Monday, 1 April 2013

Dec 2012 - March 2013

Being website manager for MWEB GameZone & Bravado Gaming means that I have a lot less time to focus on writing. When I do get the chance to write I mostly cover news, sad times indeed!

Here's a selection of a few of the more noteworthy articles from Dec 2012 to March 2013.

Exclusive: MWEB GameZone interviews SimCity Creative Director Ocean Quigley

I had the tremendous honour to interview Ocean Quigley, the Creative Director for SimCity. Quigley is a veteran in the video game industry; his knowledge, passion and experience is invaluable and demands respect from developers and gamers alike. Even if you are not a fan of the genre he specialises in, Life Simulation, you cannot help but be impressed with the creative processes and genius of his work. Join me for a walk through the mind of the creator of exceptional worlds. Read the full interview here.

Review: Dead Space 3, free falling through terror, together

It will be terror filled they said, you will need a partner they said. (Co-oping with Lola is a terror filled experience in itself. The 50 times she drove our Warthog of a cliff in Halo is a testament to that.) So in fearful anticipation for my review of Dead Space 3, I called on a friend to take down the terror together. I mean all dat hype! I was getting ready to have nightmares and suffer from temporary dementia during my review time in the game. I did not. Read the full review here.

A call to return to the dark ages and the burning of “all the things”

So disturbed kid goes on a shooting spree, automatically the people who claim to know how life works, turn to exterior influences as the culprits. You know, like religious leaders and such people have been doing for eons. In the dark middle ages, witches were burned at the stake. In the 50’s, with the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, records were quickly called out as the root of all evil. In this age of unprecedented advances in science, biology and just about everything, video games are being summoned to the stakes. Read my full rant here.

Take a peek into the deeply layered world of Fallen Enchantress

Fallen Enchantress is a game like no other: it requires a mind that feeds on intrigue, has an aptitude for strategic gameplay and the desire to explore mechanics and complexities. The game is far above my patience, intellect and adrenaline rush inclination so I have searched far and wide across the Internet in order to find a gamer who felt at home in the daunting world of Fallen Enchantress. Read the full interview here.

A slice of Indie life

I have the tremendous opportunity to be able to share in the birth of an Indie video game studio. To witness a birth is both a fearful and wonderful event. You get to experience the anticipation, the pain and the joy of the people involved. It is a rare honour. This is a story about passion, about daring to reach for your dreams and about how a simple idea combined with a bit of faith can turn the wheels of fate in your favour. Read the full interview here.

Remember Me – Living in an electronically manipulated world

Remember Me looks to be a game that will pierce gamers’ imagination by displaying a world that is futuristic, yet imaginable. A world where the most valuable commodity is thought, where privacy is not a right but an item on sale and where freedom is but an illusion. The game holds the promise of being not only a smashing first-person action game, but also a game that will lay bare the underbelly of the ‘connected age’, the age we are being hurdled at with an alarming speed. Read the full article here.

An interview with The Nutty Professor of Gaming

A while back I wrote an article, When science and gaming mesh the world becomes a better place. The article is about a new game in development by Broken Crown Games called Escaping Titan. It is a post-apocalyptic space fiction, single-player role-playing game…yeah, it’s all THAT. What makes Escaping Titan uncommon is the incorporation of science and the usage of input from various scientists into the core features of the game. To my utter delight, Tyler Yohe, CEO and Creative Director for Escaping Titan agreed to do an in depth interview about the game. Please keep in mind that I have an unhealthy fascination with both science and gaming, the interview is therefore lengthy, with stacks of science lingo. Read the full interview here.

Other noteworthy news

Special thanks to the people who took time from their extremely busy schedules to do an interview with me.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

November 2012

November was one crazy ride due to me starting my trial run as MWEB GameZone site manager. It was a mad juggle of not just keeping my own content count, but making sure everyone else does as well. On top of that the added stress of learning to manage a site, the increase in social media I had to manage and the pressure of pushing up the site hit rate. Man it was wild and I loved it. Challenge accepted!

The one thing I am sad about is not having the luxury of extra time to do research and writing opinion pieces. Hopefully as I master the art of managing I will hit the sweet spot and more time will open up. Until then it will mostly be news reporting from my virtual pen, let's take a look at my November highlights.

A tribute to 8 years of adventure with World of Warcraft

Love or hate Azeroth, one thing is certain, we will never forget her. No matter how we try to ridicule her outdated mechanics, or scoff at her old worn-out world, we cannot erase her memories from our minds, because she left her digital imprint on our collective heart. I honor Word of Warcraft by sharing some of my fondest, most exciting and saddest memories from Azeroth. Read the full article here.

My fascination with offbeat games 

I have outgrown mindless shoot-em ups. Cradling a big gun in my hands no longer gives me the thrill it used to. I now long for a game that entices me with more finesse than the allure of a big arsenal, triple D breasted chicks and balls-to-the wall action. I yearn for games that are not only able to entertain me, but also challenge me emotionally and intellectually. I want games to take me on a journey and sweep me away because they strike a chord deep within my soul. Read the full article here.

Interview: Far Cry 3's Cinematics Director spills all about its dark new direction

I had the opportunity at this year’s rAge to interview Robert Purdy, the Cinematics Director for UbiSoft’s FarCry 3. Join me for a conversation about the changes from Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 3, the introduction of more mature content into the franchise and insight into the cinematics of Far Cry 3.Read the full article here.

