I don’t know how many of you have been keeping up with comic and video game news, but in the past couple of months there have been some exciting things going on at Kickstarter. For those of you not aware of such things, Kickstarter is a neat way to allow creative content developers to connect directly with their fan base in order to pump them for cash, essentially. I’ve seen projects on this site ranging from a kind of hilariously Dr. Seussian babymaking book to books of adorably friendly animal stickers, so whatever your fancy, odds are you’ll find something you like enough to fund. Rich Burlew, creator of Order of the Stick, recently held a very sucessful kickstarter campaign to reprint some the old, out of print OOTS that nettedover a million dollars for his awesome stick figure comic. On the video game side of things, eyes are locked on to Double Fine’s new game creation campaign, and all the shenanigans therein.
We all know that video games don’t translate to movies as well as comic books and other story forms. If you’ve had the misfortune of seeing a Mortal Kombat or Resident Evil movie you are painfully aware. Still, I’m a glutton for punishment so here we go. Hitman was a beautiful game my roommate got me started on in college. I jumped in with Hitman 2, but the plot was simple enough to pick up. Main character baldy is a trained assassin trained by some super secret global organization and he has a strange affinity for St. Petersburg, Russia. A place whose existence firefox’s spell check denies apparently. It should be noted he is one of many bald orphan assassins, I know this because our guy is number 47. There is nothing I love more in a video game than sneaking in and taking out my targets using maximum stealth. It is a great feeling of power to walk in to a maximum security facility, strangle the target, and walk back out like I own the joint. As I said, I never played Hitman 1, Hitman: Contracts or Hitman: Blood Money, so I can’t speak to the plots in those particular games as they relate to the movie, though according to Blue Shoes Blood Money was a plotless game devoted to wading around in pools of blood in pursuit of your target. I can say that the movie’s plot is surprisingly similar to that of the game I eventually bought for Gamecube when my lappy died. (more…)
Friday is a big day. It marks the 93rd anniversary of the end of the Great War, it is the release of a horror film I really don’t care about, and it’s the official release date for Minecraft. But Enosh, haven’t you been posting about Minecraft for like a year now? Ah, yes but if you’d been paying attention you would know the game was still in alpha and beta testing at the time. Minecraft’s development cycle has been a bit out of the norm I’ll grant you that. First of all, the game has been publicly available almost as long as it has been in development. Once the game entered beta Notch and his newly hired programmer Jens Bergensten continued to add features, something usually reserved for alpha testing. Even though the game will be officially released during the inaugural MineCon in Las Vegas, there is no guarantee that the new features will stop there. In fact, Notch has said in all likelihood feature additions will continue free of charge for all alpha and possibly beta adopters, I don’t remember. (more…)
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up a naive PC gamer. I was partial to the LucasArts games, Day o f the Tentacle, X-wing, and the like. There’s nothing like a machine with more input buttons than letters in the alphabet. Not to mention the PC was high-definition with full anti-aliasing before it was cool. So what’s one of the best games on the PC today? I’m arguing it’s an 8-bit block builder called Minecraft. This indie game is unique in that the game is still in alpha development and is available for sale at half the projected retail price. That’s right! You can own a partially built game that could potentially break your computer. (more…)
So in my real job I meet a wide variety of people and talk to them about stuff. One recent conversation with a psychiatrist or psychologist, or whichever one can give you drugs, told me that videogames are a complete and utter waste of time.
In case you haven’t gathered this from visiting this site a few times, I strongly disagree with this statement. (more…)
I have a crippling, debilitating disease that has devoured countless thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in the past year. Just about every time I seem to get ahead financially, the symptoms start acting up again, and it’s time for me to make an appointment with a specialist, whose main job is simply to tell me how much money it’s going to take to get life back to normal this time. They can only tell me this after locking me in a room with the horrors of daytime TV for about three to four hours. The diagnosis alone usually runs me around ninety bucks, but the soul sucking horrors of that small TV make it feel like I’ve given more, oh god, so much more.
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Video games have come a long way in terms of story over the past three decades. Back in the days when 8 bit was the new 4 bit and you had to use your imagination to fill in the gaps between those pixels, the only plot you really needed was “you’re a good guy. Everyone else is bad. Kill kill kill.”
Today you have games with writers, real honest-to-god screen writers coming up with dialogue and plot twists, almost like video games are becoming a form of art. (Eat it Ebert) Games are now produced with a budget big enough to rival today’s blockbuster movies, and even in the goriest hack-n-slash game, you can find something unexpected. Still, games can present a unique challenge to writers, since there are certain elements that absolutely need to be in each game.
There needs to be action. There needs to be a lot of action and combat and Madden football and poker, or, I dunno, random white rhinos charging Cabella or something. Therefore, most action and adventure games seem to fall into one of four generic game molds, with their story crafted around a simple premise you might find in an old school NES game.
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Ever since the early days of video games there have been a large share of people who are convinced that they’re evil incarnate. Well, I guess it actually started around the same time that Mortal Kombat hit the shelves back in the early 1990s, when a bunch of angry parents watched a digital ninja man rip the spine out of another dude and suddenly began to worry that their kids might try to do that too. Violence, people argue, is always much worse when kids see it. The rest of us are well-grounded, down to earth adults, after all. Everyone knows all violent tendencies stop the moment you turn 18. It’s just something adults know.
It’s a matter of having “strong Christian values,” that are undermined by these… red pixels. Because where, exactly, do video games ever show any of those?
The argument made me think. How is religion portrayed in video games? It’s definitely present… I can remember toppling insane dragon cults and goddesses since Breath of Fire for the Super Nintendo. But then I remembered something kind of odd with the industry. There are no, and I mean absolutely no traces of competent benevolent gods anywhere to be found. (more…)
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I heard the announcement that there was going to be a Bioshock 2 with a wince and a fair amount of anxiety, dreading the return to Rapture just as much as I would dread seeing one of those awful Disney made-for-DVD sequels of their classic movies. Uh, not that I have a soft spot for Disney movies or anything, shut up. You don’t know me.
It really didn’t add up. Bioshock ended tied up in a nice little ribbon on top of it, and I don’t know about you, but I got the feeling Rapture wouldn’t last much longer regardless of which ending you saw. The dream was dead, all that was left was for the rest of the underwater city to realize it. Plus, Bioshock was the first FPS game I played that really went above and beyond its genre, story wise, gameplay wise, and philosophically. (more…)
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