Tuesday, 5 June 2012

E3 2012 Battle Royale

Mm, let's just start where it starts.


This year, they went first to set the bar. When only got a little bit of videogames before they started shafting people with it. I was watching with around twenty five hundred people when the new Halo 4 footage lurch into gear. Considering we probably shouldn't find a big metal man strolling though a jungle with a... slightly implausible weapon impressive anymore, 343 industries sure did look pleased with themselves. They actually seem to have added to the roster of enemies and what have you, yes and that's a step up from their embalm-make up-open casket of a Combat Evolved Remake but they look a bit too pleased with themselves here too. As a follower of the series, I tried to put it every other way as I watched but it's just more things screaming at the screen and hitting the Chief. They looked very impressive doing it mind you. It's that old thing of sitting there going no, no...no. How are they going to explain why these worlds are suddenly so populated, conflicted and important now? Why are the Covenant back with full original line up? Where's the edge of exploration? Is the Chief's "refined personality" just him grunting his every thought during combat situations? Perhaps not the silent type fans are familiar with. Don't get me wrong, its good that the game has enough new about it to raise these questions but bad that our only answer after some half a year is that AN ANCIENT EVIL HAS AWAKENED, at least Dee Bradley Baker is still being employed I guess.

The rest of the...show? Was a mixed bag. The thing that gripes me was that it was a mixed bag, not of good and bad games but of games and other such shite. Microsoft and Sony going all highest power level with the number of third party people they have streaming TV or music is not new or noteworthy. Nor is the gravity devouringly dense box that you have to shout at to get them to work. Speaking of which, I just new when I bought my expensive smart phone of the hour with its touchscreen that it, in all of its multifuctionality was always destined to be a third controller - after the shouty box and the real one. Fuck off.

Once you get past the sports, everything can be considered a highlight. Its technically not theirs but Splinter Cell may just have inched in the right direction. Forza Horizon also seems to have a better chance of being a Midnight Club LA beater than an other racer in a matter of years, their Colorado looks like a labour of love, although we'll have to wait to see if they truly have retained authenticity in the driving controls. They did a shit job of hiding the fact that Gears of War 3 is no where near done with a teaser trailer so short it forbids blinking. Around this time they were still banging on about Nike and speaking to the Xbox in Spanish. Just as you thought that all pretensions to videogames that existed pre-2007 had eaten shit however, Lara Croft shows up and starts panting alot. Despite not seeing her in so long and despite her being REVAMPED (TM) her trailer was one of the most compelling. The fights she got into seemed to have a better grip on Splinter Cell action than Splinter Cell. The cutscenes that threw her around also served to reinforce a young Bond take on the origin story, perhaps then she looks cuter than ever.

After this they realised that they had spent too long on sports and blasted through all their new IPs as I'm about to. Ascend: New Gods looks awful LocoCycle looks quirky but then again so does Acid and Matter should brace itself for a shitstorm of allegations of ripping off portal. Counter-Wise, Resident Evil six seems to have ripped itself off, looks like utter shite too, honestly watch it and look at something other than the explosions. After some more Kinect action - the kind that would have people walking past the window taking offense at your impersonation of their Cerebral Palsied son - it was time for South Park, no really. I do hope that Obsidian and the funny men can truly keep this one fifty fifty, funny and RPG haven't really married since the glitches of Oblivion.

Next, Usher danced and little bit and then it was time for Call of Duty: Brown Ops. Everything bad about the gameplay shown were the parts that looked like call of duty. There was the opportunity for not so much a new direction, but an entire other dimension here. Apparently a rail shooter bit in some overdesigned jet plane is it. I really don't know how us Brits can get away with moaning about Ass Creed's Benedict Arnoldism when America constantly seems to be on fire like this.

Electronic Artists

Dead Space looks shit, how appropriate that it should be displayed proudly seconds after the Origin logo is. This isn't so much damage control as waving another shiny thing on the other side of the room. The Co-op demo for Dead Space is just as obnoxious, giving no light as to why we're in the 'new environment' in a load fire fight with a drill or why people are shouting and swearing and talking and ruining the pace with their stupid suits that make them look like their in Minecraft 20.0. "Fuck this planet".

After Maxis confirm that they are still alive with some mutilated version of Sim City its was tiBWWMBWWMBWWM BWWM BWMMMM BWWMBWWMBWWM BWWM BWMMM. Yes Battlefield is still kicking it with five whole expansion packs and all the weapons, vehicles and BWM that you could want. How passionate, how responsive, this is true interaction with a fanbase and their paypal accounts as you'll have to sign up to some kind of COD:Elite abomination to get them early. Oh how far the moral choice system has come. Similarly TORTANIC attempted damage control with more and more content also. Shame their putting it into such a shit game, perhaps they should take a lesson from Dice. Corascant running on Frostbite 2.

