Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Bulletstorm In A Teacup

April 23, 2011

As I’ve said before, I’ve played videogames for a long time. Deep down I know that this is a fairly ridiculous pursuit. I realise that it is probably a waste of time, time that could be more profitably spent doing other, more profitable things. Then again, the same could be said of any hobby, be it journaling or scrapbooking or pressing flowers or whatever. Of course, the difference is that videogames are perpetually looked upon as the black sheep of the entertainment industry. They are often held up as having a corruptive, poisonous influence on young people who play them. It is said that in the most extreme cases they incite the player to commit random acts of brutal violence. I have always struggled with this conceit. I find it difficult to believe for several reasons but the most pronounced is that videogames are monitored by the PEGI, a classification board whose job and responsibility is to safeguard young people and who are, in my opinion, much more punitive than the increasingly lenient BBFC. I was recently asked to contribute to a feature on Radio Ulster about this very issue. During the live discussion a parent phoning in expressed concern that her son, aged 12, was playing too much Call Of Duty: Black Ops. Now, considering that the game box bears a fat red 18 this raises the question of why she would allow her son access to such a title. It seems to me that this is a common problem. On one hand there is the argument that videogames are  an idle pursuit with a mental age only children could appreciate yet on the other there is the contention that they put that same group at risk. It’s a strange dichotomy and one which certainly does not make any logical sense.



Welcome To Twin Peaks

April 22, 2011



I vivdly remember the first time I saw Twin Peaks. Even though it was longer ago than I would care to consider, the impact of this odd, little show was so discombobulating that the thought of it still judders. I was at home in my parents’ house and it was around 9pm on a school night. There had been a lot of feverish talk in the press about this bizarre blend of murder mystery, soap opera and esoteric thriller which had already caused quite the stir in America and was due to do the same over here. Being a precocious young man with an eye for the unusual I knew that I had to check it out. (more…)

Forensics Reunited

April 3, 2011

I’m a big fan of CSI. I’ve watched it, or rather the original show set in Las Vegas and it’s two spin-offs, for around a decade. I realise that it’s silly and throwaway and immediately forgettable but that is equivalent to complaining that a pizza has no nutritional value. That’s not the reason you eat it. Sometimes you are in the mood for a steak dinner and sometimes you’re in the mood for a dirty burger, no matter what Paul Newman says. The same can be said for television: sometimes you want an intellectual workout from a rigorous, dramatic show like The Wire and sometimes you want to loaf and let a programme dripfeed your brain with visual E numbers.


Itsa Me!

April 3, 2011

Cast your eyes to the top of this blog and you should see a banner with a little red plumber bounding through a  colourful world decorated with smiling turtles, pipes and big, pastel shaded blocks. It is, as any geek will know, a cross section of screens from Super Mario Bros. 3 (the  SNES remake from the All-Stars collection of ports), widely agreed to be one of the best videogames of all time. In fact, do a random google search for a list of the greatest games (there are a lot of them out there – we are a world of compulsive listers) and you will see little Super Mario appear more than once. (more…)