Cannon Fodder – More than just a game about war?
Apr27

Cannon Fodder – More than just a game about war?

War is a misguided topic in today’s gaming world. It’s understood to be misguided by a majority of gamers too. Call of Duty, Medal of Honour and Battlefield all make for great gaming, visually, if you are inept to that kind of entertainment. But key factors are lost in translation while playing these games. Those factors can be attributed to any way the gamer wishes to interoperate the images on the screen emotionally. Sure, falling from a helicopter at a thousand feet while playing Battlefield 3 online is fecking hilarious, but does any one take into account the realism that’s been sucked out of this? You Re-Spawn. No body count, no weapons loss, no one is hurt. No one really dies. But what if a game was produced, where be it that if you lose men, they were gone forever. Also, while on the mission selection screen, you could actually see all the graves of your fallen online friends in the background? Cool? Meaningful? Disturbed? Well, no game exists in this generation to my knowledge. But an older generation of games, yeah, there is a game like that. Cannon Fodder. I remember getting hold of this game when I was around the age of eleven, 1994. At this age, I presumed the game to be pure fun with a hint of sarcasm. But it was only later on, around the age of 18 when I started to read between the lines of the games message. I don’t think any other game has had an impact as meaningful as this one did. The opening credits, Jon Hare, Julian ‘Jools’ Jameson & Stoo Cambridge dressed up as soldiers in black and white still pictures will always remind all Amiga gamers of fun times past. But it was the word ‘Fun’ that had been misguided by the press and others at the time. ‘War has never been so much fun’, the title song and the games motto. The message of the game was realised by gamers of a more mature age. The press and MP’s at the time however, concluded its frantic, unnecessary gore and violence was a stain on society, the army and the war dead and condemned the game. My view? Well, I’ll try to explain it as best as I can. At the beginning of the game, red poppies can be seen on the title screen. This is in no way an offensive gesture towards the war dead, or the poppy appeal. In fact, it was intended to be a gesture of ‘Anti-War’. Another following title screen appears with the words ‘This game is not in any way endorsed...

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The Commodore Amiga – personal recollections
Apr09

The Commodore Amiga – personal recollections

When discussing the 16bit era, most people jump to the subject of the SNES or Mega Drive. This is an obvious choice of console discussion. Not because they are mainstream, but simply because they synonymous with word ‘games console’. I want to talk about another type of games console, though it’s the description ‘console’ is far from what it was. The Amiga 500. Now, I could go into the whole Atari & Commodore debate from which would spawn at least seventy pages of how Commodore as a company came to be. But, I am just going to focus on the Amiga 500. Now, imagine it’s 1990. You are playing on the current gen console, the Master System. You get a phone call asking you to go to a friend to play on their new Amiga 500. You debate in your head for a second or two if the walk to the next street is worth it. It’s a computer, with keys, no Phantasy Star. What’s the point? But you get thrown out by the parents because sunlight is apparently good for you. So, off you set, to the next street, knock on the door, enter and go to the room where this so called ‘Amiga’ computer is. You sit down and wait for a game called Shadow of The Beast 2 to load while thinking of Double Dragon still. Then, all of a sudden, the music starts and the main character is running across the screen with it’s vast, complex graphics and colours you have only ever seen in arcade machines in magazines. You stare at it… listen to it… then you play it. Suddenly, the SMS you left indoors becomes obsolete and old. Totally blown away by the Amiga, you walk home only to enter your house and say ‘Dad, I want an Amiga 500 with additional RAM and an external disk drive so I can copy games and sell them to my mates in the playground’ You could have asked for a Mega drive, but somehow it seems ‘tired already’ in comparison with what you could be doing on an Amiga. The Amiga 500 was the evil child of the 1985 A1000. The A1000 was a big desktop machine that did not have the capability to load into a ROM. This had be booted form a disk. So, in 1987, Commodore along with the master mind and creator of the Amiga computer, Jay Miner, went about creating an ‘all in one’ Amiga which simply plugged into the back of a TV. The keyboard would be part of the package, simply integrated into the motherboard along with the...

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