On the sixth day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her sixth answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at eight video game characters we love. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the sixth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?
Give us nine games on your to-play list!
Who are eight characters you love?
Share seven of your favorite posts!

February 2017: The hardest co-op

Parenting where the responsibility is shared between two families is one of the hardest cooperatives I’ve ever taken part in; it’s like being part of a four-person team where everyone wants the controller. This post is one of my favourites because it not only explains a little more about my relationship with my other-half Pete and stepson Ethan, particularly when it comes to video games, but it was also the piece that made me realise the direction I wanted to take Later Levels in.

August 2017: Blogger Blitz round one: Mail Delivery

I have nothing but gratitude to the awesome Ian from Adventure Rules for allowing me to compete in the first ever Blogger Blitz. I may have been knocked out in the first round by that dastardly Luke from Hundstrasse (there’s nobody I’d rather be beaten by), but it was this post that gave me the confidence to be braver with my writing and try new styles. I really struggled over what to write for the competition and then thought: “To hell with it – I’m going to create a sea-shanty.” And I’m so glad I did.

September 2017: The secret to blogging success

This one may never have seen the light of day if I hadn’t created the sea-shanty above. I knew exactly the message I wanted to get across and set about writing a serious post on the subject but it just wasn’t coming together, and I ended up going to bed frustrated. In the morning I had another to-hell-with-it moment and decided to try something different again – and 20 minutes later I had a cheesy mock advert trying to sell the secret to blogging success. Sometimes a break away from the page does you the world of good.

January 2018: Dream development team

After receiving a Unique Blogger award from Jonez over at NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog and being asked which role I’d take on if I was involved in the production of a game, I decided to include some of my lovely blogger friends and create an amazing development team. This post was a way of showcasing their awesome talents and thanking them for all of their support. As for the time role I’d fill, I think I’d stick to doing what I know best: documenting our project’s process on our developer blog.

May 2018: Fortnite: the downfall of our children

I love it when you see something and inspiration strikes, and you just have to stop what you’re doing so you can get the words down on paper. This post came about after I saw a piece on ITV News about Fortnite exposing children who play it to a number of dangers. There are still far too many video-games-are-evil reports like this which don’t make an effort to find out all the facts or accept that bad parenting could have something to do with it; and I’m proud to be a part of a community that tries to change this.

October 2018: The hardest thing about blogging

This was another post written after receiving an award, from BeardedGamer82 Gaming Blog. It was on a subject I’d been considering writing about for a while but hadn’t yet plucked up the courage to do so. I’m not a naturally social person and find it difficult when faced with a large group either in person or online, but blogging has given me the confidence to push myself outside of my comfort zone and do things such as volunteering for SpecialEffect. I was worried about hitting the publish button on this one but everybody was so supportive.

Various: blog parties!

I held the first blog party back in March 2017 as a way to give something back to the WordPress community, show my appreciation for all of the awesome friends I’ve met here, and introduce people to bloggers they may not have already come across. If you haven’t yet attended one, get the date for the next event in your diaries now: 18 March 2019. The record for the most number of posts shared during one party still stands at 29 so let’s see if we can beat that next spring – it would be fantastic to finally beat the 30 mark!

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the seventh day of Blogmas tomorrow, with six gaming and blogging resolutions. In the meantime, why not tell us about your own favourite posts in the comments below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


On the fifth day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her fifth answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at nine games on our to-play lists. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the fifth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?
Give us nine games on your to-play list!
Who are eight characters you love?

1. Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, female, woman, character, warrior, mountain, viewI should hate her for her ability to come out of any scenario looking immaculate. But I just can’t; Aloy’s attitude and independence make her one of the most likeable characters I’ve had the pleasure of playing as. Her physical beauty isn’t something she nurtures and she pulls up anyone who doubts her skill due to her age or gender. She tells men that her ‘eyes are up here’, questions the right of the matriarchs to take power simply because they’ve had children, and pulls apart any traditions that don’t make sense. She’s simply awesome.

2. Candy Borowski from Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods, video game, kitchen, cats, conversation, Kandy, Mom, MaeIt may not have been completely what I was expecting and the ending might have felt slightly disconnected, but there were three things I loved about Night in the Woods. The humour was excellent and the artwork was lovely but most of all: Mae’s mom is a legend. She reminds me of my own parent in a few ways (except she’s not a cat). The random comments said by Candy are exactly the kind of thing my mum comes out with, and I could totally see her telling me useless facts about eels. Eeeeels, honey.

