madden ‘08. So leave your house and go join a friend and help battle against the most vile and destructive creature known to man, you friends ego. There are so many games out that would allow you to try this strange new futuristic idea, and I urge you to take this opportunity to rekindle that forgotten art of split screen mayhem. Relive those days of Street Fighter and Streets of Rage, FIFA and Worms. Sit down with some banter and remember that we are not alone.

Token Gestures

Barry Burton Speaks...

We here at Split-Screen, being a well-respected videogames blog, are often privy to special insights and behind-the-scenes info. For years we have formed relationships with some of the industry's key figures. Shigeru Miyamoto, for instance, decided that we should sign off our articles by putting our usernames in italics. True story. But today, I am proud to present you with the intimate thoughts of the one and only Barry Burton. Many of you will remember Barry as the guy with a beard from Resident Evil, but I ask you, forget his traitorous ways, for he was lead astray, and please accept him as he tries to break into the world of blogging. Over to you Barry.

Let me say this first and foremost, I wish to make it clear that it was all Wesker's fault, I was a mere pawn.
On with business. For years I have longed for the opportunity to speak my mind and shed light upon what it means to be a secondary character in a computer game. Even though I remain a fan favourite, those fuckers at Capcom refuse to put me in another Resident Evil game. I have wandered for years, as a confused shell of a man. I used to find myself signing autographs for kids, having girls ask to look at my Colt Python, I thought that the high would never end, I was convinced that I might even get my own spin-off game. But the years continue to pass, and the phone never rings. Why Capcom? What did I do that was so wrong? I delivered each and every line with fluidity and poise, I had a beard and a cool gun, but those were never enough for you.

You gave two games to Leon and Jill. Chris gets his second next year. I don't even get an invite.
I now spend my days thinking up new and interesting ways that I could be included in upcoming games. For example; Assassin's Creed - I could be one of the guys with a beard. I don't mind getting killed even. Mass Effect - I could be this really badass bounty hunter who you meet on your travels. I stand out because of my beard and archaic but reliable Colt Python. Obviously, I never made it into either of those games, but there are some guys with beards, and I think the game designers may be making slight nods to me. Thanks for that guys, but try not to use my likeness without paying royalties in the future, ok? I'm flattered, but business is business.

But, I digress. It is not my intention to use this post as some sort of desperate cry for help, or to even fill you in on the details of the downward turn that my life has taken since everybody completed Resident Evil. Secondary characters deserve more love and respect, and it is my passion, nay, my calling, to seek out those rewards. From here on in, I will be a guest writer for Split-Screen and in the next couple of days, I will present to you my top 5 secondary characters, in the hope that the many pig-headed, fame-obsessed developers out there (Capcom) will see that just because you spend all your time with one good looking, floppy haired heroic protagonist, doesn't mean that he is necessarily the best.

More soon.

All my love.

Barry. x x x x

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Token Gestures' Top Work Time Wasters

Top work time wasters:

Now I was trying to think of some creative title for this blog but I realised that, considering the content of the post that a witty title would seem inappropriate. You see I have the misfortune of juggling a full time job with my gaming time, also a fair amount of my time devoted to “socialising”, or more accurately drinking. So as the title has made clear I will compile a list of “games” (I use the term loosely) that can be played in work to get you through those long hours that deny you access to your beloved console of choosing (stick with the 360). I will point out that this list is in no particular order, so with that let us begin:

1) Line rider ( now this is an institution in its own right. If you haven’t tried it I urge you to do so. So simple yet so compelling, the idea of the game is to draw lines that your little sledging dude can ride along, there is no beginning or end just a blank canvass for you to be as creative as you like. Now I wish that I could claim to be artistic and patient enough to compile a work of art on there, but I am still struggling to get the stupid dude to jump without falling off. However, if you want a taste of what is possible then just check out Youtube, type in Line Rider and watch the fun that can be created. This could potentially consume hours of your life so check over your shoulder to make sure you are not caught.

2) Stick Baseball ( what can possibly be said to justify this to you, well it’s a baseball game played by stick men, a simple concept, but it is worth noting it is not a comprehensive game with only batting available. I will point out it’s not as crude as you may think, some animations have now been added, from pointing to where the batter is planning on hitting the ball (although it never seems to go there) in that traditional Babe Ruth fashion, to that lovely sporting scene of the athletes coughing their guts up all over home plate. With a variety of addictive game modes to choose from this has all the potential to eat up an entire day. Happy slugging.

3) Bike mania ( –this is not the only game in this genre there is also Bike Mania 2 and 3 as well as Dirt Bike 1 and 3 (don’t bother with 2). Just search Google and you should have access to them all. These could possibly the most frustrating yet spellbinding flash games around. Just guide your rider over terrain in the fastest possible time using the arrow keys; sounds simple is simple, except for the occasional/ frequent falls. Another great way to waste an hour or two.

