Archive for January, 2013

Christmas and 2012, a review

Posted in Mortal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

If like me you live on the small island of Englandshire-upon-avon-ton, you will have recently celebrated Jesus baby Jew day. Or as we like to call it, Christmas for short or ‘Xmas’. Which happens to be a really lazy abbreviation of ‘Christ’s mass’ or from the old English Anglo Saxon speak ‘Crīstesmæsse’.

Being a non-Christian myself I have no desire to celebrate the birthday of someone’s else’s child, especially one born in a shed, under suspicious circumstances. But I don’t mind the tradition of exchanging gifts, as the three wise men did in the heavily edited version of the bible people in England seem to prefer.

Myrrh, now that’s a strange gift to give anyone. You’ve just given birth to a boy in ancient times, with no medical assistance, being watched by a donkey and the one thing a ‘wise man’ deems to be the ideal gift for the baby, is a plant used in Ayurvedic medicines, which smells nice when you burn it. I guess when buying for the son of god, you would have a hard time walking around the local market, thinking of something he’d like. But he was a new born, so really everything you buy is a waste of time as all he’ll do is eat, or poo on it.

After a brief investigation, the plant could have been for Mary, the person who really needed some comforting after the ordeal of natural birth with no drugs, in a shed.

Reading about Myrrh on Wikipedia, the plant in one photo looks strangely like a uterus (bottom left of picture)…myrrh has been known for its ‘blood moving’ properties…like removing stagnant blood from the Uterus. Check it out…

myrrh

This reminds me of recent scientific findings that walnuts are good for the brain and that kind of thing…the theory is, if the food bears a resemblance to a part of a human being, then it very well might be good for it. Then that does make you think, fish is a good source of nutrients for the brain…what does a fish look like? A fish. Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they meant face. A fish is just a face that swims.

wtfish?

I can’t find a comparable pain to child birth in my imagination, except perhaps several hours of Xmas shopping, sorry, Christ’s mass shopping.

People complain about how lazy the English language has become in recent times, proclaiming that it is now ‘dumbed down’ and lazy txt spk. In reality, they’re right, but many of us don’t even have time to speak properly anymore, you might as well carry a stop watch with you in Britain, because at every opportunity someone or something, is trying to encroach on your personal time. You can’t park anywhere legally in England unless you park well away from where you require to be, and when you do find a small section of legal land for your earth scarring 4×4, you have a set time limit to shop, to then run back to the car before one of the faithful drones for the local council ruin your day.

Traffic wardens in today’s Britain wear a seemingly Nazi styled uniform, utilising CCTV and an array electronic equipment, they take several photographs of you vehicle from different angles and upload them onto the internet, like a social media activity for cunts.

3,2,1..Ticket!
3,2,1..Ticket!

I guess the only good thing to come from the traffic gestapo, is that if you’re caught, you can save the photos from your local council website and use them for use in advertising your car, once they have repossessed your home.

When Christmas shopping in Britain you’ll require body armour, a strong will, and good time keeping. When you finish work, you’ll have only several minutes to rush around the retail hell that is the British high street, with your head down, looking up briefly to acknowledge the till jockey, who stares rather blankly at you whilst they ponder just how long their new career at ‘Mint Toyz’ is going to last.

In England you’ll find that advertising Christmas, gifts and Christmas food related items, begins before Halloween and end’s the second Boxing day is over (when the Easter eggs come out). We spend over three months saving, planning, panicking about gifts only to then have a couple of days to quickly exchange them between friends and family.

Here’s something typically British, a Christmas cracker joke…

Who’s the bane of Santa’s life?

The elf and safety officer.

I remembered this rather depressing joke as I watched shoppers shuffling ass to face, slowly trying to escape the shopping arcade in my town, with the occasional muffled warnings from an electronic traffic cone. Yes that’s right, as we all trampled on each other, bumping bags of overpriced child labour, a lone electronic traffic cone, complete with red flashing light, warned us that the floor was indeed wet and therefore a slip hazard.

Santa wouldn’t give a toss about health and safety, he literally invented the sweat shop…little people in uniform, working for what appears to be nothing but a little praise every twelve months, never seeing their elf families again.

