When was the last time you saw an insanely evil person? Or even a saintly good person? Our videogames teach us to see in black and white. They are the bad boss guy, I am the good hero. Even in games that let you choose your character’s destiny there are only ever two sides; good or evil.

And quite frankly that is not how the world works. In other media we have characters that reflect actual human beings. This is why I watch TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire in favour of playing many games. The protagonists aren’t always clear cut. Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things. If you even elect to use the words “Good people”. The world is made up of shades of grey, not a single binary position.

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Inspired by a Masher discussion this week on the forums I thought I’d take a crack at short-burst mobile games and Australian developer Halfbrick. From Fruit Ninja to Jetpack Joyride Halfbrick’s games ooze with slick and polish, and have found quite the audience. But with rounds that last an average of a minute*, and one button controls, are these games treating us like idiots with short attention spans?

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The 2D Platformer. One would think that its kind died out a long time ago. Like the Point and Click adventure game, the 2D platformer is reminiscent of a certain era, the 80’s and 90’s. We had Mario, we had Sonic, we had Megaman. Much later we had my all time favourite 2D platformer; Abe’s Oddysee. But then everything started to go towards 3D (polygons that is, not this new-fangled depth of field stuff). Slowly but surely the 2D platformer began to die out.

Today the 2D platformer is still around, but it’s not enough just to give the hero or heroine a weapon and an incredible high jump. These days platformers need to do a lot more to stand out.

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All has been pretty quiet with me over the last few weeks, a fair bit of snow, a trip to Rotorua, a compressed femoral nerve, and plenty of Lego Star Wars are probably the highlights of my recent past. My ever increasing pile of ‘cheap’ games continues to ever increase and the gaming time lost to my growing son is also increasing. It seems a bit hypocritical to be always kicking him off the Xbox considering how much time I spend on it but, hey, I’m the Dad and with that position comes privilege.

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Zen and the Art of Gamerscore Maintenance…from across the Ditch.

Not your usual month since my last instalment, relocation to Brisbane for work has left me in a small apartment with my family and limited gaming; rest assured it is only a blip.

Relocation of any sort can be traumatic, especially when you are handing over your prized possessions to a moving company, but when most of them are being bundled into a container and set sail across the ditch I think you are allowed to be extra nervous. It was a typically cold and wet day as I watched my PS3 and pile of Xbox shame being packed by a stranger, labelled and moved without my customary respect onto the back of a truck. Then I had to be levered away from the Mac, having enough time to ensure an up to date refresh of the iPad before it slid back into its oh so ergonomically packed box.

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So you’ve been a busy beaver this past month haven’t you?

Indeed I have. Too busy to talk with you it seems! Apologies for the lateness of this wee interview. I finished up both L.A. Noire and inFamous 2. I talked about them last time. Needless to say they are both very good games, if not a little flawed in some respects. L.A. Noire pursued something that was neither game or movie, and inFamous 2 improved upon the first — the action is great, although a little samey. And I played some Betas too, including the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception multiplayer, which I spent a lot of time with. It’s not entirely unique, but it was good enough to keep me coming back. Then we have Journey, an art game by thatgamecompany. I’m not too sure what I think about that yet. It felt too easy, and a little boring, but it’s just too early to say.

And you finally got off the PlayStation, thank god. I was worried for a minute there.

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Let’s get straight into it shall we?

Sure thing. Wait, what are we doing again?

Games. Electronic interactive videos that supposedly bring joy to people.

Got it. So last time we spoke I said I was playing a few games. Let’s get into that. Firstly L.A. Noire, I’m slowly making my way through that. I know a few people were turned off by it, but I am still really enjoying it. Sure it’s not a great action game, but it makes a great Phoenix Wright 3D. I’ve just solved my first case as Vice cop.

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