Posts Tagged ‘eurogamer’

Eurogamer Retro: Curse Of Monkey Island

That's the second insult swordfight I've ever seen.

It’s important to admit when you’re wrong. All my life I’ve maintained that The Curse Of Monkey Island was rubbish. So I went back to check, and found out that, well, it’s not. So many of the puzzles are. The tacky line drawings often are. But it’s a better game than I’d remembered. I write all about it over at Eurogamer, including this representative paragraph:

With series regulars like the Voodoo Lady and Stan appearing, now it seems daft that the game works so hard to reintroduce them. But with over half a decade having passed, a good proportion of the potential audience wouldn’t have had any idea who they were. Plus a lot of the references were starting to feel dated back then and now seem positively archaic.

During my eighties childhood, about 70 per cent of the programmes I watched included quicksand at some point. To misquote comedian Adam Carolla, until the age of 10 I was certain I was either going to die by falling in quicksand or by being eaten by cannibals who would first make me their god. Now, outside of madman Bear Grills’ on-screen suicide attempts, there’s not a drip of quicksand to be found. And worrying about being eaten by cannibals is perhaps considered culturally insensitive.

Eurogamer Retro: Uplink

Hackity hackity hackity hack.

Sometimes, with enough time travel and science, it’s possible to play games from the past. For instance, last week I played Uplink. Then, having done this, I wrote about it. Eurogamer kindly agreed to publish this article on their website, and now I link to it. It’s the circle of life.

I think it taps into a nightmarish fear that we all must have experienced at one time. That thing we did, or may have done without knowing it, that catches up with us. Like that time I paid for a packet of Fruit Pastilles in pennies, knowingly one coin short, and the man in the petrol station said to me: “I won’t count it. I’ll trust you.” Mobil closed down a few years later, which surely has to be at least partly my fault, and I know that one day the policeman will knock on my front door. I’ll look up from the jigsaw puzzle I’m completing with my wife and our two children, and he’ll say, “Are you John Walker? I’m going to have to ask you to come with me.”

Read more here.

Eurogamer: Titan Quest Retro + Brainthinks

I AM YOUR GOD NOW! AHAHAHAHAHA

Ever since I visited the ill-fated Iron Lore in 2005, I’ve wanted to find the words to talk about a peculiar response I had to their level editor. It’s taken me this long to gain the vocabulary needed to even take a stab at it, primarily gained/cribbed from the essays and thoughts of film theorist AndrĂ© Bazin. (Whom I confess I first discovered through Linklater’s excellent Waking Life, rather than from the half a degree of film studies I slept through in ’98.) And so, smuggled onto the internet in a large wooden retrospective article on Titan Quest, my thoughts on the teleological nature of level editors. I don’t know how successful I’ve been, since I’m massively out of my depth without a useful background in either philosophy or semiotics. The EG commenters appear to have opted for pretending the article was only one page long, which is understandable. I’m nervous of what happens if someone who knows what they’re talking about responds. There’s a quote from it below, since I’ve waffled so much up here.

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Eurogamer Retrospective: GTA 1

Well, my revenge shall involve a rocket launcher.

With only coincidental timing, this week I wrote about the original Grand Theft Auto for Eurogamer – Dave Jones’ game that spawned the empire that led to his creating APB. Does the top-down 1997 original stand the cruel passage of time? Is it still controversial? I write:

It’s not like gaming had been an innocent pursuit until 1997. Obviously not. But it was the year that things got noticeably controversial. (The same year also offered us another chance to mow down innocents with Carmageddon.) And when a mainstream game from DMA – who had entertained us with suicidal green and purple rodents – contains lines like, “My brother knows I’m bangin’ his wife. Waste the sonofabitch before he finds me,” it comes as quite a surprise. To go from Christmas Lemmings to people shouting about “getting pussy”… it’s like your gran revealing she used to be a porn star.

And even more!

Eurogamer: Soldner Retrospective

Soldner.

My love for Soldner is real and weird. The most bugged game I’ve encountered (while Boiling Point’s bugs were extraordinary, it was at least a decent game underneath), it plays like slapstick comedy with an unbreakably straight face. I returned to it, playing the completely unpatched original version, and sticking to the single player (I did try to play some multiplayer later, but of course it didn’t work), to see if it would deliver the joy years on. It, of course, did. You can read my adventures here.

