the-path

I’m not very good at writing headlines that might attract readers, but that doesn’t really matter as there are far better things to read out there. A lot of people think that Kieron Gillen writes a lot of nonsense. Not true. He writes a tiny bit of nonsense. But he writes a great deal of stuff. One certainly outweighs the other. Mr Gillen wrote the comic that got stuck inside Chaos League. Considering that was the first game I ever did bits of marketing and PR work on that means I will like him forever though he’ll never know it.

(I go very quiet when he’s around as I don’t have anything as interesting to say.)

But I had to point out this short section of text from his review of The Path, published today on Eurogamer:

“The name “game” is always going to confuse people. You only really work out what something should be called after a name’s codified. Names for mediums are always kind of made up on the fly. “Novel” has a particularly tortured history as a word. Comics comes from the fact they were the funny pages in the paper – but soon became anything but. A century down the line, they realised they should call comics “sequential narrative”, which cuts to the core of what the medium is. It’ll never stick, because it’s so bloody ugly and there’s already a name everyone knows. C’est la vie. We’re stuck with novels, comics and games – and novels that aren’t novel, comics which aren’t comic and videogames which aren’t…”

He’s right. But then, perhaps Nintendo are finally starting to give us games which are games now… and we all know what sort of a fuss that’s kicked up don’t we.  The sad thing is, right at the end of Kieron’s review which so carefully explains why The Path isn’t a game, is a big fat 7/10 which stands there in tight Speedos, gleefully kicking sand in Gillen’s intellectual face.

“Say it! Say I’m a game… say it four eyes!”

A curse on website templates. The fact that a score had to be placed at the end turns the review into the self-indulgent mess it most certainly isn’t. That’s upsetting and confusing. I think that’s what Kieron must have meant when he stated:

“if you’re the sort of person who cares about the review score, it’s almost certainly not for you”

Neither the game, nor the review in this case. Somewhere behind that muscled 7/10 is the latest covergirl from Need for Speed. She’s beautiful, but she’s with 7. Most likely it’s the grains of sand clogging up your eyes but just maybe that’s a look of sorrow on her face. She wishes she understands you Kieron. She wants to be with you. But 7/10 just keeps on pulling her away. One day.

parliament

We usually all have to wince when videogames are brought up in the House of Commons due to the overriding opinion that most games are retellings of “Custer’s Revenge“. Today though, Gamepolitics has reported there’s a knight in shining armour defending the cause.

A vocal backer of the UK video game industry, Vaizey also took the opportunity to criticize the Labour Government for not providing what he views as a sufficient level of support to the British game biz:

[Moved:] That this House notes the importance of the video games sector to the UK economy; congratulates the winners and nominees at this year’s Bafta Video Games Awards; notes in particular the success of UK developed games, including Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet, Codemasters’  and Lionhead Studios’ Fable II, all of which won awards…

applauds this recognition of the continued success and significance of video games despite the complete lack of support from Government; regrets the fact that this lack of support from Government has seen the UK fall from being the third largest producer of video games in the world to the fifth largest; and urges the Government to devise a clear and supportive strategy for the UK video games sector as part of the Digital Britain review.

A lovely development certainly. Mr Vaizey can hold his head high. It’s a shame the kids of today will never hear about it. Yeah, he’ll still get called “Clean Shirt” when he’s on his way back from a busy day on the benches. Shame. Kids…

falloutMy Fallout 3 experience was totally ruined by my own stupidity. If you lived in a post apocalyptic world and someone punched the only cow your village owned in the face, you’d pretty much shoot them on sight too. That unrepentant vengeance combined with an unfortunate auto-save meant that I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of bovine guilt and murder. I can’t let it end like this. I’m going back to the wastes.

*The tag “Cow Punching” may get me a load of hits from an underground movement on wordpress. Let’s see! Exciting.

** Ooh, two… sweet

reviewscoregif

If there’s one thing that is always brought up over drinks between a PR and a journalist, it’s scoring. If the journalist is lucky, they won’t be having a pint with one of those PRs that moan about scores (or are pressured to by their bosses) but it’s true to say that even the most relaxed PR staff can really get down about review scores. Sometimes it’s inevitable and sometimes it’s those scores that hit you like an electric car.

