Sunday, 28 October 2012

Final Fantasy VII Playthrough: Part 1 - The First Reactor

When I heard that Final Fantasy VII was being re-mastered and released on the PC earlier this year, I wondered if it would playing it through properly for the first time and documenting it in blog form.

The Final Fantasy VII title screen.

I've been thinking of doing a written "Let's Play" for a while, because "Let's Plays" are a cross between travel writing and game criticism. I'd never do a recorded, spoken-word "Let's Play" for reasons that will be clear to anyone who've heard my aborted attempts at podcasting, but writing one will, I hope, be fun. I did think about starting a new blog for the purpose, but then I'd have to update it regularly, and I don't really have time for that alongside Well-Rendered. This Final Fantasy VII playthrough on Well-Rendered will be updated whenever I have time, so don't be surprised if it takes well over a year.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Katherine Marlowe and "The Waste Land"

Today marks the first time I have written about modernist poetry for GodisaGeek, and I feel it's long overdue. Katherine "Scary Poppins" Marlowe is the subject of this week's Character Select because she really serves the narrative, if not necessarily the game.

I've played Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception through four times now. Four. Twice on "crushing" difficulty. The shooting stops being challenging after playing it that many times, so clearly I just do it for the story. In fact, this was probably the most difficult Character Select I've written, certainly the one I spent the most time on. I just wanted to do the story and the character justice, really, and I hope that came across. Thank you everyone at Naughty Dog for turning out something so wonderful, you've given me many happy hours.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tomb Raider box art verdict and immersion-destroying hair.

I don't usually bother commenting on gaming news on Well-Rendered because as you might have noticed, I tend not to write about very recent releases. About once or twice a year, I'll buy something on release day and end up writing about it a couple of weeks later, but the rest of the time I tend not to get round to playing something until it's been out for at least six months.

"That trailer was lame."

I also try and avoid news about games I'm really interested in because I fear the hype machine that claimed me and forty of my hard-earned pounds back in 2010 with the release of Final Fantasy XIII. If I really want to play a new or upcoming game, I'll ignore it for a few months, then start reading blogs and reviews by people whose opinions I trust. That way, I generally manage to avoid disappointment.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

You don't need my voice girl, you have your own.

I'm currently reading Possession, A. S. Byatt's 1990 Booker Prize-winning novel about an academic quest to uncover hidden details in the biographies of two fictional Victorian writers. The title has many meanings, amongst them the feeling of ownership a writer feels for his or her subject, and the ownership the subject has over them, whether they like it or not.

Possession, by A. S. Byatt

A particular passage has stuck with me. It concerns James Blackadder, eminent scholar and biographer of fictional poet Randolph Henry Ash. We are granted a window into Blackadder's inner life as he muses upon a life spent dissecting the words of another:

"There were times when Blackadder allowed himself to see clearly that he would end his working life, that was to say his conscious thinking life, in this task, that all his thoughts would have been another man's thoughts, all his work another man's work. And then he thought it did not perhaps matter so greatly. He did after all find Ash fascinating, even after all these years. It was a pleasant subordination, if he was a subordinate."

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Character Select and Well-Rendered maintenance

I haven't really introduced Character Select properly, which is most neglectful. If it slipped under your radar (because I haven't really introduced it properly), it's a column, by me, in which I "select" a video game "character" and write about 2,000 words about how awesome they are or what they say about post-colonial tensions in millennial Britain, or why I really like their hair.

Frank Pritchard does have pretty swell hair.

I'm very much enjoying it, not least because it gives me an excuse to re-play one of my favourite games every other week for "research".

To give it the fanfare it should have had when it launched back in August, I've created a page on this blog with links to all articles that I will update as more are published.