Category: Opinions

How all the time in the world spoiled the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series

I’ve been trying to pin down the precise differences between console- and arcade-style games. I’ve never been especially confident in how to explain the appeal of personal arcade favourites like Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead 2, Metal Slug, and too many shooters to name, over the meatier games associated with consoles. It’s not that I don’t like console games – far from it! – but I associate the short, intense and replayable experiences of arcade games with gaming on a deep level. Analysing the qualities that make arcade games special is the main topic of this post, but it comes courtesy of an unlikely source: the console-only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Continue reading

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Rule of Rose (PS2): what really happened?

To ask “what really happened?” after playing a fifteen hour game may seem strange. You might ask “what do you mean, what happened? Can’t you tell?”, but horror often relies on ambiguity to create tension and mystery, and Rule of Rose is no exception. Rule of Rose is all about the unreliability of memory and the differing perspectives one has as a child and as an adult. I decided to write this post because of an analysis I read which I didn’t find totally satisfying. In reading the plot of the game on the Rule of Rose Wikia, I realised that my interpretation of events was rather different…*heavy spoilers up ahead* Continue reading

Six terrible places to live as an NPC

You probably haven’t given the lives of non-playable characters much thought. I mean, many games show how NPCs can live happily: games that give a sense of freedom, of a life outside the confines of routine, or abject terror… However, other games make you think there can be no worse fate. Here is a list outlining some of the henious conditions an NPC can find themselves… Continue reading

Less is more? Back to basics with Mario and Castlevania

Ever since their beginnings the steady mantra of game sequels has been more, more, more. And as we know there are many ways to do more – some good, some bad. More can sometimes mean worse, and the drive to add new stuff can end up obscuring the kernel of the series/experience – the fundamentals which are characteristic of a series. Other times, the new and old elements of a game co-exist awkwardly: “why is X so good, and Y so bad?”. So, confession time. I enjoy the original Super Mario Bros over every other 2D sequel. Why? Read on…

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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

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