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kmxretro

kmxretro
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Member since: 10.12.2000

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    • Sony Playstation 2 / Games Console / 0 Readings / 16 Ratings
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      15.12.2001 16:30
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      I waited. And waited. And waited. Everyone else was buying the PS2 and I clung on to my Dreamcast and PSOne for dear life, waiting for something that would make me go out and lay a couple of hundered pounds on the counter for a Playstation 2. But it didn't come. Days, weeks and months passed and nothing. Complete tripe such as the endless Army Men games and dire racing titles that failed to inspire the biggest petrolheads all appeared one after the other but nothing arrived that made me say "That PS2 is my beeatch now!" Until VERY recently. November, in fact, saw the release of several "Triple A" titles for the machine. Burnout, Pro Evolution Soccer, Smackdown 3 (well, B- anyway), Devil May Cry, Jak and Daxter to name but a few. So I bought one. I can only use it on one TV in my house unless I spend £10 on a standard RF cable for it, as it comes with a SCART connector. No problem. I don't have a standalone DVD player, so whatever anyone says about PS2's DVD playback, I couldn't give a monkeys. It's better than nothing and certainly better than VHS. Stupidly thinking that I could use PSOne memory cards in a "1 card for 1 game" format, I took the box home and powered up Ridge Racer V. Whoops! "Please insert Memory Card (8mb for Playstation2) now". So I run back to the shop and pick up a memory card. TWENTY EIGHT QUID? I must be out of my mind. And no, don't buy an unofficial one for the PS2. On the PSOne, there wouldn't have been a problem, but for the PS2, the unofficial cards are all known to be VERY dodgy. Back home I go, plug the card in and race away. Gorgeous graphics, a control pad that doesn't make your hands cry after 7 hours of gaming and games that make you go "OOOH!" Football fans, racing fans, fighting fans, you will have it ALL on the PS2. Burnout, GT3, Ridge Racer V all wipe the floor with the opposition to date when it comes to a good dose of speed. Tekken Tag, Dead Or Alive and WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It! will give you mucho-grande hours of pleasure if you like to get physical and for the sporty folks amongst you, Pro Evolution Soccer is the best football game money can buy. Tactically spot on, graphically amazing and it controls like a dream. What more could you ask for? Hours of pain-free quality gaming and when you are done with that, stick a movie in and relax.... At under £200, you HAVE to consider one this Xmas. Sure, the games can be pricey at £40-£45, but the quality second hand titles are coming through now. I picked up Onimusha, Ridge Racer 5 and Moto GP for £30 the lot! Bargain!

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        26.09.2001 16:59
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        • "Incorrect information"

        I've been reading Computer and Video Game magazine since about 1987 and back then, when they covered ALL formats including the Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, Commodore 64, Master System and NES, it was the only quality multi-format gaming publication around. But what of the recent changes? The new style, the website? I decided to check it ou myself and bought this month's issue (November 2001, which comes with a free calendar that displays a history of C&VG Magazine). Well, on the plus side, the magazine still covers as many formats as possible, has information on hundereds of games each month and the cover stories are usually well written. That, my friends, was the plus side. Now for the downers. The magazine has undergone a complete transformation from it's "hardcore" image of the late 80's/early 90's and is now more akin to "Smash Hits" than "Edge". I couldn't believe that at 20 years old, I couldn't relate to the magazine at all. Everything is aimed towards the 8 year old gameplayer. Pokemon coverage galore, the chance to win tons of sweets, promotions for 5p off a pack of Hubba Bubba etc.... Unfortunately, youth=stupidity in the writer's eyes, with reviews of uncfinished games, reviews that talk down to the reader and reviews that are made up of just plain lies. This month, we have a review of Headhunter on the Dreamcast. A game that, as far as I was aware, was canned on DC months ago. We also take a look at Smackdown 3: Just Bring It! on the Playstation 2. This preview is almost insulting. Plenty of screenshots of the title, quite a bit (a page worth) of text and a big headline across the page "Misses out on the biggest wrestling storyline of all time". The storyline they refer to is the "WWF vs The Alliance (WCW/ECW)" which has been played out in recent weeks on WWF TV. Of course, any rational person would say that Acclaim hold the ECW licence, so THQ cannot include the ECW characters. Not C&VG. This is pretty much they only point they make in their preview, stating that because of THQ's failure to add the ECW characters, the game "already looks dated and it hasn't even been released." Crazy. In another section, C&VG invites readers to send them their useless peripherals. In this month's magazine, a reader bought a "PSX AMP" which allows him to play MP3's from a CD on his Playstation. Despite the lack of any sort of Phone Cable, LAN connection or aerial, the user assumed that this device would enable him to download MP3's from the internet. D'OH! Any normal user would take it back, but this one sent the PSX Amp to C&VG, so that they could run a circular saw through it. The fact that C&VG humoured this goon is bad enough, but running a saw through a perfectly good peripheral that does exactly what it claims it does, what's the point? Hardly gripping reading, is it? On a final note, if the "Most complete gaming coverage ever" consists of squeezing four fifty word reviews on one page, each with a single screenshot, I don't want to be a part of it, thanks.

