Gaming in museums: ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As if the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield wasn’t enough, I had another game-related museum trip recently. This was an almost completely opposite experience in fact! I headed to London’s famous V&A museum to see their temporary exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt. This was a much more traditional museum setup than the National Videogame Museum, notwithstanding the non-traditional subject matter. Continue reading

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Gaming in museums: National Videogame Museum, Sheffield

Games seem to be cropping up more and more in museums these days. I think it’s fair to say that games are gradually becoming more respectable in the art/museum world. I first noticed this when maybe a year ago, I visited a small town in the West Midlands called Walsall and popped in an impressive looking building called The New Art Gallery Walsall. In the foyer was a standalone painting depicting two fighters squaring off. Unsurprisingly the accompanying blurb explained the piece was inspired by a game, Tekken if I remember rightly, and the artist’s fond memories of competitive bouts.

That’s a small example of games intruding in an unexpected location, and there seem to be more and more these days. Adroit readers may recall a post about my visit to the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham back in 2015. I greatly enjoyed visiting then with Maya and decided to revisit with my brother in December 2018. Imagine my surprise to learn that the place has not only changed nomenclature from arcade to museum – it is now the National Videogame Museum – but it also relocated from Nottingham to the heart of Sheffield! Not too far away from its old home, but still. New city, new name, what else is new? Continue reading

Returning to Mario, again and again

Mario games never click with me immediately. But given enough time, I always seem to wind up back in the world of a certain moustachioed friend. That was true for Super Mario 64 and, much more recently, Super Mario Odyssey. Continue reading

Sega Ages Gain Ground (Switch) – the game I bought a Switch for

That title is a joke. Kind of. A half-joke. Honestly I have been anticipating this game since it was first announced many moons ago! Gain Ground on the Megadrive/Genesis is one of my favourite games. I have alluded to this game several times over the years, and I’m here to reiterate that it rocks, especially in co-op. It’s a slow, deliberate and strategic action game. An old and obscure Sega arcade release originally, it finally makes a long-awaited return… I can hardly wait and I want you to be just as excited. (Ha, fat chance.) But I’ll try my best here anyway – bring the hype! Continue reading

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Switch) – War, but not as you know it

What better way to kick off the new year than with World War II, anime-style. Or at least, with a game that starts off 110% anime. Valkyria Chronicles 4’s story gets pretty dark by the end but not without shrapnel chunks of teen banter, mishaps and romancing along the way. As the main character, Claude states at one point: “It was a battlefield… but it was also where we grew up.” That makes it sound quite sweet actually! Indeed, there are plenty of growing pains and hormones to be found in this war game, certainly moreso than the original Valkyria Chronicles. Continue reading

Console modding: Sega Saturn and PlayStation

I’ve always shied away from the topic of console mods. Perhaps because it’s the kind of discussion that can result in bannings from forums and websites, auctions being shut down on eBay, that sort of thing. It’s a legal grey area – not the act of modding itself, but what modding can allow for. At the risk of indicting myself, I’m writing about it here because I find it to be an interesting topic that I hear and read little about in mainstream circles. So to begin with, let’s talk about what modifications are out there, and why someone might want to modify their console in the first place, and then I’ll talk a bit about my modded Saturn and PlayStation. Continue reading

The best games I didn’t blog about in 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I have very few traditions on the blog but this is one I enjoy, always a fun way to kick off the new year. Alas here I am with preparing for my only end of the year tradition and I discover I didn’t even do one of these for last year, 2017! *sigh*

Never mind though and we’ll press on in the spirit of renewal. 2018 was a bit of an odd one: an unreasonably large number of the games I played in the first half of the year were disappointing. A lack of inspiring games is partly why I blogged very little – my socks just weren’t being consistently rocked by the stuff I was playing.

Then in the second half of the year things changed when I finally picked up a Switch. At the same time, reluctantly, I packed away my old CRT TV. Some weeks later I decided to re-dedicate myself to blogging, and since then I’ve been more thorough than ever before in terms of my output, writing about most of the games I played these past few months.

Given my journey this year and how consistent I’ve been with blogging lately, all of the games featured here I played in the first half of 2018, prior to my Switch purchase. Enough pre-amble, bring on the highlights! Continue reading