Hi Eurogamer! Last time we looked at an inevitable and overpriced map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops together, we met Dave, my future brother-in-law. Dave and other (but not all) Daves are the reason that Activision can charge 1200 Microsoft Points for five maps while maintaining direct eye contact and avoiding a tell-tale blush.
I don't know about you, but there's something alluring about forcing patrolling soldiers into a state of sleep and then dragging them into a big sexy pile of slumbering leather and muscle.
Don't know about you, but I'm starting to miss World War II. You'd think my gran might feel differently, yet that doesn't stop her banging on about it. To be fair, she's more concerned with the fact her nation was in mortal danger (alongside who in the village had it away with an American airman, and the banana shortage), so she's probably got justification.
This is a strange situation. I'm writing a preview of a single level in Crysis 2 at the same time a leaked version of the entire game is filtering into thousands of hard-drives around the globe.
Just because I'm a bit posh doesn't mean I haven't known hardship. I might have gone to a school that had burrowed right up itself for the best part of 500 years, but that doesn't mean I haven't got scars. Technological mistakes know no class boundary. They haunt every family.
Editor's note: A joke may be considered to have missed its mark when it requires further explanation to a reasonable number of people, and we apologise if anyone confused Will's tongue-in-cheek pillorying of gamers' attitudes and his future brother-in-law in this review with actual bigotry. For the record, Dave is a real person, is a casual gamer as described, but is in on the joke.
Society has a name for people like me: a button-basher. All my life I've been judged because my fighting game tactic is to furiously mash anything brightly coloured while pressing jump at the same time. When I lose, people shake their heads in disbelief at how pathetic I am. When I win, I have my head slammed against coffee tables.
There's nothing like a comment thread filled with hate to plant a seed of doubt in the mind of a reviewer. Or vitriolic emails from grumpy elder gamers (and even some olden-times paper letters sent in actual envelopes), telling me the 90 per cent I'd just awarded Doom 3 in PC Zone was a clear sign I was corrupt, clueless or both.
In this new series of opinion pieces, some of Eurogamer's favourite writers reveal how they really feel about some of the world's most renowned, or most reviled, videogames.
There's a subset of thirty-something males who rarely get coverage on nostalgia TV, or even get a word in at pub table reminiscences that are routinely hijacked by the Sinclair Spectrum mafia. As such I think it's high time the nice, polite and extremely middle-class boys whose parents bought them a BBC Micro for unspecified educational purposes took a stand.
Next week a gaming behemoth lands in our waters. Call of Duty: Black Ops – a game with pre-order numbers big enough to cause retail waves that'll surge higher and further than even those generated by Modern Warfare 2.
Amid all the big-game bluster at the recent Eurogamer Expo it was refreshing to see the constant mill of people around the Indie Games Arcade at the back of the hall. Fortifying himself with a hot dog at the tail-end of the Saturday, our correspondent dared to enter this den of experimental gaming thought. This is the report he filed.
Let's play a word association game. If I was wearing a loud shirt, sporting silly glasses and holding a giant foam hammer, and I shouted 'Assassin's Creed multiplayer!' at you, what would be the words that instinctively tumbled from your mouth? I strongly suspect they'd be 'needless', 'pointless' and 'futile', possibly followed up with, 'Where am I? What's going on?'
I, like many others, have been playing Civilization games for well over a decade. Over this time I've developed several habits and ticks that have become ingrained in my play style. I habitually name my first city 'WillisCool', the second city 'WillisVeryCool' and (should any metropolis be founded near a particularly disputed border) the third: 'F***theRomans'. Or indeed any other civilisation I wish to textually bait. Civilization V, however, horror of horrors, does not let you rename cities.
It's a typically peaceful Monday lunchtime in the pub closest to Zombie Cow's Kingston HQ. Two grey-haired pensioners nuzzle sandwiches in the corner, while at the bar two businessmen mutter about a particularly important deal that may, or may not, be on the table. It's all rather serene, but that's nothing compared to the silence that descends after chief ZC developer Dan Marshall opens his trap. The phrase, "I think I'm most proud of the ascent through the anus," is something that no-one present will ever manage to un-hear.
Guybrush Threepwood does not have an American accent. He just doesn't. He has a cool British accent. Case closed. The more LucasArts attempt to cut and paste the 'official' vocals of Dominic Armato over Threepwood's voicebox, the further they are straying from the vital template that exists inside my head. In the days before CD-ROM, I forged this character's voice in the more central parts of my brain, and ever since its creators have done their utmost to undermine it. The same goes for Stan the used ship/coffin salesman. Stan doesn't sound like that in my head either, and his voice should accentuate more whenever his hands point directly upwards.
