Games Journalist Duty: Portal 2

Written on April 26, 2011 – 4:21 pm by Ding

It is times like this I realise as a young and inexperienced gaming journalist that I have a responsibility to share experiences and offer advice for others who may not have played something yet.

If you ever play games or have an interest in games whatsoever, if someone starts talking about Portal 2 and you have not yet played it, do this one simple thing:

Run away.

Run away until you can not hear them any more.

If this requires you leaving buildings, crossing streets or jumping off cliffs, you might still be grateful of this advice.

It’s a remarkable game and one day I might write about it.  I can’t now for the sake of my games journalist duty, as it puts people at risk of finding out about the game before they’ve played it.

The Chaotic Tortoise Mission Statement

Written on April 22, 2011 – 11:22 am by Ding

I think working for an insurance firm has stuck with me more than I think (even if I STILL can’t reliably spell insurance on my first attempt) and certain business speak has lingered in my vocabulary longer than I’d care to admit.  It’s with this that I have decided that I have a mission statement.  I’m just glad I didn’t come up with a set of core values.

The Chaotic Tortoise Mission Statement is from hence forth this:  To promote computer games and general geekery that others will enjoy but may not know about.

I have long held the believe that gaming appeals to way more people than are involved in it.  In fact, Nintendo pretty much proved this with the Wii which was marketed to non-gamers in the way that Apple’s first iPod was marketed to people who didn’t know what an mp3 was.   The only thing that prevents people from being interested in games is knowledge.

People see Call of Duty being advertised, or some of the atrocities that EA pulls out of their marketing department (cf. Dante’s Inferno, Deadspace 2) and people must think “that’s not for me”.  People hear about the controversy of sex in Mass Effect (a hilarious piece of hysteria for anyone in on the joke) or the fact that you can murder prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto and think “that’s not for me and probably shouldn’t be for anyone.”  We’ll ignore the fact that an 18 certificate sits on GTA and the sex in Mass Effect is far less graphic than anything found in the most timid of James Bond films (yet with more meaning and emotional maturity at the same time) and let people perhaps have that perception.  It’s not unfair.  If you hear it in these terms, it does sound abhorrent.

What most people don’t realise (and this includes a lot of those that do play games on a regular basis) is the sheer diversity and depth of the medium.  There are so many games of so many varieties now that it is impossible to write them all off.  It would be like writing off film as a medium because of the existence of pornography or the Star Wars prequels.

To get a glimpse of what I mean by the sheer depth and variety of games that are out there, have a look at this video by the guys at Extra Credits which lists several interesting and not necessarily mainstream games just since 2008 and is by no means an exhaustive list.

There are a lot of artists / academics / heroes out there who do this promotion a lot better than I will ever be able to and they are inspirational.  The guys who make Extra Credits for example are amazing at this and engage in the medium in an academic, enlightening and equally entertaining manner.  If you are for whatever reason not convinced by anything I’m saying here, go and have a look at one of their videos.  It probably doesn’t matter which one, they are all of a similar quality and they’re only around the five minute mark, so it won’t take you long to get the gist.

It goes without saying that I love computer games.  I always have, and to the dismay of my parents who probably thought I was going to grow out of them at some point, I always will.  I am by no means trying to justify this love, I am trying to share it.  Whenever I find something interesting, the first thing I want to do is share it with all the people that matter to me.  With something as amazing as this medium, quite frankly, the world needs to know.

Additional Notes:

Our core values that we had at my old office were “Dynamic, Proactive, Committed, Focussed.”  It always made me think that you can’t really be all four at once.  To be dynamic and proactive, on some fundamental level you have to abandon being committed and focussed.  I also think that I think too much about these things.

I can’t seem to write a single blog post without making some reference to Star Wars.  This is becoming a problem.  It’s undermining my writing, my message and my credibility.  I may need to exercise these demons sooner rather than later.

Sword and Sworcery

Written on April 11, 2011 – 2:08 pm by Ding

I have another review up at Bit-Tech for Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery EP , a game that made me question my ability to spell several times.

Short version:  It’s really good and beautifully crafted.

Long version:  Go and read it!

Custom PC and Bit-Gamer Podcast

Written on April 10, 2011 – 12:02 pm by Ding

Busy busy.

This blog is fast becoming a neglected child, relegated to some kind of “look what I did somewhere else” channel.

The chaps at Bit-Tech had me on board for their gaming podcast last Friday and I made some comments about gaming things and showed of some partially known gaming trivia that loosely followed the format of “wasn’t that thing done by that guy?” without really knowing the thing or the guy other than a vague memory of something I read somewhere at some time.

We talked a bit about Crysis 2, Battlefield 3, Alice: Madness Returns and other things.  I am also discovering they don’t like Starcraft 2 as much as I do.

We also talked about QWOP which is hilarious and you should all go and have a look at it.