Why I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Be A ‘Proper Journalist’

I like to think that I’m fairly competent at what I do with this blog. This was only ever meant to be a bit of fun for me, a way to share my passion and opinions of games and films… Sometimes TV and other subjects too. When I started Little Bits of Gaming, I only ever wanted to do small, easy to read posts. But I began to get into larger retrospectives, histories, editorials, etc and the smaller articles just stopped as the more in-depth ones took over. My skill and confidence as a writer grew and I began writing bigger and richer articles, I moved onto writing books and much more. It even got to a point where I even considered getting into ‘proper journalism’.

I spend several months last year looking into and applying for real writing jobs for various big-name sites that cover similar subjects that I do here and a few random and general writing jobs too. I’m not going to name those sites, but if you’re into gaming and film news, then you’d be more than familiar with several of the sites I looked into and even applied for jobs with a few places. I just really wanted to get into writing on a professional level In fact, several years back now, I used to write ‘professionally’ for Movie Pilot and their sister site, Now Loading as one of their paid creators. I had to go through a whole host of ‘lessons’ to pass thier writing academy and become one of their verified creators (as they called us) and bring in some side cash as well as learn a lot more about writing on a professional level.

Anyway, I’ve always believed that outside of this blog that I could easily do this writing thing for real and be a ‘proper journalist’. I genuinely enjoy writing, I like to think I’m pretty decent at it too. So, that’s why I spent a chunck of last year trying to get into this writing thing proper. It was the midst of the first covid lockdown here in England over last summer. I wasn’t doing my day job as my workplace had to close in accordance to the covid restrictions at the time. I had been dealing with anxiety and depression for a while at the time too, even before the lockdown. It was all work-related and being in that first lockdown really made me realise how much my day job was affecting my mental health. Long story short, I ended up quitting my job in the midst of mass unemployment due to the whole coronavirus thing, with many businesses closing for good.

After I quit my job, I began to feel better about myself. The anxiety and depression are both still there, but just nowhere near as badly as before and I’m managing my mental health far better than ever. As I write this now, I still don’t have a job, I’m unemployed I guess. But, my partner returned to work at the start of this year after being off for a year following the birth of our son at the end of 2019. With my better half in employment and earning well, we made the decision that I’d be a stay at home father for a while, instead of going back to work, as it saves us a fortune in childcare. Plus, I get plenty of time to do a spot of writing too. Oh, and spend a lot of time with my two kids.

Two days a week and my little monsters are in nursery. That’s two days that I have to myself and can write. I’ve never had that much free time to write before and I’m loving it. Before, when I was working full-time, I could only write after work. And my job had me working unsociable hours too. Late finishes, working weekends and holidays, etc. On top of having one, then two small children to care for too. As a result, I could only write for around four to six hours a week, if I was lucky. So, with all this newly found spare time as a stay at home father, I thought I’d explore writing as a job. As I said, I did look into and apply to a few notable sites… And it seriously began to depress me. I wish I had screen-grabbed some images of the expectations from some of these sites. I mean eight to ten articles a day… A DAY! That’s what one of the sites I looked into were expecting from a content writer.

I tend to do around three to four articles a month on this blog on average, and I feel that’s plenty of content. I actually spend time on my articles though. I research and fact-check as best as I can. Something that a lot of modern journalists just don’t seem to do anymore. For most, if not all, of these entertainment websites, it’s all about quantity over quality. Often I find myself reading badly researched and written content from (what are supposed to be) respected sites written by ‘professional journalists’, that are really generally just lazy copy & paste jobs. Big named websites churning out shit as fast as they can and screw the quality of the content itself, as long as there’s lots of it. I know I can produce far superior content for most of these sites, but they’re just not interested. It’s all about suffocating people with as much crap as possible, while the quality of the content takes a back seat. I just can’t write like that, I can’t fart out endless dreck just to meet an unrealistic quota.

I know why big-name sites do this, it’s all about the clicks and ad revenue. These sites are a business and a business needs money to survive, it’s just a shame it’s that quantity over quality aspect of the business that brings in the most money.

Then there are the editors. From my last experiences writing for Movie Pilot and Now Loading, I learned to loath editors. See, whenever I published something for Movie Pilot, especially if it was a major article that got main coverage (I had several articles published as lead articles when I wrote for them), they would have to pass through an editor before publishing. Most of the time, the editors would completely mess up my work to the point where I asked for my name to be removed. Look, editors are needed, I get that. But the ones I had to work with were clueless imbeciles. I recall one article I wrote where I set up a joke and used a picture as the punchline. I send it off to the editor, a few hours later and it was published. I clicked on the link to read my published work and the editor had moved my picture punchline. The lead in joke was still there, but the punchline was gone. Now, it wasn’t an issue with the picture itself, because it was still used in the article, the editor had just moved it elsewhere and further down. I remember emailing the editor to explain the situation and all I got back was a snippy reply telling me how the image worked better in its new place. Despite the fact it ruined the joke and now made no sense… apparently, it was in a better place… How?

Then there was the time I wrote an article on why Metal Gear Solid V took me over a year to finish. Honestly, the game really kind of bored me and I found it utterly repetitive with having to do the same handful of missions over and over in the same handful of locations. Now, I was very respectful in my (long) article. I admitted to not being a huge MGS fan, but I still respect the franchise for what it is. I made that point very clear in my writing too. Again, I sent the article off to the editor for publication and yes, it made the grade, got published and even given credit as a lead article too, proudly displayed front and centre of the main site. Probably no more than an hour after my MSG V article had been published, my inbox was inundated with alerts to comments made about the article. Honestly, I was getting dozens of them, the biggest response to an article I had ever written for them. So of course, I was curious as to why I was getting such a huge response. I clicked on my article and went straight to the comments section, where I found nothing but personal attacks aimed at me, not my article, me directly. Swearing, threats, insults, you name it and there was a derogatory and personal slur there in the comment section. Now, I’m very thick-skinned and I don’t get offended easily. Call me whatever you want, I’m a grown man, I won’t cry about it. But I began to grow very curious as to just why my perfectly harmless article, where I respectfully explained why it took me over a year to finish MGS V, was attracting people to personally attack me. So I scrolled up from the comments and read my article after going through an editor.

