Wait, the Grumpy one is a writer? What else is this miserable bastard?

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Surprisingly, yes. I’m not 100% totally fantastic at it, but I’ve had a couple of messages asking if I’m actually a writer (Half of which I suspect are attempting to cause offence. Why do you even need to attempt? I take offence to the fact that people have to ask if ANYONE can write. Of course everyone can, the imagination and creation of new ideas, jokes, wit and concept is the hard part, not the spelling or grammar.)

So a little about my grumpy self. I’m in my “distinguished” age (Not over 70, not under 20). I’ve produced a few freelance articles on gaming, games and miscellaneous topics from various low key sources (I would link them, but I’d have to check if that shit was allowed first). The one thing I can show you is the above picture, which was the first draft (Yes, the artwork is amazing, but that was the artists “first draft”. Blame his perfectionism, not mine.) of a comic/webcomic that I wrote and co-produced with a friend. It’s STILL in production, but shifts in real life events have caused more delays than we’d like. But essentially, this comic (I’m not giving away future plot details) features a brand new world of my creation (With input from Woody, my artist and fellow producer) that tried to stray from the established Tolkien-esque conventions of fantasy. This included a full backstory to the world, characters, races and mythology that would be tapped into for the purposes of the story (I consider it more homage to Pratchett than Tolkien in terms of background, though granted we don’t have great A’Tuin or the elephants… or a disc…)

Apart from the above, which I consider my major current project, I’ve done a few uncredited script and background editing (Especially in terms of continuity, livening up and differentiating story elements) for scripts within a few indie games and stories.

And yes, as some of you have noted on Twitter with my current complaining, I am a fresh Computer Science graduate. A decision I took later in life than most, but I don’t regret it. So I know how to program. Yes. Shut up, I’m currently looking into starting my own project. No, you can’t help because first I need to get a job to help fund it. I don’t care about your rich uncle, I need a means to support myself BEFORE I start following my pet projects, so PLEASE stop emailing me (You know who you are).

Anyway, yeah, that’s me. And the artwork above comes from a good friend of mine who has recently gone freelance as an artist, so check him out: Woody Illustration.

CLARIFICATION FOR THE WIN: I KNOW how to program in Java and C++. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m “up to standard” as it were. I’m by no means an expert in the subject.

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Console War: The Next Generation

Another age. Another set of consoles. In an age….. I really should stop drinking when watch The Dark Crystal. Insert witty way to transition into the next section about the console toys and their “war” they insist on waging each generation. 

Like millions of others, I’m a veteran of these futile and, frankly, pointless (Unless you’re in marketing or analysis) “console wars” that are waged every 5-6 years (More in this case to be fair).  I was a victim of the old “Sega vs Nintendo” arguments in the playground during the days of the NES and Master System, later the SNES and Mega Drive (“Genesis” to our cousins in the former colonies). And you know the one thing I learned from it all? Get the console with the games.

A mantra I have lived by, even if I do embrace the PC as my primary gaming method. I have owned the console tv-boxes in the past, and continue to do so, but for the games. Not for the loyalty. The Xbox I initially dismissed as being a small pc-box, but then gems such as Kung Fu Chaos and other games (the initial Halo was good, but in my eyes, not the “Messiah of Gaming” that others declare it to be) convinced me to obtain one. I had a Playstation, it’s younger brother the PS2, and N64 and yada yada yada. My main point is, I buy the console based on its games. 

Which brings me to this generation. I’ll admit, on it’s initial reveal the XBOne was a fuckup of colossal proportions, its reveal just sounded to me like “Fuck you guys, it’s an “entertainment centre”. So fuck your freedom.” But, I persevered with my initial open minded view. The PS4 didn’t reveal much either during it’s initial conference, not even the look of the console (Retrospectively, both are fuck ugly. The XBOne is Wall-E sprayed black when combined with the oppressive eye that is Kinect, and the PS4 looks melted).

So the games then. This is what I felt my decision would be based on, which had the better games. Turns out… both are pretty much equal in my desired games, which means neither get my hard earned on launch. Dead Rising 3, a sequel to one of my favourite franchises, is taking a few TOO many liberties (“You’re an average guy. And now you can call in in airstrike” …) with the over-the-top formula, but still interests me. Metal Gear Solid? Nah thanks. I’d rather watch a DVD than sit through another Kojima “game” (sssh, they’re really 6 hour films wrapped in an hour of game).

