The gamer

Completely batty: Vampire Therapist reviewed

Grade: B+ Looter-shooters, match-three games, dragons and spaceships… Sometimes you despair of video games doing the same thing again and again – and then a lone developer gets a severe bump on the head and produces something completely batty.  Vampire Therapist is a comedic adventure-story therapy-simulation starring a vampire, except he’s also a cowboy, and he’s training to be a cognitive behavioural therapist in the backroom of a German nightclub under the tutelage of a 3,000-year-old bisexual vampire who was romantic with Marcus Aurelius back in the day.  Our hero was a bad vamp in the Wild West for many years, you see, but he fell in with the Transcendentalists

Gorgeous and deeply absorbing: Manor Lords reviewed

Grade: A ‘God games’, as they used to be called, have a storied history. SimCity, Civilisation and the excellently sadistic Dungeon Keeper have all been responsible for many a PhD thesis being delivered late. The Almighty seems to have smiled on the latest iteration of the genre. The product of a one-man-band independent developer, Greg Styczen, its current pre-release version scored a million downloads on the first day it was available. You can see why. It’s made with such care and love. You take the role of a medieval lord of the manor – choose a surly avatar and a coat of arms – who starts with a handful of

Video games aren’t a total waste of time

My wife argues with the children about video games. I argue with the children about video games. The children argue with each other about video games. Consequently, I argue with my wife about video games. It is a total nightmare – and it’s one that in various versions will be replicated in houses with young children up and down the country. The problem, in part, is a cultural divide. It frustrates me, too, when the children refuse to come off Rocket League or Fifa when they’re told to (‘I’m in the middle of a game!’). I’m also wary of the addictive nature of these things. But at the same time

Pointless but beautiful – and good for going to sleep to: Monument Valley reviewed

I was going to write about Monument Valley, and I suppose I will eventually, but first I have to write about this total catastrophe that has overwhelmed my life. Online Scrabble has gone! This was the proper Mattel trademark version that I’ve been playing for years with friends and it has suddenly been replaced by some hideous all-singing all-dancing version called Scrabble GO which looks like Candy Crush and — worse — is infested with ads. Not quick flash ads either but interminable videos about, say, a new type of squeegee. Everyone tells me I will get used to it eventually but I’m not sure I want to. Did you

Why do they call it a game? It is servitude: Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing reviewed

Welcome to my debut as gaming correspondent, the apex of my journalistic career! And how witty of The Spectator to choose someone who has never played a computer game in her life. But luckily I have some grandchildren to advise me. First decision is what games console I want and the general consensus is Nintendo Switch, which has the advantage of being small and portable and not attached to the television. Then — what game? The experts recommend Animal Crossing because, they say, it is foolproof. (Ha!) So I order a Nintendo, which takes days to come (apparently ‘everyone’ is into gaming during lockdown) and go through the rigmarole of