Best and Worst Shirts of Euro 2012

So we’re now near the end of the group stage of Euro 2012 so I felt it is time to look at the best and worst of Euro 2012 strips. I’d like to first off point out the stupidly high prices of new shirts. The retail price for most of these tops is meant to be between £50 and £65 which crazily high. In middle of the worse economic crisis since the great depression companies are running a grave risk by fleecing ordinary punters for even more money.  I have to put my hands up and admit I have myself bought a strip for the princely sum of £50. More on this top soon however I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to kits so I’m willing to pay it. Is everyone else? The worst thing is most of these tops will be replaced within a year and the companies will charge punters another £50 for another new top.

I’m going to look at the best tops first. I’m going to show the runner-up first then the overall winner. There are few tops that actually stand out at Euro 2012 with too many of them being frankly a bit dull. Look at Portugal. Nike took the world cup 2010 top, took off the green band and are flogging it for £50. Theres a slim line between simplicity and being dull. Still the following top is the Runner Up in the best looking shirt of Euro 2012:

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The Russian home top is the top I happened to have bought (no bias here honest…). The mixture of the underused sash design with the red and gold melds together very well. It somehow feels right that Russia are back wearing all red. The white kits never quite felt right. I’d also note this version of the Russian badge is the best they’ve put forward recently. A smart and modern take on classic Russian tops.

However the best shirt at Euro 2012 for me is below:

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This shirt steps away from the more traditional French strips of recent times. There is no hint of red with more use of navy blue. The use of the slightly darker thin hoops is elegant and creates a unique look at Euro 2012. By stepping away from the mix and patch of templates that other tops have taken up (more on that soon) it stands out as the best shirt. Even if the collar isn’t that all that brilliant. The strip is complemented by the subtle use of gold that mixes well with the blues on display.

Now that we’ve seen the best, lets take a look at the runner-up for worst top at Euro 2012.

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I feel I’m cheating a little with this because one of the worst tops at every championship is Croatia (assuming they get there). Checkerboard tops have not and never will look any good. Leyton Orient’s, Walsall’s and Falkirk’s worst tops have made use of the good old checkerboard. What makes this particularly bad is that the sleeves have checks that are actually smaller than the main body of top creating a weird miss match. This design will never look good on a football top!

However there is a worse top that at first glance isn’t so bad but I’ll explain why it is so bad and deserving of being the worst top at Euro 2012.

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It’s the Czech Republic home shirt. Now I know at first glance you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for putting this in. However I have a very good reason. It is frankly a mess. It somehow mixes the awful sloping designs of recent Puma kits with (yet again) a checker design, a needless blue rectangle slapped on the top that is cut off by the sloping line AND random white bits under the arms. Modern kits tend to be pretty traditional with less fussy trim added however this bucks that trend in all the wrong ways. To make it even worse the normally beautiful Czech badge has been simplified so it looks like any other badge with a lion in it.

So there you go. My take on the best and worst shirts on offer at Euro 2012. All available at stupidly high prices from your local rip off merchant. I meant sports shop.

The Football Predictions 2011/12: Euro 2012

It’s been a weird build up to the 2012 European Championships. It seems people are too busy chatting about the hosts or just really ignoring the whole thing. I suspect this has do with the English press finally realising that they don’t have the team to win out on the park. Not helped of course by Capello leaving and the press not getting their beloved Harry as England manager. Mix a pretty weak England team with a press which is hostile towards Hodgson and I think we can now see why this championship is barely being talked about.

Still I’m looking forward to it even if people seem to think the Champions League is the be all and end all of football nowadays. There is something so much more exciting and unpredictable about a short, sharp international tournament which is different to the season long slogs of roughly the same teams every year. I have to say I’m pretty disappointed that UEFA in their infinite wisdom are expanding the tournament to 24 teams meaning that less countries can host it and it ruins the currently perfectly formed format. Euro 2008 stands out as one of the best tournaments in living memory so why have they decided to play about with it? I don’t really know frankly. Still Scotland might actually qualify for one someday.

I don’t think the hosts for this have been particularly thought through by UEFA. While the idea is help develop “newer” nations football this has been sorely lacking in Ukraine which has been beset with the problems from the start. Everything from poor infrastructure to well documented holiganism to severe shortage of hotel rooms has dampened anticipation for tournament even further. I think Poland could and should’ve hosted on its own.