3. Erica Reed from Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller

Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller, Erica Reed, FBI, face, gunThis character may be a kickass FBI Agent who’s searching for the evil Cain Killer, her brother’s murderer, and her ‘psion’ powers might give her an advantage by enabling her to see into the past. But Erica is by no means a superhero and her weaknesses are exactly the reason why I love her. Raleigh Holmes does an amazing job of portraying her as a real person who’s struggling with a stressful job, tragic past and powerful secret. It’s her wonderful voice-acting and some great writing which bring Agent Reed to life.

4. Murray from The Secret of Monkey Island series

Tales from Monkey Island, video game, skull, MurrayMurray may have had his skeletal-body blown to pieces by a cannon but did he let that hold him back? No. Many would have been crushed by this tragic accident but my favourite skull turned it into the opportunity he’d been waiting for: to become a demonic overlord and conquer the land of the living. Despite his reduced state, he still considered himself to be an object of pure evil and dreamed of spreading chaos throughout the Caribbean – showing that sometimes all you need to get you places is a positive mental attitude.

5. Samantha Greenbriar from Gone Home

Gone Home, video game, photograph, dark room, handsAnother superb voice-acting performance in this entry on my list: full marks go to Sarah Grayson for her portrayal of Sam. The teenager comes across as smart and snarky yet insecure and relatable, and you can’t help but feel for her. While unravelling her coming-of-age story and relationship with Lonnie, she reveals herself with a lot of honesty through her journal entries; and by the time you’ve spent the three hours needed to complete the title both she and her story will have left a lasting mark on you.

6. Theresa from the Fable series

Fable II, video game, Theresa, babyIt’s difficult to reveal much about Theresa’s history as her backstory is so detailed. But the most intriguing thing about her is the fact you’re never quite sure whether she’s on the side of good or evil: is she telling you all she knows, or has she seen the future and is now trying to guide you down a certain path? Zoë Wanamaker does such a great job at portraying the Seeress, with a perfect balance of mysticism and threat in her voice; now whenever I see a television advert voiced by this actress it feels as if Theresa is trying to sell me something.

7. Trico from The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian, video game, Trico, animal, beast, phoenix, griffin, boyI love the way the relationship between Trico and the boy strengthens over the course of their game together. When the creature can’t move because he’s scared of the stained-glass eyes dotted around the environment, it paints a picture of the traumatic conditioning he’s been subjected to and it’s up to you to smash the artifacts to pieces. When you’re trapped on the other side of a canyon, Trico mewls at you to give you the confidence to make the jump and catches you just before you plummet. Now that’s trust.

8. Zoë Castillo from the Dreamfall series

Dreamfall Chapters, video game, Storytime, female, Zoe CastilloAfter becoming disillusioned with the path her life is taking, Zoë drops out of university and gives her journalist ex-boyfriend a hand with a story he’s working. Little does she know that this will set in motion an epic series of events that will see her caught in an epic adventure. She’s a likeable, realistic character with a big heart. And unlike some other video game characters who simply go along with the story, she always questions what happens to her and doesn’t just accept the unbelievable events she’s involved in.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the sixth day of Blogmas tomorrow, with our favourite posts. In the meantime, why not tell us about the characters you love in the comments below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


On the fourth day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her fourth answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at ten reasons that will make us play a video game. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the fourth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?
Give us nine games on your to-play list!

Due in 2019: Draugen

The thought of there soon being another narrative-driven game by Red Thread Games fills me with excitement, although it’s bound to be quite different from the Dreamfall series. Players will find themselves unravelling a mystery which goes back decades but questioning the protagonist’s sanity at the same time: can we trust everything he sees and hears? I first found out about Draugen at Rezzed in 2013 during a developer session, so I’ve been waiting for this one for a while.

Already out: Detroit: Become Human

Not everyone is a fan of Quantic Dream and their releases have a polarising effect on both the community and critics alike. Personally though, I’ve loved their games since completing Fahrenheit in 2005 and couldn’t wait to try the demo of Detroit: Become Human at EGX last year. Adult life has meant it’s taken me a while to get around to playing the full release however, but I know what I’m now going to be doing this Christmas after purchasing it last week. Stream incoming!

Due in 2019: In the Valley of the Gods

It was Cameron from Dragon In The Castle who suggested I try Firewatch in 2017 and what a great recommendation that turned out to be. I’m now looking forward to Campo Santo’s next release set in Egypt, In the Valley of the Gods. Players step into the role of an explorer and filmmaker who, along with their old partner, has travelled to the middle of the desert in the hopes of making a seemingly-impossible discover and an incredible film.

