I struggled to condense my feelings on the latest World of Warcraft expansion into a short easily readable and pithy blog post so I gave up and decided to write all the words instead.
Prologue: The Sword in the Stone
For a very brief moment I thought I was going to be the King of England. It was very brief, and by that I mean about half a second.
Why yes my shoulders are on fire and I do have a small bird on my head.
I went to Disneyland Paris when I was about 18 with a youth orchestra group. We were playing at one of the little side stages which was a big deal for us, but not really such a big deal for the five people who mistakenly wandered over to the backwater of the park we were playing in.
Being 18 with a youth orchestra group abroad basically means you’re in quasi-parent-guardian mode. If one of the mini-clarinetists falls over and skins a knee, you’re the one that’s responsible for tracking down a plaster and making sure they haven’t broken anything. It’s not like you can just leave them for dead and head over to Space Mountain, you have to work to stop tears and tantrums. What I’m trying to say is by the time I was in Disneyland Paris, I was old enough and in the mindset of an adult enough not to be tricked by any nefarious Disney dark magic.
In one quiet part of the park, there was a sword lodged into a stone, a la the Legend of King Arthur, a la Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. Of course you have to go and try to pull it out. It’s there. That’s what it’s there for. Everyone needs to go and try to pull it out. So that’s what I did, knowing it was a stupid prop that you were probably supposed to pose for a picture with, pretending to struggle to pull it out. Mild laughs all round.
The sword moved…
Everyone has had a fantasy of commanding a star ship on a mission of exploration through the galaxy. Now, you too can experience the thrill and the tension and the stress of starship command in Crisis, Captain!
Wormholes, abandoned space stations, arguments with your officers and hostile warships are just some of the things you are likely to encounter in an average mission. Can you complete it without your ship exploding, your crew dying or your officers revolting? Well, no, you can’t – one of those things will definitely happen, but how much can you discover before the end inevitably comes?
I’m soft launching my first game into the internet today. Crisis, Captain! is a free Android game and is still in development with new content and fixes being released semi-regularly. This is pretty much the first thing that I’ve ever created that has a certain degree of completion to it, the first finished project I’ve managed in Unity and the first game I’ve built for mobile.
You can download Crisis, Captain! for free here or you can visit the Crisis, Captain! page on itch.io if you’re absolutely desperate to throw some money at this in a pay-what-you-want method.
It takes two years to train as an astronaut. They must undergo intensive training in how the space shuttle and International Space Station functions, further sciences, medical procedures and survival training. If they are to crew the ISS, they will also need to learn Russian so they can communicate with the Russian Mission Control centre. You also need to be selected in the first place and applications are numerous whilst places on the training program are few. There are no clear guaranteed routes in, but it’s safe to say you have to be pretty high up in your field to qualify.
It takes 45 minutes to watch an episode of Star Trek. Anyone can watch Star Trek.
A stunning blend of Star Wars’ jump to hyperspace and the psychedelic colours of 2001: A Space Odyssey
No Man’s Sky is to most of the space game genre what Star Trek is to real world space travel.
Of course, a lot of players dabbling in the space game genre like the idea of massive universes with planets and stars respecting the right scales in terms of travel, but then once you get down to it, there’s a lot of waiting around between moments of wonder and sometimes we don’t have time to wait.
No Man’s Sky cuts out a lot of the waiting. Instead it jumps from moment of wonder to moment of wonder very quickly. You blast off from a planet and leave the atmosphere, you engage the warp drive, you arrive in a new system, you land on a new planet, you name your discovery and you come face-to-face with a giant flying hippo-wasp. The problem with this is that if you present a moment of wonder too many times in quick succession, then it stops becoming a moment of wonder and instead becomes the norm. Ironically, an experience that is literally full of wonder is not wonderful, but merely just ok.
Super Meat Boy brings you right to the edge of launching your controller across the room in frustration. The game is a love letter to classic 2D platforming games and achieved widespread critical acclaim among the gaming press when it was first released five years ago, but was this due to the nostalgia strings it so aptly plucked?
Now that the dust has settled on Super Meat Boy and subsequently been disturbed once again by its arrival on the Playstation 4, launching itself onto the platform and going straight into the free monthly PS Plus games, is this really the masterpiece everyone thought it was?
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a game about trusting and bargaining with your friends. It’s probably not meant to be, but let’s face it, when it comes to co-op games, it’s never really co-op.
When you’re carefully tight-rope walking over a bottomless chasm and said rope is being held in place by your companion, you instantly remember all the times you “accidentally” pulled those levers whilst they just happened to be walking over that particular trapdoor. You might find yourself pleading for them not to let go and that you promise you’ll never do something similar to them again.
Temple of Osiris is of course more than an opportunity to be responsible for the accidental demise of all your friends. Aping classic adventure serials, with Lara Croft definitely studying at the Indiana Jones school of “shoot the place up” archaeology, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris follows this pattern by allowing you and your friends to cover ancient Egyptian ruins in storms of bullets and magical energy whilst you try and scoop up as many precious gems that aren’t nailed down. It’s your standard classic episode of Time Team.