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        • Cex.co.uk / Online Shop / 3 Readings / 9 Ratings
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          24.09.2001 18:55
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          I've been a customer of Computer Exchange since they only had one store in the Tottenham Court Road, so when I heard that they had gone online, I was expecting great things.... CEX buy and sell consoles, games, gaming accessories, peripherals, PC hardware, PC accessories and pretty much everything else that you can think of. They carry the latest console imports and generally have a good stock of back catalogue items. It seems that their entire inventory is listed at CEX.co.uk, along with the price they pay if you want to sell your copy and (obviously), the price you pay if you want it from them. When selling, if you have more than £50 of goods to go to CEX, they will send a courier to pick up your items, FREE! All you need to do is package them up. After sending in your list of items that you have for sale, you can request a callback to arrange a courier. The callback comes within 10 minutes, so you better disconnect quick! If all goes smoothly, you should get a cheque for your items within 4 working days of the courier picking your items up. Unfortunately, on the two occasions that I have sold items to CEX, it hasn't gone smoothly. The first time, I sold £180 worth of Saturn, PSOne and DC software. The courier picked the stuff up on time and I waited.....and waited.....and waited. Two weeks later and I hadn't recieved my cheque. I called up and it seems that one of the company's directors has to sign the cheque before they can send it. "It'll be with you next week", was the response. Three weeks later and still no cheque, so I called to complain. "Next week", said the assistant. Finally....after a further two weeks, my cheque arrived. This kind of put me off selling any more to CEX, but I visited their site and saw that they now had "fast payment for games", so I sold them £100 worth of games to try it out. "4 working days" was the time I was quoted for the payment to arrive. Guess what? Two weeks later, no cheque. I called up and got lots of apologies and a promise that the cheque would be with me within two days, which thankfully, it was. It may just have been a coincidence that this happened to me twice, but I certainly wouldn't sell to them again through the web. Buying is a different story, well, it would be, wouldn't it? You place your order and your games arrive within 2 days. The second hand titles are ALWAYS in pristine condition and always play perfectly. I've never had a reason to return something to CEX, I'm glad to say. Also, the newly updated CEX site removes the waiting time between loading pages. You used to have to wait for 2 minutes per page while the "Heirarchical menus" were being built. These have been removed and it makes it a hell of a lot quicker and easier to get to what you want. Another nice feature is the "Email Alert". If you see something that you want and it isn't in stock, hit the "Email Bell" and you will be emailed when the title is available, or when it comes in as second hand. Payment options are good, with cash, cheque, credit and debit cards accepted. All you students out there will be glad to know that CEX take Solo cards (I know I was...) Postage is FREE by Royal Mail first class for most items and only £3.80 for guaranteed next day Special Delivery. Can't say fairer than that. Overall, CEX are great for buying, but I would not recommend them for selling, unless you are trading stuff in against other products. I have no experience of that with CEX so I can't comment.

