Room to Expand

9 08 2012

Dear me, but that elven babe on the box looks bored.  She’s got a PhD in international law, you know.  She could’ve been a big shot at the UN, but alas, like most elven babes, she ends up modelling for low-end game marketing.  “What’s this Spellforce job involve?” she asks her agent excitedly.  “Er…steel bikini and loincloth.”  “Again?”  “Yeah, but you get a sword this time. It’s very empowering.”  Not quite the Security Council, though, is it?

Read the rest of this entry »


The Legacy of Rome

20 07 2012

My favourite exam question at university –

Stop making funny faces.

My favourite exam question at university came in my third year, on a module about the War of the Spanish Succession.  I can’t remember the precise wording, but it went something like this: ‘Was the campaign of 1704 the most challenging of the Duke of Marlborough’s career?’


Read the rest of this entry »

End of the Line, For Now

28 09 2011

I have a feeling that, come next week, I won’t be able to keep this blog going. Not three times a week, anyway. The work placement I’m going on is only for a month, but that month is going to be taken up solely by eating, sleeping, and nine-to-fives. So, unless something really interesting comes up, blogging about digital obscurities is going to have to go on hold. Which means this post gets to go under the ‘excuses’ category. Yay!

Perhaps I’ll kick things off again once I get back at the end of October, or perhaps not. This whole thing has been an exciting project and I now have a good body of non-review based work to show off to anyone who wants to give me a job in gaming media. Eighty-nine posts in a little over six months isn’t too shabby, right? Although the less said about my traffic, the better…

Anyway, time for some narcissism. Here are a few of my favourite posts. Take another look, would you? Especially the bold ones. They are my favourite favourites. Really take another look at those, would you?

04/04/11 – ‘The Art of Multiplayer’: Can multiplayer ever be as emotionally engaging as solo game experiences?

25/04/11 – ‘The Death of Canon’: What happens when the story of a big RPG, played and experienced in different ways by thousands of different players, is solidified into a single established canon?

07/05/11 – ‘Review Supplement – Portal 2: Easily the most pretentious article I wrote in this stint, but also the most comprehensive Review Supplement as well.

01/06/11 – ‘Preservation’: Musing on how to preserve old games.

08/06/11 – ‘Wii U…Hmm…Nope, it’s Pun-Proof’: Musing on the then-recently announced Wii U. It still has a ridiculous name.

20/06/11-27/06/11 – ‘When In Rome (Take Game-Related Pics)’: Parts One, the extra bit in the middle, and Two. My screenshot/photo comparison between the Rome of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and the Rome of reality was easily the best thing I did on the blog, and the most popular since I publicised it on the Ubisoft forums. Hurray for 3,000% traffic increases!

04/07/11 – ‘Just Listen – My Favourite Game Music’: Pretty much self-explanatory. Five amazing tracks from five amazing games.

10/08/11 – ‘Face My Tiny Wizarding Wrath, You Dwarvish Punks’: A post on the brilliant madness that is Magicka. Wins the award for best blog title on my blog that I made. I must make myself a statuette. Or a medal.

15/08/11 – ‘Rawr! (That’s Draconic, By the Way)’: The big Skyrim preview, and why I hope it won’t be too much like Oblivion. This post has the term ‘ludonarrative dissonance’ in it. I love that term.

Right, that’s enough of the self-congratulatory backslapping. Ta very much for reading, all, it’s been really, very good fun.

Rawr! (That’s Draconic, By The Way)

12 09 2011

First things first: if you tried to access the link in my previous post and found it be broken, then be assured that it now works. Here it is again. You have no excuses! Right, someone mentioned a poxy little game called Skyrim today. What’s that about?


Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Not In, Go Here Instead!

9 09 2011

So here’s the epic I promised you on Wednesday. Well, not here as such: head on over to Bits n’ Bytes Gaming and give it a read (even if the link may be broken for now: BnB is going through a bit of an overhaul at the moment and is slightly tricky to get at.  It will work eventually, promise). For once I haven’t written a post about narrative, tone and all that nonsense, but instead have gone back about 10 years to remember some magic arcade Star Wars action with the subtly-named Jedi Power Battles. Go and take a glance. Go on.


Ahh...good times.

The Obsession Starts Anew

29 08 2011

I bang on a lot about story. Themes, tone, emotional engagement, that sort of thing. For ten years and more I’ve been playing and replaying the same tales over and over again, looking for the intricacies in the writing and delving deep into Wikis when I can’t quite grasp why something happened, or why this particular fictional setting functions as it does. Games are art, they are valuable cultural contributions, and so on and so forth, etcetera, etcetera.

Naturally enough, therefore, the series I have played the most over the last decade is Pro Evolution Soccer, which, as a sports game, falls neatly into the ‘reviled’ category of many gaming forums. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Cyrodiil

15 08 2011

A while ago I wrote about The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind and me; how I remember it as one of the formative artistic experiences of my teenage years, as evocative as any other book, film or piece of music. I also wrote that I couldn’t bear to play it again, because on my second, brief, playthrough several years ago, it felt like I was trespassing on the adventures that my first character had already completed.

The province of Cyrodiil, though, is another story. I’ve just got started on my fourth character in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, and it remains as irritating, flawed and compelling as it ever was. Read the rest of this entry »