Ratchet & Clank’s Metropolis: fourth time’s the charm

Ratchet and clank, PS4, screenshot 04 (1920x1080)Few video games have a single level that has evolved with the franchise itself quite like Ratchet & Clank’s Metropolis. This towering, planet-wide city of the future made its appearance in the series’ debut on the PlayStation 2, and has since reappeared in future iterations, becoming more visually impressive each time. Continue reading

You Have Too Much Shit: the self-help book that tells it like it is

You Have Too Much Shit (book, 2014) ,Chris Thomas (1400x788)It’s incredible really. Here in the Western world, we love to buy stuff. Fancy stuff. Cheap stuff. Desirable stuff. Stuff that the marketers say will make our lives better.

Of course, it never does, does it? If it did, then we wouldn’t need to buy the next thing they come up with. Continue reading

Alex Fleetwood on the Passage

Passage, a game by Jason RohrerThe price of death in games is a carefree affair. Pressing the reset button eradicates accidents and fatal injuries that would be permanent in the real world, which makes virtual death nothing to fear.

During my visit to the Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living, Alex Fleetwood, director of Hide & Seek, talked about why he finds off-kilter indie game Passage so enthralling. Continue reading

Filling in the gaps: why mythology encourages more engagement

Half-Life 2, Harbour by Valve/thmxShort of a modest FMV sequence to tease your appetite, a game’s manual intro page was once all the backstory you were given. In a time where any major franchise worth its salt is accompanied by a herd of canonical novels, comics and web shorts, game mythologies are being undervalued. The thrill of discovering mythology in-game, of that knowledge impacting gameplay and playing purely for wonder is being undersold. Continue reading

Behind the Ink of EA Comics

Here’s something cool, comic book fans. Creative director Scott Baumann, “conceived and managed all business, strategic and creative aspects” of Electronic Arts’ new comic book imprint, EA Comics. You can see a full portfolio of work on the project at behance.net.

EA Comics was formed in late 2009. The comics are funded and managed by EA while IDW handle publishing and distribution. EA have already had several of their game adaptations published by the likes of WildStorm, Image and Dark Horse. Presently, only Army of Two and Dragon Age have been released under the EA Comics brand, so it will be interesting to see if future EA game adaptations are all published through their new division.

The Rise of the eNote

You stumble out of bed, untangling yourself from the bed sheet. The heat of these summer nights is becoming too much to bear as you contemplate how little you’ve managed to accomplish in recent days. Lethargically you glace up at digital clock on your bedside table. It’s after 1pm (again). Gently you climb to your feet and head to the bathroom for a drink of water, as you try to summon up the mental strength to breakdown all the tasks that are still waiting to be done…

This is the pattern I seem to have fallen into once again. I’ve lots of work to do, but I don’t seem to be getting anyway fast with it at all. This year, jotting down all my ideas and memos in note form has gone up a level, which means my diary has been used so much the spine is falling apart, I’ve got scraps of unsorted post-it notes and paper, my electronic calendar also has memos, and I’ve been filling dozens of Notepad files with rough notes and drafts throughout the year. Simply put: I’ve made so many notes that I can’t organise them.

So how ironic that today I only just found out that Microsoft OneNote (software which has been stilling on my laptop for two years now) could be the answer to all my note collating problems: “OneNote is an electronic version of a paper notebook where you can write down notes, thoughts, ideas, scribbles, reminders, and all kinds of other information. Unlike the traditional document page format of other programs such as word-processing or spreadsheet programs, OneNote offers a free-form canvas where you can type, write, or draw notes in the form of text, graphics, and images wherever and however you want them.”

I was prompted to check out this program at long last after reading PC Advisor’s feature on Microsoft Office 2010. Being a regular user of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, I’m now much more interested in how I can maximise my publishing efficiency, so I can go from draft document to finished product faster. I’m pleased to have discovered this new electronic note software and hope it will assist me to collect and sort my thoughts, memos and ideas faster than my current mess of physical papers and linear digital notes. Maybe these production improvements and Platform articles will get done after all.

Part II: Unrocky road to nowhere in particular

I must admit, Nottingham – my present county for the academic year – is a strange place. Well, not so much strange, rather it’s hard to describe the actually atmosphere and cycle of life that goes on here. You may expect Nottingham to be like any other city, and you’d be right: people travel, the city centre is always packed on Saturdays, people give you that same awkward stare when you accidentally brush passed them, deep in thought. Continue reading