What is a pony? I genuinely have no idea. Is it a short horse? Or a breed of horse? I am 26 and I have only just come to the realisation that this is a piece of information I am missing from my brain. All I know about ponies is that there are 3 types of people who truly like ponies. The first is little girls, this seems like a given. The average little girl like ponies and kittens and ballet. “Pink stuff” I refer to it as. The second person to like ponies are the middle England upper class that enjoy watching Crufts and fox-hunting. The final person to enjoy ponies are bronies. To explain what a brony is I should first say, they scare the hell out of me. These are generally guys in the mid twenties who watch My Little Pony cartoons in a supposedly ironic way but then also have an undying love for it. They’re weird, really weird, the kind of weird that leads to a hotel room being filled with photos and red string leading from one face to another.
Formula One is something that I’ve never had an interest in. The loud noise and repetitive nature always perplexed and bore me rather than rattle my core and send me into a screaming frenzy. The sight of cars that can go so fast in such a small amount of time being forced to screech to a halt to get round a corner is more of a confusion than titillating. And the process of the drivers doing 70 odd laps was mind numbingly dull. It should be said now that no sport has ever entertained me, I’ve tried with football, I tried rugby and I even tried snooker but each I felt was too long. Being the walking hypocrite and contraction I am I did for a very short time find golf fascinating, not because of the skill or excitement, but because the quiet sound of some birds tweeting, the occasional golf swing and the bright green colours would send me into some sort of serene fugue state.
Over the last few years executives all over the world have become acutely aware of the selling power of nostalgia. From live action Transformers to semi-anime Thundercats and everything in between we are choosing more and more to watch/read/and play stuff we liked as a kid. Now i’m certain I watched He-Man as a child but as I came to play this game I realised that I remember almost nothing about the show that inspires it. Which is pretty bad for my own identity as a nerd from the 80’s, but probably a good thing to go in fresh as a reviewer.
There’s a question that often enters my balding head, one that in this return to pick up and play/one minute/pooping games is more prevalent than ever: Do games need a point?
Games with plot and characters obviously have motivation and a reason to keep playing but then there’s endless run games like Temple Run, Canabalt and Save Them All which try to maintain player interest through the concept of power ups and score board whoring.
There was a golden age in gaming, a time where copyright and intellectual property laws were hazy for PC games. This time allowed small PC developers to essentially rip off films without any comeuppance and at the same time rise up the ranks in the consumers eyes. During this era we had such classics as Rowdy Roddy Piper’s film They Live get large chunks stolen and put into Duke Nukem 3D “I’m here to chew gum and kick ass, damn I’m all out of gum”. And we also saw Stainless Games lift the concept and point system from the 1970’s film Death Race. Well look who’s back risking law suits with a re-release of Carmageddon on iOS.
So, Resident Evil 6 is out there and I think it’s safe to say that not everyone is overly impressed. The franchise has veered away from its stated genre in the last couple of instalments and is ever edging towards the unit shifter that is action adventure. Now I’m not going to harp on about the death of whatever or the sorry state of this that and the other, instead I’m going to recommend a couple of games that you could, if you wish, play instead of RE6 to scratch that zombie itch. (Because as we all know there are not nearly enough zombie games around these days)
Rayman Jungle Run has not only been a great game but it’s also been a light at the end of the tunnel. When I loaded it up on my iPad I realised something, something that I haven’t really thought about any other App store release; “this is a proper game”.
There are many great things about the internet. Some are already well documented, some will in time no doubt be discussed elsewhere on this fine website, and some should frankly be kept to yourself you filthy people. The thing that I enjoy more than most is the ability of mass awareness. In the past you found out that something was good because the advertising told you it was good or perhaps someone within your circle of friends had played it. Now, thanks to the interwebs, our circle of friends is exponentially bigger and experiences that would previously have past us by are ours to savour. The songs that you would never hear on radio, the straight to DVD movies, that are so bad they’re awesome, and the strange video game at the back of the discount racks staring a photo-journalist and a pig.
As should be made clear by many of the gaming articles here on PixelBedlam, we’re fascinated by retro-gaming. For me my childhood was mainly spent sitting in front of either a Spectrum or for my formative years an Amiga. The Amiga had some amazing games that have stuck with me 20 years later, one in particular Rockstar Ate My Hamster was not only a fiendishly difficult rock management simulator, but also a game that featured humor in abundance.
The game was created by Colin Jones a developer who after a 20 year break has returned to game development with a new title for iOS Eek! It’s A Bomb! I asked Colin some questions about his own history and his views on the gaming industry over the past few decades.
