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All posts by Pippa Tshabalala

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 Jo'burg, she is currently the On-Air Producer for MTV Base and a 2013 Brand Ambassador for Adidas South Africa.
  • 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...

  • 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. Read more on Gearburn.

  • 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

    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!) Read more on Gearburn.

  • 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...

  • rAge Expo 2015 recap: was it the best rAge ever?

    This past weekend saw gamers from all over Gauteng (and some who made their way from other provinces), converge on TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg for the annual rAge Expo. All things gaming and tech related were on display for the hordes of visitors that made their way through the door. I’ve been attending rAge for approximately ten years. In fact 2014 was the first year I’ve missed since I started working in this industry, and it wasn’t out of choice! Read more on Gearburn.

  • 5 family-friendly LEGO games for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

    I wanted to call this article “next gen LEGO round up”, but to be fair here this is no longer “next-gen”. The problem is I've called it that for so many years that habits are hard to break! Anyway, the point was that I've been playing a lot of LEGO games lately. Like, a lot! Why, you ask. Well the simple fact is I have a four-year-old son, and he loves LEGO games. Luckily, I do too so I figured I should share my ultimate LEGO video game list for current-gen consoles. Read more on Gearburn.

  • 5 seriously addictive and free Android games

    We all spend an inordinately large amount of time on our phones. I won't deny that I'm a big culprit here, if I'm not answering emails or browsing social media, I'm playing games on my phone. Yes I might have a problem, but it's undoubtedly exacerbated by games such as these. They're fun and incredibly addictive! While I have used iOS devices in the past, I've stuck to five seriously playable Android games for free in this piece. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Virtual calamities: 5 of the worst virtual reality devices ever made

    2015 has been the year of virtual reality. The Oculus Rift, Sony Project Morpheus, Google Cardboard and the HTC Vive – these are all devices that have us on the edge of our seats in anticipation. Virtual Reality (VR) is not a new concept however, it’s been around in a variety of forms for a decade or two, just perhaps not always as, er… successful as it is now. Perhaps it was the technological limitations of hardware at the time, perhaps it was a marketing and/or consumer issue, however VR simply never took off in the consumer market and has...

  • ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ is a dense, visual masterpiece

    This is not a full review. I say this right up front because I haven’t quite finished playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and I really don’t want to be giving a definitive answer to a series that I love so much and yet I haven’t played to the nth degree. Why haven’t I finished it you might ask? Well, mainly because I’m taking my time savouring absolutely every little piece of the experience. And what an experience it is. I bought the PlayStation 4 Collector’s Edition of this game – the first one I’ve bought in a while — and...

  • Slated for stardom: Gearburn’s top 6 tablets for Christmas 2014

    We use them for entertainment, for business, for pretty much everything and during the festive period, chances are they'll be one of the top tech stocking fillers this year. Although devices like the iPad are often foremost in our minds, it is certainly not the only way to go when it comes to tablets. There are plenty of devices out there that offer an experience equally as good. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • PlayStation TV review-in-brief: should you buy it?

    There's quite a bit of movement in the connected TV space, and console makers are zoning in on this phenomenon. Consoles are becoming the centre of the living room and as a result, home entertainment too. So those consoles that can stretch their non-gaming legs invariably trump those that don't. I'm talking about the Xbox One here, but Sony has launched something interesting for its PlayStation range that seems to get one over on its Microsoft rival -- the PlayStation TV, or PSTV for short. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Beyond gameplay: 10 video game cinematics that’ll give you chills

    There is nothing quite like sitting down to play a game and being greeted by the most beautiful and epic cinematic sequence. One of my earliest memories of these are the Warcraft cutscenes, specifically Warcraft III, which was one of the standards held up as the pinnacle of awesome animation in my 3D Animation course at the time. Of course since then, epic cutscenes à la Warcraft have become a staple, and if there are no amazing cutscenes that hold you in suspense, have you sitting on the edge of your seat, well then, your game better have something amazing...