5 Things that piss me off about the Japanese Language

posted in: 5Things | 0
^my face after 5 minutes of looking at my Japanese textbook.
^my face after 5 minutes of looking at my Japanese textbook.

1) You need to know a few thousand Kanji to be ‘literate’

Newspapers require over 1000 at least, while you require around 2000 to be able to pass the JLPT N1. Im sure more specialized fields (science, technology, etc) will have all of their own bunch of specialized kanji, I dont even want to know how many you’d need to be a pharmacist, doctor or author.

2) All of the Kanji look the goddamn same

Examples (and there are many):

学 字

持 時 寺 待

目 貝 見 買

The meanings of all of these characters are, of course, completely different. You might not think it’s too bad, but believe me once you have a few hundred of these under your belt, everything really does start to look identical. If you are lucky, context will help the Kanji make sense, but if you are unlucky enough to get 2 characters confused which are even remotely interchangeable (Verbs are a great example) you’re gonna have a confusing time.

3) The pronunciation of Kanji changes depending on its context

The only thing more fun than learning how to read a Kanji? learning how to read it 4 times, and then having to remember them all when it actually comes to reading it.
A quick example: the character for say or speak – 言 – has at least 4 readings
言う – “Iu” – ‘i’ – ‘to say
言葉 – “kotoba” – ‘koto’ – a word
言語 – “Gengo” – ‘gen‘ – language
伝言 – “Dengon” – ‘gon’ – message
So straight away we can see that there are at least those 4 readings (I / koto / gen / gon) depending on the context it is used in.
Almost all of the characters have at least 2, which is great fun for learners (not).

4) They don’t use spaces between words

itsthelittlethingsinalanguagewhichcanseemtomakeallthedifference. thingslikespacesforexamplearekindoftakenforgrantedintheenglishlanguageandwhileyoucanstillprobablyfollowalongwithwhatimwritingyoudprobablyratheritbespacedout.

5) Many readings don’t even make sense

For example, ‘Seinen’ 青年 which means Young Man – is made out of the characters 青 (which means Blue) and 年 (which means Year).
Lets recap:
青年 = 青 + 年
YOUNG MAN = BLUE + YEAR

These sort of readings are, thankfully not particularly common, and yet there are enough of them that you will be left utterly clueless if you do not know your kanji perfectly, this is because (apparently) Japanese/Chinese are logographic languages – the jist of which is that they use symbols which represent words rather than words which represent sounds (phonogramic languages).
Admittedly there are advantages to the logographic style used in Kanji, for example I can see something I can’t quite read and be able to maybe tell what it means, but I still think I’d rather a language which doesn’t involve literally thousands of characters in its script

Castlestorm Review

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

castlestorm

Castlestorm is a castle defence game which takes and borrows from many other established games in the genre and then mashes them together and attempts to improve upon it.

CastleStorm 2013-07-30 17-22-00-01

Gameplay in Castlestorm contains…
– Troop summoning
– Castle destruction (Angry Birds style)
– Ballista / player controlled weaponry
– Hero Summoning system
– Castable spells
– Gold system (used to upgrade spells/weapons/units/perks)
– Loadouts
But wait, theres more!
– Hitting enemies in the head does critical damage
– Ability to get your troops to guard on command to defend against the enemy castle’s Ballista
– A Frenzy system
– A combo system
– Castle editor
and probably more which I don’t come to mind right now.

CastleStorm 2013-07-30 16-58-30-12

As a castle defence kind game? Yeah, it’s pretty good I guess.
There is enough of a range of weaponry, units and spells to provide variety should you want it.
The castle destruction and defence is pretty well done, even if it is very angry birds, and fighting off units is pretty fun because of the headshot mechanics and different enemy units you will encounter (some are armoured, some are giant, etc).
Though I didn’t get a chance to try it, I hear multiplayer is all of the depth of single player, but against an actual real person which sounds… insane. I can’t imagine playing this against another actual human without the game taking forever, and there are so many commands and spells it would almost become a battle of micro.

CastleStorm 2013-07-30 00-40-52-63

The single player campaign has a vague story woven into it, and is a fairly typical save the world kind of plot which has you leveling a bunch of enemy castles, each level comes with its own sub-objectives which will need to be completed to gain a 5-star rating, these little sub-objectives help encourage you to not play every level the exact same way, though you can still do so if you wish as the star system doesn’t actually seem to count for much as far as I know.

The graphics and music in the game are solid, the graphics in particular are deceivingly pretty yet clear and easy to ‘read’ whilst being charming and cartoonish, Music is a mixed bag, some of it is pretty good but in general tracks are repeated a little too much to stay likeable.

CastleStorm 2013-07-30 16-55-58-30

The biggest issue I have with this game is that it isn’t great amounts of fun to play, one sided castle defence games usually provide satisfaction when you are able to look at your fortress with its 1000 archers (or whatever) and feel happy with your progression, this kind of progression doesn’t really happen in Castlestorm because everything is new every level, your ground units are squishy so you can’t mass them, and your castle weapons have long cooldowns which prevents you from dominating the battlefield. It’s hard to feel that sense of empowerment that you would get from similar games in genre and as such you’ll find yourself almost grinding through the levels and not actually enjoying them much.

