Uncharted 3 & Gears of War 3 – Human Ape or Shooting with Toothpicks

I've recently finished Uncharted 3, man I loved it. I got hooked on the story, the interplay between Drake and Sully was great. I even enjoyed the back story on how the two met and the lightly touched on, but skillfully told love story.


I was captivated by the attention to detail that I actually stopped playing and took a photo of my screen. The image of the big dipper was visible in the background night time sky-scape. Wow was my first thought - followed swiftly by - "that's not going to be a clue for a in game puzzle is it?". It was, and wow again. An Indiana Jones style tripod in the old ruins section (at night time) lay ahead and it was craicingly good fun.

But with all the climbing sequences in the game I did wonder if Drake was part ape? - His monkey skills in climbing from drainpipe to ship to castle wall were super-humanly impressive. Dude, as a baby that Drake must of knocked 7 bells out of his cot, or was he simply the result of alien cross breading? If they ever make a movie of the game it will feature some planet of the apes style special affects. And why in all these old ruins are there gigantic chandeliers that can support body weight of an adult male alien-ape-hybrid landing on it for 30 feet away? Seriously, what is going on – how many civilizations relied on these things, and indeed built them so well?

I love the shooting, hiding behind building and taking the bad guys out with nicely placed head-shots, a necessity for some of the more well armored guys, was always fun and rewarding, almost to the point were I would go back and play it again to get more of the clean headshots in.

Gears - me got big gun, it shoot nurf’s version of a toothpick

Time to switch, moving over to the XBox and Gears of War 3 a game I've also being waiting a long time to play. The start up sequence over, Dom is back in Jail... wtf? When did that happen? What happened to the story, last I knew we'd just unloaded a megga bomb in some hellish tunnels of doom… ohh it’s a flash back.. right, err now hang on, wasn’t it his buddy not the woman that collected him from prison the first time. Now what is going on here…

After the jolting start I really started get into the game, have the wonders of headshots I was a bit taken aback by the combat. It’s Gears of War Man – I’m in the COG, and I’ve got a weapon with a chainsaw instead of a bayonet, this is a serious gun and it looks freaking cool.  Except after unloading an entire clip into a bad guy he’s still not dead… what the freaking monkeys are the loading these guns with? Nurf bullets? – Seriously a Nurf bullet what have done more harm – it must be a nurf toothpick. Rounds appear to initially have as much impact on a bad guy as a snow flake on a desert marathon runner.

Boom-Splat… ohh no, hang on.. rather than actually puncturing the skin of the bad guys, pump enough nurf toothpicks into a bad guy and they … explode… What are these guys doing with my nurf tooth picks? Eating them? Or What - are the bad dudes loaded with explosives instead? 

Man morale on the bad guys side must be low… 

Commander: Now lads, one last thing before you head out against the cog, we’ve replaced your body armor with high explosives, take enough hits and you’ll explode.

Foot solider: Sir, what happened to the medics and the field hospital?

Commander: We, err sold it… you know, budget cuts, but don’t worry – we’ve got these wonderful new florescent yellow outfits for you to wear so that the enemy can see you from two miles away, in a blizzard, at night time, while their wearing sunglasses. Ohh and by the way, we’ve cancelled all rations and food supplies, but no need to worry, the enemy’s ammunition tastes wonderful…

Man, it must really suck….



Tough Job being a Mini Scientist judge #ireland #schools

Today I got the chance to judge at the Grand Final of Intel's mini scientist competition. It's a national competition run by Intel to encourage primary school children to get involved with maths and science. It's open to schools across the country.

Children are invited to conduct and write up their own experiments and investigations.

At the grand final the children get the chance to present and show off their experiments and reports. There were some fantastic entries. Everything from research into the best types of toothpaste, which included some surprising results on the damage overuse of some types can do - right through to experiments on the best way to make plant fertiliser. For the fertiliser experiment the 5th year students even managed to rope in some help from University Collage Dublin!

Deciding on the winners was increasingly hard, and there were some heated discussions between us judges. In the end the overall winner was a fantastic experiment into water quality across three major rivers in Ireland. It included everything from chemical experiments to try to determine the best quality water, right down to using the water to grow watercress in an effort to see which was the most biologically friendly!

To cap it all off TV3 and the Minister for Education turned up for some high profile interviews and reviews of some of the projects!