Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Wednesday 31 December 2008

2008 In Review

Much like I did this time last year, I'm going to cap off the year's worth of blogs with my Top Five Best and Worst Moments of the year, these can be anything from Sport, to Politics, Gossip whatever, let's go!

Top Five Worst Moments of 2008

5. Ronaldo to Madrid?

Not necessarily the idea of Ronaldo leaving, but the behaviour of Real Madrid and anyone associated with the club was very disappointing, and has severly tarnished the reputation of a great club.

4. Ahhh Lisbon

Bad enough that most people supported Sinn Fein on this one, but now we have to vote again...

3. Football and Racism

If you know me, you know what happened here....

2. Managers Getting the Sack

I think this year has quite possibly been the worst year for managers in football, off the top of my head right now, in 2008, Avram Grant, Kevin Keegan, Roy Keane, Paul Jewell, Sven Goran Eriksson, Bernard Schuster, Gary McAllister, Juande Ramos have all got the sack. And even though some of them are now back in management, the fact that they were sacked so readily in the first place is a bad sign for the future.

1. Money, Money, Money

Got no money, in this recession world. Yeah, a bit cliche making this one the number 1 but its true. Most are suffering in some way shape or form, and by "most" I'm talking about everyone. Be it jobs, finances, lifestyle, whatever, we all know its bad (and indeed it could be worse) and we all knew it was coming, except now it's here, and we have to deal with it.

Top Five Best Moments of 2008

5. Getting the grant...again

Almost thought I didn't have it this year, but the relief I felt that afternoon when it dropped in the post, knowing that I had maintained my standard from last year was just brilliant for me.

4. America is a little bit cooler again

Without a doubt the coolest American politician I've seen in my lifetime (all 20 years of it), seeing Barack Obama win the US Presidential Election is without a doubt one of the best moments of the year. The historic significance alone makes it a great thing but the fact that its Barack just makes it cooler.

3. Games, Games, Games

I don't think I've ever been able to afford the amount of games I bought this year, but the majority of them were quality through and through. MGS4, LBP, R2, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Uncharted, just all savage. That €600 for the PS3 was well worth it.

2. Metallica

I knew the new album would be good, but not THAT good. Add in one of the best experiences in my life at Marlay Park on August 20th this year, I really can't think of anything better that happened....except for number 1 below of course....

1. Man Utd Kings of Football

Man Utd kicked anyone and everyones ass this year when it comes to trophies. Premiership, Champions League and now the World Club Cup. Nothing can be better than having infinite bragging rights....

So what's to look forward to next year??? Well, unlike my blog this time last year, I really have much to write this time round. No, serious. I'll - hopefully - get my degree and start my Masters. Loads more kickass games next year. Obama will be sworn in as President, another Lisbon referendum, probably a war in the Gaza strip, hopefully I pass the Cadet Leader exam, Megadeth's new album, the Lions Tour of South Africa and probably a whole host of other crap I just can't think of.

Here's to 2009!!

~The Damo

Saturday 27 December 2008

AVGN: CDi Parts 2 and 3 + Christmas Special

No long time no Angry Video Game Nerd....

You would think you couldn't make a bad Zelda game....but Philips did, 3 in fact!

And did you ever think there would be so many games about Jesus???

~The Damo

Friday 19 December 2008


OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!

5 New costumes: Old Snake, Meryl, Raiden, Screaming Mantis and Gurlukovic Solider

Plus tons of new stickers (72), materials (12), decorations (10), and objects (18).

Media Molecule teamed with Konami to create 5 new Story Levels and 1 new Challenge Level for you to enjoy.

Plus:1 new background music track3 new interactive music tracks1 new Metal Gear Solid themed 'sound object'New Plasma Ball 'danger element'New Laser Sight 'gadget'New functioning Searchlight lamp - for those special 'exclamation mark' momentsand finally, the piece de resistance THE PAINTINATOR (and Paint Switch) Add to all that, there are 12 new Trophies to unlock (and if you pay attention to the story at all, we're not a big fan of Trophy Levels).Tons of new gameplay, tons of new game-changing objects, and tons of create materials all for just $5.99

Metal Gear Solid 4 + LittleBigPlanet = AWESOMENESS!!!!
~The Damo

Friday 12 December 2008

Resistance 2 - Review

This is how to finish the fight!

Resistance 2 is the sequel to 2006's best selling PS3 title Resistance: Fall of Man. R2 continues the story of Nathan Hale who is infected but resistant to the Chimeran virus. The game takes place across the United States (the last free area in the world) over 7 chapters and a prologue. It begins immediately with the last cut-scene from Fall of Man and makes a seamless transition into R2. Hale is brought to Iceland by Major Richard Blake, head of tactical ops at SRPA (Special Research Projects Agency) and from there Hale joins the Sentinels, a group of soldiers like himself who are also resistant to the Chimeran virus.

The story then picks up two years later in San Francisco and from there the game transports you to select locations in the U.S. such as Twin Falls Idaho, Chicago and Louisiana. The story is quite good overall and unlike the first game it is centered entirely on Hale with no narration. Focusing the story strictly from Hale's perspective works fine but there are instances where you wish you understood character motivations and thoughts. The progression of the events is well paced and much like the first game you certainly feel as though you are fighting a losing battle. However, R2 succeeds in driving home just how large a conflict the war with the Chimera is. There are moments in every level where you will just pause and go "Wow...". Be it a scene of utter chaos or a confrontation with a swirling swarm ripping the flesh of anyone foolish enough to step near it.

A moment that comes to mind is in Twin Falls, Idaho, where you land in a residential estate and find it completely covered in Grim cocoons. Unlike the first game, the Chimera no longer need to send humans to conversion centers to turn them into Chimera. Instead, they send in Spinners, tiny creatures - about the size of a large rat - that spin people into a cocoon and bake them into mindless Grims. The scale of just how many cocoons are in the area is gruesome, not helped by the fact that in some places you will find a "baby" sized cocoon as well. When one of your comrades comments "Makes you miss when they needed conversion centers...", you can only nod to yourself and agree. The scene over San Francisco is unlike anything I've seen before (below) and I found myself just staring aimlessly around the area, watching the fleet tear the city apart. The shear scale and ambition of the game is incredible to behold.

