Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hide and Seek

I normally don't do this sort of thing, but every now and then something comes along that deserves highlighting.

Imogen Heap's hauntingly beautiful song 'Hide and Seek' is one such thing in my opinion.

As I was saying to a friend online earlier tonight, if I could have something like this under my belt, then I would feel as if there was little more to accomplish.
The song is incredible. The video and it's production values (lighting, framing, grading, editing) are worthy of suitable award.

There's not much that can't be said by instead simply watching and listening to the different flavours, starting of course with her original released version:




Here's a campus a cappella group named The UNC Achordants singing at the ICCA Quarterfinals (Elon University - 2007), at which they placed first, covering Hide and Seek:




Next, a video montage put together by a friend of mine from Denmark. One of the most watched scenes from the TV series 'Lost', re-edited to the song Hide and Seek, arguably making for a much more intense scene:




A live performance of the track by Imogen, from Studio 11 @ Indie 103.1FM. Shows her using the Vocoder setup that the track has become so famous for, and proving that she has what it takes to pull it off live, solo:




A poignant montage put together by a fan, which interprets the song in a totally different way to most, likely including Imogen Heap herself:




And finally, the inevitable 'euro' dance mix. Although I must say, like the style or not (Tiesto et al), it works fantastically well within the genre:



The (brilliant) lyrics:

where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just begun to fall
crop circles in the carpet
sinking, feeling

spin me round again
and rub my eyes,
this can't be happening
when busy streets a mess with people
would stop to hold their heads heavy

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines
all those years
they were here first

oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the takeover,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines (you won't catch me around here)
blood and tears
they were here first

Mmmm what do you say,
Mmmm that you only meant well?
well of course you did
Mmmm what do you say,
Mmmm that's all for the best?
ah of course it is
Mmmm what do you say?
Mmmm that it's just what we need
you decided this
Mmmm what do you say?
Mmmm what did she say?

ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs
speak no feeling
no I don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit

(hide and seek)
ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
midsweet talk, newspaper word cut outs

(hide and seek)
speak no feeling
no, I don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit
Song of the moment, hell - top 5 of all time. For me anyhow.

Hope you get suitably praised and awarded for such a breathtaking, original and influential composition, Imogen.

Wikipedia entry

Monday, August 13, 2007

IRL

Is it just me, or are people IRL just a total drag?

Over the past year or so I've been doing more and (increasingly) more socialising with folk online, rather than in real life. And from my perspective anyhow, it's just a whole fuckload easier.

It's not that you don't get your share of morons and assholes online just as you would in the physical world, but the people I connect with via some form of electronic medium seem to share a bond with me that's at a much deeper level than any single soul I know around me.

Is it because by default we share similar interests, being online in the first place and all?
Is it because if they turn out to be a cunt, I can simply click a button and effectively ignore/remove them from my life forever with zero consequences?
And do I really 'know' them at all? After all, the personality behind the keyboard at the other end may well be the total opposite of the avatar they portray to me.

I'm not sure, to be honest.

But I can tell you, that I have longer, deeper and more fruitful and enjoyable conversations with my online friends, than I do at any stage in the physical world that exists outside my front door.

It's kind of ironic in a way, because most of my 'actual' acquaintances here where I live and work find it 'odd' that I spend so much time online, not that they'd ever have the spine to say as much to my face. (If you've read any of my past blogs you'll see some fairly clear messages about that particular subject..) And in so doing they repel themselves out of my sphere of desire even further.

If I start to make some comparisons, I look to the most recent few days and look back at the multiple and lengthy conversations I've had with my online friends, covering what must be close to a hundred different subjects, each thoroughly fascinating and fun. God knows how much I learned these past few days and I know for sure that a couple of those convo's went on for over 7 hours..
..but if I look to the 'real' world, I start to glaze over after about 7 minutes.

Maybe this has to do with what I mentioned earlier - the similarities of interests. It seems that any actual (verbal) conversation I have labours upon the most mundane of topics:
Sport, weather, work, drinking.. ok I'm struggling now.
Yet with my non-physical friends, I find myself hurriedly Googling items, theories, texts, euphemisms, quotes, websites and forums about things I have never heard of before.

It feels like the more I socialise with my online mates, the more my perspective is expanded, the more my paradigms are shifted, and the more I learn.


