All posts by Chris Brandrick
by
published Monday, Jun 13th

Mourn those lost. Worry about how to sell games another day.

The annual E3 gaming conference is taking place in Los Angeles this week, and many of the world’s biggest gaming publishers are lining up to show the public their latest big budget offerings.

LA Convention Center (via PrayitnoMany of the new games presented will share a common theme: guns.

The mid-90’s represented a turning point for the gaming industry, in which its focus on shooters grew stronger — going from Quake to Goldeneye, to more recent celebrated games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.

The mass-market appeal of shooters such as these reached fever-pitch in recent years, with annual installments and frenzied launches marking what are now some of the biggest money makers in all of entertainment (raking in over half a billion dollars in just a matter of days).

For the past several years E3 has attracted critical commentary on the volume of games involving guns.

Some of that criticism is based on just a sheer lack of variety, yet sometimes it’s due to the real-world parallels that can be drawn. Sometimes those lines are obscure, but for E3 2016 the parallel for some is ostensibly clear.

Following yet another horrific mass shooting in the U.S, in which over 50 people were killed, some members of the gaming community are now beginning to question the role that such games play. Not only in promoting gun culture, but in how their flashy presentations can often seem tone deaf — particularly in the wake of such tragedy.

Chris Plante and T.C Sottek, writing for The Verge, pulled into question EA’s press conference for its apparent disregard for the very real events that had occurred just hours prior in Orlando.

Battlefield 1

The Verge editorial questions the morality of showing footage where “humans kill each other with hyper-detailed guns” so soon after the worst shooting in the history of the United States.

EA’s conference is the first of many taking place this week, showing new ‘gun games’ like Titanfall and Battlefield. Yet, as The Verge points out, such heavy focus on the shooter genre is not the practice of just a single publisher, adding that E3 as a whole “regularly celebrates graphic violence”.

Many have taken The Verge article to be a either a cheap shot towards the gaming industry, or click bait at a time of mourning. Whatever you consider it to be, one thing is clear — the issue the editorial is attempting to address is by no means a binary one.

The Verge piece isn’t attempting to shame EA and others for the games they create. Nor is it a criticism of the gaming industries creative output.

Instead, I believe the commentary (misjudged or not) was attempting to start a timely dialogue on the brazenness with which various gun fantasies are flaunted, trailer after trailer.PS4 Controller - Blue

American gun culture, violent games, and popular entertainment in general have a longstanding (and lucrative) relationship which isn’t going away anytime soon.

The popularity of such entertainment has long been questioned, be it in games, TV or movies, such as those from Quentin Tarantino. Arguments on the how and the why are endless.

People will draw parallels, lines will be drawn. This is inevitable. Some will blame games, others won’t. Sometimes it will be justified, sometimes it won’t be.

Real people died, and hours later a corporation took to the stage to showcase how you can kill people in their new game. It makes for a flashy headline, but the connection is often tenuous and the subject much more nuanced.

Games are often a scapegoat, and gamers are often defensive. Either way, distinguishing fantasy from reality and remembering real people have suffered is what matters right now.

Nobody is calling for end to this form of entertainment, however we should take this as an opportunity for consideration, reservedness and to reflect on how popular gun-toting media fits into and informs our culture.

No matter what your stance, we should first and foremost mourn those lost. Worrying about how EA and others sell their games can be an issue for another day.


Twitch by
published Monday, Feb 02nd

Sim For A Day: Man Puts Himself In The Hands of Twitch For Charity

Watch live video from ControlJoe on www.twitch.tv

Joe Lovett is taking to the streets as a virtual ‘Sim’ for a day (no Plumbob in sight) in an effort to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and all the action is to be streamed via Twitch.

Lovett will be walking around the streets of Lincoln, Lincolnshire from midday until 10pm on Monday, February 2nd with a GoPro strapped to his head. Viewers can control Joe’s “Twitch Does Reality” stream and give him instructions via the Twitch chat and tipping a minimum donation of £1 — the action can also be followed via the #ControlJoe hashtag on Twitter. 


The Gamebrit Podcast by
published Wednesday, Jan 28th

#025 — Tony Harts Consciousness

Britain’s soon-to-be-favourite gaming podcast, The Gamebrit Podcast is here with its 25th episode!

This week we talk about the Boomerang Rentals ‘hack’ allegations, the latest from Nintendo, directly to you and the hope that we may see a new Rock Band game pretty soon.

Games discussed include Ryse: Son of Rome, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and WWE Immortals to name but a few.


The Gamebrit Podcast by
published Friday, Jan 16th

#024 — Chomping at the Bit

Britain’s soon-to-be-favourite gaming podcast, The Gamebrit Podcast returns with episode 24. Events occur in real-time.

This week we talk about the new Nintendo 3DS, the increase in iOS app prices and the troubles at rental company Boomerang. We also make a few predictions for the coming year.

Games discussed include The Swapper, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Xbox Fitness and more…


Boomerang Rentals Logo by
published Monday, Jan 12th

Boomerang Rentals Issues Statement Following Alleged Security Breach

Original Article (See bottom of article for updates to this story):

UK-based Boomerang Rentals, a videogame rental service, issued a statement Monday, January 12th, following earlier allegations that customer information had been compromised.

Initial reports alluding to a possible breach surfaced on the Xbox One channel of Reddit on Friday, January 9th, inquiring speculatively as to whether customer card details could have been leaked and or stolen. Reddit user Dannytuppeny highlighted the issue, claiming that he had noticed a series of fraudulent transactions on his debit card.


The Gamebrit Podcast by
published Friday, Jan 09th

#023 — The 2014 Game of The Year Special

It’s 2015! Why not make it your new year’s resolution to listen to Britain’s soon-to-be-favourite gaming podcast, The Gamebrit Podcast right now!

Episode 23 looks back at 2014 in videogaming.

This week we have a bumper show where we discuss what happened in 2014 and argue over our favourites games of the past twelve months. Spoiler alert: Hearthstone gets mentioned.

We talk about a load of 2014’s biggest games including Mario Kart 8, Wolfenstein The New Order, Shadow of Mordor, Monument Valley, Titanfall, South Park: The Stick of Truth and more. It’s a big one.


App Store by
published Friday, Jan 09th

iOS Games Now Cost 10p More, Freddo’s Still Cheaper

Apps and games on Apple’s App Store are now a little bit pricier, following recent changes in both foreign currency exchange rates and VAT.

Apple announced Thursday, January 8th that alterations to their App Store pricing structure would be imminent. Holding true to their word, minor price changes came into effect the following day on Friday, January 9th.