I wasn’t going to blog today, the reason being that I bought an Xbox arcade game last night and subsequently planned to be very busy for the rest of the week.
But then I reconsidered.
Gaming is a poor reason for not blogging, I thought. I cannot let my readers down, my poor deluded mind said, for they patiently await the next installment of What Did Sheylara Eat/Do/See/Drop on the Floor This Time? and would be very disappointed if they didn’t get to read about how I had a tasty ham sandwich for lunch.
Mind you, my decision to blog has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I feel rather dizzy after two hours of playing Space Channel 5: Part 2, and need to look at something else for a moment.
Yes. Updating my blog today was a purely altruistic decision. That’s the kind of person I am.
The game is about 11 years old so I am not going to do a review. I first played Part 1 on the Dreamcast in 2001, shortly after which I broke up with the boyfriend who owned the Dreamcast. And then shortly after that, Dreamcast went kaput so I thought that was the end of the game for me, pity, cos I really enjoyed it.
It’s a music and rhythm game, involving jitterbugging space aliens who go, “Chu, chu, chu, hey, chu!”
Piers was very, very disturbed by the game. He said it was a crazy, crazy game. But he could be forgiven for thinking that because he only watched two minutes of it and those two minutes just happened to occur at a stage where my avatar was captured by a space alien monster flower with tentacles, one of which seemed all too ready to probe me for secrets.
And I had to try to shoot at the monster and dodge deadly flying petals while bound spreadeagle by tentacles.
And while all that was happening, the alien was going, “Left, right, left, right, chu, chu, chu!”
Sure, I can see how that might have looked slightly oddball to someone who hadn’t seen the beginning of the game and understood how important it was to save the planet from aliens, not all of whom had tentacles, it was just that flower monster, mind you.
Earlier this afternoon, Piers thought it prudent to dispense some more boyfriendly wisdom. We were chatting on MSN when he said, “Your stupid new game finished yet?”
I said, “What are you talking about? I just bought it last night. And it’s not stupid!”
“It will f*** up your mind,” he said.
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.
“You fight strange creatures,” was his conclusion.
That was very fine for him to say. I didn’t say a word when, two years ago, he was obssessed with catapulting funny-shaped birds at hapless green pigs.
Anyway, I discovered last night that Space Channel 5: Part 2 was available on Xbox LIVE Arcade so I bought it immediately. While I was playing my new game on his Xbox, Piers was busy playing a fighter jet simulation game on my PC so he wasn’t free to look at my game.
Nevertheless, I said to him, “Hey, we can play co-op on this game. Would you like to play with me?”
His eyes still glued on the PC screen, he said, “Okay, honey, in a minute.” (Meaning: Okay, right after I’m done with pretending to be a fighter pilot, which could be any time between four hours and four years.)
But he did say okay, didn’t he?
Still, his first experience of my game was the tentacles, so I’m suspecting that he has maybe changed his mind since. I can’t imagine why, though. Most guys I know get excited when they see tentacles. I didn’t get a chance to persuade him anymore last night to play my game because we had to watch South Park.
We’ll have to see, tonight. And, for the record, my mind is still very sane and intact, thank you.
One way that Microsoft is helping new players get comfortable with their online gaming service Xbox LIVE is the introduction of the Xbox Xperts. The first Xpert unveiled by Microsoft was the bubbly Sheylara, a gamer who made her name in the blogging community. We took her aside to ask her a few questions about being an Xpert.
What’s the role of an Xbox Xpert?
Think of us as something like community leaders. When new users join the world of Xbox LIVE, they might feel shy or not know what to do next or how to join in multiplayer games. So we’re there to welcome them, help them get settled, answer their questions and introduce them to the Xbox community.
What’s Newbie Nite?
Newbie Nite was something I came up with to ease new Xbox LIVE members into the multiplayer gaming scene. Many people join Xbox LIVE and face either of two problems immediately: They don’t have online friends to play games with, or they join a random multiplayer game and get thrashed by expert players who have been playing the game for ages. That can be quite unpleasant for some people and doesn’t give them a chance to experience everything that multiplayer gaming has to offer.
So, in Newbie Nites, I get a bunch of new members together and arrange gaming sessions for them. This allows them to make friends with people of the same gaming level. We have fun together online once or twice a week and it’s my hope that lasting friendships will form from these weekly sessions.
Do you feel like you’re a teacher, of sorts?
Haha, don’t call me a teacher! I think I’d prefer the word facilitator or, like I mentioned before, community leader. Sure, I’ve had to answer countless questions about Xbox and Xbox LIVE, but I don’t teach so much as share what I know. I like to think that, in the online world, we’re all sharing information and having fun together.
What’s the Xbox community like?
Like any other community, the Xbox community has all sorts of people in it. We have hardcore gamers and casual gamers. We have shy people and rowdy and fun-loving people. But, basically, it’s just a community of people who love gaming and who love gaming on the Xbox 360.
I’m also very heartened to report that most people in the Xbox community are very friendly and sociable. They love welcoming new gamers into the community because it means there are more people to play multiplayer games with.
Who are the new folks joining Xbox Live? What are they normally like?
They could be anyone, really. Some are people who have been playing on the Xbox for years and just recently decided to join Xbox LIVE. Some are people for whom an Xbox 360 was a birthday present, so they join Xbox LIVE as total newbies, maybe out of curiosity. Some of them learn about Xbox LIVE through the ads that Microsoft runs regularly through the media.
Most of the time, they’re pleased that there are Xbox Xperts onboard to welcome them and they do respond positively. In fact, I’ve made a lot of fast friendships with these new folks and we communicate regularly via Xbox LIVE messaging.
What’s it like to work with the new members? What are typical first impressions of the Xbox Live service?
