Five minutes into his half-hour interview with NoClip’s Danny O’Dwyer, Brendan Greene drops an pertinent piece of biographical information. In response to the query, “how does a kid from Ireland grow up with such an affinity for military simulators?”, the man better known to the gaming world as PlayerUnknown details a childhood as an “army brat,” raised on a military base by his soldier father. Isolated from other kids and his friends at school, he spent most of his downtime doing “obstacle courses and watched army people play with guns, which was great”; a little different from the experience of most Irish kids during the Troubles, it’s safe to say.
Actual Play is where we actually play games and then review them. You know, sort of like most video game sites do.
Available platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 (played), Xbox One
Whether or not a game necessarily has to be “fun” is a debate, I think, that’s worth having. So to is the ongoing conversation about fetishising difficulty and the ability of players. The times I struggled with Prey, though, were not borne out of a challenging stretch or the moments of gut-wrenching tension. It’s when it felt like a slog.
Coming to video games when I did, in the late nineties/early noughties, there were certain enshrined truths passed down from the mount by journos: Miyamoto was a genius, but Iwata deserves his due; GoldenEye 007 is the multiplayer experience to beat; Suikoden II is a classic, and you need to shell out however much money necessary to play it; Beyond Good and Evil is one of the greatest games ever made, and perhaps as a result of this unlikely achievement, we would never ever get a sequel. These were all things that had been decided long before I arrived, and were simply to be accepted as fact.
As a b-b-b-bonus Bleeping Sickness only one week after the last episode, we gathered together some of the internet’s hottest #content #influencers to break down this year’s E3 conference: what worked, what didn’t, how we feel about the dabbing panda. Full shownotes/links to our Twitter shitposts below!
In an unsure and chaotic world of video game podcasting, only Bleeping Sickness can offer a strong and stable collection of fucking nerds arguing about which Star Ocean game was the best. Maybe not that strong. Or particularly stable, since this episode we’re talking about the games we became dangerously, life-ruiningly obsessed with. Full show notes below the jump!
It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday night and a man sat on the table next to me in the Manchester Piccadilly Starbucks is shooting people in the face. He’s playing a game on his iPad where you first select from a selection of rifles — hunting, military — and then aim them at medium-poly targets on what looks like an everyday city street. He drags his finger across the touch screen and pinches to zoom his scope at a target. He presses a button and the view switches, the camera follows the journey of the bullet through the air in slow motion. It sails across a road, over the tops of blocky parked cars rendered in simple polygons, and then tears through a man’s cheekbone. His jaw starts to fall off as a low-res cloud of gore blooms. WELL DONE! Says the game. ONE MORE CRIMINAL OFF THE STREETS! And I sip my cold cup of tea and wonder if there’s not something to this reactionary idea of video games deadening us to violence.
I really want to be committed to Persona 5. I want to throw all my spare time into its 100+ hour story and lose myself in its characters and world. For the past month or so I’ve been trying, playing it on an off and whilst I am totally ready for things to get serious, it doesn’t feel like Persona 5 is as keen on the idea.
Hey guys! We did another one of these! A podcast! That you can listen to! With your ears! This time we are talking open world games, what makes them work, how they can fail, and why Final Fantasy XV is bad. Full show notes below the jump.
Cahiers du Jeux Vidéo is a series of posts comparing the narrative mechanisms of video games and movies with (hopefully) a bit more depth rigour than your average commentator breathlessly comparing Halo preorders to box office receipts. It’s named after foundational French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma , because I’m a pretentious prick.
For the most part, TV shows or movies do not show you how the sausage gets made. There isn’t time, unless you’re Alfred Hitchcock, to show your lead character on the loo in a break between plot beats. You don’t need a forty-minute interlude of somebody driving on a freeway to understand how someone got from one location to the next between scenes. The magic of editing allows time to be compressed, the boring bits skipped over, leaving audiences with a lean meal of all the best bits. This is how it’s always worked. We are all on board with it. We understand that most of the “process” of these character’s lives and stories get skipped over. Video games, for the most part, are free of editing. They’re all about playing the process.
This year two of the most consistently frustrating things in the world turn 30: the Final Fantasy series, and myself. It’s no exaggeration to say one of the two carries with it a legacy of euphoric highs and staggering lows (spoiler: it’s not me…mostly) but has one aspect which has remained solid from its inception in the late eighties to its modern day incarnations, and that’s the music.