Archive for the 'Videos' Category

Librarians of the FUTURE!

August 19, 2009

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee – although to me that’s always been as meaningless as the acronym) released a slick video recently canvassing opinion and conjecture on what libraries might look like 10 or 20 years down the line:

While I find all the talk about virtual information hubs, networks and the like interesting, I’d always thought librarians of the future were supposed to look like this:

Terminator Librarian WH40K

(from here)


Watchmen Less Than A Week Away!

February 28, 2009

That’s right, and my anticipation has reached fever pitch!

It seems crazy to think that it was almost 11 months ago that I blogged about the upcoming Watchmen adaption, and here it is just around the corner.

Reviews are already coming in thick and fast – the film had its UK premiere at Leicester Square on 23rd February. To say that they’re “mixed” would be an understatement. Although the Rotten Tomatoes meter currently stands at 81%, I don’t think that tells the full story: many of the reviews point to Zack Snyder’s dogged insistence on sticking to the source material as one of the things holding Watchmen back from being a truly great film. But this is surely a case of “damned if you do…” for Snyder who, as a fan of the comic book, knows more than anyone what the reaction would’ve been if he’d made significant changes or cuts. And that doesn’t stop longtime Watchmen fanboy Michael Moran from gushing all over the movie in his Times blog review:

Watchmen is a watershed moment in comic book action. It’s the movie where, if you’ll forgive me, things went from juvenile to Juvenal. If you’ve read the book, see it. If you haven’t, see it twice.

All that said, I’m still psyched about seeing it on the 6th March when it’s out officially in the UK.

And if you need more hype, how about checking out some of the clips posted on imdb and youtube. I particularly like the Dr Manhattan ones:

Survivors ’08: Hot British Post-Apocalyptic Action

November 24, 2008

The remix of Terry Nation‘s classic 1970s post-apocalyptic series, Survivors aired last night on BBC1. The first episode was a fairly impressive feature-length update of the original storyline: a virus destroys 95% of humanity within about a week, and a disparate bunch have to work together to survive.

Here’s the trailer:

Of course, as a BBC production there were bound to be some cheesy moments and I spotted at least one continuity error at about 50 minutes in – another car flashes past the camera in what was supposed to be an abandoned housing estate.

Nevertheless as a die-hard fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I can’t help but be impressed by the scope of the programme. The resurgent eco-friendly 70s commune themes are also strangely pleasing, if a little naive, such as the outdoor retreat leader who chastises Western society for becoming disconnected from the land and complains because the central character, Abby Grant, can’t milk a cow or kill a pig or something equally “practical”.

Next episode is tomorrow night. If you missed it, you can catch up on BBC’s iPlayer. To whet your appetite, here’s a documentary from BBC Four on the appeal of the original 70s show:

Fallout 3 Out!

November 2, 2008

Current Metacritic score 94%

So the consensus seems to be it’s awesome, but perhaps not breathtakingly so. Still I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Check out the video below to get a sneak preview of some of the first parts of the game, where you’re a baby and discover the SPECIAL book!

For an apparently balanced take on it, you could watch Gamespot’s video review which is mostly positive but points out the graphical deficiencies in the PS3 version.

Fallout 3 Gameplay Videos

September 7, 2008

I must’ve been filing my nails or something when this was announced, but in any case, last week Bethesda posted a total of five gameplay videos of the lukewarmly anticipated (in certain quarters) Fallout 3 on Youtube.

I of course am anything but lukewarm about the latest instalment of the post-apocalyptic RPG masterseries. See for yourself.

The latest set of videos confirm that the black humour and gritty atmosphere of Fallouts 1 and 2 are present and correct. The second video in particular (entitled “Megaton” and shown below) contains a surprisingly high naughty word count. I’m also loving the ability to plant live grenades on people when pickpocketing them (see the second video below, entitled “Tenpenny Tower”).

The five videos tell a story of sorts as they show the player taking on and completing a simple quest, which has explosive consequences. It’s nice to see the range of conversation options, and hopefully this will go some way to assuaging the unbelievers. However I suspect that some of the haters have now elevated their dislike for this game to a crusade, unable to view any aspect of the game in a positive light.

