Crackdown1

You know Crackdown, right? The kind of GTA style game released for Xbox 360 back in 2007. This is a text I wrote before Xbox One was released, I suppose. I was planning on pushing it out one way or another around the release of the console, but alas, none of the plans materialised. Actually, there were supposed to be several articles on various games or aspects I felt had characterised Xbox 360. Needless to say, this one is in Finnish.

Real Time Worldsin Crackdown ei todellakaan syntynyt onnellisten tähtien alla: pelin kehitysalusta vaihtui hyvin tunnetusta sotaratsusta vielä tulossa olevaan konsoliin, sen ulkoasu ei herättänyt luottamusta julkaisijassa eivätkä rajalliset resurssit sekä ongelmat kehitystyökalujen kanssa helpottaneet elämää. Silti alkuperäistä Crackdownia voi helposti pitää yhtenä Xbox 360:n suurimmista onnistumisista.

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As I warned in early this year, I might try and write some blog posts in Finnish. Well, here we go, this one is about Halo and Xbox (well of course it is).

Xbox Onen alkutaival konsolisodan uusimmassa taistossa ei ole sujunut mairittelevasti. Konsoli on tarponut vastatuuleen julkistushetkestään lähtien. Samanaikaisesti Sony on onnistuneesti rakentanut PlayStation 4:stä houkuttelevan pelikoneen. Konsoleilla on kuitenkin yksi yhteinen ongelma: niille ei ole vielä saatavilla merkittäviä yksinoikeusjulklaisuja. Toki Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Resogun ja ulkoasultaan päivitetty the Last of Us ovat keränneet kiitosta, mutta mitään Gears of Warin tai Unchartedin kaltaista ei ole vielä saatavilla saati lähihorisontissa. Tähän rakoon Microsoft varmasti tähtäsi Halo: The Master Chief Collectionilla, joka kuitenkin epäonnistui ehkä tärkeimmällä osa-alueella eli moninpelissä.

Minulla ei tietenkään ole minkäänlaista erityistä sisäpiiritietoa aiheesta, mutta näin ulkopuolisenakin voi helposti nähdä järkeviä syitä Halo-kokoelman mahalaskulle. Ensinnäkin Microsoft kaipasi vahvaa julkaisua joulumarkkinoille ja jouduttamaan Xbox Onen myyntiä. Yhtiön kulisseissa tapahtui oletettavasti Xbox Onen epäonnistuneen julkistuksen ja nihkeän julkaisun jälkeen muutoksia, jotka näkyivät ulkopuolelle viimeistään huhtikuussa, kun Phil Spencer nimettiin Xbox-liiketoiminnan uudeksi johtajaksi. Uusia korkean profiilin pelijulkaisuja ei tempaista kuitenkaan hihasta tuosta vain.

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Last weekend I went out to see Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s newest movie. I’ve pretty much liked every production I’ve seen by Nolan and I love me some science fiction, so I had high hopes for Interstellar. Fortunately, the movie was a very enjoyable experience, although I felt like it had some issues. This… review of the movie will include plenty of spoilers, so watch out, if you haven’t seen it yourself.

Interstellar is set in the not-so-distant future. Mankind is starting to struggle to survive, as some diseases seem to be killing our plants. It paints a rather bleak picture of our future and can also be seen as comment on climate change and the effect our actions have on our environment, although this is not directly stated in the movie.

Humanity’s challenges have made space exploration basically extinct. The US government has even labeled the Moon landings as a hoax, as per the conspiracy theories. While I see movies like Interstellar and Gravity as positive marketing for space exploration, I also took this aspect as a comment on the current state of NASA and lack of manned space missions. A future without space exploration would be a dark one indeed.

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For a non-Finnish person sitting with several strangers in a hot room – naked – sounds maybe a little bit strange, but I do it pretty regularly. I’m of course talking about sauna, that essential invention that is often seen as something very Finnish. Another thing that’s very Finnish is being silent, no matter if you’re sitting in a bus or in a sauna.

I like sitting in sauna, especially alone. It’s one of those pure moments of peace you seem to rarely get these days. I also think too much about what other people think about me, even though I’m one of those “strong and silent” types, at least when among strangers. Combined these features may lead to some uncomfortable situations in sauna: I am always worried about how much water I am supposed to pour on the stove when other people are present. Otherwise I think I would be fine with just sitting in there. Naked.

I was actually thinking about this very thing recently while sitting in sauna after a workout. Then when I went to take a bus home, I noticed another strangely related phenomenon. You know that situation when there are several people waiting for a bus at the bus stop, a bus arrives, and all those people raise their hands to signal the vehicle to stop. Just thinking about it, it feels a bit strange, doesn’t it? But that’s also very Finnish, I would say. Like sitting in sauna, not being worried about being naked but worrying about talking to other people. Huh.

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Ubisoft announced that their plans for Far Cry 4 downloadable content recently. The plan includes – well, of course – a season pass and some day one additional content. Maybe Ubisoft has calculated that this is the way to go, but let’s think about the rationale behind these kinds of DLC plans for a moment.

Firstly, Far Cry 4 is supposed to be a content rich game. In the previous game, you had enough to keep you busy for 20 hours easily, and I don’t suppose Far Cry 4 is going to be very much different in that regard. I don’t fully understand, then, why would the players need more contend immediately on the release day.

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There aren’t that many people that speak Finnish, thus it is only natural that one does not really hear Finnish spoken when leaving Finland. It is always interesting to notice this transition when traveling abroad. Usually the transition happens at the airport or during the flight.

The nature of this phenomenon depends on whether you’re traveling alone or with friends. If you’re alone, you’ll just tune out of Finnish suddenly hearing on the airport or in the plane is quite jarring, but if you’re travelling in a group, you’ll probably stop picking your words less carefully, as the people surrounding are not very likely to understand you. I would imagine that the feeling is very different if your native language is English, even though some countries don’t boast that good of a proficiency in English.

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If I would have to pick out one announcement from last week’s Gamescom that got the most attention, I would take Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics revealing the next Tomb Raider as an Xbox exclusive. Most of the discussion surrounding the subject concerned the duration of the exclusivity. Of course, if Microsoft has paid a lot of money to Square Enix for the exclusivity, they will not easily disclose the duration but instead provide some murky statements. Still, it’s clear that it’s coming to PlayStation 4 and PC at a later time, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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