This post came about thanks to an argument with my partner over writing about videogames. Is there a way to speak about games that takes into account its uniqueness as a medium and doesn’t rely on ways of analysing films and books? Previously on this blog I’ve written about Ocarina of Time, and its links with The Arabian Nights and Disney’s Aladdin, but in doing so I was forced to ignore the gameplay of Ocarina of Time, which is by far the dominant way players experience the game. So how can we talk about games as games and not as anything else?
The first two Silent Hill games I see as two major milestones in gaming. Many critics, reviews and fans compare Silent Hill games to films: Jacob’s Ladder and David Lynch films are perhaps the most frequent examples. And they’re not wrong – there are definite links and influences being passed on. But at the same time no film can be seriously compared to Silent Hill (not even the Silent Hill films).
“Stuff your Combo Burger. I need a Combo Review” – these exact words are being said right now as you read this at a fast food outlet near you (I almost want to call the fast food places “vending machines” they’re so heavily mechanised). The Combo Review will not quench your physical hunger though, only your whetted gaming appetite. Yes, I’m using a nerdy metaphor for what is in simple terms a double review. That is to say I will attempt right here and now to review two games at the same time. I might choose to do so for sequels, or mayhaps because both games are in the same or related genre.
In this case the comparison stems from each of these game’s reliance on story over gameplay, as opposed to the more conventional Other Way Round. First up, I’ll talk a bit about Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, a 2005 PS2 game by Quantic Dream, who went on to make Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Second on the menu, we’ve got Shadow of Memories/Shadow of Destiny, a 2001 PS2 release by Konami. The game was directed and written by Junko Kawano, who has been heavily involved in the acclaimed Suikoden series from its inception. Let the battle begin. Ding ding! Continue reading