An entire VICE column that didn’t run in print, just for you

January 31, 2015

Zelda Wii U
My most recent column for VICE magazine didn’t run, due to a clerical error. It’s quite alright, and I certainly don’t take this kind of thing personally. But as the piece was written for print, it’s a little out of date (now) to make the move to the VICE website – and it also echoes some of the sentiments I already expressed in an online article explaining why right now is a golden age for video games. So I’m posting it here, in case you’re the slightest bit interested.

– – –

I’m a believer that the best is yet to come in gaming. The medium is so young still, with each hardware generation opening new possibilities, rich with staggering potential. And I don’t simply say that with reference to the epic scale of modern role-play games, or the detailed “realities” of Grand Theft Auto V or the forthcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, which will feature an interactive Gotham as you’ve never played it.

Today, games tell stories that can choke you up (I’m still recovering from The Last Of Us: Left Behind), and provide an essential escape for those feeling the weight of the everyday grind. They take you to places no other entertainment can – and you can be in the pilot’s seat. It’s generalising, but video games aren’t the toys they once were – just as the press of an A button is context sensitive depending on the circumstances, so too can a video game stir any number of contrasting emotions in the player. Our favourite games of right now regularly provide the feels, where once upon a time we merely felt our way through them.

Which is why I started the year by writing a piece for VICE online on how today is a golden age for video games – because, as clichéd as such a phrase is, there really is something for everybody out there, and while some genres might seem stale at surface level, (relatively) recent releases have gone a great way to shaking up tried-and-tested formulas.

Spec Ops: The Line dosed the third-person shooter up on heavyweight heartache; indie affairs like Braid and Limbo took puzzle-platforming in unique directions; Wolfenstein: The New Order brought real heart to first-person blasting; and Telltale have revitalised the adventure game with releases like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.

Looking ahead, into 2015 and beyond, I see more of this – a pronounced transition, an elevation of the art of video game making, as even ages-old franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Elite and Silent Hill are refreshed for players who want the big experience, sure enough, but with intimacies, too. The colours run and mix in a way that a picture resolution of 256 x 240 could never convey.

I like the old classics, the evergreens, the foundational inspirations. But no period in gaming’s evolution to this point should be regarded as a golden age, because we have it better than ever right now. It’s the contemporary scene that is producing the most arresting experiences. I think so, anyway. Not everyone agreed with me, which they are completely entitled to do. But I did want to pick up on a few comments, and offer some feedback.

Wrote David Mobley, in the comments section of VICE’s US site: “The greed of publishers has ruined gaming in 2014 and beyond. We’re in a horrible age of gaming, and it’s only getting worse because people keep paying for it.”

I’m sorry you feel that way, David, but you raise a very valid point: some of the bigger publishers have taken the piss lately. Foremost amongst them is Ubisoft, which in 2014 put out the basically broken Assassin’s Creed Unity, and spoiled the potential of free-roam driving game The Crew by throwing an assault of repetitive micro-missions at a barely-there plot. I wanted the open road; I got offended, quickly.

The Crew also incorporated a currency called Crew Credits, essential for acquiring the very best vehicles. These could be earned, but also bought with real money, Polygon calling this economy “occasionally downright contemptuous”. As for Unity, there’s not enough space in this whole magazine to go into how much of a middle finger its restricted unlockables were to fans of 100% completion. What’s that? I can buy my way to better stats, necessary to pick all of these locks that remain otherwise resistant to my skills? See this? This is me, turning your game off.

The thing is though, David, so badly received was Unity that the next Assassin’s Creed really needs to excel, as buyers burned this time around simply won’t spend their hard-earned on another unfinished title that needs a series of patches to bring into a playable state. I genuinely believe that AC is in trouble: the Victorian London-set Victory had best deliver, but it need not be in 2015. If Ubisoft rush that out as they did Unity, and it’s just as buggy, it’s surely game over for the franchise.

Casey West, writing just below David, offered: “Ever(y) game… is a summer blockbuster… Pretty but shallow. My PlayStation 4 is a $400 Amazon Prime box. Video games are dead.”

Quite the striking statement there, Casey. I won’t get into an argument with you over how you use your PS4 – hell, I watch telly on mine, too. But I will point out some rather great-looking games that are coming out for the system in 2015, none of which are likely to fit your “summer blockbuster” description. You ready?

There’s the slasher-movie tension of Until Dawn, challenging dungeon crawler Deep Down, the colourfully Ico-recalling Rime, the breath-held stealth of Volume, the hands-on pleasure of Tearaway Unfolded, all the pixelated blood your retinas can take with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, and the handsome but hardcore retro-RPG Hyper Light Drifter. I’d include the very indie No Man’s Sky in there, but there’s so much hype for said game that it can’t not be a big hit, whenever it actually comes out.

