Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hello My Friends!

Well just a quick one to say thanks for all your good wishes and kind thoughts. Just to clear up the mystery, I've no idea what's wrong with me, neither do the docs! my heartbeat is 118 BPM, whereas the norm is between 50-100. I'm short of breath and I've got fluid on the lungs! Jeez! having said that, I don't feel too bad! And the docs don't think it's anything fatal at the moment (thanks Funnyman!)

Still, I've got to stay in next week, but I've had a day at home today. It's been great and I've been pampered by the family. Part of this pampering includes a brand new PSP Light to help me pass the time. I've completed God Of War and I've got Need For Speed Carbon, Gun, Tekken Dark Resurrection, Virtua Tennis World Tour, Tocca Race Driver, Micro Machines, Powerstone Collection, Fifa 09, GTA Liberty City Stories, plus Akira, House Of Flying Daggers and Kung Fu Hustle on video! Not bad eh?So I'm still alive and kicking at the moment, and hoping to be home some time next week with a conclusive diagnosis! Then I can get back to blogging and enjoying the good life! Still, my days of living an unhealthy lifestyle are firmly behind me, that is definite. There's nothing like spending ten days on a hospital ward with three guys with 248 years between them, one in the advance stages of pancreatic cancer, two who are incontinent, one blind and all three flatulent in the extreme! That's an eye-opener believe me! Stay well brothers!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A message from FK

Hi this is joe FK's son. He wants you all to know that hes in hospital so hes sorry if hes been quiet and not replying to any emails. He's unable to get to a computer and is unlikely to be out until next week. Please spread this around the blogsphere. He sends a big big love to all!
cheers everyone Joe x

Monday, January 12, 2009

Games For 2009: The "To Do" List... Xbox 360

Well, well, well... No sooner have I finished looking back on the games of 2008, when I've got to consider the games I will be playing over the coming year. I've decided that this post will come in a few parts, considering the variety of consoles available to me, this seems the only sensible way to go... Otherwise it gets a little confusing.

So let's start with the most accessible: The 360. I say 'accessible' because it's right there in the little living room, the room where we hang out the most. The TV is the biggest downstairs (not huge, about 28 ", but it has the Xbox and the Dreamcast permanently hooked up to it, so there's no messing about with cables.

The Wii now resides in Little Ted's room and the PS3 moves about from room to room. In the big living room, we have the PS2 and recently, the Saturn permanently hooked up. Nice set up huh?

OK, so first things first... There's no point me starting anything new till I've tidied a couple of things up.

Unfinished Business #1: GTA IV I'm 50% of the way through the game. However, I can see this as being something I chip away at 5% at a time between other games. I really think I have to be careful in the future. I'm not the sort of guy who can just gun his way through a game. One because the demands of work and family necessitate that I don't put in long sessions of play, hours at a time. I'm not an intuitive gamer. Missions, routes, pathways etc. that might seem obvious to others can pass me by unnoticed. That can result in me spending ages just floundering around. Missions that some people might knock off on a first attempt, I might only achieve on a third or fourth attempt... The time adds up and it's time I don't have... So Niko, will have to be content to come out and play on my schedule...

Unfinished Business #2: Fallout 3: I'm in love with this game and the world in which you play. everything about this game is perfect to me. The atmosphere, the interaction with AI characters, the retro-future styling, the gun play with the VATS system, the apocalyptic vision of post-nuclear war ravaged Washington, the various tribes and factions, the fauna and flora, the nostalgic soundtrack and in game radio broadcasts... Sheesh! It's everything I had hoped for and more... I've played it without guides or walkthroughs, discovering new characters, quests, areas and landscapes, letting the game unfold before me. It's picking up speed now and my progress is much quicker than it was in the first few days of play. So I'm completing this before anything else is even considered. I've got my DS, Dreamcast and Saturn for short bursts of distraction if needed, but there will be nothing put into the 360 before I've completed Fallout... (Oh and do enjoy the video review at the top of the post...)

Hopefully, no matter how badly I play, I'll have managed to complete it before March 13th 2009, the day the highly arousing Resident Evil 5 comes out. This will be pre-ordered and picked up on the day of release. I'm not expecting to breeze through it by any means, so it could take up most of March. I'm quite tempted to play it co-op with someone much better than me, so I can complete it quickly, see the cut scenes and story revelations and then maybe come back and play it single player at my leisure...

Gears Of War 2: I enjoyed Gears well enough, but I'm not mad to get into GOW2. it's been sat in my house for nearly a month and I haven't even bothered to try it for five minutes, but I will get round to it.

