The following is a work of fiction….

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The scene: two people are arguing in a crummy loft apartment. One dressed all in black with a giant green X painted on his face. The other dressed in black with PlayStation logo painted on his face.

“My console has more graphics than your console and therefore it is better.”

“No my console is better-er because of the graphics and the cloud!!!!”

*BOOM! An arrogant PC gamer bursts in through the skylight with a huge PC tower strapped to his back*

“You all suck balls! I am PC! I have the bestest graphics of them all if you are willing to spend a fortune and constantly worry about game/hardware specs for the rest of your life!”

The arguement escalates and a huge fight ensues. Disks being used as throwing stars. Controllers as small, oddly shaped clubs. Etc.

Outside a mother walks by handing her iPad over to her overweight four year old.

“The password is: IamStupid don’t spend too much on virtual bird bucks.”

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Tomb Raider Part 1 – Me and Ms Croft

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In this first of a three part exploration of all things Tomb Raider I explore my history with the franchise and how it has always been there wether I like it or not. Part two focuses on my thoughts on the new game and part three is about why the new game is so refreshing and why that is both a good and worrying thing.

I have a mixed past with Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider games. The PlayStation age, otherwise known as the late 90s is the time that defined me as a gamer. My childish attempts to grasp the various genres available to me on the PSOne fed into my tastes and gaming styles today. Lara Croft, the poster child of 90s gaming and the games industry however is very much absent from my best of the best lists and the Tomb Raider games are squarely on the edges of my gaming memories from those years. Don’t get me wrong I still bought a bunch of them and like everyone my age I have memories of running around Croft Mansion locking butlers in fridges and killing Lara in various comical and frustrating ways. Sometimes because the games were annoyingly awkward other times to drown my sorrows.  But the games and the character have never felt quite, right to me.

The games have always had horrendous controls that hinder the player most of the time. You wanted Lara to take a small step to the left but suddenly she would leap off the edge of a perilous drop to her doom…to the right…. The character herself always, even to my childish view of the world back then, felt off. She wasn’t real. She was very much a cartoon to me. She was this impossible creature that was always there on the edges of my gaming leering at me seductively from a promo poster slapped on my wall.

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Top Games of This Gen

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Over on the NowGamer Forums, one of my regular gaming haunts, one of the forum members decided to pose the difficult question of asking what everyone’s top games of the current gen are. This was brought about by the looming spectre that is Next-Gen and the impending PlayStation metting on the 20th of this month. Unlike most discussions I’ve seen about best games for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii era there was a limit imposed, you could only pick three games! So while I cheated a tad and included a long list of Honourable Mentions at the end I agonised over my chosen three games for days. DAYS! I tell you!

So here are my top three games of this generation and my nice list of honourable mentions taken from my response to the forum thread. Also if you are interested in joining a small but very passionate and very friendly community head on over to NowGamer and the NowGamer Forums!

So in no particular order:

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Link Storm

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What’s that? You like links? WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO???

Introducing your new PlayStation Store

The PlayStation Store over on the PS3 has received a major facelift and despite some early teething problem sluggishness it is actually half decent and well…modern! There have been a lot of changes and tweaks along with a host of new functionality added to the digital store. Luckily the PlayStation Blog has all the details to avoid any major confusion.

Aesthetics of Play – Extra Credits

This week’s extra credits is well worth checking out if your a game designer or interested in game design theory. It basically lays out why we are applying genres to games incorrectly and what can be done to change it for the better. You should also check out the MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research paper that forms the basis of the episode. It is very illuminating reading.

Why Quick-Time Events Work 

Game Informer’s Kimberley Wallace argues why Quick-Time Events are a good thing and I’m inclined to agree with her. The reason why they get such a bad rap is because so many developers miss use them or oversaturate their games with them. They are a great narrative/mechanics tool when used correctly.

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Anyone want to help? – XDev PlayStation Pioneers

Link: Anyone want to help? – XDev PlayStation Pioneers

So Sony have announced a new competition/initiative for game developers looking to work on Sony platforms. In this case the PlayStation Mobile platform that covers all portable Sony products including the PS Vita. See the link for more details.

