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king of chinatown

I’ve been on a bit of a documentary binge lately. As part of that binge, I’ve become obsessed with video game documentaries. There’s something endearing, exciting and completely fascinating about all the passionate subcultures within the industry.

There are a good many bad and downright boring films out there, but amongst them are some real gems; with more drama, emotion and engrossing characters than you’d ever expect. I’ve waded through a heap of them, good and bad, and managed to hammer out a top five you need to watch – right now.

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The Crew E3 trailer gate break

I’ve come to realise while writing this column that a large majority of my work includes discussing money. Whether it revolves around performance per Dollar/Rand, price per gigabyte or in-app purchases, money drives a lot of what I write about. That’s all my System Builders guides are wrapped around – getting the most performance for your budget. But it’s not only in hardware where I’ve concentrated on value before – I’ve previously also been very vocal about microtransactions. It seems that microtransactions are to the industry what Flappy Bird is to millions of casual gamers out there. Its a simple, easy to get into and very hard to leave behind concept. It just can’t be left alone, seemingly.

And The Crew has been confirmed to have that thing I loathe most – microtransactions and an opening for a pay-to-win model. Damnit, Ubisoft, why this one?

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oculus rift

The Facebook buyout of Oculus, creators of that particularly ugly piece of virtual reality headgear, has received some pretty mixed reactions.

Some people are baffled, some people are upset, and some people have torn the clothes from their body and thrown aside all earthly possessions. People from all those groups are wondering what this means for the Oculus Rift.

What I’m wondering, however, is if Mark Zuckerberg is in for an astonishingly brutal case of buyer’s remorse – about 2 billion dollars’ worth.

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Games (and, to be fair, movies) tend to lack somewhat in the originality department. Developers find something that works and stick to it, and frankly it’s all gotten a little monotonous for me. I don’t mean broad strokes such as FPS (or what my dad calls “walking gun games” #dadjokes) or elves and dwarves in fantasy games, but more the various gimmicks, styles and trends which show up consistently in those genres. This is a list of my five worst, but there are many, many more. So, I show you mine you show me yours. Deal?

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GTA V and IV graphics comparison

Chris Kemp’s opinion piece on gamers and graphics in games raises some interesting points and its clear by the 22 comments the piece has gathered so far, that gamers all have different tastes and ideas of what qualifies as “acceptable visuals.” Chris’ argument was mostly catered towards the console crowd because “resolutiongate” and “downgradeton” have become buzzwords on forums across the globe (including NeoGAF, which has some very heated console wars) and they appear to irritate him and others right down to their inner gamer hearts.

Professionally, I disagree with Chris on a few points and I’d like to expound on those in this column. Personally, I agree with his sentiment and his loathing of all the people who complain for the sake of complaining. Join me after the jump to see why!

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ghosts graphics comparison

So last week, the week before that and a few more weeks before that we’ve seen a lot of internet bitching about resolution, graphic fidelity, and just how many p’s each game has.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of “ResolutionGate”, I’m sick of these stupid YouTube comparison videos and I’m sick of whiny people whining.

Look, I’m not going to say graphics aren’t important. They are. But they’re also far from the MOST important thing. Hell, they may not even be in the top ten.

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mario fire flower power

New games these days are good and all. I suppose. Thing is, as good as games have gotten today, there are a few key elements they’re missing. Things we used to have. Things we still need.

I think it’s time for a gaming revolution; I think it’s time developers learn some lessons from the people that got the industry to where it is today.

Or maybe this is just a grumpy old man making a list of things he wants that has little or no bearing on how things should actually be. You decide.

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So now that we’re all calm and collected about EA cancelling local Titanfall access, we can all sit down and have a reasonable discussion about it, right?

No, not really. My emotional pendulum is still swinging between disappointed and pissed, but I’m going to try be devil’s advocate here.

So let’s consider – did EA make the right call?

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ecosystem wars

I’ve been asked the same question many times before and it always stumps me in a particular way that no other gadget-related issue can. Specifically, when someone asks me which mobile phone or software ecosystem they should aim for, I can’t give them a definite answer. I can’t just show them a Droid-based handset and say, “off you go” because it might not fit their particular use-case. I can’t stick a deal for a Macbook in their face because that changes their software choice considerably.

Angry Windows 8 haters? I can’t even turn them to Linux because they are gamers. And this is all made more of an acute issue thanks to ecosystem tie-ins with mobile phones, which you use everyday and are always in your pants or purses.

Recently, I realised that my phone is crap. Speed has dropped tremendously, multi-tasking slows it to a crawl, firmware updates are nonexistent and there are few options for replacement when it comes to batteries. In realising that I’m long overdue for an upgrade, I’ve been struck by the same plight as the people I help on a daily basis – which ecosystem do I target to suit my needs?

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This week news broke that Microsoft is considering going free-to-use. Like WinRar, except with less guilt.

Once I’d finished laughing/scoffing (loffing), I got to thinking about all the other things I wouldn’t want, even for free. And just to avoid getting fired, I made sure they were all (tenuously) related to gaming.

Some of them may surprise you, so be sure to let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree; inflammatory language is welcome.

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