Sunday, 25 March 2012

Importing Guitar Hero World Tour songs into Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (Wii)

Before I address the main thrust of this article, allow me to indulge in a little background.

When the ThoughtonBOT and I first started our adventure into fake plastic rock, it was with the original Guitar Hero, on the PlayStation 2.  We had already whetted our appetites for the fake plastic instrument genre (also known as music or rhythm games) with the sadly mostly-forgotten Donkey Konga on the GameCube, so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  At least, we thought we did.  Since that time, our collection of fake plastic instruments has grown to exceed the number of limbs possessed between us.

Of course, it's not really the new instruments that drive us to continue playing, it's new songs.  And one of the easiest ways of getting new songs is by buying a new game -- arguably, it's the only reason, once you're set up with one of the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games, since there is little innovation from title to title.  Actually, I don't entirely believe that last statement, and find myself spoilt by later offerings such as Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, that allow up to 4 players using any combination of instruments (including multiple microphones, despite what some internet sources claim).  As such, I prefer to import the songs from previous versions into the later games.

There are some caveats for those unfamiliar with the limitations.  The first is that not all of the songs can be imported.  Generally, it's about half, sometimes less.  And there's a small one-time fee associated with the import.  On the Wii specifically, storage of the songs can be a consideration (my 2GB 4GB SD card holds my songs, and is groaning under the weight of them all).  Finally, you need to own the games new, since there's a unique code on the back of the manuals that can be used only once to import the songs.

And there's my problem.  We skipped over Guitar Hero: World Tour (the 4th title in the Guitar Hero line), going straight from Guitar Hero 3 to Guitar Hero 5.  Now, craving the songs available on World Tour, we bought a copy, and set about readying the process of importing them into Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.  I was familiar with the requirements, having already done it with Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits to good success, and eagerly held my manual in hand to input the verification code.

There wasn't one.

Apparently, Guitar Hero: World Tour manuals for the Wii in Europe don't have these codes.  Precisely why this oversight occurred is probably something to do with how Activision anticipated the extent they'd support downloadable content on the Wii, and it turning out to be a great deal more than they initially planned for.  However, trying to import the songs on Warriors on Rock still required a code to be input.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps yet another oversight.

I tried looking all through the Activision support site -- which, if you've never done it, is an exercise in circular logic if ever there was one.  I've had to contend with this issue before, when a fault developed with the Guitar Hero 3 disc (which went on to mysteriously resolve itself, perhaps due to a system update).  The site will tell you to choose a region, and since I'm part of the pariah community of video gamers that doesn't live in the US, I have to admit this up front.  Then I have to find the game I want support for (I can choose between Guitar Hero: World Tour and Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock), and then look for the specific issue that requires resolution.  At this point, the article helpfully says this solution is for the US and Canada only, and to get international support, please select a region.  Yep, I'm back at square one.

To cut out the parts where I swore and even contemplated calling the helpline, I found resolution in an unexpected way, and that, more than using this article to rant about how dreadful Activision is at giving support, is why I hope people will read this, so they too can use this knowledge to import as they please.

Instead of importing into Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, I used Guitar Hero 5.  And that didn't ask for the code.  It just needed to verify I had a savefile from Guitar Hero: World Tour, and was happy with that as proof that I owned the game.

So, I'll conclude by bolding that advice:

Use GUITAR HERO 5 to import songs from GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR.  You can then use them in GUITAR HERO: WARRIORS OF ROCK as you please once downloaded.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Woman (Gamer)

Oh FFS, guys... REALLY?!

I'm a woman. And I'm a gamer. And usually that's just fine. I've been known to eulogise enthusiastically to non-gaming women about the benefits of the hobby - the strategy, the creativity, the great people you meet (guys and gals)... but the older I get, the more I've come to understand why a lot of women wouldn't touch the hobby with a nine-foot barge pole.

The reason can be summed up quite succinctly with a quick gander at Raging Hormones - sorry, Raging Heroes - background fluff on their Eleriel & Alaniel Anniversary edition miniature.  (Link)

I mean... WTF, guys?  REALLY?

I can wearily accept that, with a few honorable exceptions, female miniatures have breasts that would necessitate an ass-mounted counterweight in real life.

I can get over the fact that female magic users, unlike their male counterparts, wear nothing but sexy lingerie underneath their cerremonial robes. I agree that a saucy sorceress with a daring flash of nipple is much more aesthetically pleasing (and easier to sculpt) than a trouserless mage absent-mindedly letting his left bollock hang out front.

