Posts Tagged ‘the’

I Am Alive : : Don’t wait for The Last Of Us

I Am Alive is probably a game that you won’t ever play. The next 5 minutes will hopefully convince you otherwise. The simplicity of the game is what makes it such fun to play. For £8 you’re getting a single player experience that easily rivals that of the £40 titles out there at the moment. It’s certainly been the most enjoyable single player I have played in 2012. So what exactly makes it such a joy to play? Why should you not just wait for The Last Of Us? 

The opening hour is more or less of a climbing tutorial. In I Am Alive you have a stamina bar that slowly decreases as you traverse the terrain in front of you. Therefore, if you are acting like Nathan Drake for too long, then you’ll eventually fall. This makes the climbing sequences not only exciting but also challenging. Figuring out what path to take across (the George Washington?) bridge will act as a lovely tutorial for this.

These climbing sequences usually space out the main events of the story which see you meeting many people. Some need your help, some can help you but most just want to kill and loot your body. This part of I Am Alive is where the game comes into its own. You usually want to help those in need after you experience how difficult it is to stay alive (especially in the harder difficulties).

Every meeting with hostile civilians is dealt with differently than in previous encounters. That said, there is only ever one solution towards coming out alive after each encounter. These meetings with people pop up at a brilliant pace, you’re not waiting long between meetings but you’re waiting long enough to enjoy the other aspects of the game like climbing, scavenging and exploring. The variety between who you come across is also very refreshing.

It’s been a very long time that I’ve played a video game that had me thinking about what will happen even when I am not playing it. Most nights I often found myself thinking about how this man would find his family, which parts of the map I hadn’t explored and what I needed to scavenge for as soon as I resumed playing. It was nice to be so passionate about a single player game since I played the Uncharted series.

Scavenging is another part of I Am Alive that the producers seemed to have pulled off brilliantly. Your character starts off with nothing. Everything from water to camera batteries to first aid must be found. The rare items like bullets and adrenaline shots are usually found in hard to reach places. They often require the player either helping out a person in need or exploring a part of the map that does not tie in with the story line. That said, it is worth your time to go this extra mile. You see, an empty gun is handy to keep away people with a machete. But should you raise your gun towards someone who also has a gun, then expect to die, quickly. Should you find yourself cornered by three enemies, you should shoot and kill the one person with a gun first and then aim your gun menacingly at his two friends that only have knives. They don’t know you just ran out of ammo and they sure ain’t going to call your bluff. Usually, you won’t ever have more than 1 or 2 bullets. Heck, most of the time you won’t have any. I vividly remember the time I managed to scavenge 5 bullets in the space of 15 minutes, I couldn’t stop screaming “5 F**KING BULLETS?!” The amount of power I had was silly. Like a school boy I ran into my next engagement as 4 men slowly cornered me. They were joking with one another about how I probably had nothing for them to loot and how my body would keep their fire warm that night. 3 seconds later they were all dead and I only had one bullet left. The regret seeped into me immediately….

The game later brings in other elements, like a bow and arrow in which you can pickup your arrow again after each use. This means you have unlimited ammo in one way, but can only use it effectively once per engagement. This brought a new element to the game as there were now numerous ways to deal with hostiles. Not only did I have my machete for close engagements but now I had 2 bullets and my bow and arrow?! Before the excitement got too much, I realised that now there was usually an extra person in each group of enemies and a couple of extra guns between them. This made each encounter much more difficult. Yet I must commend the game, the pacing is superb along with the increased difficulty as the game progresses.

I Am Alive is a game that far exceeded my expectations. When a game is only available on the PSN store for £8 you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. However, I Am Alive could be the most under-rated game of the last 5 years. Many people will unfortunately miss out on this experience due to its lack of coverage along with the release of The Last Of Us just around the corner. However, you will not be disappointed. It was, without a doubt, the best £8 I ever spent.

Environmental News : : Bloody Ivory and Extinct Polar Bears.

Elephants killed for religious craftsmen

Picture of mature African elephant bulls with long ivory tusks

In January of 2012, hundreds of armed men rode into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They murdered hundreds of elephants, entire families with AK-47’s. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. Horrifically so, this ivory is then used as material in which to carve religious objects out of. Ivory smuggling is illegal and yet the Philippines still manage to have a huge ivory trade going on. A reporter from National Geographic found a street merchant selling iconic religious figure in ivory. I somehow doubt that any religion would condone the slaughtering of thousands of elephants for this purpose.
Ivory has turned into a drug. There has been a global ivory trade ban intact since 1989 but that seems not to have had an effect.
Do your part and adopt an elephant now.

