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Game Pitch: Elephant Ice Hockey

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I'd like to make a game some day.

I'm not sure what that game'll look like, or how I'll go about making it. I'm not even all that bothered if anyone else plays it - I just want to make something.

I'd like to have a better idea of what it takes to make a game. I want to gain some insight into the process and learn a little about basic coding. I want to attend an awards ceremony wearing shorts and a t-shirt and hug Geoff Keighley. I want to take pictures of food with Hideo Kojima, and not have it be weird.

From small beginnings.

Game Pitch: Elephant Ice Hockey

Elevator Pitch

It's ice hockey, but with elephants instead of Canadians.

More specifically, it's NHL '94 with elephants.

Everyone likes elephants. They're big, majestic, exotic, and sometimes they let us sit on their backs.

No one understands ice hockey, myself included. To most of the world, it's plausible that elephants could play ice hockey. I couldn't say for sure that they don…

Yamanote Line Game Video Game Game

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I've got an hour to burn, so I'm going to write something.

I've nothing planned, so I'm just going to write about the first video-game-related thing that pops into my head. The next topic I write about will start with the last letter of the previous point. It's a variation of the Yamanote Line game, only written down, and I'm the only player. 
Hello? Are you still there? 
Oh well, video games...... 
Monster Hunter World That was lovely. Eighty hours of slaying with friends and alone. I've got the armour I wanted, a rarity 8 Long Sword, and nothing new left to hunt, at least until Deviljho drops. The tempered monsters are more of a challenge, but they're still the same beasts, and the promise of weapon stones isn't quite enough to keep me motivated. I'll hunt with friends every now and again, and I'll be there whenever the DLC drops, but for now I'm winding down my HR41 geezer. 
Demon's Souls I can't wait to finally start playing D…

My 2009 1UP Featured Blog

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Burnout Paradise Remastered is out in two weeks, and I can't stop thinking about 2009.

2009 was the year I first played Paradise - an all-time great, and just one part of a wonderful year in video games. Uncharted 2, Shatter, Assassin's Creed 2, Dragon Age Origins, DJ Hero, Batman Arkham Asylum, Infamous, Demon's Souls, Street Fighter IV, CoD MW2, Flower, Red Faction Guerrilla etc. 2009 was well nice - a vintage year for stick fiddlers.

In 2009, everyone had a blog. Like a lot of people, I did most of my writing at the now defunct 1UP.com. I made internet-friends, butchered the English language, complained about things that I didn't really understand, and even got to engage with the site's paid staff. It was our own little corner of the internet, and it is sorely missed.

Burnout Paradise Remastered is out in two weeks, and I can't stop thinking about 2009. So I'm going to blog like it's 2009, even though it's not.

It is 2018.

Here's my blog, wr…

An Evening of Monster Hunter World

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I'm in deep, having played 40+ hours of Monster Hunter World in just three weeks. That's a lot for me, so back the fuck off.

It's great that the series has finally been freed from the limitations of the 3DS. All the familiar hooks, and frustrations, are still there, but this time it's prettier and easier to control. I'm very happy indeed.

I've tackled some quests solo, but I've mostly been playing with friends. We are expert hunters, as you'll see.

A typical evening session:

Me: Hey everyone. What level are we now? I'm HR 14.
Friend A: 12
Friend B: 16, but <white noise>
Friend C: 86
Me: Fucking hell <name redacted>. How'd you manage that?
B: Are you wearing a golden skull? Where'd you get that from?
C: I killed seventeen Black Diablos on Saturday. Only took eight hours.
Everyone: Nice.
A: Do you guys mind if we do the Rathian hunt? I need to get the Plate for some armour. I've already fought him six times, but no luck so far.
Me: Stin…

A Thing - Boxed Super Famicom

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There's something about boxed, retro hardware. Something about aged cardboard that gets me excited.

A box shows that the previous owner cared. They didn't throw it out, have a bonfire or fashion it into a piano. No, they looked after it. They might have even preserved the insides - manuals, bags, warranty cards, plastic ties, unused stickers, shrink wrapped batteries etc. A mummified box of gaming joy. Christ, I need a cold shower.

Just last week, I found myself tempted by a boxed Game Gear. The packaging was in lovely nick, with sharp edges, bright colours, and manuals included. The previous owner clearly loved their Game Gear. Either that, or it was an unwanted gift, thrown into a cupboard and forgotten, its undesirability ensuring its preservation. Anyway, I already have a functioning Game Gear and have no need for another, but that didn't stop me from seriously considering it. I was halfway to the counter before I decided to pass.

