Complaint number the first – colleagues who bugger things up for you and get you into trouble because of their negligence in planning. To paraphrase George Orwell, we’re all in this together but some of us are more in it than others.

Complaint number the second – Posh Boy.

Complaint number the third – my lousy stir-fry which I threw together last night. Sainsbury’s basic stir-fry vegetables thrown in with malt vinegar, garlic puree, tomato puree, brown sauce and black pepper. Not my finest concoction but I didn’t have any Quorn bits and pieces to throw in that. I did make a chicken tikka alternative for the Doctor but I’ve never liked chicken so at least he got a little flavour.

Complaint number the fourth – Union Jacks on Driving Licences. New bane of my existence.

Complaint number the fifth – the Bus Strike and its general annoyances.

I deliberately forewent my walk in the evening last night; had one at lunchtime but the weather was decent enough and I wasn’t going out so there was no excuse other than fatigue and lugging several bottles of Asahi beer with me. And I was here until 7pm I think I should have stopped off at a coffee shop or something because the bus ride back from the station was just horrific. Witches with pushchairs and doddering old gits with shopping trollies, none of who could be bothered to move for other passengers trying to manoeuvre round the bus. Full blame also has to be given to the driver for not ordering the pram brigade to fold up the pushchairs.

So Nintendo have made a liar of me with today’s announcement that the 3DS is getting a bigger brother console, the 3DS XL which is going to hit the stores in just under a month. Sufficed to say, I’ll be sticking my deposit down with…someone when the game is released.

Initial impressions then: My first thought is that with the rounded corners of the console, it immediately looks like the tablet for the upcoming Wii U. There is a vicious rumour that the 3DS will be used/compatible as a controller for the console so this lends more credence to those rumours. It looks to have a nice, smoother aesthetic and is a bit more… iPhone than its current incarnation. The larger screen is of course welcome as is the news that the battery life will extend gaming life that little bit longer. I’m surprised that they haven’t whacked on the second analogue stick as some speculated but to each their own. Price wise – let’s hope that it’ll be kept realistic and affordable. Dunno what the trade in price will be for existing models so here’s hoping I can get away with handing in my munting machine.

As for the upcoming games – I’m not fussed about those at the moment; still plodding on Dragon Quest IX but I’m procrastinating with side quests rather than taking the story any further than what is definitely the closing stages. 62 hours as of today and there’s a treasure grotto I just can’t find though gamefaqs is at hand…

Other VG news – Civilization V’s Gods & Kings expansion has been released. Haven’t purchased this as yet, not least as I want confirmation from somewhere that the lag time hotfix has been applied. But the civfanatics quick guide gives a great first impression of the game. Religion doesn’t seem to be a game breaker mercifully enough and neither does espionage but looks to enhance the current situation. However, one fear is that the two aspects might mean a bit more micromanagement of one’s empire and will interrupt a game mid-flow. I know some people like to obsessively fiddle with the minutae of controlling one’s chosen civ but others of us – like me – prefer to sometimes let the game run itself for a while and go with the flow.

There are of course new units and technologies to keep things stirred up and for the first time, naval units can capture cities which really gives marine warfare a new lease of life. Proper combat in two dimensions and all that jazz which will further rebalance the strategic placement of cities. I like the look of the new civilizations included though think that perhaps a couple of the existing ones could have been rebalanced to take into account the new abilities and traits of the game. However, I might have missed that in my internet browsing. Will it breathe new life into this two year old game? Well maybe it will as there seems to be enough of a hook to play things a little differently.

I’ve been disappointed by the lack of decent tunes from Kwed, Overclocked and Amiga Remix lately. There’s some ok stuff released but nothing to be replayed over and over until your iPod breaks. Perhaps remixers are taking a break or the online community are being excessively harsh. Whatever the reason, I’m sure the sites will be taking their usual summer breaks for other projects which’ll reduce the number of uploads to zero.

Currently listening to the Star Wars playlist on my iPhone chiefly as I need something a little less club music and the randomiser is choosing a lot from the Empire Strikes Back (well, there are only 6 films + Shadows of the Empire + some Mark Griskey & Jeremy Soule) which puts me in the mind of Jedi Outcast rather than the film itself. I can visualise Kyle Katarn running through Cloud City hunting down Relo’s thugs and in the reactor room of the Cortosis Processing Facility.

Now there’s a game I used to replay over and over again because it really had a lot going for it. I played Dark Forces on the Play Station which was ok but suffered a bit from the buggy nature of the programme and lack of smooth scrolling. Though the cutscenes were pretty good as was the adherence to the overall feel of the Star Wars Universe. Never did Dark Forces II except for about 10 minutes on the PC when the game continually crashed. But I bought this for my Gamecube and must have played it umpteen times over the years. I think I completed it on every difficulty level (though with a great deal of saving, particularly during the latter levels).

You play as Kyle Katarn, mercenary for hire and would-be Jedi who had a nasty brush with the dark side of the Force. It’s a third person platform/shooter set well over fifteen (I think) levels including Bespin paying homage to Episode V (you can even duel in the Cloud City Carbon Freeze Chamber). Given the technical specifications and abilities of the Gamecube, the game plays off pretty well, particularly as Kyle (re)learns his Force powers. The soundtrack is standard Star Wars fare with no new sounds whilst the effects capture the original trilogy noises smoothly. There aren’t any references to the prequel trilogy despite the game being released at least after the Phantom Menace.

Wii owners should look to pick up a copy second hand if they can as this sort of game has been sadly lacking from the overall range of Wii titles. Granted, there is the Force Unleashed which certainly pays homage to this but the levels are more linear and there are fewer puzzles to solve. It’s too bad that Kyle Katarn’s adventures have seemingly come to an end following Jedi Academy but who knows if the old buzzard will be brought out of retirement for a fifth game in the series?

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