Other than the above, the difficulty is perhaps a little on the easy side – the most efficient way to attack an enemy castle is to achieve a killing frenzy which is activated upon getting 5 kills, unfortunately when the game refuses to spawn enough enemies this can be more of a challenge than it should be.
As mentioned the musical variety is a little lacking, which is a shame as the tracks which are present are fairly good with a nice beat to them.
Oh also.the game includes an arrow to the knee joke, so 2011 guys, honestly.

Verdict:

Zen Studios have clearly given it their all to try and make the definitive castle defence experience, and while it may not be the genre definer they want it to be, its certainly a solid piece of work which manages to be unique despite its borrowing of elements from other games.

Approximate Game Length :  Few Hours (2-5?)
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £3 / £7 = 0.42
Should you play it : Probably not, the game never comes off as genuinely fun, and for the £7 they want you to pay, you could buy something that IS genuinely fun instead.

Rating: 2/5

Not bad. Just not particularly good either.

Life – July 2013

posted in: blog, Japanese Language | 0

Home / Family

My aunt has come over from Hong Kong for a few weeks, so they’ve been about, my mum and brother have actually just gone with them to Butlins for a week, after which I believe they will be staying with us for a week or so.
My uncle also had his wedding celebration last night, we had a 12 course meal and it was pretty good – Suckling pig, pigeon, lobster, seafood, cuttlefish and lots of other nice stuff, he got kind of drunk which was entertaining.

20130728_183014[1]
Mango scallops fritters with strawberries and wasabi king prawns
Holiday

Have got 2 holidays booked for the next month (yay)
Going to Amsterdam with Hass and Nash 02/08/13 – 05/08/13
and then going on a European cruise with family from 25/08/13 – 03/09/13.
Look forward to the blog posts as usual :)
And i’ll look forward to 420smokeweedeveryday

Coding

Backburner for now? Have finished all of the major website design tracks on Codecadamy, defo seems like there is some awesome stuff to be done. My creative juices are a little low as of late though so I havent been bothered to try and make anything new (it would be significantly easier to make something if you know what you want to do I guess)

Japanese Language

Have been trying to get back into this over the past week or so, but leaving it so long has resulted in my kanji being very rusty. I have no idea how people manage to learn all of these (the characters, the meanings, and the multiple ways of applying them as a single character can often be read at least 3 ways depending on context).
I did spent about £25 on a textbook a month or two ago so I really dont want it to go to waste.
I’ve actually been attempting to translate some song lyrics and things like that with varying degrees of success.
I have also been watching some untranslated Japanese TV (mostly perfume variety shows for now, those girls are hilarious, especially the joint shows they’ve done with Arashi).
I might try my hand at translating and subtitling eventually, partially to give back to the community, and partially because I find its actually pretty useful for learning (assuming I am able to retain all the new words i’m learning)

Games Drought

So there hasn’t been any new games come out in ages, AAA or otherwise, not entirely sure what to fill my blog with when there’s no interesting games out to play.
Other than playing League almost every night – Signup and play with us? – I’ve been playing a little bit of God Hand on the PS2, Orcs Must Die 2, and Monaco. I want to finish Persona4 but the format takes so long and kind of irritates me as I constantly feel I have no time, I’d watch a lets-play or something but at that point I may as well not bother and just watch the P4 anime (which im doing anyway).

JobHunt

Still dire. Going on almost 3 months now, really makes me realise how much I fucked up picking my degree subject, im really a jack of all trades and master of none right now.
Everyone around me seems to be advancing their careers and I’m just sitting here unable to secure even entry roles. *sigh*

This Site

Really have no idea what to update with lately, so if anyone has any requests for articles you’d like to see, leave a comment here or on the facebook page or something and i’ll maybe give it a try.
Perhaps y’all have a game you want reviewed, or would like to see a ‘5 Things’ article..

5 Things that are great about the Wii U

posted in: 5Things | 0

1) Bayonetta 2 Is going to be on it

Worth noting also that ‘The Wonderful 101’ is going to be released next month as well, which is also a platinum games production.

2) The lack of games means you’ll never be tempted to buy one!

GGwiiU
I present to you, good guy Wii U

3) Backwards Compatability

This is also actually true for the 3DS, though whilst everyone complains about microsoft/sony’s lack of backwards compatibility, everyone sort of takes Nintendo’s provided backwards compatability for granted. One can easily argue that the XB1 and PS4 are unable to support backwards compatability because the system architecture is so different, but I mean, credit where it’s due, the WIi U is compatible with almost all of the Wii stuff, and that’s great.