To compliment the incredible atmosphere, in several points of the game you can listen in to the broadcast of Henry Stillman, the last man alive in Philadelphia. Your story, as you progress through the game is mirrored events of Henry's means of trying to survive. We learn he watched a Spinner wrap his wife in a cocoon and watched on helplessly as grims devoured a young boy and his father. I found myself wanting to listen to what Henry had to say, as though I was experiencing the war from another persons perspective. While you never truly envelope yourself in the 50's setting, as you are constantly under fire and so on, the game succeeds in creating a sense of urgency about everything you do and everything that is happening around you. For instance, there is a moment in Chicago (which is entirely flooded by the way) where you jump over an embankment and as you hit the otherside you knock a beam which bursts the barricade holding back the water. You suddenly find yourself frantically running from high points to the next high points to stay out of the water. Why you ask? Well it's not that you'll drown, it's the fact that there are Chimera, called Furies, which infest the waters and if you're down there too long, BANG, your dead, instantly. What's more, you can't shoot or kill them either. You don't want to die, and there is a genuine sense of fear everytime you have to step into water that a Fury will pop out of nowhere and mince you. Fortunately for you, the Chameleon, which can also kill you with one hit is much easier to take down. They make strange noises, almost like an owl or a pigeon, when they're near you and as they approach you will hear a rumble and your controller will shake before they become visible and try to land the killing blow.

The gameplay in R2 is a step above its predecessor. Gunplay is more fluid and controlled and there is an overall reinfinement of the shooter mechanics to bring the game in line with modern shooter standards. The 4 part regenerating health bar is gone replaced by the now common red blurry ring fully replenshing health system. This also works well into plot, as now that Hale has been infected with the Chimeran virus for so long, it seems only natural that he can now replenish all his health, as opposed to just a quarter. The weapon system is now strictly down to a pair replacing the weapon ring from Fall of Man. Sometimes you will find carefully placed weapons, like the Rossmore before you go near some Chameleons or a LAARK in an area where you face a Titan. Nevertheless the weapons feel fantastic, with added tweaks to some originals from the first game such as the Auger's new heat vision ability aswell as the Rossmore now using a clip of ammo as opposed to single rounds. Insomniac have also thrown in a heap of new weapons which fit well into the Resistance universe and are equally fun to use. Be it the magnum with explosive rounds, the Marksman battle rifle or the Wraith mini-gun, you'll find plenty of new toys to play with as you blast through the single player campaign - which is about 10 hours I might add.

The Chimera feel as bad ass as ever and a bump up in the visual department is welcome. The inclusion of Daedalus - effectively the Chimeran leader - gives a sense of a more organised Chimeran force. While I'm disappointed to see that Angels, Widowmakers and Howlers didn't make it into this game, the challenge the Chimera put to you more than makes up for it. Resistance: Fall of Man was hard, Normal mode felt like Hard mode, and Hard mode was...well....VERY hard. That hasn't changed here, and it's one of the reasons I love the Resistance games. Even on easy mode there were times where I was genuinely challenged, and the Chimera don't make it any easier by attacking strategically in packs and exploiting your own cover when they can. Many reviews I've read have commented on there being too many "cheap deaths", and while I feel that the statement is fair to an extent (I'm looking at you - the 3 Titans in Twin Falls and your surrounded by cars that when they explode they've a 90% chance of killing you section.) this shouldn't be used an excuse for people finding the game too hard. No pussies allowed is how it is. If your going to play R2 you better be freakin' good.

And that's why it's great. Resistance 2 pushes you.... HARD. There are far too many games coming out now that cater for the casual audience and are simply too easy. This only partly extends to the boss fights in R2 which were one of the main advertising points. Let me get one thing clear - there are boss fights, and they are BIG. Some boss fights are disappointingly easy, but some are a genuine challenge. I'll be discussing them in a future post as right now I don't want to talk about spoilers or anything.

Normally this is where the review would end, but guess what??

That's only a THIRD of the whole game!!!!!

Even before I had finished the single player, I had already stabbed at the online Co-op campaign. Initially I was slightly disappointed to find that you couldn't play the story mode co-op style, but once I stared playing the online co-op I almost forgot the game had a single player to begin with. Put simply, the Cooperative is phenomenal, and is unlike anything I have ever played before. In fact, I'll go on the record right now and say it is probably the best online experience I've had to date.

The campaign runs a parallel story to what is going on in the single player. There are several locations such as Chicago, Axbridge, Holar Tower and unlike the single player they make reference to the fight against the Chimera in Europe, from none other than Rachel Parker, the female narrator from the first game. You play as a member of Spectre - like the Sentinels - and fight through a heap load of missions with up to 8 players. Each map is modularised, and each time you play a certain map, the mission objectives will be different and you will experience different sections of the maps in different orders. This adds greatly to the variety and replay value of this mode. Furthermore, at the beginning of each mission you get your intel story - there could be anything up to 12 parts for each map, meaning that at the very minimum you need to play each location that number of times. And with several locations that means a lot of hours spent online.

To add to the diversity the number and types of enemies you face depends on the number of players playing and the various levels of those players. Even after starting the co-op after a lot of people, I have yet to feel like I'm out of my depth in these missions. (Or that could be a testament to just how damn good I am at the game - ignore the vanity). When playing, you have a choice of 3 troop types: Soldier, Special Ops, Medic. The Soldier is your damage sponge, and he can also dish out tonnes of damage. His special ability is to bring up force barriers which can protect the rest of your team members. The Spec Ops can deal out a lot of damage with the Marksman but can't take much, and he is the only team member who can supply the others with ammo. The Medic, uses the Phoenix weapon to sap energy from enemies and then convert it into health for other team members. It is absolutely 100% essential that you have at least one of each type of class and that you all work together to get through this mode. What's more, you gain experience points for everything you do, meaning you're constantly progressing. Levelling up unlocks new weapons, new equipment and new berzerks which all improve the Cooperative experience. It is just amazing how much depth and player support this mode offers.

Finally, we have the competitive online multiplayer. While there are typical modes like Team Deathmatch and so on, it's Skirmish mode you want to look out for. In case you didn't know, Resistance 2 is capable of having up to 60 players on one map at any one time, and Skirmish mode takes full advantage of this. The game splits the 30 Vs 30 teams into 5 man squads, and these squads are then given objectives across the map which will often have one squad vs another competing for the same objective. The maps are so huge that at times you wouldn't realise that there are another couple of dozen players on the map. As the timer counts down, the game then funnels all the squads to a certain location and all hell breaks out. Like Co-op, there is XP to be obtained for kills and so on and all this adds to the development of your character, but XP can only be earned in ranked games.

