Andy Robertson's Family Gamer content:
Family Gamer around the Internet:
Today Andy is:
Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado.
Everyone's a gamer these days, but reviewers like to talk as if it's the reserve of the elite hardcore. Sure, graphics and sound used to be important to me, but these days I choose games that make me smile, or intrigue me. The problem is finding those experiences that will really work for me amidst all the hype and noise.
PEGI age advice on boxes may protect families from inappropriate games, but they don't help us find games that really suite us or our kids. Just because a game is appropriate for five year olds, doesn't mean a five year old will be able to play it and enjoy it.
My reviews aim to connect you with games for families, parents and kids. You won't necessarily agree with everything written here, but hopefully I can be a useful sounding board for this more casual perspective. I was a founding member of GamePeople because I wanted to hear stories about what happened when people were playing games. That's what you'll find on the site - a thousand little gaming tales - and that's what you'll find in my reviews.
Also, by suggesting games for particular family age groups my Family Gamer Awards complement PEGI's age-appropriate ratings by suggesting games each age group will enjoy. Rather than warning families about which games are inappropriate, we suggest which games each age group will get the most out of.
I enjoy games because of what they remind me of, or how they make me feel about life. This is probably as much about my history as it is the game itself. A childhood in Devon, work as a User Assistance developer, a suspicious but respectful relationship with Christianity and starting a family of five with my wife Jo define much of who I am.
I like playing games with friends as well as sharing them with my wife and kids. My favourite way to play is to be in the same room, sharing an experience with a few other people. But as well as this, I still reserve the occasional precious late night for meatier gaming sessions.
Throughout all this, time is of the essence. Gaming used to be a hobby for me, but the pressures and commitments of life mean that now I just want to get in and out and have some fun. Unless there is something really special on offer I just don't have more than ten hours or so to play a game - and only complete a handful of these games in a year. Multiplayer games are the same, they need to be easy to setup and quick to play - anything you need to invest hours in to unlock modes and characters is a big turn off for me now.
Here are my game reviews.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: