3DS Demo Impressions Part #1

April 28th, 2014

Last Christmas, Santa gave me a 3DS. I’d been hoping I’d get a 3DS because Nintendo had their Super Mario 3D Land promotion going, where anyone who registered their system and a copy of 3D Land would get a second game free. A great opportunity to jump on the 3DS bandwagon, and with a new Mario and Zelda game no less. Unfortunately, the eShop was facing connection issues, thanks to the Pokemon Bank outage, so I waited a few days and then downloaded some demos instead. A few months later and I still hadn’t put my notes up onto the blog. So here’s what I played and what I thought:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D

Rayman Origins

Playing in the Shade (console version)

Denpa Men: They Came By Wave

Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate

Microtransactions: Pirating the Novel and Memberships and Twitter

May 16th, 2009


Pirating the Novel

There’s a .txt file that resides in a folder on my desktop ironically labelled ‘Desktop’. This text file has a list of three things; my backlog of games to buy, current-gen games I need to buy when they hit the cheap and an exhaustive list of second-tier titles that I’d like to invest in, if time allows. I sometimes swoon over this list, as well as that sheet of ‘Games to Complete’ that I sometimes refer to; the one above my monitor. Sometimes it’s better to envision yourself enjoying these games/write about them rather than actually go to the labour of playing them. Hmmm…

Anyways, I was running through my list and came across an aggravating tick of a game. I love the thrill of collection and bargaining, infact I have a couple of eBay titles qued up right now awaiting the snipe, but some games no matter where you find them refuse to budge from their steep price tags. One of those is Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel for the PSP. Ever since I first spotted this in store – and by golly, what a surprise! – it’s remained fixed at $AUD50+. It’s $20/30 (not sure what the going rate on PSP games is nowadays, always cheaper than DS though) shy of a full price title, yet in reality, this is a mostly non-interactive experience, similar to those interactive DVD games, so why the premium? Furthermore this title was blessed with an ultra limited released and overall lack of publicity – you had heard of this game before right? So Digital Graphic Novel puts me in a tight spot, difficult to find and when you do it’s top dollar.

So then I decided to go to YouTube to see if I could find some video and save myself the $50, and sure enough I found a 16-part playlist (woah – almost 3hrs!) that now resides in .mp4 on my desktop, next to the ‘Desktop’ folder.


I’m morally split on the decision though, I mean, if I choose to watch these videos, will it be a form of piracy? A devious, devious sin that I avoid as much as possible. Truth is, I will watch the videos, but more concern lies in the classification of this activity. These videos are on a free to view website and openly available. If one classes MGS DGN as a game then therefore watching the video is the same as watching a play through and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Games are interactive media and there is a layer of interactivity involved which I’d be missing out on, so no worries, right? Then again, I don’t think there will be any glimpses of gameplay in the video (ie. the player will just watch), so in that case we’re effectively watching a long cutscene which makes up the bulk of the game. Now if this is the case then what percentage of Metal Gear Solid 4 (ie. the cutscenes) is available online? Well there’s no doubt a montage of that stuff too, so probably a good chunk, therefore what exactly does this all mean? And what’s fair game?

One could also make the same claim for Linger in Shadows, the PS3 interactive short.

Memberships and Twitter

I recently ranted on about pissant membership groups within the blogging community in a post that I dare not upload in fear that you’ll hate me more than my Australian spelling of colour. Embedded within the article were some rather fantastic (if I do say so myself) musings on Twitter’s role in all this kerfuffle. Take a read;

“Twitter, is the fertile soil to plant, grow, share and trade cultural norms – the medium in which is used to emit and transfer. In fact Twitter is more than just the medium, it’s the ideal medium. The social networking element keeps tweeters in touch on a minute-by-minute basis while not binding them to any real time conversation. The tight word count moderates each sentence making it low fluff and straight to the love. The response system flaunts replies to people within the same network. This whole setup is ideal for users to flirt and trade ambiguous nudge, nudge, wink, wink commentaries among each other, and then transmit their dialogue to onlookers. It’s a contained system, built around the utterance; a distilled cultural transmitter. As said to death in the cultural studies field, language = culture. Therefore Twitter’s composition is a fantastic, quantifiable way to observe memberships groups validating their cultural identity between one another. It’s in Twitter that I draw much of my reasoning as it’s a transparent model to view this culture.

