Ahab and his explosive, gravity-defying whale: the beauty of Mario Kart’s randomnessness

Ahab and his explosive, gravity-defying whale: the beauty of Mario Kart’s randomnessness

You make a brew, it’s there. You take a dump, it’s there. You sit in the corner of a totally-hipster coffee shop with your one-pound bevy hoping everyone notices just how supremely cool you are for playing Switch, it’s there.

You are Ahab – and this ‘it’ is your explosive, gravity-defying whale, the monster that took the last leg of your last race.

It’s haunting, it’s horrifying and it’s absolutely infuriating.

But it also represents the best thing about Mario Kart.

Those lovely flashing boxes. Those goddamn blue-shell-carrying beauties.

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Robot dogs and sombreros: decoding Metal Gear Rising’s stance on determinism

I’m on that part. You know – that part. The bit with the red-energy thing that happens to the person with the robot body. The bit that, even by the so-solid standards of its husky-voiced, hand-haunting, cigarette-smoking brethren, is a few transistors short of a microchip.

Yeah – that part.

But if we neatly slice away the weird, this particular scene invites one to splurge about the nature of determinism and freewill.

Incomprehensible splurge program initiating. 

Namely, whether or not those being killed by the the killer – the seminal ninja-pirate-cyborg hero – have a choice. Or, if any of us really have a choice.

Incomprehensible splurge program activated.

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That time I nakedly played a sequel to Eternal Darkness with a crack team of NATO mecha-monkeys

People call me crazy. Seriously: crazy. “Mad,” they say. “Insane,” they cry. They claim I’m deluded – that I don’t know what I’m talking about. They say that thing I believed totally gone done happened couldn’t have gone done happened at all.

Surprisingly, though, claims of my insanity have no ties to my questionable understanding of syntax.

So, what was the thing? I played a sequel to Eternal Darkness.

It was a thing of beauty, too – a wonderful, awesome thing. Made by a developer that goes by the name of Slightly-Mischievous Puppy, the Eternal Darkness sequel featured a slew of sanity effects imbued with the horror of contemporary industry tropes and a super-shiny co-op mode.

That said, I was naked at the time, having just given a speech to NATO’s crack team of hyper-intelligent mecha-monkeys about the importance of funding direct sequels to really awesome video games – and why overly-long post previews are evidence of one’s slipping grasp on reality.

But don’t let the naked-NATO-mecha-monkey thing fuel your doubts. Read on.

Because that’s what the monkeys want you to do. And what they want is important.

Because one day – one day soon – they will reign supreme.

For they will rule us all.

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Skyward scored: why Zelda’s latest legend is almost nearly impossible to talk about

Breath of the Wild: the straight-A student, the Link with the think, the blade with the grade – the game with more tens than a Western’s soundtrack.

And like a straight-A student, Nintendo’s latest efforts are so accomplished that otherwise great achievements appear almost mundane against its backdrop of sheer awesomeness. This is a game defined by the story you choose to tell, not by the story you’re told; a game by which I’m inclined to describe its flaws simply by what it does less well – not by what it does badly.

When writing about Breath of the Wild, then, I can’t talk about how it’s picked last in gym or how it doesn’t quite grasp the complexities of those fancy-shmancy quadratic equations. The new Zelda is a bit like Superman – it’s almost impossible to characterise without mention of that one fundamental weakness.

Problem is, I’m not sure it has one.

And that makes Breath of the Wild an absolute pain in the arse to write about. But like a certain pig-faced antagonist, I persist.

So, here’s some words about a game I said I can’t make up some words about.

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Why that new game you say isn’t part of the series it claims to be part of is actually part of the series you claim it isn’t part of

resident_evil_7_12

There’s a game called Resident Evil – it’s a slow, methodical trek through a monster-infested house with handguns, shotguns, knives, herbs and an
item-themed save system.

There’s a game called Resident Evil 7 – it’s a slow, methodical trek through a monster-infested house with handguns, shotguns, knives, herbs and an
item-themed save system.

Both these things, according to a vocal minority on Metacritic, aren’t from the same series. This is what I call a ‘logic sloppy joe’ – something moderately
tasty-looking until you pick it up and it starts to fall apart.

What about you’re about to read, then, is what logic-food-metaphor industry insiders call a ‘logic sandwich’: a stack of delicately-sliced logic foodstuffs neatly layered between slices of tasty logical goodness.

Just don’t get any logic crumbs in the carpet.

Because that’s how spontaneous galaxy-destroying black holes happen.

And sequels to Twilight.

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Final Fantasy and your cat’s fairly blatant desire to destroy the world

ff7remak

In the PlayStation era, my Final Fantasy wasn’t your Final Fantasy.

And your uncle’s Final Fantasy wasn’t your aunt’s Final Fantasy. Your cousin’s best friend’s hairdresser’s mum’s Final Fantasy wasn’t your boyfriend’s great grandfather’s gardener’s Final Fantasy, either.

And your dog’s Final Fantasy absolutely wasn’t your cat’s Final Fantasy.

Because Final Fantasy of old was a combined effort of player and creator partying-up to bring the latter’s blocky, text box-driven machinations to life.

But before you continue to the inevitable disappointment that will be this post, let’s be clear: your dog’s Final Fantasy and your cat’s Final Fantasy probably weren’t the same because your dog’s Final Fantasy featured a spiky-haired pup venturing to ensure the demise of an evil time-travelling feline called Ultimeowcia.

And your cat’s Final Fantasy was probably about its dastardly plot to destroy the world, humanity and all of creation.

Because, you know – cats.

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Titanstalled: why you should adopt a titan called Woofers this Christmas

tf2

Know what’s awesome? Giant robots. Know what’s even more awesomerer? Giant robots with giant guns.

But do you know what’s even more awesomerer than giant robots with guns? Giant robots with giant guns punching other giant robots with giant guns in their giant, robotic faces.

So, it’s not difficult to imagine my delight when Respawn Entertainment tightened every conceivable nut and bolt on its robot-face-punching super formula in Titanfall 2 – a notable upgrade on its two-year-old predecessor in every possible way.

But some titans – Woofers, for instance – may never get the chance to face punch or be face punched. And that’s why you, reader and pilot to be, need to adopt a titan this Christmas.

Because it very much feels like an entire franchise – and the very existence of Woofers and his metal-skinned kin – depends on it.

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