7 days in to 2016

January 7, 2016 – 8:39 pm

Appreciate I’ve not updated this blog for a while. Since I mainly talk about games and running on here I may not have covered big life events from recent years much / at all so quick recap on life events. Married in October 2012, bought a house in 2013, got the living room flooring done in 2014 and kitchen refurbished in 2015. My wife and I now care for 3 cats and I tend to put pictures of them all on Twitter fairly regularly. I’m still playing games, mostly Destiny on Xbox One. I’m still running a fair amount, 117 runs totalling almost 800km last year. I still work in technology for an entertainment company. I am also involved in the local Green party which has been an interesting introduction to politics and promoting ideas I believe in. Finally my wife and I are now expecting our first baby in May this year which we are both really excited about but also nervous at the same time.

So 2016 is promising to be an epic year for me and I’m hoping to restart this blog to basically diaries events on a weekly basis.

The start of this year was a nice easy start with a bank holiday and a weekend I’d gone for a couple of runs with my new gadget (a Microsoft Band 2) right at the end of the year. As it’s a time for resolutions I’ve set myself a target for the year of 6 workouts a week which may be optimistic but is a good thing to aim for. As I was keen not to lose momentum I managed a run in the early afternoon. The day was rounded off by watching the last of the extended editions of The Hobbit trilogy in 3D, I enjoyed the 3 films though the 3D didn’t really add much.

The following day was my birthday and I was richly rewarded with gifts of movies and gaming paraphernalia, and cake. Having not planned anything I did get a few hours of game time in, got out for another run and convinced my wife to go to the cinema with me where we watched The Good Dinosaur where dinosaurs are humans and humans are pets. Another triumph for Disney Pixar where a young dino befriends a small boy and they work together to find their way home. Since the film finished early we were able to get home and watch one of my new films, Ant Man with family which was another good Marvel Super hero origin story with some very amusing scenes among the action. I especially enjoyed Anna Akana from YouTube making an appearance in the credits.

Sunday we said goodbye to some family who had been staying with us over the new year and got on with some tidying and found time for another Disney Pixar movie we missed out on last year, Inside Out. A really enjoyable story of the interactions between emotions and how that might look like. No running today though I’m not sure if Sunday will be a consistent rest day.

Monday was a big day for us because we got to see our baby at the twenty week scan, relieved to find out that the little one is healthy and overjoyed to find out that she is a girl. Now we can really get on with deciding on a name for her though after last night’s film my suggestions of Joy or Riley were quickly dismissed. I suspect my wife is most excited to be able to shop for tiny tutu’s. As it was a Monday I did have work too but was fortunate enough to work from home on some emails and made use of some break time to run the streets again. The Green Party also launched their Fair Fares campaign for the Mayoral elections with proposals to bring in a single zone for London and other ideas to improve public transport.

Tuesday was my proper return to work and the year is starting off with preparations for a lot of Sporting events in the year ahead and improvements being made to ensure our technology is ready. I’m trying to keep a better record of what I get done at work but that’s not really for here. I managed another run at lunchtime and it was good to catch up with some of my team after the holidays. Much of my evening was spent packing up Christmas decorations which was a bit sad but I felt productive and I did wonder a little how things will have changed by the time they are ready to be put back up.

Another run managed on Wednesday but on my preferred Hammersmith to Barnes route, it’s a little longer than the Hammersmith to Putney route but it feels like more of an escape probably because it covers more parks and paths than the Putney river front and Fulham football ground. There was also a short session at work on Agile Scrum training which is used widely at my company and is something I’m interested in trialling some aspects of with my team. If I make any progress with a KanBan work structure I may share that later in the year.

That brings us to today where I made some good progress with some domain name DNS work I’ve been tackling and managed a personal best for calories burned on my run (559 according to the Microsoft Health app). I’ve also written all the words you have just read so with a bit of luck I’ll be able to come back in another 7 days and talk about whatever I end up doing this week.

Xbox Fitness

April 21, 2014 – 7:07 am

If you have an xbox one and a gold account you get access to the new xbox fitness application and a library of workouts for a year. At launch one of my friends said it was good but aside from a quick glance I spent my launch week playing my regular next generation games. Around the end of January however I heard about someone hoping to 100% xbox fitness before the complimentary years access ran out. (This was on http://gamerzhealth.com/ but they have since turned into some weird fitness secret site.)

