About

Peter has played a lot of games over the years.

He made this website due to an exasperation with traditional videogame reporting and reviewing, reiterating what they’ve read on Kotaku and 4chan making almost all game reporting painfully generic.

This is Peter’s answer.

Born in 1981, Peter lives with his son, a cat, and a girlfriend. He has a degree in Computing and Networks.

Michaela is a twenty something cephalopod, or a 25 year old English chick with too much time on her hands.

She reviews video games, and likes tea, cats and cute things.

She enjoys reading, writing, drinking tea, and  video games, particularly story driven ones, or horror.

Michaela is the owner of StudiousOctopus.

Life is Strange

So we’ve played all of the first episode of Life is Strange. That’s all of Chrysalis.

We checked and the parts are not named the same as the AIs from Peacewalker. Sadface.

However, I can safely say that despite the obvious flaws, the most immediately noticeable being the terrible lip-syncing much like the last game of theirs, Remember Me (I actually thought the doctor’s faces in the opening were masks because they didn’t move at all), that I’m liking it. Other flaws are some of the absolutely terrible dialogue – it does have a sort of fake-retro 90s that didn’t exist likeable-ness to them, but is often painful rather than fun, especially the almost constant name-dropping in the opening to the point where you will probably feel like telling Max to just shut up. And Victoria. And Jefferson. And all of  the other classmates’ names I’m more sketchy on; I felt the game introduced too many characters early on. I’m still calling the missing girl “Laura Palmer” for the obvious Twin Peaks reasons.

However once you progress past that and get used to some of the other irritations the episode really starts to redeem itself, finishing with a scene where two former best friends rediscover each other after many years absence.

Here’s to hoping the rest of the game skips the problems the opening of this episode have. The next episode from the preview in this one is going to have a sequence involving a train. You know, like in Twin Peaks. It’s also lovely to have a game with the illusive female protagonist – like Remember Me did. Let’s also hope the game doesn’t stoop to Queer Baiting

Life is Strange, postponements

So it turns out that Life is Strange will not in fact be presented in 1080p @ 60fps as the HD PVR 2 doesn’t support that, and a higher resolution is more important than a higher framerate in this case. In fact, I can even hear myself hovering over the check out button on the vendor’s website saying, “well, that doesn’t matter, it’s not like Youtube even supports 60fps anyway”.

Yeah.

On the other hand, we’ll still be doing the PS4 version at a much higher quality level and resolution than the internal recorder can manage. We’re talking 1080 @ 14Mbs compared to the internal 720 @ 8Mbs. And no, you don’t need double the bitrate to compensate for double the resolution, so that’s higher resolution and higher quality. Still a bit sad though, as I do totally think that 60 fps is absolutely worth it. I’m actually surprised at the quality we do get, as it’s a lot better than what I was expecting due to the HDMI cable. Last time we used the HD PVR 2, we were using the component cable, and wow, no, the image quality is not on the same level despite what years of XBox 360 dominance claimed.

Scheduling-wise we have Call of Cthulhu and Sam & Max episodes already produced and uploaded to the channel. You know, you can always check if we’ve got more coming by checking out the playlists. We upload and queue videos as soon as we’ve got them up, scheduled, tagged, etc. In the interest of getting the next Life is Strange episode out promptly we’ll probably put off actually publishing Call of Cthulhu and Sam & Max so the first set of Life is Strange is out before the second set comes out from the developers, giving us a chance to play and get it out quickly. We figure since Call of Cthulhu is already 11 years late a few weeks shouldn’t make much difference, but we’re sorry if you’re waiting for it, but fear not; it will come out.

More Call of Cthulhu soon

Not to worry, we have managed to get more Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth recorded, and we should have those videos up reasonably soon. We’re also going to have some new Sam & Max episodes, this time part three of Beyond Time and Space – Night of the Raving Dead.

