Replaying the original Half-Life recently has been fun for all kinds of reasons. After several years absence from the Black Mesa facility it all feels very fresh. Alongside the entertaining (if at times infuriating) gameplay, there’s the story. Obsessing over storytelling in games is nothing new for this blog and I’m afraid that’s where I want to go with this post too. There’s also a bonus at the end…but you’ll have to see. Continue reading
Revivals of classic franchises are a useful means of reading the temperature of the video game industry: Pacman Championship Edition channeled Peggle’s neon, crack-addled aesthetic in 2007 while Elevator Action Returns channeled Contra and Metal Slug’s run ‘n’ gun conventions in 1994. That’s why today’s post is going to probe Space Invaders: Invasion Day (aka Space Raiders in the US) on PS2, which is less interesting for its gameplay than what it reveals about trends in videogame storytelling in 2002.
I have to say, the screenshot of a CG-rendered busty woman on the game’s back cover is what piqued my interest in this game, so to speak. So much that I bought it right then and there on the spot. (Admittedly, at £1 it was hardly a big investment.) “How low would Taito go to try and make Space Invaders hip with the kids?”, I wondered. Very low, it turns out. Let’s get the gameplay out of the way: thoroughly uninspiring all round, a (very) poor man’s Sin and Punishment. The game’s presentation, on the other hand, is fascinating. It’s so telling of its era you really have to laugh. Continue reading