I’m still not dead

But my PC was. I’ve had about three weeks worth of PC woes which have resulted in exchanges of motherboards, cpus, ram and quite a variety of four-letter words. I’m back on track now with everything pretty much ship-shape. There’s a couple of minor niggles I want to investigate but I’m sure they’re nothing I’m going to lose much more sleep over.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my best friend, best man and PC technician extraordinaire Marc for his advice and saint-like patience over the last three weeks. Thanks, as always, goes to my wonderful and astoundingly tolerant wife who helped to keep me sane!

I’ve not blogged from my new job because I’ve been rather busy doing a variety of things that I’m delighted to say I can’t tell you. Yes! Call me Mr. TOP SECRET because that’s the status of my current project. All I can say is that it’s next-gen and would be a number of videogamer’s DREAM project to be working on. Expect an official announcement in the far future (2007 at the earliest).

Making games isn’t quite the dream many gamers might think it is. My role as an associate producer has seen me doing many mundane things that aren’t exactly worlds apart from stock-taking or auditing. Of course, the context under which these tasks are performed is where the difference lies. All in all I’m delighted to be working with Free Radical and hope the relationship is rewarding for us both.

Speaking of employers.. ..my previous one, (the one I left just over 6 weeks ago) has seen fit to pay me a bonus this month. The bonus is related to the company’s performance during their financial year (April to April). I was working throughout that period and I guess they feel that makes me eligable for a bonus even if I’m not working for the company at the time the bonus is given out (June). I’m not complaining of course, just bemused and pleasantly better off.

I’ve done two very strange things this weekend. Things that many people would assume I’d never do – even under pain of death.

The first is that I went to see Take That live at the Milton Keyne’s Bowl. Look, that’s me on the right*:


*not really.

I’m not a Take That fan. I’m not a boy-band fan. In fact most popular music doesn’t interest me – I still prefer chiptunes. However, my gorgeous wife was a bit of a fan of the boys back in the day and when a reunion tour was announced her eyes lit up. Presenting tickets for the gig as a birthday present went down very well. I made it very clear that the pair of tickets were for her and a guest – not me. She invited her best friend who, a week or so ago, realised she’d double-booked and couldn’t make it. My wife put on her most alluring irresistible face and made it very clear how much she wanted me to be there and I was powerless to resist.

I made it very clear that I would NOT be enjoying myself nor be converted into a Take That groupie. I’m happy to say that I kept to my promise. The boys clearly put a lot of work into their 2 hours and the Beatles medley was a nice change from the blandness of the other tunes. The 2 hour ordeal to get out of the car park at 11pm wasn’t so great.

So, Koffdrop at a Take That gig. Whatever next?


Well, courtesy of Experian’s belated bonus, I splashed some cash on a DS lite. I’d been pondering over this for a little while. I’d been waiting for the DS homebrew community scene to report reliable flash-kits for the DS and a few months ago the compatibility seemed to reach the high percentages. This was what I’d been waiting for and then the DS lite date got announced and with Experian’s recent generosity it seemed that the stars had aligned and I should just go and get one.

Another massive incentive is that my sister (who doesn’t really play games) told me she got one some time back as when I explained the game Trauma Centre to her she was too interested in the idea to resist. She’s such a sucker for hospital stuff. Other gaming highlights of my sister’s select career have been Theme Hospital and the Life and Death PC games. And the Sims, naturally.

The DS Lite then. It’s cute. It’s certainly heavier than I expected and becomes a little *too* heavy for it’s size on lengthy sessions of Tetris and particularly Metroid Prime Hunters. I’m worried that I’ll not make much progress in the latter as the controls for a lefty like me are pretty grim (yes, even with ‘left handed’ mode on). Still, time will tell. My birthday is in July so I may ask for some more games and a WiFi connection to investigate gaming options. I must say the idea of throwing myself into a community of rabid DS fans isn’t a thought I relish. Thank God I’ve got some gaming colleagues to embarass myself against!

Oh, about the only other thing I have to report is that I finally decided to bash my way through the original Halo on the Xbox. It starts very strong. But they really switch the fun off in the second half and make the game a bore-fest. What a shame. Maybe I’ll have a gander at its sequel in a bit.