How the Brits 2015 Should Pan Out

It’s remarkable how the Brit Awards are always a disappointment. Despite music being arguably our greatest export, the televised celebrations of our bustling music scene never fail to be frustratingly tepid. Some say it’s a glum reflection of music in 2015 (you’re wrong), while others argue television has horribly misrepresented British music for the past decade via all-conquering reality TV contests (warmer), but what can we do to stop it? And how?

Well through the power of imagination and blog bashing, I’m going to run through how I’d like the Brit Awards to pan out this year. I’m going to ignore who’s been nominated, who’s scheduled to perform and generally just make this shit up as I go, but hopefully it’ll be a much more accurate depiction of our vivid music scene. So watch me wreck the mic.


PJ & Duncs

OPENING PERFORMANCE: Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

The lights go down and the ‘Da Doh’ intro hums within the speaker’s fizz. A sparkling orgy of Jasper Carrot’s golden balls descends from the ceiling and before you know it – BOOM.

Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars strut from the back of the stage spitting Michelle Pffiefers white gold with a purple cadillac of backing musicians in tow. Cheap smoke machines pump the floor into a heavenly 80s space cloud while illegal catherine wheels litter the stage; spinning off their hinges and sparking small fires on nearby celebrity tables. Possibly near Noel Gallagher. Who’ll probably still think it’s shit.

It’ll be the kind of opening showstopper where people will wildly flock to Twitter and express cynical feelings of ‘#Brits2015 already peaked’ and ‘Uptown Funk? More like Back the Fuck Down LOL’. #socialengagement.


Ant & Dec do their opening welcome thing. It’s already better than James Corden.

Quick glance at the celebrity tables and there’s still a fire kicking off below. Zayn from One Direction is on his third haircut of the night and Harry’s gone for a bloody piss again.

2ND PERFORMANCE: Jessie Ware & Katy B Duet

The two London underground pop divas collaborate for the sultry massively underrated gem, Aaliyah. The stage background looks like Katy B’s Crying for No Reason video, only with two massive fuck-off plinths for each to stand while lasers propel over their heads. As the line ‘this is green envy’ is more commonly used, plumes of green smoke will fill the plinths and become jettisoned with lasers to look like a basement rave pumped with the Incredible Hulk toxin.

Jessie will be prodded regularly so she does some lovely high notes.


A small award is given to Sam Smith. It comes with a disclaimer saying you’ll receive the bigger, better award if you prove you’re a lasting presence beyond this initial storm. P.S. call Disclosure.

Paloma Faith is proper rat-arsed.


As the most exciting popstar on our shores, this performance will be an unashamed platform for Charli XCX to catapult into the British consciousness. Ideally, it’ll be a jumbo-sized medley; starting with Break The Rules morphing into Boom Clap, before a cascade of bloodied unicorns form a dance collective for Breaking Up. It will climax with Doing It, with the words ‘now we’re bringing this back to life’ becoming headline material as one of the unicorns gives birth to Madonna.

Because reasons.


Taylor Swift has formed a campfire around the burning debris of Mark Ronson’s performance. She starts to sing Style and everyone else joins in. It’s a beautiful moment.

Ant & Dec welcome Cat Deeley to present an award and it’s a heartbreaking CD:UK reunion. A montage is then played to echo their beloved heydays. Everyone cries.

4TH PERFORMANCE: Drenge Vs Royal Blood

To appease the likes of Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno who recently didn’t get nominated/argued the Brits were conspiring to shut out rock ’n’ roll, we’ll have a classic battle of the bands face-off with two opposing stages at the end of each arena. In the Derby corner will be two-piece-come-three-piece Drenge, with the Brighton corner housing Royal Blood.

Each combatant will play quick one minute blasts of their most notorious thrash downs, bouncing off each other and escalating to the point where two-headed dragons and monstrous gorillas emerge as spirit animals and brawl until the death. Just like that scene in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, only with musicians dodging incoming debris and rapturous gladiator chants brewing from the non-celebrity peasants above. The loser will be drip fed to a pool of swirling piranha.

