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By Anashua

First, there were really awesome games with terrible graphics, and then there was childhood.

Every teenager that walks the planet today has, at some point of their childhood, stared open-mouthed at the glowing, crackling VDU before their eyes and frantically spacebar-ed and control S-ed through some computer games that kicked solid butt. These are the games that made us figuratively and literally. While some games like Mortal Kombat and Roadrash moulded our personalities into street fighting wannabes, others like DX-Ball or Barbie Super Model added layers of flab to our bodies, 'shaping' us in the process.

Here is a list of some of the games that we played relentlessly and loved with all our hearts despite the pixelated appearance and broken graphics.

Pacman - It is the great Father of All Games, now in its thirties, still rocking (some of) our socks, even though it only consists of a yellow omnomnomagon eating dots while escaping from multi coloured ghosts.

Virtua Cop - This game is one of Sega's best arcade games, indulging us in fantasies of bank robbery although we were actually playing as the good guys, and was one of the first games to allow the players to shoot through glass.

House Of The Dead An interesting storyline and a wide variety of enemies - ranging from slimy leech ghosts to the spider boss whose power was webs shot through nether regions - were some of the things that made this game so awesome. The last level was the most gripping, with the Magician Boss throwing cannon balls at the screen, its weak point unknown to all of mankind. Back then, your coolness depended on how many times you completed the game, not on how low your pants sank.

Mortal Kombat -The Chuck Norris moves and otherworldly powers make this one of the best street fighting games ever. It has some amazing finishing moves, like Friendship, where you can give flowers to your opponent instead of killing them, skinning your opponent's alive by pulling his hair, or performing Hara-kiri while losing.

Roadrash The best bike racing game out there, with the best control. You can buy bikes here, make money, choose filthy bikers, hit each other with nunchakus, and slang others dead while racing through the heart of America.

DX-Ball It's one of those pointlessly fun games that we all play. You bounce a ball with a bar and try to hit the bricks, avoiding the bad power ups and catching the good ones. The advanced levels of this game get better, with the addition of firebricks that explode.

Mario - One cannot write about classic games without mentioning Nintendo's Mario. It is about an Italian-American plumber saving a princess and winning a mushroom kingdom. I always wondered about his pouch of a tummy, you'd think he'd slim down for the sake of all that running around.

SkyRoads In SkyRoads, you drive a spacecraft along a pathway, avoiding the gaps and splits by jumping at the right time. If you miss, you will get lost in the dark depths of space.

Barbie Super Model I wouldn't have mentioned this game, but certain people *ahem… correction, guys* called me aside while I was taking the survey and confessed playing this game. You got to be Barbie, and you had to steer around obstacles in every level. You also could make your Barbie up and appear in the magazines.


The King's Speech


The King's Speech is a movie about a lot of things. It's about family, about friendship, about love and loyalty. At a glance it might resemble those musty movies about the royal family with period costumes; look a bit closer and you'll find yourself in a modern tale of life with a struggling man. A man who happens to be the Duke of York.

Set in 1920s and 30s, The King's Speech is about King George VI, before his ascension to the throne; when he was Prince Albert (Colin Firth) who couldn't say a single sentence without stuttering. His father made it clear that public appearances and speeches were necessary, and he believed that it's his second son who would be the fittest to rule the empire one day. The British, on the other hand, ruling a quarter of the world, could not possibly be led by a king who couldn't speak publicly. And Prince Albert had to attend each public appearance as though they were his own funeral to face a crowd cringing with embarrassment for their prince.

Desperate, his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks help from quite an unusual source, an Australian speech therapist with unconventional methods. Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) treats the future monarch as his equal, calls him 'Bertie', who's not afraid to crack the occasional joke about the royal family and who's also not afraid to see the prince as who he is: a very lonely man.

The story is simple, yet quite captivating as you follow the events leading up to Albert's eventual crowning, with the background of the imminent Second World War. It's not easy to stutter and appear regal at the same time, but Colin Firth does it to perfection. His portrayal of Albert is such that the audience doesn't pity the man, just the situations he finds himself in. He deserves his Oscar nomination and it'll be a surprise if he doesn't win this year. Geoffrey Rush is also superb as a failed actor-turned-speech therapist and there's no denying that this movie boasts an all-star cast with Michael Gambon and Helena Bonham Carter.

The screenplay, written by a man who stuttered himself, is both warm and inspiring. The music and cinematography is also top notch.

The King's Speech fully deserves its 12-Oscar-nomination glory, because it's a treat for us movie watchers when movies like this come along: an intricate mix of fabulous characterisation, intriguing story, mesmerising dialogue, and yet it is amusing and feel-goody. Double thumbs up.

F1 2010

By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz

January is a really bad time for gamers. The massive scarcity of any new games (at least the ones that are worth playing) wreaks havoc on our obscenely lazy lifestyles. We don't have anything to be distracted by, so we're forced to, God forbid, study (uugh!). Since I'd rather play old games instead of studying, I decided to do a little experiment.

I went to a DVD shop, closed my eyes, rifled through the games section and picked up a game. I would review the game, whether it had reviewed before or not. I was filled with apprehension just before I opened my eyes: what if I had picked up one of those annoying “120 Mega Bestselling Games in ONE DVD” DVDs? To my relief, it was F1 2010, a game I had played, but hadn't gotten around to reviewing yet.

One of the best racing games to come out in 2010, besides NFS Hot Pursuit and obviously Gran Turismo 5, F1 2010 is a surreal experience. Developed by Codemasters, we expected nothing less. Games like Racedriver: Grid, the original Dirt and Dirt 2 have shown Codemasters' ability to produce outstanding racing games.

F1 starts off in typical Codemasters fashion: make up some basic info, and then go straight to the race. The instant immersion in the gameplay might make some people queasy about trying out F1, but rest assured, it's no biggie-you'll get the hang of it after a few laps of banging into barriers. The learning curve isn't that steep if you've played simulation racers before. If the sole staple of your past driving game career was NFS Most Wanted, you'll struggle quite a bit.

The interactive gameplay is astonishingly addictive. Gamers are given the choice of being a pondit and tuning the car to his or her own specs, or breeze through by letting the race engineers decide the settings for them while they concentrate on driving. Be warned though, each and every decision you make, like fitting a new engine just before qualifying, switching out tyres, adjusting aero, even giving idiotic, self-centred answers during interviews, will affect your career. The technical aspects of the game are mind boggling- each race, you have to make a mental calculation of the amount of wear on the tyres, and pit accordingly. The damage effects are brilliantly modelled as well.

The menus are a thing of beauty. Like Grid and Dirt 2, the menus change according to which level of competition you're in, which team you're racing for, etc. Character modelling is also top quality, as are the cars. The soundtracks, although few and far between, provide decent enough filler between the high pitched noise of F1 engines at full rev.

The gameplay itself is that of the typical simulation racer. Braking at every corner, following race rules (you get penalties for hitting others, cutting corners, driving dangerously), following the race line, gauging the distance between corners, etc. are necessary if you want to win. It's not that hard once you put in a few practice laps.

The layout follows the official FIA approved F1 format. You practice at each of the tracks in the season calendar, qualify, and then race for the awarded points. You can also pick up penalties and fines along the way if you're not careful. Each team you race for sets you specific goals which you must complete for each race weekend. As the level of your contract becomes higher, you are set more demanding goals, which make for constantly evolving game experience.

A brilliant game, F1 sums up a pretty good year for gaming in 2010. Until NFS Shift2, Dirt 3 or Forza 4 comes out, stick to F1 on PC and GT5 on PS3.


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