Archive for August, 2009

Give kids a chance…

30th August 2009:

My eldest daughter turned ten in June this year. She’s got a Wii (shared with her younger sister) and enjoys playing Wii Sports and SIMs. Even my youngest daughter can play them. My eldest also has an iPod touch and loves to download the free games.

As you know I have Mission Control to live in and one day she came in and saw me playing a demo of ‘Splosion man on 360. Up until this point she hadn’t ever picked up a 360 game pad. She really enjoyed it and we played 2 player for a good while (‘Splosion man only has one button to press). I then showed her XBox Live Arcade and explained how it was a bit like the AppStore on her Itouch. We downloaded a few games, one of her favourites was Frogger (a game with no buttons to press), and generally had a good laugh.

I then showed her the demos available on 360 and we saw a new game called G-Force. As it happened my daughter had been to watch the film at the pictures a couple of weeks earlier so she was really interested in seeing it. So I downloaded it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but I would have thought  a ten year old girl would have been the “core” audience for that game. So why, after 5 minutes was my daughter totally baffled by it? Because of the stupid number of control options, that’s why. Who in their right minds makes a video game for kids with the exact same layout as a top FPS? Kids need to press one or two buttons maximum. No, G-Force has movement on one stick, look around on another stick, press triggers for one thing, another trigger for another, another button to jump, another to scan, another to get out a whip, another to target, another to release a little droid thing which then has it’s own buttons too.

Utterly ridiculous, they lost out on a guaranteed sale on account of not being able to put themselves in the mind of a young child and realise what a hopeless expectation it is on a young child to manage a billion button combinations.

That’s why the Wii and DS win. No matter whether Nintendo are considered “core” or not anymore, I don’t care, at the very least they act as an entry point for my kids to play video games with me. I tip my hat to Nintendo


ScepticaLee #3

27th August 2009. ScepticaLee #3.
It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to whinge about but last night I saw something on the telly about that old chestnut, global warming, sorry, climate change.
John Prescott (someone who I admire for his treatment of mental farmers) was on telly, babbling about climate change and how it’s all our fault and we have to sort it out, blah blah blah.
The show then went on to describe his idea (or one that he subscribes to at least). From the way I understood it it goes a bit like this. We want to cut global emissions of CO2 because, apparently, that is going to kill us all, but we don’t want to be seen to be nasty to those pesky developing countries and prevent them from developing to the same level as us. After all, we have clogged the planet up getting to where we are.
So the plan is to drastically cut emissions in developed countries and but allow more emissions in developing countries until they catch us up and we are all equal in our emissions.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, not to me, to me it sounds like a rip-off. The way I see it is that millions of hard working people who happen to be born in a developed country will spend billions of pounds in cutting emissions, and in effect slow their own development, under the expectation that global levels will drop, when in actual fact they will keep going up because the under developed countries will pollute more.
So there it is, the real reason to piss about with your recycling, to start driving electric cars, pay extra for flights to offset your carbon footprint and to be banned from using the humble placky bag is to subsidise the developing world, not to save our necks.
I’m not saying that’s even a bad thing but at least “they” could be honest about it. Or maybe I’m just being a bit too cynical. 
As a side note, apparently Japanese top scientists have said that there is no evidence for man made global warming and at best it can only be considered a hypothesis. So it looks like it’s not just me that’s a tad confused about the subject.

Mobile DoDonPachi

26th August 2009. Mobile DoDonPachi.
I am on my new second Netbook. My first was an Acer Aspire one and I loved it but when you can get one for free off Virgin media, why wouldn’t you?
Well not exactly free, you see I already take all my services from Virgin apart from mobile broadband  which I used from T-Mobile. Why T-Mobile? Because they are the only ones that allow me to connect on a daily basis; £2.50 per day. That’s perfect for when I’m travelling away 3 or 4 times per moth.
If I took the Virgin mobile broadband though, for £15 per month, then I could get this nifty free netbook. I probably spend about that much anyway on T-Mobile so I thought what the hell, go for it.
After a bit of a wait it turned up yesterday and I’ve used it properly for the first time today. It’s called a Freedom Netbook, similar spec to my last one but has a bigger screen, is lighter and faster. I really am completely amazed by it. It’s XP, not Linux, so I downloaded MAME (something that plays video games for those who don’t know it) and it works a treat. DoDonPachi on the move! Perfect! I turned it on at York and the battery is still running as I’m on my way to Southamton from London, and that’s with the WiFi transmiter on too, my last one would maybe have got half way to London.
I just tested the new mobile broadband connection too and that works a treat, over 3Mb/s on a train!
So this is now my new baby. I’ve got a problem though. In my haste to get the free netbook I didn’t think as to whether I actually needed it, which I don’t, so now I have a netbook sat there and I don’t know what to do with it! Maybe I’ll swap it for some computer games.
Have fun,
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