When I cruise through other people’s Twitter pages and observe the small talk, I’m often baffled at what’s actually going on. People declaring their membership roles or attempting to grow their seed, by throwing strings of replies to others. It’s a society alright. A society where people are constantly stating their roles and relationships. To “fit in” people have to acknowledge the presence of a membership group, whether they’re in it or not. And with only 140 characters to play with, you need to be discrete about this, which is where the love letters, and ultimately masturbation comes into play. In Twitter, if you want to be part of the elusive membership group you have to wank it all up on an open stage, and therein lies my frustration, as the audience member of that stage.”



Wow, witty and a valid contribution to the language, tech and culture fields. How do I do it? 😛

Metal Gear Solid Novelization Break down (Part #2 Tangible Differences)

May 12th, 2009


Finally, Part #2 is just a run down of all of the differences between the Metal Gear Solid game and novel. As mentioned in part #1, author Raymond Benson occasionally deviated or intervened with the core plot, this post is a breakdown of all those changes, large and small. Some changes such as general narrative techniques are discussed in my review of the novel.

Spoilers from the entire series below

Les Enfants Terribles Chapter

The most significant difference between game and novel starts right at the beginning. The very first chapter of the book takes place at Snake’s birth; the Les Enfants Terribles project. The United States President is requested to witness the birth at a secret underground bunker in Mexico. Jim Houseman is also present, and the mysterious Dr Clark (ie. Paramedic) is discussing the procedure with Houseman and the President. The President is rather stressed by the whole ordeal. He seems disapproving of the project and states that he inherited it from the former president. The base (located specifically in the Carlsbad area) has been used for experiments before. Regarding the twins, Clark states that “neither is better, one is just dominant”. The President chose the dominant twin (Liquid) to stay in America, Dr Clark didn’t follow his wishes. The future of the remaining Big Boss cell samples were left in doubt.

Arrival – First Meeting with Ocelot

-the novel depicts Snake taken captive at his home before being brought into meet Colonel Campbell and Naomi on the submarine. This as well as the complete mission briefing is sliced in as Snake’s thoughts before being fired towards the missile base.

-Snake requests Master Miller be taken out of retirement to aid him on this mission, the third chapter details the murder of Miller at his home.

-the codec is actually strapped to Snake’s wrist, like a watch

-Snake comments on the rats at the facility

-Snake doesn’t digest cigarettes in his stomach, rather he steals them from a guard

-Snake takes a Socom pistol in with him though, it also already has a suppressor

-Snake also uses chaff grenades as a method of distraction (irrelevant to the security cameras)

-and has a penlight on his shoulder

-the book name troubled security guard and reoccurring staple Johnny Sasaki, where he isn’t named in the game until the credits

-Ocelot actually discusses his first meeting with Big Boss as in MGS3

-brief interludes of Naomi’s actions, this occurs several times in the novel, where she cries or thinks to herself, often after Ninja enters and exits the main storyline

-after Ocelot retreats, the (cut scene) sequence with Snake and Ninja is extended significantly, Snake uses his infrared goggles and Snake swinging off girders

-after the battle, the narrative ponders post-traumatic stress and how Snake has improved his senses since the events of the MSX titles

Ocelot Battle – Mantis Battle

-Snake wishes to himself that his sneaking suit would blend into the background; lame MGS4 joke

-the mine detector is now the ArmsTech Pathtracker 3000

-many references to Master Miller drills and techniques, goes into specifics of these techniques and the mentality behind them, another commonly occurring difference in the novel

-in the snowfield, the novel talks about the pain Snake is going through and the frosty weather

-Snake receives the level 3 key card from the gunner in the tank

-extended backstage discussion with Ocelot, Liquid and Raven at the end of the battle

-brief conversation between guards in the Nuclear Warhead Storage Building

-the codec watch has a built in camera that Snake used in the storage building

-Snake receives first call from Master Miller who tells him that he’ll need to acquire the Nikita missile launcher

-guard in B4 of Nuclear Storage Building is at his desk, not patrolling

-electrified switchboard is on the left, not right

-the Ninja attack on Otacon’s offices is extended, has a bit of dialogue and the guards getting coffee

