Posts

Showing posts from 2021

A Degree in Split Screen

Image
I always get excited when I find a new running route. Not too distant, by far enough away that I can do 7-8km and end up back at home, without having to run laps. Somewhere with the right mix of pavement space and greenery; few pedestrians but not entirely deserted. Someone needs to witness my athletic prowess. I found one such route a few evenings ago. A perfect 8km circuit, well-lit for night runs, concrete surface and featuring a leafy avenue that runs alongside a university campus. As I raced along, my mind wandered to thoughts of my years at the University of Nottingham. The leaves, the trees, the autumn breeze; it brought back memories of my time on that park-like campus. But memories of what? Old friends, lost loves, downed pints, life skills learned, degrees earned?  Come on. I thought about video games, didn't I. Our uni-house had a PlayStation 2 (mine) and a GameCube (a friends). We weren't cool enough to have a Dreamcast, or weird enough to have an Xbox. The Nintendo

I Have Played Some Games

Image
It's been a weird year for games. I've got brand new boxes sat under my TV, powerful consoles that I've mostly been using to play last-gen games, do-overs, and more compact experiences that could've easily ran on older hardware. A weird year for games, and one that I have yet to blog about. This lack of sharing is mostly due to my retrospective 8th Gen series dragging on for 6 months longer than it should've. And it really did drag, despite being an excellent read that I highly recommend! After a few posts, I came to realize that my love for the last round of consoles is somewhat lacking, and while there were plenty of games that I enjoyed, there are very few that I was inspired to write about. Right now, I desperately want a new game to excite me. Something that I absolutely need to play on day one; something I'm happy to pay full whack for. Lost Judgment will be fun later this month, but I'm not fussed about playing it immediately. Fingers crossed Forza H

My Favourite Game of the Eighth Generation

Image
I have been writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding 10. Fire Emblem Awakening 9. Monster Hunter: World 8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 7. Red Dead Redemption 2 6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 5. Return of the Obra Dinn 4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon 3. Resogun 2. Bloodborne 1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) held my attention for a year and a half.  These days, scant few games'll do that. From the summer of 2015 to the end of 2016, I was either playing or at the very least thinking about Witcher 3. I went through the main story, and then watched my wife do the same thing. I returned the fo

The End of Another Generation: Musings

Image
  I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. 1. The Repeat Standouts Three of my absolute favourite games of the 8th Gen didn't make my Top 20 countdown, because rules. Rules that I foolishly set. Specifically, that remasters and ports did not qualify, regardless of how expanded they may be.  A bloody stupid rule that robbed my list of three of the best games of the last decade. A rule that I now deeply regret. Rez Infnite (2016), Persona 4 Golden (2012/13) and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (2013), please accept my sincerest of apologies. Infinite is the optimal way to enjoy Rez, a game that has grown on me with each subsequent upgrade. I liked it on the PS2, liked it even more in HD on Xbox 360, and fell in love with it on PS4. I've played it a few times in VR, at demo events and using a friend's VR set, but I've mostly enjoyed it on my TV. The lack of an extra reality did l

My Favourite Games of the 8th Generation: 3-2

Image
  I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding 10. Fire Emblem Awakening 9. Monster Hunter: World 8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 7. Red Dead Redemption 2 6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 5. Return of the Obra Dinn 4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon 3. Resogun 2. Bloodborne I got my PS4 at launch. It came bundled with the spectacularly nondescript Killzone: Something or Another, and I also had a copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag within that first week. However, neither of those got a look-in, because I had Resogun (2013) and that was all I wanted to play. I was compelled to save all the humans and rack up the h

My Favourite Games of the 8th Generation: 5-4

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding 10. Fire Emblem Awakening 9. Monster Hunter: World 8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 7. Red Dead Redemption 2 6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 5. Return of the Obra Dinn 4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon I've never played anything quite like  Return of the Obra Dinn (2018), and I doubt I ever will again. In fact, it's so unique that I don't have the vocabulary to confidently discuss it. I've written and rewritten this blurb several times over the last month, and it's largely to blame for the extended break since my last post. Return of the Obra Dinn is so g

The End of Another Generation: I am Doing an Install

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. Back in the day, the only things we had to worry about when we bought a new game were getting the shrink wrap off without cracking the case, familiarizing ourselves with the controls by skim reading the manual on the car ride home, and maybe having to delete our NBA Live `99 season to free up slots on our solitary memory card.  Not anymore though. Not now that we've got got increasingly massive compulsory installs and day-one patches to contend with. Lengthy installs and patches are nothing new, of course. We've been doing them since the PS3/360 days, but we didn't used to have to plan around them. I didn't need to think ahead and insert the disc hours before I wanted to play it. Red Dead Redemption 2 might have been a sixty-hour game, but at least seven of those were the install. Games do seem to install far faster on our new conso

My Favourite Games of the 8th Generation: 7-6

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding 10. Fire Emblem Awakening 9. Monster Hunter: World 8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 7. Red Dead Redemption 2 6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End This 8G countdown is in large part a reflection of how games have faired in my head, how they've lingered on in my mind long since they went back on the shelf. This ability to stay with me is almost as important as my initial impressions.  Red Dead Redemption 2  (2018) is a supreme lingerer, a slow-burn in-game and out. The reason why it has retained head space, while several hundred other games are vying for attention, is t

My Favourite Games of the 8th Generation: 10-8

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding 10. Fire Emblem Awakening 9. Monster Hunter: World 8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Fire Emblem Awakening (2013) was my little treat during an extended stretch of restless nights. I'd be woken by my daughter, crying as only newborns will. I'd flop out of bed, retrieve her from her cot, get that nappy changed, and hand her over to her mum for what she really wanted. This would happen every hour or so throughout the night for those first, fractious few months. The whole process became automatic, and I barely needed to open my eyes. A nappy changing, baby-soothin

The End of Another Generation: Everything Was Rubbish

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. Seattle, 2012. Don took a sip of his coffee. Colombian. "What if, and bear with me here, we introduced a draconian game licensing system for our new console?" Bill looked up from his hog roast. "Fuuuuuck" he gasped. Meat juices rolled down his chin and onto his collar, staining it a grubby yellow. He didn't care. He had a wardrobe full of spare Windows 95 polos in his office. The benefits of being a billionaire. "What exactly do you mean, Fabian?" Bill was notorious for misremembering names. "It's Don, my liege. We would force a system that binds physical copies of games to the user's Live account, which would all but kill-off the second-hand market. The console would be always-online." "Always-online, huh?"  "Hashtag deal-with-it, sir".  "I like it Samantha. Shit, I reall

My Favourite Games of the 8th Generation: 15-11

Image
I'm writing a retrospective series about  the end of the 8th Generation  , which includes a Top Twenty Countdown of my favourite games. The Countdown  Rules. 20. Forza Horizon 4 19. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life 16. Mafia III 15. Undertale 14. What Remains of Edith Finch 13.  Ghost of Tsushima 12.  Assassin's Creed Odyssey 11. Death Stranding I'm not really sure what possessed me to play Undertale (2015/2017). You see, a low-fi RPG wouldn't usually be my sort of  thing. Just look at the company it keeps in my countdown, and you'll see that it sticks out like a sore thumb. I know I'd heard good things, from internet beings and real-life people, some of whom had worked on the console ports. But I'm a stubborn bastard, and that wouldn't usually be enough to convince me.  I'm not sure why I finally relented and played Undertale, but I'm very glad that I did. Some kid travels undergroun