Guest artwork by Ed Chee

I’ll say this about orphanages out in the countryside: I don’t trust them. I’ve never been in one without having a fit of the snivels. Not that I’ve ever been in one, mind, but I’ve seen enough of them through the reliable lens of popular culture to know that they are only marginally better for your health and sanity than a grinning lunatic with a stolen scalpel. Continue reading

Franz Ferdinand poster croppedWar, like playing silly buggers, is something best confined to the frame of a computer screen. And if you’re looking for silly-bugger warfare, why, you’d be pressed hard to look farther than Positech’s Gratuitous Tank Battles.

GTB is pretty thoroughly like and yet unlike its spiritual predecessor, Gratuitous Space Battles. You’re on earth instead of the yawning eye sockets of the universe, exchanging fire with crunching, mechanical brutes of riveted steel instead of the seething insects of interstellar death.

That is to say, you’ve got to stop some bastard’s big, gruesome machines and cannon fodder from getting through some tunnels, and you’ve got to shove your own gruesome machines and cannon fodder through some tunnels while some BASTARD tries to stop you.

So it’s tower defence and offence all wrapped up in a bow. A smoking, ragged bow that’s been used as a garrotte. It’s fucking hard, is what I’m saying. But this frustration is mitigated by the fact that you can make magenta mechs.

But I’m getting yonder of myself. Continue reading

SFXT screenshot 7

I am of that dwindling breed who played the very first Street Fighter, when it hit that long-lost version of the arcade that was kept both warm and smelling of bed time by the adjacent laundromat. I also played the first Tekken, at one of those gaming nexuses parents use to occupy their children while they gamble away the mortgage.

I have a long and nostalgic history of losing miserably at both these franchises. Losing at either is a distinctly different experience, and I was sceptical at the thought of smooshing them together; Street Fighter is all firebally and whoosh, whereas Tekken has Eddy. I had visions of a game more redolent of mystery meat a la Blanka than a tight, cohesive brutality machine.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Continue reading

Games like A Valley Without Wind pose a conundrum for me.

It’s a stunning proposal, see: an infinite world, filled with infinite possibilities, challenges and content. It’s the gaming grail, and it’s rather often that an intrepid group of developers set out to raid the tomb that holds it.

Sometimes they come back. Continue reading

I like my pixels big and meaty. Not pong racket meaty, mind you – just meaty enough to see. Um. Like minced meaty. It’s a throwback from having spent my formative years in 16 bits.

I doubly especially like to rain smite upon pixels such as those aforementioned. Another 16-bit-induced dementia, no doubt, and one amply catered to by the low-fi takedown of the Serious Sam franchise that is The Random Encounter. Continue reading

Well, I’m back. Except that I’m not. For the moment, let’s think of me as being in the same room but on exceptional doses of Thorazine. It’s what I’d do.

Have fun. Climb trees. Don’t speak to strangers. I’ll start writing to you all again the very moment my neurons regain their ability to fire.

From here, you can read the review of Limbo‘s PC port I posted on G3AR (hint: buy the damn game), or you can view the following excerpt from my mind:

Dungeons of Dredmor 2011-07-26 11-12-07-60

I told you I’d be back with a thought expansion on the topic of Dungeons of Dredmor. I just didn’t tell you I’d be posting those bigger, better thoughts on G3AR. But it’s true, and I just did.

It’s a beastly, beastly game, and I love loathe love it to the very depths of its foul, slick soul. I just hate all diggles and spit on their impotent shadows. Gaslamp Games, you made trouble for yourself when you invented diggles. How many death threats do you get per diem, on average? I can assure you that at least more than half of them are not from me.

Right then, glad to have got that off my chest. I think I’ll just give Dred one mor go.

Cthulhu Saves the World ScreenshotI have subjected the readers of G3AR to some more judgmental thoughts, this time about Cthulhu Saves the World. Some of these thoughts are kindly, but not in the same way that elderly women who want to feed the world are kindly. They’re the more selfish kind of kindly and are entirely involved with my enjoyment and satisfaction.

The other thoughts are less kindly, but not in the same way that elderly women who wear gas masks and dress in crotchless vinyl are less kindly. They’re the more bored kind of less kindly. Continue reading

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition screenshot

I’ve post a review detailing the boisterous antics in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition over at PC Format’s newish G3AR website.

It’s a game filled with ruffians! They can’t bloody well go for a minute without pulling an ultra combo on pets and passersby. But it’s a good game. A mighty game! And I suck at it.

But maybe you wont. See for yourself.

Would you look at the time. Voting for IntroComp 2011 is all fut, and I haven’t so much as reviewed half the entries. I should feel ashamed of myself, but I had to wash my hair some time, you know.

Let’s ignore that for a moment, shall we? The important thing is that I’m standing next to a corpse. The smell of roasted personflesh is slung on the air, but I’m not fazed in the littlest.

This aught to be perplexing, but I’ve never been bugged by minimalist death. Continue reading