Posts tagged ‘pc games’

New Divekick and Sir You are Being Hunted

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Sir You Are Being Hunted

Top down design, according to Mark Rosewater of magic the gathering, is when the story is the creative point for the game. In the case of Sir You Are Bring hunted, the summery after glow of BBC Science Fiction series is the top of the iceberg. Robots, gentlemen robots mind you, are you hunting you through the English countryside. While fodder for a juvenile nightmare, it does lead to some good game design. A hot air balloon hovers around the island, and it has a peculiar Knack of catching you off guard. Robots dogs pin you to the ground, and heavy ferns are your cover. In a slight nod to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series of games, Sir is hard, fairly open world, and given to little blue anomalies that swim around and can give away your position at night. This isn’t Dishonored, there is no free climbing mechanic, you can’t wrestle a robot from it’s back (that I know of), and the player is more than effected, you are often crawling through British underbrush fearing for your life. The goal of the game is simple, find the 8 steaming hot pieces of a machine, and bring them back to your stone henge like base. Fortunately, because this is a game, getting those pieces requires looking out for balloons, hiding from robot hunters, and finally scrambling through ruined houses for food. Food is plentiful, but good food is scarce. Bad eggs will cause your stamina to plummet. One more good idea in the game is the damage system. If your stamina is high, you will recover health. Add to this that each shot that hits you has a chance to inflict bleeding, bleeding doesn’t stop till you bandage the wound, hence even small gunfire can be deadly.

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Sir is in alpha so I will forgive one simple problem with the game: it feels tedious. The game lacks missions and objectives that make it interesting. The 8 fetch quests per island become perilous quickly which adds to the challenge, but hiding in weeds quickly becomes boring. Perhaps I haven’t played it enough, but the game does need more options for out witting your robotic foes. It’s not a game about empowerment, it’s a game about tossing a bottle for a momentary distraction in order to desperately run for a smoking part only to be chased by robo dogs, and then bandage your wounds in tall grass before hoping to sneak by some more hunters and loot a house that will hopefully give you food. I am about 90% confident, this game will rock on launch.

Divekick

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Divekick is the exact opposite of top down design. It is rather a game derived mechanically from an over familiarity with a genre. Divekick is a fighting game and and it consists of 2 buttons: jump and kick. This extreme minimalism is surprisingly enlightening. Divekick boils the genre down to a scenario and produces incredible game play from there. Fighting games could be taken down further, but Divekick reveals how much depth simple stance, stature, and stage can produce. All of this fails to mention the kicks, which are surprisingly unique and deadly. Dive and Kick have straight forward and fast kicks, other characters can warp, some can even leave traces behind that count as collision, and my pick was a horned monster Internet troll who can barrel in the air putting himself at risk, but also extending his reach. Divekick is exactly what indie games should be: quick, effective, and interesting. That is also a discourse in a genre, is icing on the cake. Strongly recommend especially for the 9.99 usd price point. It’s so much fun and surprisingly strategic too.

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August 22, 2013 at 7:37 am Leave a comment

Dishonored

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When I wasn’t rolling around drunk trying to get Ladyboys to sleep with me this weekend I was in Dishonored. Dishonored is in actuality a revenge story and less a return to honor. If Corvo loses his merit badge is entirely up to the player. The game centers around Chaos, a meter that fills each time you kill an enemy in the game. Higher chaos means more bloodshed while lower chaos implies more stealth and fewer rats. The plot is fairly simple: Corvo Attano is a bodyguard to the empress, the empress is killed and you’re framed for it. A prison escape ensues and while the game progresses we learn more about a whale oil run Victorian metropolis infected by a foreign born rat plague that leaves it victims Zombie like and the city desolate in it’s wake. Corvo is rescued by a group of “loyalists” eager to return the crown to it’s rightful heir. Moral decisions await you.

