Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game in Focus (Family Feud 2010)

Good but not good enough...

Difficulty: Easy
Learning Curve: 5 minutes.
Time Spent: 3-4 Hours
The Bottom Line: "..."
Graphics: *
Music: *
Gameplay: ***
Replay Value: 20%
Developer: Ludia Inc
Release: September, 2009

Just a time pass game you would like to switch to for around 15 to 20 minutes in the hours when you have nothing left to do.

To be precise it is not really a game that you would not rest until you have finished or end it in one go; it is highly monotonous for that, same recycled character models and music and you will have enough of it after a level or two despite the work developers have put in to make it appealing (i.e unlockable content and challenging families as you move up the ladder, not to mention the alterations you can make to your character).

Although you might like it if you are a fan of the tv show...because visually it is the best of the series.

The surveys are the strongest of its dimensions (it had to be :P), they can be funny and challenging at the same time; not to mention enlightening!

I'd say avoid if you are looking for some solid fun...but still if you have got a few bucks to spare then go for it all the same...

Game in Focus (Mafia II)

First things first, in my new section Game in Focus, i'll be posting condensed reviews of hot games...
Note: The pattern is type.
A game that took a long time coming but was never really worth the wait...
Rating7.5 /10
Difficulty: Easy
Learning Curve: 15 minutes.
Time Spent: 10-20 Hours
The Bottom Line: "Don't Believe the Hype"
Graphics: ****
Music: **
Gameplay: ***
Replay Value: 10%
Developer: 2K Czech
Release: August, 2010

The prospect of having a Mafia sequel, when I first heard the news, was drowning me out with utter bliss. I was in love (and still am) with the original Mafia and getting a second bite of it with 'considerable' improvements was heartening even to think of.

But when the game came out and I tried it, with heart beating at full pace, I was disappointed to say the least in fact disenchanted is the correct word. The game never really assimilated the essence of the original Mafia, the soundtrack is a let-down and so is the level design, not to mention the intricate story that has an unbridgeable chasm between itself and clear understanding.

The only positive thing about the game are the graphics. The texturing is vastly improved but still can be a bit substandard at places. The utilization of Phsx is also worth-mentioning making the game feels a lot more closer to life and believable...

The spineless missions are a few making the game short (thankfully) and the characters are also it with the original Mafia...I bet (if you have played the org. one that is) that you still have the faces of Paulie and likes etched in your memory much to further pain.

I'd still recommend that you give it a try, just to respect the 9 years that the developers have put into god knows what...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Science Watch (September 2010)

This week's top science stories...

2012...No! Add 6 billion years or just make it 2112!
The fate of our universe, or our planet at the least have always fascinated us, from ancient Mayans to today's Harvard graduates. Well according to research, at the most, we have six billion years until our planet gets swallowed up by the sun...yes swallowed! According to the reports, the sun will get bigger and brighter and 'puff up' to one million time its size (A Red Giant), swallowing Mercury, Venus and most probably our beloved Earth. Afterwards, as the Sun consumes the remnant hydrogen in its blistering core, it will shrink to become a White Dwarf.
But the realist President of the Royal Society of London, Sir Martin Rees, believes that considering all the stuff we have been doing of late, this well might be the last century of life on our planet. According to him we are in "self-destruct mode, causing havoc to our environment through global warming caused by reckless burning of fossil fuels, developing weapons of mass destruction, emergence and spread of new diseases and carrying out dangerous experiments that can create black holes that may gobble up the planet."
I believe all but that last shit. But we will look at it.

Creating Black Holes...artificially...
The RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) is a facility in Long Island, New York, where scientists have set up large tubes in which they collide subatomic particles close to the speed of light in an effort to know even simpler particles (like what makes up an electron?!).
So whats the big deal in two electrons colliding together in a 2.4 mile long isolated tube? Well, upon collision, a super dense matter is created with temperatures close to 1 Trillion degrees, yup! roughly 10,000 time the temperature of the mighty sun! These conditions are recreating the atmosphere after the Big Bang, think about it, when physics wasn't even worth a damn...
One of the consequences of such an experiment is thought to be a Black Hole, a place where matter becomes so dense that even light is sucked in and cannot escape! This is due to the super-strong gravitational pull they generate. So the point is that when the particle smasher whacks together a few electrons, the resulting matter might be dense enough to become a black hole, albeit a minute one (at around 10 picometers), that has an ability to hulkify as it eats surrounding matter to an extent that it would swallow the Earth and then turn to our Solar System to quell its hunger!
Thats a theory you guys! No nightmares intended...:-P

More Dinosaurs
Paleontologists discovered two horned dinosaur fossils in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, south of Utah. The dinosaurs are of a new species and related to the famous Triceratops.
The smaller creature is called Kosmoceratops. Kosmos is a Latin word meaning “ornate,” because of the dotted horns around the skull. Komoceratops is regarded as “the most garish headed dinosaur ever known.” It has 15 horns, which are found over the top of each eye, over the nose, at the tilt of each cheekbone and the rest are across the rear portion of the bony frill.
The other creature is bigger than the Komoceratops. It has a skull, which is about seven feet long, and named Utahceratops. Ceratops is from an ancient Greek word, which means “horned face.”
They sure look sexy...:-D

Pumping the Antibiotic Out
Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory researchers have discovered the crystal structures of pumps that remove heavy metal toxins from bacteria, making them resistant to antibiotics.
Edward Yu and his colleagues purified and crystallized the membrane proteins that make up an efflux pump of E. coli bacteria. Then they used X-ray crystallography to compare the various structures, identify the differences and understand the mechanism that removes heavy-metal toxins from cells.
What those pumps do, Yu wrote, is "recognize and actively export these substances out of bacterial cells, thereby allowing the bugs to survive in extremely toxic conditions."
This is understood as one of the three mechanisms with which bacteria fight-and-down the antibiotics. The other two being enzymes that alter the medicine or degrade the 'biotic completely.


Match Box (Look Who Blames...)

Pakistan's tumultuous tour of England, fittingly, folded with another controversy as the English daily, Mail, accused Pakistani maverick, Shoaib Akhtar of ball tampering.
The article, published on 23rd September implicated Pakistan in another dispute as it contained clear pictures of Akhtar involved in the dodgy act.

Accepted! But where was all this hullabaloo when the seemingly innocuous Broad (yes Broad!) mirrored the acts shown above in this very year (against South Africa in January 2010).

and when in the same series James Anderson repeated the felony committed by Broad...

The biased stance of the British media becomes even more evident when we come across this TV grab from the very same match in which Shoaib handled the ball in blatant disregard of the rules.

Well, as we can see, Bresnan here was clearly working his nails on the seam, an act that can aid the ball in reverse swing.
Finally, albeit at the wrong time, we state as to what is ball tampering...
Ball Tampering is an action in which a fielder or bowler illegally alters the condition of the cricket ball. Under Law 42, subsection 3 of the Laws of Cricket, the ball may be polished without the use of an artificial substance, may be dried with a towel if it is wet, and have mud removed from it under supervision; all other actions which alter the condition of the ball are illegal. These are usually taken to include rubbing the ball on the ground, scuffing with a fingernail or other sharp object (like spiked boots), or tampering with the seam of the ball in any other way.
Now the judgement is up to you think that the British media is impartial when it comes to the violation of cricket laws? A flag-bearer of fair cricket when anyone else has done the violation and becoming meekly silent when their very own stars are under scrutiny or just completely deny the news in the latter case.