Enough of that sideshow, let’s get onto the lovely predictions. I’ll go group by group saying who’ll win and think pick out of those who I think will triumph in Kiev.

First off Group A is the Czech Republic, Greece, Russia and co-hosts Poland. I’ll have to go with Russia to win the group with Poland go through in second place. This is the weakest group out of the four and I can’t see any of them winning the trophy. Russia are dark horses but aren’t as good as they were 4 year ago. I can’t see both hosts crashing out to Poland will be the ones to go through via having a relatively weak group.

Group B is this tournaments “group of death” containing Denmark, Holland, Germany and Portugal. This is tough group all round however I just don’t think Portugal and Denmark are quite as good as their FIFA rankings suggests. Germany and Holland both had great world cups. Both have improved and gained experience since so both will go through here.

Group C has in it Croatia, Italy, Ireland and of course holders and world champions Spain. Well I can’t see anyone but Spain winning this group. They are by far and away the best team in this group. They’ve won the last two tournaments so will saunter through group. The other three are pretty even to me. Ireland don’t concede goals, Italy are better than last time around but not the force they were in 2006 and Croatia are a bit up and down. I think I’ll go with Croatia to get out of the group as well but all of this depends on how Italy react to the latest scandal back home.

Finally Group D contains France, England, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine. I don’t think I can foresee Ukraine being good enough to get out of this group even at home. I’ve also not forgiven them for being one half of the dullest international game I can recall in their game with the Swiss at World Cup 2006. This despite getting them at my works sweepstake. Maybe I’ll have to cheer them on now!

I think France will top the group and have an outside chance of going all the way. With a better, younger and hungrier team & management team they’ve improved a lot since the 2010 world cup farce. I’ll also tip Sweden to go through purely on the basis of England have a horrible record against them. I also just don’t rate this England team. A mixture of not quite there yet (e.g. Wellbeck) with past their bests (Terry, Gerrard) and what the hell are they even doing there (Carroll). A bit risky but I feel confident in my choice.

So who’s going to win it then? Well it very well could end up being another Germany vs Spain game but this time I think Germany will win it overall. Even though their weird 5 – 3 loss to the Swiss has me doubting myself. They’re just about closing in on their peak and will be even better than the last three tournaments in which they’ve reached two semis and a final. Not bad eh? I also think some of Spain’s key players looked tired this season which is a contributing factor in my choice.

So it all starts tomorrow night with Poland vs Greece. I’m struggling to recall a less appetising opening match but I can’t wait myself. Lets hope its a good one.

The 2011/12 Football Predictions: Full Time Report Part 3

Well we’re at the big one. The “Best League in World”. “The Richest League in World”. The league where billionaires toys come to play. This season I honestly didn’t pay full attention to the league. Sure I always knew what was going on but I didn’t always bother to watch MOTD. If you know my love of football then you’ll know that’s pretty surprising. Perhaps it was Liverpool being well a bit guff frankly. Perhaps it was the creeping realisation that you need to be owned by a billionaire to win this anymore and finishing 4th is somehow more important than actually winning something. Or perhaps it was that with all the goings on at Hearts I had my plate full with that. It’s probably a mixture of all four but I didn’t feel too compelled this season. Well perhaps until the run in that is.

Still I did make my predictions back at the start of the season to let’s have a wee peek at how well I did there.

Title Winners: Man City

Champions League Spots: Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool with Arsenal finally sliding out of the top 4

Going Down: Blackburn, Wigan and Norwich

Around about now is where I get to feel that little bit smug. As I’ve said before I think I let myself down when I didn’t stick my neck out there. I went there with Man City and they did it. Well they just about did anyway. I can’t recall as exciting an end to any football league season than that. I think we all thought Man Utd had won but two goals in injury time to win the league was just astounding frankly. Even if you didn’t care either way you couldn’t help being swept up in the whole occasion even with all my layed out problems I have with the EPL right now.

City looked to have blown it when they were 8 points behind Man Utd but Man Utd did what they don’t normally which is blow a seemingly won league. I think they’ve only done that once before and that was to Arsenal back in 1997/98. The reason I believe that this happened and why I backed City in the first place is that Utd frankly didn’t invest enough in quality centre midfielders. Scholes coming out retirement looked desperate and it was. While he still a good player he’s not the player he once was despite what some in the media would have you believe. Still I predicted they’d be in the Champ League spots. Wow what a bold prediction eh?