It had been altered to the point where I honestly hardly recognised my own work. Now, the main gist was still there as I explained why the game just never gelled with me, but that respectful nature and tone of my writing was gone. I began to see vitriolic words such as ‘abhor’, ‘detest’ and ‘hate’ in the article, words I never wrote myself. See, I personally think words like ‘hate’ are often over and misused. It’s a strong word that I only use for particularly strong circumstances. Yet, here was my article littered with trigger words put there just to clearly get a certain response. In fact, the article ended with the line (and I quote) ‘If you hate Metal Gear Solid V as much as I do, let me know in the comments below’. A line I never wrote, a line that was clearly saying I hated the game. It had been put there by the editor as a final twist of the knife. Anyway, as I read my now edited article, I began to understand why I was getting such abuse in the comments section. Because the article was altered to be nothing more than a very bitter rant that came across as a mass insult to MGS fans and even Hideo Kojima himself. Which certainly was not the intention of my original scrawling. 

I was fuming, I emailed my editor and demanded the article be reinstated to how I originally wrote it. I was told the editor’s decision is final and it would not be changed. I pointed out the comments section and all the abuse being aimed at me due to how the article came across. They loved it, to them, it was traffic to the site, which meant more clicks, more ad revenue, more money. I was told to just take it on the chin, that sometimes I’d get comments I don’t like, that I should just ignore them. Fuck that, I was getting abuse over an article that had my name on it as I had written it… but one that had been edited to remove my respectful nature and replace it with hate and vitriol. Again, I didn’t care so much about the comments themselves, I could handle them. I was angry, not because I was getting abusive comments, but because my article had been purposely edited to incite those type of comments. My name was attached to a piece of work I didn’t agree with. 

Now, I don’t have anything against editing, it’s a necessity in this writing thing I do. But there are ways and means of doing editing well. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, not long back and a fellow blogger and friend, Lord Badger Nimahson from Stoffel Presents did a review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League for this blog. I was emailed the review and spotted a few minor gaffs, so I edited it, I also did a little polishing of some of the formatting and overall review. However, the end result was still 99% of Badger’s work and 1% of my editing. I didn’t change the tone or voice of the review, I didn’t add any vitriolic wording just to get a response.

Anyway, back to my Movie Pilot/Now Loading story. I refused to write for them any more. In fact, I asked for my account with them to be deleted and all of my content removed. They said they couldn’t do that, some bollocks about it going against their policy, that they can’t remove content from their paid creators. Of course, the real reason was that they were still making money off my articles every time someone clicked on them and they didn’t want to lose out on any revenue. So, as I still had access to my account with them, I spent two days just uploading articles with nothing but hardcore porn. Porn films, pictures and so on. Bombarded them with so much salacious, very adult content that they were forced to shut my account down. Then about three weeks later Movie Pilot/Now Loading shut down the entire writing department to concentrate on video content. There was a rather in-depth article that uncovered some rather questionable management practices, including accusations of sexual harassment and more at the company. I couldn’t find that article when I looked, but I did find this one about the selling off of the brand and there are a few mentions of mismanagement and the like. So it seems that I was not alone in my distrust of the company.

It’s shit like this that really put me off exploring writing professionally. What’s the point if I have to write ( copy & paste) asinine crap and lots of it, to meet a pathetic quota just to get more clicks? Why should I spend time and effort researching and writing content, just for some wanker of an editor to completely fuck up my work because they only care about getting comments and traffic to the site? That’s not what being a journalist is about. After looking into getting into ‘proper journalism’ last year, I learned that I’m a rather large square peg trying to force my way into a tiny and uncomfortable round hole. It’s just not worth it. My love, respect and passion for writing, my integrity and my moral compass just won’t allow me to go down that route.

I mean, here’s a typical piece of what passes for modern gaming ‘journalism’. An article that looks at a game character’s shoe size. This actually exists as ‘proper journalism’ from a reputable site, this is how low this shit has sunk. Even more so, the article ends with:

“What do you think of Lady Dimitrescu’s shoe size? Are you surprised by all the interest surrounding the tcharacter? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter.”

How about no, fuck off?

This is it folks, this is what passes as journalism these days. This is the kind of very low quality dreck that gets published on well known sites. This is what you get when you hire cluless writers with zero passion for writing and force them to churn out ten articles a day.

I have this very minuscule piece of real estate of a blog, lost on the gargantuan plot of land that is the internet… And I’m happy about that. I can post what I like, when I like, how I like. I mean, do you think some big-name and ‘reputable’ media site would allow me to write a lengthy rant about how shit modern journalism is now?

Get My MicroBrits Gaming Book For Free!

Oh yeah, you read that headline right, I’m giving one of my books away for free. Now, I am aware of the date, it is the 1st of April as I publish this, but this is no April Fools joke.

See, I’ve recently written a new gaming book, that’ll be released on the 1st of June. More details to come soon on that one. But in the meantime, I thought I’d give my first gaming book away for free… if you own a Kindle that is. From today, 1st of April until Monday the 5th. You can d’load my MicroBrits book for nothing, anywhere in the world for your Kindle.

MicroBrits takes a look at the British game industry, but told with a bit of a twist. The book looks at the many interweaving stories of some of the biggest names in the gaming industry. Studios that shaped British gaming for decades. From the birth of the bedroom programmers, making indie games in their spare time to the massive studio that is Rockstar North. Tales of interesting partnerships, back stabbing buy outs and so much more. All with some cheeky humour.

Oh, and a grand finale looking at one of the most controversial British figures in the business. The entire career of Peter Molynuex is covered. From the failure of his first game, to baked beans salesman, to becoming one of the most loved and loathed game designers on the planet.

Again, it’s 100% free to anyone with a Kindle. So why not give it a read and ready yourself for my new book, coming this June. Free sample and link to get your free copy on Kindle bellow.

IT’S FREE!

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part One

Phew! After two series of an epic twenty-six episodes each, I needed a bit of a break. However, things get a bit more manageable now as the series episode count drops to eighteen episodes for series four. Still, a lot to cover, but at least they won’t take as long to do, as with the last two series. I’m still doing this as a two-parter though just to make things a little easier for both you and me. Oh yeah, and things get back to ‘normal’ after the madness of series three.

Series Four 

Aired from the 20th of September 1994 to the 14th of January 1995, things have changed once more. Gone is Dexter Fletcher as host from series three and back is Dominik Diamond. So too is St Paul’s Church, Dock Street, London, which was the filming location of series one and now this series too… Though it looks unrecognisable thanks to some set dressing. If you’ve been keeping up with the ‘story’ that’s been going on within the show, then you’d know that Dominik actually died at the end of series two when the oil rig exploded, thanks to Auntie Marisha’s cooking. So, how is Dominik Diamond brought back from the dead? Well, we don’t know just yet, series five will answer that with some retconning. In the meantime, all you need to know is that series four takes place in Hell, so DD is still definitely dead. However, what is open to question is why Dominik Diamond had turned into a Bond villain since series two.

