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Oliver is a writer with a passion for TV, arts and culture.
‘Hacking minigames’ are a contentious part of game design. These small and often logic-based puzzles arise within larger games which utilise computers or locks as part of their worldbuilding and plot.
Belfast is Kenneth Branagh’s first ‘real’ film, after a slew of Shakespeare and Agatha Christie adaptations – as well as that 2020 Artemis Fowl movie.
Star Wars is another pop culture monolith I’ve never gelled with. My exposure to the franchise remains limited to prequels reruns and a half-hearted The Force Awakens viewing.
The first season of Life is Strange, the Dontnod Entertainment-developed episodic adventure game, was released in 2015.
On April 18th, Portal 2 turns eleven. It’s been remembered and beloved all those years for several reasons; it was, for the longest time, the last true Valve game before the company became more known as a sales platform. The Half-Life and Team Fortress games, alongside the original Portal, were intensely popular throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, especially online, for their stories, tones, and unashamed playability. The residual and forlorn resentment against Valve for the last decade – mostly for their (lack of) handling of the Half-Life series – missed Portal, though. Despite originating as an afterthought alongside Half-Life:…
Last December, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia aired a record-breaking fifteenth season. Having usurped The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran for the previous record of fourteen seasons, It’s Always Sunny has another three confirmed. Creator Rob McElhenney told Rolling Stone in 2019, “just by function of…. the characters themselves, [most shows] have to start following those emotional evolutions, which we just don’t have to do. We get a blank slate every episode.” Running since 2005, the show’s long-standing appeal is founded on its continual and increasingly self-aware approach to storytelling. I also think that makes it one of…
Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III is a 1967 painting by Barnett Newman, an American artist who is seen as one of the most important figures in abstract expressionism. It’s the third out of four pieces in the series, each a visually-simplistic combination of block colours. III measures at roughly two metres by five metres, predominantly a bright red, with a line of blue at the left end and a thinner line of yellow at the right end. It has been on display at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam since its completion. In 1986, sixteen years after Newman’s…
When my grandmother died, I remembered a pile of puzzle books she’d bought for me while I was studying halfway across the country. Crosswords and sudoku, mainly. I’m not entirely sure why she did that, and I never touched them during my studies – I was always too depressed. A few weeks after her funeral I remembered this, and it’s since become something of a personal quest to complete them all. Despite almost failing GCSE maths, I’ve already become fairly deft at sudoku. During the majority of my time watching Archive 81, the Netflix Original horror series released this year,…
When I first played Firewatch in early 2016, I didn’t really get it. I liked it, for definite – it was a well-written story with gorgeous dialogue and voice acting. It was fresh and visually astounding; it took everything gaming is assumed to be, put it in a blender and let players enjoy the results, whatever they may be. It was Campo Santo’s inaugural, and as-of-yet only game, due to their subsequent acquisition by Valve. I struggled to understand Firewatch though. On an emotive level, I couldn’t wrap my head around what it was about, what it was trying to…
Drinking champagne in the middle of the day during a recession. Who d’you think you are? P. Diddy? The Thick of It, aired sporadically from 2005 to 2012, coined the term ‘omnishambles’. For a decade, the word has been used in British politics to describe an overwhelming mess or failure – in 2012, then-Opposition Leader Ed Miliband described an “omnishambles Budget” during PMQs. A comedy-drama satirising the inner workings of modern UK administrations, The Thick of It shows a government in which politicians and party officials spend most of their time fighting back against the media as opposed to governing…