Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's Christmas Time...

Well I was expecting some work to be posted up today but discovered to my pleasant surprise that there wasn't any! So I am going to post about my Christmas Holidays so far.
I have been ice skating at the Tower of London and would highly recommend it. I'm rubbish at ice skating but thanks to nice shiny new skates and a nice ice surface I managed to survive without falling over. I also went shopping in Covent Garden and Tim bought me an awesome little ink stamp of an owl. Expect to see that randomly appearing in my sketch book.
Went to Wetherspoons where we were all disappointed by the price of a round but discovered Bailey's cups. Little shot glasses made out of chocolate with Bailey's inside. Mmmmmm

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Oblivion is beginning to annoy me. It does not stick to its own rules, an idea I read about in a game book, probably Trigger Happy. If I have a fireball spell and I find a camp fire that is not alight, it should not be unreasonable for me to set the bloody thing alight.

Who cares that the game has endlessly accurate physics of throwing a dead rat over a cliff, I want to set things on fire!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh god I want to buy so many things right now it's insane. I bought myself a copy of Psychonauts the other day, mostly due to the interview about it. I also really really want a copy of Okami, women gamers gave it an absolutely rave review and it had looked good anyway. What with all this and Christmas shopping still to finish I think my bank account is soon going to start crying.


Week 11: Gameplay

I don't think gameplay is a set of solid rules, I think it's the interaction between different elements of a game like controls, plot and immediate goals. The only thing that doesn't really come into it is graphics and art style, in theory you could play a game with only stickmen and the gameplay would be the same. That's not to say that the gaming experience as a whole would be the same, just the gameplay.

The article referring to different levels of gameplay was really interesting, and it applies to many different games I've played. In final fantasy games there is the world map level of play where you can see your location in relation to towns, fields and whatever else. There are then two levels within this, towns and encounters. During encounters, the control system changes from one of navigation to one of battle. In towns, the navigation controls tend to be more restrictive, but the options of talking to people and accepting quests is opened up.

Similarly in Super Mario Brothers 3 there are two levels of gameplay, the map screen and the levels themselves. Although limiting, the map area does require interaction. The player can choose which levels to complete and tactically decide where to go depending on where the Hammer Brothers or the Coin Ship or whatever else is.
Levels of gameplay can serve to add depth to a game and to prevent the game seeming repetitive.

The Experimental Gameplay Workshop was also really cool. I think it's fantastic that new and exciting methods of play are being recognised for their merits, and I think that they are the games which will help move the industry forward. I so want to play Katamari Damacy, but the last I heard we only had the second game over here, which apparently has a slightly different feel to it. Experimental gameplay seems to be about the same kind of thinking they taught us in art college - think away from what you have, and then come back again. Figure out some crazy, non related thing and then relate it back to how you can structure your game.

I don't think gameplay can be entirely designed into a game as different factors affect it. If you had the gameplay as you wanted it but suddenly had to change an element of the control system because it was causing problems then the gameplay would inevitably be affected. I think the gameplay element would be similar to a final piece of an art project - you would have an idea of what you wanted it to be like but different factors you explored along the way would eventually shape it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Why do they have to do this damn Blogger Beta thing to me? It's enough trying to remember eleventy billion passwords across the internet without having to create a google account just so I can forget another one!

My boyfriend Tim is currently signing up for Blogger. I dread to think what he's going to do with his account. The world will probably be treated to blueprints, videos, photos and crime scene evidence of every new explosive device he creates. To my knowledge, he has so far single handedly built out of readily available household material:
  • A gas powered tennis ball launcher which can shoot over a house.

  • A bicycle pump powered water cannon backpack which managed to shoot a jam jar higher than the height of his house when the pressure became too much.

  • a K'nex crossbow which fires bits of K'nex at people.

  • A 3 wheeled go kart.

  • A secret underground lair which was basically a big hole underground with a shed constructed inside it once it was finished, complete with Batman style ramp to the surface world.

  • A wooden crossbow.

  • A sword. As in like proper metal, cut you up sword.

Not to mention various adventures with explosives. Needless to say, I will feel safe with him when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Week 10: Story and Character

A few of the articles for this week's task really made me annoyed. The design and purpose for the characters in Ninety Nine Nights seemed really thought out and meaningful and then they hit you with this: '
When I was Inphyy, I liked her, she's cute and has a nice body. She has good cleavage, I threw that in for the player's sake.' You have got to be kidding me! You went to all this trouble to design a deep, well rounded, interesting woman and then decided that you know what, she still needs big tits. Because who's going to buy it if it doesn't have big tits in it?! This idea of the player is also slightly strange. It should say the male player. Or the player who is attracted to breasts. To be honest a character with boobs spilling out of her armour does not appeal to me whatsoever. It says lazy design and lack of practicality.

