The UEA Media Collective has continued its gradual branching-out into all manner of media and entertainment this academic year, particularly with the new online show on video games, Platformer, being released bimonthly on UEA TV. As Venue draws to an end this semester, let’s look back on the Let’s Play series – directed and presented by James Penny, and filmed and edited by Alex Viney – discussing the games played, and why you should check out the show.
Every other month, Penny has been having guests join him in reviewing and entertaining themselves with a selection of popular gaming titles from the last decade. In the first episode – a spooky Halloween special – we watched him play the multiplayer survival horror game, Friday the 13th, with Livewire programmer Alex Dalton. From there, Penny has been checking out titles such as the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, with Viney, Dalton and co-presenter Jacob Simmons making regular appearances.
With a running time of roughly ten minutes each, Platformer’s episodes give a brief insight to some of the biggest gaming titles available at the moment as well as an opportunity to kick back, have some laughs, and take a break from the hectic schedule of day-to-day university. The episode on Super Smash Bros Ultimate – the stunning crossover fighting game released in December 2018 on Nintendo Switch – was one that particularly demonstrated how picking up a video game with friends makes a fun change of pace from studying in the library or getting smashed at the LCR. As Penny, Simmons, Dalton and Viney take to their Switch consoles in a battle for The Flat Cap of Fortune (a very impressive piece of headwear, I must say), all chaos breaks loose as the guys fight as various Nintendo legends like Link, Princess Peach and Falco Lombardi.
Perhaps the series’ most impressive feat, though, has been their 24-hour Twitch stream in aid of Jailbreak. The team played LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga – one of the classics in modern multiplayer games. ‘While it certainly wasn’t without its problems (the 21 hours spent in a non-ventilated room being the prime issue),’ Penny shares, ‘it was just an amazing experience bringing in society members to play the game, engage with the Twitch chat, and just generally having a laugh together.’
The team are certainly excited to go further with the series. ‘Platformer has been an absolute joy to do, as it’s the perfect excuse to play video games with my friends and not feel like I’m wasting my life,’ jokes Simmons. ‘In all seriousness, the show is always a delight, as everyone works so hard to make it the most professional, enjoyable experience for both the audience and crew.’ When asked about Platformer’s future, Penny claimed, ‘I’ve still got another year left at UEA, so there is plenty of opportunity to do more things with the team. The equipment for livestreaming on Twitch is just about there, so expect some more content over the summer!’
You can keep an eye on Platformer’s Twitch channel at: www.twitch.tv/platformer_james