Scott Pilgrim battleThat’s rock ‘n’ roll, right?


Union J are shuffling up to One Direction telling them how much they love McBusted and think forming two fan bases together is so swell. Union Jirection is proposed and quickly discarded.

Sia accepts an award for ‘belting song about a Chandelier’ but refuses to turn round and as such cannot thank her relatives for her existence. Her Dad starts kicking off and everyone realises it’s Cousin Itt from the Addams Family.

5TH PERFORMANCE: Calvin Harris & all his collaborators

Ignoring Calvin Harris’s usual stage setup of the monolithic DJ platform, this performance will instead see Calvin’s head replicated via a gigantic, towering hologram beaming out like a sexy super villain. It’ll start with the intro from I’m Not Alone, with the mention of its title cutting out the lights before a gaggle of stars including Example, Florence Welch, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Tinie Tempah, Rita Ora, John Newman and Kelis emerge one by one to make blood sacrifices to their EDM overlord. Each offering turning the blueprint of Calvin’s face gradually into human form.

Upon completion, Ellie Goulding will turn up and perform ‘Outside’ while Calvin’s head manically chuckles under a blanket of neon-lit smoke. Lightning strikes and a swarm of ghosts wisp around the arena into the souls of those clambering for a hit. Jessie J grabs a fish net.


Kanye West turns up after a walk in the peaks with his child, North. His fatherlike warmness creates a chemical imbalance and he begins to sporadically convulse into a tyrannosaurus.

Scared by this transformation, Swift runs for the peasant tiers clinging to her awards for ‘easily best pop album of 2014’ for 1989 shouting “I DESERVE THESE, YOU PIECE OF SHIT.”


After receiving the ‘alright, he’s done pretty well this year’ award, there’s an obligatory spot for Ed Sheeran. However, he’s not allowed to perform his heartfelt ballad nonsense and must proceed with his infinitely more interesting powers with loop pedals on Don’t. He’ll then do a rap skit where he’ll confirm his next album will be called ‘divide’ and won’t feature anything involved with an acoustic guitar or below the ‘plod’ tempo range. Calvin’s swarming ghosts hover like vultures.


Paolo Nutini cashes in his small award for a bigger, better award following Caustic Love. An extra prize is given where a still-rat arsed Paloma Faith lovingly dry humps his leg.

Years & Years are looking at the destruction around them and thinking whether this pop game is worth all the hassle. They still churn out corkers, whatever they decide.


Having been cleaned off after a messy unicorn rebirth, Madonna takes the coveted legendary spot with alarmingly disastrous results. As an infant trapped inside an elder body, she cannot control her expansive limbs and lumbers around the stage like an alien-controlled puppet to Ray of Light. But with the admirable ‘show must go on’ mantra coded into her genetics, she proceeds to tussle with her consistently lavish production values – uncomfortably grinding against backing dancers and setting off pyrotechnics ahead of the scheduled trans-animal kiss with a honey badger.

Angry at the performers lack of professionalism, the badgers descend upon the stage and strap her to a giant wooden cross in the style of the Rebel Heart album sleeve. Like A Prayer kicks in and the badger collective strip to white cloaks and sway with the hearty unison of a gospel choir. ‘It’s like a dream to me’ echoes throughout the audience, with a Barry White influenced sea otter pulling off a killer solo. Madonna, realising this isn’t the planned choreography, ushers her unicorn spirit and slays the honey badger uprising. She whispers the words, “just like a dream, you are not what you seem”, before the cross is set ablaze and a rainbow of fireworks coat the rafters.

honey badgerTorn by the emotional plight and with their background VT’s freshly edited, the honey badger’s sons and daughters become regular contestants on The Voice and the X Factor for the next 25 years.


Well that’s my Brit Awards 2015, but what’s yours? Let me know in the comments below :)

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The ‘Doing It’ Music Theory

Following the staggering ‘I Never Let You Down’ music theory which correlated seismic waves of musical perfection across the belt of audio existence through verbal expression, here I am with a new theory. A pretty similar theory to be honest. Only this time I have rewritten the language variables to take the shape of ‘DO IT’, ’DOING IT’ or some variation on telling someone to bloody get on with it.

