Sequels tend to be like Russian dolls: they get bigger and bigger until the little doll that started it all is buried deep. Or to use a food analogy, like a Five Guys milkshake - taller and sweeter with more whipped cream on top every time. Who's going to say no to the extra sugar? Not me. And so the cycle continues. More cream is squeezed from the nozzle of a dispenser, a fatter doll is slotted into place and since we never look back, we take for granted that what we're enjoying is the way it's always been.
The year is 2007. Console owners tap their fingers in barely contained impatience. For years they have been starved of Valve's delicious, full-bodied courses, forced to watch from the bleachers as Valve mixes a unique blend of kinetic first-person with extraordinary tech. Besides a brief dalliance with the original Xbox and the PlayStation 2 - which produce pale imitations of its best work - Valve has remained faithful to the PC.
Some of the brightest lights of 90s gaming are beginning to wheeze, croak and lose some of their sparkle. But just as they take a step towards retirement, they're given a new lick of paint and booted back through the door in remastered form. Or kept upright by a battery of emulators and plastered across the front page of GOG. We're truly spoilt. But what happens when a golden oldie can't be revived?
"I like to tell people that I started making games because nobody could stop me," Travis Bulford quips as we chat over telephone. He speaks with practised ease, and with good reason - as arguably South Africa's longest-standing game developer he's well versed in discussing his career. Bulford founded Celestial Games in 1994 (he was a mere 19 at the time) and made his name two years later with the quirky platform game, Toxic Bunny. He's charted a course of fleeting highs and disappointing lows. The perfect man to speak to, then, about the dearth of big releases from Africa's richest country.