Monthly Archives: June 2008
Because it’s reached the nonsensicality of regular news media. To be fair, I guess this is a sign of “maturation”. Sigh. Look at us, the constant drive to fill a perceived void of news has finally achieved the same level of perspective loss as mainstream 24/7 news. Awesome.
What’s set me off? Ben Fritz’s (of Variety’s Cut Scene) criticism of Civ 4: Colonization (now with more equivocation). Well, there’s also the portion of Wagner James Au’s brain that is responsible for logical deduction imploding, but let’s face it, that’s just funny.
It just seems like now that people are slowing realizing that games can have complex themes and do in fact address serious topics, game journalists are looking for missteps along those lines anywhere and everywhere.
Hey look guys, there’s a book on colonization that recounts the struggles of New World colonizers. Insensitive trash, right? Maybe the only reason that shit isn’t being berated CNN is because books don’t make enough money, I don’t know. Does anybody remember any furor over the release of the original Colonization? Surely if there was no noteworthy controversy it must be because back in 1994 we were all pigheaded eurocentric bastards.
The thing is, game developers do have a responsibility to address topics like this with the appropriate seriousness. But as a game journalist, you’re not going to encourage developers to do that by whining about your complete lack of perspective. If you really want to to encourage developers to do that, here’s a thought: Set a good example.
How about reserving your criticism for a finished product? If you don’t like a teaser, marketing campaign, etc. before game has been completed, how about showing a little respect for the developer and restricting your discussion to those materials?
It’s not like your readership is going to appreciate your uninformed opinion. I don’t know if this means reviewers are required to finish an entire game before discussing it, but I have to think those reviewers that don’t maintain some self-discipline ensuring their opinion is based on reality as much as possible are going to inevitably suffer compared to their more exacting peers.
In the end, when dealing with a historical subject in any medium, is it somehow invalid to look at just one side’s perspective as long as it isn’t glorified unjustly? Sheer limits of space and time dictate the necessity of some limits, let’s be reasonable. Is simply depicting those actions in a game by their very nature glorifying them? This seems to be Fritz’s main argument, not having played the new game or the original. Of course not, how could it be? Unless you honestly believe games are incapable of being more than just power fantasies.
So here’s a request of game journalists – how about reserving yourself from acting out on the existential insecurity of needing to fill the news void? You’re not really making a great case for developers to take something seriously if you can’t either.
M has been taking up a slot in my Netflix queue for over 2 months. Originally I had gotten it not just because it’s critically acclaimed, but it’s also one of Peter Lorre’s first roles (Peter Lorre rocks).
In the movie, Lorre plays Hans Beckert, a serial killer/rapist who preys on children. Not exactly what you’d call an upbeat film – which naturally then led it to sitting neglected on my counter for quite a while (as happens semi-regularly with the more serious fare in my Netflix queue).
Last week I finally got around to watching it (turns out Peter Lorre rocks in it), and there were a number of interesting comparisons to The Baron, a IF by Victor Gijsbers, which I played recently after a recommendation from a commenter here. In The Baron you play a father who is struggling against his pattern of sexually abusing his daughter. Both explore this same dark side of human nature in different ways.
My Xbox died last week. I’d gotten about 10-12% into GTA 4, too. So to keep myself entertained in its place, in the spirit of Randy’s last Edge article, here’s a few versions of GTA I’d rather be playing:
- You play a celebrity starlet, having to cross town in drunken high speed chases. Crank the satire knob to 11 past GTA 4. (Stems from being tragically riveted by an entertainment news special on Lindsey Lohan while I was working out at the gym one evening).
- You play an ambulance driver an a downward spiral. Never seen it, but the high concept is the same as Bringing Out the Dead.
- While I’ve got Scorsese on my mind, two words: Travis Bickle.
- Still got your music controller peripherals? GTA meets Rock Band. Think VH1′s Bands on the Run.
- You play a rescue worker during 9/11. Games are the new documentary medium.
- GTA with flying cars. I want my flying cars! Wait, these are all supposed to have some sort emotional relevance. But who wouldn’t want to play a game with that made flying cars emotionally relevant?
- Screw going around the city – you’re the hot dog cart vendor. Amidst “Diner Dash” type management and a flurry of minigames, an odd cast of characters tell you about their problems as the threads of their stories weave in and out through the day.
- Any open world city game set in a non-American city. American urban planning sucks.
- I’d really like to play Pat Miller’s (of Token Minorities) Black Panther version of GTA.