With Christmas now officially over and New Year on the horizon it’s a good opportunity to reflect. I’ve been on a strong gaming kick this year since getting the Switch – even more than usual, and it was already “on” as far as gaming goes. My history with games is full of ebbs and flows but the level of flow recently is starting to make me uncomfortable.
I’m reading a book, ‘How Music Works’ by David Byrne (lead singer of the Talking Heads), and there’s a line that got me thinking. Byrne quotes the philosopher Theodor Adorno who described the experience of listening to music alone as an ‘opiate’. Byrne unpacks the idea: ‘like a drug, instead of bringing real happiness, the music heard on jukeboxes only creates more desire for itself’. As a music fan this reasonates with me to an extent. And If we apply that to games, it’s the idea that playing games doesn’t produce any tangible benefit – rather all it does is increase our desire to play more. Continue reading
It’s no Last of Us, but Resident Evil Revelations 2 is very good at what it does. The story is cheesy as Resi should be, the atmosphere creepy but not unrelentingly so, the action engaging and the controls butter smooth. Overall Revelations 2 does a fine job of combining elements of the pre-Resident Evil 4 and post-Resident Evil 4 games. Continue reading
You let me down. I posted almost two weeks ago about a cool shoot ’em up called Blazing Star – that’s Blazing Star by the way and not Blazin’ Squad, a frequent misnomer in my house. Anyway, I explicitly mentioned I had Blazing Star on Switch. And yet not one person piped up in the comments to warn me about… Caravan mode. That’s right, it’s thanks to your negligence that I’m in a mess of trouble! For the lucky ones who don’t know, caravan mode is a five minute only score attack mode included in every NeoGeo re-release put out by Hamster, complete with online leaderboards.
After I completed that post, I decided to take a quick peek at the high score modes Hamster included. That “quick peek” soon became an arresting diversion, swiftly followed by addiction and then obsession. And now look where we are.
All I can say is I hope you’re satisfied. I do not feel I should bear responsibility for this tragic turn of events. Even so, reluctantly, I must beg for your help. Can any from among you put an end to this madness? Are there any willing to take on the caravan challenge, and de-throne my score?
Yours five minutely (and no I can’t pause),
Adrian, aka Maya
Like many teens, I did the whole rock band thing. In the mid 2000s, I was in bands, writing and performing my very own terrible music, and spending a lot of time in dingy urban rehearsal studios. It was in one of these rehearsal studios that I encountered a classic shooter of yore, Blazing Star. At the time I didn’t make register its name – it was simply one of four games available to play for 20p on a NeoGeo arcade cabinet. It was the first 2D shooter I’d every played on an arcade cabinet, so it really stood out to me. The arcades I went to were host to lightgun games, Dance Dance Revolution and networked racing games that cost £1 at a minimum – whereas this NeoGeo cab was something completely different at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading
We’re in trouble here, aren’t we? It’s been two months since my last blog post. But, more significantly, is that I have hardly thought about this site during that time. That leaves me with only two options:
- A radical rethink in how the blog is run.
- End the blog.
I finally caved and bought a Switch. No going back now – and hey, I finally get to make my own Switch pun. I’ve not owned a portable system since the GBA. Times are certainly a-changing; I’m sad to write that I’ve put my CRT TV away in storage and a few less-used consoles are to follow. I still have plenty of old games to write about on the blog so no worries there. It’s just a bit of a bummer when life gets in the way.
Getting back on track here, even I have to confess that the Switch is very cool. It’s a slick piece of kit with a great gimmick of coming off the telly and into your palm whenever you like. To be honest the way I’ve used it so far is no different to off-TV play on a Wii U, but it’s always nice to have the option to take it out. Small as they are the joycon controllers are nifty too. I only have a couple of games, most notably Super Mario Odyssey – it turns out Switch games are expensive! – but I’ve put the most time by far into Hollow Knight. 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!