I’m excited for the Tron: Legacy movie tomorrow, and in my fervor I convinced myself it was a good idea to go buy and play the Tron: Evolution game since it acts as a bridging story between the first and second movies. At the checkout counter in Best Buy, the young man at the register aksed me, “Cool, is this about riding around on motorcycles and shooting people?” He’d never seen the original Tron and knew nothing about it. I didn’t know where to begin, so I just left it at, “It’s more complicated than that . . .” and paid for my game. On my way to dinner with a friend later that night, I was telling the story and he (who’s my age) asked, “Where does Tron happen? In a computer or a bunch of them?” I had no idea. We talked through it some, combining our memories of the movie with my couple of hours spent with the new game. The end result was just another question. What the hell is Tron anyway?
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Didn’t video games used to be about saving the world or at least a princess or something?
I ask this question as I consider the sorts of games that I have been playing lately. Sure, Fable III, Fallout: New Vegas, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood all contain elements that concern a civilization on the brink of disaster and the player’s role in providing a solution to that threat to the world or region or city-state. However, I have been noticing a tendency on my part when playing these games (especially Fable III and Brotherhood) to get much more involved in the economics of these games and my own investment in them than in paying attention to the noble goal (the common good) of the main plot.
Note: this article deals specifically with elements of Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer that involve torture and sexual assault. It may be troubling for some readers.
Today marks my third and final article on Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, the controversial independent game released earlier this year by psychotherapist Nicolau Chaud. I tend not to spend more than a couple weeks devoted to any one subject, but the swirling back-and-forth discussion surrounding the game in recent weeks has been exciting, thoughtful, and highly rewarding if you wish to read more about it. The designer himself has compiled a roundup of his favorite reviews, interviews and in-depth articles over at the game’s main site, which I would recommend.
In the course of writing about the game, I’ve refrained from lingering too much on my personal feelings regarding it—with the exception of remarks that I’ve made about the quality of the writing, but I attribute that not so much to the gamer side of my personality as it is that parasitic twin in the back of my mind who never got to be an English major. As a calculated metatextual counterpoint, it’s become quite effective. No one could argue that. But interpersonally, when friends and colleagues ask me about the game, my final line of the game comes down to something like this: “Don’t play it. Really. It’s not worth your time. I wish I’d never played it.”
As you may have noticed in the last few weeks of November, nearly every writer at the Moving Pixels blog has had something to say about Fable III (and if you don’t know this, feel free to check out the links below).
From the game’s whimsical aesthetic to its politics to its possibly unfulfilled promises (within the game itself and from Lionhead about what the game offers as an experience), we all have some opinion on this newest iteration of the saga of the hero of Albion.
I’ve always preferred arcade racing games over racing sims. I can’t bring myself to care about Gran Turismo 5; no matter how many assists it might add for beginners. The subtitle “The Real Driving Simulator” will always be a turn off. The same goes for Forza, Need for Speed: Shift, and Grid. Thankfully, this year saw the release of three high profile arcade racers back-to-back-to-back: Split/Second, Blur, and Mod Nation Racers. While I admit that I haven’t yet played Mod Nation Racers, when I played the other two games I was so disheartened that I went crawling back to a perennial classic in a desperate attempt to reignite my love of the genre. I bought Burnout: Revenge, and was instantly hooked. Replaying it now, it’s obvious what sets Criterion’s masterpiece (personally I’m not a fan of the open world in Paradise) apart from its competitors. It’s a single and perfectly implemented mechanic: the ability to ram cars.