Thinking about it, who are their families? I guess they all work and breed there. They’d have to raise their children for work, adorn that vile outfit and make toys continuously for several months.

Ho ho ho

So what did Santa bring me this year? Apart from the obvious, alcohol and socks, here are a few things the creepy man with a beard left me.

A hot water bottle, complete with machine knitted union jack cover.

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Often I am too drunk to realise the bed is cold but on the odd occasion I will have the patience and dexterity to pour near boiling water into this rubber bag, I do find this a valuable bedtime accessory.

Bathtime commando shooting game.

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Become your own fantasy firing squad by lining up these four super heroes and shooting them in the face.

Comes complete with what looks like a German Luger and four super heroes. I’ve no idea what they’ve done but I’m assuming in this scenario I’m the bad guy as they’ve named the characters ‘hero’s’ and I’m the guy with the gun.

 

Diver on a plug

Perhaps BP could learn a thing or too here

Perhaps BP could learn a thing or too here

Another bath time accessory. I’ve no idea why I’m collecting bath related items this year. I guess anyone in my family knows I prefer baths to showers, they’re just much easier to do. You come into the bathroom, turn on the taps and walk out. After wandering around nude for a while, you stroll back in, turn off the taps and then just lay horizontally in a tub of warm water. A shower is an awful activity, it’s like standing in rain, turning around constantly, spitting out water and wiping soap out of your eyes.

 

Salt water powered car

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Most of us who have bothered keeping up with science (not the science on TV) know we can run a car on anything from cow piss to the sun already, but there is still many years of foreign oil to use so until then, petroleum it is. It’s also, in my opinion a long long way off becoming the norm, due to the fact any huge manufacturing plant cannot run on salt water alone and cars are generally not made of recycled birthday cards, so we’ll be using steel, rubber, glass etc until it’s all gone. Still, a fun gift though.

 

Solar powered gadgets, six in one.

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Similar to the gift above except this one runs on sun light. Six gadgets, in one box, apparently. I imagine if you showed this to a child in the 50’s this would blow their minds. Even more amazing is thinking that in fifty years’ time, kids will be throwing away their six in one, zero point energy toys, whilst their parents reminisce about the time we could actually see the sun before the toxic dust clouds formed over the earth.

 

Physics of The Future; by Michio Kaku

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This guy’s work interests me, he looks into the future of physics and technology by actually listening and learning to science and scientists. Instead of just making shit up because you’ve seen i-robot. No flying cars, no instant pizza making machines, no lazer weapons, just interesting thoughts and progress within our scientific world.

Marvel Chronicles – A year by year account

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Probably my favourite gift of the lot, my partner bought me this chronicles of Marvel because myself, like any other man out there, has fantasied at one time or another being a member of the Xmen or being Tony Stark. It comes with glossy factual pages, year by year account of what was going on at the time, as well as exclusive art work throughout.

So that concludes my 2012, the world didn’t end, it was never going to…but then you would have known  this if you actually bothered to read an entire paragraph on the subject and not a shoddy dooms day article from a newspaper who sticks Jimmy Saville on the front page.

Your new year’s resolutions this year should be, stop watching/paying for TV license, don’t buy or read newspapers, get creative no matter how small the subject is and share my blog, to as many people as you know.

So happy new year, and have fun!

Mikey

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Mortal Mikey In India

Posted in The Pit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

In November last year I was invited to a wedding for a good friend of mine. The idea was to visit India for a short time with my partner, and leave after the wedding but the trip ended up being much more than I anticipated. Traveling by Airplane, camel, elephant, motorbike, goat and car…ok, not goat, but I wouldn’t put it past the Indians to utilise them as a means to get around. I visited ancient temples, sacred rivers and beautiful landscaped gardens, traveling a couple of thousand kilometers. I could probably write a small book on the shenanigans that occurred in India, but instead, I tried to capture some of the experiences on video and compile them here. There was far too much video footage and photos to get it all in, without becoming a feature length production, so I hope you enjoy the short I’ve put together.

Mortal Mikey

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My Gaming History ‘Part 9’

Posted in My Gaming History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

Firstly, for anyone who has been enjoying these entries about my gaming history, I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts since part 8. Life moves pretty fast when you get older, either that or Alzheimer’s is creeping in steadily and actually I have no idea how much I’m not doing.