DOMINIK DIAMOND

We are taken to eternal damnation via a train ride quite literally to hell. And that’s the set-up for series four. In terms of the format, it’s still pretty much as it has always been, but there are a few little changes in how news and features are shown. Instead of being at the end of the review section as before, they now kind of (annoyingly) interrupt the challenges before they begin proper. You’ll see what I mean as I go on. Plus if anyone puts in a particularly poor performance, they are punished by being locked into a cage.

There’s always been one burning question I’ve wanted answering with series four. See, the reason Dominik Diamond gave for not wanting to do series three was that he didn’t agree with McDonald’s being the sponsor of the show. But series four is also sponsored by McDonald’s… So why did he return to a show sponsored by McDonald’s if he disagreed with the fact McDonald’s sponsored the show? I guess money can make you sidestep your personal moral compass? Anyway, on with series four.

Episode One

Mortal Kombat II (SNES) is the very first game chosen for the first challenge of the first episode. Three challengers take on the game, but GamesMaster has thrown in a little twist. The three are Graham, Daniel and Zen The twist the big guy has added is that all three have to fight Baraka from the game. I don’t mean they have to fight the character in the game (though that’s exactly what they do), I mean they have to fight against Baraka in person. Baraka being played by actor Richard Divizio (who actually played Baraka in the game) in a Baraka costume. Up first is Graham, who plays as Jax while Baraka plays as… well Baraka. It’s actually quite a close fight with both of them getting down to a couple of hits left before losing. But Baraka manages to take the win and even tops it off with a fatality finish too. Daniel takes the SNES pad next, playing as Kung Lao. Daniel gets off to an amazing start and takes away half of Baraka’s health in about three seconds with some great combos. Baraka makes a comeback, but Daniel isn’t having any of it and wins with yet another fatality. The final challenger, Zen, is next and he chooses Kitana as his character. The exchange blow for blow in this very close fight, each with only one hit left. Baraka jumps in with a kick and wins. No fatality here, but a nice friendship finisher instead… in a seemingly carefully edited clip. So with both Graham and Zen losing, leaving only Daniel as a winner, the first golden joystick goes to him.

BARAKA

As is the format of the show, it is review time next. Alien vs Predator (Jaguar) gets 83%. Strange beat ’em up Ballz (Mega Drive) is given 80%. Then finally, Smash Tennis (SNES) sores a very worthy 95%. Celebrity guest challenge time. It is the football game, Super Strikers 2 (Neo Geo) as the game picked by GamesMaster. Taking on the game is football fan and comedian, Frank Skinner and going up against Frank is non-celeb Hugh. Frank plays as England, while Hugh favours Brazil. Hugh wastes no time in tucking a goal away, which Frank responds to by putting one away himself, 1-1. Hugh manages to put another away just before half-time and takes the lead. Frank starts the second half strong and scores, as the final whistle blows, it’s 2-2. So it’s onto sudden death penalties. Frank goes first and his shot is saved, but when Hugh takes his shot, Frank stops it from going in. The second round of shots goes the same way too, both being saved by the keepers. This sudden death penalty shootout is actually quite tense. Frank takes his third shot and puts it away in the top left corner. Hugh needs to score or he’s out… he scores, neither player able to take the win. The fourth shot by Frank is saved, while Hugh scores and wins the golden joystick. Honestly, that was genuinely tense.

As is the norm, it’s time for a few games to get some help from GamesMaster himself. Mortal Kombat II (Mega Drive and SNES) gets a few secrets revealed. Then, of course, it is final challenge time. Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive) is the game of choice and two contestants have sixty seconds to collect as many neutron capsules as they can. But there’s a quick look at the making of the game first (this is that interrupting of the features I mentioned earlier). Anyway, playing Earthworm Jim are Eddie and Tim, with Eddie going first and managing to nab thirty-six neutron capsules, a very decent score. Tim gets off to a very slow start, but with some deft platforming skills, he manages to grab thirty-eight and wins the golden joystick as well as an Earthworm Jim statuette too. 

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Two

GamesMaster picks Mehmet as the challenger for the first game and that game is Road Rash (3DO). More of the, annoying break from the regular format, as the first challenge is interrupted by some gaming news. The impressive sales of the home console versions of Mortal Kombat II are looked at. The Imaginator, a ride/game that used to be at the Trocadero arcade in London is also given some screen time. Then to finish, the GamesMaster Network (it gets a mention several times through the series), a very early interwebs website dedicated to all things GamesMaster is given a plug. After which, the first challenge begins and Mehmet has to finish in first place in the race to win. Mehmet gets off to a cracking start, from fifteenth, he makes his way to tenth place with ease. He manages to get up to eighth place at one point… before crashing into a tree and dropping down to twelfth place. Back on his bike, Mehmet finds himself in sixth place, with not too much left of the race and a clump of other racers in front of him. Offering a few slaps to the face, as is the way with Road Rash, Mehmet takes first place with only about four seconds of the race left to win. 

Yes indeed, it is review time again. The all-time classic Shaq Fu (Mega Drive) get a way too high 65%. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (SNES) gets a still too high 60%. Then 3D space-shooter Infernal (PC) is given 80%. Aussie soaps Neighbours and Home & Away provide the celebs this time around. It is the trio of Bruce Roberts, Dan Falzon and Sarah Vandenbergh who are taking on this one and GamesMaster gives them the three-player, based on the movie of the same name, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (SNES). A classic last one standing wins scenario here as three Bruce Lee’s punch and kick each other in the face. Sarah is the one who gets off to the best start in this melee but the other two begin fighting back and health-wise, it’s all pretty much even. Sarah is the first one taken out, despite her initial lead. Quickly followed by Dan, leaving Bruce (quite aptly) as the winner. 

