The Open 2014, Rounds 1 & 2

The Open 2014, 2 Rounds down, the cut is +3, some big players are already out like Padraig Harrington and the question on every member of Royal Liverpool golf club is; How are they struggling to keep the ball on the fairways!?
The highest wind-speeds so far have been 15-17 mph and from a local viewpoint, that’s very weak!

Rory Mcilroy has taken to Royal Liverpool very well, with 2 rounds of six under. Rory seems to have taken to the course very well, knowing when to attack with drivers off the tee, and when to play conservative and hit an iron to avoid fairway bunkers (most of the time). Even after a shaky start to the day, Rory battled to post the second best score of the day, keeping himself ahead by 4 moving into the weekend.

Dustin Johnson being second may ring bells that the long hitters are revelling on this course. Although one big hitter, Bubba Watson has been pretty poor all week long.  Another player who has played poor is Tiger Woods, the 2006 Open, the last time Royal Liverpool played host. However with persistent injuries and Tiger still being in the recovery period is hindering his chances.

World number one Adam Scott has had to push through in the worst conditions on both of the two days, day ones afternoon players had higher winds and then they become the morning players for round two and the wind was yet again stronger for them, an unfortunate piece of luck for some, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Adam Scott should be happy at -3 as he is much higher than most players who went out at the same time as him. What’s surprising about the wind is that its not strong, yet all players seem to be struggling to get a grip of it. It could be due to grandstands creating artificial conditions around the tees.

Ashley Chesters, the leading amateur at these championships will unfortunately miss the cut, coming home through 2 rounds with a respectable +3, one shot away from the cut. A shaky start to his second round cemented his position and he was unable to recover at the end of the round.

The course is playing completely different from 2006 as well. 2006 was very dry all week, the fairways had a lot of run and there was little to no wind. With rain coming in the Prior days in the Wirral, the course has maintained a lovely green colour, unlike the brown parched fairways of 2006, this means the course is slower and the winning gameplan of only using driver once in 2006 has gone. The course seems to be playing a risk and reward which creates great action, yet most players are still using irons off the tee and surprisingly they are missing the fairways by long distances. This is even when the winds are no where near as strong as they are most weeks of the year!

The spectators have been great this year, much like last time. Large crowds flooding in and staying until the last players come through, its great to see the Wirral get behind a great tournament. We are happy to welcome the world to our paradise peninsula, the coverage has made the Wirral look brilliants, thank you BBC. One favour, can we have more of that blue line tee shots, its a much better way to grasp where they’ve hit the ball! My Dad and I have loved watching the coverage from that perspective.  We hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend, and we look forward to a great finish in the horseshoe 18th!

 

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Things to do at the Open 2014 (Hoylake)

The town that is closest to Royal Liverpool and the host town for the tournament is Hoyake. You may or may not know that Hoylake is quite small, but its very easy to get around as everything is pretty much based around the main road. To get to Hoylake from Royal Liverpool’s clubhouse, turn left and go straight over the roundabout, the town starts here!

If you turn right at the roundabout you will find the train station, this can take you to most locations on the Wirral and it can take you over to Liverpool aswell, Trains generally run every 15 minutes. Trains normally run to West Kirby, but the practice ground for the Open is on Hoylake Municipal course, which means the players must cross the tracks to get there.

Bars

On the cresent opposite the train station is Jack Rabbit Slims, which offers a unique atmosphere in Hoylake. The bar boasts having live bands on most days which makes it one of very few places that do that. There will be bands playing from Wednesday to Sunday.  Jack Rabbit Slims also offers “Italian Street food” which is available all day and night.

www.jacksbar.co.uk/

Vanilla lounge is a unique wine bar that caters for all tastes, you can share lunch with friends or a fine wine with a loved one, listen to soul and Motown or relax with live music and enjoy popular tribute nights Vanilla Lounge is the home of the Hoylake Hoolie –  a unique cocktail which is a blend of martini, vodka, lime and a secret ingredient. For the real thing, pop in!

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If a pub may be more up your street the look no further than The Ship Inn. It offers good drinks and fair prices and there’s normally live sport on as well, good to go to watch the highlights from the day and catch up on all that you missed.

