Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

With current generation PC’s and consoles able to render glorious scenes on-the-fly in almost photo-realistic detail… well, at least until the next step forward when we’ll all look back and wonder how we ever coped with the current blocky mess of low-resolution graphics… the idea of pre-rendering backgrounds feels like a quaint footnote in the annals of gaming’s heritage. It occupied the fabled spot of cutting edge practice for a few short years around the mid to late 90’s and is most closely associated with Capcom survival horror games (the early Resident Evil games and Dino Crisis) but was used in a few other notable games including Final Fantasy VII. Of course with my self acknowledged predisposition to Resident Evil 2 I do have a soft spot for this particular visual style and, having been reminded of it following my recent nostslgia trip into Devil May Cry, my brain has been idley mulling over the technique from a practical and stylistic point of view. The ‘What’ & ‘Why’ of pre-rendered backgrounds is worth picking over before getting to how I feel about them, especially as there may be (shockingly) more than a few people reading who’ve never experienced a game with fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds. Continue reading “Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds”

The Many Guises of Open-Worlding

After vowing a few weeks ago that this blog wouldn’t descend into a shrine to Nintendo following my systematic indoctrination that the giant Ninty offer as a complimentary service to all those able to get their mortal paws on a Switch (and presumably either of their ‘mini’ consoles given the pace they race off the shelves/pre-order virtual shelves), it has nonetheless been the focus of my gaming for the past month with at least 85% of that devoted to the open world beast of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I do want to put down my thoughts on that particular title as a whole, but I just don’t feel quite qualified yet, so watch this space for future ramblings on the subject. As my first Zelda outing it has been a great experience, despite being warned on a few occasions that it wasn’t necessarily representative of the traditional Zelda romp and that as an open world title some people didn’t think it was the best example. I would agree that it is a slow starter and does rely on the player giving it the time to absorb them into that world, but once I was enthralled, it really is a well crafted title worthy of the premium price-point (something I’m really not so familiar with coming in from a PC gaming background where every game is generally knocked down within the first few months). Continue reading “The Many Guises of Open-Worlding”

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”

Enjoying the Painstaking: A ‘Receiver’ Retrospective

I’ve been battling against a minor case of writer’s block this week when it comes to blogging, or at least writer’s struggle if that’s a thing. Each post idea I’ve decided to run with has been abandoned pretty quickly and sentences just arn’t flowing. Even now I’m struggling to extract each phrase in exactly the way I want to from the ideas zipping around my head. One of the big things I’ve learnt about blogging is that each post forms itself in different ways; sometimes the whole thing can just be blurted out, sometimes the piece is longer but flows from idea to idea and sometimes, like now, the post needs to be assembled piece by piece with each phrase and thought painstakingly formed. Having admitted that, I’ll also say that these painstakingly formed articles often come out well and I find that there is an attention to detail that can be lost in my blurted ramblings. It was somewhere roaming through these thoughts about the painstakingly laborious and what aspect of gaming I could write about that I found myself thinking about ‘Receiver’, a game that I have sporadic urges to play, have thoroughly enjoyed, but with which the word painstaking seems innately connected. Continue reading “Enjoying the Painstaking: A ‘Receiver’ Retrospective”

QotM*: Who is the Most Memorable Video Game NPC?

*Question of the Month is the blogging equivalent of a weaponised Furby who has disobeyed orders and gone rogue, all to the delight of those architects of anarchy at Later Levels

I’m not one for spoiling the magic, but for those of you who might want to peek behind the curtain into this strange gaming blogging world, I will say that this question caused quite a stir amongst the regular participants; there was some question over what constituted an NPC in this context. I know you’re all shouting at your monitors that surely it’s pretty obvious, but the concept of ‘Non-Playable Character’ is open to interpretation and there are certainly examples of entities within games that are both ‘characters’ and ‘non-playable’ that I wouldn’t class as an NPC. Continue reading “QotM*: Who is the Most Memorable Video Game NPC?”

Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 2 – Devil May Cry (Podcast)

The long awaited second episode of  Please Insert Disk Twois finally here!

Sure it’s been a little while since out last audio outing, but Chinery and I have rustled together the next instalment of our gaming cultural exchange. Once again one of us has picked a gaming favourite from their personal history that somehow passed the other by… but this time the roles are reversedContinue reading “Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 2 – Devil May Cry (Podcast)”

Switch Hardware: Autobot or Decepticon?

Whilst last week I was musing about the accompanying parental control app, this week I’ve decided to subject myself to a vague hardware review and ramble on about my initial Switch impressions. I’ve been Zelda-ing, Sonic-ing, and even a little Splatoon-ing (when I can get my Wi-Fi connection to behave) on Ninty’s latest box-of-tricks for a little over a week in which time I’ve gotten to grips with this mysterious bundle of hardware. It’s a console which is selling itself on being versatile so unlike the struggles I’ve had involving previous hardware reviews, I don’t think I’ll be running short of things to say about the Switch and its various configurations. Continue reading “Switch Hardware: Autobot or Decepticon?”