Frostbite did pop back up with Medal of Honour which strangely seems to be channeling Counter Strike by way of MOH: Frontline of all things. Now if that sounds like a brilliant game, it isn't. Next up are some reiterations of alternative sports. UFC will join EA sports for all your authentic martial arts action, up to and including the parts where they barely use martial arts. Then there's Need For Speed: Most Wanted, seemingly a remake of a game not ten years old. Already it looks like a poor mans Forza or Midnight Club with the demo drawing the eye to flashy Burnout style crashes whilst the player car is stopped dead by a jutting six inches of wall only for the physics and collision detection to flop miserably, awful.

For something that looks lovely, you might try Crysis 3. Whilst the demo shown didn't seem to boast the same freedom as the Far Cry series or the first Crysis, things were looking gorgeous and playing seamlessly in a number of different situations of combat and peril. Again, this may not sound like much is new but the new environment is a beautiful beast and boasted features such as the bow and the new mobility features seem fully fleshed, even at this stage. Yay?


No, its not a good start with that Dance Central shite but this was, no surprise, likely the strongest of all conferences. Getting past a massive shouting idiot and Flo Rida we got some TITS. In the sequel to the strongest (if most inadvertently self effacing) trailer of last year, there seems to be hope that Far Cry 3 will have more than two things to do and more than a small handful of ways to do it. Psychedelics, tigers, turtles and foliage. If there truly is as much freedom here as was claimed then this could be the first game to get excited about. Shame there almost never is. It's not clear at the moment how the game is going to marry the freedom of an entire archipelago of islands and the tightness of the Jason vs Voss story line, although even individually these mainstays make the game desirable as it is. Fingers are crossed for even more gameplay footage although it would be a tall order as we've had two years of it. Apparently we should stay tuned 'for surprises'.

Another jump in tone bounds from a peak at the new Avengers game which seems to have more in common with MVC3 rather than the latest film - make of that what you will. Then Rayman Legends turned up and looked quite nice and stuff. Admittedly it's hard to do 2d and not look completely retrograde. Things the jumped again into Zombi U, its trailer as tantalising as Dead Island's, its setting as refreshing as can be and its concept dated as fuck. Come on people lets have some gameplay. 

"Here to tell you more about killing Templars in the New World is Producer X..."

Okay, the new Ass Creed still has a couple of old troupes to shake off but it seems like the fun ones - sophisticated combat and challenging, open ended infiltration assassination missions - are here to stay. Graphically things could look worse, especially with the attention to detail. Unfortunately a couple of moments show that this could be a showcasing of scripted elements. AI, combat and the new battle situations do, however, seamlessly combine with this to give an impression of a very different angle on the core gameplay. This is no Revelations, there is only a little ways to go before this is a game that could make it on its own.   

Ubisoft end on a much stronger note called Watchdogs. If the implied free flow of situation and situational control seen here are true then this is likely 2013's first great game. Its an innovation exactly like we want and gameplay as refined as we've come to expect, even this early on. You may realise that I'm trying to not give much away and the demo is something to be seen for yourself. Even if the accusations of this demo being scripted are true, this is a showcase of a pantheon of lovely little ideas and a beautiful looking showcase at that; ALLLLLLLWAAAAAYYYYYYYSSSS I WANT TO BE WITH YOU... etc.


My old staple haven't helped themselves at all this year. I'm not sure I can even bring myself to watch it again. Getting past cheap give always and annoying presenters later a glimmer of hope appears in the form of Heavy Wane developer Quantic Dreams. Beyond seems to have expanded beyond the limits of Heavy Rain's gameplay and many other games' levels of characterisation. What else is new you ask? A less plausible but potentially more engaging story, even further improved graphics and motion capture and uh, Ellen Page. If indeed your waifu is a selling point, congratulations, something other than the Japanese market has caught on to this.

The list of "ooh look at that" continued with the revelation of the first female Assassin of the Creedand a look at the rather noisy four player co-op of Far cry 3. Then the Playstation Move showed to ruin the party. The thing was a farce. As far as I know everything developed for it is utter turd and these new wonderbooks were just the same mockery. Why? Because they aren't games they're fucking toys. It grinds my gears when a shitty franchise gets a new game never mind when a dead and shitty franchise gets forefront of an insultingly bad new technology with a huge mark up tag. They undermined themselves and the point of the whole show, if you'll excuse my earnest plea.

