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.

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
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