Chris Littlechild Website

Chris is a dedicated gamer and writer who is always looking to improve his skills in both areas. Having failed miserably to pick a major, his degree from the University of Hertfordshire combines English Literature, Creative Writing and History. (Oddly, it doesn’t even end there.) He lives in St Albans, but knows few people would ever have heard of such a place, so the nearby London is always a better answer. From the 'London'-based marshland nest he calls home, he writes gaming/humour/gaming humour articles and the occasional horror story, and benevolently attempts to befriend passing insects. As yet, none of them have been interested. He even offered a range of homemade baked confections to them once, to no avail.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Grand Theft Auto 2

Grand Theft Auto 2 a

Rockstar’s crimetastic Grand Theft Auto series is one of gaming’s most controversial. Which, natch, also makes it one of the most popular. What with the shit-your-pants success of the fifth installment, and the ongoing drama of its PC edition, good ol’ GTA is still making headlines.

So this week, our humble retro column is taking a look back at the second game. Scrape the congealing hunks of Elvis impersonator off of your windshield, give the Zaibatsu the middle finger and buckle up for some Grand Theft Auto, 1999 style.

Grand Theft Auto 2 hit the PC and PlayStation that year, and was a huge effing step further for the original’s free-roamy sandbox gameplay. This was during the series’ nuts to a plot era, so the setup is simple: you’re Claude Speed, a lowlife criminal. You’re wanged straight into the downtown area of ‘Anywhere, USA’ and tasked with achieving a certain score. This will let you pass into the next district, the game’s sprawling levels.

How do you earn said points? As wanton destruction-ily as possible, preferably.

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Sure, you can cruise the streets and rampage freely as you wish. Commandeer a taxi and collect fares in an odd almost-law-abiding sort of minigame, steal an ice cream truck and go on the slowest, most hilarious one-man crime spree you ever saw, the choice is yours. Free roaming is the name of the game, but the actual ‘purpose’ is to complete missions.

These are assigned to you by one of the area’s criminal syndicates when you visit their hideouts. They might have you take out a rival mobster, grab a certain type of car, deliver some drugs, all kinds of shady doings. Completing your objective will earn you that gang’s respect, and so elevate your status in their ranks. It’ll also piss off their rivals, and so ensure you a frosty reception in the others’ area of town.

So far, nothing new to Grand Theft Auto veterans. But the sequel does so much to add to that living, breathing city feel that became essential to the later games. The pedestrians have purposes of their own, places to go. Criminals have shootouts with police and rival gangs, and carjackers and muggers ply their dirty trade on the streets right alongside you.

Whether you’re batting for the Zaibatsu, the Yakuza, the Loonies or the Rednecks (complete with Confederate flag), Grand Theft Auto 2 is a much more interactive and involving experience. Kill frenzies, those Elvis dudes, the fancy garages for equipping mines, rocket launchers and other ACME products to your car… This was the series’ last 2D effort, and it really sent that style out with a bang.

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ PC Edition Busts Out the Sweet, Sweet 60fps

Grand Theft Auto V PC

The console wars continue to rage on. Skirmish after skirmish ensues on the comment section of Youtube, with Xbox One-ers and PS4-ers talking grammatically questionable smack about each others’ games and/or mothers’ weight problems.

PC gamers, meanwhile, give no shits about such things, simply declaring themselves the ‘master race’ and having done with it. After all, there’s no denying that their gaming platform is the beefiest.

The much ballyhooed, where-in-the-name-of-holy-balls-is-it Grand Theft Auto V: PC Edition is going to be something special, then. The game first hit Xbox 360 and PS3, before making the transition to current gen consoles last November. Spangly new as that edition looked, it’s nothing on this.

Behold the PC release running smoother than a very, very smooth thing over at Destructoid.

The Surprising Badassery of ‘Mario Maker’

Mario Maker

I like my men to be men. If you aren’t a studly bearded lumberjack who juggles flaming chainsaws, and you don’t greet fellow manly dudes with that bicep-amundo handshake from the beginning of Predator, then screw you. If you’ve ever cried at a movie moment other than the melting T-800′s little thumbs up in Terminator 2, then screw you as well.

Except, y’know, I’m being facetious. Much as we all like our studly Call of Dutys and Gears of Wars and all, there’s always room for something a little lighter.

Mario Maker, for one. It’s as cutesy and toontastic as ever, but it’s looking irresistible for many of us who grew up with this fat little bastard. You can find this sort of thing easily enough on the Interwebs, natch, but an official and fully-fledged level editing dealie? Sign me up.

This one arrives in September, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros’ release. Check out the Nintendo Direct clip of the game below.

