Welcome to the site (Sort Of)!

Yes, The Mad Welshman is open for business! Reviews, opinions, posts about PC gaming and gaming history, hopefully interviews, and possibly my Let’s Play stuff as well (We’ll see what happens there), all can be found here!

…Or not, because… Well, look at the date, and the site. Did you seriously think I would go back into reviewing with a draft site (And this is a very rough draft, which will be updated pretty much live, design wise, and definitely logo wise) and not a single (Actual) article? (I like the better planned jokes of April Fools, but I’d rather write something clearly unbelievable in a hopefully entertaining way on that day)

No, instead, today, I’m gonna post a lil’ bit of what is going to go on the about/contact page, let you know who I am, why I think you can trust me, and what’s going to happen.

So, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, but heard about this from a mate, here’s the skinny:

Ain't I A Stinker?
Not my normal look, but still a fun one.

My name is Jamie Durbin, also known as JamieTheD, Jay LPs Shizzle, and The Mad Welshman. I’m a 33 year old Let’s Player (That’s talkin’ over videogames), ex barman, a film extra at least once, I like to play with my voice and sing, do digital art… and for about three years total, I was a game reviewer, first for a lil’ site called Gamerfill (Defunct), second for a canadian site called Game-Boyz. Both of those are links to old reviews, and you can find others at the same sources. Third and fourth sources would be my Let’s Play channel, and my current, somewhat sporadically written blog. All of these should hopefully demonstrate I’ve grown as a reviewer and a writer, and at least a lil’ bit as a person. My first game was Rogue, on a terminal, and my first home system was a BBC Micro. (God I feel old…) End of establishing this whole “cred” thing.

Problem is, like many folks who got their start in Games Journalism on the hobby end of things, I didn’t make much out of it, and you can help me change that. Provided, of course, you like my work. No, don’t worry about looking for a Patreon, that won’t be up until the site is good and ready. But it will be up, and if you like my work, I’d love it if you helped me make this a full time job.

So here’s the deal:

Publishers, Developers

  • Do get in touch, through themadpembsman@gmail.com (Or, if you already know me from my Game-Boyz/Gamerfill days, that other address you probably already have), and ask me if I’m interested in covering your games. Odds are I will be, but there’s only got a rough estimate for when the site’s going to be ready, so until I say it is, don’t be disappointed if I say “I am, but in all honesty, I’m probably not going to be able to get the site up before release, so you might be better off with someone else.” I’d rather know you’re there, and that I’m in your contact list.
  • IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: I know full well I’m not qualified to do the majority of sports games. Just strike me off the list as far as NFL, FIFA, or Stanley Cup Throwdown is concerned. Sports management games, or strategy games with a sport theme I’m much better about, and racing games are just fine, but I’d rather not do anybody a disservice by writing an article about FIFA ’16 when I know damn well the last football game I played was Sensible Soccer, and I sucked at it.
  • If you’re disappointed/angry with a review, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re both aware that games journalism can feel in conflict with developers or publishers, and I’d rather discuss things than have a screaming match about them. Especially get in touch if I’ve got something factually wrong, because that will need to be corrected. I don’t want you to be afraid to talk to me, because I’m pretty sure we both want games to be cool and interesting and enjoyable. On the flip side…
  • There are no scores, and my overall opinion is not likely to change. I still think Blur’s components fit badly together, I still think Dungeonbowl’s design was flawed, and I still think Space, Pirates And Zombies wasn’t that hot. That I’m not hot on your game or don’t like it doesn’t make you bad people, and I want to make sure I don’t get personal, because that’s pretty shitty.
  • If you end up liking my work enough to want to help me succeed, anything more than £5/week will have to be disclosed by me, because that’s the minimum I’d consider a “Significant amount” for conflict of interest purposes. Do us both a favour, and please don’t go above that if you do.

Readers/Viewers

  • There will be no scores, no pretty numbers. Sorry, but I really don’t believe they’re useful, and I’ve had this opinion for a long time. You want scores, you probably want somewhere else. You want to read or watch (I’m planning some video content, as time permits) where I think a game’s going to be enjoyed in our big ol’ community, and what I think of that game, you’ll be coming to the right place. Similarly, if you’ve come to read about discussions of games past, the culture that surrounds games, and (if this goes full time) some of the shiny events folks put on to share their games, that’s stuff I definitely want to provide.
  • If you like my work, there’s gonna be a Patreon, and I’d like it if you contribute to that. Won’t force you, won’t be hiding content from you.
  • Because I like discussion, not hitting the “delete” button fifty odd times before said discussion can be found, there is a process for gettin’ in touch, but it won’t be through comments on the articles themselves. Mail me. Your mails have the chance of becoming part of a regular article (Haven’t decided between every fortnight, or every month) where I look at a selection of these mails, and hopefully build a discussion out of them. But because I like discussion, not “You suck”, “Go die in a fire for dissing this game I like”, and the like, be aware that trash-talk mails go straight in the trash, and the author goes on my mail blocklist the first time it happens. I love it when people disagree, and raise points about things, because there’s always something a player, any player, is going to miss, but keep it civil, keep it as spoiler free as you can, and in return, while I can’t guarantee a reply, I can at least say I’m going to try to read them all. Obviously, this may prove foolhardy over time. But for now, we’ll see how it goes.
  • There’s gonna be at least one article a week right now, obviously getting more articles the more successful this site is. In the case of reviews, I will take my time before writing a review, so don’t expect day one reviews of a 4X or big RPG.  On the flipside, yes, you can cement your opinion of an RPG after 26 hours of play, even the big ones like Skyrim, and yes, when a game bluescreens your computer for the 4th time in a row, it is time to say “This game is unplayable.”
  • I do have a twitter (@TheMadWelshman) , but, like any sensible netizen, I exercise the right to mute/block you if I don’t think we’re going to get along, and report you if you’re being an asshole to me or my friends. So again, be civil, be cool.

