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PixelBedlam.co.uk Posts

Colin Jones Interview: Rockstar Ate My Hamster and My Childhood

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: A Retrospective

Ruaidhri Walker

About once a year something comes around, something that is more annoying than Winter/Summer, delete as applicable if you’re a goth or emo, this something fills me with despair and to an extent upset: The “10 TV Show That Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled” list that every “culture” website seems to wheel out like the good crockery at Christmas.

The thing with these lists is that whilst at heart they come from a good place they’re mostly just telling people what they don’t have any-more, it’s almost like the obituaries section of the Oscars, you’re reminded of some awesome talent that has taken a disliking to breathing. Whilst it’s wholly inappropriate for me, the self opinionated nerd I am, to start ragging on “rival” sites for these pieces, I also find myself drawn to the article topic myself like a moth to an inferno.

They Scare Me Ok?: A Personal Look At Children In Horror

Harriet

I love horror. I like to read it, I like to research it and I especially enjoy a creepy film. I love the feeling of unease, tension and the anticipation of something jumping out of my nightmares and onto my television screen. There are many things in the world that give me the creeps. Spiders, Cows and sometimes, being left alone in the dark for long periods of time. There is only one thing that can induce the warm, embarrassing flow of the ‘fear pee’ through my jeans. Little dead kids. So, when it comes to horror films, I’m open to watching any flick, unless it features a dead looking child on the cover. Then I hesitate.

A Review of Gloom: Consumed by Card Games

Harriet

 

‘Cousin Mordecai found himself playing with rusty old bear traps in the woods. Unfortunately, he slipped and the trap took off his arm. In a horrifying turn of events and due to the lack of modern medicine, he found himself Galled by Gangrene!’

 

I love Gloom. Not only because I have an unsettling interest in the morbid and gruesome, but because it’s so much fun to play. I don’t have experience of card games on the whole; the best I could do is fluke a game of snap. So my relief was overflowing when I was introduced to Gloom.

Stallone’s Pile Of Shame: Party at Kitty and Stud’s

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

The Boxee: My Favourite Gadget

Ruaidhri Walker

So lets get this out of the way now, every TV show and film I have on my hard-drive are legitimately sourced and are on the most part just digital rips of my hefty DVD collection. I need to point this out now so that I can talk more openly about my favourite gadget I own, The boxee.

The boxee is a media centre. The weird melted cube that sits next to the TV allows you, the viewer, to plug in hard-drives (many if you find a USB hub that works with it) and the boxee will play the media files on the drives. The thing is that it will recognise nearly every codec and media file type going in the world today, and with a relatively frequent update for the OS and the Boxee itself it means that rarely will you find something that will trip it up.

Thomas Was Alone – PC Review

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Top 5 Meta-Horror Films

Ruaidhri Walker

The concept of Meta-Horror as a genre is something that has only really come into its own in the past few years. Films of the 80’s and 90’s although being “self aware” never really subscribed to the whole “break the 4th wall and have the horror universe as a real thing”.

Notable exceptions include Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, a bastard offspring of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and Seed of Chucky. Both of which took the concept of the previous films in their canon and acknowledged they were films, but placed the latest in reality of a new film production. Quite simply Meta-Horror is something that’s painfully hard to explain so if nothing else why not see this top 5 as an explanation and a praising of the fledgling genre. It’s worth noting however that there is a difference between Meta-Horror and a parody, Scary Movie whilst having many references to the genre is not really in the spirit of the genre. And to pre-empt comments I will say now SPOILER ALERT for some of the following film descriptions.

Muscle Museum: Gender Equality in Discrimination

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Hit Hitler: The Rise and Fall of Hitler in Gaming

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Why I hate Half Life 2: AKA Goading the Fanbase

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Super Mario Bros – Film Review

Ruaidhri Walker

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 In Games -The Greatest Male Double Acts Vol.1

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

Just Add Zombies

Ruaidhri Walker

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.

A Love Letter To Mirror’s Edge

Ruaidhri Walker

I get a lot of weird looks whenever I describe Mirror’s Edge as not only a great game – but also one of my favourite games I’ve ever played. People will often describe Mirror’s Edge as shallow, complicated and sea-sickness inducing. All of these could be true and I’m not going to pretend this game is flawless, but it is a game that I have willingly gone back to and completed on a number of occasions. This is made particularly easier by its short length, but to me, that’s perfect! I’m not looking for a second job when I go out and buy a new game, I want something that I can pick up and play a few evenings a week for an hour or so.

Retrophiliac Vol.3 – Would You Like Fries With That?

Ruaidhri Walker

Recently???????????????????????????????×????????, there was something shown in America that was embarrassing?????????? ????? ???? ???? Elliot High Waisted Coated Leggings Petrol, by embarrassing I mean it was so cringe worthy that even the most botoxed face would have wrinkled and furrowed it’s brows in disgust??????????????10?????????100ml??????? ??????. Of course I’m referring to this??????????? ?????????? ??????? 5?A???????????????????????????????:

Retrophiliac Vol.2 – In Retrospect

Ruaidhri Walker

Looking back to your childhood and those treasured TV shows that you grew up with; that you couldn’t wait to watch each morning; and that made you laugh and gave you shocks – with the cynical eyes of experience makes them seem foreign and unsettling! “Mr Ben has never paid that shop owner once the free-loading git”, “Sure the clangers was good, but that whistling would have got right on my nibblets”,”Should the British Government really be spending the defence budget on training one-eyed rodents as intelligence agents?”

My point is that despite it being painful to dredge up the memories of old and judge them by today’s standards, you sometimes can’t help but be amazed by either the Nostradamus like ability of the games developers to predict future headlines, or their astounding naivety to overlook a glaringly inappropriate element of their design.