Wipeout Omega Collection- a review.

I love Wipe Out as a video-game series. Fast, furious and high-speed Drum’n’Bass combined with bright and futuristic visuals, high speed thrills and the adrenaline rush that kicks in when the races start is damn near unbeatable. I’m not sure what George Lucas had in mind when he created pod racing for the Star Wars film we don’t talk about, but damn it, this is pod racing at it’s finest.

I’ve played most of the games and seen the evolution: from the first game to the PS3 and PS Vita versions, I’ve played most of them. This is why I loved it yesterday when I got to play the first 4K version on the PS4 just ahead of general release in my country.

Now you all have an idea of what Wipe Out is, let’s start with the negatives of the latest offerings and get them out of the way. Whilst loyal players like myself get one hell of a nostalgia buzz out of playing the latest offering, as they’ve remastered lots of track from previous games, they’ve not added many new tracks, and I’m not sure everyone is going to want to pay £29.99 for three old games combined, remastered and put on one game with a shiny new spin. I’m also not sure people who like Drive Club, Need 4 Speed or Forza are going to like this game either. It’s ruthlessly fast, brutal and demands your attention at every moment you’re playing. It really doesn’t take any prisoners. Okay, the fast paced soundtrack, which is superb by the way, helps you react if you sync your natural rhythm to it, but there’s no time to take your eye off the ball. There really isn’t.

That being said, the visuals are absolutely glorious, and for once, the trailers offer up the game relatively honestly. From the moment of your first race on the easiest setting, you’re transported into some form of mecha-future of the kind that Osama Tezuka imagined for his cult manga, Astro-Boy. It really is that beautiful. If you buy this game not believing me on that one, go into the game’s “photo mode” mid race and have a look around the ships and the track. Everything is highly detailed, from the advertisements around the tracks, to the false sponsors who’s transfers emblazon every ship on the game. The guys behind this (Sony’s Studio Liverpool) have checked just about every last little detail into this game. It’s not just an anti-gravity racing game, like the other games of the same genre out there, it’s a work of art!

The soundtrack also comes into high praise from me, as they’ve picked classic and modern tracks from older games and existing D’n’B to make this game work. You have the UpBeats and The Prodigy, helping newer inductees into the Wipe Out series understand the urgency and requirement for attention, but we also have some amazing remastered soundtracks from older games such as Pure (the first Wipe Out game on the PlayStation Portable) and Wipe Out 2048. It’s an instant acid-trip that lets you see into the future for some, particularly those who like Sci-Fi, and for those of a certain age, it’s a nod back to the ecstasy and acid fuelled days of underground raves and nights at the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester.

As for playability, this game has leagues, so the uninitiated can play along just fine and learn to race like everyone else will online. That being said, whilst the easiest league feels slow to you, there’s a sheer gulf of difference between leagues in terms of speed and brutality, and this game really doesn’t let people off lightly. The difference between Wipe Out and most other racing games is that in this particular gaming series, you can destroy your opponents in order to win. Whilst this is, broadly speaking, unheard of in earlier games, it becomes increasingly common as you go through the different leagues and as you go through the game. Also, if you get hit by a weapon powerup from another racer, be that player or otherwise, you really do feel it. The controller vibrates furiously and the digital heads-up-display (HUD) moves and shakes with the visuals, making the game even more immersive.

Because I got to play the game early, I didn’t get a chance to play this game online sadly, but I did get to play it with my housemate who came along for the ride, and we enjoyed some great multiplayer action. Unlike modern racing games that are slowly moving away from the arcade-style splitscreen style for multiplayer, Wipe Out Omega Collection allows you to go retro and choose either horizontal or vertical splitscreen, but we all know which we’d choose (horizontally, obviously). It is, however, a nice touch to add the choice, if you were using a curved 4K screen, I could see that coming in handy.

So as far as I’m concerned, WipeOut Omega Collection gets a 4.5/5. There were a few little issues I had, but they’re niggles as opposed to serious problems, and I’ve yet to play a game in the racing genre so immersive. So, well done, Sony, this game really is for the players.

10 Things I have learned over the last 6 months

Crikey, the first half of 2017 has been a real rollercoaster. Moving house, falsely accused and then absolved, extreme sports, getting accepted to college, finally getting some help with my mental health, and a failed relationship, and that’s just my personal life.

