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Mark Stevens
Attended University of Hertfordshire
Lives in Richmond, VA
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Mark Stevens

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A few inaccuracies in their Rapture review.

You DON'T need to follow the orbs in order to unlock the narrative sequences. True, by following the orbs you'll get you to the right locations in which to trigger the narrative sequences, but they will trigger regardless of whether or not you followed an orb to get there. So when Tim Turi mentioned that he followed an orb back to a house he'd previously explored and saw a narrative sequence he didn't trigger before, it's because he didn't explore every room of that house and missed the trigger point.

The ONLY exception to this rule is that there's a "final" narrative sequence in each chapter which can only be triggered by first unlocking all the other narrative sequences. You'll know when you've unlocked it because there's a very specific sound cue: eg, in the first chapter the church bells start ringing. And once you finish exploring the source of the sound cue, something very unique and obvious happens to lead you into the next chapter.

Also, while following the orbs is really just a subtle hint/quest marker system for those who are stuck, it doesn't really interfere with the sense of exploration. If you just blindly follow the orbs around the game, you'll probably miss about 70% of the game's content, because the orbs don't lead you to radios or telephones that reveal even more narrative context, nor do they lead you to every location within the game, where you'll discover more environmental clues that contribute towards the bigger picture, or to the shortcuts that allow you to backtrack through the entire game at rapid speed.

Some more general thoughts:

I can't say the slow speed bothered me. I find many so-called "walking simulators" to be hugely nostalgic experiences, especially Rapture because it perfectly captured a time and a place that mirrored where I grew up in the UK, and the "cost catastrophe" atmosphere inspired by the novels of John Wyndham is something I enjoyed in the 80s as a kid and continues to reverberate for me now. In short, I wanted to take Rapture as slowly as possible in order to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the wide open spaces that took a minute or two to traverse, because it offered an almost meditative space in which I could reflect upon the childhood memories the game was unlocking for me.

The Chinese Room do need to work on their endings though. Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture all share confused, muddled endings where the writer(s) are obviously overreaching for something only to end up sounding pretentious. In the case of Rapture in particular it's not necessarily bad writing, just writing that's a little at odds with what came before it. TCR need to put a little more faith in their players and play upon interesting ambiguities rather than overreaching specifics.

Overall though, Rapture is a fantastic experience and easily sets the bar for all future "walking simulators". Highly recommended if you enjoyed the likes of Dear Esther, Gone Home and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. If those games didn't appeal to you then you'll probably want to skip it. But when you're ready for a more contemplative, meditative experience, by all means give it a go.
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I've not played Rapture yet nor watched this video, but as always you make great points and seem to have an opinion that I presume would correlate with my own when I get to play it.

I can definitely understand why people find 'walking, simulated' boring but personally I've always enjoyed that more relaxed approach to merely being in a game's environment. I mean, the FIRST thing I want to do in every new GTA game isn't kill people or steal a car, it's go for a leisurely stroll around whatever city it happens to be set in this time around. So just that experience of inhabiting an environment and taking it all in, admiring the scenery and appreciating the atmosphere is a pleasure and one of the main reasons why I love games like this. But I also love them because of what they do, both in terms of the aforementioned environments and how they explore them (you touched on, for example, the ways in which they can capture a certain point in time such as Gone Home does -- that is deeply fascinating to me) but also because of the ways in which they experiment: with story, with themes, with telling or showing you something without actually telling you or showing you something. And so on.

I haven't played Rapture as I said above and that concerns me given how much it screams my kind of game. Hell, I still haven't played Ether One yet either because I'm a fool who has no idea how to prioritise. But jeez, when I do get to it I CANNOT wait to enjoy it for what it is. And if it has issues or winds up being somewhat flawed, at the very least it will be an interesting experience. Can't ask for much more than that.
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Mark Stevens

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Pre-ordering a "we do not pre-order" shirt.
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Ah, memories! I fondly remember playing the first edition around the time it first came out. It was a good game to play with friends and family who probably weren't quite ready for hardcore RPGs or more advanced board games. I recently played the iPad version of the game, which served as a decent nostalgia trip. Anyone else who's on the fence about shelling out for the full board game might like to try the digital version first to get a feel for the game's mechanics.
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Hi Mark! Thanks for watching my review. Yes, lots of memories. That was the reason we got back into it. Still as good as ever. Yeah, D&D always seemed too complex and a game you needed a lifetime to master before you understood it let alone enjoy it. Talisman was a good game to jump into and play yet still giving you the fantasy fix. Playing with all the expansions has taken it to another level now - it's more of a day event that a couple of hours! Good point about playing it digitally first - get a good feel for it. Nice one. 
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This week, in Entitled Gamers Get Angry About Something, much whining and air-punching about Double Fine's decision to bring development of Spacebase DF-9 to a halt and release it into the wild.

I don't really get what everyone's complaining about, and I'm especially surprised that Total Biscuit is one of those dialing for a whambulance. Spacebase has always been an Early Access title. Steam users seem to forget that Early Access titles come with NO guarantee that they'll ever make it to a full release and that anyone who spends money on them at that stage is funding a work-in-progress that could be abandoned at any moment and not buying a finished product.

