What we've been playing this week.
Welcome to Pro-G Plays, our weekly feature where we give you the inside track on what's been whirring in our disc drives this week. We'll be honest (so if we've been playing Superman on the N64 we'll tell you). But if we've been hammering the latest billion-selling blockbuster we'll let you know about that too. Enough small-talk. Read on, and let us know what you've been playing in the comments section below.
Tom Orry, Editor - Carnival, Wii.
You'd think being the editor of a successful video game website would mean I could pick and choose the very best games released each week, but sadly that's not always the case. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team or, in this case, make the entire team suffer alongside you. 2K Games has released some brilliant games recently (The Darkness and BioShock to name just two) but Carnival on the Wii isn't one of them. This collection of life-sapping mini-games - which you take turns to play while others watch - actually made me resent Nintendo; if it wasn't for the Wii this nightmarish afternoon wouldn't have happened and I wouldn't have been mentally scarred for life. I did learn something from the experience though: never be in the same room as Nick when he's got a dart in his hand - he's a lunger.
Wesley Yin-Poole. Deputy Editor - Sonic Rush Adventure, DS.
It's happening with disturbing regularity - my eyes are fixed on the DS, my brow furrowed in deep concentration - I'm halfway through the level when something pops up in my peripheral vision. It's my stop! Queue embarrassing fumbling as I snap the DS shut, shove it in my man-bag and make a dash for the exit before the doors slam shut. And it's all because of the massively addictive Sonic Rush Adventure, which I've been playing on my way to and from work this week. I actually prefer travelling on the boats to the traditional 2D levels, especially the underwater bits with the submarine. It's a rhythm action mini-game where you have to touch enemies with the stylus in time with the music. It's brilliant fun. I just hope I don't end up in Tring as a result.
James Orry, News Editor - Football Manager 2008, PC.
Regular readers of Pro-G Plays will know I'm addicted to FM 2008 and my managerial career has certainly been an interesting one. My turbulent two years at Spurs came to an abrupt end after failing to win European qualification on the last day of the Premiership season - finishing in 8th position. The board's decision not to renew my contract came despite making the final of the FA Cup, Carling Cup and UEFA Cup, largely down to the goal machine that is Hernan Crespo - who incidentally demanded £80k per week, a £20k appearance bonus and a £20k goal bonus to secure his signature. I now find myself as the manager of Everton, quite frankly not caring if they win, lose or draw. As Fifteen To One outsiders to win the league the season will end trophy-less and no doubt the countdown to my inevitable departure has already begun. They Think It's All Over. It will be soon.
Will Freeman, Staff Writer - Arcade, Real life.
It's not been what I'm playing this week, but where I've been playing. Like a pale, blemish-ridden teenager from the late 1980s, I've been spending a huge amount of time in an arcade. Like most gamers over twenty I've often dreamed of a return to the glory days of the arcade, when networked gaming meant eye contact, and after a spate of business stories about Japan's blossoming arcade business, I was prompted to hunt down a London arcade worth visiting. This week, I found the incredible Casino arcade in central London, and dipped my head into an amazing world of cultish games. Casino's speciality is fighters, from classics like Street Fighter Alpha 3, through numerous SNK brawlers, to Tekken 5 at enormous sit-down screens. There's also a wealth of shooters, including rarities from Cave, and two Metal Slug games alongside a range of retro classic, and most come in at 25p a credit.
Nick Peres, Producer, Pro-G TV - Flight Simulator X, PC.
At first I was rather nervous about joining an online game with 40 other pilots at JFK Airport. As the game loaded I was greeted by mass radio chatter between pilots requesting take-off/landing permission and a 13-year-old player acting as air traffic control. "Crap!" I thought. If I stay still and just keep saying roger perhaps I'll be ok. "Player Roger, you are now cleared for taxi. Cleared for taxi to runway 33R." As I tried carefully to navigate the big plane onto 33R I felt all virtual pilot eyes were on me. Reaching the runway in a slightly angled position I felt I had to say something for take off. "Ok I'm on the runway, I'm flying a four-engine plane and I'd like to go now..." Silence. "Sod it, I'm off." I fired up the engines knowing this was my time to shine. Scuttling down the runway I took a deep breath and nodded with pride. Pulling up on the yoke I noticed only the nose had lifted off the ground. It then smacked down again. This happened three times before the plane hurtled into a fence. Silence again. I quickly found myself kicked back to the main menu.
Simon Hunter, Associate Producer, Pro-G TV - The Orange Box, Xbox 360.
Inspired by Tom's HL2 marathon for his review I thought I'd also try beating the entire series in three days. It's now day 5 and I'm a third through. But I'm glad really - three years after release I am still gawping at some of the visuals and the still unmatched (in my opinion) physics. It's a funny example of how the little things add up to make a greater experience; I remember thinking when I first shot someone in HL2 and watched them collapse realistically on the floor - I thought 'crap, I just killed a guy'. I also love the way the achievements have been spread throughout the 5 components of The Orange Box - I prefer frequent 5 point achievements to one massive 300 pointer at the end of a game. As for beating Tom's record - I don't feel so bad now I know he was using God mode to speed run through Half-Life 2!
That's what we've been playing, but what have you been playing? Tell us in the comments section below.