Brexit was finally triggered in February, Trump pulls the US out of climate negotiations, housing benefit was cut in the UK for people under 22, there’s been plenty of things in the news that have made a lot of people sad, so here are some positive things I’ve learned:

  1. Whilst not everyone agrees with you, you can still have amazing friends who may not be on the same page.
    Despite my Asperger’s Syndrome meaning that my brain works by logic mainly, I’m throwing my political weight behind the Labour Party for the June 8th General Election. This isn’t exactly what one of my best friends thinks is a smart move. His name is Joey, and although he’s from Ulverston in the Lake District (basically all of Cumbria and a bit of Lancashire), he’s voting for the Conservatives. Whilst I may not approve, we’ve had plenty of fun times playing and fixing old video games consoles.
  2. The biggest enemy of happiness and ultimately, recovery, is worry.
    When I worry, the niggles in the back of my mind, ranging from when I next get paid to the downright ridiculous, such as heavy rain in Lancaster making me charge everything electronic and portable. These niggles over the last few months have made me rather ill and caused a few big changes in my life. I’m back to not touching Alcohol, and I’m quite happy about that. The one thing I’ve learned is that worrying leads me to stupidity.
  3. Sharing resources, such as food or wealth when possible, is better than being selfish.
    Anyone who knew me before 2017 will quite happily tell you that I share nearly everything, except food or my first cigarette. In 2017, I’ve cut my smoking habit down to the point where it is now very nearly non-existent. I also get to know my housemates and new friends using the medium of food, which is often cooked and funded by me.
  4. Don’t stick in unhappy relationships.
    Another close friend, who wishes not to have her name used, recently escaped a relationship that was to be frank, toxic. I’m going to use a pseudonym for her to help explain. Sally was constantly being the perfect housewife, cooking and cleaning for her girlfriend, and being manipulated whilst doing it, as her missus was nearly always under the influence. She’s left the girlfriend now, moved away, and is living a much better life somewhere else. She’s much happier, and personally, it’s like Sally has finally come back to life. She was missed.
  5. Being impulsive is not a bad thing, what you do with it is what matters.
    I have Asperger’s, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. One of the things that this does is make me far more likely to be impulsive. To help combat my addictions, I’ve changed the way I respond. When an impulsive gnat in my brain starts to bite, I’ve decided to change the way I do things. I’ve swapped pints of beer with blogging, cleaning and running. Whatever I can to get the same adrenaline buzz, but without setting off the runaway train that tells me to drink.
  6. Don’t fight fire with fire.
    I’ve been accused by the police of doing something horrific and put on bail, but last month, was released without charge, as there was empirically not a shred of evidence. I had to move as a result of this, my mental health took a swan dive, and I’m attending weekly counselling sessions. What I learned was that despite my fury at this move, there was nothing I could have done during my time answering police bail apart from just wait. There was no point in being angry, as you can’t exactly go and pick a fight with the police for doing their job. There was no point in letting my anger control me.
  7. You don’t need antidepressants alone to fight depression.
    I’ve not had the best of mental health recently, as I explain in point six, but because of this, the doctors have had me on antidepressants to stop me doing something daft. However, they can dose you up enough to make you as dopey as a Labrador, but without your own effort, it’s useless taking them, no matter the dosages or strength of the pills. I used exercise and making conscious efforts to see things I found beautiful in order to beat my depression. Admittedly, isn’t worked all the time, but in the immortal words of Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.
  8. Life is about learning and doing, as opposed to where you end up.
    In December 2016, I was looking at doing a social work related degree to get back to university and fulfil a promise I made to one of the biggest role models in my life on his deathbed. Now in June 2017, I’m looking at getting more Level 3 qualifications before going back to university, and doing a film production course at Kendal College in the UK in September. I’m really looking forwards to it, too. What this has taught me is that whilst getting the endgame is still the same, what matters more in life is how I do it. There’s no point in going back to my studies if I’m just going to flunk everything again.
  9. You are going to make mistakes, learn from them.
    I’ve made a few mistakes in my life- from pushing those closest to me away, to fudging up everything in my life and ending up homeless. Even now, although I live somewhere better, and am quite happily in a loving relationship, I make mistakes. Be it financial miscalculations or silly nights out that have proved unnecessary, I have made the mistakes. I’ve also learned to try to budget better, and avoid getting into conversations that lead to nights out. The only nights that are late for me these days involves musicals, movies or popcorn.
  10. Make time for yourself
    We’re all guilty of ignoring ourselves for a while, but what matters mostly is taking time to stop and think. Rash decisions often lead to bad consequences, and I’ve learned to be far more careful. Whether that’s shopping around for cheaper food or making sure certain people get higher priority than others (they know who they are), taking time out to make sure I’m doing the right thing is having a much better impact on my life.

What have you learned this year? Comment on my Facebook post, or just on here, as I’d love to hear from you.

Yours,

Davey

Let’s talk about… the UK Wrestling scene

For the frequent readers of my blog, by now, you’ve probably guessed that I’m quite the big pro-wrestling fan by now. What you might not know, however, is that WWE isn’t the only promotional brand of professional wrestling that I watch. And with the WWE successfully pulling off the fantastic “UK Championship”, which is available on the WWE Network for an undisclosed price, it’s time we talked about wrestling in the UK.

