Thorpe89 / Member

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Thorpe89 Blog

Save the best until last?

Wow, I just watched Sony's E3 press conference and what an impressive show it was. From the opening right round to the finish - I was very happy with some of the announcements. They seemed to focus on the core players a lot, whilst not drifting too heavily into the casual market.

Going to have my full impressions up (along with the other conferences) in a later blog. Just wanted to express my super impressed brief thoughts on it. Now, I am going to make sure to watch GameSpot's own live coverage and then probably get away from my computer. So many hours on the website this evening I've been on.

E3 continues...

I just got an e-mail from a ratings board.

I'll give my thoughts on E3 another time. There were too many annoyances regarding today's conference. My thoughts on that will be revealed another time. Today, I wanted to tell you about how I got in contact with PEGI, a European ratings board that allows publishers to assign age ratings to their titles. Games that are rated below 12+ don't necessarily get checked right away by PEGI and are put on store shelves. These age ratings are determined by the publisher - not the board. Anything higher, usually would have to get checked by them before it hits shelves or passed onto another board (such as BBFC).

What this means is a video game rated by PEGI can go straight to the retail shelves without necessarily getting checked over other than the developer team. In rare cases, as outlined in my e-mail, the publisher can get the rating wrong. For my comparison, I am using GRID and Need for Speed ProStreet.

PEGI rating is 7+ for GRID
PEGI rating is 3+ for Need for Speed ProStreet

Now, the age ratings, in my opinion might as well be combined into one rating. I see very little difference between what sort of game should get a 3+ and 7+ here in Europe. It's not that I am worried about but the fact about how ProStreet is rated at a lower age rating than GRID. Both are racing titles, both contain crashes. Fair enough.

However, if you've ever played ProStreet, you would probably notice the sexual themes that are associated with it. A good example of this is when the camera, at the beginning of an event zooms in to certain areas of the female. I'm sure you know what I mean here. Yet, perfectly acceptable as a 3+. Sure, parents are the ones that should have the control but it doesn't help with titles have faulty ratings like this. Furthermore, the parental controls feel weak on a console because of the rating.

The e-mail reply from PEGI stated that they will be getting someone to test out ProStreet to see if it is suitable for re-rating and they said it was likely because some previous titles in the series have been rated higher due to similar content. Apparently, they'll keep me posted on what happens but it will be interesting to know if this goes any further.

E3 is here already?

E3 is here next week and GameSpot should have a lot of good coverage, I hope. I could have gone along to be apart of the audience for their shows but unfortunately I cannot make the necessary arrangements on getting there all the way from the United Kingdom. It would have been great to be there, though in person.

Instead, I'll be there virtually and try to catch the three main conferences from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. I love E3 but last year was kinda disappointing with the way it was changed. Hopefully, this year, I'll enjoy it a bit better. is the place you'll need to be constantly at next week.

Wanted to mention something about the GameSpot statistics... I like the GameSpot website but it's really disappointing to see some of the statistics lately. Right now, it's a Friday night and there are only around 2,000 users signed in recently. This time around a year ago, there would probably be about 10,000 users signed in. Now, the figure seems to be at around 2,000 constantly.You can check the statistics on the main forums page.

Anyway, the last thing I wanted to mention is about a movie I have seen recently. Babel, a movie that only contains about one-third of the English language focuses on different families and how unlucky they can be. Somehow, things seem to connect together between the families. We learn how societies can be so different and how some would probably think "that is wrong." My favourite story was the one about the deaf and lonely Japanese girl. I really did feel the emotion from her performance. I also thought this was one of Brad Pitt's best performances; now one of my favourite movies.

In terms of gamerscore...

...I really want to get these titles fully completed to their maximum gamerscore. It's not really about the actual gamerscore but the actual sense on completing the full set of achievements for the title.

Gears of War
This ones been dragging on since summer last year, when I started to put a lot of focus into the online play. Thankfully the online play is enjoyable when it works out fairly and people are not quitting. It's not perfect online but still playable depending on what players you match up with. I do think Epic Games have given up support in releasing further updates for Gears of War, though. Maybe a fix for the one achievement I don't have? That one achievement where the leaderboards supposedly say I have over 10,000 kills on ranked matches? Somewhere on my hard drive, is a number, a number that I'll never see, that reveals how many kills have actually counted towards the achievement. I doubt an update is possible, though, since they would have fixed that by now.

