A quick reflection on video gaming in 2017

Though I’m uncertain as to whether it’s an officially observed day of celebration in the UK, ‘Video Games Day‘ has had some minor publicity this year in Britain. Sadly, this has mostly come in the form of shoddy journalists producing poorly researched ‘top lists’ and retailers using it as an excuse for flash sales. Despite… Continue reading A quick reflection on video gaming in 2017

Un-Real Tennis part 2: the emergence of Japanese developed tennis games

To mark the end of the US Open, I present the second part of my short history of tennis video games. The first part can be found here. Foreign coaching In the first part of this history, I discussed how the early years of arcade and home-console gaming were dominated by ‘Pong-clones’. It’s fair to… Continue reading Un-Real Tennis part 2: the emergence of Japanese developed tennis games

Little worlds within themselves, part 2: islands as introductory segments within games

Amongst games that feature islands as parts of more diverse settings, there are some which utilise them to stage the setting off point of the hero’s journey. For a basic example, let us return to Yoshi’s Island in Super Mario World (1990): forming the smallest part of the continent of ‘Dinosaur Land’, it acts as a… Continue reading Little worlds within themselves, part 2: islands as introductory segments within games

Images, items and iconography of gaming, part 1 – photography of play

August 19th is World Photography Day. What better reason to gather together a load of awesome photos of people enjoying life by playing games together? The featured image for this article shows a game of ‘draughts‘ (or ‘checkers‘). Like many of the games shown below, the history of draughts spans across many centuries, countries and… Continue reading Images, items and iconography of gaming, part 1 – photography of play

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’ll be writing 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)… Continue reading Little worlds within themselves: the use of islands as setting and structural elements within games, part 1

Un-Real Tennis part 1: 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 part 1: 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