Presentation: 9.9
The game looks and runs great and is leaps and bounds above the original in every department. The only thing keeping it from a perfect score is minor low-res textures in places and a bit of screen tearing.

Gameplay: 10
Solid through and through and more importantly a hell of a lot of fun. Weapons are creative and it'll be tough to find a favourite. The Chimera put up an ample challenge.

Story: 9.8
A little weaker than the original but not much, and still very good by modern standards.

Design: 10
Bigger is better. Everything about the game is well made and runs great, with no lag whatsoever online either.

Content: 10
If I could give it an 11 I would, a 10 hour single player, unthinkable replay-ability in online coop and competitive it's hard to imagine what else they could've put in and still only charge €50!

Overall: 9.9

Resistance 2 is a top quality production with tonnes of replayability and player support. It successfully continues a gripping plot moulded in the first game and compliments it with impressive performance and gameplay. With multiple difficulties, great trophies and all that XP to earn you really couldn't ask for a more complete package. Kotaku reports it will take on average 420 hours to complete! Let's hope the sequel can somehow do even better....

~The Damo

All Nightmare Long

Zombies. Soviets. Spores. Oh yeah!

~The Damo

Wednesday 3 December 2008

LittleBigPlanet - Review

There comes a time when something new and fresh hits the scene. Sometimes it's a new twist on established genres, or a completely new genre altogther. But then you have something else. Something which revisits most of our own precious beginnings in gaming, expands on it, makes it better, and then lets you do it yourself. That game, is LittleBigPlanet.

What I'm talking about is platforming. All the classics were platforming - Mario, Metroid, Sonic etc. and LBP is the first game in a long to time to revisit this almost forgotten genre and reinvent it in a whole new way. You play as Sackboy (or indeed Sackgirl) and inhabit the LittleBigPlanet. Your adventures thoughout the story mode take you all across the globe, to a greeny/castle themed Eurozone, to the African Savannah, across the Altantic to the haunted South American section, up north to the bustling metropolis, then west to oriental Japan and a quick stop off in India before you make your way to the Tundra wastelands. Each area has its own unique feel and theme, all beautifully created using the LBP tools, and each section starts you off with a little costume zone to dress for the occasion. The story-mode in itself is rather good, though I can't say the game really has a story and really, the story mode levels are there to inspire you, the real creator of the LittleBigPlanet.

As Sackboy, you can do a couple of things. The controls are basic and can easily be taken up by anyone - I'm sure my 6 year old sister could even play it - X is jump, R1 is grab, move with the Left stick and change your emotions with the D-Pad: Up = Happy, Down = Sad, Right = Tough, Left = Scared. While the emotions don't change how you play the game, they can make the online mulitplayer experience more enjoyable and funny. If you hold L2 and move the left analog you control Sackboy's right arm, the R2 button and the right stick control his left hand. Combining these and tilting the SIXAXIS/DUALSHOCK 3 you can animate Sackboy by dancing, waving to other players, pointing to a direction or whatever. The default tilt controls Sackboy's head, while clicking L3 then changes the tilt to control his hips. It's remarkably intuitive and clever. By pressing SQUARE you can open your Pop-It, from here you can dress your Sackboy in all manner of things (too many to name, but at one stage I was a half Roman Centurion-Ninja type guy with a lions tail). You can open your sticker collection and decorate the levels or indeed decorate your pod. The pod is where you enter LBP, it hovers above the planet in the stars and online acts as the waiting room while you (or indeed whoever is the host) picks the next level.

While you don't have to play the story mode, I can see no reason why you wouldn't. Playing through the story unlocks costume elements, materials for contruction, level elements (as in pre-built stuff) and bonus levels. And like I said, you can get incredible inspiration from playing. You need to play through the story to unlock trophies and it is absolutely essential you play online or with friends if you want to get the illusive Platinum trophy. Speaking briefly on the trophies, many are rather straight forward and encourage community interaction as well as playthough of the story. Some also encourage creation and others are approriately graded for the challenge, example: you earn a gold trophy if you complete each level without dying once. Take it from me, that is NOT an easy thing to do. Any preconception you may have of this game being kiddy or childish or not for hardcore gamers is ridiculous. LBP is surprisingly challenging at times, and also frustrating it might be said. A shallow review would comment the difficulty at points being a flaw, and I will admit I planned to include it as a flaw when I first began this review (some weeks back I might add) but it isn't unfair difficult, it is challenging. I think many of us in this modern gaming generation have forgotten that games should challenge us, just because we keep dying does not mean the game is unfair!

Anyway, back on track here, LBP is intended to be used online. If you only plan to play the game offline you are cutting yourself off from an incredible experience. LBP allows you to make your own LEVELS!!! In this respect the game can never end. Each level in the story is made using these tools, and that is why playing through them is essential for inspiration and additionally in understanding how the tools work.

Before you begin you have to sit through tutorials which teach you how to build. Stephen Fry's narration can seem a little slow at times (we're not idiots) but it's a nice touch. The tools themselves are easy to use but difficult to master. I would recommend simply messing around and playing with different machines and objects before setting out to make a level. Some tools require a fair amount of understanding to nail perfectly, and it is highly recommended that you plan out what you're going to do, rather than jump in and see what happens. Doing that can lead to frustration and broken controllers. From my experience the building is a hell of a lot of fun, especially being an engineering student. The thermometer limit on the left really isn't a hindrance at all. Assuming you played through the story well you will have a whole host of objects, materials and stickers available to make your level as brilliant as possible. Expanding what's in your "Goodies Bag" is all the incentive you should need to collect everything in the story. What's great as well is you can make your own objects, then save it (like a car, or a bike, or a catapult - whatever!) and place it as a prize that other people can win when they play your level.

