Thursday, June 10, 2004


Going to have a relatively early night tonight - as I have a big day at work tomorrow. But before I toddle of to bed, I have two things to discuss.

Firstly, I got my subs copy of PC Gamer today. It was a very strange feeling seeing my name next to the mighty Kieron Gillen's on the front page in the contributors list. It was even stranger to see my Photoshopped fizog and faux-biography adorning Page 16 at the centre of my Devil's Advocate article.

What makes it even more special is that this issue of PCG is The Big Redesign, and it's rather stunning. Actually - I'd say it's the best issue of PCG in two years, easily. What's been causing a bit of a kafuffle amongst the mods on State is the name of one of their new magazine sections, which essentially forms the flagship core of the newly redesigned magazine.

Why? It's called Extra-Life. That's right - the same name as State's domain. Coincidence? I'm not a great believer in coincidence, particularly given just how many Future employees frequent our forum - Tim Edwards, indeed, was poached from our forum and magazine to become a staff writer for PCG, and is a long term member and supporter of the forum and website. Looking at the section of the magazine, it's obvious that it's both a Half Life reference, and a reference to the content of the section, which is about the way games have an extended life beyond that on the shelf, thanks to their player community.

However, it's also clear that some of the community content has been stolen directly off our forum - such as the Indie Game Jam and the Pacmanhattan features. It's not that fact that they stole our name or memes from the forum that annoys me - it's the fact THEY STOLE OUR ORANGE.

I harangued Kieron about it on MSN earlier tonight, to which he responded "You don't own the orange". Arf. Aanand (our site admin and resident PHP wizard) is worried that we're somehow going to be tarred with a copycat brush by PCGF forumites, but that doesn't worry me particularly. I don't really worry about the opinion of the average PCGFer. Particularly since anyone who has any kind of clue will know that we've been around for years with the Extra-Life name.

I'm sure the motivation behind the section name is pretty benign, rather than an attempt to rip off our identity, but I might have a quiet word with Tim Edwards or Mark Donald about it. State has always been a bit of a feeder website for PCG - after all, it was A-B's Bow, Nigger piece and Kieron's New Games Journalism piece that we publicised that kicked off this whole community centric approach that PCG is now taking - so maybe this is a bit of a tip of the hat, an in-joke for those people in the know. I might see if I can persuade Mark Donald to forward people onto us if he's sent articles that are of good quality, but can't quite be put into the mag. Hey, if they can poach material from us, we can return the favour.

It's just as well that the Extra-Life section is bloody outstanding, otherwise I'd really be annoyed. Kieron's long awaited Zangband piece is likewise awesome. It captures the spirit of Zangband in a way that I wanted to do when I was trying to write my own piece on it for State - which I never finished. As I said before, the whole magazine is excellent - right down to the coverdisk. I subscribe to the DVD version, and there's one particular movie that's worth the entry fee in itself: the incredible Half Life In An Hour video.

An average player will probably take about 20 hours to get through the game, but a chap called Christoph Erhardt has managed to splice together a complete video of the game, where he does the videogame equivalent of Le Parkour (or Freerunning) and wipes through it in 57 minutes 52 seconds. Some of the ladder jumps and Gauss Gun jumps are nothing short of outrageous. I've watched it twice tonight already, and I think it's put me off playing Half-Life ever again. This guy makes my efforts look absolutely feeble. Especially when you see that he's playing it on Hard and doesn't even pick up a weapon stronger than a pistol until he's more than a third of the way through the game. I'd hate to meet him on a Counterstrike server.

Anyway - enough about PCG. It's late, and I need to get to bed. What? The second thing? Oh, just some UNIX geek humour supplied by Aanand.


% man: why did you get a divorce?

man:: Too many arguments.

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