Their attempt at redemption came in the form of the wonky and under-refined new God of War. Looking full well like a palette  swap of what we've seem before, even if what we saw before was a half decent game. I don't know if it can stand up to DMC and MGR. Their death whimper was The Last of Us and I should make it clear that the game looks good but by that time we were seeing it through a filter of the shit that had been flung at us. By that standard it would have looked amazing, who knows maybe Sony are smarter than we think. All I can award however is more kudos to TLOU's visual team and the guys that programmed the combat. Its exciting that a game looks so competent despite playing a fairly different take on this. It also doesn't hurt that the game seems to be quite character driven also.

In Other News

Nintendo are disqualified for attempting to blanket coverage a fucking toy. Not so much the toy part, we're used to that, more the pompous presumption that people want to see twice as much about their gimicky bumf as they do other developers trying to boost a balanced amount of first and third party titles.

On a lighter note, things are looking up for Metal Gear Rising. I tuned into the demo from Spike TV and it has to be said that the game is looking confident, varied and independent despite boasting a number of features from that lovely first trailer. Remember that people were at times jarred by Metal Gear Solid's style, whilst the gameplay was almost universally adored. They are getting on with making a very different game with a reliable injection of fun. Certainly, there was enough here for a lesser development team to ship out a completed product but we still have time yet.

Worst Conference: Sony
Best Conference: Ubisoft

Spirit of Independence: Beyond

Worst In Show: Playstation Wonderbooks: Book of Spells
Best In Show: Watchdogs

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Each and every game in Bethesda's premier dubuhyah RPG series The Elder Scrolls has a game of the year version made available after its release. Here we a six months after the release of premier progress bar rest Skyrim. Taking place in the mystical and fantastical land of Tamriel. Guilds abound, a dickhead human empire rules a lot of the place and an Elven army of skullfuckers borders the last tumultuous region of Skyrim, native land of the Norse like Nords. Following the assassination of the lands barely post-nomad ruler an interloping conflict with dragons that plagued the lands hundreds of years earlier is reignited alongside this new rebellion. I was a lizard. Things start off well, the opening to this one has some balls as a bug bad dragon attacks and you nearly get decapitated within the same in game hour. My Argonian bladesman escaped the fray however and in a weird breaking of tradition his luck seemed to remain from there. Yes, Skyrim is somewhat easier than its predecessors in fact the taxing challenges put forward by say the Morrowind or New Vegas teams, to quite a weird degree in fact. Regenerating everything, unbreakable weapons swung at eye popping speeds all bookended by a curious new levelling system. Having finally got animation down and building up a... Hardworking engine the team behind Skyrim seem to have gone batshit with design choices in terms of combat and levelling and surprisingly few of them a bad. Things a divided between three set Golden Axe style classes. All sub varieties of warrior hit everything with a satisfyingly bonerific amount of constantly skyrocketing stopping power, wizards get some lovely particle effects ( not as many as you'd think but lovely none the less) and would be archers are stuck with one of the most effective yet incongruent stealth systems of this generation. Said levelling system is impressively diverse. In short you get brownie points for doing what you want to do not what your character is limited to in the beginning. I started off as a weird kind of brawlers and by the time my reptilian self had finished the main quest I was swatting away monsters with and enchanted katana in a decorative robe. That's all the number stuff though. What about the other thing that the game is based on, that engine? Truly in the days before the first main patch things we terrifying. Trapping glitches, quest destroying code antics and bizarre file behaviour undermined the wonderful presentation just as much as it made the game feel like a knock off piece of st through and through. Subsequent patches, although I said say I haven't burned through all of them yet, did serve to prove that this amount of hate generation came from something ruining a very good game, not the developers making a bad game. Still I firmly support the argument that there is no place for such shittery in this day and age, in particular the snowballing lag that affects the ps3 version more and more as the players change the world and explore new places is the sort of thing that would have delayed the game three or four years ago. Still Skyrim is a bold and brave move. I have likely made it sound like the gameplay is homogenised and the setting generic in the daft intro things I do but in terms of accessibility and presentation Skyrim is certainly better, whilst being bigger in just about every way. I always find it impressive when something if this scale ifs given such lovingly crafted detail and while some of even the most major quest lines have not been pure ver be the senior designers as much as they should have, each and every department has been reeled in to resurrect Tamriel. How alive it is, the adventure game that is. Alongside the review of human revolution this completes the retrospective on candidates for game of the year. Unless a will to play through Saints Row The Third can be puffed no existence.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Best Retrospective

