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Lewis Lewis Denby is a freelance videogames journalist and critic. As well as HonestGamers, he has written for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, The Escapist, Gamasutra and BeefJack.

Title: Podcast Exists!
Posted: March 01, 2009 (04:35 AM)
Well, would you look at this? We have cast our first pod.

From the link on that page, you can stream it in low quality, or download it in a variety of different bitrates and so forth.

Will look to get it on a few different mirrors as well, but this will do for now.

Enjoy! And read the mag tomorrow.
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Title: Podcast concerns
Posted: February 28, 2009 (11:43 AM)
I'm recording a podcast tonight.

In the absence of J.D. Richardson, who realised last minute that it's his friend's birthday night out, it'll just be myself and Andy.

What are two people supposed to talk about entertainingly for an hour?

Title: Cryptic.
Posted: February 26, 2009 (02:03 PM)
Always wanted to work on something with the fantastic Beth Radish.

So this game we may or may not be designing but you don't know 'cause we haven't told you should be interesting.



We Are In Brainstorm Mode.
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Title: Resolution Issue 4, online Monday 2nd March!
Posted: February 23, 2009 (02:21 PM)
Taking the opportunity for a hype post, then. Here's what to expect from the forthcoming issue of Resolution, available for FREE!!! online from Monday 2nd March.

- Reviews of FEAR 2, Cryostasis, Necrovision, ShellShock 2, Big Bang Mini, Spelunky, The Last Remnant, Flower, an exclusive (!!!!) verdict on The Path, and (hopefully) a mammoth take on Dawn of War II (if the code arrives in time to play it enough before deadline!)

- Hands-on experience of Resident Evil 5!

- A look at the forthcoming DS addition to the GTA franchise, Chinatown Wars!

- A look back at the most frustrating games ever, and moments that had us banging our heads against the table in anger!

- A look back at the history of survival horror!

- Some ponderings on what makes a good horror game, and what developers can do to increase the fear factor in this generally underwhelming horror climate!

- An interview with Vince D Weller about upcoming RPG The Age of Decadence, his reputation as games development's Angry Man, and the state of modern role-playing games!

- An interview with Dan Pinchbeck about his new game Korsakovia (with exclusive - !!!! - new screenshots), Dear Esther's emotional impact, and games in serious academia!

- 16-Bit Boy's monthly retro ramblings!

- Fewer exclamation marks than you might think!!!!!

AND AS IF THAT WEREN'T ENOUGH...

A bit of an experiment in digital broadcasting! On Saturday evening, Lewis Denby (that's me, folks), J.D. Richardson and Andy Johnson will be gathering around a microphone, beer in hand, to talk about the new issue, what's going on in games, what we've been playing this month, and other such malarkey. Expect also insults about each other's mothers, and implications that various parties are an array of horrible things. This "podcast", so they're apparently called, will be available from the Reso site on Sunday and, if people like it, we might have to do another next time.

www.resolution-magazine.co.uk
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Title: Interviews
Posted: February 23, 2009 (06:08 AM)
Just interviewed Dan Pinchbeck, the brain behind Dear Esther, about his new project, games in serious academia, and the nature of first-person engines. Without a doubt, the most interesting interview I've ever done. What a brilliant mind that man has, and such a passion for his art and research.

The other day interviewed Vince D. Weller, Iron Tower Studio head honcho and project director of The Age of Decadence. The two are like polar opposites, but equally fascinating to listen to. Where Weller is more than happy to stand up and be counted, discussing the industry's problems and creating games he loves because no one else is doing them, Pinchbeck seems to have this astonishing patience and love of what games developers are doing, and working out how to learn from big commercial companies when applying the theory to more oddball releases. Both have a real passion for their work, but it seems to originate from a completely different place. Weller's frustrated with the scene; Pinchbeck bloody loves it. And, as a result, we get the same breed of radically different, absolutely superb ideas about our medium.

Do tune into Resolution in the near future to read the resulting articles. I'm not just saying that as a plug; I genuinely think they'll be really interesting and valuable.
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Title: Initial Impressions: NecroVisioN
Posted: February 19, 2009 (04:13 AM)
Installation had been going for a full hour. Got to 88%. Crashed.

Now I weep.
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Title: Stay on t'path, yer bugger.
Posted: February 18, 2009 (02:11 PM)
The Path launches new meta-site, and announced an ooh-that's-surprisingly-soon release date of March 18th.

http://grandmothers-house.net/

I've played it, by the way. Nyah.
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Title: A middle finger to Ultor and lazy games developers
Posted: February 18, 2009 (09:10 AM)
Trust me to churn out something like this.

I kind of wish I was involved in a competition at the moment, as this would make for a good entry - that is to say, it's another ridiculously pompous, experimental non-review that I'm really pleased with, and a few people will think is awful.

I've been toying with this idea for, ooh, about four years now, so it feels good to finally have it written. I've started and failed in the past, perhaps due to having not fully formed the argument until now, perhaps something else. Secretly (or, not-so-secretly now), I'm still a little concerned that the argument is a little convoluted, as I'd struggle to apply it to any other crap game off the top of my head. But hey! I felt it. It's gotta be worth something, right?

(As an aside, it marks the second time in as many days that I've linked Kieron Gillen's "The New Games Journalism" essay. Does that make me some sort of freaky superfan?)