Arctic Ice will be gone in 4 yearsArctic ocean warming, Arctic ice, Arctic ice sheet, Peter Wadhams, Global warming feedback, Methane permafrost

According to Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, the entire Arctic ice shelf will be gone in just 4 years. Just 5 years ago it was predicted that the ice would survive until 2060. Now it won’t just be the polar bears that are gone by 2016, but it will also initiate a negative feedback loop that would heat up our planet much quicker.
The loss of ice will cause the ocean water to warm up, which then warms the ocean floor. Much of the Arctic continental shelf is composed of offshore permafrost which contains methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if this gas was released.
What’s that? You don’t want to adopt an elephant because you like polar bears and penguins more? Just make sure you get your adoption money back in 4 years…

90,000 lbs of trash collected at Sierra Nevada

Over 2,500 volunteers collaborated to clean up thousands of pounds of garbage that clogs up this picturesque Californian landscape. Over two thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra Nevada. It’s truly amazing how 571 tonnes of trash has been cleaned in the last 4 years. That is, it’s amazing how it becomes so littered in the first place as well as the effort of the volunteers. I helped take part during an ocean clean up in California. Never have I picked up so many cigarette buts or 6 pack holders in my life. The beach is not a trashcan.

Image

 

Gary Neville turns from United-Red to Eco-green

No, he hasn’t signed with Celtic or Panathinaikos, don’t worry. Instead, Neville is building his own house, a house that meets the highest UK environmental standards. He built his first two homes when he was just 22 and 26. Both of these experiences have helped him realise what needs to be done in order to save the planet.

“So I have had a transitional period in my personal life, from car to home, to become as efficient as I could.”

Side view of the proposed development
                                                         Gary Neville’s new home.

Many people won’t just be surprised by his sudden intelligence as a football pundit. They also will be shocked by his plethora of knowledge towards the environment. He is fully aware of how loud his voice is:

“We believe in the power of sport to deliver a message. You have seen over the past 12-18 months, the way that the Olympics and football transcends all social issues. In fact, it brings social issues that are a problem in society to a head through football.”

 

I leave you with,

The deadliest air fight in the world.
The epic migration of hundreds of thousands of hermit crabs.
Dumpsters transformed into beautiful gardens.

Video Game News! 17th June 2012 – Tony Hawk, Sam Fisher, George Clooney.

1) Tony Hawk is producing the next Call of Duty.

Creator of the successful Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero games, Neversoft, are now working on the next Call of Duty title. Considering that Treyarch are hard at work with Black Ops 2, there is no information regarding what Neversoft have in mind for a future Call of Duty shooter.
There is a chance it could be the PS Vita release, Call of Duty, Black Ops: Decalssified. But why would we just be hearing about their involvement with the game scheduled to be released at the end of this year.
tonycod
2) 
 Gold Dualshock controller available for Playstation 3.

In celebration of the Olympics (supposedly), Sony is releasing a special gold dualshock controller. It will be available in Europe sometime this month. The US will have to wait a few months until October to get their hands on this pointless but sexy controller.

 

3) Splinter Cell, the movie.

Assuming that a deal can be made with a film company and Ubisoft, we could be treated to Sam Fisher on the big screen. Ubisoft require to have control over the storyline so that the series remains faithful to the games. Paramount Pictures have worked with Tom Clancy before so seem most obvious to land the deal. I don’t know about you, but I would be thrilled with a Splinter Cell movie.  I know it seems insane, but wouldn’t George Clooney make a great Sam Fisher? As long as the emotionless Daniel Craig fails to play the part, we should be ok.

4) XBOX 720 details surface.

According to a 56 page document uploaded to scribd.com (that has now been brought down due to legal reasons), the next Xbox will be released in 2013, for $299 and will feature the Kinect 2 with special AR glasses. The document’s authenticity has not been verified and many gaming blogs have reached out to Microsoft for verification but no response has been given by Microsoft, unsurprisingly. The system will operate on six to eight ARM/Intel x86 cores running at 2Ghz with 4GB of memory.
There are many more details littered all over the web, so if you seek more knowledge I suggest you hit up Google search.


5) The best way to spend Father’s Day:

An extremely funny story about a father and his son – http://kotaku.com/5919004/a-rite-of-passage-in-the-legend-of-zelda-now-shared-by-father-and-son?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Read if you – like Zelda
– have a son

Happy Father’s Day!

Who will win the 2012 NBA Finals?

The importance of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

The environment has gained much political attention over the last 30 years; no longer can 1st world countries like America, Japan and China ignore this fact. Environmental benefits still come after economic and social ones in developed countries. Unfortunately, these developed countries are the ones that effect the environment the most, both negatively and positively. The 5th Earth Summit is coming up in 10 days and provides a chance for certain 1st world countries to finally step up to the problem of environmental degradation and exploitation.

       The whole environmental movement began with John Muir in 1892 who started the Sierra Club and used to it express environmental opinions towards the government. The National Trust was then formed 3 years later in 1895. England and America still viewed the environment as something to be feared. The majority wanted control of the environment. Art and literature were used to promote the inherent “goodness” of the environment. People like William Wordsworth dedicated their careers to convincing people that the environment was something magical to be enjoyed. This period was known as the “enlightenment” – Something America still has to go through.

