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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jeux sans frontières & Iron Man 2

More hard work continually getting in the way of me doing anything more interesting. But that's the day job. First the fun and games stuff. 

Some stuff I don't talk about a great deal but do enjoy in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way are Video Games. It's a generational sort of thing that my parents would never really understand. The reason being that Video Games are not OF their generation. Don't get me wrong, they know what they are. Space Invaders, PacMan and Frogger (to name but 3) were household names in my day and to some extent still are, but that's the 1970's & 80's for you.

Something I've stumbled upon recently though, is an old ZX Spectrum favourite which has been re-booted (to use the parlance of our times). Jet Set Willy Online (Check it out here: http://jsw.ovine.net/) is a freeware server product, or if you're not into the hosting your own game idea, then there's a separate client too. It's Windows only and I have yet to get it up and running, but what a great idea!!!. Apparently it's been around for 3 years now, and I've just found it!? Where multiplayer Jet Set Willy goes next is anybody's guess. Loads of fun material, including the facilities to build your own levels. Great to see him back again.

Online, multiplayer games are nothing new, well at least not brand new, but in sales figures alone, one such piece of software stands out from the crowd. The performance of the "Call of Duty" franchise is quite remarkable. The brand is owned by Activision, who for those of you old enough to remember, will be aware have been around since almost before Jet Set Willy and until more recent times were best known for "PitFall!"

But it's not just Activision developing the game. In fact the series swaps between two different development companies. The current incarnation (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) was developed by InfintyWard. The next outing (Call of Duty: Black Ops) will be developed by Treyarch. If things were to continue as they have, the next version after that would be back to InfintyWard's table.  However, it appears there's been some leagal wrangling between Activision and Infinity Ward, so noone's quite sure where the franchise will go next.

Regardless of what does happen, the product has phenominal sales figures way up in the high tens of millions of units, which for a video game is insane. However, the attention to detail is what keeps the players faithfull. Well, that and the online aspect. Being able to play against your friends in such detailed graphical environments is the stuff of dreams from the 70's and 80's, now made reality thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet and improved console technology.  

For those of you that have never seen CoD, here's a snippet of a game of "Capture the Flag" from the current version (Modern Warfare 2)


Gaming really has come a long way and when it makes multi-million dollars for the developers it's just going to keep coming.

Now onto a mini movie review in the shape of Iron Man 2. Last night was to have been a trip to the cinema to finally watch the Social Network (which for those of you that have been paying attention is the facebook movie) which has been getting plenty of attention.  However, this plan when slightly awry when Auntie S's dad fell a little poorly.  Nothing too serious I don't think, but enough that she decided she should go and check him out. So instead I managed to catch up with Iron Man 2 and Mrs G caught up with Holby City (as is her want)

I loved the first Iron Man movie (number 65 in my current top 100) and the second one is also a very enjoyable romp. It's possible it doesn't have quite the impact of the first, but that maybe because we're already aware of the Tony Stark character and his limitations or lack thereof.

It's still packed with special effects which are well done and just about believable in an unbelievable sort of way. Samuel L. Jackson is back as well, reprising his role as Nick Fury (from the Avengers for those not familiar with comic book nerdism). Well I say reprising. If you're one of those people that gets up and leaves the cinema during the end credits, you'll never have seen him in the first movie. After the Iron Man credits you got this little gem:

Interestingly, after the Iron Man 2 credits, there's another little gem to, but you'll have to watch for yourself. I digress.

Mr Jackson puts in a commendable piece and the franchise is bearing up well. One might be forgiven for thinking it's become the place for those actors who've had a bumpy ride in the past to rekindle their career's. I'm referring here to Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 1 & 2 and now also to Mickey Rourke who's another one that's had an extremely colourful life. It's not true though. In point of fact, neither actor ever stopped making movies, they just didn't have the biggest or most well known roles for a while. More power to both of them I say. They're both deserving and should enjoy great credit for their works.

In summary 8 out of 10 especially if you enjoyed the first one.

Back to the drudgery then. It's Thursday though, and there's a special WTC event tonight.  Fun times.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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