The more I think about it, the more I think we do want to play Life is Strange – but not for the most positive reason really. We want to play it because we keep reading people saying how relatable and realistic it is, and the advertising surrounding the game claims that they’re trying to revolutionise choice in games, but well, we can’t see a massive difference between it and Mass Effect’s paragon / renegade system with two unrealistic choices in opposition. So it may well become the third game in our new Mon/Wed/Fri release schedule, but we’re hoping that this schedule is a temporary measure until we get a little more free time to resume recording daily videos for your viewing pleasures.

And we would have something to offer, we do have the technology and I think the game is in 60fps which we can handle. I would be playing the PS4 version too, not sure the game works well on keyboard & mouse.

Moving back to 3/7 publishing schedule

The website is back up and being worked on, but things have been going slowly. Both the website and the channel are having to take second fiddle to Peter going back to college, this means he is both working full-time and attending college part-time and so we have less time to work together to produce the content. Really, this website was supposed to be up and populated with some of the older articles by now, but due to experimenting with some other software it didn’t work out like that and it didn’t get completed before life suddenly got busier.

Once the daily set of videos has finished (Call of Cthulhu Part 32 on Feb 7th) we’ll be moving to a different publishing schedule. I’m not sure if it’ll involve the same games or if we’ll have to take a break from recording PC games. We had to move one of the drives to a different PC just for Call of Cthulhu for reasons we’ll go into when we eventually build a sub site for Call of Cthulhu, so recording the massive files we use for PC recording is likely out, and we’ll have to concentrate on the much smaller files generated by recording with a Hauppauge from a console.

We have put off recording Calling for a while.

The Last of Us – A disk pressing review

I didn’t play the Last of Us when it came out, but I did buy it when it came out and only now have I finally gotten around to playing it. Unfortunately, there won’t be a review of the game because, I, like many others it seems, have had trouble running the game.

Let’s cut to the chase, no this is not your PS3 – it plays other games juuuust fine, no this isn’t every copy of the game; lots of people report no problems at all. Saying that – some people claimed the HD collection ran fine for them, but that was not even remotely true. Anyway though, the disk is thin, flimsy, and the game’s video does not stream from it properly. Also because of most company’s policies on games, it is non-returnable unless you have not opened the game. However. It is remarkably difficult to tell whether or not a pressing is good or not based on the box.

Essentially I have a very expensive ($64) Frisbee. I can get it to play more sometimes by cleaning it in some ways and making other bits dirty, but these things just make it more obvious that the disk is at fault.

PS4 Games so far

Out of the three PS4 games that I have so far bought (the rest have been free or not really for the PS4) I have to say that my favourite is actually inFAMOUS: Second Son. Which was unexpected. I was actually expecting it to be Ground Zeroes or Watch_Dogs. Buuuut; Ground Zeroes has the problem of being a stealth game where you’re timed in missions and you’re expected to repeatedly do the missions.

I have realised over time that when I want to play a stealth game it’s because I want to take my time and take out a bunch of people and sneak to the target. Like in Dishonoured or MGS4. Instead I’m basically running everywhere in the hopes that people don’t see me after playing the game slowly and carefully to memorise enemy patterns, which isn’t how stealth games should work in my opinion. Also the subject matter is kinda vile. Yeah, listen to this tape which is supposed to be a young boy forced to rape a barely legal woman; that’ll be an enjoyable experience (hint: please stop). I really hope the full game is less like Ground Zeroes and more like MGS3 and MGS4.

Then there’s Watch_Dogs. Watch_Dogs is like if you took Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Ghost in the Shell, and Deus Ex and mixed them all together, but with everything you found fun surgically altered to be hard to control and barely present. Playing Watch_dogs is not even remotely as enjoyable as it looks. You feel very restricted, the character moves wrong, the vehicles control wrong. You very certainly don’t feel like a cool hacker, you feel like you have bought a magical phone from a cool hacker. It combines several obnoxious elements about modern gaming and 4chan culture, from the billboards you hack (and by hack I mean you press square) to say hilarious phrases like “Never gonna give you up” and “Over 9000!” to the other-people-can-invade-your-game crap (which thankfully can and has been turned off – although doing so loses all multiplayer progress because … oh who knows) to the throat-cancer barely alive main character. It isn’t bad per se, it just isn’t very good, but it does have a massive detailed world and tons to do. I just wish it was enjoyable to do them.