It’s always a joy for me when I initiate contact with new members and they respond with a friendly message back. We don’t only talk about gaming and Xbox LIVE. Members also share with me about their lives, what they’ve been up to, and their other hobbies. It’s very rewarding for me when they treat me like a friend instead of some distant personality.
I think most of the really new users are surprised to have someone welcome them to Xbox LIVE and that encourages them to explore more. Some will feel overwhelmed initiatlly. That’s why the Xbox Xperts are in place to make sure they’re getting the full benefits of this service!
How does it feel to be an ambassador for the Xbox?
It feels great, of course. I feel truly honoured and touched. Yes, touched, because gaming is one of the most important facets of my life. I’ve been gaming since I was five. To be endorsing a product that is, basically, the very essence of me, means the world to me. It’s the most exciting and fulfilling thing that’s happened to me… so far! Having the honour of being a Gadget3 cover girl comes close! ;)
I was up until 5 am last night playing a new browser MMOG.
The Goonfather had recommended it to me early in the week but I didn’t have time to check it out until late last night. And then it wasn’t because I wanted to check it out. It was because I had no choice but to try the game in order to be able to talk about it in GGF.
Taking the alternative, that is, to make the Goonfather write a review for me, would have been disastrous. His review would have read like this: “Come play Civony and let me kick your ass. The end.”
Anyway, not too surprisingly, I got addicted to the game and was only able to forcefully drag myself to bed at 5 am by virtue of my game running out of lumber and rendering me without any moves left to make.
Even while writing about Civony, I’m playing it. It’s one of those irritating games like Travian, where you have to log in every so often to build stuff because your resources are produced in real time and they overflow and go to waste if you don’t use them.
Plus, if you’re not building and growing constantly, your enemies will surpass you and conquer your city easily.
When I was playing Travian, I had a browser tab open with it on my computer 24/7. Yes, literally.
Civony looks set to be the next permanent squatter on my browser.
The game is free to play, although rich perps have the option to buy perks in the game using real-life cash, a business model that web gamers have come to accept as the norm.
Players of Age of Empires and Civilization will be familiar with Civony. The game concept is similar, with the differences being that Civony is web-based, is massively multiplayer and doesn’t have timelines. You can form alliances and real-time text chat with alliance members to plot destruction against your neighbours.
And because the game continues while you sleep, you’ll form the habit of setting your alarm clock at three in the morning so you can wake up to build a farm.
For those unfamiliar with this genre of games, you’re basically building cities from the ground up, managing resources, villagers, buildings and armies, and then expanding your empire by building more cities or conquering other cities.
For a web game, Civony has a rather steep learning curve. There is some semblance of a tutorial system in place, but the “tutorial” throws you into the deep end within the first few minutes of gameplay.
In fact, I messed up my first city and couldn’t bear to look at it after a while, so I abandoned it and made another account to start from scratch.
It seems to be a popular game. There are already three live servers up, barely two weeks after official release. And there’s an active forum where you can ask for help or share information.
Of course, you have to be prepared to contend with the juvenile imbeciles who hog the real-time world chat. I normally just ignore them, but they can be quite entertaining sometimes.
“Press Ctrl-F4 to get instant 1500 lumber.”
“How do I save this game?”
“HOW CAN I GET A BOYFRIEND?!!”
“Is this all automated or are you all real people?”
And, just this morning, some retard spread the word that you can get free resources by typing in this particular cheat code. The entire chat got spammed.
Fives hours later, the chat was still full of people trying out the “cheat”.
Oh, and there’s one office-friendly feature some of you may be interested in. You can rename your browser header to anything you like!
Type in whatever you want…
If you’re going to play the game, go to Server 3 since it’s the newest and players in there won’t have progressed too far yet.
The creation process is quick and painless. Just make sure to choose Server 3 and create your city in the state of Bohemia. That’s where the Goonfather and I are.
Send me an ingame mail once you’re in and I’ll invite you to our alliance!
Name: Sheyla (I had to ditch Sheylara to create a new account) State: Bohemia Server: 3 Alliance: Sheylara
Anyway we only started last night, so we won’t be too far ahead of you!
Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.
It’s a party fighting game which you can download on the PS3.
It’s also a very comical game. You’re a kung fu hero with wobbly joints, and you kinda look like a muppet baby as you jump around and whoop asses.
I love it!
But I must say that the tutorial is very overwhelming.
The different moves and combos use all of the buttons and triggers of the PS3 controller, including the sixth-axis.
For example, to execute a deadly blow that will reward you with cheesy canned applause, you need to press a button at the right moment, then shake the controller up and down very violently.
Here’s me playing the tutorial:
By the end of the tutorial, which has about 9,473 lessons, if I may exaggerate a slight bit, I could only remember the basic moves: punch, kick, block, heal, pick up something and throw it at someone.
And then I went right into the game proper.
The gameplay is fast-paced and humorous. If you’re a casual, non-fighter gamer, you would totally enjoy watching your boyfriend play it, because you can’t be bothered to memorise all the combos while at the same time manoeuvre yourself into positions to execute said combos.
But I actually played this myself, in the following clip. If I seem gimped, it’s because I am.
I think it’d be nice to have someone do all the hard work and I just enjoy watching the gameplay, but the Goonfather doesn’t want to play it. He’s into playing the Xbox 360 to unlock achievements recently.
Although I can’t speak for fighter gamers, I expect they would like RDKF: FUP. I would if I were one. I mean, I’m not one and I already love the game. Then again, that doesn’t quite follow.
This week, I’m waving around a box of FIFA Online 2 Kickoff Pack, full of goodies inside!
FIFA Online 2 is an online multiplayer football game serving the Asian region (Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia). Build your own dream team and experience authentic thrills of this favourite sport!