The game is brilliant for a manor of reasons. The plot is only slight above comic book level, in fact it could be an Xmen comic except it lacks as many super powers and surprisingly the protagonist is rather frail. The mechanics are original, but derived from similar stealth game play techniques found in Thief and Assassin’s Creed. Drop from heights to kill, choke hold from the back, and of course the magic shhh I am ducking down so you can’t see me or hear me. Bottles can be thrown to attract or distract attention. Additions to this usual crew of abilities include possessing animals and later humans, an X-ray vision ability, the ability to summon rats, and blink a short range teleport. The later is almost required by the game. These abilities aren’t what makes it brilliant, but their originality, especially possession, make the game play more endearing than most FPS games. What is brilliant is the way the game consistently frames violence and vengeance.

Corvo is given a lethal and non-lethal option of solving his assassination targets. In one level for instance a street gang offers to kidnap the aristocratic / lecherous owners of a stone mine and put them to work in their own mines, or you can lethally kill them in person or via steam bath. Most of the non-lethal options are interesting, and tie into the story well. Dishonored is a game that allows justice, not in the form of violence, but rather in retribution. The man who staged the empress’ death can be eliminated by airing his personal confessions on the air waves and more disturbingly his mistress can effectively be trafficked into the hands of a lecherous noble (I choose murder on that one). The game lets you navigate moral depth at your leisure and often makes the less violent approach the more entertaining. It also frequently drops empathy on you, the empress’ assassin turns out to be a reluctant killer, the head of the royal order you can allow to be poisoned or branded with a heretical mark. Granted this is a game where being a serial choker somehow puts you in the right, but it is also a game that lets you decide wether to sacrifice a man to a witch or fight her after (I went with witchcraft on this one). The binaries lead up to a much more emergent whole. Dishonored’s last moments anticipate the player’s moral compass really well. That’s what’s brilliant about the whole thing, in the end I wasn’t confronted by a murderous psychopath, but a man who did the right thing, but just went a little to far and was in paranoid company. I had planned to kill my final target, but his guilt ridden bleary eyed insanity convinced me otherwise. I let him live and a golden age prospered.

Btw the next dlc for the game came out today, but it’s not up on steam yet.

August 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Etrian Odyssey IV and Zeno Clash 2

These are just two quick observations on two really great games.

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Etrian Odyssey IV
3DS

Ok first thing, this game has a demo, download it first. etrian odyssey is surprising in that it’s all about being an RPG: stats matter, grinding is common, you make runs on certain enemies to collect the components for certain weapons, and it’s a first person dungeon crawler think Legend of Grimrock. It is surprisingly light on story, for a genre well known for elaborate cinematics Etrian Odyssey dares to do something special: stand on it’s own as a game. What makes it really special is how perilous the game feels, each bear that hunts you down, every random encounter really helps or hurts, the game doesn’t offer empowerment fantasies, rather it makes self-esteem in oodles of cases. Mapping out each dungeon, or going back to defeat some pesky boss: the game really makes you sink time in to accomplish something, and the results are fruitful. In other words it’s a great little game which will reward careful and cautious play.

Zeno Clash 2
PC / Steam

The original Zeno Clash was such a delight because it dared to go into the grounds that magazines like Heavy Metal put forward. It’s characters were punks, driven by little more than libidinal excuses and a world surreal enough to contain terribly human desires. The problem is, the second game rests on a Hollywood like premise, it’s opening is full of action movie cliches, and while it maintains a few intriguing points (it questions the genetics of family and the establishment of discipline) Zeno Clash is at it’s best when the it’s desires come to the forefront and primitivism triumphs over logic, sadly it’s predictable opening destroys much of what made the original great. Then you get into it, as the game progresses it gets better and the details begin to come alive again and the strange primitivism surrealism, the way it denies internal logics in favor of a frank acceptance of things as weird a they are begins to start again. The game is beautiful and has a few Metrodvania elements to it, the addition of weapons surprisingly works rather well, Ace Team knows how to be creative, and Zeno Clash 2 got me once again with the twist, but the weapons are what makes it cool and improve the fighting aspects. I haven’t finished it yet, but if the opening upsets you, just keep playing it gets better the further you go inside.

