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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for June, 2008

Rock Bandlefield: Bad Company

Posted by captainbeaky on June 28, 2008

So theres not been a post for a while, primarily because we havent done anything really to warrant a post. Work, TV, eating, sleeping. And Im pretty sure you have no interest in that so I’ve kept my mouth shut. However, I feel compelled to post now, although it wont interest most of you.

Quite simply…Rock Band…..best music game ever! It shows Guitar Hero whos boss in a huge way. The aesthetic, the playlist, the online store, the customisation, it beats it in nearly every conceivable way (graphics and general polish arent up to GH’s efforts). Im amazed by just how damn good the setlist is. Guitar Hero had forgotten that it was a t heart a party game, and instead pandered to the fanboys and put in stupid 80’s B-sides of songs youd never heard of in the first place, were no fun to play and  had ridiculous achievements to satiate the fanboy needs. Rock Band, has a fantastic range of recognisable songs, that are generally much easier to play than Guitar Hero’s too, which means that you can turn the difficulty slider up to hard and not expect to get bone-itis after 30 seconds. When I started playing Enter Sandman, and Wont Get Fooled Again,  Id not had such a huge smile on my face since playing the original GH on PS2. And on top of this, Ive looked at the online store and there are 37 songs that I instantly want, know and love. The icing on the cake is the multi-instrument focus, and the drums I have winging their way from the states as we speak. Just superb…..

Unfortunately, this also means that my prior purchase of Battlefield Bad Company has taken a back seat (with Beautiful Katamari now in the boot behind the back seat). However, this doesnt mean its a bad game, far from it. The combat isnt quite up to Call of Duty levels of intensity, but it has more comedic value, and the destructible environments add to the tension. For instance, a tank appears and normally, you’d run into the nearest building and hide, knowing its shells wouldnt be able to harm you in there. Not so in BF:BC. Hide in a building and the tank will just blow the building up around you. Theres also a layer of strategy about it too. If youre tasked with wiping out an enemy base, ordinarily you’d have no choice but to go in through the obvious entrances and exits to the place. With BF, you can punch a hole anywhere in the defences and attack from where you please. Like I say though, as good as it is, its on the back burner right now.

Anyway, as I said, weve not been up to much else. House hunting has slowed to a crawl, as is usual with this time of year. This time away from frantic house inspections IS helping cement our expectations of what we want though, so we’re able to instantly pinpoint what we want. No plans for the coming week, other than watch the Euro 2008 final on Monday morning. 

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Mostly Games

Posted by captainbeaky on June 19, 2008

So this post will be mostly about games, as We’ve not really been up to much since last weekend. Going to work, coming home, going for coffee, eating cakes…thats about as exciting as it got. Ive been taking a much lower intensity of interest in the housing market as a stab at minimising unecessary stresses.Ive not been sleeping right for a few weeks and anything thats been stressing me out ive been getting rid of, with looking at real estate websites being vastly reduced. And I have been sleeping better so it IS working. 

SO games wise, I finally finished GTA IV. Overall, its a great game world to mess about it, but it doesnt half get boring. I was also disappointed with the way the story unfolded as I was hoping (dont read the following bit if you havent finished it) for more of a back story, with more of Niko’s history playing a part. For it to lay back on tired old mob and mafia stereotypes, in exactly the same way GTA III did was really poor in my opinion. The difficulty later on also got stupid, with one mission being extremely hard, having several stages to the mission and needing multiple retries to complete and next mission revolving about me, getting out of my car and firing an RPG at another car…done!?!? wtf?! However, it was still an enjoyable game and theres still a lot of life left in it thanks to the achievements and side missions.

More susprisingly, Im mightily impressed with my recent cheap purchase of Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Its a pretty good racing game, in itself with decent handling, a good impression of speed and nice graphics, but it has 2 specific things that really stand out. Firstly is the police mechanic. The best way how to think of it in modern terms is that its quite similar to GTA. If you drive like a mentalist, or go through speed traps at a rapid speed, the police start chasing you. The tension of this is heightened by constant police chatter, alerting more and more units to your location, and some pretty intense “24” style music. However, unlike GTA the police drive faster cars than you, and are extremely efficient at boxing you in and busting you. Its damn hard to try and evade them and really is a thrill to play. The second best thing about the game is the hilarious chav/racer theme running through it. Its trying to be all street and “urban” and it actually comes across as some kind of ridiculous pastiche of racing culture. UKR would have a field day if they played even the 1st 10 minutes of it! Andy in particular, you’ll piss your pants – if you see it cheap…BUY IT!

Anyway, I’ll stop harping n about games, and let you go. Its getting late here and I want an early night so I can watch/listen to the portugal/germany match tomorrow. Have fun!