I got the other two wrong though. Liverpool were found wanting at home and in particular in the home dugout. While Dalgleish had done a good job stabilising the club in the previous season, the club should’ve looked to new blood like they have now in Rodgers (more on Swansea later). He never got the best team on the pitch and the handling of the Suarez case was really poor. The player himself didn’t help in that respect or his lack of goals across the season. Liverpool’s last three seasons have seen a 7th, 6th and 8th place finish. A far cry from Champions League winning and losing finalists. They’ve never replaced any of the players they lost with similar quality. Charlie Adam is not exactly Mascherano is he? Sounds harsh but its examples like this shows why the club got nowhere near my predicted Champs League place.

Still I got that wrong I also got Arsenal wrong though at one stage it looked like I could and to be honest if Spurs hasn’t faltered so badly I would’ve been correct. Arsenal may have just got in but it seemed more by fortune than by design. If Chelsea, who I also got wrong about being the champs league through the league, and their players had got their act together earlier in the season they would’ve been in the top 4. I was appalled by the players frankly deciding they were going to get AVB the sack. So much from my prediction he’d be a great appointment. So I got two of the top four wrong though Spurs getting that beloved 4th spot was for nought after Chelsea finally winning the champs league which rather ruined my oft quoted stat that London is the biggest European city not to have a Champs League winner in it. Damn.

Thats all very nice but what about the bottom. So I only got one right this year. Blackburn did slip out of the league and who is remotely surprised by that? Steve Kean was always out of his depth, the team was not strengthened and the fans were too busy protesting to be the cliché 12th man for the team. It did for a while look like I’d get it right with Wigan. That is until they decided to play like they were gunning for the league and beat everyone left, right and centre despite have Maloney, Caldwell, MacArthur and Salmon in their team. Maybe the SPL isn’t all that bad after all?

I did mess up predicting Norwich would go down as well. They never looked in danger frankly. They did so well Villa snapped up Lambert. Swansea are also in the same boat as them. Played really good football, stayed up and their reward for that is to lose their manager. I do hope both teams stay up next season as they were a credit to the league this year. It’s great to see teams come up and play passing football rather than tight defensive football. I honestly thought one of the promoted teams would go down so guessed Norwich but I’m glad I went wrong here.

So overall I didn’t do too badly but I could’ve done better. At least, as predicted, there is a different name on the league title. Shame they had to join the huge money men to do it. Chelsea “bought” the league, Blackburn “bought” the league, Man Utd continue to “buy” leagues (anyone who think they don’t should look at the money they could throw at mediocre players like Jones and Smalling) and now City have joined that league.

So there is one last thing for this season to predict. Ah yes. Come back in part 4 for my Euro 2012 Predictions.

The 2011/12 Football Predictions: Full Time Report Part 2

The good old football league. I have to put my hands up and admit I didn’t pay as much attention to the Football League as I did in the past. It might have something to do with my general malaise towards the English Premier League which has fed down to the whole of English football. Still I did pay it some attention. Even if I didn’t make sure I watched the “real mans” MOTD i.e. the Football League show.

So just before I go any further let’s have a glance at my original predictions from way back in the dark days of last August for League 2.

Going up: Crawley Town, Bristol Rovers and Port Vale

Play off Contenders: Rotherham, Shrewsbury, Gillingham, Swindon and Oxford having a chance

Struggling/Going Down: Barnet, Aldershot, Morecombe, Plymouth, Macclesfield

League 2 was an interesting league this season with some of the bigger teams struggling and teams you’d never have expected going up in the end. Seriously how did Crewe somehow get promoted? From 17th to promotion inside 6 months. Not bad eh? Shame I was nowhere near tipping them! Still I got Crawley right which was my “safe” bet. Yet even they weren’t certainties right until the end.

Looking at the playoffs I didn’t do so well. If only I’d punted for Swindon and Shrewsbury to up rather than mere playoff contenders. It did also look like I could go somewhere with Gillingham, Rotherham and Oxford but all them fell away or never quite got to the play offs. Not that the same could be said of Bristol Rovers who were flirting with the bottom at one stage of the season and I, well, I couldn’t have foreseen Port Vale going in administration. Both teams in end were grave underachievers this season.

