Better iPhone earphones

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A work post, this – at the end of last year, Dennis bought Bit-Tech, and this year, Custom PC and Bit will be working together on quite a few projects. The plan is to share a lot of what we do behind the scenes to come up with articles suited to print and articles that really work on the web. The new issue of Custom PC, Issue 68, contains a couple of pieces by the Bit guys, and I’ve written a round-up of iPhone headphones for the site. Nice to be back – I previously wrote for Bit on a freelance basis a few years ago (difficult games, politics and technology and unique game controllers).

Ghosts and Goblins and difficulty

Until now, fingerprints have been the most deadly threat the super-shiny PSP has had to face. Now, it is wrath. The frustrated wrath of a player of Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins. Man, it’s tough… but strangely compelling, too:

“So why did I keep on playing? Partly it was because I didn’t want to write an article for Bit-Tech having only completed the first two levels. But it certainly wasn’t because of any involvement with narrative or plot, or any sense of satisfaction from solving puzzles, and nor did I give a toss, really, about any of the characters. Initially, I didn’t think I had any emotional involvement with the title, either, until I realised that actually, Ultimate GnG’s difficulty enables it to harness one emotion extremely well: it’s probably best called exasperation. I realise this doesn’t sound good (you can’t imagine it listed on the back of the box, can you?), but exasperation is a key part of the audience’s emotional response to many thrilling scenarios. Exasperation is present – and crucial – in everything from horror movies to romantic novels.”

The full article on Ghosts, Goblins and difficulty in games is here.

Top 10 Unique Game Controllers

Another article of mine is up at Bit-Tech – a top 10 list of ‘unique’ game controllers:

“There’s only so far you can go with a traditional gamepad. A few talented, brave and frankly bonkers designers have managed to convince and cajole their corporate paymasters into creating a special, unique add-on controller, solely for their game.”

You can have a read, here. As a writer, it was nice to do something more light-hearted after the politics piece last time, and it did well on Digg, too, which is great. Top 10s make for quick, fun reads, so I felt like the format suited the idea nicely.

Politics and technology

My latest piece for Bit-Tech is up there now – well, actually it’s been up there a few days, I’ve just not had time to post it here. It’s all about the influence of politicians on technology, or rather, their lack of influence:

“Senator Stevens isn’t the only one who is, to put in bluntly, a n00b – here in the UK, Tony Blair getting his own e-mail account was regarded as an event so momentous that it deserved a report from the BBC Politicians are famous for not getting it – whether ‘it’ is popular music, video games, iPods, the menace posed by hooded jumpers and rappers – but when it comes to computer technology this ignorance has got to be seen as increasingly untenable. It’s time we made our elected representatives realise that they need to understand the technology and those issues in particular which are brought into focus by the internet, because it’s becoming increasingly integral to the way we live.”

The full article is online here.