Wrestling in the UK has been around for a very long time, and some of the best wrestlers in the world come from the UK: Davey Boy Smith (a.k.a. The British Bulldog), William Regal, Wade Barrett, Big Damo and local hero Joe Hendry come from these damp and distant shores. The same is true over history as well: Dave Taylor, Giant Haystacks, Fit Finlay, Layla, Dynamite Kid and Les Kellett all were born and raised here.

The UK’s wrestling style is very different from the main style we see on TV these days: the WWE showcase a style developed by Toots Mondt called “Slam Bang Western-Style”. This style puts more emphasis on the “razzle dazzle” aspects of wrestling, such as gimmicks, suplexes and athletic showmanship. The style of wrestling developed in Blighty, however, is far more technical and agile. It’s no surprise to me that the more technically-sound wrestlers learned their trade over here. From Finn Balor to Seth Rollins, we see this develop all the time. It’s also no surprise to me that Chris Benoit, who was one of the most gifted technical wrestlers of the Attitude Era, was tutored and mentored under UK wrestler, William Regal.

And here’s where both the internet snarks like myself and wrestling fans start seeing problems. Can Triple H and Vince McMahon get the wrestlers to adapt a somewhat softer style for the WWE Network?

 

Davey’s 50 rules of the internet

So, as a blogger, I spend a LOT of time on the internet, so here are my 50 rules I have developed from my time on here.

  1. Do not feed the trolls. The trolls ALWAYS win. By reacting to them, you feed them. Therefore, don’t react. Leave them well alone.
  2. Never blaspheme the holy trinity of Cats, Bacon and Pizza.
  3. When in an argument, someone will inevitably get compared to Hitler/The Nazis.
  4. The only kids on the internet are cops and paedophiles. If someone claims to be 13, chances are they are actually 43.
  5. The only hot women on the internet are fake. They’re either lonely gay men or people working for illicit porn sites.
  6. Speaking of which, if it exists, there is porn of it.
  7. If there isn’t porn of it, someone will make porn of it.
  8. Everyone downloads music, films, and porn. There’s no point trying to combat it.
  9. If you are going to illegally download media, be clever about it. Torrent sites through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) are a wise choice.
  10. Using the internet without Anti-Virus Software is like having sex without contraception- sooner or later, you’re going to regret it.
  11. If the character exists, someone will inevitably race-change or gender-change said character.
  12. When choosing an actor for a role in a film/TV show, David Tennant will ALWAYS be suggested. Even if the character is Lesbian Muslim of colour from Russia.
  13. Everyone hates the Kardashians, and by association, Kanye West. Unless you are a sheep, or a douchebag. Never be a douchebag.
  14. Everyone claims to be an atheist.
  15. Any websites with the word “truth” in the URL will have none in it.
  16. Anyone who claims that they’ve won an argument has most likely lost the argument.
  17. Any discussion about the environment will mention Al Gore, followed by trolling.
  18. Without making it clear that you are taking the mickey out of fundementalism, someone will assume you’re serious.
  19. Suffiiciently advanced trolling is indistinguishable from genuine stupidity.
  20. Check your sources of information! If you cite crappy websites in an argument, you will be vilified.
  21. Never mess with Anonymous. They are legion. They don’t forgive or forget you. Seriously, expect them.
  22. The worse website looks, the more likely it is that the website was made by someone who needs mental health help.
  23. The more CAPITAL LETTERS or exclamation marks in a post or email, the less likely it is to be true.
  24. You will never make a thousand dollars by reviewing advertisements or filling out surveys.
  25. If you are a woman, and you say something controversial, chances are, someone online will threaten you with sexual violence.
  26. When a post says something about feminism, there will be trolls validating the need for that post.
  27. On the other hand, don’t believe the female supremacists and third-wavers on Tumblr. It will drive you NUTS.
  28. There will always be people commenting with irrelevant comments such as “I got the first comment!”.
  29. Any discussion involving nuclear power will have at least one person making references to Chernobyl, Fukushima or Hiroshima.
  30. Anything fake which attracts a lot of attention will end up having some people vehemently defending it and claiming it to be real.
  31. Grammar Nazis (people who correct your grammar for kicks and to piss you off) are EVERYWHERE. Seriously.
  32. Someone in a discussion will have such a bad grasp of logic, grammar and facts to the point where it horrifies other participants.
  33. Anyone on YouTube who displays mastery at something will have a commenter claiming that the person has no life.
  34. Never claim to dislike the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who.
  35. Any mention of politics triggers a debate.
  36. No act is so indefensible that you cannot find someone on the internet defending it. (I had a lot of both fun and disgust researching this one).
  37. Any unmoderated discussion will end up with people making strawman fallacies somewhere along the way.
  38. Whenever someone in a discussion seems particularly dumb, there will be someone claiming to be as clever as Sheldon Cooper.
  39. As the length of a post or thread containing images or GIFs lengthens, the probability of someone getting offended increases, as does the probability of them claiming “This is not 4chan!”. If the post/thread has no rules, it will degrade into porn eventually.
  40. Never spoil the latest series of a TV series or latest book from popular fiction if it’s less than a week old. You will get flamed.
  41. Everyone pretends to be a fan of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, particularly around mid-May.
  42. When a question is asked, the answer is invariably 42.
  43. If someone is under 25, someone will call them a “youngster” or a N00B (noob, meaning that the person is new either to the topic or the internet in general).
  44. Any news article released on April 1st is to be treated with herculanean scepticism. It will most likely be an April Fool’s Day pranks. As the number of people posting these pranks increases, so does the number of retaliations. Due to timezones, any post on April 2nd is to be treated with the same amount of scepticism.
  45. “I’m not <blank> but…” Anyone using this as a disqualifier to start there argument is what the blank means. For example, “I’m not a <Donald Trump supporter> but I think the wall idea is a good one”.
  46. If in an argument, anyone accusing their opponent of living in their parents’ basement, the accuser loses.
  47. There is no such thing as a motherfucking swearword. If you ast**isk a word (like the one I have just done), you are being an idiot. Just fucking say it.
  48. The longer a post is, the more a person is angry.
  49. There is always going to be a “hit-and-run” poster, who makes a very valid/controversial point and then vanishes. Don’t try to trace them, you will fail.
  50. Conor McGregor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Brock Lesnar or Batman can beat anyone in a comparison post. If you want to win in a post like this, side with one of these five.

