Category: Video Games

Blogs about gaming (but not reviews of specific games).

In Defence of… Changing Things

Given my interests and line of work (i.e. the fact that I am a massive nerd), you probably won’t be surprised to know that a large number of my friends were the sort of people took great delight in pointing out (and complaining about) every little detail that was changed from the books to make the Harry Potter movies. Many of these are the same people who are now among the armies of angry monkeys kicking off after EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Game Of Thrones.

But, what you might be surprised to learn is that I am not one of these people. Far from it, in fact…

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Why don’t I do ‘proper’ game reviews?

I haven’t had any questions or comments on my blog yet, but if I were to get any, I think this would be one of them: why do I rarely write game reviews in the window immediately after a game has launched? ‘Real’ reviewers get the games early or on launch day, power through them and write reviews quickly to get them out around the same time as the game. Well, there are a number of reasons why I don’t do this…

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Doing Free-to-Play Wrong

If you’ve read this blog before, you may be aware that I have ranted on the subject of Free-to-Play games before (including here and here) and on how it’s a great system that CAN work, but many people just aren’t doing it right, to the detriment of the gamers and the studios.

Well, now the team at Extra Credits have made a video talking about all these points and more, and it’s well worth a watch:

 

Lives are Dead!

Remember lives in games? Of course you do! Remember how they stopped using them when arcades stopped being popular and we no longer had to insert coins to play games? No, neither do I, and I cannot understand why…

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On the topic of game reviews…

In my last blog I talked a bit about game reviews and how they might be improved so that they don’t just represent the opinions of one individual, with whom the reader may or may not agree. This time I wanted to continue to discuss how gaming journalism needs to evolve to reflect the modern video games industry…

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In Defence of Next-Gen Graphics

Quite a lot of people are attacking the next-gen gaming consoles because ‘the only tangible improvements that they will make to games is to the graphics’. I have said before that the launch of these new consoles is badly timed and I do not own either because I don’t feel it is a justified expense, but I also think that people are being a bit harsh about how little improvements in graphics (and processing power) will matter…

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Video Games as a Storytelling Medium

I wanted to take a break from my usual ranting to talk about something quite close to my heart. As part of the argument that games are (or at least can be) art, I’d like to look at something that I find particularly interesting: storytelling. In particular, I want to try and explain why video games have the potential to be the greatest storytelling medium of them all…

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Rewarding Bad Behaviour

I like achievements. Achievements are a good way to add some challenge, variety and replayability to a game, as well as to make the player feel rewarded, encourage them to improve their skills and give them a sense of progress. So why do some games give you achievements for playing them badly?

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Fix your Audio Settings!

This is a rant about something that has been getting on my nerves a lot recently; the fact that that developers (and not just indies, but big ‘triple-A’ studios too) seem to be happy to release a game without seemingly any effort going into the game’s sound design and/or without proper audio settings. Good sound design can tell you a lot about the game world and improve immersion for the player, but not everyone gets this right.

The thing that really bothers me is that it is not only easy to avoid the problem in the first place, but that its simple to provide an adequate solution and yet many studios fail to do so.

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Valve vs. The Next Generation

This week saw Valve (the developers behind games like the Half-life series and the Steam network) announce their new set of technologies that aim to bring the Steam gaming experience into the living room. Whether their intention was to simply expand their empire or to throw the gauntlet into the “Next Generation” of the console war, for me they’ve pretty much already won against the PS4 and the Xbox One. All without any fancy launch events and without announcing any new games or pointless motion-control gimmicks! Here’s why…

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