My retrospective is best retrospective. Why? Because it is May. I've had a chance to stroke my stubble on comments on comments on reports on the reception of games that have taken a headline slots for both this year and last. Sales, shit writing teams, shit sequels and shit video game developers, are apparently obligatory fodder for anyone who just wants to talk about Battlefield 3 in peace. My retrospective is best because I'm going to review some games in fact, every other post I make here is going to be a point scorin', nit pickin', shit flingin' shindig. Every other post again will be a review of something else or a bit of news that deserves more than a passing retweet. As I recall it was on the Twittersphere,as pricks insist on calling it, that I said that when this came back I'd give my GOTY to one of a few candidates of your gracious choosing. However you'll have to allow me to shaft your opinion with a Hurley stick and burn through them myself, albeit quarter past midnight. Battlefield 3, for thy initiated, is the sequel to the frenetic, thinking man's Counter Strike, Battlefield 2. From the beginning of development it was set to be a known, loved and honed version of sophisticated multiplayer shooter gameplay with unprecedented levels of presentation and performance to boot. Sounds like a tall order but if generic, techno fetishist set piece and errant industrial shit stain Call of Duty has pulled it off then what's to worry about. That, however' is just it, Call of Helicopters is either fundamentally or ridiculously similar to the intellectual property it has half-assedly imitated depending on weather or not you have ever played a video game before, ever. Yes,I am firmly the camp that Battlefield with its you know, actual battlefields, offers a truly dedicated design effort to just about everything. Before I go into too much praise however, it is important to mention just how little of this affection that the single player story gets. Actually the plot is quite solid, if only that, not counting a few scenario nods (near future of course) that borderline on wannabe Guardian reader bollocks. 'I don't want a Bin Laden style resolution here' enduced a lockjaw of cringe. A rhythm of pretty cutscenes and vaguely interesting set pieces ripped straight from the 'bigger explosions than Black' physics programmer notebook keep things going until its done showing off its lovely cinematography. In fact it's in those visuals that the redundancy sets in. After an entire level took place in the back of a jet cockpit pressing R1 I presumed my theory that the true potential of both the graphics engine and the frostbite destruction engine that reinforced it was to be found in the multiplayer. I set off into a game of conquest, the talk of command posts and spawn tickets warmly reminiscent of Star Wars Battlefront but as My soldier's eyes gained focus on the bay of the Oman gulf I realised just how much of a pathetic imitator it was. A you may have already garnered I was on a console and as far as I can tell it did nothing to marr the beauty. Battlefield 3 seems to have been assembled by cinematographers. The colour palette is ripe and constantly noticeable whilst never being as intrusive. Everything from height differentiation in the buildings to the number of burnt out cars in a given area has be considered with perverted intensity all across maps of tremendous scale. Add to this the transverse that comes out of the destruction engine and the wonderfully overpowered yet oppositionally balanced vehicles and let the immersion commence. Boy oh boy is it send immersion at that. You have goals to achieve for each weapon,class and vehicle not just for simple brownie points but to genuinely enhance your level of situational control. They've boiled down that yearning to go to a high level area in an MMORPG into a lucky tank ride. Various game modes that play on these situations have been tried and tested to a perfect synergy. In one sessn you can find yourselves holding up in the few standing buildings in a city, storming an island from an aircraft carrier or having Mexican standoffs in tubular underground environments. In fact you could probably get that from one map. It's a shame then that a lot of these values are thinned somewhat by kiddy-run rentaservers, bizarrely overpowered combinations of Hightower weapons and explosive rounds and a depressingly steep learning curve for some of the vehicles. Never let it be said however that Battlefield 3 is not a character onto its own. Skyrim's next. Beg me to like it more than this in the comments.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Jesus Christ, Denton

Certainly rent it but don't pay as much as I did for Deus Ex Human Revolution. You see, Deus Ex is probably on the podium for my favorite vidya ever. The thing is so cheap now that you could just buy it with refund from McDonald's money and access your own rendition of what I would have to say about it's great absorption ability.

