Saturday, 22 March 2008


Another week since my last post. Every time I write in here I think that I'll force myself to write more often, and yet I don't. It's a shame because once I start, I find myself enjoying it.

I've downloaded a brilliant little game off Steam called Audiosurf - it's been garnering a huge amount of press, both in print and online, and a score of 85% in PC Gamer is always impressive, not least for a game that cost me just over £5 ($10 and VAT) over PayPal.

Like so many other critically acclaimed titles recently - like mega-stars of gaming Rock Band and Guitar Hero - Audiosurf revolves around music. Controlling a small space-ship, the mouse or keyboard moves the little craft down a track split into several lanes. The basic aim of the game, like casual title Bejewelled, is to group together coloured blocks into trios or more, scoring points for larger groups of combos. Choosing different crafts unlock different criteria for point-scoring.

It all sounds pretty conventional until you come to the point where you pick an mp3 before beginning a level - and then the game analyses the file and uses it to create the track. The shape, camber and direction of the circuit is determined by the music, as is the placement of blocks on the track, and the surrounding world. 'Sin City' was fast, twisting, black and neon - very reminiscent of Las Vegas. Happier songs are given white backgrounds and less undulating circuits.

It's brilliant, giving you a way to connect with the music - picking up little patterns in the audio that you just didn't before because of the arrangement of blocks. I'm only just scratching the surface, I'm sure - and the only thing I wish the game had was a random track-select option, as at the moment I resort to selecting a song before I begin. Adding in an element of surprise would only improve things, I'm sure.

In other news, I keep thinking a little about those Scientologists. It seems strange that they're normal people, possibly with wives and children who they go home to in the evening. They have favourite TV shows and bands, sinful comfort foods they prefer and football teams they watch. But they're outside that building most days, handing out leaflets imploring people to join what is, essentially, a cult. And they believe in that more than they believe in their footballs teams or TV shows - and they don't even know the situation they're in, such is the strength of their indoctrinated feelings and beliefs.

Emotions are weird.

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