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Shleco Blog

Can the last one out please switch the lights off?

Come on, we don't want to leave too large a carbon footprint now, do we?

So yes, I'm done with GameSpot. The last few days have been a total shock, with developments proving ever more farcical. The trust I had for this once great site is no more, and I have no desire to keep coming back. What's the point in giving the site any traffic or hits at all?

There's been some great times here and great people. But this is the end of an era. It's been a blast - why not join me at www.1up.com or www.thevirtualunderground.net. If you can't bring yourself to join another community, you can always message me on my Xbox profile, Meenie Man.

I'll check over your comments until Friday and after that I'm gone for good. Keep up the good fight, and never settle for second best.

Britain Needs A Hero

And that hero is Captain Shleco! ZZoMBiE13, a cool dude that spends his time around the Virtual Underground forum, has gradually turned the community into a series of superhero drawings and finally the time has come for me to develop my own spin-off series. I think you'll find he has got my buff physique spot-on.

The similarities between myself and Captain Britain are uncanny. We're both born in Essex, were shy and studious in our youth and while he upholds the laws of the land, the GameSpot Terms of Use are my way of life. I've also been known to engage in battle with the supernatural, though I've never become a hermit on the Cornish coast. Not yet, anyway.

You can see more of ZZoMBiE13's drawings here and read up all about Captain Britain at - where else? - Wikipedia.

Spring Cleaning, Bagel Toasters, Mel Gibson And Other Nonsense

With my Mac chugging like the hard disk is being powered by a lethargic one-legged hamster, I thought it was time to clear up some of the assorted nonsense that is clogging up my desktop. Amongst some of my old essays and seal porn I found a load of game and GameSpot related gubbins. And now, thanks to GameSpot hosting images and vids, I thought I'd yank this stuff on here to share it with you. Ladies and Gentlemen, I just love to treat you.

Firstly, some commercials. Yes, going out of your way to watch adverts is a bit odd, but these are actually worth checking out as they're funny. If you've ever looked at a CCTV camera and thought about shooting it out to avoid being seen after playing a few too many games then this Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance commercial should be right up your alley. Whizzing across the other side of the Atlantic, a vintage advert for the PlayStation should provide a wave of nostalgia to those who remember 1995 and confusion to everyone else. Finally, here's a short ad for Donkey Konga, which could quite possibly be the most jawdropping 22 seconds of film you've ever seen. It's recommended you sit down when you watch it, lest you fall over in shock and awe at the powerful message it conveys: GameCube and bongos £89.99? Bloody hell!

In the way of images, I've got two albums of stuff uploaded. The first is what I call 80's Computing, and is basically three scans I found ages ago of anti-piracy adverts from old British magazines. The indignation on John's face is amazing. I've also for some unknown reason downloaded a few images from GameSpot over the years and you can see a collection of banners, topless women and gangsta trippin' moments here. And a picture of Mel Gibson from the Apocalypto trailer, just because.

And finally, in the wake of their being so many 300 blog entries, I decided not to do my own version, so I'll put my cut joke here:

This is Madness!

Yes, Test Connection

I'm not on speaking terms with my Xbox 360 at the moment. The little swine keeps dropping off my BT wireless internet for seemingly no reason whatsoever, even though it worked fine a few months ago. It effectively becomes a lottery if I can actually sign in to my profile and be online without having to do a mind-numbing five minutes of testing my connection, the machine freezing all over the shop while doing so. Naturally the best part comes when within minutes of being online it randomly disconnects again. Or pretends it can't connect when I can see my friends list pop up and the marketplace fill up with content to download.

Jump in? It feels more like taking a Stanner Stairlift down a long flight of steps. I think all the faffing about is a large reason why I haven't played my 360 much recently, Worms aside.

It's also wonderful to see that the one online match I manage to get into Worms sees the host drop out after a bad start. And then my 360 loses its connection. Gragh. I am just at the end of my tether with this stupid thing. Back to the chunky DS and 42 All-Time Classics (aka Clubhouse Games) it is then.

