Tag Archives: video games

Game Chasing: The Retro Hut, Southampton

Although “gaming YouTubers” have been around for a good few years now, I’ve only really started exploring their work in earnest recently.

One of the channels I’ve grown to be particularly fond of in the last couple of months is The Game Chasers, where two friends named Billy and Jay, who have known each other since the ’90s, travel around various flea markets and game stores in search of retro video games to add to their collection. Their headline videos are inspired by TV shows such as American Pickers, but they’ve carved out their own identity over time and have established themselves as an immensely entertaining channel that is a bit different from your usual Let’s Players and suchlike.

One thing I frequently find myself feeling while watching their videos, however, is a slight pang of jealousy at the awesome retro gaming stores they seemingly have within reasonably easy reach of them. So I was very interested to discover by accident that there is actually a store like this in my neck of the woods. Naturally, I went to investigate.

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Extra Life: Game Day is Soon!

November 4 is Game Day for this year’s Extra Life — at least for me.

You can find some information about the event and my contribution to it on my fundraising page — as well as make a pledge — but today I wanted to share a bit more information about what I’m planning for the day itself.

I don’t tend to do a lot of streaming, but my 24-hour stint playing Final Fantasy XIV for Extra Life two years ago was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this session too! I hope you’ll join me for some of the day.

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Stormblood: The MMO as Musical Theatre

“Video games aren’t movies.” That’s a line of criticism that those who prioritise mechanics over narrative like to level at cutscene-heavy games, particularly those by creators such as Hideo Kojima and David Cage.

And while it’s true that making effective use of games as a form of interactive media tends to emphasise actual interaction over passively watching cutscenes, one can hardly deny the spectacle offered by strongly movie-inspired titles, and the flexibility that entirely computer-generated scenes and characters can provide creators.

Which makes it all the more unusual that so many games focus on movies as their primary inspiration rather than other forms of media. Sure, some role-playing games might be rather operatic in tone, visual novels are effectively “Books Plus” and rhythm games provide a new way of experiencing pieces of music, but video games have never embraced the idea, of, say, musical theatre.

Or so you thought…

This article is also a video! Hit the jump to watch it, or catch it on YouTube.

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How Video Games Might Have Saved My Life

With today’s news about the suicide of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, I thought now might be a good time to reshare a very personal piece I wrote a while back on my now-defunct personal blog.

Its link to Bennington is tenuous at best, I’ll freely admit, given that it’s an article about video games, but there’s an important core message in here that is relevant.

There are times in our life when we feel like we’re suffering, like things just can’t and won’t get any better. During those times, it can be tempting to contemplate taking drastic steps, up to and including ending your own life.

But, and you’ve probably heard these words a lot today already: don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to people and ask for help if you need it. And if there’s something that helps you cope, make use of it. Taking this advice is why I’m still here today.

This piece was originally written in April 2016, so some references may be a little dated! Oh, and here’s the source for the header image.

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13 Reasons Why the Games Industry Needs to Stop Idolising Anita Sarkeesian

Although self-described feminist pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has abandoned her Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, she hasn’t stopped exerting her influence over an apparently enthralled games industry.

Writing on May 19, 2017, James Batchelor of industry publication Gamesindustry.biz reported on Sarkeesian’s speech at the 2017 Nordic Game conference, an annual event that describes itself as “the leading games conference in Europe”.

Sarkeesian’s 45-minute speech was called “Diversity is Not a Checklist”, and, broadly speaking, was an exhortation to the industry to better represent the diversity of its audience through playable characters, and to tell stories that “recognise the systemic oppression” that women and “people of colour” face.

Not, in itself, a bad topic to explore — though as we’ll discuss in a moment, it disregards one of the key reasons many people turn to video games as entertainment and represents just a single perspective. The main problem is, as with much of Sarkeesian’s previous work, her lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the industry outside the most high-profile parts of the Western triple-A and “in-crowd” indie spheres undermines a great many of her arguments. And, unsurprisingly, Batchelor does not take the opportunity to analyse her remarks in his report, instead simply parroting them uncritically.

Enough is enough. It’s time the industry stopped hanging on Anita Sarkeesian’s every word — or at least started thinking about the things she is saying a little more critically, and researching her claims rather than accepting them at face value. Here are 13 reasons why.

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