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The elephant may be rampaging but that doesn’t mean I know what to write.


coopMy previous Sunday Soapbox took the form of my inner grumpy old man moaning about the games of today, and the features they perhaps lack, or at least the features they have implemented that could do with an improvement. So this week I thought “why change anything, innovation is hard” and will be moaning at my screen again, although this time about the co-operative element of my beloved video games.



I cannot be certain why, but there is something about Activision’s Call of Duty that makes it absolutely addicting. Perhaps it is the high quality matchmaking features that bring people back over and over? Is it the the different types of games within the matchmaking that make it fun? Let’s try to figure it out.



One of my favorite things to do with XBox Live Arcade is to browse new games every 3-4 weeks and see if anything catches my eye. Well, I recently found a Square-Enix game that completely flew under my radar called Crystal Defenders. The game looked beautiful, so even though it was based off of Final Fantasy Tactics A2, which I didn’t like very much, I thought I’d give it a shot.



Although this is my first soapbox I’ve decided instead of taking the usual rant direction of a soapbox, I will take it in the opposite direction… asking for help.



There was once a time when the title “Gamer” wasn’t treated like a badge of honor. To be a gamer was to be a geek, or a nerd – the type of person who enjoyed summer afternoons before a glowing array of pixels instead of the great outdoors. Gaming was a hobby that was best enjoyed in secret, like your sister’s Nsync album, or a fresh batch of pornography. As such, I find it odd that we often feel the need to defend the title from those who would wish to use it without having “earned” it.



Take a quick look around your room.  What do you see?   Besides your furniture, consoles, games, and television you may notice a plethora of game controllers.  How about a dusty Wii Zapper?  Perhaps a couple bulky plastic guitars?  A cumbersome drum kit?  There is evidence in your domicile that plastic pistols and replica rifles are being sorely neglected in the technologically advancing world of video games.  This is a call to artificial arms. Read more… »


In this soapbox, I will be discussing moaning about a multitude of petty grievances with gaming of today, proving that no matter how good we have it, there’ll always be some killjoy out there taking it for granted, so call me Buzz Killington and let’s get it started. Read more… »


The trailer is a wonderful piece of marketing. Not only does it allow the content producer to give the consumer a look at certain aspects of their product, it can be as ambiguous or unrelenting as it likes. It’s a fantastic tool that blends music with video and can even provide an emotional response. So, yes, it’s pretty obvious that I love the often despised short video.

The teaser, mind you, is the horrible bastard child. A completely useless mechanic that does nothing but push hype to a point where people actually write blog posts analyzing them, all 20 seconds and all. I think they need to go.


I absolutely stink at Halo 3. It isn’t that I am bad at first-person shooters, but the fact that I so poorly execute anything in Halo 3 leaves me with little desire to play it. If I pop in Call of Duty I can hold my own and do much better, so why is it that I absolutely suck at Halo?



For many years I’ve been an appreciator of video game music.  From the bleeps and bloops of Sonic and Mario to the symphonic glory of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid, I’ve always known there is something special about game music.  Alongside game music, the driving ferocity of metal has been the forerunner of my “conventional” musical taste for a comparable amount of time.  This is the story about how those two worlds met in perfect harmony. Read more… »


Difficulty in games has always been a reasonably contentious issue amongst gamers. Many would be quick to cry foul, exclaiming with much anger and remorse that games have become too easy, filtered and stripped to fit the time and attention spare mainstream gamer.

While others, probably more likely to be a little bit more balanced, would generally say that game difficulty has become less of an issue – as titles become more focused on multiplayer, and developers start to play around with multiple difficulty modes and scenarios.

But that leads to my question – How difficult should the average game be?