Most of my work that appears online is for the excellent Eurogamer, I love them. I work less and less for magazines these days, which is a sad symptom of change – every year I look at the ABCs when they’re released, an old habit, and every year they disappoint. The mags are as good as ever, mostly, but when you look at something like Nintendo Gamer it’s enough to make you cry.
Nintendo Gamer was a relaunch of NGamer about six months ago, and the magazine that team produces is phenomenal. I really mean it, some of the best games mags I’ve ever seen, and absolutely perfect in the mix of content and tone for Nintendo fans. The sales? I don’t even want to mention them. Nintendo Gamer proves that quality doesn’t guarantee sales.
I started off as a games writer on mags, because when I was a kid the nights when my dad would bring home a Your Sinclair were the best of the month. Those tapes! They usually had about a dozen games on them, a mix of demos and full titles, and if you were lucky about half would work. Anyway, enough. I’ll write more about mags soon, past and present, because they still fascinate me.
What have I done recently? Well, not much, but some things.
I wrote a retrospective on the original Metal Gear for Eurogamer. It’s a curious game, as you’ll hopefully see in the piece, not least because of the rose-tint you can’t help but have when looking back at something with such a legacy. The Metal Gear series is so interesting, so intricate and bound-up in a panoply of its creator’s obsessions, and with Metal Gear 4 produced what I consider to be a defining failure – yet shortly afterwards, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was released, a game with all of the brilliance and invention MGS4 was so sorely lacking in. I’ll come back to Metal Gear in the not-too-distant future.
There are also quite a few Apps of the Day I’ve done for Eurogamer recently. This is a series that’s been running daily for six months (ish) now, though it’s just started to become less frequent. I can kind of see why, but at the same time they were great to write, and I ended up doing quite a few.
Reiner Knizia’s Samurai is an incredibly elegant hex-based turn-taking game, where you battle for control over landmarks in feudal Japan. Equally refined is Ticket to Ride, a route-laying multiplayer game that produces the kind of situation I love – where everyone’s waiting for the others to act, before one move sets off a flurry of action.
There’s also Swords and Soldiers HD, Ronimo’s excellent 2D strategy title, which for my money fits iPad better than it ever did the Wii. And a shoutout for Kingdom Rush, too, a superb Tower Defence that differentiates itself with smashing upgrades.
I did a proper big review of an app as well, the latest version of Duels of the Planeswalkers, which is ace. It’s as good as Magic (one of the best games ever) could be on a tablet, I think, which is why it’s interesting something like Assassin’s Creed Recollection feels so much slicker.
ACR is a game designed by wizards. I did that as an App of the Day absolutely ages ago, and I still play it almost every day. And I’ll do a post soon about the things I’ve learned from being in the online wilds with extremely good players. I’m now in the top 1000, and the things that have started happening with decks are pretty interesting – basically, how much can you squeeze out of fixed rules? Not much? I’ve seen shit that’d turn you white.