Thursday, 11 December 2008

Now see hear...

Hearing impairmentImage via WikipediaBeing forced to play Quake 4 in silence wasn't too bad, till I discovered the subtitles that weren't there. I could have left it there, I could have walked a few yards and fetched my headphones. But I am a real obstinate bastard. And I hate walking.

A bit of googling revealed, to my absolute shock, that many games now do not include subtitles or closed captions, despite many gamers', hard of hearing or otherwise, pleas for them. This seems like a terrible omission to me, and should probably be illegal or something. In this rapidly (and it really is rapidly, according to a recent survey as many as 50% of American adults now play games) growing industry, that is becoming more and more mainstream by the minute, I find it shocking that a publisher as big as id could show such disregard for its hearing impaired customers.

I should qualify this by saying that the game is by no means unplayable without subtitles, the objectives are clearly displayed on the screen and the dialogue is consistently terrible anyway. But the simple fact is, in the 'exposition' sections where the story traps you in a room and forces itself upon you like a clumsy bear, it's really rather tedious. There is nothing to do but watch their mouths, which sadly you cannot lipread, and wait till someone decides to open a door and let you get back to shooting stuff.

Luckily, Games[CC] have decided to take matters into their own hands, creating their own closed captions for games (including Quake 4) and releasing them as mods. Ubisoft have also committed to including subtitles in future games. It should also be noted that many games, including the Half-Life series, include closed captions as a standard option. If gaming really is to grow up, it's issues like these that need to be addressed and quickly.

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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Hoorah for the Big British Castle!

All Daily Mail Writers must die!Image by Pip via FlickrIt's quite refreshing to see that Charlie Brooker's fears about 'an increase in BBC jumpiness' following the irritatingly nicknamed 'Sachsgate' incident might actually be unfounded. The BBC Complaints website, still reeling from the charge of the Daily Mail High Horse Idiot Brigade, features a pleasing level of common sense in their responses:


We've received complaints from viewers who were unhappy about a joke that featured in Mock the Week...Again on Wednesday 29th October 2008.

The BBC's response

Mock the Week is a well-established satirical comedy series whose audience has very clear expectations of its bold and sometimes provocative humour. This edition of the programme has been broadcast four times since January 2007 and before the recent press coverage we'd only received a very small number of complaints about it. We're always clear with audiences about the content of programmes and we acknowledge that some of the humour in Mock the Week is not to everyone's taste, particularly when taken out of the context of the programme.
Do I even detect a hint of rebuke there? I can't really fault that response, other than that they forgot to mention that Frankie Boyle's comment was vomit-inducingly hilarious. It's good to see that the BBC have decided not to cave in and pander to the outraged morons, including the ones who recently complained that Dizzee Rascal was an 'inappropriate guest' for Newsnight- the result may have been the subject of more justified controversy, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have happened; as far as I'm concerned anything that provokes valid debate is worth broadcasting. I guess we can only hope that these sensationalist little parasites will get bored and crawl back into the sordid holes they emerged from until such a time as a cure for unabashed self-righteous idiocy is found.

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Monday, 1 December 2008


Put this new look in your pipe and smoke it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Black Mesa

I don't think I've ever been as excited about anything in my life as I am about this:

For anyone who doesn't know, Black Mesa (formerly Black Mesa: Source - the Source was removed at the request of Valve), is a remake of the original Half-Life, using the Source engine. It is being created by a frighteningly organised crew of modders who, while taking their own sweet time, have been churning out incredible screenshots of reimagined Black Mesa environments and models so detailed they almost put the mighty Valve to shame.

Nothing released from this mod so far hasn't reeked of professionalism, from the graphics to the voice acting to the original music by Joel Nielsen, and this trailer is no exception. Watch it and dribble.

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