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!

Sunday 14 June 2009

Saturday 6 June 2009

Guitar Hero: Metallica - Review

Yes, it kicks serious ass. Guitar Hero: Metallica is the second iteration of the Guitar Hero franchise to be focused entirely on the career of one band. Rather than talk about the gameplay which for the most part is still the same as Guitar Hero: World Tour, I'm just gonna mention the improvements or changes to this game.

First and foremost the setlist is PHENOMENAL. With 28 Metallica songs and 20 other guest acts very few music rhythm games can boast such an excellent track list. Add in the Death Magnetic DLC with 10 extra tracks and it makes one meaty set of hard rockin' anthems. One difference I noticed is that the songs here are all fun to play, there were one or two moments in World Tour (the Tool songs come to mind) that were really boring to play. Also the motion capture is top notch, with really authentic animations and representations of the band. Not a huge step up from World Tour, but fans will appreciate it.

Other added bonuses include the Metallifacts videos after you complete a song, the lyrics sheets and photos and videos from the various tours. It really is a game for the fans, and any Metallica fan would be a fool to pass it up. The interface is mainly the same except this time the developers have added in the star performance meter above your score, and for the band mode it is now more clear how each member is performing.

Career mode has you as a member of band playing before Metallica at the various venues. This story is actually based on a real life band who followed Metallica round during the 80's. Progression is different from World Tour where you no longer need to complete all the songs in one show to proceed. You simply have to earn an overall number of stars from the various songs of your choice in that venue to move on.

I know this is a short review but there isn't much more to say than what's already been said in past reviews and previews. If you're a fan of Metallica and have any gaming system, buy this now! You won't regret it.

~The Damo

The Nostalgia Critic

You may have noticed the update to the "My Links" area on the right. Along with Cinemassacre and Screwattack and Special1TV, I've now added in the Nostalgia Critic at

I came across the Nostalgia critic via a video on Youtube (something to do with commercialisation of the site or something like that) that made reference to him in the video description. He had been involved with the Angry Video Game Nerd at one point as well but I didn't pay too much attention to it. A decision I now regret...

At the stage of writing this blog I've now watched the majority of the "Nostalgia Critic" videos and I have to say I'm am both thoroughly impressed and satisfied. The Critic reviews movies and TV programmes, both good and bad ones. The contrasting style of appreciation and condemnation make for great viewing in the various videos.

He is remarkably witty in his videos at all times, and uses excellent editing techniques, as well as some much appreciated running jokes which you might be oblivious to if you don't watch the videos from the start of the series. What's also great is an evolution in the types of videos he posts, as well as standard reviews (which by the way can sometimes be up to 20-25mins) he also does Top 11's (why Top 11? You have to watch) and a new feature called "New Vs Old" where he compares an older film with a remake, or, as was done in the first item of this feature, compare two movies from seperate reimaginations of a franchise - Batman Vs The Dark Knight.

I wouldn't go as far as to say the Critic is for everyone, but if you like films and want to remember old TV shows (like Saved by the Bell) than certainly give him a look. The site has tonnes of other features as well, such as "Ask That Guy", "Sage Reviews" and the "Nostalgia Chick" to name but a few.

So head on over and check out !

I'm The Damo, I write it so you don't have to!

~The Damo

Wednesday 20 May 2009

The Big 3 - Hardware Review

Here it is. The Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii all in one blog, compared, contrasted and analysed as best as I possibly can to see which of the 3 is best value for money, i.e. the best piece of hardware.
Please remember this is a HARDWARE analysis, not software, and for the record I will never be comparing software as I feel this is totally to the taste of the consumer and realistically reviews in general mean jack shit to me when it comes to making a purchase. I should also point out that I won't be delving into the various different processors and so on (partly because I'm not fully enough educated in this regard and also because the quality of the processors and RAM can sometimes mean nothing, example being God of War 2 on PS2 - whoever thought the PS2 could do that!!), so the affair will be more focussed on a features and functions style idea as well as reviews of each console's controller.

So let's kick it off going from smallest to largest with the Nintendo Wii:

Aesthetically it's a nice looking machine, it's hard to fault it really. Compact, shiny white and functional. Personally I'm not a huge fan of the tray it sits in, both the 360 and PS3 can sit on their own, but hey, no biggy. My only problem as such with the machine is the sensor bar. Now I know this is essential to the how the Wiimote works, but seeing as the PS3 pulls off motion control without a sensor bar one has to wonder if it is 100% essential. It uses automatic disk feeding for the Wii Optic Disc and has a liftable flab to expose four gamecube Dolphin controller ports. It has no harddrive with storage carried out by internal flash memory and can use SD cards for storage aswell.

The Wiimote itself is a well designed piece of equipment, comfortable and it looks great. I'm not a fan of the speaker that's built in as most of the time it comes across as poor audio quality and I really don't think it's necessary, especially when the game's primary sound filters through the TV and/or speakers anyway. However, out of the 3 the Wiimote is my least favourite to use and it boils down to one solid fact. The Wiimote is not essential to play the majority of Wii games. Now before you stop me, I'm still not commenting on the quality of the games, this bit relates to the controllers functionality with the games. Besides the launch title WiiSports, very few (with a notable exception of BoomBlox) REQUIRE motion controls. Smash Bros - non existent. Mario Kart - tacked on. Mario Galaxy - tacked on. Zelda - imposed on a game that already came out on Gamecube. And that's just four games off the top of my head. The cold hard fact is that these games would still be top quality even without the motion ability.

This critical flaw was realised by many gamers very early on, and even now the casual audience is starting to look upon the Wii as more of a fad than anything else. With motion-plus on the horizon at an additional cost it's hard to know what the future holds. What we do know is that the Wii is a solid machine with as far as I know a non-existent hardware failure rate. The Mii service is great and adds to the party-style orientation of many of the Wii's games. The different channels are excellent additions but compared to XBL or PSN, the Wii's online service has to go a long way before it should even be in the same sentence as the other two. Damn, I put them in the same sentence!!!

