The moment my life went wrong

Back in the Summer of 1983, I was a child you would recognise from the wreck I’ve made of childhood.

I was an extrovert, I was never in the house, I was out with a massive group of friends any chance I could get.

Then December comes. As any other kid, I looked in my mum and dad’s wardrobe’s looking to see what presents I would be getting for Christmas. Nothing. A little weird, so I took a risk and looked in my oldest brother’s room and there in the back of his wardrobe was a Woolworth’s bag with black box, about a foot long, half a foot deep and wide. On the front was a black machine with what looked like blue keys.

What the fuck is that?  Guess it’s for my middle brother or something, so I presumed my present hadn’t been bought yet.

Come Christmas Day, I wake up excitedly and rush downstairs with my brothers and we start unwrapping presents. I’m given this box and I unwrap it and it’s the same box I saw before.

Aaaaah... look at that beauty
Aaaaah… look at that beauty

Same question, what the fuck is it? Sinclair ZX Spectrum Personal Computer. What is a computer? What is a Spectrum?

So my brother’s set it up for me (they’ve obviously used it before!), plugged into a colour TV, cassette player and a few WH Smith’s tapes. The fuckers didn’t even bother buying games for it but pirated them from someone in their work, along with a list of games I could buy for £2.50 or something. A tradition I’ve carried on every since ha.

So they put in a tape and we wait, and wait and wait and then I’m presented with this screen. The first computer game I’ve played.

Let’s remember, this is 1983, and computers by modern standards were crap as you’d expect, so  it’s hard to imagine the impact this made at the time, or as I prefer to see it now, what a complete fucking disaster this made of my life.

For the next six to nine months, I hammered that fucking rubber keyboard and Kempston joystick as I refused to let some fucking sprites on a screen beat me. Jetpac, Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Pssst and Football Manager was hammered morning, noon and night.

The number of hours I wasted on this game. FML.

But then the boredom set in. No more “yay let’s play Atic Atac”, more “oh god, do I have to play these shitty games again”, but that god for the manual, which gave very, very basic instructions on how to “program” it and this was the point my future life went to shit as I typed in those long program listings from Sinclair User that never fucking worked first time around, that took longer to debug than to type in the first place, but at least it gave me a skill I have to this day of finding problems very quickly and fixing them.

I can still remember me and my brothers writing a game called Miners Strike, which was basically Space Invaders but instead you fired policeman at miners. Well it was topical at the time, and the hell of doing graphics as binary characters with the help of pen and paper.

So this is how my future life was decided. My mass of friends drifted away, going outside was rare, I was kicked out of the school football team and basically I turned into  what kids of today are like: glued to their xbox’s and playstation’s, never going out, anti-social.

Over the next year or so, I learnt Z80 code but then moved to the Commodore 64, and it was the same story… I got bored of the games and started coding on it instead as it was much more entertaining to me.

Then I joined the 16 bit generation in July 1987, and what was left of my personality soon disappeared as I joined “the scene”, writing tech demos in what was bascially a European wide pissing contest to see who could do the best effect better than anyone else.

Ah it was fun.

Now it’s my job, I’m a developer for a living, sat in front of two monitors for eight hours a day, writing crappy code and fixing issues before I go home and spend another five hours at my home computer before going to bed and the whole sorry cycle starts over again.

Sounds a fucking blast doesn’t it.

World of Tanks: Seriously?

It’s quite depressing watching Mingles with Jingles the other day, that a seven year old who plays the game in Finland has a 49% win rate, while I have a 46%  rate.  Hmmm.

I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t have the patience or the attention span to sit down and play a game for hours at a time. I use it as a relaxation tool after a hard day’s development, or just because I’m bored shitless at a weekend.

This seems to upset, not taking it seriously as it is after all a team game, though how shit is a team if one out of the 15 on our side isn’t taking it seriously…. No matter, I’ll take the blame and then instantly forget it.

World of Tanks: I would if I could, but I can’t

But what really boils my piss more than anything else is those fuckers who give you great bits of advice like “pull back”, when you’re caught out in the open, tracks blown and surrounded by three enemy tanks.

Oh yeah, where the fuck shall I move with my seven health left, and seven second repair counter?


