Posts with tag: commentary
 

On the closing of Metaplace
Posted at 22:55 on 5th January 2010

Shortly before Christmas it was announced that Metaplace was closing its doors to the public on January 1st 2010. Metaplace (which I briefly wrote about last year) was the web-based virtual world construction kit masterminded by Raph Koster (of Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and Theory of Fun fame), had shown a great deal of […]

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Mandelson must be stopped
Posted at 00:23 on 22nd November 2009

I don’t want this blog to get mired in politics, but this issue is too important for internet users and members of the creative industries in the UK (regardless of their political stripe) to ignore. The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson wants to give the music and movie industries the power to force UK citizens (and […]

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EA/Playfish, and Greg Costikyan’s analysis
Posted at 23:32 on 10th November 2009

Yesterday EA and Playfish (makers of popular Facebook timesinks such as Restaurant City) put an end to weeks of rumour and gossip and formally announced they were “combining forces”, with EA paying $300m for the fast-growing social games company. Shortly after, EA announced plans to axe 1,500 staff and cancel twelve games in production. Nine […]

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The death of the joypad
Posted at 23:51 on 28th October 2009

When computer games first took off in the 1980s, there were only two input devices in common use: joysticks and keyboards. It wasn’t until late in the decade that mice joined the party, having had to first achieve market penetration (as late as 1990, many entry-level home computers didn’t ship with mice as standard) and […]

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Giant Bomb should cover mobile games
Posted at 16:13 on 7th August 2009

Over the last few years the absence of a comprehensive reference site for games comparable to the Internet Movie Database has become increasingly frustrating. For a long time the nearest thing we had was MobyGames, but that was lacking in many ways – huge gaps in their database, and a weird inconsistent patchwork of data […]

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E3 2009: Motion control roundup
Posted at 22:38 on 3rd June 2009

The E3 press conferences have now passed and industry watchers are busy digesting the glut of information. There is now some form of motion-based control interface announced for each of the three home consoles. Each of these takes a different technological approach, and perhaps more importantly, each is perceived to address a different role by […]

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E3 2009: Project Natal
Posted at 23:03 on 1st June 2009

A few hours ago Microsoft held their E3 press conference. It was a low key affair as these things go. A slate of solid-looking third- and first-party games were trailed, with a couple of surprise announcements that were vague enough to be enthusiastically overstated. (The MGS reveal, for example – obviously not an exclusive, possibly […]

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The Shareware Age
Posted at 09:10 on 24th May 2009

Ten years since I started regularly writing words on the internet it has occurred to me that there might be people willing to offer me money to do this. The first fruits of this experiment can now be viewed on Eurogamer, where I’ve contributed a piece to their regular Sunday morning retro strand about the […]

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UK games need public money
Posted at 12:38 on 22nd April 2009

The United Kingdom has had an incredibly rich history as a producer of video games. Historically we’ve been the only country outside of the US and Japan to have consistently enjoyed international success (although South Korea and China are on their way to joining us at the top table). Even though the UK games industry […]

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The Role of Ice Cream Vans in Gaming
Posted at 09:00 on 23rd March 2009

An Ice Cream Van (or Ice Cream Truck in American English) is a mobile ice cream parlour, typically painted with gaudy images of frozen treats and/or unlicensed Disney characters. Ice cream vans are driven around residential areas to dispense ice cream cornets, lollies and cans of fizzy pop. I’m sure we all have fond childhood […]

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Gaming (and cakes) will kill you
Posted at 15:00 on 9th March 2009

A quick update to condemn this idiocy: “The Government’s Change4Life campaign upped the ante in drawing spurious links between games and premature death this week. The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research have all lent their name to a new print campaign (pictured here), which shows a gamer risking an early grave by […]

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The Guinness Book of Games PR
Posted at 22:00 on 4th March 2009

There has been a growing trend of late to try to revitalise brands by tenuously affiliating them with video games. American gamers have been wooed with snacks, soft drinks and (erm) shaving products which are somehow conducive to the gamer ‘lifestyle’. The people at the Guinness Book of World Records (presumably facing dwindling sales in […]

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The Mega Drive is 20
Posted at 19:30 on 6th December 2008

I’m slightly late with this one (the Mega Drive’s birthday was on the 29th October) but I realise that I’ve never written anything on this site about the console that was in many ways Sega’s greatest contribution to gaming outside of the arcade – and certainly the system that had the greatest transformative effect on […]

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Achievements: do all games really need them?
Posted at 23:00 on 22nd November 2008

Achievements. Trophies. Badges. They go by many names, but the concept of doling out meaningless (and yet strangely compelling) “meta” rewards for completing a catalogue of in-game tasks (ranging from the trivial to the impossible, the obvious to the obtuse) has become practically mandatory for any new game or platform. Xbox Live popularised the idea […]

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BBFC great says BBFC boss
Posted at 13:45 on 9th October 2008

Age classification for games in the UK is currently undergoing an upheaval. Presently we have a dual system, with the voluntary Europe-wide PEGI system applied to all games, and the legally enforceable BBFC 15 and 18 ratings also used in cases which fall under the BBFC’s remit (i.e. games with graphic violence, sex and adult […]

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