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An Idiot’s Adventures In Gameland – Steve McNeil

21: Minecraft – Story Mode! (Wed 21st October 2015)

Hello dear reader. As regulars to this dusty corner of the internet will be aware, I quite like Minecraft. I’ve even made a TV series about it – Wednesdays, 7.30pm, Ginx TV…sorry. Absolutely shameless.

But, fear not! I’m not going to talk about Minecraft again this week. I’m going to talk about Minecraft: Story Mode. “How is that not talking about Minecraft?” you may well ask. Well, because it’s an entirely different thing. Created by Telltale games, it sees the Minecraft world being appropriated for a new narrative title, building on the success of previous successes of theirs such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and the briefly-topical-once-again Back To The Future.

As with these earlier titles, this latest game is being released episodically which means that, if you’re not sure if it’s going to be your cup of tea, you can just purchase the first ‘episode’ for a few quid. If you enjoy it, you can sign up for the season pass but, if you don’t, you haven’t blown a night out at a nice restaurant on a game you hate. Lovely stuff.

Telltale games all have similar gameplay, which involves the player making a series of choices that have an impact on the way the games play out – not just within an episode, but across the whole series. They’re really fun. The Minecraft one is a good one. Patton Oswalt does one of the voices. Give it a go!

So, that’s that but…what else have I been up to in GameLand this week?

Well, last Wednesday I was lucky enough to be at the Games Media Awards at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London. I’d been nominated as Best Streamer alongside Chris Slight for our twitch.tv stream ‘Two More White Guys’ but, before this seems like bragging, upon arrival I discovered I wasn’t on the table plan, which gives the sharper ones amongst you a good steer as to whether we won or not.

It was a pleasant enough evening, and a nice opportunity to meet up with some of the people I’ve been working with for the last twelve months, but in smarter clothes. There seemed to be a certain amount of politics in the room (not amongst the people I know, I hasten to add) so there was a clear difference between applause volume for different nominees as they were announced – and several pretty transparent dips for others where the room seemed to make the point of not applauding their peers. Of course, this might be appropriate – for all I know, some of the nominees are dreadful idiots – but it seemed a bit mean-spirited and took the shine off an otherwise enjoyable night.

Well, that and one other thing…I met several people towards the end of the evening who seemed to be caught up in the soap opera of it all, and who didn’t seem to be having a very nice time. Sadly, I’ve encountered this a few times in the industry and it never fails to surprise me. Yes, even if you love something, it can become a frustrating “job” and, yes, it’s annoying when people you feel less deserving than you are disproportionately celebrated but…well, I guess it surprised me that PEOPLE WHOSE JOB IS TO PLAY COMPUTER GAMES didn’t seem to appreciate they were doing pretty well compared to most other people ever. Basically, if you were in a mood at the Games Media Awards, you probably need to have a word with yourself in the mirror. Believe it or not, life can be much worse than free food and drink in a ballroom whilst people tell you how good you are at describing Mario Kart.

I should probably shut up before I completely shoot myself in the foot with anyone who can potentially pay me money to play computer games. Speaking of which, if you’re free on Friday evening, I’ll be hosting a 2-hour live show from 9pm-11pm on Ginx TV, covering the launch of the latest Assassin’s Creed game, ‘Syndicate’.

Oh, and my weekly podcast, Game Friends, will come out again on Friday (it’s a really good one this week) and I’ll be on Videogame Nation on Challenge TV on Saturday, messing about on Goldeneye, I think? Plus, on Saturday afternoon I’ll be at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, interviewing my childhood heroes “The Oliver Twins” about their classic puzzle-platformer, Dizzy!

I’m a very lucky boy, and I’ll endeavour to make sure I never forget that. If you ever catch me on here moaning about how hard it is having to play computer games in exchange for money, be sure to let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I’m being a massive twat.

See you next week!

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