Game: Elite Beat Agents

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo DS, published by Nintendo, developed by iNiS

The ten-word synopsis: Rhythmically tap the screen to help those in need.

Whenever asked for compile my favourite films, TV shows, books, plays, whatever, my first instinct is always to impress. To list titles that make me come across as somewhat highbrow, like a proper critic type or something. However, it never takes long before the likes of Psycho and Hamlet give way to a mesmeric platoon of silliness. Scott Pilgrim, Danger Mouse, The Gruffallo… And, with the onset of gaming as a ‘serious’ new medium, Elite Beat Agents can take its’ rightful place amongst that most esteemed company. Continue reading

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Game: Super Mario Galaxy

The format/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo Wii, developed & published by Nintendo

The 10-word synopsis: Mario propels himself around brightly coloured planets hunting magical stars.

On the whole, video games are made by adults. Adults are, let’s admit it, largely boring people. Whereas kids are quite happy to let their imagination run free as they bound around playfully, adults tend to sit around and eat biscuits or something, neglecting the concept of fun. So quite how 59-year-old Shigeru Miyamoto managed to create such an audacious fun-riot shall long be pondered as one of the great mysteries of the universe. Because if there’s one thing evident in Super Mario Galaxy, it’s that nobody in Nintendos’ famed EAD studio ever grew up. Continue reading

Film: Donnie Darko

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze

The 10-word synopsis: Troubled teenager finds himself haunted by an apocalypse-predicting bunny.

It may seem like an odd port of call for a comparison to Richard Kellys’ chilling horror/fantasy/sci-fi drama, but Donnie Darko feels like a cinematic version of the Mona Lisa. This is a film put together with such craftsmanship that you can’t help but admire each and every brushstroke or craftily-placed fat man. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see another film with such a carefully built-up world as Donnie Darko. Designed and planned to within an inch of its life, this is a film that feels like somebodies lifes work, which, considering d├ębutante director Kellys’ subsequent pictures, it seems to be. Continue reading

Film: The Dark Knight

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Gary Oldman & Heath Ledger

The ten-word synopsis: A reinvigorated Joker plots and schemes against Batman. Fun ensures.

Confession time: I never really ‘got’ the Joker. To me, he was never a villain worthy of the hype. He was just some bloke with in make up. No powers, just a cackling laugh. Slightly mad, which is always good, but just lacked oompth. You may have noticed that the last paragraph was written in the past tense, because the moment I saw The Dark Knight, something clicked. Continue reading

Film: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

The cast/crew bit: directed by Edgar Wright, starring Michael Cera & Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The ten-word synopsis: Geeky bass guitarist must fight potential girlfriends’ seven evil exs.

In the interest of retaining something even vaguely resembling balance, I’d like to begin by just covering what’s wrong with Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, as whenever I begin talking about it usually I either enter gushing praise or, even more worryingly, a line-by-line, by heart, recital of the films’ entire script. The films’ main problem is that, in being what it is, alienates half the potential audience. The way it revels in geeky pop culture references never gets in the way of the films’ simple love story plotline, but if you’re watching this as though it were just a romcom, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Continue reading