May 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Torchlight 2


I have to admit, the rogue like games such as Diablo have never quite appealed to me. The games don’t really involve skill as much as button mashing and a rather annoying bit of inventory management. Skyrim is a similar species of loot and power. Neither game type has quite appealed to me, but Torchlight (unlike Diablo) has always had that indie sheen to it. It is the work of programmers and designers genuinely in love with the form. It also eschews the more serious tone of Diablo for cartoony graphics which is necessary when making a fantasy game about loot, after all part of Diablo or Torchlight (or even Skyrim) is how you dress. The serious fantasy tone doesn’t go down to well when you put on fairy wings and punch chickens to death for an hour. The game has essentially no strategy, if you pick a certain ability and it go awry, you can generally just blast your way away, heal a little, then pick off the enemies one by one. What Torchlight, Diablo, and Skyrim excel at is power. The games are consistent realms of challenge, but also consistent realms of ability. You are always leveling up in these games, and a high level character is powerful. Creeps don’t run away from you, they still attack in droves, and your high level dude or dudette mows through them like a new gigabytes on an ipad on a restricted data plan. Torchlight is essentially a mall. The game’s architecture is captivating, holds one in place, the game is social now (up to 6 player co-op is required in the beta) and you can even trade items now. You share space with other players, frag with them, and loot with them. In other words Torchlight has become what many games increasingly are: a place to socialize. It’s relaxed game play (you only really struggle on elite difficultly and even then in dungeons with lots of creeps) and emphasis on collection means that in multiplayer games there are often pauses while another hero unburdens his or her loot on an unsuspecting pet. Pets are your backpack / minor weapon of war in the game. Each character comes with a pet and the pet in turn holds loot, sells loot, and attacks enemies. Pets can also be fed fish to turn into even more dangerous denizens when needed. The pauses give you time to rearrange things, fuss with the latest Armour styles (I seriously have trouble giving up my short skirts for long unappealing pants) and possibly engage in some type of Chaucerian sub-plots in the game. Sadly, the later is ignored as an option, but could become part of the culture of the game. The game makes for an excellent place for chit-chat and showing off new abilities and loot. That said, Torchlight is also a runway. What the co-op really does is allow you to share your creation with others. Heavy ability use becomes the norm, special attacks role out, you strut your stuff on the dungeon floor.

I have yet to really grasp what these games are about. Loot perhaps? But I see high-level players just ignore it. Socializing? but many of my raiding parties are silent. In fact I find myself digging into the game play in order to find challenges. Yet, the game is addictive. I have played the beta so much that I have two maxed out accounts and comrades to the gills. Rogue likes are waves of power trips, once you’re up you find enemies more challenging and you’re down again, challenge sets in and for awhile you have to run and gun and dash and heal and then another level comes up and you’re on top again. It is my conjecture that Skyrim, Torchlight, are essentially hallucinations that appease a consistent need for power. They provide (primarily male) egos with a needed sense of control of their environment while also providing tons of opportunism for consumption. They are regulated environments (like malls) that lack the unpredictably of games or the events of cities, they are fantasies, a collective dream scape of steam punk selves, a place of becoming, they’re like the little fantasies you have while reading fantasy novels, you as a hobbit, you as a necromancer, an alien, a rabbit, a dream eating butterfly. Literature has produced a million dreams in its readers, it’s only that just now have all these fantasies popped in CAD systems, formalized into rule systems, made their way into code. Games such as these are essentially boyhood fantasies put into systems, screens, the flesh of pixels. They don’t work as games, but as a hallucination, they can induce prolonged periods of game play. What they lack though the is instability, the possibility, our own imagination places in literature’s memetic off shoots. As a self driven narrative Torchlight falters, you make rare decisions and have no real ability to speak, but it can let you become something. A fragment of an imaginary self, and your friends can come along too. One day we’ll figure out the mathematics of stories, and then games like this will shine.

p.s. I am enjoying torchlight a lot more than Diablo 3.