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          • natwest.co.uk / Bank / 0 Readings / 8 Ratings
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            22.09.2001 09:09
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            • "Poor customer service"

            I've been with the Natwest Bank for 18 years. I collected that goddamn pig family which I regret not keeping as they are selling for hundereds on Ebay! Still, for all of those 18 years, I had never had a problem with Natwest, never had to see the manager and got some excellent deals (vouchers, free things) with their Card Plus account. So I decided to get with it and do my banking online. I signed up online, thinking that my account details would be viewable within minutes, rather than weeks. 7 working days later, my PIN arrives for the service. "PIN not recognised" comes the response when I try to verify my details for the first time. A quick call to Natwest and the helpful (this time) Customer Service team reset my PIN and order a new one. 7 days later and I'm taking care of my day to day finances online. I even opened a savings account (nice and responsible, like) online. Everything is great. Unfortunately, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is not a saying that you'll here a Natwest software developer using very often. After about 6 weeks of trouble free usage (around March 2001), the system slows to almost a complete halt. It was taking 3 or 4 minutes to go from login screen to login screen and then another 5 minutes to get to my statement. I called customer services to see if there was a problem and they say "The server is slow at the moment due to the high usage, it'll be upgraded next week. Sorry for the inconvenience". Unfortunately (again), this didn't happen. The system was this slow and slower at times for the best part of 4 months. Speed I could deal with. The consistent "The page you are displaying may not be secure, Display nonsecure items?" messages that popped up in my browser, only to be greeted with a "this page cannot be displayed" error when you selected "Display nonsecure items" caused a bigger problem. < br><br><br> I tried it on 3 different PC's, my friends were having the same problems and Natwest's customer service advisors knew NOTHING. One of them even cut me off when I asked if the server was under strain again! This error was intermittent. I had to try up to 8 times just to login to my own account. Then they changed the login procedure. The "3 Letters, 6 numbers" access code was no longer any good. Now it's 4 numbers and your date of birth, your password must be 6 characters and you must login with a 4 digit PIN. All a bit much, wouldn't you say Natwest? I don't see other banks using this sort of protection! The only problem is that we need protecting from Natwest themselves, not the other way around. They recently "redesigned" the online banking service and yes, it's quicker, yes it doesn't crash. I thought that this was a good thing, until I noticed that an account that I had close 6 months ago had now resurfaced on my account details screen. My employers always pay me into my main Current account and don't have the account number of the old one, so this shouldn't be a problem, I thought. WRONG! Natwest paid my salary into my old account, which I don't have a Solo card or cheque book for. To add insult to injury, a direct debit came out of my main current account on payday, leaving my current account overdrawn. I had to use £40 from my Halifax account to cover a few bills whilst my salary transferred into the correct account at Natwest. No problem, anyone can make a mistake, I thought.... I transferred £40 from my main current account (Natwest) back into my Halifax account to cover the withdrawl I had made. I did this online, against my better judgement. WHOOPS! Natwest took the £40 from my Card Plus (closed) account, leaving me £40 overdrawn on an account I hadn't used in 6 months. Too add EVEN MORE insult, Natwe st have charged me £50 in "unarranged borrowing fees". That's £25 per account for being overdrawn for less than a day. I called Natwest Customer Services and got told to call a total of 5 different numbers by 5 different people. Eventually the response was "You'll have to go and see your branch manager". This means that I now have to take time off of work to go to the main Exeter branch, simply because of Natwest's STUPID opening times. They open after I start work, close whilst I'm on lunch and are shut by the time I leave work. Needless to say, when this is sorted, I will be taking my business elsewhere! Probably t the Halifax as I've had no problems at all with their service. ------ ADDENDUM ------ As of today (October 11th, 2001) this is STILL not sorted. Also, my manager REFUSES to write back to me. Additionally, Natwest have charged me another £14.00 due to my account being overdrawn. That's a total of £78.00 for being overdrawn, and it was the banks fault. BAH!

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            • Teenage Pregancy / Parenting Issue / 0 Readings / 14 Ratings
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              21.09.2001 23:20
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              • "My tax money going down the drain"