Anyway. I will stop being hrr arrgh feminist now and return to the task in hand. What characters do I respond to? This is an incredibly broad question so I'm going to try to brea
k it down a bit.

In live action filming, the way a character looks is predetermined by the actor. They can be changed through makeup and costume but each actor will bring certain preconceived ideas with them to a character.
By constrast
in animation and games the character's whole appearance needs to be designed and there is no base to work from. At the moment I think animation deals with this more enthusiastically than games do. Animation seeks to create exaggerated characters and worlds with unrealisitic proportions. Just look at Corpse Bride, The Incredibles or anime in general for strange proportions. Games seem to be stuck in a rut of trying to emulate reality when they have far more freedom than they give themselves credit for. Why have photorealistic humans or foliage? If we want that we can just go outside. Some games do well at breaking away from this. Timesplitters, Sam n Max and Windwaker managed to use chariacatures to great effect without making you feel as if it was outside of the game's reality.
So I respond to characters who look good, who have a certain spark about them. Captain Jack Sparrow with his planned out costume, Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc with their contrasting body shapes and sizes.


I'm going to talk about the podcast by Tim Schafer for a little bit now. I found it a really interesting talk, and the ideas of drawing inspiration from real life and that there can be different fantasies people want to fulfil seemed very important. Basically to summarise the second idea was in regards to playing as Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island. Tim said that someone had remarked to him that they enjoyed playing as Guybrush because they always had a witty comeback, something a lot of people struggle with in real life. There is more to games than just being a powerful warrior.
Writing for a character is about making them believable. I read somewhere that you shouldn't have a character who is 100% what you expect them to be. I think it was in Trigger Happy, I can't remember. Basically, if you have a good guy, make him 3/4 good characteristics and 1/4 bad. Like noble, witty, compassionate but ugly. I think this is well illustrated by Bender fro
m Futurama. Bender doesn't care about anybody but himself. He is selfish, lazy, lies and steals but when you get a rare moment of positive emotion from him it means so much more. Like when he actually becomes friends with Fry or when he falls in love.
Character writing I like includes stuff by Pratchett, Shaun of the Dead and Sly Raccoon 3.

Acting can change everything about a character. You learn this when you study different versions of Shakespeare plays put on by different companies. In one version of the Merchant of Venice, Shylock is the evil, vicious Jew who wants nothing but mindless vengeance. In another, he is the poor victim of circumstance who wants only what is due to him. These are the same lines in each case but acted differently. Actors can bring new life to a character. The character of Hades in the Disney film Hercules was changed entirely when James Woods auditioned for the part. Instead of being slow and lumbering, Hades became quick witted and cynical.
An actor who seems to turn up again and again in games I play is James Arnold Taylor. . He played both Tidus and Ratchet and pops up in lots of other cartoons and voiceovers. I think he's a good actor and the cast interviews with him about Final Fantasy X were really interesting, he really knew what he was trying to convey with Tidus.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Week 9: Game Technology

Personally, I don't think that consoles and controllers becoming more aesthetically pleasing is a terrible thing. It can of course be argued as being 'style over substance' but I think it's nice that video games are considering their image and are changing it to reflect their audience.

The PS3 controller is slightly disappointing. It has barely changed despite Sony's ten years of console experience. The only way it seems to be different to a PS2 controller is a single button in the middle. Sony seems to be a rather avid borrower of ideas from other consoles when it comes to design. The XBox 360 controller has at least been tidied up a bit. Smoothed out, rounded and slick looking, it's a nice improvement but nothing shocking. The middle button allows easy menu access, important to a console which prides itself on its online capabilities.
The Wii controller however, seems to be going in a completely new direction. The smooth whiteness is there like the XBox controller, but the remote is basically a rectangle. What are Nintendo doing? The thing is a slightly elongated, sideways NES controller!
But here is the beauty of the thing. When you played NES games, you never forgot what the controls were, because there were only 2 buttons and a D-pad. Nintendo has stripped its controller down to the basic essentials and made it easy to just pick up and use.

Controllers are often a barrier between the user and the game for inexperienced gamers. Watching my mum or my flatmates try to play on a console is amusing but also interesting because they don't understand what the controller can do, they don't intuitively know where the buttons are and how you use them. Instead of being absorbed in the experience, they are sitting there going 'Oh god how do I jump?!'