Companies within games are generally on the nastier side of the spectrum, but who is the most entertaining and interesting among the selection?
There was a couple of announcements on the internet recently, news that made me and many of the other writers sit up and scream. The star of The Party at Kitty and Stud’s, Sylvester Stallone, is going to be in two games in the near future. The first we expect to see is a movie tie in downloadable title, Expendables 2. Secondly we will see the Italian Stallion donning a red bandanna and a permanent sheen of sweat in a new Rambo game.
These aren’t the first games featuring the muscles that mumble. Infact quite a number of Stallone’s films had a tie in games in the early to mid-nineties. I thought before we start looking forward too much to games like The Expendables 2 and Rambo we should look back at see how his previous ventures into pixel land fared.
How to draw a character from Thomas Was Alone: Draw a straight line, well done, that’s a great straight line. Now draw a shorter line coming off it at 90 degrees (clockwise) draw a third line equal to the first again 90 degrees from the second. Finally join up the third and first line. There you go, you should have a rectangle. Give this rectangle a relatively common name and you’ve created your own Thomas Was Alone character.
For some reason everything in life seems to be broken down by gender. Negative or positive, everyone is assigned a role by society. As gamers we are often generalised as being nerdy overweight men, and while in my own case this is true it obviously isn’t for all, you need look no further than this very site to see there are female gamers.
There have been many fads in the world of gaming, certain tropes and choices that developers have relied on to move cartridges and discs. One of the easiest ones to look at is common enemy types. In the early days of gaming we had things like Galaga and Space Invaders. Games that encouraged us to look to the skies for a new species and then blow said species seven ways from Saturn.
After aliens we went through Robots into Soldiers and then two enemies kept rearing their heads like a Whack-a-mole game on overdrive; I speak of course about Zombies and Nazi’s. The push for Nazi’s saw them appearing in a hundred different RTS’s and FPS’s on every console and home computer going. The simple truth is that there are a very few people in the world that would feel bad for attacking them, virtually or in reality they have been, rightly so, painted with the brush that makes them almost universally hated.
I made what turned out to be a surprise revelation to the readers of Pixel Bedlam in an article recently. In my wish list for E3 I mentioned how I am not a fan of Half Life 2. I had some readers, colleagues and friends all question how I could not like one of the “greatest games ever made” and quite simply it’s because it’s tedious and boring. The easy option for any fans of it is to tell me “I didn’t get it” or that I’m somehow trying to be “counter-culture”, where as in fact I feel the truth of the matter is that I think there was a band wagon liking of the game.
This films opens with a Brooklyn accent, an accent that I can only describe as awful, painfully awful, I originally thought this opening narration was done by the awesome acting might of Bob Hoskins, doing one of his always questionable American accents. However, after a quick search online I found out the narration was done by Dan Castellanetta, that’s right Homer from the Simpsons, someone considered a legend in the world of animation lowered himself to this film, as did some other pillars of the acting world.
Bromance is traditionally thought of as pure love between two butch muscular homies, this isn’t always the case however. Even I fell into the trap in my last article on the subject. Every so often gaming throws a spanner in the works and proves that there’s an exception to every rule.
Bromance (Noun): two dudes who have what can only be described as a loving relationship but keep it purely platonic. More often than not the best way to get this across to the uninitiated is to use the phrase “Brother from another mother”. It’s a sense of camaraderie and respect that would normally be seen in a married couple but is usually viewed in men in the mid-twenties to mid-thirties.
In video games there has been some wonderful examples of this phenomenon. Sometimes this just flows over the player because of bad writing and bad acting, but every so often a game has genuinely touched me in the way it’s portrayed hetro-love.
Whether it be DLC, arcade games or full retails releases zombies have returned from a mild mid 90’s drop off the pop culture radar to come back with amazing rambling force. Many aspiring film makers see their first films as being zombie comedy horrors as for some reason in the world of horror it’s ok to be obviously low budget. Literature has seen such examples as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and World War Z both reach best seller status, and have impending film adaptations coming in. Musically I struggle to think of examples unless people will let me get away with Gwar or Lordi…
When it comes to games there have been many examples in the past 5 years of games using the shuffling masses as their main enemies. Dead Rising 1 and 2, Call of Duty DLC and even a game I reviewed on this very site Dead Block. All of them novel in their own way, but with copycats-a-plenty and rehashing of the same principles and genres I decided to try and do the developer’s jobs for them and try to think of some genres that have been lacking on the walking dead front.