Bizarrely, this theory also possesses a link (if tenuously) to controversial cleavage extraordinaire Rita Ora. Admittedly in a ‘feat’ spot within the spectacular new Charli XCX single, but it’s still a bit weird isn’t it? Maybe she has a power over this blog which is beyond all control.


But seriously, this song is the absolute tits (not now, Rita).

A Bacardi Breezer rush of the twinkling 90s some might say, a sprawling jam which probably didn’t need Ora’s chops others may chirp, in the end – it’s just a bloody pop banger.

I know this because I’ve been meaning to sleep for the past 45 minutes, but the chorus has formed a comfortable nest in my cranium and refuses to cooperate. Right next to Uptown Funk’s flat, too.

Without further apoo, here’s a string of youtube videos to reinforce my theory of how brilliant songs become when they’re adorned with such words. All the way from Swedish popstars to chemical siblings. Don’t say I don’t treat you.

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2014: Growing Pains and Learning Curves

I’ve not written an overtly personal blog piece in a while. Partly because the internet doesn’t really have time for my ongoing life exploits, and mostly because three quarters of the year have involved  churning words out in the name of MA education. In hindsight, the odd piece here documenting my tormented student woes might have been a nice reprieve during bouts of deadline insanity, but when does madness let you slow down and gather your thoughts? NEVER IT DOES.

Now I’m equipped with too much free time, I thought I’d reflect on the year that was 2014. While I’ll flutter between personal achievements and a few juicy downers, if you were hoping for a more general ‘round-up’ of the year, I’ll casually intersperse slices of entertainment which have been the artistic highlights of this fairly mixed year. I know you need content fast in this turbulent age, so I’m going to cram you like goose fat smothered turkey meat. Strap in.


So in many ways I’ve had a pretty great year. I’ve completed a Journalism MA, met some lovely people and seen my name stuck in places around the internet I’ve long dreamed. At the same time, my confidence has wildly swung from broken to Yeezus in the space of a week, I’ve sunk into glum spells like never before, and received knockbacks with frustrating frequency. When combined with falling slightly in love with a Taylor Swift album and gushing over a Paddington Bear movie, I feared my sense of self was about to collapse on itself. I’d crossed lines which bore no return; floating in blank limbo and clinging to pop songs telling me “it’s gonna be alrigggght’ in a Nashville twang.

I’m fine though. It’s just been in an oddly unstable and directionless kind of time. Like trying to navigate around the house hungover with a backlog of piss in your gut – tripping over yourself and knocking into things with dizzy abandon. I know what I’m aiming for, but I’m clumsily slipping downstairs and bouncing off picture frames into the hard bumps of the interiors – hoping the sweet haven to release golden relief will smack me in the face along the way.

That was a fairly heavy pissing metaphor. Here’s a trailer for one of my favourite games of the year. You’ve earned it.

So it’s been an odd time of ‘maturing’ and generally trying to get a hold of myself in the past few months. Not in the sense that I’m tearing apart at the seams, but figuring out what I’m doing and where I fit exactly in this world of great Paddington movies and Goat Simulator video games. Is there space for weird in today’s world? What if this career path doesn’t want pissed metaphors and comprehensive pieces on the life and times of Nicki Minaj? Asses have made big news this year, maybe there’s room for a posterior correspondent at the BBC in 2015? Spinning 3D graphics of Kim Kardashian’s rear and predicting the forecast for incoming celebrity arse.

It sounds like an identity crisis, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. But according to psychologist Erik Erikson, this can often result in delves into crime or drugs. I stole a bouncy ball once. And I’ve read enough of William Burroughs to know drugs are a bit beyond my station, even if they can make great novels sing. Heroin addiction for a bestseller? It’s either that or appear on a reality show – but no-one needs another pissing autobiography from a twenty-something right now.

You know what you need? A HOT MOVIE FOR 2015.

