Thursday, June 27, 2013

Official Rules of Drinking Penalty Shoot Outs

1.1 Participants predict the final score of the shoot out (eg 4-5). If they predict correctly they must consume or nominate  a tin/container of drink

2.1 Participants pick a team to support during the shoot out (eg Spain or Italy)

2.2 At the build up to each penalty each participant decides: 
 a) which direction their player will shoot/dive (right, left, centre)
 b) whether the result of the penalty (goal,  save or miss)

2.2.1 For each correct prediction, participants drink/nominate two fingers of the drink

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The problems with Pro Evo 2012 (are all nerdular*)

(* Nerdular: adjective of, relating to, or denoting nerd-like tendancies. inf. nerdy)

I suppose I may as wel get the obvious out of the way, FIFA is clearly the superior football game; It's got vastly superior graphics, better online, full licenses, is more realistic and is overall a better technical achievement. And has been for the life of this generation of consoles. But when it comes to human v human living room action, Pro Evo is just more FUN! Especially when drunk.

But therein lies the problem. Pro Evo was at it's peak at the end of the PS2 cycle, with Pro Evo 6 probably being the best incarnation of the series. The Master League was the best single player format of any football game, and the pre game management screens were vital to securing a win - FIFA players would sit impatiently waiting for you to bench your blue arrows, set up the man marking and configure the position swapping, then wonder why you could consistently beat them with inferior teams.

And with their multiplayer options such as setting up home and away fixtures for ties, meant that securing that last minute away goal to hand you the match was one of the many joys of life.

Now though, they have needlessly stripped away all these minute, but unique, little eccentricities to the point that I have been moved to use my hangover-free St Patrick's day morning to rant about it on a blog I rarely update. (I'll disclose now that I skipped a few years of the game between PES 2008, until I played my friend's PES 2011. I now own PES 2012.)

The Master League mode has now been usurped into a Football Manager-esque overview game, where you are not involved the action - you merely set the tactics. Football
Manager is a behemoth in this genre, and as far as fans of management sims testify, has pretty much sewn up the market. Why would Konami try to move into this genre on a console! Management sims necessarily require exhaustive scrolling though lists and menus, and thus is perfectly suited to a mouse-enabled environment - and is the bete noir of console gaming, which is designed for action. Sure the original Master League had it's menus and player searching as well, but then you got to play the game with these players, and use their strengths and weaknesses productively, so you could make Balaban one of the most potent strikers in the D2 League.

The Online Master League mode is available, which is more reminiscent of the original format, but it is too impenetrable for a newbie, and too infuriating when you are laden with the shit players at the start of the game so that you can't compete with a player who has an established line up. I do have hope for the online Master League though, because it is an intriguing idea - you build a team as you gain XP, and compete against other players in matches and competitions, with player value being based on their popularity with other players - everyone will want Messi and Ronaldo together, but it will take months before you can afford them both. Hopefully Konami can make this a bit more accessible to new users, and not require such an intensive investment of patience and time before it becomes enjoyable, because if balanced properly, Online Master League could become an essential purchase on it's own.

The Become a Legend feature is a bit of a non-starter as well, because it forces you to control only one player in the game, which gets very boring. When I want to play as one player in a game, I play actual football. FIFA has the similar career mode, but it allows you to choose whether you want to control one avatar or the team, which gives you the opportunity to make your avatar more involved in the game (and selfishly set him up for every shot), rather than relying on the CPU to find you in space.

But back to the lamented qiurks that have been jettisoned in newer incarnations of the series - such as the two legged exhibition match. In PES 2012, to set this up, you have to create a Cup competition with two teams and set it up as a two legged final - and you have to do this every time you want to change teams. After this convoluted set up, users are required to physically swap controllers before the start of the second leg! Myself and a friend only found this out (we had chose the same created team) when he couldn't sprint - I use RT to sprint, while he uses RB. We keep records of when we play so if we hadn't figured it out, we would have had our records skewed - these records form the basis for important bragging rights, dammit, and they could
have been scuppered by a terrible oversight in the game code - and the winner's trophy was on the line.

The pre game management screen that I mentioned earlier has been completely blunted now to basically the formation and the form guide. It is nowhere near as in-depth as before, so it has less of a bearing on the game - especially when competing against the computer. You can't set up a man marker, or dictate the runs of your speedy winger, and it's more difficult to compare to similar players' stats. The User Interface of the manager screen is certainly much more pleasing than before, but the lack of options available to the player, smacks of wholesale dumbing down of the main USP of the franchise.

I still feel that there is a classic Pro Evo title round the corner that can reclaim the mantle of best football title for Konami, but reviewers have said consistently for the past three years that the next installment will be it and Konami kept dropping the ball (not entirely unlike the AI keepers, funnily enough). They have now acceded a lot of credibility to FIFA (to EA's credit as well, it must be stated), to the point that they probably will not get some former fans back ever again. They really do need to buck up their ideas quickly, or else the series will be redundant by the next console generation

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Official Rules of Drinking Pointless

1.0 These Official Rules are not endorsed by the BBC, Alexander Armstrong¹, Richard Osman or Endemol Productions. Because they aren't cool enough.

1.1 The game is designed for two or more players, who must provide their own alcoholic beverage (henceforth known as 'the drink').

1.3 Participants play along with the original BBC 1 broadcast on weekdays at 17:15. Monday night participation, in preparation for The University Challenge Challenge, is particularly encouraged.

