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Showing posts from 2010

The Best & Worst Video Games of 2010

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As 2010 draws to a close I increasingly find myself wanting to share my gaming opinions with all and sundry. So here are my 2010 winners and losers across a range of categories, some more unusual than others, each accompanied by a short blurb.

In the interest of full disclosure, but mostly just because I enjoy making lists, here are the games I played in 2010. God knows where I found the time!

PLAYED THROUGH: Afterburner Climax, Alan Wake, Aliens Vs Predator, Assassin's Creed 2, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Bayonetta, Bioshock 2, Call of Duty Black Ops, Dante's Inferno, Dead Rising 2, DJ Hero, DJ Hero 2, Dragon Age Origins, Various Dreamcast Games, Enslaved, Final Fantasy Dissidia, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fight (PSN), God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Joe Danger, Lost Planet 2, Mass Effect 2, Military Madness Nectaris, Nobby Nobby Boy, Pac Man Championship DX, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Red Dead Redemption (& Undead Ni…

Christmas NIGHTS – Weekly Recommendations 20/12 – 26/12

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
The roads are icy and treacherous, postal services are at a stand still, drunkards stagger through the streets pre-watershed and your local shopping centre resembles something out of Dead Rising, only minus the chainsaws and utterly devoid of joy. All this can only mean one thing: its Christmas time.
Since receiving a Master System as a Christmas present in the early nineties, I have come to equate the season with video games, as year after year they would sit atop my Christmas wish-list. This year will be no different.
Despite the millions of video games nestled under Christmas trees worldwide, there has always …

Console & Game Bundles - A Retrospective

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Tis the season for home console bundles. I get a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about consoles packaged with games and extras. I recall Christmases, oversized boxes, peripherals you are never going to use and instruction manuals that remain untouched in their sealed bags. The bundle represents the beginning of a long and hopefully fruitful relationship between gamer and console. Unless it’s the Sega Saturn or Dreamcast, in which case it represented the start of an all too brief, heart wrenching fling.
Whether it’s an all inclusive bundle, or a system bought alongside a couple of separate games, we all have our memories. What follows are the home console bundles, or a console bought alongside separate games, that I have bought or recieved whilst the system was contemporary. Also, I’ve added the perfect bundle set for each system, an entirely personal, and therefore subjective combination of the console, 3 outstanding titles and that peripheral that no gamer should do without.


1. System…

The Return of Shenmue and Games in Need of Revival - Weekly Recommendations 13/12 – 19/12

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
Shenmue, the critically acclaimed open-world adventure has risen from the ashes this month with Shenmue Gai, a (currently) Japan only mobile phone game with tentative plans for a PC and international release. Shenmue 2 ended on a cliff–hanger which, 10 years later, has yet to be resolved. Due to the premature demise of the Dreamcast, SEGA’s ensuing withdrawal from console manufacture and the huge costs of developing the first two entries, the final part of what was intended to be a trilogy was put on indefinite hiatus. While Shenmue Gai is not a direct sequel, Yu Suzuki’s return to the world of Shenmue will enc…

Akihabara - A Guide For Gamers

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Akihabara is a small area in Tokyo, Japan, renowned for its electronic stores. It’s equally as famous for being the centre of Otaku culture, and the home of countless manga stores, maid cafes, and of course video game shops.
I spent four of the last five years living in Tokyo, and for the majority of that time I resided within walking distance of Akihabara. I wiled away many an evening in its stores, restaurants and izakayas, coming to know the backstreets like the back of my hand. Akiba kick-started my retro video game collection, provided the opportunity to buy reasonably affordable US games and played host to countless nights-out of varying debauchery, where I'd eat and drink far too much before murdering some classics at karaoke. Alongside Taketomi Jima in Okinawa, Akiba ranks as my favourite place in Japan. Despite being far from picturesque and offering little else that you couldn’t find elsewhere in Tokyo, I always enjoyed my time there and felt very much at home strolling…

Uncharted and the Best Games To Be Made Into Movies - Weekly Recommendations 06/12 - 12/12

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, it's great to hear other opinions, so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.

Over the last week we have been greeted with some tantalising news regarding the forthcoming big screen adaptation of Uncharted, arguably the finest video game franchise of this generation. Mark Wahlberg has been confirmed as the charismatic lead, Nathan Drake, with Robert De Niro lending his chops to the role of Drake senior and Joe Pesci as the uncle, roles created especially for the movie. Director David O Russell has also divulged some information regarding the script, with the Drakes being a family of international antique hunters, a clear move away from the source material. That’s right, Unch…

Do We Really Want a Final Fantasy VII Remake?

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Final Fantasy VII was the defining moment in an important time for gaming. The PlayStation was breaking down barriers and appealing to a far wider audience than previous home consoles, and FF7 was the high profile, AAA title that the platform needed. It's been credited as the game that sold the PlayStation brand and is widely regarded as one of the most influential titles of all time.

Thirteen years later, and it has never really left us. From its release in 1997, we have seen a movie (Advent Children), tie-ins (Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus and Before Crisis), tech demos, cameo appearances (Ehrgeiz, Dissidia and Kingdom Hearts), a PSN re-release and countless toys, merchandise and soundtracks. Square-Enix have repeatedly tapped into the legacy and success of FF7, and understandably so. Furthermore, in the face of apparently overwhelming popular demand, they have continued to tease the prospect of a remake, be it a HD polish-up or even a current generation re-imagining.

The Compila…

Snowed-in‏ - Weekly Recommendations 29/11 - 5/12

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Each week, I will be offering three brief gaming recommendations, tied (very) loosely to something topical. These recommendations will span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played and enjoyed. Be sure to check back each Monday for a new set.

To mark the cold-snap that has left the UK under a blanket of ice and snow, here are three time consuming games perfect for filling those unexpected days off from work, due to snowed-in offices, impassable roads or the inevitable bout of winter flu. So put the kettle on, sit back and enjoy these quality time consumers.



1. Final Fantasy VIII - PlayStation 1 (1999)

I still cant settle on a favourite (VI - VIII and Tactics are all in the discussion), but with so many side-quests, a variedjunctioning system and the ever addictive Triple Triad its easy to pour hour upon hour into this enjoyable slice of Final Fantasy. It has been subjected to more than its share of gamer diatribes and backlash over the years, most of it unfai…

History in Video Games – A Closer Look

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Whether it’s World War 2, the American Wild West or ancient Greece, history has long been a rich source for video game narrative. Historical fact has been painstakingly preserved in some games, yet distorted beyond all recognition in others. Whereas one game may be praised for its depiction of history, others have been lambasted for opening fresh wounds or glorifying tragic events of our near past. Games have utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does the platform take liberties with, and perhaps misuse it?
The game that originally got me thinking about the role of history in video games was Metal Gear Solid 3. Set against the backdrop of the most turbulent years of the Cold War, it features some of the real life characters who helped to shape those times, namely U.S. PresidentLyndon Johnson and Soviet PremierNikita Khrushchev. It references numerous real life events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and then fictionalizes aspects of it, su…