If anyone is interested in working on a pitch for the deadline please get in contact with me ASAP! The first stage is to come up with a detailed concept with a plan of a prototype. I’m looking for an artist and a programmer. Also another budding game designer willing to share ideas and work with me would be awesome too!

You have to be a UK resident and preferably live in or near the London area so we can meet up. If you’re interested please feel free to send me a message.

Weekly Link Storm

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The links are going to be a bit thin on the ground this week and next. Also incase you didn’t notice this week’s Link Storm is late! This is all because I’m travelling up and down the UK yet again.

Here’s your reading and entertainment for the past week:

A typical day at Toro’s home

After wonder just who/what the hell Toro Inoue was when he was announced as one of the latest additions to the upcoming PlayStation All-Starts Battle Royale. I did a bit of digging and came across this hypnotic gameplay footage of one of the free downloadable games featuring him on the Japanese PlayStation Network. It left me wondering two things: 

  1. Is Toro in PS All-Stars to push him as a mascot for Sony around the world or to just entice Japanese gamers?
  2. Why have Sony never released these free Toro games in the US and EU? It feels like a missed opportunity.

Is Paul McCartney Writing Music for Halo’s Original Studio?

Apart from showing Kotaku’s headline naming process for the click baiting that it is (they should have just put: Is Paul McCartney Writing Music for Bungie’s next game? or something like that). It is an interesting prospect. With Paul McCartney involved just what exactly are Bungie working on?

Sony acquires Gaikai for $380m

Perhaps one of the biggest news stories of last week. It had everyone dreaming of cloud next gen PlayStations and Sony paving the way for the future. The move by Sony to buy Gaikai is a smart one as it is a nice way to add to the current and next iteration of the PSN if they use it for that and in theory it future proofs a lot of their output as a media producer. This can be used for more than just games all those Sony movies, tv shows, music, etc. can benefit from Gaikai’s technology.

Interview: Anita Sarkeesian, games, and Tropes vs. Women

Another week and another part of the ongoing Tropes Vs Women in Video Games craziness. This interesting interview with Sarkeesian lays out a lot of the basics on what she will be covering in the upcoming series of videos.

EU court rejects EULAs, says digital games can be resold

While this will have little to no impact in the short term the longterm effects of this ruling will be interesting to see play out. As publishers try and worm their way out of and around the right to resell your digital products. Also how they will try to hide it from the average US gamers once the systems have been implemented over here in the EU.

Free university lectures

Tumblr blog Live Long And Proper posted this wonderful link to a database of free university lectures across a very broad range of subjects. I’m always on the lookout for new things to learn so this is a godsend. I’m planning on loosing many hours going through a lot of what is on offer.

Higgs boson-like particle discovery claimed at LHC

I am not going to pretend to fully understand the ramifications of finding the Higgs boson. I understand the basics and that is enough for me. It is a very big deal though and you should be excited for the scientist types in your life. They’re currently partying like it is 1999.

The Hero’s Journey (Part 1)

The Extra Credits guys are taking a look at the hero’s journey in this multi-part series on it. It is used extensively in a large number of games to varying degrees of success. It is a powerful tool to use as a starting point for a game, so watch, learn and then look into it on your own. It is one of those rabbit hole type deals that just keeps turning up stuff.

Codecademy

I came across Codecademy as a throwaway link in a LifeHacker post. Hot damn is this a good way to learn the basics of programming! I’m planning on sitting down and working my way through some of it in the next few weeks.

Halo 4 E3 2012 Multiplayer Wrap Up

I’m getting more and more excited for Halo 4 with each new video and tease 343 release. It is shaping up to be a solid game that takes the Halo franchise forwards while still keeping very true to the core idea and principles of the Bungie games. 

Conversations About Games Episode 1 – Next Gen

This will be the first of hopefully many videos of me talking about game design and the games industry.

This first video covers my thoughts on the current rumours circulating regarding the next generation of homes consoles, the next Xbox and PlayStation. In particular the always-connected to the internet rumour for the next Xbox and the killing of pre-owned for the next PlayStation.

The format is pretty simple at the moment but hopefully it will improve as time goes on. So please let me know what you think and give me any question, criticisms, etc. both good and bad.