Filling a Steering Wheel Sized Hole


That was all they wanted for it. A boxed Sega Saturn Arcade Racer Joystick for the cost of a pint.

As with most used electronics here in Japan, it was in excellent condition. Boxed, bagged, and with instructions - near pristine. The epitome of Japan-used. I wanted it, but I didn't want to lug it around all day and then have to take it on a rush-hour train.

You see, I was shopping during my lunch break. Suited and booted, rummaging through boxes of old games dressed in my finest; the dapperest bargain hunter that you ever did see. Quite the spectacle in Akihabara, where most of the visitors can hardly dress themselves and, if they can, they're probably wearing a hideous anime t-shirt (Japanese) or a shorts-and-massive-rucksack combo (white people).

I wanted it, but it was impractical. So I walked away and spent most of the afternoon regretting my decision. That is until I remembered that I was going home via Akiba that evening. So I went back and bought it, and braved t…

The Vita Has no Games

All signs point to the end of the Vita, with shipments of the remaining models set to end "soon".

To celebrate the life and mark the death of Sony's beautiful, ill-handled and ill-advised portable, I have written a poem.

The Vita has no Games by me
The Vita has no games said the man on the internet
Yes it does said another also on the internet
I can name plenty of exclusives worthy of your time Examples of developers at the top of their craft Especially if you like hentai games rubbing the back of your Vita and looking daft
No wanky shit said the man on the internet The Vita has no games!
Then what would you call Persona 4 Golden Lumines Electronic Symphony and Uncharted Golden Abyss? No games you say Are you taking the piss?
Retreads and derivatives said the man on the internet The Vita has no games!
Well how about indies? Undertale, Thomas was Alone, Olli Olli and TxK Excellent games made even better by letting you choose where to play
No one bought a Vita for indies sa…

Please Don't Let This Priest Murder My Family

This post contains minor spoilers for the opening hours of Assassin's Creed Odyssey
In a plague-ravaged village, a family of survivors kneel, bound, before their would-be killers.

They are a young couple with a girl, about my daughter's age, and a son, a little older. They are quite adamant that they don't want to die. They plead for mercy and appeal for aid; a priest and his two executioners wait to see if I will help the family or turn my back on their desperate pleas.

Should I kick-off or should I piss off? Do I intervene and protect the defenceless family or do I leave them to their fate. The decision is not as simple, not as black and white, as it would seem.

It is the fifth century BC, I'm a mercenary and somewhat of a local hero on my Greek island. I have a very difficult decision to make. Only it's not Alexios who has to make this decision - it is I, Matt, Brit abroad and relatively unpopular, who has to make this decision and live with it. And I'm real…

The Best & Worst Games of 2018

The Best & Worst of 2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

And that's another year done.

Another year closer to PS5, Xbox One Two, and Nintendo 2witch.

Another year closer to new TimeSplitters.

Another year closer to the Final Fantasy VII reboot being another year away.

Another year closer to death.

We learnt a great deal in 2018. We learnt that there will probably be next-gen reveals in the next 12 months, that Lady Gaga digs Bayonetta and that Battle Royale isn't just a Japanese movie about a bunch of juvenile delinquents being forced to murder each other with kitchen utensils but is also the genre of a cultural phenomenon, where juvenile delinquents murder each other online and also dance. Most important of all, we learnt that shoddy canvas bags are unacceptable.

I really enjoyed video games in 2018, as I do most years. I liked the games I thought I was going to like, and was also pleasantly surprised by a handful that I wasn't expecting. I spen…

The Massacre at Guthrie Farm

I just wanted to say hello.

I was out on my horse, exploring Red Dead Redemption 2 for the first time. I was overwhelmed, unsure of the controls and equally unsure of where to go.

I'd just skinned a bison and was combing my horse when I spotted a small farm on the horizon. There will be people there, I thought, and perhaps they'll have some important information for me. At the very least, they'll have something entertaining to say.

I slung the bison pelt on the back of my horse, made sure my guns were holstered and headed straight for the farmstead in search of conversation and companionship. I spotted a farmhand working the field a stone's throw from the house. "Howdy partner", I said in my head, in a silly cowboy voice. The middle-aged man took one look at me, shouted something unpleasant, and drew his weapon. What a dick.

Turns out Arthur (me) is a wanted man. Earlier that day, I'd unintentionally murdered a travelling salesman. I just wanted to steal…

The Sega Saturn Mini

By now, you know that Sony is set to release the PlayStation Mini later this year. Following in the footsteps of Nintendo with the NES and SNES Mini, it'll feature a handful of pre-loaded games on a chibi version of an iconic console. Sony has announced five of the twenty games thus far, with the rest to be revealed in the build-up to Christmas.

By now, you also know which games every prick with a Twitter account wants to see on the PS Mini.

What you don't know, however, is which twenty+ games would belong on a Sega Saturn mini. This is because (a) it doesn't exist yet, and (b) the Saturn was a criminally overlooked system. Yes, Sega fucked it up, from the messy launch to the even messier system architecture, but there are plenty of gems on the Saturn that are worth playing today.

Trust me, I have lots of Saturn games and have played at least six of them.

If I were in charge of filling a Saturn Mini, these are the games I would choose. I've tried to include a mix of g…

Autumn Brings Games

This is my 400th post! That’s pretty good, right?
Summer is finally over! It’s autumn at last.

No more days sweltering in “feels like 48℃” weather. No more avoiding going outside for fear of melting. No more extreme temperature shifts from the boiling hot pavement to the arctic conditions of the convenience store. No more showering 2-3 times a day. No more drinking beer on a roof in the afternoon and then passing out a few hours later because I didn’t drink enough water during the day.

Autumn is here and with it comes the changing of the leaves, the changing of menus, beer cans in red and brown, and a collective sigh of relief as Japan emerges from the stifling humidity of summer.

Autumn also brings games. Lots of lovely games.

In particular, Autumn brings blockbusters. Huge games with bloated budgets, teams in the hundreds if not thousands, vast advertising campaigns, and irresponsible use of dubstep. The yearly sports updates like FIFA, Madden, and NBA all hit around this time o…

TGS 2018 - Devil May Cry 5 Hands-on

This is the last of my TGS posts. You can find everything else here:
The Queueing Experience
Day One Roundup
Day Two Roundup
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - Hands-on
Tetris Effect - Hands-on
Resident Evil 2 Remake - Hands-on
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - Hands-on

Capcom had another strong showing at this year's Tokyo Game Show. Last year it was all about the Monster Hunter World demos; this time the focus was on Resident Evil 2 Remake and Devil May Cry 5. The double-scenario RE2 demo was excellent, but it was the stylish Devil May Cry 5 that took centre stage at Capcom’s booth.

DMC 5, the first mainline DMC in a decade, will feature three playable characters, two of whom will be instantly recognisable. Nero and Dante are our returning demon slayers, and the TGS-announced V is our mysterious new addition.

The TGS demo focused on Nero, a brash, mildly annoying demon hunter with nice hair. He’s dropped into the middle of a London look-alike, which is currently having a spot of demon…

TGS 2018 - Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain was perfect for a lazy, TGS Day Two afternoon. The wait was minimal, the demo was fairly short, and EDF is hardly the most taxing of games. You just point your gun at the big insects and keep pulling the trigger. Considering how tired I was, I couldn't have asked for a more suitable hands-on.

Iron Rain is the latest entry in the long running EDF series, which sees you repelling an extraterrestrial invasion of massive fucking insects. What started out as a budget title has since developed into something larger, though it has retained many of its cheap-and-cheerful production values and a focus on tongue-in-cheek action.

Iron Rain, we are told, is the most polished EDF yet and the improved visuals and refined gameplay mechanics should appeal to a wider audience. It is true that it looks a little prettier at a distance, but it doesn’t really stand up to closer inspection. It’s still difficult to differentiate between glitches and intended jank - dead …

TGS 2018 - Resident Evil 2 Remake Hands-on

I originally posted this at Critical Gamer
It’s been twenty years since I last played Resident Evil 2. Twenty years since I sold my Sega Saturn and games to fund the purchase of a PlayStation and a copy of RE2. A desperate act for a SEGA diehard, but I had to play Capcom's latest. It was well worth it.

Twenty years later, and Capcom are rebuilding RE2 from the ground up. It’s not a remaster; it’s an existing game rebuilt and refined. Like the original, there will be two main scenarios – one starring Leon and the other led by Claire. In the first of the Tokyo Game Show demos, Leon has just arrived in the central hall of the Racoon City Police Department and is desperately trying to gain access to adjoining rooms so that he can rescue a fellow cop. Claire’s demo focussed on her first meeting with a young girl named Sherry and an intense showdown with the monstrous William Birkin.

First off, it looks great. Unlike Remake, which looked a little basic by modern standards, the visuals i…