Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.


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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

The Top 30 Games of an Obscenely Packed 2009. Shit Gets Epic
7/1/2010 20:09


If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request



SSX Blur? Shit
Posted by Diggler - 28/5/2007 20:49

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The long-running and highly acclaimed snowboarding series showed up on the Wii this past March. I wish it hadn't...
Wasn't the Wii meant to make life simpler? Games more accessible? Our favorite hobby more fun? 10 minutes locked in a room with SSX Blur, and you'd think anything but. Snowboarding with a Wii-mote - it sounds like a match made in heaven, no? So much so, that the day it was announced, Blur spurted instantly to the top of my most anticipated games.

Dig should know better than to trust evil third party developers though.

Ice to See You!

On booting up Blur, the first thing that smacks you around the head like a drunken snowboarder colliding with a lamp post is its lack of visual splendor. The characters look alright, I guess - more exaggerated and cartoony than perhaps we're used to - while courses still bleed vertigo-tinged atmosphere like nothing else, but the Wii's lack of specs throw the whole thing off on a demented and disturbing new tangent. Jaggies, frame-rate issues, lack of detail...you name it, Blur is more than happy to deliver the "goods". SSX3 - a four year old game now - running via back compat mode on a 360, looks an entire generational leap ahead of this thing in fact. It ain't a pretty sight.

The next thing that hits you hard - like a fractured pubis on the floor of an ice rink - is how damn difficult it all is now too. As a long-time SSX vet, I couldn't for the life of me bag even a single race, nor qualify in any of the trick-based events whatsoever on my first day. Cripes.

The final thing that strikes you however - like a yellow snowball to the face - is that no matter how bleedin' hard you try - nor how many times you hit "restart" - you just can't for the life of you pull off any cool moves...at all. This in turn'll most likely lead you to the same culminative epiphany that I subsequently had. The god-awful truth about the Wii...

That third parties have absolutely no freakin' idea how to use this system.

Snow Fun

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Visually, Blur has a ton of character, but technically shows cracks
You can name-drop your Red Steels and your Spider-Man 3s all you want, but for me, Blur is the purest example of this yet. I mean, it's a snowboarding game, right? See that Wii-mote? Almost shaped like a snowboard, wouldn't you say? Hey, how cool would it be to wave that thing around to board down a hill? About as cool as the ice in my Magners, I'm betting. Yet sadly we'll never know.

You see, rather than go for what's coolest, or simplest - or just what makes sense - EA have crafted the single most convoluted control scheme ever in SSX Blur. I couldn't even begin to detail its ins and outs - of which entire volumes of text could be crafted, containing individual sub-plots, characters and twists never seen coming - but highlights include your boarder jumping via "pulling" up on the nun-chuck attachment (which itself really has no business being used here anyway), to the holding of "B" while "throwing" the Wii-mote to hurl snowballs at your rivals.

Somehow you're expected to pull this sorta stuff off while simultaneously navigating black run death-slopes, contending with obstacles, and avoiding drops down sheer cliff-faces. Needless to say? Jedi reflexes are required. There's literally 30-odd pieces of the puzzle to memorize in Blur's unorthodox control scheme - so much so that calling up the options screen mid-game for reference, proves unintentionally hilarious in its brutal similarity to a submarine manual.

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SSX fundamentals remain the same. Minus the fun
The worst part about this system is how you work the "uber tricks" though; SSX' turbo charged, death-defying mid-air stunts of awe. What was about as perfect a setup as could be in the older SSX games - a simple yet skillful combination of triggers and button combos - is long gone now, replaced here with a bizarre new "drawing" feature. While flying through the air you see, shapes now appear on-screen, and it's your job to sketch 'em out on the fly with the Wii-mote. Pull 'em off, and - quicker than you can say, "Okami" - the uber trick kicks in. For no sane reason that I can make out whatsoever.

These shapes bear no relation to the tricks themselves, you understand. They're completely random, inexplicable doodles. This blatant lack of correlation between your hand movements, and what your boarder then performs on-screen, is entirely apt mind you, in that this same principle applies to pretty much every single facet of Blur's controls right across the board. EA have essentially just assigned a series of random waves and wiggles to what we'd previously just press a button for.

News flash, Wii developers. Just cos you waggle something instead of merely pressing it, does not, more fun, make it. It actually complicates things, makes them harder to remember...and ultimately becomes bloody exhausting. Even worse, is when such movements fail to register, even though you're freakin' positive you just pulled 'em off perfectly.

Frustration soon beckons.

You're Not Sending ME to the Cooler

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Uber tricks prove hit or miss, regardless of skill
After a solid buncha hours play - not to mention some late-night bedtime studying of the manual later - you slowly get to grips with how it all works regardless, eventually pulling off the kinda moves and tricks you always knew you were capable of. When the game decides to recognize 'em. Yet even at its best - with the wind blowing through your hair as you waggle off a mid-air handstand on your board - you still can't help but sigh at how much better this'd all be with a pad in your hands instead. So much so that, like me, you'll probably just turn it off and chuck on SSX3.

The game's cheap, too. Not monetarily I'm afraid, but in terms of content. Many of the courses are comprised of re-dressed material from earlier games from what I can tell, albeit spruced up a little with some new track furniture. Colorful, "cutesy" decor for the kids. Ironic, this, considering that any kid who even attempts to wield this incomprehensible control scheme will most likely end up in special school, rocking in the corner of class, eating his own excrement.

Then there's the front-end. Barebones, lacking polish and badly designed, the game loses vital points for lack of presentation and ease of use...something the previous games all nailed so well.

The only aspect I find easy to praise then is the sound. The return of DJ Atomica is a surprisingly welcome one, in that while he's about as cool as your dad, he does provide a pleasing - if almost depressing - link back to the earlier games. The music is what stands out most of all though; a brand new, exclusive collection of pumping house and crazed electronic beats from Junkie XL that prove just what the doctor ordered. At the time of writing mind you, the entire soundtrack is available for free here, thus removing any need whatsoever to actually own the game itself.

Foot shooting: complete.

Keep Watching the Skis!

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Being a European Wii owner ain't much fun right now. Shame on you, Nintendo
The solitary aim of the Wii was always to make games simpler, more accessible...and more fun. SSX fails on all these fronts. It's brutally hard to get into, and even if you do put the man hours in and lose the hair to do so, what's waiting for you on the other side ain't particularly compelling anyway. It's yet another instance of wasted potential for Nintendo's still yet-to-prove itself new toy, and one that continues to chip away at my patience in regards to just having something new to play on it.

I had high hopes for a new SSX game, Wii or not. I enjoy hanging out in this universe so much, that a newcomer to the stable filled me with hopes, dreams and many a promise of some good old fashioned snow-covered escapism. In light of this colossal disappointment though, sights will instead have to be set towards whatever next-gen amends EA have in store for the 360/PS3 game. If such a beast doth exist.

You hear that, EA? Please. Have some such title in the works behind closed doors. Somewhere. Anywhere. Make like Sam Beckett and put right what once went wrong! SSXers deserve better.

(Pictures courtesy of Electronic Arts)

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The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

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Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

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Gaming Shows

The 1up Radio Network
1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

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Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff


Matt Robinson, 2011

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