Problem: there are too many video games and not enough time. Solution: the recession.
One slightly less god-awful but slightly more quantum way out is by somehow creating more time. That bit of nonsense segues handily into an XBLA game about time that I’ve just got round to playing. No, it wasn’t Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. Anyway, that’s not an XBLA title, the original TMNT is. Why did you even bring it up? I was of course referring to Braid. True, Braid doesn’t actually feature time creation, but it is all about time manipulation, otherwise known as chronomancy. That’s right, Tim is in fact a chronomancer. How badass a thing to be is that?
HOT GIRL: So Tim, what do you do for a living?
TIM: Well, I chronomance from time to time – get it?
HOT GIRL: Haha, wow, that’s amazing. I’ve never met a chronomancer before!
TIM: Actually, that’s not really what I do for a living. I’m searching for The Princess; have you seen her?
HOT GIRL: Oh, I see… I bet she’s the f***ing bomb, right?
If Braid was actually called Tim the Chronomancer then it would have been roughly 5% more awesome, which would be pretty damn awesome. So, as you’ve probably guessed, I did work out what Braid’s roughly about. When I say ‘worked out’ I mean that I completed the game, suffered an immediate headache from thinking too hard before stumbling onto the Internets to ascertain what the heck I’d just witnessed. Yeah, I needed to look it up and I’m not proud of it either. I can almost see my professor now, sipping his morning brandy with his arm resting on his gnarled cane, waggling a tremorous finger at me and cackling, “Bet you wish you’d taken History GCSE now, eh, you dopey prat?” Well, Mr Land, the answer is of course still no, but I’ll admit the whole ordeal made me feel pretty damn dense, you old git.
The one ray of light in this, the umpteenth confirmation of my stupidity, was discovering the source of the information. That would be this thread over at RLLMUK, a British gaming forum thank you very much. I’m sure readers will correct me, but it appears this thread was the big bang from which the discussions on NeoGAF and a million blogs (including Shawn Elliot’s) expanded. A bit of further research revealed a poster on the Giant Bomb forums writing something similar the day before. Nonetheless, history will remember this RLLMUK thread as the the victor in the fight to solve one of the most confusing video game stories ever devised (because I said so). I don’t see anyone from Giant Bomb claiming ownership and as Eddie Izzard would say, “do you have a flag?”. Well do you, Giant Bomb?
Let’s ignore the merits of working out what one game’s possibly about and talk a bit about the RLLMUK forum. In short, it’s the British NeoGAF, and it can claim to be the UK’s largest gaming forum with over 12,000 registered members at the time of writing. Its community may be roughly a third of the size of NeoGAF’s, and with much less in the way of gaming celebrity (and Denis Dyack) posting, but it’s still mighty big considering the size of our wee country.
Right, now I get to be the history teacher: the RLLMUK forum used to be Edge magazine’s forums but back in 2003 Edge turned its back on it like a jilted lover. The forum got back on its feet thanks to a resourceful chap by the username of, you guessed it, rllmuk. If you want to know why he and the forum are called that then have a gander at this. It might make you go all gooey inside or violently nauseous depending on your disposition.
I’m quite fond of the RLLMUK forum. For a forum, that is. Sure, like any large online community it’s got its fair share of vitriolic loudmouths who define themselves by their post counts, yet somehow this forum seems to be quite a close-knit group. Personally, I save my vitriol for the columns I write and meeting former tutors, so I tend to avoid posting in any of the large discussion threads. I guess you could call me a lurker, but I’m quite active in the online gaming threads. It’s a great way to meet up with other gamers, and this year I’ve made a bunch of begrudging new friends via the thread for Everybody’s Golf: World Tour (Hot Shots Golf: OOB for the Yanks). Everybody’s Golf is one of my guilty vices, but you have to understand that sometimes you don’t want to blow up some douchebags. Sometimes, just sometimes, all you want to do is hit the fairway with some weirdly proportioned anime girls who are far too sexualised for their age. Thanks to RLLMUK, I found other people to share this depravity with.
I should probably feel conflicted about using the RLLMUK forums since I tend to read GamesTM over its rival Edge, but it’s not really an Edge forum anymore so boo wiz to that. Anyway, let’s save the British gaming magazine scene for some time next year. For now, I’m going to close this year’s Very British Gamer with a plea for you to pay the forum a visit. In the spirit of Lawrence’s recent BITMAPS column, if you’re a Brit then this place is a damn good resource for finding other people on this isle that are as obsessed about video games as you. Wow, that’s a plug within a plug to go with the Braid triumph. I think I’m going to quit 2008 whilst I’m ahead.