2016: The Dangers of Nostalgia

There’s a magazine I often pick up when I’m waiting for a train at Birmingham New Street station – Retro Gamer. The title pretty much explains it all, but it doesn’t just do retrospectives the timeless classics like Metroid, Warcraft and Tomb Raider, and devices like the smash Christmas hit of the NES Mini, but also looking at the obscure and long-forgotten games and systems e.g. the Acorn Electron. A lot of love goes into this publication, and it’s always fun to read on the long train journey to and from work.

Another reason I buy it is because I had it on good authority that Retro Gamer was one of the lowest-selling titles for Imagine Publishing, and was only three consecutive months of bad sales away from cancellation. I say “was”, only because Imagine was taken over by Future Publishing in October 2016; Retro Gamer has been assured that nothing will change as far as they’re concerned, and they can carry on without the threat of cancellation over their heads.

That’s right… somebody in Britain had a good 2016. Continue reading

Twang!: Robin Hood in modern-day media

Recently, I came across Robin Hood by Jim Bradbury; a surprisingly informative read detailing the historical facts from the Robin Hood legend, mostly by looking at the ballads, poems and plays starring (or at least mentioning) Robin Hood. In that respect, it’s an excellent and concisely told book.

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I love a good license…

As the title intimates, I’m a sucker for a licensed anything. I got into comics via DC’s Star Trek, Dark Horse’s Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even Bongo’s The Simpsons. Only last week I claimed that one of the greatest comics to be published in the last ten years was The Muppet Show Comic Book. And you know something? I stand by that statement.

But it’s not just licensed comics that I love… I’m also a sucker for licensed games. Video games have always been a fount for licensed games; I have fond memories of my older brother playing World of Illusion on the Mega Drive, and the both of us trying X-Men Legends on the Playstation 2. I have DuckTales Remastered on my Steam Library (expect a review from me sometime in the future).

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From what I recall, Beast was useless in this game, which is a shame as he’s one of my favourite X-Men.

Continue reading

Never Can Say Goodbye (to Gabe)

SPOILER ALERT: I REALLY SUGGEST WATCHING MOST, IF NOT ALL OF YAHTZEE’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL BEFORE READING THIS BLOG POST. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

I can’t remember precisely when I first came across “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation – a hilariously fast-paced and acerbic YouTube series of computer games reviews – but sometime in 2013, I stumbed across Croshaw’s forays into “Let’s Play” videos. For the uninitiated, Let’s Plays are literally just one or more people recording themselves playing any computer game they feel like; some are intended just to show off the story and/or gameplay, but the more typical approach is to just record whatever you’re doing, and talk about whatever it is you feel like with anyone else sat beside you as you play the game.

Yahtzee decided to opt for the latter method, bringing in his friend Gabriel (he generally prefers “Gabe”) Norton, the bouncer at the bar Yahtzee co-owned. I have to be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Gabriel . As Yahtzee endured the obtuse nonsense that is Fantasy Land Dizzy, all Gabe seemed to offer was the oh-so hilarious notion that all the Yolk Folk that the hero Dizzy spoke to must be on different kinds of illegal narcotics. Oh, my sides. In retrospect, Gabe made several excellent observations about the game’s inelegant level design, but I suppose I was in a fit of pique… Still, he was Yahtzee’s friend, and therefore I simply had to lump him if I wanted more Yahtzee. Continue reading