Editorial: February 2018 – “Mystery Blogger” & “Unique blogger” Awards

Wow, we’re already one month through the year! January seems to have flown by, but likely because of some work busy-ness and home improvements which have caused an excessively large upheaval; thankfully that’s all behind me now (or at least it will be by the time you read this).

As the title may have spoilt, I’ve been honoured recently with nominations for two different community awards. It really is a pleasure to have been nominated for these by two excellent bloggers and as this editorial is all about giving me a chance to be a little more conversational in my blogging I’ll take this opportunity to respond to both of them here. Continue reading “Editorial: February 2018 – “Mystery Blogger” & “Unique blogger” Awards”

Cuphead: That Good Kind of Punishing…

That hypnotic tumbling, dots flashing before your eyes, the distinctive clattering of well balanced ivory against ivory, and complimentary dull thud as those cubes of chance tumble against the green baize. In the background a deep rasping chuckle; the acrid smell of brimstone fills your nostrils, yet the jazz plays on and maybe… just maybe your luck will change… you order another martini and roll … Continue reading Cuphead: That Good Kind of Punishing…

Mario & Bowser: Maybe We’ve Been Lied To

Spoiler Warning: This post does contain some plot spoilers of Super Mario Odyssey… you have been warned! … it’s also pretty silly…

My brain began turning last week after I posted a pretty off-hand Tweet about Mario’s behaviour in ‘Super Mario Odyssey’. It was only after that I started to question what I’d been shown in game and how a few choice camera cuts could have been used to paint a very different picture of the whole series of events. The conundrum raised is, “Is he really the good-guy?… and by extension, is Bowser really so bad?Continue reading “Mario & Bowser: Maybe We’ve Been Lied To”

Overgrowth: It Has Big Rabbits…. Big Violent Rabbits…

Wolfire Games have already featured once in my ramblings; their other major release ‘Receiver‘ showed me that forcing the player to work hard to achieve something as simple as reloading a gun makes for an interesting shift in focus on the tired FPS format. At the time of penning that article I also mentioned ‘Overgrowth’ as having immensely satisfying 3rd person combat that I wanted to revisit once it had managed to accrue enough momentum to break out of a seemingly infinite early access gravity well.

I’m not saying that the good folks over at Wolfire read the piece, but it seems coincidental that just a few short weeks later ‘Overgrowth’ finally made it out of Early Access for an official release. Maybe I have some kind of mystical industry influence, in which case I’ll be accepting donations to mention conspicuously unfinished/perpetually developed games here in a hope that it forces them out into the world… any takers?…      Continue reading “Overgrowth: It Has Big Rabbits…. Big Violent Rabbits…”

There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective

Shhhh… I have a confession to make and I’m pretty sure that I can trust you all, right? I got kinda starstruck the other day on Twitter, but it’s OK because I played it cool and I don’t think the person involved was any the wiser.

Now I’ve grabbed your attention I can reveal that the mystery person was the most excellent game designer, Kim Swift. Through the magic… or weirdness… of Twitter we shared a short exchange about successfully (or not in my case) driving in snow. Unfortunately, despite being strangely informative, that is not what I would ideally have liked to quiz Kim about. In that ideal world I would have asked her about her time heading up the team that developed Portal; her involvement in the Left4Dead games; why she left Valve; what she thought about Portal 2; and her hopes for the future. The whole incident left me thinking about Portal and its legacy. Even the story of Gabe Newall hiring Kim and her team after seeing their short title, ‘Narbacular Drop’, has a touch of mystery about it. Continue reading “There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective”

Editorial: January 2018 – Happy New Year

Happy new year all! I hope you all had an excellent festive holiday and enjoyed welcoming in 2018 however you celebrated. I’m lucky enough this year to have been able to extend my break so I’m still in vacation mode and very very behind on blog reading (to which I apologise to my fellow bloggers), particularly those who participated in the excellent ‘Creative Christmas’ event orchestrated by Later Levels; I’m looking forward to catching up over the next few weeks.

The new year is always a fun gaming time; the evenings are still dark here in the UK and there’s usually (as there is this year) a backlog of games from the festive Steam sale(s) and Christmas gifts eagerly waiting to be played. I’m still splitting my gaming time between the PC and the Nintendo Switch with the latter carrying with it rumours of some exciting developments in the next month, or so Adventure Rules would have us believe. Continue reading “Editorial: January 2018 – Happy New Year”

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] Black Flag

If I’d been playing attention I probably would have a much better opening here, but as it is all I know is that Ubisoft were giving away ‘Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag’ for PC during December because…of something… could have been an anniversary, or because ‘Origins’ was released. Reasoning aside, ‘Black Flag’ is a game that I grudgingly missed the first time around when it was released in 2013; my wife did pick it up for PS3, but our PS3 stopped working shortly after so we didn’t get much of a chance to try out our best shanty-voices and cutlass mastery. Around the time of release a solid handful of reviews that had praised it as being one of the best pirate-themed games going and, although 2013 sat solidly on the falling edge of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ hype-wave, I nonetheless do enjoy the pirate setting so snapped up the chance a few weeks ago to pick it up and play for free. Continue reading “Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] Black Flag”