The Xbox 360

First thing you'll notice looking an Xbox is its smooth concave design. This one at home is an Elite Model, so it's black, but the other two 360 models are white. The console uses a disk tray, has slots for memory cards and large power button. This button not only indicates whether the power is on but each quadrant of the outer ring represents a controller that is linked and switched on with the machine. This particular model comes with built in Wi-Fi and a 120GB harddrive and utilises wireless controllers. This isn't consistent with other models, as the Arcade has no harddrive at all, no Wi-Fi (which needs to be bought at an additional expense) and wire controllers (though I have heard to the contrary in this aspect). The other model comes with 60GB storage.

The 360 unfortunately is well known for one fatal flaw - The Red Ring of Death. This alone is a serious issue and requires you to return your console either to the retailer or Microsoft, depending on terms of the warrantee. To pile on the misery another error, the E74 has begun to crop up as well. If you haven't got it by now, the 360 is possibly one of the worst designed machines ever (from that perspective, it's cores perform rather well). This extends to motherfuckin' fan that sounds like a jet engine taking off, and trust me when I say you will be raising the volume on your TV a few notches just so you can hear it! Also, take a look at the power adaptor... :O

Having said that though, both the NXE (despite being half a rip-off of the PS3's XMB and half the Nintendo Miis) and XBL are terrific services despite the fee for Gold Membership. The additionof the bundled headset only adds to the multiplayer immersion and for the most part makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

The controller is excellently designed, with a very comfortable grip and layout. The triggers work well but the D-pad is less than stellar and the requirement of batteries isn't the greatest either, though a lithium battery can be gotten at, yes, you guessed it, an additional cost. The positioning of the left analog adds to the comfort as it predominantly controls movement in the games and both thumsticks have a concaved centre to improve grip.

Playstation 3

First thing you'll notice with the PS3 is just how large it is. It's a little bigger than the 360 but it compensates its size with its arching curves and piano black finish (look how shiny it is in the pic, you can see ME in it!!). I have a 60GB model, with inbuilt Wi-Fi and bluetooth connectivity. This is standard across all models except you can now only get a 40GB and 80GB model (and possibly a 160GB region depending). Like the Wii it has a disk feeder. All the buttons are touch sensitive. Below the disk is a flab which allows for portable storage units like SD cards or Memory Stick Duo. On the front are four USB ports and two at the rear. At this point I should point out the PS3 uses entirely USB2.0 for all connections.

Unlike the 360, there's no mother of a power adaptor and the fans are quiet enough, though the system can get quite warm after extended play. Also, all models have wireless controllers as standard which come with an in-built rechargable battery which is charged via a USB cable with the system. Also unlike the Wii and 360, the PS3 can sustain up to seven controllers at any one time and it is the only system of the 3 to support Blu-Ray and DVD. My particular model can play PS2 games but this feature is no longer available.

However, the PS3's online service PSN isn't quite up to XBL standards, though it is entirely free of charge. More than likely you'll notice this very early on when you have to download an update. For whatever reason the damn thing is RIDICULOUSLY slow, though I must say it IS getting better. Xbox games sometimes come with the update on the disk, and install rather quickly, why this hasn't happened for PS3 games yet I don't know. Also, because headsets aren't bundled with the console - though I believe it is compatible with a lot of bluetooth headsets - the online experience isn't always up to 360 standards, though again, it IS improving with each firware update. As it stands currently there isn't a huge amount between the two online services, but there IS a difference nonetheless.

What can be said about the controller? I'm sure most of the planet has held a Playstation controller before, the design hasn't changed much except for the removal of the wire, the inclusion of the PS button and swapping L2 and R2 for throttle like buttons as opposes to the 360's triggers.


From a strictly hardware perspective, taking into account value for money, reliability, aesthetics there really is only one winner, and that's the PS3. The phrase "You pay for what you get" has never been more apt. The PS3 is the most expensive but with built in WiFi and a harddrive as standard, not to mention an internet browser built into the system with video support for most flash players, you simply can't go wrong. It uses all the latest technology, Blu-Ray, Bluetooth and USB for transfer and storage of data. The fact that PSN almost offers the same experience as XBL without any yearly subscription fee also weighs in Sony's favour. With its curving designs and piano black finish it looks well in any room with a TV and is the perfect hub for home entertainment in this modern era. It might cost a lot but I can guarantee you won't be a disappointed customer with the features and service on offer.

~The Damo
P.S. - Photos are poor quality as camera is on the blip

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Jonathan Creek DVD Box Set

When I was about 13 years old, I watched a programme called Jonathan Creek with my mother. She did her best to try and explain what it was about but I didn't really get what she was on about and it is only now that I can fully appreciate how difficult it was for her to explain what the programme was about. The particular episode, which I now know is entitled "The Scented Room", involved a painting being stolen from a sealed room, where the door had only been closed for 30 seconds and the hall outside was full of people. So how did the thief do it?

Rather than spoil it, I suggest you watch it, but what followed was an hour of brilliant mystery solving and unravelling that captured my fancy the moment the solution was revealed. This I knew was my kind of programme. The only problem? Jonathan Creek wasn't on all that frequently, even now with Sky Digital the problem wasn't wholly solved and the interwebs only has two-three episodes that are viewable. My solution - buy the DVD boxset.

Even though I had watched them all weeks ago, only now have I got the chance to share the experience. Jonathan is played by the brilliant Alan Davies, and for series 1-3 is accompanied by Crime-Investigative writer Madeleine (Maddie) Magellan played by Caroline Quentin and for series 4 is joined by journalist Carla Borrego whom Jonathan had a previous relationship with. There are guest characters in episodes including Anthony Head and Bill Bailey to name but two. Before even getting to the premise of the whole thing, I should point out that throughout all the series and specials the acting and characters are very believably, in particular Alan Davies. Once you become familiar with the character of Jonathan Creek from watching it, you find yourself hard pressed to imagine anyone else in the role. What's more is the line between Davies and Creek is very hard to define, thus adding to the performance and credibility of the character. His character also develops over the course of the episodes in a subtle yet noticable manner.

Creek himself works for illusionist Adam Klaus (played by Anthony Head in the first episode and later by Stuart Milligan. Creek's job description is probably best described as "Illusion-Maker", making the props and tricks for Klaus' show, fooling the audience. He's not much of a socialiser and struggles with women at points. However over the course of the series' he becomes more open and charming, likely due to his working relationship with Maddie that is started in the first episode.

