World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2011/12/13

Classic Game Collecting: Diablo II Gold

I’ve been looking at all the brochures that come with the newspapers just lately, seeing as it’s Christmas soon. I also went online to view several retail websites, too. Why? to see all the games on offer, of course.

One thing caught my eye though: Diablo II Gold. In preparation for the release of Diablo III, Blizzard seems to have re-released a lot of their classics, but in some killer bundles. In addition to Diablo II, there’s StarCraft Gold and WarCraft III Gold – and these all come with the available expansions for said games.

Then it was off to the actual stores to take a look. At most places, such as Musica, CNA, and Look & Listen, I mainly spotted the expansion pack, Lords of Destruction, and the price was usually around R99.

Eventually I had to ask a salesperson if they had the Gold edition I was looking for in stock. It wasn’t even on the shelves. They’d been hiding copies in the back room. But I managed to get one for R99. And to think that on the shelves, they had either Diablo II or the expansion pack both going for the same price, separately. One wonders if they intentionally try to screw you over, sometimes. So instead of getting both for R198 and upwards, Diablo II Gold is at least half price.

Score. Now I’m going to play this old classic along with all the mods and unofficial expansions that have been made over the years. Like I always say, sometimes it pays to wait – in this case more than a decade.


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2011/12/06

2011: Full of Video Game Anniversaries

In the latest issue of NAG magazine, I had a rare read of Miktar’s column. In addition to being a columnist and overseas correspondent (East coast of the USA), he is also a former moderator on the NAG Online forum – although was shunted out of the job, probably because he was a massive troll, according to some. It was bad for business.

But he brought up an interesting conversation piece. 2011 is chock full of anniversaries relating to video games. Landmark, revolutionary titles that paved the way for all the games you play today.

Let’s have a look at those he listed:

30th Anniversary: Ultima, Castle Wolfenstein, Frogger, Ms. Pacman

25th Anniversary: The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castelvania

20th Anniversary: Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, Civilization

15th Anniversary: Resident Evil, Pokémon, Diablo, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot

10th Anniversary: Grand Theft Auto III, Halo, Devil May Cry

The ones I care about most here are probably Castle Wolfenstein (without it we wouldn’t have had Wolf 3D, RTCW, and every other game that followed in that series); Frogger (played it a hell of a lot as a child); Street Fighter II (hailed as one of the best fighting games of all time – the measuring stick to which all other fighters to this day are compared); Sonic the Hedgehog (come on…); Resident Evil (made survival horror the popular genre that it is – or was, anyway); Tomb Raider (without it, you probably wouldn’t have Uncharted, maybe even Assassin’s Creed either); Crash Bandicoot (played this a lot as a kid, too); Grand Theft Auto III (one of the best games ever).

But suspiciously there were a few left off the list at some point. I think most of the games he mentioned were released in November or December (I know because I looked them up). So there was some sort of trend he was adhering to.

I’d add in Duke Nukem 3D. It’s the last truly great game in that series, which even DNF failed to topple this year. Released at a time when people still used the term “Doom Clone”, it proved that it wasn’t just another rip-off title – it was THE rip-off title; the undisputed king of rip-offs, taking “inspiration” from several films and other games, as well as pop culture. But it had enough going for it to make it pound for pound the best FPS I’ve played to date, honestly.

Quake wasn’t brought up either. Major oversight there. Also released in 1996 like DN3D, it was the first fully 3D FPS, and debuted the Quake engine. Without this engine, we might not have had every other id Tech engine released to date, and probably every other id game released to date, either. Every Doom, Quake, and even Wolfenstein title to follow used a version of the id Tech engine. Many, many games from other developers to date have used id Tech engines as well. You wouldn’t even have Call of Duty, seeing as all CoD games to date have used snippets of id Tech code in the engines that power them.

Final Doom. All right, so it was a glorified double expansion pack for Doom II: Hell on Earth – but what expansion packs at that!

The Plutonia Experiment was particularly challenging. Created by the Casali brothers, it made Doom and Doom II seem like child’s play for the most part. TNT: Evilution wasn’t that spectacular, but it did see one of the most beloved guys at id get hired – and that man is Tim Willits, who still serves as creative director at id today. He started off as just a mapper, and fan of the original games.

If anything, Final Doom showed that fans could make a decent game, filled with challenging maps and maybe tad innovation that impressed developers so much that they hired them and put them on the payroll. This trend has continued to this day, with modders and mappers being picked from the modding community and given jobs. You often see this with companies such as Valve – Valve is predominantly made of former modders.

So anyway, 2011: what a year – for new games and old!


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2011/11/22

400th Episode of The Verge, The Verge Turns 3

If you haven’t heard of or seen The Verge before, it’s a show about video gaming on DSTV, channel 123 (Vuzu). It’s been running for nearly the past 3 years, since late 2008. Wednesday the 23rd of November, 2011 marks the 400th episode of this show.

Yes, 400 episodes of news; trailers; reviews; looking at Pippa and her various “interesting” hairstyles; changing timeslots; putting up with Mo (and more recently Thomas), and even the odd bit of the old mockery from Lala – odd coming from a show whose target audience happens to be gamers.

The 400th episode will have reviews on Rage, Battlefield 3, and will feature Pippa’s top 5 iPhone games.
December 1st marks the show’s 3rd birthday – but there likely won’t be an episode of either The Verge or PlayR on that night, seeing as Dec 1 is a Thursday, and neither show airs any episodes on a Thursday.

Source: The Verge
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2011/11/17

New Review Published: Stealth Bastard

I couldn't bring myself to type the subtitle. The latest and biggest thing to hit the indie PC game scene is Stealth Bastard. You’ve read about it; you’ve heard of it; you’ve played it. Yes, you have. It’s free. That’s how I know you know about it.

To summarise, it’s a freeware 2D platforming title developed by London-based developer, Curve Studios. It’s similar to Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell in theme, but more like Abuse (that old game for MS-DOS) or even Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey in the way that it plays. There’s stealth, death, and that sort of thing, but much more fast-paced than any stealthy FPS title.

Anyway, I downloaded it recently and gave it a go, and managed to actually write a 1500 word review on it. Don’t quite know how, though. You can go through to the piece on HP, if you care.


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2011/11/09

Dead Cyborg Episode 2: Halfway To Release

dc1 I was taking a look through my bookmarks and saw on Dead Cyborg’s Twitter account that Episode 2 of this free-to-play beggarware title is getting a little closer to being released. It’s halfway there to be exact – as far as donations go. Endre, the one-man developer behind the project, claims that the donation meter is 50% full.

The actual development on Episode 2 is coming along too. There was a trailer of it released not too long ago, and it’s looking pretty good. This time, the player ascends to the surface and sees first hand the aftermath of the apocalyptic war that took place, and drove people down in to bunkers in the first place.

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Source: Dead Cyborg on Twitter


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2011/11/01

Random Madness: Micro Doom

Spider Mastermind model

This post marks the return of Random Madness here on AAA. I had some inspiration recently.

Windows XP has been around for a long time. I was just reading on Joystiq the other day in an article where it was said that it is in fact ten years old as of last month. After so many years of using Windows XP myself, I recently made the jump to using another version of Windows. On the laptop I acquired recently, I have installed on it Windows Vista. True, it’s not the latest Windows, or the best. Some call it the black sheep in the family.

Anyway, I had read about a feature that was first introduced in Vista that obviously wasn’t in any previous Windows that we know of: User Account Control, or UAC. Basically it ensures that programs run only when you want them to and that any sort of malware that attacks your system doesn’t have full control over what goes on, even if you’re running an administrator account.

Now the gamer in me instantly thought of something else when I read that acronym. The UAC is instrumental in the storyline of the Doom series. It stands for Union Aerospace Corporation. Now while the UAC’s background was only really expanded upon in Doom 3, it existed all ready in the original games in the early-mid 90’s.

