Friday, 29 October 2010

A quiet night in with the wife...

Greetings Earthlings,
Where do I find the time?
I remember when time was a bountiful thing. Summers lasted forever. Entire weekends could be spent round a friends house. And a whole day could be wasted as one saw fit.
Alas, like sand through a tightly clenched fist does time now run through my fingers. As you get older time seems to get less and less, the days less satisfying, maybe thats what Einsteins theory of relativity is all about. The friends I dont see anymore. The hobbies I no longer pursue. The projects I no longer have time for.
A classic line I remember from Homer Simpson: If God wants me to be in church an hour a week, He should have made the week an hour longer...
Such is the precious commodity that is TIME.
Aah, but are we not told to gracefully surrender the notions of youth as we climb the temporal ladder of entropy? And what is spare time if not to be filled with mans folly?
And fill it with folly I do. Computer games have always been my guilty pleasure. Countless hours There, I said it. FUN. Sure, a certain amount of frustration as well, but the satisfaction of leading an army to victory, of governing a civilisation to the pinnacle of its existence, of commanding a fleet of Battlcruisers to interstellar war, or even on a more personal level, stabbing someone in the neck or blowing someones head off with a shotgun. Theres is nothing like it. And together with todays level of immersion its never felt so real.
Okay, well both fuss and derision swirled around Medal of Honour, Tier 1 released earlier this month. Why? Well the Medal of Honour franchise is a big, healthy, strapping brute with a solid heritage, made slightly lame by a number of successful attempts to steal its crown. The first Medal of Honour title was co-produced by none other than Steven Spielberg and was at the time one of the best Nazi trouncing FPS' out there. Having milked WWII's teats dry however, games such as Call of Duty now take us onto the modern, super-tech battlefield of today against insurgents and terrorists. A lot was expected of Medal of Honour Tier 1, thanks in no small part to clever PR and hyping it up the arse. The thing I liked the most about it was that it didnt feel as if it was trying to be Call of Duty. Which is difficult when Call of Duty has set the bench mark for modern first-person-shooters. One things for sure it doesnt surpass Call of Duty. But is fresh enough to be enjoyed. Clunky and clumsy in places and a Multiplayer that just lacks the volume of customisation that most of its rivals have, I can see why it has not ranked as highly as it should. With a big, hyped title from a strong stable like it has, I think a lot of people were expecting it to blow the bollocks off of Call of Duty. Nah! Not a chance and with Call of Duty's new title looming for a release next month this Medal of Honour title has a danger of being lost in the mix. Saying that I dont feel disappointed when I play it, and the Multiplayer will probably keep me coming back for quite some time... because it is markedly different from Call of Duty. I enjoy the gritty, atmosphere it has. You can smell the desert musk, and feel the sand on the back of your throat as you play through the campaign. Good, but not as good as perhaps it should have been.

Big D's tips on a successful marriage: Always keep a door to your world (however small) open to your partner. My wife hates horror, superheroes and computer games. Hmmm... Why havent I killed her yet?
Non, non, non. Vive Le Difference! It is our differences that keep us united. A raging ying to a sobering yang. I have always left a door to my world open to my wife, and sometimes... just sometimes, you get it just right. Seek and find or Hidden object games are a little sedate for me, but my wife and I have enjoyed them in tandem. Games like Dire Grove, Mystery at Hillcrest High, Tunguska, are just a few... Their skewed logic is sometimes infuriating but on the whole they are fun, and even more so with your loved one.
My latest triumph in marital relations was Cities XL 2011. Again a fairly recent game, and not one to get your pulse racing. But the content, the playability and the attention to detail is fabulous. Forget staring into your Aquariums, never mind tending your ant-farms, flea circuses? Thing of the past mate.
Me and my wife have built a small city and civilisation in great depth and detail, arguing... sorry deliberating over whether to put a council estate next to the executive housing complex, whether we should spend money on a pier and marina, where we should build our city dump site, and how to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the middle of town. I have just got my way and built and observatory, and she got hers by building a scenic castle on the outskirts of town, overlooking the coast. So... Cities XL 2011, nice, scenic, unrushed, stress relieving, marriage saving fun.

In closing I'd like to give a nod to Amensia: The Dark Descent. A bugdet title that delivers frights, jumps and things that go bump, wuuooooah! and aaaaaaeeerrggh! in equal measure. A stylish, atmospheric game thats not outstanding, but adequately does what you expect it to do. So, a horrible thumbs up for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, if anyone wants a frightful experience on their computer this Halloween.
(All game reviews are PC format)
Big D out.


  1. Oh, Mate, that is soooo sad. Not sad that youre playing CitiesXL with the missus, but that Im playing it by myself!! And loving it!!
    You can keep your high-octane COD & MOH, gimme submarine, or plane, or city simulators any day, and leave me in peace while I pick peanuts out of poo. Genius. Although I am missing our L4D sessions, Bro... Pull your finger out!

  2. I thought you were retracting yourself...
    If your still up for it then by jingo so am I.
    Cities XL eh? Thing of beauty.