Friday, 14 May 2010

'ard as nails

You're probably a hardcore gamer if:

you've been playing a game so much during the day that it's what you dream about at night.

you've played from sunset to sunrise without sleeping.

in anger or frustration you've hurled the controller with sufficient force to damage its exterior, if not break it outright.

the first thing you do is go to options and invert the Y-axis.

you've been insulted by an American online e.g. "Teddy, you're a douche bag, man".

you are aware that the xbox 360 controller's d-pad is part of garbage.

you've gone a whole weekend without any human contact cos "the games made me".

trophies/achievements have changed the way you play games... for a while at least.

you haven't had 3 meals on a given day. Not because food wasn't readily available but because playing simply seemed more important at the time.

FHM, Loaded and publications of a similar ilk are dead to you when it comes to their
opinion on games.

you can identify the game they're playing in the movie/show you're watching.

you encounter the word 'melee' far more often than others.

you recognise the vast majority of these games: Pure, Half-Life, Oblivion, N+, Braid, Elite Beat Agents, Forza, Bioshock, Baldurs Gate, Civilization, Disgaea, Far Cry, Crysis, Portal and Nintendogs (joking -ha).

you'd happily repeat after me "RSI? shma-RSI".

you know that, like movies, games come out on Fridays.

you look upon the practice of button mashing with contempt and out of principle you will continue to beat a button masher long after you've stopped having fun in order to show them, by example, that it isn't a winning strategy.

you know that any game of a film (e.g Eragon) is rubbish. This also law works in reverse - Max Payne I'm looking at you.

you wouldn't be able to live with yourself if you played a game on the easy setting. The exception being Ikaruga. On easy, it's still the hardest game I've ever played.

you're always in the process of playing a game and you know what game you're getting

Rocket Propelled Grenade isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the
acronym RPG.


Though camping outside a store to ensure you get hold of a game or machine is a heroic effort, it's more akin to crossing the Arctic or climbing Everest and simply isn't the kind of thing that well adjusted people get involved in (you deviant).

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Easter. Back-to-back bank holidays ahoy. A time when people are likely to inquire about your plans for the weekend.

Vincent: John Boy!

Some people actually call me that.

Me: ...

Eye contact and assuming a bearing of mild welcome is sufficient here.

Vincent: What are you up to this weekend?

Me: Chilling at home.

Vincent: Let me hook you up!

It's home time and I have ways of murdering the conversation where it stands but this is Vincent. African, boistrous and amusing. Hearing what he has to say should be entertaining.

Me: Hook me up?

I'm aware it's his intent to throw an 'easy' female my way. In my world there's no crime in being easy, whether you're a boy or a girl, some practical dangers perhaps, but no moral impediment. Sadly, my nature prevents me from indulging. Either a female intends to be promiscuous or she's hoodwinked into it. I only use my powers of deception for good, so that puts the hoodwinked out of my reach. As for the wilfully promiscuous, they tend to be of a personality that I don't find appealing. I'm unable to invest the amount of time required to get the goods. I'm either bored or irritated, not the best mental mindset for the game. It's probably a primal defence mechanism: "Listen here, old boy. It's simply not in our best interests to mix genes here". Too bad, easy street looks like fun.

Vincent: A nice, blonde girl. She will give you the flavours.

With Vince you're always walking the borderlands of miscommunication. I'm not certain what he means.

Me: I thought you were wifed up?

Non sequitor. There are perfectly innocent reasons for him to know other women, promiscuous or not but it's Vincent and I know him too well.

Vincent: C'mon, John Boy! Bill Clinton plays the game and he was president. Who am I?

Unassailable reasoning, indeed. Please, sir. Proceed.

Me: lol

Vincent: I'll drop you the number, just show her the logo. Give her the headline.

Sometimes you cross the border.

Me: ...

A knowing smile, he's built up a head of steam and doesn't need any more encouragement.

Vincent: Just tell her you got her number through a friend. Any name. James...

He's groping for a better name.

Vincent: or Rodney.

Classic. That made my day.

Vincent: If she thinks it's a sneaky way to get her number, let her know you had to be sneaky because you wanted to know her so bad. Let her feel the waves.

The waves? Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Amateur Philosophy

She stalked off, unhappy that I didn't believe she went to Oxford University. Another spectacularly crashed pick up attempt. Though I'm sure you'd love to hear all about that story, it's not really why I'm here. She believed that I chose to disbelieve she studied at Oxford and as she put it, "...and that's not Oxford Brookes, honey".

Is belief within the domain of choice? I find an extreme thought experiment can be helpful when confronted with a problem like this. Here's one I made earlier:

Try to believe the sky is red. Not imagine it. Actually believe it by force of will. To the point where the next time you look you're shocked that it isn't.

An accumulation of information. My experiences, what I know and what I think I know. That's what decides what I will believe on a given matter. As I continue to interact with the world that act has the power to alter or reinforce my beliefs. From my lofty armchair,a seat on the night bus in this instance (top deck, mind you), I came to the conclusion that her reaction was irrational. Dunno what I was expecting anyway. I mean, it's not like she studied at Oxford or anything.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Girls have it easy... (the remix)

Austin's recent "Girls have it so easy...when it comes to dating!" has inspired me. So here's my less belligerent and slightly less dating oriented offering.

Men can still expect to:

1) pick up the tab for the first (at least) date. Men and women earn equal pay, this bidness needs to be shut down. Please ladies, don't hide behind the criminal technicality that is "Well you asked me out. If you're taking me out you should pay", instead see no. 2.

