I am now writing for UK-based entertainment website Screen Robot, so this post will be used to provide a collection of links to articles published there :-)
– The unending dedication of Mario Paint Composer – December 3, 2013
– Football Chairman – a developer interview and behind the scenes look – December 11, 2013
– Five lost controllers of gaming – December 19, 2013
– The nine most memorable stealth sequences in gaming – January 22, 2014
With the Xbox One and the PS4 out in almost all markets, we can now officially – and with some sadness amidst the joy – usher in a new ‘current gen’ of gaming consoles. For some of you it may have been a long time coming (and gosh doesn’t 2005 seem like an age ago) and for others it may be too soon, but one thing is for sure: our 360s and PS3s sure got a lot of mileage. So as we embrace these new machines, with many of us perhaps still holding off for for the time being, our trusty old beloved machines clinging on for their dear lives, it’s time to reflect on our favourite moments of the generation now either entering its twilight or, for you lucky ones out there, already passed. Here are some of mine:
– Attending a midnight launch for GTA IV in great anticipation for the first instalment of the series on the next gen (or, well, last gen, now) and being blown away by the graphical detail and huge step up from San Andreas. Sure, the gameplay would begin to show its flaws after a while, but those first 30 or so hours admiring the complexity of Niko Bellic’s character in a much more mature story than had previously been seen, the number of different pedestrian models filling the city, which itself resembled something tangibly real, the dynamic car damage and feeling of varying weight to each vehicle, a whole new world of radio ads and a typically eclectic Rockstar-selected soundtrack, and diving into online multiplayer for the first time in a GTA game, sum up for me a magic moment in the series’ history.
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It was an almost endless toxic wasteland of strife, hardship, and disappointment, where one could wander around literally for hours and only take away from it even more negativity and gloom…and this was just the reception from Fallout fan sites and forums when Fallout 3 finally saw the light of day – or, rather, when it rose from the nuclear ashes of development hell.
In this age of professional Starcraft championships and YouTube celebrity, FPS quickscoping montages accompanied by Skrillex tracks, and no shortage of opportunities to share your Candy Crush achievements/desperate-announcements-that-you’re-out-of-lives on Facebook, it’s as if my peak gaming years have passed without me having had a fair shout in the internet fame stakes; modern technology displaying an increasingly annoying trait of making us 80’s kids feel as if we were born in the wrong era.
Had I known that there’d eventually be such riches and celebration in gaming achievement, I may well have considered investing in – never mind all these fancy HD quality capturing devices around now – a camcorder back in the glory years, replicating my best form and well-oiled expertise in Sega Rally and Sonic R on the old blocky Saturn, acquiring proof of all the perfect drifts and overtakes after hours of constant recording and metres upon metres of tape in full 68 cm CRT screen resolution before resolution was even a thing, storing away these precious VHS time capsules of mastery and waiting for 2010 to arrive, whereupon the new generations (and aliens) holding up their smart phones at concerts could worship it, be grateful, and click on ‘Like’.
But instead, as I feel my arthritic fingers creak whilst swearing softly under my breath after another opponent on FIFA either pulls off some outrageous dribble with Cristiano Ronaldo which I am absolutely helpless to defend against, or quits on me before the fulltime whistle as their parents call them to dinner, I can only marvel at the sheer personality and talent of those charismatic Let’s Play video hosts and expert Dark Souls trolls in between compulsive all-nighter YouTube ‘Related Video’ click-fests somehow always ending on Maru the Japanese cat, wondering how things could have been so different had I saved those fleeting yet unforgettable moments of brilliance from Sega Worldwide Soccer that I’m still talking almost three console generations later.
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