I specialise in writing feature articles on video gaming. My work has been published on Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Kotaku UK, PC Gamer, PCGamesN, Rock Paper Shotgun and Terminal Gamer, and I am also the founder of two popular gaming blogs: A Most Agreeable Pastime and 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better.
I’m particularly interested in the weird and wonderful stories behind gaming.
Here are a few of the articles I’ve written for the video-game website Eurogamer. All of them were commissioned from my own pitches.
As a gaming machine, the Casio Loopy isn’t particularly good. But as a collection of ideas, it’s fascinating, a ragtag novelty that may well have been ahead of its time if it wasn’t so scatty.
Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of the Loopy – it was only ever released in Japan, its life limited to a couple of years before it disappeared into obscurity. The Loopy wasn’t the first home console released by Casio – that would be the ill-fated PV-1000 from 1983 – but it was certainly the last. When I contacted Casio to find out more details about the Loopy, they were surprised that someone so far from Japan would remember their strange console from more than 20 years ago… (read more)
I have written several extensively researched features for GamesRadar+ on topics like gaming disorder, the future of high street games retail and the maths of microtransactions.
You might have seen the news that Microsoft has unveiled xCloud, a streaming service that will let you play Xbox One games on smartphones, tablets and basically anything that can connect to the internet. This comes after EA announced in June that they would launch a game streaming service as part of their clunkily titled EA Origin Access Premier offering. And Sony already offer a streaming service for PS2, PS3 and a limited number of PS4 games in the form of PlayStation Now. Even Nintendo, dear old online-phobic Nintendo, has a couple of streaming-only games on the Switch courtesy of streaming version of Resident Evil 7 and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – although these are currently only available in Japan. In short, streaming is so hip right now. But is it any good? Will it take off? And what impact will it have on the games industry? (read more)
Below are a few of the features I’ve written for Kotaku UK, which is owned by Future Publishing. Almost all of them were commissioned on the basis of my own pitches. The full list of my articles can be found here.
Before we start chatting about Boundless, let’s acknowledge the enormous elephant in the room. That elephant is Minecraft, and this awkward pachyderm is so big it’s blocking out the sun. Even a cursory glance indicates that Boundless is a shameless Minecraft ripoff [‘Homage’ shurely – ed], right down to the hunger meter.
Like Minecraft, Boundless has spent a long period gestating in Early Access — four years, in fact. But the game finally breaks out of beta on 11th September when it officially launches on PC and PS4, with Square Enix handling PC publishing duties… (read more)
I’ve written previews and features for the UK edition of PC Gamer, all based on my own pitches. I wrote a six-page feature will on Genesis LPMud, one of the longest running online multiplayer games, in issue 323.
Genesis LPMud is one of the oldest online multiplayer games in the world: it’s been running continuously for nearly 30 years. But six years ago it almost came to an untimely end. This is the story of how an enthusiastic cadre of fans rallied to save this important piece of gaming history from extinction.
PC Games Network commissioned me to write an investigation into the Thargoids of Elite Dangerous after my article on The Fuel Rats for Kotaku UK. I’ve since become a regular features writer for them.
We’ve all been there: yet another Steam sale has come to an end, and despite your best efforts at restraint, your already sizable backlog of PC games has ballooned even further. How on earth are you going to find the time to play all of these games?
It’s practically the definition of a First World problem, but having too many games and not enough time to play them is a common dilemma these days. Take a look at the dozens of unplayed titles on your hard drive and you’ll feel that nagging guilt as you catch yourself buying even more to add to the pile. The question that arises from this issue is how do you go about reducing that gigantic number of unplayed games? (read more)
Rock Paper Shotgun
I’ve recently started contributing to this hugely popular PC gaming site – my first piece was a preview of the video game conversion of board game Terraforming Mars.
Bits are both the joy and bane of board games. You know, bits – those fiddly counters, miniatures and cubes of plastic, wood or metal (oooh, fancy). On the one hand, the tactile sensation of slamming down a plastic train in Ticket to Ride, cutting off your opponent’s train route to their howls of anguish, is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a feeling that’s near impossible to replicate in videogames. On the other hand, what a motherclucking pain in the posterior they are. When they’re not being eaten by the dog, they’re being ricocheted off the walls by a careless dice roll or nudged into oblivion by inebriated players slamming into the table on their way back from the loo. “Harold, you absolute numpty, what have you done? Can anyone remember how much wool I have?” (read more)
I was a regular contributor to this gaming site. I mostly wrote news stories, although I did the odd feature here and there – like the one below.
It’s a rite of passage that all gamers will be familiar with: reaching a point in a game that’s so ball-breakingly frustrating that you hurl the controller at the TV, slam your fist down on the console ‘OFF’ switch and storm out of the room, possibly giving the cat a good boot up the behind for good measure. The best games will always see you returning eventually, whispering apologies like a spurned lover… (read more)