I do like trying to get 100% on my games and it helps me feel that I got better value for money having explored ‘everything’. In this instance I’ve effectively gotten xbox fitness for nothing so it would be incredible value to 100% it :)

For some background; Since the 360 introduced me to achievements I’ve also enjoyed the idea of gamification and have put a significant amount of time racking up miles on the Nike+ run tracking software and subsequent evolution to Nike Fuel. When I first got Kinect I messed around with the Dance Central game but I found it difficult to use as the room I had it in didn’t really have the space and I had plenty more opportunities to go out for a run than take over the TV. A few years later I got Dance Central 3 for Christmas and around that time of year I can never get myself out of the house to run in the cold (I run outside, gym memberships are expensive). So I managed to arrange the living room to give a bit more space for Kinect by putting a shelf on the wall behind the TV to put the sensor on and sliding the sofa round.
Dance Central 3 became my workout for a few of the winter months but just like the other Harmonix games the higher levels still elude me. So having established that you do need space to get the most out of the Kinect and I’ve used and enjoyed similar ‘games’ before let’s move on to some impressions.

To start my Xbox Fitness experience I decided to try out a 10 minute beachbody cardio workout. So having selected the workout and read/skipped the health warnings what you get is a fitness video playing in about two thirds of the screen. In the right hand side of the remainder of the screen you can see your kinect tracked body, an accelerometer interface to show you how well you are keeping up with the current activity, if you keep the speed up you earn more fitness points (FP) and these are shown underneath. Below that you get a star rating for each activity and along the bottom of the screen shows the progress through the workout with an indication of what the current/upcoming activity is. Throughout the activities messages will pop up to congratulate you on keeping up with the trainer or giving you pointers to improve your technique. Occasionally during the workout a challenge target will appear to show how your performance is compared to the average for your age range with the expectation that you will try and work harder on that activity to beat the score. At the end of the 10 minute workout I was pleased with my progress and keen to try out something else.

I’d heard people at work mention the insanity workout and this was also what my friend had mentioned was so good about the fitness app so I though 10 minutes of that wouldn’t be too bad. So having started the new workout I realised I had made an error. The Insanity workout is 40 minutes in length. I carried on regardless but within 10 minutes I was struggling and had to end the session about half way through. Insanity has an appropriate name and is full of high intensity interval training exercise, definitely not one for beginners.

I do like a challenge though so as a glutton for punishment I went straight back to insanity the next day. Without the extra 10 minutes before hand I managed to struggle through to a 4 star rating and was very proud of that. The workout is broken up slightly by some breathing and stretching exercises but the full 40 minutes is a punishing experience.

I read up a bit more on the challenge that had inspired me to try out the feature and he expressed an affinity for the fight workout programs. I tried Mossa fight 1, this was a more manageable 30 minute workout and I enjoyed the punching and kicking movements that I guess you would expect from a fighting workout. I can see myself revisiting this range a lot and have already tried out Mossa fight 2 too.

With such a varied library I have also tried out one called Tracy Anderson body sculpt 1. This workout was less active than the others, it was also about 30 minutes and I was surprised at how much I was sweating from mainly stretching and balancing. I did have some problems with this workout though as I found the Kinect sensor would randomly lose sight of me during some floor exercises event though I hadn’t moved. The only way it would re focus was to stand up in front of it. This was very distracting and could be because of how the kinect is positioned but I wouldn’t recommend this workout for that reason.

So far I’ve managed to complete 4 workouts this month and it is starting to build up a nice record of my progress and a few achievements as I progress. The 100% idea is pretty daunting though since the last achievement is to complete 100 ranks and so far each rank up requires almost twice as many stamps to be earned from completing challenges.

In summary, I would recommend any Xbox One owners at least trying out some of the 10 minute workouts to see what xbox fitness has to offer. If you enjoy it and have the space the fight workouts are an enjoyable intermediate step and insanity is an experience that you won’t soon forget. I’ve never used fitness video/dvds before and this is little more than a new way to experience those but with the kinect feedback to correct your form and set you challenges it seems like a good evolution to me.

Anyone else had a go? Inspired to try it?