GAMESMASTER TIPS

More hints & tips are dished out by GamesMasterPete Sampras Tennis (Mega Drive), FIFA International Soccer: Championship Edition (Sega CD) and The Adventures of Mighty Max (Game Boy) get some help. On to the final challenge which is on the prehistoric beat ’em up, Primal Rage (arcade). Taking this on is Eddil playing as Blizzard and Paul as Diablo. But before things get underway, a quick ‘making of’ feature is shown that covers how the devs got the dinos in the game to look so Ray Harryhausen-like. Anyway, the fight begins proper and its a close one, but Eddil takes the first round… and the second. It really wasn’t much of a fight to be fair. Eddil wins the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Three

Kicking episode three of is a challenge on Novastorm (Sega CD) and it is James and Chris. The challengers have to take it in turns to score as many points as possible in sixty-seconds but before that… gaming news. A little look at The Lion King game is shown, Cybermax, an early VR headset for home use is given a look Then Dino Island, a motion-ride gets a quick mention and a feature looking at a Loch Ness interactive ride is also sown. Then after all of that, the first challenge. James goes first and manages a score of 376,900 points. Not too shabby. Chris goes next and gets a slightly better 385,510 points to win the golden joystick. 

Games under review this week are Doom II (PC) which gets a criminally low, but still great 88%. Ghoul Patrol (SNES), the follow up to the much loved Zombies Ate My Neighbors lands a reasonable 70%. While Way of the Warrior (3DO) gets a way too high 72%. This episode’s celebrity guest is an old friend of the show, snooker supremo, Jimmy White. Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker (Mega Drive) is the game here and in a rather unusual twist, Jimmy has to play against the game on a real snooker table. Both the game and the real table have the balls set up the exact same way and Jimmy has to pot all of the coloured balls on the real table before the AI can do the same on the game, both playing at the same time too. Jimmy misses the first ball and loses valuable seconds over the game, after sinking the first ball, he then misses the second, leaving Jimmy White way behind the game at this point. Making up some much needed time, Jimmy pulls level and both he and the game are on the pink ball… which Jimmy sinks first, just a second or so ahead of the game. Jimmy eyes up the final back ball and misses, just as the game lines up the final shot. With only a second or less left, Jimmy takes another shot at the black ball and pots it with mere moments to spare. Jimmy White wins himself a golden joystick.

JIMMY WHITE

More helpless folk seek help form GamesMasterSuper Metroid (SNES), Micro Machines (Game Gear) and Cybermorph (Jaguar) have their secrets revealed. The final challenge is on Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy (Neo Geo) and trying to win a golden joystick are Jonathan and Colin The challengers have just 1 minute to score as many points as possible. Jonathan goes first and chooses to rush through the level, missing a lot of easy points to get to the mech weapon in an attempt to use it to gain more points later. It’s a risky strategy and he ends up with 9.400 points. Colin is up next and that 9,400 is certainly beatable… but Colin is completely pants and dies early doors with only 4,900 points. Jonathan gets the golden joystick despite his very beatable score because Colin was so crap. 

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Four

The gaming challenges continue in the bowels of Hell and first up is Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive) and the challengers have to finish the first level as fast as possible while using the Knuckles character. Playing this one are Tom and Daniel. News time first though and there’s a look at a couple of Star Wars related games. First up, we get a sneak peek at Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger starring Mark Hamill… he was in Star Wars don’t you know? Star Wars: Dark Forces gets a preview ahead of its release. Back to the first challenge and Tom goes first to try and finish the level in the fastest time. After hitting a few obstacles and losing a few seconds, Tom manages a beatable time of 51 seconds. Daniel takes the controller next and really messes up, aside from hitting some easily avoidable hazards, he struggles with some of the famed Sonic loops and doesn’t even make it to the end of the level in 51 seconds, never mind finish it. Tom wins the golden joystick.

After the first challenge, kicking off the reviews this episode is Sega’s famed mascot himself as Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear) gets 85%. Earthworm Jim (SNES & Mega Drive) scores a very high 94%. While Bubsy II (SNES & Mega Drive) is given a still to high 70%. Kart game Street Racer (SNES) is the game picked by GamesMaster for the celebs this time and it’s a simple case of whoever crosses the finish line in first place wins. Taking on this challenge are these cheeky Geordies and stars of kids drama series Byker Grove, PJ & Duncan and they’re certainly ready to rhumble. Wey-Aye Man! PJ really doesn’t do well at all and stays in last place for the entire first lap. Duncan barely does much better and struggles too… just not as much. After the second lap is done, Duncan finally gets the hang of the game and even manages to finish in a fairly respectable third place. PJ though, well he only manages a very poor seventh place… out of eight. But to be fair, he was blinded by paintballs in Byker Grove. Still, neither of them actually won the race as per the challenge, so they are punished by being put into the cage. Of course, the duo do eventually get out of the cage to become the hugely popular and very highly paid TV presenters Ant & Dec… the bastards.

STREET RACER

No prizes for guessing what’s next and I’m not giving you any hints & tips either, that’s the GamesMaster’s job. Mega Man X (SNES), The Jungle Book (Mega Drive) and John Madden Football (3DO) all get some much-needed assistance. There’s a feature looking at the popularity of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Then the final challenge comes in the shape of Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Drive) as the trio of Sam, Scott and Phil have to take it in turns to collect as many rings as they can in 45 seconds. Up first is Sam and she manages to grab an impressive forty-eight rings. Scott is next and he just about squeezes in a better fifty-three rings. Then finally, there’s Phil who, despite a bit of trouble with one of the enemies, ends his run with a winning fifty-six rings to take home the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

GamesMaster picks the rather overrated Ecco: The Tides of Time (Sega CD) for the first challenge and challengers are given just 1 minute to finish a level. Robert and Adam are the guys to try this one… After the news. A look at the sales of Doom II, there’s also a peek at soon the be released arcade games Cruis’n USA and Virtua Cop. The Neo Geo CD console gets a look in, while Bass Masters Classic (SNES) gets a mention (am I the only one finding this interrupting the challenges with news and features a tad annoying?). So, back to the first challenge and Robert goes first and has a bit of trouble with one of the enemies on the game, he runs out of time before the challenge can be completed. Next up is Adam and he has much more luck, finishing the challenge with 13 seconds still on the clock to win the golden joystick.

GOLDEN JOYSTICK WIN

The games up for review this time are The Lion King (SNES & Mega Drive) gets 87%. Mega Bomberman (Mega Drive) blows up with 91%. Finally, Cluedo The Mysteries Continue (CD-i) is given 51%. So, time for the celeb challenge once more, we have former English footballer, Andrew Cole, going up against former American footballer Kasey Keller. I don’t mean Kasey played American football, he played English football for the US team. Basically, two football players going up against each other. And this is another one of those mini-football tournaments that GamesMaster likes to throw into the series every now and then, with the winner going on to the final held in a couple of episodes time. The game of choice is FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive), with Andrew playing as Newcastle while Kasey plays as Seattle. It’s quite a slow and uneventful first half with neither team scoring. The second half is a bit more interesting and when Andrew gives away a freekick, Kasey tucks one away in the back of the net. The game ends with Kasey Keller the winner and going through to the final.

Time for GamesMaster to throw a bone to the poor gamers seeking help. Time Trax (SNES), The Jungle Book (Mega Drive) and Tempest 2000 (Jaguar) are all helped. Before the final challenge, there’s a look at Double Dragon (the movie). Then we get to witness one of the worst beat ’em ups ever made with Way of the Warrior (Jaguar). Taking on this challenge are Ian and Andrea, who are said to be a couple, so a few rounds on a beat ’em up should sort out any relationship issues. Ian takes the first round while Andrea wins the second. So onto the final round, which Andrea wins. I suppose I could’ve given this challenge a bit more coverage, but Way of the Warrior is such a shit game that I really can’t be bothered. Anyway, Andrea wins a golden joystick. The end.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Six

This episode is a Donkey Kong special according to Dominik Diamond and the first challenge is on the arcade classic itself. The challengers have to finish the first level of Donkey Kong (Arcade) in the fastest time. Chi, Simon and Alistair are the trio taking this one on, but first, the news. A preview of the Mega Drive add-on, the 32X and a handful of games is shown. With Chi going first to try and take pre-Mario to the top of the screen and save Pauline. Chi does some pretty nifty barrel jumping and makes it to the top in 29 seconds. Simon next and he has a barrel miss him by mere millimetres… only to come a cropper soon after and fail. Alistair is just as nifty as Chi before him, in fact, he’s about 1 second more nifty as he finishes the challenge in 28 seconds to win the golden joystick. With more Donkey Kong action to come later in this Donkey Kong special episode.

DONKEY KONG

Reviews this time are Street Racer (SNES) which gets a 91%. Tiny Toon Adventures: ACME All-Stars (SNES & Mega Drive) scores 75%. Finally, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures (SNES) finds itself with 83%. The celeb challenge is the next part of the FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive) mini-tournament, with the winner here going through to the final against Kasey Keller from the previous episode. Playing a game of football this time is old friend of the show and footie player turned actor, Vinnie Jones and ex-pro footballer Andy Townsend. Vinnie playing as Wimbledon while Andy as Aston Villa. Despite a few attempts on goal by both teams, the first half ends 0 – 0. With only 30 seconds of the second half left, Andy puts one away and Vinnie is just not able to claw his way back. Andy Townsend wins and goes through to play Kasey Keller in the final.

The Incredible Hulk (Mega Drive), Ruff ‘n’ Tumble (Amiga) and Theme Park (PC) are all given a leg up thanks to GamesMaster. Then we get a world exclusive behind the scenes look at Donkey Kong Country (SNES). Which according to Dominik Diamond, is the first time the game has ever been seen on TV. There are a few words from legendary game designer Tim Stamper as he shows how a level in the game is made. Then yes, it’s final challenge time, a world exclusive too as it is on the already mentioned Donkey Kong Country. Three challengers have to finish the first level in the fastest time. Tim, Christian and Sharif are the lucky people who get to be some of the first in the world to play the game. Tim is up first and he uses a hidden shortcut to get a time of 46 seconds. Christian chooses to not go for the shortcut and gets a time of 36 seconds, a whole 10 seconds faster than Tim… who used a shortcut. Finally, there’s Sharif who wastes valuable seconds at the start along with going for the not so short shortcut, he gets a time of 45 seconds. Christian’s impressive 36 seconds wins him a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seven

GamesMaster selects the very tough The Lion King (Mega Drive) for the first challenge. Lewis and Michael are the two taking on this one and they have to get to the halfway point of the second level of the game in the fastest time. But first, the news. A VR Disney game based on Aladdin is shown and the very little known, educational Pico console from Sega is shown too. Anyway, Lewis goes first on the challenge and he gets off to a blistering start, but messes up on a double jump and fails. Michael is next and as Lewis failed, he can take as much time as he likes and still win… and he does in 1 minute and 4 seconds. Not that the time even matters, Michael wins the golden joystick.

The trilogy of reviews this time include, Twisted (3DO) gets an unexplainable 81%. Dynamite Headdy (Mega Drive) is given a reasonable 89%. Then the cut-down Samurai Shodown (SENS) is awarded 79%. There’s a quick preview for Thunder in Paradise (CD-i). If you’ve been keeping up, then you’d know that it is time for the final of the GamesMaster mini-football tournament, only there’s been a last-minute substitute. Instead of playing on the previously used FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive), GamesMaster has chosen FIFA International Soccer (3D0). It’s Kasey Keller vs Andy Townsend in the final, with Kasey playing as USA while Andy favours the Republic of Ireland. Andy puts an early goal away, thanks to a fumbling goalkeeper… followed by another. The first half ends 2 – 0 to Andy. The second half doesn’t exactly go Kasey’s way either as Andy outs two more away. Kasey does get one goal back, not that it matters as Andy pelts another ball into the net to make the final score 5 – 1 to the Republic of Ireland. Andy Townsend wins the golden joystick.

FIFA CDI

Time for GamesMaster to share his vast knowledge once more. Battlecorps (Sega CD), Benefactor (Amiga) and Archer Maclean’s Super Dropzone (SNES) are all helped. A feature looking at various football management games is shown and… that’s it, no final challenge in this episode, which I think, is the first time ever in the entire show there hasn’t been a final challenge. Bit of a damp squib to end on really. 

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Eight

Straight into the first challenge and it’s a driving test on Power Drive (SNES). The challengers are Ricky, Mervin and Tom. For this particular driving game, GamesMaster is staying away from the typical racing and instead, opts for something more precise. Each of the three must come to s stop from speed in a small box, then they have to reverse into a parking space, followed by speeding through a multi-chicaned road, a winding set of traffic cones is next and the challengers have to dive into the middle of a spiral without hitting any of the cones, then finally, they have to stop precisely in the finish box. It’s a five-point challenge on this very tricky driving game and they only have 1 minute to complete the whole thing. But first is the news. There’s a mention of the Timecop game, based on the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick of the same name. A look at the first-ever fully CGI TV show, ReBoot. And a quick preview of the Sega Saturn console. Back to the Power Drive challenge and up first is Ricky and while he manages the first stop with ease, he really messes up on the reversing part, smashing his car in the process, he struggles to get into the parking space, losing valuable time before finally reverse parking. Ricky does make it through the chicane road… with several more bumps before the cone spiral, of which he crashes through and fails the challenge. Mervin next and he passes the first step easily, the second one just as easily, makes it through the next step with a few bumps. And so it’s onto the spiral cones, where Ricky messed up so badly. Mervin, very sensibly, takes his time here and almost makes it to the middle… before deciding the slam on the accelerator and crash through the cones for no reason, failing the challenge. Finally, it’s Tom. Step one, easy, step two, easy, step three, easy, step four, the spiral cones… Yup, he messes up just as badly and fails. No golden joystick for anyone and all three are locked in the cage for such a poor performance. 

