I ended up miles away with no idea where I was, covered in vomit.
-Adam describing either a Boomer attack or his average Friday night
Adam has spent a while trying to convince me to pick up Left 4 Dead, Valve’s apocalyptic zombie survival shooter. It’s less that I needed cajoling about the quality of the game — it is Valve after all — but rather that with four-player co-op as its backbone, I wanted to be assured there would be people with whom to play. Once Sparkie started pestering me as well, I swiftly realised there was nothing to worry about and jumped in. The game succeeds through its tempo, a mad rush of zombies is always followed by suitably edgy respite with staccato moments as the super-infected appear. These zombie specials each have their strengths, but it was the Witch (having read many review references with scant detail leaving me irrationally terrified) that I was anxious to meet. And what an introduction I had: spotting her in the boiler room, three simultaneously launched molotov cocktails and a hurtling fiery zombie later, I was left with a huge grin on my face. Particularly knowing next time will be completely different since the zombies do not spawn in pre-set locations but are rather controlled by the game’s AI director. Survival horror games are not normally my cup of tea, but this is something else.
Continuing my plugs for DRM-free music download stores, Amazon mp3 has finally launched in the UK. Hopefully this brand, coupled with bargain £3 albums from major artists, will finally draw the masses away from iTunes. Like 7digital they offer a small, tidy application to manage downloads. Interesting to note is that although the tracks are nominally encoded at 256kbps, a cursory glance at my downloads shows this is in fact VBR. At last. For those interested in what I bought, it was a perfect chance to pick up the debut album from LA rockers The Dreaming without an inflated import price tag. I’m a big fan of front man Christopher Hall who was the vocalist for Stabbing Westward.
And a few interesting recent finds:
- an article discussing why we need more torture in videogames, as a medium better able to convey impact and consequence
- an official 2D Mirror’s Edge flash game that captures the vibe of the original
- MorphThing’s “face mashups” prove visualising Brangelina is creepy
- And beware the dangers of passionate kissing