Rockstar Lifestyle: Crunchy Underfoot

It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Rockstar studios; the release of their latest open world behemoth overshadowed by the issue of studio crunch once more being the focus of widespread discussion and confusion in the preceding weeks. The waters were muddied by internet commentators on all sides of the debate shouting down the opinions of others with their own and the situation at Rockstar itself rapidly evolving as they went in to all out damage control seeing the potential hit to day-one sales looming.

Holding my hands up, I can’t offer any further insight here, after-all I’m just a consumer and have started this particular piece a few times as the situation morphed before giving up and just waiting for the dust to settle. It feels like we’re at a point now where I can at least safely write some kind of post about it all, but given the complexity of the issue it’s difficult to even know what it is that I want to say. Continue reading “Rockstar Lifestyle: Crunchy Underfoot”

QotM*: ScaredStrasse – Cosmic Chasm on Vectrex

*Question of the Month is a pumpkin spiced latte without the pumpkin or the latte and more of a chocolate mint thing going on… kind of just a minty mocha, with marshmallows, and a cookie on the side brought to you in your favourite armchair by Later Levels

It has been a while since I last participated in a Question of the Month. That last entry was something of an epic foray in to the world of my roaming imagination and seemed to consume an inordinate amount of my QotM energy. I think it’s about time to venture back in to that QotM world with my take on this month’s question.

For October, the month of the Ween-of-Hallow, the question has a distinctly appropriate spooky vibe and has been set by Megan over at A Geeky Gal; it’s an exceptional blog that I thoroughly recommend you check covering gaming, anime, and general geek-ery. Megan recently unleashed a set of her five personal favourite horror games that not only include some of my favourites, but are a neat place to start if you’re looking to explore her work and read something seasonally-appropriate at the same time.

As always check out the MONSTER POST! over at Later Levels for all the details and to see all of my fellow word-lers’ take on October’s question by looking through the comments. This month Megan asks:

In honour of Halloween, tell me what video game scared you the most. What is it about the elements, environments, music, or characters in the video game that scared you?

Continue reading “QotM*: ScaredStrasse – Cosmic Chasm on Vectrex”

Max Payne: Min Gain

… Let’s all head back to Roscoe Street Station for that bullet-dodging, slow-mo jumping, classic, Max Payne…

I’m not sure where my recent retro-mood has come from, but being at a bit of a loose end for a couple of evenings last weekend I scrolled through my Steam library looking for something to delve back in to and was warmly greeted by an old friend: Max Payne. The original PC outing was developed by Remedy studios and released back on 2001 for PC before being ported to a number of consoles and spawning two sequels, but it is the original game that has its own special place in my personal gaming hall of memories. I first played the game at a friend’s (who had significantly more PC horsepower than me at the time) house around the time of release but didn’t get my own copy until the PS2 port some years later. A quick search will tell you that 2001 was a darn-tootingly good year for gaming and with Max winning the BAFTA for best PC Game (this was at the time when games were shoved into the main BAFTA’s in the interactive media category) it must’ve been a standout title in a standout year. Continue reading “Max Payne: Min Gain”

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”