Already out: Fallout

Although an overload of news about Fallout 76 recently has totally put me off for the moment, at some point during 2019 I really do need to make a start on the series – from the beginning. I have a weird gaming habit whereby I’m unable to play a title in a franchise unless I’ve played all previous instalments, even if they’re now unavailable or absolutely terrible. Some kind bloggers have told me that I’ll probably be able to get the GOG version of the original game working on my PC so I’ll give it a try.

Due in 2019: Observation

Stories Untold turned out to be one of my favourite games of 2017 thanks to a recommendation from Bradley from Cheap Boss Attack so, as is the case for many of the entries on today’s list, I’ve got my eye on the developer’s next release. The idea of uncovering what happened to Dr Emma Fisher and her crew through the lens of the space station’s artificial intelligence (AI) sounds intriguing – and there are bound to be a few surprises if No Code’s previous title is anything to go by.

Already out: The Secret World

The Secret World should be a game I’ve already fallen in love with as it’s made by the same developer of one of my favourite titles. Unfortunately though, I’ve tried several times and can’t seem to get to grips with it: there’s just something about it which turns me into a button-mashing mess. Next year will be the year that I overcome that though. With the combat system getting a redesign for the Secret World Legends relaunch in 2017, perhaps this time I’ll succeed.

Due in 2019: Someday You’ll Return

I played J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars during a lazy week off work and thought I’d found a new entry for my favourites list. Unfortunately though a game-breaking bug struck and I haven’t been able to continue (if anyone happens to have a save file, please do get in touch!). This hasn’t put me off looking forward to CBE Software’s upcoming release however: psychological horror Someday You’ll Return looks as creepy as hell and it has already been added to my wishlist.

Already out: The Shapeshifting Detective

I’m partial to a full-motion video (FMV) game every once in a while and I picked up The Infectious Madness of Dr Dekker back in January. Getting the text parser to recognise some of the entered questions was a little frustrating at times but I got sucked into the story and trying to figure out what was really happening. Wales Interactive is now back with another release, The Shapeshifting Detective, a supernatural murder-mystery which sounds right up my street.

Due in 2019: The Occupation

I had the opportunity to try White Paper Games’ The Occupation at Rezzed last year and wasn’t only me who ended up enjoying this politically-driven narrative title. My stepson first asked if he could have the headphones so he could hear the sound; then decided to sit on my lap so he could see better; and eventually ended up taking over the keyboard completely. Who knows, when the full title is released early next year I might actually have the opportunity to play it for myself.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the fifth day of Blogmas tomorrow, with the video game characters we love. In the meantime, why not tell us about the games you’re looking forward to next year in the comments below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


On the third day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her third answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at 11 games we love and return back to time and time again. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the third day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?

1. If it’s a point-and-click

Anyone who visits Later Levels on a regular basis will know just how big a fan of the adventure genre I am. This started when the event described for my first memory in Wednesday’s post took place: an Amiga 500 arrived with The Secret of Monkey Island one Christmas when I was very young, and it was love at first sight. I’ve adored point-and-clicks and wannabe pirates ever since and actively seek them out (point-and-clicks that is – not pirates!).

2. If it’s narrative-heavy

Remove genre from the equation and the main reason I’ll play a game is because I love getting engrossed in a good story. Take titles such as To The Moon with its heartbreaking tale of life being too short to have regrets, for example; its extremely limited gameplay won’t appeal to some people but it’s perfect to me as it is. I don’t often watch films as I find it difficult to focus on them for so long, but give me a video game with a strong narrative and I won’t move for days.

3. If I enjoyed playing a demo at an expo

A lot of the titles I add to my wishlist are those I’ve had the opportunity to try out first-hand at expos. Guns of Icarus is just one example: this airship-shooter isn’t something that would usually appeal to me but after getting roped into a game at Rezzed in April, I bought a copy the following week. I haven’t played for a little while now but earlier this year I was totally hooked, and ended up spending so many hours playing as an Engineer on standby with my trusty wrench.

4. If it’s recommended by a blogger with good taste

I’ve come to know some great bloggers over the past few years and there are a number who enjoy similar video games so I listen to their opinions. For example, Bradley from Cheap Boss Attack told me to play Stories Untold last year and it turned out to be absolutely awesome. Will from Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat and Luke from Hundstrasse have also given me good recommendations in the past – these guys have good taste.

