Stig-martyr

Is this what you see when you think of gamers?

Why is it that sometimes we gamers are considered second class citizens? Why do non-gamers so often perceive us as anti-social delinquents with little to no redeeming qualities outside of the fact we can crack resi 2 with less than three saves in a little over four hours? How come gaming is considered less worthwhile and more childish than watching television or movies?

I know plenty of people who love the likes of Toy Story or The Princess Diaries yet believe that video games hold no place in society? I’m a guy so understandably I don’t really understand the appeal of Rom-coms nor do I hold them in a negative regard, they are a piece of entertainment like any other designed to take you out of your real life problems and help you unwind so why is it some people cannot allow the same courtesy to a form of entertainment that is arguably far more engaging and thought provoking? Looking down your nose at the likes LA Noire is akin to saying classic cinema is a bore…… Perhaps this is the way some people feel but at the end of the day its a crass generalisation made by people who have little experience of gaming outside of what they see in the press. Games are a media that covers such a huge set of genres (not to mention art style, direction, game play style) cannot be described purely as one form of entertainment.

With the advent of motion controls being just one in a long series of innovative steps taken by the many thousands of talented men and women behind these mega bucks studios it is rash to say Hollywood or television have anything better to offer. When was the last time you saw a movie where Tom Cruise taught you about the power struggles between the Medici and the Bourgia’s in renaissance Italy like AC2 does? (Won’t I be made the fool when it’s revealed little Tom is playing Ezio in the movie) Or expanded your mind like professor Layton? Hell I remember learning geography from where on earth is Carmen San Deigo when I was but 5/6 years old plus I now understand the rudimentary physics that go in to creating a wormhole into slip space with a Shaw-Fujikawa drive (ok that ones not real).

Learning is fun.

Video games today show so much advancement that it’s a little scary at times, where other art forms (thats right I called video games art those of you who have played any of the Ico, thatgamecompany or Viewtiful Joe games will agree) stagnate video games continue to smash the mould and create newer richer experiences that redefine entertainment at every turn. but don’t take my word for it you just need to jump online to see I’m right there are literally millions of blogs just like this one dedicated to the promotion of a media that people love.

You’ve probably guessed already someone made a throwaway comment about games and gamers that irked me and I know I probably took it too personally but I can’t help it, we gamers are a like minded people passionate about what we believe in. So don’t come crying to me when the Earth is under threat from Aliens, Zombies, Orcs, Ghosts or all of the above because you didn’t put the hours in learning just how to deal with such a situation.

Gaming is no longer exclusively a “guy thing”.

The traditional view of gaming nerds is finally being challenged by a new crop of gaming girls who are not in the least bit ashamed of their hobby and the gaming world as a whole has been more than willing to accept them with open arms (not least because we are unable to speak to girls let alone ask them to leave as the old stereotype goes).The stigma surrounding geeks and nerds has slackened somewhat in recent years, thanks in part to the portrayal of geeks in tv land but it has not disapeared completely and it’s still difficult to explain to a “normy” that gaming can be a social experience too. I’ve played with people from India, America, France, Poland and even a guy who lived two streets over from me purely by accident and I love the way online gaming has brought this aspect to the forefront because gaming like anything else is more fun when enjoyed with others.

Seth Cohen: Making life easier for geeks since 2003

Let me know what you think, tell me your stories of being dismissed for being a gamer or tell me why you think we are a danger to society who should be segregated from the rest of humanity and never allowed to reproduce for fear that we create more deranged VG fans hell bent on destroying the earths limited supply of … erm …. Bandwidth, Cds and electricity?

Elths rant over.

It’s only a game/show?

Howdy folks.

Once again it has been a while. We have a few ideas for upcoming posts and they are slowly coming together but yesterday I managed to tear myself away from pc gaming to spend the 400 Microsoft pacmen I have been saving for just this occasion and played through part 2 of the sensational Walking Dead game from telltale games.

If you frequent the blog (I know there’s at least one of you out there) you’ll know that I briefly covered part one in an earlier post so you will already be aware that I enjoy this kind of story heavy adventure driven experience. This next installment begins three months after Lee and co escaped the ill fated pharmacy in Macon and set up camp on the edge of town in what they refer to as a “motor inn”, which appears to be some kind of drive thru motel? Supplies are scarce and tempers running thin, it’s interesting to note at this point that the characters appearing here will be the characters that you chose to save in A New Day, (part one) from the very beginning you are reminded of those who didn’t make it this far and it is made immediately obvious that the decisions are not going to get any easier this time out. Remember the moment in the show when Rick has to get that kid’s leg off the fence? You, like me might have been yelling at the screen for him to just rip the damn thing off, well you get to test your mettle in a similar situation here very early on and unless you are a wee bit masochistic it is not a pleasant experience.

