JJ Reviews: ACDC in Wellington



ACDC Black Ice Tour Wellington, New Zealand

Hell Bells indeed. Opening up with the forgettable Rock and Roll Train, Westpac Trust Stadium when nuts when the classic riff to Back in Black was played third song in.

I realised during the show that ACDC are a 'buy the numbers' rock band. This is forgivable, however, as they were apparently the guys that wrote the actual numbers down in the first place. Songs like Dirty Deeds and Shoot to Thrill are rock standards, it's great to hear the guys that made them that standard. That said, some people complain that ACDC have made the same album 10 times - those people weren't in Wellington tonight!

The crowd was a sea of black t-shits sporting various incarnations of ACDC. They were well behaved and smoked a lot of weed. Early into the set a mongrel mob member collapse right in front of me. His head landed on my toes. He was skull fucked and couldn't get up. Me and another dude pulled him up and his girl nursed him away. Classic.

Angus Young is a manic. Being 60 doesn't slow him down. He was all over the place. An epic 10 odd minute solo consisting of baiting the crowd with blues riffs in return for crowd adulation was a highlight. Two years ago I saw Zakk Wylde play a long solo during a Ozzy Osborne show which I thought could not be topped. Angus did it in a pair of shorts and with with a bald spot and a  When Angus played his 'War Machine' for the crowd, rather than for himself as I suspect Wylde may have, I said to myself, this is why I paid $160 bucks for the privilege.

The rhythm section were tight and know their place on stage. Play the monster chords, hit the skins (with a fag in your mouth all night looking bored!) and the bass kept chugging along all night - that said the bass playing was fairly understated.

Lead singer sings the songs with gusto and says the lines the crowd wants to here. The star of the show is Angus Young and that's pretty much why he takes the lead on so many of the album covers.

Overall it was great to see ACDC, not a completely thrilling night but a night filled with some great songs, fist pumping and a whole lotta rosiness going on....


Rock n Roll Train
Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be
Back In Black
Big Jack - nice blues feel, a totally diffferent side of ACDC for the casual fan like me.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Shot Down in Flames
Thunderstruck
Black Ice
The Jack - with an Angus strip show to reveal his ACDC underwear.
Hells Bells
Shoot to Thrill
War Machine - going to featured in Iron Man 2 Soundtrack
High Voltage
You Shook Me All Night Long - crowd favourite of the night
TNT
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock - with epic Angus Young solo performance post song.

ACDC set encore:

Highway To Hell
For Those About To Rock

Brian said after the song, 'We salute you, New Zealand'.

The opening bands were The Checks, and kiwi legends, Shihad - who I only saw one song of, something from the General Electric Album I think.....

Well, there was this one time the Turians tried to wipe out our entire race. That was fun

 One of these ladies is a Smurf. Did you notice?*

22 hours and 10 minutes and 146 game saves later I completed the original Mass Effect.

Wow. What a game. Easily the best Xbox game I have played since Halo 2 (or 3). Even better than Gears of War 2, which some may recall I thought was pretty awesome. My intial thoughts on Mass Effect were pretty much on the mar. As I played on and figured out how to use the weaponry known as Biotics better I got more fluent with the game play however that play overall was less that stellar. It was only enjoyable when one had mastered the various power ups - and even then it was clunky. The Mako jeep which with one explores strange planets on makes Halo's Warthog look like a...pig.

It is the story of Mass Effect where the majority of the appeal lies. It's a huge space opera that doesn't quit until the fat alien sings. It's your usual 'the universe is doomed and only one man (or women!) can save the universe from the race of aliens who've destroyed organic life as we know it for eons' type of saga. It's kind of like the Matrix in that regard - the robots just wipe out humanity when they are about at the cusp of taking back the world again (or universe!). Rinse and repeat, only this time as Commander Shepard, you are Neo. Especially if you go the biotic route with your character and can like, make robots stop dead with your hands.

The music, when it needed to be was, superb. In the quiet times it was classic 1980's arcade Synthesizer which made it amusing.

Graphics, ok - it came out like 2 years ago so no dramas.

The twists and turns are fun as you get to choose the plot at certain points - do I care about this person's race in terms of my goal? I'm I an alien racist? Really? Should I obey Star Trek III's message that some times the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the one, or is my choice to be the needs of the one out weighed the needs of the many? The ending gives you 3 options on how to finish - the trick is in knowing if you've played the game like Plato or a Punk.