All in all, I think I’m waiting a year before I consider buying into this generation. And from what I’m hearing, so are a lot of people. And yes, I know that Microsoft have recanted their “DuuuuuuuhhhRM” policies, but that doesn’t mean they won;t replace it with some other scheme. A worrying trend in todays publishers…

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Why the world needs more games like Broforce

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Yes, I know a lot of you want more “Oh So Serious Man Shooting” games with emotions and “compelling” stories (Don’t make me laugh). So I’m proposing this. We need more games like Broforce today. A loving homage to 80’s action movies (“Bro”manndo, RamBro, Brobocop! Explosions, Death, YEAAH!) it forgoes all the baggage of today’s gaming into a lovely Metal Slug/Cannon Fodder/Any-Action-Film-of-The-80’s-and-Early-90’s tribute. And it’s damn good fun. You can play the “Bro”totype in the link above and vote for it on Steam Greenlight  here (DO IT!). The developers are currently expanding on this simple premise by adding new features (the brototype itself has been updated with some of these, such as those bastard dogs).

So why does the world need these games? Put simple, most of todays games are shit. (Controversial, I know, but bear with me) For every shining gem, todays gamer is bombarded with 10-15 “Triple A” titles of varying quality. I can guarantee that of those, at least 50% will be shooters, where you take on the role of an American (Or locationally ambiguous white man) to shoot funny coloured/accented people for various reasons. How are people not sick of this?

Especially when developers (Publishers is actually more accurate, but that’s another argument) try to buck the current trend by creating, in their minds, a “revolutionary/unique/innovative/dynamic” storyline. One that has no doubt been wrung through the grinder within countless media, and handled within their game with the delicacy of an 12 year old internet troll trying to provoke a reaction with “humorous” comments upon a forum they have no interest in. All backed up with the same familiar mechanics that haunt todays shooters (2 weapons! Regenerating health! Muahahah!). Sure, the old ways weren’t realistic, but for fuck sake, you’re mowing down a million bad guys with impossible accuracy (That many short minded gamers consider equivalent to real life accuracy…) and can shrug off hot lead like your enemies were throwing week old biscuits at you. Here’s a hint: Sure, merely touching a first aid kit does NOT immediately grant you healing abilities, but taking a bullet to the chest and sitting down for 30 seconds is even MORE far fetched.

Anyway, rant over, back to Broforce. This game essentially is a middle finger to all of that, and you can almost feel the awesome dripping from it. I’ve tried playing with both keyboard and controller, and for a proto – sorry – Brototype, it’s surprisingly comfortable with both. Sure, the trailer gives off the impression of chaos, but the game does a masterful job of easing you into the carnage. Sod everything, one bullet buts you down, but rescuing fellow “Bro’s!” grants you extra lives (Remember them?). And once you have mastered the abilities and limitations of the individual Bro’s, carnage ensues in a delightfully fun way.

So why does the world need more games like Broforce? Because it’s fucking fun. And THAT is what gaming’s about.

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Being Grumpy at Rezzed 2013

Within the dark dingy abyss that is Birmingham, this years Rezzed (A PC and Indie games show for you who have yet to embrace the “True Path”) has come and gone over the past weekend. As this is a new blog (Yeah..I don’t really care for personal blogs but fuck you, I’ve had alcohol and I may as well.)

Lets get this out of the way first. WHAT THE FUCK? Seriously, what the fuck happened? Rock, Paper, Shotgun alongside Eurogamer put on a hell of a show in the less dingy, but equally wasteland-like (This is Britain after all…) Brighton. This year, things seemed to have slipped a bit. Granted, the interesting talks hosted by the charming, huggable, handsome, (Please give me traffic), John Walker, featuring the likes of Ragnar Tornquist and Chris Avellone (Two personal favourite game developers of mine) were funny, interesting and insightful. Their game talks were of course also of interest. Yet..the lineup seemed weaker than last year. The fact that Introversion had their own talk on the success of Prison Architect (Blatant pimpage to no-one at this stage, but an awesome game) cancelled in favour of the first of TWO Rome II: Total War live code displays was very disappointing, especially in light of the fact that both games were bloody playable on the show floor. But all those grudges aside, lets move onto the show floor itself.

Well…..errm….shit… It was…acceptable. Very much weaker than last years lineup in terms of content and space, and as others noted to my drunken idiotic self, Ubisoft seemed to take up half the damn floor. Sir, You Are Being Hunted was, rightfully, the most popular game on show as far as I was concerned, only falling behind the obvious attraction of the 2 Oculas Rift stands (One being a single station of many for the hilariously frustrating Surgeon Simulator 2013, the other for an undersea exploration game that peaked my interest, yet I unfortunately did not get to experience it’s majesty rather than standing at the sidelines like a cross eyed chimp.)

Other highlights include Space Hulk, which appeared to retain not only the atmosphere, but the faithful top down view, ruleset and everything else that made Space Hulk the boardgame (And original videogame from Ye Olde Days) so pants-browningly entertaining. Of course, it still had its noticeable rough edges, yet being and Alpha, I’m refusing to reveal these hideous deformities until the game becomes it’s more attractive older sister upon entering late Beta.