Sharp edges, bright colours; manuals …

The Best & Worst Games of 2017

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The Best & Worst of 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

I thought 2017 was a pretty good year for video games, despite the fact that I didn't play the majority of the GOTY frontrunners.

I didn't play Persona 5, because one hundred hours is too much to ask. I never got to Nier Automata, for similar reasons. I didn’t play PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, because I don’t have a gaming PC, and it appears to be broken on Xbox One. I’m not quite sure why, but Horizon Zero Dawn never appealed, so I gave that a miss. It's only in the last week or so that I started playing Zelda and Mario on my brand new Switch, though they've certainly made an impression in that short time.

What I did play was a mix of old and new. I out-squatted a man for a wig, assassinated a herd of hippos, took a road trip with a crew of hair models, gunned down space fish, saved the humans, remembered how to parry, romanced a skeleton, descended into Viking hell, possessed a Moai, got i…

Video Game Twit-chatting

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We've just moved into a new house. It's lovely and has lots of space, which makes it somewhat of a rarity this close to Tokyo, at least on our budget. I can finally unpack my games from the shipping boxes they've been hiding in the last eighteen months, and stop living out of suitcases. The only catch is that we are going to be internet-less for the next month or two. Apparently the people who lived here before us were Luddites, or were just stealing someone else's wifi, so there is no existing infrastructure for high speed internet.

So we're limited to mobile data until at least the New Year, with which I can do very little. No streaming services, no downloading games and no playing online.

Twitter still works though, so I'm going to work with what I've got.

I've searched "video games" on Twitter, and used the results as inspiration for some ramblings. What could go wrong?

"Do violent video games make people more violent in real life?&…

A Thing - The Sega Saturn Infrared Control Pad

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Sometimes I'll write about a single object. Something big, or something small. Something significant, or something insignificant. Something I own, something video games. A video game thing.

You can never have enough Saturn pads. For all of its faults, real and imagined, Sega's 32-bit machine had some great controllers. The much-aped Saturn pad was sleek yet substantial. The Nights 3D pad was ahead of its time, just like many of the Saturn's features. You could wield the Saturn light gun without looking like a knob, the steering wheel looked cool, the bog standard joystick was excellent and there were countless OTT, game-specific peripherals, such at the Virtual On sticks and the thingamabob that came bundled with Space Harrier.

I own lots of Saturn controllers. More than I have hands (2), or friends (2). This week I added another to my collection, the Infrared Control Pad, or the Cordless Pad as it's known here in Japan. A cordless pad from an era of too many wires.

Wh…

Nintendo Switch - Arguing With Myself

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I almost bought a Switch last week. Amazon had both the grey version and the Mario Odyssey bundle in-stock, and only ¥1000 above SRP. I decided to mull it over and waited for the following morning, by which time my interest had subsided and both versions had increased in price by 25%. Fuck that, then.

History suggests that I'll eventually end up with a Switch. Back in 2012, I was agonising over pre-ordering a PS Vita. I eventually went for it, and I'm happy that I did. Two years later, I was unsure about picking up a discounted Wii U. Predictably, I ended up with one. I didn't particularly enjoy my Wii U, but without it I wouldn't have played two hundred hours of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate with my wife, so it wasn't all bad. This time last year, I was umming and ahhing about the Xbox One. I eventually bought one, which is a decision that I deeply regret.

Anyone want to swap an Xbox One for a Switch?

If Switches were easier to find here in Japan, I'd probably al…

Game Fright

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Japan has gone Halloween mad over the last few years. Shelves are stacked with gruesome tat and cute pumpkins, and thousands of fancy-dressed youths pack into Shibuya on Halloween weekend. We’re not yet at trick-or-treat levels of stupidity, but we may only be a few years away. It’s a fucking nightmare.

To celebrate my favourite seasonal event, I thought I’d share some video game related scares. Because I like video games and have played lots of them.

The First Dead Space

Video games aren’t scary. If someone tells you otherwise, then they are either a big baby or a liar. Interactive media should excel at making you jump, yet the best horror games don’t come close to matching movies for shocks and scares.

I can only think of one exception, and that’s Dead Space. I felt genuine dread each time I rounded a blind corner, opened a door to an unexplored room or found myself stranded in an unlit space. I felt uncomfortable throughout, thanks to the eerie sound design, the derelict setting, I…