It’s a PR department’s job to try and achieve the most positive coverage possible and to generate pagination in influential and widely read publications or websites. The staff in those departments are judged on their ability to meet these goals. That’s pretty clear. What isn’t clear is the way in which PR departments traditionally judge coverage. The average tracking document and coverage report will take the publication, circulation, pagination and maybe a  choice quote or two. But it seems to me that if you are to track publicity for your titles accurately then you have to look a little deeper.

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papercraft

If there’s one thing that rabid videogame forumites love it’s Papercraft. There’s something about that iddy biddy, slightly angular bundle of joy that you’ll know you could never recreate, that makes their ice cold hearts of pure sarcasm just melt away. Now if only I could find someone willing to make a template for Windows Live… a really adorable one.

This may not work.

gamestm

Happy happy! I’ll be in the next issue of Games TM, out March 19th. Waiting for a .pdf as we speak. Very, very exciting. Followed a chat with Matt where Ponting and I babbled on and on. Tim pretty much stuck to AWOMO which was sensible. I started babbling on about all sorts which I won’t go into now in case it got cut. Apparently all the pictures they took captured me looking grumpy. I can’t wait to see it. Have to be honest… it’s really exciting to get interviewed. I’m chuffed to bits!

UPDATE: Couldn’t wait to be sent a copy and luckily Smiths was selling it early. Four pages and they kept all the interesting stuff in so I’m not too boring. I had a massive smile on my face when I opened that up. Thanks Matt and Rick!

wic

Just spotted the news that Martin Walfisz is leaving Massive. I’m sure he’s going on to something exciting but can’t help feeling sad. I saw World in Conflict when it was in pre-greenlight stage and plugged away at it until it’s release. I loved every second I got to spend with Martin, David and the rest of guys at Massive who came out to E3 a few years back. Great game and great bunch of guys. They’ll carry on making classic games of course. Where are you going Martin? Good luck…

bbc-pic1

The BBC have been so kind as to cover our now not so little AWOMO project. They also saw fit to include my rough sketch visualising AWOMO’s data delivery as a road being built in front of you. It is, let’s admit, not a great sketch. Something to show the grandkids though (if I go on to achieve nothing of any significance in the next 50 years).

empty-wow

I wandered about for two hours. After I had walked a few miles I stopped, turned around a few times and jumped twice in frustration… then over a fence. “You can never go back” people say, and now I saw it was true. Friends move on and people change. Those you once knew are… well… different. You can’t quite put your finger on it…

… actually no, that’s a lie. They’ve all turned into giant shoulder pad wearing, flying mount riding, level 70-fied idiots.

After a hiatus of about 7 months I have once again been drawn back into World of Warcraft. I have never been the most active of players, never raising a character over about level 25 but wandering around is nice. My problem was that I was never organized enough, or even bothered enough to get into a guild, a friendly group, or meet up with my friends regularly. This despite the fact that at the time I worked for Vivendi and so had WoW coming out of my ears. As the song goes… “When I was young, I never needed anyone. And making love was just for fun”. Well, those days truly are gone now. I have realised that even if you never interact with anyone else in WoW, you still need those people there, bustling around, questing alongside you, yet never speaking. Now there is nobody… they’ve all moved on. “Oh everyone’s in the high level realms now”, a friend of mine said. What good is that to me? My character feels like he’s walking through Hull after the UK’s shipping industry deteriorated. Now everything just seems… disjointed. The vendors are still vending, soldiers still soldiering but there is no life any more. I think I missed the party.

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drakes

What makes you fall for a game so quickly? I bought Super Mario Galaxy a couple of weeks ago and have I been able to put it down since? Yes, to be honest. I find him very annoying with his stupid voice and irritating friends. So this isn’t going to be a big ol’ Nintendo love in where I go all gushing about how great it is to be a bee. Fooled you though, eh? The game I’m actually referring to is one that totally snuck up on me and I think pretty much did the same to everyone. I didn’t care about it, thought it sounded silly and assumed, just by reading a short description of it long ago, that it was destined to be rubbish. Instead, its demo has made its way to my hard drive and will sit there until I get my hands on the full game. In thirty minutes it has charmed me, made me laugh out loud and, like some kind of magical snowman or bad elf turned good, saved Christmas for Sony single handed.


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