Featured Rhythms
All Rhythms

Press Fire to Win: gaming culture in the heart of Brighton

On September 18th, at 7pm, the second Pop Up Arcade launch party began. The opening event of a weekend of video game talks and workshops, it’s a Friday night designed around an esoteric collection of local multiplayer games, live music, and of course the obligatory well-stocked bar.

The launch party does feel like the main event, and if quizzed it’s what most attendees would probably focus upon, but it’s worth noting that the following Saturday and Sunday feature a range of free talks, ranging from Unity development sessions to lectures celebrating games as a cultural form. Between talks, a range of games from the launch party, with a few others swapped in, are available to play.

The Pop Up Arcade is run by Press Fire To Win, a Brighton-based games events organisation based right here in Brighton. Press Fire To Win is the work of Jo Summers, aka @profaniti, and we have her to thank for Brighton having an event like this at all.

“I’ve always had an interest in games, gaming and game creation, so [it became clear] I would run ‘Press Fire to Win’ as a kind of generic umbrella for games stuff… as well as a way to try and bring all the different parts of game creators / players / curious together.”

It’s an approach that works. Regular attendees of other Brighton games events may recognise familiar faces from, say, Brighton Indies, the monthly pub meet-up for indie devs (actual and aspiring). But there are also plenty of people who simply heard about a party featuring games and chiptune DJs and thought that sounded like a pretty good night out.

Read the rest of this entry »


AR Diary: October

Long story short: no proper diary this month.

It’s been a busy month for me, and I’ve honestly not played much that I think is interesting to talk about. Sure, I played through Crysis 3 – but what is there to say about this shockingly pretty, hamfistedly written FPS that’s not been said before? And sure, I’ve surprised myself by being seduced by the simple, lo-fi charms of Shattered Planet, but I don’t feel that the game has added a great deal to the roguelite conversation. It’s just a well-executed set of nested gameplay loops and is fun to play for half an hour here and there.

Okay, so I’ve been dabbling in a number of mobile games, and I’m sure there are a few things to be said about the luscious Deep Under the Sky and its compelling twist on the Angry Birds mechanical formula. Or about Dungeon Boss and Summoners War: both games I’m playing for research, both games managing to summon (aha) up some interesting twists in the hard-fought arenas of free to play RPGs. But who wants a shallow scraping of the surface of a F2P game? Few people reading this, I’m sure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

AR Diary: September


What did I write about back in August? Oh, right: Satellite Reign, Rocket League and Lego Jurassic World. What have I been playing in September? Um…

But, okay, fine: I finished Satellite Reign a few days ago. I liked it. Aesthetically and narratively its debt to Syndicate Wars could not be clearer, but for all the noise made about how it is a successor to the original Syndicate, it is actually far more similar to Relic’s Dawn of War 2 games. To wit: a small squad of units with distinct abilities pitted against a range of opponents dotted around maps that can be approached as you see fit, although you do ultimately have set objectives to achieve.

Dawn of War 2 was all about straightforward annihilation of the enemy for the space-cause du jour, whereas Satellite Reign also allows various stealth options and encourages the use of abilities to open up new routes and tactical opportunities… although as the game wears on it begins to lean more and more towards everything culminating in blowing the shit out of swarms of mooks. Which seems familiar.

Read the rest of this entry »


Diary: August Arcadia


I know anyone reading this will be pretty familiar with outbursts such as this, but it needs saying: holy crap, you guys, I love games.

Emerging from the contracting sphincter of a severe Mass Effect binge initially left me a little unsure of what to do and where to go. Delving so deep into one game or series for so long clearly left me a little disassociated from, well, things that worked differently. But fortunately I recovered quickly. I’ve played quite a bit lately!

First on the list was Prototype 2, the 360 on demand version of which popped up on sale not long ago. I’ve been meaning to play this for some time as I really enjoyed its 2009 predecessor, but I’d heard the PC port was dreadful. Happily, the 360 version is a lot of fun, ticking all the funboxes the first one did. Yes, its writing is embarrassingly/hilariously juvenile (delete as appropriate) but its sandbox world traversal is still only really beaten by Saint’s Row IV, and despite that terrible writing the setting is still one I enjoy exploring and playing within. Even the lack of variation in the mission design is forgiveable thanks to the simple fun of its combat engine and flexible power system. Hell, I devoted time to acquiring achievements! That’s not something I’ve done in a while.

Read the rest of this entry »


Diary: July Arcadia


I’m not the sort of guy who spends inordinate amounts of time with a single game, even those I adore. In this I am unlike, say, Dylan, whose love affair with the Dark Souls series at one point seemed to have turned into a second career, such were the volumes of time he was sinking into it, to the exclusion of most other games. But I am beginning to feel a little like I understand how he feels, now that I am perhaps halfway through the weighty Mass Effect 3.

Read the rest of this entry »


Diary: June Arcadia

AJ reckons

Most of my time was spent in Montreal this month. I had hoped to make some serious inroads with The Witcher 3 but it transpires that the game is really not the sort of thing you play with company around. The game lends itself to solitary play in silence, not beers and laughing.

Instead I found myself in the thrall of a couple of other things…

Read the rest of this entry »