In any particular episode, Creek is usually faced with an "impossible" crime or feat or mystery. More often than not, Creek is brought in my Maddie who usually is called upon in the first case as an investigative writer by the "client", to help her out. What's more, she also writes about Creek's endeavours, generating an unwanted fame meaning that in some and in particular later episodes he is "hired" to solve the mystery.

I should stress perhaps that it isn't always murder at the heart of the story, though I must admit some of the best ones DO relate to murder mysteries. The thing that makes the programme special and watchable is that like any crime/mystery series, like Inspector Morse for example, you want to solve it as well. Whilst you know the solution will be revealed by the shows end, you can't help but try and figure it out for yourself. Trust me when I say that what you think is the solution is very probably miles off the mark.

I guess in part my interest in the show is fuelled by my chosen profession of engineering, as the type of thinking I have to do is in many parts similar to what Creek has to do.

"Making the impossible possible" is an often cliched phrase thrown about in these kind of things, but the style of Creek is unique in the sense that it requires very lateral thinking, something that many people, myself included, simply cannot do off the bat. Unlike a crime series such as Inspector Morse that I mentioned above, where the crime is very motive based and a little piece of the focus is given to technique, the plots of Jonathan Creek give equal emphasis on both, almost doubling your value from the point of view of story-telling and mystery solving and I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed with the end results.

In an early episode Creek makes a statement regarding the "impossible, the improbable and what's practical/logical" as he is about to reveal how the particular crime occured. The ideas of "impossibility", "improbablity" and "logical" are the cornerstones of the series' brilliance and it's these set the tone for all the episodes to follow. In order to solve these mysteries, you need to separate what's impossible from what's unlikely, and then establish how the unlikely could've been done. I can guarantee that in each case you will be thoroughly satisfied with the end result, scratching your head at the ingenuinity of it all yet just how simplistic it all really was.

The DVDs themselves are what they are. All the episodes and specials minus "The Grinning Man" which was shown January 09. There are several bonuses available including documentaries, interviews, etc. Standard fare stuff.

On just a general note of the episodes all together, it seems as though the mysteries/quality of the episodes in series 4 wanes a bit. I'm not suggesting they're bad by any stretch of the imagination, but if you watched them in order as I did the "impossibility" shall we say of the mysteries isn't as grandiose as the earlier seasons, though the episode "Gorgon's Wood" - the last in series 4 - is certainly up there with the best of 'em.

Jonathan Creek has generated huge viewing numbers across England, and the success of the show is shown in the specials that are produced this year and for next. If you like a mystery this is certainly for you. I can guarantee a thoroughly enjoyable experience with the perfect blend of humour, mystery and drama. Just remember to bring your lateral-thinking-cap with you when you do.

~The Damo

P.S. I can't link to episodes, but if you want to find some online, google it and you should be fine.

Monday 18 May 2009

inFamous - Preview

In two weeks time PS3 owners will finally get their hands on Sucker Punch's eagerly anticipated inFamous. In it, players take control of Cole, a bike messenger who's latest delivery changes his future and the fate of Empire City. inFamous promises to bring new meaning to the word "electrifying" by juicing up Cole with electrical superpowers. The path the player chooses, i.e. good vs bad, will ultimately shape the way the character of Cole develops as well as Empire City.

Think Grand Theft Auto + Superpowers! If that doesn't take your fancy the videos below should:

Full Preview:


Might have to give Prototype a look as well...

~The Damo

Sunday 17 May 2009

Relieved and Finished!

Yep, I'm done as an undergraduate!! Well, assuming that I pass my exams but I'm going to assume that I will. Finally, after 6-7 months of solid work and pressure I can now for the first time say "I have nothing to do!". And I can't begin to describe just how great that feels. On the plus side I can now finally catch up on everything I've been meaning to do, which also includes updating this blog. Way too many cobwebs!
Anyway, before the influx of articles over the week, I figured I'd highlight a few points such as my access now to an Xbox 360, meaning the scope of my reviews once again expands into new regions. It also means I can now get around to doing a hardware review of the big 3 which I've wanted to do for a long time, so keep tuned for that.

In other news my U13 team has won the league and gained promotion to the "Premier" division as I believe it is called and at the moment the situation looks like I'll be taking over full management of the team.

As well as that the following matter needs to be accounted for.....


And I completely missed out on getting to write about Leinster whippin' Munster in the Heinekin Cup semi-final. With that in mind the end of the month is going to be a crackin' one with the Champions League final on the horizon as well.

I've also come across a new website which I'll be commenting/reviewing soon which I think a lot of people will enjoy.

That is all.

~The Damo (is back for serious this time)

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Facial Hair

I figured, since I have now harvested a successful goatee for 2 years, that I should perhaps write a blog about managing facial hair, and how to achieve the best results. As such, I've divided this piece into 3 main segments:
  • Making the choice

  • Cultivating your choice

  • Managing your choice

Making the Choice

The decision to embark in the world of facial hair is not easy one, until you've successfully completed step two in this guide, you will most likely face abuse from your peers as you attempt to change your image. Unlike, say a tatoo, facial hair isn't permanent, so you can alter your choice as I will illustrate later on. I've attached a picture which to my knowledge shows most variations on facial hair. There is of course nothing to stop you coming up with your own, but if you're new to this I suggest making a selection based on the below diagram. (You need to click HERE to enlarge).

After you've made your choice, I would suggesting consulting with a friend or loved one for their opinion. It IS a big step, and ridicule is a certain biproduct if you fail to succeed in your attempt. Facial hair is afterall a staple of your intent to stand out from the crowd. There are so many more clean shaven people out there and this is you making a change. I personally had the idea of growing a goatee for a Halloween costume, only later to find that people actually liked it and hence I kept it (also I found that it was great for stroking when I was in a pensieve mood). You, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. So think carefully before you proceed to the next step.


Perhaps the most important of all the steps, everything can go wrong with cultivating your choice. To make it clearer, I'm talking about actually GROWING your facial hair. All men after they reach that age realise that shaving can become a bit of a pain in the arse at times. We, unlike women, are fortunate enough to only have to shave above our necks on a regular basis.

