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All posts by Pippa Tshabalala: Columnist

Pippa Tshabalala: Columnist
Pippa Tshabalala is the former presenter of The Verge -- South Africa's first locally produced TV show on videogames. She has a passion for all things gaming and tech related as well as a growing collection of tattoos. Based in Johannesburg, she is currently the On-Air Producer for Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Nicktoons. Find her @unexpectedpippa on Twitter or at unexpectedpippa.co.za.
  • Inside, The Witness & more: Pippa’s 8 best indie games of 2016 (so far)

    We know all about the big titles, with marketing material splashed all over our screens, magazines and billboards. But what about the hidden gems? The indie titles with smaller budgets but just as much heart (sometimes more). Have a look at the list to the best indie games of the year so far. The Witness The Witness comes from Braid developer Jonathan Blow (which means you know it’s going to be mind-bendingly challenging). It’s a first-person puzzle adventure game, in which you explore an unnamed island. You also uncover mazes which you must solve in order to continue and unlock subsequent puzzles,...

  • Overwatch, Uncharted & Dark Souls: the 10 best games of the year (so far)

    We are now half way through the year -- can you believe it? It always kind of sneaks up on you, and in this industry, the games that you thought were so far away from release are suddenly upon you, taunting you with their price tags… There have however been some pretty spectacular ones so far, and this is that list! Overwatch Honestly, Overwatch is not particularly original. It’s a multiplayer FPS with some standard archetypes. It is however, a ridiculous amount of fun! The cartoon styling looks beautiful, the action is fast paced and actively promotes teamwork. DOOM DOOM has a long history...

  • Link, Ico & Ellie: 5 of the most incredible child characters in gaming

    I started this piece as a follow up to my previous character roundup (of female protagonists) thinking "how hard can this be?" This is primarily because it's particularly difficult to write good, believable child characters. Too often they're unnecessarily cutesy or by contrast they're written as overtly "wise" in order to fulfil a certain role within the game -- be it exposition or a relatable moral thermometer. Either way, finding a really well written character under the age of 18 isn't as easy as I thought, and took a great deal more research and trawling through my library of games...

  • Lara, Jade and Samus: 7 of the most badass female characters in gaming

    Playable female characters in video games have been over-sexualised and under-represented for years. Recently, there has been greater attention drawn to this imbalance within the video game industry, and a drive to include more female characters as protagonists. While on some levels I'm a little conflicted about writing this list,. There is a part of me that looks to these characters as strong and inspirational role models (insofar as you can consider a digital, fictional character a role model). While the term “strong female protagonist" is somewhat overused and ambiguous, it does provide us with an entry point to discuss...

  • The evolution of Far Cry: from the South Pacific to the Mesolithic

    For many gamers, the Far Cry series was and is a pivotal title in their gaming careers – certainly it was for mine. It's not as if it was the only FPS I've ever played, however at the time it set itself apart with exceptional graphics, good level design and interesting locations that set it apart from its peers. 12 years down the line and 11 games in, Far Cry remains a series with a loyal following, as well as one which still holds appeal to new players. The question then is, how do the developers manage to keep this series...

  • Sony Xperia Z5 review: a show jumping workhorse

    I need to state up front that I am a Sony Xperia Brand Ambassador. I don't want to be accused of hiding it so I'm being very open about that fact right off the bat. This post is also not sponsored by Sony in any way. Now that that's out of the way, there's also a reason I agreed to be a Brand Ambassador for Sony Xperia. The Xperia range, while not without faults, is a damn good series of smartphones and the Sony Xperia Z5 is no different. There are three phones in the Z5 range -- the Sony Xperia...

  • 5 awesome holiday gifts for kids

    'Tis the season for family, for goodwill, and to be spending crap loads of money on stuff for your kids. Let's not lie, that's the reality. We're here to help you spend that bonus however, by advising you on what gadgets are likely to be on your tech savvy kids Christmas list. Don't worry if you feel your kids are a hell of a lot more advanced than you on the tech front however. I mean, they probably are, but you're not alone - there are plenty of people out there whose kids are rolling their eyes at their...

  • Star Wars Battlefront review: beautiful but brainless

    Star Wars: Battlefront is DICE's latest attempt to reinvigorate the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. Based on the Star Wars franchise (duh), this is the third major release of this series, but this time around you're looking less at a sequel and more at a reboot. Thank goodness. First things first, a quick rundown. You can travel across multiple planets, Endor, Tattooine, Hoth, Jakku and Sullust. You have the ability to customise your characters, gear and abilities (like most other games of this ilk). You choose to play either as a Rebel Alliance soldier or as an Imperial Stormtrooper. You can...

  • Need For Speed (2015) review: fast and forgettable

    Note: Apologies to those readers who previously experienced a 404 error while attempting to connect to this page. The issues have been now been solved. Need for Speed is a franchise that has seen a thousand iterations (or at least it certainly seems like it), and thousands of hours clocked by gamers over the years. There have been games within the franchise that revolutionised the concept of the arcade racer, forever changing our relationship with Need for Speed, and games that made us curse that we ever spent R800 on a game (I'm looking at you Pro Street!) At its core,...

  • Pippa’s top 5 rAge 2015 moments

    rAge 2015 has come and gone, and although it's a slightly shorter wait than usual (if you plan on attending rAge Cape Town as well) until the next one, there are always moments that stand out every year. We've gone and narrowed it down to five. Read more: 4 numbers that tell rAge 2015’s story The NAG Jam Those of us in the gaming industry are well aware of the concept of a Game Jam, but 2015 saw the inaugural NAG Jam take place in the weeks preceding rAge 2015. Some amazing games were made in a mere 72 hours, some of...