Lighthouses: A Gaming Obsession

Lighthouses… they’re everywhere.. right? I mean, we all see several each day in all sorts of situations. Usually they’re located in some region that we’re gradually working towards or carry with them some greater symbolic weight than the simple maritime navigation and warning tool that they were originally designed to be. What do you mean you rarely see lighthouses? They’re everywhere in games so I assume that they must be everywhere in real life cropping up in all sorts of situations. I just thought that I was the oddity as my typical day doesn’t feature any of these cylindrical obelisks but as games are modelled on real life then we must see them everywhere. Continue reading “Lighthouses: A Gaming Obsession”

Editorial: October 2018 – Spooky

Wow, it’s really not been that long since I last wrote an editorial thanks to my poor “time-management” in September and weirder still is that we’re already in October… or as the internet calls it “The Month of Halloween!”

Yes, Twitter and the various fantastic blogs I read are already firing up their pumpkins and kicking the spookfest into overdrive in anticipation of that chilling spectacular that occurs on or around the 31st of the month. Here in the UK of course we’re always a little behind the latest trends so it’s no surprise that when I was growing up Halloween wasn’t the event that it is now. As an adult I’m bemused slightly by the spectacle that this monstrous month seems to have on my friends across the Atlantic… especially as I’m usually more excited by the prospect of Guy Fawkes night that occurs a few days later. Continue reading “Editorial: October 2018 – Spooky”

Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep

This is Mission Commander Big Boss. The following article contains spoilers for the original Metal Gear. The game is thirty years old, do I still need to warn you? You have been warned! 

In my recent 20 year retrospective about Metal Gear Solid for PS1 I mentioned that the original Metal Gear for NES was one of the few games that I own for that system and yet I’ve never completed it (to clarify, my NES is not a childhood console, I picked it up about ten years ago on eBay). With that thought gently turning the cogs of my mind I decided to finally play it and see where the series began and how it shaped the follow up monster of the PlayStation 1 era. Blowing the dust off both the console and the game I fired it up and…

Continue reading “Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep”

Duck Season: With Paprika

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Duck Season”… also whilst I’m warning, so does the trailer for “Duck Season”.

I’d lay a guinea to the fact that most of you reading this are of that very specific age to have grown up knowing the simple time pressure of renting a videogame from Blockbuster. Three-day rental, five-day rental, it made little difference, there was always a race against time. How far could you get before the return day approached? I can’t say that I had that many of the pre-requisite entirely free weekends which coincided with a Friday night adventure through the fabled door below the ripped ticket stub in to the land of blue, yellow, overpriced snacks, and disappoint of realising that although they had about a hundred of the empty cover boxes of the latest movie you needed to find one of the generic boxes to actually rent that movie. Game rental for me was indeed a rare treat, so much so that I can remember almost every instance of it during the 16-bit era… and they were all mediocre titles at best. Continue reading “Duck Season: With Paprika”

Metal Gear Solid Twenty Years On – Here Are Ten Things

Snake… Snake! … Snnnaaaaakkkkeeee!!!” – Literally everyone in the game

A few weeks ago there was a flurry of twitter activity announcing the 20th anniversary of Metal Gear Solid. Undoubtedly one of the defining games of the PS1, I remember clearly the buzz of excitement around its release – which kind of strikes me as odd now. The original Metal Gear games were born in the 8-bit era with the Kojima approved version being the initial release on the MSX (not a system I’m familiar with) rather than the “butchered” (his sentiment, not mine), but more well known, NES release. The NES release of Metal Gear is actually a game that I own (it’s gathering dust somewhere along with a NES I bought some years ago) although I’ve never made it past the first few screens. I should revisit that at some point.

I guess my point is that is seemed to be oddly anticipated for a series that I’d certainly never heard; this might once again come down to the differences between the UK and US gaming scenes during the late 80’s/early 90’s.  Continue reading “Metal Gear Solid Twenty Years On – Here Are Ten Things”

Editorial: September 2018 -More like… 2 weeks into September…

The evenings are drawing in, the frequency of days in which I complain about the heat is gradually reducing, and the frequency of rainy days in which I revel but pretend to despair of is on the rise. To celebrate, my wife, dog, and I are currently on holiday in Wales enjoying the beautiful countryside, coastline, and weather wrapped up in the comfort of a small cabin complete with log fire.

It’s a welcome break from the pace of August which followed an equally hectic July. I moved jobs at the start of the month which involved a mad dash of trying to wrap up various bits of project in a kind of ‘duct taping over the cracks and passing it on’ sort of way. This past month has proven to be equally busy on that side of things with lots of learning and getting to grips with the project; it still feels like early days, but hopefully the pace will settle soon and it helps that I’m quite enthusiastic about the content of the project.  Continue reading “Editorial: September 2018 -More like… 2 weeks into September…”

I Expect You to Die: James Bond without much James Bonding

The opening title sequence of a game is rarely something mentioned in a “review” (if that is what I do here…) but in the case of “I Expect you to Die”, the opening titles are a notable VR experience in themselves. The player is a passenger through a Bond inspired, highly stylised, red & black dichromatic intro sequence complete with Shirley Bassey style theme music. It’s an homage to everything that the game strives to be – an over the top Spy experience paying tribute to Connery and Moore whilst keeping its tongue firmly in cheek.  Continue reading “I Expect You to Die: James Bond without much James Bonding”