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Restaurants

The Portrait House is a former photographic studio that has been completely refurbished to provide an intimate ambience.  In keeping with its history, the walls exhibit works by local artists.The cuisine is contemporary and classic, using the best local, seasonal produce wherever possible.  The Portrait House is open from midday to midnight seven days a week.

theportraithouse.co.uk/

Lino’s is a premium restaurante situated further down the main road on the right. It specialises itself on Italian food and focus’s on quality. Its quality and friendly atmosphere makes Lino’s a top restaurant for some Footballers from Everton and Liverpool which proves how good the place is. Book early to get a place.

www.linosrestaurant.co.uk/

Hoylake Promenade

Similar to West Kirby Promenade, but a lot longer. It offers unique views and its a popular place for runners walkers and cyclists to go through. It has great views looking out to the sea into Liverpools shipping lane.

 

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Things to do at The Open 2014 (West Kirby)

If you are coming to watch the Golf Open 2014 at Royal Liverpool, you may not know where to go when the Golf isn’t on in the evenings. I will be writing some of the better things to do while on the Wirral Peninsula to make your experience as enjoyable as possible!

Part 1 West Kirby.

The two closest Towns to Royal Liverpool are Hoylake, which is the closest to the clubhouse, and West Kirby, which is closer to the entrances by holes 9, 10, 11 and 12. Both Towns have great bars to go to and they are normally thriving when the sun is out.

Once leaving the course from entrance 6, turn right on the main road and follow it to the town centre.

The Bars

The first bar you will notice when entering West Kirby will be the Wro. There are 3 Wro’s in close proximity. The Wro bar, The Wro Lounge and The Wro Loft. The Wro Loft is generally used for private hire. The Wro bar and Wro Lounge both offer drinks, if you would like food as well you will be better off in the Wro Lounge. The Wro’s are well priced and have great atmosphere, theres plenty of space to drink outside if the weather is good too! The bar has won multiple awards for best bar staff as well.


For more information check out the website: http://thewro-lounge.co.uk/pages/venues/loft.php

West Kirby Promenade and Beaches

A must walk for lovers of the sea. Royal Liverpool is a seaside course, as is West Kirby, the seaside has views over to Wales across the river Dee. There’s normally sailing going on at the same time as well. The marine lake can showcase excellent sail boat races. West Kirby Sailing club hosts the Wilson Trophy every may.

http://www.visitwirral.com/attractions-and-activities/west-kirby-beach-p243111

Hilbre Island

Fancy a walk out to an Island accessible only when the tide is out? Well you can start walking from West Kirby beach towards it if you can find tide times (check link below). Hilbre island is a local nature reserve, and its free to visit. The main attraction is the views as well as bird watching.

http://www.visitwirral.com/attractions-and-activities/hilbre-islands-p17578

Restaurants

After a long day walking around the golf course you will be hungry, West Kirby offers some great restaurants, I won’t go into full detail, go down Banks road and you will find some restaurants. I recommend Milan, they make brilliant dishes for very good prices, the portions are good and the staff a great!

http://www.milantherestaurant.co.uk/

Hickory’s is a great new bar/restaurant that launched more recently. Its an american smoke house that brings an American feel to the Wirral. Hickory’s has been extremely popular since it opened its doors, with amazing food and great drinks it is the perfect combo!

http://hickorys.co.uk/westkirby/

I hope you enjoy West Kirby, the small seaside town will no doubt be buzzing when the Opens on, don’t hesitate to ask people where things are, most of very friendly.

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The British Open 2014 What to do?

Hey guys!
I’m back writing daily blogs again. The next couple of weeks will be focused on the British Open as it is based at Royal Liverpool which is 5 minutes from me.
This week will be full of things to do around the Wirral when you are visiting.

The Open is being held for the second time this millennium after a very successful 2006 Open won by Tiger Woods. Great weather made the course much easier than it should have been. The Wirral has been preparing for this occasion for a while now and we hope to put on a great show for the world again.

Check back to www.thebootube.com for information on things to do around the Wirral for your visit starting tomorrow.

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Top 10 N64 Games

A classic console deserves a top 10 list. The N64 is approaching 18 years of age after being released in 1996 or 1997 depending on the region of the world you live in. The N64 still entertains me to this day, even if I do have to use emulators to play the games I own. The N64 was the console that really kickstarted me into gaming, I had a Super Nintendo but never played many games on it. The N64 is possibly my all time favourite console, even though the controller was a bit strange. I have bought re-mastered versions of many N64 games because they are great games and gave me nostalgia! Anyway, to the top 10!

Honourable Mentions: Cruisn’ USA, Wipeout FX, Mario Golf and WWF No Mercy

10.Super Smash Bro’s

A fighting game that I actual like. Super Smash Bro’s gives a completely Chaotic aspect into fighting games that made it great to play! Particularly with 4 players. The gameplay was great as it allowed skilled players and button bashers equal chance, which I need as I suck at fighting games! Super Smash Bro’s was one of those games that you couldn’t play alone, so getting friends over was necessary.

9. Jet Force Gemini

Jet Force Gemini was a brilliant game that I feel went under the radar for a lot of people. A diffcult game to get used to, but brilliant to play. You choose between 3 main character and I remember there being a co-op aspect to it as well. There are tons of little added bonus’s dotted around the game, including mini games like races, there’s a lot to do! Best part is, you can pick a dog in a tank.

8. Perfect Dark

Perfect dark was basically Goldeneye with different graphics, for that reason its not as high as Goldeneye. It was still a fun game with a great story to follow, there was lots to explore in the Carrington institution too. It does flop a bit as it used some of the exact levels from Goldeneye in multiplayer, aside from that though, a great game.

7. Duke Nukem

“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of gum” a game that was rated a little higher than my age when I first played it. Duke Nuken took a first person shooter game, that would be ok by itself, and added some comedy into the mix. Duke Nukem is full of great one liners and more interesting things to find. Its a game full of hidden areas in a semi decent story. It may not be everyones idea of a perfect game, but it did come quite close!

6. Star Wars: Rouge Squadron

One of the best Star Wars games that isn’t Battlefront. Rougue Squadron became the game that everyone wanted, just to be able to fly star wars space ships! It was really fun to play and came with some difficult parts too. Definitely took a different look at how games could be made, its probably the only flying game I want to play now as it has character. And who wouldn’t want to pretend to be in an X-Wing

5. Mario Kart 64

Do I need to say much? Its Mario Kart, everyones played it! This had one of the harder Rainbow Road tracks of the series

4. Banjo Kazooie

Banjo Kazooie is one of my childhood favourites. A third person RPG but slightly puzzle game, not just because you hunt for Jigsaw pieces called “Jiggies”. Banjo Kazooie had a lot to do in the game, even now it takes a good 8 hours to complete. Theres a great variation of maps in the game and a fun story. One of my greatest achievements was completing the game to 100% on the XBLA version.

3. Zelda: Ocarina of Time

One of the best RPG games of all time. Zelda is well known because of this game although most still don’t know that Zelda is the princess and Link is the main characters name… it was never made fully obvious. Zelda: Ocarina of Time was great as it catered to everyone, I liked to play the story and the puzzles where difficult for me when I was young (some still are!). My sister loved the horse parts of the game with Epona. Music was the main part of this game, using the ocarina was key, this also meant learning some simple tunes via the C-buttons, we all had the songs written down didn’t we?

2. Goldeneye

A game that paved the way for first person shooter games. Goldeneye was not a game that received a lot of hype at its E3 showing in 1997, most probably it was expected to be just like most movie based games. Goldeneye introduced most to their first experience of competitive first person shooter multiplayer. Goldeneye was a had a great story, following the story of the book and film of course. There were also a whole heap of cheats that were available from the game as well as a way to make the multiplayer maps much larger.

1: Super Mario World 64

Super Mario World 64 was the top sold game over the N64 lifetime selling around 11.5 million copies world wide. It was a launch title for the N64 and probably contributed to many of the sales. Super Mario World 64 was one of the first 3D  platforming games which made it very unique. The gameplay was fresh, bringing new concepts to gaming with different variants of jumps. The graphics are extremely good for its age, it would probably pass of a Wii game now! The game also had a lot to do, there were multiple levels with 8 challenges in each. I think there is a ton of easter eggs that I never found in the game too! Super Mario World is still making me come back for more even now, definitely one of the best games ever made.

What do you think? Have I missed out a game you would have put in? Why not comment below, I may have forgotten something anyway!

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Gaming Ads

“Not actual game-play footage” or “not in game graphics”, two things that are shown consistently in gaming ads. There are more gaming ads now then ever before, are the surges of ads worth it?

I get the idea of advertisements, if you think that adverts don’t affect you then I have some news for you, you most certainly do! You will always be affected by ads just by seeing a logo or an annoying jingle and if you ever talk about an advert for being annoying then the advert has done its job well.

When games are advertised on TV I find it very frustrating that they will use footage that is “not actual gameplay footage”. Or even more annoyingly “not in game footage” I get that games need to be pushed to the more casual gamer, but the casual gamer won’t know what type of game is being advertised, most of the time the casual gamer doesn’t know about many games that are not long term well known games (Mario Kart, GTA Etc.). I understand advertisement of larger games that have been long standing. When a new game comes out of the GTA series some casual gamers may have been reminded about it via adverts, which is probably why GTA V sold so well. People remember classic names of games, this is the same story with Mario Kart. Mario Kart 8 has been released and many of my family and friends who don’t follow the gaming industry like I do get nostalgic about previous Mario Kart games and feel that they would like a Wii U and Mario Kart 8. Games like Watch dogs got advertised too much, I felt that this caused it to get over hyped and I worry about this becoming the norm and too many games punching below their hype.

If game developers and publishers want to advertise their game then I suggest that using in game graphics at least would be good, it would give the casual gamer an idea of what’s being bought. Trailers can only work for games that are well known, Halo has successfully done this for games after Halo 3.

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Unfinished Games

Do games get released with the developers knowing that its unfinished and has multiple issues? I experienced this on the largest scale so far via Battlefield 4, the game that was consistently broken for a good 4 or 5 months after it was released. I have started thinking about this topic again as I have seen that Battlefield Hardline is currently in a beta phase.

 

I remember that prior to Battlefield 4’s release they bought out a beta which I remember playing, it had its odd issue here and there, but beta’s are meant to, they aren’t finished games and when you play them you should keep this in mind. It was about a month after the beta when the game was released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and 3 weeks later the next gen consoles were released. In the month after the beta the developers appeared to make the game severely worse. Constant rubber banding, one shot kills, invisible walls caused by dead players, consistent game crashes and many many more. I’m not entirely sure how they messed the game up so badly to start. Granted that most of the issues are no dealt with, some smaller issues still remain! EA have been investigated by their share holders as a result of this and hopefully the effect of poor publicity will make them work harder on all future games.

GTA V was another game that fell foul of issues, however the issues only started when the online aspect was started. They started with severe issues with servers and after that they experience some niggles with areas of cars getting deleted. Rockstar North combated this quite quickly and issued some free money to all players and continue to dish out free content almost every 2 months.

Ah well, developers will eventually learn to make a game work from day one, It seems that game developers have become to accustomed to updating games at later dates, it seems like an extreme issue when games are released with a day one update, It makes no sense to me and probably a lot of others. Remember when games came out and worked with very few issues, they couldn’t be updated to developers worked hard on them! Lets go back to those times!

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World Cup Sportsmanship

The world cup has been alive for nearly a week, almost all countries have played their first games and I have a rather large issue with the majority of the players attitudes towards sportsmanship.

It all started on day one, Brazil’s Fred  flopped to the floor like a sack of potatoes very much untouched and this act turned into a penalty. Possibly making this worse is the fact that he has defended himself claiming it was not a dive! I’m still unsure with what the referee saw, but I worry that Brazil will get multiple decisions like this going their way.

Another high profile issue came in the Germany v Portugal game, firstly the Penalty was extremely soft again, there was a pull on the shoulder of Mueller, yet it didn’t appear enough to even make you stumble, let alone get pulled to the floor! This wasn’t the only issue with the game however. Again, Mueller was involved faking getting elbowed in the face by Pepé, this caused an over-reaction by Pepé as he headbutted Mueller who at that point had a miraculous recovery after holding his face like he had just been shot.

These are just the highest profile issues so far, there has been many issues of flops and drops around loads of games, there seems to be a record amount of penalties, possibly averaging one penalty a day!

Sportsmanship seems to be at an all time low, players are very content with diving, pretending to get elbowed in the face in attempted to gain penalty’s and red cards for opposing players. It would appear that sportsmanship in football is now left to the minority, FIFA do very little to stop this even though they have the power of video replays (or do they know that technology is available to them?).

If I was FIFA president, I would introduce a stepping fine for players who dive, I would make it a percentage of wage based so the law can be used through all professional divisions. First offence would be a fine of 10% of wage, then they step up in 10% increments.

Diving is ridiculous, it makes the sport look bad for everyone, divers should be labelled cheats and it certainly shouldn’t be considered “part of the game”. Stop the rediculous decisions, make football fair, fine the divers, and start to consider video replay challenges as well!