The first, and certainly easiest step, is to simply not shave. How long you ask? Well I would suggest anywhere in the region of two-three weeks, depending on what you're going for. If say you're going for a tache of some sort I would wait until it is well grown in, shaving too early can make it look scrawny and will entice laughter and ridicule. If you're going for something around the chin, you don't need to wait as long. The main problem with not shaving however is that you can look like a right scruffy bastard, so sacrifices may need to be made on socialising fronts if necessary. If prompted, state that you intend to grow a (insert facial hair) rather than say you're just not shaving.

Once your face has reached maturity, it's time to slice and swipe. If you happen to be unfamiliar with the art of shaving, I will direct you now to a blog I wrote some time ago: The_Perfect_Shave

This stage is key. One slip here and all you're work will be for NOTHING. At this stage, you should have been day dreaming long and hard about your new facial hair, so you should have some idea of how to proceed in crafting it. When shaving at this point, a general word of advice is to start high on the cheeks. No one actually lets hair grow their so its good location to line-up your first motion. From there I can only advise that you keep a steady hand whilst you swing your razor. If you feel a little unsure, it might be helpful to perhaps draw a sketch, or jot down each movement you're going to make. Think of it like a game of chess, each stroke of your blade is setting up the check-mate, i.e. your finished product.

I would strongly recommend a blade that can be adjusted or has a single blade at the rear for any particular fine motions.


If you've got this far, you've done well. By now you've likely braved the public opinion on your new facial enhancement and are now faced with the task of keeping it up to scratch. From her I would recommend some key purchases; a trimmer (I have a Philips one) and also an electric razor is a good investment, one with an accuracy enhancer (or in English, a flat head). If these aren't available, you'll have to make do with a scissors.

On the technology side of it, a good idea is to start at the maximum depth with the trimmer, and then work your way down the settings until you reach the desired substance of depth. Remember that the fullness and strength of your facial hair is highly important to its social success, so make sure that you don't trim it down too much. This is of course facial hair dependent. Having the electric razor flat head can help control those hard to reach areas, and help define the curves if there are any - which there usually are. Additionally, if you're going a bit bushy with your choice, regular combing is a must if you want to avoid unwanted outward growing and just general untidyness.

Using a scissors is quite an undertaking, and one slip up with the dual blades could ruin all your hard work up to this point. My advice is to take it one snip at a time, being careful not to take too much off. You really should strive to own a trimmer as soon as possible. Controlled shaving with a regular blade should be undertaken at your own preferred intervals, and should only be used to manage large areas of your face that are to remain clean shaven.

Ultimately, if it all goes wrong, all the damage to your face can be rectified with a few swipes of a razor. What can't be repaired so easily is the damage that will be done to your image in the public domain. FAILING at facial hair is one of the worst things any man can experience, almost as bad as being left at the altar and just worse that drinking a warm beer. Remember, the success of your facial hair is directly proportional to your the care and attention you give it, and inversely proportional to your looks on a bad day, i.e. if you can still look smashing on a bad day, then facial hair is not for you, but with facial hair, you can still look great if you look like shit on a bad day. Trust me, that's how it is.

~The Damo

Monday 27 April 2009

Guitar Hero: Metallica - Preview

Metallica + Guitar Hero = Epic WIN!

Yes, needless to say my decision to buy Guitar Hero: World Tour for Christmas was ultimately determined by the inevitable release of this very game. Finally, a whole month and a bit after the Americans, we Europeans are going to give our hands, voices and feet a solid work out in Guitar Hero: Metallica.

The routine of Guitar Hero is well known, so rather than waffle on about what to expect, which I'll waffle about come the review, here's some videos from Youtube of people beating certain songs on expert mode with 100%....

Fight Fire with Fire

Creeping Death

Master of Puppets

Part of me suspects I'm going to suck at it greatly....

~The Damo

Damien Facts

The Damo is fantastic.

The Damo is a champion manager… of sorts.

When under pressure, The Damo can be seen to accumulate spots on his forehead; the number of spots is a direct proportion to stress level:

One spot: anxious over something
Two spots: exceptionally nervous about an upcoming event
Three spots: “Stress Stage 1” – The Damo can often be found staring into space aimlessly, likely postulating constantly about event which incurred two spots.
Four spots: anxious over a lady
Five spots: “Stress Stage 2” – The Damo is almost completey quiet and inanimated over four spots issue
Six spots: Immenent Meltdown – The Damo shuts down, and tries to suss out getting rid of the spots.

The Damo is a Man Utd fan.

You know The Damo is thinking for real (for serious like) when he is rubbing his chin.

The Damo grew a beard to accommodate his thinking habits.

The Damo is said to look like Paul O’Grady when he wears glasses (and when clean shaven).

You know The Damo is not thinking for real when he makes clicking noises with his mouth, cheeks, and tongue thing.

The Damo at present is only a Guitar Hero of the hard mode variety.

The Damo can cook.

The Damo has 2 Theme Tunes: “One Winged Angel” and “Hell March 3”

The Damo is a PS3 owner of the 60GB model variety. He has 19 games. The Damo also owns a PSP and a Sony Ericsson phone. One could argue that The Damo is a Sonyslut, or a Playslave or whatever fanboyish term you wish to label me with.

The Damo is a certified coach.

The Damo is a level 7 PSN user.

The Damo is a Vodafone customer. The reasoning behind this comes from a traumatic first experience with Meteor, where The Damo was screwed out of £60 approx. Since switching to Vodafone, The Damo has had 3 different phones over 7 years, and is a satisfied customer.

The Damo was born in Holles Street, but actually spent his early days in Malahide. He now resides in Lucan.

The Damo used to collect Warhammer, he is currently on hiatus from the hobby.

The Damo was an avid Lego collector and has plans to restore some of the older sets this summer.

The Damo is a fan of Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Lacuna Coil, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stoneage, Motorhead, Dream Theater, Slipknot, Trivium, AC/DC, Apocalyptica, Bowie, The Police, Lordi, Muse, Queen, Rammstein, System of a Down, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen amongst others.

The Damo has a four year old computer, Dell Dimension 5000 series.

The Damo is a man.

In the four year lifetime of this computer, The Damo has battled 2 major viruses and won.

The Damo is a Screwattack g1.

The Damo has been asked to write reviews for a website (like a proper one).

The Damo is a UCD Student of the Engineering discipline of the Structural kind with an appreciation for architecture.