Let’s talk about Cultural Appropriation (working title was “Come at me, 3rd wavers”)

Considering the controversial comments Lena Dunham has made recently, I think it’s time I took my stand. For too long, I’ve been taking comments about cultural appropriation simply because I like foreign food (particularly food from China, Japan and south-east Asia). Let’s explore that statement for a minute.

First and foremost, what the actual hell is “cultural appropriation”? According to http:www.racerelations.about.com/, Cultural Appropriation is “The most simple definition of cultural appropriation is that it occurs when members of a dominant culture borrow from the cultures of minority groups without their input”. This means when I use anything from another culture, even in the way that the original culture uses it in respect, I am guilty and therefore racist.

I am NOT racist. Not in the slightest. I’m not going to use the “I have friends of colour” argument because frankly, that smacks of 19th Century British Imperialism and I despise the argument anyway. So let me put this simply for you. I have the same point of view as Fred Rogers. For me, there is no difference between man, woman, gay, straight, Jew, Gentile, White or people of colour. We all bleed the same blood, drink the same water, and frankly, it’s a damn shame we don’t see more people of colour in British media (be that TV, Radio or otherwise).

I use a Japanese nod when paying respect, whether meeting new people, attending a memorial service or simply meeting with my friends. It’s used in the traditional Japanese way, with a slight bow and a nod to the head (think Jeremy Corbyn on Remembrance Sunday last year). I speak fluent Japanese, love their culture (well, apart from the inherent racism in some aspects) and eat a lot of their food, which inevitably puts money into their economy.

I eat a lot of Chinese food, too. Fu Jung and Pak Choi are some of my favourite foods, their products are worldwide, and if you don’t believe me on this one, I have a challenge. Look around your house and find something not made in China. According to Lena’s argument, this makes us all a bunch of racists.

Here’s my counter-argument. Calling us racists only serves to divide our world up even more and create even more disparity between international relations. Sure, blackface and yellowface are wrong, by anyone’s standards, but using a blues rhythm behind a piece of music would determine every modern pop song racist. In fact, nearly every aspect of western society has some cultural appropriation. Should we have to stick to the foods from the countries of our birth? In that case, I am royally screwed, as a) I don’t actually know where I was born and b) Britain’s food, whilst inventive at times, is quite bland to my tastebuds.

More to the point, looking at the world of business and economy, CA is everywhere. The top three businesses in the USA are Japanese, Samsung are one of the biggest companies in the world, and British companies do just as well abroad. Take Coca Cola for example, who’s head offices are in the USA. I challenge you to go somewhere where Coca Cola (replace with Pepsi or McDonald’s, it doesn’t make a shite of difference) isn’t.

So eat your sushi, enjoy your McDonald’s, celebrate different cultures and embrace the diversity of cultures on our tiny little planet respectfully. Tell all the third-wavers on Tumblr and left-wing media to fuck off, you’re not being racist.