POWER DRIVE

Time for the reviews again and Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (SENS & Mega Drive) gets 81%. Virtua Racing Deluxe (Sega 32X) wins an impressive 90%. Then Newman/Haas IndyCar featuring Nigel Mansell (SNES) is given a still too high 60%. Ian Kelsey and Camilla Power from popular soap Emmerdale are the celebs for the next challenge and GamesMaster has them going up against each other on ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay (SNES). Ian playing as Kangoo, with Camilla using Goo Goo, the fight gets underway. Ian takes the first round fairly easily and the second round just as easily… but he was just spamming one move over and over. It was a cheap win, but a win none the less and Ian Kelsey wins himself a golden joystick.

GamesMaster throws out more gaming life preserves in the shape of Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Drive), Doom II (PC) and Donkey Kong Country (SNES) all get some much-needed assistance. then there a feature looking behind the scenes of the awful beat ’em up Supreme Warrior (Sega CD). Final challenge time… or at least that’s what Dominik Diamond introduces, but GamesMaster says he’s had enough challenges and instead plays a special feature. Ridge Racer (PlayStation) is put under the spotlight and given a good look at. No final challenge for the second time running.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nine

Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (SNES) is GamesMaster’s first challenge and for this one, contestants have just 45 seconds to get as many Jedi coins as they can. Goldie and Richard are the two tackling this one, but first, news. There’s a look at the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers game (SNES), the long cancelled AT&T and Sega team attempt at early online gaming is looked at, then there’s a bit looking at a two-way TV that allows you to interact with various TV shows. So back to the challenge and Goldie goes first, managing to go the wrong way and to mess up quite a lot, to only grab thirteen Jedi coins, very beatable. Richard goes next and pretty goes the same (bad) route as Goldie before him, missing so many easy to get coins. Richard only just about wins by nabbing fifteen Jedi coins before his time is up. Both were very poor, but Richard wins a golden joystick.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES) is the first game up review and it gets a very worthy 90%. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament (Mega Drive) scores a very high 92%. With FIFA International Soccer (3DO) getting an 84%. Rugby players Rupert Moon and Dewi Morris are the celebrities taking on GamesMaster’s next challenge. Rugby World Cup ’95 (Mega Drive) with Rupert playing as Wales and Dewi as England. Rupert scores the first try as well as scoring the following goal kick, 7 – 0 to Wales as the first half ends. But England scores a try in the second half… only to miss the goal kick. The game ends 7 – 5 to Wales and Rupert Moon wins the golden joystick.

KING OF FIGHTERS

More hints & tips from GamesMasterPink Goes to Hollywood (SNES), Shadow of the Beast II (Sega CD) and Micro Machines (Game Gear) are the trio of titles that get a leg up this time. Next up is a feature looking at LucasArts’ Full Throttle (PC) adventure game and Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC). As well as a chat with the developers of the games an a few behind the scenes secrets are revealed. Then finally… a final challenge! GamesMaster selects the beat ’em up The King of Fighters ’94 (Neo Geo) for this one. Michael and Stephen take each other on in a classic, best of three rounds bout. The first round goes to Michael all too quickly, with Stephen hardly even putting up a fight. Stephen comes out fighting for round two and gets in quite a few good hits… then Michael completely decimates him to win the second round and the golden joystick. 

Golden joysticks won – 3


Were halfway through series four now and there’s still more to come in part two to finish this series off.

Total golden joysticks won – 21

Game Review: Kill It With Fire

Pop quiz hotshot, there’s a spider in your bath. Do you:

  • a) Do the glass and a piece of paper trick to trap and then release the little blighter?
  • b) Turn the taps on and try to drown the eight-legged monster?
  • c) Be one of those insane people who pick the arachnid up in their hands and gently place it in the back garden.
  • d) KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!

From developer Casey Donnellan Games and publisher, TinyBuild Games comes a new first-person shooter/action game, that correctly chose to answer d) to my little question. Kill It With Fire does exactly what you think it does just from reading the title. Or, as described on the official website:

The common spider – mankind’s most ancient and deadly nemesis. As a licensed Kill It With Fire exterminator, it’s your duty to fight back! Gather your arsenal and hunt the eight-legged menace on a journey across suburbia…and beyond!

To defeat spiders you must exploit their one weakness: FIRE. Or bullets. Or explosions, throwing stars, gettin’ smushed by stuff… OK, pretty much anything, really. But that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy – first you’ve gotta find them. Utilize state-of-the-art spider tracking technology to pinpoint your prey’s location among hundreds of potential hiding spots – then light everything on fire and smash it with a frying pan after it runs out. It’s the only way to be sure.

The game really is as madcap as it sounds. You play as an exterminator working for the Kill It With Fire company and you have to kill spiders…. that’s about it. Your job is to kill those arachnids, but not (as the title suggests) just with fire, with anything that works. The premise deceptively simple, just kill spiders, but there is a little bit more going on that adds quite a few layers to the basics of the gameplay. The game takes place in a small town, and each of the levels is a locale in that town. You start in a house with very little else to really see and explore. There’s the main living area and several locked doors, to unlock those doors, you need to kill a certain amount of spiders. So let’s say as an example, there’s a number five on the door to the bathroom, then you need to kill five spiders to unlock that door. Other doors require more dead spiders to unlock, kill enough spiders and you can unlock the main door to progress to the next level.