Now knowing my inquisitive mind like I do, my thoughts started to wander if there was some sort of link or is it just coincidence? This wouldn’t be the only time there was a possible link between id Software’s Doom and Microsoft. More than a decade and a half ago, Bill Gates promoted Windows 95 by superimposing himself in to Doom and blasting some zombies. Doom was originally programmed to work in MS-DOS when released in 1993, but was still massively popular even years later.

Maybe this UAC feature was an homage of sorts to Doom. Windows UAC tries to limit malware attacks, much like Doom’s UAC tried in all Doom games to date to prevent the demonic invasion from hell – ultimately (get it? The Ultimate Doom?) it failed every time.

But seriously, don’t quote me on this. It’s all rubbish. Interesting to think of, though.


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2011/10/24

I’ve Become an Advisor at ShopSquad.com

I received an email last month which looked like it had gotten through the spam filter. It talked about something called Shopsquad.com. I had apparently been invited to join this website.

So I thought I might join and see what it’s all about; maybe report back on progress in some time. So far I’ve written a couple of articles over at HubPages on the subject. There’s an introduction as well as tips on how to succeed using the tools provided for you at ShopSquad.

So come and chat to me over at ShopSquad.com under the nick “Andr01d” (same handle as my profile on HubPages). You never know – I might actually know a thing or two about video games. I’ve been playing them long enough.  Otherwise I also deal in categories such as electronics, computers, etc.
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2011/10/04

Dead Cyborg Version 002 Released

dc1 Dead Cyborg is a sci-fi title strictly focused on adventure and exploration – with no fighting, shooting, or any of that sort of thing. The first version of this freeware title was released a little while back, this year. The game had its faults, chief of which was the fact that it lacked mouse control. During development, this feature existed, but it was taken out somewhere down the line for some reason. The browser-based version of the game still has support for the mouse.

But as of just this month, there’s a new version of DC’s episode 1 available. Version 002 for Windows now has support for the mouse as well as the AZERTY keys, instead of using the directional keys next to the enter key – which have been gathering more dust than just about any other part of the keyboard, apart from the numpad, anyway.

If you haven’t given Dead Cyborg a try yet – do so. It’s not too bad – especially considering that it’s a one-man project. By the way, this game is what one might call beggarware. To ever have any hope of seeing episode 2 (about 50% complete right now), you have to donate – and Endre, the guy who makes this game, wants $4000 dollars total for it. That amount sounds more like he’s holding the game hostage!

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Sources:

http://www.deadcyborg.com/

http://www.deadcyborg.com/download_page.html

http://www.twitter.com/deadcyborg


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2011/10/01

Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded Put on Hold

DNR This month there’s been a sudden slowdown in progress on the project formerly known as “DN3D: Next-Gen”, that began its life a year ago or so. For you who might have forgotten, it’s a standalone game using Unreal Engine 3, which is supposed to give Duke Nukem Forever a run for its money, not only in the looks department, but gameplay-wise too, hopefully. We all know that DN3D is still a better game than DNF! And to top if off, it has official backing by Gearbox Software – the new owners of the DN IP.

But September brings some bad news, as just over the weekend it was revealed by the team in charge of the project -Interceptor Entertainment, headed by Fresch AKA Frederick Schreiber- that DN3D: Reloaded is being put on hold until further notice. Reasons why this is happening weren’t made entirely clear from looking at the blog post on the official website, or the Facebook wall, but from visiting the thread on the forums it seems as though this ambitious project -which was originally conceived by just one man- has run in to licence issues – big surprise. We all knew it was too good to be true.

The last status update seems to indicate that the team was “around 90% finished with the multiplayer version” and was “in the final phase of the game, slowly starting the Beta phase”. In August they even took the game to Gearbox Software, and have had a “big media package, in-game trailer, and a Behind the Scenes documentary ready for some time but it’s not available for public viewing yet. But if what they say is anything to go by, it’s gonna be good if we ever get to see it, anyway.

It looks like the Duke Nukem curse was passed on from DNF, and is still alive and well.


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2011/09/29

NAG October 2011 Issue Out This Week

The new NAG is on the shelf today. But the local 711 (now Friendly 711) near where I live says that it won’t be in on Thursdays from now on – they can only manage Fridays, maybe Saturday.

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but I read in the NAG years back that to get the NAG on Monday is impossible; Tuesday is rare; Wednesday is uncommon; Thursday is common; Friday is definite; and Saturday or Sunday means that you should try buying the magazine elsewhere in the future. I didn’t ever think I would fall in to the last category. But I have. I should really consider subscribing after all these years. You think I would have learned by now.

Anyway, this NAG has some special stuff in it. There’s a big Borderlands 2 feature – and if you know NAG, you’ll know they’re massive Borderlands fanboys, the lot of them.

There’s some “impressions” or a preview of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Darksiders II and The Darkness II (try not to get confused). There’s reviews of some worthwhile games for a change. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Resistance 3, F.E.A.R. 3 – some good solid games there.

Unfortunately for the DVD, it seems that NAG has gone back to putting whatever they like on the DVD again, as for the life of me I can’t see a new DVD Suggestion thread on the forum – it used to be a sticky at the top of the “gaming” section. There was a lack of one last month, and this month it’s the same. It was mostly rubbish that was posted there anyway. People were asked to post direct links and they didn’t. Nobody reads anymore.

But I don’t even need the DVD anymore, seeing as I’ve still got a broadband deal for the next few months – and I’m putting it to good use even though the service often sucks. I wonder why I just don’t stop buying the NAG altogether. You think I would have learned by now.

The DVD has the usual trailers, plus some new Pop Fiction videos – which I look forward to. There’s also the some Rage teaser clips and mp3s showing all of those who didn’t go just what they missed out on. Living in Cape Town sucks if you’re a gamer. Barely any LANs; no expos like Rage; full of jocks – this is starting to sound like that column from an issue or two ago. Stop it.
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http://www.nag.co.za/
http://www.nag.co.za/forums/showthread.php?17607-NAG-October-2011-issue
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2011/09/21

The Dark Mod Halloween Competition is now on

TDM It’s been dry over at The Dark Mod HQ for months now. The version 1.06 update was in June, and the last fan mission released was in July. And it finally happened: I finished almost all of the TDM missions out there, save for a few, which I didn’t like.

But I happened to check the main page yesterday, and noticed that there’s a new competition on. It’s the Halloween Speed Build Contest of 2011! I’ll be lazy and quote the text from the website, which explains it all perfectly:

“A new Halloween speed-build contest is underway! There are at least half a dozen mappers participating, including heavyweights Melan and Bikerdude.

The mission must have at least one element that evokes Halloween. Scary missions will be preferred but things like: playing tricks, finding candy, fall decoration (Gourds, Pumpkins, etc), Pagan harvest festivals, etc ... are all acceptable ways to evoke the holiday. Missions must be completed by October 31th.”

TDM FM The “Halloween Speed Build Contest 2011” is the 4th contest hosted by the TDM team. The others in chronological order were “Grand Christmas Contest ‘09”, “Summer Vertical Contest ‘10”, and “Seasons Contest Spring ‘11” (which took place earlier this year).

At least this means that we’ll get some more good missions by the end of next month, and I have a reason to fire up TDM again! Like I said, I’ve finished most of them, even replaying them on different difficult levels, but I soon tire of doing the same mission again and again. My replays of Thief or Thief II were at least a year or two apart, until I discovered the FMs for T2, of which I’ve played a few.

Source:

TDM - TDM Halloween speed-build contest forum thread


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2011/08/30

NAG September 2011 Issue Out Now

I went to the local convenience store On Thursday last week to pick up the NAG, and lo and behold, it wasn’t there. Friday I returned and it still wasn’t bloody there. Saturday I went back and finally, I managed to get it. So instead of doing anything constructive on a Saturday afternoon, I sat there watching all the trailers on the DVD. Don’t judge me.

And to add to all this, it wasn’t until later on in the week that they even got a post up on the main website’s blog, or on the forum about the September issue. Tsk tsk.

