Sunday, 21 November 2010

Zombie Review - The Dead

And the blog is back from the dead! Resurrected if you will, yes that is two zombie puns in the first sentence. But I really haven't had much to say for the best part of 2 years. That or I'm really lazy.

Anyway the other week, I went to see the zombie film The Dead, as part of Leeds film festival. A rather unique film in that it was filmed in Africa Burkina Faso to be precise. Now the story of the filming could have been a film in itself, the lead actor got malaria, their equipment took 5 weeks to get into the country on what was suppose to be a 6 week shoot, they got mugged and held at gun point at checkpoints lots.
The result is one of the most strikingly beautiful zombie films ever shot and makes a refreshing change from the scenes of urban decay that has dominated the genre since Dawn of the Dead. The African countryside is both beautiful and brutal, adding another survival element.
The plot is basically a journey, for one American soldier who has ended up in the middle of the uprising of the dead, all alone, trying to get somewhere which will enable him to escape. Along the way he meets other people, the main one been an African soldier who has deserted to go in search of his family. The film is acted well and there is not much to criticise in terms of plot apart from one scene that seemed out of character but this cannot be discussed without spoilers.
Another review I read of this called it Resident Evil 5 the movie, by this I can only assume he meant it was in Africa and featured zombies as it has nothing in common with the game, for a start the lead doesn't have to look after an annoying A.I control partner.
Overall this film is worth a watch and one of the best serious zombie films I have seen in quite sometime. Oh and the zombies are proper none running zombies. With some brilliant effects and sound effects of zombies walking on broken bones that are simply brilliant.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Zombies: Transport

You know what a zombie is, you have your weapons and a decent plan. Now you need to consider your transport options, what follows is a run down of the main transport types you will have access to, with a few none so common ones thrown in at the end.

General advice:
Ask yourself the following questions before you choose your mode of transport.
1. How far are you traveling? If it is long distance then something with good miles per gallon ratio is going to be needed to0 minimise fuel stops or even searching for fuel.

2. How far into the zombie outbreak is it? If it is early and everything is going normal still, then it is going to be fairly straight forward to make it from A to B. However it is late in the day, i.e. zombies are at your door, then it is going to be difficult.

3.How hard is it going to be to get fuel? Related to the above because one it is going to be risky stop for fuel, not only might the petrol stations be full of zombies but there is a high chance that the fuel will be all gone.

4.What is your route? Again, deep into the zombie outbreak the main routes are going to be blocked with abandoned cars, some of which might contain zombies. Every car is a threat, especially if you are walking past them. Random zombies could grab at you and bite you, leading to your doom.

Types of transport:

Your bog standard car is the most likely method of transport. The problem is that they are designed for roads, and decent roads at that. They don't do fields well, as anybody who has been to a festival will testify, this is a problem when a road is likely to be littered with broken erm cars.
Not the best choice, but maybe your only one and if you are early enough to avoid the panic, it will do just fine.

The vehicle that plagues the middle class school run. Mainly used by idiots who have never taken it anywhere near off road. But their time has come now, as most likely all the owners will be dead, you could get one fairly easy if you live in say Harrogate or Chelsea. They can handle off road (assuming it is a decent model and not the just for show models). Better than a car but not by much.

Trucks,lorries and buses
They are big, slow, poor mileage. In short useless, apart from for mobile fortress type missions (think the truck from Dad's Army). If used to escape, they will just turn into your grave.

Dirt bikes in particular are brilliant get away vehicles. They are quick, dirt bikes can go off road and light weight so can be pushed if necessary. Their negatives are that they offer no protection, one stray zombie arm and you are a goner, plus they have low mileage.

They are quiet compared to the other things on this list, they are easy to maintain, mountain bikes can go off road with ease, they don't require fuel. The negatives are that unless you are a top bike rider or been taking a hell of a lot of EPO, you aren't going to be able to travel huge distances in one go.
Overall the best one to go with, just don't forget safety, it would be sad if you survived the hoard only to end up cycling over the end of a cliff.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Things that just don't happen in gaming anymore

While waiting for my 360 to set off on its holiday to Germany, it got my thinking about the good old days of gaming and what we did then that no longer happens due to technological changes that have advanced games and consoles to what we have got now.

1. Reliable consoles - Might as well start with the issue that has caused for this retrospective. When I get my 360 back from Germany, it will be my 3rd 360. My first died a death about a year and half after I bought it and now it's gone again.
The PS3 is also having issues, although nothing on the scale of the infamous RROD, before that the PS2 was also known to have reliability issues. The consoles I have owned before the 360 are the Master System, Mega Drive, PS1, N64 and a Gamecube, none of which ever broke down on me. Once you bought a console, you knew it was going to last until the next generation or until you got bored of it. None of these had to extend their warranties.

2. Games on tapes - Oh yes kids, there was a time that games came on tapes, hell there was a time when music came on tapes, actually thinking about it, some of you might not even know what a tape is!
You had a tape player that was connected to your system, in my case it was a Commodore 64, and you would wait for about half an hour for the game to load up. Some games were so long that you had to flip the tape over. Now if you were really lucky you had a disc drive, (floppy discs of course, ones that were actually floppy) and had next to no load time, but we never did. Seriously when people complain about load times these days, they have no idea how bad it was back in the day of tapes, or even the CDs on the PS1.

3. Blowing game cartridges to make them work - Oh yeah, back in the day of Master System, Mega Drives and then sometimes the N64, a game wouldn't work, the solution was simple, blowing down the connectors on the cartridge, put the game back in the console and it would normally work. Awesome.

