Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, April 26, 2012




By Ibrahim

Every once in a while you encounter games which are so unique and different from mainstream games that it actually becomes enjoyable. Limbo, developed by Arnt Jensen is just that. With no text, no explanation and no dialogue it offers a uniquely mysterious experience to the player, that too in 2-D. Be careful not to scoff, or Mario, Sonic and Donkeykong are going to come around and pound you to the ground.

So, what happens in Limbo? You control a young boy who wakes up in a forest without giving us the slightest clue who he is, how he got there, or where he is going. You are basically just thrust right into it from the onset, no questions asked. The place is of course dangerous and the task is simple: get out of there. Alive.

The whole environment is designed as puzzles which you have to solve. As the game progresses, the puzzles become increasingly ingenious and complicated. With only the direction buttons and one Ctrl button in your arsenal, you have to make use of everything the setting provides, starting from empty boxes, to dead bodies to giant-spider legs. Also important for the gameplay are the sound effects. Mastered brilliantly, there are some clues hidden in the music.

The graphics in the game is a major talking point. The entire setting is in black and white, which somehow transcends modern-day graphics. The attention to detail is truly amazing but it doesn't stop people from blowing the game off as an arcade. But arcade are how we began.

The major issue with the game? You die. Like a zillion times. Sometimes in very bizarre and brutal circumstances (i.e. dismembered by bear-traps, electrocuted, and crushed by concrete). This can get frustrating, especially if you are stuck on a certain part. However, there are no points for staying alive the longest and some clues even require you to die and restart at that point before the epiphany hits.

Limbo is a feel-good game because after every puzzle you solve, you feel like the king of the world. Until the next one comes along and leaves you clueless, that is. The game is short, sweet and leaves a definite lasting impression.



By Sarah Nafisa Shahid

How do you tell a child that there's no God up in the sky,
And it's all a lie,
So twisted and bruised
How do you tell a son that his daddy left his mum when he fell in love
With a girl like you?

Sappho - Tribes
Indie has been around for a quite a while now and this British band from Camden could almost be the face of the genre. Sadly, they are not yet as popular as the bigger Indie bands like Deathcab for Cutie or Arcade Fire which is exactly what makes them so good.

Tribes was formed when four Nirvana influenced wanna-be Radiohead musicians landed themselves in the Indie capital, Camden, and decided to make music which could finally please the ears of disappointed rock'n'roll fans of the current generation. However, they sound like neither Radiohead nor Nirvana. They do, nonetheless, provide a fresh new sound with enjoyable guitar work mixed with self-prophesised lyrics.

Their first studio album, Baby, was released on January 2012, consisting of 11 tracks with the range of light hearted melodies to zealous love songs. The band's lead vocalist and guitarist Johnny Lloyd is an absolute heart-melting lad when he sings songs which include lines like, 'A wasted hour and I feel younger; a million miles away, the day I die gets a little closer.' Most of the songs are accompanied by smooth acoustic guitar riffs and sometimes with fine plucking, such as the track “Nightdriving” and “Half Way Home”.

If anyone is fed up of the persistent reign of trashy pop songs making the top charts, then s/he should definitely give Tribes a try. The band provides a nice blend of passionate yet casual lyrics with light hearted melody and they are anything but a mainstream musical package. All in all, worth keeping in your music library.

Similar to Tribes:
The Shins: A mixture of Indie rock and folk rock brought out by brilliant acoustic works and intriguing lyrics.

Animal Collective: This band brings variety to your playlist with dreamy lyrics and diverse sound. Hits like “Grass” have earned the band a respectable place in the Indie Psychedelic genre.

By Zarif Masud

DRAGON BALL Z. I don't know about you guys, but that's half my childhood right there. If you have ever been a fan of Dragon Ball Z at any time of your life and you like to laugh, you cannot go wrong with Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged.

It's basically a parody of DBZ with occasional references to various pop culture references. This bunch of really talented guys got together and cut out actual scenes from DBZ, added effects and did a total voiceover. And the voice acting is really top notch. Vegeta in particular deserves special mention.

