bit-gamer.net

Archive for the ‘story’ tag

My Gaming Twitch

Posted on 25th Sep 2010 at 09:47 by Joe Martin with 60 comments

Joe Martin
Once upon a time, when I was a littler boy, I used to spend my evenings watching my Dad play computer games. It started back with Amiga classics, like the Cryo’s adventure/strategy hybrid based on Frank Herbert’s Dune, but later moved to more modern games on the PC, especially the Thief games.

Despite the games my Dad played though, you couldn’t really ever consider him to be a gamer. He chose a few games and played them religiously, but he didn’t have the breadth of gaming knowledge that I have and when he played, you could see that. He manifested it physically, especially in 3D games which he sometimes found difficult to navigate.

Playing Thief: The Dark Age, for example, he would move his head to match the movements of the mouse. If he moved the mouse to tell Garret to look up then my Dad would also move his head to look up, though keeping his eyes glued to the screen. When he needed to shoot a rope arrow into some rafters overhead then he’d slowly start to point his nose at the ceiling, gazing down past his chin. Peering over an in-game cliff he’d be burying his jaw in his chest, having to open his eyes wide so he could see past his eyebrows. The constant side-to-side movements made him look like he was nursing a stiff neck, but I don’t think he was ever aware he was doing it, even when he did it really fast.

Read more

My First LAN Party

Posted on 23rd Sep 2010 at 10:47 by Sophie Bray with 39 comments

Sophie Bray
The whole concept of a LAN party was new to me up until three weeks ago and, to be honest, I always thought there was a bit of a stigma attached to them in terms of how geeky they are. When I told some of my friends what I was doing some scoffed and some didn't have a clue what one was, but most were just amused that I was even going to one.

I too was sceptical at first but, as I watched my cousin's boyfriend excitedly pack numerous bits of electronic equipment into the back of his car, I realised that there was more to a LAN party than I thought. I tried to go in with an open mind, even though I’ve never been a big gamer in the past. A few Wii games and Pokemon: Silver on the DS are the limits of my gaming credentials.

So, I was crammed into the back of a car next to a giant television, on my way to a LAN party where fifteen other people were already waiting to kick some serious butt. Then, before I knew it, I was immersed in a tense game of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and was congratulating myself for finally shooting someone after four minutes of play. My joy was short lived, as a friend crept up and stabbed me in the back just seconds later – a tactic he used for the rest of the game. It was frustrating to die so quickly and regularly, but I was still hooked.

Read more

Thoughts on Cutscenes

Posted on 12th May 2010 at 12:40 by Joe Martin with 48 comments

Joe Martin
I’m playing No One Lives Forever at the moment and, while it’s an undeniably great game and one that I’ve played many times, I’ve found myself getting increasingly infuriated with it for one simple reason. The cutscenes are far too long. They break up the flow of the game far too much and the mission briefings are often so padded out with needless dialog that it’s impossible not to get distracted.

What makes it all so much worse is the fact that much of the information you’re being bombarded with is repetitive, as well as flabby. You spend ten minutes listening to Cate Archer being berated for being an incompetent woman in the male dominated spy industry of the 1960s before the supposed mission briefing even tells you what you’ll be doing in the next mission. Then, when the cutscene is all over, it’s all summed up for you in a objectives and story screen anyway. It’s a massive flaw in an otherwise striking and superb title.

Length isn’t the only issue with NOLF’s cutscenes though – they are also rendered dull by how static they are with just three characters standing and talking, unmoving. Monolith obviously tried to liven things up by throwing in some interactive bits where you can choose how Cate responds to her superiors, but it’s too little and too late.

What really bothers me though is that No One Lives Forever isn’t by any means an exception. Almost every game imaginable has problems with cutscenes – it’s a well documented theory that Valve shot itself in the foot by deciding to always have Half-Life told from a silent first person perspective. In the short term it definitely increases the immersion, but with the story that Valve is telling it’s unbelievable that Gordon should be so stoic and static.

Read more

Games I Own: Monopoly

Posted on 14th Apr 2010 at 14:43 by Joe Martin with 23 comments

Joe Martin
When I was younger there were a lot of games I wasn’t allowed to play, like Street Fighter, for example. My parents took a dim view of that sort of thing and funnelled me towards adventure and puzzle games instead. I can look back happily now, glad that I ended up playing Monkey Island rather than Mortal Kombat, but I was actually quite annoyed about it at the time.

