If you haven’t seen our previous “Brit” based recommendations, you can find them here and here. But this one is for games, and looking at how international videogames are, we were a little surprised by how many games are made by British teams. So, this is for them.
There are games which will be forgotten and there will be games who will ascend to the Pantheon of the greats. Call of Duty will be over shadowed forever by one title. Its name is GoldenEye. A game based on the James Bond film of the same name.
Made by Rare and made exclusively for the Nintendo 64, it defined the genre of FPS. Many people in their early 30s and older would of played it. This game holds fond memories for me as you play campaign, reliving the awesomeness that is good Bond film (sorry, the newer ones will never reach the campy heights of Brosnan).
Like you get to drive the tank and run over Soviets plus much, much more…
But the biggest selling point is the incredibly fun and massively variable multiplayer options. Before this, there wasn’t a lot of games that had this. Big head, Paintball, Golden Gun (the most lethal mode) and ‘Slappers only’. It is a landmark game of the time. So much so at least one level was updated for ‘Perfect Dark’ for its release. It’s worth buying a second hand N64 for just that.
After The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the Fable series was my go-to fantasy game, introducing me to more linear storylines. I immediately fell in love with its charm and the aesthetics. I’m happy to say that this continued throughout my playthroughs of Fable 2 and 3.
I liked Fable 3 right from the launch trailer. Epic slow-motion fight scene? Excellent. A game that looked like it was going to be more steampunk than its predeseceors? Fantastic. The only disadvantage was that I wasn’t going to be able to get my hands on it. That’s probably the only thing about the franchise that annoys me – it’s a game created for the console – and waiting for it to be released on PC was agonising.
I played a lot of Fable 3 on my housemate’s Xbox and I think it’s safe to say it got me through my second year of university. When it finally came out for PC it was the first game I bought for my brand-new-custom-built-for-games laptop.
I love the story of the Fable games. I squeal in delight as I recognise the best of Britain’s voices. The likes of Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg and Micheal Fassbender are just some of the cream of the crop that lend their voices to the game and make it even more British, if it wasn’t British enough in the first place. I love the general aesthetics – the steampunk magic and flintlock, the posters on the loading screens. I love the endless references to chickens.
The Fable series is a group of wonderful games that present dynamic choices in a world that is fun and essentially British. It makes me happy to think that so many people across the world play this series – and are getting excited about the new chapters. The world gets to see just a fraction of the talent Britain can offer.
When it came to recommending a British game, there is only ever one choice for me. My recommendation is a game that formed a huge part of my childhood. It’s the game taught me patience, taught me logical thinking and taught me how throwing a computer mouse halfway across the room in frustration can be cathartic. The game in question is Lemmings, the greatest 2D puzzle-platformer ever to come out of Britain. It was developed by DMA Design, the company that went on to become Rockstar North, the gaming giants behind GTA.
In Lemmings (and its expansion Oh No! More Lemmings), the player has to guide the titular lemmings (little green-haired, blue-clad things) out of a trap door, across the level, and through a gateway. The little buggers march stubbornly across the landscape, walking straight into whatever hazards the level offers, while you desperately try to save as many as you can, assigning certain lemmings with special skills to try and make their passage easier. That’s the game in a nutshell. But they say that the simpler a game’s mechanics are, the more addictive it is. And the more addictive it is, the more frustrating it is.
This is certainly true of Lemmings, which is so addictive and frustrating that the box actually had a disclaimer stating: “We are not responsible for: Loss of Sanity, Loss of Hair, Loss of Sleep”. And it more than lives up to those claims. It’s one of the only games I’ve ever seen that has a built in rage quit function – the “Nuke” button, which forces all your lemmings to explode in a glorious cacophony of chaos and instantly aborts the level.
Years of my life have been poured into Lemmings. I’ve still never finished it, but I still love to play it. And that right there is the sign of a great game.
Anyone not familiar with Free Radical won’t know that they were part of the team that created GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64. Story goes, some in Rare no longer wanted to work exclusively for Nintendo, so they split off and formed their own development company. Free Radical would later be bankrupt from PS3 exclusive Raze and be bought up by Crytek. But their ill fated development company produced a few high quality games before that point. One of these was the Timesplitters series.
The tone of the game was brilliant. Stepping away from hyper-realistic character models, instead opting for more of a cartoonish look (similar to Team Fortress 2’s development) and focused on a rather goofy looking but brilliantly comedic set of games – the best of which was Timesplitters 3.
Timesplitters 1 and 2 were both well designed but lacked a depth of story present in most modern FPS. The third made up for this in spades, having Cortez (almost like a comedic version of Riddick from Pitch Black – complete with bald head and goggles) not only chasing down the evil scientist responsible for the timesplitters, but also helping himself on certain levels.
By helping himself, I mean you’re going through the level and get help in one way or another from yourself. Then later on in the level, you’re forced to go back in time and be that other Cortez helping yourself. This is why I love time travel stories – they’re so goofy and mind bending.
Definitely one for the must play pile, and a FPS that is like nothing like what is on the market at the moment.
This isn’t exactly the best game that ever crawled out of Lionhead Studios, but it’s one of the few British games that I’ve played that I haven’t talked about loads before. It was one of the first videogames that I played on PC, after playing the original The Sims and Theme Park World, and it was one that I asked for as a birthday present.
Black & White saw you play as a god in game, in control of a creature that acted as your physical presence in the world beyond just having temples and places of worship. It is a god game designed by Peter Molyneux and I had so much fun in its first two stages that I never bothered to worry about progressing further. There was a lot of potential in the game, but things never seemed to quite work as advertised.
The creature you had would, despite how many hours of training you’d sink in, still do too many stupid things – or looking back at ancient internet chats, many of these things appear to have been bugs. And while I would come back to it and play through the first few stages again and again, I never got near anything resembling an end-game, because the game would crash out on me on a particular bit in what I think was the third stage. And I could never get past the affected quest because of this.
So why Best of British? This game isn’t a highlight for me because of what it did, but because of what it aspired to do: be an immersive god game. It’s just a shame that its release had so many bugs.