There’s a quote from it below, as it’s a bit long.

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id Not Licensing id Tech 5

A disappointed developer, yesterday.

id’s Todd Hollenshead has told Eurogamer that they will no longer be licensing out their tech, starting with id Tech 5, for third-party developers. Unless their game is published by Bethesda. While it’s perhaps not unusual for a publisher to hold onto their own tech, it seems a long way from id’s past to keep their new middleware to themselves. The company has a rich history of not only licensing out their engines, but then releasing them as free software after a few years. However, this change comes after the company was bought by ZeniMax, owners of Bethesda, in 2009.

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Medal Of Honor’s Taliban Multiplayer

What if a real member of the Taleban plays? What then?!

Medal Of Honor, the forthcoming series restart from EA, was revealed in June by Eurogamer to allow players to play as the Taliban in multiplayer gaming. A tabloid sensation with young people being encouraged to join terrorist organisations? Perfectly normal online gaming that doesn’t represent real life? Or simply awkward taste?

“It’s a game.”

say developers DICE.

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Eurogamer Hands On: World of Tanks

My cousin was going to name his kid Tank if it was a boy. It wasn't.

Anyone interested in upcoming tank battle MMO World of Tanks – yes, both of you – should skedaddle over to Eurogamer, who today uploaded my hands on impressions of the beta. The game’s actually a bit good, with lots of tension and keeping your eyes peeled for the enemy and then Oh, Mercy, Would You Look At The Size Of Him, and then BANG and then JESUS CHRIST. The highlight of the preview is probably this:

By contrast, your first impression of the tank garage is much more likely to make you feel you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Yesterday I was, no word of a lie, looking over my PzKpfw III Ausf A and wondering whether to swap the 3.7cm KwK36 L/46.5 for either the 5cm KwK 38 L/42 or the 2cm KwK38 L/55. I was also eyeing up additional grousers and some APCR shells.

In reality, this is all simple stu- oh, my goodness! Are you crying? Please don’t cry. It was only a stupid example and the tank development isn’t like it sounds at all. Let me explain.

Well, if the Eurogamer commenters will insist on being very rude to my articles then I’ve no choice but to make insinuations about their masculinity in my copy, have I?

Eurogamer Retro: King’s Bounty

They all appear to have the same face.

It’s thanks to Alec that I played King’s Bounty. Seeing turn-based combat in KB: The Legend my “Ew! Strategy!” alarms went off and I moved on to the next game on the list. But having read Alec’s My Zombie Wife piece, I felt I should give it a go. It’s fabulous. So when exploring the retro-weighed shelves of a nearby gaming store, finding the original King’s Bounty for sale meant a guaranteed buy. Except, well, it was on Megadrive. “Traitor!” shouted Kieron at me, repeatedly, all last week as I played. I’ve written all about it, and it’s almost entirely true for the DOS version too – a game I heartily recommend getting hold of. And the Megadrive version emulates beautifully on PC, I found out when taking screenshots after playing it for a few days on a real Megadrive on a television with a refresh rate low enough to give me a headache. There’s no good to be found in traiting. You can read my Eurogamer retrospective here, where I find much love and happiness in the game. A game with the most brutal game over message I’ve ever seen.

“Oh Mad Mohan,

You have failed to recover the Sceptre of Order in time to save the land! Beloved King Maximus has died and the Demon King Urthrax Killspite rules in his place. The Four Continents lay in ruin about you, its people doomed to a life of misery and oppression because you could not find the Sceptre.”

EG Retrospective: Tomb Raider IV

Yeah, just steal it. Who cares?

Peering back through time, my retrospective hands seized upon Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, which I use as an excuse to explore the Tomb Raider series a little. It contains a paragraph that says this:

Lara is, let’s not forget, a truly dreadful person. Much has already been written about how she’s a grave-robbing thief, uncaring about either history or wildlife. And despite her having encountered dinosaurs, dragons and giant killer statues, she’s utterly blase about ignoring ancient texts warning of terrible plagues being unleashed upon the Earth if she takes one trinket or another. Screw Earth! She wants the shiny thing! Yeah, just steal it Lara. No one minds if you KILL EVERYONE ON EARTH. But of course Von Croy is the baddy, because he tried to do the world and its history a favour by killing her when she was a squawky teenager.