KILL IT WITH FIRE TOILET

Killing all those eight-legged monsters is as easy as it is hard. Sometimes, you’ll just see one of them walking across the floor, so you squish it. However, other times and the spiders will be hiding, you can hear them moving, you know there’s a spider nearby… but you don’t know where it is. This is where the interactivity of each level comes into play, as you can pick up pretty much anything you see and examine it. See a bookshelf and think there could be a spider there somewhere? Pick up the books, turn them around and just maybe… there might be an arachnid hiding around the back… KILL IT! The little bastards hide any and everywhere too, under toilet seats, in bins, behind TVs and more. This adds a layer to the game that requires you to be pretty thorough as you explore each level. What I thought was going to be a fast-paced action romp of a game is actually more of a slower-paced, leisurely explore and investigate type of game. But it is how you do choose to kill those spiders where the over the top gameplay begins to come into play.

KILL IT WITH FIRE CLIPBOARD

You start with nothing, only to find a clipboard on the first level. This clipboard is actually very handy as not only does it list your level objectives (more on those later), it can even be used as a weapon to squish spiders. After a while, you’ll begin to find ever increasingly more powerful and fun weapons to use. Soon enough, you’ll get your hands on an aerosol can and a lighter that you can use as a makeshift flamethrower (it’ll do until you get an actual flamethrower later), a handgun, an assault rifle, C4 explosives, Molotov cocktails and so many more means to dispatch all of those spiders. There’s also a very helpful spider detector that you can use to help in the search of the ever hiding arachnids. There’s even an upgrade system where you can learn new skills and beef up that spider detector too… you can put a freaking laser on it!

Oh and about those previously mentioned level objectives. Aside from the killing of spiders, each level has a selection of alternate and completely optional little objectives to complete. Those objectives range from things like killing multiple spiders with one shotgun blast and solving various puzzles to finding secret rooms and even blowing up a gas station. And if you do complete all of the objectives on a level, this unlocks the ability to take part in an ‘Arachno-Gauntlet’ type challenge, and each level has its own unique challenge to try and beat. As an example, the first level has you having to kill five spiders with a six-shooter pistol in a strict time limit… oh and you can’t reload the gun either. So you can only miss once.

As simple as Kill It With Fire is (and it really is), the levels are wonderfully varied and there’s plenty to do along the way. But there are some negatives. It is a rather short game, I got to the end credits in around three hours or so. Granted, I didn’t finish all of the secondary objectives, find all of the upgrades and weapons, but still, three hours is a fairly short game. The spiders can’t harm you at all, you are essentially invincible from the only enemy in the game. There are various types of spiders, little white baby spiders, your standard black house spider, queen spider who when killed births several baby spiders, jumping spiders, zombie spiders, radioactive spiders and even exploding spiders…. but none of them can hurt you. So, there’s very little challenge from the game in terms of trying to stay alive if you can’t actually die. You’ll instinctively back away from an exploding spider even though it can’t harm you.

KILL IT WITH FIRE SHOTGUN

Still, I have to admit that even though I did get through the game in around three hours, I’m really aching to get back into it and mop up all the little things I missed. I really want to go back and do the optional objectives I skipped over, I want to unlock all of the upgrades and weapons I have yet to do. The gameplay here is simple, but it has also drawn me in via its addictiveness. It may be a small-ish game, but there is still a lot here to keep you entertained, there are several secrets yet to find even though I have seen the ending.

Already released on Steam several months back now. Kill It With Fire sees a launch on the 4th of March for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. And there’s currently a 20% off offer if you pre-order before release. With a £12.49 price tag (£9.99 with the discount), I think the budget price suits what the game offers very well indeed. Arachnid murder has never been so much fun.

Game Review: Speed Limit

I do love me some indie games. I often find they are more creative and interesting than your average AAA title that gets released. A small team of dedicated developers seem to push original ideas more and further than those big name studios who, more often than not, fart out endless sequels of tired old franchises. Which all brings me to the latest indie game to be discovered. Speed Limit from developers Gamechuck and published by Chorus Worldwide.

Now, from the title alone, I’d be expecting some kind of arcade OutRun style driving game. But what Speed Limit actually is, is so much more. I’m not even sure which genre to define the game as. Is it a driving game? Yeah, kind of, there certainly is some driving in the game… But it’s also an action-shooter, a platformer, a genre bending and blending title that melds various game genres into one. This is how developer Gamechuck describe the game on their site:

Speed Limit is a super-fast-paced tour through a variety of retro action genres, set to beautifully animated pixel art. The difficulty curve ramps up to breakneck levels while you run and gun in a side-scrolling shooter, weave through traffic in a faux-3D bike racer, dodge incoming missiles in an isometric shoot ’em up, and more!”

First, the story. Well, I’m not a really sure there is one to be honest. The game just starts with your character on a train and some ‘random’ guy handing you a gun. Then you are hunted down by men in black types. From that point on, Speed Limit is a non-stop action romp until the end credits.

I guess I should explain how Speed Limit actually works as a game. Split into five different gameplay styles, each style has its own level and each level features an increasingly faster form of transport. So, you start off on a train and this level is a side-scrolling shooter/slight platform game. You have to make your way from the back of the speeding train, to the front while being chased by enemies. Armed with a simple pistol, you can shoot the bad guys, jump and duck obstacles and shoot even more bad guys. Get to the front of the train and you move onto the next level and gameplay style.

SPEED LIMIT TRAIN

Next, you find yourself in a red sports car and the action shifts from a side-scroller shooter to a top-down driving game. The bad guys are now in cars, trucks and on bikes as you speed along a multi-lane freeway with oncoming traffic and roadworks to dodge. Thankfully, you are still armed with your gun, so you can take out the enemies with relative ease by shooting them… Or ram them into oncoming traffic and such. Get to the end of this one and an enemy bike rides up next to you. That’s your cue to jump from the car to the bike and start the next level.

SPEED LIMIT CAR

Now on a more powerful motorbike, the game changes once more to a third person, pseudo-3D perspective. Tearing along the road, there’s more traffic to dodge and more bad guys to shoot, all while being chased by a juggernaut of a truck ready to run you down. Here, not only do have to contend with the usual obstacles and bad guys, but if you go too slow, then that massive truck will catch and plough over you. You have to maintain a decent speed while still dealing with everything else thrown at you. Survive this and there’s an attack helicopter at the end wanting to take you out. Use specially placed jumps to leap into the air on your bike and take out the pilot. When that’s dealt with, you do one final jump and leap from your bike into the pilot seat of the attack helicopter.

SPEED LIMIT BIKE

So we’re now on level four and the action shifts once more. You’re now in an isometric shooter flying over water. The helicopter is armed with a machine gun you use to take our ground targets as well as missiles you shoot at air targets, like other helicopters and fighter jets. Throughout the level, aside from the enemies (that attack from both in front and behind) there’s a steady flow of obstacles to fly around and under. Rocks, lighthouses and bridges have to be avoided along with taking out bad guys. Get to the end of this level and you face a red fighter jet, only you don’t shoot this one down. Oh no, you shoot yourself on a missile (stay with me) toward the jet, to take over as the pilot.

SPEED LIMIT HELI

And then you’re on the fifth and final level of the game. Now in a red fighter jet, the game becomes what could be described as a reverse Tempest crossed with After Burner. You fly into the screen with other planes trying to shoot you down following behind. Here, you need to deftly use the speed to slow down and get behind the jets giving chase. Once on their six, you can shoot them down pretty easily. Take out all the other planes and it’s on to the final boss. A stealth bomber with multiple individual areas that need to be destroyed before you can finally blow it out of the sky. A very tough challenge right at the end of the game.

SPEED LIMIT JET

So there you have it, that is how Speed Limit works and plays. Five distinct and different levels (each level split into two stages, ten stages in total… With an extra stage when playing on the harder difficulty) of intense, non-stop action and varying gameplay genres. The way the game transitions from level to level is seamless. The action never stops, there are no breaks (except for the few seconds as the game shifts between levels). It’s all out action form start to end and Speed Limit hardly gives you a chance to breath. This is old school arcade action in its purest form, just given a unique and modern twist. As you can see from the trailer and pics here, Speed Limit also uses a pixel art style for its graphics. They look great, beautifully animated and full of little details. It really is a great looking game and does the pixel art style proud.

Right from the off, Speed Limit is hard. You will die… A lot, even on easy mode. This really is a game of trial and error, you have to pay attention and learn each level, each gameplay style as each level changes genres. That difficulty only gets increasingly harder as you progress too. Yet, the difficulty curve of Speed Limit is absolutely perfect though. It throws you in at the deep end as soon as you start and you’d better learn fast if you want to see the end credits. Each death you suffer, you learn something new, where a enemy will spawn from and when. When to jump, duck or dodge at the absolute pixel perfect moment and more. Speed Limit really took me back to gaming in the arcades in the eighties. Really tough games that were designed to swallow your coins as fast as possible. Thankfully, Speed Limit doesn’t require you to throw fistfuls of coins in order to play. The difficulty here, while rock hard from the very first second of gameplay, is still extremely well balanced and each level features a generous amount of checkpoints that make the huge amount of deaths you will most definitely incur a lot more reasonable. Die, try again and die again. But you’ll still make steady progress despite the game’s rock hard difficulty.

SPEED LIMIT AGENT

Now, while I thoroughly enjoyed playing Speed Limit… There is a negative. It’s just too damn short. I mean, I received my review code on Friday the 22nd of January and the embargo for reviews, etc was up today on the 8th of February. So that’s a little over two weeks. My first playthrough, I finished the game in a little over forty minutes on easy setting. My second lasted just under forty minutes on normal when I understood the game more (side note: finishing the game on normal does answer the a rather big question asked at the start). A little over an hour and I had seen the whole game, I really didn’t need that two weeks. Now to be fair, there is an unlockable infinite mode where you just keep playing the game on a loop and you can unlock a time attack mode too. But the thing is, you are still just replaying those same five levels over and over. There’s very little more to the game than those five levels, as great as they are and as much fun as I had with Speed Limit, there’s just not a huge amount of game here. You unlock some art when finishing each level on normal difficulty… And that’s about it. Now of course, Speed Limit is trying to emulate old school arcade gaming of the past, and it does precisely that, really damn well too. But gamers just expect a bit more game for their money these days. Speaking of money, Speed Limit has a price tag of £7.99/$9.99/€9.99 and that makes this one of the hardest and most frustrating reviews I’ve ever had to do. That’s a great price point for sure, a low budget cost which certainly takes out some of the sting over Speed Limit’s lack of content. Plus as I said, the gameplay is really bloody great… But personally,  it still feels just a bit too pricey for what the game offers. I do love this game, but it really does need more meat on the bones.

I guess value for money in this one really boils down to the kind of gamer you are. I think speed runners will get a real kick out of this one. Each level is timed and so is your overall play from start to end. I can see speed runners really enjoying this and pushing themselves to beat their best times. But for me, I’m just not a speed runner gamer, so that aspect just doesn’t appeal to me. I finished the game on easy and normal difficulty settings in a little over an hour, and that’s about it really and I don’t think the infinite loop and time trial modes really add anything of value. I can’t honestly say if I’m sure I’d come back to Speed Limit now I’ve finished it. I’ve had the game for over two weeks and just not felt the pull to play it again since finishing both difficulty settings in just over an hour and dabbling with the infinite mode. In fact, it’s taken me longer to write, format and edit this review than play through Speed Limit… Twice.

So, the big question. Is Speed Limit worth buying? This is a lot harder to answer than it seems. Look, I love this game for what it is. The gameplay is amazing, the mixing of genres is brilliantly done, the difficulty is hard but very fair. The game really captures so much of what I love about old school gaming. All in all, Speed Limit is a wonderfully created title that really took me back to my childhood, and I have to thank Gamechuck for that. But I just can’t dismiss how short it is, I mean, there’s an achievement/trophy for finishing the game in under thirty minutes. Yet its got a reasonable price point that I can’t ignore. Still, I feel I do need to get across that as great as Speed Limit is, it is a very, very short-lived experience. How much mileage you’ll personally get out of the game really boils down to the type of gamer you are. If you’re someone who’s obsessed with beating your old times, if you’re a speed runner, then I think you’ll get a lot more out of this than I did. But for me, this was very much a one and done experience. I loved every second of it too… But there isn’t enough game here to me to really get my teeth into and I’m not feeling that Speed Limit is doing much to pull me back in now I have finished it.

I do think people should buy it. The team at Gamechuck really are onto something here. I’d love to see them expand and build on this concept. Maybe a sequel, maybe an all new game with similar ideas and themes. Buying Speed Limit is a sure-fire way to show support to the devs and get them working on more titles. So yeah, definitely give it a go (try the demo first), but I guess you need to decide if the price tag is worth the amount of game you get. I recommend the game, but with the caveat that it’s is a short lived experience.

Speed Limit is coming to PS4 on 15/2, PS5 on 16/2, Steam on 17/02, Nintendo Switch on 18/02, and finally seeing an Xbox One & Xbox Series X/S release on 19/02.