Okay, that’s mostly over. What’s left is gettin’ in touch. It’s nice and simple. Themadpembsman@Gmail.com . Please make your subject lines clear (COMMENT: [subject] for commentary , NEWS/REVIEW/PREVIEW/INVITE: [Subject] for pub/dev stuff. I know that isn’t always possible in the pub/dev case, but the easier it is for me to auto-sort, the more time I have for replying).

If you got to the end of this lil’ fireside yak, thanks for reading, I hope you’ll enjoy my content in future!

EDIT: themadPEMBSman@gmail.com (Man, what a great start we’re off to! :V )

Lorem Ipsum: The Videogame – High Concept, or Meaningless Garbage?

Lorem Ipsum is a strange game. In fact, arguments have sprung up all over the internet as to whether Lorem Ipsum is a game, a “reading simulator”, or an extended interactive hate mail to a Lauren Ibsen (Although the evidence for this theory has been somewhat scant on the ground, this critic notes). I’ve played it, in the sense that I have opened the program and experienced what I have to offer, and I’ve got to say…

…I’m pretty bloody impressed.

The game, at first, appears very scant. There is a page of latin text, and your options, at first, are to scroll to the next page, or close the program. A very linear start, and it is at first discouraging that scrolling down reveals… Another page of the same latin text. Indeed, scrolling back and forth between the first fifty pages reveals exactly the same paragraph, repeated the same three times, regardless of input.

But the fifty first was the revelation. Yes, there were still three paragraphs, but one of them was now sideways. And it was in this moment that I truly understood the message of Lorem Ipsum. Or rather, I thought I did. I thought it was about nonconformity. But pages 52-101… Were exactly the same as 1-50. It was discouraging. Was I meant to feel discouraged? I genuinely didn’t know. But now, I wanted to find out. And page 102 seemingly gave me the answer. One of the Lorem Ipsums of the page was hyperlinked, and also sideways. I clicked… And was immediately booted back to the beginning of the document. A detailed examination of pages 1-102 showed no differences, so I can definitely confirm: This game has fail states, and they are fairly arbitrary. But this, also, had to mean something.

In the end, I found no meaning. I’d scrolled through 500 pages, gotten kicked back to the beginning and read laboriously through each time, until I felt I could recite Lorem Ipsum from memory. I tried the kickbacks in combination. I saw it sideways, I saw it mirrored… But the Lorem Ipsum only ended on page 501, without fanfare, and I was devastated. It had no meaning.

But it was never meant to have meaning. Lorem Ipsum is a nihilistic work, meant to show us the pointlessness of our toil with a nonsense latin paragraph used in book-keeping, repeated just over 1500 times. No matter how you look, the game hammer home that your seeking is pointless.

I need a drink after playing this game, and you probably will if you play it.

EDIT: I have also been informed that, while I was counting pages, there were in fact page numbers. They don’t count 1, 2, 3. There is no order I can see, no pattern. Why did anybody hate gamers so much that they made this game?

UPDATE: By screen capturing each of the 501 pages, players were able to find 501 copies of the same image, each shifted by precisely 1mm vertically. From this, they were able to piece together this image.

Look at the date.

No, I don’t know what it means either.

Crusader Kings 2 Moving to “Free To Play” Model in June

Everybody who’s anybody in the strategy gaming world knows Crusader Kings 2. Like any good strategy game, it’s spawned narrative Let’s Plays (Including one which featured a Rap Battle, Flamboyant Schemers), stories of gambits succeeded and lost, and even moments where the game’s logic is a little strict or loose have spawned their own fantastic tales, such as vassals who conquered the rest of the world while their liege did… Well, nothing.

But the gaming world was shocked at the announcement that the game, already rich with DLC, was going “Free to Play”. In a way, it was almost a betrayal. But, our source at Paradox states, an inevitable one.

“Even though our downloadable content has often been rich in additions, and we have a reputation for listening to our players… They still weren’t satisfied. We thought about donating to Tarn Adams, maybe employ him to create an all encompassing DLC for Crusader Kings 2, but that was a dead end. [laugh] Dwarf Fortress really is his life project, so he politely declined, and, as developers who love games, we respect that.”

“So, in the end, we decided to take our modular design philosophy with Crusader Kings 2 to its logical progression.”

At this point in the presentation, all seemed sensible. All was right with the world. But it was not to last.

“The core of the game, as we see it, is the conquest and the economics, centred on South Africa, so this will be the free to play content, with micropayments unlocking a variety of features: Europe, marriage, colonisation (New World is included, don’t worry about that!), with the higher level strategic content (Religion, plots, european and muslim technology, and breeding) obviously costing a little more. It’s a fairly complex game, but it can be broken down into simple elements, and, beyond the conquest… Not a lot of those elements are really necessary, at least as far as the larger demographic shows. Everybody wants to rule the world. Not so many people are fond of the… responsibilities of rulership. So they can now have all of the fun, but very little of the responsibility.”

Crusader Kings 2: Online will be released in June 2015. The UI will largely remain unchanged.