It’s getting dark. The few people left on the street are either actively ignoring you, or warily staring at you, half expecting you to jump up and mug them. You’re hungry, you’re tired, your legs are numb from sitting on the concrete. The six dollars in your pocket will get you something from McDonalds, but you were hoping to save it until you could find a few extra dollars for a hostel for the night. You sigh, and look down at your DS - battery low. Only a few more hours and then you’ll have to face reality again.
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It’s late afternoon on Christmas day. Your family has just polished off a wonderful lunch, had a bit to drink and are on the verge of going into a food coma. You’ve all been together for a few more hours than you’re used to these days and nobody is quite sure what to do. Next thing you know, a battered copy of some old board game gets pulled out of the linen closet. Then the greatest of terrible holiday traditions begins: family arguments.
I'm not going to split hairs here -- I'm overall a pretty terrible person. My friends say it, my fiancee says it, and if it wasn't for my loveable self deprecating attitude and social media related skills I'd say there was a solid chance of me ending up dying alone, while pantsless and eating doritos. I'm not saying I'm an evil mastermind, or the next big dictator -- I'm just your run-of-the-mill shit person. Which is arguably worse, because I don't get my own Wikipedia page.
Something happened yesterday though, that has significantly improved my outlook on life. It hasn't even been 48 hours, yet I feel my soul afire with the kind of self improvement that you can only get on a premium Jenny Craig subscription or one of those crazy neuro linguistic programming camps. That thing, my friends, is something you may have also experienced -- The Pokemon GO Phenomenon.
Let me share a time capsule of cringe with you. Every month, I go digging through the archives of the magazine I edit (Official PlayStation Australia) to find the most amusing and/or stupid opinions we had five years ago. I then place these fossils on display in the current issue and mercilessly take the piss.
For example, it's amusing to watch our month-to-month coverage of Duke Nukem Forever's resurrection. It goes from tipsy on nostalgia, to surly, to “uh...we're not sure if they can patch this crap before release”, to a huge vomit in the reviews section. Almost the exact same deal later on with Aliens: Colonial Marines.
A severed head is discovered in the middle of the night. A charming villain returns from the dead. A nervous man points a revolver at two angry women because he’s terrified of his own sadistic family. The shock and awe that is inherent to Telltale Games’ cliffhangers shares a dark but vital thread with the best thriller novels or single-story TV series. Not only do they show a willingness to jump headfirst in the sometimes horrific waters of human nature but they also serve to wrap an icy grip around a player’s throat and demand that they keep playing.
Street Fighter V is out, and if you're interested in picking it up, you've got a couple of options available to you. You could pick it up, play it for a couple of weeks, then drop it because fighters are too haaaard, everyone online is too stroooong for you, and go back to playing games where you don't have to think so much. Or, you can keep at it, win some, lose some, and ultimately get good at fighting games. If that sounds more your speed, keep reading.
My best mate crapped himself playing video games.
It happened when we were in Grade 6. He'd been holding back for hours. We were going turn-for-turns playing a game on his Amiga 500, trying to see who could stay alive the longest, and time had gotten away to the point where it was midnight. The competition was nearly as intense as his intestinal urges. We were pushing each other to the limit.
He pushed too hard.
A deadly, wide-open frontier filled with interesting characters, wild animals and the potential to turn to chaos at any moment. These things characterise the long-popular Far Cry series of games, which until now has been set in wild, uncharted pockets of the modern world.
The latest game doubles down on the formula, removing the guns and vehicles of prior entries, ratcheting up the deadliness of the world and its inhabitants, and transporting players back to 10,000BC, an era defined by the series' tenets of a lawless frontier and the darker side of human nature.
Learning the rules is one of the biggest hurdles players face when learning board games. Players have to self-moderate, to learn the rules and make sure things go right. There are no board game police to monitor your table and make sure that you’re playing correctly. That’s okay. You can have fun making mistakes and learn a lot in the process. Games can appear complex and uninviting because of this.
In the final dying moments of 2015, the human race seems like it might once again be on a collision course with mutually assured destruction. Glance at the news any day of the week and I fail to see how anybody could be proud to show the exploits of this planet to any passing extraterrestrial beings. Any intelligent race of aliens has no doubt warned off their neighbours from visiting this planet filled with psychopaths, demagogues and people who keep giving Adam Sandler money.
Alright, folks. We've got a lot of potentially offensive images to go through today, and not much space for preamble. So let's just cut to the awful, awful chase. For my main gig, I edit one of the last remaining gaming magazines in the southern hemisphere. It's a shrivelling medium that was once overflowing with full-page print advertisements, though that's certainly not the case anymore. Don't cry for me, I'm already dead.
Note: This is NSFW.
For the better part of a decade Good Game has been one of the quiet achievers of Australian public television. Early in 2015 this game-reviewing institution branched out into online-exclusive video content, and GG Pocket was born.
We recently caught up with ABC TV producer Peter Burns, who gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how his daily web series is made.
If you work in the games industry in Australia, you’ve likely noticed that the folks in charge of the place are not really fans of games (save for a few, like Senator Scott Ludlam). In Western Australia, where I live, our state level arts funding specifically excludes games. After Screen Australia cancelled their Interactive Games Fund last year, game developers outside of Victoria (where 47% of Australia’s games are produced, thanks to strong support for the games industry from Film Victoria) where largely left to fend for themselves.