1.2 Participants attempt to answer the questions along with the show. If a participant correctly identifies a Pointless answer, they must consume a preagreed measurement of the drink.

2.1 After contestants on the show have provided a correct answer, there is a countdown to reveal how many of the one hundred people said the same one. Participants must attempt to guess the number of points the answer is worth.

2.1.1 If the guess is within five of the correct result, participants must consume a preagreed measurement of the drink.

2.1.2 If the guess is correct, participants must consume two preagreed measurements of the drink.

3.1 During the head-to-head round, the participant who produces the lower scoring answer, must consume a preagreed measure of the drink.

4.1 During the final, all participants may work together to produce as many Pointless answers as possible. For each Pointless answer, all participants must consume a preagreed measurement of the drink.

5.1 Bonus Drinks: The following events prompts bonus opportunities for all participants to consume a preagreed measurement of the drink.

5.1.1 If Alexander Armstrong cannot provide an answer from the remaining asnwers on the board.

5.1.2 If Richard Osman suggests that the contestants will kick, or otherwise harm, themselves. If Richard Osman says the statement, "
and by country we mean a sovereign state as recognised by the UN."²

5.1.3 If a pair of contestants join the '200 Club', where both contestants in a team provide wrong answers, thereby getting the maximum 100 points. If a pair of contestants join the '0 Club', where both contestants provide Pointless answers, thereby getting the perfect 0.

5.1.4 If a contestant is revealed to be a teacher of some description.

5.1.5 If a contestant provides the same answer as an opponent but suggests the opponent has not pronounced it correctly, just to be a twat.

5.2 If a round results in a tiebreak situation, participants must finish the rest of their drink.³

6.1 Participants must remain aware that this is the Official Rules of Drinking Pointless, and therefore may at no stage be considered 'fun'.

Suicide Rule: Partcipants must consume a measure of the drink EVERY time Alexander Armstrong says the word 'very'. Quantities of alcohol required to play this rule are usually delivered in articulated trucks, which must be provided at the participants' own expense.&sup4;

Update: Following the suggestions from commentors and tweeters, additional rules are to be applied ahead of the series that commences on Monday, 13 February 2012. These are italicised.

¹ Alexander Armstrong retweeted these very rules, so we can take it he endorses them!
² Mike in Comments
³ RoosterJones in Comments
&sup4; @desmarkie on Twitter

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Official Rules of the University Challenge Challenge (Drinking version)

1.1 The University Challenge Challenge (henceforth 'the game') is not endorsed by University Challenge, the BBC, ITV Studios, or any other affiliate of the show.

1.1.1 Probably.

1.2 The game is for two or more players, who must provide their own alcoholic beverage (henceforth known as 'the drink').

1.2.1 There is no upper limit to the amount of players.

1.2.2 There is no lower limit to the amount of players, but playing a drinking game on your own is sad, even for University Challenge viewers.

1.3 Players watch the first broadcast of University Challenge (BBC 2, 8pm Mondays) and attempt to be the first to provide the correct answer to the questions. If a player is successful, they must consume a shot of the drink, and cannot answer subsequent questions until their drink is consumed. They are then awarded a point.

1.3.1 Players are only allowed one attempt to provide an answer.

1.3.2 In the event that two or more players give the correct answer at the same time, they each get to have a shot and a point.

1.4 Total silence is paramount for the music round until an attempted answer is provided. Contravention of this rule is penalised by the player taking a shot and having a point deducted.

1.5 The winner is the player with the most points at the gong.

1.6 Twitter interaction is encouraged, using the hashtag #UniversityChallengeChallenge.

Friday, February 04, 2011

On the whole Top Gear-Mexico thing

I watched the recent offending episode of Top Gear, where the usually entertaining Clarkson and May were joined by Hammond, offered their insights into a new Mexican car, and wondered aloud who would want a Mexican car? Fair question; Mexico doesn't exactly have a proud history of motor manufacturing - so who would shell out money in recessionary times for a Mexican car? I was expecting the follow up comments to be jocular car-related rants about the ineptitude of their cars handling, or something similar. Instead I was treated to five minutes of second hand stereotyping. Second hand in that commentary on the work ethics of Mexicans is entirely derived from America, since Britain does not have a significant Mexican community on which to base such frivilous assertions.
Auntie has defended this by saying that exploiting stereotypes for honour form a large part of British comedy. This is true, and when middle of the road comedians are making jokes at the expense of the French (they're rude!) and Germans (towels on the deck chairs!), it can be passed off as banter, mainly because these countries have long histories with each other. Further evidence could be gleaned from Boris Becker's interview later in the show, where he revelled in the accusations of efficiency. But to simply poach a hackneyed cliche from a different culture and ring every unfunny drop out of it, just for the sake of picking a fight (which it appeared was what they were doing) is just, ironically enough, lazy.
Top Gear has definitively jumped the shark (I would say when they started getting guests like Tom Cruise on it, rather than the usual blend of mid table actors and washed up rock stars, although the unmasking of the Stig debacle probably didn't help) and this is probably another piece of timber for the coffin, but let's hope they can get back on track and make the show we love again. I refer you to the feature where they challenged the Australian Top Gear presenters with Ashes jokes and reckless manoeuvring in oversized vehicles - more of this kind of childishness please!