You don't have to upload your level, but as I mentioned earlier there are trophies to be earned when you do - for simply publishing a level, getting a certain number of people to play it, getting hearted and so on. Hearting a level is simple and quick to do. You can access other people's levels from the pod. All these levels are original content created by other LBP players from across the globe. Much like Youtube, the levels on "Planet 1" are either very new or the cream of the crop and you will often find that they have been played in the thousands of times. Pressing R1 leads you to "Planet 2", then 3 and so on. The idea is that the better levels are kept closer to the top while the bad ones sink to the bottom. It works well and hasn't met any hitches yet. There are already tonnes of levels online, and I must say at times I was blown away by the quality. While the story levels are still the most polished, I have no doubt that we will start seeing better levels over the holidays as people master the tools more.

The community experience is simply brilliant. Completing a level, even on your own, ends with a scoreboard, and your score is uploaded to the worldwide rankings. Playing with more players makes it into a competition. As Media Molecule call it "Co-opetition". Whilst you're still competing, you need each other to complete the level. It makes for a great experience all round. After you play someone's level you can heart it and leave a description tag. Naturally the more hearts a level has the higher it will be up on the "Planet" rankings. You can even leave comments and like I said, there are trophies rewarding good community interaction.

What makes LittleBigPlanet special is its innovation. Not to mention top notch graphics and physics. Just because it looks simple doesn't mean the overall presentation should be, LBP is a beautifully crafted world, full of colour and animation. I can't even do it justice in my review; LBP is something you simply have to experience. I can assure you there will be laughs, smiles, tears and above all FUN. How can you not love that face???

Presentation: 10
It is a beautiful game with vibrant colours and environments and excellent fire and electricity effects. And let's not forget excellently programmed physics and material interaction.

Gameplay: 10
What more could you want, platforming with simple yet entertaining puzzles and innovation the industry hasn't seen in years. And don't forget the creation tools.

Design: 9.8
Surprisingly no major technical issues and perfect frame rate throughout, jumping mechanics could be a tad better.

Content: 10
A MASSIVE amount for a game that doesn't know if it's little or big, potentially infinite play time and the ability to craft your own world and play online, I don't think you could have anymore.

Overall: 9.9

It really is The Next Big Thing. I can't begin to imagine how HUGE the sequel is going to be... Yes, a sequel is already in the works!

~The Damo

Reviews Have Changed....

Or at least mine will be. From here on out I've set out to clarify my scoring and review techniques.

Before I write a review, I try to play as much of the game as possible, for example if a game has a single player component, I will try to finish that so I have good ground to discuss. If a game also has an ample multiplayer component, I will play it to the point where I feel I have formulated a good enough opinion of my experience playing the game.

What I've found in the past is that I have been changing the categories under which the games I review are rated, such as Unlockables or Multiplayer etc. So what I am now trying to do is tie up my system to consist of basic units which can be counted for every review, and thus allow if a game doesn't come with multiplayer or specifically isn't designed with unlockables. So below is the criteria for all future reviews:

Presentation - this deals with graphics, appearance and sound. Basically it deals with all elements into which the game looks. This won't deal with my personal taste for style choices as I will leave that to the design element.

Gameplay - this scores how well the type of gameplay being presented is executed and allows for innovation in the genre. This score will not be hampered by performance issues but is subject to a FUN factor.

Story - as you may have guessed deals with the storyline if there is one, but also entails any voice acting, character design, atmosphere, setting and architecture. For example - even if the character models don't look "good" they can still be good characters to interact with, and any unimpressive visuals are accounted for in Presentation.

Design - mainly deals with framerates and game peformance and general score for the idea or style behind the game and whether I feel the developers have successfully implemented what they advertised they would do and whether or not they could have achieved more.

Content - covers anything from unlockables, trophies/achievements, length of the game, replayability, multiplayer etc, anything which can give you an idea if you've got something that's worth your money. A game won't be critiqued on all of them, for example Bioshock is 20 hours long, but has no mulitplayer and no unlockables for completing the game, but that doesn't suggest your not getting a great experience for your money.

Hopefully these changes will turn out for the better, check out the LittleBigPlanet Review above to see how it works.

~The Damo

Thursday 27 November 2008

Updates and Delays

Apologies for lack of blogging but I have an unbelievable amount of work on my hands at the moment. Too much in fact. So here's a list of things on the horizon:

AVGN: Philips Cd-i Parts 2 & 3
LittleBigPlanet Review
Resistance 2 Review
Top Ten I'm On Setanta Sports
Top Ten Theme Tunes

On the verge of meltdown.... :(

~The Damo

Thursday 20 November 2008

Resistance 2 - Preview

Are you going to make your last hours count?

Resistance 2, the sequel to 2006's best selling PS3 game Resistance: Fall of Man finally makes it way to Europe on the 28th of November. Why it was released in the US on the 4th is beyond me, nevertheless the wait is almost over, and its time to kick some Chimeran ass again!

Resistance 2 picks up directly after the events of Fall of Man and continues the story of Nathan Hale, the sole survivor of the American led re-invasion of Britain after the Chimera invaded. Hale is resistant (hence the name of the game, clever eh?) to the Chimeran virus and much of why this is the case is set to be revealed throughout the sequel.

The sequel is set this time in the United States, as the Chimera launch a bi-coastal assault on the last free nation on the globe. What adds more to the story is that we learn - from the trailers - that Hale has only 19 hours left to live.

As well as the single player the boys at Insomniac have set about creating a 2-8 player online co-op campaign which is separate from the game's main story and up to 60 player multiplayer mayhem!

I'll be leaving the rest of the talking for the review, but for now here's a host of trailers and gameplay footage.

First Teaser Trailer:

E3 2008, Henry Stillman Trailer:

Last Hours Trailer:

Target Practice Gameplay:

Crash Landing Gameplay:

Reactor Gameplay:

The Chimera are Here:

Oh, and they also promised BIG FUCKING BOSSES!!!!

Rise. Stand. Resist.

~The Damo

P.S. LittleBigPlanet Review soon....

AVGN: Philips Cd-i Part 1

Do you remember the Philips Cd-i? No? Don't blame you. Watch and see why.

Plus we get a little taster of the history of the PS1.

~The Damo

Saturday 15 November 2008

The Great Debate

After much consultation with a colleague, and by consultation I mean a brief chat and by colleague I mean Bren, I now find myself with the difficult task of deciding whether I want to get either Guitar Hero: World Tour or Rockband 2 this Christmas.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of both it’s important to know a few things. The people who originally made Guitar Hero are now the people making Rockband, and the crowd now making Guitar Hero are better known for making the Tony Hawk games. The latest installments include the full kit – guitar (with solo buttons), drums and mic. These were all standard in the original Rockband and are now included in Guitar Hero for the first time.

