Desensitised or bored stupid?

In appears that the game Manhunter 2 by Rockstar that was banned by the BBFC earlier this year has won an appeal to get that decision over-turned. Now it returns to the BBFC to either allow the game to be released with a 18 certificate or appeal the appeal decision. It's worth noting that this same game was only released in the US after censors removed content.

Being an avid gamer, I enjoy most if not all game genres that and can get around to playing. Yet sadly, it seems that more and more recent a methods to avoid having to give a game a decent storyline is to play the gratuitous violence card and it kind of deflates my enthusiasm for games a little.

Firstly I'd like to say that this isn't a 'ban violence in games' post, it's more along the lines of ' I expect more'. Using shocker elements and touting the best graphics engines , seems to be the way to 'carry' a game into the sales rather than delivering a game with better storylines and/or gameplay.

Is it just the shape of the current market or is it the fact that adding elements to the game with hopefully detract from the fact that there is little storyarc?

Lets look at 3 examples from the recent past, Half-life2, Doom3 & Deus_ex, two of these games were large important names and a lot was expected of them.

Doom 3 had great graphics and gameplay handled ok, yet the AI enemies were very predicable and I just gave up playing this game as the storyline didn't even make me want to play after about 5 days.

HL2 saw the launch of the new Source engine. This gave some outstanding graphics and physics. There was a storyline that kept you moving into each new section. The end game a bit poor and really didn't seem worth all the time I invested.

Deus Ex is a dated game in terms of graphics, but the gameplay/storyline is fantastic, player choice on how to carry out missions and what action to take gave the game its own unique element and made the replayability of the game an exciting prospect.

Admittedly combat systems in games are a key element, when it comes to FPS you can't remove the weapons else there would be very little to do. But on the other hand when countless amounts of time and money are spent getting that enemies head exploding just right, it makes you think 'what if?'.

When do games cross the line from impressive, interactive gameplay and into the realm of violence for the sake of it?

UK ADSL Slowdown

Copied with permission from Dok's blog

Britain's Broadband internet revolution seems to be grinding to a halt, just a few short years after it began. The vast majority of internet access in the UK is now via broadband, with over half the homes here having access to a 4Mb line or better. Unfortunately it doesn't get much better than that.

Britain's creaking old copper-wire telephone system was never intended to carry such huge amounts of data and is now pretty much at capacity, at 8Mb. There is talk of further exchange upgrades being able to push this up to 16Mb, but that's the limit for copper wire.

Cable providers, such as Virgin and NTL, are able to utilise the far superior fiber-optic cables to provide speeds of up to 25Mb currently, with Virgin looking to introduce 50Mb services by the end of 2009. However, the access to cable is limited, and it's a bit of a lottery as to weather or not you can get access to it.

BT plan on spending £10bn on exchange upgrades and on converting some copper-wire systems to fiber-optic by 2011, giving access to speeds of up to 24Mb, but the area effected is going to be minimal. They say that to convert the whole system to fiber-optic would be so expensive it is literally an impossibility. When you consider that other countries are planning to implement 100Mb lines with huge percentages of coverage in the near future, it's quite easy to see just how far behind we are getting in this new technological race. The implications for UK businesses competing in the global market could be very serious, with Britain becoming the bottleneck of the global communications network and simply being unable to compete in the IT arena.

And more importantly, I want a 100Mb line to play PlanetSide! That would rock 🙂

Religion Vs Schools

school.gif This week you may have read about a Sikh girl that was excluded from school for wearing a religious bangle. I can understand that wearing all that Mr. T-esque bling to school would be completely over the top, but surely this is different?. So where is a line to be drawn when it comes to religious artefacts and stamping out individualism?

There's always someone taking it one step further and I found this story from the US, where a pupil is given detention for hugging a friend.
The schools policy as set out in their handbook reads:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”

It's poor taste to have friends! You should be a loner and live in a virtual bubble avoiding all human contact.

Makes you wonder what a culture like that will do to the children in the long run, oh wait, maybe it's this, this or this.

Both of these stories are great examples of society gone mad while trying to iron out imperfections with our youth.

Hunting for an ISP

My ongoing exprience with freedom2surf/pipex/tiscali is getting annoying. Until now apart from the occasional blips, the service was fine.

But now I appear to be getting slower and slower speeds and last night I was unable to play world in conflict as i would be booted from the server with high ping times.

After checking tracert and checking the massgate forums, it was indicated that all users connecting via the pipex network in the uk are suffering the same problems.

I've logged a support ticket with F2S but i'm not really holding my breath for anything to happen or for me to even get a response.

So on with the hunt, I'm looking for an ISP that can give me the following:

  • 2MB fixed speed connection (not a ADSL MAX pretending to be 2mb)
  • No adverse traffic shaping (throttling users that connnect to multiple IPs to reduce p2per traffic, but also causing gamers to be impacted too)
  • No port blocking
  • Suitable monthly download allowance (10-15gb)

Not asking alot really, but i'm struggling to find many that fit the bill.

My shortlist sofar:
VivaCiti – £19.99/2mb/50:1/30gb (Wholesale supplier : Entanet)

Entries include Price/speed/contention/allowance per month.
I'll update this list as i gain more information about products/isps.