modern culture since 1991

Wings over Sealand

Archive for the ‘games’

The mack daddy of metagaming 23

Posted on February 25, 2012 by RevStu

Alert WoSland viewers won't need telling that there's nothing this blog enjoys more than a hearty slice of metagaming, and there can be little rational disputing that the modern-day maestro of the form is cranky old code-grump Jeff Minter. The ruminant-loving curmudgeon has just released another retro-flavoured reference-rammed remake onto the App Store, and it's his best work yet.

iOS Gridrunner is the latest in a long line of remakes of Minter's veteran Centipede derivative, and it's a brilliant interpretation. A tiny (12MB) universal app offering both iPhone/iTouch and iPad versions for a single 69p payment, it's got the VIC-20 and C64 games thrown in as bonus freebies and it also supports the iCade. Frankly you'd have to be some manner of total spoon-faced klutz to pass it by.

It's an all-action blast, and while we wouldn't say the MOST fun you can have with it is spotting all the bits he's nicked from classic 80s coin-ops, it's certainly an entertaining diversion. We're bound to have missed loads, but below are all the ones we've spotted so far. See if you can find any that slipped our notice and we'll make a definitive list.

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The dark side of digital distribution 42

Posted on February 24, 2012 by RevStu

As a concept, digital distribution – particularly of videogames – is a wonderful thing. It should, and sometimes does, reduce prices dramatically by cutting out the need for physical manufacture, stock inventory, distribution and retail middleman. (Which in turn can also make niche genres economically viable.)

It can be, and usually is, much more convenient too – there's no need to mess around with noisy, slow-loading discs or worry about getting them scratched or losing them if all your content is right there on an instantly-accessible hard drive.

The only problem with digital is that it cedes control of your software library (and therefore all the money you've invested in it) to business, and business is evil.

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The extra mile 8

Posted on September 20, 2011 by RevStu

Videogame critics are a slightly different breed of people to gamers. The latter, partly because of the investment they've made in a product, will often be prepared to overlook a number of flaws and focus on the balanced pros-versus-cons merits of a game. Critics tend to be less concerned with such earthly matters and much more perfectionist, because they're focused on the game's place in the pantheon of artistic posterity rather than its instant here-and-now worth. The ponces.

As such, they (or I should say, we) can often be a lot angrier at games that are nearly brilliant than those that are just plain mediocre. This week's case in point: VS Racing.

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How 9/11 killed videogames journalism 22

Posted on September 11, 2011 by RevStu

There's been some truly horrible stuff passing for videogames journalism in recent times. Whether it's reviewers telling people to hand over £25 for a shoddy, lazy cash-in because it comes in a cardboard box or writers arguing with each other over the precise manner in which gamers should be gouged for more money, it's a depressing picture. (And having the president of IGN tell MCV last week that the recipe for the future was "getting celebrities involved" didn't paint it any prettier.)

I've always believed that writers are there to serve their readers, not their subjects. But as I was bemoaning the last case in a cloud of gloom and shame-by-proxy last month, I had a bit of an epiphany, and it wasn't a particularly cheering one. Because the truth of the matter is that readers are getting the videogames journalism (indeed, the journalism generally) that they deserve.

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This is why you’re probably an idiot 16

Posted on September 01, 2011 by RevStu

If there's one thing we all love here at WoSland, it's a good old-fashioned All-Time Top 100. And from a critic's standpoint, we've long thought the gold standard was the 1991 Your Sinclair chart for the ZX Spectrum. Not for its writing, or even (so much) the games themselves, but because the list showcased an incredible breadth of game types, such as we never thought we'd see again in mainstream commercial gaming.

That was until iOS arrived, of course. Now, for the first time in 20 years, it's once again possible to create a legitimate one-format Top 100 in which there are barely any two games in the same genre. And to prove it, that's just what we've done. But there's something even more special about this particular list.

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Public service announcement 8

Posted on August 28, 2011 by RevStu

There are two groups of videogamers in the UK (and perhaps the world) whose Venn diagram has a surprisingly small intersection. In Group A we have "People who own a Nintendo DS", and in Group B there's "People interested in buying a Nintendo 3DS".

In fairness, this may be because Group B is so small it'd be a tiny intersection even if it was entirely contained within Group B, but that's neither here nor there. In any event, because WoSland loves Nintendo so much, we're going to try to help increase it a bit.

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iOS freebie of the day 6

Posted on March 29, 2011 by RevStu

Is this extremely zippy line-drawing, trampoline-jumping game with beautiful graphics and almost limitless replay value.

Rather charmingly, it's called A Moon For The Sky. (There's a separate but equally free iPad version, A Moon For The Sky HD, too.)

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Make sense of this for me, someone 11

Posted on March 26, 2011 by RevStu

I was out and about today, and finally saw a 3DS in action for the first time. As billed, the 3D effect is absolutely gobsmacking, but even after just a few minutes I was finding it quite tiring on my eyes and I imagine the novelty will largely wear off after a couple of days, leaving you with a very pricey way to play Ridge Racer and Super Monkey Ball again. But not quite THIS pricey:

What in the name of Canaan Banana is going on here?

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National Twat Day 36

Posted on March 25, 2011 by RevStu

Viewers, a confluence like this comes around about once a decade. If it's as sunny, warm and beautiful where you are as it is in Bath today, get out there and witness the phenomenon for yourself.

If it isn't, don't worry – you can do it indoors too.

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The penalty for failure is video death 6

Posted on March 24, 2011 by RevStu

Despite the passage of almost 30 years, this is more or less exactly the way that the mainstream broadcast media still sees videogaming.

Game Of The Last 16 Hours 5

Posted on March 23, 2011 by RevStu

The world moves alarmingly fast nowadays, doesn't it? But right now, at this particular moment in time and until something else shiny and exciting comes along (probably around lunchtime), this is the best game ever.

With a certain amount of irony, then, (and for no very good reason that I can immediately discern), it's called Forget-Me-Not.

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Oh, poor DS, what did they do to you? 29

Posted on March 18, 2011 by RevStu

Aged viewers will recall this reporter's once-burning love for the Nintendo DS. But it wasn't just the appearance on the scene of the younger, slimmer, all-touching-all-the-time iThings that caused the flame to die.

This week, with the Western launch of the 3DS just a few days away, I went back to the old stager for one last hurrah, to see what I'd missed in what's now almost two years of iOS-focused gaming and also to see how it felt to use a so-called "real" handheld console again. I found out some things, and have written them down here because I'm old and I forget stuff.

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    Hello. I am the Rev. Stuart Campbell,
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