4) Online Poker- well I know its not really a game as such but if things get really desperate and those hours won’t pass by themselves there is always gambling, nothing says “I’m free to do what I want” like gambling, although take it easy, I know people that have lost a lot when venturing into this shady territory and if you do find yourself down, give up (believe me it’s for the best). Potentially damaging but worth a tipple.

5) Fantasy sports games- from dream teams to fantasy football to hockey pools (my own favourite and most successful) no other stats based activity is more fun, with the possible exception of Football Manager. How easy it is to toil away hours looking for that perfect cheap and easy filler that can prove the bargain buy. We all know the big names but how well do we know the little guys. Everybody claims to be experts and the next big thing; the, “you’ll know him in a few years” player from the bottom of the league club. So I say to you “Put your money and your faith where your mouth is” have a go and see where it gets you. I could spend days and thousands of words describing the joy and anguish that this simple concept can bring but you really need to venture into it yourself to find the true elation of seeing your star player haul you up the rankings, or the utter despair when somebody’s next big thing screws you over. Give it a go before you mock and before you know it the day will be over and you’re on your way home still thinking how things could be improved.

6) When all seems to be said and done you can always go back to the default games on you computer. Who hasn’t spent hours searching for mines or trying to get rid of all your cards: These simple games can prove to be the best time fillers of all. There is little else that can be added that you don’t already know so I’ll keep this one brief and say that this is for the true perfectionist in the time waster art.

Now I know this is not a comprehensive list and there are a lot of flash games out there but this truly gives a view to the possibilities. I also appreciate that some of you don’t work meaning this is completely pointless but I assure you these can be pretty fun to play in the house too, it just won’t have that element of danger that goes with the thought that your boss could catch you. We all love a little danger and this is about as much danger you can get in an office that isn’t on the 20th floor.

One final point, I have realised that me writing this while in work is also a good way to waste a lot of time and I’m sure by my final edit I could possibly have taken up the best part of a day or two. This leads me to add that this too is a great way to fill some time. Communicate, in today’s world of predictive text and abbreviation, the art of good communication is dwindling and the only way back is to fight against this free and easy method. It’s a lot more satisfying writing this article than sending or receiving texts that are written in such a way that you need to know how to break the Enigma code to understand them. (That’s my little rant over)

Gd 2 rite dis. Hope U Njoy. Peace Out.

Token Gestures

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

PS3 gets harder to hate.

I want to hate Sony, I really do. For the shitty way they treat their customers, the stupid mistakes they make, constantly slagging off the superior competition and their focus upon power over fun. If there is one thing saving this console from a shit-filled quagmire of mediocrity and sequels, then it is Media Molecule's upcoming Littlebigplanet. Yes, it's all one word.

Everything about this game oozes character and individuality. From the delightful little pop-up menus, to the comedy theatre set dressings. If Sony pushed this a little harder, along with a substantial portion of their users getting off their high horses and quitting on simply defending their, frankly retarded at this stage, £350 investment, then we may actually see some genuine progression for Sony's big chunk of ugly. Get Home sorted out, get Littlebigplanet released, re include backwards compatibility, and start trying to forge a personality for this machine. GAWD!

The Faux-Bot

Monday, 10 December 2007

Killzone 2: The gaming equivalent of some broad in a magazine, who is like, well ugly, but when you put her through photoshop, you actually would

The developers of Killzone 2 have admitted to 'touching up' the most recent screenshots released for the release date-pending FPS. Ever since that bullshit pre-rendered video that sparked multiple flamewars all across the internets, Guerilla have a had a duty to produce the goods when it comes to their potential PS3-saviour. Sadly, it seems they were blowing smoke up our collective arse yet again, when these latest shots turned out to be doctored too.

As if we weren't going to notice when it came out! Come on, if you want to pull the wool over our eyes, try at least a little harder. More here:

The Faux-Bot

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lonely writer looking for witty headline; must have GSOH

Look! A wireless nunchuk!

I have to admit, I've never been one to be seduced by peripherals, let alone third party ones. They always felt just a Also, I had the coolest pad for my SNES back in the day. It was clear plastic with neon buttons. Back then it was totally 'rad'. Sadly, some intrepid 2nd hand store shopper somewhere in Newport now owns it. I curse being so money-hungry as a child and the fact that my parents let me sell it as some sort of harsh introduction to the 'real world'. The fuckers. Anyway......

I can get one board with this third part accessory. It doesn't top the SNES pad, but after a week of getting slapped in the face by the nunchuk cable, after climbing to the highest levels of Wii Sports boxing, I for one welcome this. I nicked the picture off IGN. Other, more credible blogs didn't bother to remove their logo, so neither will I. God, sometimes I'm so nihilistic and dangerous that I turn myself on.......

The Faux-Bot

Friday, 7 December 2007