4. Passwords - Back before hard drives on consoles, before memory cards or even saving on cartridges was the humble password. It would often be a random mixture letters and numbers, coupled with this was the fact it was the time when you had to scroll through every letter and number using just up and down on your control pad. It would waste gaming time and if you got just one letter wrong when you had wrote down your password you would have to start the game all over again (this was the days before the internet, so you couldn’t just look it up).

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Last minute wins

One of the best things in sport, any sport really, is when one team snatches in the dieing moments. When a team somehow rescues the game from the jaws of defeat, often in moves that you only get when players are desperate from hail marys in American Football, goalkeepers going up for corners in football to wonderful 80 metres passing moves in Rugby League.
Here are some of my favorite last minute wins from rugby league.

Leeds Vs Bradford Millennium Stadium Cardiff.
Lets get this one out of the way first. The game was a rather strange one, for some reason both Leeds and Bradford forgot how to defend for most of it and try after try was scored. However Bradford seemed to have got win when, with only 2 minutes remaining, Leeds lost the ball in the tackle and a Bradford player picked it up. Bradford were leading by 2 points at this point.
Then this happened.
Yep Steve Ganson robbed Bradford with not one, but two wrong decisions. However that didn't stop me from enjoying it.

St Helens Vs Bradford - Play off Elimination 2000
This is the only part of the game I have ever seen. All you need to know about this game is that the winner got to go to the final and the loser went home.
With just 10 seconds left on the clock the score is 11-10 to Bradford and the ball is deep in St Helens half.
Then St Helens produced this
Now it is simply known as Wide to West.

Queensland Vs New South Wales - State of Origin: Game one: 1994

The biggest game in rugby league. It's the origin game between the two rugby league playing states of Austeria. These are the best players in the world, something like this shouldn't happen. With New South Wales winning 12-10 and once again the opposing side in their own half with hardly any time left on the clock.
"That's not a try, that's a mircle!"

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Best Sports Films

With the release of Damned United this Friday, which threatens to be the greatest football film ever (although lets face it, that wouldn't be too hard) I thought I would combine two of man's favorite things; sport and lists.

5. Field of Dreams (Baseball)
"If you build it, he will come. "
A story about a man, who builds a baseball field in his farm. The plot sounds daft, and really it is. However this is mainly a story about relationships, that of a father and son. By doing this it plays every right note and comes to a lovely conclusion.

4. Children of Glory (Water Polo)
"Russians go home"
In 1956, Hungarian had the greatest water polo team in the world, unfortunately the Russians beat them as they control the refs. However they cannot do this at the Olympics and the team set about training for the biggest tournament of their lives. But the Hungarian revolution gets in the way and this is more a film about that than the polo, which really acts as book ends for the film. If the conclusion to this film doesn't have you shouting "Russik go home" at the end then you are either a) heartless or b) a commie

3. Cool Runnings (Bobsledding)
"Are you dead man? No I gotta finish the race"
Yeah it's cheesy, but it's fun god dam it. I have watched it many a time and they still don't win :(

2.Any Given Sunday (American Football)
"On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. The point is - can you win or lose like a man? "
Ok I'm putting this in here just for Al Pacino's speech. But it's really good speech. The rest of the film is good as well though. Due to it's stop start nature, American footall leads itself to film rather well.

1. This Sporting Life (Rugby League)
"We don't have stars in this game, that's football"
Hands down the greatest sports film ever. The rugby scenes are truely brilliant, you can feel the game as it is, well was, hard, fast and brutal but at the same time skillful. Yet the real story here is how the game is escapism from life of the working class.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Leeds Rhinos season so far

And we're off, well we were about three weeks ago when Leeds played their first game of the season, confusingly a round 4 game against the new boys.
Now I won't be reviewing the games because that has been done by better people than me both at sportinglife and for a more biased view, at Southstander. In short we have won every game so far although far from convincingly, which really isn't a worry at this stage because it's the end of the season when the championship is won and not the start of it.
The positives for Leeds is their defence, they have only conceded 2 tries in 3 matches and both from kicks. The way that JJB tackled the Hull KR player into touch on Friday is the perfect example of this, he had no right to make that tackle and especially when there was only a few minutes to go and Leeds were 9 points up.
The negatives are that the attack is looking pretty flat at the moment but that could be down to early season rustiness and the fact we are missing a couple of our best attacking players due to injury.
So it's the World Club Challenge this weekend, which will see Leeds take on Manly at Elland Road. For the first time the Aussie side is taking it seriously enough to come over in plenty of time to get used to both the weather and get over the jet lag, so no excuses this time.
In other rugby league news Wigan are terrible again having lost 3 from 3, two at home. Warrington are also rubbish having given away the lead twice already this season and once again look like they are all big names and no team work.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The rugby season is upon us

Well actually it's a monthish away but it's one of the things I really like that I haven't shared with you. So I thought I would educate some of my none rugby league loving friends on the greatest game.
The basics of the game can be found here on the popular democracy of lies wikipedia but what that cannot explain is why I love this game, why every weekend (apart from when we are playing in France) I go to the game, home or away, rain or shine. (You seriously have to experience Hull away in the rain to know how committed you are to a cause)
Rugby League is fast sport full of skill and power and is a game that really has to be seen in full flow to be truly appreciated, it has the bone crunching tackles, beautiful free flowing passing movements and plenty of drama. A game can literally turn on its head in a blink of an eye if it close.
I follow Leeds Rhinos, who in recent times have had a fair bit of success (they have won 3 championships in 5 years) but before 2004 they hadn't won the championship for 32 years! That's longer than I have been alive and that day at Old Trafford was brilliant, there were grown men crying everywhere with happiness, as for a long time we had also bottled it but no longer. For some reason it seems that sport is the only place guys get away with crying, strange that.
We have earned the success we are enjoying now and I'm going to enjoy it aslong as it lasts.
Anyway that was a pretty basic post about league, expect more as the season starts.