              When I was at school (a whole 4 years ago), a high percentage of the girls (14-16) were commenting about the fact that they would like to be pregnant, or more importantly, like to have "a little baby". Unfortunately, they didn't think about the bigger picture, where the baby GROWS UP and becomes a toddler, then a teenager, then a student. It's all about having a "little baby" to show off and "care" for. Some girls were going out with men older than them (25+) JUST to get pregnant. Why? It could be for a number of reasons... The first is that they don't actually realise that a "little baby" grows up, which inevitably it does. The second is that they may not understand the amount of care and attention a child actually needs. It's not just make them some tea and go out for the night, leaving the child(ren) in front of the TV. You have to look after them ALL the time. Or get a babysitter... The third reason, which is the one that will get me killed, is money. A lot of teenagers are either a) too lazy or b) too stupid to get a job and guess what? Yep, the government gives you money if you have children. They also pay for housing, childcare, school uniforms and guess what? Yep, if you go to work when the child is at school, you get Working Families Tax Credit, which means you get a guaranteed income EVERY week, no matter how much you work. I've seen a 22 year old who lives in a house that the council have BOUGHT for her because she has SIX children. That's one a year since she was 16. Also, where does the money come from? WORKERS. Our tax, our national insurance and any other contributions go this way. Teenage pregnancy CAN be avoided. There are plenty of methods of protection against it but either a) knowingly or b) stupidly, the teenagers won't use it. It sounds like I'm having a go a women here but believe me, I'm not. It's just as much the man's responsibilty as it's the woman's. Get it sorted kids, and for those of you that support them or actually WANT your kids to get pregnant, stop and think. Can your child REALLY look after a baby? It wasn't so long ago that you were looking after them... Of course, there ARE legitimate reasons for getting pregnant at a young age. Maybe the teenager needs to "feel loved" or needs to have something that is purely their own responsibility. Again, this is bringing a new life into the world for your OWN benefit. So, if a teenager needs a child to "feel loved", who's to blame? Society? Maybe. But in the majority of cases, it's the parents. They may have had a child at a young age and find it difficult to connect with their offspring. They may be "living their lost youth" as soon as their own child hits 13, leaving the teen to feel neglected...who knows? It may sound crazy, but society puts more pressure on teenagers today than it ever has before. Every "For Girls" magazine you read is full of the JOYS of motherhood, how to "get that man" (into bed) and how to impress your friends. Not a single thing about making yourself feel good as a person. In a world of "Sexual Equality", it seems that the female of the species is being influenced by something greater than the male. You must all "Go out to play" with Archers, meaning you should get totally wrecked and end up in bed with the first man you see. If you're a "Smart girl", you get More! magazine, which, after a quick glance, seems to be the most dumbed down ton of rubbish that I've ever set eyes on. If a magazine or TV show actually focused on what parenting at a young age was REALLY like, maybe a few girls would reconsider their decisions or be a little more careful with who they mess around with. How can a child take care of a child? Answer: They can't. You need to LIVE your youth to know what it's like. You NEED life experience or you have nothing to offer your child. In my opinion, a child should be born out of love and in a perfect world, there would be no "mistakes" or "accidents". Unfortunately, it's not a perfect world. By the way everyone, I'm a man. I'm 20 years old and I'm probably way off about most of this stuff but I say what I see....a little like Catchphrase :)

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              • tradedoubler.com / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                21.09.2001 18:59
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                • "Unprofessional Ads"

                Affiliate programs. They ARE a great idea but to be effective, they have to track statistics properly. I signed up with Tradedoubler as they were the only half-decent site that paid in Pounds Sterling. I selected a few programs, activated my banners and promoted my site. After about 3 months and (according to my advertising software) 600 clicks on Tradedoubler banners, my Tradedoubler account showed me as having £1.10 in my account. I totalled up the commissions according to my advertising software and I should have had about £30 or so. I challenged TradeDoubler on this by writing an email, including attachments of screenshots from my ad software. They replied by saying that they do not look into correspondence attached to emails (understandably, in hindsight) and that they had a server problem on one day of the previous month. ONE DAY. I wouldn't mind one day, but this was three months worth of commissions. It's only £30, I know, but they made me feel like I was helpless. They were right and I was wrong, apparently. I got a friend of mine to click a banner from work, it didn't register at ALL. 2 Months later and my account is STILL at £1.10. Most advertisers won't accept me or don't bother to look at applications and I've moved to Commission Junction, who although based in the US, give a better level of customer service than UK based TradeDoubler. Avoid them. Really low quality ads don't help. They accept advertising from pretty much anybody and then don't check the quality of the ad, making your site look a little bit less professional than it should. I hope this helps somebody from making the same mistake I did. I can't comment on payment, as I was never paid.

