mario therapy

If Mario had a therapist… on Braid (PC) and Jonathan Blow

Braid is not a fun game. And that’s the point. Or so indie games designer Jonathan Blow says. Convenient, you might think, but I suspect Jonathan actually means what he says. He’s one of those intellectual types who quotes James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon whilst denouncing the use of phrases such as ludonarrative dissonance. In Braid, Jonathan tried to make a game that was familiar and nostalgic, but also made you think about games as a form – it is a self-concious game, the thinking man’s Mario if you will. So how successful is Jonathan in realising his vision? Is Jonathan a pretentious genius or just plain pretentious? Continue reading


Five most underrated female characters in videogames

Step aside Lara Croft! Mind your bum, Bayonetta! Here’s a list of our five favourite female characters you’ll never find in a “Best Women in Games” list. So often, lists of this variety prioritise notoriety, relevance and icon status over good or subtle characterisation. We’ve tried to redress this imbalance with our list, so enjoy and offer your suggestions in the comments please! Continue reading


Lightgun adventures: Gunfighter II: Revenge of Jesse James and Vampire Night (PS2)

How often does anyone talk about a game that was released exclusively in Europe? As in, a game that never saw the light of day in Japan or America? This is a first. And unlike the one other Europe-only game I own (Formula Karts Special Edition on the Saturn), I quite like Gunfighter II: Revenge of Jesse James. It’s a blatant, and I do mean blatant Time Crisis knock-off, but at least the UK-based developer Rebellion Developments did a good job with it.

Novelty factor aside, I’m going to discuss Gunfighter II in tandem with Vampire Night here because I got very similar feelings playing both of these games: It’s a Wonderful Knock-Off. The main difference between these two is that Gunfighter II (and I presume its prequel Gunfighter for PS1) lifts its cover system and shooting mechanics straight out of the Time Crisis series, while Vampire Night takes its cues from the House of the Dead series. Continue reading

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My favourite videogame podcasts: Cane and Rinse

The second podcast I’m looking at in this series of recommendation posts is Cane and Rinse. Cane and Rinse, much like last post’s Radio Free Nintendo, is a videogame podcast with an impressive record to its name: it’s been around for five years now with episodes released on a consistent weekly schedule. Continue reading

A brief life update

Emphasis on the brief, but it’s about time I shared the reason this blog has been somewhat quiet this past month or so, and it may continue for a while. I’m currently nearing the end of my PhD, with hopefully just a few short months to go before I finally submit. I’ve always worked to deadlines throughout the PhD, but being in the final stretch has meant being stricter than usual with my time so I can finish sooner rather than later – theses have a habit of stretching on and on if you let them.

I started this blog at almost the same time as my PhD, a (mostly) stress-free space where I could practice and develop mad writin’ skillz beyond the realm of academese. Of course my writing skills were and still are irredeemably poor, but the blog has served me well as far as stress relief goes. (It’s also been terrible in terms of procrastination, but that’s another story!)

What about going forward? Well, despite its beginnings as a PhD distracton, I hope to keep the blog alive long after the PhD is done and to post regularly in the meantime too; basically nothing will change. At least, that’s the plan! I just wanted to give an explanation for why I’ve posted less regularly recently, and if the trend of fewer posts continues then at least you’ll have an idea why. I’ll continue to cajole Maya into contributing posts during dry patches, and there are other goals too: more podcasts, reviving Weird Video Wednesday, so we’ll see how those pan out.

There's also my plan to monetise this blog... hang on, did I write that out loud? Pre-order your Best of Very Very Gaming 2018 today for 50% off!

There is also my plan to monetise the site. Pre-order today and get a whopping 50% off the best of Very Very Gaming content in 2019!

Whatever lies are in store, let me take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who reads our blog. It’s a privilege to know and be part of such a passionate and vibrant community of videogame bloggers, and I’m eternally grateful to those who’ve read, shared and commented on Very Very Gaming these past three years. Responses and correspondence from readers is the most gratifying part of any form of writing, so thank you all again for making blogging so rewarding and fun!

sega beauty pageant 2

Retro compilationing: Sega Mega Drive Collection (PS2)

I’m sorry. There, I said it. Sometimes life gets in the way of regular blogging, you know? I feel bad because I’ve found the time to play lots of games recently – but games are quicker and easier to play than they are to write about in my experience!

So between lengthy play sessions with Xenoblade Chronicles X, various other Wii U games and a replay of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, I picked up Midway Arcade Treasures 3 for the original Xbox. I’m not going to discuss that here, but it set me off thinking about other compilations I own and what makes a good retro/classic game compilation. Sega, Capcom, Atari, Namco, Taito, Midway – repeated offenders during the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era, the lot of them, so there’s plenty of these out there to talk about. Continue reading