10 most popular posts of the past 90 days

mbv

1. Skyrim – Constructive criticism at its best

People are usually unable to express their opinions without coming across like toddlers stamping their pudgy little legs and screaming, “But I want …”

2. First impressions: Arx Fatalis

I’m not very good at wielding a bone. Hell, I’m not even good at throwing them for dogs.  Continue reading

Nobody gives a crap about your stupid little project: 5 strategies for surviving the internet

troll-face-high-resolution

It was just about the rudest comment I’d ever seen: “Give up, mate … no-one gives a s*** about your stupid label and the s*** music you release…”. It wasn’t quite true: many, including me, cared quite a bit about this brave little indie, but it is a Have Not in the digital world, and with that, I can sympathize.

It’s very difficult to gauge hierarchy because it changes so fast: one week this little blog has more readers than the biggest magazine I wrote for; the following week, almost none. White Swan Events, I call them – unpredictable storms of traffic activity, but it’s dangerous to read too much into them, either way, because

Rule 1: Visibility does not equal engagement

Continue reading

More awe-inspiring Skyrim, Morrowind and Oblivion fan art

the_caravan_by_lelek1980-d54t6s2

Freddo just threw me down the rabbit warren that is DeviantArt, where I found these astonishing fan images of our favourite Elder Scrolls games. I’m constantly awed by the infinite variety – the unique interpretations of that spine-tingling world by each artist. Each collection is distinctive, using its own palette and style. The Morrowind ones are particularly evocative, making whole and real that fabulously alien landscape and culture.

The caravan by ~Lelek1980

The group of silt striders is crossing the desert lands of Vvardenfell near the Red Mountain. Some daedric shrine has been left behind. The steam and smoke are bursting out from the bowels of the earth…

In this work I wanted to show Vvardenfell like a something between the Galapagos islands, Iceland and Kamchatka.

. Continue reading

First impressions: Skyrim Dragonborn DLC

dragonborn box art

If there’s one compensation for being stuck at home with a sick child, it’s the possibility of bundling up the sleeping tot into your lap so she can snooze while you get on with the important business of saving Tamriel from its latest threat. Players of Morrowind will remember the island of Solstheim, and those of who you haven’t played have absolutely no excuse since it’s currently about 29p on Steam and is arguably the best game ever made.

Let’s process that for a second. Everyone I know who played Brink was disappointed because what they really wanted was just Enemy Territory with better graphics, and – having made the mythical “perfect game” – the developers seemed to ignore everything that was beloved about it and went off and did something else instead. Some penny seems to have dropped somewhere at Bethesda, because this time around they have delivered what is simply, literally, Morrowind. With better graphics.  Continue reading

New Skyrim add-on is pure fan service for Morrowind lovers

It’s my general belief that every game is automatically better if it has mushroom trees. Skyrim takes that to heart with its fan-stroking new delectable treat, Dragonborn. If, like me, your heart is already pounding through your chest at the titillating screenshot above, you’ll probably already know that the new DLC is set on Morrowind‘s island of Solstheim.  Continue reading

How to write the rules of attraction

A poster on a video game forum sparked a very interesting debate. (Presumably, a) he initially complained about the lack of LGBT-focussed mods for Morrowind, which resulted in a few short list of recommendations, and he said that they weren’t really what he was looking for. I pointed out a few others, including my own, where gender simply wasn’t specified. I’m very much of the view that the player decides how the game goes, and I mentally award brownie points every time I’m allowed to follow my whims and scowl disapprovingly any time I can’t. Bethesda’s games are very much designed in that way, so it follows automatically that I should avoid restricting the player. Continue reading

Dawnguard

I’ve left it far too late to write about this, since I was engrossed in the game all evening. Yes, it’s belated, but in my defence I’ve also been playing it on the Xbox and have completed Hearthfire in the interim. Besides, fans of Skyrim will no doubt have played it anyway and organised their own thoughts, but if you’ve been holding off, here’s what you need to know.  Continue reading