Thursday, 25 December 2008

Joy To The World!

Ah, how can one remain grumpy when confronted with a picture of such pure bliss? Nothing like the euphoric effects of hard drugs to lift the spirits - and this with just a quarter of the suggested amount of catnip added to a certain Christmas toy.

Alien Wally and Mags would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas, and hope that it rivals the MacNoodle's for sheer tongue-lolling contentment. Just remember to tuck yours back in.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Game Review: Hunt The Hot Water Valve

A fun game to play, particularly in the Winter when the stakes are higher, however having not yet completed it, this reviewer is forced to give it a low 3/10.

The story begins with the player performing what should be a relatively straightforward task - removing a radiator from the wall in order to redecorate. Things get complicated however when this causes a leak in the central heating system. Having drained the central heating system, repaired the leak and restarted the system with the help of a future contractor, things seem to be back to normal. However, this wouldn't be much of a plot if this was the case, so the player awakes the next day with a raging hangover from an office end of year function only to discover that while the central heating works, there is no hot water in the house. Cue more assistance from the future contractor, who sends the player on a hunt for motorised valves that should control hot water to the hot water cylinder.

Most of the gameplay involves wielding a crowbar or similar tool of mass destruction, ripping open floors and tearing down walls looking for the elusive motorised valves. Things are made more interesting by the player not actually knowing exactly what these valves look like, beyond the fact that they must be located on one of the central heating pipes.

The only saving grace to this game, and the reason why it scores 3 instead of 0 out of 10, is its realism. Aside from superb graphics and realistic sound effects, the in-game characters really bring things to life. From nagging wife complaining about cold baths to spooked cat getting underfoot while crowbars are swinging, it's all been included. Here are some screenshots highlighting the level of detail:

The utility room: oh well, the floor needed to come up anyway.

The bathroom: located an access hatch that was covered over by a layer of tongue-and-groove panelling, but no valves.

In summary, an entertaining game involving much destruction, however little satisfaction is gained, and this reviewer has yet to complete it. He predicts the forums to be buzzing with gamers trying to find out how to complete it, that's if anyone else actually buys it since he definitely cannot recommend it.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Month in Retrospect

After taking time off posting, Alien Wally has decided to upload a few pictures taken over the last month in an attempt to appease the masses of readers clamouring for updates.

It seems Alien Wally and Mags took a walk up the River Esk, which winds through Musselburgh. This is all news to Alien Wally, who is gradually developing the memory of a goldfish.

He does remember the hedgehog coming to visit though. Striding across the lawn in the middle of the day (aren't they supposed to be nocturnal?), the hog came face to face with the lens of Alien Wally's camera. In a cunning move, the hog sneakily shut its eyes and hunched down, thus making it entirely invisible to its foe.

It remained in this position until it detected that the predator had given up all hope of finding it again, whereupon it turned around and made a hasty escape.

After a couple of snowflakes descended upon the garden, Alien Wally and Mags thought they would find loads of snow on higher ground, and headed up to the Hopetoun Monument just outside Haddington. Alas, apart from this pocket of snow, there was none to be seen even from the vantage point afforded by the top of the monument.

Christmas snuck into Edinburgh while no-one was watching. Alien Wally and Mags headed into town on the train last weekend to see the lights, and sample the yuletide ale offered from an authentic mock-up of a German Christmas market that seems to spring up every year on Princes Street.

And then came the real snow. Last Tuesday the skies opened and deposited a full 1 centimetre of snow on the ground. Alright, not all that impressive, however it has to be said that snow rarely sits on the ground in Edinburgh, so it was quite a novelty for Alien Wally to have to scrape snow off the car the next morning before driving up to the station. It was slightly less novel when he got back from work and had to scrape more ice off the car before heading home, and possibly even less novel when he couldn't open the door the morning after because it had been frozen shut.

Friday, 5 December 2008

A Typical Day At The Office

09:30... Rub head repeatedly against corner of monitor while purring loudly. Try to get Mags to stare into my eyes rather than the computer screen. Paaayy meeee atttennntionnnnn! Want second breakfast!

11:00... Cat onnahead onnamat onnadesk innaoffice. Is winter. Is cold.

14:00... Pour heaps of scorn on impertinent birdies in tree outside office window.

14:05... Pour heaps of scorn on Mags for not doing something about the impertinent birdies.

15:00... Have forgiven Mags. Now is cuddletime on Mags' lap. Warm here. Big purr.