Celebrity Game Review: Sean Connery considers Yoshi's Island DS



Hello gamers, it ish me, Shean Connery, the mosht Shcottish Russhian in the world. No matter where the character I am playing comesh from, I will always have a dishtinctive Shcottish accent! I have always been a big fan of games ever shince EA paid me mega bucksh to phone in my dialogue in the James Bond game, From Russhia With Love. It came out on a number of different consholes, though I was dishappointed it never came out on the Eckshboxsh ThreeShixty. Don't mock my accent!

Anyway, enough about me, letsh talk Yoshi's Island on the Nintendo DeeEsh. I have played through to the end of World 3-4 and have mixed feelings about the game. The bashic game still plays well, dishpatching eggsh acrossh the landshcape, collecting red coins, flowers and shtar pieces. Artoon have not meddled about too much with this, and they've reshishted the temptation to implement unnecesshary touch shcreen controls. However, by having different babies in the game they've given the DS shequel the necesshary fresh twisht it needed. Shwapping Baby Mario for the shkills of the Peach and Donkey Kong shprogs makes for more intereshting levels and encouragesh repeat playthrough, to shee if there is anything extra you may have misshed.

This is jusht as well, as the game looks to be fairly short otherwishe. It didn't take long to breeze through to my current shpot, and even though I will replay to try and get everything in each shtage to unlock further levels, it sheems a bit shorter than I thought it might be. Alsho, if you thought New Shuper Mario Bros. was eashy, thish one gives you even more livesh in resherve - I have 90 plus!

While I'm generally impresshed, there have been moments where it is painfully obvious that the game hasn't been developed by Nintendo themshelves. Shome of Artoon's character deshign is atrocious and is completely out of place in the Mario world; conshider the freaky looking kangaroo, which clashes with the art shtyle the resht of the game exshibitsh. The shipsh in World 3 are shimilarly ugly - it almosht reminds me of the aborted Mario CD-i game that was developed by the Russhians and was never releashed. Dishgusting! Moreover, shome of the level deshign lacks the tightness of a Nintendo title, with awkward scrolling, shilly placing of items and shomeshuch that sheem to have been lifted from an altogether more mediocre game. I would also have liked to shee shome new transhformations for Yoshi, beshides the helicopter, mole and shubmarine forms lifted from the ShNES original.

I have high hopes that the game will get better from this point but overall, I'm feeling the shame way I did towards this game as I did with New Shuper Mario Bros. Enjoyable enough, but nowhere near as good as the originalsh the games were bashed on. Alsho very eashy sho far, though I have heard it gets harder. If I was to rate it on the GameShpot shcale on what I've played sho far, I would rate it in the high shevens to low eights.

What do you think of the game, viewers? I would like to read your impresshions! And drink shome gin.

Double Take

So, Double Dragon is coming to the Xbox Live Arcade this March and some people are rather excited about it. But the chance to play this revered classic and stare in bemusement at the hideous new updated graphics aren't the main reason I'm excited, oh no. Why I'm thrilled is because the game stars none other than Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann as the main character.



It's uncanny! Perhaps they're brothers?

Blistered Thumbs 2006

Those with long memories or stalker-like tendencies may recall 'Blistered Thumbs', where I recorded all the games I completed in 2005. Over the past year I've continued to use the Wish List in a way unintended, plonking down on it the titles I have played to the point of seeing the end credits or unlocking everything. 2006 saw me beat 33 games, four more than last year, though a number of them were shorter titles and I have included Xbox Live Arcade stuff too. Spookily enough, like last year the average score at GameSpot for these titles was 8.2. The 360 became my preferred format over the original Xbox with nine games done, while Nintendo's home consoles, GameCube and Wii, ratcheted up one beaten game on each. To buy all these games would cost you about $1,410 - money well spent, Godfather aside.

2006 FIFA World Cup (Xbox 360)
Amped 3 (Xbox 360)
Assault Heroes (Xbox 360)
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day (DS)
Contra (Xbox 360)
Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360)
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (Xbox)
Exit (PSP)
The Godfather (Xbox)
Guitar Hero (PS2)
Guitar Hero II (PS2)
Kameo: Elements of Power (Xbox 360)
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Xbox)
LocoRoco (PSP)
Mario Kart DS (DS)
Me and My Katamari (PSP)
Medal of Honor Heroes (PSP)
Metal Slug 5 (PS2)
New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (Xbox 360)
Psychonauts (Xbox)
Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)
Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis (Xbox 360)
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Sonic Rush (DS)
Super Mario Strikers (GameCube)
Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble (DS)
We Love Katamari (PS2)
Yakuza (PS2)
bit Generations: Dotstream (GBA)
bit Generations: Orbital (GBA)

Tackier Than Tinsel: My Christmas 'Gift' To You

It is time for the obligatory 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' entry. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a good one.