What I need from 2015 is a blanket of comfort. It’s all looking a bit foggy at the moment and I’m worried I’m going to be swallowed up like John Carpenter’s 80s sophomore effort. Hopefully it won’t be, Halloween released two years earlier was way better. I don’t want to go down in the vein of a disappointing follow-up. I want a drawn out tussle with Michael Myers; fighting atop a balcony with curtain poles until one of us buckles and ends up plastered on the front lawn.

But nonsense aside and in the spirit of a previous back-slapping anniversary special, I’m going to post some links I’m particularly proud of to commemorate my 2014 experience. It’s a dick move again, but sea life is still circling my testicles and they’re getting closer to my battle nuggets.

Official Xbox Magazine – Is Spiderman All Played Out?

Official Xbox Magazine – Ninja Theory Interview

Nottingham Post – Example Interview

Nottingham Post – Alison Balsom Interview

Starburst – Watamote Review

I also got my mug in Official Xbox Magazine talking about my love for South Park: Stick of Truth. So here’s an image of that.


It’s a bigger list than last year so that’s something. Actually I’ve had a pretty good year now I look back in list form. Ignore all that bollocks above – 2014 has been a rewarding year even if I’ve often wanted to throttle its neck until it pops. Hopefully by the close of 2015, I’d have learnt to get to the point and not flounce around with fairly pointless tangents which benefit nobody. Let’s do this.

Happy New Year! x

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Alien: Isolation deserves GOTY praise

Alien: Isolation is one of the most exciting games of the year. It’s too long, fairly repetitive and suffers from tedious Android sections where the cat & mouse dynamic deteriorates into catch the pigeon with a stun baton. But excitement doesn’t brew in the bosom of perfection, it grows from riding with the frustration; a repeating volley between the rough and the majestic where shaking like a hunted Yak in a blacked-out room defines the peak of gaming excellence.

And for 2014 it most certainly has. The intense scares of Alien: Isolation stand alongside the riotous laughs of South Park: The Stick of Truth and the joyous Bayonetta 2 in my personal standout games of the year. But unlike the latter two, Alien: Isolation triggered my gushing excitement for an entire genre. A horror resurgence in any medium is long overdue, but it looks like video games are flying the flag for the future of its thriving existence.

Coupled with the terrifying P.T. demo, horror games are finally matching their movie counterparts in using aesthetics to achieve bone-chilling atmospheres. A mere walk down P.T.’s corridor and the first thing you notice is how unsettlingly real it looks; the lifeless worn walls, family photographs and darkened silhouettes who tease you in the distance. Played alone, it’s one of the most terrifying experiences you can have from so-called ‘entertainment’. And it’s merely a demo for Silent Hills.

Silent Hills

Alien: Isolation takes this further by replicating the setting of Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic with remarkable attention to detail. The 80s sci-fi bleeps and bloops echo in corridors, doors leisurely slide with a satisfying swoosh and spinning panic sirens coat the spaceship’s hallways in the kind of glowing red which encourages hysterical dilemmas of not knowing where to run, but to run somewhere and simultaneously anywhere.

Yet running in Alien: Isolation is an unwritten mechanic for instant death. The continuously prowling Alien cripples you into playing defensively throughout the majority of the game. You’ll walk slowly, strategically hide behind obstacles in open rooms and check your motion tracker with OCD style affliction even when the Alien isn’t near your location. When confronted with the beast, every voice in your body is telling you to freak out, yet you quickly learn that your survival relies on your ability to swallow your fright and slowly crawl to safety. It’s terrifying, tough and simply unmatched as a horror experience despite its influences from other survival titles like Outlast and Amnesia.


The reason behind this praising outpour stems from a cold feeling chilling my loins. As this year’s GOTY (GAME OF THE YEAR) discussions on various media outlets take place, I’m worried Alien: Isolation is going to be largely ignored due to its polarising nature. While I should probably learn to loosen up and just be content with my own positive experience, I’m not a man to let such little things slide. I bubble and froth like a sexy Winter stew if games worthy of praise are brushed over in the leading game discussions. So here I am singing its praises via a piddling blog.