So down to the facts. As it currently stands, Rockband 2 sits with an average metascore of 92/100 compared to Guitar Hero’s 85/100. After watching and reading several reviews it is undoubtedly clear that the latest Rockband is the “better made” game. From what I’ve ascertained you can import songs from the original Rockband into its successor but this feature is not available on World Tour because of the new instruments included – which were standard in the original Rockband. It’s unfortunately very limiting, considering that Guitar Hero has had more games and the current iteration doesn’t support them.

However, Guitar Hero includes a feature to make your own songs – albeit highly complicated – which once people get to grips with will undoubtedly result in some great tracks to play, and techincally an infinite number of tracks so long as people continue to support the user created content. Also in Guitar Hero’s favour is the release of Guitar Hero: Metallica in February-March ’09. Naturally this release holds a special place for me and would be another reason to favour the Guitar Hero brand.

Having said that though, the team behind Rockband are the most experienced at this type of game and more likely to improve the brand with each new release. Also in Rockband’s favour is the option to make it impossible to fail a song, a VERY useful feature for the musically challenged such as myself – I are n00b.

So what should I do??

~The Damo

AVGN: Frankenstein

The Nerd finishes his Halloween two-parter with a review of all games about Frankenstein's monster...or Frankenstein himself/itself since some of them don't really seem to know what the fudge is going on....

Apologies for delay, just very busy.

~The Damo

Saturday 8 November 2008

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 17

200th POST!!!!!

I can't believe it's been so long since my last GMG blog. Perhaps I'm mellowing out? Or am simply ignoring things that annoy me? Or is just that I wasn't arsed to type about anything up till now cos I'm a lazy bastard????? I'll let you figure it out...

Regardless - Issue 17 is here NOW!

Is Student Unions, or more correctly how they work. Don't get me wrong now before I start, I understand the benefits SU's have such as book shops, normal shops, exam help services, study services, counselling, health screening etc. but I'm not working up a sweat over those things. It's the other things....

It has been my experience of SU's, and from the people I've spoken to prior to writing this, that in general SU's seem to think they are more important than they really are, specifically when as a naive first year you may be confused into believing that the SU actually run the college. The best example that comes to mind is the elections, which are easily the most farcical (sp?) display I have ever come across. In my three years now there has been no difference in the manner things are run under the SU. The candidates would lead you believe that they are making a difference, as though they are somehow going to change the world. In fact, they change nothing. All they do is occupy a space, carrying out their respective duties, but they change nothing!! Obviously I have a somewhat biased opinion on this matter, given that I'm an Engineering student and the general consensus is that we (Eng Students) have no time for SU stuff (and by that I mean dedicating time to volunteer to work for them).

Don't confuse what I'm saying with societies, where they generally do change with administration changes. I just can't help but feel that the SU (in general, across all 3rd level institutes) is there simply because it can be there, not because it needs to be there. In my three years here I cannot recount one occasion where I "needed" the SU.

Perhaps the most evident example of how little I care for the SU comes in the shape of the "Coke Ban" - and is in fact the reason I'm writing this blog. No, not "coke" as in cocaine, I'm talking about Coca-Cola. It was my understanding upon going to UCD that Coke was banned outright, little was to know that it is in fact only banned in SU shops, and is widely available in vending machines and other shops across campus. The Coke ban is perhaps the most in-effective thing I have ever seen and the recent "scandal" (parenthesis used for good reason) of Coke being sold in a SU shop has only illustrated how sad the whole thing is. This was such an important item that it made the FRONT PAGE (complete with picture) of the Observer. Furthermore, the President said he was "really shocked" upon hearing the news. What had actually happened was a vending machine attendant was filling the machine, had a few cans left over and offered the staff the cans (FOR FREE) to be sold in the shop!!! I mean how sad can people get to feel offended by this. The majority of the UCD campus doesn't even know why Coke is banned in the first place, and if it's "banned" why can we buy it in the other shops. What a fuckin' joke!

The Coke story in the paper summed up and confirmed just how much of a joke the SU are. I can't take them seriously for anything, do they really think they are making a difference? I also highly disapprove of the SU organisation of protests at practically anything and everything that goes on around campus or in Dublin. If it's not about some politician it's about some former porn-star talking to a society about his/her experiences or some other stuff like that. This falls right back into my GMG about protesting, and it makes me wonder do these people have anything better to do with their time??? I have absolutely no problem with protesting for a just cause, and I certainly don't disapprove of a demonstration regarding fees, but if I cared enough I would go of my own free will, not under the influence of emails and texts sent to me or reminded of in person by speakers that it was on and that we should all go!

The fact that so few people voted over the last 3 years in the elections, and that the majority of those who voted were first years further illustrates just how little the student body cares about how the SU is run, and hence it's existence. I'm not saying it should be eradicated, no, that would take away the good things they do, but I do think they should have a serious reality check, and realise that no one cares. The SU are rarely - if ever - going to change how the college works. The college administration run things, not the SU, and they need to realise this - as do young and naive first year students.

If they didn't act like they were running the world and they are the ultimate source of everything just and righteous things would be fine, but they do. If people have a problem with "Shell to Sea" or whatever let them worry about it in their own time, not sending out emails or posters advising us to storm Dail Eireann and piss people off. It should be illustrated that SU's do not speak for all students.

~The Damo

Bioshock - Review

When Bioshock first hit the scene this time last year, reviewers hailed the game as one of the greatest experiences ever made, so you can imagine my disappointment when this was an Xbox 360 only game. Now, a year later, the PS3 version has hit the shelves, but does this game truly deserve the accolade of 2007’s Game of the Year?

Having now completed the game once, I can certainly say yes, it does. Even though the game may be a year old, it’s still as good as (and indeed better than) most of 2008’s big games. Bioshock is set in the fictional underwater city of Rapture (deep in the Mid-Atlantic), created by the sole imagination of it’s grand architect, Andrew Ryan. You’re character, Jack, survives a plane crash and enters a mysterious lighthouse which transports him down to the city via a Bathysphere (the main mode of transport across the city). Upon reaching the city you are greeted by Atlas via radio, who acts as your guide for the game. It is apparent almost immediately that something is severly wrong with Rapture, with its inhabitants boosting up on Plasmids and ransacking the city clean. Not only that but it seems as though the city itself is falling apart. The game’s approximately 20 hour experience takes you around several key areas such as a Medical Pavilion, an Oxygen forest, the Central Core and a shopping district to name but a few.