May 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Nietzsche’s little holograms Assassin’s Creed Revelation’s projection into the past

By now, if you’re familiar with games, you’ve probably heard of the Assassin’s Creed games.
Each game takes place in the present, and a subject, Miles Desmond, is hooked up to a machine
and forced to replay “genetic memories” of his ancestors. Miles belongs to a smallish order called Assassins.
the Assassin’s are in eternal peril from Templars, an order that usually represents reigning hegemons in a particular period.
In the third game, Brotherhood, the Templars were the Borgia.
The Borgia kinda worked as villians because they’re part of the Papacy and you know the church.
If you haven’t played the latest game Revelations, the video below contains a lot of spoiler and most of the ending

however it also contains the Assassin’s Creed:
Nothing is true, Everything is permitted
Nihilism right?
As Ezio explains, “To say nothing is true is to realize the foundations of society are fragile and that we must be the shepherds of our civilization. To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions we must live with the consequences of our actions.”
I know, what a great reading. Ezio has taken in essence the void Nietzsche found after religion and expanded it into a creed which has a surface of nihilism but a consequence of liberation.
And that’s what the game really is: consummate deconstructionists battling the hegemonic forces of stabilizing truth, the ethics of today moving back and rewriting the past. And that’s the greatest anachronism of the game who, in an era before even mass literacy or numeracy, would have had the imagination to form an entire order around an ethics that precludes religion? It’s like an Übermensch got a time machine and gets to go back and rewrite the past, battling all those institutions that wrote certainty into being in the first place. Assassin’s Creed is pop post-modernism at its most cringe inducing (you actually get to base jump with Niccolò Machiavelli in one of the games), but it shows how far the morals of Nietzsche have come, that we would want to rewrite the past and find in it anti-heroes worthy of today.

That said, Revelations as a game isn’t terribly exciting. AC2 introduced us to our beloved protagonist, Brotherhood brought of his greatest triumph, Revelations is merely a closing note and one not very satisfying. The game introduces us to a group of Turkish Assassins only to have them disappear a few minutes later. While the Sultanate storyline is interesting (and has a few good twists) it lacks the frantic twists and consequences of Brotherhood. Revelations also promised us that: Revelations. Instead it delivers a few optional side quests exploring Desmond’s memories and a so-so tale of Ezio’s exploits in Costantinople, it also provides us with Ezio’s greatest moment of infamy: he sets fire to a weapon’s cache in Cappadocia only to escape as the civilivians choke to death on their fumes. After this it becomes hard to believe in Ezio’s quest as much, the Sultan simply wants to use the templars to bring peace to a divided Turkey. Revelations takes an anti-hero and makes him a hero only to have him slaughter innocents. The story line suffers a little do to this scene.

The game additionally suffers from a dearth of new mechanics. The hook blade is introduced and as zip lines, two useful additions to Ezio’s arsenal, but hardly game changing. Bombs are useful, but rarely necessary. The game in other hands plays remarkably similar to the last 3 games… which in turn played a little to similar to each other to begin with. Rome was a pleasure to clamber around, Istanbul is exotic, but feels small in juxtaposition and is broken into districts to boot. What the game really fails at though is delivering on the cliffhanger of the last game. We don’t learn why the apple made Desmond do what he did, we don’t learn much about subject 16 ( although you can pay for dlc to do so), and all the energy in the last game’s finale is dissipated so Ezio can finally find a wife basically. That’s what the game really is: Ezio gets a wife and a very charming one at that. It lets us know that the beloved Assassin made it out ok.

