Sunday, 22 March 2015



Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta… spend hours building it

Screamride is like Drayton Manor, Gulliver’s Kingdom, or any of those lesser theme parks. It looks like it should be fun – there are lively colours and sounds, and lots of different things to try – but ultimately, it’s not quite there. This is a well-intentioned game, and you certainly can’t criticise it for lack of effort, but, well, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s because Screamride seems so desperate to entertain you that it ends up falling flat. The creationmechanics are a good example of that. Screamride has a campaign, whichwe’ll get to later, but its biggest draw is the Roller coaster Tycoon-esque sandbox mode, which lets you create and customise an amusement park to your heart’s content. There are hundreds of different toys to play with, ranging from loop-the-loops to turbo chargers, and you can even design the colour and shape of your park’s surroundings, tweaking everything from the pavements to the foliage.

Mortal Kombat: Get Over Here!

Mortal Kombat X

We’re playing as Raiden, and we’ve just grabbed a man by the crotch and electrocuted him. But that’s not enough – this is Mortal Kombat – sowe broke his jaw by swinging our heel into it. The X-Ray cam zoomed upon this, too, andwe sawasingle tooth fly out of his mouth. Still not content, Raiden dug his hand into the man’s back flesh, grabbed his spine and electrocuted the doomed kombatant through and through. Oh, and just before we pulled off the fatality, we punch his liver to death, too. Raiden’s back, ladies and gentlemen, and he is pulling no punches.

Raiden’s been with Mortal Kombat since the beginning, a crazy 22 years ago. But the Guardian of Earth realm has seen perhaps the biggest change now – in the game’s tenth release, instead of just wailing on your opponents with that crazy across-the-screen lightning dash, or a grapple that electrocutes their brains, Raiden has been given three ‘Variations’ – King Of Storms, Displacer and Thunder God.

The Indie Revolution

xbox one indie

How indies and the ID@Xbox program are changing the games industry for the better.

Revolution is in the air. After a shoddy showing from last year’s triple-A titles, the indies are fighting back. We’ve had enough of crappy, bug-filled games, of brown backgrounds and endless shooters. We want something new. Something fresh. And thanks to Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program, we’re getting it. However you look at it, independent developers are a huge part of Microsoft’s plan for the Xbox One. After ID@Xbox took a front seat at last year’s E3 conference, games have been making their way to the system in a steady stream, with plenty more already planned for release in the next 12 months.

Hololens: The Future of Gaming?

Hololens Gaming

Can Microsoft’s holographic system really be the next step for immersive videogames?

Holographic technology is here at last, and it’s going to bring games out of the TV screen and into your actual real-life living room. Yep, you read that right – Microsoft recently demoed its vision of next-generation computing, and it all revolves around holograms. HoloLens is the name given to the headset, which projects 3D images onto the world around you, and lets you interact with them with simple gestures and voice commands.

If this sounds like something out of science fiction, you’d be right. Similar ideas have been portrayed in Star Trek, Star Wars, and more recently in the 2013 film Her. In that movie, a projector created a 3D world in the player’s apartment and let them walk with an avatar through a rich game world that came alive around them. But this is much more real than a film. And if Microsoft manages to pull holographic computing off successfully, it could be a huge leap forward for gaming.

Back to basics

Leica M-A (Type 127)

Capturing the spirit of 1954, Leica’s M-A (Type 127) film rangefinder is fully mechanical and doesn’t even have a lightmeter. Damien Demolder goes back in time

I suspect that in the head office of every camera company there is a department dedicated to finding out what the competition is about to do. There will be charts of previous performance, patterns established to forecast next moves and a team of thinkers working on spoilers, outmanoeuvring and staying ahead of the game.

Leica, it seems, moved everyone in that department to other duties when it ran out of competitors – probably when Contax stopped making manual-focus rangefinders in 1962. In the main, Leica takes great pleasure in ignoring what the rest of the camera industry is doing, although the Leica M (Type 240) and the T (Type 701) are indicators that this is all beginning to change. The ‘Do the Opposite’ department is, however, alive and well.