The rest is here.

Microphoney: RPS Invades EG Podcast

It’s not really an RPS podcast. Sorry. It’s just me on someone else’s podcast. Sneaky little tyke that I am. My mouth-hole was recruited to accompany Eurogamer editor Tom ‘Tom Bramwell’ Bramwell, their writer Dan Pearson and Ignition producer Jamie Firth in a chat about topics including Dragon Age 2, Blizzard’s real name silliness, War For Cybertron, whether that OnLive stuff is a threat to the PC and whether blockbuster games are allowed more than three As.

I make jokes, mutter and find myself frustratingly forbidden from discussing the preview build of CIv V I’m currently playing. I also make a probably unwise gag about the Iraq war at one point, though they may well have sensibly cut that.

Eurogamer: Amnesia Hands On

Well he's a fine looking fellow.

Amnesia, the new game from Frictional Games – they who brought us the Penumbra series – is due to be with us on the 8th September. I’ve had a play with the first third (of what must be a pretty big game), and have written up my thoughts for Eurogamer. It begins:

“I think a mark of quality in a game is whether you can return to a room you’ve previously been in, and know you were there earlier by the destruction you wrought. Amnesia, the new first-person adventure from Penumbra developers Frictional, does not paint rooms in the blood of your enemies, but rather in strewn desk drawers, boxes and broken glass.

And light.

Amnesia is looking to be an extremely dark game, but rather than offering you the opportunity to sneak silently in the welcoming shadows, here darkness is your enemy. It is the path to insanity.”

Read on.

Eurogamer Retro: Armed & Dangerous

I already made the trumpet joke on EG, and this game won't screengrab to get more shots!

How funny was Armed & Dangerous? Yes, yes it absolutely had the Land Shark Gun, and no one can dispute its magnificence, but what about the rest of the game? I took a look at the 2003 game for Eurogamer, and then wrote words about it in the correct order. Some were:

“The reception is all down to context. You know when a golfer makes a funny mime to the crowd when someone’s phone rings, and everyone falls about laughing? Context. It’s not funny. It’s just unexpected. Put that golfer on stage at an open mic comedy night and his hilarity would be put into cruel perspective. It’s just not okay, not after 3000 years of games being around, for something just not being completely humourless to be good enough. And it’s not that A&D is unfunny – not at all. It’s occasionally wry, often silly. But just not “hilarious”.”

And the rest are here.

The EGTV Show: The Ratings Debate

Johnny Minkley Wants You.

This is one for all you who call out after videogame journalism. Johnny Minkley takes EGTV to look at the Rating debate in the UK. Everything from the PEGI vs BBFC slanging match to the problem of self-interest is covered, with all the key figures interviewed. Sterling stuff. You can watch it here, which includes a much longer over-view of its content. A half-hour documentary with serious intent and only minor diversions into discussions of labial display – and brilliantly features Minkley going through GAME’s training procedure for spotting minors then working behind the till. It’s like staring at all our dark futures. Watch immediately.

RPS Announces Partnership With Eurogamer

Yes, we have kissed Eurogamer, all of them.
Blimey, news about us! What does it mean? Well, you might have noticed that our adverts are a bit nob. We’ve been working on fixing that so that we can both make a bit more money and look a little less like we’re run out of a shy teenager’s attic. Eurogamer have stepped in to help out, which means RPS is soon going to become bigger and maybe even a bit better. And prettier, too, probably. We’re still editorially independent – we still own the site and control all the content – and will remain a bastion of PC gaming righteousness. We’ll just be doing it from a golden helicopter-fortress over the Bahamas. Any questions? Ask ’em below. (I also put the press release down there, to show off.)

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Eurogamer: Fahrenheit Retrospective

He just wants a cuddle.

