From The Armchair: Time for a Clear Out

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

Egad, it’s been a fair old while since I last penned a post, nearly three weeks by my reckoning. Still, I have plenty of excuses to hand, one of which is that I spent most of last week cycling around the D-Day beaches of Normandy, which left little time for writing about video games. Although when standing on Omaha beach, the opening of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault crossed my mind more than once.

After reading about all the horrors and dreadful death tolls of D-Day, it still strikes me as odd to play a video game about it for fun, especially when World War 2 remains within living memory. And yet experiencing that landing scene in Allied Assault all those years ago probably gave me a better idea of what it would be like to take part in D-Day than all of the museums I visited last week. WW2 games may be long out of fashion, but I’m still undecided as to whether they are callous gamifications of a bloody struggle or essential ways to keep the memory of the price paid by so many alive for another generation – I suppose it very much depends on the sensitivity of the game.

Another excuse for my lack of posting is of course that it’s summer and the weather’s great, so I’ve been frolicking in the great outdoors. But perhaps a more exciting excuse is that I’ve been writing a couple of pieces for, both of which should hopefully see the light of day in the next few weeks.

But chief of my excuses is the fact that I’m moving out of London very soon, so the last couple of weeks has seen some frantic packing and clearing out. I’m off to Edinburgh, via a short sojourn in sunny Cannes, so there has been much frantic and increasingly desperate preparation as the moving date looms. Of course, this also provided the perfect excuse to take a long, cold look at my gaming backlog and make a judgement call on which games would be coming with me and which, ultimately, I can’t really see myself ever playing. Here are a few that missed their place in the moving van.

Dead_Space_ExtractionDead Space: Extraction – Don’t get me wrong, this game’s fate in the clear-out pile is no indication of its inferior quality. In fact, it came close to being one of our top ten favourite Wii games of all time. But I lost my save game when quite near the end after I said goodbye to my old Wii, and I just haven’t got round to playing through it again – and as the years roll on, it’s looking unlikely I ever will. Still, a great game, especially in two player.

fable-2-box-art-frontFable II – This was infuriating. I got Fable II for Christmas when it came out, and for some reason it kept on crashing my Xbox 360. After about 12 crashes I gave up, and not long afterwards my 360 developed the red ring of death. Coincidence? Well apparently the game was known to push the poorly cooled graphics chip pretty hard, so I’ll warrant there is probably a link there. I’ve never quite plucked up the courage to try the game again on my replacement 360, and to be honest there are several long RPGs that I’d rather play before this one, so time to give it the old heave ho.

Mercury_Meltdown_RevolutionMercury Meltdown Revolution – I bought this years ago, and I loved it. It’s a sequel to the PSP game Mercury by British video game legend Archer MacLean, creator of Dropzone, IK+ and Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker. It’s one of the few Wii games I can think of that really embraces the motion controls – you have to carefully tilt the remote to guide your blob of mercury around. I got about halfway through I think, but I haven’t played it in years, so it’s probably about time to part with it.

sin-punishment-star-successor-box-artSin and Punishment 2: Successor to the Skies – I bought this after hearing all sorts of good things about the fabled Japan-only N64 game Sin and Punishment, and as far as shooters go it’s a very good one. But it’s also very hard, and I never managed to get further than about three levels in. Loved the bizarre characters though, and all the weird giant turtles and crabs.

Wario_Land_The_Shake_Dimension_BoxartWario Land: The Shake Dimension – This is another Wii game that worked well with motion controls. Well, it involved a lot of shaking, anyway. It’s a pretty decent platform game, and I like Wario as a character, but to be honest I’ve been falling out of love with platformers these past few years – and if I can’t bring myself to finish New Super Mario Bros. U, then it’s unlikely I’ll get round to this game.

Toodle-pip for now!