By Joe Dodson, GameSpot
Despite the name Tom Clancy in the title, the Rainbow Six games are hardly known for their ace storytelling skills. Having said that, the way the original Vegas ended on such a terrible cliffhanger ending, when all it really had to do was give you a reason to kick some terrorist butt, was especially disappointing. Fortunately, the campaign in Vegas 2 makes no such errors. You no longer play as Logan Keller. Instead, you hunt terror and save hostages as a custom character referred to as Bishop in the campaign. Although the specifics of the overarching story are pretty easy to lose track of, one thing is clear: There are terrorists and you have to get them before they get Vegas. However, there are a couple of great scenes in the campaign. For example, there is one where you're supposed to meet up with a guy to find chemical weapons, only the terrorists meet up with him first. Because he's wearing a communication device, you can hear the proceedings as you make your way through the level. First, the terrorist in charge rails angrily, then the guy pleads with him, then the terrorist rails some more, and then the guy starts screaming "NO, NO, not THAT!" Then there are no more words, just animal noises of pain, fear, and more than a little loathing. Other moments don't seem quite as authentic, especially those that involve civilians. While it's nice that they're in the game, you'll occasionally lose if you fail to prevent the terrorists from executing one of them. That's just plain silly because it's unlikely that a group of commandos would leave a bunch of terrorists and weapons behind because Hank the Hostage bit the dust.
Just like in the previous game, you play through each stage with your two not-so-trusty sidekicks. They're like roulette wheels in the way they oscillate between deadly efficacy and utter helplessness, though the odds are actually stacked in favor of them doing the right thing. Their normally smart, super-effective behavior actually makes it even more striking when they get stuck behind the occasional box. The campaign isn't very long, but it has its share of awesome firefights and is a good way to warm up for the online play.
Although many of the locales aren't the first ones that would come to mind if someone asked you to imagine a shootout in Vegas, they are inventive, nonetheless. There are a few nondescript warehouses, generic loading docks, and lame industrial areas that could just as easily be in Rainbow Six Fresno. But, then, there's also the theater level. This is a full-on replica of a decadent theater complete with stage, backstage, seats, and a balcony. The tricky thing about it is that one team has easy access to the balconies, while the other is pinned by the somewhat open stage. If a player from the latter group can make it across and exit stage left, hopefully with a close-range weapon like a shotgun, he can get all No Country for Old Men on the snipers watching the action below. How quickly the hunters become the hunted.
The other new additions are multiplayer modes: team leader, total conquest, and demolition. Team leader is the most creative because it blends a VIP-style match with elimination play. As long as your VIP is alive, your guys can respawn at will. But once he drops, every death is final. Coming back after your leader has been assassinated is possible, but not probable. Total conquest isn't a complete departure from the conquest mode featured in the original Vegas; now, you must hold three transmitters for 30 seconds. This is a fun, frantic mode because your objective is constantly changing between assault and defense. You always know where to go, and you usually have a good idea of where to find the enemy. Finally, demolition is a classic bombing mission where one side tries to blow up a target while the other tries to defend it.
Though there are differences between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 that make the 360 version slimly preferable, both unequivocally capture the same excellent experience. The lack of rumble in the PS3 controller is still a drag. Also, it takes a little longer to find a good PS3 online game for three reasons: fewer people are playing, you can only see a match's latency once you've joined, and you will randomly be unable to connect to certain servers. But the graphics are comparable and the gameplay is identical, so overall, the PS3 version is easy to recommend.
By Monty Python
Whenever I see the mobile phone ad which asks the question if this is what has become of computers, I wonder at the future of computer technology. Really, what will happen to our favourite piece of machine that is sitting on top of our desks in the next 10 years, or in the next 50 years. For most of you it is the centre of your entertainment world. Playing games, watching movie, writing, studying, I don't think there is anything left for which we are not dependant on the computers. So what is the future of computers?
The first machine that could be called a computer (a true predecessor of our computers) was called the Mark 1 built in Harvard university. It was mostly mechanical and therefore was huge, it was more than 50 feet in length and weighted five tons and it took 3 to 6 seconds just to add two numbers! The first fully electronic computer was the ENIAC built by the US government. It had no interface but needed to be rewired entirely every time the programmers needed to give it a different instruction (think programming language!), but it was faster. It also occupied an area of 1500 square feet and produced a lot of heat.
That was 1943, now fast forward to 2008, the present time. The computers that are sitting on top of your tables are perhaps a zillion times faster and more capable, yet they cost only a fraction (ENIAC cost $400,000 at that time, more that a few billion dollars if converted to this time). They are no longer used only to calculate complicated military or space programs but also to play cards and chess with us. The capabilities of the modern age PC is increasing at an exponential rate according to Moore's Law. But we are about to hit the limits of Moore's law as well! So here comes the era Nanotechnology and quantum computers.