4) It’s the only console actually trying anything drastically new

For better or for worse, the Wii U is very different from its competitors. Though other consoles may have similar features via smartglass or PSvita integration, the Wii U has that shit directly in the controller whether you like it or not. It’s also very hard to deny the coolness when you actually use one and are able to rotate the screen and have it show in real time because of the gyrostuff.
It also has the whole 2 sided experience which is only available on the Wii U because of the controller, gamers who have tried the luigi ghost mansion and mario chase minigames will know that the experience is unlike anything else you’ll get in a local multiplayer environment.

Wii-U-Nintendo-Land-Luigis-Ghost-Mansion-Screenshot

5) Teaches the masses about the importance of third party developers

Without such a super obvious example of what happens when you have practically no third party support, other rivals may have tried to go a similar route or try and think, for whatever reason that the game developers need them – when actually, the complete opposite is true.
A console is nothing without its games, and the WIi U took one for the team to make sure everyone is aware of that fact. We salute you.

Why my mobile number has changed

posted in: blog | 0

So Thanks to a family friend I was actually on T-mobile on a 50% off friends and family deal, which was amazing! (thanks Robert) This let me go on a contract at <£20 a month and get a ‘free’ galaxy S2, a shitton of minutes and texts and unlimited internet.

However my contract just ran out, and so I’ve decided to make the switch from T-mobile to ‘3’

Why? Well, aside from the image below which sort of speaks for itself, the pay as you go rates on 3 right now are incredible – http://www.three.co.uk/Store/SIM/Pay_As_You_Go
2p per text? Are you serious?
What it actually doesnt state here, is that you even get 150MB free allowance per month for internet (after which its a measly 1p per MB).
It’s great to finally see some competition in the PAYG market, as afaik most providers are still on the rustic 10p per text model (which has been about for ages).

20130726_110248[1]So yeah, there you have it.
If you don’t have my new number yet and need it, message me (fb, skype, whatever).
As an added bonus, I don’t have to worry about company X calling me anymore.

Can the Internet truly be silenced – Part 2

posted in: blog | 0

So i got another call from Company X today, saying that someone contacted them, linked to an article written on my website and said they were going to blow the company up.
Somehow this is all my fault?

Im apparently ‘lucky the MI5 aren’t involved’ because someone is threatening to blow them up, if im honest, I sort of wish the MI5 WERE involved, because im betting the MI5 are smart enough to realise that they should probably be more concerned with the actual person sending the threats.

How fucking ridiculous.
If I ever decide to send in a bomb threat to someone maybe I’ll link to whatever company im least fond of, because then the MI5 will shut them down. (gotta love the logic.)

Oh, also, the police are coming again so they can get a crime reference number, odd that. as I was told in an email prior that they already have one.

Strike Suit Infinity Review

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

strikesuitinfinitylogo

I grabbed Strike Suit Infinity at 75% off in the steam summer sale for £1.24, Thats a crazy price point, you’d be hard pressed to buy a can of red bull for that, yet here I am with a space combat game sitting in my steam list – Of interesting note, the steam cards you get from the game can be sold for about half the value of the game itself.
Edit: Apparently you can get 50% off vouchers as a steam item, if you’re interested in the game, maybe worth searching around and seeing if anyone has a spare they don’t want.

SSZ 2013-07-20 18-52-49-56

So, Strike Suit Infinity, not to be confused with Strike Suit Zero – which I believe is a more fleshed out version of the same game, with plot and other elements.
Ain’t nobody need no plot to shoot down spaceships.

SSI is an arcade styled space combat game, You start and select a craft, then play through a bunch of levels with waves of enemies trying to turn you into space dust.
In between levels you can upgrade your ship, buy allies to fight with you (groups of fighters or even larger ships like carriers/frigates), select your weapons and then continue to the next level.
Fighting in SSI is fairly flight warfare style, you have missiles, unguided rockets, vulcan and lasers to use (probably more shit as you go on), the controls are fairly easy to get to grips with as long as you are using a controller (I haven’t really tried using Mouse and KB), additional targetting reticles and things help to allow you to shoot other ships and you can boost and use EMP’s to get missiles off your scent, it’s all pretty awesome and works well with the fast paced arcade style they are going for. The twist comes when you use Strike Suit Mode, this mode uses a seperate resource called Flux which is gained from getting kills and essentially acts as your hyper mode or whatever you would want to normally call it – you transform into the Strike Suit and your flux drains as you fire weapons, the main advantage of Strike suit mode is the flexibility and extra manoeuvrability gained (you can horizontally dash in Strike mode) as well as the improved weapons systems – you gain access to ‘circus missiles’ which basically means you can fire a lot of fucking missiles at once and can lock on to multiple targets. The picture below will probably give you a fair idea of what this means.

Circus missiles = Awesome
Circus missiles = Awesome

The game is great fun to play for short bursts of time (and i mean very short bursts), I personally find it hard to get in to these sort of games but every time I boot this up I have a blast with it, it’s a shame there is no multiplayer modes included (on either of the strike suit games oddly) but then at the selling price I suppose its no surprise.

