28 Jan 2009

QUICK CAP REVIEW - Mirror's Edge

It's a white nothingness. White walls, white ceilings and white floors. You run along them, you jump about, you fall... you repeat. It's like limbo, that uncomfortable transition between normality and heaven, except here it's also a transition between the roof of a skyscraper and the ground below. It's repetition, repeated over and over again. Again. It's as beautiful as it is blinding and as stupid as it is clever.

Mirror's Edge simulates the sensation of parkour on your computer monitor. It's innovative and strikingly fun at times. But then, conversely, it's sloppy and evokes feelings of despair. The bad story, the awful enemies. Shoe-horning tired FPS mechanics into this game is like taking the time to nurture the most beautiful white dove before slicing its wings off and throwing it out of a window.

It's a blessing then, that the time trials are where the true fun is to be had. No shit enemies, no poor plot, just you bettering yourself again and again. The repetition's there, but it's fun now. You take your time and learn the courses, watching the clock and honing your skills and then you realise what it could have been...

It's a great game, but it's a bad game.

VERDICT: Worth playing for what it could have been.

19 Jan 2009

The Indie Project 2009

So, as the memories of last year's mostly mediocre high-profile releases crumble away into a fine, forgotten dust - one that is briskly swept aside by this year's promising big guns - most gaming websites are looking to the future, trying to scope out what the next World of Goo will be or wondering who can better Braid*. We want to know what indie treat we'll be able to feast upon in the coming months, that we can proudly hold aloft and say "What ho! Take that major developers!" and we'll all feel very proud of ourselves because it's the game critics equivalent of walking up to a marvelously intelligent and attractive homeless person in the street and screaming out "This guy is just fantastic! He's a real good egg!" and then walking away.

Well, you might have seen recently that IGN claim to have already found their Holy Grail of indie-pop for the year. Crayon Physics Deluxe, you may have read, is rather good. But I'll be willing to argue that it isn't great. It's new and interesting, but it doesn't spark that flame that was lit when you clobbered your first raptor with a mace attached to the rear of your jeep in Off-Road Velociraptor Safari. It doesn't tickle that fancy in the same way that realising your Tremors-based fantasies did in Death Worm. Despite it's beautiful appearance and crafty puzzling, the magic is missing somewhere.

But I'm not posting here to discuss the pros and cons of Crayon Physics Deluxe. I'm here to announce a plan to create the world's greatest, praise-inducing, indie classic for 2009 myself, with my own head. Not only that, but I'm going to take it to the masses, to some of the greatest indie developers of our time to see if they are willing to create a work of such blinding genius, or at least approve of its creation. Okay, so to begin with I need ideas that involve some or all of the following: originality, absurdist humour, a political message and more importantly, physics.

Check back for some mind-blowing synopses...

*Yes, I know Braid hasn't been released for PC yet, but it's been such a long time coming, all the anticipation has dissipated because we all know how good it is. Plus, I've already played it on 360.

16 Jan 2009

The Dead Pixel Post

Considering the current economic climate, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Dead Pixel Post has been put into administration, that its loyal labourers have downed tools and headed back home to their wives, their heads hung low, their pockets empty and hearts heavy.

You might be thinking that if Woolworths went down the pan - England's greatest one-stop-shop for penny chews and bargain-bin CD singles - then why not too your favourite internet reading site as well? What's to stop that from occuring?

What would it be like, looking back as the factory gates swung shut for the final time and a young orphan child, his face blackened with chimney soot, raised one finger towards the iron sign?

'D-Dedd...' he would whisper slowly. 'Um... Pick-sell... P-P-Poast'

And I would follow where that finger pointed and, with my own eyes witness the irony of it all.

'Well, she is truly dead now.'

As the new year pokes its ugly head around the door of our wintery discontent we let out a sigh, not of relief for the coming of better times, but of our begrudging acceptance that nothing will change. It's a world of armed conflict, of grudges and death, capitalism and human rights

And through all that, you can't help but think:

Still though, at least we've got fucking computer games.

Or at least that's how I go about about ignoring world events and my responsibilities as a human being.

Oh, and you can put down that razor blade. The Dead Pixel Post is open for business.
And, yes, I'm well-aware that any reader-base I may have built up is now squandered on lesser, more shit blogs. My advice: flee them! come back and read this, if ever you existed. It's much better. Even if it was like the father that was never there. Or the one that would beat you when he was...

I've been a bad daddy. There will be only cuddles and kisses from now on.