Still, I’ll tell you if this issue has anything worthwhile in it, if you haven’t bought it by now. There’s a feature on 10 games that changed the industry, as well as Diablo III – the fellas at NAG go mad over anything Blizzard. Then again, a lot of people do.

There’s a preview on Bodycount – a game that I sometimes confuse with Epic’s Bulletstorm, or maybe Brink. I think it’s the titles of these games. There’s a few lacklustre reviews on games such as Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which I knew was going to suck as it made a complete departure from the series theme. Then there’s Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows: Part II – like the reviewer states: at least it’s the last one. The Sims 3: Generations doesn’t look like it ads much to the original game, unlike its previous expansions.

The DVD has a few good things on it. There’s the Cheatbook database 2011; There’s a few demos, including a demo of Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows: Part II so you can try it out for yourself and see if it’s that terrible; there’s several free games too, and a soundtrack to be had, in addition to the usual trailers. If you’re looking for graphics card drivers for Windows XP, you won’t find them here. So you’ve gotta download ‘em yourself, seeing as NAG only does Vista and Windows 7 now.

Can anyone say “boycott”?

Check out the links below to get to NAG’s website and the forum thread dedicated to this issue. Highlights from the September issue thread: an off-topic argument that spans 2 or 3 pages, and has nothing to do with “what did you think of this issue?”.

By the way, the DVD suggestion thread for October isn’t up yet, as of publishing this post.

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NAG September 2011 issue

[NAG] September 2011 issue

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2011/08/22

New Review Published: Dead Cyborg

Dead Cyborg Just this week I got my act together and published a new review, which has been sitting around for a week or two, practically finished.

It’s a review of Dead Cyborg, which was released late last month. I managed to play through it thoroughly over a couple of days recently.

Dead Cyborg is a donation based freeware title. How this works is the first episode of the game is released for free, as a teaser or demo of sorts. From there on, the next episode will only be made available once the donation meter fills up. And currently, Endre is looking to make $4000 dollars before releasing the second episode! That’s rather ambitious although he is all ready a third of the way there. I just wonder if I’ll ever get to review the second episode and beyond, though, with demands like that.

Dead Cyborg is a mix of old school text-based adventures, point ‘n click adventures and more modern sci-fi titles, such as the aforementioned System Shock games, BioShock, Fallout, etc. You can see several similarities in theme throughout the episode.

Anyway, head over to HubPages to check it out. I was going to publish this as one of my Thrifty Thursday pieces, but I much prefer HP for reviews because the layout is more customizable.


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2011/08/15

HubPages Turns 5 Years Old

August is a special month to me for two reasons. Firstly, it’s the month that HubPages was originally founded back in 2006, and the content publishing, revenue sharing website turned 5 years old just the other day. August is also the month when I joined HubPages back in 2008, and I received a notification email in my inbox the other day telling me that I’d been a member for 3 years now. I can hardly believe it!

I’m not as active on there as I was back in say 2008 or 2009, but I’ve been gradually trying to get back in to publishing hubs. I’m also revising, editing, and updating a lot of my old articles, too. After the subdomain switch the other day, I began this process, and I’ve been adding photos and other content to existing articles that are two or three years old. And it’s worked – I’m seeing a slight increase in traffic to hubs, overall. So it’s good to see that the effort is rewarded.

I don’t make it a point to cover every HubPages story out there, but I certainly do still read the weekly HubPages newsletters, the blog, and of course I log in to my account from time to time, and occasionally post in the forum. I just thought that this month is reason to celebrate for at least two reasons, as I mentioned above.

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Source: HubPages’ 5th Birthday & The 2011 Hubbie Award Winners [HubPages blog]


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2011/08/04

Finally! Pippa has come back to The Verge!

Pippa on The Verge If you didn’t get it, that was supposed to be a reference -quote-wise- to The Rock, Dwayne Johnson.

Yes, it’s true. Pippa Tshabalala left The Verge for a few months, for reasons still unknown to me. In her place, Thomas Gumede hosted the show right from about January this year until now. That was a gruelling six months or so. Pippa still appeared on the show in some form doing some retro reviews of old gaming series, technology and the like, but wasn’t physically there in person, as far as I could tell. Likely just taped.

But on Monday and Wednesday night’s live episode of The Verge, I was actually pleased to see that Pippa is back! Never again will I complain about… practically everything about her. She’s nothing compared to Thomas anyway. Thomas is a special, one-of-a-kind person*.

Welcome back!

On a related note, Pippa now also writes for NAG magazine as a columnist and has been doing so for the past few months during her break from hosting The Verge.

* Sarcasm

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The Verge on Facebook

The Verge on Twitter


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2011/07/30

New Review Published: The Dark Mod

You didn’t really think that verbose series of posts about this mod was the end, did you? Shame. You wanted a review; “ask and ye shall receive”. This will be the last time for the foreseeable future I post about this mod. Promise… until the next version of it comes out, anyway.

TDM After playing Duke Nukem Forever last month, I decided it might be time to play something a little more intelligent – perhaps even subtle. What could be further from in-your-face, all-out action than a Thief title?

But The Dark Mod isn’t a Thief title – not officially. But it’s damn near the closest thing available out there for the time being, next to playing one of the original games or the numerous FMs for them, anyway.

Despite being released originally nearly two years ago in October 2009, I’ve only just played the mod - really a total conversion for Doom 3 – in the past month. This was version 1.06, released on June 19, 2011.

After spending some time getting reacquainted with sneaking through a place instead of shooting everything up, I set about writing a review of it over the past while, and assembling everything on HubPages just recently before publishing it. I’ve now got the piece up if you’d like to have a look – some of you all ready have. ;)


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2011/07/26

The Dark Mod Experience: Part II

TDM screenAfter the reformat, I obviously had to get everything in working order on my system. After some trouble with some programs, including the ATi drivers for my graphics card (I eventually had to roll back to a previous version), I was about ready to install Doom 3, and then after that, put TDM on my HDD. So after about half an hour or so, I had it all set up, and then ran the TDM launcher. I was at the main menu of this mod, which had eluded me for nearly two years since its release – and I’d craved to play it for about twice as long.
The only game I’d wanted longer than this was Duke Nukem Forever, which I also managed to play last month – and if you were wondering, sort of inspired this two-part series in a way. Yatta over at duke4.net wrote a series called “The DNF Experience”.
But there were problems once I tried to actually play the game. After installing one of the FMs and attempting to play it, the screen froze once the game was restarted, and I also noted that the Doom 3 intro screen flashed in front of me at one point. So I had to hit alt+ctrl+del and go back to the desktop. I tried firing up the launcher again, but then I ended up with a blank screen.

After this, I ran Doom 3 itself, and tried loading the mod from there, but that was also a no-go. I couldn’t figure out what to do.

I perused the TDM forum online to see if anyone else had the same problem, and came across some similar ones, and there were several suggestions thrown out – some pertaining to ATi drivers and other similar issues.

I really need to get rid of this graphics card and go back to nVidia. I rarely had any problems back then.
But I thought that since I’m only running v 1.3, I should really update it to v 1.6 to see if that would fix the error – I’d read of others having fixed problems this way. So I waited nearly another month.

A month later; I hadn’t played any games for weeks and I was starting to feel the strain. I needed a break from reality. I had just under half of my data left, so I took TDM off my HDD and put a clean version on there in the Doom 3 directory and ran the updater. It was so slow; it would have taken hours to get the process done. Even though I’ve since learned that the updater can resume downloads, I didn’t know that at the time. So I cancelled, and instead waited until the next day.

Water arrows - gotta love 'emThe Builders are kinky b*ggers...You don't gotta look at the compass to find the door, son.

On the Monday, I ran the updater, and it was much faster. I was able to get all of 340 MB down and installed within an hour and a half. It only took longer than that, because while I was in the bath that evening (it’s winter here now – I don’t shower this time of year), my firewall started blocking the TDM updater’s access to the web. After allowing it through, it finished up, did a bit of housecleaning and patching, and it was done.

