Posts Tagged ‘gaming made me’

Total Converts: Unpotting The History Of Half-Life Modding

Totally legit.

Total Converts is a new weekly column about mods, maps, models, and anything player-created which you can use to amend or append your games.

Modding used to suck.

Back in 1999, I became hooked on Half-Life. Hooked in the way only 14-year-olds can, with a pure, uncritical love. The problem I had – familiar to many today – was that Half-Life was finite and I had no idea if more would ever be made.

So in between rounds of laggy, 56k deathmatch with a friend, I turned to mods, custom maps, and anything else I could find which would allow me to wring more from my investment in Black Mesa. I hung out in IRC rooms, read map review sites and slowly downloaded files from Fileplanet. It felt like I was crawling through obscure corners of the internet, at a time when the internet seemed to inhabit a strange corner of the real world.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a gift ship while on holiday in an English seaside town and found the CD pictured above. A collection of Half-Life add-ons for sale in the most ordinary place.

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Good Cause, Old Games: 1991’s DOS Version Of HeroQuest

Presenting the first in an occasional series of features in which RPS writers scour their local charity shops for weird and wonderful/terrible PC games they’ve never played, then attempt to play them. This time it’s Gremlin Interactive’s 1991 boardgame adaptation HeroQuest, found for £1 in a British Heart Foundation shop in Hove.

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The Very Best Of RPS 2013: Gaming Made Me

Gaming Made Me continues to be one of the best occasional features on RPS. The concept began back in 2009, as we talked about the games that had the strongest influences on us. We then started asking others, and indeed getting those who contribute to provide theirs. Back in 2011 Alec pulled together a collection of them all. Last year we pulled together 2012’s additions, and now here are the entries into the lexicon from 2013.

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Gaming Made Me: Pinball

A pinball table is more than balls, flippers and lights, although the uninitiated may see it as an almost literal collection of bells and whistles. I see tables in the corner of bars quite often, usually neglected and often unplugged, and was delighted to see an Addams Family machine – one of the great designs of its kind – in Larian’s studios a couple of weeks ago. It was as quiet as a crypt, missing parts dooming it to a long sleep. That’s often the case and it makes me sad because all of those lights and sounds helped to make me. This is one reason why The Pinball Arcade has consumed many of my evenings.

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Gaming Made Me: The Trespasser Demo

There there.

I’m finally handed the opportunity to write about Jurassic Park: Trespasser on RPS, but instead of hitting Isla Sorna like a sexy chaos mathematician, I instead drop into the less chaotic confines of the demo. I took some time to consider what I loved about Trespasser, a game that was widely regarded as the most disappointing release of 1998, and I realised that my fondest memories were of the demo. I still really like the game, but it was that little sandbox of dinosaurs and boxes that boiled down what I wanted from games. I managed to dig the demo up on TresCom, and installed two parts of the mods here to up the resolution and returned to that Lost World. It was there, when I was 19 and this felt like the future, that I lost dozens of hours. My inner child returned as I flapped my noodley arm around at raptors, so I did what every responsible adult would do: I interviewed him. Here is the transcript of the chat between 19 year-old me, and the handsome, witty grown-up that idiot somehow spawned.
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Gaming Made Me: Charlie Brooker, Part 2

Hello I am Charlie Brooker
Comedian, broadcaster, creator of Black Mirror, Gameswipe, Nathan Barley and previous PC Zoner Charlie Brooker and I went to the pub and talked about videogames. The first part was here. Here is part two of his Gaming Made Me, this time with added Nathan Barley, Twitter, and David Cage. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaming Made Me: Charlie Brooker, Part 1


Comedian, broadcaster, creator of Black Mirror, Gameswipe, Nathan Barley and previous PC Zoner Charlie Brooker and I went to the pub and talked about videogames. If I had to review him I would give him 9/10 for hyperrealistic beard graphics, and 8/10 for volume/sound because he was a tad quiet on my recording due to the man next to us in the corner chaperoning us and being creepy. He gets 3/10 for pint handling but 10/10 for pint buying. Submit to Metacritic. (Which should make clear that I don’t really know how Metacritic works.) Read the rest of this entry »

Gaming Made Me: Another World

Another World’s 20th Anniversary Edition is now available on Steam. In 1992, when I first played it, discovering something so beautiful and strange contained on two disks seemed like an act of science fiction in itself, and realising that I can now download the entire thing in about four seconds is astonishing. Eric Chahi’s enduring voyage is a masterwork of visual communication and companionship, and it has grown in my memory over the two decades since its original release.

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Stunt Island & A Lament For Flight Sims’ Lost Levity

Once upon a time, flight simulators were the most tantalising, promise-filled facet of nascent PC gaming. First-person perspectives were the bleeding edge of software entertainment and, at that point, sticking a gun in that first person-perspective had yet to achieve the total dominance it has now. (A first-person perspective never was the only way to play a flight sim, of course, but at the time it seemed like the most thrilling one, as the skies and clouds hurtled across peripheral vision, the ground loomed and zoomed dangerously into sight and rival planes threatened to fly directly into our eyeballs.)

I thought, even post-Wolfenstein, that flying a pretend aeroplane was the single most exciting concept I’d ever heard of. Apart from flying a real aeroplane, anyway.
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Gaming Made Me: Nathan Grayson’s Violence

I don’t think violence is necessarily bad. But I do think – especially in gaming – that it’s highly misunderstood, and I argued as much quite recently. But what can we do about that? As ever, I’m erring on the side of reflection and transparency. So here we are. I’m Nathan Grayson, and I was made by violence.