ProEvo 2009: For the last couple of months I've watched my two eldest sons play match after match with often hilarious competitiveness. I've got to get in on the action. I love soccer games on the Saturn and Dreamcast, but both Pro and Fifa have eluded me in terms of appeal since PS2 times... Having said that I played about three seasons of Fifa 07 on my DS whilst I was off, winning every major title and taking my beloved Manchester City to the top of the Premiership.
So yeah, football is gonna feature in 2009.

Bioshock 2: Another one which will be pre-ordered and picked up on the day of release. Unlike the second part of Gears Of War, I'm gagging to see what happens in the next installment of this particular story. It's taken all of my will power to not take a backward step and re-play the original...

Call Of Duty: World At War: I liked COD4 in mission mode, and that is the way I intend to play this title. In straightforward liner fashion till it's completed, then I'll leave it alone.

I'll stop there, because that lot could conceivably take me up to the Autumn period. No doubt I'll deviate from this list or there will be something I've not considered that catches my eye. But realistically, if I also play my other consoles in the way I intend, that's quite enough to be going on with...

Sunday, January 11, 2009


A couple of music videos for you here. The one at the top is by the band Pendulum, a shared love of both myself Joe and my oldest son Joe. 'Swinging' (geddit?) between rock, indie and thumping drum 'n' bass, they're a breath of fresh air within the UK music scene, appealing to a broad spectrum of music lovers. The first video strikes a blow for those of us in the "portly/rotund" section of society, although contrary to internet rumour, it's not me in the video...

The second video, is a Pendulum remix of an old Prodigy classic, Voodoo people. I love the Prodigy's punky outlook on the rave scene. It was fresh and original, dark and brooding as the quite disturbing video shows. I've seen them twice, and believe me, when they kick off, everyone in the house is rocking! expect more from both bands during 2009, though I'll resist the urge to throw up a load of videos which people ignore.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nazi Zombies!

I just checked the date of my last post and it was literally a week ago. Having been absent for so long, it may have looked like I'd retreated into my non-posting mode again... Not so! The fact of the matter is that I've devoted the week to The Saturn Junkyard, which I had severely neglected over the last year.

So, there will be more posts here at FKWS over the coming weeks, as I reckon it's time to put some life back into this old place.

Now I know that some of you guys know there has been the arrival of a PS3 here at Krishna Towers, and a couple of you have asked me for my impressions. Well the truth is, I've only played it properly for about twenty minutes this morning. when we got the Xbox "for the kids" last year, I was all over it. I've probably had more use out of it than they have. So this year, I've let them have free reign over it. There's three of them that need to share it, so I figured the last thing they would need was a fourth party competing for game time.

My middle son was kind enough to buy me Condemned 2 for the system, but I've not even played a second of it. So what did I play to give me my first taste of "proper gaming" on the PS3?
It was Call Of Duty: World At War - Nazi Zombie Level.

I played co-op with my littlest son and I have to say it was a blast. The basic premise is that you are stuck in a small building with barricaded windows. Hordes of Zombie Nazis are coming and it is your job to fend them off, with a variety of graded weapons. These might be as simple as a knife or pistol, or as devastating as a grenade or alien gun whatever the hell that is...

You can also repair your boarded up windows, if the zombie throng have damaged them,. The aim of the game is to last as long as you can whilst swathe upon swathe of the undead advance.

The levels inclusion in what has been seen as a serious war game, which treats the subject respectfully has been one for which publishers Treyarch have been slated. There was already a hostile reception amongst COD4 fans before the game came out, that Treyarch should develop the next COD game. They took a big gamble taking on the project and it seemed that in the face of anticipated failure, they pulled the sequel off just fine... Except for this one unlockable.

Hell it even prevented the game being given a 10/10 score from Games TM magazine, who settled for a 9/10 due to the inclusion of this side quest.

personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about! If you think it is a crass add on to a serious game, then don't play it! Stick to mission mode and online battles and ignore it completely. I thought my brief time on it was a lot of fun and I could see myself playing it over and over in a bid to beat previous efforts, By all accounts the online battle mode is not nearly as much fun as those on COD4. My sons have enjoyed the Nazi Zombie levels far more than online play, choosing to play it with their friends in the house, rather than trying to blast some unknown COD obsessive, screaming abuse through the head set from across the Internet.

I will eventually play the mission mode and will eventually use the PS3 more and more as it becomes less of a novelty to the kids. But for now, shooting fascist walking dead has been an excellent introduction to the system!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Evolution Of Fallout 3

The decision to hand development of the much loved Fallout PC game to the good folks at Bethesda as a 3D console port for it's 3rd outing, caused much consternation amongst the PC massive, (Gnome included!) Fears seem to have been allayed somewhat however, as the game has been acclaimed with both critical and commercial success.

Expect a video review soon, before I cast my own verdict on the game, which is likely to be heralded with tears and other body fluids... Until then, here's a quick visual run down showing the graphical evolution of the game from the good folks at IGN. BTW, the music which forms a constant backdrop to the gameplay, is by the Inkspots, and I absolutely love it! Like Bioshock, there is a fabulous retro-future atmosphere that adds tremendously to the overall feel of the game... Enjoy!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Oh no what a bitch!