I could continue, but “Weaponized Messiah” is on Twitter: “I come back to VICE saying that this age of nepotism, corruption, broken and overpriced games is a ‘golden age’… we need #GamerGate.” Well, Miss or Mister Messiah (it’s hard to tell, what with your Standard Anime Avatar), all I can really say to that is: we need #GamerGate in 2015 like we need a 60fps-locked HD remake of Kabuki Warriors and a reboot of the Postal series. Happy new gaming, everyone!

Did I tell you I’m writing a book?

January 29, 2015

I am, you know.

It’s going to be about video games. Really! Imagine!

So far I’ve spoken to some really lovely people for it. People like Dennis and Jonatan at Dennaton, Tim Schafer of LucasArts/Double Fine fame, Phil Tibiotski of Young Horses, and I’ve a pretty impressive stack of victims interviewees lined up.

I can’t really say much more right now. But, it’s going to be Absolutely Super.

At least, I hope it’s more super than this.

Pretty much every piece I wrote for Edge’s website before it went to shit.

January 23, 2015


I wrote quite a bit for Edge’s website, before Future decided that it wasn’t the website for them. One of many, as it turned out. Since I no longer have an author page on said site, I’ve linked as many of my articles for it here. Just in case you’re so bored you figure it’s a good idea to a) be here, and b) follow any of these links there.




PART ONE (Example, Foals, Pulled Apart By Horses, 65daysofstatic)
PART TWO (Tinie Tempah, F*ck Buttons, Jamie N Commons, Okkervil River)

HOLLOW SOULS: on today’s boring football games





BITTERSWEET HARMONY: on Amplitude’s AT THE TIME failing Kickstarter

Such a shame they’ve wrecked what was a decent site with potential to be so much more – but then, I would say that. They were paying me.

This is my favourite thing on the internet today.

January 23, 2015

Playlist: Dive Slow, May 16th 2014

June 5, 2014


Haven’t posted one of these for a while. So, I figure, I should. Here’s what I played, in the mix, at May’s Dive Slow – the night I put on once-monthly at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton. For this night I was joined by The Invisible‘s Dave Okumu, who delivered a most-excellent guest set. Future Dive Slow dates for your diaries…

June 20 – just me!
July 18 – just me!
August 22 – something of a summer party with Ghostpoet and full supporting bill, more details soon!

Entry is always free. Here’s May’s set…

JJ – ‘My Life’
Lil Wayne – ‘Lollipop’
Run The Jewels – ’36” Chain’ (Blue Sky Black Death remix)
Oddisee – ‘Another’s Grind’
Heems – ‘Tell Me’
Childish Gambino – ‘American Royalty’
Guilty Simpson/Quakers – ‘Fitta Happier’
Shabazz Palaces – ‘They Come In Gold’
Ratking – ‘So Sick Stories’
Bishop Nehru – ‘Mobb Dizzle’
Souls Of Mischief – ’93 Til Infinity’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘The Recipe’
Joey Bada$$ – ’95 Til Infinity’
Mac Miller – ‘Watching Movies’
Chuck Inglish – ‘Came Thru’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Hive’
Dr Dre – ‘Let Me Ride’
Masta Ace – ‘Sittin’ On Chrome’ (J Dilla remix)
J Dilla – ‘Baby’
9th Wonder – ‘Now I’m Being Cool’
Madlib + Freddie Gibbs – ‘Deeper’
Madvillain – ‘Accordion’
JJ DOOM – ‘Winter Blues’
Dr Octagon – ‘Blue Flowers’
Company Flow – ‘8 Steps To Perfection’
Killer Mike – ‘Southern Fried’
Big Boi – ‘In The A’
Pharoahe Monch – ‘Simon Says’
Schoolboy Q – ‘Nightmare On Figg St’
A$AP Rocky – ‘Peso’
Jessie Ware – ‘Devotion’ (Distinction remix)
Tycho x Three Six Mafia – ‘Who Run It’ (Hudson Mohawke mix)

– – –

Dave Played Here

– – –

Q-Tip – ‘Breathe And Stop’
Kanye West / Jay Z – ‘N In Paris’
Kanye West – ‘Gold Digger’
Pharrell – ‘Can I Have It Like That’
Kelis + ODB – ‘Got Your Money’
Mariah Carey + ODB – ‘Fantasy’
Dr Dre – ‘Still DRE’
Snoop Dogg – ‘Tha Shiznit’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Backseat Freestyle’
Lizzo – ‘Batches & Cookies’
OutKast – ‘Ms Jackson’
Kelis – ‘Millionaire’
Frank Ocean – ‘Pyramids’
Iggy Azalea – ‘Fancy’
M.I.A. – ‘Bad Girls’ (remix w/ Missy + Rye Rye)
TNGHT – ‘Buggin’
Evian Christ – ‘Propellor’
Mala – ‘Curfew’
DJ Rashad – ‘Let U Know’
Moderat – ‘Bad Kingdom’
Machinedrum – ‘Gunshotta’
Lee Bannon – ‘Prime/Decent’
Lone – ‘As A Child’
Jon Hopkins – ‘Open Eye Signal’
Fuck Buttons – ‘Surf Solar’
65daysofstatic – ‘Tiger Girl’
Errors – ‘Pleasure Palaces’
Robag Wruhme – ‘Tupla Ovi’
LCD Soundsystem – ‘All My Friends’

