Delayed Responsibility

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

Posts Tagged ‘Red Faction: Guerrilla’

News/Articles: GSW and a MYSTERIOUS SECRET

Posted by deckard47 on April 19, 2010

This shit is mysterious

There is in fact a new GSW piece up (by me!). It’s all about Red Faction: Guerrilla and Die Hard. If you’ve read “Naktomi Space,” you know where this is going. If you haven’t, then you totally should. Read it that is. Here’s a bit from the GSW column:

Games that create interesting, properly interactive worlds are special. Games don’t even have to be incredibly “interactive” to convince gamers that this world is exactly the kind of world that the player’s avatar would move through, in this kind of story and this kind of game.

Many is the game that forgets this rule and takes one kind of story and world and plugs the worst possibly matched gameplay and interface into that world. I loveMass Effect 2, and I like the direction Bioware is taking their third person shooting, but the world Commander Sheppard moves through isn’t an epic, highly fluctuating one (as the world of Sheppard’s words and deeds certainly is). Instead, ME 2’s world is dead, a beautiful clutch of austere worlds and rooms, each less believable than the last.

I hope that was exciting for you as it was for me. I rather like this one, because it’s about RF: G and Die Hard, but I also like it because it’s not complete shit. So that’s a recommendation, of a sort.

The second thing I wanted to talk about is the secret! It’s really exciting. It has to do with Simon Ferrari, he of the improbably porn-like (I bet he loves it when people point this out to him) name, among others. It’s going to redefine the way you think about life. Or it might just make you think about what it means for a person like me to say that something will “redefine the way that you think about life.” In other words it might annoy you because of how awesome it will be. Either way, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

That’s it. I’m playing X-COM: UFO Defense and Zombie Driver. Right now. One is fast and fun, but it makes me cry because of how bright and busy it is. The other is fun, but it’s so difficult and obtuse in places, it makes me mildly frustrated. That just means I want to play it more though, so “frustrated” is not by any means an attack on the game’s good name. I bet I’ll be writing about one or both of them soon. So, this post has mostly been a post about what I’m promising I’ll do soon. Now I know why you all come here. It’s for the cold, hard, facts, and viciously clever criticism I bust out every day. Thanks.

[PS: The photo there at the top is there because it’s the coolest thing that shows up in Google when you search for “mysterious.” It also has Gabrielle Anwar, Patrick Stewart, and Vinnie Jones, and giant poulpes. Plus, Stewart plays Captain Nemo, which is 100 times as badass as anything else, ever]

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Reality in gaming (a short version)

Posted by flagg49 on June 27, 2009

This is a quick, irritated response that may grow in the future. It’s about how realistic games need to be. Not in the sense of verisimilitude–mimesis, seeming like life, whatever–but a much more limited question. How much work do games need to do in telling us a backstory that sounds believable? Another way of putting the question: how much do game stories have to be realistic and interesting on their own terms, and how much can they punt and tacitly admit to being excuses for gameplay and other content?

It’s commonly accepted that game stories have to be at least a little believable. Maybe the most usual complaint in game reviewing is a version of the “this story is a genre cliche” objection. We’ve all seen, at this late date, enough lone heroes fighting a barely-described corporation or government. God save us from labs where scientists have gone too far and created some kind of monster that only an fps hero with a shotgun can kill. Or protagonists who have lost their memories. Or crime bosses who want us to prove our worth by stealing something. Etcetera.

These show up in games all the time because they’re ready to hand. You don’t have to work to explain them to your player, and very often they fit a gameplay mechanic well. How to justify the presence of a berserk-seeming opponent in an fps? Or any of the variety of fetch-quests whose rhythmic appearance is the basic pulse of almost every rpg today? Story cliches are familiar solutions that have worked to justify popular gameplay styles.

You can object to them because they’re uncreative. And you can most often justify them, if you’re a designer, or just someone who happened to like the game anyway, by saying that creativity in justification doesn’t really matter. Games ask to be evaluated in terms of the innovation or proficiency of their gameplay. See Tom’s post below re Crackdown.

All this was stirred up by this Red Faction review, which got my goat and got me thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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