So while it certainly has issues, Alien: Isolation is a spectacular emulation of the horror movie experience. Big budget games rarely arrive so mechanically divisive and ballsy when dealing with a beloved movie franchise. And thanks to the team at Creative Assembly, a horror film nasty has been reborn and exciting steps towards a golden era of horror games look etched in the sand.

And if somebody higher doesn’t start talking all this up, I’m going to burst into potato broth.


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Spice Up Your Shuffle

One of the greatest outcomes of the digital music space is undoubtedly the shuffle. The balls-to-the-wall option perfect for unstoppable career climbers and party go-getters who can dance their way through time, genres and specifically ordered album tracks. It can be a heady parade however if your music tastes swing wildly from club bangers to instrumental compositions, so I’d like to suggest a few song types which serve as a cleanser for the beloved powers of your shuffle.



The debut album from Duck Sauce is a minigun barrel of camp disco bangers which is perfect shuffle fodder. Unconvinced? Just imagine you’re relishing in the musical intricacies of a Radiohead track, you’re completely absorbed by the complex layers and textures, clear of your direction in life, when Spandex drops. Swooping your clear thought space and carrying it forward with the finger-shaking strut of a free lioness. It’s an awakening many are afraid to admit too, but you’ll feel it when fellow commuters swerve your path. No-one stops Spandex.



Sometimes your shuffle can send you into a daze. In your attempts to front load your iPod with cool tracks from the latest acoustic crooner or minimal synth troupe, production which really pops is sorely lacking from your musical library. Enter, the Super Mario shadow comet theme. It gears you up for urgency and will having you feverishly panicking as you dash in a circle looking for any remaining coins. Then you’ll wake up and realise Super Mario isn’t real and the whole endeavour was an acute reflection of how society’s money-driven world has embedded into your natural thought process. Sucker.



I’ll give you an insight into my iPod. Currently I have the Django Unchained soundtrack from top to bottom stored on there; mainly for the title theme, the John Legend track and ‘Freedom’ which is the ideal sound for any pensive walk over the desert hills. Also littered in there are dialogue extracts from the film which I’ve slowly grown to love over my shuffle journey’s. They’re like the irritating skits you get on rap albums, only they’re good because they can hysterically lead into a Taylor Swift single or ‘Go All the Way’ by the Raspberries. Get involved.



Because doesn’t everyone need a dictator in the morning?



Shuffles are designed to cheer you up. They may anger or frustrate from time to time, but it’s important to remember the amount of joy you put in is what you’ll inevitably get out. So to treat yourself, stick on Joe Esposito’s ‘You’re The Best’ from the Karate Kid. You never know when you might need the audio-equivalent of a hearty pat on the back, so you’re best leaving this somewhere in the mix. The shuffle gods will see its delivered when you need it most – probably reading a blog post about how best to spice up your shuffle because you’ve exhausted every morsel of happiness to be had from the internet today. No wait, come back! Stay! WITH ME!

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The Happy Halloween Gallery of High Art

Halloween is a wonderful time of year. You can fill your chops with sinful snacks, dress like a maniac without being alerted to the authorities and binge through an entire archive of horror classics in one glorious night. As a concerned citizen however, I feel it is important to remember on-screen nasties are more fun and silly than they appear. So in true bored spirit, I’ve decided to show the true harmless colours of a few horror film faces via the avant-garde medium of paint. It’s avant-garde, because I don’t have a pissing clue what it is but it’s a bit weird, okay?

While this very artsy gallery was designed to lighten up a few bedwetting pin-ups, I’ve realised the process may have made them even more terrifying than the original. If you have any issues with the below, please email your despair to

Happy Halloween!

Norman bates friendly



Myers makeover



Rave freddy


Exorcist burrito


Texas chainsaw married



If you think you can do better, then you are wrong (or you can send them to me on Twitter @Starkerz and I’ll call you a sick weirdo and repost them). Enjoy!