I was speaking to a work colleague a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about 'remote workers'. As in, staff who work from home.
The discussion was about the traditional 'corporate' paradigms that up until very recently have been incongruous to such a way of working. You know, that old-school and frumpy mentality that unless you actually turn up at a workplace, you can't possibly be doing any work. lol

Of course these days, the technology exists whereby an employer can monitor every detail of an employee's productivity whether they are on-site at an office location or at home. So in effect any debate about such issues are fundamentally moot.

What stands in the way, of course, are people within any organisation who fail to relate to the concept in any way. Especially if those individuals are in positions of senior management.
I'm sure you know the type - those irritating gnats who forever go on about "the value of face to face contact". (Aarggh even typing that phrase gives me the absolute SHITS!)

Why do you think they say that? Because they have absolutely zero grasp of the alternative concept. THEY are incapable of being able to work effectively without a physical presence, and so they project that shortfall onto everybody else. It's funny, if nothing else. Ignorant and unintelligent yes, but comedic nonetheless.

Additionally, I tend to believe that they reject the concept not only because they are unfamiliar with it themselves, but also because they are accustomed to exerting 'power' or 'authority' in a physical sense. And by that I do not mean they are waving around wooden clubs, but more that they rely upon a physical presence to maintain control, both emotionally and in terms of corporate/social ladder systems.
In other words, without a physical presence, they are stripped of some of their 'skill', and they feel threatened. Just as they are threatened by the unknown quantities of anything 'virtual'. They also feel that they are losing some form of control no doubt. (jeezus - grow the fuck up)

The thing is, they are going to get left behind, and more importantly (in the context of a workplace) they are going to hold back an organisation. The ransom for this closed-minded approach to the way we live our lives today ends up being paid in attrition. (Let's not go there shall we haha)

The thing is, that today's working and social youth are (horrible catch-phrase alert!) Generation Y.
Whilst it's not a defined term yet (nobody can agree on the exact birth dates for this group) colloquially it refers to those born in the 80's or early 90's. Now these particular individuals are about as opposite as you can get from the prior generation:
They really don't give a fuck.. about much at all, besides themselves. (three cheers for the Y's!)

It's all about them. And it's all about now.
No patience, no traditional 'respect', just me. Me, and I want it now.
What's more, if I can't have it now, I'll fucking well go somewhere else immediately, where I can get it now. You lose.

Previous gen's will look upon these 'kids' and uncontrollably belch about the demise of modern civilisation BUT the thing is, it's real.
In a world where pretty much anything is at one's fingertips. I hardly blame them for being so demanding and self-centered.

Consequences seem to be a thing of the past - once upon a time items such as religion, or adults, or social norms would prevent somebody from saying something particularly nasty or selfish. These days, such 'overbears' mean precisely zip.
How many times have you heard someone say "and what are you gonna do about it, then?". Exactly. The only consequences that exists seem to be legal ones, and even those are regularly flaunted to maximum extent.

It's not 'bad', it's just 'different'. It's like fashion. Hell, it is fashion. What it is now is not what it will be in the future; 'it' being pretty much anything (outside of water, air, and.. well thats probably about all really).

And so I come back to my original observation: my socialising choice. To you, I may seem 'weird'. Well guess what - I really don't give one single flying fuck. :D
All I know is that I continue to have more fun, expand my mind to greater extremes, and have time-flying conversations (whether that be via keyboard or voice chat) with the friends I have never physically met, than with anyone I've ever shared airspace with.

Most of those friends reside in countries outside of Australia, which adds to the fascinating discoveries I experience regularly, especially in terms of what is 'usual' for one person but totally foreign to somebody living elsewhere. This weekend alone saw me typing such things as "you have fish for breakfast??" and "..what, the whole town gets drunk all week?" amongst "oh I didn't know about that album of theirs" and "I agree, thats some of the best contemporary art I've seen this year" and "they show that on prime-time TV?".
Hearing about what it's like to work in Denmark looking after 9000 wind turbines, or that there's a corner shop in a little town in the Netherlands that sells the same magazines they have here in Australia. That in Carolina the beach stinks like rotten fish at the moment, and that I travel for longer getting to work than the average person in New Jersey does.

Much. More. Interesting.

But hey - feel free to berate me for shunning 'real' people. I mean yeh, those folk I speak with online aren't real, huh.
Nooo, they're just.. interwebs. Or something.

You just continue to be false in front of your peers and friends, not telling them a scrap of truth for fear of rejection or scorn. How does it feel, lying? When was the last time you really said what you wanted to? pfft
And indeed let me continue to be 'mean and nasty', that horrible thing called 'frankness' where one says what they believe without fear of reproach, where one can effectively hide behind a keyboard, having had social filters removed so that communication can continue unfiltered by traditional restraints.