The illusion of choice in video games vs Hitman Absolution 

Giving players the freedom to make meaningful choices is like pursuing the holy grail of gaming. Many seek it, some claim to have found it, but very few achieve it. Most games only offer an illusion of choice, or superficial choices that hardly affect the outcome of the story. The choice is a lie.
IO Interactive is aiming at delivering a head shot to that illusion with Hitman Absolution and prove that Agent 47 can make meaningful choices that impact the game environment.Read the full article here.

Review: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, it’s (not) simplicity itself!

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a lesson in lateral thinking cocooned within a beautifully crafted turn of the century London landscape. It’s wrapped around a deeply layered storyline with more than a few surprises. The game demands a certain level of sleuth savvy from you and will keep its mysteries tightly locked away for those who fail to master the challenges set forth.Read the full article here.

Interview: Hoodwink, an adventure in a world gone mad

Hoodwink is a quirky adventure game series from E1 Studio. The game’s colourful graphics, snazzy jazz beat and handsome protagonist simply demanded my attention. Amir Irwan, the Managing Director of E1 Studio allowed me to poke around the wonderful world of Hoodwink. Join us for an arousing conversation about adventure games, community input and of all things, Blade Runner. Read the full article here.

First impressions: Doom BFG, up close and personal with Hell

I am no stranger to the hellish experience known as the DOOM universe. I used to play it back in the day when you didn’t have the use of a flashlight and a gun. When every dark corner was shot at before you even dared approach it. Back then, Fear was a being, a life-like presence and companion always skulking and flittering nearby as you navigated your way through the dark, flashing and bloodied hallways. Read the full article here.

Dear Esteban’s satirical reflection on Dear Esther

The oddballs at F**k this Jam have created a platform for video game developers to make a game in a genre they hate. The reason for this madness, “Through utter ignorance for conventions and hate for the established rules of a genre, beautiful things will happen.” I’d like to direct your attention to one such creation of ‘beauty’ called Dear Esteban.Playing it felt like walking inside a Picasso painting while being on a bad acid trip. Read the full article here.

Other noteworthy news

I have to add, the best video game trailer for the decade, check it out,

Sunday, 11 November 2012

October 2012

October was a madhouse of eSports, reviews and interviews. South African gamers celebrated the 10th anniversary of our biggest gaming and tech expo, rAge. I had the honour of covering the event for Bravado Gaming and MWEB GameZone. It was an unforgettable experience to finally meet up with the people I've been working with for so long. Gaming wise the highlight of my month was playing Black Mesa, I've been waiting for years to do that train ride again.

Let's take a look at the highlights for October.

Lola's free-to-play review: This is Black Mesa

 (Picture done by Stephanie Duchenne)
Black Mesa is a remake of the 1998 classic Half-Life, using the Valve: Source engine. It is a testament to the ingenuity, challenge and thrill that marks the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. It defiantly mocks present day triple A shooters with its outdated graphics, while delivering a game that is for lack of a better description, in a class of its own.Black Mesa is the perfect game and it was done by a group of fans. The passion of these individuals and their understanding of the sheer brilliance that marked Half-Life as the epitome of the FPS genre can be seen throughout the world of Black Mesa. They captured the soul of Half-Life, breathed new life into it, smoothed out its rough edges and delivered a game that demands respect and admiration. Read the full review here.

Review: The Walking Dead Eps 3/4: A fate worse than death

 (Original picture done by Odobenus adjustments by Stephanie Duchenne)

The biggest compliment I could get: "Thanks for playing, loved this review and so glad the game had such an effect on you!" Gary Whitta, screenwriter for The Walking Dead.

One of the more significant aspects of video gaming is the ability of a game to tap into a player’s inner dialogue. As with other art forms, a game possesses the quality to direct our thoughts, capture our imagination and take us on unexplored pathways. The Walking Dead masterfully and macabrely explores this potential.  TWD series is my game of the year. It's been more than playing a game, it's a profound journey. Read the full review here.

Cyberpunk – More than High Tech and Low Life

The essence of Cyberpunk has been summed up in these few words, “high tech and low life” by many. It sounds like a fairly straight forward genre, yet it is easy to misrepresent. It’s not only about future tech, sleazy cut scenes, and crooked cops. Many video games have paraded under the banner of cyberpunk but, missing the subtleties of the genre, have failed miserably to capture its dark heartbeat. Read the full article here.

Looking at video games through the lens of Ludographer

It’s a rare honor to talk to an artist about their craft; it’s even rarer to talk to one whose art involves gaming. I am therefore thrilled to introduce you to Jonathan Abensur, the Creative Director at Ludographer. Join me for an absolutely fascinating talk with him about video games, art and passion. Read the full interview here.

Do you have what it takes to survive Survarium?

Survarium aims to extend and broaden the limits of the human experience by raising topical questions of our time through the medium of a video game. By leading a virtual life in the aftermath of a massive ecological catastrophe on Earth, players will confront the questions of science, ecology, the interdependency between human and nature, the cruelty and inventiveness of modern civilization, and even spirituality. Survarium will provide a platform for realism unlike we’ve experienced within the medium of video games. The only concern would be if the developers can deliver a captivating enough world that will keep gamers in their virtual playground. I caught up with Joe Mullin, the Social Media and Community Manager for Vostok Games and Survarium. Read full interview here.

Noteworthy October news

NAG, 2012 rAge Expo coverage

That's it for October 2012. November I am facing a new set of challenges, I have been promoted to site manager for Bravado gaming, I've take on a stack of new responsibilities with MWEB GameZone and the TF2mixup kicks off. I'll be involved as community manager, working with the most amazing bunch of guys. Keep an eye on my twitter feed for info about the biggest TF2 social event of the year, the 5th TF2mixup.