Gaming’s Whacked Out Week: April Fools Brings Us Metal Gear Airsoft

Metal Gear Solid Airsoft

On them thar interwebs, April Fools is a dangerous day. You don’t want to take anything you read online too seriously. A lot of it’s much more subtle than those photos of ‘spaghetti trees’ I once saw, and it’s easy to be deceived.

It’s even easier to deny like a bastard that you ever were deceived, and insist that you were merely playing along with the joke, natch.

But nuts to all of that. Sometimes, in the name of April 1, something comes along that we really, really effing want to be real. Like we used to with Santa, the Easter Bunny, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wankery, that sort of stuff. We want to believe, damn it, and we need to believe.

One such thing that cropped up in this year’s April Fools snarkathon is Metal Gear Airsoft. As fans will know, a cardboard box is the most potent tool in Snake’s stealthy arsenal, so it should be perfect for a little real-life sneaky guntastic as well. Check out this perfectly camouflaged dude:

Via Kotaku.

There’s a Use for the Freaking Power Glove? Seriously?

Power Glove

Hold the effing phone. You remember the Power Glove, right? This fancy-ass NES peripheral looked like something the sci fi writers of the eighties would imagine us all having by now. Perhaps to control our hoverboards or something. All this shit-tastic thing could control was NES games, and it righteously sucked at that.

Think of it as a ROB the robot you can wear on your wrist, where everyone can see what a dick you look.

Nevertheless, this thing was pretty damn ahead of its time. There was some darn impressive ultrasonic fiber optic tech going on in here. Especially for 1989. And this week, that foundation has been built upon in the name of rehabilitiation for stroke victims.

brings us the story of the MusicGlove, a similar motion-controlly device from Flint Rehabilitation Devices. The MusicGlove, they report,
‘…helps stroke victims recover the use of their hands by moving their fingers in rhythm to a game similar toGuitar Hero. Apparently, patients using the MusicGlove made many more significant improvements than those performing conventional exercises… playing a videogame can help patients stay focused on otherwise boring and repetitive exercises, and keep them coming back for more in the hopes of getting better at the game and beating their previous scores, all the while rehabilitating their hands.’

It’s a much better legacy for the Power Glove tech than wanky old movieThe Wizard, at any rate. Good job, video games.

The Weekly WTF: The Pervtastic Homo-Erotic Horse Racing of ‘Japan World Cup 3’

Japan World Cup 3

As we all know, our friends in the Land of the Rising Wang get a bad rap. We look at things like those pervy vending machines full of panties they have on the streets, or porn involving ladyfolk in diapers, and we say, what the shit, Japan?

This kind of stereotypical mudslinging gets us nowhere, natch, because it’s usually all bollocks. I’m from Merry Olde England, and don’t have awful teeth or a fancy-ass top hat and monocle. I think tea sucks, frankly, and would have gladly dumped it into the harbor in Boston right along with you guys.

Anywho, my point is that we can defy this stuff. We can be whoever and whatever the balls we want. Japan doesn’t need to exacerbate their pervtacular reputation with a load of naked dudes dancing about on the back of a giant horse. But hell, that’s what they wanted to bring us, and they’ve damn well done it. These guys will not, shall not and cannot be stopped. Behold Japan World Cup 3.

This one started life as a flash game back in 2011. It’s a very passive experience, seeing you bet on a horse race and watching how it plays out. But once a yeti, the Trojan Horse and said nude dudes hit the track, you know it’s all going to be a little more interesting than it sounds.

Achievement Hunter
brought this little oddity into the public eye some time back, and… it’s all classic WTF of the highest order. The over-excitable announcer? the horse running biped-style and waving its ‘arms’ about like a boxing champion? The yeti humping the Trojan horse? It’s more spectacle than game, and that’s just fine.

The whole thing just defies description, except the one offered by the bemused ‘player’ below: ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I love it.’ When words won’t do, just watch.

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ PC Edition Heads up the Essential Games of April

Games of April

Grand Theft Auto V actually arriving on PC? Not in our effing lifetimes. For so long now, the Windows release has been an odd little mirage on the horizon, like that island of nudey ladies who’ve taken off their undercrackers to lure horny sailors to their shipwrecky deaths. Sirens, if memory serves.

Y’know, tempting, a little too good to be true, but ultimately impossible to resist. PC gamers have been taunted by this one for far too long. But the wait is over. Here it is in CNET’s best of April’s gamery compilation, barring any further delays.

Along with that, we have the ball-busting heavy hitter (literally, natch) they call Mortal Kombat X. As eager Kombatants will know, this one has also been a hell of a tease on its way to release.

Other than those twin barrels from the blunderbuss of badassery, pickings are relatively slim this month. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a fellow highlight for me, what with the great surge in interest (and therefore eBay pricing) the original enjoyed post release. But hey, check out the roundup below and see what takes your fancy.