If you want to affect gaming culture’s direction, Twitter is a good place to start.
stories by Javy Gwaltney
I Get This Call Every Day and Every Day the Same Dream explore the bleakness of cubicle culture and the struggle against it by that culture’s “prisoners.”
One writer discusses his uncomfortable relationship with video game violence.
[Warning: Spoilers for Bioshock, Bioshock 2, The Walking Dead, Dishonored, Mass Effect 3, and Heavy Rain are ahead.]
Here’s a bit of news that won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s played games for at least a handful of years: the majority of videogame adaptations of popular intellectual properties are crap. The most any gamer can hope for when they hear that their favorite television show or book is being adapted into a video game is that the game itself turns out to be mediocre. Blade? Abysmal. 24: The Game? Utterly forgettable. Superman 64? Memorable but for all the wrong reasons. I could go on for a while listing licensed games that just suck, and you probably could too, but let’s skip over all that. Let’s talk about a rare occurrence—the video game adaptation that gets it right. There’s only a handful that spring to mind immediately: the Batman: Arkham series, The Walking Dead, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Year in Review
I don’t think it would be too hasty of a generalization to say that most gamers from my generation grew up with a console and were in love with Sonic or Mario. A simple search through various community boards, blogs, and even comment sections on online articles will reveal tales of long hours in the early 90s spent with hands wrapped around controllers or practicing rhetoric by arguing with parents about why bed time should be put off for another hour, all for the sake of some virtual world hidden within a cartridge.
Anyone who has worked in an office setting or has even seen popular depictions of such places knows that the employees are often associated with drooling, brainless zombies due to the day in, day out tediousness that comes along with sitting in a small cubicle typing out reports and being forced to interact with other employees, who, more than likely, also feel as though their souls are being sucked into the mouth of a monstrous corporate machine.
Well, now that Game informer’s big reveal about Grand Theft Auto 5 is here, I have to admit that I’m considerably less jazzed about the game. I’m sure I’ll still play it, heck, I’m pretty sure the game will be a first day purchase for me. But all the details from the game that have been released/leaked so far point to something that just isn’t as special every entry in the series has been, at least as far as characterization goes. True, Tommy Vercetti wasn’t a deep, introspective character but his “revenge seeking mobster” role fit the scene of 80s Vice City perfectly. More impressive were the characters of CJ in San Andreas and Niko in IV, characters that broke away from the (still existent) trend of having muscle-bound Caucasian men and provided unique storylines.
"People suck, and that's my contention. I can prove it on a scratch paper and pen. Give me a fucking Etch-a-sketch, I'll do it in three minutes. The proof, the fact, the factorum. I'll show my work, case closed."
Originally this piece was going to be about the top five gaming-related disappointments in 2012, and then I realized that this year wasn’t really that disappointing outside of delays like Bioshock: Infinite. So I broke it down into the only two items that bothered me, and it wasn’t that hard to figure out which one hurt more. It was, after all, just a decision between light shame and true disappointment.
Holding Up is a weekly column dedicated to examining classic games to see if they’re worth another go. Readers are more than welcome to request that certain games be examined.
Back in Feburary David Jaffe (famed creator of Twisted Metal) said that storytelling “stunts the growth of video games.” Now, as someone who finds story to be an integral part of his gaming experience my kneejerk reaction was an eyeroll and some quasi-witty comment pertaining to the archaic-ness of the newTwisted Metal demo.