Nanotechnology uses machines that are one billionth times smaller than conventional machines and work at the level of atoms and molecules. Think of T-X in “Terminator 3 - Rise of the machines”. The antagonist has the ability to shift shape of her arm and convert it a bazooka shooting electrical charges. This feature maybe attributed to nanotechnology in which millions of tiny particle machines change form to enable a massive physical and functional change, converting her entire arm into a weapon. Now imagine the situation where nanotechnology is really infused in a computer. Computer hardware, specially the processor can change its form factor at the microscopic level, changing the circuitry to better enable you to do the kind processing that the task demands. This is often also termed are organic computing and at present scientists are predicting that before the end of this century, the computers will be able to think for themselves and adapt itself to best suit the task that is handed out, much like a living organism.
The other technology that is a hot topic for technologists is the prospect of quantum computing. Okay now, don't get so quirky, I am not going to relate all scientific mumbo jumbo, specially now that you guys have just finished your exams and are taking a breather. In fact only a few people on the planet understand quantum mechanics (and they are called super nerds). But the idea behind quantum computer is quite understandable. In general, the computers that we use are based on binary calculation, it has two states, 0 and 1 and all calculations are done using the two states of electron. But if a computer is built that uses the sub atomic properties of electrons, then computers will understand more than just 0 and 1. it will also understand values which lie between it. And these values are named as qubits. In fact, if computers start to calculate in qubits, it gains the ability to parallel process and calculate numbers of much greater complexity.
Although talking about having a desktop computer boasting the powers of nanotechnology and quantum computers are still a far cry, but scientists have already demonstrated its possibility. In MIT a computer (roughly) is being tested that can process 2qubits of data and produce an output. Explorations into the world of nanotechnology is still an ongoing endeavor. But till those revolutions happen, I hope I am not too old to use a computer anymore.
Movies Reviewed by Gokhra
When Hollywood takes on a movie based on real life incidents it's been known to take great liberties as well. People change, locations change, stories change and sometimes all that remains is just the names of the principal characters. And that too can change.
21 is no different as it is 'based on actual events'.
It's a spin on the true story of six MIT math geniuses who crunched a lot of numbers to basically cheat and win it big in Las Vegas in the 90s. That story was spun to churn out a best-selling novel Bringing Down the House and the movie just takes the spin a little further.
The greatest beef with this movie is that the original characters were all Asian. The movie goes the Hollywood route with white folks. Other than the character riffs, the movie manages to entertain and that's what heist movies are supposed to do.
We have Kevin Spacey cranking up his cool headed persona up a notch as he plays Mickey Rosa, a math professor who decides that it's time to make a buck. Well, several million bucks in fact.
He hand picks the brainiest students to join his secret club of card counters. What's a card counter? It's someone who can look at the cards being shuffled, the ones being dealt and work out the probabilities as to which card will show up next. Knowing the outcomes can rake in the money.
And they do so at blackjack on a weekend trips to Vegas. Rosa's newest recruit is Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) who has a great knack for numbers. He's a good guy but he has to do a lot of stupid things to get his dream. He needs $300,000 for tuition at Harvard Medical and signing up with Mickey is one of those things.
Sturgess does a great job playing it innocent and shows he has good acting skills and a likeable on-screen persona. You want to root for this guy even when he is in the wrong.
The setup for the sting is brilliant the rest of the cast make it a entertaining flick portraying characters you can't forget too easily. Of course, the movie does have a finale where credibility takes a major beating but with all movies of this type, fantastically unbelievable endings are what you want.
“Nim's Island" is a modern family movie unlike other recent offerings. It's also an unusual setting for this century.
Abigail Breslin of "Little Miss Sunshine" fame plays 11-year-old Nim Rusoe. She lives with her father, Jack, who is a marine biologist on an unnaturally beautiful South Pacific island. Her living quarters involve a cool bamboo hut decked out with lab equipment. Oh and there's really fast internet access that puts to shame anything we can conjure in our bustling city. Guess she doesn't have to share bandwidth with 50 other monkeys.
Nim has the strangest and most wonderful friends. There's Selkie the sea lion, Galileo the pelican and Fred the lizard. CGI helps out a bit doesn't overwhelm.
The story begins with Jack missing on a two-day expedition at sea. Nim, worried, e-mails the hero of her favorite adventure book series, Alex Rover.
In reality, Alex is actually the author of the books. Also Alex is actually Alexandria who has not left the comfort of her apartment in 16 weeks. Jodie Foster plays the slightly neurotic Alex who talks to her own fictional character and is afraid to even step outside her door. But thanks to plenty of encouragement from her fictional character, she does manage to travel halfway around the planet to help Nim.
Breslin is a great actor playing a young heroine who's got a lot of courage but also terrified over her missing dad. Nim's Island is jampacked with childhood fantasies, ridiculously crazy plots and the most amazing animal characters. It's a film for the young and the young at heart who like to give free reign to their imagination.
It's got comedy, it's got adventure and it's got a farting sea lion. And if you are too jaded to enjoy this, well, too bad.