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.

-Matt/Diggler

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Just what those wee numbers mean exactly.

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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

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

More...

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

 

 

I Just Can't Get Enough of...Pacman - Championship Edition?!?
Posted by Diggler - 19/6/2007 23:44

Click to enlarge
Trust me
Live Arcade. Ever since the 360's launch, it feels like Microsoft's been forever playing catch up to Geometry Wars on that side of things, doesn't it? There's been some good bits and bobs released here and there - don't get me wrong - and I'm a particularly big fan of Mutant Storm and Bankshot Billiards...but nothing's ever quite matched up, really.

Prepare yourself for earth shattering news then, as I think we may have just about found Geometry Wars' successor at last. Or at the very least, its equal. It comes from the most unlikely of sources too.

A new Pacman game, you say? Isn't that shit, what, over 20 years old? Very much so. This new version isn't even radically different from the original game either, which makes its beautiful elegance even more perplexing. It's seen some modernizing in the graphics and sound - naturally - and one or two reworks to the gameplay...but you have to understand, such minor tweaks have been delivered with such pin-sharp precision here, as to transform an ancient relic into a modern work of...genuine brilliance. I'll be honest, I've never even been a big Pacman guy either. Shit's simplistic, hugely dated, and ugly as sin. Yet this remix floors me.

As a result, my 360's "red ring of death" this week - and subsequent porting off to Microsoft heaven for repair - has been particularly excruciating. Sort of like losing a nut.

Redux

What's changed in this new Championship Edition then? Well you still traverse a maze, avoid ghosts and chow down on yellow ecstasy pills aplenty, but the biggest difference now is that the levels never end. As Pacman gobbles and swallows (yet never spits), upping his score in the process, the maze'll alter around him in real-time. The layout is reworked, the pill locations move, and gradually the speed increases too. Not only does this open up the ability to combo the ghosts - the true secret to leaderboard busting high scores - it far more importantly keeps things fresh, exciting...and a little un-nerving.

Click to enlarge
The look is unmistakably Pacman, but now boasts a gorgeously glowy new style, along with a killer soundtrack
There's also a time limit now too. Depending on the mode you pick (5 are included), you're limited to 5 or 10 minutes total, and have to nab as high a score as poss in that timeframe...then it's game over. No ifs or buts. Well, unless you die. I do wish there was a genuine endless mode available with that in mind - one that went on ad infinitum - but these changes alone have reinvented the experience wonderfully, and actually made it play a fair bit more like Geo Wars itself.

Such comparisons prove fruitful in other areas too. To be more specific, it has that unmistakable "just one more go" quality that Geo Wars always enjoyed. Within 24 hours of downloading the sucker, I'd snagged all 200 Gamerscore points for example. To call it addictive's a bit of an under-statement you see.

The entire game's also been decked out in a similarly bright neon "light show" vibe, more akin to a Mizuguchi game, or a rave, than a coin-op from the 80s. Music in particular, enjoys such upgrades, with thumping techno beats that work themselves organically into the gameplay, building and building into all-encapsulating synthy jolts of crazy adrenaline during their final minutes. Exceptional stuff, really.

Game Oveurrrr

If I had complaints then, it'd be the lack of more than one song. For such a cosmic - and surprising - display of audio and video prowess...what gives?

Click to enlarge
Only one of five modes differs hugely to the rest, blanking out the entire screen and making you play in the dark (not pictured)
Also - and this is hardly a fault of the game itself - the 360 controller seems far from at ease here unfortunately. Attempting to use the D-pad proves tiresome - far from tactile and responsive enough to match up to Pacman's crazy new speed and reflex requirements - yet sadly the analogue stick suffers its own share of issues as well. It'll even flat-out refuse to obey your commands on occasion, and has got me killed numerous times if I'm completely honest. To be fair however, it's also unintentionally saved my arse just as often.

The biggest limpener with Pac though is the price, as it currently sells for a humongously greedy 800 points. That's twice that of Geo Wars, and a wee bit steep for an (admittedly beautifully spruced up) game that's getting ready to enjoy its 30th birthday.

That last complaint is a real downer I must say, as even a compulsive shopping addict like me took some serious time and persuasion before ultimately coughing up the dough here, and I could just as easily have missed out on the sucker completely. To think of an alternate reality in which Dig never bathed in Pac's stark new neon beauty for hours on end every night...nor gobbled down yellow blobs so ferociously and elatedly makes me wanna swallow razor blades. Isn't 800 points worth the avoidance of such a fate? I guess. But it doesn't mean we have to be happy about it.

What could so easily have been a 9 then - the first to adorn these pages, may I remind you - instead drops to an admittedly still respectable...

(Pictures courtesy of Xbox)

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

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

Untitled Document

Forums

The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

RLLMUK Forum
The old Edge forums gone independent. The busiest and most interesting gaming board around, worthy of multiple visits a day

NTSC-UK Forum
Another exceptional gaming forum, featuring one of the friendliest communities on the net, and up to the minute news

NeoGAF
A more US-centric gaming board, with huge piles of traffic and even the odd famous face

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

A Life Well Wasted
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

Consolevania
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

Kotaku
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

Gamespot
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

1up.com
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

GameFAQs
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

X-Fire
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

Steam
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

MyGamerCard.net
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

Smodcast
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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