Monday, 26 October 2009

Goal achieved!

That celebratory picture of Banjo means that I achieved my goal of losing three whole pounds A WEEK EARLY! According to the Wii Fit. This means that over the course of the month I've nearly lost half a stone. Which is most impressive, for me anyway.

I can't say I've varied my routine much. Five minutes of step to warm-up, twenty minutes jogging and five minutes of skiing to cool down again. However the combined efforts seem to have been paying off! I still crave alcohol like a social media consultant craves free WiFi, but it's a definite improvement. The idea will be to keep on working out into the next month.

One thing I'm not craving is the Wii exercise bike, which appears to be the biggest game peripheral outside of installing an Afterburner roll cage in your living room.

Surely just get a bike?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Spy Who Loved Wii...

OK confession time: I fell off the wagon on Saturday, but as it was my mate Steve's leaving do I feel alright about it. However am firmly back on the trail now. And having thought about the warm-up last week, I now come to the warm-down, which for me mainly involves the Wii-Skiing or, if you like Skwiiing (actually, no, that's horrible).

The best bit about the slalom course is nothing to do with the Wii. Though I enjoy bending back and forth like a reed in the wind, the real fun comes from leaning into the go-faster zone and trying to complete the course as fast as possible. The other trick is to crank-up the iPod with the best of Bond Themes. Nothing beats skiing on the Wii as you hurtle down the slope with Carly Simon telling YOU and no one else the NOBODY does it better than YOU. This also works well with the ski jump when you can pretend it really is the beginning of The Spy Who Loved Me and your parachute will be covered in the Union Jack. A more leisurely ski might involve Nancy Sinatra's You Only Live Twice or even Rita Coolidge's All Time High from Octopussy. If you fancy moving across to the snowboard Duran Duran works best allowing you to recreate the opening of A View to a Kill with Roger Moore as the world's most urbane snowboarder.

Some company must realise the potential for doing a skiing, driving, shooting Bond game for the Wii using the balance board and motion plus, now that would keep you fit...

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Warm it up

How do you warm-up for the Wii? I have to confess I can't be arsed with all the stretching in the actual game (I do stretch myself before hand). The problem is: the lovely female virtual instructor's face is white and due to the dodgy video properties of the Wii, the whiteness bleeds out any features of her face making her look like that terrifying photo-bloke from that equally terrifying Sapphire and Steel story.

So my preferred method is the step, although for some reason I am rubbish at it. I like to think I have rhythm, I used to DJ and once upon a time understood beat-mixing very well indeed, but nowadays the Wii seems to think I'm awful. As I stomp on and off the board it keeps saying 'OK' with only the occasional 'Perfect'. Hardly motivating.

The other thing is - who ARE all those people watching a step aerobics class. They're so easily entertained they seem to cheer every step. Idiots.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Jog, jog, jog, but not chug.

In an attempt to ramp up the Wii Fit cash yesterday I opted for a twenty minute jog that the Wii reckoned was somewhere in the region of 5km. Nice! It was a highlight of my first completely booze free weekend in a long time. Luckily I had lots of odd jobs to be getting on with and only really felt down when I was in the pub on Friday night, supping diet coke from a plastic beaker reserved for children watching Ricky Ponting smash us all over the park for another Aussie win.

The one thing that is happening is sleeping properly. Both Friday and Saturday night I went to bed REALLY tired which seemed to be a great bonus. Last night I slept for nine hours. Almost unheard of.

Latest tunes listened to while jogging:

Hedley Verityesque - Half Man Half Biscuit
We Built this City on Rock and Roll - Jefferson Starship
Pacific 202 - 808 State
Trance Europe Express - Kraftwerk
Spacelab - Kraftwerk

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Wii Fit exercise regime

Can man lose weight on the Wii Fit? This month I intend to prove this is the case. I've decided, in the run up to Christmas that I need to get fit and that I can use video games to do it.

Self-discipline is they key. When I wasn't such a fat bastard and I was going to the gym regularly it was nice, clean and a refreshing place to go. One's front room should ideally be a shrine to slobbery, my sofa is parked right in front of the telly. Looking on it as an exercise space will be the first challenge.

I've also quit drinking for the month, for the first time in a LONG time. It's going to be the thing that will spearhead the attack on my gut. It should ease the pain when it comes to regular exercising.

Interactivity while exercising is an odd thing. It was easy for me to get into the habit of staring into space and listening to music or the radio while pounding the crosstrainer or running machine, but the Wii requires you to engage with what's happening on screen, apart from the free running mode which I can foresee myself using more of for my main athletic work-out.

Also - Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort can they be used in your exercise regime. I expect so. And what will Project Natal hold for the interactivity and virtual worlds of exercise. Over the next month, I intend to find out.

Wii Fit activity Weds Sep 30th
19 mins
Super Step, Jogging (island circuit), Super Hula Hoop

Friday, 17 April 2009

Gears of War 2 - what's next?

Yesterday I finished Epic Games excellent Gears of War 2 in all its adrenaline-pumping, locust-killing, macho-posturing glory. While the gameplay was fast, furious and fun - never frustrating, it did get me thinking to how a game's plotting and dialogue actually work, because there were some moments in GOW2 that were beyond parody...

1. Cole Train. Comedy black guy.

Cole's main skill in attacking the Locust is to shout at the top of his voice like a WWE wrestler and spout such cliched dialogue that you'd believe his script was written by a bunch of fourteen year old boys raised exclusively on the movies of James Cameron and Jerry Bruckheimer. Every time he opened his mouth it made me wince. I'm not asking for Ibsen, but this guy was basically Michael Clarke Duncan in Armageddon times a million...

2. Come to think of it only one black guy.

The developers have taken great pains to tell your four key Gears apart. Marcus has a bandana, Dom has a beard, Baird has blonde hair and Cole is black. However it doesn't say much for racial diversity, I wonder if there are any pressures from international sales governing the development of games characters?

3. And one woman.

The Gears team's control is Anya, the only female not to be a victim in GOW2. Why isn't she on the ground, suited and booted? Where were the female Gears? Even in 1986 Aliens - the games developers character/story bible from now until the end of time - had Vasquez. Pathetic.

4. Really deep voices.

Marcus Fenix must smoke like fifty a day, fair play, I mean the man puts his arse on the line for humanity every second of the day, the least he can do is light-up. However as this reminds me of Christian Bale's ridiculous Batman voice, I simply can't take it seriously.

5. Dom's back story.

Dom, your kill-partner is tortured by erotic memories of his love Maria in scenes nicked totally from The Thin Red Line. This was always going to end badly. In Terrence Malick's movie, Ben Chaplin's spirit is broken when he discovers his love has left him. In Gears of War 2, Dom's spirit is broken because she's been transformed into a Locust husk that Dom has to shoot. It's still moving mind, but another terrible cliche.

Of course the plot of a game should never get in the way of the essential game elements themselves - ie blowing away creepy-crawlies and chainsawing bad guys, however is it too much to ask to get some better dialogue and characterisation written? I'm offering my services, game people, right here and now.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Halo Wars review

This time on video, apologies for quality, Youtube mangled it a bit, may use Vimeo next time.