Originally posted over on the Gamersrespawn Forums

February – Game of the month – Halo 4

April 3, 2013 – 7:24 pm

I was a bit late getting round to Halo 4. After playing a couple of early levels with my wife after deciding we wanted to play through together we put it aside as the Christmas season of games picked up. Coming round to February and we picked up where we left off and rattled through the campaign in only a couple of days. The move to 343 industries hasn’t done anything to dull the appeal of the series. The new Promethean enemies are particularly frustrating to fight but in many ways are similar to the way the old flood enemies fought by reanimating defeated enemies.

The main storyline with Master chief and Cortana left me cold and felt like some misguided fan service.

What was a unique experience for this game was the Spartan Ops series of mini missions. Ten chapters of five episodes each were using a single environment from the main campaign. Here you take control of other Spartans to loosely link a number of story cut scenes of activity going on parallel to the main campaign. My wife enjoyed the shorter missions even though we normally played a few episodes at a time and I liked watching the video for each chapter as the story unfolded.

I’ve only really popped into the multiplayer game a few times and it does open up some more customisation options but in most cases the levelling system only unlocks different armour that has no effect on the player though at the early levels you don’t have access to jet pack or shield perks that could be a minor stumbling block.

I expect to play through on a harder difficulty sometime this year when the new releases get thin on the ground.

Wake Up, John


Wake Up, John
Completed the Campaign on Normal or harder.

Honourable mention for February:
I also ‘picked up’ The Cave during February, which is a great, little adventure game that I highly recommend. Choose three of the seven starting characters to navigate your way through a talking cave to find that which you most desire. I played through to completion with all seven characters and enjoyed each new story. Some parts of the journey do start to get repetitive, as there are common sections for each play through. There is offline co-op functionality but we found it extremely dated and not much fun, only one person can control the action at once, so for us it soon devolved into back seat gaming. If there had been online co-op so you each got a screen or even the split screen that the Lego games provide this would have been an even bigger hit.



Took all characters to the bottom of The Cave. (Player 1 only)

January – Game of the Month – Dance Central 3

March 4, 2013 – 8:08 pm

I am going to try and expand my game completion notes into a regular feature slash review slash story. Since it has taken me until early March to post I clearly need to up my game.

Back on my wedding day I was introduced to Gangnam Style, if you have been living under a rock there is a video embedded below. Closer to Christmas I heard that Gangnam style was being released for Harmonix’s latest Dance simulator and decided it wouldn’t be all that bad to play a game where I could act out slow motion rodeo movements and dancey pants dancing. I added it to a list of games that would make a good Christmas present and when asked what I would like for Christmas it was one of the first responses I gave.

I’ve had the kinect peripheral for the Xbox since the year it came out but after enjoying some of the original dance central realised that the size of our living room didn’t really meet the expectations of the kinect playing space. It remained plugged in for the novelty of shouting commands at the Xbox occasionally. Back to January this year and bolstered by my wife’s insistence that I would never play the game so I shouldn’t have asked for it and the cold weather putting me off running, dance central 3 became my exercise device. The kinect seems a bit more forgiving of the play space now and in some areas it refocuses during moves if arms go above head height for instance. I coupled the game with the kinect play fit app which can track workouts across multiple kinect titles and tracks progress against friends using the same app and the wider community. Starting out I just tried the story mode on easy which steps through songs from 70′s through to 10′s and then develops to a completion mode to cover all the songs from the game split between the dance ‘crews’ introduced through the story. There are features for groups of dancers and the more co-ordinated people to compete at but generally I found the story gave me opportunity to practice and improve. I did try the standard dance mode out which is where all DLC gets kept and put together a playlist to pick up some achievements. That then became a structured 30minute workout of some of my favoured tracks mixed in with some that I needed regular practice to beat. The game also has a rehearse more but the general feeling I had was that most songs you could jump into and miss a few moves if you couldn’t decipher the flash cards. Having briefly gone back to the original game that pushes the importance of rehearsal before playing a lot more and is much less forgiving if you try to rely on mirroring the on screen avatar. Dance central 3 has also included progression bonuses like many FPS games are doing where you unlock new characters and costumes for your crew characters.