Let's find a control menu for something. Ah yes, Shadow of the Colossus. That will do:

Left Analog stick: Used for movement.
Right Analog Stick: Moves the camera about freely.
Directional Pad: Use the left and right arrows to change your weapons.
X-button: Summon your horse.
Square-button: Attack button. Use it to slash your sword or fire your arrows.When equipped with your sword, use the square button to charge up for a strongstab (used in combination with R1).
Triangle-button: The jump button. Also used to mount your horse when you are standing next to him. Used to jump out of water as well.
Circle-button: Used to reflect the sunlight off your sword. You can also use Circle to pray at the save alters.
R1-button: Used to grab climbable surfaces, walls, ledges, etc. Hold this and use triangle and left stick to jump/roll when you aren't climbing. You can also use this to dive underwater a short distance.
R2-button: Zooms in.
L1-button: Look about at your surroundings and focus on the colossus (when incombat).
L2-button: Re-positions the camera behind you.
START-button: Pause/Displays your map. The arrow is your current position andthe direction you are facing.--On Agro--Left Analog stick: Used to change his direction.
Triangle-button: Mount/Dismount.
Triangle + R1: Used to fast-mount the horse when you leap from the ground.
X-button: Kick the horse to make him go faster. You can hold it down to keep him at his maximum speed.
Down on L-stick + X: When standing still, you can rear-up and take off atmaximum speed really quick. When moving fast, this will put you back at zero-movement (skid stop and all). Also you can hit X twice from a gallop and downto do an instant 180.
R1 + Up on L-stick: Stand on the horse. From here you can jump off ontosomething else.
R1 + any button + left/right on L-stick: hang off the side of the saddle.
Circle-button: Raises sword when equipped, pets Agro when the hand icon is shown.

I'm not being funny I love this game but there are so many button combinations and different things a button can do depending on the circumstances. I'd nearly completed the game before I found out you could actually pet Agro. This is not pick up and play material and I think that this is the thing games should be trying to be right now.

So basically I think my point after all this is that consoles need to be appealing to more people. Sony and Microsoft have done that with their console designs but Nintendo have gone the extra mile with a controller that will mean eveyone in your family can play, not just the gamers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Memory Loss

I seem to have little luck with memory devices recently. My trusty 256 meg MP3 player/ storage device has finally gone up to that computer shop in the sky after having broken. It now will not switch on and play any music, nor will my computer recognise it.

I also managed to break a 2 gig memory stick a few months ago that a friend gave to me to transport my flash game to and from college. It corrupted itself and managed to mangle half of the files on it.
Not to mention that around the same time when I was transferring stuff onto this PC from the home PC half of it managed to disappear despite me KNOWING I transferred it. *sigh*

Perhaps I have a terrible power over memory sticks that I can't yet control. I fear for my shiny new digital camera's life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Week 8: Storytelling in Games

Plot to me is pretty important in games that seem like they should have them. Obviously many games just dump you in a situation and expect you to go for it, but games which attempt a plot I think should strive to do it well.
Emotional engagement in a story can be a powerful tool. I really loved Final Fantasy 10 because I got so attached to the characters. I almost felt like I was playing a soap opera, with snippets of cut scenes and information emerging at different points of the story. When I got to the end game content I really missed the cutscenes and felt like I didn't know my party as well as I did before.
I don't think that all games have a story. I think some games have a setting, or a backstory and the player is then left to their own devices. Call of Duty is not a war story, in my opinion, it is a war setting. Capturing a flag is hardly relevant to the course of a war and has always seemed strangely out of place to me. Of course I may be biased as I haven't played the single player mode.

Unless there is true choice and alternate paths in a game, I believe story happens to a player. In Ratchet and Clank 2, a linear plot game, the characters mock the player's inability to control the action when yet again they arrive at an area too late and the person they are chasing has got away.
Ratchet: Damn! He got away again! We always seem to be too late.
Clank: Why is that?
*Both characters stare directly at the screen*

I know that putting variable narratives in a plot is difficult, I looked at this for my final project at art college. I basically made a book starring Mark the office worker who gets to make choices on what he does during the course of a day. By creating 15 pages I was able to generate something like 32 different courses that the story could follow.
I also tried to get away from the idea of 'good' and 'bad' endings. There are positive and negative endings, but it ultimately depends on how much you like Mark as to whether these are good or bad. In a game it's a different situation as the main character is an avatar of yourself, and so affects you more.
Maintaining continuity in a story which twists around itself is a tricky thing, and you also have to have consequences for every action or the entire thing becomes sheer randomness. Plotholes in games with multiple paths are a problem, and I've heard stories from people who've played Baldur's Gate 2 where they've walked into a room and had people simply explode because they were supposed to have died in an alternate pathway and the game didn't know what to do with them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Art Direction.