I can even, on a good day, roll my eyes and ignore the "female fighters wear chainmail bikinis to distract their enemies" argument, mostly because it's made by people I consider too stupid to be worth arguing with.

But beautiful elf twins being subjected to lesbian dominatrix rape and discovering they <gasp!> like it?  This is well over the line.  Believe it or not, fellas*, most girls don't aspire to be a mass-murderer's personal f'k-toy, along with their own sister.  In fact, most girls don't want to f'k their sisters AT ALL, even without a mass murderer getting in on the action, jewellery and drapes notwithstanding.  A nice pair of earings and good interior decorating just doesn't make up for that shit.

This is SO crass, SO insensitive and SO exploitative, it could be made into a Channel 5 documentary entitled "Victims or Whores? A Sympathetic Portrayal of Stockholm Syndrome in Hot Lesbian Elf-Twins". If this is your understanding of what female sexuality is, I dread to think what The Talk must've been like when your dad explained the Facts of Life to you.  But shying from the horrific is not my style, so here it is reimagined below, in a style you'll find familiar.

Elwin and Alan - The Talk - Anniversary Edition

"Er... listen son, we need to have a chat about women"
"I know..."

Not for the first time did the father and son have this conversation. It kept resurfacing, incomplete, as if no possible resolution could be found. The two spoke softly, staring at the floor, as if lost in a daydream of hideous embarrassment.

Bathed in the rich fragrance of a heady blend of cannabis and nicotine, their shed was a maze of nude calendars and pin-ups adorned with used tissues and half-bricks.

Amidst a thousand vacant-eyed postergirls, the two lay on a huge stained mattress, languidly staring into space, impossible to tell apart other than by the age they were. One had laid his head on the other's chest, who played distractedly with his hair.

"The thing is, son..." One swallowed hard, "I want you to know about women. REAL women"

"Real women like Mum, Dad?" asked the other

"No!" He pushed his hand away sharply, rising. "And not like your bloody schoolfriends, either, with their "feelings" and "personalities" and all that garbage, like men but without the nethers, no..." his voice trailed away, trembling.  "I'm talking about...REAL women. Like... them"

He pointed to the walls.

"Are they so different?"

"Of course! Thing is... I've not met one. But I've read about them. Seen them in special films. And cousin Ned went out with a stripper once.  So I think I can tell you straight... they don't like to be treated like people.  Feel free to rape 'em once in a while. They don't mind after a bit, as long as your love-dungeon smells nice. It's a compliment."

"Could I not just tell a girl she's interesting to talk to and ask her out for a coffee?"

"Trust me, son."

Outside arose the low rumblings of the 93 bus. They were ready to go out on the pull.  They would bear a well-thumbed copy of The Game by Neil Straus. They would lose themselves in endless forum chats about women with other delusional lowlifes.
It was so f'ked up.
Still hugging, they began to cry.

It's just a shame there were no clean tissues in the shed.  But I don't know why they're crying. I mean, I had to read the crappy original this was based on.  In fact, I had to read it twice, because the first time, my brain would not comprehend the sheer level of BLEURGH that was crawling along my optical nerves.

I should be f'king crying.

It may well suit some pathetic men to turn the hobby into a big-boy version of their old tree-house, where they could stick a "No Gurls Allowed!" sign on the door and show their willies off in private.  But my experience has been that the vast majority of male gamers are more than happy to see females getting in on the action and the novelty factor wears off pretty quick.  I hope I live to see the day when we're all just "Gamers", not "Gamers" and "Girl Gamers" - and the BBC don't run articles entitled "Why Do Grown Men Still Launch Tabletop War?"**

But with attitudes like this so easy to find, I fear it's gonna be a long time coming.

* When I say "fellas", I'm talking to the sub-human knuckle-draggers who wrote and/or enjoyed the atrocity my rant is based on, not the vast majority of sane male gamers who don't need this lecture (but hopefully still find it funny).

** That article could make for a whole different rant in itself, but I think CS Lewis says it best.

“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

Welcome Thoughton100BOT!

Today marks an important day for Thief on the Flats.

"Why, because after a month of ignoring it you're posting again?" you ask.  Quiet you.  Quiet your insolence.

No, because Thoughton100BOT -- who I promise is a real person -- has joined the team to give her input on game-related things.

"So, you're recruiting other bloggers to make up for your own inability to post things more regularly?" you ask.  What did we say about insolence, dear readers?