A chap called Daniel Garner accidentally drives into a truck on his wife's birthday and they both die. For a game that's heavy on spearing zombies to walls through the face and giggling, it's all a bit melodramatic. Trapped in purgatory, the only way to rejoin his wife in heaven is to become an agent of various angelic and demonic creatures - one of whom has her boobs half out. His mission? To kill wave after wave of the hell creatures marauding towards him, then to move forward a bit and trigger another spawn. It's the sort of stuff that Milton would have come up with if he'd had greater access to Nuts magazine and methylated spirits.
You've read articles in which men of a certain age get misty-eyed about Deus Ex before. Throw an unwanted packet of soya food into the internet, and the first thing it will no doubt strike is an article bent-double around just what makes Bob Page tick.
Eurogamer was given unparalleled access to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It was one of the most open and interesting days of our young lives. For a Deus Ex fan the sheer amount of information to garner was exhausting, but we did our utmost.
It may not be out until early 2011, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution already has a fight on its hands in convincing fans of the series that it's worthy of the name. Developed by a different team - a new studio, in fact, at Eidos Montreal - it's still intimately associated with the story behind the original Deus Ex, and takes place 25 years beforehand.
The first time we landed in a futuro-Asian city was during the original Deus Ex, while we were in pursuit of a hacker called Tracer Tong. It wasn't all work though. During the search we took some time out and went to a Triad-run club called Lucky Money. Here we bought an Australian NPC countless drinks in an attempt to seduce her, then gave up and hammered the space bar so we could jump up and down on the dance floor in front of a big mirror.
Have you ever repainted your living room? I haven't, but I watched my Dad do it once, so I got the gist. Essentially what happens is that you get a bit bored with your increasingly dowdy Eggshell white walls, then you go mental with a fresh coat of Magnolia. For a short while, it's amazing: the room is brighter and fresher, you feel happier and more productive just for standing in it. Then, after a while, the newness fades and you forget that it was ever any other colour than boring old Magnolia. You're happy enough, but the burst of newness has faded. Until you hear about Blossom White that is! A snip at only 1200 Microsoft Points!
They grow up so fast. Once upon a time it was all magic beans and '10 points to Gryffindor!' Now it's lairy teens shooting bad wizards in the face. Scream it to the skies, muggle population: Harry Potter just went third-person shooter.
The hope is that as of 5th June this year, living rooms up and down the great British nation will face a sudden and irrevocable redesign. The first of four interactive Doctor Who episodes will materialise online, each a separate story yet built to be considered as an authentic part of the current Doctor Who series.
The Independent Games Festival, the Sundance of the gaming world, threw some classics into the mix this year. Of these Limbo, Super Meat Boy! and Joe Danger need less of an introduction - so here are Eurogamer's five other hot tips from the most worthy (and crowded) corner of San Francisco's Moscone Centre.
My first thought, as I start to jab happily at the cursor keys, is that it feels a little like the glory days of Midtown Madness - albeit with more people and buffing. Such idle nostalgic conjecture, however, throws few dice with Need for Speed World's creators - a dual-attack squad from Canada and Singapore tasked with creating Need For Speed in its very purest form. Their mission is to distil the essence of the franchise, cherry-pick their audience's favourite modes and maps, and then expand them into a free-to-play PC MMO they hope will be as unstoppable as a Toyota on the school run.
Uncertain of his sister's fate, a boy enters Limbo. That's the remit. Those are the only words you'll get before watching a bright-eyed youth wake up in a silent monochrome world and valiantly set out from left to right.
There is a certain feeling that I have avoided for over 10 years. It's the unnerving sensation you get when you open an exam paper and are confronted with two trains leaving different cities at different speeds.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 clearly states that any dog being a type appearing to the Secretary of State to be bred for fighting, or to have the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose, must be tightly controlled. Indeed, if a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place then the owner is guilty of an offence; or, if the dog while so out of control injures any person, it is an aggravated offence - and likely that said dog will be destroyed.
I am shimmying as I write this. Why? Because listen to this! Hooray! The Tropico 3 soundtrack makes life better. You can eat to it, shower to it, go to Tescos to it, play games to it - and I'd estimate that doing so improves your daily lot by at least 25 per cent. Find the airport level in Modern Warfare 2 disturbing? No longer a problem! Just ramp up the Tropico beat, and mow down those innocents with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step! Activision didn't need an in-game warning, they just needed a Latin beat toggle!