Mass Effect 2 has just been released. The game has an option where you can load your character from the original. This means all the plot actions you have taken will account for plot points in the sequel. Mass Effect's producers have warned players to be careful who you let live and who you let die.....or kill.
All up, I rate Mass Effect as O for Awesome story wise, C for combat play. A+ for general allround good vibeness from a game.
















*Blue Smurf's in space. Take a note Avatar freaks, this came out before that film.

Weekend that was Pt 3 Days Baby!



Weekend that was Pt 3 Days Baby!

Extra for Experts.

When I was kid I was invited to a friend's Birthday party and saw the best movie a kid could see that was R16 when he was like 10 (?!). See the picture at the top? The actor that died in that scene was in the movie I'm referring to. Choc fish and a link to the first person that leaves the correct answer in the comments....

Reach up for the Sunrise




I've been focusing on my new blog, Halo Reach Game News lately because I've become a total fanboy. Hell, I read one of the novels in Thailand...

To celebrate, I've put together my 10 favourite posts on Halo Reach. They are not the most popular ones, just the ones I like. Check em out, I hope you enjoy a couple of them!


  1. The Engineers of Halo. I had no idea about Engineers until I played ODST. Apparently I should have like, read the internet or something. 
  2. The story of Halo by people that actually know stuff as as paraphrased by yours truly
  3. Why do so many people hate Halo? Giovanni on the Halo Reach Game News Facebook page summed it up in one word. ENVY
  4. Oonsk You know he's cute!!
  5. Is Buck in Reach? Probably. Bring on the Nathan Fillion! Follow him on twitter, he's pretty genuine.
  6. Eric Nylund - God Let this end. A little bit of what went into the writing of the first Halo novel, The Fall of Reach. Note many people realise it, but that novel came out before Halo CE!
  7. Praise for Halo Reach Game News. Pleased to say, this wee blog has had some big props from some of the Masters of the Universe. 
  8. Where's New Zealand? Ask Chris Butcher, he'll tell you.
  9. Halo Reach's new fans How massive is Reach going to be? More sales than Halo 3?
  10. Info on the Edge Article. I'm choosing this story because I made up the phrase, 'Propaganda Pie'.
You like that huh? Why don't you keep up with Halo Reach Game news by joining the HRGN Facebook page or following the blog on Twitter (and for shits and giggles, Jimmy Jangles). You know you want to. 

We don't party like They used to?

old lady puking while drunk

Here's two good old American getting smashed on a variet of spirits and beers. One of them is so keen on checking out this 'binge drinking culture" that eveyone is taking about so she's having a tactical chunder to make sure she can make it through the night.

Discuss. If you must.

P.S. Remember, it's not what we're drinking, it's Howlett we're drinking.

Weekend that Was: Part Rain

Weekend that Was: Part Rain

Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. With some clouds too.

How to have a Massive Effect on sales?

How to have a Massive Effect on sales?

Post Christmas I stepped into EB Games amongst the throng, its turkeys and turkey filled people looking for bargains in the sales. I immediately found a brand new version of Mass Effect for sale at $25 bucks, which basically meant it had 100 bucks off its initial release date price.

Awesome, I thought. I’ve heard about the game and that it had aliens and inter-alien love scenes and all so I thought I’d give it a chance for $25 bucks.
inter-alien love scene.

There was a whole pile of them so I was like, oh there’s a sequel coming out soon so they are just flogging the old stock. Old stock? Did this game suck and no-one bought it? (I realise the existance of the sequel means the game might have had some merit… ;) ).

It was a two weeks into playing the game and having thoroughly enjoyed its interstellar ‘pick-a-path’ plot when I mused to myself what a good buy it was. Then it hit me:

EB Games is not selling the game to get rid of the stock, they are selling Mass Effect so cheaply (and possibly below cost) to get you hooked so you spend $125 bucks when Mass Effect 2 is released. Of course, what better time to do it in the post Christmas sales. Effective huh?

It’s a clever strategy when you think about – it ignites interest in the game that those who missed it first time round may have gotten. Kind works in the same view as downloadable content – which Mass Effect has too!

There’s also another really cool hook – as you play Commander Sheppard in ME, you build your character’s personality and demeanour – you can be a paragon or reengage in your approach to dealing with people and issues. Over time, your decisions affect the game’s plot and ultimately the ending.

