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Games
GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Playboy the Mansion game box shot Playboy: The Mansion. PS2/Xbox/PC Review

Become Hugh Heffner! Try and get rid of that "old guy smell"

Publisher: Ubisoft

Tue, 17 May 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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Ok, let's just get it out of the way right now; being Hugh Heffner ends up being pretty dull. At least, in Playboy the Mansion it does. In real life I'm sure that being Hugh Heffner is often quite a lot of fun. The guy gets to be a creepy old pervert for a living, nice one mate. In the game though, it just isn't too thrilling at all. In fact, much of the time it all feels like something of a chore. Ubisoft sent Buttonhole a few really fun and interesting games recently (I'll be talking more about those soon); unfortunately this particular title doesn't really warrant that description. So, does that mean it is utterly worthless? Well, no, not quite.

Despite its slow pace, derivative nature and the lack of incentive to progress in the game, Playboy the Mansion did manage to become oddly compelling for me. That feeling of compulsion was not a long lasting one, but at least it was there for a while. If they follow up on some of the concepts in this game with a better realised sequel they could probably make something pretty good from it. Then again, many of the concepts in this game are lifted straight from The Sims already (they didn't even make an attempt to disguise the fact that Playboy is a blatant Sims rip-off).

Next time, if they focus more on how throwing cool, wild parties and taking pictures (or having sex) with beautiful naked women with huge racks should be a FUN thing to do, that would certainly help. Maybe with the power of next generation of consoles they could even get the girls looking more like real people, instead of the freaky, bumpy plastic, cartoon looking things they resemble currently. Of course, it could be argued that is actually what most playmates do really look like.

Playboy game screenshot 1
Dude, you look like such a creepy bastard in those pyjamas, you know that?
If you've read or seen anything at all about this game you'll pretty much know what to expect from it. You take the role of Hugh Hefner and you have to make Playboy magazine successful. To do that you'll need to suck up and build relationships with all the right people; celebrities, reporters, photographers, models and so on.

To make your magazine work you have to include a cover shoot, a centrefold, a pictorial, an essay, an interview and a couple of articles in each and every issue. The way this is achieved is by talking to people, either the staff you hire, or guests you invite to the nearly endless parties at the Mansion. Well, the characters in the game don't actually speak; instead they make little silly noises (just like in The Sims). But you have to decide how best to interact with each individual, be it romantic talk, business talk etc. and you just keep on talking with them until you get them to like you enough that they'll do stuff for the mag. So, you do that and then you do it again and again and again and again. Yep, it really is that monotonous and unexciting.

There are certain goals that you'll be given as the game progresses, but they all involve building up relationships in exactly the same way I described above. There's really no variety at all. You do get to actually take the photos of the chicks for the centrefolds and covers though. You also choose where in the mansion they pose, what they (don't) wear and that kind of thing. They get their jugs out and you're away, but it isn't any kind of a turn on, because like I already said, they don't look like real women. They look like polygonal game versions of women, with overly large noggins and rock hard tits. If you get off on that, well I guess that's your business, but it sure doesn't do much for me.

There are some real life celebrities included in the game, like Carmen Electra and…Tom Arnold (wow, that's an impressive one), but none of them look like their real life versions. In fact all of the characters in the game look pretty interchangeable for the most part. There are males and there are females, other than that, they all and move the same ways and mostly look alike.

Alright then, so where's the "compelling" part fit into all of this? Good question. It is simple really, you see after you manage to make the Playboy magazine a success and start raking in the big fat dirty cash, some of the more dubious instinctive traits of human nature inevitably kick in: the desire to make more money, get more power, shag more women, build a bigger house and fill it full of more useless crap. I started wanting to get better quality issues of the magazine out; I wanted bigger movie stars on my covers, bigger rock stars at my parties, bigger breasts in my bed. And when that son of a bitch sold through the roof, I used the moolah to buy a more pimpin' bar, a bigger TV, decks for the DJs, another pinball machine for the club house and so on.

Why would you want to do those things? Umm… just because you can. That's the only real reason. It hooked me in for several hours, I'd even say it kept my interest for a few days worth of playing time. But then I just started losing interest.

At the end of the day, it is all too slow moving and you're left with nothing more than a bunch of that previously mentioned useless crap to show for your efforts.
There's never much of a thrill, or sense of achievement on offer, like you might get from kicking the arse of a particularly well designed end of level boss.

Playboy game screenshot 2
See? I told you the girls looked fake
The graphics and sounds are...functional. To look at it and listen to, this is like yet another version of The Sims basically. There are some cute and humorous character animations and some of the extra things you can buy look pretty cool, but, while there is nothing in particular wrong with the graphics, there is also nothing here that's visually impressive.

You're given a decent selection of songs and musical styles to choose from- you can do that buy changing things using the in-game stereos. There's hip-hop, jazz, industrial and much more to choose from, so that's all good. However, as this game is, by its very nature, highly time consuming you are still probably going to end up hearing most songs more times than you'd like to.

In conclusion, I can't honestly recommend Playboy the Mansion too highly. It isn't outright horrible, but it just isn't much fun either and isn't fun the exact reason most of us play games? Still, there are a couple of laughs to be had with the game and it can bring out the megalomaniac in you, if you give it a chance and play it long enough to earn enough money. So, maybe you should rent the game if you find the concept even mildly intriguing.

If you enjoy playing with doll's houses, or find the PSX version of Lara Croft (i.e. a crude bunch of polygons that almost looks like a female) sexy, then by all means go out and get a copy. If you want to know which version is the best (why?)…well, I was given the PS2 version for this review and as far as I know they're all exactly the same. But, I'd imagine the PC version would be the smoothest, due to mouse control being more suitable for these kinds of games.


by: Hillelman

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A game about parties, fame, extravagance and naked women. Who knew it was all so boring?

Overall:
12345678910116.0
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Toons
ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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