From BBC The Social

Since the early days of the medium, speed is something that’s been rewarded in video gaming. Two of its most well-known icons have it woven into their gameplay; the original Super Mario Bros series added your remaining time to your score upon reaching the end of a level, encouraging faster playthroughs, while Sonic the Hedgehog was even born from co-creator Yuji Naka’s attempts to race through Mario’s first level as quickly as possible.

Much like real-life track and field, a certain section of gaming has come to be based around agility; alongside the rise of e-sports – a huge industry centred around public, competitive gameplay – a phenomenon known as speedrunning has emerged, in which players post their quickest times for getting to the end credits of a game. It’s something that’s resonated with gaming fans around the globe, giving rise to wildly popular YouTube channels, charity events and groups who promote the practice.

Continue reading “A Brief History of Speedrunning” »


The Game-Over Making of the Super Mario Bros. Movie, 25 Years Later

From Playboy

Cinematic adaptations of video games are a thing we take for granted these days. In this very year so far, we’ve had movies based on Tomb Raider and Rampage, while the last couple of years have seen Resident EvilAssassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft receive the same treatment. Looking ahead, there are plans for Uncharted and Five Nights at Freddy’s movies, and even a Sonic the Hedgehog one, too. While it’s heartening, in a way, for gamers to see their medium appreciated by a wider audience, a regrettable pattern has also emerged—painfully low review scores. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, of the 34 live-action video game movies theatrically released throughout the world to date, just one has crept above 50 percent (the aforementioned Rampage)—and only by a few percentage points at that. The vast majority fall well below the halfway mark, right down to 0 percent, a dishonor held by the panned Tekken film of 2009.

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How Sonic the Hedgehog Kept Glam Rock Alive In The Grunge Years

From Vice.com.

With tears and sold-out arenas as Mötley Crüe played their contractual final shows at the end of last year, and excited speculation and controversy as the definitive members of Guns N’ Roses spend the summer on a reunion tour, it’s fair to say that there’s a palpable resurgence of interest in ’80s-style heavy metal. Couple those headlines with the facts that satirical glamsters Steel Panther are headlining London’s Wembley Arena this autumn and that Reckless Love are helping to turn Helsinki into the new Sunset Strip, and it becomes increasingly apparent that people have a rekindled affinity with big hair and big riffs.

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Selected Music Reviews

A selection of album and live music reviews from various publications from 2011 onwards. This post is subject to being updated.

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Mother 3 – The Best Nintendo Game That Most Of The World Never Played

From Kotaku

For all its famous, medium-defining characters and franchises, Nintendo still manages to have uncelebrated stars outside of the limelight reserved for Mario, Link and Pikachu. The inclusion of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee helped introduce Fire Emblem to a Western audience sometimes bewildered by their origins, while the likes of Palutena and Shulk raise even more inquisitive eyebrows. Mother is another franchise undervalued to the point that, for the long-time fan, it’s almost surreal to see Ness and Lucas Amiibo on high-street shelves. While Ness is more recognisable due to a western release of his starring game, Lucas and his title Mother 3 remain largely limited to the Japanese market – and thus relatively unsung.

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Ghost: “Our Music Provokes People”

From Ultraje magazine, ahead of Ghost’s Lisbon show

No. No, no, no, no, no. Fuck no. That would have been delusional.”
These are the words of Ghost guitarist A Nameless Ghoul when asked if he would ever have expected the band’s unbridled success, which has seen them pick up numerous awards, enter countless top ten lists and be chosen for a tour with a little-known band called Iron Maiden this summer. It’s fair to say the last few years have been good to the Swedes. The most imminent matter, however, is a European headlining tour that will see them take on Lisbon’s MEO Arena – a modest upgrade from the Paradise Garage gig of two years ago, to say the least.

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Maiden of Black Water Will Connect You With Japan’s Morbid Past

From Playboy.com

It was a cold, dark, stormy November night in the heart of the city, days after Halloween. My friend and I were taking shelter at my place, freezing rain beating down on the windowpanes and tree branches casting spidery shadows across the living room, the wind howling like a lone wolf. A late-night beer and Wii U session proved a reliable distraction from the weather, as did one of our chats about the gaming industry. Nothing heavy or particularly insightful – usually just discussing how the last boss in EarthBound is actually a foetus or seeing who can do the best impression of the ubiquitous merchant from Resident Evil 4. That’s about as cultured as we get.

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Something In The Water – My Ecco Nightmare

From Vice.com.

As a child, video games were my main pastime. There were few things that my younger nerd enjoyed more than a journey into a virtual world that was as vivid as my imagination would come to be. I wasn’t lonely; I had many friends with whom I played at school and occasionally in the street, but, for the most part, the non-educational hours of the day were me time with my consoles.

For some reason, however, that had to involve deflecting the nagging of family, whose constant urging me to play outside suggested that our house stood in the middle of fucking Disney World. Sonic didn’t pester me like that. The only way he would ever judge me was tapping his foot impatiently while I stopped playing to get more juice. All Mario ever had to say was “wa-hoo!” as we leapt into another adventure, never, “It’s a lovely day outside, get off the computer.” They understood me.

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Another Castle – Why Super Mario 64 Still Matters 20 Years After Its Release

From Vice.com.

I remember going to my local shopping centre in 1997. There was a stall hosted by a popular soft drink brand that featured a circle of televisions, all of which were displaying Mario’s first proper 3D outing on the Nintendo 64, the gaming giant’s new powerhouse machine. They offered passers-by a shot at the new adventure from the plump plumber. Players could hit a button on the pop-up wall whenever they found a Power Star within the game’s labyrinthine castle hub, for which they would be rewarded with a cup of said beverage. Looking back, it might have secretly been a horrific Pavlovian conditioning experiment examining the influence of electronic stimulation and positive reinforcement on the mindsets of modern youth, but most likely it was a celebration of Super Mario 64, one of the most revolutionary games of all time.

