It’s winter! Or at least, it is where I am. As we enter one of the coldest winters in British history (according the hyperbolic mainstream media), it’s hard to think our southern hemispheric friends will be enjoying the sunshine and not lamenting its absence.Whether you’re curled up by a roaring fireplace or lazing by a smouldering barbecue, I hope you enjoy this month’s Blogs of the Round Table.

November’s theme was Origins. I had my own origin experience when I launched my new videogame culture magazine Five out of Ten, and if you thought I wasn’t going to plug it here then I’m sorry to disappoint you. The first issue features the work of our own Kris Ligman and friend-of-CD Brendan Keogh. The theme is ‘New Horizons’, which you might remember was the BoRT theme for September. It’s like bonus BoRT! Buy a copy! It’s the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone in your life.

Anyway, on with the show…


“Like it or not, our early years in life are formative. The people we meet and the experiences we share influence the course of our lives. Why should the video games we play be any different?

What are your earliest memories of gaming? How do you think your childhood (or childish adulthood) experiences of gaming have influenced your life, if at all? Are there any game origin stories that reflect your own?”

Christopher Floyd writes about the multilingual wonders of Sega manuals. While American and Japanese game manuals (remember those?) were presumably wafer-thin, European manuals were case-bursting tomes. Either way, it’s a shame that manuals have been reduced to controls stamped on a card, as they were great to read on your way home from the store (remember those?)

Mike Schiller had an Atari 2600 and remembers imagining lumps of misshapen pixels as Pac-Man, football players and ET – the latter a bit misshapen by design, of course. He talks about the arcane magicks required to load a game on the PCJr: it’s interesting how far we have come in the age of one-tap downloads, but also how basic computing knowledge is being eroded as devices are simplified. Is that a good or bad thing? That’s probably a topic for another BoRT…

A poignant moment with Qbert in Wreck-It Ralph made Matt Krehbiel cry. This is a meditation on ‘gaming for the sake of fun’ – put away your pitchforks, academics – and it’s got a picture of ET if you didn’t believe my joke in the last paragraph. Seriously, he’s got a face like a melting scab.

Michelle Baldwin talks about how early games required more imagination. Is that part of the reason why they linger in the mind more than modern releases? This imaginative requirement, Michelle argues, fostered a creative streak that has influenced her life and career.

George Blott often prefers to watch games rather than play them. Now he watches web streams rather than acting as a live audience- because he spends his time making games rather than playing them.

A blogger mysteriously known as ‘TifaIA’ regards Final Fantasy IV as the most important game of their childhood. It’s really interesting to read about a game I’ve never even played before (the only FF I’ve ever finished is XIII, sorry), especially one that is influential on so many levels for at least one player.

Finally, a more personal origin story from myself for Five out of Ten about Ecco the Dolphin, writing my first real piece of games work and growing up as a gamer.

Thanks again to all of our contributors: great to see new faces… err, avatars every month.

Don’t forget to add the BoRT Linkomatic 5000 to your blog. Just embed the following code on your blog’s page:

<iframe type="text/html" width="600" height="20" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

And you’ll get this:

If you have trouble embedding the Linkomatic 5000, let me know on Twitter and I’ll try my best to help.

We’re going to take a break this month as we’re working on some Critical Distance end-of-year festivities. BoRT will return in January – see you then!