Animal Weapons – Videogames vs History

If you want a game to look zany, turn any animal into a tool for destruction. The creature might be the weapon itself, useful for bludgeoning, or it might be the ammunition that you fling or fire at your confused opponents. Either way, animal weapons are usually delightful. On the other hand, animal weapons in History tend to be a bit more alarming…

Animal Weapons – Videogames vs History

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Giving Thanks: The Little Things

There are lots of big reasons to love a videogame. Great gameplay, thrilling story, stunning visuals and so on. These are the major factors that decide whether a game will draw us in or not. Yet once we’ve embraced the experience, it’s often the smaller details in a game that make the journey so much greater. When we are reminded of a game we played years ago it’s often the little things that we remember.

I am thankful for those mini moments in videogames. They are the gems that the player can only notice once they are on board, enriching the adventure once they are discovered. These are some of my favourite ‘little things’ from videogames new and old.

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Gaming and Misbehaving: Spore and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I swear on my honour that I can be a sensible gamer. I do know how to play games properly. It’s just that, now and then, I am compelled to ignore the path the game has laid out for me. It’s why people think I’m so cool and rebellious. [Turns imaginary cap backwards]

Gaming and Misbehaving: Spore and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Spore and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion are significantly different games. One is a game a God Game where the player controls the ‘evolution’ of a species from primordial soup-dweller to galactic dominator; the other is an action role playing game set in a mythical-medieval world. Yet there is one very clear similarity between these games where I am considered: the way I misbehaved when playing them.

This is the third week of me admitting my misbehaviour. In Dishonored, I was way more violent than the game suggested I should be. In Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, I lost all sense of respectability. As for Spore and Oblivion, I actually started playing both games as intended. I put lots of hours into each game, following the rules for the most part. However, despite several play-throughs of both games, I have never finished either of them. I would deliberately quit both games at a certain point, and go back to the start.

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Gaming and Misbehaving: Dishonored

Gamers do as they are told. Video games set the rules, and we follow them. When a game says “jump”, we press the jump button. We will run, fight and sometimes dance when the game demands it. We play the game as intended…most of the time

Sometimes we get to do things that the game didn’t plan for. We can’t exactly break the rules – unless we want to fall through the game world or glitch out – but we can bend the rules for our amusement. We’ve all done it. (Yes you have, don’t lie). Sometimes we misbehave because we’re looking for a laugh, sometimes we do it because the game isn’t what we expected. Other times, we play the wrong way to see if the video game will stop us.

This was going to be a one-off article with several examples, but I soon realised this was turning into a biiig looong blogpost. So instead I’ve picked out one game that I played incorrectly. If this proves to be an interesting read, then I’ll bring out the other examples later.

​Gaming and Misbehaving: Dishonored

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What Should Really Anger Gamers?

Dear Video Gamers, are you angry? Is the thing you’re irritated by on this list? No? Then you’re probably fuming about the wrong thing. You silly person. Don’t go wasting your time incensed by anything else!

#1: Bloopers

In the loveable, wonderful sport of Mario Kart, there is really only one monster ruining the fun for everyone. Bowser or Wario seem like they’d be the party-poopers, but even they know a good time when they see one. No, Bloopers are a blight on an otherwise joyous landscape. And they know it too, the little cretins.

​What Should Really Anger Gamers?

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Weird Theory: Do Pokémon have a greater purpose?

There’s something slightly odd about the world of Pokémon. It’s not the hundreds of animals with elemental powers and supernatural abilities. No, that all makes perfect sense when you think about it. It’s the world itself that doesn’t quite make sense.

I’ve poked fun at the nature of Pokémon in the past – the effortless and never-ending happiness of every NPC, the unspoken chivalric code between Pokémon, the disturbing side of Poké Balls – but I only recently put all the mysterious pieces together in one theory. A theory which explains all the oddities in the game series. A theory as airtight as it is entirely unnecessary.

​Weird Theory: Do Pokémon have a greater purpose?

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How do Games remind us that we are Weak and Feeble?

Games are fun, but I sometimes get the impression they don’t like us all that much. It doesn’t matter how many times you have levelled up or how many weapons you have strapped across your chest; the game is in charge and won’t hesitate to prove it.

b9a7d0b367524e36d60a5ec5b10b81768708d8bdThe majority of video games entertain us by making us feel awesome. They might transform us into the ultimate warrior or the most resilient survivalist or the greatest sportsmen there has ever been. Games lift us up and allow us to feel superior. However, before that feeling of awesomeness can turn into arrogant smugness, games can always find a way to keep you level-headed.

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How Does Your Game Keep You Contained? Part 2

The hero seeks a new adventure. Every Mutant Ewok of the Decidedly-Evil Forest has been murdered; the Casually Racist Imps have each been forcefully evicted from the Cave of Moaners; the hero has made so many Dragon’s Teeth necklaces that they’ve considered setting up a little jewellery store in the city centre. (It’ll bring in a little extra money in the winter when all the big quests have dried up.)

But now the hero sets off for new lands. They clamber aboard their newly acquired sailboat – made from the bodies of two dozen Ents that really did deserve it – and casts off across the ocean. The wind takes the sails and adventure steals our hero’s heart!

What exciting new lands will our brave and sexy hero discover? What new monsters will they vanquish in the heat of violent battle? What… erm… what is the hero doing? I think… I think the ship is stuck… on… nothing. Okay then… now the ship is turning back. Well… that’s… all praise the mighty hero?

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How Does Your Game Keep You Contained? Part 1

A lone hero seeks adventure in a dangerous world. In one hand they clasp an ancient sword made from the devil’s weirdest nightmares. In the other hand they hold a giant handgun so powerful that it doesn’t need to be loaded to kill from two miles away. From head to toe, the hero is clad in armour that prevents attackers from remembering why they were even mad in the first place. There is so much arcane magic coursing through the hero’s veins, that one sneeze can level an entire cinema. Only a 1 or 2-screen cinema, but it’s still pretty cool when it happens.

Yet today, the hero will meet their match. No enemy, real or imagined, has ever managed to best this courageous, mighty and inexplicably handsome warrior. Today is the day when the hero faces…a fence which is slightly too high to jump over.

cannot go

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Do You Care for Quick Time Events?

I love Quick Time Events. There, I said it. Don’t worry; I’m aware that bad QTEs exist. After all, gamers often state categorically that they “love video games” knowing full well that bad games exist. Similarly, I’m fond of Quick Time Events despite the fact that many examples are quite awful. Quite a lot of them actually…

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Let’s face reality: QTEs aren’t going anywhere, whether you like them or not. We could, as a gaming community, continue to scowl angrily each time an unwelcome prompt appears on screen. Or we can embrace this game-play quirk. Rather than dismissing all QTEs, perhaps we could classify what makes a ‘Good QTE’, and ask for more of that ilk?

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