Dyson (for now)

Dyson... or not.

Thinking about it, I should have mentioned Dyson on here already. I have no idea why I haven’t – it’s by far my favourite ‘indie’ PC game of the last… forever. Originally developed for TIGSource‘s procedurally generated games competition by Rudolf Kremers and Alex May, it’s an utterly gorgeous ambient space-based RTS (sort of) where you ‘grow’ your biological armies from ‘space trees’ and take over the galaxy. Beautiful to look at, graceful in motion and with a superb soundtrack it’s consumed many an hour of me and my son’s time over the last year or so.

And now… now they’ve gone the whole hog and it’s to become a commercial product, vastly expanded upon compared to its original freebie format. Given that I feel I already owe them my money just for the original version, I probably also owe them a bit of a plug… so here it is! 🙂

The game’s out next month, as you can see from their latest blog post and they’re also hosting a competition to give it a new name before release. Possibly to avoid the wrath of irate vacuum cleaner salesmen. Get over there and try the free version if you haven’t already – I (almost) guarantee that you’ll love it.

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Recommended: Shadow Complex

"That spider in the bath, dear? I'm going to need a bigger newspaper."

Super Metroid was, so they tell me, a classic. I say “so they tell me” because I have a shocking admission to make – I’ve never actually played it for more than about ten minutes. Before you kick me out of the gaming club, I was very much a ‘computer’ kind of guy during the 16-bit era so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. The fact that I now own a SNES and have somehow managed to avoid picking up a copy remains a mystery, however.

Regardless, I’m a fan of the “Metroidvania” style of game – the first Metroid Prime was excellent (aside from Meta Ridley, I still wake up screaming occasionally even now) and I’ve enjoyed various flavours of Castlevania over the years, so I was moderately interested in Shadow Complex when it was first announced at E3. However, the Splinter Cell styling didn’t really appeal and it didn’t look quite as Metroidy as some people said it was so I was a little dubious.

I was also a little wrong.

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Canabalt

Canabalt

First day back from my combined holiday/illness-fest and this is just what I need to relax – Canabalt, an excellent one-button flash game. Your guy runs from left to right and you help him to avoid a number of environmental hazards/disasters with a single poke of the X or C key. Sounds simple, but it’s furiously addictive and very polished to boot. Thanks to Dan for pointing me at this one!

“Well you’re obviously not Dr. Kildare, then!”

Let's raise a peoples' army and seize control of the state!

Patience. It’s a virtue, apparently. Recent revelations have also lead me to believe that I now have significantly less of it than I used to have in the past, especially when it comes to games. The release of the hi-def remix of The Secret of Monkey Island on Xbox Live Arcade almost had me reaching into my pocket – this was, after all, a game which I remembered very fondly indeed. Back in the dim and distant past when I was but a spotty youth I must’ve gone through the entire game at least a dozen times on my trusty Atari ST despite the fact that it came on four disks and took seemingly forever to load. Then once I upgraded to a PC I went through the whole thing again – several times. This was one of my favourite games, and one which was undiminished in my memory – an all-time classic which obviously would never age. Hmm.

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GamesCom: Microsoft forget to turn up

Sorry we forgot to show up, but you're only Europeans

So, the Microsoft conference… didn’t happen. Instead we got Peter Molyneux waffling on for far too long about Fable III – a (not entirely unexpected) new reveal but with very little to actually show other than a pre-rendered teaser and some concept art. We all waited eagerly for him to bugger off so we could see the rest and then… there was no ‘the rest’!

Seriously, Microsoft – what the hell? Even if you didn’t really have anything new to show, would it have killed you to get up and show a few videos of things we already knew about?

/slow clap

GamesCom: Finally, the Diet PS3

PS3 Slim - no longer worshipped by monkeys.

So here it is, finally – that slimline PS3 that we all absolutely knew nothing about at all, no sir! The first surprising thing is that those Chinese shots from all those months ago turned out to be the ‘real deal’ – once again Sony prove themselves incapable of keeping the lid on until launch day. That said, it’s a nice hardware revision – seeing the two side-by-side really drives home how much of a monstrosity the original model is. A lot of people appear to be lamenting the loss of that hideous super-shiny finish, but they’re obviously all stupid. 😀

So will I be buying one? No. For a second machine, the price is still too expensive to justify at £250. However, they are at last starting to head in the right direction. Maybe one day, once The Last Guardian actually makes it onto the shelves.

That PSP Go price, though? Pfft. No chance.

Things that irritate #1: ‘Hidden songs’

Seriously, just bloody stop it!

Hidden tracks. On CDs. Why? Why do they do this? What is the point exactly of having the last track on your album absent from the track listing and magically separated from the rest of the album up to 20 minutes of fucking irritating silence?

“Oh, what a great surprise – a bonus piece of music!” you might say upon first discovering it. Followed by roughly 5000 ‘why the hell do I have to keep fast-forwarding all this stupid silence to get to the last track?’ rants every time you listen to the damn album in the future. If someone can explain this to me, I would be very grateful. But no less irate.

/seethes