With Mass Effect 2, you are able to carry over this element from the first game into the second. So the character you’ve spent 50 – 70 hours playing in the first game can be carried over, traits and all. Decisions made in the first game, affect the second. Some plot elements might not appear for you, or rather they will, depending on your point of view.

Mass Effect 2This might be a reason people would go back to the first came, so they can get a ‘head start’ in the second. The cheap price of the original is all the casual gamer needs to go back and explore Commander Sheppard’s universe and check out some hawt alien chicks!

As to the game, I’m actually not even ¼ of the way through Mass Effect itself. I’ve found the story to be interesting with a solid array of characters and conflicts to work out. Getting the nuance of what is being told is very import to the decisions you make. What is this character actually telling me? What is being left out? Which garden path am I heading down? are all questions I’ve found myself asking.

Underneath it all is the classic ‘chase the bad guy across the universe’ story – a Where’s Carmen Sandiego? for sci-fi fans if you will, with guns thrown in. Heck, it reminded me of the original Mech Warrior on the PC.
I’ve found the fire fights game play a little clunky and not as fluid as it perhaps have could be. As my character has advanced, I’ve noticed improvements in its ability to take on the various bad dudes and dudettes – aiming and skill with weapons so a player has to be patient to progress.

Thus far, Mass Effect has proved to be an excellent ‘story based’ game rather than a space shoot ‘em up / run and gun like, dare I say… .*

Check out the trailer for Mass Effect 2 – it looks pretty and pretty cool.

* Yeah I hear you, Halo does have the best story in a game ever, Period. I agree, except that basically it’s a run and gun. Mass Effect is not, so quit bleating, bleaters.

-

Extra for Experts: What's Bungie Aerospace all about? Also what's with the Dead Orbit?

The Weekend that Was: Survived being back at work

The Weekend that Was: Survived being back at work

  • Thursday: Birthday was great, dinner at Wasabi Sushi in Cuba St, watched old war movie The River Kwai. They don't mak'em like they used to!
  • Fri: Back to the Future III - watched the trilogy over the week, twas as good as I remember it, great scott!
  • Sat: Played an early morning game of tennis, bought a soldering iron. Cooked a BBQ. Watched Pineapple Express. Avoid. 
  • Sun: Played some Massive Effect (it's kind of an oddly cool story telling), saw Avatar, good fun.

JJ Reviews: The Lovely Bones


The Lovely Bones is Peter Jackson's new feature film. It's been 5 years since the beast that was King Kong came out and like that movie, this one was keenly anticipated.

The Lovely Bones is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alice Sebold. In short, the story is about a murdered girl, Susie Salmon, who looks down from 'her heaven' and witnesses how her family copes with her death whilst she tries to tell the world who murdered her. There are no Orcs in this movie so Tolkien fan's should not expect a swords and elfs running round type of movie, instead you get a slow paced movie about a family in crisis.

The heaven that Susie inhabits, following her murder, is a world of beautiful colours and shapes that bend to the will of her imagination and also the events that happen on earth. A scene where her distraught father is smashing his ship in a bottle collection results in Susie standing on a shoreline watching a fleet of giant ships in bottles being shipwrecked against some rocks is astounding movie making.

The film's villan is perfectly played by Stanely Tucci. Because you are told he is Susie's murderer, the moment he is introduced to the viewer, he is loathsome. Where he terrifies Susie before he murder, you just knew how much his character was enjoying the moment. And that should terrify the viewer.

Susan Sarandon plays the alcholic grandmother very well. Her character offers some advice to Susie, puts out fires and drinks like a Salmon in very entertaining fashion. Unfortunately her character goes no where. And that's the problem with this movie - the characters are quite thin. The Lovely Bones is obviously about young Susie but it would have been nice to see some more of the pain the family felt - even though we get the father's pain, a little more across the board would have perhaps helped the movie.

The camera work is the true gem of the movie. Shots were framed in very interesting ways. Close ups of thumbs turning pages of books were used to create tension in brilliant fashion. Lens changes resulting in focus shifts from one character to another were so cleverly done that when they happened, they told a story in themselves.

In all, The Lovely Bones was expertly made and was the classic 'visual feast'. A strong story was let down a little by some poor pacing decisions in the editing room and the end of the film was a little rushed, with some elements of the novel not included. This was a good Hollywood film, however, it is a Peter Jackson film and I felt I was left hanging a little, perhaps having set my expectations high.

Extra for Experts:

Peter Jackson cameoed as man looking at a video camera in a film and there is a poster of Tolkien's works displayed in a book store.

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