It’s been a while, readers. But I’m back. That’s right, the PhD is over. Submitted and awaiting viva! Throughout these past few months, I haven’t stopped playing games entirely. Still, my enjoyment of life in general has increased dramatically now, and that extends to games too. After listening to a recent Retronauts episode about the Gradius series, I decided to dust off my copy of the expansively named Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus for the trusty Sega Saturn. I’d always been curious, so why not try these spin-offs of a beloved series?
Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus is a collection of three arcade games, namely Salamander, Life Force, and Salamander 2. The former two, which I’ll cover first, are variations on the same basic game released within a year of one another in 1986-7. Salamander 2, by comparison, released almost ten years later in 1996, and is a more modern iteration on the series formula. These games all riff on similar level themes, bosses and structure, many of these themselves nabbed from the Gradius series. For instance, every game alternates between horizontal and vertical scrolling stages, and contains a mix of biological and sci-fi themed stages. Continue reading →
I am now on the last leg of completing my PhD. I know I said that in my last “life update” but this time… it’s serious. All I do, all day, is sit at my desk and try and figure out why words have stopped meaning what they used to. By the end of the project I should have over 70,000 words ready for the nine people around the world who it will be relevant to.
As you might imagine, I’m finding it difficult to sit and type in front of a screen – who knew that there was a limit? – and formulating blog posts at the moment seems like an arduous, difficult task. I have to have… an argument? I have to have opinions? Sounds a bit too similar to the every day struggle of stringing together sentences that include words like ‘ontology’, ‘problematise’ and ‘heterogeneity’.
The plan is to submit by the end of July – yes, next month. To celebrate, I was hoping to indulge either by going on holiday or buying a Switch (preferably both) – but my funding dried up months ago so I may have to settle for a packet of crisps, a movie and possibly a phone call with someone who does own a Switch. They can talk to me about their Switch experiences and I can translate their experiences into blog posts that will rock the internet to the very core…!
I apologise if this sounds like my current situation isn’t any fun – actually it’s been good. After a hard day’s thinking, there’s always time to enjoy videogames. Videogames still make sense. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve enjoyed spending time with Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, Splatoon, Portal 2, Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, and assorted Neo Geo games.
Anyway just to say thanks for bearing with me in this limbo phase. There will be a one or two posts coming your way, just not the usual weekly ones – I can’t wait to jump back on the blogtrain when the time is right!
Looking forward to playing and blogging about more games from the backlog…
No one likes to be trod on, but stepping stones are important! Innocent Life is an interesting deviation from the Harvest Moon formula. A sci-fi Harvest Moon to spice the series up? Hell yeah. Continue reading →
Games Plus is easily one of my favourite game shops to visit – and it’s also the least conventional. Like my previous posts on videogame related shops in the UK, I’m going to explain a bit about this shop and my recent experiences there. The first thing to say was that I found this shop by accident. I had heard rumblings of a game shop in Sparkhill, but with no website and Google Streetview not forthcoming, it seemed likely that there was maybe a shop there once upon a time. Continue reading →
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 →
If there’s one thing 100+ hours with Breath of the Wild has taught me, it’s that this game rewards curiosity and experimentation. I’d just beaten Ganon for the first time and seen the credits when I felt a curious urge: the urge to start Breath of the Wild over again and make a bee-line for Ganon. No Divine Beasts, no exploration… just the bare necessities. Why? To see if I could do it, of course! Continue reading →
A good horror experience will ask the important questions: what is the nature of evil? Is death ever truly final? What kind of hospital needs a zodiac sign puzzle-operated door? Amongst the various preoccupations of the horror genre is a longstanding fasination with children. Children are scary precisely because we expect purity and innocence from them, and yet they exhibit many of our worst traits unfiltered (cruelty, jealousy, narcisscism, idleness, fickleness…). I didn’t know I had been waiting for a game that explored the psychological dimensions of young girls’ friendships… until I played Rule of Rose. Continue reading →