Archive for July, 2014

Dazzling Dazidia: A Beat Exploration

Listeners to the podcast I’m on, the Mega Ultra Blast Cast, will likely be familiar with Dazidia, the talented DJ who provides our music clips and occasionally remixes our trashy talk. So I’m quite familiar with the chilled vibes of his musical portfolio. Yet it wasn’t until recently that I downloaded a bunch of his songs and attempted to make a playlist out of them to act as writing/wind-down music. After perusing his Soundcloud profile, this is what I came up with:

(Some of these tracks are also on Daz’s new album/playlist release, Denuo. I’ve marked these particular songs with italics)

1. Jam Session

2. Ascension

3. Sail Away

4. Symphonie de la Vie

5. Cosmic Embrace

6. Moonstruck

7. Everflow (feat. DJ Duane Woods)

8. Substratosphere

9. Technical Difficulties (feat. Esky)

10. Grandeur of the Rainforest

11. Castles in the Sand

12. Peppermint Fairway

13. Unidentified Funky Object

14. Global Ripples Project (Bonus)

15. Aria of the Lounge (Persona Chill-Out Remix) (Bonus)

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I tried a couple of line-ups and settled on this one for the way it flows nicely in the background of my writing sessions. Of course, no-one knows Dazidia’s music better than the man himself, so check out his new playlist/album Denuo by clicking here. All of the above tracks are available for free download from Dazidia’s Soundcloud profile, so you too can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a sonic Daz journey with minimal effort. I thoroughly recommend the experience!

Game Review: Towerfall Ascension

This review was an unfinished draft destined for obscurity a month or two ago, but now Sony has announced that the game is free on Playstation Plus this month, so hello relevance! Only a couple of days left to add this one to your cart for no cost, though.

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Platform:
PS4, PC
Developer:
Matt Makes Games
Rating: PG
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I've never reviewed a download-only game before on this blog, so this presentation style is a trial.

I’ve never reviewed a download-only game before on this blog, so this presentation style is a trial.

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It’s Bow-etry in Motion.
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Spawning, taking a split second to line up a perfect cross-stage shot, loosing an arrow that pins one opponent to the wall, double-jumping over to his corpse to retrieve both your arrow and his, leaping down to meet a fresh airborne assault, timing a button press just right to catch an incoming projectile, retaliating instantly with a pair of arrows to nab a second kill, feinting a ranged attack on the sole remaining player before accelerating your fall and ending her with a swift head-stomp. All your opponents are in the same room as you, and all you need to do is glance around with a grin on your face to confirm their priceless rage.

The spirit of cut-throat local competitive multiplayer is not dead, nor is it exclusive to Nintendo consoles. Towerfall Ascension is proof enough of that. It’s charming, manic and highly customisable, and over four months after its launch it remains unquestionably my favourite game currently available on the PS4.

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Movie Review: Hercules

Here’s something I certainly didn’t think I’d be watching in cinemas this year.

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Starring:
Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt
Director:
Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand, Tower Heist)
Rating: M
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Brett Ratner. The name just fills me with such icky feelings. The man who dragged the X-Men movie franchise down in my adolescence hasn’t made very many good films since Rush Hour 2 some 13 years ago, so I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence going to see his latest film, Hercules. Yet a very cleverly cut second trailer (the first one was awful), which revealed the importance of the film’s quite impressive supporting cast and the lighthearted tone of their involvement without spoiling the actual movie, turned me around. Hercules is actually a decent slice of dumb fun, despite its narrative unevenness.

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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.26 – New Heroes of the Storm & Destiny Beta


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And just like that, it’s another episode of the Mega Ultra Blast Cast! This time around we bring you the inside scoop on two exciting betas for upcoming games, Heroes of the Storm and Destiny. The results are really rather exciting! We also talk our favourite versions of Batman, some Cards against Humanity, terrible Delaney metaphors, a couple of intense movie arguments and a host of multi-game character reveals on the way to a ridiculously messy episode finish.

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive, jazz up your afternoon commute or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three refreshed Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episode right off this page if you like:


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Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-26-new-heroes-of-the-storm-destiny-beta

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Saw this one the other night. This really is a top-notch year for big budget movies.