In summary Dance Central 3 and the Kinect Play Fit work pretty well together for a fun fitness programme after the Christmas excess. There is enough depth to keep workouts varied if you have the space to accommodate as you can increase the difficulty and add more complex moves to your repertoire.

Th3Glitt3rati is online


Th3Glitt3rati is online
Completed Story mode and watched through the Credits. Thank you!

Honorable mention for January:
I persevered on Assassins Creed 3 to pick up 100% of the original achievements. Since DLC has been released it doesn’t count though.



Complete ALL progress tracker grid entries.

2012 Game Round Up

February 3, 2013 – 9:12 pm

Over the course of last year my attempt to finish some of the ‘Pile of Shame’ didn’t go all that well. I did manage to complete around a dozen games though so I’m summarising my impressions from throughout the year along with the icons for the achievements earned when the game was complete.

 Skylanders : Complete the adventure mode by finishing the game

This was relatively easy to achieve. It didn’t stop me playing Skylanders though and I kept looking for figures for a lot of the year. I also got a few of the iOS games that use the same characters.The game itself is an entertaining puzzle adventure. There are a variety of levels and each purchased character adds a level to the game that can be played with all the other characters.


Lego Harry Potter 2 : Complete Year 8

I completed this with my fiancée back in January (now my wife). The Lego games are great to play and we both like the Harry Potter stories. Some of the co-op features have become a bit more frustrating as the series moves on. The way the screen splits can be great to allow each other to explore but when it comes to solving some puzzles if you aren’t next to each other it can be impossible to hit targets.


Prototype 2 : Murder your Maker?

I’m guessing the ? indicates there will be some DLC expansion. I might replay on hard mode in future. Since completing the game I played a bit more to complete some challenges but then moved on to new challenges.


Combat_Diablo_NormalDiablo III (Normal) (PC)

Completing the game on normal simply unlocks harder difficulties. Having never played a Diablo game before this was quite enjoyable. I even explored the real money auction house where I was able to sell a few items I found in the game for a couple of pounds. A game that makes me money is like a dream, only the variety here is pretty limited. I never spent any money buying items for the game though.


AC:Revelations : Revelations

I stopped playing this when I was about halfway through as it seemed to be dragging a bit more than the other games. Came back to it the other night (in July) and quite quickly finished the story. The last mission was disappointing, little more than an interactive cut scene. Picking up a few remaining achievements and might try my luck in the multiplayer too.


Fable Heroes : Ruler of Dark Albion

Fun little castle crashers style game. The 3D doesn’t make it a better game but if you enjoyed Fable 2 or are planning to play Fable the Journey this is a good game to kill a few hours.


Lego Batman 2 : Heroes Unite

Completed the story levels on Lego Batman 2. It’s extremely buggy in co-op but probably a much better single player game. Flying round the city of Gotham as various super heroes is fun but a bit challenging to control. Still playing it to collect the Gold Bricks.


Castle Crashers : Traditional

One from my virtual pile of shame. This game was much larger than I expected it to be. It’s quite difficult as a single player experience but every level played adds to your experience. The few occasions when I played with friends online progressed much more quickly so it’s a really good game to play with friends and I imagine many people who have played it would be happy to play through again. When I tried to play with randoms it was a bit different as they seemed to tend towards the battle levels rather than the ‘story’ missions.


Skylanders Giants : Savior of Skylands!

Still fun to play and the Giants are a nice addition. The levels are much bigger than the original game but there are fewer of them. Lots of other side missions too so even though the story is complete there are challenges to complete to continue levelling up the characters. Finishing off the story also unlocked a ‘Nightmare’ difficulty which encourages further play through. Characters that were max level at 10 don’t feel overpowered since the new cap is 15. As before you could get through the whole game with one figure though you can’t experience all areas of the story without one of each element and at least one giant. I’ve got quite a collection now but am most frustrated by the way the figures are released in batches through the year. Oh and a lot of series 2 figures are reposed versions of the characters from the first game so out of the 48 figures available only 16 are new characters, 1 giant and one new regular sized skylander per element.