This year bad children won't be getting coal or novelty socks with their names on them, they'll be getting poorly written game fan fiction under the tree. Like the ones below!

Gears of War

Marcus Fenix heaved his exhausted frame across the devastated landscape, diving for cover from the locusts’ suppressing fire. He caught his breath, felt the adrenaline pumping around his body, before returning the favour, bullets ripping sinew and ligament. Blood arched and splashed through the air, moans, groans and screams barely audible above the cacophony of gunfire. Yes, there was certainly a musical element to the heat of battle. For a few seconds Marcus let his guard slip and began to daydream. In different circumstances this would have been Christmas. Friends and family gathered around, with turkey on the menu instead of hot lead, the only bangs emanating from crackers rather than devastating weaponry. Then, out of the corner, Marcus noticed something small and white glide onto his cheek. He brushed it onto his finger. Snow? As quickly as it started he snapped out of his reverie; this was not the first snowflake of the season, it was ash from the Locust being decimated by the Cole Train, hollering and whooping in his outstanding display of generosity. “Season’s greetings!”

Jaws Unleashed

Maybe he was just feeling more sensitive because it was Christmas time, but Jaws was feeling restless today. He tried so desperately to be like humans and be liked by humans. He endeavoured to copy their behaviour by tracking down ID cards, going to the shop and blowing up gas stations with his nose. Yet everyone continued to attack poor Jaws. Why would they not understand him? All he wanted was to be loved – wasn’t compassion towards each other one of the tenets of society? Jaws was confused until one day he decided to make an account on GameSpot. He browsed through the Xbox games – he was holding off getting a 360 until he got an HD set – until he noticed a review of something called ‘Jaws Unleashed’. That was his name! 3.8? Who would belittle him so? Some ponce called Alex Navarro?! Jaws was angry and now he knew why no one loved him. He leapt on to the shore, wiggled towards Alex’s house and spat an explosive barrel at it, destroying the bricks and mortar before tail-whipping Alex’s mangled corpse. Jaws, satisfied, went home and logged back onto GameSpot. He then saw the Best and Worst 2006 Awards; it turns out Alex had the last laugh after all. When the police finally caught up with him the crestfallen shark was rocking back and forth, manically laughing and whelping, “Navarrowned.”

Dead Rising

It was the night before Christmas and all through Willamette, not a creature was stirring because zombies had eaten them all. Frank West was doing some last minute shopping for clothes. He tried dozens of pairs of shoes, flash shirts, children’s tees and even a Megaman suit, but none of them had made Jessie take any notice of him. Her mind always seemed to be on the job – he might have covered wars but he just couldn’t get her attention. After nonchalantly plonking teddy bear masks on stumbling zombies, he happened across a clothes store he hadn’t noticed before. All of a sudden Frank had a brainwave and he slipped on this new apparel, “Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, yeeeeah.” This was comfortable. He made his way back to the roof and burst in on Jessie, “How do you like this outfit?” Jessie looked up and said, “Wow, Frank, that dress looks great on you. The length of the skirt is just right too. I love a man in woman’s clothing, fancy a date at Jill’s Sandwiches some time?” Frank replied, “Sure, you free now? I just need to do one thing first…” He then strolled over to Otis and said, “I have a Christmas present for you.” He smacked Otis round the head, bent him over and rammed his walkie talkie up his behind. Otis writhed on the floor in pain, “W-why Frank?” “That’s for bothering me all the time.” Jessie laughed – this was her type of humour. She grabbed Frank’s hand and they crawled off down the vent in search of some mistletoe.

Oh Snap! Photos of the Wii UK Midnight Launch

On Thursday night I joined Emma, Guy and Chris from the GameSpot UK team to help out and take photos from both the HMV and GAME Wii launches. In my Press capacity I was allowed into both stores as they were setting their displays up and readying their stock for the flood of eager punters, whilst also taking as many of the vast queues as I could. Three hours later I had 140 shots and a dead battery in my camera. Eight of the best have made the site -- all six from the queuing story were mine, including the cool/sinister Sonic shot, and two from the launch article were my contributions. With so many snaps being left unused I thought it'd be cool to share some more with you in my blog. And do that I shall!