Alright, alright. Let's just start where it starts. The trailers-and there were a lot of trailers- hinted at a closing to the games first act that was going to be affectingly brutal and uncompromisingly visual. Instead, after ten minutes spent pointing out which parts of the Sarif Industries laboratories looked like Mirror's Edge, we get a credits montage. At somepoint therein- probably around the time I spotted JJB's name in the credits- I realised that as a player of the games hardest 'experience', I would seem to be the butt of a very clever joke. True enough, Deus Ex Human Revolution earns one million design points from the half an hour point on. Simply, it; it being "give me Deus Ex" mode, gives a real modicum of gameplay that clearly laments something at the same time as the player: Adam Jensen is not as powerful as JC Denton. 

Fair enough, there were more trivial piss-take moment mental notes made during my first playthrough than I care to mention. However, we must not patronise when it comes to building a game around stealth and must not assume that we are entirely catering for Counter Strike players. Series loyalists like myself get 'given Deus Ex' because it's important to reinforce (upon reinforce, upon reinforce) the notion that Adam must rely on his guile. That's all very fine and well but now go and watch a trailer; I'll wait.

You see that? That's a man with the combined power of Jax for Mortal Kombat and one of the Denton brothers. You will pay north of fifty clams for this. You will wait for two straight minutes before he can throw a punch again. I get it, I do; stealth gameplay as an alternative to corridor shooting. Unfortunately that got boring in Mass Effect one and though our friends at Eidos Montreal may have implemented it twenty times better, it doesn't excuse their abhorrent lying streak about there being more than two ways to complete a given room. Two very flashy, reliably functional and increasingly complex ways-but two ways. Unless you count the hacking-which does warrant the title of being a game in and of itself... just one that I'd buy off the XBLA for twice what it's worth.

What all this meant was that I, as Adam Jensen (reasonably well played in voice with cool gadgetry and a believable past to boot) had to trudge at a snails pace through the world and the plot. In the case of the former, this is a blessing; you've probably heard that the city hubs are glorious and quite rightly so. Every time I stepped out of yet another sprawling hotel or humble shop, Hengsha's cramped streets pinged in contrast with the Blade Runner scale of the Pangu. Detroit was even more sublime, the electric yellow capturing the vivacity of a city full of street dancers, zooming monorails and big robots amongst rioters.

The difficulty of a given room and the prettiness of a given city hub, almost act as vectors-pathways of varying length and superficial complexity to the next plot point. By which I mean, the next encounter with a  believably named person linked to the conspiracy. Indeed, Deus Ex's sprawling character spectrum supported by a philosophical plot may have been mind blowing in 1999 but this time around there is a gaping lack of substance. Time and again you'll be told a character you've met once or twice is the absolute embodiment of the plot's thesis and that it is of the upmost importance that you have yet another limited conversation sequence with them. It's sub-par to creating meaningful actions and fleshed out motivations when people are just standing there talking at you. I'm being harsh though, like the combat these parts of the game don't quite stoop to Mass Effect's level and the dialogue is only reasonably preachy and reasonably well acted. However there was the potential for more-to make two dimensional characters closer to human beings. This at least would have given ample rise to motivations and explanations by the time the later parts of the games third act kick in and a jarring nadir in quality is reached. By the time I was done punching rushing, quasi-zombies on the game's final area, I could only deduct I was in yet another rushed section. Unless you've played the first game upwards of thrice you will not understand the significance of the final big reveal-whereas other plot twists are far less predictable and stupid. 

This is how you will traverse the world of Deus Ex Human Revolution. It's still a highly artistic and articulate place. Every one of these incidental rooms I mention is a labor of love- from the resoundingly referential emails, to the lovely little masterwork that is the hacking system. After the lion's share of twelve hours, you'll reach the edge of the world and chose one of four endings, each relatable to endings of the first game. This time around though, I can forgive my endings post-rationalising bullshit because the gameplay was always supposed to have just a little more to it-not the script. As such Deus Ex is just as much a competent and lively stealth game as it is, ahem, action adventure. It's a great comprehension of everything the flaws of Metal Gear Solid 4, Splinter Cell Conviction and the Fallout DLCs have taught us-with plenty of visual flair to boot.

You'll knit your eyebrows at twists and gain sweat on your palms during some of the more sticky hacking situations. You'll laugh at the occasional animation as much you will the occasional line and wonder why there are barely enough sidequests to count on two hands. It's still undeniable though- the new Deus Ex isn't a completely sub-par game but that doesn't warrant it's release price*. It's not enough of a good thing. No non-vent based stealth negation of linear levels (with vaguely bright AI) and no fucking Walton Simmons; I mean Jesus Christ! Denton.

