1. God I loved OMM back in the day. Hell, the whole Portal Of Evil network used to result in me spending hours in the University computer room after dark during my my first year.

    That was the first time I started to realise that there was nothing wrong with loving games (and other similar nerdisms) and also thinking they could be utterly stupid sometimes. Happy times.

    Their Death of Adventure Games was right on the money, and if I remember it was thanks to them that I picked up Deus Ex.

    hmmm… its been at least 6 months now since I last played Deus Ex. To Steam!

  2. Also, Christ, I’d forgotten just how on the money (and genuinely funny) that Crate Review System piece was.

  3. And so I find myself reading through the OMM archives yet again. It is a black hole. Well, a white-on-black hole. The classic articles are great, but all the other stuff is good in its weird profane go-fuck-yourself way as well. It really feels like they were ahead of the curve in terms of bring flat out no-gentlemen’s-handshakes irreverence to games criticism, and they were so goddam incisive that they made it look good. Not sure how much that means we owe them and how much that means they should be apologizing for all the motherfuckers who took the cue and ran with it without nearly the style or incisiveness to balance out the crudity, but, well, what do you do.

    I think of Start To Crate on a regular basis, but I especially thought of it recently when I finished playing through FEAR 1 and moved onto the expansions that Monolith farmed out to another dev firm. And one of the main things that new developer added to the game: crates. They felt like the game had been missing out on destructible crates with random items inside. And in that context it really sort of drove home how stupid a mechanic that is if you have any other way of handling it: I suddenly had to slow down my slo-mo SCARY LITTLE GHOST GIRL run-and-gun antics to assess those crates I came across to decide if they were the correct SORT of crates (many crates were not destructible) and then smash and, half the time, try to see what was in the crate I’d smashed because the OOH AHH BOX PHYSICS meant the crate when smashed turned into six loose rectangles of wood, at least a couple of which would fall on what was inside. Nice move, guys, this is really helping immerse me.

  4. I went through a long period (on the order of decades) of playing video games sporadically if at all, and smack dab in the middle of that was the heyday of OMM. It’s like a lot of things that people of my generation tend to lionize and remember with great fondness that I kind of intellectually recognize now as something I think is pretty neat, and would feel a nostalgic attachment to about if I’d led a different kind of life with less boozing and wandering the planet. TV shows, movies, games, even websites like OMM that were connected to pastimes I wasn’t passing my time doing, because I was a bit of a peripatetic boozy lunatic back in the day.

    There’s a whole shared pop culture common history that I more or less don’t have the same emotional connection to as most (western) people in my age group. No wonder I live in Korea — nobody notices! ;-)

    Anyway: OMM is pretty amusing, and just the sort of thing I’d like to imagine myself writing (in possibly more current vernacular) about games, if I had the energy.

  5. Whenever I stop to think about it, I realise just how incredibly lucky I was to “come of age” in the mid-to-late nineties. My elder sister’s boyfriends were busy shedding their old Spectrums and Commodores just as I was becoming conscious of computing and so they generally ended up with me, then I was old enough to catch the end of the SNES/Megadrive era and the world of the 386. Just when I started to earn paper-round and odd-job money was the point where the Amiga was just about coming within my “saving up” range and then PCs properly became affordable just when I was about to start my GCSEs (so I was able to beg/bully/blackmail my dad into buying one – it was a cheap Mittac PC but god did I love it). A levels then turned up just as the first pay-as-you-use-it internet did in the UK giving me my first home exposure to that as well.

    And then… just as I was earning proper part-time money (so had been able to save up for my first PC) and heading off to University in 1998, gaming entered a new renaissance and so did gaming culture. It (and everything else) was all happening on the internet, which thanks to being at Uni I now had unlimited free access to and plenty of time to enjoy that and games.

    I could go on (home broadband becomes affordable in the UK just as I’m getting my first post-uni job etc) but I suspect my point is made.

    Here I sit as someone with a well paid career in web design and development and the occasional bit of paid games journalism, and I know that a significant part of my skills (and interest) in both areas are largely the result of my parents getting randy over Christmas 1979.

    Feck it. I need to take out for a drink again.

  6. Arse – last line should be:

    “Feck it. I need to take my dad out for a drink again.”

    Not sure where the dad bit went…

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