I will add that this game is really goddamn hard, enemy ships will mess you up and if you somehow exhaust all of your missiles and have to take down a frigate or something… good luck with that. There are 18 levels, all of which seem to be progressively difficult, and I mean, im still relatively early on in the game and stuff is kicking my ass.

SSZ 2013-07-20 20-00-19-62Verdict:

Strike Suit Infinity is a budget game for sure, but it knows what it wants to do, and does it well.
It is advertised as a ‘frantic score chaser’ ‘arcade experience’ and it delivers this well, no plot, no explanations, just beautiful hectic space combat and pumpin’ techno music to get your blood flowing.

Approximate Game Length :  Few Hours (2-5?)
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £4 / £5 = 0.8
Should you play it : For fans of genre, That said, if it ever goes 75% off again, grab it because you’ll be hard pressed to find a better game for such a low price.

Rating: 3/5

Absolutely nothing wrong with this game, but genre and scale of the game means it’s not for everyone.

5 Things that should be in every video game

posted in: 5Things, Games | 0

1) Co-op

It’s hard to imagine many games that wouldn’t be made better with some level of co-op, even horror games (often characterized by their ability to make the player feel helpless) can implement co-op well by introducing weird mechanics or forcing the players to split for periods.
Having interesting interactions through voice-chat ingame can also work to great effect, for example things like proximity based voice-chat or events which block communication.
And then of course there are the more general things which are improved by co-op, the ability to be able to work together with a friend to speed up your play, do crazy shit, or handle larger problems.

2) A Masochist difficulty setting

What is the worst that could happen from you putting an obscenely hard difficulty setting? Nothing, there are literally no downsides to that. Gamers who find your game too easy will be happy to have something harder than ‘hard’ to fall back to, and gamers who find the game too hard never need to touch such an option. A sad fact is that nowadays many games are far too easy, and easy games just aren’t that enjoyable, and can even downgrade the game experience as a whole.
For example something like Bayonetta based around dodging attacks to empower your own, if that game was too easy, you’d never have to use the dodge button and you would never feel that ‘rush’ of playing the game the way it was made to be played.
Also I mean, everyone enjoys watching people do insane shit. Look at ‘Through the fire and flames’ when that first came out, or people managing to 1cc games like Mushihimesama or people playing Beatmania Doubles.

3) Custom icons / emoticons

Gamers are incredible, give them a custom icon/picture maker ingame and let the talent flow. The below few pictures were taken from the symbol art in Phantasy Star Online 2. This should be implemented on all the consoles too, none of this preset avatar crap.

pso2

And of course there are tons of amazing works in the Black Ops 2 emblem editor too..

4) An unbarred world

rarryrurton
This is why you should always pay attention when you are in an area where everything is trying to kill you.

This is in a fair few MMORPGS and stuff, but I really enjoy the idea of being able to skip parts of the game and be somewhere you’re not supposed to be, the most obvious examples are going into a zone way above your level in WoW and mining stuff you’re not supposed to have access to for another 30 levels – if you get into trouble, you are 100% fucked, but its still nice to have the option.
Alternatively, for adventure games, particularly those with multiple areas, let us tackle them in whatever order we want to. The upcoming Payday 2 seems to have the right idea here, it offers elite levels right from the start of the game, why? becuase it can.

5) Skippable cutscenes/events

Sometimes, you just want to play the game, not every game needs a deep story and character development. As a game dev, if you want to add those things, that’s fine, just don’t force me to have to be a part of it.
Aside from the obvious issues like ‘maybe my PC crashed and I’ve already seen this’ or ‘I died, why are you making me watch this again’, it’s just never necessary or excusable to not have a skip-cutscene option. The same goes for text/speech as well to some degree, if I’m playing a game with slow moving, unforwardable text, I’m going to turn it off and never play it again, ain’t nobody got time for that, I could be playing something made by a dev that actually gives a shit about the players.
Semi-relevant: Let us pick hard/veryhard mode right off the bat please, I dont want to wade through your shitty game in casual mode before being able to enjoy it.

6) (bonus) The platinum games logo

Self explanatory

Pacific Rim (2013)

posted in: films | 0

245986id1a_PacificRim_INTL_RGB_3200x1600.indd

Ultra fast review just to get some content out (have been preoccupied with games recently with the ongoing steam sales).
The less you know and have seen about Pacific Rim before seeing it, the better.
I had hardly seen anything about it other than the first teasers that were put out, and I was blown away.
Incredibly stupid, incredibly over the top, action all the way, and right up my alley.

This is a film that needs to be seen in the cinema for sure, the sheer scale of everything in the film is incredible. Be aware that the film is pretty much EXACTLY what it says on the tin, don’t go expecting a particularly deep plot or masses of character development, this is almost like watching Rocky but replacing Stallone with a gigantic robot.
Personally, what impressed me most and was the best part of the film were the graphics, obviously with a film like this you know that the majority of it is CGI, but they deliver it so very well, the film is a beautiful example of cutting edge CGI and special effects and what is capable nowadays, like if I was to go back in time and wanted to bring back something that would showcase how far special effects have come? It’d probably be this film.