Speaking of underachieving some of the teams I predicted to struggle did indeed struggle. Barnet did their customary just staying up at the last minute routine. They will go down sooner rather than later but hey they defiantly did struggle. Plymouth also did struggle badly but I for one am happy they didn’t go down. If a teams fans ever deserved to stay up rather suffer a third straight relegation its the “Green Army”. Macclesfield however did finally fall through the trap door. With the smallest average league attendance and continued struggles it was only a matter of time before this happened. Even then I couldn’t have foreseen their horrible 20 plus game non winning streak. Although I missed Hereford dropping out of the league yet again.

I think I didn’t do to badly down in League 2 overall. So lets see how I did a level up in the giddy heights of League 1. Here again is what I predicted back in August of last year.

Going up: Huddersfield and MK Dons

Play off Contenders: Preston, Scunthorpe and Shef Wed with Colchester, Charlton and Orient challenging

Struggling/Going Down: Bury, Rochdale, Stevenage & Yeovil to go down with Tranmere, Wallsall, Hartlepool and Shef Utd to struggle

It appears to be all the hallmarks of my weird mix of great and utter rubbish. So yeah Huddersfield did indeed go up but not automatically. Honestly I still have a little bitter taste in my mouth leftover from their frankly rushed and needless sacking of Clarke. Did Grayson do anything different to Clarke? MK Dons got to the playoffs but were beaten by the aforementioned Huddersfield so I wasn’t all that far off.

Looking at my playoff contenders I had Charlton and Shef Wed who both went up automatically. I evidently underestimated how good both teams were. Charlton strolled the league and looking back I can’t believe I didn’t have them to go up. What was I thinking? Shef Wed did go up with them. It was a mixture of Dave Jones coming in and the Ched Evans court case helping them out. They’re a good team who must hope never to see this division again! They have the potential to be a mid of the table EPL team with potential crowds of 40 000, so they have to capitalise on that rather scrapping away down in this division any time soon.

My other tips for the playoffs were shambolic. Preston had a total farce of a season with Brown going and his replacement annoying most of the players as soon as he came in. No wonder they were nowhere near. Colchester never got close, Scunny were closer to going down than up and Orient did almost go down! Wow that some set of predictions that eh?

Still could be worse I could go look at my struggling/going down list. Bury stayed up easily, Stevenage were in the blinking playoffs, Tranmere & Hartlepool were comfortable in mid table on top of that and Shef Utd should’ve gone up and could’ve if not for the misfortune of their top goalscorer being a vile “man” and their keeper missing a pen in the playoff final shoot out. Still at least Yeovil and Walsall did struggle. Nah that really doesn’t save this section from being a near wipeout. I only got Rochdale right and that was a pretty obvious one from the start.

Now lets take a glance at another mixed bag of predictions this time or the Championship. Surely I couldn’t muck up too much here… right?

Going up: Leicester and Forest

Play off Contenders: West Ham, Leeds, Southampton and Reading

Struggling/Going Down: Doncaster, Palace, Peterborough with Watford, Barnsley and Bristol City struggling

Oh dear. I did have West Ham, Southampton and Reading all challenging for promotion but didn’t directly tip any of them to actually go up. So I can say that I know a good set of teams when I see them yet lack the confidence to really pick them out. Ok look I’m just covering up for Leicester being a huge disappointment and well what the hell was I thinking tipping Forest exactly? They only just about stayed up and were all over the place all season long. I don’t think either will be as bad next year but it goes to show a big name appointment doesn’t mean they’ll actually do anything for your club. I’m pleased to see Southampton back in the top flight as well as the Hammers. West Ham are far too good a team for a poor manager choice (Avram Grant) to hold them back for too long.

I think Leeds also disappointed. Warnock came in and probably realised that the squad was too thin and really needs invested in which is something Bates seems reluctant to do. They appear to want to go up on the cheap which isn’t working out for them. Warnock will do a good job if he’s given the money to invest but will he actually get it?

Here is where again I want array. I again got my “safe” tip of Doncaster to go down but Palace were pretty strong all season long and Peterborough were comfortable in mid table all season long. Yet again though I’ve somewhat saved myself with the fact that Bristol City did indeed struggle all season long. Neither looked good even after City replaced the manager with McInnes from St Johnstone. I don’t think Barnsley got close to replacing Vaz Te’s goals either.