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Taylor Swift-ing opinion

That probably won’t catch on. Actually, if Taylor Swift can align her upcoming album as one of the most exciting pop releases left in 2014, maybe my unimaginative headlines can forge a life beyond this URL. I’ll just have to release two magical pop singles which redefine myself as a formidable music force with a goofy, white girl charm. Pass me a drum machine, it’s time to get SWIFT-ING.

If you haven’t been SWIFT-ED by this undeniably SWIFT-IABLE piece of a SWIFT-DOM, then no amount of SWIFT-ING is going to save your eternally glum SWIFT-LESS life. Alright, I’ll stop. But if you’re on the fence, jump back into the woods and give it another spin. This song combined with the carefree anthem of Shake it Off is Taylor entering the supreme leagues. A place where the casual radio listener working in a supermarket mutters, ‘yeah, that’s alright that’ as they shove another Ginsters pasty into your bag for life.

Hold up, why aren’t you packing your own bags for sodding life? SWIFT OFF.

I’ll come clean, I wasn’t a Swift advocate until her recent efforts. Her borderline country stylings and awkward Disney princess image was something I found hard to swallow on a British meat and potatoes diet. Ever since Shake it Off however, my opinion has started to shift/SWIFT. She’s dropped all the unnecessary music trims and emerged as a freshly baked popstar. Out of the Woods being the kind of glistening showstopper her contemporaries have failed to knock out in recent years. Don’t get me started on that bridge. Oh that beautiful bridge.

I genuinely love it when people manage to swift/switch your opinion for the better. It selfishly makes you feel taller as a person and simultaneously highlights how much a presumptive prick you might have been before. Last time I experienced this was the 2013 case of Ben Affleck, who after starring in an awful run of Pearl Harbour and Daredevil, stood behind the camera and delivered the triple A-grade whammy of Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. His speech at the BAFTAs for the latter, warming my callous heart into submission. Ben was a good egg all along, he helped write Good Will Hunting for christ’s sake. How did I not see the signs?

Truth is, it’s quite easy to get swept up in the negative hysteria of high-profile stars. Taylor has had her fair share, garnering a reputation as someone who worked through the male of the species with admirable efficiency(which shouldn’t be a negative thing but that’s for another time). But now she’s about to surpass those perceived notions with two alarmingly great pop songs and hopefully an album that will set people’s mouths moving to her music rather than her reputation. Good on you, Swifty. You old dawg.

I realise trying to highlight positive SWIFTS in opinion in an industry populated by obsessive fandoms might be a doomed endeavour. But someone needs to take the bold steps of admiring positive changes in megastars from a stuffy bedroom in the middle of England. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to drum up a hero’s welcome for her latest single in a classic CD:UK presenter segue fashion. Because I miss those Saturday morning TV days.






It will catch on someday. I’m telling you.

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PSRevision: Infamous

Imagine living in a world where our actions are strictly defined as good or evil. You drive to work parading carbon emissions; evil. You failed to give a knockout smile to the often overlooked receptionist with the wonky tooth; terribly evil. The coffee machine is broken, so you offer to collect a round for the office from the ridiculously overpriced alternative; pretty good. However, the only reason you’re doing it is because there’s a promotion coming up and you want your boss to remember you can be counted on during an unprecedented beverage crisis. Er?

Infamous pic

Infamous, the superhero sandbox title from Sucker Punch slaps a thumbs up or thumbs down sticker on every moral decision within its world. You’ll be thrown conundrums which generally amount to protecting civilians by making things harder for yourself, or taking the easier (and worryingly more fun) approach of channeling Satan so you become more powerful at the expense of a few non-descript NPC’s. If like me, you’re regularly trapped inside a Clinton’s retailer crippled by indecision over a birthday card, these moments can spark full scale mental breakdowns. The kind reserved for late-night bus stops and Saturday evening’s spent alone watching ITV.

Picture the scene. A man is storing blast shards inside his locker which you require to upgrade your powers. There’s no reasonable explanation given for this man to greedily hoard such items, but you’re asked to either kill the man and steal his shards or save him and be rewarded with a few shards and a guilty free conscience. Easy, you say. Just grow a pair and blast some lightning in that motherfucker, you say. Well I’m not mental psychopath you guys, and I like to ask questions.

