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

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub… offers an alternative, sobering look at punk culture and band life.

One of the great things about the internet is the ability to read, listen and learn about long dead sub-cultures from the mists of time from the comfort of a couch or bed – the potential to broaden your horizon and to learn about the world that came before isn’t something to be sniffed at. Indeed, if you roll the clocks back 15 years or … Continue reading NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub… offers an alternative, sobering look at punk culture and band life.

How long is too long?

After pouring 100 hours into the incredible CRPG beast Divinity: Original Sin 2, I regret not being able to finish the game. I was in love with the characters, and though the story was atypical fantasy fare it was incredibly well told and my handcrafted path through the narrative had lead me down 95 hours of challenging, deep RPGing. But 100 hours later and the excellent characters, great storytelling, deep punishing systems becomes an overwhelming weight on my shoulders. Perhaps ending at the 100 hour mark would have been a perfect length. I’d have left the game feeling incredibly satisfied. But getting that awful fatigue and not being able to push through to the end felt like a lot of time had just circled the drain. I was running on empty. Original Sin 2 is an absolutely fantastic game that reinvigorates the classic CRPG formula – a genre which had been dormant for many years. It’s sheer breadth and depth belied a game of fantastic variety and complexity, where everything you did felt important – where your own input felt important. You were at the heart of the story. As it stands, Original Sin 2 is easily one of my faveourite games of the year.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 updates the classic CRPG formula properly. Unlike Pillars of Eternity which seemed like much more of a homage to a by-gone era, Larians latest entry into their long-running CRPG series uses classic CRPG tropes as a base and builds on it with new, fresh ideas. Character-based roleplaying is brought out of the rose-tinted memories of the 90’s and into the here and now with some great new modern twists on the formula. Divinity: Original Sin 2 distances itself from Obsidians recent crowdfunded efforts by making them look like nothing more than derivative in comparison, and that’s quite a feat considering how polished and intricately detailed the worlds of games like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity are.

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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┬áskeletal, 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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