So there you have it. That was my Football League predictions for 2011/12. It was a right mixed bag with some going right and some going badly wrong. Next year I think I’ll have to be that touch more bold with my choices. Bold choices leads me to part 3 of 4 of my 2011/12 predictions. Next time I’ll look back at the overriding behemoth that is the EPL.

The 2011/12 Football Predictions: Full Time Report Part 1

Ah the SPL. The ongoing farce of a league that seems to descend further and further into farce as the years go on. This is my end of season wrap up on my predictions from way back in July last year. I did a half time report back in January of this year so lets take a looksy at my original predictions for the SPL.

Winners: Celtic

Runners up: Rangers

Third: Hearts with Motherwell and Dundee Utd challenging

Top 6 challengers: St Johnstone, Inverness and possibly Hibs

Struggling: Aberdeen, Killie, St Mirren (being better than previous years)

Going Down: Dunfermline

I have to say that I don’t think I’ve gone too far wrong. Allbeit I could never have predicted Rangers going in administration and then teeter on the brink of out right collapse. Has there ever been a league that is as much of a farce as the SPL?

So Celtic won the league which they were pretty much always going to win although at one stage they looked like they might falter before the 3 – 3 draw at Rugby Park. However once again they’ve proven they’re bottlers on the biggest stage. Losing to Killie in the league cup final and then losing to Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi final which was rather sweet for this writer. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a celebration as much as Beattie’s. I don’t think I’ve ever gone that mental at a game either. Where was I? Oh yes bottlers. Lennon did win the league but even that was pretty much by default. If the only team with any money in league couldn’t win it they’d be something seriously wrong. Lennon has a lot to prove next season.

While Rangers did finish runners-up frankly that doesn’t cover even half of their bizarre season. From coasting the league to being bankrupt. Never has a team who’ve done so much wrong behind the scenes been so brazen in its lack of humility. Instead of being humble about their problems they’ve turned everyone against them. If they’d taken some of their punishments with a touch of grace we might have some sympathy. Alas they’ve handled themselves very poorly from the off. You’d honestly think they’d done nowt wrong! Still at least they can look back on second place with Champions League qualifiers to look forward… oh no wait they can’t. In fact who knows what league they’ll be in and in what state they’ll be in next year.

Still at least that let Motherwell get into the Champs League qualifiers after grabbing a deserved third. I thought they’d challenge for third but they did more than that. They stayed there all of the season proving that McCall did indeed have the chops to manage. Dundee Utd ran them pretty close in the end and did challenge briefly during the spilt. All of this in spite of another poor start. If they had actually started the season during August rather than November they could’ve gone one step further.

I admit I got Hearts being third wrong. I should’ve gone with my gut and not tipped us. Still 5th place in the league is nothing to be sniffed at after everything that happened with late wages during the middle of the season. Combine that with a rather amazing run to the cup final in which we did everything the hard way. 1 – 0 against a junior team, two replays  and a semi against Celtic. It’s amazing to think we somehow got to the final. Then to thump Hibs 5 – 1 in the “Biggest Derby Ever” was bloody wonderful. What a job Sergio did after coming in after 3 games of the season which is a little forgotten by some in the press. Que a little Kool and the Gang…

This is what the fans will remember this year forever for. Definatly not the rather patchy league form which cost us any real shot at 3rd.

Beyond the top 5 is where I went a little array. St Johnstone did get in the top but then fell apart totally when they got there. 5 defeats in the last 5 games of the season saw go from a possible chance at third to 6th. The season was a success but it could’ve been so much more. I can’t seem them bettering this next season either. Though what was I thinking predicting Hibs and Inverness challenging for the top 6? More on them later.

The teams I thought would fall short did really. Aberdeen, St Mirren and Killie did very little of note in the league. Killie did save their season with the aforementioned league cup final win over the bottlers of Hampden. Aberdeen could’ve saved their season with a cup final appearance but they do love a depressing semi final loss don’t they? As for St Mirren did they do anything of interest this year? No but they steered clear of relegation which is as good as it gets for them most of the time.