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Halo: Spartan Assault Review

Halo: Spartan Assault became free with Games with Gold starting early June. For free its definitely worth picking up, however if you paid the full amount for the game I would be disappointed. Halo Spartan Assault is a beautiful game to look at, its done in a typical Halo style with some gritty areas made wonderful with glowing plasma. Apart from graphical beauty however, nothing stands out at all. Missions feel like a chore very quickly, they lack creativity and seem forced to make up levels. Usually there is a single objective, for example, survive till evac, destroy wraiths, get to an certain point etc. This also creates an issue of a lack of difficulty to go with the game. Most levels feel like you needs to walk in one direction and never stop shooting. You will very rarely feel outnumbered and therefore you will never feel like Halo Spartan Assault tests your ability at any time. The only time issues arise in Halo: Spartan Assault is when ammo becomes an issue, which happens often as ammo is sparse at best, its simple to fix though as all that is needed is to find a weapon on the floor. Halo: Spartan Assault was priced at £12 on the Xbox Live Store, average price for a full arcade game. I don’t feel like it lived up to the Halo name. It plays as a top down third person twin stick shooter, very similar to Call Of Duty’s Black Ops arcade zombies map.character movement is done by the left stick and aiming is done with the left stick. Its very fluid and easy to grasp very quickly, aiming is also helped by a mild sticky aim over enemies to help at long range kills. Grenades can become problematic with a lack of throw able distance making them difficult to judge at times. There are many weapons in Halo: Spartan Assault, all are returning weapons from previous Halo games. Halo: Spartan Assault has a poor story that never really grips at any point, it does add some back story to the Halo games that add depth overall, but you have to listen and follow attentively to understand, this is because the story follows 6 different Spartans, each Spartan has their own chapter in the game, with each having 5 missions each, making a total of 30 missions that rarely take longer than 5 minutes each and never take more than 10 minutes. There is a weapon selection prior to each mission, you can purchase other weapons to start with to help make a level easier, it will also help you gain points to get gold stars on each mission if that happens to be what you want to achieve. In game credits can be attained by completing missions or via micro-transactions. There is a co-op in Halo: Spartan Assault, however it is very weak. The simple option would be to have co-op on the main missions. Instead they put in 6 co-op only missions, which means some people may never play them as Halo: Spartan Assault is on-line co-op only. The co-op missions are fun but the experience doesn’t last long, very dissapointing. Returning for Halo: Spartan Assault are dual wielding weapons, something that has been lost in Halo for a few games now. Although there is dual wielding, you do not feel that same fun emotion of actually dual wielding in a first person shooter Halo game. It brings back memories of Halo’s 1 and 2 but never quite recreates the raw emotion that those games created. The issue is that this game never quite gets to the standard that previous halo games have set. The controls are solid and very well done, however there is a lack of map creativity and the story is poor. The game never grips you fully and there is a feeling that micro transactions are almost necessary. The co-op side lacks length and any depth, but can be fun for a short burst with a friend. The graphics are beautiful but the rest of the game lets it down completely, definitely not worth buying, but definitely worth a free download with the games with gold programme.

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World Cup Madness

As the ITV intro goes, Brasil, Brasil! The World Cup is only a couple of days old and already it has started off with a bang! Controversy, close matches and some fantastic goals have featured already and its only day 3!

The highlight so far and possibly the performance of the Tournament goes to Netherlands with their dominant performance over the reigning World Champions and Euro Champions Spain.  Netherlands have sent a pretty big message to every other country with their 5-1 crushing of the Spanish side that has suffered just 3 defeats in their previous 64 matches. It appears that Spain are now beatable even when they dominate with possession, they have lost a spark that not even a “proper” number 9 in the form of Diego Costa (I don’t like that he got to choose his national team to play for!).  Netherlands used the pure brilliance of Van Persie and Robben to tear apart a suspect Spanish back 4 and punished some poor decision making by the spanish goalkeeper and captain Casillas.

Brazil, the hosts are definitely not on form currently, scraping a pretty close win in a game that the scoreline doesn’t show. Brazil were given a penalty that never was, nice dive Fred (great name though). It brings a talking point of punishing players who blatantly dive, they need to be fined a percentage of wage or similar, they are ruining the game.

Disallowed goals are the major talking point so far this tournament. It may spark the talking point of having video replay for possible goals, or give coaches some challenges to allow decisions to get video replays. It would help a lot with poor decision making that are ruining games. Goals change games and when they get disallowed unfairly then something needs changing, its good to see goal line technology, though its yet to be used to its full extent. Now to take the next step FIFA, though FIFA are possibly the worse governing body for a sport in the world and needs a major overhaul.

I look to support England this tournament as always, I also Like the USA though they are unlikely to get through the group of death. I don’t think either of these teams will win the whole tournament however, this may go to either Germany or Netherlands.

England play tonight, chances are it will be a dull draw, however, it is a World Cup game, these happen every 4 years and we are not guaranteed to qualify. Get behind the lads, they need the support, the talent is there, they need a little push and some luck to get through though. Come on England.

 

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