JackGYarwood

A selection of reviews, blog posts and other jottings of interest.

Posts from the “Games” Category

The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup is a dark Lemmings-like from the creator of Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Posted on November 30, 2018

In The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup, death is never too far away. Developed by Gory Detail – a studio formed by Conker’s Bad Fur Day creator Chris Seavor – the dark Lemmings-like tasks you with leading a small, windup dog named Rusty through a dank and dangerous sewer. Something that’s far easier said than done.

Sam Barlow on visionary indie game Her Story

Posted on September 19, 2015

In the past Sam Barlow had made a name for himself working on titles in the Silent Hill series, including Silent Hill Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The latter title was particularly influenced by psychology, with much of the game being set in a psychiatrist’s office. This focus on a formal setting combined with an intimate discussion of a person’s history was something that would be carried over into Barlow’s more recent work, the critically acclaimed Her Story. “Once I had decided that I wanted to go make an indie game, I was kind of trying to figure out what that game should be,” Barlow begins. “The easiest thing for me to go out and make would have been an exploratory, atmospheric horror…

Here’s the Problem With Amiibo

Posted on June 12, 2015

It’s hard to hate Nintendo. After all, they are behind many beloved franchises, including The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and the Metroid series. But their latest venture, the Wii U and 3DS compatible amiibo, has managed to antagonize a large number of its consumers. This is as a direct result of shortages in stock, and Nintendo’s subsequent failure to act on their promises to improve supply. When amiibo were first released to coincide with Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. 3DS, they quickly became the must-have peripheral for gaming fans. The only problem was that demand for the items greatly outweighed the supply. This meant certain figures were almost impossible to find in stores and online. These included the likes of…

Why Glitches Are an Important Part of Gaming Culture

Posted on June 6, 2015

Glitches are often seen as a negative presence in a game. They can break a title or even prevent the progression of a player. Nevertheless, they remain a beloved aspect of gaming culture. Part of the reason for this is that they have informed everything from let’s plays to speedruns. Even today, I can remember seeing my first glitch in a game. My brother burst into the front room clutching the Gameboy in his hands. Excitedly, he thrust the dimly lit screen under my gaze. There was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, for the original Gameboy. I stared closely as he edged his character towards the side of the screen, and pressed down on the control pad and the select button simultaneously. The…

Simulating Success: How Simulation Games Brought The Joy

Posted on June 2, 2015

There was once a time when simulation games were more often found in the bargain bin section of your local gaming store. The genre was considered stale and cheap, paling in comparison to its all-guns-blazing, big budget competition. Covering specialized, ultra-niche topics, such as farming and trucking, they failed to captivate a mass audience in quite the same way as they had in times gone by. However, more recently this has changed to some degree, with a new breed of simulation games becoming popular with players – one that, although based in reality, still entertains ideas of the absurd for comedic effect. This subgenre includes massively popular titles like Surgeon Simulator, Goat Simulator, and I Am Bread, as well as other lesser-known titles such…

A Walk In The Park: Revisiting Jurassic Park For The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Posted on May 21, 2015

As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved Jurassic Park. Like all kids growing up in the 90s, Spielberg’s blockbuster hit captured my imagination, sparking a lifelong fascination with the source material. I expressed my enthusiasm any way that I could. This mostly consisted of writing terrible fan fiction in scrawled English, and acting out my own adventures with a box of mismatched dinosaur toys. At approximately the same time, I was in the process of discovering something else that would prove influential on my life: videogames. I had finally started to experiment with my brother’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and his collection of games. To my astonishment, whilst digging through the countless cartridges and crumpled cardboard boxes, I discovered something…

Shovel Knight: Digging Up The Past

Posted on April 24, 2015

Over the last few years, retro gaming has seen a surge in interest, with HD remasters and remakes of games becoming incredibly common amongst developers and studios. Even Nintendo have got in on the act via their wonderful Virtual Console service, where they have begun republishing old titles such as the Legend of Zelda games on their brand new machines. The huge advantage of this is that it provides younger players with the chance to experience previously hard-to-find games; the disadvantage is that it also demonstrates how far the games industry has come in terms of gameplay over the last twenty-five years, with many such games retaining the same flaws as when they were originally released. In 2011, a group of former employees from…

Interview with game developer Chris Seavor

Posted on April 6, 2015

Lewd, rude, and excessively vulgar – these are all expressions that can be used to describe Conker’s Bad Fur Day, the 3D platformer released by Rare in 2001. With its overt references to sex, scatological humour, and excessive cursing, the game has become a cult classic amongst mature gamers, whilst simultaneously earning the scorn of parents the world over. But the game hadn’t always been this way. Originally the game was being produced as a more child-friendly adventure, featuring the cute and harmless character Conker from an earlier Rare release, Diddy Kong Racing. The game was being developed under the working title Twelve Tales, and instead revolved around the character collecting acorns and other items in a style reminiscent of later Rare platformers Banjo…

Interview with video game composer Grant Kirkhope

Posted on April 6, 2015

If you were a gamer growing up in the 90s, the name Rare is guaranteed to evoke warm memories of hours spent hunched over a controller, pounding on brightly coloured buttons. For a long period of time, the game developer – originally established in 1985 by brothers Chris and Tim Stamper – were one of the most well respected companies in gaming, with many of their releases becoming instant classics upon release. Grant Kirkhope was an in-house composer for Rare during this period, working on such games as Goldeneye 007, Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, and Perfect Dark, to name only a few. During his time with the company he helped to contribute to the vivid and lively worlds that Rare created, producing spectacular scores…

Play Expo Comes To Manchester

Posted on October 14, 2013

The highly anticipated gaming event, Play Expo 2013, came to Manchester’s Event City last weekend, showcasing the latest in gaming. At the event there were stalls selling retro consoles, old videogames, and other merchandise, as well as stands previewing new games from Nintendo and Ubisoft, amongst others. The hall at Event City was packed with videogame enthusiasts throughout the duration of the expo, some turning up in costume to cosplay as their favourite characters from gaming lore. One of the main attractions of the event was inevitably the PS4, which was on display almost immediately upon entering. Gamers who waited in line were given the chance to play Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on the next-gen console, almost a full month before Sony releases…