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                • soho-uk.com / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 5 Ratings
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                  21.09.2001 16:15
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                  What can I say? I've tried numerous domain registration services such as Easyspace, 1-2-3 Reg etc and none have been as easy as this. Soho are the cheapest "no-catch, no strings" domain registry service that I've seen. Current prices are £9.90 (2 years) for a .co.uk and £19.90 (2 years) for a .com or .net. With EVERY domain, you get access to their web control panel, so you can transfer the domains to your host or setup free mail redirection and forwarding. Also, you can leave the domain with Soho and just set up a domain forward to point to your website on Demon or BTInternet or any other free webspace provider. The order process is really easy and the payment system is powered by WorldPay. For all you students (like me!) they take Solo cards, unlike the majority of web based companies. As for their hosting options, I haven't really tried any of them, but 2000mb of bandwidth for £10 seems like a pretty good deal. Their more advanced hosting options still only have 3000mb, which looks a bit low to me. Still, can't really comment as I haven't tried out this aspect. Anyway, for domains, these people are the ONLY choice!

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                  20.09.2001 21:42
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                  It seems strange to me that BT would even CONSIDER launching this service at a time when they are very much in debt. Call Minder cost £6.99 a month. After a user set amount of rings, the Call Minder would kick in and take your message. You could use a personal message or a BT "default" one. 1571 is FREE. It comes in after 4 rings (or 6, I'm not sure?) and you cannot leave a personal message. What a shame! It's exactly the same as Call Minder in every other way and I would DEFINITELY recommend it over the Call Minder. Why? 1) It's FREE (vs £6.99 per month) 2) It's THE SAME AS CALL MINDER (bar some very limited features) 3) Do you need another reason?

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                  • Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 / Web Design / 0 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                    20.09.2001 20:30
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                    I've been using Dreamweaver since the early version 1 betas were released and even back then, it looked like something special. The fact is, you can build a complete site with Dreamweaver, with no need for any custom CGI scripting software, text editors or anything else. Obviously, you need to build your graphics in another program, but that's IT! If possible, pickup Dreamweaver and Fireworks together. They are (in my opinion), the best in their field and cannot be beaten by Frontpage and Photoshop, which I consider to be their closest contenders. Dreamweaver contains some really handy features. If all your pages have the same basic makeup, use a template and save yourself the hassle of recreating the design each time. Navigation bars can be easily implemented on EVERY page using the libraries feature. With libraries, you can put anything into a separate Library file (a navigation bar, copyright notice, even PHP/ASP) and add it to your pages. If you want to edit the content of the Library, it will reflect the change on any pages that include it. As I say, this is incredibly useful when using navigation bars. If you add an option to the navigation bar, you need only do it once. The other pages will be updated automatically. A lot easier than using SSI's or a server based updater and you also have the bonus of it being WYSIWYG. Dreamweaver 4 also features the Macromedia Extension Manager, which you can use to add new features to the software. The Macromedia Extensions website contains more than 1000 user created extensions which you can download. The extensions range from code manipulators to ZIP managers and can be VERY useful and save you a great deal of time. It's not all sweetness and light though, as Dreamweaver produces some really bloated code when inserting it's "Behaviours". The JavaScript it produces is pretty much undecipherable and the effects can rarely be dragged and dropped into another page of pure code without errors. Also, the FTP client is a little unstable, frequently crashing when unable to connect. Another problem I found is that (on Windows 2000), the Dreamweaver XML files that contain source code controls and menu options can frequently become truncated. Windows 2000 tries to fix them and from then on in until you reinstall DW, the code that Dreamweaver produces is unreadable (although still functional). Overall, a real time saver, great for sites that contain your OWN code, but not for sites that rely on Macromedia's interpretation of a rollover or moving text...also a bit on the pricey side!

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                      20.09.2001 18:47
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                      • ""Mummy's money""

