For anyone that looks at me in public it’s painfully obvious that I enjoy milk shakes. I also enjoy hamburgers, steak, and all other foods of the fatty variety. I know they aren’t good for me, but they taste delicious. I do on occasion enjoy healthy food, rarely however, and only when my food of choice isn’t available. For anyone who knows what I’m thinking (creepy), you already know that I’m going to relate the food I enjoy to the games I play.
Rockstar games, developers of the fattiest games in existence. I would equate them to McDonalds or Burger King. They provide gaming experiences I’m sure aren’t much healthier than a Big Mac & Fries. They also provide moments you’d hate for your parents to see. I think of things I’ve done in Rockstar games and I’m sure I can equate them to things I would hide from my parents as a child. Rockstar hasn’t forgotten those days; they provide gamers with those moments time and again. And they aren’t afraid to do so.
For example, when I fired up GTA4 (equal to a Big Mac) the first thing I did was to run my car up on the sidewalk. Not only did I giggle as the bodies were launched over my car, but I sighed a happy sigh as I collected the rewards they dropped for my deed, like money. The next task was to mosey into traffic and let my pistol relieve someone of their car. And do you know why I did those things? I’m not going to claim I’m a sick individual, that’s overrated, everyone does that. I did them because I could. I’d be remiss if I hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunity Rockstar had granted me.
Another example, today I was discussing the intricacies of my plan to ravage the town of Blackwater in Rockstar’s upcoming game, Red Dead Redemption. I mentioned something about lassoing the carcass of a freshly skinned animal and dragging it through the streets. I may also have mentioned tying my horse to a train and watching it try to keep up. My roommate wondered why I would do that, he didn’t understand the joy I could possibly get out of doing those things. For anyone else that might be wondering the same thing, let me explain.
I do those things for the same reason I eat things I shouldn’t. They taste good, people say I shouldn’t do them and I enjoy it. If I were a member of Blackwater and watched as someone dragged around a skinned carcass I’d laugh myself silly. If I want to ride my horse into that oncoming train, I’m going to do it. Mostly because I want to see what happens, but also because I think it’ll be funny. I don’t know why I think it’s funny. I certainly wouldn’t do that to a real horse in real life, but it’s a game, 1’s and 0’s can’t feel pain.
What I mean to say is that Rockstar games are my guilty pleasure; they are my milkshake, my hamburger, my steak. Let’s be honest, I’ve never played a Rockstar game that had a great narrative, but they are damn fun to mess around in. Is it ok if I call them the best sandbox games ever? I can spend hours piddling around and creating my own adventures. The only reason to advance the story is so that I may unlock new areas to terrorize.
If Rockstar develops the best fatty games, then any studio that has ever developed a game with a great narrative are the healthy developers. These would be games such as Bioshock, Mass Effect 1 and 2, and Beyond Good & Evil, just to name a few. They are lean and addictive for reasons that don’t involve griefing the local NPC’s.
Unfortunately, healthy games are a dime a dozen. It’s like driving down the main drag in your town and seeing nothing but fast food places. Once in a while though, you come across a place that offers healthy food and you feel like you owe it to yourself to stop in and have a bite. Because let’s face it, no matter how delicious fast food is, you can’t eat that shit forever. You have to treat yourself to a great narrative once in a while.