modern culture since 1991

Wings Over Sealand

Archive for the ‘games’

When all your dreams come true 1

Posted on January 05, 2018 by RevStu

I was as pleased as a big fat walrus with a free bucket of haddock today to be able to contribute to the week-long one-off revival celebrating the 25th anniversary of the start of the majestic Digitiser. 

Especially when I got a lovely new Panel 4 picture from Mr Biffo (instead of money). But I got a bit distracted in the column, and forgot to talk about the thing I meant to talk about, so I'm going to talk about it now.

Read the rest of this entry →

This is why games are terrible now 1

Posted on November 20, 2017 by RevStu

It happens at 2m 30s, if you're in a hurry.

Seriously, all those millions in development, all the hundreds of pounds people have spent buying the PS4 and the VR headset and the game and the upgrade – how hard could it be to have it detect when you'd gone seriously off track and have the navigator go "ARGH! SHIT! OW! BLOODY HELL, GET BACK ON THE ROAD YOU MORON!", so as to not completely ruin the whole thing?

How dull-witted do you have to be, how far have you missed the point by, to obsess over every last wheelnut in the name of "realism" and then sit the player beside a virtually-real companion who keeps calmly reading out directions even as the car he's in plummets down a mountainside on its roof? For God's sake.

I despair, I really do.

Blurred lines Comments Off on Blurred lines

Posted on June 18, 2017 by RevStu

There's nothing about Ramboat (Genera, free, iOS and Android) that isn't interesting. The game itself is a short, punchy and fun pure arcade shooter that most obviously channels Metal Slug and Irem's much-underrated In The Hunt. Indeed, it's basically a very clever adaptation of the latter game for one-thumb control, but presented with all the beautifully-detailed character of the former.

But this isn't the article I've been meaning to write for years about the fascinating and often incredibly elegant and even revolutionary ways that developers have rejigged every traditional game genre for touchscreen devices in order to avoid going down the horribly unsatisfactory route of the "virtual d-pad".

Because the other most intriguing aspect of modern gaming*, particularly on mobile formats, is the monetisation of it. And in the case of Ramboat, the opportunity for an experiment presented itself.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Modern Videogames Console: A Guide 6

Posted on February 23, 2017 by RevStu

The process of simply buying the Xbox One took me either three days or eight weeks, depending on how you look at it, due to a combination of how retail works these days and the gibbering random madness that is GAME's pricing and corporate structure. But I'm not even going to get into that here.


What you should know is what happened next.

Read the rest of this entry →

Would you like to play a game? 17

Posted on December 23, 2014 by RevStu

Since the demise of the Nintendo DS, I've done almost all of my videogaming on smartphones and tablets. A confluence of circumstances made traditional console formats less attractive for a variety of reasons, but also saw me spend more money on gaming than I had done in years. iOS and Android games offer a huge range of incredibly good titles at mindbogglingly tiny prices, almost all of them capable of fitting into whatever free time you have available.


(And not just because they're short, snappy arcade twitch games like Super Hexagon or Impossible Road. Classics like Civilisation and Shadowrun have been revived brilliantly to suit the format, and traditional genres such as scrolling shooters have actually been improved by touchscreen controls, with the likes of Dodonpachi and Raiden rendered far more player-friendly without reducing their fearsome difficulty one iota. Pinball games and others can finally get the aspect ratio they've always wanted.)

More to the point, it almost never takes 47 days to download one.

Read the rest of this entry →

The anti-social gamer 6

Posted on June 17, 2013 by RevStu

Hey, videogame developers! Fuck the fucking fuck off with this fucking cuntery:


Thanks so much.

Read the rest of this entry →

A better world 5

Posted on March 10, 2013 by RevStu

This is why Gran Turismo games make me sad.

Racing games are one of the few remaining mainstream genres where (with the exception of the Need For Speed series and a handful of others) the player plays as themselves, rather than as a predefined character in a story. As a result, personalities are rather thin on the ground – if anything, the cars are the stars.

But nobody wants to read 800 words about the Nissan Skyline (nobody who doesn’t urgently need drowning in a bucket, anyway), so instead let's focus our attention on something altogether more beautiful, in every possible way.

Read the rest of this entry →

When games aren’t expensive enough 11

Posted on February 28, 2013 by RevStu

(I've been meaning to write this piece for months, but – not entirely unrelatedly – have been rather neglecting WoSland in favour of another site whose readers ARE in fact prepared to pay a very modest price for journalism. But what the heck, let's do it now.)