It must scare you half to death huh.

No wonder you don't get it.
I almost feel sorry for you.

..almost.

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 06, 2007

Stabbity Stab Stab

What makes one person want to betray another?

What process occurs inside somebody's brain that triggers neurons to fire that result in the thought "I want to hurt this person"? (be that emotionally, politically, physically, or socially)


When thinking about this, one might draw some conclusions based upon impetus. To my mind, these would be along the lines of:

  • Where the net return is to gain something. The other has status or power and you do not. Jealousy, intolerance or hatred towards the other brews a compulsive desire to tip them off whatever perch you perceive them to be on. You will never be able to attain their cloud line, so the only course that remains is to clip them down to yours.
  • Where the drive is to exact revenge, to right a wrong. The other has gotten away with figurative bloody murder upon you. Where they have caused you suffering or loss of any kind. Where they have impacted you to a point that you are now without something (anything) you once had, or where they have that which they do not deserve, in one's opinion.
  • Where the drive is to eliminate them. The other is a constant bane upon one's life. An insurmountable obstacle to any forward progression. Where they are the only thing that lays in your path, or where their mere existence sickens your every moral fibre on a daily basis, or perhaps where they are successful trumpeters of a cause which to you is wholly repugnant.

It's logical to assume that there's a reason, right?
(Notwithstanding folk who suffer from psychological dysfunction)


Why then, would someone want to do this clandestine?

How could it be, if you were so upset or revolted or jealous of that somebody else, that you would not want them to receive the message directly from one's self? To have them fully comprehend that it is you that has blighted their outlook - you that has pulled the tripwire. You, are the one responsible for pulling the chairs out from underneath their balancing act.

The main reason I can think of for being non-confrontational, is that one would simply gain pleasure from the sufferance of the other. An ongoing and lingering lament that, in itself, satiates a desire for 'justice' ongoing.
And let's face it; that's fairly deep rooted in general nastiness.

However it could also be due to them simply being weak, sniveling and pathetic; a stone thrower who lobs and runs for safe ground.
I loathe those that are milquetoast in that way.


Why the rant?
Because, very recently, I was betrayed in kind. Well, an attempt was made.

And I'm finding it extremely difficult to figure out the motive. I'm struggling to find reason.

What were the individual's motives? Debatably they were only to cause harm? Surely if they wanted to help, or understand from a different perspective, they would have approached me front ways and not slipped into the shadows behind me?

And if this derivation is true, then what perceived evil am I guilty of?

I don't know. Perhaps the driver was less vindictive and instead was borne out of naivety or sheer selfishness; a sense of drama and attention seeking. Maybe the only route available to this person was through misplaced sensationalism in an attempt to flag significance.

Either way, it's not often that I feel the steely cold sensation of a blade in my flesh outside of forums such as these. For it to transpire into the physical world is a trifle disturbing.

Then again, I may simply assume victory still, by deciding that quite obviously my musings on this blog are above any interpretable level of intelligence held by my assassin.

Yeh. That makes sense.

If you, the reader, cannot fathom the alter-egoistic and deliberately provocative nature of these texts, then I suggest you move along.

There will be nothing for you to see here..

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's True

The rumours are true: WoW has a new expansion on it's way.

Titled 'Wrath of the Lich King', it will be set in the new continent of Northrend, and bring with it many new features:
  • new Death Knight hero class
  • new arenas and battlegrounds
  • siege weaponry and destructible buildings
  • customisable hairstyles and dances
  • a new Inscription profession
  • and the increase of the level cap from 70 to 80

To view the trailer, click here or here.

Additionally, Blizzard have confirmed that integrated voice communication and guild banks would be introduced to WoW in regular patch updates, along with a new 10-man instance, Zul'Aman.

Blizz refused to name a date for its release. "It'll come out when it's ready," said lead designer Tom Chilton.

Jeff Kaplan promised that the expansion's new continent, Northrend, would contain more zones than The Burning Crusade's Outland - since Blizzard isn't having to create starting zones for new races this time.
A map shown indicated ten new zones as well as a new captial city, Dalaran.

One zone, Lake Wintergrass, will be a new type of outdoor world zone totally dedicated to player-versus-player combat, even on normal servers.

Four more regular questing zones were shown:
  • Howling Fjord
  • Borean Tundra
  • Grizzly Hills
  • Dragonblight
There will be two points of entry into Northrend, from the east (in Howling Fjord) and west (in Borean Tundra). Despite the continent's northerly location they won't all be snowy: Grizzly Hills, for example, the home of the furbolg race, is a lush, tall forest.

