Liquid Football: How FIFA Beat Pro Evo - and why it won't last forever

We’ve been awful quiet at RTF Towers for the last few weeks. Part of the reason for this was County Derry cosmonaut Lee Kerlin’s stag weekend (picture the last scene in Platoon, but with midgies). But now that we’re all home and (almost) human again, the main distraction is that big party FIFA are having in Brazil.

Yes, there’s a World Cup on, which is why all the TV schedules are full of pictures of a yellow-tinted land where outlandishly-shod men chase leather round a lawn. But you knew that. Or maybe you didn’t - you’re a gamer, so reality, even reality as unreal as professional football, is optional for you. Still, you can infiltrate the workplace conversations about the Rooney/Sterling debate, the death of tiki-taka and the power vacuum left by Paul the Octopus. It’s simple: play some football games. The...


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Hindsight: Tiberium Wars

This past weekend I came to the startling realisation that I’d been letting my journalistic endeavours slide. In fact I wasn’t the only one. It appears that of late the whole RTF team has been taking an impromptu holiday.

For my part I had simply become complacent, relying on my good looks and charms to get by, and hoping that my past glories would keep my name in the hearts and minds of our loyal readership.

But no: “Enough is enough,” I thought to myself, “It’s time to get down to some serious gaming business.”

With this new-found motivation and no other pressing engagements to draw my attention, I bounded upstairs to get re-acquainted with some interactive media, but like all great stories, this one required the protagonist to overcome adversity.

You see, a PlayStation is a wonderful piece of technology that can transport you to fantastical...


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Hindsight: Starwing

The SNES was the first true console I consciously remember owning as a child; I had cousins and friends who owned Master Systems and Commodores, but these were never mine. I didn’t own a NES until many years later, and I of course didn’t count my venerable Amiga 500 as a console, so the Super Nintendo nestles snugly in that special part of my brain reserved for ‘firsts’.

Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid, Street Fighter 2 and A Link To The Past; the console still stands as the lens through which a lot of my most vivid gaming experiences were projected, all powerful influencers in my understanding and appreciation of our beloved interactive medium. However, these yammerings are not in tribute to any of the aforementioned titans. Today, I let Peppy, Slippy, Falco and Fox take centre stage with their little silicon friend, the Super...


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Bowie in Skyrim: Diamond Dogs

Dragon vanquished, his legend as a mythical hero quickly spreading throughout the land, Bowie fancied a break. Time to take in a new scene. Can’t stay in one place for too long or else it gets stale. So when we heard tell of the Companions, a group of warriors who owned a historic mead hall round the corner from Balgruuf’s keep, it seemed rude not to call in.

On heading round to Jorrvaskr, I found that the party had already started. The mead hall was a long high-beamed wooden building with a large hearth at one end (wise - might not need a dragon to burn this city to the ground), long benches ringed and pitted from generations of smashed peoploids battering them with ale cups, and assorted creatures in chain mail and armour, watching a fight.

A massive Brunhilde type was laying about a dark elf with...


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How EA Cured Cancer

So I'm sat outside the Joshua Brooks in Manchester. Jim is late as usual, nothing new there. I decide it's time to go inside; he's late, but my pint will be along promptly. £3.40 for a house cider and I'm sat in a leather-backed wing chair, pondering the mystery of how EA have just cured cancer.

The students pile in shortly after - it's a Friday afternoon, class is done for the week and in their humble opinion, they deserve a jar. Fair enough. I've staked my claim to a pair of leather-clad wingbacks and a stool around a table close to the door. By their twos and threes, they turn the place from a quiet retreat to an after-school special on the dangers of alcohol and avail themselves of the pie-and-a-pint deal for £6.50 that will see them through till the early hours of the morning.

I...


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Hindsight: Full Throttle

I don’t know what it is about summer approaching, but it gets me restless. Might be that I moved house every summer between the ages of 18 and 25 and so start to pack my stuff into boxes in May as instinctively as geese fly north. It could also be the same instinct that draws people to green public spaces, cross-country trains and other incomprehensible places, like up Ben Nevis.

But this is the age of the Internet (obviously; otherwise my talking to myself has reached a new and worrying extreme), these days we don’t have to jam into cramped Easyjet flying machines, destined for beaches where we can haggle with north African men for laser pointers and genuine Molex watches, if we want a getaway. Whereas in times past we would have had to resort to literature or theatre for some escapism, now there are adventure games...


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