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.

Putting your zombie survival plan into practice: State of Decay 2

The highly anticipated sequel to the 2013’s cult hit State of Decay 2 feels like three steps forward and two steps back. Baz Macdonald reviews. It’s a time-honoured nerd tradition to discuss the ways in which you would survive a zombie apocalypse. Some opt for the assault approach, equipping themselves with an arsenal and holing up in an urban centre; others would head for the countryside and rebuild a community there. Personally, I’m jumping in a boat and heading for one of the many conservat

Jason and Thingee's Big Adventure: A big ol' retrospective

At the height of their mid-90s fame, Jason Gunn and his sidekick Thingee made their own 60 minute movie, the Christchurch-set caper Jason and Thingee’s Big Adventure. Baz McDonald talks to team behind it, including Gunn himself. For New Zealand kids growing up in the early ’90s, weekday afternoons from 3:30 to 4pm meant one thing – The Son of a Gunn Show, a glorious half-hour spent with Jason Gunn and his alien sidekick Thingee, in which they played games, sang songs, did impressions

The Wild West: The Challenges, Opportunities and Identity of our TV Industry

How can we keep up in the Golden Age of ad-free streaming? We are undeniably in the golden age of television. Never before has the medium seen such a wealth of content being created, across every genre and at this level of artistic and commercial achievement. This golden age started in the early 2000s with the introduction of The Wire on HBO and with the advent of other streaming platforms like Netflix, Lightbox and Amazon Prime – changing the TV landscape dramatically.

Your childhood ruined: the disturbing stories behind early-2000s kids websites

All that glitters is not golden, and the websites of our youth are no exception. Baz Macdonald explores the dark underside of not-so-pure browser-based games Neopets and Habbo Hotel. It’s 2001 and your intermediate class are in the computer suite. You’re supposed to be researching how grass grows, or something like that, but looking around the room every screen is filled with the same thing – Neopets. A weird, wonderful website for kids, in which you earn in-game money to raise cute little mons

Where are the women in eSports?

Physical differences are often used as the reason for the separation of men and women in sports – but eSports don’t have these physical limiters. So why is there is so little gender diversity? It is a historic day for eSports – The Overwatch League, one of the biggest gaming events in the world, has just had its first female competitor play her opening match. Eagerly, I wait in a room full of game writers for the post-match briefing to begin.

How games like God of War herald a new era of adult-orientated gaming

As gamers grow up, so does gaming. Baz MacDonald writes about how gaming is maturing along with the people who play them, and what that means for the medium. Despite video games being one of the world’s biggest entertainment industries, there is still an undeniable stigma in telling some people you play video games – especially as you grow older. If you are a gamer, there are probably situations where you are comfortable discussing books, movies and TV, but you wouldn’t openly discuss video gam

39 Days to Mars review

39 Days to Mars is a steampunk-inspired co-op adventure game, developed by Christchurch developer Philip Buchanan. It was crowdfunded way back in 2014, and Buchanan has continued to develop the game over the past four years. Now it has finally crossed the finish line, and thankfully it was worth the wait, standing as a great example of the charm, creativity, and polish that’s possible even within the tiny New Zealand indie development scene.

Storytelling in Overwatch

Watching the first trailer for Overwatch in 2014, I was instantly enthralled by the story it promised. What was this shooter with a bright, hopeful aesthetic, in which a sentient gorilla fights alongside a quick-witted teleporting Brit? It was hard not to be excited about something so refreshingly new – especially as the trailer hinted Overwatch would have all the narrative depth and detail Blizzard is famous for. I wasn’t the only one fascinated by this story; an eight-year-old approached one
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