Far Cry 2 was, and still is, an anomaly in the world of shooters: A big-budget franchise shooter power fantasy that undercut its power fantasy with constant reminders that this kind of violence has consequences. Throughout the game your friends die, your friends betray you, and in the end, we team with the central villain to save some refugees before we both kill ourselves; doing something good before we let our violence consume us. It was a world that fought back at us as much as we fought it, and everyone was corrupted by the violence.
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This post contains major spoilers for This Is the Police.
Tragedy isn’t a genre that video games handle especially well. I’m talking about classical tragedy, a story about a protagonist that is going to lose, like Macbeth or like King Lear. You may already see where I’m going with this. Video gamers are not accustomed to playing to lose.
Winning is, generally speaking, the essential goal of games. Earn the most points, complete all of the challenges, or “beat the game”, these are all measurements of win-states. Lose-states are what the gamer intends to avoid.
Event is a mystery that revolves around whether or not we can trust an AI. It’s a standard story conceit in sci-fi—the suspicious computer—but event adds its twist to the trope by highlighting the unique tragedy of artificial life. This is one of the few games that acknowledges the ugly implications of a computerized intelligence.
Following our discussion of last year’s smash cut heavy Virginia, the Moving Pixels podcast decided to take a look back at one of Virginia‘s gaming inspirations, Thirty Flights of Loving.
This week the podcast looks at the avant-garde games of indie developer Blendo Games.
It’s funny how the word ‘free’ has become almost pejorative when it comes to gaming. Haunting stories of shady tracking and flat-out player manipulation by Freemium game companies and accounts of people obsessively spending inordinate amounts in virtual marketplaces designed to feed off the easily-hooked have done a good job of filling in the picture of how these games twist the meaning of ‘free’ to still fit their monetization strategies.
The one part of gaming that can lay claim to true, untarnished ‘freeness’ is the open-source world, where other incentives besides profit drive creativity. This niche is rarely discussed in mainstream media as many of these games are rudimentary code-sketches, with art and gameplay light-years behind their commercial counterparts. Their relative obscurity hides a game-making model that is completely unique in how it blurs the line between playing a game and developing it, fosters long-lasting communities and does it all without a lick of profit in the crosshairs. While making quality products according to this model might sound utopian, there is at least one game out there that has proved this is possible.