-Snake takes Pan Card 4 from wounded soldier

-Otacon doesn’t hide in locker, he hides in another room

-a reference to Otacon’s sister (MGS2) is made

-Meyrl is found complete in her underwear and also has her own sniper rifle

Mantis Battle

As in the graphic novel, the Mantis battle is completely reworked. For starters, the Commander’s Room has a different arrangement and a quick cut to Otacon sneaking around preludes the battle. The key difference is how Mantis creates a series of hallucinations for Snake such as making his gun holster feel unbearably hot, tricking Snake with a fake Master Miller and leading Snake into a theme park (Kiddie Land) that he visited in Oregon as a child. This eventually takes Snake into a hall of mirrors area with Big Boss pleading for the deactivation codes and bursting in front of Snake. Snake breaks out of the hallucinations and defeats Mantis by forcing him to multi-task and then pulling his gun from the holster and shooting Mantis, accompanied by silly taunts (“Game Over Freak”). *cringe* *cringe* *cringe*

Mantis then peers into Snakes future and reveals a scene where Snake has a gun in his mouth (MGS4).

Mantis Battle – Hind D Battle

-the layout of the cavern is different

-Snake flashbangs the wolves (they’re not called Stun Grenades)

-Snake uses Meryl’s sniper rifle instead of retreating to the armory

-once Snake believes he has “defeated” Wolf, he walks to the vase of the Communications Tower to check and is then captured, Meryl’s body was taken away later (instead of when Snake returned from the armory, which didn’t happen in novel)

-Wolf put her arm in a sling

-Ocelot’s torture chamber dialogue is different

-Ocelot says that Johny used to be a technician before brain washed by Mantis (this is reference to his role in MGS4)

-Snake escapes captivity by clinging to the ceiling rather than hiding under the bed/using tomato sauce

-Snake spots two of Donald Anderson’s bodies

-Miller pre-emptively spills the beans on a mole within the unit

-Deepthroat warns Snake of the planted bomb rather than Campbell

-Snake finds a rope at the base of the Communication Tower

-alarm goes off at the 5th floor rather than at the entrance to the tower

-page 206 contains a 9/11 reference

-the Hind D battle is surprisingly short 1-2 pages

Elevator Action – Metal Gear Rex

-the lights in the elevator where Snake is ambushed go out

-no codec discussion on weight within the elevator

-Snake exits the elevator at the 8th floor, what ever happened to that broken stairwell?

-Snake spots a parachute on the snowfield

-Sniper Wolf is hiding in a tree, instead of behind it

-Miller doesn’t use dates to prove Naomi’s narrative about her father is false

-Snake tries to shoot down Vulcan Raven from top of containers with PSG1

-ends up blowing Vulcan up with C4 and Claymore mines that leaked from one of the broken containers

-slight suggestion of the Patriots involvement on p238 “It couldn’t be…”

-guesses made with models numbers to the various pieces of Metal Gear Rex

Metal Gear Rex – End

-Snake literally climbs MG Rex with the aid of wheely stairs and jumps from Rex’s head to the raised platform by the control centre

-the whole layout of the Control Room is changed, basically as in “final battle”, no stairs or rails at all, just an empty room, control centre, moat and Rex

-spotlight from the control room

-Snake has to literally swim around the sludgy moat

-Snake over hears conversation on supposed hostages being held in an underground bunker by guards when heating the key, asks Otacon about it

-he also picks up the Stinger from within the underground base

-Snake also wears heat resistant gloves

-an electronic transmitter is what changes Liquid’s voice to Miller’s

-no gas released in the control room

-Liquid pilots Rex during the big reveal, the conversation is completely different and not held on the platform

-Snake again adopts “Master Miller tactics” through the battle with Rex

-Snake and Grey Fox have conversation in the hall/entrance to the control room rather than behind a large shipping container

-the Grey Fox sequence is replayed out, in different sequence

-Wires are attached from Meryl to the time bomb

-Snake doesn’t recover his sneaking suit, instead taking a fur coat from one of the guards

-After Liquid dies, Otacon appears and they open this hidden bunker with the hostages in by using C4

-Campbell tells Snake that Meryl is actually his daughter (MGS4 reference)

-Corney interplay between Campbell and Snake is added at the end