Although I usually resist silly online quizzes, I was rather taken by the Which pre-1985 video game character are you quiz.  I’m pretty taken with the result, too.

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Space-invader.I am a Space-invader.

I will happily recruit the help of friends to aid me in getting what I want. I have no tolerance for people getting in my way, and I am completely relentless until any threats or opposition are removed. I try to be down-to-earth, but something always seems to get in the way. What Video Game Character Are You?

With the missus getting increasingly addicted to Guild Wars, it’s been getting harder and harder to get on my PC of an evening.  Accordingly, I have treated myself to a new toy – an Acer laptop.

The specs are reasonable, although I could have lived without Vista.  It’s taken me almost a full week to beat the thing into submission – it’s amazing how irritating Vista is when you’ve used a grown-up operating system like Ubuntu for a while.  Actually, that’s the next step – dual-boot the thing, with Vista for games (and Blu-ray playback) and Ubuntu for actually getting things done.

One thing I’ve noticed about the specifications, actually: it’s fitted with an ATI Radeon Mobility 3470 chipset, but CPU/Z shows it as a 3450.  I’m assuming this is an artifact related to the fact that I removed the crippled drivers provided by Acer and replaced them with hacked desktop drivers based around the latest Catalyst version.  The new drivers work fine – and with the performance of a 3470 – but display as a 3450.  Strange.

All complaints – and between Vista and some of the stupid things Acer has done, there’ve been a few – aside, it’s a reasonable new laptop, and it only set me back £470.

Oh, and in honour of its status in the house it’s been christened TOYBOX – after the debris recovery vessel from Planetes.

Zone Wireless GamingIf you’re struggling to find somewhere with the Wii in stock – or can’t afford to shell out a hundred and eighty smackers on a console – then check your local Morrison’s.  I was pleased to find a Zone Wireless Gaming console in my local for under £18 – that’s a tenth the cost of the Nintendo equivalent!

Sadly, I was ordered by my better half not to buy it – despite the “incredible 16-bit graphics” and 7 in-built sports games – 2 more than you get with the Wii.  I guess I’ll have to make do with Nintendo’s offering.

Steam – Valve’s digital distribution mechanism – is having a sale at the moment with some reasonable bargains, including a decent deal on Max Payne and Max Payne 2.  Having enjoyed the original and never having played the sequel, I snapped it up.

There are problems, however: while the original works fine, Max Payne 2 suffers from major audio glitches in the video sequences.  Sticking, juddering, popping every few seconds – it’s a mess.  I tried setting processor affinity, turning Direct3D acceleration off, setting Windows 2000 compatibility mode – the works.

I finally figured out that it’s not actually Max Payne 2 that’s the problem, but rather the Bink video playback DLL that comes bundled.  Having upgraded the RAD Video Tools to the latest version, I was able to recreate the problem outside the game engine simply by playing back the – admittedly fairly high-resolution – intro video within the Bink Player.

It turns out that some older software – Bink playback tools included – don’t like SMP systems, i.e. systems with two or more logical processors.  The good news is that there’s a relatively simple fix.

Read More →

In a brave attempt to rid myself of some of the cruft I’ve gathered over the years, I’ve recently had a somewhat brutal clearout.  As well as all the rubbish that I’ve collected, I’m planning to get rid of the vast majority of my old gaming equipment – including my beloved Commodore C64 collection.

Accordingly, I’ve put a page on this ‘ere site called – surprisingly – For Sale, which contains – again, surprisingly – a list of all the items I’ve catalogued.  The page will be updated just as frequently as I can bring myself to, with the easier-to-catalogue stuff getting added first – which means that the C64 with its two large boxes filled with games will likely be last.

If you’re interested in any of the items you see, make me an offer either via e-mail or through the comment link on the page.

Ha! Ceri’s not the only one who can get the MVP achievement in Halo 3.

Capt Blacklaw MVP
It sounds so much better if I don’t mention the little fact that most of the other players quit early…

ugvmhalo3-1-thumb (12k image)The Halo 3 UGVM league is underway, with our team romping home to abject defeat in our first game. Getting thrashed at Slayer was one thing. Getting slaughtered at Rocket Race could be forgiven due to it being our first time on that mode. But managing to utterly fail at Crazy King was just embarrassing.

Thankfully, we were able to bring it back for the second match. Ending in a 1.5 point tie (tied Slayer, won Rocket Race, lost Crazy King) we’re at least able to put //some// points on the table.

The above shot, taken from our first Crazy King match, is an example of how ruthless our opponents were – ItshMe firing a rocket at SilverSparks, despite the presence of his teammate SomethingWitty in the blast zone. For the record, he manage to take Ceri out – at the cost of his own teammate. Stone cold killer, that one.

The wife and I are partaking in the UGVM Halo 3 Tournament over the next few weeks. A change from the old format, this time it’s 2v2 with three rounds per game – Rocket Race, Team Slayer, and Crazy King.

Everyone knows that Buckskin’ll win, of course – but unlike the last knockout format this is a points-based league, so even if we’re rubbish we’ll still get to play as many games as anyone else.

Stay tuned for match updates.