Each level is perfect in design. It’s clear the designers put a lot of thought into both the architecture and planning of each zone, creating an incredible atmosphere, making you feel like you are truly exploring a new world, though still making it feel familiar with the 1960’s art style. The atmosphere is consistent throughout, enhancing the experience on the whole. The audio diaries which you can pick give you a taste of the events leading up to whatever it is that happened to Rapture, and answers several questions you may have been asking yourself as you progress through the story.

While the game ultimately forces you down a particular route in the grand scheme of things, the areas are so massive that you will spend a lot of time exploring, especially if you want to find all the radio diaries, plasmids and gene tonics. What’s more, you’re free to return to these areas if you wish later on. This non-linear design keeps the gameplay interesting, which can be a problem in some first person shooters. Fortunately Bioshock manages to keep the first person shooter experience interesting from start to finish by the use of plasmids, gene tonics, weapon upgrades and enemies.

Plasmids are special abilities that rewrite your DNA, and thus allow you to unleash spectacular powers like shocking someone with a bolt of electricity, freezing them where they stand with a blast of ice or even swarm them with a horde of bees. The variety of these plasmids allows for different playstyles, and given that you can equip a maximum of 6 at a time means that no two players will use the same plasmids for the whole game. In addition to these are the gene tonics, which enhance your abilities, such as being able to resist fire based attacks, or allow you to turn invisible when standing still. With 3 gene tonic tracks – Physical, Engineering and Combat – and 6 slots in each, the game allows a whole host of different combinations, further dispersing the likelihood that any two people will progress through the game in the same manner.
In order to expand your plasmid and tonic slots, you need to collect ADAM. As it so happens, collecting ADAM is easier said than done. The Little Sisters harvest the DNA of the dead, and convert it into ADAM. But these girls are protected by the Big Daddies, and as their name suggests, they’re quite a handful to take down. When you do take down the Daddies though, you’re then faced with the binary choice of harvesting or rescuing the Little Sisters. Harvesting gives you maximum ADAM but the girl dies, Resucing gives you a reduced amount of ADAM but the girl lives. This choice tests the players morality, something which isn’t done that frequently in video games and makes a huge difference in the course of the game. While collecting ADAM from the Little Sisters isn’t mandatory save for one or two occasions throughout the game, not collecting ADAM will make the game very difficult.

Throughout the game you will encounter a variety of enemies, including automated turrets and security bots as well as Raptures inhabitants which could be anything from the ranged combat Lead Splicers to the vanishing teleporting Houdini Splicers. Naturally when you enter an area it will be populated, but just because you killed them first time round doesn’t mean the room will be empty should you return. Rapture is a living city, and the movement of its inhabitants keeps you on your toes, and ensures that moving through any one particular area is neither uneventful or labourious, regardless of the amount of times you pass though it.

The game does help you on the way to taking down your enemies. During the progress of the game, you receive a research camera, which you use to take photos of your enemies. A little bar at the bottom of the photo indicates how far along your research is. The quality of the photo determines how much the bar moves, and of course there are a bonuses and penalities which will either add or subtract from the score your photo receives. Researching your enemies grants you damage bonuses when attacking them or may even unlock gene tonics which are specific to that class of enemy.

There really is a lot to Bioshock to fully experience the game. The story, the atmosphere and gameplay is so fantastic; it’s hard to imagine how its sequel could do any better. With the addition of Playstation 3 exclusive downloadable content coming in November and the inclusion of Trophies to the mix, you will certainly have more than one reason to keep making that fateful trip to 400 fathoms below.

Graphics: 10
Gameplay: 10
Sound: 10
Longevity: 10
Presentation: 10

Overall: 10

One you don't want to miss!

~The Damo

Friday 7 November 2008

Teeny Weeny Update

Ok I've been REALLY busy the last few weeks.

6 Blogs this weekend.

+++++++++++++END COMMUNICATION++++++++++++++++

Saturday 18 October 2008

AVGN: Dracula

The Nerd starts off his double Halloween special with a review of a couple of Dracula games. No prizes for guessing if they're good or bad!!

Now playing Bioshock on PS3. Oh yeah....

~The Damo

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Review

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (SWTFU) promised to give gamers are truly unique experience set in the Star Wars universe, by putting the power of the force at our fingertips in a never before seen way. Has it delivered? The simple answer is Yes and No.

SWTFU follows the story of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice – Starkiller – during the period of time between Episodes III and IV. The story is without a doubt one of the games strongest assets, which fits well into the canon – if stretching it just a little – but still leaving the player with a satisfying finale and a worthy respect for the games protagonist. Starkiller’s journey fits across 9 stages, from Felcuia to Bespin and even the under construction Death Star. As with all Star Wars games nowadays you are faced with the standard “Light or Dark” choice close to the games end. The twists seem believable and the actions of the cast feel real, certainly showing that there is some originality left in the Star Wars name.

The levels themselves are quite enjoyable in my opinion. The are quite long and expansive though they do force you down one specific direction. The design is fantastic in some places and lacking in others. That’s not to imply that the levels get worse as you go on, it’s just that some areas feel like they had more thought put into them than others. For example moving through the Sarlaac on Felucia is certainly interesting, whereas the Bespin seems rather bland and ultimately uninspired, with no memorable moments.

The game does have its moments though. My best memory is the segment where you have to pull a Star Destroyer out of the sky using the force. The boss fights are ok aswell, though they can feel very straightforward (but not repetitive if you know what I mean). The problem with the boss fights is that when you reduce your opponent to a low health, you then trigger a quick-time event, which will continue to loop even if you get wrong, meaning there’s no consequence to hitting the right button. The actual action that occurs during a quicktime event is quite impressive, and is definitely the most entertaining part to watch in a boss fight. Having said all that the boss fights are real battles of the force, with the challenge only becoming more of a battle as you raise your difficulty level.