From the first minute of the parody, hilarity ensues. The plot pretty much follows the actual DBZ story without the windings and the fillers. The first episode might not seem all that awesome on first view, but by the time you get to episode 4/5, you're bound to get hooked. The characters will make you laugh till your stomachs are ready to burst, especially where Nappa is involved.

Nappa: Vegeta, LOOK! A pokemon!
Chiaotzu: I am not a pokemon. I'm Chaltsu.
Nappa: You hear that, Vegeta? It's a Chaltsu. I am going to try and capture it.
There are also game references, such as this Mass Effect reference:

Goku: VEGETA! That wasn't a very Paragon thing to do.
Vegeta: Renegade forever.

And then Nappa actually throws a pokeball at Chaltsu. Nappa's death was sad for all of us because we really wanted more of him. The Nappa-Vegeta conversations in particular were brilliant.

Vegeta remains consistent throughout both seasons. Fans of Vegeta won't be disappointed; he still has that swag and the badassery. Goku is still pretty stupid. Krillin is a joke that never gets old. Like Radditz. Piccolo is the loner who wants a friend. His MySpace account has only one friend. And it's Tom (who is on everyone's MySpace by default). Also, Mr. Popo is a sadistic... something.

Other than the regular episodes, TFS has made a few other awesome videos. There's this one video where they sing “I'll Make a Man Out Of You” (Mulan's OST) featuring Piccolo and Gohan, bringing up scenes from Gohan's training with Piccolo. It's absolutely hilarious. Then there are the guitar solos and shreds by the Z warriors in this video named “Rockin' It Out”. Another must watch, if for nothing more than just to hear Vegeta go, “I am here to rock you… Like a Hurricane.”

Before we give more spoilers, just watch it, you won't be sorry. You can find a complete list of all their videos here at http://teamfourstar.com/page-episodes. Or you could just go to YouTube and search for TFS Dragon Ball Z Abridged.


By Dr Who

This week, the foray into vampire movies continues with Underworld: Awakening. Principal attraction: Kate Beckinsale. Those of you who are unaware of the series, it revolves around the war between Vampires and Lycans (Werewolves) with the creation of a new hybrid with characteristics of both, particularly the ability to walk in sunlight and immunity from silver.

The movie starts off with montages of news clips, informing viewers that humans have finally caught on to the existence of these two supernatural species. About time, right? Faced by the unknown, humans did what they do best: waged a war against them and started killing them off, conducting medical tests to find the infected. We see Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman) being captured. She eventually wakes up in a cryo-facility, released by another captive, Eve (India Eisley). And then a bunch of cool action scenes happen with vampire-lycan battles where Selene rivals Bangla movie heroes for number of reloads needed to fire a gun. And then there's the big, kind of obvious, conspiracy twist.

Is it any good? Well, it depends. If you have an hour and a half to kill with nothing to do whatsoever, this movie could conceivably be used to pass the time. The plot is extremely straightforward and seeing as they've had too many movies with close-quarter supernatural fights, they decided to go with the “size-matters” outlook and dumped a giant lycan in the fights.

Kate Beckinsale is classic Selene in her portrayal, but the cluelessness of the writers makes her acting seem purposeless. Also, she has been hailed as one of the prettiest women in Hollywood, yet one cannot help but stare at the extremely obvious Michael Jackson-esque nose job. Why? For the love of God, why?

If you like this movie, you might, just might, enjoy the works of Uwe Boll. Have fun.


Age has nothing to do with anything.
Or does it?

The internet is our most potent source of information. But sometimes it is just stupid. For example, the average age when a child starts using microwaves is 7. Clearly the survey forgot to include the Indian sub-continent and Africa. Some of you might say that maybe it's about kids in America. The website doesn't give any such indication. It could be about Europe for all you know.

Forget about worldwide averages. Let's go for good solid facts. Did you know the youngest pope was 11 years old? Yes, you read that right. Granted, Pope Benedict IX was granted his position during the turn of the millennia - not this one, the previous one - but still, 11 years old! We were still walking around picking the snot from our nose at that age. Some of us still are.

The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year. Strange how very few of them ever come true. Children dream much more than adults. Then again, most of them are nightmares.

It's funny how nightmares begin turning into happy dreams around the same age as, oh, I don't know, 11.


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