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Brendan Caldwell

16 hours ago

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The 9 most extreme sports in games

Football. Tennis. Conkers. What do these historic, reputable sports have in common, I ask you. That’s correct, they are not extreme enough. Please, quiet now. I am here to do the talking. Yes, there are sports videogames, your FIFAs and your Mario Tennises. But they do not fulfill the desire within all of us for the extreme, the radical, the pushing of it to the…

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1 week ago

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The 9 deadliest sharks in videogames

Listen, never mind that sharks are not the mindlessly violent animals we’ve been trained to fear, and simply additional victims of mankind’s global vertebrate binge. Dismiss, please, the ongoing cultural rehabilitation of this toothy swimmer, who is statistically quite poor at killing humans. Ignore also their adorable habit of falling asleep when you hold them upside-down. Forget it, forget it all. No more lovey-dovey thoughts…

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2 weeks ago

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The 12 most useful inventions in PC games

If you plumb the depths of human ingenuity you will resurface with a wet box of penicillin and 100 million bits of different-coloured plastic. We people are very good at making useful things, and then killing ourselves with them. But videogames, my friends. Videogames hold the solution to our self-destructive ways. That tech utopia your pal Start-up Stan is always talking about is in reach,…

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3 weeks ago

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The 9 best road trips in PC games

Kick the tires, whistle at the paint job, spin the keys on your finger like a revolver and then shoot the car with the little laser of unlocking. It’s time to get back on the road. What’s that? Entire country in a state of unprecedented lockdown? I see. Well, lucky for you, we concern ourselves here only with pretend cars, the indoor joy of fictional…

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4 weeks ago

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May day! May day! The 7 best distress calls in PC games

May day! May day! It’s May Day, get it? I constructed this list of the 7 best distress calls in videogames so I could make this joke, and I refuse to back down now. Even if the 1st of May is associated with pagan spring festivities, and nothing at all to do with things going badly wrong in space or at sea. Even if the…

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1 month ago

Feature: Binner binner, chicken dinner

Streets Of Rage 4 review

It's always been hard to accept the beat 'em up's idea of depth perception. Here's a genre that asks you to punch and kick on a single wafer-thin plane, before slowly readjusting your 2D sprite a few millimetres deeper into the screen, to make a tentative punch at a foe somehow just out of reach, as if everyone exists as a sort of juiced-up Paper…

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13 moral lessons from PC games

When the historians of the future cast their cyber-eyes over the deluge of stupidity we encrusted upon the primitive internet, they will see that our fables, our moral storytelling, was mostly conducted with flashing colours and double-jumps. Yes, videogames have adopted the moralistic finger-wagging of fairytales and Victorian novels, for better or for worse. They have taught us a lot about ourselves and our place…

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The 9 tastiest dinners in games

Everyone’s a cook now, is that it? A few weeks in lockdown and you’re all suddenly artisan bakers and Bon Appétit Kitchen presenters? Sorry, I don’t buy it. Put the chickpeas down, Jeff. We all know what happens when you let things “simmer”. However, there is a world in which your cooking really does impress. Where it comes out of the pot scrumptious and hot…

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2 months ago

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9 game characters who refuse to die

Let us wish a blessed Good Friday to all the Catholics in the house. Now, get out. Your fish-sharing magician cannot compete with these 9 videogame characters who see death as nothing but a passing nuisance. These 9 heroes of reanimated flesh. These 9 unkillable beings of limitless power and mystery. Where is your precious Holy Spirit now, loser? Look at these 9 luminous freaks…

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The 11 nicest smiles in PC games

The human race evolved the facial expression known as the “smile” because we needed a way to silently communicate satisfaction to other members of our species. So we decided to bare our teeth at one another and squint. This stuck, and now even the characters of your favourite digital storyderby are doing it. It’s sort of disgusting, and yet… you know what, I like it.…

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Feature: Looking for love in all the wrong palaces

My quest to get married in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

I met Arwa during a siege. She was a spearwoman of the Aserai. A fighty southerner who had been taken prisoner on four separate occasions, but still loved to go to war. She made me feel dizzy, a real knock-out. Or maybe that was the Imperial mace that cracked me across the skull. It's hard to say what mystery ailments arise from love, when you're…

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The most satisfying physics in PC games

An obscenely rich teenager throws his VR controller across the room in a fit of blind panic while playing Half-Life: Alyx. It leaves the window of his bedroom at 5m/s. It falls 10m vertically and hits his neighbour’s greenhouse, smashing the glass. How many metres did the controller travel horizontally before coming to a stop in the tomatoes? Use a kinematic formula to determine your…

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The 10 best hells in PC games

“Hell is other people,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre. “But also my favourite level in Doom.” He was a smart man, and he probably lives in hell now, on account of all the atheism. But listen, hell doesn’t seem that bad. Bit hot. Bit demonic. You could do a lot worse than a trip to the underworld, is what I’m saying, and as luck would have it,…

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3 months ago

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The 9 unluckiest characters in games

It’s Friday the 13th, the day of Saint Badluck, patron saint of ladders and casinos. And it is a fabulous holiday. Out there, parades are getting ready to be rained on, and children are looking forward to tonight’s shenanigans, when they will dress up as mirrors and knock on doors, declaring: “sweets or I’ll smash myself”. I love Friday the 13th. So many cherished memories.…

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The most satisfying architecture in PC games

If it's not baroque, don't fix it. Little architecture joke for you there, just to kick off a dry topic with a giggle. You see, appreciating architecture is for people in beige cardigans. Folks who subscribe to magazines printed on paper so thick you can still calculate the tree’s age. You know the type I mean. Spectacled couples with non-Ikea coffee tables. Thirty-year-olds. People like…

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The 9 dodgiest religions in games

Ah, religion. I know this is a topic we all have trouble agreeing on. But fear not, humble practitioner of a good pray, I am not here to squint angrily at your favourite book of life advice. I’m only here for the videogame religions. The ones that are very, very, very, very bad. You know, the gun-loving cults and the xenophobic people-burners. The (mostly) fictional…

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The 12 most extravagant lines of dialogue in games

The greasy realm of the videogame is not always the best place to look for good writing. For every Disco Elysium there are roughly 800 Detroit: Beyond Humans. But it is a good place to look for wondrous, over-the-top nonsense. I’m talking about character dialogue so flamboyant and exaggerated, you could insert some line breaks and it would instantly become a verse in a glam…

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4 months ago

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The 10 most unhealthy relationships in games

Happy love day, you disgusting piece of filth. Got you. That was an example of what today’s young people call “neggling”. This is when you are nice and nasty in such quick succession that the body becomes inexplicably aroused. Spasms of lust take over both neggler and negglee, resulting in a paroxysm of extramarital sex and, subsequently, the degeneration of humanity. This is just one…

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The 8 most shocking uses of electricity in games

Imagine a world without electricity. Horrible. What would we use to blend our smoothies? How would we know when uncle Derek hits the metal bit again in the Sunday game of Operation? Electricity has roughly one dozen uses, and yet it is in the realm of videogames when we see its most fantastical and offensive capabilities brought screaming to life. To celebrate the important role…

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The 10 most annoying children in PC games

Children, life’s great copy-paste. Adorable, drooling idiots with no self-control and a habit of yelling embarrassing facts to the entire supermarket. In our everyday lives, human children are a snotty emblem of hope, vulnerability, and aspiration. In videogames, they are a cursed harbinger of escort missions, narrative roadblocks, “cutesy” voice acting, and precocious dialogue. They are annoying. But hold on, that’s the point. Many of…

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