The game contains small optional Desmond sequences in which you play in future person. These sequences didn’t get very good reviews, but I actually really enjoyed them. They might be the only really original thing about the game. Desmond is given two blocks which he can spawn to navigated various data scapes. As you progress this becomes harder because the computer has flow, currents push and pull you, and security programs zap your blocks away, in order words you have to think to get through it. It’s not quite portal, but honestly I enjoyed these sequences more than Portal 2 or many of the games that have cloned or copied its fps puzzler elements. While I still wish the Desmond sequences had provided some fractured visuals or navigating the emotional landscape of his adolescence in more than abstract visuals it was an enjoyable experience all the same. The same can’t be said for Ezio’s last days which bored me, but thankfully I beat the game in a couple of days.

RAGE
A couple notes on Rage. One I picked it back up and really enjoyed it. The melee segments are immaculate, ID really knows how to produce a variety of enemies with good abilities. The mutants are also scary and ammo is scarce enough and your mortality real enough that I actually worry about each bend. the stort hasn’t picked up and could have been dispensed with, but the game over all is actually quite fun once you get used to it. Each clan is a different challenge, each weapon needs ammo, and the weapons are quite good too. I usually run out of pistol ammo before I beat a level and die at least once. That’s more than I can say for a lot of FPSs out there.

The Next Big Thing:
Pendulu is a Spanish developer that has been doing point and click games in the vein of Grim Fandango for awhile now. The Next Big Thing is a great game, but one that really drives home the bigotry of its characters. Our intrepid male reporter is a misogynist, despairs hanging out with minorities, and the female lead is at times… “disquieting”. Over all though, these fine folks know how to tell a story, even if it’s heavily invested in the gender wars.

To the Moon:
I did not expect this one to draw me in, but unlike almost every other game on the market, this one actually got me to play it for 59 minutes before the demo expired. To the Moon is a story, less a game and much more a story, told in retro snes style graphics that borrows from square. It’s a story about a magical device not unlike that found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’ll leave it at that, it’s to memorynauts that must travel back in memories and raise an astronaut one little trinket at a time. The demo is here. I recommend you check it out.

March 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

Big Budget Hallucinogens and the illuminated shooting optics of Iraq

Forgive me my few faithful readers… (apparently I do actually have readers now! Wow… an improvement), but my life as of late has been a battle with the old colonial master nicotine and the PC. Two addictions equally compelling, these mass hallucinogens are administered via Steam an equally virtual market place that occasionally dips into the absurdity of the marketplace by pricing good by popularity and less by production costs. Rage, a once mighty 59.99 USD game could be had over the holidays for a meager 6.99 as could L.A. Noire. I am having trouble writing because I haven’t smoked in two weeks and a sudden rush of nicotine today has taken my breath and attention away. It’s funny to realize how much the nicotine cloud takes away from your daily self. The other day I read about a tribe in India previously uncontacted, now they’re being sold tobacco for dances.

Anyway some thoughts on the blockbuster drugs on hard drive:

Skyrim is the latest open world game to conform to our expectations of a video game. It’s narrative is deep, I counted at least 4 fantasy novels contained with in and ones actions determine what’s leveled up in the game, hence if you punch a lot like Robbaz you end up an unarmed badass, If you go to the mage’s college like me you end up with high level destruction spells and invisibility. Skyrim’s major flaw, in my eyes, might be it’s realism. My husband for instance runs everyday from my home in Whiterun to his work south of Windhelm a distance several days in the making in game time, hence he is rarely home. The game is full of wholes that make the fiction less convincing, and writing that can be at times pathetic, but what it excels at around level 20 is a sense of genuine empowerment. Your dragonborn becomes a kinda god, able to take out dragons in a few bounds, cast spells in some cases infinitely and other acts of remarkable… questing. This is what Skyrim really is, an ego trip. The mechanics aren’t really that fun, Fable and the up coming Kingdoms of Amalur appear to be working towards a more satisfying sense of combat. The Assassin’s Creed games have made traversing a city into a virtual parkour.Yet, the game eventually takes you in, and you buy it. You obey allegiances to military fronts, make deals with devils and werewolves, and the variety of spells and means of taking people down are varied, in one city I have an eternal bounty on my head due to a glitch, so I simply leveled up frenzy and make the guards fight themselves instead of me and then I go about town. What the game excels at is the idea of shaping yourself, you becomes a fully centric being full of capability, but from most of the videos I’ve seen the the daedric armour and heavy weapons seem to be the norm. At one point I googled about domesticating animals and found a forum of women playing through the game, but my little khajit mage and her argonian husband appear to be abnormalities in the geography of Skyrim’s possibilities (the game does try to power down mages apparently). Anyway, it’s a full trip and I’m grinding a few more levels before I don a wedding dress and wreath, enchant them up to their full potential and ride the back of a dragon to the final battle. All of which sounds exciting, but by this point it seems inane.