For what it’s worth, RockPaperShotgun has given it a tentative thumbs up and they’ve also announced that the EU release date is three days after the US. Damn them! In any case it’s on my Amazon wishlist as of this afternoon.

Reflections On PicLens

July 10, 2008

PicLens is a visualization extension for Firefox…


Piclens for Firefox

It’s also one of the coolest looking things this side of a Mac. Once you’ve installed it, you can click the Piclens icon in the top right hand corner of the browser at any time and search for images on Google, Flickr or Photobucket. You can also search Youtube for video.

The end result is an instant 3D swooshy-swirly picture/video viewer interface. It’s as easy to use as any professionally-produced alternative and looks as good as, if not better than Vista’s built-in picture viewer. And it’s free of course.

There are a few sites which support Piclens; as well as the aforementioned Google Image Search, Youtube, Flickr and Photobucket, you’ll find support on Facebook and WordPress, among others. Browsing Facebook photos in Piclens is much more convenient and useful than Facebook’s own clunky photo album system.

Radiohead Nude – ZX Spectrum Style

June 10, 2008

You’ve all heard the remixes of “Nude” by Radiohead, right? Well here’s one you might not have heard earlier:

James Houston is a final year student on Glasgow University’s Visual Communication course, and the video above is his end of year project. You’ll have to wait until 1:10 for the “performance” to begin, but it’s so worth it…

Audiosurf: Music + Puzzles = WIN!

June 4, 2008

A couple of nights ago I ventured back to Steam – Valve’s online digital content delivery system – for the first time since I completed Half Life 2: Episode One a year or two ago. At first, I was shocked at the range of titles you can buy – anything from Bioshock to Warhammer 40K; RPGs to insane psychedelic puzzle-action games.

And in that last category I found a gem: Audiosurf.

Audiosurf 1

The idea is simple: hover along a track with three lanes and collect coloured blocks by flying into them. Collect three or more blocks of the same colour and you’ll score points.

Hotter colours (red and yellow) score more than cold colours (blue and purple). And there are powerups scattered along the route which have various helpful effects, from painting all of your accumulated blocks one colour (thus bagging you a larger bonus), to sorting your colours out into neat stacks.

The harder the difficulty setting, the faster blocks fly at you and the trickier it is to make stacks. At some of the harder levels it gets to the point where it’s as much about your reaction speed as planning ahead. But it’s still ludicrously colourful fun.

Audiosurf 2

So where does the “audio” come in?

Audiosurf’s tracks and environment are generated from any digital music file you’ve got on your system. Essentially, it reacts to whatever song you throw at it. The tempo and feel of the song you select determines how the game plays out.

At it’s most basic level, this means a fast, upbeat song will beget a frantic downhill track, with loads of colours and hazards, while a mellow, acoustic number produces a correspondingly chilled uphill track, with fewer blocks.

Of course, there’s a range of characters to choose from, all of which have different abilities. But that – in a nutshell – is what £6.50 ($9.99 + VAT) of your hard-earned crust will buy you: a virtually limitless supply of lo-fi puzzling-action goodness accompanied by great music (assuming you actually like the stuff you’ve got on your hard drive). And it’s maddeningly addictive.

Even better: the latest update incorporates scrobbling of all tracks played, so you can share your music while gaming. Perfect!

There’s a taster below if you’re not sure. Some lunatic attempts a run through of DragonForce: Through the Fire and Flames (remember them?) using the Mono game mode. Rock symbols at the ready: \m/

Far Cry 2 Tech Demo

May 30, 2008

Lots of people have been talking up Far Cry 2, with many previews effectively saying that it defecates over Crysis from a great height. Well, from what I’ve seen so far I’m not so sure if it’s going to be a hands down win, but check out this recently released tech demo…

Wow! Fire propagation looks like heaps of fun, and could potentially be a useful gameplay tactic: don’t want to rush a compound head on? Why not start a fire with your flamethrower and flush ’em out?!

London Hang Drum Action

May 7, 2008

If you’re one of the many people who come to this blog because you’re a fan of the hang drum, why not take a look at this short video I took on Saturday of a hang drum artiste in action on the south bank of the Thames:

Sorry about the crappy quality – I recorded this on my phone while I was walking past. Still it’s another to add to the growing repository of hang-related clips on youtube.