Far Cry 5 and the moral quandry of player freedom

Resting in the rolling valleys of Montana lays a small, picturesque farm. Armed men roam the farm picking at their skin, occasionally kicking cages that contain ravenous killer dogs. They chat amongst themselves, load and unload their rifles as a church hymn plays over a loudspeaker, followed by a dramatic sermon by one of the Seed brothers. This is the death cult at the heart … Continue reading Far Cry 5 and the moral quandry of player freedom

What The Sopranos can teach us about morality

Despite what social media might be telling you this modern era spoils us: in 2018, Netflix and its imitators graciously drown our culture in lusciously detailed TV dramas on an almost weekly basis and this renaissance of high-quality entertainment has the shadow of Tony Soprano looming large over its shoulder.

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The reason why we need Net Neutrality – We can’t be trusted to rule ourselves.

In the early 2000’s, messenger apps such as ICQ, IRC, Yahoo Chat and MSN Messenger connected people in ways that were previously unthinkable. For a society limited to phone calls or, shudder, actual hand-written letters, messaging a stranger or a friend separated by miles of distance was absolutely revelatory. IRC especially was an acutely hidden underground network of chat channels and communities, stretching into the very earth of the internet like winding never-ending caves, and your own discovery hinged on your own bravery, your own desire to dig deeper. Those early days of internet chat was a true wild west – just as likely to see the worst as you were to see the best, to form unbreakable bonds with people you’ve never seen before or to risk the unknown and witness true human depravity. Being involved with the internet at this time, in retrospect, feels almost romantic, especially with what this beast eventually became.

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Digital Brain in 2018 – Turning Puddles into Oceans.

PSX2017 has crawled by this year rather unceremoniously – a much more muted affair this year with some surprise new announcements but otherwise, it is resolutely par for the course. Some sequels announced, Reddit gets excited. Some remaster that perhaps 100 people will enjoy, Reddit celebrates the nostalgia. Some horrendously awkward on-stage segments with socially awkward game developers that no one really watches but gets posted around the globe anyway. So far so typical for trade shows but aren’t these things meant to be for journalists? What’s up with the awful cheering? You’re literally cheering on capitalism. Did I miss something?

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Bloodborne shows FromSoftwares incredible potential

Bloodborne – It’s a tale of a city driven mad by beast blood. A game where grotesque humans have become malformed beasts roaming around a burning city and where Hunters have hastily banded together to hunt the abominations into extinction. Yharnam is the setting for FromSoftware’s excellent Bloodborne from 2015 but recent developments in games media have lead to renewed interest in the game. Weeks … Continue reading Bloodborne shows FromSoftwares incredible potential

Pewdiepie is a symptom of the internet’s Pandora’s box: social media

For as long as I can remember, over the course of fifteen years of online gaming one thing has been certain – encountering gamers online has always involved having to wear your thick skin and endure a potential barrage of misery. I can remember as far back as Counter-Strike 1.6 where it wasn’t uncommon to hear racial epithets screamed at the top of someone’s lungs, or to see a degree of abuse that in the real world would be borderline abusive and violent. For better or for worse, the internet is a Pandora’s box for the digital age. In bringing us closer together it’s also given us a glimpse into the psyche of humanity, and sometimes what we see is too ugly to bare.

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No Mans Sky – worth playing?

Looking back to the release of No Mans Sky last year, it’s hard not to think of Hello Games’ much talked about space exploration epic as anything other than a burning wreckage on the side of the road. in reality it’s a story we should be more familiar with – A meteoric rise in interest, insane levels of hype and some slight dishonesty on the part of Hello Games means that it was almost destined to fail and if you’ve been around the block for a while in games media you’ve probably seen this story before. Daikatana, Spore and many others were victims of the exact same fate that No Mans Sky suffered. So when the game finally landed on the alien planet of gamer culture its landing gears cracked and fell off in orbit and sent the burning hull of Hello Games screaming down to earth with a bang. People were angry. Angry about the skeletal, bare bones experience of the game, frustrated that it promised the world and didn’t deliver, and bitterly disappointed with Sean Murray of Hello Games specifically for not being honest. And while the game was certainly disappointing, the whirlwind of criticism surrounding Hello Games last year reached a fever pitch that was difficult to watch. Anyone in tune with the zillions of Reddit threads on the topic at the time was either joining in the with their own flaming torches and pitchforks or couldn’t bear to look at the carnage.

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Bus Stop Games: Downwell

Bus Stop Games is a new feature that explores and picks apart mobile games avaliable in either hand-held or mobile format and assesses how much fun they are on London’s most well known public transport system – the bus. Today, we’re looking at Downwell for the PS Vita.

There’s often a bit of a trade-off between simplicity and depth in games. traditional knowledge would suggest that the simpler the mechanics, the less depth a game has. It’s hard to give something meant for quick, rapid-fire bursts of fun anything more than a surface level thrill. Right? Well… not necessarily. Continue reading “Bus Stop Games: Downwell”

Nioh Six Months On

Nioh is looking like it might be one of my favourite games of the year. Miraculous, actually, because 2017 is the year I hung up my love for soulslikes permanently. As a formula, the Souls games don’t really lend themselves too well to imitation, primarily because much of the draw of the seminal dark fantasy game is in its unknowable mystery. The world was a beautiful, lost enigma, one that you could never hope to fathom. But thanks to the internet and a multitude of fan communities, the secrets of the games are, by now, quite common knowledge amongst souls enthusiasts like myself. The lore of the world, the layout of Lordran, the stats and the multitude of character builds, the tragic stories of the games hopeless inhabitants have been extensively detailed in a multitude of wiki’s, youtube videos and, of course, Continue reading “Nioh Six Months On”

The War Epilogue: Metal Gear Hunter

The War Epilogue is a series focussing on the Metal Gear Solid Series, from 1, through to 4, in release date order. I’ll analyze where the series used to be, all the way up to where it went, and the themes that lay behind the games. Metal Gear Solid, much like it’s creator, is a larger than life series with layers of complexities that flood the veins of gaming culture, even to this day. With the controversial final entry The Phantom Pain firmly lodged in my mind, I will journal my experiences with these groundbreaking, genre-defining titles having never played a single one. This time, I’m looking at Peace Walker.

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