You could never criticise the guys at Introversion for not sharing their views of the world. From swearing at the mainstream industry during their Independent Games Festival acceptance speech, to Chris Delay's detailed and heartrending posts about exactly how bad their 2008 turned out to be, they have always been impressively open about what they've been thinking while making their chain of splendid independent games.
I'm not sure what my highlight so far has been. It may have been having a guy die while making out with me, before immediately proceeding to call up his sister, have a little mourn, flirt, make out, ask out and then dump her, whilst standing over the grave of the brother. Or it may have been discovering the patriarch of the town has a daughter, who I end up going out with, only to dump brutally, before hearing the patriarch has died, chatting up the widow in the gym (I ask her if she's single - surprise, she is!), and flirting with her enough to go steady. All in front of a crowd, including the upset daughter. Before dumping the widow. Only to later, in my dotage, get back together with the daughter and move into their epic townhouse.
Spore is in an awkward situation. It launched and sold masses of copies. Not in the league of The Sims, but enough that commercial necessity demands Maxis work out ways to - hnngh - expand the franchise.
Mike Laidlaw - Dragon Age: Origins' lead designer - stands centre-stage in front of a crowd of games journalists extolling the core values of Dragon Age. Those being violence, lust and betrayal. Which means that Dragon Age is much like Eurogamer around closing time, but that's neither here nor there.
It certainly raised eyebrows. As impressively brutal and pummelling as Dante's Inferno appears, the question is why on Earth - bar it being a licence that's handily in the public domain - would you decide to take a 14th century Italian poem and turn it into a modern God-of-War-esque fighting game? A cynic could ask: what's next from EA? Grand Theft Hamlet?
There's an annoyance I have to deal with when playing Drakensang. The annoyance is that whenever I get down to a deep, involving tactical session of balancing my team's abilities, wondering whether some on-the-fly-XP tweaking is required to beat back this oppressive wall of undead, my girlfriend sticks her head around the office door and asks me if I'm still playing Shrek.
There's an urge to give it one out of ten. Maybe a two, because two sounds more genuine than one. One sounds like foot-stomping petulance. Two sounds considered, as if I really do mean it. I'm not, because I don't, but it'd serve a couple of good purposes. Firstly, if considered solely as a classical game, The Path is bloody terrible. Secondly, if you're the sort of person who cares about the review score, it's almost certainly not for you and I should turn you off as quickly as possible.
Even when a game is as gleefully stupid as possible, developers are sometimes smart enough to leave room for the player to make it even more so. It's almost inspiring. Case in point: Ninja Blade. The game opens with a unit of ninjas, one of which is you, being dropped from a transport plane into a city that's been infected by Alpha Worms from Space. Or something. None of the ninjas have parachutes. On the way down - slashing enemy flying things who have the misfortune to be passing by - you proceed to land by crashing through the side of a skyscraper and slow the impact by doing a forward roll. That's as sane as it gets. By the end of the level, you've kicked an enormous demolition ball into the boss' equally enormous tendril-covered face.
When you get a toy, you want to play with it. If you make a toy - a really good toy - you've got to presume the urge is even stronger. Except, no sooner than you've made this joyous thing, you've got to put it in a box and send it out to all the little boys and girls (and less little boys and girls).
Sometimes, you just want to shoot terrorists until they're dead. And not in a careful and methodical way where you inch along a grassy field towards a ridge where you use your IR goggles to locate them, so you can fire your SXHXZZZZ-XIII (DU) through their left eyeball at a range of forty kilometres. No - instead you want to run right up to the blighters and tw** them with your big old samurai sword. Take that! And that! And that!
Sometimes doing the right thing really doesn't matter.
It's a moment of strange and joyous freedom. I've created my two Sims, the lovely married couple of John Walker (lazy, slobbish, neurotic - and in the game!) and She-Hulk (athletic, flirtatious and a kleptomaniac - guaranteeing me outrage from Shulkie fans for my out-of-character characterisation). They're in their house. All is well. It's The Sims.
The biggest anachronism? At the moments when the cannons were going off and the thin red line was being turned into thick red paste, I found myself humming the 1812 Overture. The game's about the 1700s. Totally anachronistic. Unforgivable. Unforgivably brilliant, that is.
The strange thing about Halo Wars is how understated it all seems. How dignified. There are so many ways that Halo Wars is an important game - it's real-time strategy on console, it's Halo in a new genre, it's Ensemble's swansong, it's another blow in the console wars - but while they could easily dominate your thoughts as you play it, they don't. Instead they just evaporate in the face of such a confident, self-assured and elegantly constructed videogame.
A robot suit and quick-time events.
Any publicity is good publicity, they say. Unless it crashes your server.
Oh my God! It's totally incredible. It's the best shooter I've played in ages. Dangerously compelling, beautifully executed, sonically vicious, mechanistically inspired, scarily polished. I can't get enough of it. It's not only one of the best games on the Xbox 360, but one of the best games of the decade.
The Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II beta test is happening now, but only for Soulstorm owners until 28th January. See elsewhere on Eurogamer to find out how you can get your hands on it this weekend regardless.
If you got my fifteen-year-old self to design a game, and assuming you hadn't got me in one of my 20-sided-dice-with-everything moods, you'd end up with something which - at first glance - would look a lot like this all-action Xbox 360 Community Game.
Amazingly, there are bigger problems with reviewing this than the fact that all the AC/DC-related gags have been worn thin by pieces on other rhythm-action games. That's just what happens when about half your song output is about hailing the wonder that is ROCK. (The other half being about hailing the wonder that is sexual congress).
I love Halo 3, you understand. But when it came out, and people asked me to describe it, my one-liner was, "Imagine if you had all the money in the world to spend on a game but couldn't change anything." Halo, conceptually, was as complete a thing as Mario Kart. To alter it too much, to push it in another direction, would be to destroy it. So we got flashes of user-generated content, multiplayer transparency, whatever. And, in the middle, Halo sitting there unchanged.
My favourite moment in Left 4 Dead? I'm playing Versus mode, and we've reached the apex of the Blood Harvest campaign in a desperate farmhouse siege against overwhelming odds. I'm part of the overwhelming odds, playing the corpulent blob that is the Boomer. I wobble up to a window and look inside, to see Louis firing away desperately at the horde around him. I just watch, smiling, waiting for him to turn in my direction. Only when he does, when he realises that I'm standing there, do I spray him with my zombie-attracting vomit, prompting another wave of infected to crowd in and hammer him to death.
A London press event over fifty years after World War II, and it's still being fought. At least for one last time, as this Call of Duty - reading between the lines - seems to be Treyarch's capstone to the period. And another battle quickly surfaces when I ask producer Noah Heller, who handles the game on the Activision side, about whether the developer feels upset about how they're viewed, considering they turned around the maligned Call of Duty 3 in less than a year. Do the angry internet men frustrate him?
Not having read a film mag in years, I don't know if they still do this, but... I always despised the dual-mark DVD review section where they give separate marks for films and add-ons, with a similar sort of split shown in the actual reviews in terms of what they talk about. Because if a film is rubbish, who cares if it's got voiceover commentary by the entire cast's family? It's rubbish. You're reviewing. That's all that bloody matters.
The first moment that comes to mind when thinking of the original Stalker (we'll dispense with "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." if that's alright) is from my first playthrough. I'm descending into one of the toxic Ukranian underworlds and come across something that makes me stop and laugh. A paint-pot is levitating, bouncing against the ceiling and twitching spasmodically. I'm playing it in a room with fellow journalists, so call them over to have a giggle at Stalker having one of its very special moments.