If you aren’t really that old yet, i.e. you are cruising through life at around 18 years old, eating packet pasta, walking around in flip flops and scarfs, studying for a job that appeared yesterday….

HipsterFlipFlops

It might be difficult to envisage how this feels or works, using the power of the metaphor, I’ll try and explain this to you.

Imagine for a moment you have a small wicker basket, this represents your life, you can hold this basket in one hand…in said wicker basket are a number of small rubber bouncy balls, of various sizes. Each ball represents certain aspects of your life and their size is determined by the importance of each aspect. This could include, goals, aspirations, hopes, dreams, caring for your dog, browsing mortal-mikey, looking after yourself, learning a new language, remembering important birthdays, passing that exam, revision for said exam…you get the idea. What I’m trying to convey here that your small wicker basket is in no way large enough to easily contain all of these bouncy balls but you will do your best to stack them, which sometimes believe it or not, actually works. Albeit for a brief, insignificant amount of time.

Then imagine that the world around you is a gypsy fun house, you know, the funny looking, rickety old wooden ‘house’ you find at the fair, containing all manner of dangerous mechanisms and illusions that have you falling over yourself, bumping into things, whilst being bombarded with strobe lights, loud horns and blasts of compressed air.

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Life in adulthood is like trying to navigate through one of these, whilst being followed by several large doormen (or bouncers), holding on to your little wicker basket of balls as you do. The doorman all have names too, in this case we’ll call them, debt, work and time. Anytime you knock one of these bouncy balls out of the basket due to the mayhem that occurs around you, you’ll desperately scramble around on the floor, using your only free hand, as the three of them give you a little shove here and there to move you along, which invariably means you’ll lose sight of one or two of the balls, sometimes for a moment, sometimes forever. If God were to play any part in this analogy, he would be the fat bearded chap sitting in the dirty, food stained ticket booth. Granted, to enter life (or the ‘fun house’ as he’d like to call it) it doesn’t cost fuck all, but your journey through it is going to be all on show for the omnipresent spectator to cackle at.

If reincarnation does actually exist, which I believe is probably much like a character select screen, just ask if you can enter spectator mode yourself and kick back with a beer and a selection of your favourite snacks.

Spectator mode

“Who writes this shit?”

 

 

The PlayStation was the last console I mentioned in my gaming history. I must admit I had only briefly mentioned just how ground breaking everything was when it came to the PSX. The control pad was very impressive for a start. It really felt like a another leap forward in the ergonomics theory and the way that the designers now connected with gamers. Control pads of the past were built as if every child had hands shaped like Lego which required no real dexterity to play.

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The Sony PlayStation controller was built at the perfect size and shape for human hands and the button layout was perfect for present and future games. The construction was solid and each button was sat perfectly in the plastic casing, all rubber mounted to the circuit board which gave the buttons a nice consistent feel with minimal travel. This could only be found on an original Sony built controller, all third party copies creaked and cracked like pensioner with no heating at Christmas.

Coming from a long history of controllers with buttons labelled A,B,C,X,Y,Z meant that at first it was a little confusing with Sony’s new approach to button configuration. Square, X, Circle and Triangle replaced the familiar layout from the SNES and added to this were four shoulder buttons. L1, L2, R1 and R2. Developers wasted no time and threw us all in the deep end, new titles sprang up every five minutes and with that, new button configurations and patterns had to be learned, which meant at first some games were like baptising a cat.

Love handles

Love handles

Sony’s design became the preferred method of play globally, from that time, right up until the introduction of the first Xbox.

The ability to save games also became much easier on the console with the introduction of Sony’s memory cards, which from my hazy memory, had 8Mb storage, which in today’s world is about 3 digital photographs. Games data could be taken from your home to a friend’s place who could quickly and easily copy data from your card to theirs with Sony’s front end system. Being that it was also a CD Rom drive meant that users could pop in a music CD and play tunes through your setup, which could be controlled entirely by the control pad, all backed by mad 3D rendered psychedelic visuals that would have given your dad an acid flashback. The beginnings of a home console becoming a multimedia platform were taking shape and it felt good that the functionality was for there for us.