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The Very Best Of RPS 2012: Gaming Made Me

As Space Year 2012 fades into the unreachable yesterday of history, we at RPS have developed preservation technologies that allow us to transmit past articles toward the future. So it is that we’re able to capture some of the highlights of the site from the last twelve months, and as with every year, among the highest of those heights are the Gaming Made Me entries. These reflections on games aren’t nostalgia, but rather personal accounts of defining moments, and that’s what makes them special. 2012’s are every bit as splendid as ever.

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Gaming Made Me: Tomb Raider

June 2003: a remote jungle clearing outside Moshi, Tanzania. I am seventeen. It is sometime after midnight.

My skin is sticky with pesticide and sweat. In the treacle dark, my friend Rachael’s face presses hot against my shoulder. The hiss of the jungle soars into the sky in a cacophonous, unbearable symphony.

I need to pee.
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Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2


Talented RPS writer chum Patricia Hernandez asked us if she could write about the influence of RPG-classic Fallout 2 on her life. We agreed, and what she came back with was a stark personal tale of how videogame fantasy can inspire interest, provoke thought, and ultimately change how we see the world.
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Gaming Made Me: Jonathan Coulton

Interrupted while coiling his precious cables, the sound guy glowers at me. “Scarface? What?” Now, the way you can tell games journalists aren’t like other journalists is our shame. We’re shy, we lack the killer instinct, mostly, that enables tabloid hacks to doorstep grieving families and hack murdered children’s phones. I’m a case in point – 6′ 1″, 13 stone – and I’m being intimidated by a diminutive roadie. “His assistant is called Scarface,” I repeat. The roadie shrugs. As he shuffles away, he’s obviously assigned me to the same aberrant category as everyone else still hanging around at the Jonathan Coulton gig – No 1 Fans, all of them.

After the gig, from the gallery of Union Chapel, I look down on the accretion disc of fandom. They’re loitering but not mingling, in the hope of catching another sight of their hero. With its non-conformist heritage, this old Gothic church is a strangely perfect venue for Jonathan Coulton, whose music is packed full of liberality, anti-authoritarianism, irony and inclusiveness – and for his reverential fans. While he’s best known in gaming circles for endlessly singable Portal ditty Still Alive, Coulton is the high priest of geek music. This former programmer’s songs about geek culture are so well known he was made ‘Contributing Troubador’ at Popular Science magazine.
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Gaming Made Me: Jean Grae

Rock, Paper, Shotgun was recently honoured to find itself referenced in the latest track from hip hop artist, Jean Grae. Kill Screen, a track initially inspired by the documentary King Of Kong, includes a web of intricate references to all manner of subjects, frequently referring to gaming and comic culture. (You can hear it at the bottom of this post.) Which intrigued us to learn more. So we spoke to Grae to find out about the role gaming plays in her life, and how it influences her music.

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Gaming Made Us

When we were younger so much younger than today

Over the years, we’ve built up a vast stock of Gaming Made Mes – highly, unashamedly, gloriously subjective features about the videogames that proved, for one reason or another, formative to writers including the RPS Hivemind and associates, and developers such as Ken Levine, Erik Wolpaw and Soren Johnson. This is the complete collection.

Some spectacular reading awaits you below, on a huge array of even more spectacular games.
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A Life In PC Gaming: My Shame

I have, at least, never broken a monitor

I’ve been playing games on computers for the vast bulk of my life. From BBC Micro to Spectrum to 486 to assorted Athlons to the quad-cored radiator I used today, I’ve rarely been far from a keyboard. I have seen much, I have played much, I have learned much. But learning so often comes from failure. There have been many, many failures: these are but a few.
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Gaming Made Me: Ultima VII

The Guardian had some fine voice acting

I was only young when I played Ultima VII but I had already ventured to the depths of dungeons that dripped with dread, partaken in interstellar war and defended my home planet from invaders. Like Roy Batty and all people who grew up with games, I had seen and done so much. Between adventures in space, I’d rezone my commercial districts or build a new bus route, leaving room in the schedules for occasional postal service functions. Yes, I had lived a full life already, but I had never watched a man clad in the finest clothes in Britain eat an egg and then belch in the face of a barmaid, so who can say I had experienced anything worthwhile at all?

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Gaming Made Me: Frontier: Elite II

You now have Blue Danube in your head

I still can’t remember why I wanted it so much. I hadn’t played the original Elite, and didn’t even really think about picking it up when that want started. I wasn’t even a space game fan. But I can remember asking my mum for it, and after a long, long wait it landed in my hands.
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Gaming Made Me: Carmageddon

This was a really disconcerting face to look at during a loading screen, you know

I was nine years old, visiting far-flung relatives in Malaysia. Back then, piracy was huge over there, with entire shops in respectable shopping malls dedicated purely to the sale of pirated software of all stripes. To a young kid with no real concept of money and ownership, all I saw was shelves of games in poorly-photocopied plastic wallets that my well-meaning relatives happily bought for me, armfuls at a time. Though their behaviour was confusing, I wasn’t about to stop them and I hurried along, pulling game after ill-gotten game into a small pile of treasure. Then, on one rack near the back, a single image stood out: a bald man daubed in blood with eyes like the devil clutching a steering wheel, and stamped with a big, fat, deliciously intoxicating 18 Certificate.

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