The capital city will be Dalaran, which has been transported from the Eastern Kingdoms to a new location floating in the skies above Northrend.

Final boss the Lich King - formerly the paladin Arthas - will be a prominent presence all the way through the new content, promised Kaplan. "We're aware that in The Burning Crusade we didn't give you enough interaction with [end boss] Illidan. In Wrath of the Lich King there will be much more interaction with Arthas from the moment you arrive in Northrend."

The new Death Knight class will be the first of several hero classes to be introduced to the game, said Chilton. But these will be added gradually.
"If we tried to introduce all the heroes from Warcraft III at the same time, we'd face some pretty disastrous consequences in terms of impact on the whole game," he said.

Death Knights will be unlocked by completing a quest chain at level 80, said to be similar in feel to the Warlock epic mount quest. Once completed, the player will be able to create Death Knight characters of any race, starting at a "relatively high level" still to be decided, but probably in the 55-70 range.

Blizzard considered making players destroy their original characters to turn them into Death Knights, but "Too many people on the team felt they were losing something to gain something," said Kaplan.
"Even though the Death Knight is a hero class, it's not supposed to be a more powerful class, it's just supposed to feel different to play," Chilton added.

Death Knights will be damage-dealing tanks, similar to warriors. But they can tank without a shield and have the ability to cast strong magic spells, such as Army of the Dead, which summons several skeletal minions at once.
They will use runes inscribed on their weapons to cast spells, instead of existing resource systems like mana or rage.

In terms of the original continents, there will be a new Caverns of Time instance, and steps will be taken to speed up the leveling process. "Right now we really want to encourage players to roll alternate characters," said Kaplan.
"We feel that leveling is a little slower than we want it to be, so we're looking at ways to speed that up a bit. Maybe before the expansion comes out. But the Death Knight is also part of that," said Kaplan.

Kaplan also confirmed that a new raid zone and new daily quests (involving dungeons, battlegrounds and cooking) would appear in patches before Wrath of the Lich King is released.

On the ability to customise hairtsyle Kaplan simply stated, "Barbershops are coming! No, you can't change your face. Plastic surgery will probably be in the next expansion after this," he joked.

Screenshots are available here and here.

Full details including features, artwork, faqs, and movies are available at the official expansion website.

*sources: Eurogamer Blizzard

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

..and nothing but.

I was just walking down to my local Subway for some 'nutritious' dinner, when I was stopped in my visual tracks by this woman walking in the other direction with some guy.

It was a sight to behold. She was a sight to behold.

She was a 'chubby' Asian, short and stocky. She was wearing bright lemon-yellow pants with buckles all over them, and they were spray-on-super-tight.
Accompanying this ocular delight was the exact same coloured jacket, also replete with buckles, only about 2 sizes too small.
Top this off with (yes, you guessed it) exactly the same coloured calf-high boots, buckles galore.

Seriously, I choked as I struggled to withhold a laugh.

What made it all the more hilarious, was that she was totally uncomfortable. It was utterly obvious that she was a sum of parts. It wasn't her - it was her fantasy prescription.
Hell, she couldn't even walk properly. Whether that be from her ridiculously inappropriate (for the terrain) high heels, or because her leg movement was being utterly constricted by the tensile pressure of her pants, or because each and every step was an exercise in genital pain, I will never know.
Oh and adding to the comic relief were her oversized and dorky horn-rimmed glasses bestowed smack in the middle of her huge moon-shaped face.

It's truly hard to put into words.

Anyhow, point being that right there and then I was faced with a dilemma:
Do I say something, out of kindness for her fashion affiliation?
Or do I walk on by, it being none of my business after all.

And besides, who am I to judge 'fashion'? Or does this transcend hawt and become nothing about fashion and everything about being just 'wrong'?
Is there such a thing as a golden baseline that transcends the sublimely ridiculous?

It got me thinking about The Truth vs Being Nice.

Where do you draw the line? Are you being more 'honest' and helpful by saying what everybody else is thinking, or is their pride worth more than the silent ridicule of others?

You know exactly what I'm talking about - all those times you've ever been placed in a position whereby your social training overrides the truthful answer:

"Does my ass look big in these?"

Oh dear. I mean, the only reason anyone asks this question is because they look at their rear in the mirror and see a postcode-sized mass forcibly squeezed into a tailored piece of cloth that has every stitch hanging on for dear life.
They know it, and you know it. The question only exists because everyone involved knows it.