And then they have the audacity to call me a “noob.”

World of Tanks: You’re a scout not a kamikaze

And while I’m in a ranting mood about World of Tanks, or rather copying and pasting stuff I’ve had written for weeks without post…

You’re trying to hard when you claim to be spotting for us, race up the map and die ten seconds later and then blame everyone else for your idiocy.

A good scout, that is a scout that does die in seconds of a game starting, will go PARTIALLY up the map, FIND COVER and stay there and not FUCKING firing, there by giving away your position.

It’s not rocket surgery.


World of Tanks: Strange Encounters and lemming scouts

This is a capture the flag type battle.

So what do all those speedy scout tanks do? Yep, rush headlong to the flag and start to capture it.

With any luck they’ll be killed before they reach it, but sadly sometimes this fuckers do win the game in a just a couple of minutes. For what? To get XP? Or credits? The experience you get for capping the enemy is NOTHING compared to what you get if you’d kill the enemy off instead.

But then that means you have to make some effort.


World of Tanks: Shooting above your abilities

I finally understand what people mean about Löwe drivers being a pain in the arse. And I’ve noticed it’s a trait shared for with other premium tanks that you have to pay for.

I’m guilty of this as well. I’ve paid for several premium tanks now, and it’s only now that I’m being thrown into games with tier 9 and 10 tanks with vastly more experienced players that I understand.

People sign up for World of Tanks and are greeted by a line of tier one tanks which are crap, but that’s for a very good reason. By working your way through the tiers one by one you get steadily better and slowly accustomed to playing with better players who are more experienced and driving more powerful tanks than you.

But then along comes Mr Berty Big Bollocks who doesn’t want to go down that route, oh no, the Leichttraktor is not big or sexy enough. So what do they do? They fork out for a bigger, better tank because they think that will make them a better player.

Sorry to piss on your Cornflakes, but no, it won’t.

There is a big difference between handling a Leichttraktor to a Löwe.

I learnt this lesson by jumping from tier 2 to a tier 5 Russian Valentine tank. I was so out of my depth So off I went to the lower tiers again, with my tail firmly between my legs to get more experience.

I do have a Dicker Max and SU 122-44 which I play most of the time now which are about one tier to high for me now, but I just love the tank destroyers too much now, though I still play many games in the Marder II.

I’m thrown into some games against tier 9, and thanks to XVM I can see the players stats when it’s loading, and seeing a Löwe driver with a 1,000 games next to his name makes me think that at least I might get one kill here 🙂

World of Tanks: Historical sounds mods

I was playing around with the OMC ModPack installer and thought historical sounds? Why not.

All was well and good, until one of the usual Saturday morning 3am sessions, when I was sitting quite happily on the hill in Murovanka, guarding the left hand side on an encounter battle, happily sitting in sniper mode picking off the lemmings as they come around the hill just down from the cap circle.

I was happy as a pig in shit. Until that is, there was a fucking huge blast in my ears. I threw my headphones off and rubbed my ears to get some sensation of hearing back.

A SU152 had pulled up right beside me and fired that big bastard gun.

04WOT_1680_1050_SU-152_engMental note to turn down the volume was made THAT night.

World of Tanks: There’s lies, damn lies and statistics

XVM is a very popular mod for World of Tanks which I’ve used for a long time now.

The only negative I have with it is when the map is loading and displaying teams, it shows the chances of your team winning the match. How it works it out, I don’t know and neither do I care really.

But some people DO care what it says, and you can put money on some muppet in battle chat immediately saying that “We’ve lost.” That’s the spirit. *rolls eyes*

I wish the chances of winning could be removed from this mod. It does nothing positive for a game, on the contrary, I firmly believe it does more harm that good and will affect the way people play the game. With a low chance to win, people will either play extremely cautious by camping as far from the action as possible (tier 9 heavy tanks, I’m looking at you) or, given that the chances of winning are remote, play recklessly there by ensuring that we the team’s chances of winning are completely fucked up. You selfish little fucks.

The outcome of every game can never, EVER be predetermined by playing numbers. What is important is to adapt to the game as it unfolds, and the team that can do the the best, will win the game, even if it does tell you you’ve only got a 25% chance of winning.

Ignore it.