Firstly, what if the man storing all these shards is actually a pawn for the super villain up top? He might be making a living from watching his city succumb to fear and turmoil while he comfortably cosies up under the wholesome glow of a Christmas ham. No minion deserves golden meat stashing goods off the street. Also, what rational human being decides to store electrical charges in a locker anyway? It all sounds fishy to me. Surely we should place him under observation by the Cheater’s team and see if there’s any seedy superhero activity afoot. He might be sticking his major in a generator for all we know. HIS WIFE DESERVES TO KNOW.

This is what I dislike about video games that attempt any kind of ‘morality’ system. No room is left to explore the morally grey area of sticking majors into generators, turning the entire story experience into a two dimensional bore-fest. It’s especially dull when the game practically forces you to pick a side from the outset, leaving the highest powers and upgrades to those who solely devote their playthrough to predominantly good or evil deeds. And how are you rewarded at the end for your efforts? The always terrible ‘good ending’ or ‘bad ending’ — where you’re either riding unicorns into space or trapped alone in a barrel of faeces dribbling out spinach.

I would have enjoyed Infamous a lot more if this system were banished into the cosmic abyss. Once you finally unlock powers like electric skiing and summoning thunder from the heavens, the combat is really fun and sliding across telephone wires over the city is thoroughly satisfying. It even taps into that Assassin Creed style gaming itch of clearing away every icon on the map, even if it does grow repetitive towards its conclusion. There is some terrible side missions however which require stealth, but I’ll forget about them because I’m a forgiving kind of person.

I’ve been informed this morality system still rears its ugly head in Infamous 2 and Second Son, so while I will continue to endure and enjoy its positives through these mental hardships, I will sit quietly and hope this gaming phase is somewhere behind us. Take us on stories which dare to delve into the grey, challenge our perceptions and for crying out loud, stop asking us to pick between the red and blue coloured lightning. I can’t handle this kind of shit anymore.

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PSRevision: God of War 3

I need you back Kratos. I got angry about the Great British Bake Off the other week and I’ve started shouting at the houseplants again because they refused to match my play-style to a character class in Destiny. I’m a tetchy and agitated man, Kratos. I need to indulge in jovial video game violence and wake anew. Just chuck a minotaur our way so I can dance around its throat like a psycho dentist again. I promise it will fix us right up. There’s a good lad.

god of war 3

God of War 3 is the ultimate pallet cleanser. After smashing, gutting and ripping apart every hellish creature in sight, there’s an odd feeling of reinvigoration. Like all you’re previous stresses have suddenly dissipated into the atmosphere like a shitty Airwick. You might need to take a few moments to remember attaching kitchen knives to a set of bungee cords isn’t the most pragmatic way to replicate the thrill outside the gaming world, but over the course of six bloody hours you’re somehow purified of all your seething rage. It’s amazing what punching the face of Zeus can do.

It’s therapeutic qualities shine even brighter in this trimmed and refined third instalment. The game length is shorter, the action finally lives up to its epic potential with staggering boss set-pieces and everything looks stunning under the HD graphical sugarcoat. From beginning to end, it’s easily the most thrilling of the trilogy. Blasting you from the clutches of Hades onto the back of a Goliath in a blood-gushing heartbeat.

What makes God of War so special however isn’t just the rush of the action. Sure it helps, but a lot of attention is paid to dressing it all up in a cohesive and satisfying package. Surprisingly clever puzzles creep up amidst the frenzy and while the story often amounts to Kratos simply being pissed off, it is a lot more engaging than many of the po-faced narratives triple A titles normally shoot for. There’s a loveably self aware silliness to God of War, and you can almost hear the guys at Santa Monica Studios chuckling away as you gouge out the eyes of Poseidon with the analogue sticks.

