I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of days while the dust from 30 Days of Music settles down, but I wrote an article for Gamersyndrome under my Moneyless Gamer alias on the influx of 360 demos in the cars-with-guns genre. In it I say things like: Blur is basically Mario Kart rendered in Microsoft’s ‘gritty realism’ house style. The way S&SAS Racing just steals the weapons and the concept, Blur takes the ideas behind that, rubs its chin, and reinvents them as sci-fi tech for its shiny real-cars world. And it doesn’t look like it or function quite the same, but the same gameplay ideas are at work. So, say, the red shell becomes a huge glowing orb, that homes but can’t take corners, creating a sub-game of ‘dodge the orb’ or ’save the orb for the long straight stretch’. Read on, to see me push the limits of italics as a device to stress that this is really flippin’ awesome, and indeed humour, as far as they will go.
I’ve been away awhile but I’m b-b-BACK. Don’t call it a comeback. In that time, I’ve battled a broken laptop, edited the hell out of a few issues of Britain’s hottest* student paper Redbrick, and attended a games-expo. It’s been a pretty fun time. Somehow, during all that, I found the time to write up a coupla articles for y’all.First up, it’s a (late) return to the Moneyless Gamer feature for the lovely yet-MMO-keen people at Gamersyndrome.com. I talk about joyous crayoned-in speed-platformer, Runman, and just why YOU should play it. Because it’s the best, that’s why. “Level names like ‘The Awesome Zone’ reveal exactly what the game is about (apart from having a genuinely funny and warm personality): making you feel damn awesome. The very best sugar-rush speed moments match that of the Burnout games, and as your little yellow mascot cheers encouragement (WOO! OH SNAP!), you’re going to have to smile along with him.” Click here and you can be awesome too. Second, the fruits of my visit to Eurogamer Expo ’09 begin to flower. I write about the PS3’s next-big-thing, point&click thriller Heavy Rain. “The comparison to film is important- Heavy Rain is gaming’s equivalent to the thriller. Obviously so; it wears the trappings of a Se7en or Usual Suspects, but more importantly it captures the central feel of them- the thrill. Until now, games have looked like a thriller- see Condemned for a game example- but they’ve never played like a thriller- Condemned had dark moody atmosphere and the occasional jump, but it was more akin to a survival horror than a true thriller.” Yup, it’s one a’ them there revolutionary games**. Do I crown it gaming’s Citizen Kane, or noble failed experiment? There’s only one way to find out. Finally, I haven’t technically written anything for it yet (I’m the curator), but we’ve got a Redbrick countdown going on, of the 40 best albums of this whole millenium. Where the hell is your favourite? Good question: check it out/complain here. *By hottest I mean most-attractivest. Obv. **There’s a beautiful video of what the game is capable of (or more excitingly, was capable of in 2006) here.
A new thing for our good friends Gamersyndrome: this time the start of (what I hope will be) a beautiful new feature: THE MONEYLESS GAMER. Basically, I have taken the realisation that I’m someone with very little money to buy games and spun this into (what I hope will be) a good thing. Flash games, demos, deals, everything. All in one handy corner, with lengthy discourse attached. For #001 I do Time Fcuk. Example quote: “It takes the head-against-wall element of trying to grasp at the logic of a puzzle game and makes its key motif. Where Braid used this brain-crunching confusion to hint at a higher meaning, here it is transformed into a masochistic and – not unlike, say, the game version of certain Nine Inch Nails songs.” It’s… well, it’s better if you play it, really. That Edmund McMillen knows how to mess with people.