*funnily enough this is exactly what I said about ME2.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


For the first time in a while there's a small wealth of things to talk about, even at my own pondering as opposed to what the news is rolling out. Firstly to get some materialisation of a solid constant correspondence (beyond me writing fuck all for nigh on two months) I was looking to expand a bit of discussion. Really, I could tell you how shit the next quasi major vidya release is but so can some self burdening wank-quipping tit on The Escapist. So, if I do wind up discussing something I never asked for in a short amount of time, I might get together with some likeminded sub-Kermodes and chew over ooooh say; Deus Ex?

I don't know, but if it works it can be my groveling apology. You see, rather than just pissing and moaning all over the means and efforts of creative writing and visual mediums of entertainment I'm now being educated in how to do them, you know, proper. This means a change to my living situation from being bored which is, frankly, when I find myself here to being bored with something; if you read the Daily Mail, you'll know I'm not talking about females.

Finally, another combined effort to be suggested to those of us who haven't resorted to wanking in this, the tail end of the great summer. A marathon. These kinds of gaming for charity so you don't feel guilty for splashing out 30 hours of living in God's image on New Vegas (more on that next time). I think I may be able to add some novel twists, like corporal punishment AYE ARR ELL for those who decide that shitty teamatism would be beneficially to malignant balls or something.

I'm sorry but you're going to have to wait until I write a post that is actually about something. You can speed the process along by sharing your thoughts on these suggestions.    

Sunday, 26 June 2011


I've actually managed to find some things to talk about. They don't even have that much to do with me pissing and moaning about finally being free of the UK education system. Like a great improvising comedian, I shall start with the news. A story was brought to my attention recently, of a woman who had supposedly killed her son over the destruction of their television by that most stupid of methods, the wii mote. We've all assuredly seen the youtube videos right?

On the subject of rage and games, I see a morbid role reversal; how much of a torment and tribulation must this plastic flailing have been to warrant this? However, if this mother is insane, then where is the line drawn? Is it ok to slap a youngling over a corrupted hard drive? To disown the spirit of your loins over a late rental return? I'm making assumptions here but this bitch should have been grateful that she didn't have to do more parenting as she was no doubt using the wii as a placation of her neglected child. On at least some level anyway.


Speaking of the equation of love with money, Team Fortress 2 is now free but come on, some of us are very late to this shindig indeed. I honestly don't know about class combos or hats-not enough to curtail the greifing of the... oldfags. Valve's fanbase is nothing if not bizarre: hey now, who the fuck plays Gmod for hundreds of hours? I know, I know, it's the lack of new IPs but that seems to be the case globally. In fact, I think that Mortal Kombat is still the most recent game in my collection.

Finally, Australia will soon have a censored internet service from four significantly large suppliers. This one I want to come back to, especially seeing as I have the means to do so whilst being a prissy arse about government. I suppose this is what I have to do with all this tiem on my hands.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Festivities-Murakamian Summer Part 2.

I think one of the forefronts of poking my blowhole out of the sea of time-wasting that is this long summer, is the UK festival circuit. Since going to my first festival five years ago, I've always tried to expand on the experience-if simply going to more events and staying there longer. This was immortalised-for me anyway- at last year's Oxegen Festival. Oxegen is essentially a condensed version of Glastonbury for those who live outside of it's reach. It's hosted in a Horseracing course some miles outside of Dublin and with eccentric dignity includes both Top of The Pops bullshit, great obscure acts and some truly headline stealing er, headliners.

The thing about Oxegen however, is the atmosphere. I don't know if it's a product of my endeavoring to live on the campsite for four nights-or something less specific about the people themselves. Whatever it is, despite the fact that literally 85% of the 75,000 masses are intoxicated, their complete fascination and enamor with the event in and of itself is incredibly infectious.  So, what happens is after spending 24 hours at Oxegen is the world outside the site ceases to exist and you are magnetised into this little realm. Call it a cliche but I call it jumping in with both feet. The conditions are pretty fucking dire as are the number of approachable drunk people and somehow, a way in which all my knowledge can't fully explain this is what makes it immersive. The only way I can explain it is by remembering that at the point you are standing in 10.C weather in the middle of July, in one of the most marginal countries in the world, listening to acts that have changed the face of cultural purveyance, you just shrug it off and dive in.

This enclosure is stronger than any other...daytrip I've embarked yet interestingly, it is a feeling of mindless self indulgence rather than any kind of imprisonment. As alluded to, I'm spending alot of this Murakamian summer abroad, perhaps it shall bring some further speculation. I depart for Oxegen Festival 2011 in approximately two weeks. I'm going to sit inside my home and head until then I suppose.