Saint’s Row the Third is another open world game which I actually snagged here in Thailand and then registered on steam. The above video about gets the possibility of the game. Saint’s Row the third isn’t about becoming the way Skyrim is, rather it’s about lugging bullets in a comic world. I think it’s funny at times, but over all kinda bland in terms of gameplay. Again Robbaz proves his worth as a gamer Big Barbara rules.

Prom Week
Prom Week is a small little flash game made by folks at a university in California. It is a dating sim… kinda. You click on one character to make them the active conversationalist and then you click on another character to make them the recipient. Now, the above two games were made with multi-million dollar budgets, took years and huge staffs to make, but Prom Week nailed in one sitting what all those games lack: manipulation. In Prom Week you have a set goal, such as getting someone to go out with you. In the tutorial this is quite easy, but in the free form mode it’s quite hard. In the first game you simply click on the favoured boy and flirt with him, he flirts back and mission accomplished. You have a set amount of time to wonder through dialogue bubbles and find the right words of the job, it actually bears a similarity with Skyrim in this regard, in one mission in Skyrim for instance I had to convince a monk to come back to a cave with me so my guests could eat him. I failed to persuade him so in the end I had to bribe him. Prom Week takes this basic idea to a higher level. You see you can click on anyone and get them to talk to anyone else. Hence if you make friends with person A then person A might be able to help patch things up with person B. You could never have healed such a social wound on your own. But hey that’s not what makes Prom Week great, it’s this: it makes simple social interaction into a slightly tense and engaging war. Getting folks to do what you want is hard, but where Skyrim and Saint’s Row the Third rarely make an emotional impact, I really wanted to make peace with my estranged friend and save my boyfriend some drama on prom night. The game in other words realizes that simple decisions and petty rivalries are perfectly suitable plot devices. Not once in Skyrim did the orb threatening the mage’s college make me rush to do anything, in fact the absence of a timer for missions in Skyrim can lead to absurd situations such as completing a totally different quest line while another quest’s apocalypse looms. Prom Week (granted I’ve only played one story and a free form game) is a much more open game with situations you actually might care about. If it can be used a model for future open world games, we might see some progress.

Rage
This one actually kinda took me by surprise, the introduction to Rage is awful. The voice acting, even the graphics, seem sub par. John Goodman is quite nice as the local sheriff, but the story begins implausibly. Here’s the thing though, the game is actually ok after awhile. It hasn’t grown on me the way Skyrim has, but for a teenage apocalyptic fantasy full of beer and auto parts it has some charms.

I hate to say this, but I don’t have anything deep to say about these games, and that might be the lesson about these games. The spectacle of gaming is our society’s sistine chapel. We are slowly building towards a realism in computer graphics that will startle the mind with its possibilities, but if I can draw anything from these games its that perspective isn’t important for these folks (prom week is an exception to this). These aren’t game of consideration, but rather of action. No Hamlets all Fortenbras. At that’s what makes this last game all the more disturbing.