5. If it’s a sequel to a game I liked

As much as the high-percentage of video game sequels churned out each year concerns me, I can’t deny that I’ll probably play a release if it’s a follow-up to a title I really enjoyed. This was why I picked up Fable II (another game featured in yesterday’s post) on its release date back in 2008 and am likely to buy any further entries in the series, regardless of how many problems Fable III had. Here’s hoping for a better fourth instalment…

6. If it’s by a developer I like

Rezzed, expo, event, video games, Martin Bruusgaard, Kim, Ragnar Tornquist

It’s not just sequels I’ll watch out for: I’ll also keep an eye on future projects by developers who have made a previous title that had an impact on me. The Longest Journey creator Red Thread Games is currently working on psychological horror Draugen and No Code, the team behind Stories Untold, is putting its efforts into Observation. Both games are high on my wishlist and will hopefully be released in the not-too-distant future.

7. If I like the art-style

If a video game’s visuals appeal to me, there’s a good chance I’ll give it a go even if it’s not the sort of thing I’d usually play. Photo-realism may look awesome but I’m a sucker for good pixel art as it works well with point-and-clicks, along with styles that have something a little different about them. Journey and Firewatch were absolutely beautiful in their own way; and more recently, Night in the Woods and The Gardens Between held my attention.

8. If it features a kickass female protagonist

Although I wouldn’t not play a game if it didn’t star a woman in its lead role, the experience is always enhanced if you’re able to play as someone you can identify with – and for me that means stepping into the shoes of a female protagonist. Although there’s still some work to be done, we’ve come a long way from the days of having to choose between only Chun-Li or pointy-boobed Lara Croft and there are some fascinating female characters.

9. If it’s a couch co-op

Insomnia, video games, Ethan, Kim

My stepson has just reached that age where all he wants to do is stay in his bedroom and play video games, so anything we can do to get him out of there and engaging with my other-half and I is fine by me. The promise of a game the three of us can play together and chocolate usually does the trick. His current favourites include That’s You! for its photographs and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes… even though we get blown up more often than not.

10. If it seems like it could be good for a laugh during GameBlast

Having some cooperative or humorous games lined up for a marathon stream is a good idea: your teammates can lift you up if you’re falling asleep and nothing wakes you up like a good giggle. This was how I ended up playing Hidden Agenda and That’s You! during this year’s 24-hour session for GameBlast18. Dad Quest for GameBlast17 was a highlight too – enhanced by the fact we’d all dressed up as the title’s main character. Dad-tastic!

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the fourth day of Blogmas tomorrow, with the games on our to-play list. In the meantime, why not tell us the reasons why you would play a video game in the comments below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


On the second day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her second answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at 12 gaming memories that keep each of us feeling warm and fuzzy throughout the year. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the second day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!

1990: The Secret of Monkey Island

I’m sure many readers were expecting this one to appear on a list of games I love. It’s the title that started my fondness for the adventure genre as a child, after realising that worlds I thought only existed in books could be brought to life through pixels on a screen. It’s also the series that’s home to one of my favourite characters: Murray the skull is simply awesome because he doesn’t let anything hold him back. Sometimes all you need is an evil mental attitude.

1993: Myst

Myst makes my list because it features what I think is one of the best beginnings in gaming. I love that feeling you get when you start a new game and have no idea where this curious journey is going to take you, what obstacles you’re going to encounter and who you’re going to meet along the way. Despite being incredibly simple, the opening cutscene effectively inspires a wonderful sense of confusion in the player which perfectly mimics the character’s emotional state.

1999: The Longest Journey

I adore the story told by the Dreamfall series – so much so that I haven’t been able to finish the final instalment – and no other title has captured my imagination in the same way as The Longest Journey. Rather than share an individual story in each episode, everything is connected in ways which aren’t at first obvious: separate elements that appear unconnected are eventually weaved together in a way where it slowly dawns on you how significant they actually were.

2008: Fable II

So the Fable series may have taken a downhill turn when sequelitus hit the third instalment, but the second game is one of my absolute favourites. It was the title that got me back into gaming regularly as I was hooked after the first half-hour; I spent the rest of the week ploughing through it trying to find every side-quest, figuring out how to get past the demon doors and meeting as many residents of Albion as possible. This is the reason I’d love to meet Peter Molyneux.

2011: To The Moon

One of the first indie titles I ever played after being introduced to this side of gaming was To The Moon. It broke my heart and I was genuinely in tears by the credits; and it taught me that video games are much more than entertainment and pixels. Here’s a storyline that shows the player that life is too short to have regrets so if there’s something you want to do, get out there and do it. Chris from OverThinker Y and I both played the follow up, Finding Paradise, earlier this year.

