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Archive for October, 2006

The Nightmare Before Christmas: 3D

Amid has a mini-review of the new version of the classic Nightmare Before Christmas 3D re-release over at Cartoon Brew. It’s out in the US tomorrow, but we’ll have to wait until December 1st to see it over here in the UK. I love this movie, and it’ll be good to see it in a theatre again — and in 3D!

Turn your office wall into a garden

Plantwall from Green Fortune is a new way of integrating greenery in public spaces. Fantastic, I want one!

Why I stopped playing World of Warcraft

An interesting article on why one guy stopped playing World of Warcraft. I stopped playing after about level 50 because I just wasn’t prepared to put in the many many hours necessary to progress. I’m not the kind of person that can dedicate such long stretches of time to a game (and these raids can take hours!), if I can’t dip in for 30 minutes for a quick play I’m not interested anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the game was great fun for the first 40 levels, but just became another job… that I wasn’t being paid for! So I quit.

Kingdom Hearts 2

Kingdom Hearts II screenshot

I’ve finally started playing Kingdom Hearts 2 on the PS2. It’s been out in the US for six months (and in Japan for almost a year) but for some reason Square kept Europe waiting. I have no right to complain, if I’m brutally honest, as I never actually got around to completing the first one and, as I never had a a Gameboy Advance, have only just got hold of Chain of Memories (a kind of portable Kingdom Hearts 1.5) to play now I’ve got a DS Lite to play it on.

Still, as a fan of the original that I never played properly, I *needed* to see KH2!

If you haven’t heard of the series, it’s kind of a mashup of characters from Disney and Final Fantasy (mostly the former) in a story lead by a number of characters unique to the plot. Wikipedia has much more information than I could ever care to provide, so I won’t bore you with all of that.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (and it *is* a long story, with many many cut-scenes), I’m loving the game so far. Yes, it’s rather easy (so far) in standard mode but this, to me, isn’t really a bad thing. The problem I have is that if I find a game too hard I’ll end up giving up. I never completed Devil May Cry because I just couldn’t get out of the castle within the time limit on the very last level! It’s not so easy as to be boring (and if you fancy more of a challenge, there’s always the harder mode), and the story and visuals are fascinating enough for me to see the game itself as almost secondary to the plot!

That said, I’m only eight hours into the game (we don’t meet the lead character, Sora, again until the titles kick in at around 3 1/2 hours into the game!) so my opinion could very well change.

One thing I realised, possibly too late, is that Jiminy counts the treasures you’ve discovered in each of the lands, and I don’t have all of them from the first, Twilight Town. This isn’t a problem with the others, but Twilight Town has disappeared and I can’t go back to it! I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll get the “bitch ending I deserve“.

My verdict? I love Disneyland and videogames with a plot, and I’m really enjoying it. Take from that what you will.

BBC animation competition

The BBC are running a competition to find new talent for an upcoming animated comedy sketch show. Entrants have until the end of the year to submit an animated short, in any medium, of up to 2 minutes in length that “capture the imagination and, more importantly, make people laugh”. (via PixelSurgeon)

Sam & Max: North American release!

The new Sam and Max game, Episode One: Culture Shock, is out now… well, in the US and Canada at least. Download it via GameTap if you’re over there. The rest of the world (and me) will have to wait until November 1st to download it from Telltale Games’ own site. If it’s anywhere near as good as IGN say it is, I’ll be a happy psychotic rabbity thing.

The Brighton Eye: i360 approved

Brighton Eye i360

A bit late on this news. Following the Frank Gehry announcement a couple of weeks ago, planning permission has been approved for the i360 in Brighton at the foot of the derelict West Pier.

From the press release: “Designed by the award-winning London Eye architects, husband and wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield. At 183 metres high and with the observation pod rising to 139 metres, the i360 will be Britain’s highest observation tower, taller than the London Eye (at 135m).”

During contruction, the West Pier debris (inluding the collapsed centre section) will be removed but the shell of the main body will be kept intact. The attracton is scheduled to open in Summer 2008.

Playstation 3 vs X-Box 360: The Game

Penny Arcade offers an interesting comment on the Sony PS3 / X-Box 360 battle this morning: “The game which sits above the ones we play – historically almost naval, in its pace – is more fascinating than ever, this time around.”

Back again

Sorry about the lack of posts of late. We had a rather nice break in the South of France, followed by a rather nice weekend in Amsterdam, followed immediately by redundancy. Consequently I’ve been spending a lot of time sorting out my portfolio and scouting for work.

If you need, or know anyone that needs, a designer do get in touch!

Gehry’s Brighton towers get green light

Gehry’s “noddyland eyesore” gets go-ahead. I rather like it, but I just don’t think it’s right for the Regency-era Hove location that it’s set to be built in. If it were to be built at the architecturally dead Marina I’d be very much for it. That said, it’s an improvement over the King Alfred Leisure Centre that it’s replacing.