Dialogue Tree: The SSM Podcast! Episode 1: Wizard Rock Died a Long Time Ago

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Hi friends! We’ve decided to try another new thing: a podcast! We’ve named it Dialogue Tree. All the other names were taken.

Yes, there are lots of video game podcasts, but we’re undeniably the best one. You can’t even argue against it. Featuring Matt, Jess, Angus, Nick and Britt–all of the current staff of Select Start Media!

Check it out here, or pop over to Soundcloud to download it and listen to it on the commute, at the Centrelink waiting room, or while you’re having a wank. They’re your only options.

 

Games with Gold Round-up, April 2016

Greetings, loyal readers. We’re trying out a new idea at SSM, now that we’ve got a bigger team. Starting now, every month (hopefully) we’ll bring you a quick round-up of the games featured in the Xbox Games with Gold line up and the PlayStation Plus line up–or at least, a round-up of the games we’ve played already, just to ensure that they’re still free (in Xbox’s case) by the time we can publish the article.

There are four games on offer during April as part of the Xbox Games with Gold program, two for the Xbox One and two for the Xbox 360, and, whaddya know, we’ve already played all of em. But should you bother? Read on and see if anything tickles your fancy.

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Firewatch

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Every now and then, a game comes along that divides the gaming community. Questions such as ‘what makes a game fun?’ and ‘is this even a game in the first place?’ are raised, and chances are everyone is going to have a different answer to those questions. These are the kinds of games that make us think, that push the boundaries, and that quite frankly, get me very excited. In recent times there has been an increase in the number of “walk-em-ups” or “walking simulators” or “exploration games” that sideline combat in favour of immersing the player in a narrative or environment and giving them little to do but examine their surroundings and piece together a story. Technically, Firewatch probably falls into that genre – but it has so much more to offer than meets the eye.

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Fallout 4

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By now, everything that has to be said about Fallout 4, has been said. I didn’t expect it to be so divisive–Fallout is a franchise that constantly attracts 10/10 scores and countless Game of the Year nods, with every iteration. I’ve had plenty of people tell me that Fallout 3 or New Vegas is their favourite game of all time, bar none. So, when Fallout 4 came out, to hear those same people say that it was nothing special came as a bit of a shock.

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Just Cause 3

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Sometimes it’s nice to play a game that’s just fun. Fun can go quite a long way in a video game to excusing its flaws. Sure, a game might be a little rough around the edges or have an incoherent plot with irritating characters – but who cares if you’re having fun while you play? The design philosophy of “stupid and joyful” is a seed from which most open-world, sandbox, action games have taken root and flourished. Five years ago Just Cause 2 was released and greeted with high amounts of critical praise for its large open world and the fun, freedom of movement given to players – allowing them to zip-line up, down, and all around the beautiful environments the game presents. It was rough in places. The story was uninteresting and the voice acting poor. But at the end of the day it was fun enough for players not to notice the cracks. The same cannot be said for Just Cause 3.

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Star Wars Battlefront

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It’s December, the sun is beating down on us, the days have come and gone and 2015 is almost finished. Once it’s over and done, it’d surprise me if this year is remembered for anything as much as Star Wars. Ten years after George Lucas’ last instalment–not much time, really–Disney have pulled off what feels like the biggest marketing campaign of all time with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ensuring that every single person on the planet is a Star Wars geek, at least for the last six months. What better time to release a new Star Wars video game, then? Star Wars Battlefront is maybe not quite as good as it could have been, leaving me perpetually wanting a quality Star Wars campaign to follow the KOTOR series, but it’s still unadulterated, shooty, explosion-y fun drenched head-to-toe in love for the classic space opera.

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