Humanity’s technological advancement has bought about the demise of most of the world’s population. The earth is scorched. All manner of unsavoury creatures roam it – mutants, ghouls, slavers and raiders are all there to greet you when you escape your home and prison, Vault 101. There are reminders of a past where men and women cared for perfectly square lawns, shopped in all-new supermarkets, cheery diners and cheerier housewives. In fact, the game really makes you wonder if the American dream was really any better than nuclear armageddon. On the other hand, considering Fallout 3’s preoccupation with the themes of prejudice, discrimination and slavery, why is it silent on topics of (human) race, (historical) slavery and racism? One has to ask: Is Fallout 3 really as subversive and “out there” as it thinks it is? Continue reading
We’re back with a new episode. Adrian returns to the age old debate: story or gameplay? He argues that shooters, shmups and rail shooters like Soukyugurentai aka Terra Diver, the Panzer Dragoon series, Rez, Axelay, etc etc have a certain magic all their own that transcends narrative. Can we say games are “art” and NOT give a narrative-driven game as an example? In the second half, predictably, Maya disagrees, then agrees, and finally disagrees with everything. Including herself – many times over. Other topics discussed include: cutlery, drugs, megalomania, neurology. So let’s get real: are games art? Is there a particular game that makes you feel like you’ve abused substances (whether you actually have or not)? Is a jagged edge spoon a fork? We would love to hear your thoughts on this contentious topic, please do drop us a comment!
Episode 9: Disciple of Kierkegaard
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Final Fantasy IX was indisputably the most formative game of my life. My brother and I bought it when it first came out. Unfortunately, we had quite an unpredictable set of discs, which meant that the game would constantly crash during the CGI cut scenes. I remember when this first happened (around 3am – when 12 year old me should have been asleep). I crawled over to the blank screen of my TV in horror, tears in my eyes, pleading with the unresponsive disc to go on. I even remember which cut scene it was: the one just after you receive Ramuh (our PS1 could just not handle the glass flying everywhere). Thankfully, it did restart after a few minutes. Continue reading
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
Today’s post by Maya looks at Another Code: R for the Wii, and continues a recent trend on here of using average or mediocre games to think through what distinguishes the gaming wheat from the chaff when it comes to narrative in games.
Oh, wait, I’m having a flashback…Eike, protagonist of Shadow of Memories (aka Shadow of Destiny)? What are you doing here? No – this is all wrong. I’m meant to be writing a piece on Another Code: R… So, why is Homunculus here? Why are Eike and Homunculus holding hands?! What is going on?!
Is my flashback an accurate recalling of a narrative sequence? Or is it an elaborate ploy in which to make several interrelated points on the problem of translation in narrative-heavy games and story order? Or did I simply want you to have a bizarre image in mind when reading this post? Whatever the case, flashbacks are an important element to the argument of this blog post, a conceit used in many games, but especially important in story driven games. And so I’d like to explore why Cing’s Code: R is a disappointing game compared with Shadow of Memories and other story-driven games, because of its failure to utilise the full potential of the gaming medium. Continue reading