During my recent confession disguised as a review, I admitted that I actually had a bit of a soft spot for golf games; not in a kind of ‘let’s simulate the heck out of this down to the brand of spikes in Ralph Grundleson’s special golf shoes’, but more of a casual arcade-ey soft-spot for the precise layout of the course and seeing that virtual ball sail towards the horizon from a perfectly executed QTE. I also mentioned that some of this unexpected leaning was likely down to playing Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf on Atari ST … SHARK ATTACK!!…
… and I’m going to be upfront with my biggest criticism of the game- hold on to your hats because it’s a doozy. No game … NO!… GAME!… should feature the words ‘Shark Attack!’ right these in bright letters on the boxart if they don’t contain at least one shark. Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf does not feature any sharks… and yet SHARK ATTACK is right there on the box, and no, I’m sorry to all you golfing a-fish-a-nandos, Greg Norman is not a shark. He is an Australian gentleman who likes to play golf. As an eight year old child this was one of my biggest gaming disappointments. I’ve waited a long time to set the record straight there.
The whole thing got me feeling a bit nostalgic for ol’ GN’s:UG so I decided to emulate the heck out of it in an attempt to see what it is about the game that I must have at least been slightly intrigued by (yes, I could have dug out the actual ST and played… but no, I don’t have that kind of lounge space or time to spare at the moment). Continue reading “Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf: Where are the Sharks?”
If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll know that I’ve been looking for games where it doesn’t necessarily matter if you suddenly have to putt the controller down and you can absorb just as easily in tiny slices as well as a great big drive for completion. A little birdie told me that, being essentially turn-based affairs, golf games are a pretty on-par choice that ticks these boxes. Having said that, I’m a fair-way off being considered a golf fan, to the point that I would be considered pretty green when it comes to the rules and nuance of the game. It just so happens that Golf Story had been on my radar for a while; the hook (or draw) here being that it’s all framed in the context of a 16-bit RPG – stroke of genius if you ask me – with the protagonist being introduced as a child cultivating dreams of reaching the top.-Spin on a few years and he’s a young man returning to the game, so determined to chip away at his once boyhood goal that he’s moved house and has been forced to bunk -er… ‘sleep’ close to the golf course whilst those ideas of fame he has to Mull… I … Gan…
…no… no, it’s no use, I can’t do it anymore! Your entire helping of golf puns is in that first paragraph… enjoy… Continue reading “Golf Story: Frosty Log”
Spoiler Warning: Oh yes, there are spoilers for ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ here!… erm… be warned?
‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ (BatIM?… does that work?) isn’t a game that was really on my radar. I guess I recognised the box art, but really couldn’t have told you anything about it, so it was an unexpected surprise when I was given it as a birthday present last week for Switch. Turning the box over in my hands a quick glance at the back suggested that it was totally my thing; 1930’s cartoon inspired, distinctive art style, slightly steampunk horror… sign me up! At that point I was also unaware that BatIM is actually the fever-dream product of TheMeatly, not that I’m a regular follower, but I’m certainly aware of their existence. After a few evenings of play I’ve now completed it and I’m left with mixed feelings about the experience. Continue reading “Bendy and the Ink Machine: Creepy Controls”
… 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”
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”
… and then a few weeks ago Apex Legends landed without any warning and made lots of people go “Waaahhhh!” – So why was that?
I originally wrote a whole dull paragraph here about my chequered past with PU:BG and Fortnite:BR, but that was far too long and can be summarised by saying:
“I like the concept of Battle Royale games, but I’m just not very good at them”
That’s not to say that skill or ultimate placement correspond to fun, but playing a game that you can’t feel improvement or just generally show up to be an extra notch on someone else’s frag counter is rarely a rewarding experience. I want to feel as though I can at least hold my own, so my infatuation with both of the above titles gradually tarnished until I gave up and uninstalled them. Then Apex Legends showed up (apparently having something to do with Titanfall) and I got sucked back in to that Battle Royale play-loop; firstly out of curiosity but sticking around because it turns out it is actually fun. Continue reading “Apex Legends: A Mythical Geometric Vetrex”