Sure, DF made promises about the future of Spacebase that they were unable to keep, but THEY WERE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO KEEP THEM. I paid for early access to the game myself but made sure I was fully informed of the ramifications of supporting a game at such a stage in its development. Is it disappointing that the game is now unlikely to reach its full potential? Yes. Am I going to cry like a baby and get angry on the interwebs about it? No.

Seriously, between GamerGate, the rise of Social Justice Warriors, everyone hating on Notch for apparently being a sellout, gamers thinking that Bungie owe them more than Destiny delivered, and now all the pathetic backlash against Double Fine for abandoning an Early Access game, the "gaming community" is looking pretty fucking pathetic right now.
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+Mark Stevens

1) Except they weren't being open about the development process on DF-9. So, they still have a long way to go. 

2) Gamers weren't involved in the development process of Destiny. They were being shown overly glitzed PR campaigns by the company. The only consequences reaped here were sown by Bungie in the first place. This was their fault and their fault alone for what they did. 

As said before, companies need to realize they can't promise the moon even if they aren't going to land among the stars, which is what both did. 
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Good to see Cracked giving the gaming community a swift kick in the balls lately. But there's no way I'm wading into those 2100+ comments (at the time of writing) because I know there's nothing but misery to be found there. 
I've noticed a few problem areas where us chronically underrepresented straight, white males could stand to improve -- or, at the very least, just recognize.
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I got the impression he's been done with Minecraft for a while, and that other Mojang employees have been running it. I'm much more interested in what he does now that he cuts ties and starts over! He doesn't seem like the sort of person who will just sit on the money.
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Loved the historical setting for Assassin’s Creed III but weren’t too keen on the game it was wrapped around? We think we’ve found a series of novels that may well make up for that.
Loved the historical setting for Assassin's Creed III but weren't too keen on the game it was wrapped around? We think we've found a series of novels that may well make up for that.
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Mark Stevens

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Life is Strange is the best contemporary "point & click" adventure I've played in recent years. It manages to be thoroughly modern yet has mechanics that clearly echo the Lucasarts and Sierra classics of yesteryear.

The Telltale games obviously come from that tradition too, although if A Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands are anything to go by they seem to be slowly ditching puzzles and just making their games barely interactive cartoons that are occasionally punctuated by QTEs and dialogue choices.
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+Mark Brown I'm frankly amazed that they decided to go the Jurassic Park route again with just how terrible JP was.
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Oh, you're a KITE dancing in a hurricane! Took me about ten replays to work out he wasn't saying something a lot ruder.
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Currently enjoying a nostalgic trip back to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Just completed the "Wrong Side of the Tracks" mission (first time!) and was reminded that so many people seemed to give up on the game at this point. Which is a bit of a shame because while this mission comes about 3-4 hours into the game, it's still relatively early on. Anyone who did give up at this point probably missed about 80% of the game's content.
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jetpack is rockin' rad, agreed. though often i found myself flying over to the harrier with my jetpack
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PC version delayed as Rockstar attempt to work out if "widescreen" means "more on the sides" or "less on the top and bottom". Former Irrational employees drafted in to help. 
Rockstar Games is proud to announce that Grand Theft Auto V will arrive on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 18, 2014 with the PC version to follow January 27, 2015. Grand Theft Auto V for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC will feature a...
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After thousands of meetings and countless delays the debate will be decided with a hot dog eating competition.
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I think I've had enough of the Twitter gaming community's bullshit for now, so I'm going to give it a wide berth for a while. Going to start posting and sharing in here instead. 
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"gaming communities" on the whole are pretty garbage 
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When he’s not busy writing about level design, Justin Keverne likes to cruise the mean streets of Paradise City in his hellaflush Challenger, looking for ricers to drag down the 1320. Or whatever it is the kids do these days. J-Kev takes a break from his hectic street racing schedule to examine the Licence system in Burnout Paradise.
When he's not busy writing about level design, Justin Keverne likes to cruise the mean streets of Paradise City in his hellaflush Challenger, looking for ricers to drag down the 1320. Or whatever it is the kids do these days. J-Kev takes a break from his hectic street racing schedule to examine the Licence system in Burnout Paradise.
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Have him in circles
743 people
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I've been known to write about video games, music, books, film, technology, design and social media. Occasional contributor to Wired and The Guardian. I've also written Doctor Who and Bernice Summerfield fiction for Big Finish. Gosh!
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    Media Production & Business Management
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Mark Stevens's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Multicraft - The Minecraft Hosting Solution
www.multicraft.org

Multicraft: The Minecraft server admin control panel and hosting solution

An Ouya Review by a Gamer Who Has Everything
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Finding a place for Ouya in my crowded gaming life. As an early backer/true believer of the disruptive $99 Ouya game console, I received my

Why the Ending You Chose for Mass Effect 3 is WRONG
runjumpfire.com

Note: The information and opinions that follow are based on the original release version and does not take into account the additional conve

Dishonored "No Chaos" guide - Bethesda reveals secrets of the system
www.pcgamer.com

The rusted, iron-wrought gate clangs shut behind you. Heaving a sigh of relief, you eagerly anticipate the after-action report charting your