stories by Javy Gwaltney

Why some video game adaptations are better than their source material

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

My childhood, Bullfrog Productions, and a game called Maia

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.

Office Space: Undead Style!

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.

A boy’s world: video games need more strong female protagonists

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.

My biggest gaming disappointment of 2012: Or how Starbreeze Studios broke my little black heart

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.

Dishonored and Spec Ops: The Line do gore right

I like blood and guts. Part of that, I have no shame in admitting, comes from my gib-tastic experiences playing Quake and Half-Life as a kid. Another part of me isn't quite as juvenile, however. It yearns for maturity in video games and to see them taken more seriously as an artistic medium, but it still wants more pixilated viscera.