I then backed up the full v 1.6 and all the FMs I had at that point (about 35+). I wasn’t too sure if this would fix the problems I had with it, and instead of trying it, I left it for that night, instead opting to play some DNF.
Then the following night I had the courage to fire up the TDM launcher, and got to the main menu again. It had been weeks since I’d last been here. I installed just the included training mission, without loading in all the FMs to the appropriate folder, and TDM restarted. I was anticipating yet another blank screen or something. Then I saw a loading screen for the first time.

“I haven’t got this far yet,” I thought.

I crossed my fingers and waited. Bloody long loading times.

To my amazement, it happened - I was in the game. I was in the training mission – in the room with doors all around me. I couldn’t believe that running the updater actually worked! I thought I’d at least have to try the torrent again, or perhaps run the updater and grab the full 2 GB of TDM that way – which I hear is the most painless way of going about it.

I played the training mission a bit, and exited. I wanted to see if I could get back to the main menu again and not see a blank screen. I could.
It was working just fine.
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I always find that when I’m so eager to play a game or mod, then it’s like life chucks everything in front of me, not allowing me to have any fun. Whereas all the games I’m not so amped about work fine. Murphy’s, or Sod’s Law, I guess: if something can go wrong, it will.

But now I don’t play TDM. It sits there on my HDD. At first I didn’t want to play it or install any more FMs because I might’ve broken something, and I’d have to reinstall and it wouldn't work… again.
From the screenshots, you can obviously tell that I have played the mod, and at least several of the missions. But now I have TDM and all the FMs out there, and everything’s working – I’m not interested anymore. I spent nearly two years trying to get the mod - jumping through all sorts of hoops, getting around tons of obstacles.

The chase is better than the catch, as they say.
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2011/07/21

The Dark Mod Experience: Part I

TDM screenI finally played The Dark Mod the other night.

I first spied The Dark Mod as an interesting project back in 2007, after visiting Thief-The-Circle, which is part of the TTLG network of sites. But the project started way back in 2004, after the somewhat disappointing Thief: Deadly Shadows was released the same year.

I immediately began downloading all of the screenshots and videos that were made available, and viewed them continually for months.

Years passed, and in 2009 the first beta release was out, after approximately five years of work. I wanted it - but at the time, here in the third world, I still had a dial-up connection, which meant it would take at least a full month of downloading to get this mod – and the only way you could get this mod was by running one of those online updaters, which have to run while you’re online, obviously. It would have taken days.

So I had to put it on the backburner for a while.

At about the same time however, I started using data bundles with my Smartphone. I thought about how much it would cost to buy a 2GB data bundle to get the mod. I could easily afford it, but the only thing is that data bundles, with the network I was on at the time, had to last 60 days (it used to be 30). So after downloading the mod (which I think was about 1.2 – 1.5 GB at the time), I’d have to be very frugal with the rest of the data. I could have done it - barely - in hindsight, but chose not to.

Instead, I tried petitioning (or nagging) to get the mod on the Cover DVD of NAG – a local gaming magazine. The DVD is usually full of rubbish including mainly trailers and videos and the like. I thought they’d be thrilled to put something on the DVD. But no – it was the same excuse: “It’s in the queue”. I even tried to get NAG to do a preview of TDM before that, but there was absolutely no interest whatsoever.

If you were to dig around on this blog, you would see that I’ve written about all my frustrations in trying to nab it several times in the past. I do know for a fact that the TDM community stops by here every now and again. Even a TDM developer of sorts caught on and went over to the NAG forums, promising to get a proper direct download package up and running – even with some FMs. That still hasn’t happened.

TDM in-game (Return to the City)briefing screen (Alchemist)TDM in-game (The Siege Shop)

                    Would you care for some screenshots, young thief?

Fast forward to 2011, and I was using 1 Day uncapped broadband bundles with my 3G provider. I found that not only do you have an option to run the updater to download everything, but you can also download the torrent. I gave that a try. Hell, it was slow – it was barely any  faster than my dial-up connection – partly because the network I was on throttles you after using only 150 MB of bandwidth. It said it would take 20+ hours to download. I had 24 hours until the data bundle expired. I gave it a try, but barely got half-way before calling it quits. I wasn’t going to get it done. When I bought another 1 Day uncapped data bundle and tried to resume that download, I couldn’t because version 1.5 was out, and the torrent I tried to download was v 1.4. The torrent was taken down or something, by the look of it.

It was this year that my dial-up deal was coming to an end, and I had to look elsewhere for options. I spotted a Wi-Fi deal that gives you a modem and 5GB of data per month. I thought that would be ideal seeing as I would be able to use up half through the month, and then have enough to download The Dark Mod as well as all the FMs available, which stood at about 40+ at that time.

I tried the torrent, but once again it said that I would have to wait about 20 hours or more to get the thing. There were barely any people seeding it, and no peers. It initially ran at about 100 KB/s, but dropped to half that, and less, in no time.

“Why can’t they put a direct download up somewhere for Chr*st’s sake?” I thought. Then I actually checked, just out of curiosity, to see if there really is such a thing. I saw that some people had uploaded versions of the mod to Rapidshare and MegaUpload and so on. But I spotted something even better: there was a download available at Gamefront through the Dark Mod’s ModDB page.

I downloaded that instead. It wasn’t the full version 1.5 (at the time), but it was v 1.3, which was close enough. I figured I’d just run the updater later and get it up to v 1.5. Anyway, the download took 4 hours instead of 20, which made me happy. The modem held up under a storm outside which lasted the entire time. I was on edge that afternoon because I wasn’t sure if the server supported download resume. If the connection was dropped, then I might have to start over. Luckily that didn’t happen by some miracle. That modem usually drops under even a hint of bad weather.

I downloaded about 30 of the FMs, until my data reset – it was the end of the month. I left it until the last bloody minute to do all this. I immediately set about backing up all the files, in case something happened to them. I was damned if I was ever going to do all that again.

I ended up making two or three discs with the mod on it. One or two of those discs had some sort of write failure, because there was an internet security program interfering with Nero. I uninstalled the interfering program, and then I managed to get one successful write out of three.

After that I reformatted my HDD, which I’d been planning for some time, after just getting fed up with all the issues I’d been plagued with.

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End of Part I – look out for Part II soon.


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2011/07/05

New Article: Duke Nukem Forever Review

Recently I played the one and only ‘unshippable’ game: Duke Nukem Forever. I started late last month and finished it over a period of days, with several play sessions. I decided I would try my hand at getting back into the game reviewing… game. I haven’t done any for some time now, unless you count the odd few I’ve posted on this blog, and so I started a review and published it on my HubPages account.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve got these screens here as well as over at the review – it’s because I can’t seem to upload pics to HP for some reason, so I uploaded them here, and I’ve then imported them via URL to that hub.





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2011/06/29

NAG July 2011 Issue Out This Week

I didn’t post about the last issue coming out last month due to the aforementioned complication which I’m sure I blogged about not too long ago.

I suddenly realised that it’s the last Thursday of the month this week, and that means that the latest NAG will be out. Looking at the contents PDF, I can see that there’s two interesting features this time round: one on Battlefield 3, and another on “The Top 8 developers who fell from grace”. I can only imagine that 3D Realms is in that list somewhere. If not, it bloody well should have been.

Speaking of which, believe it or not, Duke Nukem Forever was released earlier this month. I’m busy playing it as we speak (or as I type anyway), and I’m liking it quite a bit. The reviews out on the web suggest that a lot of people don’t, and I’m looking forward to seeing what NAG’s take on the game is, seeing there’s a review on it in the magazine. The fellas on the NAG Online forum seem to enjoy it.

Other reviews include one on LA Noire, Brink, and Operation Flashpoint: Red River.