The Damo’s achilles heal are Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, Flapjacks and another unnameable thing.

The Damo is often mistaken for Stan from South Park.

The Damo can consume vast quantities of alcohol before succumbing to the divine liquors’ potent effect.

The Damo is a Leinster fan.

The Damo prefers the Metro over the Herald AM. Well who doesn’t really?

The Damo is a fan of BOTH Star Wars AND Star Trek. As a Star Trek character, he would most likely be either Data or Geordi from Next Generation or one of the non-descript red-shirts from the Original Series.

The Damo is no longer an Undergraduate.

The Damo can’t breathe.

The Damo’s local is The Long Mile Inn, despite the fact that he lives in Lucan.
More to come....

~The Damo (wrote this blog)

Resistance: Retribution - Review


…is retribution. Resistance: Retribution takes place between Fall of Man and Resistance 2 on PS3. You play as James Grayson, a former British soldier who, after having to execute his own brother who was in the process of being converted into a Chimera, deserts his post and goes on a rampage across Britain blowing up more than 20 conversion centres and becoming somewhat of a folk hero to what remains of the British population. Grayson is then captured and faces the firing squad for desertion in a time of war until he is recruited by the Maquis – the French Resistance who want to take back a conquered Europe from the Chimera – who seek his experience in dealing with conversion centres. So begins Operation Overstrike.

Grayson as a character has a very strong personality, and greatly contrasts the “get-the-job-done” silent attitude of Nathan Hale, the protagonist of Fall of Man and R2. The trauma of having to execute his own brother has left him with a thirst for Chimeran blood – an attitude which surprisingly is re-evaluated throughout the game – and a chip on his shoulder. He may not like his new employers, particularly Colonel Mallery or “Molly” as Grayson prefers to call him but he knows his duty nonetheless. Whilst Operation Overstrike is the encompassing military mission being carried out, Grayson is really in Europe to help Raine Bouchard (also a Maquis member) in researching and later administering a virus which would stop the conversion process altogether. Unlike Fall of Man and R2, there is a much bigger influence on the plot, with plenty of distractions to the main objective which keep the game interesting throughout. The story is told via pre-rendered cut-scenes, still images and diary entries. The diary entries help give an insight to character motivations, something that was lacking in Resistance 2.

One thing is certain about Retribution and that is it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play. Retribution switches to a 3rd person perspective with a clever lock-on system and cover system which helps keep the action fluid and paced despite the limitations of the PSP. Move with the analog, aim with the face buttons. It works surprisingly well, and focuses the emphasis on not taking hits rather than aiming. Levels are also diverse enough to include some verticality, crawling and swimming, resulting in nice and timely changes of pace to the enjoyable gun play. The levels, on the whole, are fantastic. The game certainly feels more like Fall of Man than Resistance 2, so expect to see those mines again as well as a few Slipskulls on the way. You’ll find yourself fighting for the cause in Rotterdam, Bonn, Luxembourg to name a few and a some other locations which help set the scene for Resistance 2.

Ultimately Retribution seeks to fill in any gaps, and indeed create a few of its own, in the Resistance Universe. For the first time ever in the series the player finally meets the Cloven face to face, and if your patient enough to collect the hidden intel about them aswell I can assure you that fans won’t be disappointed. Every level in the game has hidden intel, which when all found can unlock some bonus weapons for replay of previous levels. Traditional weapons like the Carbine, Auger and Fareye appear with a few nice additions typical of the Resistance universe such as the Razor (which replaces the Bullseye) whose alternate fire is an energy blade which ricochet off surfaces and a chaingun with a regenerate shield.

Intel and skill points (like achievements) help to add to the replay of the game which lasts about 12 hours on a first play through. Resistance 2 owners get a few bonuses in the form of Infected Mode and Retribution+, which can be activated by connecting your PSP to a PS3 with Resistance 2 running. Infected Mode infects Grayson with the Chimera virus, giving him regenerative health, the ability to indefinitely breathe underwater and the Magnum from Resistance 2. Additionally his appearance changes to that of a SRPA operative. The only downside of this mode is that it doesn’t change the pre-rendered cut scenes and is deactivated once you quit the game or power down the PSP. It does however alter some encounters with other characters in the game, as well as their reactions to Grayson.

Retribution + allows you to play the game using your Dualshock 3, but it disables the auto-lock on system and the game becomes a little bit harder. Plus mode isn’t game changing like Infected mode but it is nevertheless a nice addition to a portable system game that already has more content than most console games.

When you throw in a standard, yet welcome, multiplayer component, Retribution ticks all the boxes for a top-notch game. The graphics, for handheld standards are mightily impressive with clever lighting and texture design and a butter-smooth framerate throughout. Add in a brilliant soundtrack that changes to coincide with the action on screen and voice acting on par with the console games and you have one helluva package for €40 that you can keep in your pocket. Here’s hoping for a sequel in the years to come.

Presentation: 9.5

As far as portable games go, they don't get much better than this.

Gameplay: 9.4

Fast and intense, the way I like it.

Story: 9.3

Probably the single best Resistance plot yet, great focus and an engaging experience.

Design: 10

Experience with the PSP shows, well made from framerate to sound.

Content: 10

It has more content than a console game. That's all I need to say.

Overall: 9.6

~The Damo

AVGN Quadruple - Atari, SNAKE!!! and an Odyssey

WOAH!! A whole month since my last appearance here, well that'll have to change, total blowout today! Startin' with a NERDY foursome!

Atari Jaguar Part 1:

Atari Jaguar Part 2:

Metal Gear:

Magna Vox Odyssey:

~The Damo

Monday 30 March 2009

MGS4 Spoof Video

...featuring Hideo Kojima and Cliffy B!!!

Coming Soon:

Resistance: Retribution Review
Damo Facts
College Update
AVGN Atari Double

~The Damo

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The Kraken Awakes...

Yeah, I'm back. After a long slumber, or more accurately too much work and not enough slumber, I finally have the time to log back on and post some stuff. First and foremost the main thing that was keeping me back is done (a week now) and that was my final report/thesis/thing that we apparently set a new record in for early hand up. After months of work at it I'm very pleased with the final result and I think we've got some really good results. The only crap thing about the whole lot was that it cost us about €60 to get the damn thing printed!!

