Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Great Batman: Arkham City Preview Swindle

Not sure how to feel about this. A while ago I wrote a Batman: Arkham City preview for BeefJack. It was very well received. Largest day one traffic for a preview in the history of the site. A few thousand visitors I'm led to believe.
Was one of those visitors Edge magazine editor, Tony Mott?
I ask because the latest issue of Edge (231) carries an editorial that bears more than a passing similarity to my BeefJack preview.

The 'offending' article. Click for bigger.

For an amateur videogame writer such as myself, to have one of his best jobs ripped off by one of the most respected videogame publications in the world is probably something I should be angry about.
But I'm not. Because that's probably not what happened.
The more likely scenario is that something about Batman: Arkham City needed to be written on BeefJack, I picked an angle and followed it through to it's logical conclusion. Tony Mott, weeks later, unwittingly chose the same angle and logic also prevailed.
So what I'm left with is something approaching pride. Pride in my ability to suck the juice out of a story just as well as the editor of Edge.
And there you have it.
I'm sure Edge will be calling me any moment now to hire me.
Any moment...

now. Any moment...

*checks phone* *yes there's a dialling tone* 

*waits patiently*...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Wipeout Pure - PSP Go review

An edited version of this review can be found at GamePeople

Wipeout Pure - PSP Go review

At its core, Studio Liverpool’s Wipeout Pure for PSP is the game any Wipeout fan would expect; pilot ludicrously fast anti-gravity racers around futuristic raceways of increasing difficulty against AI opponents (or humans over wifi). But since its 32bit roots each subsequent instalment has added feature upon feature with critically diminishing returns. Studio Liverpool have clearly recognised that the franchise has lost a little of the initial appeal with every tacked on addition and in developing Wipeout Pure they first took a machete to the previous instalments and kick-started a decelerating franchise in the process. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

'Athena' - Big Dumb Sci-fi

Finished. Kaput. Finito. 
Open University Creative writing module A215 has breathed its last. Below is the final piece that I submitted. It is clearly, hugely derivative of James Cameron's output but that is what I was going for. I wanted to see if I could write Big Dumb Action.
Perhaps a final exam is not the best time to flex those muscles and I should possibly have gone for a theme that leaned more towards the cerebral as opposed to the visceral. But, I made my decision and I stand by my opinion that this is Quite Good Actually.
The Open University examiners felt a little differently, however. Oh, I passed. But only by the skin of my teeth. My overall output during the course of the year earned me 76/100. The piece you're about to read was marked separately and scored me a Grade 3 Pass. Which is a score that sits sheepishly somewhere between 55 and 69.
If you haven't read all of my Open University stuff and feel like catching up, here you go:

Lessons learned: 
  • Give myself more time to write assignments.
  • Prepare.
  • Read the bloody books I get sent.
  • Don't stick to one particular theme. Broaden my scope.
Next up is A363 Advanced Creative Writing. Applied for and starting in October. Must try harder.
But... I still think the story below is fucking ace.

Chapter 1 of a book that doesn't exist.

I had a nightmare that I was born on a battle-field. As a 19 year old baby I screwed my eyes closed tightly and clutched cold metal to my chest in a comforting embrace. Blind, knew nothing of my surroundings other than what my remaining senses told me. I heard thunder; rumbles and cracks that at times felt distant and mountainous, at others at such close quarters that I felt pain. Cold, wetness spattered my face, giving temporary relief to my burning cheeks. Shouts and screams accompanied footfall either side of me, the muffled, hurried treading of dozens passing me on their way to God knows where. The ground beneath my knees shook. Fireworks exploded in my nerve endings as my shoulders were grabbed and I was hauled to my feet by unseen hands. Opening my eyes filled my life with light and provided such a shock that the rest of my senses shut down. Numb and deaf I saw an ashen face in front of mine; so close that it filled my vision. It was the face of desperate anger; covered in grey dust, a foundation of grime that did its best to hide cuts and grazes filled with blood and oil. The coating of dust did nothing, though, to hide the man’s craggy, scarred complexion; and was even more ill equipped to hide the fear in his eyes. I dumbly watched his mouth open and close in silent roars. I tasted his saliva and saw in his passion and urgency that his main concern was making sure that whatever it was that I was doing, I should stop doing it and start doing something different. He held me by the shoulders and he was strong. Turning his attention away from me for a moment, I saw in his thick grey hair dried blood and more of the grey dust that covered his forehead and nose, and coloured his eyebrows. The desperate man turned to face me again, he let go of my shoulders and grabbed the assault rifle that I had been holding against my chest. He didn’t take it from me and I didn’t or couldn’t let go, he just shook it and slammed it against my ribs three times, mouthing a silent refrain. Then he let go of me entirely, stared a stare that filled my blood vessels, turned on his heel and ran. The black tunnel of my vision could only take in his retreating form. Knowing of no other option, I followed.