As for the Cover DVD, there’s a new edition of the NAG CD Database, new graphics card drivers, and something from Musica. There’s the usual trailers and video, including the return of the popular Pop-Fiction series to the DVD.

And lastly, the new August Cover DVD Suggestion thread is open now, so head over there and put down your recommendations.
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NAG July 2011 issue
[NAG] July 2011 issue
[DVD] August DVD suggestion thread

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2011/06/19

The Backloggery is Back!

If there’s one website I’ve been looking to sign up on for nearly a year, it’s Backloggery. Here, once registered, you can enter in all the games you’ve ever played, and divide them up into sections such as: ones you’ve beaten (or clocked); ones you haven’t finished; and ones you’ve completed to 100%, or mastered entirely.

Last year I wanted to join, but the webmaster talked about having some sort of arm injury and the site has been down for nearly a year. Then there were other issues this year like an underactive thyroid that plagued him too. Real life – figures.

But June 3rd marked the return of Backloggery, and I joined on pretty much the first day it was back online. I had other issues to deal with on my end though, like reformatting my HDD, so I’m only just now getting stuck into the whole affair of entering in all the games I have.

There’s been several improvements to the website, including a total makeover, if you’ve followed the Backloggery blog (Changeloggery) and public registration is now open once again to all. There were some server issues and the like for several months, and public registration was closed, but there was definitely talk of registration by invite at one point.

So I for instance can take my big list of games and go about entering them all into the appropriate categories – why, because I like filling things out like surveys and that sort of thing. But also because I love playing video games.

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Source: Registration will open: June 3 (Changeloggery)
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2011/05/16

The Web’s Worthy Downloads #4 [Guide to Goodness]

This is a new feature that I’ve decided to put on the blog. Here every now and again, I will put down all the stuff on the web that’s been released lately (and sometimes not) which is worth downloading. It could be games; music; programs – you name it.

I might do this weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. I’ll see how it goes. But one things for sure – everything you read about here is free, and therefore, very likely legal to download and play or use.

Bulletstorm Let’s start off this issue with something different. Yes, there’s the usual plethora of game demos out there on the web, some of which will be featured here.

But just check this out: Epic recently released the Bulletstorm soundtrack… for free. Now even though they host the thing over at the main website for you to grab, you can also get it in other locations, naturally – and I’d try one of these, personally.

I haven’t played the game, personally, but I’ve read it’s not bad at all, and worth a try. And besides, how often do you see game soundtracks released gratis?

Next on the list is Anomaly: Warzone Earth. I know my brother has been dying to get a hold of this for some reason or another. I was reading a piece over at Big Download (which is now no more, alas) about it, and it’s similar to a tower defence strategy title, except this time it’s the reverse: tower attacking. It’s by an indie studio called 11 Bit, and seems to have garnered some praise.

There’s a demo of the game online, which you can download too, for less than 400 MB.

overlord You might also like this next one. I know I’m excited about it. The latest version 5.0 of the Duke Nukem 3D HRP is out! After a long wait it’s finally here - weighing in at more than half a gigabyte. There’s all sorts of new additions this time around, and you can check out duke4.net for more info and screenshots and the like.

In short, this version debuts the official integration of Polymer (AKA “shiny”). Polymer is the new renderer, instead of the old Polymost used originally with Duke Nukem 3D and its Build engine. Other than that, new models and textures and so on mean that this is the biggest release since, well version 4. You’ll need a beast of a machine to run Polymer, the HRP and all the bells and whistles turned on, though. In fact, the recommended specs for Duke Nukem Forever are probably more forgiving than this.

But looking at what this game looks like 15 years later, since it was first released in 1996 - it’s just astronomical how much effort has gone in to this project.

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Anomaly: Warzone Earth Demo (395 MB)

Bulletstorm soundtrack (100 MB)

Duke Nukem 3D High Resolution Pack v5 (550 MB)


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2011/04/26

NAG May 2011 Issue out This Week

This Thursday, the 28th of May, sees the release of the latest issue of NAG – SA’s premier (and one of only a few) gaming magazines.

So what’s in store for us this time? Like last issue was the Duke Nukem issue, this one is going with a whole Tomb Raider theme, and that is the cover feature. Inside there’s a preview feature as well as two interviews if you’re interested in reading, and not gawking at Lara Croft. In fact, nobody except possibly some people at NAG, and probably Crystal Dynamics, know what the cover looks like. There wasn’t one on the website – and therefore there’s no preview image here: because there’s an embargo on the cover image. First game reviews, and now magazine covers…

There’s also some previews on titles such as Portal 2 - now released in the real world, as well as Red Faction: Armageddon – a game inspired by Dead Space if I ever saw one.

The reviews section has a lot of hot new games, like Crysis 2 (played it – awesome!), Dragon Age II, Homefront, and The Sims: Medieval.

As for the DVD, I see that three of my suggestions made it onto this month’s issue. One of them is Red Eclipse – a game featured in one of my "Web’s Worthy Downloads” posts. The other is the Dragon Age II HRP (or high resolution texture pack). Oh, and there’s a Torchlight demo on there too. I suggested all of those in the May DVD suggestion thread on the NAG forums… I think.

Speaking of which, now that the May issue is out, the June DVD suggestion thread is now open. Check for all necessary links below the post.

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NAG May 2011 issue

[NAG] May 2011 issue

[DVD] June DVD suggestion thread


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2011/04/21

Chaos Computers Dropping its ISP Service This Month

If you’re a local gamer or technology user, you might have heard of Chaos Computers. And if you’re very familiar with them, you might also know that in addition to running a successful chain store, and maintaining a website with online store, they’ve also acted as an ISP for customers too, with dialup and broadband solutions. This is called ChaosNET.

It was made known to me last month all ready that Chaos Computers is going to drop this service soon. Why I was notified of this, was because I’ve been a ChaosNET customer for nearly five years.

The reason given for the decision to stop this service was that “it didn’t fit in with Chaos’s future plans”.
They say that the last day the service will be up is the 30th of April, 2011; no longer being active as of the 1st of May, 2011. This also means that any email accounts with ChaosNET will become obsolete – this sucks for me because it’s one that I’ve used for some of my most personal stuff, including online banking and so on. So if any others out there use ChaosNET (and it probably wasn’t ever that popular in the first place, otherwise they’d probably keep it going), then make sure to switch to another ISP and/or get another email account somewhere, somehow.

Luckily on the 1st of May, Vodacom’s new 2+2 GB promotion becomes available. Interesting…

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Source: Chaos Computers
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2011/04/14

The Web’s Worthy Downloads #3 [Guide to Goodness]

For this issue of what’s best on the web, I have quite a good line-up.

First off, there’s a new version of the full free game known as Warsow (people tend to pronounce it as “Warsaw” – like the capital of Poland). The game is a first person shooter geared more towards multiplayer, much like Alien Arena or Red Eclipse, which were both featured in the previous issue in this series.

Warsow But this game is different from those games in several ways. Upon first seeing it, you’d think that it’s just another Quake III Arena inspired mod of some sorts. But it uses the Qfusion engine, technology based on the Quake 2 GPL engine. It features celshaded graphics, which lends the title a cartoonish or comic-like style, which gives it quite a bit of character.

But where Warsow really shines, is in its gameplay techniques. You are encouraged to learn these as you go along – they include bunny hopping, wall jumping, dodging, and the likes. It’s all about momentum – as long as you keep it going, you are more likely to have things play your way. Add in some weapons that are borrowed from FPSs from the 90’s such as Quake III Arena, and you’ve got a fun free game.

You can download the full game, which weighs in at over 400 MB. But if you have an existing copy of Warsow on your HDD, you can download and install a patch, which will upgrade it – and this is far less in terms of weight. The game is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

The next item on the list is the demo of a game called Black Mirror III. This is the latest, and apparently the final chapter in The Black Mirror trilogy – a series of third-person point-and-click adventures.

