Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I love video games, and since the day I have started playing on my xbox360, my love has only grown...
There are tons of games out there. You name the category, and you will have games catering to the minutest niche within that category. But every once in a while there is produced a game which makes you respect the skills of the game designers and developers. One such game is PGR4 (Project Gotham Racing) which, while belonging to the mother genre of Car Racing, does many things differently than the other racing games out there.

The first (and the most obvious) differentiator is the mixture of cars and bikes in the same race. At one go, PGR4 has become another competitor to MotoGP and other bike racing games, in addition to anyways competing with other car games. The choices are huge, the games are tough, and this mixed racing grows upon you as you experiment in the game with your choice of vehicle.

The next unique quality of PGR4 is the slightly reduced focus on simulation. Frankly, PGR3 was a pain as every single car used to veer out of control at the slightest touch. Here, it's much better, and at the same time they haven't moved on to a total arcade theme, thus retaining the best of PGR series.

And the most revered feature in PGR4 is the weather effects. Amazing stuff. If it's raining, you can feel the car getting out of control at higher speeds. If it's foggy, you can still feel the non-dryness of the tracks, something which might have been overlooked but wasn't. And if it's snowing, you need to keep a tight reign on your thumbs as a little extra move can give you cool drift points, but at the same time can also take the race away from your hands.

Though one feature which has constantly been missing from the PGR series is the lack of customization of the car. With these realistic weather effects, avid racers would definitely want to try their hand at customizing the car to the weather (have wet-track tires for example). Or change the steering control depending on the curviness of the track. These are areas where I believe NFS is still the leader. Though with ProStreet it appears that NFS is moving closer to simulation, but since I haven't played the game I will not comment any more on that game.

Overall, PGR4 is a very cool game. Hats off to the PGR4 team...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Family and food...

...Actually for the past few months I have been trying to justify the consistent increase in my weight. I mean, I certainly can't adopt a fate/destiny etc. kind of outlook here and pretend that this is something that's just happening to me without me being in total control. Although that does put myself completely culpable because the logical conclusion that can be drawn is that if this is under my control, then why on Earth am I not actually controlling it? Wierd, but that's what weight increases are like...

Coming to the point in question, which is the analysis of this phenomenon, I have figured out one of the more weighty reasons of my figure going out of shape -- the volume and quantity of food consumed (by me of course) within the premises of my parents' and my in-laws' residential compounds respectively. And some of my prudent readers would have understood (some out of personal experience, the others out of surrogate information), as to why this is labeled as something "not under my control".

There are various techniques involved here, some of which I am sure have obscure, oriental origins. Techniques of persuasion, that is. The first technique is a well known marketing gimmick knows as "spoilt for choice". This is something similar to the Great Indian Mall Revolution, wherein there are at least a hundred varieties of the same thing are placed before the buyer confusing her out of her wits resulting in significant unnecessary items being dragged into the shopping cart. With five curries, four dry "sabjis", two varieties of rice (the "steamed"and the "fried"), and a few mashed items served before you, it's difficult to keep saying "No, I think I am full" repeatedly. The net result being that your plate does get full with little quantities of every single item.

The next technique is "persuasion by motivation". This involves demonstrations of food consumption along with cajoling and cheering phrases such as "come on, you can do it", "you have it in you" etc. After a while it becomes a "you vs. you" kind of situation where you end up competing with your own previous best records at eating large quantities of food.

The third, and the most potent is the "persuasion by temptation" technique. A la-Jughead kind of scenario ensues, with some of the most mouth-watering delicacies kept at the precise angle to your nose, ensuring that all the right olfactory nerves are affected, leaving you with no option but to commit the real "original sin" (remember Eve first took a bite of the apple, and then she and Adam did whatever it is that they were anyways supposed to do)

But whatever the techniques, and whatever the increase in weight, the tongue, oesophagus, stomach (and other organs whose names I am not aware of), certainly enjoy the treatment.