If I had to summarise I would say that Watch_Dogs is definitely more entertaining than not playing Watch_Dogs.

inFAMOUS on the other hand I was expecting to dislike, for a couple of reasons that I was anticipating before starting the game and a couple new ones I wasn’t expecting. I loved the first game, and didn’t like the second game (note: Second Son is the third game) for a variety of reasons mostly involving a backbending effort to appeal to youth and the horrible things they did to the cool powers from the first game. After hearing that the main character was Troy Baker pretty much playing himself with a side-serving of Laura Bailey pretty much playing herself I was ready for the genericising of the involvement of those two generally foretells. If you haven’t heard them by name, you may recognise them as Snow and Serah, or Silent Hill HD’s James and Angela. Basically, you’ve heard them before, and you will instantly recognise their voices. Troy provides the anticipated “Aw Hell yeahs”, “Haters!”, and “Awesome!”.

However, the game is incredibly enjoyable with only a few irritations, for example, despite the fact that you’re dressed in the obligatory five layers of untidy that are the hallmark of today’s young hipster everyone still manages to think you’re trying to put them in prison for some reason. And the plot has several holes and cartoonishly evil stuff occasionally happens. The controls have also been inexplicably changed for the worse (hover is the same button as jump?!). But who cares? It is incredibly enjoyable, the powers are fun (despite being weird stuff; smoke, neon, video, concrete?), the city looks absolutely amazing, and navigating around the place is such fun, and so are all the little gameplay elements. It really is the opposite of Watch_Dogs where everything you do feels chore-ish with the slight saving grace that it looks a bit cool, whereas inFAMOUS everything is fun.

Adventures in Hauppauge Capture (32022)

Someday, someone may experience these bizarre events. Hopefully, they will find my notes useful.

So I’ve been experimenting with the Hauppauge Capture which is the software you use for capturing (in this case Wii footage – using component cables) from your Hauppauge device, which includes mine, the HD PVR 2 GE+.

Actually, I imagine you can use a few different programs to capture, but this seems to be the purpose-built one. Feel free to tell me if you’ve found something else. I haven’t tried the other bundled one, (ARCSoft?) since I have a video editor I’m already very happy about (KDEnlive).
Continue reading Adventures in Hauppauge Capture (32022)

Surround sound and Youtube – part 2

Unfortunately, the results of the experiment resulted in normal youtube video, even downloading the video or switching to html5 didn’t allow me to access the 5.1 track with mplayer sternly reporting but one stereo audio stream.

Still, getting surround with Pro Logic decoding is more than enough for me.

Surround sound and Youtube

The conventional wisdom is that you cannot get surround sound out of Youtube.

This is not strictly true.

Pro Logic is a method of matrixing surround sound into a stereo signal for later fetching out into the surround field by a Pro logic decoder. The easiest way to do this is with a game already in Pro Logic, such is the case with our Eternal Darkness Let’s Play. However, you can also create a Pro Logic downmix from a 5.1 discrete signal with fantastic results, which is how we did our Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish Let’s Play.

However, recently, I found an interesting snippet on Google Support. To me that looks an awful lot like they have the ability to store and probably play back proper discrete 5.1

I’m uploading tests to determine, and perhaps it may only work on the rather experimental HTML5 version of Youtube, but this is still quite exciting for me.

I could, if this is possible, provide the best of both worlds. Pro Logic surround for the stereo channel which sounds equally fantastic in stereo or decoded into surround, and a discrete 5.1 surround for whatever that will work for.