The closest experience I have to an art director style role is being head of scenery in a drama contest at school. The year after I was head of scenery I became head of the entire production and I found that hugely stressful and full of politics.

As head of scenery I was responsible for identifying props and scenery needed for the play, similar to identifying all assets that need to be created for a game. I also had to either delegate the creation of these things to other people or do them myself. I had to remain in constant contact with both the heads of production and the other departments, for example choreography, to make sure people didn't want to dance through a huge piece of scenery.

Whilst obviously on a far smaller scale than that of an art director, I feel that the role has a lot of parallels. I enjoyed feeling that I was contributing important aspects to the play and also getting other people involved in the artwork, and I imagine these feelings would be magnified for a professional art director.

The role seems to be extremely creative. Art directors get to manage the look of a game and provide guidelines to help the rest of the team achieve their vision. They need to be good, clear communicators and have good people skills to get their ideas across and also to encourage and help the rest of the art team.
Art directors have great responsibility in that they are responsible for the performance of their team and keeping them to deadlines. They are answerable to the producers and any delays coming from the art side of the game can have knock-on effects on other areas such as programming. Therefore the art director has to be able to manage time effectively.

Art director seems to be the highest you can reach in the industry whilst still being a hands on artist. It does involve a lot of responsibility and management skills but it seems like it would be a very rewarding area to work in.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I've realised that there are no pictures in my blog and also that there are questions I need to explain, mostly about melon cheesecake.
Melon cheesecake is more of a concept than an actual thing. It is a reference to the ultimate question. Would you prefer: melon inside a cheesecake inside a melon OR cheesecake inside a melon inside a cheesecake.
Choose wisely. It says a lot about what sort of person you are... but mostly about whether you like melon more or cheesecake more. I personally would go for the former. This whole business came about in summer 2005 when I went on a girly holiday to Turkey with my friends and we found ourselves very amused by the fact that they had entire trucks filled with watermelons. No other fruit or vegetable, just watermelons. I have no idea where the cheesecake came in.

Here is a photo of the holiday in question. We were on a jeep safari where we saw exciting things such as a tortoise, a wild shoe and some 'things that go kwaak kwaak' basically some kind of wild chickens.
Games Design

What do I enjoy in a game? I enjoy something that clearly has a goal and then sets out to achieve it in its gameplay. Gameplay is really the core of a game, the idea that's left if you strip a game down to its bare bones, without shiny graphics or controls. It's the experience. I've enjoyed being an incredibly agile thief in the Sly Cooper games, being able to use practically anything around me to get to different part of the level. Training a team of monsters in Pokemon and being able to choose from whatever monsters I can find. Being a scientist trapped in a situation much larger than myself and trying to make sense of it with my trusty crowbar in Half Life. The genre of game is almost secondary to what the game is actually about.

One of the important issues that emerged from the articles I read this week was that of repetition and lack of originality. The quote database in particular seemed to be full of people complaining of games copying each other, reworking themselves only to change the graphics or using the same tired ideas.
A thing I am particularly sick of is the repetition of races in MMORPGs or even standard RPGS. Human, elf, dwarf, orc. Sometimes cat people. For goodness sake, it is really not hard to come up with something different. Even tauren in World of Warcraft are a refreshing change and they're just more animal people. Just sitting here thinking about it now I've come up with about 3 different ideas. Actual animals. Why not have a MMORPG where you can just be an animal? You eat stuff smaller than you, you run away from stuff bigger than you. I think it could work.
You could have an inanimate object RPG. You could be a lamp or a book and whenever a human shows up you have to freeze or some kind of trouble occurs.

Enough of that. I doubt those will happen because they're not tried and tested. Games design seems to fall to an individual who implements the design document after the idea has been discussed and finalised with senior design and business personnel. The sites disagree on whether or not the original designer should stay involved in the project. Some say that the idea should be strong enough for production to continue without the original designer, whereas some say that the designer should keep a check on their idea to make sure it is being realised as they imagined.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New Games Journalism

Strangely enough I had read a couple of those reviews on one of the websites before without realising they were a radical new style of journalism. Whilst the fanboyish, over-personal reviews on websites such as gamefaqs annoys me, clinical and completely objective review styles are perhaps not entirely relevant to games articles.