Book me to DJ at your show. I am cheap. Twitter.




Playlist: Dive Slow, January 17th 2014

January 31, 2014

Run The Jewels

Started with a best-of-2013 mix, closed with some classics. Standard. Next Dive Slow is February 21st at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton. Follow Dive Slow on Twitter for updates and that. Might be a special guest. Entry is free, obviously.

Forest Swords – Thor’s Stone
Run The Jewels (pictured) – 36″ Chain (Blue Sky Black Death remix)
Flatbush Zombies – MRAZ
Tyler, The Creator – Ifhy
World’s Fair – ’96 Knicks
Joey Bada$$ – Death of YOLO
A$AP Rocky – Goldie
Action Bronson – Through The Eyes Of A G
Jonwayne – Yung Grammar
Vic Mensa – Orange Soda
Childish Gambino – 3005
Le1f/Kitty Pryde – Pocahontus
Lizzo – Batches & Cookies
Angel Haze – Echelon (It’s My Way)
M.I.A. – Bring The Noize
Logos – Wut It Do
Machinedrum – Gunshotta
The Bug/Danny Brown – Freakshow
Danny Brown – Dip
Mr MF Exquire – I Was Drunk When I Wrote This
Pusha T – Numbers On The Boards
Earl Sweatshirt – Hive
Supreme Cuts – Down
Thundercat – Oh Sheit It’s X
Flying Lotus – Stonecutters
DJ Rashad – Let U Know
A$AP Ferg – Shabba
Kanye West – New Slaves
The Underachievers – Gold Soul Theory
Bishop Nehru – Mobb Dizzle
TREE – Devotion
Ka – Off The Record
Chance The Rapper – Everybody’s Something
Kilo Kish – Turquoise
Drake – Started From The Bottom
BJ The Chicago Kid – Smokin’ and Ridin’
Mac Miller – Watching Movies
Step Brothers – Step Masters
Run The Jewels – Pew Pew Pew
Blue Daisy – Fuck A Rap Song

– – –

Kanye West – Power (remix w/ Jay Z)
Jay Z/Kanye West – N In Paris
Kendrick Lamar – Backseat Freestyle
Pharrell – Can I Have It Like That?
Daft Punk – Get Lucky / Daft Punk – Da Funk
N*E*R*D – Lapdance
Pharoahe Monch – Simon Says
Big Boi – Shutterbug
Janelle Monae – Tightrope
Kelis – Millionaire
ODB/Kelis – Got Your Money
Mariah Carey/ODB – Fantasy
Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
Nas – It Ain’t Hard To Tell
Jay Z – Dead Presidents
Jay Z / Nasty P / Jimi Hendrix – A Watchtower Problem
Notorious BIG – Juicy
Mobb Deep – Temperature’s Rising
Dr Dre – Still DRE
– – –
(Dan Copeman guest spot…)
Drake – Over
Rihanna – Umbrella
Grimes – Oblivion
– – –
HEALTH – Die Slow (Tobacco remix)
Kanye West – Drive Slow
M.I.A. – Bad Girls (remix)
TNGHT – Buggin’
Hudson Mohawke – Overnight
Radiohead – Bloom (Jamie xx remix)
GSH/Jamie xx – NY Is Killing Me
James Blake – CMYK
Oddisee – Another’s Grind
J Dilla – Baby
9th Wonder – Now I’m Being Cool
Dr Octagon – Blue Flowers
Company Flow – 8 Steps To Perfection
Action Bronson – The Symbol
Children Of The Night – Kids From Queens
JJ Doom – Winter Blues
Madvillain – Accordion
DOOM – Angelz
Warren G – Regulate
Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It
Amerie – 1 Thing
Busta Rhymes – Woo Hah (J Dilla remix)
Masta Ace – Sittin’ on Chrome (J Dilla remix)
Q-Tip – Breathe And Stop
Beastie Boys – Get It Together
Danny Brown – Grown Up
Nas – NY State Of Mind / Nas – The Don
El-P – Drones Over Brooklyn
EPMD – Gold Digger
Kanye West – Gold Digger
OutKast – Ms Jackson
The Pharcyde – Passing Me By (Hot Chip remix)
Jay Z – Thank You

Playlist: Dive Slow, December 13th 2013

January 2, 2014

Hudson Mohawke

Songs in the order they were played at Dive Slow’s Christmas Jam. (Which featured a fine guest set from dan le sac – thanks, dan!)

