Cool Story Bro – Chernarus Diaries

Ordinarily on a Day Z server, the cars and bikes and buses and ATVs are long gone by the time I ever get there. I check the spawns, if I’m passing, but there is never anything there but an empty patch of concrete and the faint suggestion of mocking laughter on the wind. I found a blue pushbike in the middle of a field one time, and had a happy ten minutes weaving down the road like a rural drunk before crashing it into a molecule or something and coming to a dead halt. Improbably, the hull Read more [...]

On Pay to Win

This follows on from a previous post, read it here. Pay to Win. The phrase is the subject of a thousand forum flame-wars, usually between the paid and the paid-nots. Everyone agrees it’s an epithet, but not on its definition. We should be clear. Pay to Win is not something a game is, it’s something a game has. As such, it isn’t a binary condition. If the amount of money you spend on the game confers any advantage, the game contains some Pay to Win. Rapidfire Redeemers and permanent Read more [...]

On Free to Play

Full disclosure: I'm in the hole for thirty quid on Planetside. I've turned sixty three pounds of sterling into Riot Points. I made an in-app purchase once whilst drunk. Please don't tell my dad. There will be a few of these. Hear me out. The economics of giving things away free to make money are fascinating. It’s not a new idea, loss leaders and free samples and special offers have been around since man first threw in an extra flint arrowhead with every order of crude bone club. Google’s Read more [...]

On Stealth

  I've been playing Dishonored. It's beautiful; the Dickensian fever-dream setting, the watercolour concept-art look, and most of all, the stealth. Stealth in games often degenerates into a patience-sapping waiting game, but here it’s an endlessly blossoming series of choices, brimming with player agency. Instead of cringing behind a crate, interminably waiting for a vision cone to swing the other way, you blink-teleport across rooftops or skitter past in the possessed body of a rat. Read more [...]

Chivalry – Medieval Warfare

“BURN THE VILLAGE!” “KILL THE PEASANTS!” It was prophesised, in ancient times, that one day there would come a great first-person fighter to bring justice to the land. Long have the people waited for their hero and in vain have they hoped, while a procession of charlatans and braggarts shambled into town preceded by the promise of legendary deeds, followed by the stink of failure. The people have known despair. Until today. In an inn somewhere, Mount and Blade staggers stiff-legged Read more [...]

Hotline Miami

16bit chicken mask murder spree simulator Hotline Miami is best played in your underwear and a bloodstained Hawaiian shirt, half empty bottle of tequila and an overflowing ashtray at your elbow. It is, in the words of the developers, a top-down fuck-em-up. That description be entirely apt, yo. It was made by two guys, probably in a greasy motel room with Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit blaring out of a tape deck submerged in the bathtub. A dead mobster in the wardrobe, Hunter S Thompson crouched Read more [...]

Hey Baby

Hello. I noticed you from across the bar, sitting here alone. I don’t know what it is about you, the thousand-yard deathmatch stare perhaps, or maybe the trembling, calloused fingers on the hand you hold in a half-claw grip. I can’t say, but I believe we share an understanding, you and I. We like to play games. No, don’t deny it, it’s ok. You just walked in. You’re not looking for a fling, and you’re afraid of commitment. You don’t need another publication in your life, even for free. Read more [...]