Thursday, 17 July 2008

The greatest cheat that never was...

So my love for Guitar Hero was reborn last week thanks to the greatest cheat that isn't really a cheat. The "cheat" is called HYPERSPEED!

The reason why it is not a cheat: The challenge of guitar hero is that the further you get through the difficulty levels in the game, the faster the note board moves and thus the quicker your reactions have to be. So, by the time you get to Expert mode, the notes are going really fast as well as the having a rediculous amount of notes on the board at the same time. So, when you activate Hyperspeed, you can increase the note board speed by another 5 levels (which you can choose from 1 to 5 in the cheat menu) - thus in theory, by speeding up the notes further, this effect should make the game much more challenging - not easier, which is generally what a cheat is designed to do.

HOWEVER! Once you've mastered pretty much all the songs on expert, you're pretty familar the the way to play the tunes, and it becomes a matter of timing that challenges the player to reach his/her best score. In my personal opinion, the biggest thing that gets in the way of hitting the notes in the right timing is the amount of notes that are on the screen in one go (as I always play in expert mode) because you're trying to focus on the notes that are coming down as well as all the other rubbish at the exact correct time. So, the best way to look at hyperspeed is to see it as ZOOMING IN! Because you still have to play the notes at the exact same time as normal speed, but it means you can focus more on the notes in hand and (although you lose the ability to know what is coming next) it makes it so much easier tho play; and this is where it is effective as a cheat.

Thanks to hyperspeed I've completely mastered hammering notes and I'm able to play songs that I could never pass (such as Number of the Beast and Cliffs of Dover) and tracks that I had troubles getting through sometimes (like Cult of Personality) without failing once! It's brilliant.

Its great because it doesnt make the game effortless - you still need to have the skill to play the game at the selected difficulty, but it means you can use that skill at a more effective rate :)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The best TV show on earth

It has to be said that 24 is the best television show on earth. There are other television shows that I love (i.e. Futurama, Simpsons and of course the Who) but nothing in the world can beat 24. The production, stories, acting and cinematography of the show is unlike anything on television. It has to be said that the first season was a little slow and not so interesting, but it was deffinately essential as it set out the style of the show and essentially set the pieces for the rest of the series - ones that just get better and better. Each season is amazing for its own reason(s), and for those reasons the seasons keep improving, though in my opinion season 2 was the very best.

One thing that should be noted about the programme is the reccuring appearances of characters that have featured before but then take breaks for a series or two, and then return with new objectives and character styles. It's a testiment to the actors and casting directors for what they bring to the show.

On the other hand, the introduction of new characters with high profile actors is also fantastic, because the increase of acting talent means that the enjoyment of the text is greatly enhanced. Of course, the only way to pull in good actors is to gain a good reputation as a show, and this is proof of what 24 has achieved in the progression of the 6 series so far.

I'm currently watching season 4 of the show, the only one I haven't seen so far, and it has reminded me of how outstanding the show is; whether you're watching it for the first time or for the fifth!

If you can, get a hold of 24 (best to start from season 1 but anything will do) and get watching, trust me, you won't regret it :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

REAL Rock'n'Roll lives!

Having only heard 2 songs by The Brian Jonestown Massacre before venturing to their Sugarmill gig on June 30th, I have to say I was optimistic if anything. Before The Massacre hit the stage, my friends and I sat on the cool rooftop of the Sugarmill attempting to enjoy our drinks and each others company despite the lack of heat and terrible Ska mix blaring its way out of the nearby speakers. We remained on the roof during the support act and listened to the faint sounds of drums and guitars muffle their way through 2 stories of the venue amidst the general chatter of other music lovers who were enjoying their summer beers and the fading natural light. Returning from the bar, my good friend Mike (who had persuaded me to come to this gig) pointed out one of the members of the band sat just a few metres away. Mike was going crazy in his semi-drunk manner, just being this close to him was something that seemed surreal to him, and it became clear to me how much Mike loves this band. However, this didn't really need to be proved by this point, as he had traveled over 300 miles just to be here for one day. We came to the conclusion that this tamborine player sat just a stone's throw away was, to him, like Jordan from New Found Glory (my favourite band of all time - which I was coincidently represting that night with my free NFG tshirt that Bex gave me) sat the same distance away in my eyes. The evening continued this way until we realised that it was time for The Massacre to make their appearance. Now back in the main venue hall, I stood next to Matt while the others pushed their way to the front. After a short while the band appeared on stage, and my apprehension grew even more, I've personally never seen a band who look so visually disjointed in my life (barr perhaps the time I accidently bought tickets to a Swedish yodle-core band, but that's a different story).


However, I tried to look past the material appearance of the band members and waited to hear what they would provide as a musical outfit, and I'm glad I did. As the band relaxed into their positions and fell into an orchestration (which took just a few seconds, and yet I've seen bands so unnerved by their audience that they aren't enjoying themselves or playing well together until atleast halfway through their set) they took command of the entire room. I, along with the rest of the audience, was compeltely taken over by what these guys had to offer. It was obvious that they'd spent many years perfecting their sound and general on stage persona, and lead guitarist/singer Anton takes no shit from anyone. From the very start, there were a few idiot in the crowd who were shouting stupid remarks just to try and piss off the band and/or look cool. Thankfully, a guy behind me decided to shout "shut the fuck up you dick" - exactly what we were all thinking. Half way through the set, the remarks from the crowd had upset tamborinest Joel so much that he "quit again" and left the stage. Strangely enough, the rest of the band managed to continue without him. The gig progressed further, and I realised that the fans around me were as mixed as the band members themselves; there were attendants that represented almost every age group and "style" - from trendies to indies and emo kids, everyone was there and everyone was enjoying this rich musical experience together. I haven't seen so much talent on a stage in a long time, and it has to be said that seeing The Brian Jonestown Massacre (even though I felt a little caught out in my appearance and that unnecessary apprehention followed me all the way up to the first note) has to have been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. One of the best gigs I've been to by far, and I'd like to thank Mike for suggesting my attendance.