A Psychogeography Of Games #6: Llaura Borealis

This is the last of my 6 articles in the Psychogeography of Games series on RPS, drawn from a series of performance talks given at Videobrains in London. If you’d like to support my on-going games writing, and get a reward of a super cool zine of these collected writings plus images and extras, sign up on patreon.com/hannahnicklin. Thanks for reading. – Hannah

This is how it starts:
With the sea.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Football Manager 2016

I’ve won titles and cups, and I’ve been sacked following a relegation that was more surrender than battle. I’ve found young stars at bargain prices, and built a team of overpaid ego-machines who are ready to down tools as soon as the going gets tough. After tasting success and failure, I’m ready to tell you wot I think about Football Manager 2016 [official site].

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet The Community Still Playing Action Quake 2

In 1998, mod team Akimbo Team Productions released Action Quake 2, a Quake II multiplayer mod created in their spare time. The landscape of first-person shooters has changed vastly since then, but one group of dedicated fans have never moved on.

Seventeen years later, the game’s Finnish community are still dedicated to the lightning-paced, bullet-showering, Hong Kong movie-style spectacle. I spoke to some of the most dedicated players about why they still play, meet and reminisce regularly about a game where you’re as likely to perish courtesy of an airborne throwing dagger as you are to be tossed from a rooftop, plunging three stories to your doom.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 10 Best Games Based On Movies


I had twin criteria for this. The first was ‘is it a decent game?’ and the second ‘does it meaningfully evoke the spirit, themes or characters of the movie in addition to having Quite Good Guns And Graphics?’ The second saw quite a few games which would otherwise qualify ruled out. This year’s Mad Max, for instance, was an agreeable murder-romp but it’s much harder to argue that it nails the desperation or oddness of the films it’s based on. Star Wars: Battlefront, meanwhile, is an OK online shooter with marvellous graphics, but it’s too mechanical to ‘feel’ like Star Wars once you get beyond the spectacular presentation. Ah, ‘feel’. That’s the thing, isn’t it? Does a movie game make you feel like you’re a part of that movie’s wider world, or is it just wearing its skin?

It’s that question which most informed this list. I don’t disagree that there are, in some cases, better games-based-on-movies if ‘game’ is the foremost criteria, but these, in no particular order, are the ten games which most understood and even grew my appreciation for their subject matter, rather than simply piggy-backed it. (Additional FYI: I decided not to include any superhero games, reasoning they’re really their own thing rather than innately movie-based).

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Just Cause 2?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Just Cause 2 [official site] doesn’t have a great mission in its entire running length, although it has some pretty OK ones. What it does have is a beautiful, diverse open world in which to wreak havoc of the most over the top kind, with land, sea and air vehicles, a re-usable parachute and a grappling hook.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Like A Fish Out Of Water

Traditionally, autumn is the time for virtual hunting in the Stone household. This year, for a change, I’ve decided to leave my high-velocity deer dispatcher in the gun cabinet and rely on eight feet of simulated carbon fibre for my indoors outdoors fun. Fishing Planet and Euro Fishing have six hours each in which to (A) hook me, (B) reel me in, and (C) exhaust my meagre supply of hackneyed angling metaphors. At the end of these brief but intense auditions one of the games will be granted indefinite leave to remain, the other will be tossed back into the seething Steam stew pond. Read the rest of this entry »

Paladins: When A Shooter And A CCG Have A Baby…

“It’s a card game but it’s a shooter but it’s a MOBA but it’s kinda not and there’s characters… JUST MAKE IT WORK!”

Rory “Drybear” Newbrough is laughing as he talks to me about the process of creating Paladins: Champions of the Realm [official site], Hi-Rez’s shooter where in-game progression comes comes via a collectible card system. I’ve been trying out the closed beta and had a whole heap of questions about where the game came from and where it’s going. Lead designer Newbrough (and studio president Stew Chisam) were on hand to answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

After initial investigations revealed a port worth playing and a game that ignited unexpected enthusiasm, I’ve spent just over forty hours playing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate [official site]. Some of that enthusiasm has been dampened as familiar AAA open world problems popped up across the map like fungi, but a spark still remains.

This may well be my favourite Assassin’s Creed game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fail Forward: How Television Fails At Discussing Games

Fail Forward is normally a series of videos all about the bits of games which don’t quite work and why. But in this special episode, Marsh Davies talks about how the mainstream media tends to discuss games only in terms of their threat or their use – with a particular look at the BBC’s recent Make It Digital season, including programmes like the docudrama The Gamechangers and the science show Horizon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… AD&D: Heroes Of The Lance?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I was a quintessential 90s nerd. I went through the phases so many of us did: Games Workshop, Star Wars, X-Men, Street Fighter II, Robocop, Terminator and Aliens, and of course Dragonlance. Thanks to a series of hugely successful novels, the Dragonlance/Krynn world emerged as the most popular Advanced Dungeons & Dragons setting for a time, seeming so much more layered, characterful and dangerous than the comparatively blander Forgotten Realms. I read the books first, played the pen & paper RPG second, then finally sought out videogame adaptations from years previous.
Read the rest of this entry »