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Jam_FDUK Blog

Updates Updates Teacakes

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Ever have that feeling like you're drowning in work? I've had that feeling for the past couple of weeks. And the more work I get, the harder it is to actually DO any of it. I'm so rubbish.

We've got a rather unusual Frag Doll video that should be emerging next week, so make sure you keep an eye out for it at www.fragdolls.co.uk (as if you didn't know the link!)

We might also be doing a rather groovy community evening on Tuesday, which should be confirmed over the next few hours/days. Again - keep an eye out for it, especially if you're a PS3 owner (oooooooh!)

Finally, thank you for all the questions everyone posted in my last blog. I'm going to put them all together and answer them in a video, I think. But if you have any more questions, keep 'em coming!

Right, I'm off to tackle my workload. But before I do, I have some questions for YOU!

1) Do you think GTAIV lives up to the hype?

2) Any of you Brits doing something nice for bank holiday weekend? I hope you voted in your local elections!

3) Does anyone have Wii Fit?

Mumblings of a Frag Doll

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I'M IN A GOOD MOOD TODAY! YAAAAAAAAY! Even though my bum feels like it's been smacked by a dozen horseshoes, due to a new dance class I attended yesterday. There's nothing to put you in a better frame of mind than needing to wince everytime you sit down. W00t W00t!

Right, enough flapping around. Before I forget, thanks to everyone who hopped online during the Gamespot Community Night. It was great fun. I always think a great online session isn't the game you're playing, but the people you're playing it with.

Also, I have a new videoblog! And thanks to everyone's kind words, I bit the bullet and wore my glasses. Sadly I can't upload it to Gamespot as usual as it means lots of conversion confusion, but you can still watch it on the FDUK site here.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to throw open a bit of healthy discourse. Meaning, I want you to ask me some questions about Frag Dolls. Sometimes I forget there are a lot of people out there who aren't quite sure how we operate, or what activities we get up to. So if you message over your questions - however big or small - I will do my best to answer them. No hate mail, please! Don't spoil the Jammy fun times.

Right, I'm off to accept some friend invites. I've been getting really lazy with them recently. Tut tut.

Gamespot Community Evening with the Frag Dolls

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Yes, tommorrow evening I and my fellow Fraggies will be hooking up with the lovely chaps from Gamespot to bring you an evening of WILD GAMING ACTION!

Well... a few nice games on Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, at the very least.

We'll be playing on Xbox 360 and PS3, from 8pm BST on Thursday. It's all a bit of harmless fun and a giggle, no matter what your skill level. So if you're free, hop online and say hello!

To find out more info, hit the link!

Kick, Jump, It's All in the Mind

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I'm in a good mood today, but I ache all over!

As mentioned in my previous blog, I've decided to have a go at kickboxing. I went to my first lesson yesterday. It was all pretty bizarre, as the vast majority of people there had been kickboxing for years. I also couldn't drag anyone along with me, so I felt like a complete loner n00b. Fortunately everyone was really friendly and forgiving when I couldn't do a 'snap kick' to save my life. I even had a woman stand on my knees whilst I was sat in the lotus position - how insane is that!? Not your usual idea of a Monday night.

I'm not sure if I'll go back yet, as I guess it is a disadvantage that there aren't any other n00bs like me. It's not so much feeling inimidated, but I don't want to feel like I'm the rubbish member of the group who slows everyone down, you know? On the other hand, I did have fun, and I think it can teach me a lot of new things. We shall see.

So sleepy now!

The Most "Hardcore" Game on the Xbox 360

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Yesterday I sat down to what I hoped would be a relaxing evening with A-Train HX.

For those on the other side of the pond, A-Train HX is a train simulation game (previously known as "A Ressha de Ikou HX") that recently got a European release. Okay, so the graphics looked last-gen, and building up a city around some train tracks might not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but I've always had a fancy for simulation games. I hoped A-Train would be like many small releases - quirky and full of charm.

I'd never played a train simulation game before, so like a good girl I read up on the manual before hand. It described the basics of building up a city from scratch. "Okay" I thought, "Now for the game!" I booted up the menu screen (with the painfully small text, even set to the largest font on a HD TV) and off I went onto the first map in the main mode.

Oh. My. God.

I cannot fully desribe my feeling of confusion and panic at the sprawling metropolis that lay before me. Instead of starting from scratch (such as Theme Park or Sim City), A-Train plonks you smack in the middle of everything. With no tutorial. No handy hints. Not so much as a cheeky nod as to how the hell you're supposed to get started. Suddenly the instructional manual was like trying to teach the metaphoircal murmurings of Ulysses using an Ikea desk assembly manual.

Before people begin to complain, I know that A-Train HX isn't mean for a quick casual game, pushing around some Thomas the Tank Engines. I was more than prepared to get my hands dirty. But it was the complete lack of help that got me. Unless you've been playing these kinds of games since the Atari, I just can't fathom how anyone can figure out what the hell to do. Why are random houses popping up next to one station, but not the other? What are these signal points all about? How do I make money? How do I buy and sell shares? Three hours later, I was still none the wiser.

It was a big disappointment for me. I know a lot of people scoffed at the idea of a Train Sim on the 360 from the get-go, but I really hoped it would prove them wrong. It's terrific to see more diverse games heading to the Xbox 360, and good on 505 Games for taking a chance. It's the utter lack of effort that galls me. How hard would it be to put in a simple, in-game tutorial? So the incredibly niche title just got even nichier. Consider me a potential fan, lost.

Face: Meet Arse

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You know you're in a great job when it's a Thursday afternoon and you're filming a developer standing on a table, shoving his bum in a co-workers face. It was all in the name of upcoming FPS 'Haze', which seems to be shaping up rather well. Keep your eyes peeled for video madness in the next few eeks.

That said, I find myself in another gaming slump at the moment. There's just so many games to play, I figure I shouldn't play any of them. Logical, right? So to use up my free time, I'm planning to enroll in kickboxing classes. WAAA! I figure it will get me in shape, as well as making me look teh hardc0re. Although, to be honest, I'm a bit scared by the idea of hitting someone. It just seems so wrong! I'm planning on attending my first lesson this evening, so I will let you know how I get on.

My hair is very red today :)

Frag Doll Friday Here Once More

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Well, I did it. The record attempt is over. Just waiting on the official word from Guinness, and then I can finally blab out it. Although, must be said - thank you to everyone who donated money for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer fund (currently over £500! Wow!)

Now I'm just really looking forward to the weekend. It's tough trying to squish in five days of work into a four day week, especially when your sleeping clock still isn't back to normal! Some times there really aren't enough hours in the day. It's easy to feel a little overwhelmed, occasionally. Thankfully I'll have Frag Doll Friday to take my mind off things this evening. Two hours on Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (8 - 10pm GMT) for anyone who is interested in hopping on and saying hello. And tell me to stop acting like such a miserable sod too, eh?

Gamers Unite! Breakthrough Breast Cancer

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As you may know, on Saturday 22nd, Frag Dolls UK will be attempting a Guinness World Record for "Longest Continuous Play of an FPS" on Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. We're aiming for 24 hours - or more! The event will be held at i33 in Berkshire, but you can also join us for the duration of our attempt on Xbox Live. You can find out more details on how to do this here.

You can also get involved by sponsoring our record attempt with the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity. You can view our donations page here. Every single penny you donate will go towards Breakthrough Breast Cancer, whether it be fifty pence or fifty pounds. It's all for a very good cause, so please donate whatever you can afford.

Remember, to donate click here!

Touching the Void

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Back when I used to write freelance articles for video games magazines, my father would often ring me up and complain he barely understood anything I wrote. No, he wasn't moaning about my grammar (at least, I hope not) - he was talking about all the gaming jargon we gamers often take forgranted.

Playstation. Capture the Flag. Xbox Live. Downloadable Content. Activision. Grand Theft Auto. Fragging. Respawns. Turn-based. Sandbox. Third party developer. Destructable physics. Killer App. Lag. Red Ring of Death. Mii. RPG.

There's a hell of a lot of words we use on a daily basis that aren't necessarily understood by people "on the outside." It's perhaps one of the things that can make gaming slightly intimidating to an outsider. However, this phenomenon isn't restricted to just gaming - it's around in any field of interest. This was never more apparent to me than yesterday, when I was invited back into CNET's offices to meet the Crave team, some of the most tech-savvy people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. What an eye-opener! It was also great just to find out what happens in the world of CNET, outside of Gamespot. It's a big place, y'know!

To listen to my interview with Crave, please click here. As always, let me know what you think!

The Best RPG I've Played in Years

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First of all - thanks to everyone who participated in the Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 faceplate competition, and congratulations to the winners! You have all been contacted.

Secondly - I have contact lenses! Woo! Yes, I know, hardly the most exciting thing in the world, but it is a surprisingly weird experience for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blind as a bat, but over the past couple of years I've needed to wear glasses whenever viewing anything more than a few feet away or else it's a bit blurry - not good for gaming! I'm planning on using contacts for those "special occasions." I didn't think it would be a big deal, but it feels so strange to watch television without a piece of plastic balancing on my nose. Oh, modern technology eh? Next thing you know I'll be updating my old 4GB Muvo player for one of those new fangled video thingies...

In gaming-related news, I have been playing a LOT of Lost Odyssey. It took me a whole YEAR to complete FFXII, and I'm not going to let this happen again! I'm already onto disc 3 at 26 hours, and I'm really enjoying it. Great pacing, great voice acting (Jansen is teh dude), and great script. Okay, it might not convert any of you RPG-haters out there, and it doesn't really break the mould, but everything it does, it does very well. Highly recommended... Although Kaim seriously needs a hair clip.

Right, I'm off to poke myself in the eyes. NO MORE AM I RESTRICTED BY MY GLASSY PRISON! Oh, such liberty.