Friday, 18 June 2010

“I’m going outside…. I may be some time.”

The Gaming Gentleman is getting hitched.

This is just a quick note to say that I won’t be updating the blog for a couple of weeks. I’m off this weekend to get married to my long-suffering fiancĂ©e and will be loafing on a beach for a while, enjoying my new life as a married man. But don’t fret; I’ve no doubt that my mistress, video games, will be waiting for me upon my return.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Red Dead Review

My review of Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox 360 has been published at Game Kudos.

I thoroughly recommend it to any fans of sandbox action adventure games and to anyone who enjoyed the GTA series. For me, the most surprising thing about the game was the very clever way in which the developers used the classic style of story telling, prevalent in the great western movies, to usher the game along. Playing Red Dead Redemption feels as close as possible to being in the toughest parts of the old west without the aid of Doc Emmett Brown.

In short, the game scores 8.2/10 and the single player game far outstrips the multiplayer. Utterly engaging and entertaining, a great buy that offers a bare-bones minimum of about 20 hours of superb gameplay.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The missing link(s)

Over the last couple of months I have been writing for a new website, Game Kudos, which launched in May and which is truly one to watch. With great reviews, thoughtful articles and commentary on the gaming industry as well as a fledgling community, GK is making waves in the gaming world. We have been granted press access to E3 next week and our writers will be updating the site from the floor at the exhibition.
I have had several articles published there already and, from today, will be linking them to the blog whenever my work is published. Below are the articles and reviews available to read now:

I remember that! Rick Dangerous, 1983 - This is an article adapted from a post here at The Gaming Gentleman, discussing one of my favourite platform games on the Amiga 500.

Dragon Age: Origins - A review looking at Bioware’s RPG epic on the Xbox 360.

I remember that! The Elite series Part 1 - The first part of a two-part article covering the groundbreaking work of Elite creators David Braben and Ian Bell.

The Settlers - A review of the RTS adaptation for iPhone.

The “I remember that!” series is a group of articles written for the Retrospective section of the site, which covers the history of gaming and looks back on some old classics. A couple of other articles are in the editing process at the moment and will be available to read shortly. There is, however, no need to wait for my updates, as the site is full of content submitted by a great team of writers. You can join our community at the website and also follow GK on twitter (@GameKudos) to get minute by minute, interview by interview updates from our team at E3. Watch this space!

Friday, 4 June 2010

The etiquette and idiocies of in-game chat

With the advent of multiplayer networks, such as Xbox LIVE, a new level of interactivity in gaming has been possible. In the past the only way to enjoy a console game in the company of your friends was to do so together, in the same room using split screen multiplayer games such as Golden Eye (007) on the N64. This had its own charm, of course, not least because it meant you would be spending time with your friends whilst engaging in some co-operative team based mayhem or simply blasting each other into the Stone Age.

With Xbox LIVE came in-game chat. Players could now have the same joshing banter with their friends while enjoying a game, despite being geographically separated. This doesn’t mean an end to groups of friends convening at one place to play, just an addition to the gaming experience.

However, with in-game chat came a problem: strangers. It is entirely possible to converse, in-game, with people you have never met, and who aren’t even on your “friends” list of gamer-tag contacts. As you can’t see the person you are talking to, and don’t know them, this could open up a Pandora’s box of multiplayer problems. Although a vast majority of gamers are at least polite and congenial during heated exchanges of gunfire or whilst sneaking up on an unsuspecting guard from two flanks, frustratingly, some of the people encountered in the game-o-sphere can be most politely described as idiots. There are those who are simply abusive; who curse vulgarly and launch violent verbal assaults upon anyone they deem to be lesser gamer, or who has simply done something, in-game, that they didn’t like.

These angry shouting morons are one of the main reasons that many people choose not to use their console’s voice chat feature and play muted. This doesn’t entirely remove from their gaming experience, but they aren’t then able to interact with other human players, for the banter, for the tactical exploitation of information that they wouldn’t otherwise have, or just to gloat (in a Gentlemanly/Lady-like way, of course) after a particularly spectacular kill/stunt/crash. There are also idiotic tendencies with regard less experienced gamers playing co-operative games. Very often the infamous words are heard “Help me, I’m over here!” without reference to where “over here” is. Unlike in real life a comrade’s panicked voice doesn’t come from any particular direction that you can follow, it’s transmitted directly to the ear. Where are you? I want to help, but you aren’t helping me to help you!

Finally, although there are many other examples, one of the most annoying traits of uncouth chat fiends is the unacceptable practice of male gamers being abusive to female gamers on the basis of gender. Some male gamers seem to think that they have an inherent right to gaming and if they get “humiliated” online by the superior skills of a “mere girl” then they retort with a torrent of inexcusable insults.

The idiocy plaguing multiplayer chat can be stemmed with the judicial application of etiquette. Be polite, don’t be overly aggressive or abusive and treat other gamers with the same respect with which you would wish to be treated. Above and beyond all of that, even if you are losing, remember: It’s only a game.

Id like to tip my figurative hat to a gentleman friend of mine with whom I have spent countless hours enjoying multiplayer gaming using in-game chat, and whose drunken suggestion led to this article. I salute you, sir.