Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category


Volgarr the Viking (PC)

December 12, 2013

Volgarr 2013-12-10 19-38-00-81

This has been out for a few months, but I only recently spotted it on Steam while I was browsing for platform games. It’s retro hard with a distinct lack (or scarcity, I haven’t figured that out yet) of checkpoints and a combination of level design and enemy placement that is frequently nasty.

Volgarr 2013-12-12 20-53-18-85

It reminds me of Rygar but it has a bit more variety, particularly with the spears that can be used as a ranged weapon, charged up to deal more damage or cut down multiple enemies, or be thrown at vertical walls to form a makeshift ladder.

Volgarr 2013-12-12 20-56-44-17

The lack of checkpoints and abundance of death opportunities mean it will have quite limited appeal but, if you’re after a modern take on the brutally hard action platformer genre, you’re probbaly going to enjoy this as much as I do.


To find out more and see some videos of it in action, here’s the Steam store link:

Official description: “Remember when games were tough? Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-NEW hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. Volgarr the Viking possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics – simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design – combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of…”



Tesco – you’re having a laugh

November 17, 2013

I’m not criticising “money off” vouchers, I love a bit of money off, but when I got this one I thought they were taking the piss just a bit:

tesco_pennyI haven’t redeemed it, so feel free to grab the code and use it online if you are desperate to save yourself 1p.


Danmaku 2 vs Aftershock

November 12, 2013

danmaku 2 pic 0880 Motörhead_Aftershock







Purely out of boredom, during the flight from Birmingham to Larnaca a couple of weeks ago, I played Danmaku Unlimited 2 while listening to Motorhead’s new album, Aftershock. Completely nuts and easily one of the most intense ways to entertain oneself during a flight.

If you fancy trying this, and you should, remember to turn off the game’s own music or you’re going to implode. 


Spelunky (2013) – PC – not quite a review

August 16, 2013

Spelunky 2013-08-16 19-42-08-89

I played a lot of the original Spelunky (Spelunky World website link) and I was excited to find out there was an updated version coming out. The new version (on Steam here) has the same Roguelike platforming as the original with improved visuals and a lot of small additions and enhancements to the gameplay. Unlockable characters, shortcuts to later levels that you have to earn and a larger variety of enemies are some of the highlights.

Spelunky 2013-08-16 19-58-49-02The shortcut to the second zone (jungle) has to be earned by completing the mine level 3 times and agreeing to provide the tunnel worker with various items so that he can complete his shortcut cavern. It’s a great reward when you eventually get it, as it allows immediate access to the jungle with your full quota of lives.

Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-13-24-64Spelunky in both forms is a great deal of fun, but once you get this version I don’t think you would ever have any reason to go back to the original.

Spelunky 2013-08-16 19-46-08-71

Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-08-13-98

Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-06-56-60


My best rating system ever

January 1, 2013

It’s the first day of a new year, so I don’t know why you’re looking so surprised. Of course I’m going to radically alter my rating system. Why? Because the old one was seriously flawed, that’s why.

First of all, why the hell did I include “Sound” and give it as much influence over the final rating as “Fun” or “Content”? Who knows? It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. As for the final ratings, they were generally way too high and way too inconsistent. Arcadelife’s average review score is somewhere around 80%. Great news for most of the games I reviewed but suggestive of a very lenient and probably less than informative scoring system. Either that, or almost every game I reviewed was very good. Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

So … Here’s what you’re getting in 2013. It’s going to be a much better rating system, at least until 2014 when I decide it was rubbish. Probably.

The Sound category is OUT. I don’t care about Sound. Actually I do, but I am creating a replacement category called Presentation. The Presentation category will cover a lot of things, including sound, but will also focus on stuff like the menu system, tutorial (is there one? is it any good? is it needed?), slickness and overall polish. Damn, yeah, ok, I mentioned the word polish. The other categories are staying, because they make sense, although “Visuals” will now specifically mean the in-game graphics and not how pretty the menus are.

Numbers, don’t you just love them? I wanted to ditch the final rating score altogether and just use one of ten words or phrases, which we’ll come to soon, but then I realised this would screw up how the Arcadelife reviews appear on the iPhone Quality Index. They need a score in numeric form and I don’t want to burden them with the jolly task of deciphering a number from my rating words so I’ll use this principle:

The final rating (number) will appear but will be directly derived from the word I use to rate the game. Now, I know what you’re thinking – what the bloody hell is he rambling on about? It’s fairly straightforward really and I think most people will understand it, although they won’t necessarily like it. The solution, if you don’t like it, would obviously be to set up your own review site and go through this nightmare yourself, or just wait until I eventually create the ultimate best ever rating system and use that.

The final ratings and their numbers are as follows:

  • Best Game Ever – 10
  • Excellent – 9
  • Very Good – 8
  • Good – 7
  • Quite Good – 6
  • Mediocre – 5
  • Disappointing – 4
  • Poor – 3
  • Pathetic – 2
  • Atrocious – 1

“Best Game Ever” is a bit of an in-joke that evolved from discussions and text messages between me and my friend Ben, where we manage to find at least one BGE every week, if not every day. It doesn’t mean the game is the best game ever, obviously, just that it qualifies as one for at least the short period of time that we played it. The way I see it, developers and publishers are going to enjoy putting that in their app store description if it is ever awarded to a game, even if it’s not exactly a unique accolade.

I’ve also changed the scoring from a percentage to a score out of 10, mostly because there’s a universal fear of awarding a game 100% because “no game is perfect” and blah blah blah. People seem perfectly happy seeing a game get 10/10, so I’ll follow that trend, just don’t expect to see many games getting 10!

Now I just need to review a game to see how this works out…


Far Cry 3 – Holiday Photos

December 18, 2012

Here are some pictures I took during my recent holiday, sitting in front of my PC:














Sorry, but it wasn’t my fault.

September 14, 2012

Apologies to anyone who was expecting a review, news item or anything at all to appear on Arcadelife recently. My Internet Service Provider has been spectacularly failing to provide any kind of a service for almost three whole days which, as we all know, is a lifetime on the internet.

So, Virgin Media, no thanks at all for that. They can expect a communication from me very shortly stating exactly why I’ll be getting a refund. The stupefyingly annoying voice of the woman reciting the same uninformative phone message for three whole days should be worth a full year’s refund on its own.

Customer service? What the hell is that? At least I’m bothering to explain where this website has been since Tuesday and, last time I checked, nobody is paying me to do any of this.

I’ll get a review posted as soon as I can.