All I have left to do in this is rank up to 2000 XP for the last online achievement, drive so many miles in one vehicle and own all vehicles (this is not possible to obtain until a patch addresses this issue). If I play a bit more reguarly, I would probably get the online achievement in about two to three weeks. By then, I hope the overdue patch is out and I (and many others) can finally get the broken achievement. After this, I'll probably put down GRID for a while, since racing titles can get quite tedious at times. Around this time last year, I was playing Forza Motorsport 2 a lot and it soon started to feel tedious - the same thing is happening with GRID for me.

Other titles I've been meaning to get around to (although, it probably is unlikely I'll get full completion of gamerscore) are Need for Speed ProStreet - keep coming on and off this, The Orange Box - I've already played the best game on this (Portal) and Alone in the Dark - a new addition but I've only done one level so far.

I really need some new headphones for this computer, as the ones I am currently using (cheapy ones) have the material ripped around them. I could connect speakers (I have some spare) but feel I can fully listen to a video, piece of music and actually prefer it through using headphones. I certainly don't want cheap headphones this time around. This also reminds me - there's a nice set of headphones/headset combo for the Xbox 360. That would be so cool to play Gears of War and listen to all the environmental sounds around you.

Do Not Play: Beijing 2008

Beijing 2008 is out on Xbox 360 in a few regions and I received it on the release date as a rental from my online DVDs rental service. I believe it should be out for those of you in the USA, in early July. I've played it for a few hours over a few days. There are too many times that make it a hard title to recommend. Let me sum it up:


  • Variety of events available straight away
  • Nice presentation
  • Online play doesn't feel limiting


  • Most of the events revolve around mashing some buttons or moving the sticks
  • Not suitable for younger players - this button mashing is serious stuff
  • Too many scenes to skip before you can actually play the selected event

The bad points really do make it probably a title that I am glad I only rented. The button mashing concept is back in this olympics title but I feel it's just aged too much. I would rather the events have more of a strategy to them rather than doing something repetitive. It's not fair on those who just can't button mash very well. It just gets too demanding on your hands for some events. Not all events revolve around mashing buttons. There's archery, my favourite event, where you have to keep the stick steady and fire (taking wind direction into account). This did remind me of the darts mini-game in Grand Theft Auto IV.

I probably will not be playing this for a while since I just can't stand the overuse of mashing a button. Like I said, this is very intense button mashing for some events. Just not suitable for me. Maybe others will enjoy it more because they may like the concept it brings but for me - it's a no-go title.

Moving along - GameSpot feels a bit broken at the moment because of user feeds (the orange icons on every profile) not working. This has happened before and now again. So, because of this, I am unable to get through a lot of blogs through my normal way of reading them in Google Reader. I can use the side panel but unfortunately this can miss out some blogs.

June 17th.

"Mozilla has announced that June 17 is the official date of the much-anticipated Firefox 3 release. Developers and open source software enthusiasts are planning parties all over the world to celebrate the occasion. I'll be covering the release from Mozilla headquarters in Mountain View at the official Camp Firefox event." --Ryan Paul, ars technica

I shall be downloading the new version of Mozilla Firefox. Right from when it was version 1, I slowly began to fall in love with this browser. This was at a time when Internet Explorer had no tabbed browsing, PNG transparency, RSS support, had many security flaws and didn't have a lot of customization/tweaking options. When version 2 of Firefox came out - I remember the interface slightly changing theme and a lot of major improvements made. I'm sure Firefox 3 will not disappoint.

Although, Internet Explorer has greatly improved with the release of its seventh version, on Windows XP and Windows Vista, I just cannot switch back to it now. I'm sure a few of you are regular Firefox users and I salute you for that. Be sure to contribute to a world record, by downloading the public release, on the day it is out - June 17th. :)

Would you kindly question me?

I feel like answering. Ask me anything (suitable). PJ24 had a recent entry that made me want to do another one of these (it's been a while). I've covered some of the common questions below, so try not to ask those!

My game of the year for 2007?
BioShock. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came close.