        The real turning point of the movement came in 1962 when Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’. It was a book that outlined a lot of the environmental problems that were occurring at the time. One example was how Rachel outlined the use of the pesticide DTT in agriculture. Not only did this leech into rivers and harm habitats and animals, it was also a cause for human cancer. Upon reading this, President John F Kennedy banned the use of DTT after many agricultural companies trued to ban the publishing of the book. The book was monumental because for the first time, information like this was available to the public. This had never happened before.

         The book prompted the first ever Earth Day to take place in 1970. This was after 150,000 people died in 3 days during the Industrial Revolution because of the smog build up. There was also an oil spill off the coast of Santa Monica in 1969. People were finally becoming aware of the damage that was taking place due to the exploitation and misuse of the environment. This culminated in the first Earth Summit in 1972 which took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

          Whilst this was a monumental occasion and milestone for environmentalists, the meeting did nothing but highlight how 1st world countries were exploiting 3rd world countries. In fact, the first time that any progress was made was 20 years later in 1992 at the third Earth Summit in Rio. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ was introduced. This stated that by 2012, any participating country had to decrease their carbon emissions by 5%. Over 37 countries signed the document. Collectively it would make a huge difference since the limits it proposed for each country were relatively small.

      Unfortunately, 3 key countries refused to sign the document claiming that signing the document would be economic suicide. These three countries were Russia, China and America. If all of Europe was to lower their emissions by 5% it probably would be less than if America lowered their emissions by 5%. With these 3 countries out of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol seemed almost useless.
10 years later in 2002 at Johannesburg, Japan and America refused to limit their offshore oil drilling. Again they were putting their own economic benefits ahead of the world’s environmental benefits. Finally, in 2010, Barack Obama said that “it is pointless to sign the Kyoto Protocol since it is almost over”. Whilst I understand why he said this, he neglected to go further and talk about what America was doing to counter their un-involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

          With the Earth Summit returning to Rio in 9 days where the first positive step was taken, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards the environment have changed from 1st world countries. In the last decade there has been a large impact on “acting as a community” and doing what you can. Recycle this, turn off that light, be “energy efficient”.

       My father recently told me how one of his friends had helped save thousands of trees in the Amazon. My first thought wasn’t how brilliant this was. Instead I thought of how pointless single actions like this will be until we can get the entire world to think the same way. Yes, we can save thousands of trees but until companies lower their emissions then we are just conserving what is left of the environment. We should be protecting and re-building it. 1st world countries desperately need to find a balance between socio-economic and environmental needs. Until this happens, the environmental will continue to deteriorate.

Dead bees, another cry out for alternative fuel?

     Recent studies have shown that diesel fumes are related to the decline of honeybee colonies. The theory states that nano-particles emitted from diesel exhausts disrupt the navigation of bees. Thus making it impossible for them to return to their hive as they eventually die. Why is this important I hear you say? Well there is a much bigger picture to look at.

      Bees produce billions for the world economy, £430 million a year in the United Kingdom alone. People do not realise just how much they aid employment by producing honey and pollinating crop fields. In return, they ask for nothing. I think they are the most underrated working class in the world. To realise that the modern mode of transport is killing them off is extremely worrying. Ten’s of thousand’s of beehives have been dropping every winter. Since 2007, the United States has seen a 35% drop in the number of hives.

     This statistic is screaming at me to sell my diesel ‘eco-friendly’ Ford Fiesta and buy an electric car. Car companies have done a brilliant job of convincing the masses that diesel fueled cars should be bought due to their efficiency and minimal effect on the environment. Yet the fact remains, diesel is a non-renewable fuel that is harmful to all living things. Yes, diesel is better than petrol; You get more miles to the gallon and it does harm the environment less, but we are merely prolonging the inevitable.

     How can we deal with this issue? I would love to tell you that scientists have just discovered a new renewable energy source as powerful as oil but we are not there yet. So all we can do is nudge people. Give people a reason to buy electric cars, a reason to cycle to work and a reason to roll the window down instead of hitting the AC switch.

      My immediate plan would be to deny raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. This is simply telling motorists that it is ok to drive faster, burn more fuel and pump more money into the pockets of oil companies. It also widens the gulf between the speeds of electric vehicles compared to fuel driven vehicles. One major reason why the public are buying fuel cars rather than electric is due to speed.  Further on this, road tax on fueled vehicles should be vastly increased.

      We cannot sugar coat this anymore. We have to stop finding ways of prolonging this unfortunate truth. Instead, begin to use fuels that are both renewable and do not harm the environment. If an event as small as a bee dying does not convince you that something must be done, I fear we have already lost the battle.