Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Interesting Things

Posted by deckard47 on June 10, 2009

Sorry to do another of these posts, but since I don’t have Randy Pinkwood at my disposal, these will have to do for now.

Here’s a ton (5 minutes worth) of zombie fighting from Left 4 Dead 2. Why is everyone so angry about this game again? I think it looks sweet, and when I contemplate those many other sweet 60 dollar deals I could be finding, I think I’ll stick with Valve, thank you. I mean, isn’t anybody else excited to see where they take their background, as-you-play characterization and dialogue? I am! Are we only able to conceive of new games as new missions, graphics, and weapons? I’m excited to see what changes, large and small, they make. I’m not sure how else to put this: they’ve never made a game I didn’t love (except Half Life. Please don’t hurt me).  I think I’ll allow them to try and work with their formula, try some new stuff, and deliver a better, different product.

Speaking of games that didn’t change much between sequels (unless you count that horribly unimportant story), Max Payne 3 is being slowly teased. I’m not sure how to put this, but the new info on Max Payne made me want to laugh a bit. I guess he’s even more depressed and stuff now? He’s gained some wait and lost a lot of hair? He’s living in South America (oooooh, so depressing! How does he carry on?) too. Take an (amused) look:

Beard-Face!

I mean…. Really? I don’t think a lot of designers and gamers understand that you can be in a worse place in the world and in your own life and not have your wardrobe, hair, and face reflect this. Look at Han Solo in Empire. His darkest moment, right, and yet he still looks like a complete badass, tight pants, sexy hair and all. They didn’t have to give him a huge scar, more gravelly voice, and darker clothes to telegraph the gravity of his situation. That’s what acting and writing are for kids! Apparently he’s masquerading as Bruce Willis, in Willis’ new movie, Balder and Beardier. But seriously. The second game wasn’t wonderfully written, and was (new graphics aside) essentially the same, gameplay-wise, as Max Payne. And it was still a lot of fun.

Despite the mediocre writing (epitomized by the game’s ultra-noire, ridiculous voice-work and dialogue), the plot itself had something that few games have: a sense that it was a plot, that it was going somewhere. It might not have been brilliant, but the fact that it aspired to a certain kind of filmic quality (done better in other, more Drakey games) kept it focused on things happening to people as a plot moved to its conclusion. It wasn’t all about HQ sending you intel so you could vaguely besmirch the honor of some slightly stand-offish/totally evil government types who totally didn’t understand your “free spirit.” It understood that real people actually think using complete sentences, about real things; real people don’t talk entirely in bland, inconsequential euphemisms and unsure cultural references that would make Bill and Ted bored. It understood that we were people who consumed other forms of media, and that we, as humans, could call upon that knowledge while consuming Max Payne 2, just as we could follow the machinations of a plot that had a place to go and knew how it wanted to get there. Heaven forbid.

I’ll say this: I’m sad that Remedy turned from this to Alan Wake. They seem like cool people, and I’m willing to bet Alan Wake, for all of its silly Stephen Kind likenesses, will be more interesting than Max Payne 3. I’m sure Alan Wake will be interesting, but the fact that they’ve handed old Max (who I rather liked) over to Rockstar makes me want to be sick. I wonder what kind of “hard boiled” cop Max will be? An anti-Semite? A person who only interacts with crime-ridden, “urban” people of color who’ve been created using the Epic Games school of characterization? Will he kill gay men by pretending to be gay? The possibilities are endless! Go Rockstar!

Finally, did you know that there was an alternate ending to Max Payne 2? If you beat it on “Dead on Arrival,”, you changed the ending:

I’m not sure how I feel about that… Sadly, I bet they won’t be going the Elena Fisher route on Max Payne 3. Which is unfortunate, because I thought Mona was cool. Hell, they could just make Max Payne 3 and have you star as Mona. Except then she’d have to be even more sexified than she already was. Which would be a lot.

Onward! Edge of Twilight looks interesting, albeit extremely Unreal Engine 3-y. I’m not the only one who gets tired of all of those curved canopies and pipes looking like Malcom’s about to pop out from behind one, in every damn game, right? It’s an action adventure game set in a steam-punk fantasy world, and looks like it will be worth watching, if not buying. Check out the new trailer. Between this and Venetica, I’m getting more and more excited about new action-adventure games.

Finally, there’s a book out that compiles a lot of writing about games by designers, journalists, and others. It’s called Well Played 1.0, and it’s free (but you can also pay), so you have no excuse not to at least go check it out. I’ll get around to it some time, I hope. Alright, I’ll try to make it a while without doing another of the grab-bag posts.

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3 Responses to “Interesting Things”

  1. “about games by designers, journalists, and others.”

    Oh, be a little less transparent about your contempt for academics! I’ll buy you a copy of Prototype if you read a book of pure theory instead 🙂

    Don’t hold me to that.

    I think what you’re missing about the new Max Payne isn’t what he looks like (which you can tell from the cover), but what he smells like. Have you ever smelled a good who looks like that? It’s pretty awful. Lo how the mighty.

    • deckard47 said

      Yeah, he looks like he lives inside a giant pizza box covered in coffee. I mean, I guess they can go that direction? If that’s the case, they need to set it in Sao Paulo, and have the music be Sao Paulo-era Nick Cave music. Then it would actually approach a tone of anger and depression (and weird language, poetry and homophobia, among other things).

  2. Sorry, have you ever smelled a *guy who looks like that, not “have you ever smelled a good who looks like that.”

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