Games

TWiG 2009-03-09: All Around Me Are Familiar Faces...

New releases for the week of 2009-03-09

When Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Glaser and their friends got together to make The Running Man back in 1987, there's a good chance that none of them had any idea how prescient it would seem 20 years later. Is there anyone, at this point, that doubts that killing in the name of sport hasn't crossed the mind in a very real way of at least one major television executive at this point? The Running Man, with the benefit of hindsight, is now more of a satirical statement on the direction of television than it is a gruesome sci-fi fantasy; while both elements certainly existed when the movie was released, the balance in emphasis between the two has shifted.

Of course, nobody could have predicted that the runner and the biggest, baddest stalker in the movie would go on to be governors less than 20 years later either, but perhaps I'm getting off topic.

Madworld, coming out for the Wii (of all consoles) this week, is for all intents and purposes a 21st-century update of The Running Man -- that is, it centers around a sadistic gameshow on which mayhem and death are leveraged for entertainment purposes. Of course, it's a little different this time around, as the "game show" is put on by terrorists, and most of the participants are simply the unwitting inhabitants of a fictional city, but it's the same idea, more or less. It's The Running Man as drawn by Frank Miller, with a little bit of Gears of War thrown in for chainsaw-related purposes. I'm almost ashamed to say it also looks fun as hell, even if you're not into violence for its own sake.

Will the satirical elements be as strong as those in The Running Man? Probably not, given that it's more of a "save the city" narrative than a "save your ass" narrative (with a subtext of "look what entertainment has come to!"). Regardless, I can't wait to find out.

Also releasing this week is, of course, Resident Evil 5, which I haven't wanted to talk about at all, quite frankly, but I suppose I can't ignore it any more. It looks like Resident Evil, except that it's in Africa, and it's all shiny and smooth, thanks to the current generation of hardware it's been developed for. You still can't move while you're shooting, but people are bound to love it anyway. As for the elephant in the room, I just want to say that racist intent is not a prerequisite to racist product. I haven't seen the game (or even the demo for that matter), so I can't make a judgment on it, but the single most ridiculous argument I've seen as to why parts of Resident Evil 5 can't possibly be racist is because its developers didn't intend for them to be.

You see? This is why I never want to talk about it.

Elsewhere, we get a boardgame (Trivial Pursuit), some rehashes (Nintendo's New Play Control! series), high-powered dirtbikes (SBK), and a whole pile of DS shovelware. Hooray!

Tell us what you're playing this week, or try and bait me into a Resident Evil 5 conversation. Your pick.

DS:

Dream Day: Wedding Destination (9 March)

My Pet Shop (9 March)

Animal Planet: Emergency Vets (10 March)

Avalon Code (10 March)

Boing! Docomodake (10 March)

My English Coach (10 March)

MySims Party (10 March)

World Championship Games: A Track & Field Event (10 March)

Jake Power: Handyman (11 March)

Moomin: The Great Autumn Party (13 March)

PC:

SpongeBob SquarePants: Big Kahuna Cookoff (9 March)

Codename Panzers: Cold War (10 March)

EVE Online Special Edition (10 March)

World in Conflict: Complete Edition (10 March)

Strike Force Red Cell (15 March)

Xbox 360:

Trivial Pursuit (10 March)

NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness Edition (11 March, Xbox Live Arcade)

Resident Evil 5 (13 March)

Strike Force Red Cell (15 March)

PSP:

Mana Khemia: Student Alliance (10 March)

Wii:

New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis (9 March)

New Play Control! Pikmin (9 March)

Madworld (10 March)

MySims Party (10 March)

Totally Spies! Totally Party (10 March)

Trivial Pursuit (10 March)

Marble Saga: Kororinpa (11 March)

PS3:

SBK: Superbike World Championship (10 March)

Trivial Pursuit (10 March)

Resident Evil 5 (13 March)

PS2:

Trivial Pursuit (10 March)

Moomin The Mysterious Howling (13 March)

MadWorld Uncensored European Holiday Trailer


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