Yet, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't - right?
"Yeh you're right! Those pants look like they're about to explode!" would go down like a fart in an astronaut suit. Yet, the atypical answer of "No no no. They look - great! *gulp" is about as mean and horrid as you can get, on many levels:-
  • it's just plain untrue (liar - lying to your partner for instance)
  • it's totally unfair (each and every person to come across said 'ass' that night in public will be thinking exactly the same thing - ridicule in other words)
  • you're setting an emotional benchmark in the mind of the Large Ass Bearer that they will reference forever and a day ("hmm - that's good - these don't look bad, so I can take it a little further even..")
It's just.. wrong.

What's the value of short-term pain over long-term gain (reality) in this case?


Same goes for 'large' folk. You know, those of us who are blessed with the body mass of three. Or more.
What on earth are the rest of us supposed to do - pretend that what we're looking at isn't really there??

I've had a couple of memorable encounters with this one over the course of my years.
The first was with my ex-wife. She was an absolute classic. Being Dutch, she was no stranger to the term 'brutal honesty'. In fact to this day, I tip my hat in her general direction for that alone.

Imagine this:
My mother is a little large. She's a very pretty woman, and in her youth she was dainty and porcelain-like. The march of time has ravaged her to within a few inches of her life on many occasions, and as such she is no longer the slight of a woman she once was.

Upon deciding to get engaged, I brought my new fiancée to the family home to meet the parents. Anyone who has been through this will relate to how nerve wracking the situation is.

We walked into the lounge to be greeted by my mother and father standing there. My first words were: "Mum, Dad; this is Jane Doe, my fiancée." "Jane Doe, meet Jack and Jill, my parents."

Her
first words were: "Hello Jill. Wow, you're really pretty in the face. You could stand to lose a couple of pounds though?"

*silence....

You could slice the air with a knife.

Hell, I could've sliced my wrists with a knife at that point.

I looked at my father, who was always meek and obtusely self-fladulating around my mother for various reasons (if not simply to provide entertainment for the rest of us), and he kinda gave me a look in reply that said "Ok - for once I'm stumped.. umm, pass?"

Whilst we all stood there for what seemed like an eternity, all eyes fell to my mother who was quite obviously processing the words of my wife-to-be from all possible angles. Likely, in that short time frame, my Mother had already visualised my entire marriage to this new Dutch person from go to whoa, and it most probably wasn't a pretty picture.

The next thing we know, it's us standing around with our jaws on the floor, looking in disbelief at my Mother who had just said:
"Oh you're quite right. You know I used to be quite the pretty thing when I was your age. Now there's more of me for Jack to get his hands on - at least it keeps them busy! Sit down, sit down and I'll go make us all a cup of coffee."

Wow.
The look that passed between my Father and I that day will never ever be topped.

Looking back on it now, it's quite amazing. My Mother and my ex-wife got along famously from that point onwards (to this very day in fact) and more than that, my Mother will only ever open up to my ex-wife. If there's something deep and meaningful, or personal, that my Mother wishes to discuss, it's my ex-wife that will get the phone call. There's a special place in mum's heart for wifey.
Interesting, huh.

There was another, more recent, incident whereby I was forced into the dilemma of truth vs pleasantry. (I've mentioned this elsewhere, on another blog, but it bears repeating here..)

Not so far back I was required to go to London for work. Which, as you know, means enduring a painfully long flight.

As luck would have it, I got seated next to one of the largest women I'd ever laid eyes upon.
Knowing that doing nothing would result in 24 hours of total hell, I broke the ice up front and said:
"Hi, I'm Steve." (extend hand)
"This may come across as rude, but it's not intended to be. We've gotta be as comfortable as possible for the next day.."

and she interrupted me at that point, over talking me with:

"I'm Sara." (she smiled)
It's ok - I'm not the smallest person I know, but I'm the nicest."

I really didn't know what to say, so I just smiled.

"Just be honest with me if I leak into your seat ok?"

..and with that we both cracked up laughing.

It was one of the best flights I've ever had. Not because I had space (as I most certainly did not) but because we were both relaxed the entire way.
No unspoken crap, no uncomfortable silences, and believe it or not I even asked her to move a little at one point when I was trying to catch some sleep mid-flight.

It was great. Hell, she was great.

It's always an interesting dilemma, and I'm sure you must've come across it before. Maybe next time it comes up, you'll think twice about how you're going to reply, or even more-so, whether or not you're honest enough to say what it is that everyone else on the planet will be thinking.

