The consequences of death are given no thought in most video games, where, even in the most open-ended games, the player’s role is that of an iterator, mechanically moving the plot from one position to another, engaging the game by turning pages and being allowed access to new experiences. The threat of death creates the illusion of challenge, though in modern games it simply results in a restart at the most recent checkpoint.
In You Only Live Once, death is the point, as are grief and liability, and had me laughing both at the game and myself, in that it never occurred to me, after all the platforms I’ve jumped short of, that Mario may have broken his neck as he hit the ground.
Well-known actress Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with Whip It, the story of a Texas teenage girl Bliss (Ellen Page) who decides to rebel against her beauty pageant upbringing and trades in her chances for a crown in for a pair of roller skates to enter the world of roller derby. “You are my new hero,” Bliss tells one roller derby star who she watches pass out flyers for an upcoming event. The derby star tells her, “Well, grab a pair of skates and be your own hero.” Her mother (portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden) vehemently disapproves against her choice and makes her opinions known as her father secretly supports her efforts.
The movie is about relationships, focuses on female empowerment and the world of derby gives Bliss the opportunity to find out where she belongs, make some friends and find herself along the way.
This post is about a video game, but I implore even the non-gamers among us to pay attention, because The Shivah, though it first came out in 2006, is still in a class of its own. You can see right on the cover art that it’s a “rabbinical adventure of mourning and mystery”, which you generally won’t find at your local game dealer. The Shivah is normally a scant $4.99, and is of such a high caliber that it almost feels wrong to take it for free, but Lincolns can be hard to come by these days, and the man (developer Dave Gilbert) is just giving it away. Go herebefore midnight tonight and use the coupon code “FreeShivah” to obtain one of the more notable indie games of the past few years.
The appeal of music games, from PaRappa the Rappa to Rock Band, has never been tied to how close they simulate making actual music, but to the challenge of memory and dexterity, the excitement of trying to keep up with the flow of notes, and the euphoria of being in sync with the rhythm.
Activision’s DJ Hero, hitting North America on October 27th, provides another interface to that tried-and-true experience. The turntable controller has a crossfader and three color-coded buttons for the player to scratch and mash as they scramble to keep pace with the music. A number of artists (e.g. DJ Shadow, Grand Master Flash, Jay-Z) will be playable avatars in the game, and Daft Punk, in addition to their virtual likenesses, have offered some of their stage sets and the following new, exclusive mashups:
Daft Punk “Around the World” vs. Young MC “Bust A Move”
Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. NASA “Strange Enough ft. Karen O, ODB and Fatlip”
Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”
Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Hashim “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)”
Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Queen “We Will Rock You”
Daft Punk “Short Circuit” vs. Boogie Down Productions “Jack Of Spades”
Daft Punk “Technologic” vs. Gary Numan “Cars”
Daft Punk “Television Rules The Nation” vs. No Doubt “Hella Good”
There are three more unannounced mixes. Check the video below for some prerendered footage and brief glimpses of the gameplay.
Dhani Harrison, son of Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison, appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Tuesday 8 September, to discuss The Beatles: Rock Band video game. Harrison, a musician and video game designer, helped develop and create the newest sensation for Beatlemania. He was also responsible for getting Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on board. Wrapping up Tuesday’s show, Conan, along with Tonight Show staff member Aaron Bleyaert, and Tonight Show band member Mark Pender, joined Harrison on Rock Band‘s version of “Birthday”.
The game was officially released on Wednesday, 9 September, along with the complete remastered Beatles catalog. The new digitally remastered albums have been dominating Amazon.com’s best-seller list. The game has been ranking first for Playstation 3, and second in sales for both Wii and XBOX360.