My own lasting memory of God of War 3 is its closing segment; hammering the circle button and watching as you pound Zeus with a flurry of fists until blood is literally blinding your vision on screen. What I didn’t realise is you do this for as long as you wish, and you only initiate the ending credits once you stop the beating. I did this for about 20 minutes, feeling queasy at initial concerns the game had crashed and thinking maybe, just maybe, the ridiculous team who designed this won’t let my experience end until my thumbs convulse out of their sockets.

It was only after some trembling internet research I actually stopped, which made me wonder what would have happened if this kind of mechanic crept up back in 80s or some other pre-internet time period. I’d probably still be there now, writing cover letters with the tip of my nose while stirring a pot of pasta between my toes. Those guys at Santa Monica are bastards. Beautiful, sick bastards.

So for all those who probably don’t read this and believe video game violence is a corruptive part of society. I’d like to riposte your accusations with God of War: the stress ball of video games. Everyone builds up a little bit of anger or frustration inside them, it’s part of the human condition. Now through the wonders of technology we can pile those feelings behind a mythical God who can slice through centaurs like wet lettuce. We should all thank God of War really. All its outrageous violence was just to make the world that little bit more pleasant for us all.

So thank you, God of War.

And thank you, video game violence. :)

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PSRevision: ICO

I’ve always wanted to play Shadow of the Colossus. So when I saw the HD re-release on PS3, I bounded through the air of my local gaming outlet and whispered sweet nothings into the ear of the cashier, waiting until their cheeks bloomed roses. It was only walking away I noticed the other game which came in the package, ICO. A game I assumed was the Big Momma’s House 2 part of the deal, serving as shitacular padding so you feel less guilty about paying for a PS2 remake.



ICO was never on my radar and it’s only now I’ve realised how much of a nincompoop I must have been 12 months ago. That’s right, this relatively pointless journey through game exclusives has transformed into a wholesome ragtag adventure with heartwarming spiritual growth. I don’t want to sensationalise anything, but I’m basically saying video games have an indisputable correlation with our emotional development as human beings. I’ve got the trophies to prove it.

I’m also saying ICO is pretty wonderful. It’s essentially a 5-6 hour escort mission which (pre-spiritual growth) would have sounded worse than someone trying to singe the hairs on my vitals with a yankee candle. Now that idea seems like only a mildly irritating nuisance. You’ll still kick the pram and swing your stick wildly when this mystical lady doesn’t respond to a command, but really, isn’t that an acute reflection of our everyday lives? WOMEN EH?

So ICO can be broken down into pretty challenging puzzles, mild combat that involves mashing square until the black things go away and most importantly, taking in its stunning atmosphere. There isn’t much music in ICO, so every sound effect from clomping footsteps, bereaved cries to the strained push of a block feels oddly eerie and isolated. A strange contrast to some of the pleasant and serene environments within which you have to navigate and escape from.

You’re basically dragging around this mystical lady called Yorda in the hope of escaping an abandoned fortress. All the while creatures are trying to claim her back as she’s the daughter of the castle’s Queen and naturally, they pop-up at the most inconvenient of times. Mostly when the player is forced to branch away from Yorda to tug a few levers and set the panic wheels in motion. While these moments can become predictable, it never develops into frustration as the enemies are generally quite easy to defeat and the game itself is such a pleasure to move around in.

It might from playing Uncharted 3 beforehand, but it was refreshing to go back to a game which lets the gameplay tell the story. You aren’t chasing cinematic cut-scenes on a dangly rope in ICO and the connection between the characters is organically formed as you participate through the ‘escort mission’ style gameplay. By the end as the threat level to Yorda mounts, an irritable person you have to protect turns into someone you genuinely want to save. A feat to be celebrated considering my volcanic hatred of ‘protect’ missions in games of yesteryears.

To sum up, I thoroughly loved ICO. It was a nice reminder of how stunning games can be away from the explosions, shoot-outs and ‘cinematic’ tendencies of a lot of games today. While it feels like an ‘old game’, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Big budget titles are obsessed with replicating the movies and maybe it’s about time games focussed on their unique storytelling capabilities instead.

So much spiritual growth right now.

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