We Play Games


weplaygames_franFran: Recently I have been playing Ni No Kuni and it’s got me thinking about Welsh people. Don’t e-mail the emergency services because you think I’ve started having a stroke while typing – I can smell burnt toast, but that’s down to my horrifically bad cooking skills.

The main “sidekick” in the story is a little welsh “fairy” called Mr. Drippy, who speaks in a Welsh accent (as do all his people when you visit their home town). In fact, the voice actor behind him is the same one who appeared on Gavin and Stacy as the coach driver.

I’m a big fan of Studio Ghibli, and Anime in general, but usually I prefer to watch the original Japanese subtitled versions than the dubbed ones because they’re, well, funnier. Try watching Sgt. Frog then an episode of the original Japanese version Keroro and you’ll see what I mean.

Turns out, that the excitement, rapid fire of delivery, and grandiose statements of emotion present in the Japanese language find a perfect mirror in the Welsh dialect.  Much has been made of Ni No Kuni and its excellent animation, as well as its old school JRPG roots, but for me its some of the best voice acting seen in a game since Jennifer Hale as the female Shepard in the Mass Effect games (believe me, if you’ve been playing as a guy you’ve been missing out).

If you have a PS3, you need to buy Ni No Kuni, and hopefully that will send a message to the industry that we demand top quality voice acting in our games. “In’t that right, L’il boy Buntin’?” TIDY!

weplaygames_gilesGiles: The majority of my time is spent thinking about the Facebook game I’m working on, called Here Be Monsters. It’s pretty unique in Facebook games in that you can play the whole thing without parting with a penny, and you can play it for as long as you want without an energy limit forcing you to come back later. But I’m not here to plug my wares (though do check it out if you like Facebook games) – I’m here to tell you what I’ve been playing lately.

In between playing games of dubious quality for the ‘Lost in Translation?‘ blogs, most of my gaming time occurs while I’m travelling the somewhat epic journey to and from work, made bearable thanks to my trusty iPhone. Recent selections vary between games you can sink hours into, such as Game Dev StoryLost Winds, and Lili, and decidedly more quickfire fare like Tiny Wings and the sublime Mr. Ninja (I have a weakness for games played with a single button – please post any recommendations in the comments below!).

Hands down my favourite iPhone game I’ve played since starting my job last September is the port of the Nintendo DS classic Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, wherein you take on the role of the recently-deceased Sissel, and have to piece together the surprisingly epic and compelling mystery surrounding your own demise, all while helping a colourful cast avoid similar death-dealing fates.

Coming from Shu Takumi, the brain behind the always-fun Phoenix Wright series, this is a genuinely-funny dialogue-heavy adventure with puzzle elements, a beautiful and charismatic 2D art style and comes highly recommended. Should you have an iDevice capable of running it, you can even try out the game’s first chapter for free to see if it’s your sort of thing.

Next on the list, though, is Tomb Raider for the Xbox 360, which is sat on my shelf, waiting for me to finish my next blog before I can get stuck into Lara’s latest adventure. So, if you’ll excuse me, I shall bid you happy gaming and get on!

weplaygames_philippaPhilippa: Dota 2, Dark Souls, Super Hexagon. That’s my current game rotation, and all three occupy the obsessive wing of my psychic architecture.

Dota 2 turned up on my mental doorstep, abandoned by Steam like some Renaissance foundling, crying and wanting attention. Instead of taking it in, feeding it and then sending it merrily on its way once it could fend for itself, I took it to the basement, tied it to a chair and vowed never to let it go.

Obviously this isn’t a relationship in which Dota 2 is ever likely to love me back so I have revised my expectations. At this point I’m hoping that after several hundred hours it will at just sort of develop Stockholm Syndrome and stop trying to run away.

Dark Souls and I are having a different kind of abusive relationship. Dark Souls refuses to go to my basement. In fact it won’t even come to my house. It tells me I can come over and visit if I really want to and then watches as I fall over all the bear traps it has set on the route. I am convinced there will be an awesome party at the end of all this. Or at least a bear.

Super Hexagon is about shapes and colours and lightning reflexes and using number systems to tell yourself you are good at something and in control of life. I have never made it past HEXAGON but am seriously considering scrawling “HEPTAGON” over any previous life ambitions.