Now Dunfermline did go down and we’re every bit as bad as I thought they’d be. That 4 – 0 defeat to Hibs when they needed to win to have a chance was symptomatic of a team way out of its depth in this league. If they’d replaced Mcintyre a lot quicker they may have somehow stayed up thanks to the frankly woeful Hibs. I can’t believe I was generous enough to predict a battle for the top 6. While Inverness were very disappointing at least they weren’t Hibs awful.

Hibs are very lucky team to have the Pars in the same league as them. Calderwood was hopeless and frankly seemed disinterested. Fenlon has looked out of his depth. Combine poor managers, a poor starting squad and combine that with a lot of poor loan signings,  this into one of the worst Hibs teams I can recall. To rub it in, they lost 3 league derbies and lost 5 -1 in the Scottish cup final derby with a performance so bad I still can’t believe it really happened! The board and the chairmen have an awful lot to answer for after years of poor appointments, quick sackings and little quality being brought in on the pitch. I’ve not even mentioned the home form either!

So hey I did pretty well on the whole in the SPL. Now lets look at my really well thought through and well put together SFL predictions.

Up to SPL: Dundee with Livi pushing them hard for a third straight promotion (what a turn around for that club that would be!)

Going down to Div 2: Ayr and Morton

Up to Div 1: East Fife and Airdrie Utd

Down to Div 3: Albion Rovers and Forfar

Up to Div 2: Clyde and Alloa

Oh dearie me. This is here I look away. Well Dundee finished second which is close, Ayr did go down and erm… oh yes Alloa did go up. Seriously I really should do some more research for next season. Bloody hell! I almost got the relegations to Div 3 but Forfar just stayed clear and Albion just scrapped home in the playoffs. This probably shows up my lack of knowledge of these leagues sadly.

While I know I’ll remember this season for the wonderful cup run of my beloved Heart of Midlothian, the rest of the world will remember the farce that is Rangers FC. Ross County coming up will certainly add something new to the league including a highland derby. You never know next season might be a bit dull? Nah it’s the SPL so course something will go wrong. Again. Right now we can’t even guarantee that Rangers will even exist let alone what form in or what division. It’s certainly going to be different next year that’s for sure.

So overall I think I did pretty well in SPL stakes. It would’ve been so great if it wasn’t for those pesky SFL teams…

Picture of the Week #4

For your viewing pleasure, a photo of my favourite graffiti in Edinburgh.

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For your further viewing pleasure, another picture of my favourite graffiti in Edinburgh.

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If only all graffiti was this interesting.

Categories: Other Tags: ,

“Martha…Shut the Hell Up”

Perhaps playing golf games isn’t the best thing to do when you need to wind down from a busy and or stressful day. In fact I would now say that Everybody’s Golf on Vita is probably the worst game to play to “chillax” with as one might say (or not if you “hate” me for saying that word).

Don’t get me wrong Everybody’s Golf is a really good game. It has the classic Mario/Tennis feel to it. Cute graphics mixed with a great sports game underneath. A game is only as good as it plays and it plays really well.

Perhaps then it is the cuteness that masks just how bloomin’ annoying the game can be. I suspect Golf as a game to actually play is probably one of the most frustrating sports to play. Still that doesn’t excuse bloody Martha…

The first Caddy in the game is called Martha who is unnervingly happy from the start saying such phrases as “I’M MARTHA” and “I’M A CADDY”. Yes thanks for that, I couldn’t possibly have deduced that for myself thank you very much.

Combine this uber happy state with the fact that she tell you nothing of bloody use at all. In fact at times she goes out of her way to annoy you. Well I think she does. Telling you you’ve played a great shot just as the ball is about get plugged into a fairway bunker. Then to rub it in asks “what went wrong” after you miss a put in which she’s given you no help at all aside from mentioning it’s up hill. Something I already bloody knew.

This game is now played mainly with the sound off. Just to shut Martha the hell up. Actually the more I think about it, the more I need to relax. I don’t think Golf is the game for me. Perhaps another play through of my game of the year so far Journey is in order. Bloody Martha…

Martha is in the Top Left Hand Corner. ARGH.

A First Look into the World of the PS Mini

For a lot of people the world of PS Mini is a world that either they don’t know exists or theyve chosen to ignore. I have to admit Ive been in the latter camp for a long time. None of the games that Ive seen have been attractive enough to warrant a buy.

