When is a classic still a classic?

Screenshot: Bandai Namco Entertainment

My first game was Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (Ripto’s Rage in the US) on the original PlayStation. I was six or seven years old and I wanted it because it had a dragon on the cover.

Like the games before and after it, Spyro 2 had these vibrant pastel-y colour palettes, this gentle hue that’s distinct and memorable, with Stewart Copeland’s bouncy, colourful prog-rock scores. The basic geometry and models were charming and full of personality, especially for the era. …

Image: Rockstar Games

“Step in front of a runaway train just to feel alive again,

Pushing forward through the night, aching chest and blurry sight…”

The music is gentle and heartbreaking, strumming the death knell of the Old West. Lyrics invade to underline moments of potent, intense tranquillity — your arrival in Mexico is one of these, easing you into the calm acoustics of José González’ ‘Far Away’. Surrounded by wide-reaching plains of sundried scrub and pale sand, a subtle contrast to the arid greens of New Austin, the score calmly swells beneath the sudden quiet and underscores your distinct isolation.

Red Dead…

Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks

“Now I’m realizing the world’s off-kilter. Everything’s turned inside-out.”

– Emily Kaldwin

It’s an innocuous early line that strikes directly at the heart of Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2. Cast from her home and throne of Dunwall, victim of a coup led by the Duke of Serkonos and now skulking through the foreign city of Karnaca, Emily discovers a mistreated, ignored people beaten into submission by a childish and self-centred ruler. She finds an industry cruelly exploited for the short-sighted gain of the elite. …

How many people has our wise-crackin’ hero Nathan Drake gunned down? How many necks has he swiftly snapped with his vice-like arms, or pulled off ledges to their rag-dolled doom? I’m sure it’s in the high hundreds, if not thousands. It’s monstrous how many folks Drake’s killed, even under the banner of self-defense — they probably had families, right?

All of this is an ongoing joke at this point for the Uncharted series, but with the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and August’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, it’s become a genuine issue that clashes with the maturing and…


I wasn’t expecting to watch Iron Fist.

Reception was intensely disinterested at best, and generally negative. Like the other Netflix-Marvel Defenders series, it was 13 hours long (!). I haven’t read any Iron Fist comics whatsoever. From what I did know of the show’s premise, I figured I was already set by keeping up with Arrow. I already have way too much Arrow in my life, thank you very much. I didn’t need any more.

But I was bored, and The Defenders was out soon, so here we are — I finished Iron Fist across four-ish days.

I enjoyed it.

(Sony Computer Entertainment, 2012)

I felt terrible the first time and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Watching this adorable Pomeranian, that little golden plush of a dog, like a cushion come to life, suddenly wrap its jaws around a rabbit’s neck as the screen yells ‘CLEAN KILL’ dramatically across the screen. I just had to laugh at the horror of it.

The same Pomeranian chomps into the rabbit a few times until — ‘playful’ being the best word to describe it — the corpse bursts into a smattering of loose, clean bones like a Dry Bones.

Tokyo Jungle (2012) is shocking at first —…

DOOM’16 is one of many modern games that’s added ‘progression’ to its formula — EXP, levels, loot, skills and all that jazz that lets you customise your character over time.

It’s obvious why: these things attach players to the game on a personal level, changing or upgrading their favourite weapons or abilities to personalise the experience. Quests or missions are the same: they let players choose their own direction instead of following the straight and narrow. They offer choice and customisation and can ground players in the game’s world, characters and mechanics. They make games more satisfying — in theory.

John Reeves

Writes about games and television and other junk | Perth, WA

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