QotM*: Which Videogame Should Have Had a Sequel?

*Question of the month is the blogging equivalent of that cup of coffee in the middle of a tedious job brought to you by those good people over at Later Levels… with a Jammy Dodger on the side…  Game sequels tend to get a raw deal, developers are pressured into slapping a ‘2’ on the end of their successful title, building on the original, keeping … Continue reading QotM*: Which Videogame Should Have Had a Sequel?

How Fast is Sonic: My Own Take on the Age Old Question

So ‘Sonic Mania’ is arriving soon and, although that may not excite many people, any of us who fought bravely in the 16-bit wars of the early 90’s on the side of the blue spiked hero will be eagerly awaiting his return to his 2D homeland where he is still loved, in all the same settings that we loved him in. It promises to be … Continue reading How Fast is Sonic: My Own Take on the Age Old Question

Jurassic Park CD: Hundstrasse Plays Another Jurassic Park Game…

My only guidance was a few grainy images from in a well-thumbed issue of ‘Mean Machines Sega’, but as a child I had made up my mind that the Sega CD’s Jurassic Park Game was the definitive way to experience first-hand the wonder of John Hammond’s ill-fated theme park…

For those of you who havn’t picked up on the subtlety with which I’ve mentioned it in the past, ‘Jurassic Park’ is one of my favourite films. It’s enchanting, exciting, and mysterious, but most of all it is set in a world with blurry edges everywhere making it feel real and expansive rather than enclosed. The characters are all larger than life and caricaturish, each with a distinctive personality and matching wardrobe. Unfortunately it’s a franchise which has never really found its place in the videogame world to the loss of gamers everywhere as it is a setting that is more than ready. Arguably my favourite JP game was the recent ‘Lego Jurassic World’ which made both the ‘list of top 5 games I played in 2015’ and also my recommendation for ‘the best game for non-gamers’. Having said that, there were aspects to the flawed TellTale offering that I also found enchanting, mainly the devotion to the source material and plot (even if the gameplay was weak… to be super-nice to it…). At the time of writing that article, I mentioned the mysterious draw of the SegaCD Jurassic Park game, so one idle Friday evening I set out to play it.

As my opening paragraph alluded, this is a game that had been on my radar for some time; as a child the SegaCD was an enigmatic system where everything seemed to be FMV based (Full Motion video.. as opposed to what?… Half Motion Video?… No Motion Video?) relying on actors and grainy footage to cobble together some kind of game. I’m going to avoid criticising the technology too much, these early CD games were necessary for the development of the medium, havn’t stood the test of time (I think that the controversial ‘Night Trap’ is possibly the only one with any kind of following), but even by these standards, this is a pretty terrible game, so let me walk you through my experiences of it…

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QotM*: Which Video Game has the Best Idle Animation?… and Retro-Mumblings on ‘The Lion King’

*QotM is some kind of warming stew that’s sitting in a slow cooker waiting for you on a cold day brewed up by Later Levels

It’s time for July’s round of ‘Question of the Month’ which has pitched some of the greatest blogging minds against each other in cerebral combat to answer the question “Which video game has the best idle animation?”.

I know that idle animations are present in modern gaming, but I can’t help but associate them with the 16-bit era. Something about wringing every last bit of enjoyment from a game at that time meant that quirks like idle animations & easter eggs held more wonder in games where deviation from the ‘game’s formula’ had a more significant resource cost. I guess it was also the era when idle animations first appeared. Whatever the reason, the question immediately made me think of my days with the Sega MegaDrive, so it is after careful consideration that I have come up with my nomination for the best video game idle animation, and in accordance with the normal rules, here it is in under 100 words:

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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”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Quake -game Reaper

It’s off the back of my recent outings into the various worlds of Strafe that my mind turned back to the title that it (arguably) draws much of inspiration from; the first title in ID’s third major FPS franchise ‘Quake’. I knew from the moment that I first installed this masterpiece of a game that I would be hooked for weeks, nay, years, basking in every aspect of it’s well-crafted…

…. no, wait… this isn’t how it happened at all…  

Quake is unquestionably an important title in the history of FPS games, and one that I experienced around the time that it was relevant; but being honest, it’s a title that I was more ‘interested in‘ rather than ‘enjoyed playing‘. Unleashed on the world in ’96, Quake caught me towards the end of my 16-bit love affair, but before the joys of the PlayStation opened my mind to 32-bit consoles. PC gaming was always something that I had enjoyed alongside consoles (as I mentioned in the pilot of “Please Insert Disk 2“*) and I guess my interest in the platform was heightened by the lull between generations. I remember clutching an issue of ‘PC Gamer’, cover CD proudly proclaiming to have the Shareware version of Quake, on my way home from the shops, eager to see what this hyped game was all about. I installed it, played for about two minutes, and then closed it, baffled as to why this drab mess of brown had warranted such hype.

Q1
It really is very brown

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Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 1 – Banjo Kazooie (Podcast)

Oh yes! It’s not a prank; you can now hear me speak! Introducing:
Please Insert Disk Two
A new collaborative podcast with my good friend Chinery

A Podcast you say?… tell me more…

“Please Insert Disk Two” is a collaborative project that I’m venturing in to with a good friend of mine; the aforementioned, Chinery. Having spoken many times about putting a podcast together, we finally moved out of the all important “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” phase of the project and decided to just jump in and give it a shot.

The concept began to form itself in my mind late last year when I posted this piece about ‘Dead Rising’. We all have titles in our ‘gaming history’ that we attach sentiment to; maybe it was a great title, maybe we just played it at a time when we were particularly susceptible to the theme, or maybe we just attach it to a specific time in our lives. Whatever the reason, trying to convey ‘why’ this is particular game is a classic to a friend who didn’t experience this first hand is a tricky business. Chinery and I have decided to embrace this idea, dust off out microphones, and share our thoughts as we each pick landmark games from our own histories for the other to jump in to for the first time.

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