Friday, 20 January 2012

Finding a good podcast

Its been interesting to watch the ongoing debate of how the internet is changing games journalism from the sidelines over the last couple of years. New fads have come and gone often simultaneously condemned as a threat by some and lionized as the savior of the medium by others.
Despite all that it was simple practical lifestyle considerations which changed the way I consumed games media most.

I'm someone who's mind wanders hugely when unoccupied, so when I decided to join a gym to improve my fitness I started looking for podcast to keep my mind busy while my body was given a workout.
So I started listening to gaming podcast
I found that often their conversational format was a lot easier for me to engage with than written work

The big problem I faced was finding out what podcast were worth listening to. There's no such thing as dedicated podcast review site (probably for very good reason) neither was Itunes of much help, and I primarily found myself searching the forums of the bigger gaming communities (such as Penny Arcade, RPS, and GWJ)for recommendations.

So as part of my effort to get myself writing more I'm going to try and make a effort to fill that gap by writing a (initially) Bi-Weekly podcast review.
I will be keeping these reviews under 500 words and trying to get across what I personally enjoyed about each podcast while providing practical information which would be useful to anyone wanting to get the lowdown on a particular cast.

I'll be posting these reviews on a Sunday and each one will feature:
-A Short review describing themes covered, the atmosphere, and what makes it worth paying attention to.
-Average Episode length
-Normal upload day
-Topics: General gaming, One genre, Cultural anecdotes etc
-Format: Panel show, Interviews etc
-Best Episodes: Examples of the show at its best which would hopefully be a good in point for a new listener.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Intentions for 2012

I'm going to try to avoid the trap of setting specific goals, it can become far too discouraging to set a goal and fail it due to circumstances outside my control.
So what I'm going to do is set up my intentions this year, they will guide the decisions that I will make without giving me a binary fail/success state.

To not be ashamed of my work
I have never had much confidence in my own writing. Some of that obviously comes from being dyslexic and the trouble that gives me with spelling and grammar. However if I'm serious about getting better, I can't afford to be precious about it.
I will do this by both pestering close friends and family to look at what I do more, as well as taking a deep breath and politely asking some of the writers who I respect on the net for their opinion.

To write regularly
I'm going to try and make sure I post at least once a week. Pretty much the one piece of advice about writing that is universally agreed upon is that if you want to get better at it you need to do it as much as possible.

To learn a programming language (to a level where it's actually useful)
I've recently started learning Python, it's pretty interesting but so far it's more at the stage where it's an intellectual exercise than a practical skill. My aim this year is to grind through to a stage where I can make practical use of it.

To finish my Boardgame
I was working on my boardgame 'Shadows' most of the second half of last year. I've got to the stage where it's mechanically complete on paper. This year I need to start playtesting it, sort out any balance issues, and then produce artwork for myself or/and talk to other people I know about contributing. Then I need to make the big step of looking for a publisher.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Space Marine: A 40k fan's view

My half tonne genetically engineered superman rockets into the sky, two giant jet engines strapped to his back, and a hammer the size of a small truck gripped between his hands.
Reaching to top of my flight arc, I feel like doom incarnate a living personification of the Sword of Damocles. Hanging in the air for a moment, before plummeting towards a hapless victim.

There were times when I played Space Marine when just for a second everything just clicked into place. In those moments it was hard not to smile, the game made me feel like a unstoppable force of nature full of momentum and power. At its best it was a intoxicating and potent example of the sort of power fantasy that has increasingly fallen out of favour as games have begun to seek mainstream cultural acceptance.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

My Personal Games of 2011: Part 3 The Winner

My Game of the Year: Bastion

At the very least I think Bastion was a brilliant example of what a smaller indie game developer can achieve if they give themselves a tightly defined design remit. It had virtually no missteps, by keeping its aims tight it accomplished everything it set out to do.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My Personal Games of 2011: Part 2

1st Runner Up: Deus Ex Human Revolution

Riots, global recession, media manipulation, civil wars, and a growing disquiet at emerging influence of technology on society, that's the 2027 of DXHR, did you think I was talking about some other year?

Monday, 2 January 2012

My Personal Games of 2011: Part 1

So once again its list time. Time for everyone on the Internet to declare what their best games of the year were. I've always felt that the game of the year concept was a very arbitrary one.

So I've decided to do mine a little different this year. With my gaming habits now heavily weighted towards picking up titles in sales instead of at release,I find myself considering games in an environment of far less hype than I used to.
For me a game of the year has to be experienced which is very much of its time. A game that was not just released in 2012 but reflected it in some way.
I am obviously aware of the game with a three-year development cycle to never truly be a response to events in the year of its release, But I think I can content myself with games that reflect the the Zeitgeist without demanding them to actively create it.

So my choices will all be games that I feel I could not have got the same experience from if I'd played them in any year apart from 2011.

My experience of 2011 was the year to find the way an atmosphere of uncertainty, indecision, and confusion in popular life. Such slippery concepts have always been an anathema to the heavily emphasised rules an goals that form the backbone of most games, and they ascension to primer to place on the news agenda may explain why are some of the more straight forward and traditional games I have played haven't made my list.