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 Art of Multiplayer

4 04 2011

I’m a bit of a story person when it comes to games (have I mentioned this before?). Terrible graphics, iffy gameplay, bugs: as long as a game makes up for these deficiencies with a cracking good yarn then I’m not overly fussed. Some of my favourite titles – KotOR 2, Mask of the Betrayer, pretty much any Prince of Persia – have some glaring issues, but I love them regardless. Planescape: Torment, despite being frequently cited as one of the great RPGs, if not the greatest, is a very difficult game to, well, play: those familiar with Black Isle games (as I was before I played Torment for the first time last summer) will get used to its quirks speedily enough, but newer gamers bred on relatively user-friendly modern epics like Mass Effect and Oblivion may well have a tough time finding out what makes the game’s fans laud it so loudly.


Consequently, the games I like to think of as ‘art’ (yep, I’m going there – time to get up-of-myself) are those which tell the best tales. These games are inevitably for one player and one only. So what about multiplayer? Read the rest of this entry »

Blurring the Lines

30 03 2011

Amongst all the press material to come out this last week, from the disappointingly predictable (Fox News vs. Duke Nukem) to the glee-inducing (good job robots!), comes something genuinely uplifting.  L.A. Noire, perhaps the most-hyped game of the hour, has been honoured as an official selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, running from April 20 to May 1 in New York.  A screening of a single case from the crime thriller will be followed up with a Q&A on ‘the crossover between filmmaking and interactive entertainment.’  Not bad, Rockstar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some Hopes and Dreams

13 03 2011

I’m sat in one of the lounges at University, talking over a seminar question with a study group, as the rigorous business of academia (reading weighty library books, hammering out essays, checking Facebook) goes on around us. We’re looking at a small section, about 150 lines, of Milton’s great epic Paradise Lost – a fraction of the entire work. We cover that in no time, but the conversation goes on, first to a quick idea about Genesis as a myth, then to the cultural origins of the Bible, then to its place within the history of the world, then higher still to questions of our own faith. All from a few lines of poetry.

I’d love to be able to have that same conversation, with the same enthusiasm and conviction, when talking about games. Read the rest of this entry »