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Starring:
Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
Director:
Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In)
Rating: M
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has a rather stupid title. Yes, I understand this. So did its predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, three years ago. The naming scheme hasn’t gotten any better and it looks like we’re stuck with it as we move on to the next installment in another couple of years. So let’s get over it, because Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is yet another really good 2014 blockbuster. It improves on the already awesome Rise in a number of ways and makes me really keen to see where the ambitious Planet of the Apes prequel franchise goes next.
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Album Review: Mandatory Fun – Weird Al Yankovic

Man, when was the last time I did an album review?

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Released:
July 2014
Label:
RCA Records
Genre: Comedy/Pop
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You’d better have some.

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TRACK LISTING

1. Handy
2. Lame Claim To Fame
3. Foil
4. Sports Song
5. Word Crimes
6. My Own Eyes
7. NOW That’s What I Call Polka!
8. Mission Statement
9. Inactive
10. First World Problems
11. Tacky
12. Jackson Park Express

Weird Al Yankovic is easily one of my favourite artists of all time, and his career has now lasted well over 30 years. The king of musical parody has always been most famous for his direct musical homages, which ape the exact melodies of relevant pop songs, but his astoundingly lengthy success can also be attributed to his underrated songwriting skills, both in his famous “style parodies” and his completely original tunes. This aspect was arguably in short supply on his last album, 2011’s Alpocalypsewhich was also criticised for falling behind the rapidly accelerating pace of pop culture trends. I’m happy to say that Weird Al’s fresh album release, Mandatory Fun, has no such problems. Al’s shrewd choice of song topics, not to mention his clever promotion method of releasing eight music videos in eight days, has proved he is as adaptable as anyone, and that makes me rather happy.

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So you finally got yourself a Wii U, huh?

The World Cup is over and my sleep patterns are more or less back to normal – let’s get back into this!

Yes, it’s another post about the Wii U. It’s fun to write about, alright?

So, you did it. You finally plonked down some hard-earned cash on Nintendo’s newest home console, thanks to the much-too-long-awaited second wave of hype that currently envelops it. Maybe it was the look and feel of Mario Kart 8 that made you do it, or maybe it was Nintendo’s strong showing at E3 this year. Perhaps you’re just sick of waiting through the appalling current drought of Triple-A releases on your PS4 or Xbox One and want something a little different to fill the gap. Maybe you are just too excited about the prospect of a new Smash Bros game this year, like how Hyrule Warriors is shaping up, or are a part of the Bayonetta series’ passionate following. It’s probably a combination of the above. Whatever your motivation, relax. Ignore the vocal haters on the internet – you’ve made a good call. Allow me to step in and help you get the most out of your new console. You may just find yourself surprised by how much enjoyment you can get out of it if you know where to look.

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1. Set up the console with two different power points

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First things first – the physical console set-up. With your average home console this means finding a single wall socket and a spare HDMI port, but with the Wii U there’s the additional concern of finding another power point for the gamepad’s own charger (plus the sensor bar setup if you’ll be playing Wii Remote-compatible titles). Though this may initially seem like an annoyance that could have been avoided in design, you may actually find that it improves the usability of the Wii U as long as you’re willing to put a bit of effort into initial setup. If you can find a way to plug the charger in next to your lounge/couch/chair/bed rather than near the TV, you’ll rarely ever need to get up and turn on your console/television.

The Best Thing.

This is because during your first boot-up, the Wii U will prompt you to set the gamepad up as a TV remote. Don’t skip this part – it’s actually really fast and it will mean that anytime you want to use your Wii U in the future, all you’ll need to do is take a seat, pick up the gamepad next to you, turn on your TV from the menu there, adjust the input and volume if necessary, then turn on your actual console and get started. When combined with the recent streamlining of the console’s operating system and the new gamepad-based “quick start” menu, you may just find that the Wii U gets you playing the games you want faster and easier than any other dedicated games device you own. And of course, you don’t even need a TV to play most Wii U games, because the vast majority of them support off-TV, gamepad-only play. Just make sure to remember to plug the gamepad into the charger after every use – it’s battery life is quite bad (see the 9th point on this article for more on that).

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2. Download that initial update

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This may seem obvious to some, but it really is worth stressing. If you’re planning to go out somewhere after you pick up your Wii U, at least do the setup first, because there’s a big day one update coming. While I’m not entirely sure how large the update is on the newest batch of Wii Us, I know it took a couple of hours to download on my launch console, so keep that in mind. While this update is not mandatory, it does enable many of the features I’m about to talk about. Don’t get blindsided by it.

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