Posted in the User Reviews section for obvious reasons. Do have a read, if you get the chance.
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Title: *cries quietly in a corner*
Posted: February 18, 2009 (05:07 AM)
Oh dear.

Someone at N4G has already decided this review is "too harsh" because the game "looks okay" to him. I'm not sure what else I could have said to convince him.
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Title: Are Gamers Killing Gaming?
Posted: February 17, 2009 (03:32 PM)
New Zealand-based games blog Polymath posts a clumsy but interesting article about 'bullying' in online gaming.

It's something I've not noticed myself in L4D, which has one of the most mature and pleasant communities I've had the pleasure of playing with. In fact, I'd argue that some of the most brilliant moments in the game result from someone making a rooky error, and seeing how the Director mercilessly punishes them for it. But I guess the latter part is for a different discussion.

The article's somewhat undermined by a writer who appears to have been writing without thinking (the suggestion that American players are inherently more likely to behave like arseholes is slightly awkward, and the implication that he didn't bother to have a bash in single-player before jumping to the online stage does suggest he may, in fact, have been a little annoying to play with). But it's also an engaging piece of NGJ that raises some interesting points. Mainly, one that he doesn't even really cover: in what other walk of life outside the internet is it acceptable to behave like this towards people?

Like I said, I haven't seen this in L4D, but I was put off WoW because of it (probably for the best: I have an addictive personality) and it used to be all over the place in Counter-Strike (though, fortunately, I was fucking ace at that, so I was never at the receiving end). And it really isn't on.

Oh: the comments thread is typically hilarious internet flaming, too, so that's always fun.
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Title: Old BioShock Talk
Posted: February 16, 2009 (05:01 PM)
My piece on BioShock for Art Fist Magazine has found itself a home online, right here.

Dodgy line-break issues, but just about decypherable. Think the site's moving over to www.artfist.co.uk soon so update your bookmarks accordingly. Not that you'd likely be bookmarking yet another of my BioShock essays.

Of all the things I wrote about BioShock, this was the big one, intended for a wider audience and an example of my 'games as art' ramblings. In reality, there was probably a whole host of more suitable games to talk about in that capacity, but tasked with writing something about games for an art mag, I wanted to do something a bit more accessible. And I think I was playing it at the time. And it was about to be released on the PS3.

Some might be interested in this, anyway. Others not so.

I might ask them to get the formatting sorted out, though. I know how to use paragraphs, really.
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Title: The end of a rainbow...
Posted: February 15, 2009 (05:33 AM)
What's at the end of a rainbow? Is it a pot of gold? A leprechaun?

No, it's a black hatchback.

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Title: ShellShock 2: Blood Trials
Posted: February 14, 2009 (08:57 AM)
Potentially the most awful, banal and broken first-person shooter I've ever played, its hideousness compounded by the abominable depiction of the Vietnamese during that terrible war. This was developed by Rebellion and published by Eidos. I have no idea what's going on. It feels like a game mod developed by some hideously right-wing teenager, on an off-day.
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Title: Not a review (but getting closer): FEAR 2: Project Origin
Posted: February 13, 2009 (05:29 AM)
Fear (punctuation-destruction, ahoy!) has always been a funny name for this franchise. What truly scares us? The horror stalwart is a vulnerable central character, hopeless against his or her worst nightmares. Fear doesn't buy into this. Instead, it gives you some really big guns and inexplicable special powers, then shouts "BOO!" in your ear every ten minutes.

The format is identical to its predecessor. Fear 2 is a series of corridors, broken up by big rooms where people shoot at you with their big guns, and you shoot back with your own big guns. Sometimes, you might decide to make everything happen in slow-motion. Other times, you might decide to flip a table and peek your gun's barrel over the top of that. And occasionally Alma will shout "BOO!" in your ear.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with this formula; it's just a little uninspired. The main impression I get from Fear 2 is that Monolith certainly know what they're doing, but 'what they're doing' is pretty unimaginitive and, at times, ineffective. Most notably, Alma just isn't scary any more. Now that we know her story, she's lost her horiffic appeal, and serves only to make us jump, rather than to truly unnerve us. Elsewhere, everything just feels a little... out of date. Glowing health-packs. Conveniently-blocked doors. Keycards, fuck's sake. I feel like I've gone back in time at least five years.

Monolith have even made a bit of a mess of the melée combat, which is completely bizarre since the first instalment absolutely nailed it. On the 360 at least, all melée action is bound to the 'B' button, and the game seems to decide arbitrarily what it is you're trying to do. Most of the time, it reckons you want to punch the air. Sometimes, when you actually do want to use your fist, line yourself up for the perfect thwack, and hit the button... you go flying across the room in some sort of karate kick motion. Bugger.

All that said, it's clearly very well-made, dripping with Hollywood polish (no Japanese influence here, it would seem; we're very much in Western horror/action territory) and a ranged combat system that feels satisfying and meaty beyond almost any other game I've played. Some of the set-pieces and hallucination sequences are mindblowing, and put even Valve's work to shame at times. And, y'know, more than anything... it really is quite good fun.

But, considering how far Fear moved the horror/action goalposts back in 2005, this feels awkward: a step backwards if anything. I'm only a few hours in, so my opinions may change, but so far? It seems stuck between being very good and completely vacuous.
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Title: Twitter?
Posted: February 11, 2009 (04:37 AM)
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