It doesn't really end there unfortunately, as now that the report half of the module is done (and yeah "half" is somewhat of an understatement) we now have to start our "Design Project". It's not as major as report, but it is approximately another 4-6 hours a week. Basically we've been given a set of architectural drawings for a building in NUI Galway, and we have to come up with the structural system. No problem.

On the other college front I've been getting pain in the balls assignments and essays that have just been a total inconvenience - which also contributed to my lack of posting. They, for the most part, are now under wraps, though I do have an essay hand-up the second week of April and two exams next week when I go back. Analysis of Structures is also becoming somewhat of a pain, but that's for another time.

On a more brighter note the promotion exams are over in the St. John Ambulance aswell, and while they weren't too stressful they did contribute to the overall stress as they coincided with all the assignments I was doing as well as the report. I'll know by the 10th April if I was successful in getting enough marks to earn a promotion so keep your eyes glued to this spot to find out.

As an aside I've also elevated to the level of a "Hard Mode" Guitar Hero player, YAY!!

Finally, the scope of gaming articles on the blog will be expanding, as I have recently invested in a new piece of hardware as you may have seen from the post below...

~The Damo (rocks!)

Resistance: Retribution - Preview

There's probably only one franchise that would get me to fork out for a PSP, and since that franchise has now made its way to the PS2 & PS3's brother/cousin, I have in fact bought one.

That franchise is of course "Resistance". Those who frequent my blog know how high I hold Resistance in esteem, and this Friday the latest entry entitled Retribution makes it way to the PSP.

Retribution takes place in between its older brothers on the PS3, namely Resistance: Fall of Man, and Resistance 2. The game will take place on continental Europe as the Maquis (or French Resistance) attempt to recapture the continent. What transpires is said to be far more than a typical wiping out of the Chimera, including players finally getting to meet the mysterious Cloven face to face, as well as investigating how the Chimera changed from conversion centres in the first game to the method of conversion in the second. Also up for exploration is the construction of the Chimeran fleet that invaded the United States in Resistance 2.

You will play as James Grayson, a British soldier who becomes somewhat of a folk hero in England (more on his story in the final review). From what we've heard Grayson is a far more dynamic character than Hale, and there is a much stronger emphasis on story and motivation in this installment.

One of the games biggest touted features is the ability to connect it to Resistance 2 on PS3 and "Infect" the game with the Chimeran virus which will alter several things in the game (see final review for details). Also there is the ability to connect the game to your Dualshock 3 and play it like a PS3 game.

Retribution is a 3rd person shooter and from the videos below its easy to see that its one of the best looking PSP games out there. Stay blogged for the full review some time over the next week or two.

Official Trailer:

Infecting your PSP with Resistance 2:

Gameplay Montage:

~The Damo

Sunday 8 March 2009

Killzone 2 - Review

War. Perfected.
Killzone 2 is the first major PS3 exclusive of 2009. With years of hype and expectation on its shoulders, much pressure has been on Guerilla Games to deliver after a less than impressive showing with Killzone on Playstation 2. Can the sequel banish the demons of its older brother and deliver a truly defining first person shooter experience for this generation of consoles?

Killzone 2 begins as the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) invasion of Helghast – the home planet of the Helghan – begins. In the previous game, the Helghast, led by Scholar Visari (and voiced by the brilliant Brian Cox) invaded the ISA planet of Vekta, and the counter invasion is an attempt by the ISA to arrest Visari and put an end to the bloody conflict. The game’s intro begins in a Starship Troopers style narrated telecast, crossing over from an ISA narrator to Visari, as the starships of the ISA enter Helghast space and the first troops begin landing.


You play as Sergeant Tomas Sevchenko (or “Sev” to his squad mates), a member of Alpha Squad led by the hardened vetern Rico and joined by Corporals Garza and Natko. The game’s early story involves setting a foothold in the capital city of Pyyrhus, before other events occur which lead you on to the story’s conclusion. The story itself is nothing that hasn’t been done before, but what is done is done exceptionally well, with fantastic set pieces and tense action moments, which when all brought together is more than enough to get you through. The odd emotional moment doesn’t hurt either.

Voice acting at times does feel a little strained, but is believable and in my opinion is done very well for the most part. The characters do feel real, and the sense of comradery between squad mates – despite the occasional bickering – only adds to the atmosphere.

If there is one thing that Killzone 2 does better than any other game I’ve played it’s the atmosphere. Guerilla Games have created was is without a doubt one of the best looking (if not THE best looking) console games ever. Everything is detailed from atmospheric environments to weather patterns and even the shell casings from the bullets. The attention to detail is just incredible and the screenshots in this review can’t do it justice as you need to see it in motion to believe it. Every surface reflects light like it really would, all light sources are independent and respond accordingly, everything! You will find yourself fighting across close quarters alleyways, open cliff side deserts and even on moving trains. The last level is really something to behold from a visual and technical standpoint.

This attention to detail also translates to the weapons, which reflect appropriately depending on light and shadows and respond like real weapons with insanely accurate kick back of the weapon as you unload a full clip. Coupled with this is the sense of inertia that they have managed to implement into the controls. The weapons feel like they should in real life, despite the fact that the weight of the controller in your hands never changes. When using a pistol or light submachine gun you can turn and aim more quickly than say when you’re using a heavier weapon like a rocket launcher or one of the games unique weapons. This “weightiness” translates into other movements like climbing ladders, jumping and sprinting.

The weapons are fun to use and most have ironsight aiming for nailing quick headshots. In fact, thanks to the widening of the reticule from going full auto the game requires you to shoot like a real soldier – in short bursts – to make sure your shots are accurate enough. The reloads are also beautiful, with unique variations for each weapon. I find myself wanting to reload as often as possible; not jusy because I should have a full clip but also because it looks so freakin’ good! Initially you’ll find it difficult to part with the standard ISA rifle as its helpful dot sight and all round suitability means it has no real downsides. But once you start to experiment with all the different weapons you’ll quickly come to appreciate the variety and will be hard pressed to find a favourite. Certainly one of the best features is the aiming on the sniper rifle. The game requires you to hold the SIXAXIS steady whilst aiming, otherwise the crosshairs will move around. This is meant to simulate holding a real weapon in your hands. It works great, and can be used for small adjustments in aiming. But what makes it even better is that when a grenade goes off near you, the controller will vibrate, causing the crosshairs to move. It is a truly incredible sense of realism that has been implemented.

SIXAXIS also features when placing explosives and turning valves. It’s quite intuitive and is ultimately a clever yet simple implementation of the oft forgotten feature of the PS3 controller. The game also uses surround sound brilliantly in a pivotal part of the game.

Killzone 2’s shooting mechanics are great and in my opinion are a breath of fresh air from arcade shooters like Resistance and Halo. Killzone 2’s slow placing, accurate firing and innovative cover system ultimately results in a more methodical progression, which is just like the way real gun fights occur. You can’t take many hits, even on the easy difficultly levels, and heroic bursts into open space will get you killed. The harder difficulty levels are quite a challenge, and this is only enhanced with the removal of the HUD (heads up display) and cross hairs from the Elite difficulty, meaning you don’t know how many grenades/ammo you have left and practically forces you to always aim down the iron sights… again like real life!

This sense of immersion is what sets Killzone 2 apart from any other shooter. The graphics and presentation compliment the gameplay and realism and vice-vearsa. This extends to your squad mates and enemies who – thanks to the voice acting and graphics – feel like real people that you are fighting with and against. A.I. on both sides is great, with enemies and friends cleverly using covering fire to allow advances and grenades to flush you out if you dig in. The Helghast know how to flank you and your squad mates, and it’s up to you to lead the charge and press on in the level. Mastering the cover system is required at the higher difficulty levels, and only with that, an understanding of the weapons and enemies and a sense of awareness have you any hope of completing the game on the hardest mode. The last level on the game even on normal mode is something to behold. It is this intensity that helps make Killzone 2 different. That last level will for some be unlike anything you will have played before and there are genuine moments of panic as you feel the Helghast closing in around you. Every battle responds with advances and retreats and ultimately it is up to you – the player – to make sure the ISA gets through it.

The brilliance of the game’s design extends to multiplayer which sacrifices the cover system from the single player in favour of a more fast paced and deep progression system of badges and classes. Like any other shooter you gain experience from matches – for kills, completing objectives, anything – and all this helps to level you up. As you progress you unlock new classes and weapons which have specific class-unique abilities, like the Engineer being able to place and repair turrents or the Scout being able to cloak and then tag enemies with his scanner.

This progression and the great game modes like Warzone make for a truly great online experience, with team play a necessity to succeed. Once you start playing with all the varying classes you’ll be hard pressed to give your PS3 a break and cool down as it is highly (and I mean HIGHLY) addicitive. All this and still the jaw-dropping visuals of the single player and it all runs with a butter smooth framerate. Throw in voice chat and excellent level design to suit all players and game types, Killzone 2’s multiplayer alone is worthy of the €50 price tag.

Killzone 2 is exceptional on all fronts, with amazing visuals, intense and satisfying gameplay, fantastic multiplayer and an all round great immersive experience unlike anything that has come before it. It’s been nearly half a decade in the works, but the wait has been worth it. Guerilla Games have been venerated as the top quality developers many believed they really were, Sony have a huge grin on their face for silencing all the doubters and PS3 owners have a game, or rather an experience, that they and only they can enjoy knowing that at the end they have played one of the best FPS games of all time.

Presentation: 10

Flawless in every sense of the word, definitely the best looking game I've ever seen from enviroments to all the little details.

Gameplay: 10

Intense, methodical, rewarding. Killzone 2 gives you a bit of everything every step of the way.

Story: 10

It might not be new, but what's done is done well, with plenty of memorable moments and great storytelling.

Design: 10

Butter smooth, intuitive implementation of SIXAXIS and a nice trohpy set, not to mention excellent level design.

Content: 10

Once you put it into the PS3 you won't want to take it out. A rewarding multiplayer coupled with a single player game that takes on new tactical measures with increasing difficulty, you couldn't ask for more.

Overall: 10

~The Damo (I'm BACK!!!)

Saturday 28 February 2009

AVGN Double

Hey all, long time no post, I've just been crazy busy and normal service will be resumed next weekend. In the meantime here's two new AVGN videos:

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker:

Milon's Secret Castle:

That moonwalker video practically inspired me to learn it....

~The Damo

Saturday 7 February 2009

Killzone 2 - Preview

Welcome to Helghan Soldier!

Boy oh boy! I have been waiting a LONG time to do this preview. Since...late 2007 I think. Well the time is almost upon us, Killzone 2 is set to hit store shelves on the 27th of February and with pre-orders in Europe alone at 1.1million units, what is it about Killzone 2 that has people going crazy???

Well ladies and gentlemen, let me take you back to 2005. 4 years ago, the PS3 was still in development, and Sony began advertising new games for the PS2's younger brother. One of the games that got a trailer was Killzone 2, sequel to the love-it-or-hate-it Killzone on PS2. Killzone tried to push the PS2 to its limits, but in fact went beyond it, and the console could barely play the game. It sits with an average of 70/100 on most aggregate websites to this day and it was any wonder why Sony decided to give a sequel the light of day. At E3 2005, this now famous trailer hit the scene:

I suggest watching in "High Quality" using the toolbar in the bottom right.

This trailer is quite obviously CGI, but the important point was that it was built to PS3 specs, meaning, theoretically the game could look like this upon release. When it emerged that it was in fact CGI but it was in fact what the developers hoped the game would look like, the shitstorm that hit the media was unreal, with unthinkable abuse being thrown around by fanboys on all sides. I mean look at it! How could any game look that good?

Well Killzone 2 sat quietly until 2007, when at E3 it was revealed that actual gameplay footage would be on show. Following the trend from 05, media publications were quick to criticise saying how people would be fooled again, and that Guerilla Games and Sony would never even come close to the target render. Well in 2007 those critics were left with a bitter taste....

Now this is in fact gameplay footage, but there were still doubters saying that there was no way this could be actual gameplay. It looked good, but still wasn't close to the CGI and as had been the custom they came under for heavy criticism again.

However, all that changed in 2008, when the pre-alpha code was on display at E3 2008, where people could actually play the game. Suddenly perception started to change, this game was becoming remarkably close to this CG footage. There were still doubters, but they were now few and far between, with most realising that Guerilla had in fact pulled off what was once deemed to be the impossible.

