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stories by Rory McCarty

Grindhouse is a fitting direction for video games

Since the release of the Quintin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse, the titular genre of the same name has gone from being almost completely forgotten to mainstream media awareness. Grindhouse sparked a brief resurgence of exploitation cinema, but nowhere has the effect of that style been felt more heavily than in the world of video games.

On playing Super Mario 3D Land with an incompatible brain

Super Mario 3D Land was said to be one of the first truly good, original games to be released for the Nintendo 3DS, and one that validates the purchase of the handheld itself. For most of 2011, the 3DS’ library had contained little more than rehashes of older games and proofs of concept. When 3D Land started getting positive reviews across the gaming community, I decided to take the plunge and try out the little handheld that has made 3D gaming affordable and accessible. There’s one catch: I can’t see 3D.

For the N64 kid in all of us

Christmas is something that loses it’s lustre the older you get. As a kid, you count the days until Santa’s visit, using a complex method of determining what each item under the tree is and pretending not to notice where the presents are stashed. In a less extreme way, I think almost all of us had a “N64 kid” type of reaction to one gift in particular.

War Games

The 24-hour news networks frequently accuse video games of glamorizing war, especially where children are concerned. And 99% of the time, the claim is baseless. Oftentimes when violent video games are accused of corrupting youth, someone has been shot, and a police report will reveal, shockingly, that he had a first person shooter on his computer. Or someone will get stabbed over a game of Mortal Kombat, and the local news broadcasters can only conclude that they must be acting out the horrible things the game taught them.

Creativity in gaming is not dead

This year, like at the end of every console generation, I hear people complaining that there are too many sequels coming out and that creativity is dead in video games. I remember thinking the same thing after reading an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly back when the PlayStation 2 was on its last legs. It seemed like every new game for the platform was a sequel. But if you look a bit further back, you’ll find that this has been the case for decades.

Obnoxious Nu-Metal Hill

I recently played a bit of Amnesia: The Dark Descent late at night, lights turned off, door closed. Before I had seen even one monster, I wanted to turn the lights back on and watch a nice, boring episode of The Office. That’s not a feeling I got from watching hours of scary movies like Paranormal Activity or The Exorcist.

The HD Collection Connection

I live old video games. I suspect that game developers realize I like old video games, so they keep on re-releasing classic games with a fresh coat of paint. But even I have a hard time considering games that appeared on the Playstation 2 “classics,” at least not yet. I don’t think a game from five years ago has sat long enough to develop even a thin film of candy-flavored nostalgia over it.