The truth, the whole truth, and..

..well, that's up to you. =)

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

WAAAAAAAAGH!

Yes it's true.
I recently got accepted into the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning beta.

Yes, I'm very grateful, and yes I know that I'm extremely lucky and that there are 100's of 1000's of devoted Warhammer fans out there that haven't got in (yet).

But with at least 9 months until release, I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities for you to do so.

The only downside is that sadly I will not be able to say a single word about it. The NDA is very specific in this regard, as are Mythic's warnings to those who breach it (legal action).

To be specific:
You are allowed to discuss the parts that are specifically mentioned in Addendum A of the NDA.

ADDENDUM A

1. The fact that there is an Official Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Beta Program.

2. The fact that you are a member of the Official Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Beta Program.

So, unfortunately, I will not be able to report on anything WAR beta-related here.

What I can do instead, is point you to a couple of recent items that are available to the public.

This is a fantastic video showing in-game footage and developer commentary. The first thing you will notice is that it's about as far from LOTRO as you can get, and that the devs are primarily concerned with addressing the usual pitfalls of most MMORPG's (great stuff!).




This next one talks about the Warzone mechanic in the game, RVR gameplay, Tiered Zones and Battlefronts.




This one shows off some of the fantastic environments within the game.




Here's everybody's favourite: Exploding barrels! ;p




And finally another great developer session. Lots of in-game footage, RVR explained, Personal/Public Quests explained, and details about the centric Tome of Knowledge principle.




Hope that was enough to whet your appetite for now. Wherever possible I'll post publicly available information and links as they come in.

Be sure to check out the Armies of WAR (especially the awesome Chaos pics), the Zone Overviews, and the latest screenshots, on the offical WAR site.

Meantime - only one more thing to say:

WAAAAAAAAGH!!!

Labels:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Shmup

To quote 'Team America': Fuck yeah!!

My eyes are bleeding. My thumbs are blistered. My brain is tuckered.
And it's only been one hour.

No, I haven't been on a date with Mrs Palmer and her 5 daughters.
Nor have I been on an extended trip to drop the kids off at the pool.

No.
Today, my copy of Ikaruga arrived in the post from Sweden.
I am now Hard Core.

"What's Ikaruga?", I hear you ask. Well, let me show you first:


And another level:


See, Ikaruga is a shoot 'em up. More importantly, it's globally recognised as the shmup.

Released in Japanese arcades back in 2001, then on the Dreamcast in 2002, and finally making it's way to the Gamecube in 2003 before disappearing from production forever, it's become somewhat of a rare collectible nowadays.

Nothing has since come close to the brain-meltingly difficult optical assault of gameplay that this title exhibits. There's not much available these days also has the same sense of "must.. try... again..!" addictive replayability.

Like most 'brilliant' things, the concept is extremely simple:
  • The ship you pilot can change polarity (from black to white) at your command.
  • The rules dictate that, whilst you are (say) white, you will be damaged by the black bullets coming from the enemies, but you can absorb the white bullets and store them as 'energy'. (A bar up the left side displays the amount of energy collected.)
  • The same applies in reverse; whilst you are 'black', white bullets will harm you, but black ones can be absorbed.
PS: When I say 'harm', I mean kill. Yup - one hit and you're D.E.D.

To add further to this, the amount of damage you cause to an enemy varies. Hit a black enemy while you are white, and you will do double damage. And vice-versa.

Next, you can release the stored energy (the bar up the left side) in the form of homing missiles. The more energy, the more missiles at your disposal, up to 12 of them max.

Finally, you can score 'chains' by consecutively eliminating three enemies of the same polarity. The more times you do this, the more 'chains' you achieve, ultimately leading to a bonus extra life.


Knowing all this now, watch the videos closely to see how it affects the gameplay.


What's incredible is that the team responsible for this classic game was made up of only four people.
Nerds. :D

So yes - I'm thoroughly chuffed to be able to own a piece of gaming history in my hot little hands. Even more-so that I can simply throw the (Gamecube) disc into my new Wii and play it in backward-compatibility mode without fuss, on the big screen.

And to give you an idea of the sort of money people are wiling to throw into the ring to acquire this title: eBay
And in case it disappears - thats USD$199.00

There's just one more thing to show you..

..hard enough as it is, the game can be played by two players (which ramps things up significantly). Imagine if you were freak enough to be able to play it 2 player, by yourself??

Imagine no more:



Okay - so maybe I'm just 'soft-to-medium-core'.. *gulp

Labels: , ,