8mb card

With more power obviously meant more exciting titles. The PlayStation will forever be remembered for bringing us a new plethora of fighting games and of course light gun games. Games from the arcades were coming to the home once again with titles like Lethal Enforcers, Time Crisis and Point Blank.

Light gun games were pretty poor on the 8-Bit systems, with few exceptions. Both Sega and Nintendo had their own light gun systems on the Megadrive and the SNES which only really served as a novelty in my opinion. The initial expense of the ‘Menacer’ on the Megadrive system was pretty steep and the games pack that came with the gun were short lived titles.

Turn off the lights, turn up the sound and sit back with your best mate with a copy of Lethal Enforcers on the PS1 and you were in for some wholesome criminal killing. So the graphics weren’t exactly show stopping but the real gun sound effects, real digitised characters on photographed backgrounds had appeal. Sure, every time you pull the trigger the screen flashed bright white, which happened several thousand times a minute and no doubt induced many seizures in bedrooms around the globe, but perhaps the danger element added to the excitement.

Complete with his and her's Colt .44 Magnum

Complete with his and hers Colt .44 Magnum

We certainly got a bang for our buck with Die Hard Trilogy. Looking back at the game now it’s hard to imagine why we were so excited, as most of the game, by todays standards, looked like it was constructed by primary school children locked in a dark room full of computers, with a basic knowledge of programming and the Die Hard films being played on big screens 24 hours a day.

The gameplay was a completely different story, there were three different game types, and if I’m honest, the gameplay and sound certainly was impressive at the time. Each Die hard had a different style of play which up until that point hadn’t really been seen before and since then hasn’t been replicated. Die Hard was set in the skyscraper and in this section of the game you ran around as John McLane in a third person perspective and gunned down anyone who stands between you and the hostages. There wasn’t much in the way of strategy in this chapter, John ran with his gun constantly at arm’s length, in his vest and simply shot things until they stopped moving. It was the little things added to the game that entertained, John would occasionally say one liners when you shot enemies or picked up health and ammo. A majority of the surrounding furniture of the game was destructible too, such as windows, table objects, roof tiles etc. The bigger the weapon, the more damage, and it isn’t long before you get into the flow and have enemies bouncing off the office walls using well placed grenades.

diehard

Scores take priority over exploding Ambulance?

Scores take priority over exploding Ambulance?

Die Hard 2 was set in the airport obviously and this is where you could use the light gun. The game controlled your character through the scenes and just allowed you to shoot. The characters in Die Hard Trilogy at first looked a little awkward, but soon it was evident that quite a lot of work had gone into them. There were some early examples of ‘ragdoll’ physics here in a 3D environment, this also meant that enemies and civilians didn’t always take exactly the same path with every play through.

Take that Hans!

Take that Hans!

Die Hard Trilogy was produced by Probe entertainment here in the UK, which could account for the crude German accents that appear throughout the game and could also account for the call to ban the game in Germany. This was one of the first times I had seen photos rendered onto polygons, if you looked closely, on some of the characters had the faces of the development team. Although the game was extremely buggy at times, the subtle comedic effect of the sounds and the mayhem that could be unleashed with the light and grenades meant that a lot of homework was never done.

Die harder

Finally Die Hard with Vengeance was again completely different in terms of game play due to the fact it was purely driving. You start out in the yellow New York taxi and acquire several missions along the way which require you to drive other vehicles. This was undoubtedly the least realistic of the three games but was often the most fun. The missions usually involved simply ramming the shit out of the target vehicle or ramming a dustbin containing a bomb, but instead of crashing and immobilising the enemy car or getting out and disarming the bomb, targets would explode like a small nuke with no regard for civilians.

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Even changing into a new vehicle for a mission required you to smash into it, creating yet another explosion as you drive off. Polygon civilians would run for their lives as you sped through the city, if you mounted the pavement GTA style, the screen would be splattered with blood making the wipers work.

_-Die-Hard-Trilogy-PlayStation-_2 _-Die-Hard-Trilogy-PlayStation-_

Thats it for this part, I promise in 2013 I’ll be keeping up a reasonable pace with this series, right up until present day.

Happy new year!

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