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Archive for Joe Martin

Listen: Season Three of Unlimited Hyperbole

Posted on 24th Oct 2012 at 07:06 by Joe Martin with 77 comments

Joe Martin
It's been a long time coming but Season Three of my ultra-short and ultra-edited games podcast, Unlimited Hyperbole, has now launched. In keeping with tradition, Simon's been kind enough to let me tell you about the first episode and force the show onto your earballs.

As those of you who've listened previously will know, Unlimited Hyperbole takes a different approach to most other podcasts. It uses a pre-determined theme to guide discussion with a new special guest for each episode, then edits those discussions down to a focused 15 minute show.

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Listen: Season Two of Unlimited Hyperbole

Posted on 11th Jul 2012 at 08:06 by Joe Martin with 77 comments

Joe Martin
A short while ago Simon was kind enough to let me tell you all about a new podcast series I launched called Unlimited Hyperbole. Now, I'm invading this space once more to tell you that the show is now running into it's second season - and that means new guests, new music and a new topic.

Rather than 'My Favourite Game', the topic this time around is a little more open; 'Fear Itself'.

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Listen to: The Unlimited Hyperbole Podcast

Posted on 28th May 2012 at 09:33 by Joe Martin with 77 comments

Joe Martin
Believe it or not, I'm not someone who's usually all that comfortable talking about themselves or pushing their ideas on to others. I'd much rather be left alone with a bottle of wine and a new computer game. So, you'll understand why I want to keep it brief when I say: listen to my new podcast. It's called Unlimited Hyperbole.

While it's a podcast, Unlimited Hyperbole is unlike most other shows in that it is short and intensively edited. It pulls on exclusive interviews with special guests and each episode culls more than an hour of conversation into just 15 minutes of finely honed discussion. Even the topic is controlled, being decided in advance for a season of five episodes.

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Games I Own: Painkiller

Posted on 11th Oct 2011 at 07:30 by Joe Martin with 31 comments

Joe Martin
Painkiller is a game about frenzy, about being 'in the zone' and about bunny-hopping at 100 miles an hour around gothic castles packed with skeletons and cackling witches. It's a game about violence and speed; the satisfying buzz of a well-executed headshot performed from the hip.

Or, to put it another way, it's a game about 'THUNK!' That's the noise it makes when you fire half a pool-cue across the map and it lands, pinning your enemy's collapsed body to the floor.

THUNK!

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Thoughts on Clutter and Junk

Posted on 5th Jun 2011 at 11:50 by Joe Martin with 31 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve been playing Star Wars: Jedi Academy lately. I didn’t play it when it first came out, but good word of mouth and a budget Steam price proved hard to resist. Overall, it’s a pretty good game too, although I’ll never be as effusive about it as my pals. One thing I can’t get over, though, is how incredibly dated the game looks.

It’s been hard for me to pin down exactly why Jedi Academy feels so dated, as the graphics actually hold up very well for a seven year old game using the twelve year old id Tech 3 engine. Lately, I’ve come to think that it’s the sparseness of the levels that makes it feel archaic. There are too many empty desks in the cantinas, too many barren walls; there’s not enough clutter in the world.

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Thoughts on Jumping

Posted on 15th May 2011 at 09:30 by Joe Martin with 29 comments

Joe Martin
It may seem an odd subject to focus on, as jumping doesn't seem to be very important on the face of it – cut it out of a game, though, and it can make a huge difference. Games in which players can’t jump, or at the very least dodge or roll, can seem painfully slow, dull and static. Games in which players can jump around and use that movement to interact with the environment can seem immeasurably more fun because of it.

Take Half-Life 2, for example. It’s a game which nearly everyone would agree is well-made, decently written, fun and fast to play through. Now cast your mind back to the first scene in Kliener’s lab, where Gordon is first properly introduced to his allies, where the plot is given its first proper push and where you’re gifted with the HEV suit again. It’s a busy sequence; lots to do, lots to take in. You’d expect most players to pay close attention, at least the first time around.

Instead, every single player I know spends most of the time jumping around. Sometimes they try to jump on the scenery or knock over objects, other times they just leapfrog around the room when a simple stroll would suffice.

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Meet Heather Poe

Posted on 17th Apr 2011 at 10:38 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Meet Heather Poe Someone I Want You To Meet

This is Heather Poe. She’s a young woman, living in Los Angeles and attending college there, though it isn’t her hometown. She’s kind, happy, eager to please and a little bit geeky. She’s also one of the best features of one of my favourite games, Troika’s Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.

You find Heather in the hospital, where she’s been rushed into the emergency room for some strange neck wound. As a newly turned vampire yourself, you know that there’s more to this story than meets the eye, but your heightened senses also tell you that she’ll survive her undead encounter if she just gets some fresh haemoglobin. Unfortunately, there isn’t a doctor to hand and the hospital is criminally understaffed.

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Thoughts on The Arctic Cooling GCM

Posted on 18th Feb 2011 at 07:39 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Joe Martin
This isn’t really a review, and I can’t label it as such, if only because Arctic Cooling’s GCM isn’t really the type of device we usually cover. Still, when it landed in the office I just couldn’t help myself. It looked so cheap and nasty that the other guys in the office recoiled from it in melodramatic disgust. I had to write about it.

You’ve seen gizmos like the GCM before, probably. It wouldn’t be out of place on the prize rack of a fairground attraction, or in a machine at that really run-down arcade that your parents never let you go to. The packaging is emblazoned with bold claims that try to sell the GCM to you on a sheer value factor – 80 games in 1? Wowee! – all of which strengthens the impression that it’s going to be rubbish.

But, hey, at least it comes with its own Arctic Cooling batteries!

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Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel

Posted on 13th Feb 2011 at 10:02 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

Joe Martin
Requiem: Avenging Angel is a classic example of a game that should be very well known, but isn’t. In fact, it’s more likely that you've never heard of it, which is odd considering that it was the first ever game to feature bullet time, while having similar gameplay to Jedi Knight. That sounds like a winning formula, right?

Requiem has more going for it than just a single feature and a passing similarity, though. It was also one of the first modern games to tread in Half-Life’s shoes; trapping players in a first person perspective and allowing players to travel back and forth through some levels.

Unfortunately, Requiem had a whole heap of problems, which outweighed these strengths and stopped it from collecting acclaim of either the critical or commercial variety. Firstly, the levels were incredibly boring to fight through and, while Requiem opens strongly with a few gory levels in hellish Limbo, it eventually descends into a blocky romp through generic sci-fi locations. The obligatory sewer section doesn’t help either.

Requiem’s biggest problem, however, is simply the subject matter; Catholicism.

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Bit-Gamer Competition #6

Posted on 7th Feb 2011 at 12:01 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
Last week we asked you to let us know what you thought about Sony's newly announced NGP for a chance to win one of two bundles of PC strategy games. Now, we announce the winners and set a whole new competition!

First, we'll set the rules for the new competition. What we want you to do this week is either send us a question or let us know which game you'd like us to discuss in our next games podcast.

We have two sets of prizes to give away, one for the forums and one for Facebook.

If you want to enter via the forums then all you need to do is drop your answer in the comments to this article for a chance to win a copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on the Xbox 360, plus Daniel Wilson's How to Survive a Robot Uprising book!

If you want to enter via Facebook then you should tell us on our Facebook page for a chance to win Medal of Honour on PS3, plus a copy of Chris Ryan's novelization. You can, of course, enter both as many times as you want to increase your chances of winning.

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