Category Archives: The Smoking Room

Where Gentlemen retire to smoke pipes and grumble about lumbago and the trouble with young people today

The Meaning of Life?

I was writing to someone today, just catching up on news and things, talking about the last few days and then about an hour later I was coming up for air after a bit of an unplanned ramble about gaming. I guess I just got the bit between my teeth and failed to notice that I wasn’t sitting in the pub snug with a pint and a couple of mates, but it did voice some thoughts that have been kicking around for a while in the whistling void of my noggin about my relationship with games, so I thought I’d share my ramblings here and invite the perilously open question of you all: What does gaming mean to you?

Note that the following is an excerpt from a personal letter written to someone that does not play games in any way, shape, or form, and knows absolutely nothing about the games industry, it’s history, and  heritage.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Smoking Room


Virtual photography – photo scrapbooks of our gameworld travels & travails

Photography has always been a respected and aspirational profession, with international competitions producing stunning imagery of the natural world. The digital age has also provided a platform for us amateurs to post and share the jaw-dropping snaps that an occasional spot of luck lets us snag with our digital cameras.

But the digital age has also given us some remarkable, quasi-photorealistic and photogenic gameworlds to explore, and document our experiences with a quick stab of the screenshot hotkey when a stunning landscape unfolds before us.

This article isn’t about facetious documentation of glitches or fails, or impressive machinimas (of which there are also plenty) but rather about the more traditional pastime of wandering the landscape, finding a breathtaking vista or sunset, framing the shot, hopefully remembering to remove the HUD, and grabbing that impressive shot. Screenshots don’t just need to be playthrough souvenirs; they can be a hobby on a par with irl photography. Read the rest of this entry »


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We need a zombie survival MMO

The concept of the MMO has existed ever since computers first got networked, but it’s taken the combination of of gaming becoming big business, and the prevalence of broadband, to make it real.

There’s been a few false starts and dead ends along the way, as in the evolution of any species, but the MMO is now an established and successful genre in gaming. And while the sword & sorcery RPG format is currently the mainstream, lending itself as it does to the concepts of parties, quests & levelling, there have been successful innovations into other gameworld types – EVE’s grand space opera being a notable example.

Another recent success story in gaming has been the zombie survival shooter, with Left 4 Dead in the vanguard. Ever since the movie 28 Days later had the horrifying idea of agile, sprinting hordes of frenzied zombies instead of the traditional shambling groaners, zombies upped the ante in the terrification stakes. L4D brought this development of monster culture into gaming, with typical Valve gameplay aplomb, and voila, the next-gen zombie shooter was born. The concept was a great success and has spawned a host of imitators on various gaming formats.

But the zombie survival shooter has yet to team up with the MMO leviathan, and it’s overdue. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 30, 2011 in The Smoking Room


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