guest editorial

In Defence Of Button Mashing

The first time I played Tekken 3, I was hilariously bad. I was used to 2D fighting games, where the buttons corresponded with attack strength, and tapping ‘Up’ meant ‘Jump’. This new, 3D genre, where each button corresponded with an attacking limb and tapping ‘Up’ meant ‘Sidestep’ (pressing ‘Up’ still meant ‘Jump’), was difficult to wrap my mind around.


The Cruel Brilliance Of Resident Evil 4's Village Fight

For the first 10 minutes of Resident Evil 4, there’s scarcely an enemy.. Instead, the emphasis is on the Spanish countryside — a dim, damp, grey, crushing sadness. Crows fly low to the ground. A dog whimpers in pain, his front leg caught in an iron trap. It’s quiet — almost unsettlingly so.


It's The Perfect Time To Play Dungeons & Dragons

You might know that the long-awaited new edition of Dungeons & Dragons is upon us. You might be playing it right now, waving an HB pencil around, informing your friends that they’re up to their nips in orcs and should roll for initiative.


A Game Developer's Comeback From Brain Surgery

Sean Baptiste, like a great many people, often turns to humour as a means to cope. Learning that a sample of his cerebrospinal fluid featured traces of P. acnes (or propionibacterium acnes) was no different. He joked to his doctor, ‘Oh, I’m going to have brain zits?’ The doctor didn’t think it was too funny.


10 Things I Learnt Acting Out XCOM In Real Life

The new XCOM board game sounds phenomenal, but last month I played a different kind of XCOM board game. Watch the Skies was a day-long game run by the UK Society of Megagame Makers. “Megagame” is a name that doesn’t disappoint — each one features dozens of players controlling small parts of a massive story.


How To Balance An RPG

Why is game balance important in a singleplayer game? It’s a question many players often ask rhetorically, but there are many important reasons why balance should be a strong focus, even in RPGs that focus on singleplayer experiences. Balance isn’t necessarily about seeing what character builds are more powerful when put head to head, but about understanding the different types of challenges those characters will face when going through the game.


What I Learned Turning The Israel-Palestine Conflict Into A Video Game

In February 2007, one of Israel’s renowned major generals had been invited to play a new simulation game of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on prime time Israeli TV. It seemed like a good idea at the time, as he was running for prime minister on behalf of the Labour Party.


The Surprising Messages In A 'Sexist' Game

When Hyperdimension Neptunia first made its way West from Japan in 2011, folks weren’t too happy with it. “Worthless” and “sexist” and “stereotypical” were the sentiments thrown around, because we were seeing cute anime girls being silly and wearing short skirts. But the stated purpose of the series is to make fun of the games industry, and when I look deeper it seems evident that Neptunia is also lampooning the very pervasive sexist culture and tropes it’s been accused of perpetuating. This so-called “sexist” franchise is actually, ahem, anti-sexist.


How To Beat 400 Games In 4.5 Years

In January of 2010, I decided to change my outlook on how I manage my gaming time, how I collect games, and how I contend with the nemesis that so many gamers share: the dreaded backlog.


What It's Like To Play Games When You're Colourblind

The first time I realised my colour blindness was affecting how I played games was back in 2004. EA was fresh off of MVP Baseball 2004 and was looking to improve on a game that I still hold as one of the best sports titles of all time. Their big addition for MVP Baseball 2005 was the Hitter’s Eye, a mechanic designed to simulate how hitters pick up different pitches coming out of a pitcher’s hand. The ball would stay white for a fastball, or flash red or green for a breaking ball or changeup respectively.