You take the role once again of Darren, who appeared in BM II, who is arrested as the chief suspect of a crime. After a few weeks, his bail is posted and Darren is released. He then sets out to once again try and get to the bottom of a “tangled web of riddles”.

I haven’t had the chance to play any of these Black Mirror titles, but apparently the first one was said to be pretty good. The only thing is that BM III is only going to be published in Oz, the UK, and Scandinavia. So it remains to be seen if there will be any plans for a release elsewhere in the world at some point. From what I’ve read, digital distribution might also be on the cards.

The game is set to be released in the aforementioned territories on the 22nd of April, 2011. The demo is up for download now and comes in at 823 MB.

The Dark Mod Also out this month is the latest version of The Dark Mod. This chalks it up to 1.05. Within this release is a whole bunch of bug fixes and some new “assets”. The download comes in at just under 2 GB this time, and you have two chief ways of obtaining it. You should either download the small installer, and then you run the installer while online, so it can grab all the data – not the best way to go about doing this, but luckily there is another option. Usually a torrent is provided as well, a few days after release. And this has download resume and all – this is the option I’d consider using. It does kind of suck that once the new torrent is up on the official site, the old one doesn’t seem to function any longer. So if you had the download in your queue and were planning on resuming it some time – forget it. Rather try a torrent elsewhere.

At first I was upset that there wasn’t a proper download package, but the updater makes sense if you all ready have an existing build of the mod. You just run it and update it, rather than having it download a whole massive amount of data. It is kind of convenient in that situation.

Note that you’ll need Doom 3 for this mod to work, and it also has to be patched to the most recent version 1.3.1. Also note that no maps are included except a training mission. The FMs, or fan missions, you’ll have to grab separately. All in all, it’s a lot of stuff to download, but I’ve read that it’s probably worth it in the end.

Then there’s one last thing here to be featured. There’s a huge mod compendium for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and it’s fittingly called the “Morrowind Overhaul mod”. To quote the text on the website where it’s featured, it’s a “massive compilation mod project that encompasses the work of over 80 mod authors and almost a decade of modding”. And what the mod does is basically overhaul (what were you expecting?) the graphics and sounds in the game. It is quite hefty, but not as bad as The Dark Mod – slightly over 1 GB.

And there’s also a patch that you should probably consider getting as well, which will update it to version 1.1.

That’s it then for this edition. Check back later on in the month perhaps when issue #4’s out. See you then!

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Black Mirror III PC Demo [823 MB]

Warsow v0.61 Free Full Game for Windows [442 MB] – website

The Dark Mod v 1.05 [2 GB] – website

Morrowind Overhaul mod [1.2 GB]

Morrowind Overhaul – Sounds & Graphics v1.1 Patch


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2011/04/07

Thrifty Thursday - WGRealms 2: Siege Breaker

HEAD4 William Gee is known among other things for creating some pretty good maps for Duke Nukem 3D. Within the community he’d be placed up there with the likes of Pascal Rouad, hailed for his innovative Roch series in the past – and he is hands down one of the greatest DN3D mappers ever.

I’ve played several maps by both these authors, and the praise is well-deserved in most cases.

But William Gee is also known for something else, and that is WGRealms. Admittedly, I’ve heard of the first WGRealms before, but I haven’t played it yet (although I hear it’s included in the latest release – more on this just now). So when I heard that version 1.2 of WGRealms 2 had been released this month, and more importantly that it was free, I checked it out and downloaded it.

Here I was thinking that this was just yet another collection of maps for Duke Nukem 3D – but I had been warned though: 95% of the content from DN3D had been replaced, or so the help file said. This was not just some mod, or a map pack after all; this was a total conversion.

screenshot95screenshot89

I fired it up and played through the first bit of the game. It took me a while to figure out just what the hell was going on, but when I did – once I started to get the hang of it all – I was convinced that I was playing likely one of the greatest games I’ve had the fortune to have on my hard drive.

Why I like it so much is because it combines all of my favourite elements from the best shooters from the 90’s, and maybe even early 2000’s, when FPS titles were just gory, run-and-gun, all out action – minus the soppy cutscenes, guest appearances by D-list actors, and the focus on “realism” and graphics; I loved this period of history, and still do.

There’s strong and pretty obvious hints of titles such as Doom, Heretic, Hexen, and Quake, as well as Duke Nukem 3D; maybe even a dash of Quake II, Unreal, and perhaps Clive Barker’s Undying and Serious Sam. Whether I’m completely right I don't know, but when I sense something inspired a project like this, I’m usually right.

You’re going to see enemies and weapons from these games, but perhaps with a slight makeover in some cases. Powerups and such like the famous quad damage from the Quake universe make an appearance. And the titular hero from DN3D is there too, spewing his one-liners and so on, bringing the coolness factor to this otherwise red hot concoction. This is pretty much the 5% of DN3D that is left. And indeed I noticed that some of these weapons were even incorporated into the likes of DukePlus, an all ready spectacular mod for DN3D.

But the thing is that WGRealms 2 isn’t just an FPS. It also has some RPG elements in there too, borrowed from the likes of Diablo. It’s like one big stew of gaming goodness, and I can’t help but just feel that its main aim is to bring back something old, but put a twist on it; altering the recipe and being adventurous so that it’s immensely enjoyable once again.

You have loot that’s dropped when you off enemies, and the POW abilities, which you can configure during the game on the fly, so that when it’s fully charged, you can execute any number of fantastic combinations that will put a world of hurt on your foes.

And if all this isn’t enough, there’s also an unlockable character in the game too. If you’ve grown tired of playing as Duke (and why the hell would you be?), then you can start up one of the added chapters of the game that’s been included since the release from last year. Jedrik is the man’s name and an entirely different style of play is unleashed once you have him to control. The entire arsenal is chucked out and replaced, and you can wield swords, hammers and a shield.

And this I have just but gleamed from said help file mentioned earlier. I’m still on my first playthrough at the moment. There’s another thing that can be said about this game: it’s very lengthy, and bloody challenging. It truly is a testament to the shooters of yesteryear, then.

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Official WGR2 website

WGR2 at Mod DB

Dan G's WGR2 page at Fissile Materials

Discussion thread at Duke4.net


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2011/03/31

NAG April 2011 Issue Out This Week

Like NAG has printed proudly on the post on their website: it’s the birthday issue this month. NAG has been around for thirteen years. NAG is officially a teenager now!

You might notice a redesign of the magazine this issue - apparently this happens every year. Not to mention that NAG online has had a new lick of paint done as well. And the new look is going down much better than some other new sites that tried the same thing recently.

As you can see by the cover, Duke Nukem Forever features heavily in this issue. Miktar Dracon even attended the T*tty City event in Las Vegas a while back, so there’s much to report on there.
I was just having a look over on the forums, and the general consensus is that this is one of the best covers ever featured on NAG magazine – perhaps bar the white birthday issue from a few years back. I think this might well be better than that, though.

Pippa Tshabalala, who has taken a beak from hosting the shows on DSTV - The Verge and PlayR – also has a column in this issue. I wouldn’t say this is really the reason why she took a break from the show, but I am hoping that she makes it back, sooner rather than later. Having to put up with Thomas Gumede for the past month….

There’s not much that catches the eye when it comes to content inside the magazine (apart from Duke Nukem Forever), unless you count a review of the crazy Bulletstorm.
One thing I noticed is that the contents on the DVD are not listed in the PDF which you’ll find on the website. So you’ll have to wait until you buy it to see what’s on it. Sucks.

Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to have a look at the brand new NAG Facebook page. Yes, there’s all ready an existing group on Facebook, but from what I’ve read, the group’s content will slowly be migrated over to the new page. Don’t know what all this is in aid of, but another new thing to check out.

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Sources:
NAG April 2011 issue
[NAG] April 2011 issue
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2011/03/30

KTV Going off the air at the end of March

I was going through my news feeds, like I usually do, the other night, and I came across something on the NAG Online forum that sort of shocked me.

