It’s easy to think that computer games are made ‘over there’ somewhere – Silicon Valley probably. But actually Brighton has got a really strong games industry – even influential website Eurogamer is based here. So to celebrate Brighton Digital Festival we dig out the biggest and best games to come out of Brighton’s tech hub. Next time we’ll do mobile games, cos we kick arse at them too.
We love a juicy slice of trivia, just look at the all-conquering SOURCE pub quiz team as evidence of us taking a bit of Q&A super-seriously. Relentless Software’s BAFTA-winning Buzz! series were the benchmark for video game quizzes – four-player, TV-style game shows that came complete with red buzzer controllers so you could dominate your mates. Bafflingly, former Aussie pop idol Jason Donovan was chosen as the voice of Buzz himself. Presumably they had ten
DJ: Decks and FX
Another Relentless production, the idea here was to take two record decks, a mixer, an effects unit and a sampler, add a whole crate of records and cram them into a PlayStation2 game. And surprisingly it worked. As well as the two turntables, there’s sample and loop functionality, pre-recorded snippets that you can throw into the mix, and even a rudimentary EQ. The game came with 50 dancefloor bangers and you couldn’t preload tunes but that didn’t stop fat-tongued spinner Timo Maas playing a set to 3000 Germans with it. Lazy fucker.
Originally developed by Climax Brighton (later Black Rock Studio), MotoGP is the definitive motorbike sim that’s still roaring from the starter’s grid today. You’ll fall off more times than a pissed up jockey, you’ll curse at the Thatcherite rigidity of the racing line, marvel at the spartan trackside scenery and take a power nap during the petrol head technical guff. It’s not always that gripping, unless you’re really, really into motorsport, but it’s still the best bike racing sim.
Five years old and this arcade racer, another from Black Rock, still gets pulled from the shelves. Straddle an ATV (basically a souped-up quad bike) and pop your privates in your purse as you get the kind of big ramp air normally reserved for those on the stairway to heaven. With even more enjoyable physics than Brian Cox whizzing around the Large Hadron Collider, Pure is a bit less realistic but a lot more fun than (cough) MotoGP.
Updating the ‘hairbrush in front of the mirror’ pastime of the 80s, SingStar games are a bit like hard drugs – acceptable at parties, a bit disturbing if indulging alone. With the help of studios including Relentless and fellow Brighton firm Zoë Mode, it seemed like there were more iterations of SingStar than the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ series, and just like those doorstop compilations, they were largely the same, with just ever so slight genre variations and opportunities for bigger and better singalongs.
Number one in the UK video games charts for ages, but not owned by anyone who normally buys games, Zumba Fitness and its sequels were a success for Zoë Mode. The video game exercise revolution was indeed televised and Zumba fans the world over danced themselves thinner to reggaeton, merengue, salsa, cumbia, hip hop, mambo, rumba, flamenco and calypso rhythms. A bit like a Friday night out in one of Brighton’s ‘jazzier’ venues then, just with dodgier visuals and a lot
Words By Steve O’Rourke
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