It can be hard to find good games among the chaff of the Xbox Indie Marketplace, but they’re certainly there. These are three games that I like enough to go back to over and over again every month or so. The fact that their entertainment value holds up so well over time speaks to their quality. This is by no means a comprehensive list—just three games from my collection that I think deserve a special mention.
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We live in an age in which franchises long thought dead rise from the grave, their shambling corpses draped with the finery of modern popular culture to create the illusion of vitality. Some artistic sorcerers do manage to breathe life into the sleeping characters of our youth, reminding us of times past and refreshing our longing for their familiar faces. What magic brings us successful reboots and restorations like Batman Begins, and what devilry haunts us with abominations like The Smurfs? (That’s right. I’m calling it.). Not all franchise face lifts are the same. By taking a look at film and television, we may stumble upon a taxonomy of reboots and help future videogame necromancers invigorate the forgotten.
To briefly define my terms, I will liberally use the term “reboot” to encompass resurrecting franchises as well as deviations from the norm, be they forays into different genres or aesthetic re-branding projects. For example, I would include Kirby’s Dream Course in my definition of a “rebooted” or “refreshed” franchise because the creators were trying to maintain certain elements of the puff-ball’s appeal while simultaneously moving the character into a different genre context. The important feature unifying game “reboots” is the attempt by designers to maintain marketable familiarity during a time of significant transition.
Chapter 1 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 2 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 3 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 4 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 5 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 6 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 7 of Rage Quit is available here.
Chapter 8 of Rage Quit is available in .pdf format here.
“Well who’s responsible for it then?” Theresa once again asked the assembled developers spread out around the fau x-wood table, sitting in plush office chairs that were more comfortable than the one Randal usually had at his desk. The meeting was not going quick at all, and Randal’s only interaction with PB had been exchanges of raised eyebrows and quizzical looks down the length of the table. PB had already been ensconced with the rest of the programmers by the time Randal arrived. Meanwhile, Lea had sent him two more photos, and forwarded him an e-mail from one woman who thought he was “crazy hawt.”
“It is not a database issue,” Oliver said, also for the fourth time. He was sitting across the table from Randal and refusing to look at him.
Note: It should go without saying that there are some spoilers for a few Star Wars events in here, specifically for Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic. If you haven’t played it yet, what is wrong with you? Go play it and come back later.
Intergalactic Star Wars Day was last week, which of course brought the whole Star Wars juggernaut to my mind. I’ve had a soft spot for the original trilogy ever since I first saw it as a wee lad and was (briefly) terrified of Darth Vader as a boy of five or six (or however old I was when my parents doomed me to a life that would forever feel hollow because there are no lightsabers in real life). Nor am I exactly alone in my love for the series and my own inclination to discuss it here. It’s a topic of discussion that everyone comes to sooner or later, and the best thing about Star Wars is that the size and scope of the world—a literal galaxy with its own millennia-spanning history painstakingly constructed (sometimes sloppily) by multiple sources, all ostensibly under the benevolent eye of George Lucas, that there’s almost always something worth discussing.
A few weeks ago the Moving Pixels podcast crew revisited 2007’s Portal in anticipation of the impending release of its sequel.
Well, the sequel has arrived, so we have gotten together once again to consider how well the follow up works in terms of its extended narrative and its various gameplay tweaks.