Batman. The Bat. The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne. Reinvented by many a filmmaker, comic writer and games company over the years, but somehow his story still manages to hold interest for both creators and fans alike. As a hero with a heavy reliance on technology he fits easily into the role of a game protagonist, his expansive skillset and collection of gadgets making taking on the role of this caped crusader a thrilling and varied experience. The Arkham series allowed players to step into the shoes of Batman the action hero, but it (like many adaptations of Batman) didn’t have a whole lot to say about Bruce Wayne. We know what kind of choices Batman would make in his fight for justice, but what about Bruce Wayne? What would Bruce do? Masters of choice-driven games Telltale have taken on the challenge of answering these questions in their latest title Batman: The Telltale Series. But can they do it? Or have they bitten off more than they can chew?
I’d imagine that deciding on a name for a video game would be an arduous task; the single most important image element of a product that has taken years of devotion; the first impression; the ultimate reduction of the entire experience into a single phrase. I don’t know how developer Coffee Powered Machine were inspired, but their upcoming title Okhlos has nailed the game-naming game. Okhlos is a Greek word. It’s English translation is “mob”. That one word is introduction enough for the self-described “angry Greek mob simulator” Okhlos, in all of its ridiculousness, chaos and charm.
In a world of greyscale, a child stands alone. Their silent surroundings hint at the terrors that lurk both in the shadows and right in front of their eyes, but despite their fear, they are unshaken. A hint of red in their otherwise unremarkable outfit breaks through the black and white and shows the viewer that their story is one of importance. No, I’m not talking about Schindler’s List. No, I’m not describing Limbo, another game that would easily fit those first two sentences of the description. Instead, this is the beginning of Limbo developer Playdead’s second black and white dystopian platformer–but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a repeat of their last success story. Inside has its own story to tell, and boy is it one heck of a story.
Ahh, yes; hyper-difficult platformers. The 2D platforming genre has always brimmed with games that require pixel perfect jumps and unwavering, split-second judgement to survive increasingly ridiculous obstacle courses. RunGunJumpGun is a stripped-down take on the punishing performer genre that sees its release on 31st August, and I’ve had the chance to play through roughly the first half of the game this week.
The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now—
James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it?
No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too.
– Virginia Woolf
Pokemon GO has been available in Australia for just a little over two weeks now, but at time of writing it’s hard to remember what life was like before its release. In these two weeks the augmented reality game has surpassed the download rate of apps like Tinder. New friendships have been forged. Introverts have ventured cautiously outside. Thousands of think pieces and hot takes have been written as the country – and the world – grapples with the new social and cultural paradigms being constructed in the wake of Pokemon GO. For myself, it has meant investing in a robust spare battery pack (the likes of which have been flying off the shelves) and spending most of my afternoons and evenings at the lighthouse in Wollongong.