Assassin’s Creed III : Fin

My favourite of the Assassin’s games so far. The world created is absolutely huge with two cities and the frontier to explore it is competing with the worlds created by Rockstar. The story takes a number of twists and the naval missions are a brilliant addition especially since the poor tower defence mini game from the last game. Connor is a great character to play and I hope to see him brought back in future games. Having seen the trailer for the series of single player expansions set in an alternative reality I’ve pre purchased the lot so will be playing this more in 2013. Check out the trailer for Tyranny of Washington.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 : Death from Above

Interesting that the story can change based on what you do or don’t do during the course of the game. There are some optional missions along the way that let you try and save or defend certain objectives in addition though if you ignore these they will count as a loss. Despite finishing the story there are plenty of options for me to explore. Then there is also multi-player and zombie modes.


Wordament iOS : Sore Fingers

Strictly speaking this is a puzzle game and can’t really be finished but I got all the achievements and I’d only have 11 complete games without it. Microsoft have made a game of boggle that you can play against everyone else playing the game at the same time. It’s also the first game that can get xbox achievements on the iPhone. Early in 2013 Microsoft have also launched the same game for web browsers with the same set of achievements. Go and try it out http://www.xbox.com/en-US/marketplace/product/Wordament

Pile of Shame

May 14, 2012 – 9:14 pm

As I have only just completed the third game of the year([PROTOTYPE 2]) and have already bought a few new games (Minecraft, Fable Heroes and Diablo III) I have realised just how many games I have bought and never finished. Games I really love I have put time in to try and complete all the achievements but over the years there have been a number of games abandoned. Many of these games I still own (I rarely trade in games completed or not) but they were put aside in favour of something new or I just didn’t have the skillz.

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter
  • Tony Hawks Project 8
  • Puzzle Quest
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • N+
  • Dead Space
  • Forza 3
  • Tinker
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Splinter Cell Conviction
  • Dead Rising 2
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Dance Central
  • Dawn of War II
  • Borderlands
  • Ms. Splosion Man
  • The Gunstringer
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • AC Revelations
  • Beyond Good and Evil HD
  • Halo CE Anniversary
  • Castle Crashers
  • Rock Band 3
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

So I have quite a lot to get on with. By listing them all here it will give me pause before buying more games this year and encourage me to complete the games I already have. With Lego Batman 2, Halo 4, Assassins Creed 3, Resident Evil 6, Borderlands 2 and another new Call of Duty game due out this year it’s quite an undertaking. Oh and I’m getting married this year too.


March 6, 2012 – 11:26 pm

Zombies Run icon

Background: I normally use the Nike+ or Nike+ GPS apps when running. I select a playlist, select a target time, distance or unspecified run select start the run and just start running. When I’m finished I have to pause then end workout. The run is recorded and synced online. Job done! I’ve worked quite hard so far this year to try and run as often as possible. Since I am making an effort to run almost every day my runs tend to be quite short, early morning runs lasting about 20 minutes.
My brother suggested I try out the Zombies, Run app and linked to a new scientist blog post about it. The idea appealed to me and I made my purchase. The following recounts my experiences over the course of a week using the app a final conclusion and score out of ten.

Day 1
To start with I read through the brief tutorial which set up the basic concepts, listen to the story and music, run from zombies and collect supplies. The last slide of the tutorial takes you directly to the start run screen, no chance to explore the app just get started. I set off running and listened to the introduction, it became apparent that my character was not running yet but I carried on regardless and as the story unfolded there was a point where I was told to start running. Music then played with occasional messages, after a track the story resumed describing the plight of the settlement I was running towards. Music resumed and more items were collected each accompanied by a robotic voice naming the item. Another track finished and a little more story unfolded but all too soon I had finished my normal route and went to end the workout. Pressing the end mission button helpfully indicated that I was mid mission but I could pause and resume at any time. Pausing the mission I wondered how long I was expected to run for and considered that I might have had a better first experience on a longer run when the morning commute wasn’t calling out to me. The run lasted just under 17 minutes and I covered 3.41km but didn’t get chased. Leaving the app paused did seem to sap the iPhone battery at a faster rate than usual but it isn’t something I would expect to do that often.

Day 2
Resuming the mission this morning soon brought on the first zombie mob, which I successfully evaded. Not long later a second mob apparently caught up with me accompanied by some frenzied beeps and the robotic voice saying something inaudible. A short time later the voice announced that the mission was completed and radio mode was starting. I ran until another track had completed and characters started talking again which made me think that the mission story was not complete but it was just a nice bonus for anyone running longer than the expected mission length. Radio announcers chip in between my music instead of story but supplies for the settlement can still be gathered during this time.

