Showing posts from March, 2013

How Did U get Under my TV?

I wasn't going to buy a Wii U, at least not yet. I could count on one hand the number of Wii U exclusives that were of interest and still have fingers spare for counting other things, such as spades and geese. My nostalgia for Nintendo is non-existent and £300 was too great a sum just to scratch a hardware itch. With the PlayStation 4 less than twelve months away and no shortage of games and platforms to keep me busy until then, Nintendo’s troubled console was surplus to requirements. I wasn't going to buy a Wii U, but then I did.
Last Friday, word spread that struggling high street retailer HMV were set to offload a limited number of Premium Wii U bundles, including Nintendo Land and ZombiU, for just £199 ($302). That’s about £140 cheaper than the supermarkets and £80 less than the very best prices online. I called my local HMV, who confirmed they had twelve bundles in stock, and then spent the afternoon agonising over another block of plastic and wires. After much deliber…

Skyrim and the DLC Return

Skyrim is just as I remembered it. The sky is overcast and full of dragons, the mountains snow-capped and the rivers overflowing with mead. Skeletons are restless, Eorlund Gray-Mane is still fond of praising the gods, and Lydia is as lovely and obedient as ever. Doors open slowly, and sometimes not at all, and the arrows I dropped back in 2011 still litter the pavement outside my homestead. All is as it should be, only now I have new lands to discover, beasts to slay, children to adopt and houses to build.

Bethesda finally released the PS3 Skyrim downloadable content in February, the oldest of which had been available on other platforms for almost nine months. Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn are serving as the perfect excuse to spend another fifty hours in a game that I hadn't touched for a year (you can find my original review here). Despite a year of patches, Skyrim is still as glitchy as it is wonderful, full of Alpine sunsets and floating goats and plagued by incessant…

Job Application: CEO of Electronic Arts

Dear sir/madam,

Please find below my application for the recently vacated role of CEO of Electronic Arts (John Riccitiello steps down).

I know all of your games, and even like some of them. Also, money.

I'm sure you'll agree that my experience and qualifications are more than satisfactory and that I'd be a much better fit than Peter Moore. I'm available to start from E3 2013 and can be contacted in the comments below.

Yours faithfully,


I am confident that my experience and knowledge of the industry and passion for gaming would enable me to make an immediate and long lasting contribution to (insert company name).

I really like video games, especially the ones you made/are making/will make. My favourites include Road Rash, Call of Duty and the one that has a planet just for gay people; I didn't like Mirror's Edge. I think all this bellyaching about SimCity is a misunderstanding, just like that time people thought you were sell…

Musings of a Gamer XXIII

1. 1UP

Community focussed video game website is winding down after ten years in the business. Since 2003, it has been home to one of the most active and passionate video game communities on the net, and has featured a wide range of industry talent. Although its stature has lessened in recent years, 1UP's overall influence should not be overlooked. It played a vital role in a transitional period for games media, as well as being an early adopter of features that we now take for granted, such as weekly podcasts and community blogs.

I haven't been a regular there since 2011, yet it continues to be an important part of my online experience. My Twitter and PSN friend lists are full of 1Uppers past and present and I’d imagine that many of the people who read this blog may be traced back to 1UP. It excelled at nurturing community, as well as blurring the lines between professional and enthusiast writers; it was an ideal place to meet new people from all over the world, all of …

God of More

I'd had my fill of Spartan super violence. Murdering Olympians had lost its charm and Kratos' unrelenting anger had worn thin. God of War 3 was decent, but felt far too familiar, an upgrade in visuals alone. I had lost all interest in the series and paid little attention to the announcements and previews for the latest instalment, Ascension. I took a moment to roll my eyes at the multiplayer and to wonder if prequel Kratos would have hair, before forgetting all about it.
I didn't discover God of War until 2007. In a year of PSP and Wii Sports, it felt good to eviscerate someone on the big screen, and the pair left a lasting impression. I've always been interested in ancient history and mythology, an interest I was keen to mix with my favourite past time (video games, not evisceration). The first two God of Wars did just that. I loved them both, and they served as a fitting farewell for my old, faithful PlayStation 2.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is one of my favourit…

Dragons Over Inaba

If we ignore Lollipop Chainsaw, something that I'm very keen to do, then I've played only two games so far this year: Dragon's Dogma and Persona 4 Golden. Capcom's action RPG has dominated the TV while P4G has provided entertainment both home and away. I've sunk over 70 hours into this time consuming pair in the last two months; I finished Dragon's Dogma the night before last night but am still busy in Persona land, increasing my popularity and preventing people from falling into TVs.
Thanks to price issues and Post Office thievery, my Dragon's Dogma experience was long delayed. By the time I had a copy, it was already December and my summertime enthusiasm had waned. However, my wife jumped straight in and has been recommending it ever since.I eventually heeded her advice, and dedicated the last month or so to angry ogres and fantasy beards.
Despite wearing its influences on its sleeve, Dragon's Dogma is a relatively unique and memorable experience; I …

Japan 2013: Shagohods and Street Passes

For more on our recent trip to Japan:Sushi and the Sniffles
I was convinced that the baggage police were going to catch me yet again. I was 5 kg under the weight limit on the way to Japan, but a collection of bric-a-brac threatened to put me well over for the return. I turned down consoles, said no to countless special edition box sets and even refused to smuggle firearms all in an effort to keep my suitcase light. In the end I was too frugal, weighing in at 3 kg under our allowance, space that should’ve been filled with a couple more box sets and a retro console or two.
Although I showed some restraint, I still managed to spend more than a few pennies on video games and game related tat, mostly in Akihabara. Tokyo's Electric Town, home to all things Otaku (manga, anime, video games, maid cafes and t-shirts tucked into pants), has changed a great deal over the last few years, as department stores and high-rises have replaced smaller, older shops and buildings. However, it's st…