How is This Game so Addictive?! by Allison James

Seven pence says you thought I was referring to "Minecraft". Wrong! I'll start my story with it though.Back in August-September 2010, all I ever saw was Minecraft. Minecraft, Minecraft, bloody Minecraft. So I bought it. Four or so months and what I wouldn't be surprised to be upwards of 500 accumulated play hours (~21 days), LittleBigPlanet 2 finally came along and wrenched the diamond pickaxes and 64-cobblestone stacks out of my mitts, replacing them with cute faces and versatile level editors.To my strong annoyance, I lost "something" halfway through the storymode and one published level into LBP2. I don't know what it was I lost. I'm not tired of the game, I'm not disappointed by it. I just can't quite pump up the energy needed to play it. My interest has dwindled.Cue Tombi, the £65 preowned PlayStation 1 game. Amazing, amazing game. I got a bit stuck in it, and plan to finish it. But, while it completely knocked LBP2 out of my schedule, I then got a little craving. A craving I'm all too familiar with. A game which just keeps on coming back into my life, demanding more and more attention. A game I've probably played more than any other (I've certainly sunk hundreds of hours into the entire series), of which I just cannot get enough of.Skate 3.I just don't know why, but the realistic physics, the freeform gameplay, the ability to hit grannies around the face with a skateboard and watch as they taser you for revenge. The ability to video silly clips and upload them to YouTube. The L2+R2+L3+R3 command that makes your skater fall off their board, and the ability to subsequently, or after a running jump, do moves that let you roll around the ground, do headstands or dropkick people. The observatory with a big dam/sewer/deep-rampy-pipe thing that gives you enough momentum to cross the entire goddamn island, hitting the low point, a sports area great for tricks, without actually kicking off once (I love doing this run holding L2+R2 to make the skater hold onto their board with both hands and squat).It's just... argh. Grand Theft Auto IV can do this too - freeform, completely replayable, physics engine that allows for some cracking things (pushing people down stairs or over kerbs or fences and seeing them fall over comically). But I don't know why, but Skate 3 always seems to be "the one". I guess it's the ability to pillock about without fear of death. Hit by a car? Respawn immediately at the same point. Fall off a cliff? *Whack bam smack!* *gets back up*It's a cracking game, and has given me a level of fun Tony Hawk hasn't achieved since Pro Skater 2 - and I'm pretty sure that's just nostalgia, now. It's cheap as hell to buy (I often see brand new copies of Skate 3 going for £10-£15, and nearly-as-good-and-just-as-addictive Skate 2 is even less), and I would whole-heartedly recommend it. The story mode is cack, but you get the entire world to play in and never HAVE to do any missions or tasks. That's where the fun lies.I bet you seven pence I'll preorder Skate 4. You lose.

Tombi, The £65 Preowned PS1 Game by Allison James

I have no idea where this sudden urge to blog multiple times has come from, honest!Being in employment, I finally have some money I can use to "complete" my video game collection. When I say complete, I mean of all the games I've ever wanted to own as opposed to absolutely everything (nigh on impossible!). In the last eight months or so I've been able to acquire such games as Gitaroo Man and Amplitude (both the sequel to a game I was lucky enough to get early, FreQuency, and the precursor to Harmonix's more famous games Guitar Hero 1 & 2 and the Rock Band series), two games that next to never appear in game stores and cost a good £20 pre-owned on sites like eBay - rather expensive for an old PlayStation 2 game. Kula World, sealed copies of which can sell for £200, and Bishi Bashi Special, another firm favourite game of mine (which I stupidly bought new but sold), were lucky hits as they both appeared as downloadable games on the PlayStation Store.But there's always been one I've never managed to own, and arguably the one I've wanted most. Tombi, known in America (AFAIK) as either Tomba or Tonba, has never appeared in any other application or on any other console. It's not on the PS Store, the franchise has been gone since Tombi 2 around ten years ago, also on PS1, and copies of it are about as common as days Paris Hilton isn't blowing some random bloke off.I've scouted eBay for months now, always looking for a cheap copy of Tombi. It's never happened. Copies usually sell for £60-70 for a working, used copy, new copies cost upwards of £300. It's scarce as all hell. But goddamn, it's a beautiful game. I'd happily recommend it if it was more readily available; alas, it's not, and I doubt I'd persuade many people with "It's a great 2D platformer, well worth the $120", so all I'll say is "if you're a lucky enough bastard to find a cheap copy, get it".But today I caved in. A copy selling on eBay for £72 (£1.99 P&P, £69.99 game) sat in my eyeline, longing for my money. So I put an offer in at £53.01, which would with P&P total £55. I got counteroffered - £64.99 for the game. Counteroffering with £58.01, bringing the total game cost to £60, I got it one more time with a final offer of £62.99. I accepted.I figure there's some sense to it all. If I truly love the game (which I suspect I will), I can keep it and it'll be a little personal treasure. If I complete it and have no desire to do so again, or if I don't even like it as much as the demo I used to replay continuously made me think I will, I can put it back on eBay and essentially get my money back!Whatever happens, all I'll know is the moment it pops through my letterbox, before I give it a PS3 to run it, I'll give it a hug. It cost me enough to warrant one!