I realise it’s maybe a little late to be saying this, but go big or go home with this one, I can’t imagine it being particularly fantastic on a home screen, but in the cinema its a true spectacle.

Kotonoha no Niwa / The Garden of Words (2013)

posted in: Anime, films | 0

Garden of Words is a short 45 minute film by Makoto Shinkai (5cm/Second, Voices of a distant star, Children who chase lost voices), similar to the rest of his other works, it is a visual masterpiece and contains a slow moving emotional story.
However, unlike the rest of his works, this film had me engaged the whole time, from the start of the film which draws you in with its incredible art, to the stunning climax at the end.

[Doki] Kotonoha no Niwa (1920x1080 Hi10P BD FLAC) [E7305504].mkv - 00000

This is without a doubt, the best animated piece of work i’ve seen in a while, it has a great story, sexy visuals, amazing soundtrack, just… everything.

http://doki.co/2013/06/17/kotonoha-no-niwa-blu-ray/

Grab the 1080p FLAC version if your computer can run it, the art really will blow you away.

This is a real masterpiece, and at 45 minutes there is little excuse to not watch it.

zplayer 2013-07-17 21-07-33-15

http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=9589

5 Things that would make Zelda less shit

posted in: 5Things, Games | 0

I have played almost all of the Zelda games that have come out, however I have completed only maybe 20% of these. Why? Because Zelda is boring. It’ll be fun for a little while, then i’ll get to a dungeon and just stop playing and never pick it up again.

That said, here are 5 ways I think they could make the next Zelda a better game.

1) Skip the first section of the game

Nobody wants to hunt chickens or whatever the fuck they make you do every goddamn game before you get a sword. The story is going to be the same anyway, just start the game later along the timeline. Its the equivalent of playing Call of Duty and starting the level in the base, checking and cleaning your weapons, waiting for the captain to call you, then riding in the truck to your destination before the level starts – aint nobody got time for that.

2) Make it open world

Currently the path tree for Zelda is completely linear, with the option to sidequest a little here and there if you feel like it.
Imagine now, a Zelda game where you start the game semi-geared, you are actually ready to do shit, the world is your oyster, epona is ready and hungry as shit for some carrots.
You ride out, you know what needs to be done, whether it be collecting relics from dungeons or whatever, but you can choose which one you want to do first, upon completion you get new stuff which may help you tackle another dungeon easier. I only just realised I am essentially describing the level select stuff in Megaman but you get the idea.

3) Less focus on dungeons, more focus on exploration

Personally, the most enjoyable part of past Zelda games has always been the exploration and treasure hunting aspect of the game – finding hidden stuff in the overworld by playing around with time/seasons, finding new areas in minizelda mode in Mimish Cap, sailing around exploring the seas in Wind Waker.
The least enjoyable part of the game, and also the thing which always makes me drop the game before I finish it, are the dungeons. I get that dungeons are a crucial part of the game, but do they really need to be? Has anyone ever walked into a new dungeon and really enjoyed it? OH BOYO PUZZLES! except they are usually easy enough to work out provided all of the prerequisites have been met. The dungeons practically force you to running through rooms in a particular order before allowing you to progress, it gives the illusion of exploration at first, but soon you’ll realise you’re at a complete dead end because you picked path B instead of path A (have fun backtracking.)

4) Try something new

I think we’ve all joked around and said that the new Watch_Dogs game is essentially Assassins Creed but cooler, Why can’t zelda go a similar route?
Maybe they should try something which isn’t Link rescuing Zelda using a sword, bow and hookshot. Maybe instead of the hyrule overworld being a field with trees, its now a space station, or a futuristic city, maybe he gets a beam sword, a laser gun and a jetpack.
There are a ton of cool things they could throw in to change it up, and still vaguely keep it ‘zelda’, people complain about series games being the same thing yet Zelda has been doing this since NES era.

5) Just give it to Platinum Gamesbayozelda

Aka. Make the game actually fun.

So you want to play League of Legends (6) – Ranked / Serious Mode

posted in: league of legends, SYWPLOL | 0

So you’ve hit level 30, you have a few hundred games under your belt and feel like it’s time to get serious and play against people that might not actually be terrible.

Draft Mode:

rankedSome obvious stuff straight off the bat, Whoever gets first ban also gets first pick, from here it alternates with 2 picks on the opposite team (see above) and ends with the last pick on the opposite team.

Each team gets 3 bans, if you are playing premade 5’s you can use this to ban out champions who pose a problem towards your teamcomp or strategy (for example, if you have a full engage comp, you might want to ban out those who nullify this somewhat, like Alistar or Janna, similarly – if you have a split push comp you might want to ban out those with good mobility and wave clear)

The best strategy for draft pick is to save your ‘strong picks’ for last, and pick ambiguously at the start, the idea behind this is to prevent your champions from being countered in lane, as such, those who don’t really have counters or those with minimal counters should be picked first.