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A Good and Loud Bye to Lemmy

LemmyAs soon as I heard the news from a friend – and after a quick confirmation on Google – my first instinct was to reach for the bottle of Jack Daniel’s I’d received for Christmas and spin a few Motörhead videos on YouTube. I’d like to think Lemmy would smile at the fact that his favourite Tennessee tipple and loud music were the legacy he left on me, and that he’s enjoying the same thing now, wherever he might be.

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Pokémon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire Preview

From Official Nintendo Magazine

What? It’s Evolving!

2003 was a pivotal time for Pokémon, in more ways than one. Already well on the way to its current standing as Nintendo’s second-biggest franchise after Mario, it found its mainstream popularity beginning to wane as its main demographic became teenagers and gradually began to surrender the series to the ages. It would eventually regain popularity, partially in a haze of sepia-toned, 8-bit nostalgia, but a current generation growing up with modern versions, while perhaps aware of its historic significance, will never experience the bona fide phenomenon that was Pokémon in the late 1990s.

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Nintendo’s Greatest Easter Eggs

From Official Nintendo Magazine. This article originally reached a readership of over 100,000.

Put down that Easter egg. Honestly, you’re going to make yourself sick if you eat any more chocolate. The Day of Rabbit-Themed Confectionery has came and went so, while your blood sugar returns to normal, why don’t we have a look at another kind of Easter egg? By that we mean those from Nintendo games.

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Ashes Of Ares: The Thin Blue Line

From Terrorizer magazine, September 2013.

These days, former Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow is more likely to look down at the bloodied bodies of murder victims than he is a sea of raised hands and smiling faces. Such is the life of one who would trade music for a career in law enforcement.
‘In a band, there have always been spots on the road that have been weird, but you really can’t compare them to what I see now.’ the rockstar-cum-policeman reflects. ‘As a musician, I’ve never encountered somebody who has met their demise in a violent nature, so it’s a very different thing to get used to.’ Continue reading “Ashes Of Ares: The Thin Blue Line” »


The Great Gatsby Review

The Great GatsbyIt’s remarkable how, when you get Tobey Maguire to read the immortal opening lines of The Great Gatsby, it sounds like an eloquent remake of Spider-Man. We may also be in New York, but there’s no futuristic crime-fighting here as we’re borne back ceaselessly into the past in the latest cinematic telling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great American Novel. Continue reading “The Great Gatsby Review” »


Dracula: An Adaptation Study

Academic essay analysing Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and its film adaptations, 2011.

Bela LugosiFirst sinking his teeth into the concept of the novel in Scotland’s own Cruden Bay, Stoker horrified the Victorian people with Dracula, some of whom went as far as to call it ‘the most blood-curdling novel of the paralysed century.’ When it comes to the theory behind the adaptation of novels into films, studies have been tainted by a ‘narrow one-sidedness that assumes [that such films] are merely cheap imitations’ Continue reading “Dracula: An Adaptation Study” »


Nintendo’s Top Bad Romances

From Official Nintendo Magazine.

Valentine’s Day is a special time of year to share with the one you love. Since, to any self-respecting reader, that will be your favourite console, ONM are here to celebrate the occasion with a list of Nintendo’s most unconventional romances.

Many of the Big N’s ever-magical adventure games open themselves up to a save-the-world-get-the-girl scenario – it’s the basis of virtually every Mario and Zelda game. Behind the scenes and between the lines, however, there are a fair few relationships that don’t quite live up to the fairytale stereotype… Continue reading “Nintendo’s Top Bad Romances” »


Death Angel: Divide Then Conquer

From Terrorizer magazine, October 2013.

‘It’s amazing to be here!’ bellows Mark Osegueda, while his Death Angel bandmates smile at the Bloodstock Open Air festival crowd before them. It’s a sentiment several acts will repeat this weekend and at the rest of the summer’s events but, for some, it will be rehearsed, disingenuous and, in places, untrue. As the words come from this ebullient frontman, however, it’s hard not to take them seriously, Continue reading “Death Angel: Divide Then Conquer” »


Alter Bridge: Friends With Benefits

From WheelScene magazine, January 2012.

Alter Bridge got game. Your average rock chick is likely to swoon at the mention of singer Myles Kennedy, with his lovely hair and sweet voice, while guitarist Mark Tremonti is a renowned influence on the YouTube masses of bedroom shredders. But there is, of course, more to them than what this writer words as abhorrent sexism and disdain for the online generation. Continue reading “Alter Bridge: Friends With Benefits” »


The King Blues: “We’re powerful now more than ever”

From Brig, November 2011.

The kids are united: The King Blues.

Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox finishes off a hamburger in an underground dressing room in the heart of Glasgow, happily reminiscing about the people he has met on his recent travels. A few hundred miles may separate him from his native London but, apparently, very little distinguishes the inhabitants of each city from another.
‘People are different everywhere. There are nice folk and dicks no matter where you go.” he laughs, swivelling his chair away from the mirror. Continue reading “The King Blues: “We’re powerful now more than ever”” »


Ginger: Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

From Ragnarok Radio, November 2010.

GingerGinger is one of those musicians who you can tell couldn’t be doing anything else with his life. Riffing his way onto the UK Britrock scene in the early ‘90s with The Wildhearts after earning his chops in glam outfit The Quireboys, he has since graced the world with musical projects almost too numerous to list, leaving behind a scorched trail of drugs, fights and broken Kerrang! office equipment. Continue reading “Ginger: Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” »