It seems like only yesterday that my retrospective of bonkers genre-blurred Fahrenheit appeared on Eurogamer. A ha, my little joke there. It was yesterday! It’s a Bank Holiday, my brain is on holiday. I replayed the game five years on to see, well, all sorts. Any of the ideas hold up? Anything been picked up by others? Still as completely trousers-down, purple-hatted batshit insane? Well, of course. The intro:

Here’s my impression of David Cage brainstorming ideas before making a game:

“Okay, it shall be set in a regular city, slightly in the future. Our character must get through his day, while becoming embroiled in a strange mystery. A peculiar girl is stuck in a tornado, and the player must rescue her before all the water in the world turns to stone. Aliens attack. At the end it rains cars.”

While Heavy Rain stayed in reality, Omikron and Fahrenheit begin with a facsimile of a recognisable life, and then dive headfirst into a swimming pool of insane.

Read on here.

Eurogamer Review: Black Mirror II

It's a bit pretty, too.

Oh, by the way, yesterday Eurogamer posted my review of PC adventure Black Mirror II. It’s a very muddled game, a bemusing combination of remarkable depth and peculiarly lazy, unfortunately enormously spoilt by not having an ending. But this is a nuanced game, and hopefully a review that captures why it’s not to be dismissed. I say things like:

“Uncovering secrets within the town doesn’t reveal a million-year-old monster or suchlike, but instead merely the reality of people’s lives. It’s not stunning, it’s not ground-breaking drama. If anything it’s barely above soap opera. But it’s a heck of a lot more than we’re used to from European adventures.”

Eurogamer Retro: Max Payne

This is the only facial expression Kieron's capable of, too.

Max Payne zooms back into our consciousnesses with the appearance of Alan Wake. But stupid stinky Alan Wake is only on 360, and Max Payne is still available for the PC. Does it hold up nearly a decade on? I attempt to answer that question, and also to mock the hilarious writing for as long as I can bear. It begins:

“The third-person shooter had been our first dance with Bullet Time. Sure, we’ve all been to bed with the gimmick now, but this was the first flirtation. For reasons unknown, Payne could enter a slow-motion world like a hand enters an oven glove. It doesn’t stay forever, but it can handle a lot more heat when it’s there. Able to react in real-time, it allowed Max to demonstrate his super-reflexes, filling enemies with bullets like he was making bullet pie with a human crust.”

You can read the rest here.

Eurogamer: The Whispered World Review

Aw.

I’ve been looking forward to The Whispered World since PC Gamer’s Graham Smith returned from Cologne last year to tell me how lovely it looked. A point and click adventure into which a huge amount of love was being poured. It’s been out in Germany for a long while, but has now been released in English. My review of the game is now up on Eurogamer, and it begins like this:

“There’s a sensation familiar to anyone who knows adventure gaming well. It’s that moment when you’ve cracked a puzzle, and the game opens up. Suddenly there are two or three new locations to explore, new objects to find, and new puzzles to solve. Those mysterious inventory items make more sense in this new context, and previous unsolved puzzles receive that vital clue. They’re fantastic moments, stepping out of dark rooms into bright light. It’s probably the very hardest thing to get right in an adventure game. The Whispered World demonstrates one of the more frustrating ways to get it wrong.”

Below is the launch trailer, plus some other thoughts that – for reasons explained – couldn’t go into the review.

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Eurogamer Retro: Another World

I want one of those beasts as a pet.

Replaying Another World for Eurogamer, in the form of its 15th Anniversary Edition, I found myself asking questions. Mostly of myself. Do I like trial and error gaming? The question was tricky, because I generally don’t, but I was enjoying Another World a great deal. Apart from when I reached the point where it became all error, and quite a trial. Were you to read it, you’d encounter passages like:

When developers at Valve make a game, from the moment a single room has been crafted in their Hammer editor, they playtest it. Outsiders come in once a week, with no previous experience of the game, and play with whatever’s been created. The developers must watch without comment, and observe how the player encounters the game. This is not how Another World was developed. Released in 1991, Another World was the one-man project from Eric Chahi, a visually striking 2D platform game about a man transported to an alien world after a disaster with his particle acceleration experiment.

It’s here.