Using the Force is fun, I mean come on, who doesn’t like picking up a helpless stormtrooper and fling him miles into the sky. Or how about leaping in the air, raining sith lightning down on the people below. The combination of using the force with your close combat attacks works well, with a good variety of combos. Coupled with the variations of force powers using the Force has never been so much fun. Going with the new manipulation of the force was the much hyped molecular matter programming, which was designed to make materials react realistically to the conditions, for example wood splintering where its cut, or metal bending according to the reactions its put under as opposed to the game being pre-programmed to respond in a certain way. This technology was very evident in the Prologue but didn’t seem to feature as much as I thought it would as the game progressed. It’s quite possible that the tech was simply too expensive to impliment into the whole game. The only times the tech is seen is when you really have to use it (like bending metal panels so you can jump on them or force pushing your way through a door). The levels are a physics fun house, but just not as much as we intitially expected.

Naturally giving you all this power would make killing stormtroopers and co a little easy, but the game appropriately confronts you with enemies that have means to at least temporarily resist the force or are simply to large for a force push to knock them over. These enemies require you to change tactics, meaning you don’t need to resolve to the same old combos for success. Further incentive to vary the combos is that you’re rewarded for style. You get more points the better style you use. When you achieve a certain number of points you level up, allowing you to upgrade force powers, combos etc. You can also pick up upgrades in the form of Jedi Holocrons, aswell as new lightsaber colours, crystals and robes. The main problem here is that when you obtain new upgrades you have to open a menu to carry them out. And there’s a bleedin’ load screen in between!! This seems totally unneccesary and evidence of shoddy design. The game isn’t without its glitches either. I’ve gotten stuck on terrain, or was half floating of the ground during an in-game cutscene and there is sound clipping left right and centre. Boss fights can be a pain in this repect aswell, as during the first fight he stood protected by a force shield indefinitely, not letting me land any blows or nothing.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, certainly give this game a look. The story is interesting enough to at least give it one playthrough, and collect holocrons adds a little replay value. The lack of Trophy support is pretty inexcusable, especially considering the PS3 was the lead platform.
Ultimately though, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a good experience, which just about gets by even with all its technical glitches. It’s hard to shake of the feeling that Lucasarts have put out such an unpolished game, but they know it’ll sell…because it’s Star Wars.

Graphics: 8

Gameplay: 7

Sound: 5

Longevity: 6

Presentation: 7

Extras/Unlockables: 6

Overall: 6.5

~The Damo

Monday 13 October 2008

The LittleBigPreview

11 days to go. That's all that's left to the release of one of the most anticipated games this year - LittleBigPlanet. Never before have I seen anyone - and by anyone I mean Media Molecule - look to have gotten it so right.

LBP is unique in the sense that theoretically the game can never end, with the slogan "Play, Create, Share" defining the aspects of the game. LBP puts you in control of Sackboy (or Sackgirl if it takes your fancy) and will allow you to not only customise your Sackcharacter, but also to create your own levels or even modify those that come with the game. This level of creation in a game is something unique to the console experience, it is far more than a map editor which allows you to rearrange predetermined items - here you can make your OWN items and share them with the world.

Combining this incredible experience with lovable cute characters is the driving force behind LBP. Further down in the blog you can see images of how Sony and Media Molecule have exploited this cuteness by re-incarnating Sony's mascots in Sackcharacter style. All the customisations and creations give this title limitless possibilities, which is a dream for an engineering student such as myself.

The genius behind the design is that the tools are simple, easy-to-use, and with practice can be combined into designs that rival those created by the game makers themselves. All the levels and items in the game are made using these tools, further bridging the gap between the limits of the developers and the gamers - something which has yet to be accomplished save for MODS.

All the final details will come in the final review, including my thoughts on the gameplay and full range of creation tools. Until then, here's a host of media from the game, including the Sony mascots I mentioned earlier:

Dream/In Love Trailer:

Sackzilla Trailer:

Pirates & Ninjas:

Making Fun:

And these two are well worth the look - complete with Crocodile Hunter style narration!!!
SackPeople Documentary 1:

SackPeople Documentary 2:

And the Mascots:

Kratos from God of War

Nariko from Heavenly Sword

Helghast Troopers from Killzone and Killzone 2

Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid Series

Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

With more likely to be announced such as Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Nathan Hale from Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2.

Grinds My Gears returns soon!!!!

~The Damo

Friday 3 October 2008

Bioshock Preview

Last year's Game of the Year (well at least that's what most people say anyway) is finally coming to Sony's PS3 this month. The developers have stated that it will not exceed the graphics found on the Xbox360 version but the game will feature a new and exclusive difficulty mode entitled "Survivor - Where every bullet counts" and add-on downloadable content which require you to use the skills learned throughout the game's story.

So what is Bioshock???

Bioshock is a shooter, though by no means is it a regular run of the mill shooter. I'm not going to talk too much about why it's different - I'll be saving that for the review. What I can say though is Bioshock stretches the boundaries of freedom of play in a game. The fictional city of Rapture was designed with open world freedom in mind, thus eliminating the fatal flaw of modern shooters where it's all running and gunning down corridors. What's also special about Bioshock is the plasmids, which are special powers that can shock people, set them on fire, lift them up and throw them and so on. The combination of using different plasmids in different situations coupled with the various weapons and customisations means that no two players will experience the game identically.

After downloading the 1.8GB demo from the PS Store and playing through it I can certainly say I'm quite impressed. The visuals are great, the atmosphere is astounding and above all it's fun. The details on everything will come in the review but here is the breakdown of the demo:

The demo begins with you (Jack) sitting in the seat of a plane smoking a cigarette looking at a picture of what I assume is himself and his parents. (This is the 1960's remember). Suddenly, the plane crashes and the screen is mirky from the water, a handbag sinks past your eyes and as you scramble upwards you can see the carnage around you. A wall of fire surrounds the area and directs you towards a lighthouse. Inside is dark and as you go inside the door shuts.

You are then directed to a capsule which leads you down to the city of Rapture, built entirely underwater. A presentation is shown on the way down, telling you about Rapture and why it was built. As your sphere emerges up into the "Welcome Area" (I guess) you are momentarily trapped in the sphere with a splicer (one of the enemies) trying to attack you. It's here you're brought in contact with Atlas, who communicates with you via a radio. He guides you out of the area and towards you're first plasmid "Electro Bolt". As you inject yourself, your hands begin to shake, with bolts of electricity crawling up your vains and arching from one hand to the next, your vision blurs and you fall over the railing to the floor below.

