Game On

Awaiting the Next Generation

Having made a spontaneous decision to order a PS2 the week after it launched back in December 2000, I wondered if my resolve would hold this time around with the PS3 looming large. With the European launch a little over three weeks away, and the opportunity to buy one in three installments being offered at work, the temptation is everywhere.

However, when I look at the list of launch games, it helps to steady the itchy credit card finger. Don’t get me wrong – there are games I’d love to play, such as Resistance: Fall of Man, Tony Hawk’s Project 8, Tiger Woods 2007, and Blazing Angels. And that’s not even counting the PlayStation Network titles like Fl0w, Calling All Cars, and the fun-with-ducks title Super Rub a Dub.

As fun as all those would be, there’s a distinct lack of anything I’m absolutely burning to play. You know? Like the stay/rush home from school type games that I enjoyed as a kid.

I thought that maybe it’s the absence of Madden on the release list (not that I’ve been playing that much on the PS2 recently, anyway), or that there isn’t a quality racing game other than F1 Championship Edition, which looks and plays really well, except for the fact I’ve come to hate everything F1 stands for.

So I began to wonder what games there’d need to be to ensure that I had to have one on launch day. Madden, I suppose is a given. If you add to that an Ace Combat title, Grand Theft Auto, Haze (by Free Radical, the TimeSplitters people, which isn’t due out for a while), and an IndyCar racing game, then I’d have ordered them all already and would be lying awake at night in anticipation.

However, knowing that most of the above wont arrive until some point within the next year, it kind of takes the urgency out of the need to have a PS3 immediately. That and the likelihood of seeing an IndyCar game is very small indeed, sadly – a downside of gaming being mass market nowadays.

What I do have is an HD TV – ready and waiting for when the time is right. Until then, current gen will have to do me.

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Driving up the cost of calls

The new laws in place today that deliver a £60 fine and three points onto the license of drivers who are caught using a mobile phone has been met with polarised opinion. Me, I’m all for it.

But then, I’m all for people getting fined when they speed along the streets where I live, passing the schools with wreckless abandon. Them and the dick head teenager with the motorbike who feels the need to race around our area at ridiculous speeds.

The thing is, there aren’t any police around to do anything about them. I have a 20 minute commute to and from work, and I see people on their mobiles all the time – not all of them driving dangerously, mind, but they’re the exception rather than the rule. However, it’s lucky if I see a police car once a week on my route, so how the heck is that one police car meant to enforce the law?

A couple of weeks back I had the idea that people should only be allowed to use a mobile phone at the wheel of a car if they’d passed their Advanced Driving Test. The folk who are crap at driving and using a mobile at the same time get fined off the road, while the people who really need to be contactable whilst on the move become better drivers.

The trouble with the Advanced Driving qualification is that it’s voluntary, and people assume they’re more than qualified after taking the current piece-of-piss driving test. But what if they made the Advanced Driving qualification a requirement with obvious benefits; you can use your phone, and you get cheaper insurance?

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Back on the Road

Sooner than expected, I got the car back from the garage yesterday afternoon and it was great to be behind the wheel of it again. Despite growing in familiarity with the Corsa as the days went by, it always felt awkward, even if my initial thoughts about it being “gutless” turned out to be unfounded – it had quite a bit of power, it was just much lower down the rev range than it is in the Jazz.

Later that evening, Elisha seemed very pleased to see we had our own car back when I picked her up from nursery, too. She does this “ooo-oooh” thing when something catches her attention, and that was in full effect when I was strapping her into her car seat.

For myself, it’s good to be back in a car I can step out of, rather than one that I have to scramble out of like a turtle on his back. The Corsa was so low down that it really did take a bit of effort to enter and exit, so I’m not going to miss that at all. I did kind of get used to the “throaty” sounding engine, though… the Honda engine is so much more refined, but it was quite good fun to blip the throttle of the Corsa for a low roar from the engine bay. I can understand why boy racers like them so much – it sounded like a much faster car.

Hopefully I can avoid making any more careless mistakes in future – the Jazz is a great little car and it’s a shame that it’s spent the time it has in the repair shop, because, for the most part, I’m really careful with it.

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