Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Podcast #75

Bastion! PopCap! Grinding!

Good afternoon and welcome to three-quarters of a century of the podcast! Not in years, thank God.

This week, erstwhile host Tom Champion finds a spare moment to step in as guest guest host, because Tom Bramwell was too busy talking about what games to buy with Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling. He's joined by reviews editor and acting deputy editor (think of him as Ellie Gibson, but childless and male) Oli Welsh and content editor John Bedford.

Download the podcast

Controversially, the trio (well, two of them) set punditry aside briefly to talk about a game they've been playing. John and Oli have been working through Supergiant Games' beautiful Xbox Live Arcade adventure Bastion, as reviewed by Brammers today. It is style or substance? And do we have either?

Over at the Serious Games News Is Serious desk, last week the ticker-tape spat out the announcement that EA had bought everyone's favourite casual games studio PopCap in an eye-watering billion dollar deal. Can the developer be worth what the publisher has paid for it? Will bubbly brunette Bobby Kotick be jealous?

Finally we turn to the topic of grinding (the repetitive gameplay activity, not what you do with skateboards and handrails). Oli's succumbed to Gran Turismo car lust beyond his means, Tom's started playing The Lord of the Rings Online and John has the embarrassing tale of the silliest thing he ever did to get an achievement. Is grind good? Or is it, as Braid designer Jonathan Blow once said, an unethical exploitation of players?

So many questions. Join us for more almost-answers next week!