A great example first pick is Lee Sin, Why Lee?
1) He can go Jungle, Mid or Top
2) Hardish to Counter / Versatile

If possible, the picks on your team should roughly follow this:
1) Jungle (Harder to counter a jungler than it is to counter a lane)
2) Support (Low importance in the grand scheme of things)
3) ADC (Reliance on auto attacks more than skills means range differences have the most impact)
4) Top and Mid (Usually easily countered, pick range against melee, pick sustain against range, pick silence against combo casters, pick waveclear vs burst mages, etc)

Failure to follow this sort of pick standard will often result in your lanes being counterpicked, which is easy enough to do assuming your champion pool is big enough – try it for yourself –
http://championselect.net/champ – you’ll find that generally speaking, whilst there are few true hard counters in the game, it’ll be harder for you to really destroy the lane against a good champion counter.

You should also take time to formulate a team strategy whilst in pick phase, trying to pick champions which work well together and have skills that synergize, this will give you an edge in teamfights and help you understand what your main strategy is come lategame.
Examples of some synergy:
– Malphite, Amumu, Miss Fortune, Lissandra = AoE Explosion team
– Nunu, Vayne, Yorick, Shen = Hypercarry Protect Team
– Ezreal, Nidalee, Soraka, Jayce = Poke Comp

Welcome to Summoners Rift (The first 2 minutes):

One of the biggest differences between Normal and Ranked is the first 2 minutes of play, the jungle defence or invade.

bushwhacked

This picture right here is the single most important thing in this article.
If you are a mid laner, buy your shit and get out ASAP, then TAKE THIS ROUTE.
The amount of times I’ve seen players go through the jungle a little and sit at point X, and then die and give up first blood before they can even react is astonishing. (infact, I saw it happen just yesterday to a friend of mine in a ranked game). The problem with point X is that whilst you are in range to aid kill blue, you have no vision around that corner, if they are all hiding in that bush, when they come out, you won’t see anyone until they are practically on top of you, at which point even flash might not save you.
If you take this route, you will be safer, guaranteed, should you still be invaded, you will have enough time to see them and react.

If you are late buying, DO NOT DO THE ABOVE, if the enemy is going to ambush you at blue, that bush is where they are going to be waiting. Assuming you don’t have any scouting spells (Lux Lucent Singularity [E] for example) Your options are now:
1) Stand on W, pray they don’t invade
2) Get your support to ward W
3) Ward W

Which brings me to my next point, if you are a support, you can trivialize this whole damn thing.
How?

ward

This shit right here —>
If you are a support, you are probably (hopefully?) speccing into the utility tree anyway, 2 points here gets you 80HP, 50MP and a ward which lasts a minute, perfect for scouting for a jungle gank.

Go with your mid laner, drop your explorer ward at point W at around 1:20. Job done. If they invade, you will all see them coming with plenty of time, and nobody gets put at risk.

Can the internet truly be silenced?

posted in: blog | 1

So, interesting development today on the way back from Oxford.

I get a call from an angry company

They want me to take down the article I wrote about them, because apparently its slanderous and is causing loss of sales or something, also, supposedly the picture contains copyrighted material (even though a quick google of it turns up a ton of similar images of their logo and so-forth).
Also apparently, ‘the lawyers’ are coming in later and the article needed to go down “ASAP. Before 5pm”, to which I was thinking ‘im driving, Im not even going to get home until around 6…’

I also just got an email saying that it has been reported to the police and that they have a crime number for it.

Which puts me in a tough spot, are they as genuine about this as they were with their job?

I’ve decided as a result to remove the supposedly copyrighted picture, and edit the post to remove the opinions and only state the facts and the things I know 100%.

What you should be watching this season (Summer 2013)

posted in: Anime, WYSBW | 0

WYSBWsummer13

Prenote – All opinions are based purely on the first 1 or 2 episodes, views expressed here are likely not representative of a series as a whole. If an airing show isn’t on this list, I didn’t watch it (mostly sequels).

Anywho, Heres what Anime you should be watching this summer 2013 season.

‘Watch These’ Tier:

Danganronpa
Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei – The Animation

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I did a quick post about this the other week, a murder mystery survival anime based on a chunsoft game, this to me is the most interesting show this season, it has an interesting art style and a story which is clearly going to go insane further down the line.

Free!

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An anime produced by KyoAni (the studio most famous for producing K-On and Haruhi), it’s about really fit dudes that go swimming. It’s very possibly the gayest thing i’ve ever seen, and yet it manages to be surprisingly entertaining.
As a subnote, the ED is hilarious.

‘Watamote’
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!
(No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!)

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Despite taking the award for worst series name I’ve ever heard (which is why its no surprise everyone refers to it as….), Watamote is probably the best comedy this season.