Do you remember as a kid, coming home from school, and before you’d done anything else – boring stuff; taking a dump, getting out of uniform, eating, or doing homework – you’d plonk down in front of the TV, and tune in to KTV (or Kid’s TV, so I was told years ago), on MNET?

KTV is going off the air this year. First it was Animax (didn’t care - it came back better actually, as SonyMax) – now this.

capture_16_00_00_875

I couldn’t believe it myself. Here we were in the 90’s as kids growing up, going to school -and we grew up with KTV. And somewhat amusingly the reason behind its demise is this:

''The kiddies block, KTV is falling away from 1 April,'' says Lani Lombard, M-Net's communications manager. ''The reason for that is that the M-Net and KTV audience have grown up,'' she says. The audience has moved. For subscribers who have DStv have moved to the 24 hour kids channels like Nickelodeon and all the other DStv kids channels. So there will still be some kids programming, but no longer a specific kids block.''

Summarised as follows: “The kids of today aren’t interested in KTV – they have the cartoon channels on DSTV to watch”.

Hell, the kids of today aren’t interested at all. From what I’ve heard, they’re too busy drinking, smoking, taking drugs, and boinking… at the age of 8. Where has the innocence in the world gone? I was twice that age before anything like that crossed my mind.

Anyway, KTV is said to be going off the air on Thursday 31 March. And it apparently won’t be rebranded or such, although likely will be replaced by something or other. Saturday, April 2nd is the last episode of the Power Edition. After that, KTV is no more.

Anyway, come on guys and gals, tune in to KTV for the last time and just savour the memories.

Good bye, old friend. Forever Young.

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Sources:

teeveetee.blogspot.com

KTV going off the air


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2011/03/26

The Web’s Worthy Downloads #2 [Guide to Goodness]

This is a new feature that I’ve decided to put on the blog. Here every now and again, I will put down all the stuff on the web that’s been released lately (and sometimes not) which is worth downloading. It could be games; music; programs – you name it.

I might do this weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. I’ll see how it goes. But one things for sure – everything you read about here is free, and therefore, very likely legal to download and play or use.

This is issue #2 of this new feature on AAA.

What do we have for this instalment then? This time it’s not as varied as before – it’s mainly all about first person shooters, most of which are multiplayer, and inspired by the likes of classics such as Quake III Arena.

Alien Arena 2011 The first is called Alien Arena 2011. It’s described by the developers as a retro-themed shooter, with a dose of sci-fi and aliens – we need more of this in games. It’s supposedly like a cross between Quake and Fallout 3, or some such, just by looking at the screenshot on the right. The latest version of it is 7.51, and it weighs in at just under 300 MB.

Then there’s Red Eclipse, also a free multiplayer game which once again draws inspiration from the likes of Quake III Arena – but it doesn’t use the Quake III Arena, or id Tech 3 engine. It’s a TC for the Cube Engine 2, just so you know. That’s all there is to say, it seems, apart from the fact that version 1.0 weighs in at decidedly more than AA 2011: it’s 428 MB.

There is however something else; a break from the multiplayer madness. It’s a demo of Torchlight. Now I’ve heard a little bit about this in the past – it’s an RPG title developed by some of the people who brought you Diablo, operating under the name Runic Games. This is a free time-limited, or rolling, demo which lasts 2 hours. After that you won’t be able to play it anymore, and you’ll have to buy a key (serial number) to unlock the game so you can continue playing. This one is also quite heavy, coming in at over 400 MB. But just think about this: you’re essentially getting the full game, just with restrictions.

 C&C: Generals – Zero Hour: Enhanced Something else I found just recently is a mod for C&C: Generals – Zero Hour: Enhanced. I know – Zero Hour is ancient. It was released about eight years ago as an expansion to C&C: Generals – a spinoff of the main C&C universe. And no, this mod I’m talking about is not The Forgotten, which is a mod for C&C 3. This mod for Zero Hour, made by the [FM] Enhanced Mod Team, introduces players to improved graphics, textures, units, maps, and AI. There’s a whole bunch of other changes that have been made too, and you can check them all out over at the official ModDB page. There’s two downloads to be had. The one is 131 MB, and is the beta version of the mod. The second one, released a few days later, is an update, coming in at less than half that: 60 MB.

Some of these downloads are quite hefty, but in the likely case that you won’t have the time or data to handle getting them yourselves, I have suggested all of these for the latest NAG cover DVD. Whether they’ll appear on there is another story. But more often than not, they often do. Note that NAG, to my knowledge, is only available for the most part in South Africa, as well as some limited bordering countries. Of course you might be able to smuggle one in to the USA or wherever you live.

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[DVD] May DVD suggestion thread

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Alien Arena 2011 v7.51 Full Game [294 MB] Website

Red Eclipse 1.0 (Free Full Game) [428 MB] website

Torchlight v1.15 Demo [410.94MB]

C&C: Generals – Zero Hour Mod: Enhanced [131 MB] official page on Mod DB

Zero Hour: Enhanced - Enhanced Graphical Content 0.6.2 [60 MB]


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2011/03/10

The Web’s Worthy Downloads [Guide to Goodness]

This is a new feature that I’ve decided to put on the blog. Here every now and again, I will put down all the stuff on the web that’s been released lately (and sometimes not) which is worth downloading. It could be games; music; programs – you name it.

I might do this weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. I’ll see how it goes. But one things for sure – everything you read about here is free, and therefore, very likely legal to download and play or use.

This week, I have a few good things for you:

WGRealms 2: Siege Breaker The latest version of WGRealms 2: Siege Breaker was released this week. What is WGRealms 2? It’s a total conversion for Duke Nukem 3D, and the sequel to the original WGRealms – which was but a mere collection of maps for DN3D. Siege Breaker has new weapons to play with, as well as several maps, of which you’ll notice inspiration from several other 90’s era FPS titles, such as Hexen, Doom, and Quake, among others. Look out for a review of this on the blog at a later date, perhaps.

Next up is a high resolution pack, or HRP, for the upcoming Dragon Age 2 - for the PC version, of course. This has been released for free on the game’s website. It weighs in at over 1 GB, and by the looks of it you will need a hefty rig to handle it.

And then I just read about the Crysis 2 multiplayer demo the other day, which is available. That and the new patch for the demo. All in all, also over 1 GB this time for the two combined. For what it’s worth, I read somewhere that this demo was responsible for losing about half of Crysis 2’s PC market. And people wonder why some companies opt to have a post-release demo.

KQIIIredux And there’s also a King’s Quest III remake out now by AGDI! It’s been years since the last two were released. There is another remake of the third game, but it was handled by another “studio”. This new one is more inline with what you’d expect from AGD Interactive, previously known as Tierra. This redux was made in AGS, or Adventure Game Studio – an excellent program to use when looking to make a classic Sierra or LucasArts point and click, or text-based, adventure.

Some of these downloads are quite hefty, but in the likely case that you won’t have the time or data to handle getting them yourselves, I have suggested all of these for the latest NAG cover DVD. Whether they’ll appear on there is another story. But more often than not, they often do. Note that NAG to my knowledge is only available for the most part in South Africa as well as some limited bordering countries. Of course you might be able to smuggle one in to the USA or wherever you live.
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WGRealms 2: Siege Breaker [56 MB]
Crysis 2 v1.2 Multiplayer Demo Patch [38 MB]
Crysis 2 Multiplayer Demo [1.55 GB]
Download King's Quest III Redux: To Heir is Human [231 MB]
Dragon Age II High Resolution Texture Pack [1.1 GB]
[DVD] April DVD Suggestion Thread
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2011/02/28

Pippa Taking a Break From The Verge

Pippa Tshabalala has been hosting the show known as The Verge for over the past two years now as far as I can recall, even though I only really started watching sometime in 2009. The show in it’s original form began in December 2008.

The Verge made a return in January 2011 after going on another break over the Christmas holidays. This was the second break The Verge had taken in about six months or so. The previous one was a break from June until August 2010.

