Best of Chatterbox: the flickering screen – Console news

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The last week of January viewed through the distorting lens of Gamesblog’s Chatterbox forum.

Honestly, you wait ages for a new ‘Best of’ and then three come along almost at once. This time, it’s the turn of January 24-28 to be fondly recalled by our team of comment section diarists.

There’s some vintage stuff in here, including interview techniques, CoD weaponry and viking beauty techniques. As this week’s editor Foolsgold74 put it to me in his email, “Set your expectations to low and prepare for disappointment anyway as the Chatterbox channels the Bangles, gives advice on hair dye and talks about… games?!”

You heard the man.

Monday, January 24

Monday… just another manic Monday, with people recanting their exploits from Sunday, because that was their gaming fun day. In a surprising change for Chatterbox, games dominated discussions. With two recent big releases, Little Big Planet 2 and Mass Effect 2, it seemed that there was little else to talk about.

Little Big Planet 2, the continuation of the tale of a musty glove puppet (“I know who Sackboy is, met him in a train station toilet once” – Catzilla) and his adventures in a papier-mâché world, seemed to bring great joy to bloggers. “LBP2 is absolutely awesome,” cried R042 while Uncle3en described it as, “impossibly loveable, and genius with it”.

The multiplayer aspects of the game seemed to bring particular delight with BigWorv using it as a way to rehearse for the Awards: “We also slapped each other, threw each other down pits and fired cakes at each other. What larks!”

Killerbee’s assessment took him down a path he couldn’t escape from: “The game really does take on another dimension when you play it with friends. It’s like sex in that respect. Well, um, sort of… and I can’t comment on whether than analogy holds true for four players… sadly…. um, moving on…”

Moving on indeed… to Mass Effect 2. Fist of Fun was first with a verdict: “The reviews weren’t kidding, this really is fantastic-looking, real improvement on the textures, especially man-Shepherd’s face.”

With that, ME2 amore spread through the ranks with BeardofBees revealing, “I seem to have pursued a relationship with Miranda somehow. I don’t even like her that much, but some skin tight latex bodysuits and choice camera angles led the conversation down a path I was powerless to resist.” Perhaps revealing his more bestial side, Makar tried to make his Normandy captain look like, “an utter gargoyle” so that the, “love scenes will take on a whole new meaning”.

Tuesday

The dust swirled around his feet as the solitary figure made his way through the clutter. A dim light illuminated the assorted junk that surrounded him; its source was found to be a flickering screen buried in a corner.

“Is it what we hoped?” the man asked, “have you managed to recover anything?”

The second man who had been crouched by the screen, almost unseen, turned to the approaching figure. “It is indeed. For the first time in decades we have recovered an actual piece of what used to be called the Internet. It’s a single day’s worth of information, from the early 21st century.”

“‘What’s it called? What have you got to report?”‘ The first man insists.

“It’s called the Guardian Gamesblog Chatterbox and I have made a detailed report.” The second man takes a deep breath, “here goes…

“The day in question started with a user calling himself Amipal asking for advice on an upcoming interview and presentation. It seems the others were keen to offer him advice, though some of it is questionable. User Simian summarises the early feedback as ‘OK so far it’s: walk in, punch the biggest man and woman in the face (why hold back) proclaim, “I bring the meat, or quorn if you happen to be vegetarian” and walk out, no flouncing.’

“There is also some talk throughout the day of an ancient regional holiday called Burns night. My databases were light on detail about this, but I was able to gather some clues. User RustyJames asks in a manner that my sensors have indicated as casually racist: ‘What actually happens on Burns Night? I’m not being casually racist here; but do you just drink whiskey and eat haggis? Maybe a bonfire?’ It seems the festival refers to a famous poet.

“Concluding my report, many users discussed the propensity of their various workplaces to allow them to leave early. I believe this is a key indicator of the mental wellbeing of people at this time, a focus on gaming, drinking and some upcoming awards ceremony. Only now do we truly see how good they had it.”

With the report concluded the two men left in silence, the flickering screen flashed one last time before dimming forever.

Wednesday

Welcome to the middle of the week. Too far from last weekend to enjoy the memories, too far from next weekend to benefit from the freedom. It’s desperate times like this that turn the Chatterbox in on itself; the bloggers get introspective, begin to feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, force modesty on themselves. Or at least most do, BarryEans sees the world through different glasses and gave us this thought to start the day: “All day training course today on personal excellence. Shouldn’t take me too long to prove how excellent I am…”

That was the last we saw of Barry.

Wednesday’s early blog was taken up with COD Blops discussion. Which gun? Which killstreak to put in slot three? Which type of game to play to give you a 39-8 kill:death ratio? So many questions. And even some answers. Limni and SirGigiddy offered some great tips on class switching, launchers and how to be of more support to your team. The final piece of gaming advice came from SerenVikity; study the top players Theatre Clips. “I would study SirG’s theatre clips like a psycho stalker,” being her exact words.