Adorable Kuroki realises she isn’t quite as popular as she anticipated and tries to take steps to become popular, which ends pretty much exactly as you can imagine.
I was never a complete outcast in school, but its easy to sympathize with the main character just because she is a perfect characterization of a shut-in gamer nerd struggling to find friends and talk to people. It also takes ‘catchiest ED of season’ award.

http://utw.me/tag/watamote/ <- downloads

‘Consider These’ Tier:

Servant X Service

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Servant X Service is essentially a spiritual sequel to ‘Working!/Wagnaria‘ from 2010/11, the author of the source material and the animation studio are identical, and it really shows – in art style, jokes, and actual content. The story follows 3 new recruits to a civil service office and how they cope (or fail to cope is probably a better description). It’s pretty funny, certainly if you enjoyed Working! you should check this.
Has by far the best OP animation this season,

Uchouten Kazoku
(The Eccentric Family)

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An odd one, not a whole lot has happened so far, but the anime is set in an interesting universe with shapeshifting tanooki and tengu living in the human world. Uchouten Kazoku is without a doubt the best looking series this season (art wise). Whilst watching, It felt like I was watching a ghibli series, not particularly interesting and almost boring, but filled with a strange sense of eccentricity

Love lab

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If i’m honest, I originally had Love Lab in the Trash Tier based solely on its first episode (which was awful imo), the second episode however was pretty funny and introduced a bunch of new characters (one of which reminds me a ton of Sugiura from YuruYuri).
Love Lab is a comedy essentially based on the concept of the blind leading the blind, Natsuo asks Riko for help with her love life – Little does she know, Riko is equally clueless.

Sequel Tier:

TWGOK 3 (Goddess Arc)

3rd Season of ‘The world only god knows’, which follows dating and gaming god Keima and adorable demon assistant Elsie. Off to a strong start with a plot based around revisiting the girls featured in the first 2 seasons – which is nice because pretty much all of the characters in the show were likeable.

Genshiken Nidaime

3rd Season of Otaku club Genshiken, doesn’t seem as strong as previous series judging by the first 2 episodes. Also a little bit sad considering all of the original club members are now just sub-characters.

‘Watchable, but not particularly good’ Tier:

Gin no Saji
(Silver Spoon)

Guy from the city moves to the countryside and joins a farming school, with the story focused on how clueless he is. Its okay I guess, though it doesn’t do anything particularly well. I’m not actually sure what genre it’s supposed to be at this point. The 2nd episode isn’t out yet, so this may get moved around after i’ve seen that, but for now im not really sold yet it doesn’t seem awful either.
It feels a lot like Moyashimon, so if you liked that, this is probably up your alley.

Trash Tier:

Blood Lad

The first episode was okay, but honestly the plot is awful to the point of being straight up random, Second episode moved this series down to trash tier level. The animation style is nice, but if it’s supposed to be a comedy, its not very funny, and if its supposed to be an action, there isn’t a whole lot of that either. Staz the vampire seems like he would be pretty cool to watch in a battle series, but they try to bounce humour off the fact he’s an otaku and it doesn’t really work very well.

Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu
(Stella girl’s school – C3 club)

Like K-ON but without the cute, oh and instead of playing music they play with BB-guns.
I tried watching the second episode but was so disinterested that I couldn’t finish the episode, if you are looking for a ‘cute girls do cute things’ series, there are better choices out there.

Cringe Tier:

Hyperdimension Neptunia – The Animation

Really disappointing, I love the idea behind Hyperdimension Neptunia (based on video games and stuff) but this anime is so geared for fanservice that it manages to dive into the bizarre zone between porn and not-porn, where it’s not quite erotic enough to be classified as hentai, but too uncomfortable to watch normally. Im not stranger to fanservice/ecchi shows, but neptunia managed to take it a little too far.

Anime Spotlight: Danganronpa

posted in: Anime | 1

So we’re only very early into the summer season, but already I think I’ve found my favorite.

27414-DanganronpaDanganronpa is an anime adaptation of the PSP game of the same name, it is a murder mystery visual novel by Chunsoft, the same guys that do the ‘Zero Escape’ series (999, virtues last reward). I personally am a massive fan of their stuff, and so seeing something like this has me pretty excited.

The story is 15 people are locked in a school, the only way to ‘graduate’ is to murder someone and get away with it, after a murder its investigation has occurred, there is a trial, where someone must be convicted – if the murder gets found guilty, they die, however if an innocent gets found guilty, all the innocents die.

It’s a glorious mix of battle royale, mind games and the classic party game ‘werewolf’ (aka witch hunt). We’re 2 episodes in and people are dropping like flies already, the series is only 13 episodes long I believe, so I expect the show to move fairly quickly, but I’m okay with this.

Come watch with me? We can suss out who dunnit together.

http://utw.me/tag/danganronpa/

zplayer 2013-07-13 10-51-13-41Subnote, ‘What you should be watching this season’ will probably be next week, it gonna be a short list unless there are some damn good second episodes to turn me around.

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

puzzleSooooo… Steam Sales are here.
Which brings me nicely to Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe, which is 50% off for the summer sale.

