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Will we ever get a good film from a video game?

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

by Kob Monney

Despite the relationship between Hollywood and video games being tetchy at best and rarely resulting in a film or game that could be considered good, the last week has brought more news of films being turned into games and games being turned into films. The question of why is rendered mute, for both the game and film industry it is an opportunity to capitalize on a pre-existing source. The work of gaining awareness and traction amongst the public is almost half done; it’s proven to work in this medium, why shouldn’t it work in another? Read more…

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Categories: Essays

Do we need another Duke Nukem?

March 8, 2011 2 comments

The Collector's Edition of Duke NukemBy Kob Monney

The first time I came across Duke Nukem was in school; someone had uploaded several games to the PCs which we played instead of, y’know, being educated. I was too young to understand the game beyond the idea of shooting aliens in the face. Until recently the appeal of the character or why he had such an ardent fanbase was lost on me. Beyond the nostalgia and vapourware jokes, what would Duke offer in 2011 that had not been done before? Read more…

Categories: Essays

Kane & Lynch 2: Adult Stories for Adult Gamers

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

By Tom Dann

Kane & Lynch 2 is not an easy game to play. The story is one of the most brutal seen in a videogame, the characters are, at first, virtually unrelatable, the shooting feels clunky and the shaki-cam approach may well make you motion sick. Reviewers picked up on each of these things, and the game had an incredibly mixed reception. I avoided the game, thinking it was just another M rated game trying too hard to be “grown up” or “realistic” (how can a game be realistic when your final kill count is well into the hundreds?) So why do I now think more games should be like Kane & Lynch 2? Read more…

Categories: Essays

The Price is … Wrong?

December 2, 2010 1 comment

By Kob Monney

I came across an article on GameCritics titled The problem with blaming the gamer. The article was a response to an editorial written on GamePro about longevity and quality in video games. The editorial pursued the idea that developers and publishers needed to get away from the thought of long single player games filled with superfluous content rather than a shorter, tighter, more focused experience that could delight as much as a lengthy opus would. The GamesCritic article countered that pricing needed to be taken into account; a 3-4 hour game could not sell for $60 against behemoths like Call of Duty. This point interested me more than the initial GamePro article. If the price of some games were lower, would they sell more? Read more…

Categories: Essays

Call of Duty: Black Ops – That’s Entertainment?

November 19, 2010 9 comments

By Kob Monney

If you follow games (why else would you be reading this?) you’ll find over the last week that the gaming press have been regularly supplying their readership with doses of Call of Duty. Whether you like it or not, whenever a new game in the series is released it’s an interesting barometer for how gaming perceives itself and how it wants to be perceived by those outside of it.  This is especially true when it comes to deciphering games’ place as pieces of entertainment: what do they offer as pieces of entertainment and what kind of experience are they trying to effect? Read more…

Categories: Essays

Are Critics to blame for the Call of Duty Production Line?

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

By Tom Dann

There’s a funny phenomenon occurring in the games industry: it seems that game critics are forgetting the value of innovation. I am, of course, referring to the juggernaut that is the Call of Duty series, and its annual entries that provide little more than surface changes to a formula, yet break sales records. It’s no surprise that Modern Warfare 2 became the biggest selling game of all time: Modern Warfare was a shallow yet very fun game, and the online multiplayer is some of the best there is. All the pre-release hype showed Modern Warfare 2 to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The problem here is that games journalists and critics, the ones who should challenge the lack of innovation and demand better, instead propagate the hype with endless wordage about all the important new features. Not only that, but post-release, Modern Warfare 2 holds one of the highest metacritic ratings of all games, a staggering 94. This is higher than many great games such as Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and Unreal Tournament. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Splinter Cell: Conviction and the Modern Spy

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

By Tom Dann

Splinter Cell: Conviction is the most accessible of the Splinter Cell games. The series, traditionally mired in stealth, and making a more action-oriented approach difficult, has now brought Sam Fisher more in line with prototypical Hollywood superspies such as Bond, Bourne, Bauer and Bristow. This evolution isn’t just apparent in the gameplay, but in the story and visuals as well. Read more…

Categories: Essays