I said it last time out but this part proves further that telltale really want to go down the darker more sinister route of the comics rather than the more hopeful path taken by Andrew Lincoln and his TV co stars, that’s not to say there aren’t some horrific moments in the show but some of the things that happen in the comic just could not be done on television, interestingly it seems you can go down this path in a video game. I say video game in the loosest terms here as I allude to in the title its difficult to tell at times if you’re playing a game, watching a show or partaking in an interactive comic/novel, this plays to the creators advantage as the story that Kirkham has created is a strong character driven, emotional experience. Both the comic and the show have come under fire for spending too much time focusing on the talking and too little on the Zombie smashing, those nay sayers may feel the same way about the beginning of this episode as the action takes a little time to get rolling and once again the focus is on the evils of those humans still alive rather than the bitey dead heads roaming around.

I wont delve into the plot at all because that’s not my style if you want to play it you will and I don’t want to be the one ruining that experience for you but there are some great nods to both the show and the comic in terms of locations, characters and set pieces. Typically TV show video game tie ins tend to be a little drab and uninventive, what we have here however is a visceral, original experience that doesn’t get too bogged down in trying to replicate the story or style of the show, yes it helps that it has the comic to fall back on as well but ultimately it has come about due to the success of the show. Rather than allowing this to hinder them telltale have run with it and created a tense, paranoia fueled story that runs as a nice parallel to the main arc whilst never feeling like it is repeating the ideas of its counterparts.

At times during this thrill ride you really start to wonder what you would be capable of in such extreme circumstances leaving you questioning just what you would do to survive. Most of us gamers like to think we would be useful in the event of a Zombie apocalypse due to our “past experience” but until it actually happens who truly knows what they would do and whether their perceived good choices would actually work out for the best. This game really pushes that idea, make the wrong choice and things can really go to hell, hesitate over choosing and things can really go to hell, try to play the hero and things can really go to hell. In short it’s hell out there so make sure you pick the right companions or you might be dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.

If you’ve played the game let me know what you think, even if you haven’t all comments are appreciated. If you love the show play the game even if you hate Carl like everyone else.

Elth out.

Smart Casual Gaming

This post has been in my head for some time now but I have been mesmerized by DICE’s Bedouin concubine who calls herself Battlefield 3, whispering of double xp events, tempting me with the sweet scent new weapons to unlock and gyrating its custom server features and other spinning tassels.

I only tore myself from this cushioned tent of FPS to become a thrall to a new siren known as Minecraft, causing my ship of productivity to be dashed hopelessly on her rocks and compelling me to dig through them. Concerning the latter game that I inappropriately sexualised we have a new dedicated page in the works which will eventually surface as soon as we do, but enough of this nonsense, I have other bullshit to talk about

There are a couple of mobile games I have been playing in my spare moments when not near my PC or XBox that you might want to give a go. So if you find yourself with a free minute or 5 on the bus/train/latrine/during a conversation you have grown tired of maybe give these a go.

N.B. None of these games involve hurling poultry or a rope in dire need of cutting and both are 69p on the iOS app store, although I got the first one free from a cool  app called App Gratis, giving you free daily apps alongside a witty description. No Android version of this app in the UK yet but its coming soon according to the site.

Blockado Desert is traditional puzzle game which as you may have deduced is based round a desert theme, but if you hate sand getting everywhere Blockado Jungle and Blockado Deep Sea are available seperately too. The basic object of the game is to get the chests into the pink square by moving obstructing blocks accordingly. It has for 4 worlds each with 10 or more normal levels and 2 optional harder levels if you are insane. Difficulty level goes up at a reasonable rate, creeping up from ‘medium’ to ‘alarming how stupid I am’. In my opinion graphically it looks like plenty of polish has been poured on it and its pick up and play value is excellent, auto saving a level when you stop playing either out of necessity or infuriation. Overall its great value and will keep any mobile gamer with an IQ less than 150 busy for some time. If puzzles are your thing it is available in the App Store now.

Robot Unicorn Attack. Yes you read that correctly, this is a blinder of a game that a couple of my college class mates, who are much more in tune with what happens on the interwebs than me, introduced me to. It started life as a flash game on Adult Swim with the aim that you (the robot unicorn) dash and rainbow attack your way across a neon landscape collecting fairies and stars to amass the highest score possible before you meet your maker. If this didn’t sound trippy enough the music that fills your ears during your unicorning is provided by Erasure…. Seriously? Yep it amazing what a grasp of flash and a lack of a grasp on reality can create.

Any way this if you want to try out the flash version of Robot Unicorn Attack then click here and once you are suitably addicted then you can get your paws on it in the iOS App Store here as well on Android via Google Play here for 9p less than your Apple counterparts. So get to chasing your dreams!

Oh but before you do a friend of mine showed me this and I thought it was fitting, if you like rap parodies and you like casual gaming which lets face it who doesn’t like at least one of those things, you will love this

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