Having finished my first mission I was able to invest in Abel Township. Using the supplies collected  the base hospital was upgraded to level 2 and the image changed from a field hospital tent to more secure looking shipping container structure. Taking the opportunity to explore the other menu options on the main screen I found that the expected mission length is 25-30 minutes dependant on the length of the tracks you play, this would have been a helpful tutorial point but in a real apocalypse I guess there are no clues to how far you might have to run. The codex tab gives some more information on the various supplies that you have found and characters that have been encountered so far. The settings tab unfortunately has nowhere to tweak the sound settings so you can’t make the item pick up any more prominent. Checking the mission tab indicated there are 13 missions and some unlock based on how much you have upgraded the settlement. Mission 10 was already unlocked which may have been thanks to my level 2 hospital and mission 13 clearly indicates that a level 3 hospital is required. The instructions also described what had happened with my second zombie mob, I had automatically dropped some supplies to distract them. At least I wasn’t at any risk of turning.

Day 3
I was prepared to run a bit longer today and after the zombie mobs on Day 2 decided that maybe I had gotten carried away with the story and started running faster before I was expected to, making any more acceleration unlikely. This time I prepared myself to wait until the detector started beeping before accelerating and this seemed to pay off especially as I was running a bit further than usual. I was thankful the zombies didn’t choose to attack while I was running uphill though. At the end of the run I noticed the small twitter icon in the mission summary screen and was able to inform my friends how far I had run, how many supplies I collected and crucially how many zombie mobs I escaped. There is no way to view the run history that I have found so this seems to be the only way to record how often you are running for the time being although according to @ZombiesRunGame that feature is coming.

Day 4
The weekend started today but I didn’t get round to running until the sun had already set this did make the threat of zombies seem much more real though. Running through an unlit park certainly had my heart rate going as shadowy figures appeared and that is not an experience I am keen to repeat soon. Each story mission revolves around your character (Runner 5) helping the settlement of Abel Township by running. Having never really considered it before it was reassuring to know that being able to run would be very useful in a zombie apocalypse, someone has to retrieve food, fuel or ammunition eventually of course and using valuable fuel to drive around is not going to help run a generator when winter comes around people.

Day 5
Usually I take a day off from running at the weekend but I was keen to get the kms logged and collect more supplies for my settlement. With time on my side I clocked up 7km and a decent stash of 23 supplies for the township. Putting these to good use got all areas up to Level 2 and the population has been boosted accordingly.

Day 6
I managed to get out of bed but decided that today was a good day to let my body recover. It was also Monday. I’m not making excuses.

Day 7
While running today I had a zombie mob creep up on me and despite sprinting faster than I had gone the whole run they quickly caught up to me and I lost an item to distract them. I suspect that using GPS tracking to determine speed can be a little hit and miss, especially as I was running in an area where trees could interfere with the signal it was a bit surprising too, there were zombies in the story but nothing suggesting they were an imminent threat. So not the best experience to wrap up the week but I did get another long run clocked and 17 supplies. Progressing my little town any further than level 2 is slow going, I’ve been trying to distribute supplies fairly but might just invest in one site for my next run,

Compared to other apps in the health and fitness category the functionality of “Zombies, Run!” is unfortunately lacking. There is no route tracking, no run history, no calories burned information that free or cheaper apps offer. There is no facility to shuffle the music that is played and some of the announcements during music playback can be hard to hear. The most valuable selling point of this app though is the fiction that accompanies it, each mission is a chapter in a compelling story and each radio transmission between tracks is your reward. The zombie chases introduce a light version of circuit training which can help you get fitter than normal endurance running. It’s fun to hear Stephen Hawking’s voice point out that you picked up a sports bra or pack of batteries but the story will keep you coming back to find out who has been firing rockets at supply helicopters and ultimately where did all the zombies come from? It’s a great app to add some variety to runs and will encourage you to run for a decent period of time but you don’t need any experience to get the best out of it. It will certainly be interesting to see the app itself develop to include the missing features and add new missions but for now it still deserves an 8/10

ZombiesRunGame.com shows
Link to iTunes £5.49 at time of writing released 27th February 2012

Batman : Arkham City

October 24, 2011 – 9:46 pm

Batman: Arkham City

Loving this game at the moment. It is a bit overwhelming as side missions seem to keep popping up while the main story is always pulling for your attention.