However this couldve changed when Playstation Access decided to give away free codes for PS Minis for liking their Facebook site. This is both a very smart way to get more people liking and reading your Facebook page plus it is a nice way to introduce people to Minis whove never given them time they might deserve.They’re called Jewel Keepers: Easter Island and Urbanix. Seriously is that really the best names developers could come up with?

Still they’re free so I thought it would be worth a shot. After all I need all the games I can get on my PS Vita round about now and you know who can resist something that is free? So this was my introduction to the world of the PS mini

and it was very underwhelming. Look to be fair they were never going to giving away the cream of the crop but still ladies and gentlemen. Jewel Keepers: Easter Island is a blinking Bejeweled clone! Urbanix is a bit better but hardly exciting either. I cant believe that these games cost anyone any money let alone ever being fully charged for it. I think people can get away with such tat on the iOS store because about half of that store is cloned game ideas. Unfortunately for PS Minis there arent a whole lot that are any good of so these clones stand out more. Theyre also too expensive but everyone has known that for years. 

Which leads me to the point: what exactly are the point of PS minis? If theyre meant to be a reaction to the app store theyve evidently failed. Even these free games are barely worth the price of admission. Wait, I should stop complaining and accept the free gift. Even if I never needed to play another version of Bejeweled ever, ever again!

Categories: Gaming Tags: , , , ,

The Lefty Wrestling Review: Extreme Rules 2012

Sunday marked another Exterme Rules PPV which is successor to the much preferably named Blacklash PPV. I’m not sure why they got rid of the name but the name seemed to fit the idea of revenge for Wrestlemania. his PPV has generally been either direct rematches from Wrestlemania or direct storyline continuations. This PPV was no different and really benefitted from it. The post-Wrestlemania PPV has generally been excellent as it still has the quality of Wrestlemania matches up but with more time and less pressure to perform. This normally equals a really good PPV and this is no different.

The PPV coming from Chicago is also a plus for any PPV. They’re always up for it as they showed at last years wonderful Money in the Bank and this was no exception. I always say a crowd can make a PPV and this lot certainly helped much like Miami back at ‘Mania.

The night started with Kane vs Orton in a falls count anywhere match. The first half of the match was basic but pretty welcome brawling around the arena which you don’t see much in WWE anymore. The second half was back in the ring and really built nicely to finale with an RKO on a chair for to pick up the win and enact revenge for his loss at ‘Mania. I really liked this match and was a pleasant surprise for a Kane match. This is what an opener should be about.

Next up was Dolph Ziggler sadly being pretty much squashed inside 5 minutes by Brodus Clay. Now I’m not a big fan of his at the best of times and to see Ziggler beaten so easily by a limited wrestler inside the 5 minute mark was disappointing. Ziggler is capable of so much more and needs to moved up the card, not yonked back down to Clay’s level.

Another match that came and went without much going on was the Tables match between Big Slow and Cody Rhodes. This match was that long but wasn’t offensive with Cody Rhodes grabbing a “lucky” victory over Big Show to win back his IC title a mere 4 weeks after losing it at Wrestlemania. Which begs the question: Why did he lose it in the first place? I hope Cody can move onto a more interesting fued than this.

Now at this point this PPV is chugging along just fine but from here on in it sky rockets. The WHC title 2 out of 3 falls match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus for the Irishman’s title was a brilliant, brilliant match. It goes to show that slap in the face of a “match” at ‘Mania was a huge error. This match was off the charts going back and forward with excellent selling from Sheamus combined with smart story telling from Bryan. Sheamus may have won the match but this match is so good that it didn’t matter who won it frankly. Both men came out as better for it.

We didn’t get a much breather from that match (aside from a pointless squash match with Ryback who no one cares about frankly) as we launched into the CM Punk, in “Punk’s House” of Chicago, defending his WWE title against Jericho in Chicago Street fight. I liked how they both started this match with jeans which is always a nice touch for a street match. This match was gruelling and brutal with excellent interactions with Punk’s sister at ringside. My favourite spot of the match was the Savage Flying Elbow from Punk putting Jericho through the good old Spanish announce table. In the end Punk won the match with HUGE support from the crowd. They love him and they showed it. This was a step above their ‘Mania match and it is good to see that an older star has come back to put Punk over in great matches.