Today has seen the much-trailed worldwide release of Real Racing 3 for the iOS platforms. The controversial "free-to-play" game has a horrendous IAP structure which forces players to have to either wait for hours and hours (and hours) at paywalls between sessions or cough up a mindboggling fortune to play it continuously.

This, contrary to what you might think, is a good thing.

Read the rest of this entry →

Why Ben Kuchera is a dickhead 22

Posted on January 30, 2013 by RevStu

[This piece was originally titled "Why Piracy Is Good" when I wrote it in August of 2004. I figured I'd make it gratuitously offensive clickbait this time, just for teh funz. If you don't understand the new title, start here.]

It's weird how the simplest games can have the longest stories. Today we're going to talk (well, I'm going to, anyway) about a couple of games (well, four games, but we'll get to that) that are about as Zen-basic as it's possible for electronic entertainment to be.

They're a pair of games which could be played by the one-armed dishwasher from Robin's Nest (one for the mums and dads, there), a duo that require all the brainpower of a starving dog pondering the best course of action to take with a pound of sausages that's just fallen out of an old lady's shopping bag right under his nose.

And yet, by the time we're done we'll have covered inspiration, plagiarism, moral flexibility, flagrant copyright infringement, public-spiritedness, cultural history, corporate pragmatism, collective short-sightedness and the proudest moment in your correspondent's career to date. Which is a lot of stuff, so let's get on or we'll be here all day.

Read the rest of this entry →

The players and the game 61

Posted on October 30, 2012 by RevStu

"Those who have been angry about all this – don’t investigate the people, investigate the system." (Robert Florence, writing on John Walker's blog last week.)

Let's see what we can do, eh?

Read the rest of this entry →

The GMAs: a warning from history 14

Posted on October 28, 2012 by RevStu

The quotes below come from an April 2007 piece entitled "And The Winner Is", concerning the inaugural Games Media Awards of later that year, written by Kyle Orland for The site no longer exists, but you can still read the article via the ever-handy Internet Wayback Machine.

""We actually found a lot of people in the games media don't feel well recognized by the industry they served," said Stuart Dinsey, Managing Director for Intent Media and the brains behind the awards show. "We felt this was a good way to give them some of that recognition and have a great party for everyone to get together at the same time."

"As for the all-important judging itself, Dinsey said the exact process was still being tweaked. Dinsey added that he'd like to get votes from "all the leading companies" in the games industry, probably by asking PR representatives to consult with their colleagues and place a vote to represent the company as a whole. Dinsey said the exact makeup of the judging panel will be kept secret until after the voting is done, to prevent any quid pro quo situations from developing."

But the mere specter of industry voting was enough to give some members of the press pause about the awards. "The games industry are the last people who should be voting for awards in games journalism," said British game freelancer Kieron Gillen. "It's a bit like the prisoners voting for who's their favourite prison guard." Gillen said he worries that the industry voting will make the award one "you wouldn't want to win…. because it's basically shorthand for 'Lapdog Of The Year award'.""

(Despite these comments, Gillen accepted a GMA that very year, and this month pocketed the "Games Media Legend" prize to bookend it with. He attempted to justify his instant U-turn the day after the 2007 award by saying "The awards don’t really matter. PRs are fine. They’re just people." In a fine twist of irony he now pontificates at highbrow public events about how independent games journalism is of PR, and is also a judge in the "Games Journalism Prizes" awards, along with a number of other "concerned games industry types", several of whom are also GMA winners.)

Now the owner of the PR-driven GMAs uses their power to censor journalists with legal threats for expressing honest opinions and accurately quoting people's own public comments to illustrate a valid and fair point. Now maybe we're just old and bitter (well, there's no "maybe" about it), but it seems a pretty odd way of "recognising" games journalism to us. Unless, that is, you ponder who voted on the first GMAs (and still vote on them now), and start wondering to yourself exactly which industry it was that Stuart Dinsey meant when he said "recognised by the industry they serve".

The Wainwright Profile 41

Posted on October 26, 2012 by RevStu

Well, that was exciting. The entire English-speaking world of videogames journalism just about convulsed itself into a coma yesterday because someone did that rarest of things in the English-speaking world of videogames journalism – spoke openly, frankly and truthfully about something. If you've been having trouble keeping up with the dizzying pace of developments, allow us to lead you gently through the most concise and accurate timeline we can manage.

Read the rest of this entry →

↑ Top