The Bat signal in the sky always points at whatever you set as your objective from the map view but by default will just keep pointing towards the next main story item.

I’ve played through a lot of the main story items and think I’m getting near the end, Batman is looking pretty banged up, but I took some time out from the main quest to explore a lot of the side missions I had been putting off. Some of these missions establish contact with the characters that aren’t involved in the main story and so far include Riddler, Zsasz, Deadshot, Mad Hatter and Bane although some side quests only unlock when you get so far into the story. Other side quests can get equipment unlocked or add new abilities.

Having played through a lot of the main quests intending to clear up side quests later my top tip for anyone planning the same approach is to get the side quest at the church done as early as possible.


April 9, 2011 – 12:18 am

Wrote this at the beginning of February, just didn’t get round to publishing…

So I spent a fair amount of January playing games, mainly on the Xbox in an effort to win the official Xbox forum gamer score challenge. It became evident quite soon that I wouldn’t win but I played on partly to try and make a dent in the number of games I hadn’t played enough before Christmas and ones I got as presents.

Assassins creed brotherhood was a lot of fun, Bioshock 2 had a strong end game. I even dipped into both games multiplayer modes. Bioshock 2 had a levelling system that meant new players are underpowered much like in the call of duty series but there are ways to rack up points even if kills are thin on the ground.

The brotherhood multiplayer was much more interesting. Points aren’t just awarded for the number of kills but increased stealth/surprise sprinting around gives you away to other players so they have a chance to counter. It’s an old school assassination game where you are given a target but they aren’t necessarily looking for you and the levels are populated with doppelgängers. Standing close to a look alike can still result in you getting points if your pursuer takes out the NPC instead.

I then chose fallout new Vegas from my pile of epic RPGs to explore. My character is a basically good roamer keeping to the New California Republic controlled territory in the middle of the world map. I’ve pushed out a bit and met the majority of tribes but still feel the surface is barely scratched. Most of my skill points have gone into guns and science but after getting frustrated at the number of speech options I missed out on I brought that skill up a lot more. Once I finish the main story I hope to pursue a different kind of character on the hardcore difficulty.

In real life I managed to secure a promotion at work so I am taking on the new shift lead role which I am looking forward to shaping. A bit more focus on taking ownership of projects to improve the team overall and team management skills will be a welcome addition to my CV.

Towards the end of the month and into the beginning of February I’ve been less occupied with games as I began trying to sort through unwanted belongings in preparation of a move out of Putney and in with my girlfriend. Time has been spent on the rightmove and findaproperty websites and after little success in the target area of south Harrow and Rayners lane we expanded the search. Having viewed a property in Ruislip we explored the local area a little and found that there was plenty to do and decided we would be very happy to try and settle in the area. With any luck by the end of the month we’ll be fully moved in and planning a housewarming.

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2011 – 6:24 am

2010 was a good year for me. My job hasn’t changed although I might be getting promoted soon. I moved from Tooting living with various different strangers to Putney living with one of my best friends from school. I wasted a lot of money on unused gym membership but I did decide to make up for that at the end of the year and am hoping to continue my recent workout habits into 2011.

I kept up the annual trips to Glastonbury and the NFL international series game. Already secured tickets for Glastonbury 2011. Attended two friends weddings and recently celebrated another friends engagement. A holiday to Rome early in the year was a great break and we enjoyed the tours of the Vatican and the Colosseum.

It was also a great year for games with lots of big releases for the xbox 360 and plenty of interesting games coming out for the iPhone I got early in the year. Red Dead Redemption and Halo Reach were probably the favourites but Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Plants vs Zombies have also kept me entertained. Going into 2011 I’m currently enjoying Dance Central despite the laughter it inspires in anyone watching me play. I’m hoping Kinect can deliver more than the current crop of interactive fitness DVDs in future but for now Kinect Adventures and Dance Central are enough for me.

I should be moving again when my contract finishes in Putney, I’m excited about moving in with Lee and just hope we can find a place that we are both happy with. No resolutions this year but I’ll try and put a few more posts together than I managed last year.