2012: Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller

Here’s a grown-up murder-mystery and not a game for children, and it’s one of those titles which is so deserving of a sequel. Protagonist Erica is an FBI Agent with ‘psion’ powers that enable her to see the past. With potent abilities like this it would have been all too easy for the developer to resort to them to push the plot along but instead, her powers aren’t the solution for every problem. It’s due to some great voice-acting and wonderful writing that she’s one of my favourite characters.

2013: Gone Home

Gone Home won’t be everybody’s cup of tea but it’s hard to deny that the writing and voice-acting are top-notch – full marks to Sarah Grayson for her portrayal of Sam Greenbriar. This was the first ‘walking simulator’ title I’d played and I was totally blown away. The teenager comes across as smart and snarky yet insecure and relatable; and both she and her story will have left a lasting mark on you by the time you’ve spent the three hours needed to complete the title.

2014: The Elder Scrolls Online

I’ve had an on-off addition to The Elder Scrolls Online since its release and I always seem to return to it during the winter months. I love the way it’s just so easy to go back to: you can fit in a quest or two during a spare hour after work and then put down the controller. With the purchase of a second PlayStation this year, the other-half and I are planning to set up another television in our living room over Christmas so we can go adventuring though the land of Auridon together.

2015: The Last Guardian

Yes, it can be extremely annoying when you need Trico’s help to reach a ledge and all he wants to do is clean his feathers or play with a nearby chain. But at the same time, The Last Guardian manages to create one of the most believable bonds between a human and an animal within a video game. Trico hardly ever does exactly what he’s told but if the player was able to order the creature around like a tool, the game wouldn’t be nearly as effective or pack such an emotional punch.

2017: Stories Untold

When I played text adventures as a kid, I always had this feeling I’d start to see elements of the title in the real world if I looked up from the screen; and it’s this atmosphere that Stories Untold manages to recreate so well. It’s extremely hard to resist the urge to look over your shoulder as you play through The House Abandon episode or not to expect your phone to ring when the handset does in-game. I’m really looking forward to the developer’s next interesting project, Observation.

2018: The Red Strings Club

The Red Strings Club is one of the best titles I’ve had the pleasure of playing this year and I can’t recommend it highly enough, although this ‘narrative experience’ is highly likely not to be to everybody’s taste. It asks the player to think about how far they’d be willing to go to suppress the worst aspect of our personalities for the good of the population, and whether it’s worth sacrificing emotions such as sadness and anger. This is one game which stayed in my mind long after I completed it.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the third day of Blogmas tomorrow, with reasons why we’d play a video game. In the meantime, why not tell us about your favourite titles below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


On the first day of Blogmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of those tunes you either love or hate, but you can’t deny that receiving 364 gifts in less than two weeks is impressive. There’s something that can be done to make all that swag better though: wouldn’t you look forward to opening those presents even more if they had something to do with video games?

Creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming has taken it upon herself to gamify the song and turn us into a gaggle of gaming Christmas carollers for the festive season. A big hug to her for coordinating this – be sure to check out her blog today to see what she’s written for her first answer in this Blogmas collaboration – and Christmas kisses to all of the other bloggers out there taking part. I can hear the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background so let’s get this party started:

On the first day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favorite gaming memories?


1990: Meeting Guybrush for the first time

I’m sure everybody already knows the story about how I originally got into gaming as a child, after receiving an Amiga for Christmas and playing The Secret of Monkey Island almost thirty years ago (if you don’t, why not take a look at my contribution for The Games That Define Us collaboration over on Normal Happenings). This event is what kicked off a long-lasting love of the adventure genre and a crush on wannabe pirates.

2007: My mum, the honorary gamer

Other than a few casual games on her iPad, my mum isn’t into video games but has always taken an interest in whatever it is I’m playing. So on Christmas day a number of years ago, I managed to persuade her into playing BioShock with my brother and I. She didn’t have a clue what she was doing and was absolutely terrible – but hearing her yell ‘Pew-pew!’ at the screen has made this a memory I’ll always remember with a giggle.

2013: Meeting Ben, my blogging partner-in-crime

Rezzed, SpecialEffect, Ben, Kim, PeteWhen I originally started blogging, I thought it would be a great idea to try and arrange a small meetup for WordPress bloggers in London. Sadly only one person decided to show up: but that person was Ben and it was the start of a beautiful friendship! Work and family commitments mean he hasn’t blogged in a while now but we’re still good friends; he’s been there for me through a lot of events and has one of the biggest hearts I know.