But now just when the show has been on for just over a month again, Pippa said on last Wednesday night’s episode that she is leaving for a spell, soon – some say for two months. This means obviously that she won’t host The Verge or PlayR. On a side note she claimed that she would also be writing a column for NAG magazine soon, the first of which would appear in the birthday issue of NAG next month.

But Pippa said that there would be a replacement host on the shows for next several weeks. There I was, praying to a god who may or may not exist, that it isn’t Mo. PLEASE. Thankfully it isn’t. But it is someone else. And when I saw who it was, I cringed.

In the past there have been some rather pitiful attempts by the public to audition for a spot as a host on The Verge. And now it seems I’ve found the reason why this was being done. Pippa might only be leaving on a short break, but in the future, who knows, it might be more permanent.

Anyway, back to the substitute here. Pippa says that he has some crazy gaming skills, and for some reason I was expecting, in a cruel twist of irony, to see Michael James of NAG magazine to pop up on the screen. But it wasn’t. It’s a guy who is actually more obnoxious and irritating, and even unfunnier than Siya, and the entire Crème Cartel on Vuzu. I couldn’t believe it.

This guy, Thomas Gumede, will be hosting the show. Watch the promo to see exactly why some think that this will be the downfall of the show. The lunatics are running the asylum…

I think I saw him on the show at one stage playing on an Asus laptop, and when Pippa was asking him what the game was like and all (CoD: Black Ops, I think), he didn’t even know what to say. And they expect this guy to host the show?

I wish we could get some better shows on gaming here. Ginx Files and GameFace turned out to be a bit disappointing. What about G4TV in the states? Is that any good?

I kind of wish that it’s some sort of cruel joke or that it’s all a dream. It’s times like this when I really, really miss Cybernet.

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Source: The Verge


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2011/02/24

NAG March 2011 Issue Out Today

Today sees the arrival of the latest issue of NAG hitting shelves.

There’s some good news right off the bat here. This issue of NAG is said to be up in page count, and I also saw by looking at the contents page that the spine will return some time – maybe next month, seeing as the April issue will be NAG’s birthday issue.

So let’s look at what’s in this issue of NAG:

Homefront gets the cover this issue, with some features on the Tomb Raider reboot as well. Previews include a look at the Mortal Kombat reboot, and reviews – the major feature here is Dead Space 2, released last month.

The Cover DVD – which is the reason we all buy magazines anyway – has several demos on it, none of which I’ve heard of before. The extras section does have some cool stuff by the looks of it, with a few suggestions I’ve made in the past on there. These include Pixel Force: Halo, and Pixel Force: Left 4 Dead. And a mod that I suggested a long time ago is here too: Command & Conquer 3: The Forgotten.
Speaking of suggestions, to coincide with the release of the new issue, the April DVD suggestion thread is now open for your links to whatever it is that you want to appear on the DVD. Remember that it pays to be patient, and always have direct links in your posts if you want a chance.

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NAG March 2011 issue
[NAG] March 2011 issue
[DVD] April DVD Suggestion Thread
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2011/02/10

Keen Dreams: Duke Nukem Forever

dnflogona1920x1200 

It actually happened. Last night, for the first time ever, I dreamt about Duke Nukem Forever.

And it was probably one of the best dreams I’d had in recent memory – not just because it was about DNF, but because it was one of the most emotion-fuelled ones I think I’ve ever had.

It started with me playing DNF, and walking around some building, which felt like some sort of top secret facility, or lab (it could have been the IMF: Impossible Mission Facility, from Duke Nukem 3D). And as you can imagine, there I was, picking things up, throwing them around; enjoying the interactivity that is said to be in the game.

As I made my way down the storeys of the building, I was talking to people, and one of these individuals sounded like Isaac Kleiner from Half-Life 2. “They’ve really gone all out on this!” I thought to myself, as I even caught myself shedding a tear or two every now and again. I was finally, actually playing the game of my dreams (no pun intended).

Two pistols, but one laser sight? Yes, the image is photoshopped, dropkick.

Then I reached a point where I had to get down on my belly and crawl under some part of the structure, all the while being careful to avoid shooting myself with my duel M1911s. That’s right, DUEL, as in TWO Golden Colts. I think this made it in there after playing a lot of Duke 3D with the DukePlus mod.

As I was crawling (and feeling that this was a scene straight out of Metal Gear Solid), and nearly getting Duke’s huge body stuck under the floorboards, the action picked up. Through an opening ahead, I saw a van ram some kid right up against the wall in an alley. Then I heard voices, like they were questioning the kid’s friend, whose name happened to be Christian. For every question he hesitated on, the van rammed the other guy against the wall again (might have been Yatta). Maybe they wanted to desperately know what playing DNF was like.

Then the dream skipped ahead for a bit. I must have exited the game for some ludicrous reason, and there I was, reading an issue of some gaming magazine down by the pool. It looked like it might have been NAG due to the familiar reviews and scoring system. I skipped all the way down to the bottom and read the last paragraph, while simultaneously, my other eye caught the final score and pros and cons down at the bottom of the page.

There was a big round, solid score of 80. Not bad, but not as great as some might have wanted. And when I looked to see what the pros and cons were, I noticed something rather ironic under “plus”. It was one word: “pretty”. And this is after so many people have criticised the game for not being graphically up to snuff. I could only chuckle at that. Under “minus”, there was nothing; just a blank space. Once again, I found this kind of hard to believe, as critics who have played the game and previewed it have had a lot of nasty stuff to say about it – particularly the Xbox 360 version of the game, with persistent framerate issues and the like.

I think this was likely the reason I dreamt about DNF last night, after going through all my RSS feeds, picking up on the latest chicken scratch, and sh!t-talking on DNF. Whether the game does suck or not, I know that I’m going to get it and play it. I have to, since it’s really the only game that I’ve ever truly wanted for half my life (Half-Life? Get it?).


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2011/01/29

Apocalypse Then: Duke Nukem 3D

15 years of Duke Nukem 3D

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On this in gaming, one of the greatest games ever made (in my opinion) was released: Duke Nukem 3D.

Developed and published by 3D Realms (one of the biggest and most respected companies during the 80’s and 90s and perhaps all time), and first released in early 1996, the game went on to become one of the most successful and enduring first-person shooters of all time, with people still buying and playing it today. A very committed and talented community keeps it alive and kicking, with projects like the EDuke32 source port (with the polymer renderer), the HRP, and Duke Plus in ongoing development. And with the sequel, DNF, just around the corner, this has only gotten stronger, with other projects like Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded in the works, which is essentially a modern remake of the game – which was green lighted by Gearbox.

But when the game was released a decade and a half ago, they said it was on top of its game – technologically advanced. Hardly just another Doom clone, as the term was back then, it had some brilliant level design, courtesy of one of the greatest in the business, Richard “The Levelord” Gray, as well as some awesome music, by talented and respected video game musicians, Lee Jackson and Bobby Prince, who had also worked on previous Apogee games too.

And not to mention that DN3D no doubt had in my mind, the first “real” character in a game. No more silent, faceless protagonists like other FPSs of its time, Duke was and still is an egotistical, misogynistic, one-liner spouting jerk – but we all loved him just the same, and he is considered one of the “coolest” game characters ever conceived. Several characters, such as Serious Sam, and most recently the protagonist from Epic Games’ Bulletstorm, are strongly influenced by the King himself. Maybe these should be called Duke Clones!

I could go on and on about how great the game was and still is today, but I’ve all ready done that so many times. Like you might have guessed: I’m a huge Duke fan. And if you’re reading this, maybe you are too.

I also have a surprise up for the anniversary of Duke Nukem 3D. It’s an article which covers the evolution of the Duke Nukem character throughout the last twenty years. That’s right: Duke Nukem 1 was released in 1991, so also don’t forget about its anniversary in July! Check out the article here.

                           Happy 15th Birthday, Duke Nukem 3D!

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