Multiplayer Trailer:

As anticipation grew, it was revealed mid-Novemember 2008 that media outlets had received a "Preview Code", meaning the game must be close to the final product. The improvements in visuals were incredible, with many now realising that the game may just have surpassed the CGI. How could a game look better than CGI??

Just when anticpation had reached an all time high, it was suddenly revealed in January 2009 that reviewers had received the FINAL CODE. The release date was set, reviewers were ready. But was the internet and all gamers across the world ready?

Gametrailers Full Preview:

Killzone 2 will continue the story from Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, with the ISA launching a counter-invasion to the Helghast on their home world of Helghan. Killzone 2 plans to give gamers the most immersive experience ever seen in a game. With visuals unlike anything seen on consoles before, and gameplay to match according to most reviews and a healthy average score of 93/100 based on 40 reviews with all the major publications having their scores counted, means Killzone 2 looks set to be a strong contender for Game of the Year 2009...and it's only February....

~The Damo

Sunday 1 February 2009

I Rarely Do This....

But this video somes up better than anyone can do in words what is going to happen over the next month or so in the video gaming world.... even Hitler is screwed....

The Beginning of The End....

~The Damo

Sunday 25 January 2009

How men think?

What are you thinking about??

That's the question most women seem to think men struggle with. Truth of the matter is, we don't struggle with it, in fact, we absorb it. So much so that in the seconds between the question being asked and giving an answer, a man's mind is working it's hardest, not because it's difficult, it's because we think about it a lot. Hopefully the comic below will explain....

I suggest you click on this link to view it full size:

Credit goes to.... you know who you are!

~The Damo

Monday 19 January 2009

Jose Punks the World!!!!


Jose Quits Setanta Sports:

Jose Packs His Bags:

~The Damo

Sunday 18 January 2009

Guitar Hero: World Tour - Review

GH: WT is the fourth installment in the Guitar Hero franchise. What sets this game apart from its predecessors is the inclusion of the drum kit and microphone, transforming the Guitar Hero experience from a single player game to a party one. Rockband and its sequel have proven that the ability to play as a band is an incredible selling point and so the Guitar Hero franchise has had to reinvent itself to keep up with the competition, but the question is, has it worked?

World Tour sees you take the role of a rockstar and has you performing across a whole host of venues. The game allows you to create your own rockstar, and dress him/her in whatever way you like, as well as customising whatever instrument you play. You have the option of playing guitar, bass, drums or vocals.

The features five difficulty modes; Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. Not being a particularly well versed music person I started out on easy mode. Well in actual fact I started on beginner but it's totally insulting so I recommend you go to easy mode. Putting it simply, Guitar Hero is a helluvalotta fun!! It's such a different experience to play a game like it after hours spent in Resistance and Fallout. The Guitar Hero gameplay is well known, even by those who haven't played it. The discs on the screen are associated to the music that is being played, you play the note when it hits the strike line by pressing the appropriate fret button and strumming at the right time. I'm gonna avoid the technicality of explaining hammer-ons and fret tapping and just say that the game is very easy to play. And even though it is easy, it's still very enjoyable, as you are very conscious of how well you're playing, given the "Rock meter" on the left as well as the combo indicator and note counter.

To compliment the difficulty levels, there is naturally a great range of songs which vary in difficulty as you progress, i.e. the songs you play in the first performance are a lot easier than those in the last one. The setlist available is great, and you'll be hard pressed to find a song that you don't like. Yeah, sure, you may not like a certain band or whatever, but the quality of the songs on show is fantastic - all of which are master tracks and no covers. There is also a host of cameo appearances of familiar faces in the music industry like Ozzy Osbourne, Sting and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.

The game is tied together by points and cash. Points earned are determined by how well you play, including high combos, obtaining star power, long strings of successfully hit notes and so on. The cash you earn is based on your overall performance and other particulars like a "Hot start" and "Never going red on the rock meter". The points are uploaded to a worldwide leader board and the cash is used to buy more venues and gear for your rockstar. What you're wearing or how your instrument is decorated doesn't influence the level of your performance, at least I don't think it does. What adds to the GH experience is the on screen performance of the virtual band members. All the actions are beautifully rendered in the 3d cartoony like style of the series and are accurately portrayed according to the actions/notes you're playing, as well as set pieces that may indeed imitate the bands from which the songs were taken.

I've only too complaints when it comes to World Tour. Firstly, there are times when it feels like the notes your striking either don't represent or don't coinicide with the music that is being played. This is definitely more evident in the lower difficulties but you don't really know it on the higher ones. This then leads to my second problem: it feels as though the step up between difficulty levels is sometimes too difficult. For example, on easy mode you're only ever required to hit Green, Red and Yellow. Medium is Green, Red, Yellow and Blue. And finally orange is introduced on hard mode. Now on first glance that's ok, but the transition to hard mode is more significant as you have to start changing your hand position, whereas in medium or easy you can just leave your hand as it is and strike the notes as required. I would suggest that a better difficulty progression would involve all the notes from the start, but having to strike them less frequently, so you get used to moving your hand.

It is a minor complaint when you consider that the difficulty progresses as you work your way through the gigs. And what's great about the game is that you actually DO feel yourself progressing, be it a higher score or a longer string of successful notes or whatever. You CAN see your progression! And playing through a song that you've mastered is still as fun as it was the first time you played.

Guitar Hero: World Tour has a lot to offer, and is certainly one to break out when you're having a party. Then you can be like a real band where you kick the crap out of someone for a rubbish performance, as well as all the coke and booze.

Presentation: 8.5
Yeah it looks good for what it offers, but you never feel WOW-ed by the visuals at any point. We all know they could get more out of the 360 and PS3.

Gameplay: 9.3
Plays great even if it is a little hard at time. Once you get motorin' it'll be hard to drop the guitar, drum sticks or mic.

Design: 9.0
One of my cymbals doesn't work, and as I said sometimes the notes seem out of sync, but it doesn't distract too much from the overall experience.

Content: 9.0
Great set list and tonnes of replay value. I would prefer if they gave more of the treatment Rockband gets with the worthwhile updates.

Overall: 8.7

Bring on Guitar Hero: Metallica!!!!!

~The Damo