Redshirt (Apart from being RIPE for spelling mistakes that denounce the poor thing), was definitely a hidden gem that didn’t get nearly enough column time compared to the big muscly fuckers throwing their weight around. If you don;t know about the game yet, go get educated (http://redshirtgame.com). Pointing out here, that in no way is this blog bought or paid for by ANYONE. Not even free swag (Although I did obtain a badge and a sticker they were giving out). Essentially it’s a game played through their equivalent of “Facebook” (Shut up.)

(Seriously, stop that groaning.) Where you dictate your career and success by interacting, “Friending” and “Liking” your fellow space bloggers. It’s an interesting, and surprisingly intuitive game, that is worth keeping an eye upon.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted. That is all. Go watch videos. Including their charismatic presentation at the event. Yeah. Gentlemen robots hunting you throughout several islands based upon the British landscape? And tea? Fuck yeah. (No, I don’t drink tea… but…Ra Ra!)

Other madness included a new Worms game (Yeah, you’ve probably played them, but it’s Worms, and still one of the best multiplayer games on a whisky fueled rampage) complete with one of their promo team abusing people in a giant worm suit (Much hilarity there when someone doesn’t notice a giant pink thing (hehe) approaching from behind (HAHA).) alongside a VERY surprising store that happened to have REASONABLE prices for merch. Shadow Warrior was a fun little throwback to 90’s shooters (Such as it’s namesake), but still didn’t ring any bells that suggested a MUST BUY! Hotline Miami 2, whilst the original remains awesome and I do crave more, you can read much more about on more prestigious sites than the ramblings of an aging gamer (Was damn good fun…like the original.) Prison Architect on the other hand… I LOOOOVE the game (Yeah I have my sock-robbing name in the game. I enjoyed it that much when I played last year), but its stand was a bit bare. It seemed to be the same demo shown last year, without any of the new stuff that has been added since. This will probably hurt Introversion (Unfairly) as they probably planned on showing off their progress in their scrapped talk on the Saturday. Still a game to check out if you’re fan of the old (Pre-Electronic Arse) Bullfrog games, despite its price point.

Most Surpisingly Hilarious Game of the Show Award:

This goes to a complete unknown project called Teeny Wanya Teens. NOT a game for the CoD or “Serious business Manshoot” gamers, it appears at first to be a cutesy 2d “sidescroller” (It’s not in the same sense you’re thinking) party game with a joystick and roughly 20 coloured buttons. These buttons link to an action you’re asked to perform on screen to compete with your fellow player. Sounds simple? How little you know… Starting with 1 colour, then more being added with each action, this is not about memorising which button is a certain colour, the colours randomise every so often. This can lead to moments of hilarity, when actions such as “Pee”, “Fart”, “Shower” and “Confess” (love to a female NPC) are involved. One such incident involving to the two people in front of me in the queue, featured them both going up to confess to the aforementioned NPC. One pulled down his pants, pissing over her shoes, whilst the second player was the other side of her taking photographs of the events (possibly for blackmail…I never asked). This. I want this. When I have my fellow grumpy gamers over and we’re hitting the hard stuff after watching MORE of the same “OMGSCIFIMODERNWARMANSHOOT” game announcements, I wanna turn that shit off, and start being naked in front of big muscly men whilst a friend uses a baseballs bat on his arse cheeks (And in the game).

Grumpy Game of the Show:

Sir, You are Being Hunted. Not only does it offer a refreshing setting and a sense of humour in an otherwise overcrowded genre that consists of “Big tough man go kill different colour slightly-less-tough man”. it seems to offer replay value by the fuckton (Scientific measurement). Yeah, I don’t care that can only enter certain buildings. Do you know the work that would take? Fuck, you can only enter one in ever 15 buildings in DayZ, yet that managed to take off like a bastard. You only hear people complaining about that when they refuse to realise this a 3 man team developing a game, primarily from their own money, using the Kickstarter funds to finish the damn thing. Check this shit out. Seriously. And drink your fucking tea.

Games Already Being Played Yet Were There:

Planetside 2 being the obvious one. I’ll have a write up about that seperately. Mighty Quest For Epic Loot – Gonna have to check if there’s an NDA in effect before I divulge more than what was shown at Rezzed.

Highlight of the show:

The post show drinking. More so because I spoke to Chris Avellone (Obsidian, Black Isle) and ended up with him hugging me and giving me his card (Yeah, showing off, don;t care, my blog) As well as chatting with Ragnar Tornquist, a few other developers (One of which from Mode 7, creators of Frozen Synapse and Frozen Endzone) and being a group of 6 or 7 people that ended up being kicked out of the bar after they’d closed and we still were sitting outside chatting and drinking.

Overall, a good show still, not as much as the hilarity of last years show (Finally got my hug from John Walker) and the lineup was a bit weaker thanks the Ubisoft and Creative Assembly (No, I’m not talking Rome II, I’ll wait till release for that) taking over most of the floor. And would it really kill them to widen the always intriguing Left field collection? Personal space was not possible in that thin corridor…

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