Aug 16 2013

Let board games be board games: why I need to see the dice in Space Hulk

Space HulkI got incredibly excited when I heard that Games Workshop’s classic Aliens-a-like board game, Space Hulk, was being brought to my PC.

There actually hasn’t been a proper rendition of the board game (the classic 1993 video game version was more ‘inspired by’ than a direct translation), developers Full Control seemed to truly understand what made Space Hulk great: the tension and the difficulty and the balance of tactical play and the blind luck of the dice. From what they’ve been saying, it sounds like Full Control are in this for the long haul, too, with planned DLC such as new missions and different Space Marine chapter colours and even a free level editor.

I enjoy video game versions of board games, when they’re done well. I don’t have to fork out for an expensive box and I don’t have to round up a group of like-minded friends to play with. I’ve lost track of the amount of time I’ve put into Carcassonne on the Xbox or my phone, and even into Keldon Jones’ wonderful homebrew version of Race for the Galaxy on the PC.

I spent a couple of hours last night playing Full Control’s rendition of Space Hulk, and—while it’s a bit buggy—it’s great. It looks fabulous. The sounds are clompy and loud and reek of atmosphere. The rules are the same as the board game.* I like it.

However, they’ve missed out something crucial to the game: dice.

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Mar 13 2013

Daily Express propaganda trashed by the European Parliament

A typical front page of the Daily Express

I’ll be carrying on my series of reviews of the James Bond series either later today or tomorrow, but for now I wanted to share a quick link that tickled my ticklish parts.

I hate the Daily Express newspaper. I genuinely think it plays a huge part in making the UK a much less pleasant place to live, because it demonstrates that there are people—a hugely vocal minority—who are stuck in a vitriolic mind-set of utter hatred towards anyone who isn’t the same colour, race, class, creed or, often, gender. Having spent 4 and a half years working in a press clippings agency, I think it’s fair to say I’ve read more than my fair share of Express articles, and if I never have to touch Richard Desmond’s dirty organ again it’ll be too soon.

The Express have printed an article claiming that a website built by the European Parliament, set up to educate kids as to the workings of the EU and the democratic process, is “’sinister’ Soviet-style propaganda”. It contains a quote from Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP, stating that “Political propaganda on vulnerable kids is a form of child abuse”.

Unless we really believe that informing the next generation about how their world works is a Bad Thing, this is ludicrous even by the low standards of the Express. In what is clearly a golden age of information, the more we tell our kids the better we arm them for their future.  Sure, we might disagree with someone politically, but it is nonsensical to flat-out lie in order to keep people from making up their own minds. The Express has not been known for its adhesion to the truth for a long time, but it is baffling that there is apparently no limit to how far they are allow to push the boundaries of fiction in the name of “news”.

In the absence of any legitimate legal response or agency that might actually be able to do something about this kind of thing, I’d normally recommend doing what I always recommend doing with stories from the Express: just ignore it. However, the response from the European Parliament’s Information Office, reproduced below, is utterly brilliant and displays a sense of humour previously unheard of in Belgium.

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May 26 2010

New Red Eye Review article: Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeMy review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is now online at Red Eye Review.

As a huge fan of the games, I was nervous about watching the new film. Thankfully, gamers can rejoice: for the first time ever, we have a game-turned-film that isn’t a complete disaster. But is it any good?

Read my review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

May 13 2010

Article published on Freelance:UK

My previous post about writing for the web has been published by Freelance:UK, a website for creative freelancers.

Many thanks to Simon Moore of Moore News Limited for his help with getting it published, and thanks to Freelance:UK for the opportunity.

Wording it well: a guide to writing on the web – Freelance:UK