To make your GBA perfect

I know it’s not particularly big or clever to make fun of foreign products trying to market themselves in English…but sometimes it can be just a teensy bit amusing. Take, for example, this GBA Movie Player adapter I’ve just bought, on a tip-off from WillC2 in a recent comment:

Scan of the box for the GBA Movie Player

  • “A good and cool device for your GBA” Excellent. I’d hate to buy a product that wasn’t cool. I might look like a dork.
  • “It must work with CF card” I can just see the product designers looking anxious, crossing their fingers, and wishing with all their hearts: “It must work with CF cards, it must!
  • “To listen to the music” Aha. Fans for the Doobie Brothers, I see.

And on the back of the box, they decided that politeness was definitely the way to go for their basic instructions:

GBA Movie Player instructions

For all that, I have to say it’s a rather nifty little product.

Ratchet & Clank 3

Sense of humour? Check

Old save games (in case there are bonuses to be had, like in R&C 2)? Check

Honey-roast pueanut & cashew-flavoured nanotech upgrades? Check

Fully charged beerinator? Check

Qwarktastic. Go, go, go!


Edge magazine, the UK’s best games magazine, has undergone a redesign, starting with the December issue.

First reaction: OMG! WTF! The new interior fonts, the block-outs, the sidebars, the review titles…they’ve turned into OPSM! They’ve increased the page count from 130 to 146 pages, and although I haven’t done an exact count, I think that most of those extra 16 pages are advertising. Also, it feels like it’s printed on lighter paper.

It’s horrible.

Edge has always distinguished itself by looking different than other games magazines. Its sleek, sparse layout and design has matched its editorial ethos perfectly. Here is a magazine that doesn’t apologise for being cerebral, and for not grasping at mass-market appeal. It doesn’t carry a cover disc. It doesn’t carry back-cover advertising. It doesn’t try to review every game that hits the shelves every month. It regularly reviews games that will never be published outside of Japan. It’s a serious games magazine.

Critics of Edge tend to renounce it for being arty, pretentious, and stuck up its own arsehole. True, it is prone to the occasional bout of navel-gazing, but I’ll take that over hasty “exclusive” reviews, publisher hype, and comedy filler features any day.

I understand the urge to redesign as well as anyone. The editorial note in this issue says:

“We haven’t reinvented the thing (which will be a relief to all those of you who’ve written in telling us not to do that–as if we would), but, as we prepare to accept the change that comes with another new generation of gaming hardware, we thought we’d get ourselves into better shape to do it justice. And that’s meant a tweak here, a tuck there, and a comic strip ostensibly about a pudgy little alien slapped on to the end of the letters pages.”

A comic strip about a pudgy little alien? I don’t have anything against game-related comics per se, but…but…FOR ZELDA’S SAKE WHY, EDGE, WHY???

Edge underwent a major editorial reshuffle last year. For an issue or two the quality of reviews and articles suffered (their spellchecker seemed to be out of order), but they got back on track. It is still the only magazine I consistently read cover-to-cover every month, and the only games magazine whose reviews I trust. I can only hope that the editorial direction of the magazine stays the same, and that I’ll get used to the new design.

The throwaway 1000-word review of Half-Life 2 doesn’t fill me with hope, though. It pretty much says, “Wow, this game is really good. It’s really pretty, and all the scripted elements really work well together. Physics engine. Like, wow, man.”

Uh…one of the most eagerly anticipated games of all time, and this is all you can manage, Edge? I suppose it’s also just a coincidence that this month’s issue sees its fifth 10-out-of-10 review score in ten years of publication. (The other four went to Super Mario 64, Gran Turismo, Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, and Halo.)

Benefit of the doubt time. I’ll give it a few months, and see how it goes. I would be extraordinarily sad to see Edge disappear from my reading list.

Update: I just noticed that they’ve stopped writing out the issue number in words on the spine! Noooooooo…..!

Games Day

Richard B. has started up a new blog. In his first (well, almost) entry, he covers the games day we had at the weekend. It was another good one, even though my self-imposed low-carbiness meant that I couldn’t eat any crisps, chocolate muffins, potato wedges, pizza, or…well, anything, really.

Except for the CHICKEN WINGS!!

Mad props to the Rosslyn Deli for being able to rush me another bulk order of special wing sauce (Frank and Teressa’s original Anchor Bar variety) by overnight delivery. As well as the “hotter” sauce, I got some of the “blazing hot” sauce, too. I think this might be the same as the “suicide” sauce they show on their web site, but it may be a subtle variation. Either way, it was hot.

Oh, and Burnout 3? Possibly the best racing game ever.