Three 6 Mafia/Tycho – ‘Who Run It’ (Hudson Mohawke (pictured) edit)
Supreme Cuts – ‘Down’
Flume – ‘On Top’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Hive’
Jay Z – ’99 Problems’ (Benji Boko remix)
Roots Manuva – ‘Witness’ (Benjo Boko remix)
Bishop Nehru – ‘Misruled Order’
Beastie Boys – ‘Root Down’ (Free Zone remix)
Beastie Boys – ‘Intergalactic’ (KMD blend)
Champagne Jerry – ‘Yo Kev’
Joey Bada$$ – ‘Death of YOLO’
Dyme-A-Duzin – ‘Swank Sinatra’
Wu-Tang Clan – ‘C.R.E.A.M.’
Nas – ‘Life’s a Bitch’
Souls of Mischief – ’93 til Infinity’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘The Recipe’
Kanye West/Jay Z – ‘N In Paris’
Danny Brown – ‘Dip’
Flatbush Zombies – ‘Palms’
Action Bronson – ‘Modern Day Revelations’
J Dilla – ‘Baby’
9th Wonder – ‘Now I’m Being Cool’
Q-Tip – ‘Breathe And Stop’
A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Jazz (We’ve Got)’
De La Soul – ‘Keepin’ The Faith’
Mekon / Schooly D – ‘School’s Out’
EPMD – ‘Gold Digger’
Kanye West – ‘Gold Digger’
Notorious BIG – ‘Juicy’
112 / Biggie / Ma$e – ‘Only You’ (Bad Boy remix)
M.I.A. – ‘Bad Girls’
M.I.A. – ‘Bad Girls’ (remix feat Rye Rye and Missy Elliott)
Missy Elliott – ‘Lose Control’ (Machinedrum remix)
Sega Bodega – ‘Work’
M.O.P. – ‘Ante Up’ (9th Wonder blend)
Busta Rhymes – ‘Woo Hah!!’ (J Dilla Bounce mix)
Masta Ace – ‘Sittin’ On Chrome’ (Ummah remix)
Action Bronson – ‘Through The Eyes Of A G’
The Pharcyde – ‘Passin’ Me By’

dan le sac’s guest set

– – –

– – –

Rage Against The Machine / Beastie Boys – ‘Check The Testimony’
Pharoahe Monch – ‘Simon Says’
Big Boi – ‘Shutterbug’
Kelis / André 3000 – ‘Millionaire’
ODB / Kelis – ‘Got Your Money’
Mariah Carey / ODB – ‘Fantasy’
Destiny’s Child – ‘Bug a Boo’
Sega Bodega – ‘Security’
Katy B – ‘Aaliyah’
Aaliyah – ‘We Need A Resolution’ (Machinedrum remix)
XXYYXX – ‘Fields’
Blackstreet – ‘No Diggity’ (Bondax edit)
Luniz – ‘I Got 5 On It’
Dr Dre / Snoop Dogg – ‘Still D.R.E.’
Snoop Dogg – ‘Tha Shiznit’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Backseat Freestyle’
Jay Z – ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’
G.O.O.D. Music / Kanye West – ‘Mercy’
Pusha T – ‘Numbers On The Board’
Kanye West – ‘I Am A God’
Nelly – ‘Hot In Herre’
Pharrell / Gwen Stefani – ‘Can I Have It Like That’
N*E*R*D – ‘Lapdance’
Montell Jordan – ‘This Is How We Do It’
Donell Jones / Left Eye – ‘U Know What’s Up’
Sean Paul – ‘Gimme The Light’
Missy Elliott – ‘Get Ur Freak On’
Justin Timberlake – ‘Rock Your Body’
Justin Timberlake – ‘Suit & Tie’ (Aeroplane vocal mix)
Daft Punk – ‘Get Lucky’
Daft Punk – ‘Around The World’
LCD Soundsystem – ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’
LCD Soundsystem – ‘All My Friends’
Child Of Lov – ‘Call Me Up’
The Pharcyde – ‘Passin’ Me By’ (Hot Chip remix)
Jay Z – ‘Thank You’

The next Dive Slow is on January 17th at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton (INFO). Expect a best-of-2013 mix for a wee while. Entry is free, drinks are plentiful, and fun is always had. Open from 9ish ’til late. So come on down.

Dive Slow has a Twitter account, if you want to follow it.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.