QotM*: Personal Trainer

*Question of the Month is the sound of rain on a tent at a camping trip organised by LaterLevels

Unfortunately I just didn’t get around to answering last month’s question, which was double-bad because the format has been all shaken up and poured over ice; from the beginning of the year, a star blogger gets to both set the question and make their decision on who’s managed to best answer that month’s conundrum. For February I have to try and impress Kevin from over on The Mental Attic. The QotM master post gives you something of a glimpse into the world of our quizzing puppet-master for this month who asks:

You ate everything during Christmas so now have to diet and work it all off; which video game character do you recruit as your personal trainer to get you back into shape?

Continue reading “QotM*: Personal Trainer”

Jurassic Park: Trespasser – Next Time It’ll Be Flawless

… You know that bit where John Hammond spoils the magic of the flea circus by telling Ellie that it was all motorised? Well, I’m not like John. This article contains spoilers about the bizarre & obscure PC title Jurassic Park: Trespasser, you have been warned… 

After the excitement of that first groundbreaking movie, the cinematic adaptation of Michael Crichton’s follow up “Jurassic Park: The Lost world” was a huge deal. I remember all the promotions and merchandise tie-ins alluding to the mysterious “Site B” – I’m pretty sure that even now, if you utter that short word coupled with a solitary letter most people (at least in my age range) would immediately think of dinosaurs. A year later in 1998 DreamWorks Interactive released “Jurassic Park: Trespasser” (actually just called “Trespasser”) to coincide with the home release of  the movie. Sadly, rushing a game tie-in out to meet with some other release schedule is, as I’ve mentioned before, often one of the big problems with such a title and Trespasser was no exception. It was buggy, had sections cut, and largely failed to live up to the ambitious intentions of the designers. Twenty years later I decided to give this notorious game a shot in my ongoing quest to find the best Jurassic Park game out there. Continue reading “Jurassic Park: Trespasser – Next Time It’ll Be Flawless”

Editorial: February 2018 – “Mystery Blogger” & “Unique blogger” Awards

Wow, we’re already one month through the year! January seems to have flown by, but likely because of some work busy-ness and home improvements which have caused an excessively large upheaval; thankfully that’s all behind me now (or at least it will be by the time you read this).

As the title may have spoilt, I’ve been honoured recently with nominations for two different community awards. It really is a pleasure to have been nominated for these by two excellent bloggers and as this editorial is all about giving me a chance to be a little more conversational in my blogging I’ll take this opportunity to respond to both of them here. Continue reading “Editorial: February 2018 – “Mystery Blogger” & “Unique blogger” Awards”

Cuphead: That Good Kind of Punishing…

That hypnotic tumbling, dots flashing before your eyes, the distinctive clattering of well balanced ivory against ivory, and complimentary dull thud as those cubes of chance tumble against the green baize. In the background a deep rasping chuckle; the acrid smell of brimstone fills your nostrils, yet the jazz plays on and maybe… just maybe your luck will change… you order another martini and roll … Continue reading Cuphead: That Good Kind of Punishing…

Mario & Bowser: Maybe We’ve Been Lied To

Spoiler Warning: This post does contain some plot spoilers of Super Mario Odyssey… you have been warned! … it’s also pretty silly…

My brain began turning last week after I posted a pretty off-hand Tweet about Mario’s behaviour in ‘Super Mario Odyssey’. It was only after that I started to question what I’d been shown in game and how a few choice camera cuts could have been used to paint a very different picture of the whole series of events. The conundrum raised is, “Is he really the good-guy?… and by extension, is Bowser really so bad?Continue reading “Mario & Bowser: Maybe We’ve Been Lied To”

Overgrowth: It Has Big Rabbits…. Big Violent Rabbits…

Wolfire Games have already featured once in my ramblings; their other major release ‘Receiver‘ showed me that forcing the player to work hard to achieve something as simple as reloading a gun makes for an interesting shift in focus on the tired FPS format. At the time of penning that article I also mentioned ‘Overgrowth’ as having immensely satisfying 3rd person combat that I wanted to revisit once it had managed to accrue enough momentum to break out of a seemingly infinite early access gravity well.

I’m not saying that the good folks over at Wolfire read the piece, but it seems coincidental that just a few short weeks later ‘Overgrowth’ finally made it out of Early Access for an official release. Maybe I have some kind of mystical industry influence, in which case I’ll be accepting donations to mention conspicuously unfinished/perpetually developed games here in a hope that it forces them out into the world… any takers?…      Continue reading “Overgrowth: It Has Big Rabbits…. Big Violent Rabbits…”

There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective

Shhhh… I have a confession to make and I’m pretty sure that I can trust you all, right? I got kinda starstruck the other day on Twitter, but it’s OK because I played it cool and I don’t think the person involved was any the wiser.

Now I’ve grabbed your attention I can reveal that the mystery person was the most excellent game designer, Kim Swift. Through the magic… or weirdness… of Twitter we shared a short exchange about successfully (or not in my case) driving in snow. Unfortunately, despite being strangely informative, that is not what I would ideally have liked to quiz Kim about. In that ideal world I would have asked her about her time heading up the team that developed Portal; her involvement in the Left4Dead games; why she left Valve; what she thought about Portal 2; and her hopes for the future. The whole incident left me thinking about Portal and its legacy. Even the story of Gabe Newall hiring Kim and her team after seeing their short title, ‘Narbacular Drop’, has a touch of mystery about it. Continue reading “There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective”