Dreams Review

There were few things more exciting as a kid than going to the house of that friend who had heaps of games. Or, in my hometown, the nirvana that was the kids' section of Cobb & Co - with its walls of CRT televisions, emblazoned with the dizzying colours of Spyro, Crash and Super Mario 64. Though overwhelming, the sheer variety of new experiences on offer in these moments was a unique thrill. The memory of which has stuck with me into adulthood - but one that I thought I wouldn't have again. Th

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review

WARNING: This is going to get political… Still with me? An uncomfortable thought, I know, but it's true. Like almost all western media about war, Call of Duty campaigns have steadfastly portrayed western forces as the righteous defenders of the free world. When playing a game about WWII, this is a more comfortable stance. But, when looking at modern warfare, in particular, it is a much harder pill to swallow. This reboot of the Modern Warfare series is not immune to this propagandization of

DOOM Eternal Review

The underlying gameplay loop that made Doom (2016) so good remains as a foundation in Doom Eternal, but with many, many layers stacked on top - essentially, if Doom (2016) was a solid four-bedroom house, this game is a friggin mansion. Which is quite an achievement, considering how hard it was to imagine the loop of the last iteration getting any better. But, it turns out the ID Software were only beginning to plunder the depths that their new 'Rip and Tear' approach to combat was capable of.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review

I loved playing Crash Team Racing in the ’90s. But, in the following two decades, I had grown to believe there was nothing that I wanted from the Kart Racer genre that I couldn’t get from the Mario Kart series. This remaster of CTR and its 2003 sequel Crash Nitro Kart has utterly proved me wrong. Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled is a package that shows that there is a variety of experience enough to justify – even necessitate – multiple contenders in the genre. The real breath of fresh air this

Anthem Review

For a long time, there were three easy phrases you could use to tell someone how worthy of their time a new game was: “Buy it”, “Skip it”, or the now obsolete “Rent it”. Unfortunately, a new category is quickly becoming part of the gamers' vocabulary: “Wait six months to play it”. Anthem falls squarely in this new category. In most cases, this phrase is used because a live service game is launched with server issues and a multitude of bugs. In the case of Anthem, the launch has been accompanie

Robots coming through the walls: Hands on with Weta's new mixed reality game

Weta Workshop has just released Dr Grordbort’s Invaders, a game for Magic Leap, one of the most ground-breaking pieces of mixed-reality technology on the market. So what’s it like to play it? Imagine putting on a headset in your living room and seeing a portal open on your wall, bringing you into an incredible other-worldly landscape. The portal acts like a window into this alien world, and as you approach it you can shift your perspective to see more of the world beyond the borders of this p

One giant leap: Inside Weta Workshop’s reality-defying game development studio

Following the launch of debut game Dr Grordbort’s Invaders, Weta Workshop’s game division invited Baz Macdonald in to discuss the project’s long development and to explore what the future holds for mixed reality gaming. Stepping into Weta Gameshop, the development studio at Weta Workshop, the first thing you see is a gigantic Edwardian-era fireplace decorated with the busts of steampunk characters and models of quirky, slightly sinister robots, flanked by the mounted heads of outlandish alien c

Diablo III: Eternal Collection

About once a year I get an itch to play through a Diablo. I will pick my poison - typically Diablo 3 in recent years - and will embark on my downward journey towards the Lord of Terror once more. Every time I do this, I tell myself that I am in it for the long haul. I reassure myself that this will be the time I will endure beyond just finishing the campaign – the time that I will delve deep into the end-game loop that is the gear and difficulty loop of the Diablo franchise.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a single game in the same way The Orange Box was. Sure, it comes as one package – but inside of that box are three very distinct experiences. This has been the case with COD for many years, but normally there is a through line binding it all together – such as how the campaign typically introduces the settings of new multiplayer maps. BLOPS 4 lacks a through line – and a campaign too, for that matter.

Forza Horizon 4 Review

Although I grew up playing car games, I fell off the genre over the years. I am obviously not the only one. There was a period when racing games were one of the biggest genres in gaming – now, it seems to be far more niche. Case in point, in its heyday in 2001, Gran Turismo 3 sold almost 15 million copies, compare that to Gran Turismo Sport in 2017 which sold just over 3 million copies. Yet, despite this, for the past six years there has been one racing franchise that - no ifs, ands, or buts -

Should we be raising our kids on fairy tales?

Fairy tales are a staple of most children’s reading experience – but should they be? Children’s storyteller Baz Macdonald wonders whether it’s time that we retired fairy tales for good. It would be difficult to find anyone in New Zealand who doesn’t know the stories of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood. We were all raised on the fables of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, whether through the original stories, modernised retellings, or film and TV adaptations. Regardless of ho

The Last Regional Theatre: Inside Centrepoint's Fight to Stay

In Palmerston North, New Zealand's last provincial theatre is under new management and fighting to keep its head above water. But does it even matter if the theatre drowns? Baz Macdonald looks at what Centrepoint Theatre is doing to stay buoyant and make its voice heard. On the morning of 1 May, Dunedin and the wider theatre community woke to the news that Fortune Theatre would be immediately and indefinitely closed, after 44 years of service.

Inside New Zealand's traditional folk revival

Folk music is experiencing a renaissance in New Zealand as musicians rediscover the Gaelic tradition of pub sessions. Baz Macdonald reports. It’s a Sunday night at Waxy O’ Shea’s, the local Irish pub in Invercargill. Patrons are eating dinner, having a yarn and a drink. In dribs and drabs, people with instrument cases slung over their shoulders filter in and congregate around a long table at the middle of the bar.
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