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.

Additionally, I've updated the list of articles I've written on GodisaGeek since the summer. As you can see, it's a very JRPG-heavy list. I think that's because Mark Bridle, who writes the wonderful "Story Mechanic" column on GodisaGeek, decided he'd write one about JRPGs, which meant asking the GodisaGeek team whether any of us considered ourselves JRPG experts. I said something like "I played Final Fantasy X once and have spent eight years trying to recapture that sense of wonder by tramping through Chopin's subconscious killing mushrooms" so he ended up talking to me about them for this article, helpfully titled "Mark and Mary talk JRPGs".

Anyway, since then, whenever a JRPG has ended up at the GodisaGeek office, more often than not it's gone to me for review. That's why I ended up with the sweet Tales of Graces f (not a typo) and the sticky Mugen Souls.

Video game narrative at its finest.

It's been a really good couple of months at GodisaGeek, my thanks to the editors and the rest of the team for giving me the opportunity to write all these things. Long may it continue.


  1. When I played Human Revolution I never would have guessed that Pritchard would have the fan following he has (and it isn't every day that someone describes the male ponytail as “pretty swell”). I remember being pretty surprised at some of the fanart that was posted on the official Deus Ex tumblr.

    I read your article on classic Lara. It made me wonder... as a kid, the sense of wonder I got from TR1 (until Atlantis where I was too scared to go any further) and TR2 kept me playing them, and so I got ample practise with the controls, but I don't know if I'd give it the same chance if I played it as a first-timer today.

    Have you played any custom TR levels? Many of them recreate the classic TR feeling exceptionally well.

  2. The Deus Ex tumblr is brilliant. The official Tomb Raider one also, the Square Enix (who bought Eidos) are great at allowing their development studios to have their own voices, and put their community managers in-house. Then, they give legitimacy to talented fan artists by featuring them a couple of times a week. It is a really forward-thinking approach to community management.

    I haven't actually played any custom levels, I really should. Good on CORE/Eidos (as they were then) for including the editor with Chronicles. The more development/design tools available to the public, the better.

    Are there any levels you'd recommend in particular?

  3. There's quite a variety, so it depends on what sort of thing you fancy.

    If you're after a quick taste of what's on offer, try The Buried Temple, which is pretty and well-paced and doesn't try to impress you with anything gimmicky.

    Some adventures span more than one level and are sometimes the length of a small game. Himalayan Mysteries(based on Lara's Core origin story) is considered one of the best. The more nostalgic or hipsterish raider may prefer something like South America which is the closest (unofficial) thing to TR1 I've played.

    The Back to Basics collection ( front page) is also worth a look. They're levels of a specific setting made for an annual competition – I entered one myself. The House of Kuan-Yin Lo (2006) is one I remember as being particularly good.

    Some older levels require you to have the editor installed to play them. You can get a "lite" version at Custom level downloads usually come with instructions on where to put the various files.

  4. Thanks Brad, I'll definitely check them out when I'm next doing some PC raiding. It is nice to have such detailed recommendations, I appreciate it.