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.
When video games are described as provocative, it usually means they have found a way to further their joyous dance with violence and promiscuity. Spec Ops: The Line has a different agenda though, which is that it has an agenda -- not the usual prerequisite for most entertaining shooting games that sell by their millions to old and (too) young alike... read now
Flower easily won my surrender with its fields and cities -- three hours well spent. In undoing my reluctance to spend time on films, books and video games it reminded me of other commitments I'd like to renew during Advent... read now
Alan Wake is a survival horror adventure on the Xbox 360. You control Wake, an ill-fated writer, as he journeys into the collapsing nether-world of his imagination. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, hold judgement a moment as I felt just the same before playing... read now
Bioshock 2 faces the connundrum of a broken world and lays the blame at our feet. For someone of faith, the vivid conjuring of Rapture is a fascinating challenge to a judgemental deity. In the quiet between the fighting we hear the frightful idea that the world's problems are in part our own doing... read now
Papo and Yo wears its more-than-entertainment credentials on its sleeve. It's a game about the fear and pain of growing up with an abusive and alcoholic father. Unlike other games I've reviewed here, I know this to be so not because of what I've read into the experience but because that's what creator Vander Caballero has been vocal about in the build up to release... read now
The Internet has the unique ability to polarise humanity. Even a cursory visit to its virtual shores will turn up endearing stories of human sacrifice and love right alongside an underbelly of darkness and pain... read now
Platform videogames concoct a mix of precision jumping, running, ladder climbing, puzzle solving and exploration. Mario, Sonic, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy have delivered this kind of entertainment over the last 30 years... read now
Videogames aren't famous for telling stories. They prefer to engage heart and mind with agency and interaction. Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception folds this premise back on itself in an effort to combine storytelling and action. What results is a game that is about more than shooting, clambering and saving the world... read now
Although Journey was a more disruptive presence in the Exeter Cathedral service, it was also a much more engaging one. In the hustle of elements and meaning, both the game and the worship space benefited... watch now
Rather than standing on opposite sides of the debate, religion and video games have a lot in common. Of greatest interest to me it their similar posession of overlooked stories that offer meaningful ways to view life and the future... read now
From Greenbelt to Theatre to TEDx to a Cathedral. Videogames can be found in the most unexpected places. When they are it's fascinating to see the enthusiasm they garner from both gamers and non-gamers... watch now
Aliens vs Predator let's you walk in another man's shoes - or in fact another race's footwear. Throwing you into battle from the viewpoint of the marines, aliens and predators the seemingly short storyline is a joy to play through - and got me wondering if our differences can ever be resolved peacefully... read now
Do games offer a valuable resource to engage with dark taboo topics? I suggest that video games can provide a safe play-space in which we can explore our responses to potentially frightful and scary topics - abandonment, loss, death, abuse and war... read now
Games are usually seen as disposable entertainment with little cultural worth. But at an event at GameCity 2009 I spend an hour watching a video game being played that was unavoidably similar to church experiences on many levels. Given half a chance and it seems that games have a lot more to offer than we may realise... read now
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.
What sort of gamer are you?
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: