Little worlds within themselves: the use of islands as setting and structural elements within games, part 1

Today marks the last day of the festival week held on the small island where I was raised. In honour of this, I’ve produced a mini-series on the use of islands as settings and gameplay structures in various games. Titles that have utilised islands range from cartoon-platformer Crash Bandicoot (1996) through fantastical adventure-JRPG Kingdom Hearts (2002) to… Continue reading Little worlds within themselves: the use of islands as setting and structural elements within games, part 1

Un-Real Tennis: the early history of tennis video games and how they helped shape the medium

The great Billie Jean King allegedly once described tennis as “a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility”. Whilst this speaks perfectly to the juxtaposition of on-court struggle and respectful, tradition-laden presentation epitomised by Wimbledon, it’s also a description that could be applied to many video game experiences. Indeed,… Continue reading Un-Real Tennis: the early history of tennis video games and how they helped shape the medium

Symphonic Odysseys Part 1 – Impressions from the pre-show talk with Nobuo Uematsu

Last Tuesday, the Barbican played host to “the first ever UK concert dedicated solely to the music of Nobuo Uematsu”. For those unaware, Uematsu is a Japanese composer widely regarded – along with Nintendo’s Koji Kondo – as the godfather of video game soundtracks. What perhaps distinguishes Uematsu most from his peers is the regard… Continue reading Symphonic Odysseys Part 1 – Impressions from the pre-show talk with Nobuo Uematsu

Introductory thoughts: death, inspiration and game developers

Part I – On notable deaths The past few years have been pretty traumatic for pop-culture aficionados. Fans and creators alike are living through an unprecedentedly gloomy time, and that’s ignoring the potential shake-ups to Western culture that current geopolitical situations entail. Nor is this situation due to the sorts of unhappiness that accompany shifting… Continue reading Introductory thoughts: death, inspiration and game developers