After all that gaming, the blog turned its attention to Piip’s hair: “…I’d had red hair for too long. So I nipped down to Tesco and brought some dye. I now have purple/red/black hair and I can’t decide if I like it?”

The blog needed more detail. SerenVikity, fresh from stalking SirGigiddy, asked, “Are you going to bleach your hair and then put blue through it? Or go for a blue tinted colour?”

The relevance to her actual advice was unclear: “Some Norse would lighten the colour of their hair using their own (I hope) urine. It’s probably better than putting Sun-In through the follicles but I wouldn’t recommend either.” Apparently it’s history, so it must be true.

Timthemonkey, on discovering a solitary grey hair, grew old in the space of a single blog post. You could hear him deflate like an old tyre as he typed, “Sadly I think the days of wild hair colours may be behind me.”

Henrypootle piped up and addressed Tim’s stupor with a little bit of family history, “My Nan had a blue rinse in her ’70s you square”.

Finally, ImperfectRex brought things round to serious Euro-political discourse: “Dont dye. It’s a slippery slope. Look at Berlusconi, in his ’70s and dark dark hair. On the other hand, look at Berlusconi – into his ’70s, luscious shiny dark hair and (allegedly) a bevy of lovelies at his beck and call.”

Thursday

A family-sized curry, an all you can eat Chinese and a nice mixed grill… no, not Eamonn Holmes’ mid-morning snack, but how Thursday opened. And after the food came the fighting, with Simian being deprived of his bonus from an old job and BeardOfBees and his lawyer-related problems. Picpicpic railed against his (at the time) current lady friend who, “…likes hearing from me and needs to know I’m thinking about her, and spending every Friday/Saturday night in her company.”

pdamalcolm set him straight: “There’s a name for what you’ve got there… It’s called a girlfriend.”

The rest of the day was taken up by nonsense, such as smoking is bad, smoked bacon less so, the HTC desire/Iphone (delete as preferred) is better, survival horror games and the PES2008 theme tune (unfettered genius – Ed).Towards the end of the day, joy of joys, talk turned to the upcoming awards and to the Test Match Special-inspired inaugural Chatterbox Champagne Moment of the Year. This lead inexorably to a certain Sagesmith and his delightful children, a moment we all remember so fondly.

Friday

The game getting most attention on the blog this particular Friday? Not the launch of Dead Space 2, but Baldur’s Gate, an AD&D game from the mists of time. Limni was giving hints and tips on various mods for Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate 2 and the two expansion packs. Limni is serious about his hobby, about 25Gb serious.

But like a good Necronaut, you can’t really keep Dead Space down. Already talk was spreading about the use of stasis guns, PS Move controllers, and other scary games. Shadowmind, being too scared to complete the first game, decided to pass on DS2, with this excuse: “I could only play with someone else in the room”.

A brief foray into list blog, this time a top five of Rolling Stones songs, proved that you can always get what you want, until Football Blog reared its head. This time it was all about how you decide which team to support, nature or nurture? Inevitably this led to a long list of bloggers telling us who their dad supported, where they grew up, and what half-mangled excuse they came up with for supporting Manchester United. [There is no excuse – Keef, lifelong Blue]And keeping with the theme of political comments from Gamesbloggers (What theme? Berlusconi was mentioned once and that’s it! Ed), SerenVikity rounded out the day (and the week) with this bon mot: “You can say what you like about Egypt. Their internet is ‘down’ so no one in Egypt can read this right now.”

Quotes of the week

“There’s a space hamster in my captain’s quarters in Mass Effect 2. No idea how it got there but there doesn’t seem to be any way to put it in the decompression chamber until its eyes bulge out.”BeardofBees bemoans the lack of a true sandbox mode in ME2.

“Is— ‘Hoots Mon, there’s a moose, loose, aboot this hoose’ one of his? If so, he’s a genius.”TimtheMonkey shows a rare understanding of the work of Rabbie Burns.

“When God created man, Andy Murray is what he ultimately had in mind.Of course he’s British. You don’t get to choose your nationality. Unless you’re from Northern Ireland.”We are sure HereComesTreble is sticking to his guns after Mr Murray’s performance in the Oz Open final.

End game

Welcome: SonicBoomCK, Pacman1977 and sleeper00service

Join the official Gamesblog spotify list and share your own favourite tunes. Last addition – ‘I say nothing’ by Voice of the Beehive [sorry, I was a bit drunk – Keef].

Check the Gamesblog wiki for everyone’s game tags and more!

This week’s ‘Best of’ was written by SerenVikity, OneDaveofMany, Smellavision (who pulled a heroic double-shift) and Tjvs. It was edited by Foolsgold74

“If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.”Bertrand Russell

Games

Keith Stuart

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