SPPD is a mixture of a falling block puzzle game, and a platform shooter which controls like Cave Story. Coloured blocks will fall from the sky and arrange themselves, to which you can destroy blocks of the same colour by shooting them, similar to the connection style in Super Puzzle FIghter, blocks can form long lines or large blocks and then be shattered all a once for a large score multiplier (1 block gives 1 point, 2 connected blocks give 4 points, so on).
From here, the game tries to kill you in a multitude of ways, from crushing you underneath waves of falling blocks, to environmental traps like flying lava and falling drills, to block traps like turrets which fall from the sky and start firing upon you.SuperPuzzlePlatformerDeluxe 2013-07-12 23-13-51-72

Other than the core game, a 1v1 local multiplayer mode, and some challenges, there isn’t actually a whole lot else to do in SPPD, there is a variety of levels to choose from, each with their own environmental hazards and unique obstacle blocks, and then there are the unlockable characters (7 of them) but then the game is pretty standard arcade puzzle style.

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Graphics are a cutesy pixel art style, and animations and all sorts are fine, music is a little on the underwhelming side – I’m usually pretty easy to please when it comes to chiptune, but the soundtrack in this game isn’t particularly memorable.

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Mechanically the game works, and pretty well too, though blending 2 genres like this is never easy, as a result both genres only partially make it in with certain bits missing.
The puzzle aspect is cool, and the score system is neat, however the gameplay doesn’t feel particularly deep or tricky in any way, conversely the shooting and platforming feel almost unfair because of the way the game works.
I feel like i’d have preferred the ability to take multiple hits and then ramp up the difficulty more with additional turrets/’enemy’ blocks, as opposed to the current game where you die once and obstacles are almost rare (but are a real threat when they are around.
There is also no way to speed up the rate at which blocks fall, which can result in the start of the game feeling quite boring as you wait around for something to do, seems a bit of an odd decision considering there is no time-limit and so chasing high-scores normally seems more like a test of patience than skill.

As much as I like the game now, I can’t help but feel it will not maintain long lasting appeal, the puzzle elements are weaker than other similar games like Puzzle Fighter, and the levels feel more like palette swaps than full different experiences. Unless you are competing for high scores, or have a friend on hand for local co-op, this will likely be a fairly short lived experience.

 Verdict:

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is a quirky twist on established game genres, it’s certainly unlike anything else you’ve have ever played, and probably deserves a try just based on that.
The only major problem with SPPD is that it lacks any addictive qualities, you’ll have fun whilst playing it, but won’t feel a massive amount of incentive or urge to go back and keep playing once you’ve quit the game.

Approximate Game Length :  1-2 Hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £3/ £6= 0.5
Should you play it : Yes, Give it a try if you can, it certainly wins points for originality.

Rating: 3/5

(Remember 3/5 does not mean bad, just that it’s a matter of taste)

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is currently on sale for £3 in the steam summer sale, and at that price it’s definitely worth it for puzzle fans.

Bleed

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

bleed

So, just a speedy little review of indie run and gun game ‘Bleed’ by Ian Campbell.

Bleed is an old school style arcadey run and gun which is actually remarkably similar to the game we were/are working on at the moment, the hero gets a multitude of weapons to select from, 3 airdashes, and then is unleashed into levels filled with enemies trying to kill you.

There isnt a massive amount more to say about the gameplay itself, there is slo-mo, almost bullet hell levels of projectiles (at times), some level design taken straight out of super meat boy and 7(?) unique bosses. The game also features multiple difficulties, with normal probably being the hard mode for most actual games, and hard and higher increasing enemy counts, damage taken, and environmental hazards.

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As a whole the game seems well made and a lot of love has obviously been put in to it, the graphics are charming in a retro style and the music is chiptune throughout. The star of the game is probably the well thought out level design, which keeps the game flowing nicely and provides a nice variety of obstacles and verticality to what could have easily otherwise been a working, but not particularly interesting, game.

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Verdict:

Bleed is a fun little romp, but its short length and retro game design makes me unable to call it spectacular. Then again, it’s £4 on steam right now, so i’ll refrain from judging it too harshly.

Approximate Game Length :  ~ 60-90 mins
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £4 / £4= 1
Should you play it : Yes, though only if you enjoy this sort of game, those who aren’t fans of games like metal slug or contra likely won’t find much to their liking here.

Rating: 4/5

Meng @ Perfume World Tour 2nd – London

posted in: music | 0
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The queue literally went around the block, some people were apparently there at around 11am

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Projection mapped performance of spending all my time was awesome to watch
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Introduction, the girls were adorable speaking English

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The crowd was SO HYPE.

20130705_211759Best live experience of my life, any non perfume fans could easily be converted by a few minutes in the centre of the crowd during FAKE IT, jesus that was insane.

I was a little upset they didn’t play some of my favorite songs (Natural ni koi shite, Baby Cruising Love, Kokoro no Sports) but at the same time I love pretty much all of the songs so I feel like I would have complained one way or another.

I grabbed a shirt too, Its pretty nize.

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Havent heard of Perfume?
1) Im not surprised
2) Check em out.


Update: lol, there I am.

itsdameng

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aAFZRJRyWo

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