Oh no she mother-fucking didn't....

Now in seventeen years of teaching and child care, I've witnessed some seriously fucked up parenting. Whilst I agree that children need to be taught some life lessons about family income and that the expectations of consumer excess are skewed at this festive season, this is just cruel.

Sure little Johnson might need new winter clothes, and he might have failed to hear his mom telling him that she couldn't afford a 360 on the ten thousand ocasions he asked... BUT!!!

Hearing the raucous hilarity of his family as they witness his Christmas dreams dying, videoing the event, asking him to "cry to the camera" and then posting his misery on Youtube for the world to see... Word's fail me. Damn!

Hopefully young Johnson will grow up and devise a "cunning plan" to make his dear mother think she has won the lottery, and wait for her to phone up her siblings, cousins and bosses, telling them that she hates and disowns them all, before revealing to her that it was just a 'hilarious prank' like the one she played on him all those Christmases ago...

2008 revsited:

I can't promise to be as specific as the previous posts, but 2008 goes something like this:

Xbox 360:

Bioshock: My first 360 experience. Brilliant in a every aspect.
Shenmue 2: My second 360 experience. I bought the Xbox game without actually owning an Xbox. I bought it for the Shenmue 1 DVD. Couldn't resist making it my 2nd game on the 360.
Call Of Duty 4: Great on mission mode, but I don't see the attraction of endless online matches (unlike my middle son who puts in an hour before school each day...)
Gears Of War: Enjoyable but not earth shattering... That's not meant to be as dismissive as it sounds.
Condemned: I liked it! (Played during my dislocated shoulder convalescence)
Viking: Battle For Asgar... played a good chunk, but never completed. (I felt bad about letting Nebacha down on that one...) Enjoyable!

Max Payne 1 & 2: Definitely two of the greatest games of all time.
Dead Rising: Dabbled, but didn't get very far, then I bloody lost it! How do you lose a game in the relatively small confines of a house???? Not the first time this has happened either!
Sega Rally Revo! (360) Could this game please get some more love??? Still want to play friends online on this one, but hate the vertical split screen)
Virtua Fighter 5!!! Awesome online, but I get my arse kicked! (Playing Nuno and speaking to him - and his mum- was a gaming highlight of the year...)
Soul Calibur 4! Awesome online and I kick arse!
Blacksite: Area 51. (360) Critically panned (specifically by Funnyman) but I enjoyed it!
GTA IV (half way through...) This is the game that totally opened my eyes to the potential of the franchise...

Nintendo Wii:

No More Heroes (Wii) A great game, but I got stuck on the last but one boss. Disappointed I never finished as it was one of the only Wii games I've enjoyed this year.
Umbrella Chronicles (Wii) If I could defeat those damned Twin Ivans, this would have been my game of the year! (however, as I couldn't complete the game, it remains something of a bitter-sweet experience)
Ghost Squad (Wii) Great, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected...
House Of The Dead II & III Return - Wii (a lazy port... I've ony put it into the Wii once)


Resident Evil Dead Aim PS2: Loved it!
Devil May Cry 2 PS2: Loved it!
Yakuza PS2: Simply stunning. Perhaps the greatest revelation of the year!
Matrix Path Of Neo: Second playthrough... Totally satisfying!


Resident Evil: (Gamecube) Simply stunning, with graphics that I've yet to see betterered on any next gen console. Unfortunately, I lost my GC memory card and thus, never completed! DOH!


Sega Rally (PC) There's something great about playing a Saturn game on the PC and I can sneak in a bit of Saturn gaming at work too.
HOTD III (PC) Very nearly completed it...


In terms of the old Dreamcast, this was the year I centralized the collection, with the intention of actually playing games I'd bought but not tried, However, the only games that received any real attention were Half Life (which I tired of half way through) SOTB: Gut's Rage which I played during Dreamcast June and completed and loved and Jet Set Radio which I played as much as I could and loved, but on which I got stuck around the Russian level. I'll definitely return to it at some point... Tee Off Golf was a great distraction. 2008's only Dreamcast release, Wind And Water Puzzles, proved to be nicely packaged and lovingly produced, but was never going to set the world on fire!

At the moment I'm loving Fallout 3, my Resident Evil 5 Demo and Burnout on the DS. I'm sure there's more but I'm running out of steam... I'll post separately about my retro downloads on the 360 and Wii. I'll post separately about my handheld gaming on GGOTG. I've also got a bunch of games spread across the consoles mentioned above and the glory of the PS3 to investigate during 2009, which look's like it could be a good one for gaming.

Happy New Year to you all...