Here, in a sort of dazed state, you see some other splicers who examine your body and are then introduced to the eerie Little Sisters and Big Daddies (more next paragraph). As you awake and leave the room is suddenly very apparent that something is very wrong with Rapture. When you enter the "Kashmir Restaurant" you can see a huge sign saying "Happy New Year 1959" and can hear a couple arguing on the floor below, something about who owns the "Adam" - more on Adam in the final review. Killing the man out front prompts the wife to come out to see why he's not talking. You can also pick up and audio diary from a woman celebrating New Years when there is possibly some sort of explosion. The woman has clearly had too much too drink, prompting "Wait - I'm bleeding...." before the message ends.

Leaving this area you are then properly introduced to the Little Sisters. These little girls - if you could call them that - have some kind of ability which lets them harvest the DNA of the dead. Shortly after entering this room the Sister is attacked by a splicer, wanting to steal her Adam. Here, the Big Daddy comes crashing through, killing the splicer mercilessly. The Big Daddies protect the Sisters, so if you want their Adam you have to kill the Daddy first.

The demo ends with the lockdown confrontation before you enter the Medical Pavillion. The encounter lets you practice with the two plasmids available - Electro Bolt and Incinerate - and the three weapons you pick up - the Wrench, the Revolver and the Machine Gun. The closing part of this piece has you trapped in a room where Andrew Ryan - the creator of Rapture - tries to have you killed - or at least that what it seems like to me anyway.

So there you have the preview, Bioshock is currently set for release in Europe for October 17th, so the final review will be some time after that. Until then, here's a few gameplay videos from the PS3 version of the final product:

~The Damo

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Top Ten - Engineering Projects!!

I figured that given I'm an engineering student and all that, and that my blog has the word "Engineer" in its name, I should at least once in a while do something Engineering related. So what better than a Top Ten of my all time absolutely most favourite engineering projects ever???

When I was putting this list together I made the decision very early on that the list would comprise of projects under construction already aswell as projects which have/were only proposed/imagined. So here we go:

10. X-Seed 4000 - Tokyo and Tsui Tower - outside Ulaan Bataar
I've put both of these in tenth place because at the core they both plan to do the same thing. Build HUGE F**KING....YOKES.... that would literally accomodate the population of an entire city. I mean these things are like what we see in science fiction movies/shows. They get on the list for their shear scale. The X-Seed is the tallest building ever imagined that has blueprints (4000 metres by the way). IF we're really lucky, and we behave ourselves, we MIGHT just see these buildings in our life times.... after when pigs fly, the Klingons invade, I get a date, Liverpool win the Premiership, I buy an Xbox, Final Fantasy 5000 is made, Ireland uses up all its peat, I find Dara O Briain funny and I'm declared the sexiest man alive.

9. Pyramid City - Tokyo
The plan, at the very least, is to build a self contained city in a giant...and I mean GIANT pyramid which would sit somewhere in Tokyo Bay (I believe anyway). It's earned a place on the list solely on its ambition, but I find the likelihood that we'll ever see it in the flesh to be less than impossible.

8. Gibraltar Bridge - Gibraltar??
Strangely enough this is the only project I have on this list that isn't a high rise structure. The Gibraltar Bridge while ambitious is a project who's benefits are very evident. Coupled with the innovative design of combining bridge styles aswell as the shear scale of the project, the Gibraltar Bridge is certainly one to look out for in the future.

7. Sky City - Tokyo
My first experience of Sky City was on Discovering Channel on "Extreme Engineering" and at the time I thought it was simply incredible. And it is, but I can only give it position number 7, simply because there are projects in circulation now that are simply more ambitious. I must say however that of all the buildings "proposed", Sky City most definitely looks to be the one that has been planned out the most. All it needs is planning permission....:P

6. Hyder Tower - Dubai
I don't know too much about this tower and as far as I know it is completely in the conception phase of design. To the left of it is the Burj Dubai and to the right in the distance is the Al-Burj. There's not much I need to say....just look at it....

5. Al Burj - Dubai
While still only in the design phase, should it be built, Al Burj looks set to be one of the most magnificent high rise structures ever imagined. Where modern high rise buildings tend to taper off as they get higher, the design of Al-Burj looks to be so solid that one can't help but admire the vision.

4. Burj Dubai - Dubai
Currently the world's tallest man made structure... and it's still not finished. Set to top off at around 900m high, Burj Dubai is certainly a site to behold. As incredible as Burj Dubai is, and for all the world records it (broke and) set for engineering and construction, it only reaches number 4 on my list.

3. Taipei 101 - Taiwan
The highest position on this list of a building that is actually complete, Taipei 101 set a new standard for high rise buildings. The pendulum idea which resists the buildings sway in the breeze is an ingenious solution. As well as the classy design, Taipei well deserves its position here.

2. The Illinois - Chicago
A building that was no doubt beyond its time, the Illinois would have stood over a mile high, indeed its other name is in fact "Mile High City". While constructing the Illinois would have been beyond Frank Lloyd Wright's America, it is only now that the construction is a possibility... a true sign that it was ahead of its time.

1. Dubai City Tower - Dubai
Unfortunately I don't really know a whole lot about this one. It's only recently been proposed but at 2.4 kilometers high this is certainly one of the most incredible (and viable) engineering projects I've ever seen. As you've seen from this list already, Dubai is the place to be for engineering right now and as ambitious as this structure sounds, I've no doubt that they will pull it off! (NOTE: it is quite possible that Dubai City Tower is actually Hyder Tower in position 6. however due to the lack of solid information on both projects, particularly Hyder Tower, I can only assume they are two seperate projects)

As I mentioned above, right now Dubai and (to be more general) the Middle-East, is the capital of modern 21st century Engineering. Given the buildings currently under construction, as well as countless projects that I haven't even mentioned, and all the other projects in the design phase, Dubai will most certainly be the home of the skies for decades to come.

In past centuries, engineering - and indeed architecture - has left the marks which shaped those time periods in the history books. After the 20th century was scarred by conflict and war, the outlook for the 21st is promising, especially with so many things being built for people to leave their mark on the planet, showing prosperity and a desire to achieve greater and greater things, further bridging the gap between the impossible and our imaginations...

~The Damo