When I play a game - especially an online multiplayer game - I will have a completely different experience playing the game to someone else. You do become personally involved in a game, despite how silly or meaningless it may seem as explored by some of the article. If someone slags you off on, you do get annoyed. And although the ignorance and sexism of random 15 year olds across the globe shouldn't bother you, after many hours of gaming it begins to grate. So therefore if I were reviewing a game and certain issues or experiences arose which were either unique to me or unique to the game, it would make sense to include them in a review, to show the various possibilities of the game.

Damn I just got carried away and ended up reading a ton of Penny Arcade comics. Which is of course very relevant. Webcomic artists often have comments within or after their comics about companies, reviewers and games themselves. High profile comics like Penny Arcade can often be very influential and powerful about showing the views of gamers themselves.

Perhaps the current system of reviewing and having various scores out of ten for games is demeaning. Ranking games on graphics, sound, controls, replayability or multiplayer options seems to punish games for not relying on technical aspects. Video games should strive further to be more of an artistic medium, and therefore be reviewed in a more artisitic manner rather than being broken down into chunks. If I read a review of an art exhibition, the artist is not punished for choosing not to include sound in their exhibition, as sound may not be relevant to what they are trying to convey.

Videogames should be reviewed as a personal experience relating to what the videogame is trying to achieve and also what the reviewer views as important. Whilst not in the style of new games journalism, manages to incorporate issues important to the reviewers into their articles without seeming to push an agenda. After the review is concluded will be a section entitled 'Making efforts towards women' and the reviewer will discuss how the game fares on this particular issue.

Friday, October 27, 2006

To the FUTURE!

I have to say that the lack of Wii in those articles I've just read was very disappointing. Only one of them seemed to acknowledge the fact that the Wii even existed. In the others it was just glossed over as if it wasn't a serious competitor.

Anyway, enough of the complaining. It seems the video games industry is becoming a lot more slick, a lot more professional and a lot harder to find your way into if you're a new developer. Money now makes the videogames industry go round and unfortunately that suppresses creativity. Publishers don't want the next innovative game, they want one that will sell. Much like Hollywood films, games are subscribing to a certain formula.

Guns or Cars + Scantily Clad women + Explosions = Financial success!

That's very very generalised. But unfortunately I've seen it happen to some of my favourite developers. Insomniac broke my heart with Ratchet and Clank 4, Ratchet: Gladiator. All the quirky humour from the third game was gone and instead replaced with dark, gritty situations. The weapons were beefed up even further and you had to play through repetitive Unreal tournament style bouts. Hard to believe that this was from the same people who created the wonderful world inhabitted by Spyro the Dragon.

So are games losing their soul? Unfortunately it seems like it. But hopefully Nintendo and the Wii will partially come to the rescue. If innovations in games themselves are being muted, Nintendo's innovation in their hardware might help by forcing developers to think differently about how people will play their games.

Innovations are coming from Sony and Microsoft too. Both are competing to be an all in one entertainment system, allowing you to play media other than games. New technology will hopefully continue to improve games and ensure that people are always interested in new consoles. The capabilities of the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3 are major selling points for many gamers, and the PS3 especially is pushing blu- ray, hoping to attract consumers with the promise of higher quality graphics and environments.

So, what am I looking forward to in all this? Obviously boosted graphics are exciting, but not really the reason I play. I look forward to following my favourite developers from one generation to the next, as well as seeing exactly how the Wii's simplicity and interactivity will be absorbed into games. I think that if Nintendo's gamble pays off we'll see a lot more research into involving the entire person in a game, rather than just their hands and eyes. Who knows, it could even stretch into virtual reality or biotechnology as mentioned in one of the articles.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I miss central London. :(

I really like Leicester, it has a lot of variety and it really makes a change to be able to walk 5 minutes to a decent shopping centre, but I really miss all the little things about London that only spending a year with a travelcard let you appreciate.

I miss cybercandy , a nifty little sweet shop cunningly hidden in Covent Garden which does crazy import sweets and sweets from days of yore (they have Nerds! and Flipz!).

I miss Camden with all its crazy shops with massive sculpture things on the front. If you're a goth, skater, emo, hippy, punk, or just a weirdo you can find what you want in Camden.

I miss the space invaders, little mosaics you can find hidden all over the place by a French artist who put them in cities all over the world. I miss the stencil art of Banksy. I miss just heading off in a random direction and knowing that no matter how lost you get, you won't be far from an underground station.