2014: Playing Cards Against Humanity with Tim and Joel

When I heard that Tim and Joel from GeekOut South-West were due to be at Kitacon as the same time I was there for Rezzed, we immediately arranged to meet up in a pub in the NEC for a few drinks. In walks this guy dressed up as Edward Elric, who instructed me in the ways of Cards Against Humanity and handed me a card saying ‘Paeodophiles’. There’s a recording of this event somewhere on the internet, but most of it is me laughing hysterically.

2014: Being invited to the pub by Red Thread Games

Rezzed, expo, event, video games, Martin Bruusgaard, Kim, Ragnar TornquistBesides Monkey Island, the other series that holds a special place in my heart is The Longest Journey. I managed to get a front-row seat at Red Thread Games’ developer session on Dreamfall Chapters at Rezzed in 2013 and was starstruck when they recognised me at EGX the following year! Martin Bruusgaard very kindly invited me for a drink but unfortunately I couldn’t make it so he followed up with a lovely email the next day. They’re such a lovely team!

2014: Volunteering for SpecialEffect with Dr Mick Donegan

I’ve been volunteering for SpecialEffect for a number of years and it’s great to see so many people sign up to help the charity during in that time. Becky now coordinates volunteers but back in the day, Dr Mick himself ran the stands at events. I had the pleasure of learning the ropes from him at EGX in 2014 and can honestly say that SpecialEffect’s founder is a caring man; he told plenty of stories about his work and it was an honour to meet him.

2014: Having a sci-fi Christmas with Pete

EGX, video games, expo, event., gamers, Kim, PeteThis memory was the subject of my Question of the Month answer for December. For our first Christmas evening together, the most festive thing Pete and I did was eat an entire tub of Quality Street. The rest of the night was spent playing Alien: Isolation, creeping around the Sevastopol space station in search of Ellen Ripley – and being unable to make our way through a dark corridor because that damn Xenomorph kept dropping through a vent in the ceiling and onto our heads.

2015: Surprising the boys with a PlayStation 4

My stepson Ethan dived into his Christmas stocking this year to open a box containing LittleBigPlanet 3. He was a little confused and said to me: “I’ve always wanted to play this game! But it says it’s for PlayStation and we don’t have one…” It was at that point that I surprised him and Pete with another box containing at PlayStation 3. We spent the majority of the holidays that year streaming on Twitch so family and friends could stop by and say hello.

2015: Watching Ethan’s reaction to Journey

Rezzed, video games, gaming, expo, EthanEthan fell in love with Journey as soon as we handed the control over to him. After climbing the snowy mountain and reaching the final cutscene, he said: “So I’m the star… and the next person playing right now will see me in the sky at the start of their game. That’s cool.” Getting that opportunity to show him that video games don’t have to be about guns and violence, and the fact that he understood that so well made me very proud.

2017: Seeing how good my sister-in-law was at virtual reality

Ethan, Pete, Christmas, PlayStation VRLast year, our families clubbed together to get Ethan a PlayStation VR and everyone had fun trying out the headset (except my mother-in-law who doesn’t like heights and didn’t enjoy the experience very much). The biggest surprise turned out to be my sister-in-law; my brother put on VR Luge to try and screw her over, and then had to eat his words when she turned out to be pretty good at it. Let’s see what we can get her to play this year.

2018: Hysterically laughing through GameBlast18

When Pete, Ben, Nathan and I took part in the GameBlast18 marathon, we ended up playing That’s You! At one point during the game all of us said it would be Nathan who’d get us lost in the woods and would end up looking like Swamp Thing, which we all through was the funniest thing ever in our caffeine-induced haze. We fell into hysterics on the stream and it was a struggle to get it back on track – but this memory reminds me what great friends I have.

2018: Meeting new blogger friends

I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing blogger friends this year both online and in person. Ian from Adventure Rules, Athena from AmbiGaming, LightningEllen from Livid Lightning, Katie from The Gaming Diaries and Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate have made me laugh and given me good advice. Luke from Hundstrasse saw a developer session with Tim Schaefer at Rezzed with us; and Chris from OverThinker Y and I shared a hot-chocolate in London. You guys, as well as so many others reading this, are simply awesome.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break but we’ll be back for the second day of Blogmas tomorrow with the video games we love. In the meantime, why not tell us about your own favourite gaming memories below?

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