So it turns out we might not be alone in the universe. Back in February, Nasa announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting Trappist-1, which is not in fact a low alcohol hipster beer but a star in the constellation of Aquarius. Now it seems the sixth planet could have an atmosphere and liquid water, which are the basic requirements for life to exist. Although Croydon has done pretty well with just one of those.
Will video game videos kill the video game star? What?
Earlier this month I became a published author. Don't worry, this isn't about to become a thousand-word plug for my book, which is out now on Amazon for barely a fiver, and consistently receiving glowing reviews. (Sample: "Literally the best book i have ever written. 7/10" - Ellie Gibson)
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. As I lie there, I think about the people in all the other bedrooms on my street, and wonder if any of them are awake. Then I think about the people who slept in these rooms a hundred years ago, and where they are now, and how death is coming for us all. And I imagine what my funeral will be like, and wonder if my husband will obey my wishes and play C'est La Vie by B*witched. (Seriously, watch the video. I have yet to find a closer approximation of my personal vision of Heaven captured on film.)
During my 15 years as a video games journalist, I have repeatedly been accused of nicking my writing style straight from the pages of classic computing mags Zzap! and Crash. I wholeheartedly refute this spurious and frankly outrageous accusation. I've actually been ripping off Amstrad Action.
"What are you playing at the moment?" I dread being asked this question. I always feel like I should reply, "Oh, just this really cool hand-drawn physics-based puzzler inspired by the plot of The Cherry Orchard. It's being developed by an indie studio called Robot Avocado. They're based in Dalston and it's basically this guy Jude and his Jack Russell, Amis. You won't have heard of it."
Life as a tabloid journalist must be pretty tough these days. Not only is it illegal to listen to the private voicemail messages of murdered teenagers, you can't even get away with trying to falsely imprison former members of N-Dubz. So what else are you supposed to write about?
Hello there. As regular readers may know, I'm currently appearing in video games TV show Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit, Monday nights on Dave. It's the brainchild of comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon, who are the team captains, while I play Richard Osman.
I will be 40 next year, and I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis. How do I know this? It's not because my idea of a party is staying in with a good Merlot and my complimentary copy of Waitrose Weekend. It's not because I sometimes put Radio 6 Music on extra loud, in the hope my cool young neighbours will think I'm still a hep cat. And it's not because I have multiple sexual fantasies about being trapped in a lift with the tall one out of the Making A Murderer lawyers. Although all these things are true.
Sometimes I worry I've read so many video game press releases I've started to talk like them. A few years ago, for example, I remember saying to my husband, "I think we should leverage the success of our existing legacy brand to extend the franchise in an exciting new direction." It was only when he saw I was wearing a new nightie he realised I wanted another baby.
Imagine being Ben Fogle. I'm sure we all have, at some point. It must be tough. The daily challenge of having to look rugged and cuddly at the same time. The effort of batting away armies of women who just want to ruffle your hair. The struggle to convince yourself that it's OK, safari jackets ARE still cool.
Dear Donald Trump,
Quit while you're ahead, they say. Nonsense. What if Mo Farah had realised he was in the lead at 9,995 meters, and had a sit down? What if Alan Sugar had been satisfied with the CPC 464, and retired? What if Churchill had received the telegram about Hitler's defeat at Stalingrad, and gone down the Wethers? How different history would have been, most notably due to the absence of the Amstrad email phone.
I am immediately suspicious of people who say you must try something to find out if you like it. I have been told this about many things over the course of my life: snowboarding, whisky, karaoke, bottom sex, olives. I have tried all these things. I like one of them.
In deepest, darkest south-east London, there lies a strange and almost forgotten monument to times past. Walk north from Forest Hill station and you will see its crumbling facade. Enter the dingy interior, breathe in the stale air, and marvel at the mysterious collection of ancient relics. Gaze in wonder at these eccentric remnants of history; these dusty, dying survivors of a world long gone.
Is there such a thing as British industry any more? This important and difficult question is one I regularly find myself ignoring as I scroll through the headlines on the Guardian website, before clicking on a thing about tights. But I am vaguely aware we no longer mine coal or work steel or make cars, and that filthy foreign capitalists have ruined Easter by deciding Creme Eggs will now be made from glue and compost. What concerns me, though, is that I rarely see anything about the hidden threat to one of our greatest remaining homegrown industries: video game manual writing.
The late nineties was a time of icons. For politics, it was Tony Blair. For music, it was Oasis. For fashion, it was combat trousers. And for once, even video games had a cool figurehead. Lara Croft was so cool, in fact, she appeared on the cover of The Face. (Note for younger readers: The Face was a monthly music, culture and style magazine. A magazine was like a paper version of the internet.)
Ain't no party like a terrible party. And if there's one thing that makes a terrible party worse, it's a host who insists they're having A REALLY GREAT TIME ACTUALLY, and that everyone else is going to have a great time TOO, whether they LIKE IT OR NOT.
They say there's a war going on in video games. But those of us who have been around a while know what real war looks like. It is the image of two perfectly matched adversaries locked in brutal combat, their faces twisted with a terrible rage that burns in their souls and blackens their hearts. The air is filled with thunderous primal screams, punctuated only by the sound of a hedgehog bashing a plumber's head against a pipe.
Every Sunday we present an article from our archives, either for you to discover for the first time or to get reacquainted with. This week, to mark the departure of the amazing Ellie Gibson from the Eurogamer editorial team, we give you her inside look at 90s favourite GamesMaster, an article typical of her incredible writing talents. We're going to miss you Ellie!
Ellie writes: Dear readers,
"This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures." - Rudyard Kipling, Kim
Every Sunday we bring you a selection from our archives, giving you the chance to discover something for the first time or maybe to become reacquainted. This week we present Ellie Gibson's fascinating insight into the downfall of Gizmondo, perhaps the gaming industry's most spectacular failure. This feature was originally published in August 2012.
How many times have you woken up and thought, "What I really want to do today is watch a video where Eurogamer deputy editor Oli Welsh play Yoshi's Island while wearing a Pikmin hat and discussing the back catalogue of mediocre nineties white soul band Simply Red"?
Eurogamer's retro video series returns this week, having had a lie down following the Peter Molyneux French coconut episode.