Category Archives: Pulp

The Chibi-Robo amiibo is ADORABLE

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Just look at the wee little fella! He’s brightened up my desk with his cheeky little face – surely Chibi-Robo easily takes the prize as the cutest amiibo so far.

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I bought the cheeky scamp as part of the above package with the game Chibi-Robo Zip Lash – I spotted the bundle for the absolutely bargainous price of £16 online, and I couldn’t resist adding it to my collection.

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I’ve never played the original Chibi-Robo game, but I hope to some day – I listed it as one of the ten GameCube games I’d most like to see on the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console. Chibi-Robo Zip Lash met with fairly mediocre reviews when it came out, but I’m still keen to give it a go. To be honest though, I bought the bundle more for the amiibo than the game.

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As with previous amiibo, the attention to detail is fantastic. Chibi’s cable is made from a kind of stiff rubber that’s different from the plug atop his head, and I love the little grass patch he’s sitting on. Bravo, Nintendo, bravo.

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The best free console games

The Kotaku UK ed asked me to take a look at the best free-to-play games on console, as a way f0r people to quickly expand their game libraries if they received a new games machine for Christmas. Here’s the resulting article, which came out on Boxing Day:

The Best Free Games For Your New Console

After researching what was out there, I was surprised by the breadth and depth of the free-to-play scene on consoles. It barely existed a few years ago, but now there’s a wide variety of games, many of which are extremely professional – it’s not all match-three puzzlers.

Let It Die - wonderfully bizarre. Note the cameo from 'Uncle Death'.

Let It Die – wonderfully bizarre. Note the cameo from ‘Uncle Death’.

Warframe and SMITE are excellent and gorgeous-looking multiplayer violence ’em ups, but the newly released Let It Die from Suda51 is the most blood-soaked of them all, with layers of wonderful bizarreness to top it all off – as you’d expect from the creator of Killer7 and Lollipop Chainsaw.

But perhaps the most interesting was Neverwinter, a full-on PC style Dungeons and Dragons RPG. It had tonnes of content, and it just goes to show how the gap between the PC space and the console arena is narrowing, especially as titles start to offer crossplay between the different platforms. Whatever you think about free-to-play, it’s a fascinating time to be a gamer.

Neverwinter is proper D&D on console.

Neverwinter is proper D&D on console.

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Anyone remember Silent Bomber?

7169_frontIt turns out quite a few people do, judging by the comments on the story I wrote for Kotaku UK: Silent Bomber: A Forgotten PlayStation Classic

I’m surprised so many people remember it, to be honest. It sold less than 75,000 copies worldwide, and I’ve hardly heard anything about it since its release back in 1999. But it seems it was cherished by the few people who got to play it – and it really is a cracking game.

CyberConnect2 went on to develop the Naruto games and lately they’ve been working on the remake of Final Fantasy VII. Meanwhile Silent Bomber has only resurfaced once, being released on PSN in Japan a few years back. No sign of a rerelease over here, but we live in hope. And seeing the positive response from readers of the above article, a European PSN release would probably be well received.

It seems unlikely that CyberConnect2 will ever make a sequel to the excellent but chronically under-selling Silent Bomber. But I thought I’d send them a tweet, just to check.

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And if you want to see the game make a return, I suggest you do the same.

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Meet the Most Helpful People in Elite: Dangerous

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My uncle has been a fan of Elite since the first game came out in the 1980s, and the other day he dropped me a line to tell me about a group called the Fuel Rats. Perhaps I’d be interested in writing a story on them?

I took a look at their website, and I was immediately intrigued. This group is dedicated to rescuing stranded Elite pilots anywhere in the galaxy – and sometimes they go to extreme lengths to save them. In one case, a Fuel Rat flew for seven hours straight to get to someone who was helplessly floating in space, their fuel tanks diminished. Another rescue took a total of three days. It makes a welcome change from tales of griefers causing chaos.

I spoke with two of the Rats, Marcus and Kerenn: both were really helpful and had some fantastic stories to tell. Have a look at the finished article on Kotaku UK to find out what they had to say:

The Most Helpful Pilots in the Galaxy

And if you ever find yourself stranded in Elite: Dangerous, head over to www.fuelrats.com and send out the ‘Ratsignal’ – help will soon be on its way.

Now, before you go, luxuriate in the deep bass voice of RadLock Recursion as he guides you through his 200th Fuel Rats rescue:

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Video game-themed board games

I pitched an article on board games based on video games months and months ago, but it’s only just been published on Eurogamer. It turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than I thought.

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My confused face sums up XCOM The Board Game.

 

My initial idea was to do a round up of all of the video-game-themed board games on the market, but a bit of reasearch revealed that there are far more of them than I realised – the board game scene really has exploded in recent years. So I revised my goals, and instead decided to pick just a handful of the more well known ones. But even this proved tricky.

The trouble with board games is that you need a group of people to play them with, as well as someone who knows the rules, not to mention a full evening or two spare to play them thoroughly. As hyou’ll see in the article, fulfilling these criteria wasn’t always easy:

Video games remade in cardboard

I ended up reviewing three games in the end – XCOM, Street Fighter II and The Witcher – but there are plenty more that I could have done, like the Civilization and Portal board games. Hopefully I can cover them in a follow-up article…

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The Tyranny of Too Many Games

Like probably everyone reading this blog, I struggle to keep up with all of the new game releases. And in recent years, I’ve found it harder and harder to keep on top of even a fraction of the great games that are coming out.

My gaming backlog

It made me wonder whether this was simply because I have much less time as a responsible adult and father, or whether the number of new releases has actually grown exponentially. I decided to go in search of some cold, hard statistics – and some of the numbers involved are truly eye opening. Here’s the write-up I did for Kotaku UK:

Are There Really Too Many Good Video Games To Play?

So, what do you think? Are you able to keep on top of all the latest games? What’s your strategy for dealing with the modern deluge of games? Let me know in the comments!

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J.B. Harold: the multi-million selling series you’ve never heard of

A while back, I was curious as to which games have sold the most overall, so I found myself browsing through a list of the best-selling titles of all time. It included the usual suspects – Super Mario, Call of Duty, etc. – but one name jumped out at me: J.B. Harold.

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I’d never heard of the J.B. Harold series of adventure games before, despite the fact that they’ve supposedly sold 20 million copies. But it’s hardly surprising that I’ve never heard of them, as the games never made it to Europe, despite their popularity in Japan and their western setting. The first game has been ported to everything from the Turbografx-CD to the Nintendo DS to the iPhone, yet it still hasn’t been released in my home country.

I wrote about the series for Kotaku UK, and it was particularly interesting to join up the connections between this game and Dragon Quest, Hideo Kojima and Level-5. You can read the article by clicking the link below:

The 20-Million-Selling Game Series You’ve Never Heard Of

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