I’m a commuter. For almost two hours every weekday I’m held prisoner on West Midlands Railway’s ageing rolling-stock trying not to make eye contact with a group of strangers who I see more of than most friends or family. The snippets of their lives that I encounter I even share with my wife when I get home…
… for example the saga of the lady who’s daughter wouldn’t accept that her stuffed bunny had gone to live in a lovely toy shop when infact it had been lost, so she ended up trawling eBay for several days to track another one down. Or the teenagers who spent most of a journey discussing why pyramid schemes were illegal and how they probably shouldn’t put money into the one their friends were running….
For all you non-commuters out there who are wondering why commuters don’t speak to each other the reason is pretty simple: We’re all terrified. All terrified of making a ‘commuting-buddy’; someone who we’re then obliged to say hello to everyday, make smalltalk with, or worst of all sit next to for two hours everyday struggling to avoid controversial conversation with, so endlessly dissecting each aspect of the weather or sarcastically berating whichever generic train company runs the service that week. Continue reading “Rotten to the Core: Winning my Own Way”
… you’re frozen to the spot…
A bullet hovers, stationary, abruptly halted along that incomplete vector from barrel to your face. It’s barely a foot from its intended destination. Without moving your head you allow your knees to bend. The very act of crouching seems to gently turn the crank on the passage of time and the bullet slowly proceeds forward. You continue to crouch, but can’t resist letting your eyes follow the projectile as it sails over your head. This is a game played out long-form over fractions of seconds.
Super Hot is a game that’s been on my radar for a long time; novel time disrupting mechanics often interest me and the concept of Super Hot, an FPS where time only moves when you do, was a serenade to that bit of my brain. Unfortunately I’ve also got a superficial part to my personality and I’m entirely guilty in this case of judging a book my its cover; in short, that angular stark red on white aesthetic turned me off the whole idea of even trying the game. It’s just not something I found appealing and each time I browsed the store page I couldn’t ever quite get past the initial nose-screwing-up to hit the buy button.
My evenings recently however have involved much furniture shuffling as I’ve had a spree of VR gaming. During various internet delvings to find out which VR title I should jump in to next, I consistently saw high praise for the VR version of Super Hot, so I took a deep breath and set aside my visual preferences to give it a shot. Continue reading “Super Hot VR: There’s a Screen Strapped to Your Face”
It has been literally… some weeks… since I last wrote about Resident Evil 2, but I assure you that there is some method to this madness.
Ok, so “method” is going a bit far. I know that I outwardly present the world with the glossy image that I’m a careful planner and that all my blog posts are poignant and meaningful, but the truth is that mostly I just blurt out whatever is rattling around in my head when I finally sit down to write. This week much of my brain has been thinking about Resident Evil related ‘stuff’. Continue reading “Virtual Collector: Top 5 Resident Evil 2 Versions I’d Like to Own”
On top of the games that I’ve blogged about this month, my wife and I have been playing Yoshi’s Crafted World. We’re always on the look out for some co-op action and I decided to buy if for my Wife’s birthday on the whim of it looking cute and being met with positive reviews. It’s a game that highlights a big problem with blogging about Nintendo games; namely they’re so remarkably well put together it’s pretty difficult to say much about them at all. In this respect Yoshi’s crafted world doesn’t disappoint; it’s a solid platformer with a balanced array of puzzle mechanics that’s brimming with charm. As a co-op experience it’ll have you smiling & laughing as you both bumble around the levels landing continually on each other’s backs and more often then not eating and then firing your teammate back out at some foe. I’m not saying that it’s going to be to everyone’s tastes or that it’s the greatest game int he world ever… it’s just exactly what you expect it to be and the highly polished product of a company that … let’s face it… know what they’re good at. Continue reading “Editorial: May – Oh? No Thank-You!”
The neon from the Jazz bar’s sign snagged itself on the falling sheets of rain, a red haze draped across the sidewalk engulfing every unaware stranger. Their dark formless shapes illuminated for a second in the shimmering sheet left a momentary after-image of each of those faces on my retinas; happy, lost, cunning, malicious. I pulled my raincoat closer around my neck, but my fur had already wicked the water into my shirt and barely five minutes after leaving the office I was drenched through. The cheap red tie I’d picked up at the five-and-dime would already be bleeding into the white of my shirt… my new shirt… an investment I’d made to gloss over the cracks of public opinion on private investigators. That’s two bucks I’d never see again.
Wardrobe misery aside, I had a job to do. Somewhere in these formless shapes was my mark and I was going to find him. Tonight. I didn’t have much choice, the only reason the super hadn’t already kicked me out and changed the locks was because I didn’t have anything worth selling. Continue reading “Backbone Prologue: Prash Tranda”
Saber Interactive’s recently released ‘World War Z’ game has drawn almost universal comparison to the Left4Dead games that for many epitomised the zombie game invasion of about a decade ago. Of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with a new game being similar to an older one, or in the case of Fortnite:BR copying almost feature for feature, but when I first watched the trailer I immediately identified each of the characters from the opening ‘World War Z’ as their Left4Dead counterparts. In short there is a suspicious amount of similarity here which somehow surpasses mere bandwagon jumping, especially as Left4Dead 2 had its heyday around its release in 2009. For my wife and I, this all came as a big draw; we’re L4D fans (to the point that we still have the movie style posters from the original game hanging in our lounge) and invested some long playtimes in to those first two games. My wife isn’t hugely in to competitive gaming, so many of the big FPS hits with us have been of the PvE variety where tight teams work together against AI in some predefined mission. With the comparison firmly planted in our minds, having watched the trailer, and having a pretty idle weekend to spare we decided to treat ourselves and give ‘World War Z’ a shot. Continue reading “World War Z: World Left War 4 Dead Z”
Strolling around the halls of Rezzed last weekend, my wife and I paused for a while to watch ‘Bus Simulator’; it’s a game where you drive a bus… around a route… and stop to pick up passengers. Aside from the odd curb clipping incident and missing a stop by a few feet (shocking!) very little happened for the few minutes that we stood and watched four different people have a go. I wandered away from the stand with two distinct thoughts: firstly, despite being touted as something super realistic, it’s clearly not because who drives a bus from a third person perspective? and secondly that this is a game I don’t understand.
… and if this is your thing then drive-on good person, drive-on! I’m not judging. I’ve played plenty of games that felt somewhere close to ‘a job’ in the past including ‘Viscera Cleanup Detail’ and ‘SpaceChem’ so I can understand that there is appeal in performing virtual-mundane tasks.
Almost immediately after having this thought however I suddenly remembered something: Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95. Oh, how I wanted Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95. Continue reading “Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95: What Was I Thinking?”