Two hours to go before the official Wii launch at HMV and the signs are out to make people aware of it. Confused bystanders mutter "What are they protesting about?"



The store was lit up bright blue on the night - if you look hard enough you might just make out the Wii logo being projected onto the building



In the now infamous back alley where customers were queuing, wristbands are given to identify those who have preordered their machines



Meanwhile inside the store the Main Stage is readied for the celebrities who will later come to play the... wait, what console is this again?



HMWii. The comedy just writes itself



Outside of a warehouse this is probably the most copies of Zelda you'll ever see in one place - there are hundreds of them. No wonder other stores couldn't get hold of stock



There were also extremely limited edition tins for the first 200 people to buy Twilight Princess from HMV. Lucky fella



Over to GAME now, just down the road from HMV. The shutters were plastered with photos of people playing the Wii and being happy - taunting those in the queue for just a few more hours



To keep people entertained there was the opportunity to get a Wii baseball cap for the most skilful in multiplayer Mario Kart on the DS



Monkey Balls were also thrown to the crowd and this lucky lady was ecstatic with her prize



A lucky few were brought in from the cold to play Wii Sports in the snazzy shop window display



Sonic and AiAi are starstruck at meeting a GameSpot forum moderator. No, really. It was only when I was readying this blog entry that it occurred to me that there was no point in Sonic being there - his Wii title won't be out until Spring next year



The shutters are opened and the queue comes in, with champagne on offer and 30 minutes to decide which games or bundles they want



A couple play Wii Sports whilst they await the final countdown - and yes, GAME did play that very tune with mere minutes to go

For even more pics see the feature at CNET UK.

It was a really cool opportunity to attend the Wii launch and to see people's enthusiasm and excitement first hand. In fact, the whole week at GameSpot UK has been a great one and I've thoroughly enjoyed the chance to attend press events and go hands-on with Wii Play.

However, due to severe stock shortages, I haven't got my Wii and may not get one in time for Christmas. Fifth in line at my Currys Digital and there still weren't enough. So much for being lucky, eh?

Shleco reporting live from the offices of GameSpot UK!

This week I'm joining the fine folk at GameSpot UK for a week of work experience in their offices opposite the Tower of London. As it's a little bit of a quiet period right now I'm quickly filling you in on a few details of what I've been doing.

On Monday I was fiddling around with the back end of the site, updating some of the release dates whilst calling a few PR companies to confirm the latest dates. Tuesday was more interesting, as I first did a piece on the week's charts and then got the chance to play the Wii for a few hours. We hooked up the office's console to a recorder, where we took footage of me playing the various mini-games from the Wii Play pack. So if you head along to the gameplay footage and wonder, "Who is that bloke? He's completely rubbish at Table Tennis", well, now you know. I also got some time in with Wii Sports and I have to admit that the morning after a few hours playing with it I do have a sore arm. Ouch. Looks like playing the Wii over an extended period of time will leave you with arms the size of Donkey Kong's.

All of the people in the GameSpot UK offices are great guys (and Guy) and girls. I've briefly met Phil and Guy when they're not out rummaging for the latest gaming info in press trips or getting stuck in Swiss airports (to confirm: Guy's desk is an utter mess. His claims that it's Feng-Shui are convincing no-one). Emma, the news editor, is really friendly, as is Laura (or Lozza!), and I thank them for having me in the office this week. Finally, cheers to Alex, who does all the back-end stuff when he isn't mesmorised by The Burning Crusade. I can't say too much about how stuff goes up on GameSpot's main site, but let's just say it involves satanic rituals, Pot Noodle and keeping our fingers crossed that it all turns out for the best.

So far I've been enjoying my time here and I'm not just saying that because Laura's threatened to give me a dead leg. There's a lot of work and dedication amongst the fun to be had. I'd love to chat more but another task beckons - I can tell because Alex has just brought in the cage of rats and a sharp knife. Eek.

Note to self: Companies are singular, not plural. Companies are singular, not plural. Companies... [/repeat to fade]