2) make the primary approach e.g Do any asking out, phone number acquisition etc, etc. Let's be real she isn't thinking "Ohhh, he's hot but I'm going to restrain myself because I don't wanna spoil the chase for him". I mean, is she?

3) get brownie points for opening doors. A double-bump when you consider those doors that could be push or pull and you have a 50% chance of being embarrassed. Only toddlers have trouble opening doors. How did we get here?

4) get brownie points for pulling out chairs. To be fair, I think this is dead. I'd like to know if anyone has done this or had it done for them.

5) give up their jacket if she's cold. This is England. Why didn't she come out properly attired? Don't try to come with 'Men have a better tolerance for low temperatures' - due to the heroics I've seen from certain girls when it comes to raving garms, the jury is sooooo out.

6) be under extreme pressure to do something special on Valentines Day. Isn't something wrong if the vast majority of mans approach this like it's a chore?

I can almost hear the grumbling about the loss of the gentleman. I'm just wondering if he's the same fellow that expected women to stay at home...


According to national stats I'm average height. For a woman. A mere technicality when you factor high heels into the equation.

You see, there was a time before heels (BFE - before heels era) when being a man of average height (for a woman) wasn't so bad. All the average height girls AND all the below average height girls were in range. But this is 2008, deep post-BFE and evolution simply hasn't had time to allow for high heels.

Not so long ago I was in an elevator with four heel-rocking women. For the 30 seconds or so that it took us to reach our floor I was the only male in the observable universe (brap). This was rendered irrelevant by the fact that I was also the shortest human in the observable universe (anti-brap).

The above anecdote doesn't tell us much though, four girls isn't a large sample and could be put down to ill luck. Last month I attended a birthday dinner (5-star ;]) where around 15 women (heel rockers one and all) made an appearance. I'd estimate more than 10 were taller than me. Grim odds. Factor in my fussiness when it comes to looks and personality and it becomes apparent that 'grim odds' doesn't cover it.

(Don't bother commenting if you plan on mentioning heels for men)

Annoyance of it all (the remix)

1) Bottlenecks.

i) The top or bottom of an escalator.
ii) A shop door

These are bottlenecks. There's a greater than normal degree of human traffic through these zones, mostly because there is no other way to proceed than traverse them. So why are there idiots that decide to stop in these places?

2) Phone protocol.

I can see you love a good example (me too!). So let's have one.

Me: Hello?

Phone rings, so I answer. So far so good, everything is going fine.

Brainless fool: Hello?

My 'hello' has a question mark on the end. I have used the correct vocal inflection. At this point the caller should be making some manner of request. A good example is "Can I speak to so and so?" Being the magnanimous hero of this story I proceed with a positive attitude.

Me: Hello?

Perhaps the caller didn't hear me.

Brainless fool: Hello?

Alarm bells.

Me: Hello?

Brainless fool: Hello?

One assumes this person has called for a reason. Why are they making no moves to achieve their goal? Truly I have no answer, the only certainty is that this person is an idiot and I am annoyed. Being the hero of the story I rescue the situation and my internal well being.

Me: What can I do for you?

What a guy.

3) Cash machines

See if you can spot the odd one out:

i) Rocket science.
ii) Brain surgery.
iii) Quantum mechanics.
iv) Cash Machine operation.

Yes. You guessed it. Cash machine operation isn't a particularly taxing endeavor. Well that's what I thought. There are some people who must disagree with me. I've seen them. I've queued behind them. How is it taking you this long to use a cash machine?

4) The have-tos

Onward with the workbook theme.

Annoyance: Are you having children.

Me: Not sure. Might steer clear of that.

Annoyance: Oh, but you have to.

No. No I don't have to. In fact technically I don't have to do anything, let's not be pedantic though. There are some truly mighty have-to's. These gods of have-to's don't require classification let's see some.

i) You have to sleep
ii) You have to eat

These are obvious. Everyone knows you have to partake in the above activities, there's no need to explain. The rest of the have-to's tend to rely on support of an 'if'. Let's have another tumble with the gods (they're such fun) to illustrate.

i) You have to eat IF you want to live
ii) You have to sleep IF you want to live

So where's the IF in having to have children? What's going to befall me if I don't? Oh, I see. You were trying to impose your idea of how life should be lived on me.

Bring the noise

I was happy with my 7 million on Super Stardust. It's a fairly rubbish score actually, but with no one to compete with, who cares? There's the world leaderboard, with the top ten posting truly massive scores. Scores that make you think "This fellow obviously doesn't work, he just plays Stardust". Probably not true, but more than enough to put the competitor in me at ease. What matters is the friends leaderboard. This ranking only includes the people on your friends list. With my friends list at a stress free zero, 7 million will do nicely. Naturally, the plot thickens...

Sometimes people come over, have a quick bash at Stardust, get nowhere near 7 million and then we play something else. There's always one though... "Hey man, what's you're high score". This one actually gets close to 7 million. Fair enough. I just nudge it up to 13 million. Ain't no thang.

Until he owns it and now my friends list is the worst it can be. A total of one. This means you can either be first or last. In a heathier environment of five or more you can be proud of second (silver) or third (bronze) and if you're second-to-last people just don't notice you.

I woke up this morning in last place. My 13 million to his 21 million. Considering the weight we're punching at, 21 million was mildly daunting. Nonethless my attitude was 'Hell-to-the-No'.

1. Jump in the shower.
2. Fire up the Stardust.
3. Relax the shoulders.
4. Breathe deeply and smoothly.
5. Press Start.

35 million. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it.