Five Genres With an Entry Barrier

Some time ago (last year to be exact, yikes!) one of the monthly questions required that I conjure up my own personal selection of best game for a non-gamer. Most of us probably have go to games for such an occasion, those times when not-so-gamery friends are around, or the family is visiting, or you just need something to cater for a wide variety of tastes and players. My wife and I … well, it’s usually more my wife than me… often proposes a few rounds of Overcooked; simple controls and a concept everyone can get on board with wrapped up in cartoon chaos generally seems to go down well and get everyone at least involved if not entirely at head-chef standard.

… this isn’t about those games…  Continue reading “Five Genres With an Entry Barrier”

Editorial: August 2018 – Where are you?

Hellooooo! Yes, yes, I know it’s been a few weeks now, and I’m sorry about that, but I’m here now ok? … and maybe I’ll manage to shine some light on my absence. 

The end of July was equal parts super hot and super busy which turns out isn’t a good combination for maintaining even a leisurely blogging pace such as mine. I even managed to have a few days of work with the intention of getting some DIY done and have a bit of a blogging spree, but the DIY was severely scaled back to the hours before 11am and after 4pm due to the heat and the blogging just didn’t get started. The frustrating part was that it was even too hot to really play games, let alone write about them.  Continue reading “Editorial: August 2018 – Where are you?”

My Dream Chess Game

So, after a string of losses to my phone’s Chess AI whilst I was tired and making my way home from a meeting on the train the other day, I let rip a string of tweets about “Chess Games” being “Bad Games”. The beloved “Chess Game” has been providing solitary Chess wannabes an AI opponent through almost every platform including early home computing, PC’s, consoles of all generations, phones, those computerised boards, and even those LCD handheld things since computers were computers. Heck, even before that the “Mechanical Turk” conjured up an ‘artificial’ player to forego the need for a human opponent. Given its ubiquity, I wouldn’t want to throw out a comment like that without expanding on my thoughts or first clarifying a few things:

  1. I’m not good at chess.
  2. I’m not criticising the game chess itself.
  3. The field of chess AI development is truly impressive and my comments are not a criticism of that achievement or talent.
  4. My comments are a reflection of my flaws rather than those of the software… but that’s also kind of the point.

Continue reading “My Dream Chess Game”

Jurassic Park (DOS 1993) – Split Personality

“Who better to get the children through Jurassic Park than a dinosaur expert” – John Hammond … to be said in a warm Scottish accent… 

Who better indeed than Alan Grant? The embodiment of Good-Sam-Neil; as oppose to Bad-Sam-Neil that we all know and were terrified by in Event Horizon.

The latest in my very leisurely quest to explore the many Jurassic Park games goes right back to 1993 where it all started with the PC game released by Ocean software. Ocean were also responsible for the Nintendo (NES, GB, SNES) Jurassic Park games which all took a more top-down action approach when compared to the side-scrolling action of the SEGA games; but those are DNA strands to break down another day. The PC version is most similar to the SNES version with both isometric and first person segments, but they are two quite different games as I managed to complete the PC version whereas any time I’ve attempted the SNES version I’ve failed to make it more than one-hundred in-game meters from the opening screen. Continue reading “Jurassic Park (DOS 1993) – Split Personality”

Editorial: July 2018 – Toasty…

Hello and a happy July to you all; doesn’t seem like so long ago that I was wrapped up warm in the middle of a blizzard writing March’s Editorial and now the UK is in the sweaty grip of a heatwave with people standing on street corners tutting disapprovingly at hose users and making statements about liking it hot, but not this hot.

… of course from a gaming point of view the past month has held the joy of E3, seemingly endless logos and carefully scripted trailers being paraded out to the cheers of a crowd somewhere in the press conference at an unsocial time for anyone in the UK to watch; not that I’m bitter. I don’t generally get caught up too caught up in the E3 hype, but this year I think I enjoyed that collective sense of anticipation in the community more than in the past and there were a few things that caught my attention even at this early stage. I’m was very excited to finally see some of the Resident Evil 2 remake and thrilled that it looks really… really… good. Within the list of other announcements I’m quietly intrigued by Wolfenstein: The Young Blood; TNO was excellent, but neither Old Blood or New Colossus quite captured that same feeling. At this stage there are very few details other than it being a co-op experience so I’ve quietly been trying to convince my wife that she should play TNO in preparation for Young Blood’s release.  Continue reading “Editorial: July 2018 – Toasty…”

Postman Pat on Atari ST: Hell on Earth

The phrase “Retro-Gaming” conjures up images of PacMan, Mario, Space Invaders, but for many of us it’s also associated with one of the vast array of home computers that we grew up with before PC’s became the default computing platform. Regular travellers to my corner of the internet will know that some of my earliest gaming was on the Atari STe; a titan of the late 80’s home computing market with its desktop graphical interface a resplendent green whilst many PC users of the time were still command-lining it up in DOS.

Of course I was way too young to use it for anything practical, but this bulky grey box set up in the study was undeniably a source of intrigue for my young mind and my parents had furnished us with a modest selection of games…. including Postman Pat…. Continue reading “Postman Pat on Atari ST: Hell on Earth”

Night in the Woods: Feeling Stuff

Stuff! Heck, we all feel “Stuff”, you know from time to time, like… you know when feelings and things…

The truth is, despite that masterfully elegant opening paragraph, I’m pretty bad at articulating feelings. In my “day-job” this isn’t a problem; few people really want to know how metallurgy makes me feel, so the papers and reports tend to just stick to the science. However, that’s just my daylight hour alter-ego and outside those hours I’m someone who loves games that make me feel things. Of course I do feel things all the time, but I’m rarely called upon to explain, understand, or write down exactly what I’m feeling.

So recently I’ve been playing “Night in the Woods” (I’m some way through, but havn’t completed it yet so no spoilers in the comments please!) and it makes me feel things in a way that the simple charming 2D graphics of an anthropomorphised cat manage to hide really well to the casual observer. It’s a game all about feelings and I’m going to do my best to break down what it makes me feel, and maybe even why.

Continue reading “Night in the Woods: Feeling Stuff”