                      So the "dot com" bubble has finally burst, has it? Well, if you read any of the national newspapers or non-specialist PC magazines, it most certainly has and to be honest, I agree with them. The Internet is a wonderful thing. You can buy and sell things from the comfort of your own home, let other people know your opinions (DOOYOO!), make new friends, start clubs, train for a better job and a whole host of other stuff. So WHY has the dot com bubble burst? It's due in no small part, to British "nu-media" fanboys that think every site will make a million. Lets take the infamous boo.com as an example, shall we? They built a site. A pretty site! A site that looked exactly like sites will look in 5 years. But that was the problem. To buy clothes at boo.com, you had to download a 3d representation of a model wearing the item first. If you hit the "Buy" button before it had finished downloading, the browser you were using would crash. Also, they spent millions on advertising. TV, radio, billboards, press magazines, clothes magazines and a hell of a lot more had boo on them. But how did they afford it? Not from income, but from loans. They never made a great deal of money, but continued to throw money after bad. And we see it all the time. DailyRadar.com have just closed. More adverts than content and more promotion than they could afford meant they couldn't pay their staff. It's REALLY SIMPLE. Don't advertise on TV if you can't afford it. Don't take out full page ads in the press if you can't afford it. Don't get billboard posters printed if you can't afford it. Sites need to start small, get a hardcore following going and then you don't need to promote that much. The hardcore buy your goods AND tell their friends if your service is good enough. Don't get me wrong, it's not just about throwing a website together in frontpage and the "build it and they will come" mentality, but there are cheaper ways to promote. Search engines, link directories, banner ads, ezine ads, forums, text links, affiliate programs and more are all available relatively cheaply. You need to take care of the site if it's going to succeed. The dot com bubble went POP! due to the fact that too many "entrepreneurs" who just got out of college think that an idea and some money make a successful business. You can't expect to sit back and count the cash, there is WORK to be done. The only way we can save the Internet from going completely downhill is to get a good old fashioned work ethic back. If people trust you, they will buy from you. If your service is good, people will buy from you. Information sites, if your content is good, visitors will come back and read more. It's all really simple when you take away the hype...

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                        18.09.2001 22:40
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                        It's a question to which there is no real answer. Sure, studies can be done but all the research in the World cannot prove that videogames are harmful to children and children's learning. Let's look at other mediums of entertainment.... TV: Passive. Children sit in front of the TV and stare at the images that flicker before them. Great. TV programs CAN be educational, they CAN get a child thinking about what they are watching but it's rare. There are no real skills required to watch television so therefore no more will be learned. Reading: Reading is the best way to learn anything in my opinion. Any number of subjects can be crammed into a book. Portable learning that unfortunately, is very rarely fun. This is why children prefer videogames and TV. Doesn't do any harm to children at all. Video Games: Interactive. Children find games FUN and with the right selection of titles, can learn a lot from educational titles, can learn social skills when playing multiplayer games with friends. Hand/Eye Coordination is improved over time and these are just SOME of the benefits. That's not even mentioning the "Monday Morning by the Watercooler" effect, where kids talk about their favourite games to their friends and learn how to do new things in their current favourite title. In my experience, video games HELP children and should be promoted as learning tools, not put in the same category as the "Video Nasty".

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                        • dcguide.co.uk / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 4 Ratings
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                          18.09.2001 19:04

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                          While the bombshells rained down on the Dreamcast and it became quite obvious that the DC was about to die an undeserved death, only one UK site continued regardless. That site was DCGuide.co.uk. While other UK sites turned to providing free SMS, went multi format or just plain disappeared, DCGuide continued for as long as financially possible. They didn't spend millions on advertising and the content standard was exceptional throughout. This is a site that will sorely be missed. Here's hoping that the CubeGuide and XBoxGuide sites that were promised make an appearance someday. Come back Funk, all is forgiven! Seriously, if you didn't visit this site, you missed out as it was seriously one of the best UK sites of it's time.

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                        • Libero Grande International (PS) / Archive Game / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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                          18.09.2001 18:36

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                          • "Poor cameras"

                          Libero Grande sunk without a trace in the UK, simple as that. It came out, got average reviews despite it's innovative take on the ever more depressing football genre and then disappeared from our shelves, never to be seen again.... ..or so we thought. The company that brought you Soul Calibur, Ridge Racer, Ace Combat and Tekken working on ANOTHER football game? Well the first one wasn't actually that bad. An impressive "Training Challenge" mode, the innovative "control one player" style of gameplay and the ability to unlock new "lookalike" players from around the world made it more than a wasted hoof upfield. So what could have been better? A decent league option, perhaps? Maybe a "Create-A-Player" mode? How about league teams instead of just internationals? 1 out of three isn't that great, unfortunately. Create-A-Player is in this new update and it does the job perfectly. Edit the height, weight, hair colour, name etc of a default player and then save him into your favourite team. Simple. There are more cups than before, but the options are still limited. The training challenges mode has gone, which doesn't really take that much away from the game. It would have been nice if Namco had improved the mode, rather than removing it completely, though. As for the game itself, the play moves along fluidly and you can now select from a number of camera angles. The only problem is that the majority of the angles are unusable and the rest of them will give you motion sickness as soon as you start on a Ricky Villa style mazy run. Control is impressive, with the analog sticks being used for movement and all of the buttons being used differently in various situations. This may sound complicated, but you can select to have a button diagram on screen, which updates according to the situation. Once you get used to them, the controls are pretty powerful and you'll instinctively know what to do when you get a bit of space and are waiting for a pass, or when your striker is clean through on goal and you need a precision pass to pick him out. Graphically, this is the same as the original with only minor improvements in animation and stadia. I did notice that this version doesn't have anywhere near as much slowdown as it's predecessor. The sounds in LGI are pretty cool. Crowds chant in their local language, sing local songs and really give a feeling of a big match atmosphere. A good job, well done. Overall, if you didn't buy the original, this is worth £15 or so. If you didn't LIKE the original, this won't turn you on to the series. It's just too similar to consider owning both.

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                          18.09.2001 17:46

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                          This game is INSANE fun! From the moment my girlfriend and I loaded this up, we were laughing and we didn't stop until the machine was turned off. Bishi Bashi Special contains 48+ different games, although there are LOTS of variations on three or four simple themes. The idea of the game? To win as many of the 48 games as possible, of course! This does NOT take as long as it sounds due to the fact that the individual games are over all too quickly, meaning a 48 game match only takes about 30 minutes. The games are VERY easy to control and before each round, the controls are presented on screen along with a simple explanation. Fans of the TV show "Banzai!" will be making immediate comparisons between the two. The way the whole title is presented is very similar when it comes to insanity rating and the names of the individual games couldn't be any stupider if they tried. "Run Girly Run, Big Burger Maker" is one example that springs to mind. All in all, for about £15, Bishi Bashi Special is superb game, especially for 2 player fun. (No four player option is available, though). Any more than this, and I would think hard before purchasing. A good game, great fun, but a little too simplistic for some.

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                        • 4 X 4 Evolution (DC) / Archive Game / 1 Reading / 3 Ratings
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                          17.09.2001 20:09
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                          • "No online play"

                          I was looking forward to 4x4 Evolution. The promise of online play, Gran Turismo style upgrades and downloadable cars/tournaments as well as great looking graphics and superb gameplay made it a title that just HAD to be considered for me. Unfortunately, the majority of these options are either a) a letdown or b) not applicable to UK users. Let's take them one by one: Online Play : In the US, I hear that this is fine. You can even compete against PS2 and PC players. In the UK, the option just is not there. The other multiplayer option was splitscreen, which isn't TOO bad, but slowdown and popup appear frequently and there is a considerable drop in framerate. "Gran Turismo" style upgrades : These survived! The career mode relies heavily on buying a basic truck and upgrading it as much as possible with your winnings. Easier said than done, as the method of navigating around the different parts, buying them and adding them to your vehicle is confusing to say the least. If you can work it out, it's a boon for the longevity and playability of the title, but the majority of players will give up. Downloadable cars/tournaments/tracks : Only a few of these have surfaced and finding them is a real pain in the backside. US players can get them by selecting an option from the main game menu, here in the UK, you need to find the developers site and get them from there. Even then, there is no guarantee that they will work with the UK version. I tried to download the first new track and my UK copy was having none of it. Great graphics : Well, they aren't BAD, just, erm, sparse. Wide open spaces, clipping, popup in densely populated areas and slowdown when cornering only add to the problems that this game has. You can drive squarely along the bridge on the first track and you'll suddenly be knocked backwards into the water. Only when you recover and turn around to face the bridge do you see the train that hit you. If you can't see it, you can't avoid it. I could have gotten used to this and just avoided the middle of the bridge, but it only happens now and again. If it happened every time, I would put it down to experience and carry on. This also happens in other areas of the game, things disappear and reappear seemingly at random. Superb gameplay : Again, it's average gameplay in all honesty. There is certainly a large selection of trucks and parts on offer, as well as a nice load of tracks. Tournaments-a-plenty in career mode help the longevity but it soon gets boring. The opposition cars are all named "Bot Racer", so "Bot Racer finished 1st" "Bot Racer finished 2nd" "You finished 3rd" "Bot Racer finished 4th" is an all too common appearance. I would say that this game is worth a purchase at around the £9.99 mark. Above that, I would avoid it as MS-R is a superior game by a long chalk and can be picked up for £20.

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