In Praise of Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean - 2012 press photo 01 (1448x815)It’s incredible how little I have written about Frank Ocean considering how many times I have played his music over the last four years, and how deeply it has touched me. Following the release of his second album, Blonde, in August, it’s high time I remedied this fact with a piece in praise of this singular artist. Continue reading

Favourite games of E3 2015

Uncharted 4, PS4, 01 EU 23/06/2015 (1920x1080)Best of E3 round-ups: they’re so subjective, aren’t they? But that’s not going to stop me doing one of my own.

Not being present at E3 2015, or played any of the games on display, a small selection of some of my personal favourites seems the most honest way to approach things. What follows are 10 of the games that impressed me at this year’s E3. Continue reading

E3 2015 news highlights

Nintendo, E3 2015 booth, 18/06/2015, by emr9801 (2048x1152)Given the number of announcements in the two weeks prior to E3 2015, I was afraid the show itself would struggle to offer up many surprises this year. But that didn’t prove to be the case. First Microsoft stepped up with its broadest line-up since the early days of the 360. Then, Sony follow it with a trio of well-wishers’ most wanted. And elsewhere new ideas are blossoming for the next generation systems at last.

Previously, I’ve felt pretty underwhelmed by all three of the current-gen consoles. But this E3 has given me, and others yet to pick up a PS4, Xbox One or Wii U, reason to take notice again. Here are some of my highlights from E3 2015. Continue reading

E3 2015 hopes

The Last Guardian, PS3, E3 2009 01 (1280x720)Following my four-part retrospective on the previous E3 shows to date, it’s time to look ahead to next week: E3 2015.

But rather than make short list of reasonably likely, yet entirely uninteresting predictions, I’ve decide to simply make a list of things I wish will be announced – however farfetched they may be – this E3 that will ease the, so far, dismal lack of variety this console generation. Continue reading

Moments We Remember: Aaron Lee on Shadow of the Colossus

Chronicling stories of how gaming has changed us – one moment at a time
Shadow of the Colossus, Avion 00 Arena (1833x1030)~ How to get involved and share your own special gaming moment ~

Title: Shadow of the Colossus (Sony, 2005)
Format: PS2
Spoilers: mild, gameplay-related

I’ve got the measure of this, I thought naïvely, urging the Link-like adventurer, Wander, and his horse, Agro, on through a narrow uphill path in Shadow of the Colossus. This is a game about atmosphere, sacrifice and wonderment. It’s minimalist because it is totally focused on delivering its narrative – which is shown more than spoken – and gameplay in as graceful a manner as you could wish for back in 2005. Continue reading

Introducing Moments We Remember

Chronicling stories of how gaming has changed us – one moment at a time
Gaming at home, Aug 15, 2009, by Maria Morri (1920x1080)I’m about to embark on a journey with this post – and I’ll need your help. This journey will either lead to a honeycomb of new tales and new faces, or it will peter out and be assigned to the graveyard of faded feature ideas. So on that jolly note, here goes.

Real-life story features in game magazines and websites are some of my favourite. They are the ‘My Favourite Game’ articles. The community spotlights that were previously so common on GameSpot and IGN before social media killed forums. The career spotlights in the likes of Develop magazine. Or, occasionally, the one-off posts by guest writers who give you a whole new perspective on a game or genre. Continue reading

BAFTA Games Awards 2015: a ceremony restoring faith in the game industry

Ashley Johnson, BAFTA Games 2015, Mar 12, 2015 (1366x697)In the last couple months, the annual string of overblown award shows has bestowed us with news stories about conflict, heroism and confirmation that it’s hilarious to see celebrities falling over. By contrast, the BAFTA Video Games Awards are rarely the stuff of TMZ-fuelled tabloid controversy. For starters, it still isn’t broadcast on national television (this year it was streamed via Twitch.tv), and most of the non-gaming presenters are probably minor celebrities even for the show’s UK-based watchers.

But that doesn’t stop the Games Awards being a repeatedly positive example of celebrating these digital creators, storytellers and engineers; many of whom demonstrate, as they accept their awards, a humility and altruism that the recipients at more established, celebrity-orientated award shows frequently lack. Continue reading

Why the game review scores debate will never be ‘solved’ in the age of shifting media habits

Metacritic.com, Games, Feb 22, 2015 screenshot (1000x563)Numbers are numbers. When it comes to cultural critique they tell you very little without context.

For those that don’t know, debates about video game review scores – their editorial honesty as well as their ability to influence readers and, by extension, game sales – has raged for as long as games magazines have existed.

This month, popular game news and review site, Eurogamer, announced that it is dropping review scores entirely. This caused ripples of celebration and consternation. It also prompted other specialist and trade media websites to respond with discussions, comment pieces about the nature of game critique today and cases for/against keeping review scores. Meanwhile, some scoff at the very idea of written reviews, arguing that Let’s Play videos, Twitch.tv and YouTube vloggers are the future.

The trouble is different meanings are inherently attached to review scores. This means they will always be a help to some and of negligible value to others. (It becomes even more complicated when you try to aggregate scores.) Continue reading