My game of the year for 2008?
Grand Theft Auto IV at the moment. We're still in 2008.

Titles I am looking forward to?
Gears of War 2, Saints Row 2, Tomb Raider: Underworld are at the top of my head right now.

Best childhood video game?
Donkey Kong Country. I remember that so in-depth - the levels, the enemy placement; I could speed run right through it now.

Movie I really like?
Anything that I feel that keeps me focused throughout. If I haven't finished my can of cola before the credits roll, that usually means I enjoyed the movie a lot. A few favourites include Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, King Kong, GoldenEye, Mean Creek, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Spider-Man 2.

Places I would like to visit?
China, Hawaii, Japan as I have never been to those before.

Post your questions!
I will answer them in another entry. Then, you'll find out a little bit more on me - exciting!

This profile is different. Take a look!

No way!? It is. I decided to change my banner ( but keeping things down to a minimalistic trend like my previous banner. I am no longer using the Sundial Sans font, although I really still am in love with it. The new font used in my banner is called Print Clearly. I think it suits the minimalistic trend I am going for. May not be for everyone but I like it.

What do you think? Should I add any thing to the right side? I have tested things out by putting montages of characters I like from video games on it but end up making a mess of it. Maybe I should add some orange spirals. My previous banner had been there a long time, possibly at least a year without no major changes. It's currently orange as I wanted it to match my avatar. This is something else I have had for a while now.

May change my avatar sometime. Maybe. I think the longer you keep the same avatar, then the more notable you become for using it. Hopefully nobody will use something similar. Haven't really seen a lot of orange avatars around. It's usually the browns, greys, blues, reds I see around the forums and blogs. So, that's about it. Banner - thoughts?

I hate bees.

Really, I do. One title that came a few days ago (online rental), goes by the name of Bee Movie Game for the Xbox 360. I guess you could say this was rented purely for a desperate need of achievements. Now, I know probably the majority of you have never played this title (I don't blame you) but I have to argue one of the single player achievements is a lot more difficult than any of the single player achievements in Grand Theft Auto IV. I really do mean that. Chapter 11 requires you to go through the entire battle without losing any health.

I tried dozens of times to try and get this. Eventually, I did and it was a fantastic feeling after that. I didn't get the joy of seeing the achievement displayed on my screen (my status was set to "Busy" due to people signing in every minute), though. Well, guess that's what you get when your list contains 85 friends (and only about 20 of those you communicate with). I was thinking during my experience with this level - why did they make this so glitchy and hard? I mean, come on, let me check...this title is primarily aimed at children, right? So, why make some of the achievements challenging? Children should be able to play titles like this without getting too frustrated.

Me, as an adult got frustrated because of how perfect you have to be for some of the achievements. I did find that one achievement really pushed me to my limit. It's the "Flawless Buzz Battle 4" one by the way. Unbeelievable. I should do myself a favour and never watch the movie. Don't think I could stand Jerry Seinfeld's voice for another few hours. Yes, I'll say one more time - one of the single player achievements in Bee Movie Game I found a lot tougher than some of the hardest single player achievements in Grand Theft Auto IV.

A selection of movies seen this year.

I haven't watched a lot of movies this month but I did get to see many in April (I seem to watch a lot of movies in that month). Here are a selection of new and old movies I managed to see this year:

Best title from above was The 40 Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell. Ever since seeing him on Bruce Almighty, this guy knows how to make me burst out laughing. Cloverfield was pretty awesome too (and nauseating). Boat Trip was "meh" towards the end.

Best title from above was Juno. Excellent performances, particularly by Ellen Page. I Am Legend was great for the most part too. Will Smith really suits these roles. Congo - I want my time back!

These last few were nothing too special for me. The Last Mimzy was an average family feature, Rush Hour 3 just seemed like the first two movies and World Trade Center could have been expanded rather than focus on two individuals. Although, I admit it did capture me with the emotion that these families must have gone through on 9/11.

Seen any? Liked any? Hated any? Might go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, if I do, it would be on my own - I doubt anybody around me would want to go. It is tempting to go on my own, since I love Indiana Jones that much. What do you think on this? I wish I could meet up with some people from GameSpot and all go see this. Seems most friends that have similar interests to me are all separated by a series of tubes. No fair. :(