Blogger Blitz Round 2*: Villain Escape

*Blogger Blitz is a community event, wistfully dreamt up by Ian over at Adventure Rules

Thank-you for tuning back in fans of all that is cross-over-filled and surreal; it’s time for my entry into Round 2 of the ‘Blogger Blitz’. For anyone who didn’t tune in for round one then feel free to jump back and read my entry, but more importantly maybe head over to Adventure Rules to see this round’s schedule and what the concept entails, all deftly described by the architect of this madness.

Continue reading “Blogger Blitz Round 2*: Villain Escape”

Switch… it off: Parental Controls

I’m pretty sure I always said that I was going to get a Nintendo Switch… right? … 

The day finally came and I now own my first (relevant) Nintendo home console! Regular readers shouldn’t panic however; I won’t suddenly be warping over to the ways of the plumber and given that one of my first purchases has been the widely anticipated retro throwback nostalgathon ‘Sonic Mania’ (despite how much of a liar he is), it’s safe to say that I’m still staying true to my Mega Drive heritage whilst accepting that times change. I’m also not planning on abandoning PC gaming, but hopefully the Switch will fill that gap in couch gaming, local co-op, and portable action that has been lacking despite trying to fill it with the Steam Link.

If forced to give a one word answer about my interest in the Switch, I’d have to go with ‘curiosity’; I’m interested to see how this hybrid home/portable console with confusing Lego-esque controllers and certain retro leanings holds up. Nintendo has always earned my admiration for thinking about how people game and how they interact with those games, even if not all their experiments work in the market place. It’s an innovative company with a new innovative product… and one of those innovative aspects is the parental control app….    Continue reading “Switch… it off: Parental Controls”

Blogger Blitz*: Mail Delivery

*The Blogger Blitz was dreamt up by Ian over at Adventure Rules

Today’s post is my entry for Round 1 of the Blogger Blitz event hosted by Adventure Rules, and that’s the best place to find details on the concept, rules, and schedule. It’s also where the results will be announced so head on over there to keep track of what’s going on!

The overall silver-shilling of it is that a few of us gaming bloggers have taken up the challenge of pitting our favorite game characters against each other in a tournament of unorthodox challenges. A team of judges will determine which character handled the scenario best and therefore who gets to proceed to the next round. Continue reading “Blogger Blitz*: Mail Delivery”

Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies

Last week, Kim, the resident Guybrush Threepwood expert at ‘Later Levels‘, posted 10 things that make her happy and threw out the challenge of sharing some positive vibes to the blogging community. Of course it’s not like me to play by the rules.. ok, it IS like me to play by the rules, but I like to put my own slant on them so whilst there are many non-gaming things that make me happy (My wife, family, home, pup etc…), I’m opting to stay on topic and present you with (in no particular order) ‘10 things that make me happy in games!’ Continue reading “Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies”

Zelda Fan-Fiction: I Don’t Know Much About Zelda

Occasionally I’m roped into a conversation where I’m forced to admit that I really don’t know much about Zelda. By far my biggest experience was playing the original NES outing on the 3DS some years ago (which I picked up for free as part of their ambassador program), but only making it past two or three dungeons before abandoning it. Following one such admission, I began to think about how to best express this lack of knowledge and decided that writing Zelda Fan-Fiction with this severely limited background would really hammer the point home. This was a terrible idea… but I did it anyway. So for your reading pleasure here it is; a short Fan Fiction introduction to Zelda based on my limited knowledge of the series. You have been warned… enjoy?:   


Link materialised. He winced; the hot desert sun nearly blinded him, his eyes barely ready for the onset of day compared to the … the… non-existence that was before.

“Do I even have a backstory,” he pondered, carefully inspecting his clothes, “I guess I’ve got clothes… and they’re green…” he murmured, to nobody in particular, but genuinely pleased that he had discovered something about who he was.

The ‘green’ thought rattled around his brain for a while and he was just working his way up to drawing the conclusion that he presumed he must either be an elf, or Robin Hood when something else happened. A Ganon appeared: Continue reading “Zelda Fan-Fiction: I Don’t Know Much About Zelda”

The Unexplained Setting

Whilst I was wrtiting my recent examination of “Stories Untold“, one aspect electrified me with a sudden shock of nostalgia that I wasn’t expecting. The player is presented with an apparently mundane setting, however the setting’s unsettling nature is present from the outset due to the unknown elements: Why are we being asked to do these tasks? where are we? Like a dream, the player finds themselves in the middle of events without knowing how things go to this point being, expected to ‘go along with it’.

This sudden nostalgia pang stems from my childhood. Growing up I always had an interest in riddles, or I guess ‘logic puzzles’ to give a more accurate description; a brief overview of story or circumstance was given requiring a logical explanation or solution. One of these always vividly stands out in my mind:

You are in a room with three switches; the room has no windows and only one door. Outside the door is a winding corridor at the end of which is a second room inside of which is a single light bulb hanging hanging from the ceiling by a wire. You know that one of the switches activates the light in the second room however, there is no way to see the light in the second room from the first, and as soon as you leave the first room the door closes and locks stopping returning once you have left it. How do you determine which of the switches controls the light? Continue reading “The Unexplained Setting”

Not Just a Hat Rack: Deconstructing My 8-Bit ‘Masterpiece’

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Any of my regular followers who are so committed to the cause that they’ve also ventured to follow me on Twitter may have noticed sporadic postings in shaky phonecam footage of a curious little device known as an Arduboy. This credit-card sized GameBoy inspired curio is powered by that staple of the maker community, the Arduino, neatly packaged together with a sharp 1-bit 128×64 OLED display, 4 directional buttons, and 2 action buttons. It was a guilty impulse purchase sometime around October last year, and I wandered into it without holding out much hope that I’d get around to making anything worth releasing. I was initially drawn in by the promise of constraints, which is a strange pull, but I’ve often been amazed at how programmers for early systems were able to squeeze so much out of some very limited hardware (This article about the original Zelda is a great example). The Arduboy is a neat re-imagining of these early restrictions: A screen where each pixel can only be either on or off; The bare essentials of controls; and strict limitations on processing power, memory, and storage. The game making community has risen to this challenge with a wide range of neat offerings showing off just what can be done within about fixed envelope; the excellent Team-ARG and Jonathan Holmes (check out ‘Circuit Dude’) are just a couple of examples from the dedicated programmers who have adopted this little system. Continue reading “Not Just a Hat Rack: Deconstructing My 8-Bit ‘Masterpiece’”