Gamers – did you ever stop and wonder how you know so much about guns? Even if you’ve never handled a real firearm, you can probably tell an MP5 from a FAL, or have a “favourite” gun you’re likely to choose in multiplayer scenarios.
Stuart Brown is the brain and voice behind Ahoy (also known as XboxAhoy), a channel focusing on exploring video games, their history and their many influences – with special attention paid to guns. Pretty much everything Stuart says sounds like Call of Duty narrative, so his voice wouldn’t be out of place in an army recruitment video.
It’s this combination of character and content that makes these videos so entertaining.
Guns & Gaming
I’m really not that fond of guns, so why do I know so much about them? The answer has to be video games and their long and surprisingly accurate portrayal of some of man’s most ghastly creations. Ahoy has spotted the trend and covered an arsenal of real-world weaponry, detailing history and uncovering what makes each so special.
It’s startling how recognisable these implements of death have become. Many would argue that intimate knowledge of these weapons gained through virtual battlegrounds is a lesser evil than being made to actually use one in a theatre of war, but it’s still surprising just how intimate you knowledge has become without even realising it.
Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Grand Theft Auto are just a few of the games that make heavy use of a familiar set of weaponry, from fully automatic assault rifles like the AK-47 to powerful sniper rifles, pistols and revolvers like the Magnum and Desert Eagle.
For April Fools 2012 a very special weapon was profiled by Stuart – Doom’s BFG 9000. It’s probably the first person shooter genre’s most famous original weapon, having seen service across multiple generations of both Doom and Quake.
A Brief History
Another area in which Ahoy’s coverage shines is Stuart’s historical overviews, which pay homage to video gaming elements many of us take for granted – like the evolution of modern 3D graphics, and how piracy has affected the medium.
Arguably one of the most interesting aspects of modern gaming, blood and guts have been a part of video games for as long as many of us can remember. It wasn’t always this way, and the first few red pixels prompted many scandalous headlines as controversy surrounding violence in video games hit the mainstream – long before the medium’s benefits had a chance to shine through.
The longest video in this series (above) focuses on graphics, and runs at just short of 45 minutes. Over that time you’ll see graphics evolve from basic blocky pixels and smooth, restrictive vectors to lush 3D worlds that use shading, particle effects and anisotropic filtering. While a game’s success usually hinges on its gameplay, there’s no denying the importance of eye candy and the technology that enabled it.
There is an ugly side to video games, and one of the biggest problems plagued by the medium since its inception is piracy. Convincing people to pay for something they can quickly copy for free spawned an anti-piracy movement focused on public education, prevention and in some cases full-on legal action from the license holders. Ironically enough, however, pirates themselves – the sword and parrot kind – show up in more than a few games.
Video Game Origins
In a recent new series Stuart takes a look at the origins of many common themes found in modern video games. The first video in the series takes a look at a phenomenon that transcends genres – the open world game. While Grand Theft Auto is synonymous with the idea of a free roaming video game, the open world genre was taking shape long before Rockstar’s existence.
The idea of style over substance or aesthetics over accuracy has long been associated with video games. The medium serves as a canvas for fantasy concepts that don’t have to conform to the laws of courts, physics or common sense – like dual-wielding. While films made heavy use of the aesthetic, video games ignited the practical aspect of akimbo weapons with massive amounts of firepower.
To most people, easter eggs are foil-wrapped hollow chocolate spheres. To gamers and the developers who make games, an easter egg is a hidden secret or joke placed in-game, often innaccessible without cheats but always guaranteed to raise a smile.
The definition is a loose one – anything from a name a passage text or sign to entire hidden sections of level, references to popular culture and other games and entire games within games. The video above recounts some of the most famous and memorable easter eggs – from GTA IV’s beating heart to George Romero’s head on a spike in Doom.
Metacritic’s Worst Xbox 360 Games
I’m not usually one for best and worst lists, but this list is a little different. It’s time to call time on the Xbox 360, and though games will undoubtedly still be produced for a few years yet – we’ve basically hit the end of last generation’s life cycle.
And so with the aid of Metacritic it’s gauge the generation’s worst-received video games purely based on the score they received from users and reviewers alike. For anyone who thought most Kinect games were anything more than a gimmick – this list is full of them!
Subscribe to Ahoy
Ahoy isn’t really about Xbox games – not any more anyway. You should probably subscribe if you’re fond of Stuart’s attention to detail. He will likely be expanding his focus on guns within video games if current gaming trends are anything to go by.
Did video games make you an accidental gun nerd?
Image credit: Pirate AK (Jonathan Mallard)