I even miss the underground. That hot, smelly, dirty transport system is something you manage to get used to. I loved the DLR. You feel just like you're on the transit system from Half Life. Perhaps more about that at a later time....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Video games 80s to 90s.

I don't really remember many games from the 80s, but I remember a lot more from the 90s. Like I said before I played on my friend's NES, and the VNES website has reminded me of a lot of games I used to play around other people's houses or had a PC version of (Puzzle Bobble being one). VNES has lots of NES games you can play in your browser by the way, I've been singing its praises on the message boards.

The 80s seems like it was a time for experimentation. Pushing the boundaries and trying out new formats to see what was most effective and easy for the player to pick up. Wikipedia game examples in RTSs of the unit production menus which emerged from early games and were then copied by many more. It seems like game developers could afford to take more risks and weren't worried about being shoehorned into a category.

One of the most obvious and important developments to emerge from this era is real time 3D gaming. Pioneered by games like Doom they allowed greater exploration and interaction with the environment, as well as being more immersive. The 80s and 90s also gave rise to new formats for video games thanks to home PC gaming. No longer defined by a joypad, games moved to genres such as point and click and text adventures. I really need to get hold of some more LucasArts point and clicks, they're fantastic. I've played Monkey Island 3 and Sam and Max hit the road and they were both absolutely hilarious. Proof here

I first became really interested in games when my brother got a Playstation. It'd been out for maybe a year or two so we knew there were good games out there. We had Spyro, Tekken, GTA, Mechwarrior, Crash Bandicoot. A good mixture of games, I can't remember them all. We had friends with N64s and we used to swap sometimes so they could play the Playstation and we could play their N64. I loved playing Pokemon Stadium and I still love the franchise, as pathetic as that makes me.

I have that pirate song in my head now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And now for something completely relevant.

Well here I am, responding to the articles I've just read and I have to say they were very interesting. The fact that at least 4 'inventors' of the video game have emerged from the various articles is telling in itself. What exactly is a video game? Is it noughts and crosses but with lights? Is it a missile trajectory simulator? Does it have to involve a console or a TV? I doubt there's really a definitive answer to that.
The articles did however agree that video games were originally approached from a very intellectual, and sometimes military angle. Many of the first games were designed as a result of people testing what they could do with their code, or to graphically represent something like tennis ball physics in the 50s.

The fact that the first people to decide to use games for fun are academics is interesting. It explains why the games are approached with specific goals or with advanced physics. Perhaps if games had emerged from a more art based background you would have had more focus on a mood or an experience. Perhaps 'arty' games like Shadow of the Colossus would be far more the norm if things had emerged differently. But I guess games have gradually moved away from what the original creators indended for them anyway, much like television gradually changed from being an educational medium into being a dustbin for rubbish reality TV shows.

The first video game I really remember playing is Super Mario Brothers 3, which I used to play round a friend's house. As I could only play it when I was visiting them, I ended up playing the first world over and over again, and became quite a master at the first level. However the first console we actually owned as a family was an Atari, not sure what model. It had blocky graphics to represent tanks or planes that you could use to attack another player. We used to get it out from the cupboard sometimes and sit around playing it as a family. Not sure when the console is actually from though.

The most recent game I've played is Oblivion, and I've only really been on that for five minutes. The graphics are stunning though. I suppose what's kept me playing is that games are fun, and who doesn't like fun?
Games allow a great social experience. Either having someone solving the puzzles with you on a single player mode, or arguing with a strange person you just met on online chat, or gaining a victory over your friends in a multiplayer mode, games offer something for everyone.
Games also provide you with an immersive world. I love books, but sometimes your imagination can't fully immerse you in a fantasy world the way that creating it on a screen can.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Living in a flat full of girls

Don't get me wrong, most of the time it's great. But occassionally....


A general panic has been created throughout the entire flat because of….. A SPIDER. The poor thing was about as big as a ten pence piece and has now been bludgeoned to death by a bedsheet, a shoe and a chair. It was also apparently of the undead variety of spider as it came back to life after its many beatings.

The alarm was raised by Jo pelting down the corridor to the kitchen screeching like a banshee. Everyone else then ran down to Jo’s room hiding behind Julia, who had nominated herself as the slayer of spiders. Then the beatings began. Seven girls versus one spider is hardly fair I think.

Everyone is now avoiding Jo’s room as if it was a plague pit. I don’t know how the dead spider will be removed.