I swore, childishly, that when I got older I would play whatever games I damn well pleased, whenever I wanted – but things didn’t quite turn out that way. Well, OK, mostly they did, but let's not get distracted from this story...

The point is that, while I have a copy of Monopoly sat on a shelf in my wardrobe, I’ve learned that I’m better off sticking to different types of games. I’ve banned myself from playing it under any circumstances.

Read more

Like Father, Like Son

Posted on 26th Feb 2010 at 10:59 by Joe Martin with 39 comments

Joe Martin
I had an interesting experience the other day. It was late and I, staggering home from a party through the streets of Reading, overheard something unusual. My ears caught a familiar word in the lull between the music I was listening to and I looked around. It was a dreary, drizzly night and the streets were almost empty, so it didn’t take me long to locate the source.

The word I had heard was ‘Tegra’ and what I saw was a father walking behind me, explaining something to his young son. The kid must have been no older than 11, in fact.

Now, I should clarify that I don’t really know very much about Tegra. I know the basics, but my knowledge pales in comparison to the rest of the bit-tech.net and Custom PC staff. It’s why you don’t see me writing graphic card reviews. Still, I knew enough to follow a bit of this eavesdropped conversation in which the Dad explained what Tegra was to his boy.

I was intrigued. It wasn’t the type of conversation you’d expect to hear on a city street at 11AM and the fact that the boy was earnestly interested fascinated me. Discreetly and slyly, I stopped my music and let the pair overtake me. We were heading in the same direction and I wanted to hear more about the conversation, so I listened in for a bit as I made my way home.

Read more

I’m So Sick Of World War II

Posted on 21st Sep 2009 at 11:46 by Joe Martin with 54 comments

Joe Martin
I don’t mean any disrespect by this by the way, but as far as computer and videogames go I have to say, I’m so bloody tired of World War II games!

Don’t get me wrong, they can be great. I thought Call of Duty 2 was a fantastic game, for example and that bit where you’re crawling through that pipe above the heads of Nazi soldiers is cemented into my head as a favourite. But that was five years ago and it feels like we’ve had nothing but re-runs since then. Not just in the FPS genre either, but with RTS’ too.

And they all have similarly bland names as well; Call of Duty, Men of Valour, Company of Heroes, Brothers in Arms, Order of War, Medal of Honour and the blandest of all, Men of War. It really is like the publishers have two wheels of words that they spin, connecting the result with ‘of’.

The frustrating thing is that, judged on their own merits, the games are often quite good. It’s just the quantity of them that I object to, along with the fact that they all re-use the same bland moments of cinema. I’ve stormed Omaha and sought cover in Normandy hedgerows so many times that I can’t visit France for fear that I’d shoot nearby German tourists on sheer reflex. It’s that old disconnect between the enjoyable mechanics of the game and the repetitive visuals. I’m not tired of shooting people, I’m just tired of doing it then and there.

Read more

What I learned from Deus Ex

Posted on 2nd Mar 2009 at 14:16 by Joe Martin with 37 comments

Joe Martin
What did I learn from Deus Ex?someone asked me on the forums the other week. My answer? Tonnes.

The things that Warren Spector’s seminal FPS/RPG taught me can be broadly divided into three things; things it taught me about games, the world and myself. The very fact that I can definitely point to Deus Ex as something educational says an awful lot about the depth of the game itself and about how much I love it, by the way. When it comes to Deus Ex I’m fully willing to admit to being a totally biased fanboy.

Deus Ex taught me more about computer games than almost any game I’ve ever played and a huge amount of that is owed to the structured non-linearity of the game. If you’ve not played it (and I’ll accept no excuses) then you should know that although Deus Ex is a very linear game, it’s also very freeform. The storyline is best described as elastic as, although you’ll always go through the same levels in the same order, their content can differ hugely.

My favourite part of the game is the New York hotel your brother stays in, The ‘Ton.

Read more

AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review

AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review

Today we're looking at AMDs Kabini setup - it's super cheap but is it...
Fractal Design Arc XL Review

Fractal Design Arc XL Review

Fractal's Arc range of cases gets the XL treatment, and the Arc XL is born.

Browse articles by company