Battlefield 3 is the winner of this year’s movement forward in graphics. The game constructs a body directly out of Cronenburg. Our protagonist has eyes full of lens flare and dirt clogs. His vision is news footage eyes, youtube queries, Iranian protest videos compacted into phones and tweeted, these are the eyes of warfare, at least how we depict it today: subvert and a delivered behind the backs of Government regulations. He has illicit camera eyes as if the video drome replaced his eyes with the cam corders of war correspondents. Horror films are made from such troupes, yet we never see this abonimation, instead his remarkably beautiful eyes are the windows into a game which keeps the enemy at sniper scope, you almost never come upon the enemy hand on hand, you never hear about the children in the Iranian school you storm neither does the game provide much information about their lives. These are Iraqis in Storm Trooper gear, we never even get to see their smiles. Field after field of middle eastern soldiers flood your vision and you gun them down in unrivaled fashion while the spectacle of having filmic vision seduces the eye. Imagine for a second if you had a machine that made arguments into flesh, now imagine the politics of Bush era America dipped in chrome and slightly photo shopped, that’s what Battlefield 3 is. The game makes a compelling case for war fare in the middle east through some clever optics and a means of making soldiers into storm troopers. Going to war is fucking cool in this game, and even though it tries to subvert the authorities behind this madness through some terrorist subplots and dick investigators it still compels in the idea of violence as a right of a man.

War was in the 1960s an old instrument with honorable intentions. We fought the Nazis, ya know a good old fashioned war. Battlefield 3 is the future of military progoganda, not because it justifies war, but because it justifies the culture of the military and dips the war machine in nanomites and other hardware. Conflict is a natural extension of technology in this game. It lingers on the peripheries, we realize that conflict is a deep seated fantasy, one that we actively seek, but the problem with this game is the way it links it to the contemporary. It is such a fine veil between Iraq and Iran in this game that the game ends up making a case for Iraq as war dream as a fantasy necessary and unavoidable.

One of the developers for Harmonix has recently commented on the absence of political messages in video games. Hollywood is full of agendas, gay marriage, racial inclusion, environmental concerns, but games are for the most part the last respite for politics that would not pass elsewhere. Would Collette, the flustered and aggravated mage of restoration make it in a hollywood film? No, her role is riveted with sexisms and bigotries. Would Bulletstorm’s excessive potty mouthed juvenilisms touch down on a global scale? No, the company knows its audience and that is primarily males ranging from 16 to 40. These games are in many ways gendered, and in that exclusion they allow for republican throw downs, misogynist readings, and other matters not suitable for prime time. Even the extremity of their violence is a hallmark of the lack of regulation on them.

Tobacco is one of the world’s most addictive drugs. It didn’t start out that way. Tobacco 200 years ago didn’t contain enough nicotine to make it dependent (over 4mg is required in a small number of doses). But the drug was never regulated, it has uses. It’s easy to store, easy to transport, and once introduced into a native population it acts as a kinda crowd control. We don’t experience nicotine as a drug, it’s not thought of in the same terms as cocaine or morphine, even though the later substances are less addictive. The major problem is that it is an outlet that (and I am a major addict) find it hard to imagine the world with out. Nicotine is a necessary manifestation of the death drive, it allows us to kill ourselves slowly and with self-loathing to boot. Video Games obviously contain moral messages that go beyond the norm of what is acceptable in any other medium even pornography. But when introduced to the public, they allow for a private expression of politics and emotions that are rarely let out. While some of this might be healthy (I do believe we need an outlet for rage… just not maybe the game rage…) this little sewer in which we’re allowed to piss all the unspeakables of politics is becoming a tad to wide, and video game publishers could do with a little liberalism in there games. After all Dubois is as close as we’ve gotten to a transgender character although Cicero in Skyrim is another example too:

but what I see in video games is a primarily an expression of either Japanese or American patriarchal conservative values. Contrary to what that developer from Harmonix might say, games have plenty of politics in them, it’s just that they preach the same biases that make up the everyday, it’s perhaps due to the immersion the form provides that we don’t demand of games the same cleverness and depth of investigation found in other art forms. Games are a sewer of the right wing, and like nicotine they provide certain authorities with power, the same ones that refuse to regulate them.

p.s. loved Deep Far back in the day, especially the mutant cow… and Dubois. BTW Dubois is actually a better effeminate “male” than Cicero is.

January 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment


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