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No proper post today….

Posted by captainbeaky on June 15, 2008

…as I just dont think its right, or feel like making flippant remarks. Its (here anyway) nearly the end of my first Fathers day without Dad, and I know the fact that we’re out here means I wouldnt have seen him today anyway, it just feels more lonely somehow. Empty. There’s so much that I wish he could share in, hear about or just have a laugh about that makes it feel so unfair that he’s no longer with us. For what its worth happy Fathers day, Dad, and I promise to do a proper post in the next day or 2.  

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Bush Tucker!

Posted by captainbeaky on June 8, 2008

So today we decided to get away from soul destroying property inspections and general stress, and take the advice of a few folks from work to get out and visit a few places in the “country”. This boiled down to driving for about an hour into the Yarra Glen, and around the Dandenong mountain ranges. Its all very green, and has HUGE and I mean HUGE forests of eucalypts and ash tree’s. It really did look ancient and prehistoric. 

First stop was a place called Sassafras, which is famous for its cream tea’s and Miss Marple’s tea rooms. First problem was finding a parking spot as it was heaving! It was a lovely day today, with sunshine and very few clouds and it seems everyone had the same idea. However, we persevered and found a spot then set out to have a mooch about. Lots of little gift shops, like you used to get in Cornwall etc…. selling bits and bobs and antiques. Sat down for a cream tea and a rest, then onto the next stop which was…..

,,,,,a place called Olinda. No problems finding a parking spot here so got straight into looking around. Couldnt get anywhere near the big Bavarian restaurant (the Cuckoo) but was nice to see what was about. Saw a huge bunch of parrots and cockatoo’s there, which I was excited to see. I still cant believe they just flap about outside!

Final port of call was a pub that had been recommended to me called the Pig and Whistle which was about 10 minutes up the road…and god damn was it worth it. A PROPER english pub, with beer garden outside, fireplace inside and a load of beers and ciders on tap, of which I got to taste none as I was driving! Damn probationary license! Anyway, it didnt stop us sampling the food so for starters we shared a warm crusty sourdough load with balsamic, oil and seasoning for dipping…and its was amazing. I would never have thought just bread could be so good! Then for main, Crook had huge game pie which looked great, and I had roast pork and mash, and the pork was the best pork I think I’ve tasted anywhere! It was so moist and had a real strong flavour. Still got some of it left in a box, as I couldnt polish it all off! We’ll probably go back there as theyre doing a Christmas in July thing where they are serving a traditional Christmas 3 course dinner for $35, and if the quality of todays food was anything to go by, it will be fantastic!

So after the last stop we made our way back, on a different road which had some absolutely stunning views and scenery. This forest really has to be seen to be believed. We got all excited when we saw road caution signs for “Wombats Crossing” and “Caution: Kangaroo’s Ahead”!!! However, we saw neither, but even the mention of their proximity was exciting! It really has felt like we’ve been on a mini-holiday today – we’ve both really enjoyed ourselves. Lets hope its the first of many trips into the country!

I did try to post some live updates via Twitter, but there was no phone reception in the mountains, unsurprisingly. For those that dont know, even if I dont make a full blog post, its worth checking back to see if my Twitter bit on the right has been updated. The main page will not change but more messages on the Twitter box will keep appearing. Also, dont worry if it doesnt work straight away – Ive noticed it takes up to an hour from when I make a Twitter post to when it appears on my blog. If the Twitter box on my blog is broken, or its not updated, you can still click on the Twitter title over the box and it will take you to the actual Twitter site, where you will see updates as they happen. Hope that clears things up – Im off to get changed into my “lounge suit” and make a cuppa! Have fun!

ps – Ive added some photo’s to Photoshop Express and Facebook, so click the links on the right to have a look!

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Quick Post…

Posted by captainbeaky on June 7, 2008

So I know Ive been crap again with my posts. Both of us have been hugely pre-ocupied with property. House inspections, estate agents, mortgage brokers, scouring the net etc…. all of it eating into “me time”. Hell, I have only just got back to my xbox after 10 days away!

While this is bound to continue until we’ve got it all sorted, Im trying something different. On the right hand side of my blog page at the top you might notice a new box called “Twitter”. Basically, this is like micro-blogging. Short little messages that I can post from work, home, or from my mobile, so hopefully, while my blog may be liable to slip, Im now just a text message away from making a micro-post. Let me know what you think and if it works. At least this way there will be SOME contact with the outside world! You can also click on the Twitter title and it will link you to my page of updates. Give it a try and let me know what you find – its new to me so you may discover something Ive missed. 

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