Oh look Beth can’t compete so the Bella’s (I don’t remember which one) has to defend her title against…the returning Layla who won pretty quickly. While it was nice to see her back, the crowd were didn’t care. They wanted Kharma, as do we all around about now!

Ah the main event of the evening. Brock Lesnar vs. Super Cena in an Extreme Rules match. This wasn’t what I’d call a wrestling match. It was more of an thrilling, brutal and bloody (yes…blood in a WWE match and it was “the hard way” as well non of the blading guff) from both men. Lesner spent most of the match beating down Cena. It was fascinating to watch even if it wasn’t a wrestling match. The end came with Cena FUing Lesner on the “steel” steps for the win. Even thought it was Cena who looked from beaten. I have to see it was really good to see Blood return. Somehow the ref stoppages for blood added to the drama!

Overall you must see this PPV. If you track down just the three main events they’re a must watch. Combine this with ‘Mania and they’re really on a roll right now. Thanks to the efforts of Bryan and Sheamus this was even better than ‘Mania and is up there with last years Money in the Bank. Seriously if you’ve not seen it, go watch it…now!

Mass Effect 3’s Ending: A Fuss Over…That?

“Awful”, “horrible”, “a betrayal”, “not really an ending at all”, “we’ve been cheated”, “worst ending ever”. That is just some of the reactions I’ve read and listened to on the internet about the ending of Mass Effect 3. I wrote a post about the ending before I’d even played it due to the strength of feeling I had about the sheer whaling and nashing of teeth out there about the ending. I’ve now finished the game and I’ve let the ending breath before I reacted to it. So what exactly did I think about? I’m sure the title of this post gives it away.

Really people? Is that ending worth all the campaigns and fuss? The demand for rewrites to get the ending you really wanted? Frankly it nothing like as bad as people claimed. While it is not the greatest thing since sliced bread it is perfectly fine. I know this is the point I lose some of you but I’m still taken back by the reaction to the ending.

Despite all of the hype about how “terrible” the ending was, it never once took away just how great the game was. It seems to have been lost amongst the giant whinge-fest just how brilliant the game is. From potentially curing the genophage to taking down your first Reaper to the Geth dreadnought to Grissom academy to the moment you step onto the Illusive man’s main erm…. Bridge (I guess we can call it that). There were so many highs throughout the game that people really should be concentrating on them. However it seems that the ending is what matters to the vocal minority. Why is this? This is probably because the internet loves to focus on the negative. Who cares about the positive when we rip something apart eh?

Having said that the ending is not perfect. Lets be honest which ending is perfect? I actually did not mind this particular ending at all. I liked the slow motion run into the beam of light. I liked how Sheppard was struggling with all her (yes her not him) injuries. I really enjoyed the slow walk to the control panel. I liked the argument with the Illusive man who I got him to kill himself. Even though I’m not 100% sure how Anderson got there I just took it at face value and their chat was rather touching.

Now I do admit this is where does go a bit 2001 with the whole projection of a child talking to Sheppard. Still I rolled with it and accepted.  So you’re left with the three choices. You can destroy the Reapers, control them or mix the two (machine and organic together). I personally went with the destroying them after all I’d spent the whole game trying to do this. This meant in mine Sheppard was dead, the crew got stuck on the planet and all machines were dead. I only discovered afterwards that the renegade choice is the one I took rather than the paragon choice which, confusingly, was controlling them. Now this is the worst part of the ending. Still at the time I didn’t care as I just enjoyed the ending. Aside from the “continue Mass Effect 3 with more DLC” nonsense at the end.

So look I’m not saying the ending is perfect. It seems that there is an awful lot of over thinking going on. This is what the internet does best after all. Looking back it now I don’t think everyone could ever be satisfied with any ending they came up with. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Sure it wasn’t perfect and you may not have liked it but (and it’s a huge but) demanding rewrites is a dreadful idea and should not followed up on. Sure you expand upon the ending (though with my Sheppard a goner I’m not sure how that works) but do not change the ending for the vocal minority.

Honestly at this point, let’s move on to elsewhere in the Mass Effect lore with a new character and new storylines. Just think of the possibilities. Surely it is better than complaining about the end of this game? Or is the franchise “ruined” as some would have us believe?

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