Reminiscing and Stuff

Hello. Merry 2012. Thank you for reading my words in 2011. Up yours if you didn’t. 2011 turned out to be quite a big year for me; I conducted my first interview, live-blogged E3, rambled about news and, despite reviewing some 50 games, failed to critique 90% of the biggest releases of the year. Moving swiftly on.

2012 is a year that promises many things for the game industry; FIFA 13 for one, a new Call of Duty title another and, more inevitable than those even, a Playstation Vita price cut. Here in the lonely hermit crypt Ashes Towers, we’re thrilled.

A couple of things. First, like a high-class hooker, I’ve started writing for another website. It busies itself with all things Xbox Live Arcade so it’s right up my alley. They go about their ways hella different to me – I’m not allowed to begin sentences with “and” for example, which I’m finding tough – but it’s all good experience and pretty exciting to write for a website that people actually read. You should read it too.

Second, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite articles from the past year. Egomaniac, right? These include pieces I had the most fun writing, articles that scored me some much-needed exposure and the ones that saw me bounding naked and wild into foreign lands. They may, at a stretch, actually be worth reading.

Lastly, and I’m defying couple here, I finish up my stint at university this year. Time doth not hang about. Waving goodbye to full-time (ha) education means stepping out from behind the protective veil of student finance and 30 weeks of holiday a year and into the actual real world, a world I’ve ducked and dodged for 22 years and am informed is quite the cruel paramour. Still, I’m about ready to turn my back on uni even if the prospect of finding paid work is, to put it lightly, terrifying.

Back to the present and I’m in the process of mocking up my 2011 Awards feature. Who’s set to win this year’s Best Use of Taxpayer Money gong? Will Call of Duty retain its Most Like Call of Duty award? Who’s a dead set for the Best Quote From a Real Life Person category? Can anybody win Best Boss? Who has the Derp-de-Derp Award bagged and tagged? And, you know, there’s Game of the Year and such other awards too. Pressing matters, find out more soon.

Oh oh. Actually the last thing… I now own game capture hardware. I’m still getting a handle on the bloody thing – I’ve got videos 7GB in size and neither Premiere nor my Mac appreciate that – but I hope to have it sussed soon. I’m in the process of making a Neophyte’s Guide to Skyrim as well as a couple of those Let’s Play things and other bits and bobs for my awards. Follow that nonsense here.

But enough of the future! Let us like withered old men reminisce over the good times. Thanks if you’ve read any of these previously, I love you.


The Xbox Years Blog

Blog is such a dirty word but I’ll leap at any opportunity to reminisce over high school. Probably didn’t give a shit who Jamie Oliver was at the time, mind.


The Week in Trailers

This one didn’t last long – who needs a description of something they can watch in a couple of minutes? – but it was fun while it did. Personal favourites include mocking Duke Nukem and taking issue with Dino D-Day’s portrayal of the  Brachiosaurus, and the first round of E3 trailers.


Peddling Stale News

Yesterday’s News Today began life as a deriding commentary on the dumbest news stories of the week gone by but slowly became a little less… juvenile. Prior to YNT I couldn’t bring myself to copy/paste press releases or recycle news from the big boys but I needed some experience in relaying “news” so I set about cherry-picking articles that I thought bore some significance to the industry. I never lost my eye for the stupid but gradually merged those stories with tales of a little more worth. The top link includes a mocking commentary on the Dragon Age 2 ‘straight male gamer’ debacle (skip to that) while the bottom deals with used games and Team Meat’s ire with Microsoft, among other things.



I notched three Eurogamer Reader Review of the Month podium finishes across the year, never quite clasping that grand prize but it was nice to be praised by the likes of Oli Welsh and Ellie Gibson. The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and Sega Rally Online Arcade were two of the reviews I had the most fun penning and, incidentally, two of the three featured on Eurogamer. Love what you do, I guess.

I also challenged myself to review 31 games in 31 days through the month of July. July was a month that, in hindsight, I probably ought to have dedicated to laying the groundwork for my Final Major Project but, having never been one for making rational decisions, I went for the 31 reviews in 31 days thing instead. I failed, slipping up at the final hurdle but, to be fair, I had never anticipated working 8-6 shifts at the backend of July when I began the damned thing.

Probably my favourite:


The Child of Eden Preview

I don’t find myself writing previews often but Ubisoft’s Child of Eden Experience was so strange I couldn’t not. We were interviewed by, if memory serves, either Games Radar or one of the Ubi-PR people so somewhere on youtube I’m talking awkwardly into a camera, fluffing words and spewing incomplete and nonsensical sentences about a game that, at that point in time, I couldn’t quite comprehend.


The Interview with Hello Games’ Sean Murray

Having managed to swag press passes for the Eurogamer Expo, the flatmate and I rolled up to Earls Court with illusions of grandeur. We were press goddamnit. Inside, however, we transformed into giddy idiots. We’d never done this before and ours beard weren’t nearly long enough. Nobody was going to believe us when we told them we were agents of journalism. So we skirted around developer booths contemplating whether or not we had the gall to actually speak to any of them. We did, and they all turned out to be lovely human beings.

The Thursday and Friday legs proved such a riot that we waltzed back in on Sunday, abusing our old passes to scam us and another friend through the gates (don’t tell, I want to go again this year). While at the expo I conducted my first interview with developers Andrew Smith and Nicoll Hunt – the men behind iOS hit Hard Lines – and then proceeded to interview several other developer-types, culminating with Hello Games man Sean Murray. Absolutely one of the highlights of the year, and not only because Sean let us in on the secret of Paedo Danger.


Live-Blogging E3

Live blogging E3 might have been the best experience of the year and the Ubisoft presentation, whilst agonising to watch, proved a goldmine for ribbing.

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